Sunday, June 29, 2014

What-What?! Week of June 29th

Life here is moving onward.  It feels more normal now, though I still reach for the drawer in the bathroom to get my hairbrush, and I caught myself thinking that I could visit my parents, since we were going to Costco and all.  I've been taking the children down to the local park nearly every day, both to give us something to do, and just to get out of the house and see the sun.  The weather's been good -- a bit like California in the spring, really.

Early this week, the husband and I got our Washington drivers liceneses.  It was surprisingly efficient.  In this state, the drivers licensing and the car registration stuff happens at separate locations; this means that the only issues happening are drivers license related.  To get my Washington DL taken care of took maybe 10 minutes total, from the time I stepped in the door to the time I left.  It was so easy.

Last Sunday, we also attended the Everett farmers' market.  I wasn't sure exactly what to expect, but was disappointed nonetheless.  The husband and I will miss the produce and farmers markets in California greatly.  In contrast to the neat rows, and the division between producers (farmers) and purveyers (prepared food vendors), the Everett market was a giant mess.  Its rows went this-a-way and that-a-way, and the produce was all mixed about.  The selection of produce was also pretty small, especially in terms of veggies (I wanted to buy carrots, but found none to buy).

And there were lots of dogs in the market as well.  Not that I dislike dogs, I just don't particularly care for them around my food that much.

News:  Time Stands Still in Locked Off Cave via The Japan Times

This is a fascinating article about the Chauvet Cave in Paris.  Discovered in 1996, the cave holds some of the oldest and best preserved cave paintings in the world, and now stands locked and monitored 24/7, to ensure its longevity.  The article discusses more of the details, as well as the replica cave being built not far away.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Art Thursday -- June 26th

"Bat and Moon"
This week's piece was actually made by Corwin.  It's another picture that clearly illustrates the content matter.  I like the feet.  I don't know what's going on with his swirly face.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

What-What?! Week of June 22nd

The view out our back porch.  You can see the playground, geese, and lake.
We're approaching a week of living in Everett, Washington.  It is very different here.

One of the most stark differences between our old apartment and this one is the noise; at the previous place, we were very near both a highway and the main street of Hollister.  Even late at night, there would be sirens, and the low din of traffic.  Here in Everett, the back of our apartment faces a lake.  We're the fourth aparment building back in the complex, so we're pretty far from the street.  In the evenings, after the children go to bed, it is extremely quiet.  Sometimes you can hear the ducks or geese.
Peter with some neighborhood children.
Our first day here, the husband and I decided to unload some of the lighter things out of our truck, in preparation of having movers help us the next day.  After 20 minutes or so, this kid comes up and asks if we need help.  By the end of the day, we had four of the neighborhood kids helping us -- we thanked them with some pizza.

The first kid who came to talk to us actually thought that my husband was my father.  Even kids think I'm 12. D:

The other day, we went down to the local park.  I was expecting a small neighborhood playground, but instead it was huge, with all kinds of climbing equipment, and many spinning things.  It's only about three blocks from here, too, so well within walking distance.

We plan on going to the farmers market today, which I'm pretty excited about.  At the Safeway here in Everett, the term "local" is defined as coming from Washington or Oregon.  Coming from California, that's a pretty broad definition of local.

The apartment itself is pretty nice.  The flooring is all new.  The kitchen is very small, which presents some issues just finding places for the basics.  We've set up a bookshelf next to the counter on one side to give us some extra space.  I miss the counters and cabinets from the last apartment, but it seems common for apartments here, as most we looked at had kitchens set up like this.
My small kitchen.  This will take getting used to.
Next week, we need to work on car stuff, getting more things unpacked, and maybe looking for jobs.  Oh, and figure out how washing clothes works. xP

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Art Thursday -- June 19th

This monster picture was made by Corwin.
What makes it unusual is that it has clean lines and pretty good composition -- Most of his pictures get overtaken with explosion scribbles. :P

Monday, June 16, 2014

On the Road... Portland

We are now in Portland.  Tomorrow afternoon, we'll arrive in Everett.

