nwhiker: (Default)
One more of those bulk posts with all sorts of stuff in it, because I am basically the proverbial chicken with my head cut off running all over the place trying to figure something out.

MS degree: plate seeds, wait two weeks, plant seedlings in dirt, wait two weeks, extract DNA from seedlings, test is via PCR. If some show the trait you want, rejoice, mark them... And wait weeks and weeks and weeks for seeds to be ready to harvest. Harvest. Plate seeds, wait...... I'm at this point more or less on track for focusing on writing and wrapping up lab work during fall quarter and defending next winter. Since I started this particular project last July (ie two quarters late), I'm not unhappy with my progress. Just waiting for grass to grow.....

Perry: he went to a regatta last Saturday, did really well, and had a good time. It was a small regatta, with a points trophy that his school won, because they entered 7 races, with four kids, and won 6 of them. Perry raced 4 times, won 3. The race they didn't win was a pair, ie sweeping, and just two boys. That's a difficult configuration and not one they practice, the coach entered them just to see, since it was a low stakes small (free!) regatta.

I almost hesitate to say this out loud, but we threw his name in the Goblet of Fire for an entry to the Head of the Charles in Boston in October. Think New York Marathon for rowing, as to the prestige/size/etc of the event. We'll see. Fingers crossed.

And, in a miracle I'm not sure is real, because I can't believe it: SAT and ACT testing, three, four if he gets Boston regattas this fall.... and not a single conflict. I'm shocked. Shocked.

In a failed attempt to slow Perry down and give him a better workout by adding drag, Perry's coach gave him a rope and a buoy haul behind his boat. Linnea named the buoy Simon. Perry is not pleased, but too bad, Simon it is. Linnea and I threatened to add ears, whiskers, and eyes to Simon and Perry complained that he didn't want a furry as a buoy.

Linnea is doing rowing summer camp with Perry and his crewmates. She's... both doing great and having a hard time. She's so funny, she's got a total girl crush on the coach (not hard, coach is awesome). Anyhow, she's learning, and doing as well as can be expected, but is very hard on herself. Perry is being surprisingly kind, as are all the kids in the program, which is less surprising.

Did I mention that her trip to Scotland and Ireland was a total 100% spectacular success? She had a blast. I can't WAIT to see photos, she won't show us any until she shows us the official slide show she's made.... but we've not had time to plan a full evening with the whole family to do that.

AC is doing great. Did I mention she scored an internship at Fred Hutch? I'm so jealous. The class she's taking (which catches her up in the biology track from the quarter she missed because of the brain abcess).

I'm annoyed because I always buy avocados at Trader Joe's and they always ripen in a day or so, sometimes two. I have had this four pack for 4 days and they could still be used to load canons.

Have to contact the breeder again for an update on the cats that were pregnant. This process has not gone well, to say the least, I'm a bit annoyed. I said from the very start that my only thing was no tuxedos, and no girlies with a dark face. I just can't. Especially black girl cats. I miss my sweet old lady so much, and I just can't.... Anyhow, all the kitties she's offered us have been... tortie girls with dark faces. Nope. Anyhow. Gotta ping her again to see.

Dh, Linnea, and I are headed camping this weekend, out by the ocean. Got a crazy awesome campsite about 3 weeks ago, which is just unheard of, I expect it was a cancellation. Alas, Anne-Chloe has school and work Monday morning, so she can't come, and Perry didn't want to, and since it wasn't a family trip anyhow, we're letting him stay home. Linnea is upset, I'm a bit sad for her. It just figures that the one child who deeply cares about having her family around her etc is the youngest who will get the least of that, ya know?

OK. I have to shut up and get to bed.
nwhiker: (Default)
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.

nwhiker: (Cottage Lake)
I'm home. AC would like to be home, but is stuck at the hospital for at least a few more days. Note that if AC were at home, she would likely be sleeping in my bed, so I'm selfishly glad she isn't. I slept in her nasty hospital bed last night, and my back still hurts. I don't normally have back problems.

