Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How many emails????

I was struck today by the claim that was made in the disgraced-generals-have-inappropriate-relationships case that there is a strange assertion floating around: that Kelley and Allen had 20000-30000 emails etc going back and forth (and that some of them were inappropriate).

Now, a standard work week in the US (2 weeks holiday, 40 hours per week) runs 2000 hours.  This means that assuming that they have been communicating for a couple or years, say, they are still sending an average of 5 emails per hour.  Now, over short periods I could see someone doing that, but over a sustained period, of months?

Wondering if Allen/Kelley both have verbal diarrhoea...

Yours, having an email load rather smaller,

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Undead Hotel

A short story, by Boo.

The Undead Hotel

Today, my family and I are going on a Halloween vacation.  The hotel is called The Undead Hotel.  I guess it's called that because it's a theme for Halloween.

We've just been told our room number.  The person behind the counter told us that to get to our room, we have to go up some "possessed elevator."  Well, here we go.  My brother is about to press the floor number three button when "don't press that button." my mum say!  "Why?" Skibo asks.  Suddenly, he spots it.  There's a face on the panel.  It's a ghost face!  It starts moving.  We look around the cramped elevator and notice lots of other moving ghost heads.  My brother presses the button really fast and finally we're on the right floor.  We step out of the elevator and into a long hall. I'm starting to get a bad feeling about this place.

We walk down the long hall.  I see millions of wax statues.  I notice George Washington, Henry Hudson and Rosa Parks.  "Anybody hear something behind us?" I ask uncertainly.  We all turn around. "Ahhhhhhhhh!"
we all scream together.  There are wax figures following us.  I remember the man at the counter telling us to beware because there's danger lurking around every corner.  My family and I dash to our room.  We lock the door behind us.  I can hear the wax figures pounding at the door.  I can hear my heart beating as loudly as the wax hands at the door.  We all turn around to catch our breath.  Uh oh, the wax figures aren't our only problem now.

"Any body else getting the creeps?" I ask.  "Wow." James exclaims.  We can't hear the wax figures anymore, so we walk away from the door.   The room is so quiet, it's horrifying.  The room is full of zombie figures.  I see some in chairs and there's two on a bunk bed.  It looks like a zombie family.  I  see two zombies that look like kids, two that look grown up and, oh look, a zombie dog!  I thought that they didn't allow animals in hotels, but I guess they make an exception for zombies.  "This is so cool!" announces my brother.  "Shhh, don't talk so loud." I whisper to him.  Uh oh, it's too late.  The zombies in the bed began to sit up.  They got out of bed and headed our way.  The ones in the chairs followed them.  The dog started to bark.  "Brains, brains!" the zombies started shouting.  They were about to attack us when we ran right through the middle of their group.  "Look, a door!" I shout.  We run straight through the open door into a dark, smelly place.

We stumble around the dark place for a while, trying to find our way around.  "Ow!" I shout as I stumble over something on the floor.  I fall flat on my face!  Luckily, I fall on something soft and furry. "Grrrrrrrrr! I feel a slow rumbling underneath me.  Then, the object I am laying on, stands up!  I hear a growl coming from the object!  Finally my dad lights a match, and puts it in the lantern he found.  The whole room escapes with light.   I look around.  There's a fifteen foot bear standing on its hind legs in front of me!  Two tiny cubs stand beside it.  "Don't make a sound, and don't move!" Mama whispers.  The bears charge towards us. We make a run for it.  There's an opening at the end of the cave.  We run out right before the bears catch us.

Finally, we're out!  I never thought that I'd see the light again!  We're surrounded by millions of trees.  Wait, what's that lurking in the shadows?  Suddenly, something jumps at me from behind.  I duck down just in time!  Vampires appear from the shadows.  They slowly come closer and closer.  When they were just inches away from us, they took one whiff of us, paused, and flew away into the night.  I was puzzled by why they flew away, when, it hit me.  I remembered reading that vampires were allergic to garlic, and we had garlic bread for dinner, so we still smelled of garlic.  We have made it out of the woods, and are standing at the edge of a maze-like place.   I wonder what horrors await us inside.

We enter the maze.  I touch the hedge.  "Ouch!" I exclaim in pain.  Electricity shocks my whole body.  I fall to the ground in pain.  "Are you ok?" Dad asks with a worried look in his eyes.  "Yeah, I'm fine, just a little dazed." I answer in a small voice.  I stumble to my feet.  "Now let's get out of here!"  I announce.  I stumble around, still feeling dazed.  We walk around the maze for a while, feeling lost.  We come to a a few dead ends a couple of times.  I hear a groan coming from around the corner, I look up, up, up, and there stands Frankenstein!  "Grohhhhh!"  He groans again.  He walks toward us.  The ground shakes as he walks.  Thud, thud, thud, goes his shoes on the ground.  Now, this may seem asbsurd, but Skibo and I got these little water pistols for Christmas, and now we carry them everywhere.  So, we take out our water pistols and start shooting Frankenstein.  We short circuited him and as he fell to the floor, we ran around him and out of the maze.

Now we're standing at the top of a tube.  I think that it's a slide.  It curves and twirls around and around.  "Looks like this is the way out." James announces.  We each hop into the slide.  It twists, twirls and curves.  It takes us over small bumps.  Finally, at the end of the slide, we land in a small pit of sand.  "Yes.  We're outand I'm alive!" I shout, happy to see daylight again!  After everyone's out of the slide, we journey home, exhausted from our long adventure!

And now, a word from Boo's sponsor.  I'm thrilled by this!  It is so far beyond anything I was asked to do at the age of 10!
Yours, publishing her story, copyright Boo, 2012,

I've been remiss in posting...

But tonight I have an incentive to post!  Boo had a writing assignment, due tomorrow, and sat down with me as she finished it.  She's to write a short story, a scary story: and I'm stunned by the job she's done.  I don't think I was expected to work at this sort of level until I was 12 or 13, not just turned 10!

Yours, thrilled,

Friday, November 9, 2012

Happy Birthday, Boo!

Double digits!!!
Yours, parentally proud,

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Lawrence O'Donnell, on MSNBC this evening, talking up President Obama for re-election, spent many minutes discussing whether he could use the word the President had been reported as using to describe Mitt Romney: Obama used the word "bullshitter", which in the context of the lies and misrepresentations that the former Governor of Massachusetts has used seems rather tame.
But apparently the MSNBC lawyers are unwilling to let L O'D use that word on the air.
Such bullshit!