Today was a much easier day than yesterday; we got going by 10am, and I arrived at our hotel around 4pm.  The trip was pretty quick, until we got into Portland itself;  because of traffic, it took 45 minutes to do the last 20 miles.  In addition to the early rush hour traffic, there was rain, lightening, thunder, and even hail.  All at once.  The scenery was pretty cool.  We saw glass towers, gondolas, and a million bridges.

I am still sick.

So far, to entertain themselves, the children have:
  • Poked each other
  • Argued about made up animals.  Do Weevers eat trees?  Are they actually a kind of dinosaur, or a mammal?
  • Sung songs -- like the Pokemon theme song, over and over.
  • Pretended to be Pokemon ("PIKA!  Pika-pika?  Pikachu!").
  • Dumped water on my bag of clothes.
  • Thrown toys at people (!!!)
  • Drawn on their magnadoodles -- this is probably the thing that they've spent the most time doing.
  • Played on the iPad.
  • Taken photographs with their little kid camera.
  • Complained about having to go to Washington.  Not about wanting to go back.  Just wanting to go other places than Washington.  Like the zoo advertised on the side of the road.
Tonight, we finally got to have dinner with all of us together; the last time we all shared a meal was Saturday morning.  Unfortunately, when we arrive tomorrow, we won't have any internet, so I probably won't post for a few days.

On the Road... Medford

Welp, we've made it to Medford, Oregon.  But only by the skin of our teeth. D:

Yesterday was, hands down, one of the most unpleasant 24 hours I've had in a very long time.  I woke up feeling very sick, and so when my mom came over to help wrangle the kids, she wound up doing that and doing all the things I was planning on doing.  By the time we left, we had both of my parents, as well as my father-in-law over helping us put things in the truck and clean up.  After planning to leave at 10am, we actually got out of Hollister at 11:20am.

Being alone in the car with children, as well as being their only caretaker the whole trip, was exhausting.  I never really got bored of the driving yesterday, simply because I spent so much time stopped doing other things.

Today we drive 100 miles less than yesterday, and hopefully it will go better.

That's all for now.

Friday, June 13, 2014

What-What?! Week of June 15th

Happy Father's Day to all the daddies out there. :)

Today, we move to Washington state.  We'll be on the road for a few days, then move in, unpack, and all that stuff.  Not sure if I'm going to post on Thursday; we'll have to see how fast we get internet set up.
Saffron took this photo on her little kid camera of the view outside our front door.  Right now there are about a million airplanes zooming around for the airshow today.
I'm sad to leave California, but hopeful of our future in Washington.  I don't doubt that California will always be my really real home, but I don't think that it's the place to raise a young family anymore.  Forbes actually just released their annual Best States to Make a Living In list, and Washington was at the top for the second year in a row.

I will miss my family and friends, my familiar places, my coworkers, and all the kids I've worked with (I still see kids that I tutored as long as 7 years ago).

Onward, to waffles!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Art Thursday -- June 12th

I know, I know.  These just look like more princesses.
...But notice how they have lightsabers!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

What-What?! Week of June 8th

We're now at the one week countdown to our move date.  It is exciting and horrific, terrible and terrific.

Wednesday, I told my class at work that I wasn't coming back next year.  When I started working, they all wondered and questioned why the previous leader had left, and I didn't want them to be in that position again.  The kids seemed pretty sad; one even wrote me a thank you note.  The older kids in my coworker's class also seem sad that I'm leaving.  One of the sixth grade boys told me that he liked having me there this year.  For a sixth grade boy, that's a pretty strong sentiment.

I'll miss the kids, and I will definitely miss my coworkers, too.  This year has been a challenge, but it's been made way better by having such a supportive crew to work through it with.

Been slowly working on my paper.  I got about two hours worth of work on it yesterday, which is the first time I'd touched it in nearly a week.  I've resigned myself to the fact that it isn't going to be finished before we move.  So, there's that.

