nwhiker: (Default)
... Which is French for this and that.

♥ We're redoing the railing on our deck. Because the moron builders built it using framing lumber, and on an ipe deck, with the plan being to have a glass railing, posts and top rails in ugly, knotty (and not in a pretty way) splintery framing lumber is not ok. I'm pissed, though. One things we had told the builders? That we did NOT want to be left with loads of projects. We were left with loads of projects.

♥ I spent almost 6 hours yesterday plating seeds in the laminar flow hood. I started out properly with good posture and with good technique. By the time I was doing the last few plates? Ha ha ha ha.... I was half sprawled on the bench, my elbow leaning all over the place etc. I just hope I don't get any contamination. I expect I will. I think I ever remember which plates I did last so I can check if those get icky. It was exhausting, and I probably should have spaced it out over a few days, my mistake. Again. Because I've done this before.

♥ I'm not even going to comment on Trump. I can't.

♥ I'm re-reading The Martian Chronicles. I last read it as a teenager... I hope it isn't too dated. I'm concerned in large part because Larry Niven and Roger Zelazny left me shuddering in horror at rereads, and I did love much of Bradbury. There really needs to be a good website with "OLD SF TO AVOID". Anyhow.

♥ I just read a trilogy and I can't recommend it, the books were The Queen of the Tearling, The Invasion of the Tearling, and The Fate of the Tearling. Book1 and 2 were pretty good, with some problems, but nothing unsurmountable and book 3 started out ok. Until the last two chapters, when she pretty much ruined the whole thing in a completely unredeemable manner. Here's what I wrote on goodreads:


To give an idea... I gave 5 and 4 stars to the two previous books of this trilogy. Up to the last few chapters, this one would have gotten a solid 4 stars. It kinda went out to the weeds from time to time, but it was still a pretty good book, and looked to be wrapping most of the storyline up.

And then, blam. The ending was a WTF moment of total mess, a ridiculous clown nose added to a perfectly fine bottle of wine. That sounds weird, right? Well, so were the last few chapters.

I don't know what to say. I'd love to recommend the series, but the feeling of being let down by the author is quite overwhelming.


I hate it when that happens. A lot less investment in this series than HP so it pissed me off less than Deathly Hallows and its Christian crud. Still, disappointing.

♥ School is ok. It's taking a long time. I changed research project early last July, so it hasn't been a year yet, and plants take a while to grow. That's the hard part. A long while, from seed to collecting seed to a new plant. Ah well.

♥ I also wrote a review on Flavor, by Bob Holmes. It's on my goodreads account. I'd love a few extra friends... If anyone reading here isn't already my friend on goodreads, of course.

♥ I am so tired of my kids being lazy bums and ignoring me. This is getting to be a serious problem.

♥ I am sending Linnea to rowing camp with Perry this summer. Most camps, the rare ones that take over 12 year olds, are one week, rowing camp is three times a week for about 6 weeks. Much better. I'm getting a bit tired of the sit in front of a computer or the TV thing. Because of her trip to Scotland/Ireland, she'll miss the first few days of camp, I might see if Perry's coach (who is running the camp) is willing/able to give her an hour of private instruction, or can tell us who at the club might. Not that I'm ever expecting Linnea to become a rower (though I think she'd make a great coxswain), but I want her to get out and do some stuff this summer.

♥ Annoying thing. When we buy milk at Costco, two gallons, I use a sharpie to write 1 or 2 on the top before one or both go out to the fridge outside. When milk #2 comes in, it's time to think about buying more. Well, someone brought in milk #2 before milk #1 and I bought more. Grrr.

♥ Also about fridges. Our new one is less than two years old. It's already having a hard time maintaining temp. Even set at 1C, it barely keeps food in the safe zone (at 4C according to my fridge thermometer) and at times has been up to 8-10C, meaning everything had to be moved out etc. We're currently watching and waiting, but I think an extended warranty claim for a repair is going to have to be made and I'm very annoyed. Major appliances should not fail in less than two years.

♥ I'm boring boring boring. Ugh.
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The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson.

This one has been on my to-read for a while. I'd of course heard about John Snow, and knew the story of the Broad Street pump, but the book came highly recommended and I hoped it would have further insights into epidemiology, a fave subject of mine. Unfortunately, not.

8/9ths of the book was pretty good and on-topic. The hagiography of cities and city dwellers at the end was less than awesome, especially in the parts were it was not related to epidemic and disease. That all felt like a moralistic finger wagging, barely redeemed by the subsequent commentary on potential terrorism in cities etc.

