Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sunday Parkways

Today the girls and I biked part of the Sunday Parkways route - about 3 miles, including uphill and downhill. The roads are closed to auto traffic, so Skipper rode her own bike the whole way. It was awesome.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Swim meet!

Duchess swam three events at the very long citywide swim meet today. She placed in the top five in her two individual events and her relay. She was quite pleased.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Lately I have read this book and this book. This is problematic, because both books include appalling details about what goes into processed foods.  So now I have to stop feeding us processed foods.* Not that we eat a ton of processed foods,** but we do like cereal and crackers and things like that.  I don't think I'll be up for taking processed food out of our diets completely, but it seems worth at least cutting down.

I made up a batch of muesli to kick off my campaign, and it's pretty terrible. Duchess is appalled - she said "Mom, you have to stop reading!" I found a recipe for homemade bran flakes; we'll see how that goes.

*Processed in ways other than what I would be able to do in my own kitchen, I mean. I'm not talking about moving to a raw foods diet.
** Apparently we eat a lot less processed food than most Americans. My understanding of this was blurred by my daily experience of my Portland friends and acquaintances, all of whom do wholesome stuff like growing and canning their own tomatoes, and making farro salads for lunch. I live in a world where people apologize for serving you non-organic produce when you come over for dinner. I actually know a child named Kale.

Friday, August 9, 2013


1) Cook has been using his new standing desk at work for three days now (including a 12-hour day and a 10-hour day). He says so far he has noticed only that "it's a lot of standing." Considering that he commutes to work by bike, I think he's gone as far as he can go to reduce the health impact of his job without buying himself a treadmill desk.

2) We've been eating a lot of cucumbers.  We have one very productive cucumber plant, and we just were gifted 10 pounds of pickling cucumbers.75% of us love cucumbers vinaigrette, and 100% of us love pickles, so we're going to make a lot of that. I refuse to can anything, so it's all going to have to get eaten in the next week or so... got any good recipes?

3) I got rejected from the one job I applied for this summer. I hadn't really expected to get an interview (though I truly am qualified for the job, and it looked like it would be a really good fit), but I found myself crushed by the rejection email anyway. It totally destroyed my cheery summer mood, making me realize how much of that cheeriness was built on air - one rejection put me right back where I was when I decided to take a break from applications. Where I was, in case you forget, is a place that is unpleasantly redolent of hopelessness and self-loathing. I would prefer not to stay.

Oh well.

4) Duchess has decided that she would like to be an architect focusing on sustainability when she grows up. I don't think she has much grasp on what that would entail. I have the impression that she's thinking she will build houses for wildlife. I wonder if I can find an architect in Portland who'd be interested in having an 8-year-old do a job shadow.

5) We (okay, the girls and I) have achieved Max Fun for the summer. The girls had so much fun at the amusement park yesterday, which, when piled on top of all the other exceedingly fun things they've done this summer (Duchess went to Disneyland again, even), seems crazy decadent.* I'm not sure if we can top this, but we've still got a much-anticipated week at sleepaway camp** for Duchess and between one and three camping trips. That's a lot of fun still to come. The hair-shirt part of me warns darkly that we're setting the fun bar way too high...

6) Back-to-school shopping has been completed, except for the two reams of copy paper and the $25 check. I don't remember if schools ever provided any of this stuff, or if families have always provided all the materials. We certainly supply all the materials Duchess uses over the year (and then some), including tissues and bandaids, and sticky notes and permanent markers for the teacher to use. This year, Duchess is not required to have paint, which to me suggests that there will be even less art in her life. I splurged and bought her a pack of mechanical pencils, which seem to make her feel extremely competent and grown-up.

That's the news. I leave you with one more photo from our California trip.

*I am coming to terms with the basic conflict of my personality, which is more or less divided evenly between self-indulgent hedonism and self-punitive martyrdom. My brain is lying on a couch, wearing a hair shirt, calling for more dancing girls and wine.
** With a "marine ecology" theme!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Today, the girls and I met friends at the amusement park by the river. Much fun was had by all (including Skipper, which was a relief) , though my inner ears may be permanently disturbed. I took some photos with my new, semi modern phone...

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

It's better than calling me "assive," I think.

Tonight Skipper came up to me as I was folding laundry and said firmly "You. You're a pieface, and I love you."

Monday, August 5, 2013

Went on Vacation

When I was a kid, my family used to sail out to Catalina Island pretty regularly, on an ancient wooden boat that has (now) been in my family for a hundred years. At the time, I had no idea how lucky I was. Last week, Cook, Skipper, Duchess, and I went to California and went out to Catalina. It was a great trip, entailing sailing a large boat, swimming, rowing, sailing a small boat, napping, participating in a piratical scavenger hunt, catching hermit crabs, snorkeling, playing cards, and more. We are very lucky.