The most requested thing for dinner around here? Noodles. With butter.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

THE TRIP- Lovely large houses of Portland, Maine

Portland, Maine has about one-tenth the population of our Portland on the west coast.
We took a trolley tour of the town.
We saw the waterfront, the murals of the downtown area, parts of the Freedom Trail,  and many Victorian homes.
I'll show you the homes here, the other attractions will have to wait because there's too many pics...!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

THE TRIP- Portland Head Lighthouse

This is such a beautiful location- hard to stop taking pictures!
The lighthouse was commissioned by George Washington.

We were there on July 21, 2011 as part of our 3-week TRIP to the east coast.  Next post will be Portland, Maine.  After that- the awesomeness of Prince Edward Island!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

It hosta be green.

Don't know why I chose that title.  It just had to have the word hosta in it and my punny bone is malfunctioning these days, so I apologize for the weak wording.

Anywho, here's part of my yard.  I wish I had a bigger shady spot to grow hostas, but they after three years they seem to be pretty happy where they are.  Lucky for me they are easy to grow.  I'm not exactly in the green-thumb gang.

What kind of bug is that?  Is it related to a dragonfly?

Yes, those are fake boulders.  I had to cover up the cable box and the phone box.  
Even though the boxes are green, they are still not very landscape friendly.
That's it!  I hope you enjoyed my little hosta tour!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Why swimming?

Because it is quiet.  I don't have to talk to anyone.

I spend most of my days being mentally and emotionally available to almost 100 people- most of them under 13 years of age.  Don't get me wrong, I love my job, but at the end of the day it is pure joy to be able to just not talk (or even listen, for that matter).

Walking is good exercise, but it is often social.  Cycling is less social, but on the tandem I still have to communicate to kiddo constantly.  In the pool, my ears are full of water and my glasses are in the locker room.  The world is effectively shut out, and I can slide through the water with nary a care.

Swimming is easy on the joints.  I can swim for half a mile (22 laps) and my knees don't complain the next day like they would if I had jogged or played tennis.

When I swim, I don't have to concentrate.  I can establish a rhythm and just keep going.  I can think of songs, psalms, prayers, poems, etc. and nothing interrupts to get those things out of my head.  I don't even have to count laps because my watch does that for me.  (The only thing I have to remember is to breathe out through my nose and in through my mouth!)

The pool is cool.  I can work out, sweat, and come out smelling clean like faintly bleached laundry.  And, I can shower at the club and not have to shower at home- saves money!

Kiddo loves swimming.  She has been fascinated by water since she was born.  She has had years of swimming lessons, and is like a little mermaid in the pool.  She sometimes swims laps with me, but more often finds a friend and does her own thing.

I think this Summer of Very Little Television is going to work out quite well...

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Transit of Venus

The orbit of Venus takes it between the earth and the sun today.  I wanted to see it at school where the science teacher had a viewing station set up with telescopes, binoculars, and cool filter "glasses".

But, at that time, the clouds blocked the sun.  Typical NW springish day.

The teacher let me borrow the filter, and when I got home I was able to use it.  Very cool indeed.  Venus looked like a little thumb tack on a round orange bulletin board.  It was in the top right part of the sun, and as the afternoon and evening progressed, it moved down to the lower right hand part.  I tried to take a picture through the filter, but you can't see Venus.

I even tried to use my zoom, but it didn't quite work.  I guess you need more than a point-and-shoot Canon...

This event won't happen again for 105 years.  I'm glad I got to see it now, and I think I'm going to buy some of those eclipse viewers.  They are about $1.00 each, so I might stock up and use them as presents for my science geek friends!  

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Summer Of Very Little Television

I don't hate TV.  I own two of them.  TV is just a tool.  You can use it for good, or not-so-good.  I have some colleagues who don't own TVs.  Most of them are low-key about it, but a couple of them are annoyingly proud of their non-TV status.  Like they are so much better than the rest of us who enjoy every single hour of Shark Week on the Discovery Channel each July...

But I digress.

Summer is almost here and unlike last year, we have no big trip planned.  Kiddo doesn't want to go to camp, I don't want to shell out too much for gas, and we are both a bit tired after a grueling school year for her, and the pressure of raising state test scores for me.  I have been thinking that we can't just laze about the house with the TV on all summer (like the Summer Of SpongeBob back in '06), we have to have some goals.

Usually, I hate coming up with goals because then what if I don't meet the goals?  Fail.  I hate not meeting goals.  Even worse than not meeting goals is telling a lot of people about a goal and THEN not meeting it!  Epic Fail.

So, I am going out on a limb here and writing down my goals and sharing them with y'all. (It's ok- I used to live in Texas, I can say y'all.)

Physical goals:
- More exercise.  Love the vague-ness?  Basically, anything would be more than what we do now, so I know I will meet that goal.  We joined a local athletic club yesterday.  It has two pools- one indoor and one outdoor, and it has a place where the kids can hang out while the parents work out.  So, kiddo can join me in her favorite world of the underwater while I swim laps, and then she can shoot hoops or play racquetball with friends while I use the weight room or walk the indoor track.  I really like the fact that there is a pool.  I used to lifeguard and teach swim lessons, so it is a familiar and comfortable environment.  Not so sure about the weight room, but I bet someone will show me how to do stuff.  And, we will most likely ride the tandem to the club because it is only a couple of miles away.  Double points for not needing the car!
- Less TV.  No more getting up in the morning and having breakfast in front of the TV.  No TV until after the club.  And, the time we do spend in front of the TV will most likely be DVDs instead of commercial TV.  The ads are ridiculous these days.

Learning goals:
- Instead of travel to far away museums and historic sites, we will take in local museums and cool things in and around our town.  We will try to get to the coast, the gorge, Mount Hood, the End of the Oregon Trail Museum, and the Space Needle (it's 50 years old this year- like me!)
- I will be studying and learning more about the IB program at my school so I don't have to work so hard during the next school year.  I will also be planning the calendar and making a framework for my lesson plans.
- Kiddo is going to do some memorizing.  She still isn't finished with the states and capitals, and there are some poems I think she should know.
- Both of us will be reading more.  We both have Nooks, and we are working on getting them set up with our public library so we can borrow electronically.  Last night we read the first few chapters of Little Pilgrim's Progress out loud to each other.  We took turns- a few paragraphs for me, a few for her.  It was fun and I hope to find a few more books that would work to read together.

Crafty goals:
- I have two quilts that need finishing.  I want to get the machine-pieced top finished and then start on the hand-pieced top.  I want to have it ready to work on while watching NFL in the fall.
- One digital and one traditional scrapbook are waiting for me to get them finished.
- Kiddo will continue to work on her sketches and paintings.  Maybe she'll sign up for another art class or two.

Spiritual goals:
- In preparation for the transition to middle school, I'm going to have kiddo memorize the Shorter Catechism.
- I'm going to write out the whole book of Proverbs by hand, and work on some memorization as well- just not sure of the specifics yet.

Napping goals:
- Yeah.  Maybe not daily, but every now and then... in the hammock...

Huh.  For someone who hates to write down goals, I sure just wrote a lot.  You might wonder when we will have time for it all...  I'm wondering, too!  I think mornings will be learning and crafty and memorizing while afternoons will be physical.  Once a week we will be tourists in our own town.

I'll probably let you know how it goes...