Anyhow, I'm home, dh is doing the overnight shift. He spent most of the day at Perry's regatta, then came with MIL to the hospital, MIL got to see AC (and kept on telling us how awful she looked. Yeah, no, NSM. Awful was Tuesday, and most of Wednesday, with her mouth open one eye swollen shut, fever, barely responsive, and whimpering in pain each time the morphine wore off. Today she's really looking A LOT better), and then I drove MIL home.

I mentioned that if the regular instructor was running the class I'd probably go to spin, and that I'd be back at the hospital by late morning, and that dh would have to deal solo with a few of the doctor visits. Note that I've dealt with them by myself every morning so far because dh was holding down the home front, and that dh is a well educated very competent man, who except for mornings, has been with AC and me this whole time. He knows. Yes, I'll admit, I'm probably a bit better at a few things in dealing with this whole information dump, and yes, I have better (it's not great, but it's better than his) ability to recognise people and sort them into the "teams", but dh is great at processing information once it has been pared down a bit, and asking pertinent questions. (*)

MIL suggested that I get back in early, because dh has a "male brain" and wouldn't be able to cope.

ARGH. What the fuck?

And dealing with "a daughter, who is not a child any more". So? I mean, really?

And yes, I know he's tired. So am I. We're both doing our best. I'm confident dh can handle spending one night and one morning the hospital with our daughter without my support. Jesus. Talk about selling the male of the species short on this one! :P

(*) I think we make a damn good team. I can take the information dump, sort and prioritize, and then pass the relevant facts along to dh, who has a knack for seeing THE question that needs to be asked.
nwhiker: (Cottage Lake)
It's not the time of night that's important, it's the quality of the silence. When the room is dark and the only sound the low hmmmm of HVAC and the fridge condenser, and Anne-Chloe's breathing.

I hear her breathe. Regular and strong.

And yet, how frighteningly precarious.

Because we don't know.

It's her, her immune system, and the antibiotics, against the bacteria. And in too many cases, the bacteria win. For whatever reason. An overlooked pocket, a reservoir. An immune system that just can't keep up...

And that is profoundly frightening.

Because my child may die. And there isn't a damn fucking thing I can do about it.

Oh, we're not near there yet. But we could be. And the superstitious part of me wonders how I can even write these words, admit that this horror may come to pass. If I say it, I made it real. I turn it from an impossibility to something that has been brought into the world, an echo in my mind of Ged summoning his monster into Earthsea.

I'm terrified beyond words, the words I am not finding to properly encapsulate the black hole of fear that is at the core of my being. It is always there. And it is the realest part of me.

Tomorrow, more imaging. That will tell us if the headaches are... well, what? She still has them. The news, either way, is not going to be good, it's going to be bad (return to the ER for more sinus clearing), worse (need to go into through the eyelid to the brain cavity to attempt to clear it out, or worst (abscess growing, neurosurgery is going to need to go in, saws and all). As each scenario is thought through, it adds horror to that hole. And each time I ask her how she is feeling and she says her head hurts, a little more substance is sucked into that black hole, each time she rates her pain, each time she requests morphine, each time, each time.

I bend over and I kiss her forehead and the thought ricochets through my brain, "what if she never comes home?" I hand her her water, and think of Linnea sobbing last night that she wanted us to come home, she wanted her whole family back home with her.

How can I live, how can I exist, in a world in which that is a possibility?

Here, I am trying to voice these fears. In real life, I never do. I suspect, but we can't talk about it, that dh feels as I do, but that he too is afraid that saying it will make it real. So we give each other love and comfort, but not raw honesty, we say "I'm scared" but never "I'm scared she's going to die." But I think that fear is now part of both of us.

Externally we laugh, we joke, we talk to doctors, we pretend normalcy. Inside, nothing is normal. Because our child is seriously ill and terror is our essence.
nwhiker: (heart)
A link to the flickr set of photos of our trip to the Enchantments.

