March 23, 2008

I Loves Me Some Easter

I really like Easter.
I love the hopefulness of the story,
and I love coloring eggs.
(The middle "VGT" (Very Green Team) egg
is part of an elaborate
online Color War game...
stay tuned for further updates.)

In our home, even the dumping of the dye
is part of the fun:

Then we spend some time smashing eggs against each other, checking to see whose cracked, and remarking on Nana's all-time champion status in such pursuits. How does she do it? An Easter mystery we delight in every year, even when we don't get to see Grandpa and Nana.

(Extra hugs for Grammy and Grampy,
who have both been knocked completely flat with flu,
and for a certain Miss T, who cannot POSSIBLY be 10 years old!
And bonus eggs from 2006 are here.)

Worth Reading

I can feel spring coming. Even when Easter falls early in the year, as it has this year, it brings with it the redemptive message of hope in the face of the inevitable. Or, sometimes, hope as an inevitable partner in the dance towards whatever comes.

Community-oriented blogger Chris Brogan has offered we fellow-bloggers a little "thank you" to the first 100 of us who, in the spirit of renewal and regeneration, take a moment to point to a blog that we think is perhaps under-appreciated, one that receives only a few comments per post.

I have about 50 personal blogs in my RSS feed now, and some of them are automatically disqualified because they receive LOTS more than a few comments per post (e.g. Robert Reich's read-worthy blog).

But the blog that sprung immediately to mind is one of the first ones I found, a blog by a Canadian wise woman who makes a point of connecting her cyberlife to our life on the planet.

Many of her entries are deceptively simple meditations on what she calls her "potterings" through the woods and fields near her home. But I find, at the end a long day of cyberwandering, that her observations and photos (did I mention her amazing photos?) are some of what stays with me.

So if you've a mind to, head on over to Beyond the Fields We Know, drink in Cate's wisdom, and revel in your existence, flesh and blood, on this home we call Earth. Tell her I sent you.

(In peace, and with gratitude.
Always open to your ideas for new reads.
And hoping to post pictures of our colored eggs sometime tonight.)

March 22, 2008

Baby Freeze!

Sorry about the slow-down in posting around here. We're coming into the home stretch in this season of high-volume application review, but it's still a rare night when T arrives home before Mr. D goes to bed. We're having fun, and we're BUSY. Yesterday and today were mostly dedicated to bike riding, Legos, playdates, the Star Wars game, Connect-4, and, um... breakdancing.

Mr. D saw a breakdancing move that looked a little bit like a wrestling move he already knew, and then he discovered that big kid B (another after-school chess player) knows a few more moves. That and a few YouTube videos really got his fire going, and he has been working and working on his six-step, windmill, and this awesome baby freeze.

(In other news, I'm enjoying Twitter.
No idea what that is? Don't worry about it... the latest geek toy.
If you're wondering what all the fuss is about,
see my Twitter Newbies FAQ.)

March 20, 2008


I don't get how people who call me in the middle of dinner to pitch me about some scam or other can sleep at night.

I don't get it when people complain about things they can't do anything about. (Saying that I don't get something is not the same as complaining, is it?)

I also don't get it when people complain about things instead of doing something about them.

I am completely confused by daylight savings time and flying into another time zone. I mean, I can draw a picture of it, with the sun and the earth in proper proportions and relation to each other, and understand it, and even explain it to my kid, but as soon as I fold the paper back up? Gone.

I am confounded by parents who profess to place their child's happiness above all else, but who can't seem to get themselves to be quiet long enough to listen and learn about what might possibly bring their child happiness.

I don't get it when someone tries to reason someone else out of their fear. Don't they know from their own life that fear isn't rational, and is therefore impervious to reason?

I don't understand why Americans stand for a system that leaves 47 million of us medically uninsured. I have friends who are uninsured, and who are therefore one accident away from financial ruin. Many of us are one short step away from being uninsured. I don't know why that vulnerability hasn't generated more energy and urgency.

I wish I could grasp the mechanics behind our understanding of war as a necessary evil, and peace as an impossible dream.

I don't get people who are eligible to vote, but don't.

I am confounded by the challenge of trying to explain things to my son that I don't understand myself.

(But that doesn't keep me from trying.
Thanks to the women of Sunday Scribblings
for their continuing inspiration.)

March 16, 2008

Pleased With Himself

Lots going on today. Quaker meeting, laundry, Legos, a playdate, finishing off a giant jar of peanut butter...

But this was the big news.