Yours, wishing that the US would lighten up a little (actually, a lot) where swearing on TV was concerned,

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I love cycling.  I don't do it often enough, and I'm not particularly good at it.  I do it for fun, for exercise, not to race or compete.
But I have to say that I am sorry that international body in charge of cycling has taken all of Lance Armstrong's record from him.  I understand their view that he was cheating by taking steroids or other chemicals: it appears that it's undetectable still, so we don't know who else took it....

But my feeling is this: he brought such hope to cancer survivors: he was so inspiring to those who need hope: he took a "you're dying" diagnosis, and came back to show incredible resolve: I'd rather we never knew about the drugs.  I'd rather we still were all screaming his name, taking inspiration from his feat.
What he did was incredible, cheat or not.  Without the wins, we'd merely celebrate him as a mildly inspiring individual who went back to bike races.... and the inspiration would be nice, but mild.  With the wins, he had the potential to really inspire.  Now that those wins are gone, he's back to human.

Yours, missing when he could be considered stronger than any human I knew,

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Nice conference

Spent a couple of days away at a conference: I was the first plenary speaker, and naturally I stayed around for the rest of the meeting.  I really enjoyed lots of talks --- mainly by undergraduates about research they had done, and felt good about encouraging them, and pointing them to new potential directions to examine.
I've received some wonderful mentoring in the past, from several directions, and it always makes me happy to be able to pay back some of this by passing the advice on forward.

Yours, suddenly realizing that I'm a "senior" mathematician, not a "junior" one any more.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Getting stuff together

Spending a few minutes printing out an agenda, directions, hotel reservations, etc, in preparation for a trip tomorrow.  Off to give a conference talk:-)

Yours, sure to forget something,

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A more enjoyable debate last night

As a committed leftie, last night's Presidential Debate was rather more fun to watch than the previous bout between these two: as much fun as the VP version last week.

Yours, hoping this helps the polls swing Obama's way a bit,

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


I miss a day of posting, and suddenly it's nearly a month that's gone by.  Oh well.  I won't pretend and catch up: let's just see if I can restart.

Yours, jolted,

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Great grades!

Boo and Skibo brought home report cards this week: straight A's for both of them!  Skibo 100% down the line, while Boo had 97, 98, 99, 100 and 100.

Yours, pleased as punch with how they are doing,

Way to go, Skibo!

Skibo tested for his second yellow stripe on his white belt this morning!  He did really well --- and the senior black belt invigilating the testing told us that apart from improving his balance a little bit (which is normal), she didn't have a lot of things to write down about how he was doing.
Boo will get to test on Wednesday, assuming that she's feeling up to it: this morning her throat was really sore, and she really didn't want to do it -- we weren't about to force it on her.

Yours, proud of Skibo, and hoping Boo's better soon,

Friday, September 21, 2012

Poor Boo

Unfortunately Boo has come down with a sore throat, and had to come home from school early.  Hope that this doesn't mess up the martial arts testing in the morning!

Yours, hoping my little girl gets better really soon,

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Magic, the gathering

Just finished with my undergraduate group: we meet every week to discuss magic tricks, and to talk about the mathematics behind some of them: they are going to be working to generate some lesson plans and other ways to incorporate them into math classes in the school system.  A nice bunch of students, and I love the fact that they are excited by this project!

Yours, letting them pick a card, any card, and forcing the outcome,

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Damned elections

Every four years at this time (and to a lesser extent every two years) I end up spending way too much time reading online posts, blogs, news, about the elections.
This year, it seems, Romney is generating even more buzz than ever, and almost none of it good.  Of course, given that my political leanings are rather further to the left than his (even when he was in Massachusetts as a relatively centrist Republican) I'm quite happy for him to continue to gaffe.

Yours, enjoying some of the commentary

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Proud of Boo and Skibo

This morning we met with Boo's teacher, so that she could discuss with us her progress, and in particular, her scores on the standardized tests they've been taking.
I'm not a believer in the standardized tests: I don't think that they test the right things, or that they are valid metric of achievement.  That said, I'm still tremendously proud of Boo's scores, which are not just higher than they need to be now, not just higher than they need to be to demonstrate a mastery of the material at the end of the year, but higher than they need to be for "exemplary" at the end of the year.

We haven't yet met with Skibo's teacher, but he told us what scores he was making, and we're expecting a similar report for him.

Yours, happy they are doing so well,

Monday, September 17, 2012

I am the 47%

So Mitt Romney thinks that the 47% who support Obama and oppose Romney are moochers?  Wow!  That's surely going to help persuade me to change my mind and vote for Romney!

Yours, amazed....

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A nice dinner with friends

Last night we spent a lovely evening with our friends who own the bookstore in town: their daughter was visiting, and it was a lovely, gentle, time.  Great food, great company:-)

Tonight it was the kids turn: their friends are finally back down from New England: three weeks or more late for school but they made it, finally.  We had them over for dinner to welcome them home, and they immediately slipped right back into the routines that great friends have.

Yours, so happy for the easy adjustment,

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A funeral

A fairly big funeral, at that, for our friend Jim from across the street: Uncle Jim as he was to Boo and Skibo.  Especially to Boo.  She accompanied LOML and me to the ceremony, held outside in the graveyard at the old church down the street, the one only opened occasionally, it's so old and small.
A lovely, simple, moving service.  Short, and, of course, sad.

Yours, in memoriam,

A wake

Tonight the sprogs were at their martial arts dojo for a "parents' night out": a fundraiser, where we pay $20 per child, and we get to go off and enjoy the evening.
As we were on our way to go out, we realized that tonight was the wake for our friend Jim from across the street: so we walked down to the square to the pub, and hugged, and reminisced, and generally celebrated our friend, now gone.  Tomorrow, we'll go and be somber at the memorial service.

Yours, celebrating a life, and sorry for a death,

Thursday, September 13, 2012


I'm working with a handful of undergraduates this semester, getting them to think about how to incorporate magic tricks into math classes, and I'm just delighted by the joy in their eyes when I show them a trick, and even more delighted that they show even more joy when I show them how to figure out how it's done!
I'm hoping that they are going to be able to spread that joy to children in school!

Yours, thrilled,

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Productive meeting

Tuesday afternoon I met with the principal of the school, and more importantly, with the new sixth grade science teacher.  She is full of ideas for projects for students, including a lego competition (this is a precursor to the high school robotics competition), the science olympiad, and is very open to other ideas too.  The meeting felt very productive, which was good (especially because there is a grant which we may need to apply for which is due by the end of the month!)