The first part of the book, the part dealing the actual cholera epidemic, was good. Less detailed in even the basic science than I'd hoped, but an engaging interesting read.

I had hoped that there would be more emphasis on epidemics and how they spread through human populations, but the author choose instead to spend a lot of time describing the miasma theory of disease.

Overall, the book was good, but lightweight. A good read on wikipedia and following some links on their sources would have given the same information, without some of the more annoying parts.

So a tepid "yeah, if you have nothing else" from me.


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You should've asked by French comic artist Emma.

I count myself lucky. I've been a stay at home mom most of my kids' lives, and dh considered that doing <i>that</i> was my job. Not cooking and cleaning or doing all the shopping, and he's really one of the better ones at the division of tasks.

I still do have to ask. I'm still the one, even as the kids have gotten older, who remembers The Things.

It was strangely clear when AC was in the hospital last year: we were very clearly both there and involved etc, and both knew her medical history, but I'm the one who kept track of stuff as she was getting sicker and sicker: what meds she'd had when, names of doctors we saw, the fact that various vaccinations had been done. Sill stuff, but it's always on me.

Part of it, I'm sure, was being the stay at home mother. But not all. Even as I commute to grad school 90 minutes each way, I'm often the one who is the keeper of the schedule, the details, the menus etc. I delegate, which is fine, but dh does not take the initiative. I hate that, but since he's SO great in some many other ways, eh, I live with it.

Again, I'm very clearly trying not to complain. But I do see it, and I know it's a real issue the author is discussing. I'd like to say I hope things get better for the next generation, but I already see AC mothering her disgusting boyfriend (which just grosses me out, I've NEVER mothered any guy, and he treats her like she's his little sweetie and UGH, WTF?) and Perry wouldn't notice if a sink needed to be wiped down or a pile of laundry that needed to be folded to save his life. UGH. Parenting fail. (Actually, I'm not sure AC notices household tasks, but at least she listens when asked to do them, and does them 90% rather than 50% like Perry.) Yeah, parenting fail.

Linnea... hard to tell yet, I don't have as good a sense of her as a supposedly able to contribute to the household without being repeatedly asked person as I do her older siblings.

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Oooops, I did it again! :P Nothing serious, just continuing with the tradition of hosting a big to-do at the end of the crew season.

Recently, after YEARS of covetting one, dh bought a smoker. And he's been itching for an opportunity to feed people lots of meat.

So we're doing a BBQ. No idea how many people, but lots.

Current menu is pulled pork, ribs, grilled chicken sausages, vegetarian baked beans, and mac and cheese.

I'm hoping people will volunteer to bring various salads and desserts, but just in case, I will have Perry make a few things for dessert.

Should be fun.
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Dh and I are in lovely Vancouver Washington (yeah, nsm on the lovely) for regionals. Perry is rowing his single on Friday morning, and in a double on Saturday.

When I get home I'll try to link last year's experience. Perry placed second in the lightweight singles category, a category that is not a nationals qualifier. It was great to see him do well, but after he won his heat and was headed to the final, and I looked at everyone's time and clued in that he had a chance to place? All of a sudden.. NSM on fun time and hello stress.

This time is even worse.

I suspect that Perry suspects, but the open secret is that he might just be good enough to place here at regionals, and thus make it to nationals. I'm not looking at times -do NOT want to know- but his coach has great hopes. Obviously, he'd need good water, a good day, and some luck, in addition to all the training he's done, but the pressure is on.

Because the word among the parents is that this is the biggest race of Perry's life so far, and it could determine where he goes to college and a few other incidentals like that.

And I hope he knows that we'll be proud of him no matter what he does.

But I desperately don't want him to be disappointed in himself.

Hence the knot of dread that has been growing in my stomach for the past several weeks, since the coach told us there might be a chance for Perry to place.
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This is well worth the 19 minutes to watch it.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/xuCn8ux2gbs" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
nwhiker: (Linnea)
Two Linnea things, that made me cry. I love that girl.

The Bad Mother

CRAP CRAP CRAP. I FAIL.

Linnea has the fucking state mandated testing. She HATES it, and we've discussed opting her out (remember, dyslexia, dyscalculia...) but she does insist on doing it, though she gets to work in a room with only a few others students, thank goodness, to minimize distractions.
On Sunday -three whole days ago- she asked me if I could make her a good breakfast this morning (ie an "egg McMuffin".) I said sure, made sure we had English muffins.....

.... and this morning, I totally 100% forgot. She didn't remind me, just told me as she was going out the door that she had testing this morning. I'm not even 100% sure she ate breakfast.

Gah. I feel like a horrible parent. I wish she'd said something.

