Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday fish faces

This morning when I asked Hen to stand in the street so I could take his picture, he gave me a look I like to call Obligatory Consent.

But the lighting was pretty darn good so I had to find a way to engage him. Quick. Asking him for a fish face worked. 

Meet the grouper.

Which really does look very grouper-ish. See?

Up next, the pufferfish.

Again, a striking resemblance to the actual fish.

Introducing the flounder.

It's really uncanny, isn't it?

Last but not least the manta ray.

This kid has his finger on the fish pulse, am I right?

Book fifty-six: Charm and Strange by Stephanie Kuehn

I'm four past my goal for the year. Woohoo!

Charm and Strange is one twisted book. I think had I been in a different mood while reading it I might have enjoyed it more. As it was I just wanted the suspense to end. I wanted answers so I could better understand the battle Win was fighting. Yet when the explanation finally came it was rather abrupt and somewhat anticlimactic. Kuehn expertly tackles tough subject matter in a way that I've never come across before.

56 down and still more books on the shelves.

Hairclips! HAIRCLIPS!

My boss makes the cutest frickin' hairclips I have ever seen. If I had my own daughter, this would be a serious problem. But I don't so it's not. However, I do have nieces and friends with daughters so I still get to take some of her seriously adorable merchandise and share it with loved ones.
This is Cloudy. There's a Sundrop, too, but we live in Oregon so...

Tux is a favorite. So cute, so penguiny.

Whaddup, Panda! You da panda!

Christmas cards ordered (almost)

I have to figure out what is happening with the color.
See what I mean? While selecting the design and during the ordering process, I only saw the brighter red color with black text. When I got the pdf proof, it had the muted red color with gray text. The shirt and skin tone look nearly identical, it's the text color that significantly changed. Does this mean my pdf reader color profile is different? Hmmm…In the morning I shall view using Adobe Reader and see if that makes a difference.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Cats and technology

What's the word on screen time for cats?

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Book fifty-five: Cain by José Saramago

Quite possibly the best book I've read all year. Love, love, love it. Saramago reimagines stories from the Old Testament. And his writing is genius. It begins with Adam and Eve's expulsion from Garden of Eden. It ends with Noah and the ark. It is brilliant. Fantastic.
"The history of mankind is the history of our misunderstandings with god, for he doesn't understand us, and we don't understand him." --78
 "Yes, anything is possible, even eve's extraordinary idea of going to ask the angel for permission to enter the garden of eden and pick some fruit to keep them alive for a few more days. Adam was as skeptical as any man is regarding the success of any enterprise born of a woman's brain and so he told her to go alone and to prepare to be disappointed…" --12
"As for lot's wife, she disobeyed the order not to look back and was transformed into a pillar of salt. No one has ever been able to understand why she was punished in that way, for it is only natural to want to know what is going on behind you." --86
"Once, the lord would appear to us in person, in the flesh so to speak, and even took a certain satisfaction in showing himself to the world…Now, though, the lord conceals himself in columns of smoke, as if he preferred not to be seen. As mere observers of events, we are of the view that he feels ashamed of some of his less palatable actions, for example, those innocent children in sodom devoured by his divine fire." --97
"Anyway, the innocent are now accustomed to paying for the sinners, The lord seems to have a very strange idea of justice, Yes, the idea of someone who hasn't the slightest notion of what human justice might be." --117
"The ways of the lord are inscrutable, not even we angels can fathom the workings of his mind, Oh, I've had enough of all this nonsense about the lord's ways being inscrutable, answered cain, got should be as clear and transparent as a pane of glass and not go wasting his energies on creating an atmosphere of constant terror and fear, god, in short, does not love us." --123
55 down and still going strong.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Spelling and the Brits

Hen: How do you spell "caw"?

Me: Like the <insert bird caw sound here> kind of caw?

Hen: No. Like "caw"?

Me: Use it in a sentence.

Hen, pausing for a millisecond before breathing deeply and saying in a British accent: RONALD WEASLEY, HOW DARE YOU STEAL THAT CAH.

Followed by uproarious laughter from the both of us.

Silly Brits.

Increasing brain power at night

hen with his stuffed neuron

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Photoshop fun



Hen was happily playing outside by himself and the old man was working so I got to play with Photoshop Elements. My technique is a bit sloppy and I'm rusty since I don't use it often - usually only once a year when I do Hen's birthday invites - but even with all that this still happened, which is pretty awesome, ifIdosaysomyself.

Rosh Hashanah at the beach

Here are my two favorite shots from this weekend.*

A forecast of rain didn't stop Hen and I from traveling west to Fort Stevens for a little Rosh Hashanah relaxation at the beach. Thankfully, before we left Portland my friend, Molly, (a.k.a. Hen's school librarian) gave me the keys to her beach house just in case the rain proved too much for our tent. (Spoiler alert - it was.) We stayed for one night at Fort Stevens. We arrived with just enough time to pitch our tent and get into our pajamas before darkness descended.

