Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Book hoarding

I know about real hoarding. I’ve seen the TV shows. More personally, I know a woman who deals with real hoarding at her mother’s houses (there are two). The attempts to clear out one house and get it on the market. The citations from the village. One house condemned. Fix it up before the village tears it down. Hoarding spilling into the yard. It’s painful just to hear the stories. They did eventually find the body of the cat they knew had died several years ago. But the struggle never ends, because apparently it’s very difficult to cure hoarding behavior.

Then there’s pet hoarding, which is awful. Our guinea pig rescue group just took in 50 pigs from one such situation. They aren’t well socialized, so they are hard to find homes for.
Hoarding in my family is much more manageable. My mom has 50 or 60 jars of jam in the basement at any given time. Nice, tidy hoarding.

My hoarding centers around books. I finally went around and did a rough count in our house, out of curiosity. I did get rid of a few hundred children’s books last summer, so that helped a little. Plus we have two Little Free Libraries within walking distance, so sometimes I can stick a few books in there. Granted, sometimes I have to bring a new one home, too. It’s only fair.
Starting upstairs, Boo is a minimalist and a big re-reader, so she only has her 50 favorites in her room. Nea is a bit of a hoarder of everything, plus she’s the downstream book-catcher from the older sibling, so no surprise that she has circa 650.

The master bedroom has 175 in a bookshelf, and 130 on the floor/nightstand. Yes, that looks just as well-organized as it sounds.
Ok, so we have a couple book-free rooms. The sunroom and dining room have none. There are only 5 of the most used cookbooks in the kitchen. The other cookbooks are in the living room, with the gardening books and some kid books. Total living room – about 450.

There’s some board and early childhood books I couldn’t bring myself to give away, boxed up in the basement. Let’s say 300.

And that leaves the study. N finished these bookshelves awhile back. There’s books in the cabinets underneath, too, where the board games were supposed to go. Yup. That’s another 1260 or so.



Grand total? Just under 3000 books, roughly. That’s in the realm of normal. Right?
Oddly, I find myself at the library at least weekly.

I did some navel gazing not too long ago and decided that my need to be surrounded by books appeals to my most optimistic and pessimistic hopes and fears.
Best case scenario: I live a life of leisure and have time to read for hours a day!

Worst case scenario: society collapses, and all technology is lost. It’s not safe outside and hurrah! Nothing to do but read all day and wait for the end! See, now where will all you e-book types be then, huh? That’s right. Pillaging the library, fighting over Danielle Steele and Louis L’Amour paperbacks. Ha. Suckers.

Friday, October 24, 2014

bookie book talk

I'm not sure why I get so much pleasure out of this, but look! My library books match what I claim I'm reading, visible to you on the left.

Guess which one is for my work book club. Nope. Wrong. Guess which one is for my best-ever book club. OK, you may have gotten that one right. Maybe.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Kale Salad



A fine late-season salad, from my friend Beth. I know kale is ├╝ber trendy right now, but try this salad. It's super good.
 
 
Kale Salad
 
 
1 bunch of kale - curly is best
1/4 c. dried cranberries
1/4 c. roasted sunflower seeds
salt & pepper to taste
2 T olive oil
1/2 fresh lemon, juiced
2 T honey
 
 
Cut kale away from stalk and chop finely. Toss kale in bowl with cranberries & sunflower seeds. Drizzle olive oil first, then add salt & pepper. Mix well. Then drizzle honey & lemon on salad and again, mix well. The more you mix, the softer the salad.
Beth says, "I sometimes make this salad on Sunday and eat it all week at lunch. It never gets soggy."




 
this image is from here

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Raising Monarchs

Say hello to Owen

Sometimes new hobbies just show up overnight, don’t they? There was discussion on Facebook about finding and raising monarchs, and I was bemoaning how I planted some milkweed two years ago and still hadn’t found any. Next thing I know, a friend drops two caterpillars off, and she and I find two more in my garden immediately. Then I found a bunch more. Then I gave some to friends to raise, since I figure if you are trying to save a species from extinction, you should definitely recruit members to your cause.
If you’d like to learn more, I highly recommend this book: How to raise monarch butterflies: a step-by-step guide for kids by Carol Pasternak.


Here’s who we found, in order of appearance in our lives:
  • Owen
  • Rosie (taken by the Nash family)
  • Daisy (taken by the Slusher family)
  • Sophie-Robert
  • Izzy (taken by the Long family)
  • Smally
  • Junior One
  • Junior Two
  • Stuccy
  • Beanie (Raised himself outside. Made a chrysalis on our bean teepee. Given to my dad as a birthday present.)
  • Buck
  • Timber
  • Flash
  • California (from an egg!)
  • Johnny Test (also from an egg! Born today!)

