Nov. 12th, 2014 @ 12:32 am Conversations at my house
Me: Would you bring me a glass of port?
Jeremy: Sorry, I only know how to find starboard.
Me: Well that's okay then. The port is on the starboard.
Jeremy: *stares at me in silence until he realizes I'm not going to say
anything* Allright, I may have carried that joke too far. Help me out here?

Gregory: *shaking his curls over my face*
Me: Ahhh! You have tentacles!
Gregory: No, I have MANY tickles!
Me: That's right! *tickling commences*
Nov. 11th, 2014 @ 04:23 pm word play
Limeynade: juiced British soldiers
Nov. 9th, 2014 @ 04:47 pm my knight in shining armor
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I was at an event where they had helium balloons. My munchkin loves balloons, so I brought him one. He played with it off and on that day and by bedtime it had drifted near the door of his room.

Now I have to back up and explain a couple of things. He has a poof for a bed. It is very difficult to stand up from because you get enveloped in the fluffy hammock. He has a sword that he bought at NorWesCon. It's the sword Link carries in Zelda and has a beautiful blue sheath. It hangs above his dresser.

I was reading him a bedtime story. I was on the side of the poof nearest the door. I looked that way for some reason and saw the balloon bobbing there, near the floor, partly hidden by a pile of clean laundry. I turned to the kiddo and whispered "Don't look now, but I think someone is watching us." He, of course, raised his head to peek over my shoulder.

Then, in one smooth motion, so fast that I didn't have time to register what was happening, he sprang forward out of the poof onto his feet, used the extra momentum for a long step towards the dresser, pulled the sword down, drawing it as he turned, made a deep lunge sort of past/over me, and popped the balloon. It was all one smooth motion that took less than two seconds maybe only one. Then he turned to me as he sheathed the sword and declared "Problem solved!" I was left blinking and stunned, then laughing so hard I could barely read.
Oct. 15th, 2014 @ 12:43 am Science!

The kiddo and I are currently science experiments. This would be easier if I had access to some simple lab equipment, but I don't, so I'm performing the experiments on us directly.


He got head lice, probably from school. We have each shampooed twice with louse shampoo, which is supposed to kill them and leave a residue that "prevents reinfestation." I used it preventatively right away, but even with little contact with him and washing everything, I found a couple on myself after a week. The people I've talked to say that it doesn't work well, and that the only real solution is meticulous combing and literal nit-picking...every single day...which takes about an hour per person.


I refuse to believe that is the best solution.
The problem is that the shampoo kills most of the adults/young but not the eggs, and isn't safe to use every day. In between treatments they breed more than can be kept up with. So we either need a treatment that kills all the adults and the eggs, or we need something that kills the adults and is safe to use every day. The latter seems more likely so that's what I'm trying to find. My list of possibilities includes: baking soda or vinegar (change in pH,) hydrogen peroxide, herbal flea spray with essential oils, diatomaceous earth, Neem, rubbing alcohol and Witch Hazel (both astringents: tiny things dehydrate easily,) dish soap (used on aphids,) chlorinated water, heat.


My head is currently powdered liberally with diatomaceous earth (and wrapped in a scarf to prevent a giant mess.) If you're not familiar with it, it is the shells of plankton that have silica exoskeletons. They die and collect in drifts in the ocean, where they are mined and ground to powder. It is microscopically razor-sharp and cuts insects to shreds. It is used on pets and in houses to kill fleas, so I know it is safe. I'll know in 2-3 days if it is effective.


Gregory has been rinsing his hair every day in the shower with a 50/50 vinegar/water solution. Today was day 3. The idea here is that most parasites have a very narrow range of conditions that they have evolved to fit. If you change those conditions, adjusting pH, temperature, or humidity, they often die. I don't expect this approach to kill the eggs, which means keeping it up for a bit longer than a full life cycle.


All of the things I want to try are cheap, safe, and readily available. If effective, they would fail to catch on because they can't be marketed and profited from. Still, I'm hoping for some new information that can help others as well as us.