New and Improved! 25 Best of the Enchantments 2014. The best, or whatever photos from the trip. A bit less overwhelming!

And this link should get you a trip report

I'm linking in this photo, and I have to find a way to add some more tags to it. Because when I went looking for photos of the Enchantments, every single person I saw was thin. There were young people and older people, but they were all thin. I guess I want people who look like me to see the photo and realise that they aren't alone. Because I was freaking out and felt absolutely ridiculous, I mean, the though that a fat person could haul their fat ass up to the Enchantments? Ridiculous.

WP_20140813_13_18_31_Pro

Also, Perry and I were standing on a sloped slab of granite! He is NOT NOT NOT that much taller than me!

This trip was my birthday present to myself, and I'm so very thrilled about how things worked out. It was spectacular.
nwhiker: (heart)
Over a decade ago, when my brother was living with us, before Perry was born... ok, fine. In the late 90s, my brother saw a small article in our local rag. It was about the Northwest Railway Museum. We'd been there many a time, and dh, ever a train fan, loved the place. The article? Was a call for volunteers. Come learn to drive the train. Hello, says dh, you mean I could volunteer to do that?

And away he went. He was on a fast track to engineer, that spouse of mine. AC and I went to visit quite a few times, as he spent weekend days on train crew.

AC loved the place too. Perry was born, and we continued to go and... well, all three of the kids spent many hours on the train, or at the museum, or just hanging out.

A few years ago, when AC needed volunteer hours for school, she started volunteering out there. At first, she just did decorating for Santa train, then she started helping out at the cookie bakes for Santa train big time, earning herself a second-in-command position, and learning to bake on a coal fired stove, which I think it pretty cool.

She's 15, and can't officially be on train crew until she's 16, but they they only give the Rules Test once a year, so she took it today.

And passed. She can start training to be grounds person (helps with switching) and car attendant as soon as she turns 16, and she's planning on it!

Today she leaned to couple and uncouple cars. OK. And a few others things she said she'd tell me about later.

I wonder if I still have the hat somewhere?

on_engine
nwhiker: (Default)
Take 29, and the Rube Goldberg project worked.

It took some serious last minute changes, a steady hand on the dominoes and more patience than I thought Perry had.

Phew!

Tomorrow, we'll edit to get it into some format she needs (description of the project and the transfers of energy etc).

[eta] We have better video from the camera, but for some reason I decided to record that try, and got some of it.

nwhiker: (Default)
AC has a major research paper due Friday. She's submitted two drafts, the paper is looking good, and I pity her poor teacher, since she's submitting a 3rd draft tomorrow. Last paper she got a 97: highest in the grade, and she intends to repeat that.

Anyhow.

Just overheard this:

AC: "My essay is too long, and I want to add something and I don't have the words for it."

Dh: "I'll give you some advice a friend of maman's gave her. Delete any words ending in ly."

AC: "But that's half my essay!"

Perry: "What do you mean words ending in ly?"

AC: "Really, basically, stuff like that!"

Perry: "But how can you get enough words without them?"

[livejournal.com profile] cassandra7, they may not like it, but they're learning! Thank you.


Another moment of AC brag: she got a 98 in her Outdoors Ed class: highest grade he gives, and he only gives 'em every few years or so. She did good.
nwhiker: (Default)
So I've whined about my kids and carbs before.

Namely, as a group, they don't like rice, pasta, potatoes, gnocci, polenta, or couscous (which I know is a pasta).

AC claims not to like rice "unless it's cooked in a rice cooker" or fat is added and it's a long process to make, ie risotto.

However, I can usually get rice or bread on the table without too much whining.

BTW, they're not too fond of meat or veggies either.

They do eat, mostly, the carbs I serve. Potatoes, unless roasted in olive oil or fried (which I never do at home and is a rare treat out), aren't well liked. Pasta is tolerated, some shapes better than others. They do all like bread. Perry detests polenta, AC refused gnocci. Linnea, for all, it depends on the day.

So, basically, we eat a lot of rice.