The reason this kills me? She is SO good about remembering things about others. If one of us mentions a test or something we're nervous about, she remembers to ask how things went, she remembers to follow up on events we've mentioned. And I forgot the damn testing. (Note that the school used to send an email the night before to remind parents of high stakes testing, but I guess they're no longer doing that.)

Ugh.

In an attempt to expiate my guilt, I went to Starbucks and bought her gift card, and wrote her a note apologizing, and, at the suggestion of a friend, adding how I felt extra bad because of how thoughtful she always is.

Wednesday was a warm day, the first time the temps had gone to 70F since last October. I think I was forgiven, or at least that she enjoyed the fruits of my guilt.



It was a dark and stormy afternoon.....

This both made me laugh and kinda cry a bit too. We've had some pretty bad thunderstorms yesterday afternoon/through the night. Lots of lightening and thunder, which is not usual for the PNW. Linnea is terrified of storms.

So yesterday she got off the school bus into a thunder and lightening storm, and had to walk 1.5 miles home (it was the late bus, she'd stayed for homework help, and they only make a few stops, that's the closest). She got home, soaking wet to find.... the back door unlocked, AND the door between the laundry room and the rest of the house open. It usually stays closed, for various reasons. She was terrified to go inside, tried to call me, I was in lab working, but I guess dh whom she called next helped her out, calmed her down, and she went over to some of the neighbours who went into the house with her to make sure someone had not broken in (very low prob, but this is Linnea, anxiety child of my three, and she knew we'd left a few windows cracked yesterday because it was hot.).

Anyhow, all was well, and she proceeded with her afternoon more happily. Anne-Chloe had been home between uni and coaching, and not bothered locking up or closing doors behind her. When dh and I got home a couple of hours later, we found a dish with a pat of butter on the counter, near the cat's curl up box on the counter. Huh? Later Linnea explained. She's been SO sure she was going to come inside to ransacked house and a "murdered cat" (her words) and she was so grateful that BamBam was fine that she decided to give him a celebratory pat of butter. He loves butter.

nwhiker: (Default)
The feeling that dominates my world right now is the pure, burning hatred I feel for the GOP after their passage of the AHCA.

I wish them death, after unrelenting pain. And I'd spit in their faces.

I cannot even fathom the cruelty of these people. I'd say they are animals, but most animals treat their basic grouping better.

Pure evil, pure unmitigated evil.
nwhiker: (Default)
I'm annoyed.

We can't bring any food or drink into lab, so typically, there are tables in front of all the lab rooms, instructional or research, with water bottles, food, cups etc.

Today my pretty purple Hydroflask was stolen from in front of the lab. :( They're expensive (mine was about $30), but they're pretty well represented in the plethora in front of the labs, so it's not like nobody leaves expensive bottles, ya know? I don't know why mine was chosen for theft today, but I'm upset.

It's replaceable. I'm very lucky, but the product is still available, I can go to REI and get a new one, in the same colour even, and, while annoying, the $30 loss isn't going to kill me.

Here is what is getting to me.

There was a very slight defect in the powder coating, about the size of a grain of sand, but it was perfectly positioned to where if my index finger was on it, everything was in perfect drinking alignment. I never had to check to make sure that I wasn't going to spill tea down my front, my finger already had the answer. I'll miss that.

That said... I am planning on bringing it into lab with me from now on. I'll step outside to drink, but I'll find a spot to put it somewhere inside by the door, though there isn't any obvious place. I hope my PI will be ok with this, AND, more importantly, we don't get busted by the safety patrol. Or maybe I just have to live without getting up for a few sips of tea when I have a moment, and instead head back downstairs to my office for more breaks. We'll see. Blah.
nwhiker: (Default)
My family. So. John Scalzi, a favourite author of all of ours, is in Seattle for a book signing tonight. We all planned on going, it was on everyone's calendar. Then one of Linnea's bffs invited her to a family dinner for her birthday. -1. Then AC ended up with an exam at 8am tomorrow morning, so her study group is cramming. -2. Then Dh figured out that the Board Meeting that was rescheduled from last week (they couldn't get their quorum) was rescheduled for... tonight. -3. So it was just going to be Perry and me. And last night Perry mentions that tonight is the major college admission event as his school. WHAT?!!?!!! Turns our all of the invites had come from a service the school hasn't used in the past for events, and went straight to spam. I had no idea. So. 0. None of us are going to see John Scalzi and I'm sad. :P
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At times, my goodreads feed cracks me up. I've just moved two books from "Read" to "Currently Reading". I really should figure out a way to tag re-reads systematically.