Yours, somewhat more encouraged,

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Poor Boo

Poor Boo: for the second time this term (and we're only a few weeks in) she is sick.  She went to bed complaining that she felt like throwing up, and was still feeling bad this morning.  Since I don't teach on Tuesdays, I stayed home with her: Skibo was very upset: "She hasn't thrown up!!!" he protested.
And five minutes after I got back from cycling him to school, he was proved wrong.  A couple of hours of misery, but now it looks as though she's feeling better.
Yours, hoping it's just a 24 bug again,

Monday, September 10, 2012


Unfortunately, one of the outcomes of yesterdays trip to the fair was that, going down a very large slide, I managed to inflict friction burns on the insides of both arms, just below the elbow.  So today, I have two large red welts, slowly turning to scabs.  Painful!

Yours, sporting slide injuries,

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Today we had planned to go walk in the gardens, and later, to go to the zoo.  But Skibo insisted that he didn't want to go to the zoo, so he and I stayed home, while LOML took Boo to the zoo.
So I thought.  Skibo and I, after a discussion about how he wasn't going to watch tv, play on the computer, touch the ipad, handle the kindle, or go anywhere near the wii or the 3ds, decided that going for a bike ride would be a wonderful thing: the temperature today was lovely, the humidity was low, and so off we set.
There was one hill in particular which had had Skibo beaten for the past two years --- so I suggested, knowing how much stronger he is now, that we try that first: and sure enough, he rode up it with ease!  We continued to ride for 15 or 20 minutes, and headed home.
Reaching home, we discovered that LOML and Boo had been sidetracked: they hadn't gone to the zoo at all: they'd seen a fair, and had stopped, and stayed.   Skibo and I got on the road and joined them a little later.
Lots of fun was had by all!    Our friend Sh had gone with LOML and Boo, so there were three adults and two children --- and Sh was willing to go on some of the rides that LOML and I were hesitant to go on.
All in all, it was a lovely, lovely day, one that I'm tremendously pleased we've let the children experience!

Of course, the next time we pass a fair, we'll *have* to stop......
Yours, still shaken, but happy,

Saturday, September 8, 2012

A visit to the library

The four of us went to the library this morning (LOML had a meeting there) and for a little while there was a lovely interlude with Boo, Skibo and me sitting on a sofa, the three of us reading silently.

Yours, tranquilly,

Friday, September 7, 2012

Skibo, reading for pleasure!

Boo has long been reading for pleasure, but Skibo, while extremely proficient at reading, would resist doing so very strongly.  Ten days ago we discussed this with his teacher (she's taught him for over two years now) and she insisted that we needn't worry, and shouldn't push him too hard to read if he didn't want to do so.
But then, just a few days later, what happened?  Skibo suddenly started reading!  Without being prompted to do so.  For pleasure!

Yours, thrilled!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

And more sad news

Our neighbour, Jim, across the street, lost his battle with an inoperable tumour yesterday. That marks the fourth death in our community of about 3000 people in the past week.  Four of which I'm aware: there may have been others.
Not a good week.

Yours, raising a glass to departed friends,

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Yesterday, late in the day, I came down with chills and aches.  Felt miserable.  Even went to bed before 8:30.  Today, I'm feeling much more human.

Yours, blindsided by the misery, but happy it seems to have lasted just a few hours,

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tai Chi

Back thrumptysevix years ago, when I was in gradual school, I spent seven or eight months taking tai chi classes: I really enjoyed them, and had I not graduated, I'd probably have continued until I knew the entire 108 move form.  Fast forward until about 97 or 98, when LOML and I took classes for a few months at a local fitness center: I didn't enjoy it as much as I did back when: too much focus on the chi aspect, and too little on how to move.
Today, I tried again.  Boo and Skibo's martial arts teacher also teaches tai chi, and I went along to a class this morning.  Lots of fun: a completely different experience, though, as he begins with the 24 move form, so all of my old muscle memories were in the wrong order.  Still, we worked through the first six moves, and I sort-of kind-of got them.  I think that I need to work to make sure I don't overwork my knees, but hopefully I can manage it.

I'm giving it a month at least!

Yours, moving,

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor day

This year, it seems particularly appropriate to celebrate Labor Day: for the past couple of years, the labor movement in this country has been demonized by the right: in Wisconsin, teachers who gave up pay raises for pensions and other benefits are now being portrayed as greedy bloodsucking leeches, and are being stripped of those other benefits.  They are having their unionizing rights stripped from them too.
And with it's "we did build this" meme, the right is suggesting that anything great done by a business was done by the head of the company.  Obama is right on this: anything great was done with the help of infrastructure: roads, internet, post office, utilities, and every one of those did what they did with the help of their workforce.
But over the past two years, things have been paradise in corporate america: record profits, ridiculously low taxes.  All the while, working stiffs have seen jobs cut, pay curtailed, rights stripped, and workers demonized.
So I say, enough!  Here's to the great mass of workers!  

Yours, in unity,

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The annual labor day post

Every year, around now, I decide to post about Labor Day.  How here in the US it often means a day to labour.  Especially where I work.

Oh well, a few more hours, and I'll be

Yours, hiho, hiho, it's off to work I go,

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A new month

And a beautiful full moon yesterday, the second of the month, of course.  Blue moons are nothing like as rare as people think: this occurs every two or three years on average.  Heuristically, for any given month, the first full moon is equally likely to be on any one of the first 29 or 30 days, so we'd expect blue moons about every 30 months.  It's complicated slightly by the shorter and longer lengths of various months, but it's pretty easy to compute.
An older definition of a blue moon,apparently, was the fourth full moon in a season.  Watch for the next time this happens with the full moon on September 19th 2013!

Yours, rarely,

Friday, August 31, 2012

Sad to lose a friend in town

One of our friends died two nights ago: she was getting on, and had been in very ill -- and declining -- health for a while, but it is sad to see her go.

Yours, saddened,

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Clint Eastwood, Republican Hero

7 children, 5 wives.  He could have been a Mormon.

Yours, conventionally incredulous to the very end,

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Meeting with teachers, and hearing from the principal

This morning the principal called, with some interesting ideas put forth by his new sixth grade science teacher:  participating in some national science events, and he wanted my take on it.  It felt like he was actually asking from my input, and was a much more pleasant interaction than previous ones.
Then this evening we went out to dinner with Skibo's teacher, and her husband, the fifth grade teacher and Skibo's wrestling coach: a really really pleasant evening, lots of interesting conversations about the school, kids, curriculum, and life in general!

Yours, calming down,

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Meeting with the superintendent

We met with the superintendent today: trying not to be confrontational, but wanting to let her know how we feel about the situation with the school at the moment.  She was reassuring on many issues, and promised to get the principal to slow things down and consult more.  She's clearly a pol, though, and it did feel a little bit like we were being played.
Oh well, we'll stay alert and aware, and assess things as and when they change.  For now, it looks like the garden is going well, at least, and the hang-tag issue may be addressed.

