Saturday, November 30, 2013

Cake Ambitions

I was reading through this month's edition of InStyle, and the foodie section caught my eye, for once.

It's a Mondrian cake!  It used to be available at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art cafe, but while they are closed for renovations, you can mail order them.

It make me think of rainbow cakes that I've seen online. This one is certainly startlingly bright.

I love, love, love the attention to detail in this leprechaun trap cake.  You have to check out the whole post.  I thought I'd linked to it before, but I can't find where.  I dream of making such a cake, but there's no way I'd have the patience.

I might hope for succeeding in making layered jello, like our friends back in January.

Totally unrelated to cakes, but in the same issue of InStyle - the blinged-out KitchenAid mixer, for your gift giving pleasure.  How does one wash one of these, I ask?

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Giving Thanks

SwingDaddy cooked up a great turkey for Thanksgiving.

We had a terrific day with my parents and ate and ate.  So much to be grateful for.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Kindy Thanks

Buster chose to wear his Native American costume for the kindergarten Thanksgiving meal, and he and his brethren sat down with the Pilgrims for quite a feast.

We brought a massive bowl of mashed potatoes, about 90% of which came back home with us.

Juice boxes!  A pioneer tradition, certainly.

You can see the a girl in her paper Pilgrim bonnet behind Buster, as well as a feather headdress from another Native American in the foreground.  They were all so cute!

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Hammer

From io9: One of the very best things about Kat Dennings' character (Darcy Lewis) in the Thor movies is how she pronounces Mjölnir. Instead of calling it by it's traditional Norse name she prefers to call it Mew-Mew. And some genius has created a "Mew-Mew Mjölnir."

I haven't seen Thor 2 yet, so I don't know the reference, but how can one not love adorable anthropomorphic Norse weaponry of legend?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Mr. Leader

Just when I think I've run out of ways to be proud of my sons, one of them goes and does something else.  Q-ster successfully tested for his dark red belt in taekwondo, and the masters awarded him the junior leader badge as well.  He was over the moon with happiness. Now he's an official helper to the masters, and a pretty young one at that.

By the way, "dark red" belt?  I think something didn't quite plan it out well enough when they started assigning colors to ranks.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

In the Studio

SwingDaddy and I had a great time teaching one of our former dance troupes a new version of our Schottische duet. It's hard to believe that I did the research ten years ago now!  SwingDaddy came up with a clever blocking for eight couples that should look good on stage for their spring show.

Now they just have to decide what to wear.  I had our 1890's gowns hemmed shorter than is period-correct, so that you could see our footwork.  Shocking, ankles!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Pondering Pilgrim, Plus Breakfast Wars

The kindergarteners made both Pilgrim and Indian costumes to wear for their upcoming Thanksgiving feast.  Buster has chosen to be an Indian, so he brought home his pilgrim costume and obliged me in a request to put it on.  Can't wait to see the little ones in action.

This morning, I was tidying up in the kitchen when the boys launched the latest version of breakfast wars. The world has gotten so much more exciting now that Buster can read.

Q-ster: How much vitamin A do you have?
Buster, reading off the Kix cereal box: 15
Q, reading off the Crispex box: I have 25!

B: How much calcium do you have?

And so forth.
I suppose a little nutritional competition never hurt anyone.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Q-ster has made a kind of Nerf/Lego shop in his room, with his designs available for purchase, so Buster decided to open up a Snuggling Friends Shop.  He was able to prevail upon his brother to write his store sign on a post-it to stick to his door.

Then he wrote this one himself, to put on the door when he's not available to open the shop.

"Dot (don't) come in. Nobody home!"

Monday, November 18, 2013

More Huggy Friends

Yes, we have a moratorium on new stuffed animals in the house, particularly large ones, but SwingDaddy was awarded this Squishable Narwhal at the office for a project completion.  Buster and I were pretty happy to snuggle with it.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Piano Men Onstage

Buster's first piano recital!  He played Mary Had a Little Lamb and Lightly Row.

Q-ster played the second and third movements of a Clementi Sonatina.  And he also served as the show MC with a loud, clear voice.  Here, he announces his brother.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Autumn in California

 Crunch, crunch, crunch, as the micro dude tromps across the leaves today.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Q-ster received the giant Lego Idea book for Christmas a few years ago, and recently the boys have pulled it and their other Lego reference books out.  Buster drags one of his boxes of bricks to his brother's room, and they choose something to build.  Sometimes happens on a weekend morning, letting the parents sleep an extra hour!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Minion Love

I was late to my sister's birthday lunch because I saw this.  This!  A life sized (or at least what I imagine to be life size for a minion) plush minion!   He was in the t-shirt section at Target, next to the minion t-shirts, without any other plush nearby.  It turns out he's a backpack, but there were no other plush minions to be found - not in the toy department, not in the luggage department with the other backpacks, nor in the children's bedding department, where they have plenty of other licensed plush creatures.

The fellow above had a damaged strap on his overalls, so I didn't want to get that particular one, and the whole time I was running around the store, I was very torn, because I've declared a moratorium on stuffed animals in our house, particularly large ones.  But it's a minion!  And I could have gotten him for my sister!

After cooling off, I realize it was probably best that I'd just taken a picture to admire him.  We have enough plush friends.