I awoke to the sounds of heavy rainfall around 4a.m. the next morning. It was really coming down. Because we had parked our tent under the trees the water collected and hit our tent with tremendous splat sounds. Three hours later, we both got up and braved the outdoors to take care of business. The short trip to the bathrooms and back left us soaked to the bone. I got Hen in the tent, had him change his clothes, carried him to the car, and proceeded to load up our stuff and dismantle the tent in record time.

There was no way we could leave Fort Stevens without checking out the shipwreck. So that is what we did. It was a beautiful morning. Beautiful in its grayness and stillness. Nobody else was on the beach. We took Hen's dinosaurs for a mini photo shoot, checked out what's left of the ship, took more pics and headed out just as more people were arriving.

We breakfasted in Astoria before heading south on 101. Molly's beach house is adorable and beautiful and, yes, does have a scary basement I didn't even open the door to investigate. We dumped our stuff and went back up to Rockaway where we spent the majority of the day. On our way to our beach home we stopped at the grocery store to grab food for dinner. Smoked salmon, oranges, spinach, radishes, and tater tots. Yum. We ended the day with showers and a few episodes of Gravity Falls.

The next morning we walked down to the bakery at the end of the block. A hop in the car and we were back at the beach. As we were walking down, we ran into a gentleman with several SOLVE bags because they were doing a beach cleanup at Rockaway. Hen and I got a bag and spent the next several hours walking down the beach, picking up trash, and, when done with that, I read my book while Hen played with other kids he met. We ended our day out by stopping to pick up a small gift for Molly et al, and grabbing ice cream at the Tillamook Cheese Factory. You can't go through Tillamook and not stop, can you?

Being in the little sunbelt along the Oregon coast meant we could finally dry out our tent, sleeping bag, and rain cover once we returned to the beach house. I took care of getting the house cleaned and our stuff packed while Hen looked for bugs and played dinosaurs in the front yard.

All in all, it was a great Rosh Hashanah weekend. Sure, there wasn't any religious reflection, no new resolutions, etc. But I feel as if we put some good back out in the world. In Astoria, we bought breakfast for a couple of soldiers who came into the restaurant as we were finishing up, we helped clean up the beach, and we didn't destroy Molly's beach house.

For the full set of pictures because, of course, there were pictures, see below.
Get the flash player here:

Book fifty-four: The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. Nielsen

The final book in the Ascendancy trilogy is perfect. War has come to Carthya. Imogen has been kidnapped. Can Jaron's cleverness get him out of this mess while saving his love, his country, and his own life? What will he risk when everything is at stake?

Read it and find out. Like the other books, Nielsen provides the reader with a fast-paced entertaining read that keeps you wanting to read more and more and, oh crap, now it's done and there aren't any more books in the series. Bummer. But still, great book. Lots of fun.

54 down and more to read before the end of the year.

Recipe Corner: Baked Pumpkin Donuts

Some mornings you wake up and think, "Hey, it's Halloween. I should make pumpkin donuts." And you look online, find a recipe for which you have all the ingredients already, and give it a try.

These donuts are super easy to make, delightful to eat, and fun to share, although I plan on tweaking the recipe a bit next time I bake them. (I'd reduce the amount of sugar and substitute half the oil with plain yogurt or buttermilk to give them a bit more flavor. I'll also add a 1/8 teaspoon more of each of the spices. And I want to try them with the King Arthur flour to see if that makes any difference.) I sprinkled these with a sugar and cinnamon mixture but think they'd be very yummy with a powdered sugar, cinnamon, and milk glaze.

1/2 cup vegetable oil*
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons (8 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Lightly grease donut pan.

Combine the oil, eggs, sugar, canned pumpkin, spices, and salt in a mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Add the flour and baking powder and stir just until smooth.

Using a scant 1/4 cup, fill the wells of the donut pan. Bake the donuts for 15-18 minutes (in my oven they were done in 15 min).

Remove donuts from the oven and let sit in pan for five minutes. Loosen the edges and transfer donuts to a rack. Once they are cool enough to handle, dip in the sugar cinnamon spice mixture (or try the glaze). Do not store in a tight container. They are extremely moist and this will make them soggy. Blech.

*I use canola oil instead of regular vegetable oil. I'm curious to try a baking olive oil to see how that'd turn out. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween 2014

Folks in the neighborhood described Hen's costume as classic.

Lots and lots of steps but only one semi-fall.

Obligatory candy haul shot.

Earlier today Hen and I went to the park and while he played with various pieces of nature (mushrooms and whatnot), I had a photo shoot with his LEGO minifigures, which I later turned into a Halloween postcard.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

#throwbackthursday #1

Hen's first Halloween / 13 days old
Another fall favorite / Janie & Jack outfit, Trumpette socks, pumpkin hat by grandma