Yours, squeaking like a wheel,

Monday, August 27, 2012

The garden

On Saturday morning a couple of dozen of us: parents, teachers, students, alumni of the school, gathered in the garden, weeding, pulling up beds, mulching, planting, and the garden, which admittedly was a little overgrown, is now looking in much better shape.  Some of us stayed for a couple of hours, others were there from 8am until late in the afternoon.
To everyone who came out, we want to say a huge Thank You!!!

Yours, in gratitude for all the hard work at short notice,

Sunday, August 26, 2012

And in mathematics, a loss as huge

Here's hoping that Bill Thurston gains access to the book.

Yours, doubly sad,

One big death for a man

One giant loss for mankind.

Haunt the stars, Neil Armstrong.

Yours, sadly,

Saturday, August 25, 2012


LOML met with the principal yesterday, and he seems to be backing down on the garden: so this morning we're heading over to the school for a work day.  Lots of weeding in our future.  At least on this issue he's showing signs of being reasonable.  I'm still very concerned about him, but at least the immediate "we've got to get the kids to another school" feeling has been diminished.
Yours, still concerned about the principal of the thing,

Friday, August 24, 2012

Poor Boo

And tired me.  Boo got up at 3am and came into our room, ready to vomit.  Since LOML doesn't respond well in this circumstance (that is, immediately needs to vomit in sympathy), I was up for the rest of the night, trying my best to comfort my little girl as she threw up every seven or eight minutes.  I'm not entirely sure how well I will get through the rest of the day, though.  At least Boo seemed to have stopped throwing up by the time I left for work.

Yours, exhausted,

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A letter, in progress

I'm so angry right now that I need to compose this letter in public before I send it.  Or in semi-private, except for those of you who know me.

Dear Superintendent of our school district,
I am writing to you to let you know what you have wrought on our Elementary School with your choice of principal.  In three days of school you have taken us from being super-engaged parents, willing to come into the classroom and teach origami, to shelve library books, to build a garden and help teachers build hands-on science lessons, to organize amazing science events, and to try to help the school, the teachers and the students in every possible way --- you've taken us from that --- to being disgusted with the decisions being made by the principal, and with the manner in which the decisions are being made, discussed and carried out.

It began with the first day that the principal was in the school, before he even took over.  He decided that he would eliminate casual Friday dress for the teachers --- on the grounds that one day they might have to stand in front of a TV camera for some reason.  At the time I thought that he was just a poppycock-peacock, that his cufflinks for show were way too much, that he was attempting to win a battle where whether he won or lost the battle he'd lose the teachers' hearts.  And my heart felt sad.
That same day, he he announced the end of the "Words of Wisdom" moment before school starts: apparently those three minutes a day can be better used.  I wasn't too bothered by that, but Boo was intensely upset.  She even wrote an email to him about it expressing her dismay.  I'm in agreement with Boo on this issue, since she's upset --- it would be easy to find another three minutes in the day by cutting the end-of-day recess by three minutes.  As much as the words of wisdom were pablum, they were good thoughts, and the children liked them.

Third, in an effort to supposedly make the school safer, the new principal decided that when picking up children, parents had to have a hang-tag with their kids names on.  A bright yellow hang-tag, made of cheap cardboard.  With some extra words on.  This will, apparently, keep unauthorized individuals from picking children up.  But it would be a trivial manner to scan the card, print off a few copies, write some kids names on, and play the pied piper of Hamelin.  And when we cycle to school to pick up the kids, we have to take a near-letter-sized sheet of card with us to show who we are.
Now, if I were to write some other child's name on a sheet of card, and take it with me, I'd fail, because the teachers and staff outside would recognize that I wasn't the child's parent.  But here's the thing: this has nothing  to do with the card, and everything to do with the incredibly competent teachers.  They would be the ones stopping it, and I sing their praises to the ceiling.  They basically know every child and every parent, and put them all together.  There may be some need for more security -- I don't feel that it's a big issue in a small school, but I can see an administrator feeling a need for it --- but this is not a solution, this is begging for a lawsuit, it's so misguided.

And then, today, after all the hard work LOML and others have put into the garden at the school, we receive word it's to be pulled up.  No thought to the uses it's been put to: to students going out to plant, to watch seeds grow into shoots, then plants, then fruit: no thought to the study of insects: butterflies, ants, etc: no thought to the kids who run through the gardens at recess smelling the flowers: no, the principal would rather it be grass.  Actually, I suspect he'd rather it be concrete.  As of Monday the raised beds are to go, and then we have a two week moratorium to make a case for the non-raised portions of the garden.

Rarely have I had such little respect for an individual in education.  One person comes to mind, my history teacher from high school., who, 32 years ago, ruined my brother's educational prospects.  I can't think of another educator I can detest as much.  And the school term is only 3 days old.  We're contemplating switching schools.  I hate that, but I can see our beloved school circling the drain so quickly, it's ridiculous.

Yours, having to try extremely hard to keep the expletives deleted,

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

First class, done

And I'm off to the next in a few minutes.

Yours, second class,

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Cycling to school again

The children are back in school again, and the weather being beautiful, we decided to cycle.  It's wonderful to see how much better cyclists they are now than a year ago: much stronger and faster!  And there was very little complaining too:-)

Yours, spinning my wheels,

Monday, August 20, 2012

Snake Charmers

Yours, charmed too,

Still searching

Every year I try to get that perfect shot of a pelican.  This is not it.  That said, I do like this picture.

Yours, not that gullible,

Another semester begins

A couple of days before I teach, but today marks the start of another semester: finalizing syllabi, preparing for early mornings, and generally getting ready for the term to begin.

Yours, in anticipation,

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Won't you come into my parlour

Said the spider to the (dragon) fly

Seen at the nature interpretive center near the beach.

Yours, impressed,

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Back home

It's been a wonderful week, but it's now over.  A longish drive home, shorter in reality than we expected, made longer by Skibo being in a mood to squabble, and we are back at the house, unpacked, and ready-ish to face the first week of school.

Yours, having enjoyed the week behind, and looking forward to the week ahead,

Friday, August 17, 2012

Last day blues

It's always a little sad when we get to the last day of the beach.  Everyone realizes that we only have a few hours left before we have to pack up the van and head home.
Still, it has been a lovely week, great to reconnect, and reconnect so well with old friends whom we had not seen in so long --- and wonderful to see how the three children immediately fit together again.  We've continued some traditions, and, I hope, started some new ones.  I really hope that the kids will look back in the future and remember how lovely it was to go to the beach each year....