A lot of rice.

At least two or three times a week, closer to three. And since there are usually rice leftovers, again on leftover night.

Dh is sick of rice, and of complaints about everything else, and has decreed a no rice week next week. Hee.

The kids are already protesting. They're each putting in their "no this!" and "no that!" requests. Someone is going to be unhappy every night next week.

My challenge is going to be coming up with a week of meals without rice! I've gotten so used to it as a starch, and it's so easy, that I find myself thinking things like 'chicken vindaloo with... oh wait, not. OK, what about jambalaya, no, rice, what about...' Heh. It will probably end up being a much more boring and bland week than usual.
nwhiker: (Default)
I've complained before about the history/language arts/math/science projects that are really art projects.

I hate those. Because dh and I don't have an artistic bone in our bodies, and neither do AC or Perry. Invariably those projects ended up in tears.

Perry had Yet Another One this week.

The text of the assignment is below the cut )

So Perry found some mosaic application online that he thought would allow him to make a digital mosaic... we allowed him to go ahead and work at it... only it didn't quite work as he thought it was going to, and by Tuesday evening he was in a bit of a panic.

Dh, Perry, and I talked about it. His second choice was to build an aqueduct.

Humm...

The ideas were flung, fast and furious, and we made some salt dough. Dh and Perry prototyped an arch, it worked fine, we made loads and loads of little salt dough blocks, some of them even coloured.

Photos of the process, including my grubby oven )

Yesterday, we started construction in earnest... only to find out that carefully planned arch prototype without anything used for mortar is one thing, but multiples thereof? Something else. Something else rather dire.

Re-group. Re-think. Re-plan.

A mosaic.

Remember this sweet image of Linnea's? What, you guys don't? But I posted it just a few days ago! :P
IMAG1020.jpg

Well, inspiring himself strongly from Linnea's drawing of the Pont du Gard, using the salt dough blocks, keystones carefully cut out, btw, and glass nuggets for water and reflections? This is what Perry came up with:

IMAG1030

The rice was my idea, though Perry and dh actually applied it. The yarn was also my idea, and dh did most of that. We probably could have let him do it solo, but it was getting late, and since he did the meat of the assignment himself, I don't feel too bad about that.

It doesn't quite answer the assignment, since it's neither fish nor fowl, but it was fun to do, Perry did learn a lot about arches and aqueducts, and we had a good time.

But I hate art projects.

The teacher apparently said it was a nice job. Or something to that effect. Perry doesn't really remember.
nwhiker: (Default)
[Loads of bad language]

Teenagers who refuse to listen, think they can do more than they should, and are planning on going backpacking in a week.

ARGH!

And who get pissy -majorly pissy- and defensive when you question their plans.

UGH!

Deep breath.

She's supposed to lead a Middle School trip, as part of her Outdoors Ed class. I get that. I understand that this one supposedly is only a 0.5 mile walk on gravel. But I don't know that. And hiking is specifically excluded from the current status plan. So I'm not too happy about this. I'm not too happy that the trip is half way across the state. And involves climbing. Yeah, she's only supposed to be spotting the Middle Schoolers who'll be climbing, but still. I worry that the promises that "someone" will carry her gear won't materialise, and that she'll end up hauling her gear down the trail.

And she's being quite uncooperative about everything.

My feeling is that we should pack our gear and go there too. We can stay away -mostly- but be there for the walking portions: not because she needs help, but because our presence will help her walk responsibly. I realise that isn't going to happen, to be honest, but the thought is tempting: hiking down on the Columbia Gorge sounds like a plan to me.

Dh wants to call the surgeon's office. AC is needless to say against that because she knows they'll nix it sight unseen.

One idea is to email the instructor and make sure he's aware of AC's limitations. When I told her that, for example, he needed to be very clear on the fact that she'd not be able to help evacuate someone who got hurt, she screamed at me that that is the whole point of being a trip leader. Yeah, I get it. However, I said, she can't carry a stretcher. To which she screamed again that yes, of course she could. Um. No.