Oct. 2nd, 2014 @ 12:52 am teenage metabolism
G was  weighed and measured today at the doctor's office. Since his last measurement 6 weeks ago (by the same nurse, on the same equipment) he has gained an inch and lost 3 pounds. I swear I feed him! I can't believe how fast he grows, but all of it seems to be up. 
Sep. 29th, 2014 @ 06:06 pm cider pressing and local barter fair
Yesterday I went to the Community Cider Pressing and Barter Event put on by Sustainable North East Seattle (SUSNE.) I love SUSNE's events. Instead of having lectures and documentary screenings and book discussion groups, they put on fun events that kids and adults alike want to go to to learn and put into practice. We go to the cider pressing every year.

Usually we bring home gallons of cider but this year there was no truckload of donated apples. We gleaned 3 grocery bags full of apples from a tree a few blocks away. They said that they never use them and were happy to have them not be wasted. We also picked up and composted all the spoiled ones from the ground, as all good gleaners should. We came home with a quart and a half of sweet-tart cider that tastes like bottled Summer.

I brought bunches of fresh herbs for bartering since I always grow more than I need: Rosemary, Marjoram, Licorice Agastache, Shiso, Chives, two kinds of Sage, Australian Pepper Bush, Coriander, Thai Basil, Lime Basil, Italian Basil. (I wish I had taken a picture of my table.)

I traded for: two large cucumbers and two lemon cucumbers, two yellow Summer squash, two cornbread muffins (which were promptly eaten,) a lovely little hand-made blue-glazed dip bowl, a bag of Concord grapes, two bars of goat-milk soap, three native Columbine plants, a bunch of strawberry plants, and a jar of rhubarb sauce.

Quite the successful bartering, I'd say. We had pancakes with rhubarb sauce for dinner, delicious and so reminiscent of my childhood.
Sep. 29th, 2014 @ 04:37 pm my adorable husband

I came home today to find a napping Jeremy on the bed, shoes still on, my stuffed animal wrapped in his arms.


Feb. 13th, 2014 @ 01:45 pm cuteness

I got a new charm for my cell phone. I've been looking for a while for a tiny Hello Kitty. Most of them are too big for a cell phone. But...she's wearing a mushroom costume! It's perfect for me. *dies of cute overdose *

Feb. 6th, 2014 @ 07:26 am Attack of the Killer Plants!

I rearranged one of my plants yesterday. In the process I got to measure it. (I foolishly forgot to take pictures, unfortunately.) See, I have a Golden Pothose that Gregory refers to as Audrey, I refer to as my house pet, and Jeremy worries is going to wrap her vines around a guest some day and eat them. The vines are strung across the ceiling. The new growth dangles down, then has a sharply upturned hook with a pointy end where the next leaf is tightly furled. I admit, it sort of looks like a hook on the end of a fishing line.


The pot is hung above my fish tank. I have directed some of the vines down into the tank and back out. I also have some vines that are cuttings that are only rooted in the water. (They will grow forever that way, without need of soil.) Excellent biological filtration system!


The normal leaves are about 3" across with vines the diameter of my pinky finger. The ones growing out of the fish tank have 6"-8" leaves and vines nearly an inch across. The ones that come down from the pot go into the tank small and come out gigantic.


While I had all the vines down and untangled I used a measuring tape to get a rough length of the longest one. 37 feet! Holy smokes that's a lot of vine!

Jan. 27th, 2014 @ 11:16 pm Things I wish I could have asked a ranger

1. What were the flocks of tiny birds that made the high-pitched twittering? I would guess Pine Siskins or Golden-Crowned Kinglets, based on the season, their flight patterns, and their gregarious behavior, but I couldn't actually see any of them close up, and I don't know either call.


2. Halfway up the Rapids Loop Trail, on the river's right-hand side, is a tree with a white splatter down one side. What IS that!? It doesn't look like sap, though it's hard to tell when it's frozen. Is it bird poop? If so, then from what? I couldn't see a nest up above there.


3. There are three kinds of moss that I seem to always or usually find growing together. Are they different species, or are they different life stages of the same species? Or maybe male, female, and undifferentiated?


4. What is the dark red stone that breaks with sharp edges? What is the greenish-blue one that breaks the same way? Are they chert? Can you tell me a little about the geology of this place?


5. Do salmon make it up the Staircase rapids? Do fish live above there, and if so, did they climb the rapids or did they get up there at some time in the past when the falls weren't as high?


6. What makes Vanilla Leaf leaves decay like that? Is it biochemical, or is there a symbiotic association with a little insect or some such critter?