Yours, building the memories, one at a time,

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Runs in the family

This morning, we took a side trip, to a local nature interpretive center: we've driven past it many many times over the past few years, and finally decided we wanted to check it out.  It was a delightful place, very well run, and with a fantastic interpreter at the information desk: we spent a good half an hour or more chatting with him about their exhibits and the property.
Boo showed just how much she takes after LOML, showing Skibo several of the exhibits, and demonstrating just how wonderful an historical interpreter she is, at one point getting Skibo to lie down in a small space to demonstrate how cramped slave quarters were.
And then at lunch, we tried a lovely little diner a couple of miles down the road, where they covered the tables with butchers' paper: Skibo took out the crayons they provided, and immediately started writing down division and multiplication problems.  Like Breadbox, like son!

Yours, thrilled in each case,

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What's that, you say?

Pictures, or it didn't happen????

Yours, presenting proof positive,

Low country boil

Being that we are here, and that there is seafood around, even if we didn't catch any shrimp yesterday, we did a low country boil today.
The recipe is ridiculously easy, and flexible.  What I did is the following:
Boil three quarts of water, or so.
Throw in several tablespoons of old bay, and a crab boil bag.
Throw in 20 or so small red potatoes.
Cut up a couple of kielbasas or smoked sausages and add them to the boil.
Pour in a couple of bottles of beer.
Simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Throw in several ears of corn broken into halves.
Simmer for 5 minutes, turn off the heat, add a couple of pounds of shrimp, and let them cook in the heat until pink.  Strain into a big serving bowl, and serve with crusty bread.


Yours, traditionally,

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A three hour trip

With the theme from Gilligan's island stuck in my head, we set off at 5:45 this morning to go shrimping and fishing.  A gorgeous morning awaited us, complete with a double sunrise, peaking first through a low band of clouds, and subsequently rising above the band.  
The shrimping here has been off for the past few days, apparently --- and today was no different.  We caught essentially nothing.  To be precise, we caught a shrimp.  And a 90 count shrimp at that!  
So, we moved on from the shrimp grounds to fishing, all of us dropping lines over the side of the boat, mostly  thrilled by catching whiting.  There were some more moments of excitement though: Boo's first catch was a sand shark (which distressed her a little), as was her second.  She finally caught a couple of fish too, though.
Skibo was disappointed not to catch any sharks, but thrilled with catching fish.
For me, the highlight was when the rod bent much further than before: clearly something bigger was on the line.  The boat captain took the rod from me, and passed it out along the side of the boat, and told me to stand on the wooden platform at the stern: I lowered the rod, reeling in as I did, then lifted the rod, lowered and reeled, lifted, over and over, until finally I had pulled up a very large ray.  Very large for me, at least: probably two, perhaps three feet across.  I didn't land it in the boat: the captain unhooked it and released it.

Yours, with my very own fishy story to tell,

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Boo quote

Boo, today, coming in at about noon, scraped up, stung by jellyfish a couple of times:
"Ow, ow!  I think I got stung right here!  This is one of the best days of my life!"

(She'd been boogie-boarding and body surfing all morning)

Yours, thrilled,

Sunday, August 12, 2012

While watching the closing ceremonies

Boo, watching the Spice Girls, said "Seriously?  David Beckham is married to one of those?  He could have made a way better choice!"

Yours, in full agreement,

Saturday afternoon drop-in

Following the driving experience, the kids decided they wanted to do the "big drop". one of those amusement park rides where you are strapped to a chair on a big piece of equipment which lifts up fifty feet or so, then drops precipitously, and repeats many times.
Squeals of joy and laughter rang through the air, and when it was over, there were multiple requests to do it again, and so this time we all went on.  Once I'd decided to suppress my fear of heights, it was actually really fun: a great rush of adrenaline as my stomach went out from under me each time!

Yours, thrilled,

Driven to succeed

On the way to the beach this morning, we stopped at a mini-golf plus place: halfway through the round of mini-golf we managed to spy our friends playing the parallel course: after several minutes of frantically waving and shouting their names they finally spotted us back.  Nice to be able to converge en route, rather than meeting at the beach.
Following the golf, we took the kids to the go-kart track, and Boo and Skibo had their first experience behind the wheel.  Both were rather nervous to begin with, but after a lap they both got into the swing of things: Boo's face turned to nothing but smile, while Skibo had a look of intense concentration.

Yours, anticipating relinquishing the wheel in few years,

Beach life

Sun rising over the waves: a beautiful sight!

Yours, beach inspired,

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Happy Birthday, Skibo!

Skibo turns eight today!!!  Happy Birthday!!!

Yours,wondering where the decade has gone....

Friday, August 10, 2012

Preparing for the trip

Preparing to leave early for the beach: looking forward to catching up with old friends, hanging out in low-key places, eating well, and laughing loudly.

Yours, looking forward to returning refreshed, relaxed, and rested,

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Yellow Stripes

Boo and Skibo went to their martial arts class this afternoon --- much to Boo's dismay, and against her adamant protests: and much to their and my surprise, it was a wonderful thing that they did!
While LOML and Skibo and Boo were in Michigan, their entire class had a testing session, allowing them to move up one step in the belt/stripe hierarchy: we knew they were going to miss the testing session, but the trip was important.  Then we realized that the next testing session is the day we are travelling back from the beach, meaning we'd have to wait until September for any chance for them to move up.
But today, their teacher surprised us at the end of the class by announcing that there were a couple of students who had missed the testing session: he called Boo and Skibo up by name to break a board (a ceremonial part of the testing), then conferred stripes on them, congratulated them, and shook their hands.
We're very proud of them!

Yours, thrilled,

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Flea markets

In England, they have car boot sales.  Here in the southeastern US, they have "flea markets", and occasionally other, stranger terms -- names like "jockey lot".  Flea market at least makes some sense.

Anyway, today I visited a local flea market, and I was absolutely astounded by the magnitude of the thing: there were dozens of aisles of tables, each aisle having several hundred tables.  I'm guessing perhaps a couple of thousand tables, with one table selling vegetables, the next bottles of painkillers, next to a table with old video tapes of 80's movies. There were lots of interesting tables selling strange combinations of things: and then, after walking around 80% of the tables, we happened upon the distressing table.  Very disconcerting.  A table draped with a swastika (four feet square, or so, I'd guess.  Next to it on the table, a portrait photograph, apparently signed, of Hitler.

Yours, very distressed,

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Swimming, and martial arts, and cooking, oh my!

Today felt nicely busy: the kids went swimming in the morning, with the unexpected pleasure of a thorough downpour during their swimming team practice: we then took them to school to register them (seriously, I'm expected to remember the address and phone number of their doctor?), and a couple of hours later it was off to martial arts.
At the same time, I'm getting requests for extra calls on my time for the semester, and am feeling very reticent about accepting them.  I know  that I am inclined to accept them, and that they'll be fun, but I am already so very well committed already....

