Saturday, December 26, 2009

Dash's new Tri-Bot criticizes my housekeeping skills.

Yeah, this is going over really well with me. The remote-controlled talking Tri-Bot says, "wow, you really need to vacuum your floor!" after it bumps into several things in a row. Perfect.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Weird Parrot Antics

For unknown reasons, Weegee the Senegal parrot held onto this celery
stalk for about 5 minutes straight. Not eating it, just holding it in
his beak.

Parrots don't usually do this, y'know? They eat their food if they
like it, they drop it if they weren't immediately sure, and if they
know they don't like it, they'll push it back at you without beaking
it at all.

Weird bird.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Lost Photos: Dash's 4th Birthday

Dash turned four this summer! But then, the photos from his party promptly got buried in a folder labeled with random words that had nothing to do with birthdays.

Dash had a Pirate Party, complete with awesome pirate cake!

See how he admires his awesome pirate cake? He's probably thinking about eating it.

Oh, yes, it will be good.

Wait, what?

Can you believe how I'm torturing poor Dash? I'm making him wait and wait while his friends sing the Happy Birthday song. Can you see how he glowers in pain?

Oh, whew, gratification fulfilled.

Happy birthday little dude!

Just because it was hilarious, I'm adding this photo in for you. A little friend of Dash's, Peyton, had such a splasherific time in our kiddie pool that she got all her clothes sopping wet. And what party favor did we have excessive amounts of thanks to Oriental Trading Company? Bandannas!! Peyton went home dressed entirely in pirate bandannas. Oh, it was fun.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Baking in a snowstorm

What else is there to do when there's 20 inches of snow outside? Lots
of baking! Here's Rosie, frosting a devil's food cake. What? The
occasion? Our first snowstorm of 2009, I guess. :-)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dash's dance class

The Dance Studio that the kids and I take classes at had open studio this week and I was able to see all the technique that they've learned this season. Dash's class of 3 and 4 year olds was soooo adorable to watch. The teacher is terribly ingenious at getting the smaller kids to try the moves, by introducing imaginary play that mimics the ballet poses that they need to learn. I'm very proud of Dash's abilities, he did so well!

In this photo, the dancers are lining up in twos and threes to travel, learning step-hops or skate-step in unison or with the beat of the music. Dash, with his shaggy unkempt bed-head, is holding hands with Genevieve, a friend from his daycare. I swear, some of the parents sent their girls in with professional hair-dos! The blond in front had a halo-style French braid sprinkled with glitter complete with glitter accents on her eyelids and cheeks.

Dash is waving to his audience and loving galloping around the room (they pretend to ride horses, which teaches chassé) to all end up twirling into an improvised pose at the back of the room. One girl has already chosen a lunge-type pose, while the rest are still in motion.

Here they are at the barre, learning tendus. Notice that Dash is looking confidently forward, while the other students are either looking confused, watching him, or getting direct instruction from the teacher.

He is going to be such a great ballet dancer, I can tell! I do hope he continues with the practice; there are so few boys in the upper levels. We tell him that there always needs to be a Prince in the traditional ballets, right? Who will the ballerinas have to perform with?

I wonder, at what age should I consider taking him to a ballet performance? I'm not sure he'd sit through one at this age...

Dash's (first!!) Family Drawing

While at the back-up daycare last Friday (the regular school was closed), Dash drew me this lovely representation of our family. This is the first time EVER that I've seen him draw something figurative that looks anything like he intended. His typical drawings tend to be, um, much more abstract (and are awesome!).

He told me that that's him on the far left, then Rosie, then ME (the biggest, and most important, I'd like to think, right?), and Monkeyrotica on the far right. I forgot to ask why his daddy had dots on his hands and feet, but he told me all about what I first assumed were some sort of dickey on our chests. They are our tongues. Explanation? He has been rather obsessed with his new Pokémon toy, Lickilicky.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Phil Agre, Still Missing; Summing up the Aughts

After reading an article a few weeks ago about scientist Phil Agre who has been missing for over a year, but only was listed as a missing person a month ago, I became curious about whether there was any follow-up. I want to learn if anyone's found any clues? Is he off the grid, meditating in the wilderness? Nobody seems to have any new details. On the website for his friends and family, there are pages of heartfelt messages asking him to contact someone; he touched so many lives as an author, scholar, online publishing pioneer, and educator. I am touched by the mystery, the loss, though am two-degrees separated from having any connection with him.