March 13, 2008

They've Got It All Figured Out

Yesterday I had the pleasure of reading aloud to the members of Mr. D's kindergarten class. They're concentrating on Irish literature in these days leading up to St. Patrick's day, and we have a terrific version of the creation of the Giant's Causeway in one of our favorite books, so I emailed Mr. D's teacher Ms. Fabulous and volunteered my services. I had a terrific time, and I think the kids did, too.

But what amazed me was the brief exchange before the storytelling started. "This story is a legend," I began. "What can you tell me about what you already know about legends?"

T (with his usual sweet smile): They start out as true.

Me: That's right; most legends start out at least partially as a true story.

N (her little hand raised high): And they get told and retold.

Me: Absolutely. Most legends got started before books existed, so people telling the stories is what kept them alive. Yes, L?

L (possibly concerned about the extent of his commitment): Legends are looonnnng.

Me: I think that's right! Because every time a new person told the story, they maybe thought of one more cool thing to add. Sometimes legends get really long. One last thing, Mr. D?

My own boy: So when you hear a legend now, it's hard to know which part is true and which part is made up.

Me: Okay, let's listen to this story and see what we think!

How COOL is that? These small people totally NAILED the definition of a legend. At the end of reading the story, I gave them all a printout of one of these
modern-day pictures of the Causeway's remnants.

And then Ms. Fabulous held the microphone for Mr. D as he read HIS latest story:

What a great day.

March 09, 2008

Kindness Haiku

in from sledding,
fingers ice cold for tickling –
I let him

(One of the parts of parenting
that is at once satisfying and maddening
is the way in which you are constantly
negotiating away your own desires.
I didn't want his icy little digits on my neck,
but he was so excited by the prospect of tickling me
with his perfectly frozen fingers that I let him...
a kindness... thanks to the women of
One Single Impression for asking.)

(PS: In other news, hold a good thought for Jabiz Raisdana,
a teacher who is out of a job because of his blog.
Kind of makes you think. Gulp.)

March 07, 2008

Reading to Each Other

While we were reading books before bed, the phone rang.

When I got back to the library, the boys had taken over...

What a treat!

(Relatively random:
Saturday is the monthly kukai deadline

over at
And I'm Twittering as butwait.)

March 02, 2008

Weekend Update

Saturday morning shopping, and look who's carrying the bags. Now I know how my folks felt when I started raking leaves.

Saturday afternoon:
FIRST Regional (NJ) Robotics competition. Seventeen years ago, inventor-scientist Dean Kamen founded the FIRST Robotics competitions on the premise that we get more of what we celebrate. He wanted to give kids who were doing smart and creative work in science and technology a chance to be celebrated. There are now over 37,000 high school students participating in these programs, and an afternoon at a regional competition is as close to a guaranteed good time as I can imagine. Also, did I mention, completely free. The students only get six weeks from receiving their design challenge to getting out there and showing it off, and they are truly inspiring in their creativity and unbridled enthusiasm.

Monkey Wrench's entry

Last minute adjustments...

The drivers gear up for a match

Today (Sunday) brought us a sunny day, so we called round to see if the fabulous Miss E and one of her attendant adults might be up for a bit of wilderness conquering. Indeed she was.

Far from the towpath, making their own path.

Navigating the "bridge" back to the towpath

... and here, if you've got five minutes, is what the amazing Dean Kamen is up to these days:

March 01, 2008

Church of Monthly Backup

As the excellent Gina of Lifehacker fame once wisely said, "While Macs may be less vulnerable to viruses and spyware than PC's, they're just as likely to get stolen or suffer from a hardware failure like a hard drive crash. When that happens, will it be a catastrophe, or just an inconvenience? It depends on whether or not - and how well - you back up your Mac."

Backing up is boring. And largely unnecessary. Until the ice dams in your gutter cause a stream of freezing water to slide down your library wall and render your computer null and void. (Insert your own situationally appropriate scary thoughts here.)

In recognition of the fact that not being sufficiently backed up is an avoidable hazard, and therefore one which whould not pass the "how would I explain it to Dad" test, my father and I have entered into a pact to ask each other, "So, how backed up are you?" at the end of each month.

So this? Is a picture of Silverkeeper in the midst of backing up my entire hard-drive to my external Fantom drive. Also known as "a good night's sleep." Thanks, Dad!

(Geek aspirants may want to read
the rest of what Gina had to say on the subject here.
There's a kind of hierarchy... first start with backing up by hand
the stuff you know you'd be hard-pressed to replace,
then think about automatting the process,
and about WHERE the backups should live.
Right now, if my house burned down, my Fantom drive would, too,
but hey, it's a start. And starting is huge, IMO.
Tune in later this weekend for photos from the 2008
FIRST Robotics Regionals!)