Yours, wanting to learn how to say "no",

Monday, August 6, 2012

I've finished a book!

Not writing, unfortunately, but reading.  As I have probably whined about before, I've found it very hard to read books for pleasure for the past five or more years.  My friend F, however, sent me a copy of American Terroir, by Rowan Jacobsen, and though it took me a few weeks (and two copies!) I've finally finished it.
A wonderful lyrical, soaring book about food.  I recommend it very highly.

Yours, well read, at least temporarily,

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Many many happy returns of the day, Dad!

Yours, from a grateful child,

Staying up late

There are a few occasions when it is worth staying up late.  I remember moon landings, launches, and other NASA highlights from when I was young.
These days, NASA is rather more hobbled it seems, at least for the near future, except when it comes to Mars landings.  I'm going to try to stay up another 90 minutes for the landing of Curiousity.  Technologically speaking, it should be amazing -- I'm hoping that given the way they plan to make it land they will have video of it from above.  And given everything that could go wrong, I'm crossing fingers and toes and eyes and legs.  Even though I know that doesn't make any difference!

Yours, on tenterhooks,

Sunday, August 5, 2012

In the mood for

I'm in the mood for Fettuccine Alfredo this evening, garlicky, with shrimp, and lots of salt and pepper.  Not the healthiest of options, but I'm giving in to temptation.....

Yours, looking forward to it,

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Origami conference

I've just attended my first origami conference.  Unfortunately, not in person --- Origami Heaven, a two-day conference in Long Island is streaming some of their conference live: there are still some bugs with the technology: especially crackly audio and jumpy video, but it's amazing how easy it is to do something like this now!

Yours, virtually participating,

Friday, August 3, 2012

Happy Birthday LOML

Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday dear LOML,
Happy birthday to you!

Yours, as always,

Thursday, August 2, 2012


A long five weeks is coming to an end: we're spending the day getting students to present solutions to final exam problems on the board.  By and large they've done a good job, but I think that by the time 3pm rolls round we're all going to be exhausted!

Yours, in picky mode,

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


I've been watching The Big Bang Theory for the past few months (I first watched some episodes on trans-oceanic flights last fall), and Boo has clearly taken note of this.  In fact, when she decided she had to bring me a gift back from Michigan, she insisted that it be a t-shirt. A bright red t-shirt.  A bright red t-shirt with Sheldon's face on it.  A bright red t-shirt with Sheldon's face on it, and underneath his face, the word BAZINGA!

Yes, I'm wearing it today.

Yours, making people smile,

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

All home, safe and sound

LOML and the kids got back late last night, after a 16 hour or so trek.

Yours, happy to have them back, safe and sound,

Monday, July 30, 2012

Salmon in parchment

I made salmon in parchment last night: first time in quite a while that I've cooked it that way, and I was reminded of how delicious it can be.  First we cut folded sheets of parchment to obtain heart-shaped paper:  I julienned some red pepper and zucchini, and placed them together with some slender asparagus spears on one side of the heart: I spooned a little ginger, garlic, soy sauce and sesame oil dressing over the vegetables, placed fillets of salmon atop the vegetables, and lemon slices on the fish.  Next I folded over the heart, and starting at the top, twisted the cut edges of the paper to seal.
The fish took about 10 minutes to cook (and actually, at least one piece could have used a little longer:  but I ended up eating that piece and enjoying it!)

Yours, sealed with a twist,

Sunday, July 29, 2012


It seems to be difficult to find rowing coverage on TV here in the US.   Even when they claim it is going to be on, it seems they'll cover something more sport-like, such as beach volleyball.  Grrrrr.....

Yours, pining for the fact that the rowing is taking place a dozen miles from where I grew up,

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Gone fishin'

Not me, bears. Here! Just go, go watch, and enjoy!

Yours, bearly able to contain my joy at this!

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Olympics Begin!

I've enjoyed watching some of the Olympic soccer matches over the past two days, though I will admit to being a little bit flummoxed about why the Olympic Games have started prior to the Opening Ceremonies.

I'm looking forward to watching said ceremonies this evening on a friend's big screen, high definition television.  Even if they are not showing them live over here....

Yours, hoping I haven't done anything illegal by using the word Olympic,

Thursday, July 26, 2012


A day to eat leftovers for dinner: some flank steak which had been left after fajitas: mushrooms, red pepper and part of an onion left (unchopped, uncooked) from a couple of nights ago.  Sauteed the veggies (okay, root, fruit and fungus), put a tortilla in a hot pan, sprinkled cheese over it, the meat and veggies, more cheese, another tortilla, flipped it, until golden on both sides.
A good sprinkle of cumin in the vegetables, plus a few hot peppers, and it was delicious!

Yours, glad to have finished a little leftover goodness,


What a lovely suprise!  While sitting in class, as my colleague gave today's lecture, I received an email notification that I had a new voice mail message on my work phone.  I accessed the message from my cell phone, to discover that Boo had decided that she wanted to leave me a message telling me that she loves me, that Skibo is still in bed, and that they were having muffins for breakfast.

Yours, smiling very broadly,

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Thoughts for dinner

It's bad enough when the family is here, and we get to play "who can be the first to ask the others what they want for dinner.  While they are away, I have to ask myself!

Yours, wondering what's for dinner.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Boo and Skibo on vacation

What a look of joy!
It appears that Boo and Skibo are enjoying their vacation!

Yours, loving the joy on their faces,

Seek and ye shall find

I have been reading a wonderful book: American Terroir, by Rowan Jacobsen: all about the impact place can have on flavour, and how important local food producers are.  And then last week, I put the book down somewhere, and despite having searched extensively through the house over the past few days, I have been unable to find it.
I want to finish the book!  So today, I made sure that I will find my copy as soon as I get home!

Yours, having ordered a new copy,

Monday, July 23, 2012

A long morning!

My current schedule, for the five weeks of the course I'm co-teaching, usually goes like this: 
begin at 8-ish: lecture (or listen to my colleague lecture) until about 10: 
have the students present homework problems at the board until 11:25 or so:
return at 1-ish, and have the students present problems until about 3.

Somehow this morning I had too much material prepared for that to happen.  I lectured all the way until 11:25.... and could still have gone on longer....


Yours, wiped!

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Memo to self: when helping LOML plan a trip, remember to charge the battery camera.  Check.

Memo to LOML: when planning a trip, remember to take camera.  Check.

Memo to both: when planning a trip, remember to put battery back into camera.