This quote from Charlotte P. Lee, an assistant professor at the University of Washington's College of Engineering, (from sums up what disturbed me most about his situation:
"All of us had lost touch with him over the years. How would you know if one of your friends not only lost touch with you, but had also lost touch with almost everyone they know? You wouldn't."
It made me think of Dee's friend Chris, who despite having a close friendship in the recent past, found that a year passed before she learned about his death. You lose touch with friends over the years, it's a fact; interests diverge, separations emerge, geographically or otherwise. Factoring in the passage of time where one assumes your friend is just living their life, doesn't need you, only escalates the grief and guilt when you learn that they are gone or missing. Was there something you could have done, personally, to have kept them around? Yes? No? Ugh, you'll never know, will you? It's heartbreaking.

Again, nobody currently knows what Phil Agre's status is, although there are clues that rest in the negative: references to mental illness in his medical history, keeping friendships at arm's length, occasional reclusive disappearances. Perhaps he's well and just researching an intensive, scholarly work where being disconnected is necessary.

While searching for some information myself, I found the last posting (in 2005) on his Yahoo! Group, pagre, summing up our decade:
The 2000's are not a decade of breaking news. What is happening now that you need the Internet to understand? The most important story of the 2000's, in my opinion, is the war over language in the United States that I have discussed [on this Yahoo! Group] earlier. And this is a story that happens on numerous time-scales from milliseconds to millennia. Important things are happening literally to the interfaces between the subjects and verbs in English sentences, yet these things are continuous with the arguments between conservatives and democrats in ancient Greece. That, for example, is why Ekaterina Haskins' "Logos and Power in Isocrates and Aristotle," in addition to being scholarship of the highest order, could scarcely be more relevant.
Ten More Things That Piss Me Off
1. skits
2. people who claim that tomatoes are a fruit
3. PBS (i.e., American public television)
4. the brightly inane writing in most tourist guidebooks
5. those Citibank ads
6. the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
7. the verb "to morph"
8. anything pertaining to the "American Songbook"
9. mayonnaise, or as scientists call it, "death slime"
10. the phrase "thanks in advance"
I'd have to agree with the majority of his list (esp. #9!!), as well as some of what he's saying in the first paragraph. He has reading lists of recommended books and papers that can be found through Google Scholar (I never even KNEW there was a Google Scholar!). Just in a brush with his online persona, I have touched on potentially mind-opening information. I do hope more details come to light.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

How do you spell...?

Rosie and Dash are sitting quietly after breakfast this morning, writing in a notebook. Dash is just getting interested in writing, individual letters mostly, and Rosie, the experienced seven-year-old writer, is engaging his waxing curiosity about how they string together to make words.

I'm in the kitchen, chopping vegetables and am listening to Dash's sweet little four-year-old voice asking Rosie, "How do you spell 'dummy'?" and, "How do you spell 'snipe'?"

Then, I hear, "How do you spell, 'I love Rosie'?"

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Preschool to Kindergarten, here's the good news!

Dash has been at the same childcare center since he was a tiny infant, and look at him now, in the pre-K room! He is pictured with his very favorite teacher, Miss Erin.

Despite this long history (beginning in 2004 with Rosie at 2 years old), we've been meaning to move Dash to a daycare closer to home for a couple of years now. It's not only because it's an easier commute and cheaper, but a major benefit is that he'll be in preschool with other children who will be moving with him to his elementary school. Rosie lost her school and all of her school friends when she moved to Kindergarten; I'd like to make it easier for Dash. The current center is far enough away that none of the students are in our school district.

He didn't get moved in years earlier because there weren't any places for Rosie, and who wants to make two daycare drop-offs? Last year we couldn't move him because there was a waitlist. So, what's different now? I called and there was a space open! He'll be transferring at the beginning of 2010.

December will be a month of goodbyes to staff and friends at daycare. We've had either Rosie and/or Dash at this center since 2004, so I'll be writing lots of thank you notes and preparing many gifts. Dash has friends at his school, but he rarely asks for playdates with them — I'm not sure how much he will miss them.

So what's the bad news? The county might be cutting all Kindergarten to half-days in 2010. Budget cuts, you know. The waitlist for school-based after-care is already 100+ people long. What to do? Things will work out by then, right?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Rosie in her birthday apron

I custom-ordered an adorable handmade apron for Rosie from an Etsy seller's shop, thischickadee. Before presenting it to her on her special day, I packed the pockets with clay modeling tools (clay was the gift she asked me for). She was delighted by all her birthday gifts and especially loves her apron, made in purple and pink (fave colors) and a birdie pattern on the fabric. Can anyone spot another bird in the photo? ;-)

The apron looks so sweet on her, and now she'll never be without pockets.
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