I did a web search, just for kicks.  The fellow above is Stuart.

I sort of prefer the two eyed minions. This one is Jerry, also a backpack.

My favorite minion is Dave. This one is cute, but too backpacky.

Here's Dave again, this time as a USB memory stick.

It was a fun google search, but I think I'm content with the minions we got in the Happy Meals.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Getting Crafty at School

Q-ster shows off the relief map of California that he made in school.

SwingDaddy went into class, along with a half dozen other parents, to attempt to contain the powdery mess of third graders and baker's clay.  We all agreed that it would be best if I stayed out of it.  Q-ster's map came out pretty well!

Buster's alphabet animal puppets are coming along well too.  This one is a Fox for the letter F.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

To Honor Those Who Serve

"Come see what I built!" called Q-ster.

He explained that the British soldiers are in the foreground, fighting the Austro-Hungarians in the distance.

The Russians (on the left) and the Americans (cowboy hat, on the right) are sitting out the early part of the battle.

We checked this book on World War I out of the library last week.  He's been full of war facts for days.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Words, Words, Words

Q-ster made a word search for his first third grade book report. and SwingDaddy helped him type it up.

 Topic?  The Hobbit, of course!

Wednesday, November 06, 2013


Not even Halloween slows down the truly serious Turtle-Dragon-Pianist.  Buster discovered that his Bowser costume was a little difficult in chairs, but worked just fine on the piano bench.

The kindergarteners were given a paper doll each to decorate for Halloween, and he did a darn good job with his.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Homecoming, Time Capsules

More from my college reunion:

I've always loved the gold plaques lining the quad, starting with "92" (class of 1892) up until the most recent graduating class. The alumni center displays the next set of plaques to be set into the ground.

The graduates choose what will be put in the time capsule underneath.  Apparently, none have been opened.  I can't remember went into mine.

Here, the boys stand on SwingDaddy and my year plaques in their natural habitat.

While I was doing a quick google search to see if I could find out what was in my class time capsule (no luck,) I did find the Axe Committee story of the Tree mascot.  It should be fairly accurate, given that it's printed with the university seal and all.

How the Tree Came to Be The History of the Stanford Mascot 

Stanford adopted Cardinal as the color of the athletic teams in 1892, but we 
would not have an official nickname until “Indians” was adopted in 1930. Glenn 
Scobey “Pop” Warner, now of youth football fame, became Stanford's football 
coach in the 1930s. Warner had previously coached at Carlisle Indian School in 
Pennsylvania where Jim Thorpe, the future Olympic athlete, was among his 
Native American players. That “Indian” theme followed Warner to Stanford and 
the teams here adopted the theme. This would continue until 1972, when President 
Richard Lyman dropped it following objections from the Native American community and 
a vote of the ASSU Senate. The students’ petition argued that by “retracting its misuse of the 
Indian symbol” Stanford would be displaying a “readily progressive concern for the 
American Indians of the United States.” Cardinal was then adopted as the temporary 
nickname, but a number of suggestions were put forth as a replacement including Sequoias, 
Trees, Cardinals, Railroaders, Spikes, and Huns. “Robber Barons,” a reference to Leland 
Stanford’s history, was approved by a vote of the student body but rejected by 
the administration. Cardinal, the color, would be made the official nickname by 
President Donald Kennedy in 1981. 

Meanwhile, in 1975, the Stanford Band debuted a series of half time shows 
featuring various suggestions they felt were appropriate for the new mascot. 
Included were the French Fry, the Steaming Manhole, and the Tree—a 
reference to El Palo Alto, the tree on the University Seal. The Tree received so 
much positive feedback that it would be made a permanent fixture soon after. 
Note that the Tree is not the mascot of the University, but that of the Band. 

I wasn't aware that the Cardinal selection dated back to founding days, but I had heard the Robber Barons story!

All the reunion posts.  Dance. Back to school.  Campus tour classic.  Campus tour techie. Class plaques.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Homecoming, the Techie Part of Campus

More from my college reunion tour. In this episode, the stuff that changed a lot.

SwingDaddy and I standing on the site where the Physics tank used to be.  They demolished it and put up the infinitely more attractive Gordon and Betty Moore Materials Research Building.  (You know, Moore's Law?  That guy.)  I really disliked the uncomfortable seats in the physics auditorium, so I don't miss the old building at all - it was designed for men, with large seats that either left my feet dangling or unable to reach the backrest.

We also walked by Terman Fountain, which is the only thing left from the Terman Engineering building.  All that's left is a hole in the ground.  A quite graceful, well landscaped hole, but there it is.

The new Huang engineering building has this gorgeous stepped path on one side, comfortable for students to gather, sit, and study, and a gracious entrance on the other.

The whole complex is designed to be super-eco, with mounds on the lawn (photo above) to help rainwater absorb better into the ground and very low energy usage in the buildings.

The view from the 4th floor balcony.

Most of all, I love how the new arrangement of quadrangles ties the whole campus together, without the impediments of the old structures that acted as barricades.  This was the original conception of designer Frederick Law Olmsted (famous for Central Park in NYC,) so it's lovely to see it come together, a century later.

All the reunion posts.  Dance. Back to school.  Campus tour classic.  Campus tour techieClass plaques.