Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Where's Iain?

So...I pop into Iain's room because it's suspiciously quiet. Nice and tidy as usual.

No Iain, though.

Wait! What's this? Who's asleep in the closet?

That's him alright. Apparently, playing tired him out. Or he needed a micronap to think about Legos. I dunno. He slept there for an hour, then climbed into bed and slept some more.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Choosing a Gift is an Art

Yesterday, Iain and I talked about how to go to sleep. I told him how I use a thought process to do it. I imagine that I have won the lottery (the one from a decade ago, worth about $300 million, you may recall it was won by a small group of people from West Virginia). Then I carefully plan each step - where to deposit the funds, how much to budget for yearly spending, whether to buy a new house and if so what kind of house and where, what kinds of scholarships and endowed chairs to set up...

The point is to bore yourself with the details so that you fall asleep. The point is also to have a routine. You think the same things every night so that you are pushing the "sleep" button just by thinking about such things.

So I explained all this to Iain. He didn't exactly understand. "I could buy the Death Star!"

Well, yes. But what about other people? What would you give Grammy?

"I'd give her a Lego Star Wars kit so she could make it for ME!"

Uh, no. That's not exactly the idea. Dude, you're so four years old.

In other news, Iain woke up last night and announced to me that he'd dreamt we were making chocolate chip cookies. "That's a good dream, right?" Yes, son. That's a good dream.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Why I've Been Quiet

See above. 

Yep. Those are the page proofs. I got a set of galleys in the mail today, too. It looks like a book, it feels like a book, but it's FULL OF EGREGIOUS ERRORS!! Yay. 

So I've been highlighting every proper noun and concept so I can construct an index. A friend generously offered to proof the proof (Apparently one verbs the noun. Who knew?), an offer I gratefully accepted. Instantly. 

After this I get to mail it off again. Each time I tell myself, "There'll be a sense of relief!" But no. Instead, I send off the draft, the revision, the copy edited version and (soon) the proofs with a powerful sense that: 
  • I'm an idiot
  • It's terrible
  • NO one will read it
  • Those who do read it will immediately appreciate how stupid I am and how bad it is
  • Mockery will follow. Probably on an international scale.
  • Except it's not good enough to provoke that much mockery.
Wah! Anyway. Plugging away...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I Saw It! Finally!

Two years and two months into our Utah sojourn, I finally saw a version of this.

And of all places: at Starbucks! In Sugarhouse!

Friday, July 13, 2012

More Zoo Pics

Remember that trip to the zoo? The one before the sun descended to burn the Earth and make us all into crispy little sticks? May. I think we called the Time Before 110 Degrees...May.

Anyway, here are more photos from that visit. There's a new enclosure for cold-water animals (seals, otters, polar bears, whatnot). Iain was semi-into it.

See above. "What?" he thinks. Last night, I went in to check on him at bedtime and he said, "Just leave me alone, Mom." Ladies and Gentlemen, I think we have early-onset adolescence!

This polar bear is an attention hog. Srsly. S/he would swim up to the window (see below), backflip (yes, showing us all the business. I don't remember what I saw, though. Too furry, maybe.) and swim away.

In other news, today I made more black tea ice cream (decaf!) and a batch of Biscoff ice cream (50/50 mix of cream and 2% milk, whisk that into half a cup of Biscoff spread (warmed up in the microwave to soften it), add a little sugar (like a quarter cup) and a little vanilla, chill, churn, freeze.). Lots of nice freezy treats around here to combat the weather.

THE WEATHER. It's hot. News flash.

Friday, July 06, 2012

San Francisco

The view outside our shack at the Presidio. If you've been there, we were in a building right next to the bathrooms near the Warming Hut. 

June. Where'd it go? I spent the entire month traveling, so I've only just relaxed into a summer routine of late breakfasts, early lunches, afternoon naps and letters of recommendation.

First, I spent 8 long days grading AP exams. Here's how it works: first, you need to prepare by eating a really greasy meal that makes you feel gross and unhealthy. Make a tape of your local bus station so you can play that constant hum of conversation and banging and disruption while you work. Go sit in the most uncomfortable chair you can find. Now turn the A/C to 50. Hunch your back. You're ready! Now grade 1200 essays - quick!

Once back from that, we departed for southern California. Great trip. I returned for 48 hours and hopped another plane for San Francisco.

The poster asks "What would inspire you to volunteer at the Presidio?"

I joined about 15 other teachers for a professional development seminar on Japanese internment. We were lucky enough to enjoy tours of The Presidio from the National Parks Service (who sponsored the seminar) and to speak with 6 men and women who had been interned (all as kids or teens).

This wag wrote, "Get out of hear fat pepole your fat." Charming.

I'm not a huge fan of San Francisco. Not its enemy, but not really one of those "I left my heart" people. I'm a SoCal kind of girl, I guess (mmm...tacos...sunshine...mountains...). But Japantown convinced me that SF can be fun. It's a tiny neighborhood but chock full of things I wanted to touch, eat, or buy.

Another smarty writes, "I sexy and I knowit." 

Unfortunately, some of the things I most wanted to buy can't be carried on a plane (hello, Japanese cutlery!). But there are no rules to stop me consuming about 10,000 noodles. And I did.

But now I'm back. Salt Lake's hothothot, but I'm so happy to be in my own bed (where the sheets go all the way to the end of the bed! Wow! What's up with hotels short-sheeting the beds? I hate that!) in my own house, with my own family and my own bad habits (mmm...cheetos).

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Overwhelming Response is Overwhelming!

Too late! In the face of a massive reply to the query in the last post (answers: zero), I have made the following:

  • Black tea ice cream
    • You steep a bunch of bags of tea (I used decaf English Breakfast but last time I used loose tea Hank gave me and that was much better, I think) in cream or milk or both. Steeping, in this case, meant that I put the cream and milk in a sauce pan with the bags, brought it up to a boil, then turned off the heat and let it sit for an hour.
    • You add some sugar at some point and stir it so it melts/dissolves.
    • You chill it thoroughly in the fridge
    • You churn it in your machine.
    • You freeze it.
  • Vietnamese coffee ice cream
    • Ridiculously easy. You mix a can of sweetened condensed milk with 1/3 cup milk and a cup of strong coffee. 
    • Stir
    • Chill
    • Churn
    • Freeze
The pineapple ice cream is ok. I think the flavor is good but it should have been frozen custard. The texture is too icy. We hate that greasy film you get from really fatty ice cream, though. I'm still seeking a happy medium.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Grilled Pineapple Ice Cream

First Ice Cream of the Summer!

I know you're not quite as excited as I am, but...be tolerant.

Every summer we drag out our gelato maker and commence making any flavor of ice cream that tickles our fancy or can't be bought. In previous years, we've produced cinnamon, roasted banana, Earl Grey, and Vietnamese Coffee. (Note: the last two are delicious but extremely caffeine-intensive. FYI. Not a post-dinner snack.)

This year some or all of us traveled for most of June. First the AP reading in Louisville, then ten days in California, then I departed for San Francisco for 4 days.

But - finally - we're all in one place now. Home. And the weather has indicated its desire for us to make ice cream:  

So tonight we began. Charles grilled skewers of pineapple with dinner. I chopped a leftover skewer into pineapple slush, added a tiny bit of minced ginger, some vanilla extract, and a quarter cup of brown sugar. That went into a measuring cup full of cream and milk with another quarter cup of white sugar. 

45 minutes in the machine and poof! A beautiful, white ice cream laced with chunks of grilled sunshine and a little spicy from the ginger. 

Next? Make a suggestion.