Yours, faceplanting,

Summer swelter

Since I'm by myself I thought I would take a bike ride this morning.  Unfortunately I was lazy, and waited until after 10am before I got going.  It was already hot, at 85 degrees Fahrenheit, and humid, with a "feels-like" temperature in the 90's.  Needless to say, I didn't get far before I had had enough: perhaps 15 minutes.
Still it was my first time riding since hurting my knee weeks ago, and it felt good to be riding again.

Yours, back in the saddle again

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Pizza day

The last day before LOML takes the children up north for a week: asked what they would like for dinner, Boo and Skibo both plumped for pizza.  And when asked whether they meant takeout pizza or homemade, they both jumped on the right answer.

Yours, glad my children appreciate my cooking!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Tragedy, twice

Two tragedies, twice over.  Columbine and Aurora are mere miles apart, and to experience two of the worst massacres in American history is tragic indeed.  How do you cope with such horror once?  I have no idea.  But to think that there are probably many people who lost friends of friends, loved ones of loved ones in each of the horrendous events?  How can they cope?
And then there is the gut-wrenching, tear-inducing story of the woman who was present at a shooting in Toronto -- yes, even in Toronto the good -- a month or so ago, who survived the horror there.  And today she is a victim.  Her family --- how hard they must have thanked God or providence or luck a month ago --- and how hard this must be for them now.

Yours, reaching out in sympathy, and recoiling in horror from the actions,

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The latest addition to the family

This is Honey: she happened upon us a couple of months ago, another lost dog.

She appears to be blind in one eye, and rather deaf.  We're not sure how old she is, but she's very soft, gentle and sweet natured.

Yours, adoptively,

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Some pictures from a recent walk

These were taken a little while ago in a walk in the botanical gardens.

Yours, texturally,

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Last Night's Daily Show

was brilliant, making fun of the fact that directv customers (like me) can't watch it.  I didn't see it last night, but watched online today.

Yours, self-referentially

Monday, July 16, 2012

Second try

Boo, breadmaker extraordinaire!

Skibo, official taste-tester

Oh, crumbs!
This image evokes the smell of freshly baked bread for me!

It appears that my current version of google chrome and google's current version of blogger are not compatible for loading pictures.  Firefox to the rescue.

Yours, ingeniously,

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Pictures from the bread and butter class

Some pictures from yesterday's workshop.

Or at least, there would be pictures, if blogger would let me upload them.

Yours, frustrated by lack of functional functionality,

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Happy Bastille Day

I think that I will exercise to Les Miserables this evening!

Yours, humming La Marseillaise,

Bringing in the dough

I brought in a little dough this morning.  Not for us, but for the botanical gardens --- in two ways!
I made several batches of dough last night, then this morning taught a class to eight wonderful people: we shaped the dough I had made, then, while it was rising, they made their own dough, to take home and bake tomorrow.  Along the way, LOML also showed them how to make compound butters -- and they got really inventive and imaginative about what they would add to them!

The bread turned out wonderfully, and we're eating the batch that Boo baked for dinner this evening.

Yours, not at all crustily,

Friday, July 13, 2012

Upsetting my little world

I'm a creature of habit.  I get used to the way things are, and don't like it when change is forced upon me, even with little things.  And over the past few days, two little things have been changed which are upsetting.
The first is immediate: Viacom and DirecTV are in a fight at the moment, and as a consequence, I can no longer watch the Daily Show.  A little fixed point in my life got taken away.
The latter is not immediate, but it will be just as annoying when it happens.  Google is going to cease supporting igoogle as of next year, claiming that there are lots of ways to customize chrome to make it do the same sorts of things --- but I've just spent a couple of days looking into how to do that, and can't see any way to make it work.  And as for working in a different browser, such as firefox (or worse, IE),....

Yours, niggled,

Thursday, July 12, 2012

One program winds down

Every summer for years, with the exception of last year, I've run two programs: one teaching undergraduates how to do research, the other preparing students to bridge the gap between being an undergraduate and becoming a graduate student.  Most years the programs overlap by about a week and a half: this year, thanks to a strange schedule, the overlap is a week longer, and it's been that much more intense as a consequence.
Fortunately, the former program is winding down now: it finishes tomorrow, and this evening there are plans to get together as a group for a dinner.  Unfortunately, the choice of restaurant seems to be one 40 minutes away, which would be bad enough: even worse, the weather forecast for late afternoon is for strong summer thunderstorms, and I'm not sure that I want to drive through that. I guess that I'll probably wait to make a decision until nearer the time.....

Yours, in indecision about dinner,

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


I wish that Obama would make a different case.  Don't talk about extending the Bush tax cuts.  The Bush tax cuts should have expired long ago.  Instead, talk about new tax cuts to take effect in January 2013: temper them so that they are more effective: more at the lowest level, a little less at the upper middle levels.  Make them his own tax cuts, not Bush's.  Let Bush's tax cuts expire, and bring on better.
Yes, this would probably cost me a little, but it might help people who need it more a lot.  And it might have a better stimulative effect.

Yours, frustrated by the whole thing,

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Some massive storms this afternoon: LOML and I were off at the Korean martial arts centre, and it had started to rain as we drove over.  But about half-way through the children's practice, the phone rang: friends calling to say that the storm at home was really bad, and that they had lost a tree....
We lost no trees, nor anything else.  And the rain is really welcome.  But violent storms?  How about we keep them down a little?

Yours, asking "Can't we all just get along, violent storms?"

Monday, July 9, 2012


According to blogger, this will be my last numerologically really nice post for a while.  I guess 2345 will be possible in a little while, but this is my 2222nd published post.  And if it were worth reading, it would get me at least into double digits on posts worth reading:-)

Yours, exhibiting blogolalia,

Sunday, July 8, 2012


It looks like I might finish another book this month.  No, not writing, reading.  Ever since Boo and Skibo came to fill our lives, my reading habit has been depressed, diminished and demolished.  From reading several books a week, I went to counting books per year.  In single digits.  Digits on one hand.  Sometimes plural.
My friend F, best friend in college who went to best friend in the world, sent me a book a couple of weeks ago, and it has me enthralled.  All about the interplay of place and taste,  American Terroir is turning out to be an amazing read.  Rowan Jacobsen, the author, examines foods from apples to oysters, honey to chocolate, finding examples of local producers who bring out the best with help from their terrain, soil and climate.  A wonderful read!
Yours, finding great joy between the covers of a book again,

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Martial Arts

Many years ago, when I was in my earlyish double digits (but pre-teens,  I think) I took classes in judo.  I enjoyed it, mostly, and I think that it was a really good thing to have done.
Boo and Skibo are now --- somewhat younger --- learning Korean martial arts.  They seem to be loving it, which is good: their teachers are fantastic: caring, yet willing to push them to make sure they extend their limits.
Today they went to a three hour seminar (meaning a few minutes of talking, then lots and lots of kicking and punching and swinging of wooden swords).  Amazing to watch!