Oh. And I recently started a mystery series about a Roman doctor... yeah, set in those Roman times. It's not my usual genres, but the first book was pretty good, and I'll read at least a few more. I picked up the first book of the series, Medicus by Ruth Downie, on CD, purely by chance, and decided to give it a try because of the reader. Simon Vance just flat out rocks as a reader, he's awesome.
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Almost three years ago, a friend, a woman I met on a pregnancy list I joined while pregnant with Anne-Chloe died of metastatic breast cancer.

Today, her husband, widower I guess, died of glioblastoma.

Two children are left parentless. The older one is 19, like Anne-Chloe.

And on another online community, a funny, vibrant, wonderful woman is in hospice, metastatic colon cancer. She's only 42.

I just... can't. Can't even express how sad this all makes me. Yes, I know it's part of life, people dying, but dying too young, or too many close together people just seems so profoundly wrong.

And so I am angry. I express, as is conventional, my sadness, in public, but silently, I rage.
nwhiker: (Default)
Ugh.

I apparently forgot to register for classes the quarter, and of course it's past all deadlines, and I have to go beg someone. I hope. I'm just horrified at myself.

I was sure I'd registered, and what's more registered EARLY. I got the overrides I needed from the dept secretary, and I remember finding the codes for the classes. I mean, I know what computer I was at and everything. I have to think that I forgot to click some final confirmation or something.

I'm just taking thesis credits right now and one seminar like class, so it's not like I'd noticed that I wasn't added to Canvas or something.

What's sad is that I only noticed when we got the notice that Anne-Chloe's tuition is due and I thought "Did I pay mine!?"
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Abhorsen by Garth Nix.

Cutting for spoilers )

All in all, one of the best trilogies ever written. And now I may decide to read the other Old Kingdom books as well. I hadn't. Because of the Event.
nwhiker: (Default)
Any ideas? I see them mainly in "institutional" plantings, but I find them totally awesome. Especially when they're in the shade and glow an almost bio-harzard green.


Green plants with green flowers in front of a building


ETA. Apparently some variety of spurge/euphorbia, I should be able to go from there.

This is kinda funny, though. I did an image search on bing. First photo to come up as a very similar plant, but the website was in Japanese so no help there. None of the other top ones looked like it, so I tried a google search.

Google came to this awesomely idiotic conclusion: Best guess for this image: flower. 

No duh, you pos.

I checked the images on bing again, and the fourth one was he same plant, but a slightly different angle so I'd not recognized it at first. But that led me to the correct answer.
 
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I'm a total bitch. I don' t quite know why, but upper middle class people "crowd funding" their kids' expensive summer camps rubs me the wrong way.

It's happening right now in a community I belong to, and it's gross.



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To give an idea of how life is going right now?

In the past week, dh, me, or both of us have had Ramen for dinner three times.

But at least we've reached some level of civilization: we toss the packets of seasoning and add a spoonful of Better Than Bouillon chicken stock base.
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Dh passed out after I got him home, post-wisdom tooth removal.

Anne-Chloe did too.

Today I'm 3 for 3. I took Perry in to get an ingrown toe nail dealt with... He was a bit shaky during much of the procedure, turning slightly green with the toe nail was nipped out.

He was sitting up afterwards, and not looking good. Then I noticed his lips were turning white, and whiter, and his skin was getting pale. He asked the doctor for a bag because he thought he had to throw up, the doctor left, two seconds later, Perry was out. Guy came back, got the chair inclined back and he came to VERY quickly. I only got a bit panicky, calling out "Perry. Perry. Stay awake. Answer me. Perry."

So yeah. He's fine. He was only out for a few seconds, but he was so freaking pale and his lips were completely white.

I am NOT taking any of my children or my spouse to any type of outpatient procedure by myself ever fucking again.

I feel like crying.

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Good news or bad news? It's really hard to tell.

AC is planning on declaring her major this fall (she's getting an extension so she can take a class this summer, because she's been a junior on classes completed for a while, and they want her to declare, but her major only accepts in the fall). She's planning on majoring in microbiology (and anthropology, with a minor in public health). Micro, up to this point, is a non-competitive major, just need a certain GPA.

But what should appear this week? The Center for World University's rankings.

And UW's micro department is rated 3 in the world.

I hope it doesn't prevent her from getting in. She's concerned as well. She meets the requirements already so if they don't change them, she should be good!
nwhiker: (Default)
It kinda blows my mind that at the end of the 8 years of Trump's two terms (yes, he will be re-elected), we will probably have a 7-2 conservative majority in the Supreme Court.

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