Saturday, April 25, 2009

Peer Pressure

All the cool kids are doing it. (Yes, all of them.)

And I've never been very good at saying no.

What about you? Want to join the party? It's BYOB. (Bring your own baby, that is. Cut it out with the beer already. I'm pregnant, yo!)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Weekend Pictures

These pictures are not from Easter weekend. We spent most of our time hanging around the house trying not to get puked on, so I didn't bother commemorating it on film. The kids never left the house, and they wore pajamas, not Easter outfits. But I found these great photos from a visit to Ohio last month, just sitting there on the computer waiting to be looked at. So go on. Look!

We spent Sunday afternoon in Kirkland with Grandma and Grandpa. We saw these amazing sculptures on display in the Visitors Center, and then enjoyed a little time in the sun.

And then it was back to Grandma and Grandpa's for story time.

It was one of those perfect days that ended too soon.

Isn't that right, Grace?

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Easter Weekend or Confessions from the Gut

We ran out of dog food on Saturday. It was a busy weekend with company and sick kids, and I didn't get over to the fancy store to buy the fancy dog food preferred by Malcom's delicate digestive system. So when Malcom was hungry Saturday evening I gave him some cooked white rice from the fridge. But then he was hungry again on Sunday, and I still hadn't been shopping. So he got half a leftover grilled pork chop. But this fuzz ball really burns the calories with all that sleeping he does, so last evening I treated him to leftovers from Saturday's breakfast: scrambled eggs with sausage. He enjoyed the indulgences at the time, but he's spent the morning running back and forth between the bed (where he lies, his uncomfortable sighs barely audible over his gurgling tummy) and the back yard (where he eats grass).

This dog's really got to learn when to say when.

Speaking of saying when, I made my Mom's famous orange rolls for Easter dinner on Sunday. For reasons I cannot possibly explain, the dough part of the recipe is written for a batch of 2 dozen rolls, but the glaze makes enough for 4 dozen rolls. It's no big deal, really, because there's no such thing as too much orange glaze. And most of the time you're cooking for a holiday crowd and you're better off doubling the dough for 4 dozen rolls anyway. (Do not think you can get by with just two-a-piece of these babies.) But the point is that every time I pull out the recipe to make it I'm forced to make a mathematical choice: do I half all the ingredients for the sauce section, or double the dough section? Our Easter crowd was small (5 adults, 2 sick kids), so I knew I didn't need 4 dozen deliciously sweet and fattening rolls. But I wanted to take Easter treats to some friends, and who wouldn't want fresh (possibly warm) sweet rolls? It's hardly any more trouble to make 4 dozen than 2, so it's a no brainer, right?

Right. Until Sunday afternoon/evening. When I started feeling poopy just like the kids, and knew I wasn't getting out to make deliveries. And Monday was out because I still felt poopy. Plus these rolls are really tastiest within the first 24 hours. And who's going to want baked goods from a house afflicted with all sorts of digestive maldies? Not you, that's who! (You're welcome.)

And so, none of the extra 3 dozen or so rolls made it out the door. I won't tell you where they did make it, but I will tell you there are only three (3!) left. And I will tell you that I will miss them when they're gone.

And now, I'm off to the back yard to eat some grass.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Viva pinata vs. smash and pound the candy asap

I'm addicted to an xbox game, and while this alone is a somewhat embarrassing thing for a guy to say who is smack dab in the middle of a 5 year medical residency training program (think of all the medical facts I could have memorized!), it's exponentially more embarrassing that the game is a simulation of gardening.  Gardening while collecting cute little animals.  Animals made of paper and stuffed with candy.

I wish I were making this up.

I do take some comfort from reviews I've read in which a general phenomenon has been noticed where otherwise hard core gamers who love to snipe, assassinate, strategize, and otherwise exhibit... erm... manly attributes, seem to also be taken by this game and wrapped up in setting up their garden to attract yet one more species of pinata.  So, I'm not alone in this.

I initially got the game for Sam for Christmas, and he really likes it too (when a grown man and his 4 year old son fight for the controller, you know you've got some serious family bonding going on).  We can play together in this game, but the person running the secondary controller really doesn't get to make any decisions... that person just gets to go around the garden doing the chores like planting and watering things.  The theory among the developers, I assume, was that a 4 year old child would feel great about helping out and participating in a game that otherwise his father could make a lot more interesting.  Poor poor fools.

Sam's turn goes something like this: he'll create a new garden and get really excited when the first resident, a worm, is attracted into his garden.  The requirement to have a worm come from the wild and move into your garden is that there is some dirt there.  This is not only achievable, but nearly impossible to unachieve, so most gamers would want to move past this point. But not Sam.  Sam wants nothing more than to attract as many worms into his garden as is humanly possible, keep them happy, make their garden as palatial and posh as possible, and keep anything else out.  

I've pondered why he's not particularly interested in the other hundred or so [more] interesting species, and I've got a theory.  There is some similarity between the worm (called a whirlm in the game because of its spinning and rolling through the garden... and which I thought was whirim because we don't have HDTV... which Boss won't let me get... because she's cruel) and a creature from a Backyardigans episode called a worman that Sam became enamored with shortly before we got the game.

My turn, on the other hand, is spent trying to sort out all the cool things you can do to get high level stuff to come to your garden, tricky ways to use garden items to make a cool design, and change the color and look of things to just... well, be impressive looking.  It's the designer in me, I guess.  And I do like gardens, after all.  And animals.   It is harder to go for that subtle look I want with my son constantly insisting that things would look a whole lot better if I'd just position a worm house prominently in the center.  Or better yet, sell the lot and get several worm houses.  We've come to an arrangement in which he interrupts my turn every time a new whirlm wanders into my garden to demand that I crate it up and send it to him.  Which I do.

A Dad's xbox vice is distinguished from a 4 year old's because I think it's kind of fun to track down and talk to the game developers online, find cheats that make me feel clever, and make him go to bed early so I can play the game longer.  :-)  Sam is better at enjoying the simplicity of caring for a few good worms with a carefully selected cohort of toys, and his satisfaction at navigating the whirlm's romance maze or attracting yet another plain orange pinata to his collection of 24, is quite an example of simplified contentment.

And really, I just like that we like some of the same stuff.