Spirographs via Math Playground

This is a cool spirograph thing.  The math itself is too complicated for my kids, but they still have fun making pretty pictures.  To see the math part, you can click on the "Where's the math?" button.  The first time we sat down with this, we probably made about 20 or so.  :P

News:  Swedes Test a Future of Less Work, More Play via Yahoo! Finance

In a lot of ways, this makes sense.  Technology should make life easier for humanity, but even with the huge productivity gained from industrialization, our workday has stayed pretty much the same as 50 years ago.  In other countries, workers are mandated a certain amount of vacation, and then they use it.  Americans don't seem to do that, especially without huge amounts of guilt.  I think that a 6-hour workday would probably be really beneficial for the health of our nation; with more time to cook and shop for healthier foods, it means that there are fewer reasons to eat out or from the frozen foods section.  I'm always a little appalled at how often I see the families I work with eat fast food, but I understand that they don't have someone at home to cook like I do.  This would also give parents more time to spend with their children.

...But I don't expect this will happen here.  Workaholics are too prized here.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Art Thursday -- June 5th

Today, we'll be reading a book my daughter wrote, "The Mailman".

"Once there was a mailman.  He loved to take mail to people."
"He loved his job."

"So much."
"Very much.  When he had mail."

"Very, very much."

"The End."

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A Simple Riddle

Thought of this when I woke up this morning:

Two lovers, separated by the knowledge of the world.
They help hold up this knowledge, but know nothing of it.
What are they?


(highlight to reveal)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

What-What?! Week of June 1st

It's my birthday!  Yay!  Happy birthday to me, and many good wishes for me and all of you. :)

Oh, yes, and happy birthday to my twin brother. <3

This week, I packed some stuff, because the husband and I are pretty sure we've got an apartment sorted out in the Seattle area.

I've been working on my newest eBook, which will be about the specialty grocery industry more generally, and include profiles of Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Sprouts, and The Fresh Market.  I'm nearly done with the profiles section, but I still want to do a compare/contrast section, as well as update the industry profile and a few other facts.  Oh, and write out the bibliography.  Make a new book cover.  Create a product description.  So, there's a still quite a bit to do, I guess.

This Hummus has Standards, OK?  via Yahoo! Food

The Sabra Dipping Company, producer of hummus and other Mediterranean dips, has recently petitioned the United States Food and Drug Administration to place "Standard of Identity" requirements on hummus products, which defines guidelines that a product must follow in order to be labeled as hummus.  Many other food products have standards like these, including ice cream, peanut butter, yogurt, white chocolate, and so on.

Hummus, as defined in the proposed standards, would be as follows:
Hummus is the semisolid food prepared when mixing cooked, dehydrated, or dried chickpeas and tahini with one or more of the optional ingredients specified in paragraph (b), and may contain one or more of the optional ingredients specified in paragraph (c) of this section.  Chickpeas shall be the predominate ingredient by weight, except water.  Tahini (sesame seed paste) shall comprise not less than five percent by weight of the finished product. [...] Other food ingredients may be added [...] provided that, in total, they comprise less than 20 percent by weight of the finished product.
There are both good things and bad things about this petition.  The question becomes, has hummus, in the mind of consumers, expanded from its original definition, to now include dips predominately made with other ingredients, even sometimes without chickpeas and/or tahini at all?  If consumers expect that products labeled hummus follow the traditional recipe, then it makes sense to enact standards.  Of course, the thing about these standards is that they can easily be used to squash competition.  Sabra's products all meet this definition, but that's to be expected; if a company is going to write the definition for a product it makes, it's going to make sure that it doesn't go awry of its own standards.  Sabra currently accounts over half of the market share for hummus, and a move like this could easily increase that.

I don't particularly care for hummus, but it will be interesting to see how this plays out in the long run.  I'm curious to see if the FDA enacts standards, but perhaps ones that are more lenient than Sabra's definition.

(img via