Yours, hoping the kids will stick with this,

Friday, July 6, 2012

What to talk about?

I spent several years blogging every day... and then spent a year blogging perhaps once a month.  But whether I was blogging occasionally or often, there was always a difficult question: what topics should I blog about?  and what should I avoid?   
I'm passionate about politics: should that make it off limits? or a great topic?  Food is always an easy topic, but how do I bring something fresh to the topic?  
I frequently find myself thinking "that would be a great topic for a blog post" while walking, and then forgetting what the idea was when I am next near a computer.  What I need to figure out is how to remember all those great blog ideas a few hours later!

Yours, reflecting,

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Kicking up the couscous a little

Given that I was making north-african style dishes for yesterday, it seemed reasonable to include a couscous.
But couscous can sometimes be a little bit boring, and in the interests of making it more tasty (especially to those attending who are vegetarian, or keep halal, since I don't have access to appropriately prepared meats) I added a couple of little extras: toasted slivered almonds for some crunch, and some dried apricots: chopped into quarters, then simmered in some honey and water until most of the liquid had evaporated.
A delicious adjustment!

Yours, kicking it up,

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July

Happy independence day!

Yours, cooking like crazy,

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Menu for tomorrow

So I've settled, I think, on a menu for tomorrow, at least for what we are making: 
I'm doing hummus and bread, a tomato and cucumber and eggplant salad, couscous, red lentil soup, and chicken tagine.  All of this north African inspired.  And, of course, for an American touch, my braised ribs and wings.
For dessert, LOML's made a crustless cheesecake, which may get decorated with blueberries and strawberries to approximate the flag, Old Glory: I'm contemplating making a pineapple and ginger sorbet which got extremely positive reviews from a friend online the other day: I'll let you know how it turns out.

Yours, in planning and prepping phase,

Monday, July 2, 2012

Canadian Bacon

For some strange reason, in England, Canadian bacon refers to streaky bacon, whereas in the US, it refers to the sort of gammony bacon eaten in the UK.  Clearly "Canadian" means "strangely different".  Anyway, I prefer streaky bacon to gammon, so to celebrate Canada Day I used streaky bacon.
In addition to bacon cheeseburgers, I made bacon-wrapped shrimp, which were delicious: and one of the things which made them so delicious was my little Canadian wrinkle: in homage to the Maritime provinces, I drizzled the shrimp with just a little maple syrup.  That suddenly produced a really keeper of a recipe!

Yours, eh?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Happy Canada Day

Happy Canada Day!  We're having friends over for a completely non-Canadian dinner, in keeping with the theme of celebrating national days with completely inappropriate cuisine!
Yours, Canadian, eh?

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Still steamy

Right near 100F again now: glad to be inside!
Boo and Skibo were away at sleepovers last night, and went swimming at a friends pool this morning, so LOML and I took the opportunity to drive to the big city (small-big city) forty minutes away.  Our chance to visit the granola-y and cheap-but-very-drinkable-wine-selling stores.  Tonight we're planning a cheese tasting, and we managed to get some nice red lentils for moroccan red lentil soup.  I've been wondering what to cook for Wednesday's July 4th party, and somehow I've become focused on a middle eastern theme.
Because nothing says American like tagine and couscous, right?

Yours, clearly culinarily confused,

Friday, June 29, 2012

Summertime, and the living is sweaty

It's finally summer, and the weather is showing it.  It's only 9:30, and it's already 81 F, with a predicted high for today of 106 F.  That's about 41 C.  Ugh!  And the highs are supposed to be similar for the next couple of days as well --- not a good time to be going outside!

Yours, expecting to sweat,

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Descended from whom???

I know who my doctoral advisor was.  And of course, I know who his advisor was.  But for many years the chain had stopped there.  Then yesterday, my PhD student casually mentioned that I had some pretty famous people in my academic lineage: and sure enough, when I checked the mathematic genealogy database, the line had been filled in.  And yes, sure enough, there were some pretty stunning names in the list.

Yours, descended from Isaac.  Isaac Barrow.  Via Isaac Newton!

Missed month

Ah.  I missed a month.  Completely.  And most of another.
Tant pis.

Yours, obviously having had little to share,

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Surprised to be on blog rolls

I was very surprised, this evening, to discover that I was still on the blog rolls of a couple of people --- lovely bloggers --- whose blogs I read, but whom I never expected to still be reading mine.  Especially since mine has shown recent signs of going dead!

Yours, grateful for the continued interest, and vowing to write more to justify it,

Monday, January 23, 2012

Remiss in posting? How could I?

Just went to look at the blog, and realised that two of the most recent posts were titled "Remiss in posting". 

Damn.  I never realised that I was that predictable.

Damn.  And double damn.  How can I regain my sense of mystery?

Yours, just as you predicted,

Moroccan cuisine

When I was out west late last year, I ate at a superb Moroccan restaurant: a good enough feast that I asked the waiter to tell me about the ingredients and the preparation (in hopes that he'd get the chef to come out to talk to me, but no such luck...)
Inspired, though, I came home and have cooked a few meals in this style since then.  LOML and I are running a cooking class in a couple of months on tagines and the like, and it's been fun making sure that I know what I'm talking about!
At some point in the near future, I'll post some recipes: once we decide on the menu for the class: at the moment it's looking like
  • Chicken tagine with apricots and almonds
  • Tomato, cucumber and onion salad
  • Couscous
together with instructions on how to make ras el hanout, harissa, and some other nice things....

Yours, in culinary mode,

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Since my mother had problems a few years ago, medical professionals now insist that it's a good thing for me to get screened, tested, scanned and probed.
So tomorrow I go to meet the appropriate doctor, and then we'll set a date for a fun, fun couple of days.  Fasting, and other medical prep work, to get me ready for a colonscopy.
I know that getting checked out is the right thing to do, but the double whammy of what they are going to do, and what the US insurance system will surgically extract, dollar-wise, are daunting.
Yours, wishing that one or the other could be easier:,

Remiss in posting

It's been a while since I posted: we spent a lovely couple of weeks in the UK visiting Boo and Skibo's grandparents (some of which was somewhat internet-access-challenged), and once we came back home everything was full on.

And I'm not sure that I'm going to promise to get back to posting on a near-daily basis again any time soon: I did that for several years, and now am not sure I can do it again.  But I do hope to post more frequently than every five or six weeks, which is my recent track record!

Yours, apologizing to both of you who read this,