Junior One, Junior Two, and Stuccy
And a swallowtail named Ziggy. Still in chrysalis at press time. Rescued off some dying dill in my garden.
It’s amazing how quickly they grow up. From a tiny egg-dot to a caterpillar almost the size of your little finger in two weeks. At that point they eat around the clock and can finish off one and a half milkweed leaves a day! And those are big leaves. Then another 10-14 days in a chrysalis and VIOLA (ha), a butterfly that’s ready to party.

Beanie, cleverly hiding among the pole beans. That's him in the green with golden accents.

So go plant some milkweed. The flowers are pretty and smell nice and will attract all sorts of strange insects you’ve never seen in your garden before. Surely you have a bit of room behind the garage?

 Bon Voyage, Sophie-Robert!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Reading with apraxia

So, Nea is 10 now. She's having a great year at summer school (ESY). Finally a teacher who is teaching! He's reading real literature with them and introducing new concepts. He's doing fractions and teaching them about improper fractions using visual representations. Then he made some YouTube videos to show us parents what that means! Unbelievable.
 
This is, shockingly, Nea's 7th year in ESY (we skipped last year because we were traveling). And it's the first year I'm not disgusted with what a waste of time it is. She has always enjoyed going, though, and she gets a little speech therapy every week (45 minutes, half of her school year IEP amount), so we kept sending her.

 
 
At home we've been reading Junie B. Jones, gearing up for a book club with Nea's best friend, who lives across the street. Nea is reading chapter books! There was great rejoicing! And she's very excited about book group. Let me just tell you, when your friend helps motivate your child to read, that's the best kind of friend. Thank you, Beth! You are a gem.
 

Some people don't like Junie B. Jones books because they are written in the voice of a kindergartener with poor grammar. Poor past tense verbs, etc. What gets me is that the teacher doesn't know the difference between "good" and "well." So annoying. But if we weren't reading this book, I wouldn't know how well Nea understands adverbs! So instead of reading what the book says ("So listen very careful."), Nea reads, "So listen very carefully." And my heart sings.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Triathlon – end of an era

Well, I’m hanging up my swim cap, biking shoes, and running shorts. Not really, but I have vowed to stop the madness. No more triathlons. And I’m feeling just fine with that. I don’t enjoy the swim, and I don’t love the run. I can always sign up for a century bike ride if I feel the need for a goal.

I did almost as well this year as I did my first year. Less than a minute longer overall. I had a longer transition time in T1 (swim to bike transition). My swim was 4 seconds slower, bike leg was about 30 seconds slower, the run about 15 seconds slower. I did post a record T2, though! Transitioned from bike to run in just over 3 minutes. Go me. All in all, I’m in as good shape as I was 3 years ago, which is pretty good for a mid-40s person. And actually, my run was slightly faster than last year, which it damn well ought to be, with all the training I managed to fit in. All 3 years my run was 32 minutes and change. I'm not fast, but I’m really quite consistent.

Funniest moment: I nearly missed my starting wave for no good reason. Was puttering about, chatting with strangers. My orange-capped group was in the water, waiting for the horn, when I realized. So, bad start position, in the outside back. No wonder it was 4 seconds slower. Great weather, though. The water was in the 70s! I expected icebergs after the winter we just had, but it was nice. Glad not to have a wetsuit.


And although once again I was beaten by two women in their 70s, I did beat 5 women aged 17 and 18. So, ha. That’s something, anyway. And I’m proud to say that I am of average speed, among women who were in this sprint triathlon. A very friendly and enthusiastic group to be in, and I’m proud to have finished it three times. 

Here’s my proof.



Friday, June 6, 2014

What to wear to your triathlon


OK, I'm more excited about the race now. The weather looks a little crappy (68 degrees, rain possible), but I had a great bike/run workout this week, and swimming is a breeze, so it's all good. Started packing up stuff. I have fancy socks. They are labeled "L" and "R" so you know that's quality stuff. Recently bought new running shoes, bike odometer, googles, the shirt and shorts. I tested them all out. Should be good.

Here's my list:

Goggles (x2)
Neoprene Cap
Swimsuit
Water Bottles (filled)
Helmet
Sports bra
Socks
Shirt
Shorts
Bike (important!) with pump and spare tube
Cycling shoes
Running shoes
Visor
Hair tie
Sunglasses
Clothing to change into post-race, sandals
Two towels (one to stand on, one to dry)
Snack, Gatorade
Disposable warm clothing for waiting to start
Map, info sheet
Plastic bags
Cell phone
Race number, timing chip with strap
Bucket to sit on (shut up. I'm old now.)
Bike computer
Inhaler
Kleenex

Make your own here:
Triathlon race checklist

Apparently, all the cool kids will be wearing wetsuits (as usual), but I have once again decided that since this is my last! triathlon! EVER!!! there is no point in buying one.