Thursday, August 30, 2012


You may have noticed the heat. Perhaps I've mentioned it. It's been hot. HOT. And dry. Very, very dry even for this here desert.

Actually, Salt Lake isn't especially dry. Thanks to the lake we live in a temperate zone both in temperature and moisture terms. But this summer? Pshah. No rain for you.

But gardening is an odd sport, anyway. Last year, with mild temps and plenty of rain, the lettuce and snow peas performed well. This year: nothing.

Meanwhile, this year the tomatoes are mutants - busting out all over the place. They scoff at "frames" and need no support. And who needs supports, anyway, when the sunflower stalks reach 8 feet high? The tomatoes just lean on the sunflowers.

Last year my carrots were hilariously stunted. They were carrots for garden gnomes. This year? Twice as big! Four whole inches in some cases! 

Last year, the herb bed performed better than any other. Rosemary, basil, parsley and sage grew in fierce competition with thyme and lemon verbena. This year everything struggled. Except the sage, which is experiencing nightly growth spurts. I planted strawberries in that bed. They eked out a pathetic existence but produced nothing edible.

This post records my optimism. I just planted (August 19) a fall crop of carrots, lettuce (butterhead, Romaine, and red leaf, as always), and spinach. The week or ten days they'll take to germinate should be hot but since they won't be up...who cares? And they'll have shade from the tomato mutants, anyway. Then, as the autumn cools and the rains appear (please, please, please), they might make something worth eating.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Baby Steps

School starts Friday. Friday. Friday.

For Iain. He's sooooo bored. And so are we.

Last week he and I visited the zoo to break our stay-home-watch-TV-play-GoFish-Legos ennui.

For the first time, Iain rode the carousel without any fear. He chose the turtle, clambered up, and needed no help. Quite a change from two summers ago. Then, he'd cry and cling and demand that we get off.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Iain's been a picky eater since he turned about...2. In case you've lost count, he turned 4 in April.

His diet consists mostly of fruit and carbohydrates. Breakfast is a favorite. So he'll eat eggs (scrambled only), pancakes, waffles, French toast, biscuits, toast, and muffins. He'll eat bacon (his only meat) and oatmeal and cereal.

Outside of the breakfast pantheon, he's much more limited. Ramen, buttered noodles, and grilled cheese are it. Oh, and fruit. Any kind of fruit.

Every single night, when asked what he wants for dinner, he says: "Scrambled eggs and toast!"

But he started to loosen up in the early spring. First it was a taste of spinach (raw). Then he tried tater tots (with ketchup, naturally). In California he took a bite of chicken finger, tried Cheetos, and consented to eat one or two french fries. Yes. We are using junk food to convince him that new foods are not inherently disgusting.

We stalled in July. The biggest problem was his technique. Faced with a food he hadn't tried - one he would obviously hate - he would put a piece in his mouth and try to swallow it. No chewing. This triggered his gag reflex. So he'd gulp down milk to wash the offending morsel into his stomach.

Result? A couple of awesomely disgusting crises. I won't elaborate.

But we've been talking about his taste buds. About the different types of buds and the flavors they identify. We also talked about nutrients and the way his body's digestive system works. And when he tries a new food, we encourage him to chew. Chew! CHEW!

In addition to his two recent meals (rice a roni, salad, scrambled eggs; rice a roni, broccoli, chicken) tonight he ate a small piece of pizza. Yes, actual pizza. Something so kid-friendly that restaurants put it on their childrens' menus. He tried it, he gagged, he chewed, he liked it.

Don't get me wrong: I bribe. In return for enjoying a slice of pizza I provided a golden kiwi, a no-bake cookie and a Lego mini-figure. In this battle I have no dignity (left) to protect.

And guess what? Tonight he never even asked for "scrambled eggs and toast" for dinner.

Monday, August 20, 2012


Friday, I emailed the index.

Today, I sent the copy edited manuscript back to Chapel Hill via UPS.

I also emailed back the captions, complete with dates.

That might, just, be the end of the revision process. Really.

If so, then all I have to do is write a blog post (not for here) and an editorial and I've fulfilled the expectations of my press for the summer.

And just in time, too. School starts next week!

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Small human wearing jammies puts mittens on his feet (toes in the thumb holes, obvy).

Stamps on bed.

"I'm making wind!"

Uh...I don't think that means what you think it means.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

NASA's too, too Sexy

We stayed up for the Curiosity landing. It was spectacular. If any federal agency is sexy (and they know it), it must be NASA.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Legal Trouble

Today I took Iain to Toys-R-Us. I admit - it was stupid.

Anyway, we needed birthday presents for his friends. They're twins and the party's next weekend. So we poked around the store, looking at Transformers and Legos and Spiderman and lots of other things.

Then it was time to check out. Iain insisted that he needed a toy. "You have to get me a gift!"

No. Not your turn.

At checkout, he protested. "You have to!" "You're not nice to me!"

And finally:

"It's against the LAW!"

"It's illegal for me to refuse to buy you a present?"


The checkout girl was giggling madly. Do you know a good lawyer? I'm going to need one.

Monday, August 13, 2012

4 Year Old Checkup

The Stats:

38.6 lbs.  (50th percentile)

43 inches (90th percentile)

20/40 vision demonstrated by sorta holding a circle over one eye and trying to imagine what that small object on the chart might be (it was a sailboat - what Iain knows about a sailboat amounts to exactly nothing).

In other news, last week Iain ate rice-a-roni and salad with his dinner. Tonight he ate rice-a-roni and broccoli and even one bite of chicken. With ketchup, of course.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

School Shopping

Back-to-school finally makes sense. Not so much because Iain will need a cascade of new things before school. Nope. It's going to be hot forever. FOREVER.

The real pressure comes from my schedule. Once school begins I will have almost no time to shop for him. Combine that reality with back-to-school sale prices and I'm your sucker.

So Nordstrom Rack had NorthFace jackets. And I got him one. He insisted, of course, on trying it on immediately. Ninety degrees Fahrenheit? No problem!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Logical, Young One

So we're watching Wallace and Gromit. The episode's premise rests on the absence of cheese. Wallace and Gromit love cheese. They are planning a bank holiday when they realize they're out of cheese. Oh noes!

Iain, watching this, says, "They could go to ski school!"

"Why's that?"

"To have a cheese sandwich."

Right. I forgot that they served cheese sandwiches at ski school. Iain, meanwhile, remembers. He can't remember to stop jumping on the bed. But he can remember lunch from March.

Monday, August 06, 2012


3:00 am: Iain dreams he can hear bugs. So he comes to our bed. With his teddy, two books, and a sippy cup. It's about 10,000 degrees (Farenheit). This is uncomfortable. I take him back but have to spend two or three minutes assuring him there are, in fact, no bugs in his bed.

8:00 am: Iain dreams that his classmate has stolen his sandwich. I say, "When?" and he says "Today!" So I explain that it's breakfast time and lunch hasn't happened yet. He's still pissed. He says the other boy stole his entire lunch "All my good snacks!" What would be an appropriate punishment? "He has to go to Arizona!" Right.

Meanwhile I dreamed that I was giving the graduation speech at school. Except I had a sweaty, rough 3x5 card with a vague outline of what I would say and I kept losing it. Also, I couldn't get my shoes on. Also, I needed to go to the bathroom but there wasn't time. There were at least 1000 people sitting there, waiting for me to be awful.

I think I'd rather dream about bugs in the bed.