Other idea is to meet with the instructor, dh, AC, and I. She insists on being there because she's positive we'll tell him "stupid things". This is the child who told her teachers that she was allowed out of the boot to play soccer when she broke her foot. I want the instructor to understand that the brace? Needs to stay freaking on no matter how much she wails.

Anyhow, stress and loud voices at my house tonight. Tears were shed too, but mostly by me.
nwhiker: (Default)
Went to dh's work campus today for an Event put on by the health insurance/benefits people. Sports clinics (boring!), cooking demos by major chefs (didn't bother), food -supposedly healthy, but, ummm... NOT- and a 5k.

We really went for the 5k.

Which we did. AC hung around the Event while we walked around campus among A Whole Bunch of Other People.

There are going to be some photos, so cutting.... )
nwhiker: (Default)
I am SO proud of my spindly legged little boyo! He biked 40 miles on roads today, and did incredibly well!

This is going to be long... )
nwhiker: (Default)
I'm late on this one! Leftover night was moved from Monday night, our usual, to Saturday. No particular reason for Saturday, btw. Maybe it'll be Sunday. We'll see.

For the record, I used one of my stew bricks for the beef stew, and I was planning on starting it before we left in the morning, but forgot. Was able to send dh, who went home to pick up crutches and a few other things, instructions for getting it on via text: And put on dinner. Take one stew brick from outside freezer and one quart beef broth, either pantry or downstairs. In crockpot on high. Confirm, ok? Thx and love. Heh.




Monday: Sticky rice in bamboo leaves, green beans


Tuesday: AC surgery: beef stew in crockpot


Wednesday: Gnocchi with tomato sauce and broccoli


Thursday: Muffuletta and green bean salad


Friday: Grilled chicken with roasted potatoes and green beans


Saturday: Leftovers night


Sunday: Chicken vindaloo with curried cauliflower and saffron rice.
nwhiker: (Default)
Dh said, "You are so not blogging this, are you?"

Wrong.

Damn straight I am!

(Ok, so I'm ghost-writing on this one ... - Dh)

So. Perry has a project in math to author a page for a math textbook to teach the concept of decimal multiplication. The page needs to contain text, visuals, numeric examples, and, of course, a couple of the dreaded WORD PROBLEMS. Perry still sometimes finds solving word problems challenging, much less writing them. Still, he puts in his best effort ... completely independently I might add... and proudly shows it to me and requests my feedback. The problem, in its entirety, is worded thus:

"A man has a 9.25cm pole. He needs 4 times more to complete the project he is working on. How many cm of pole does the man need?"

(Now that you are ready to continue reading after picking yourself up off the floor - your giggling fit having calmed down to periodic snickers...)

He is a year younger than most of his 6th grade classmates. So of course he didn't see any potential issues at all... Alas, without any explanation, and trying to speak with as straight a voice as possible while suppressing a grin that nearly brought tears to my eyes, I managed to suggest to him to change "man" to "plumber" and "pole" to "pipe" so that he could present it in front of his teacher and class if necessary.

Still the temptation to let his teacher see the original version ... (snicker)
nwhiker: (Default)
There are many lakes called Blue Lake. I've been to two of them already in WA state, iirc, and this was the third, and... OMG. It is actually really blue!

Seriously, this was perhaps the hike with the best ease-to-reward ratio we've ever been on.

And camping was wonderful. Chilly, but so nice to be out.

Blue Lake
Distance: 4.4 miles
Elevation gain: 1050 ft

Cut because there will be photos.... )
nwhiker: (Default)
One more photo I must share.

HR090

That is just so Linnea. Middle of nowhere, just hiked over four miles, still has four to get back, there is a beautiful view... and she still finds the whatever-it-takes to strike a pose.

That kid isn't like the rest of us. Which is probably why she amuses us to no end.

Still, poses or not, she's a strong hiker, and I'm so freaking proud of her.


Other funny thing. On the tricky bit of trail, dh followed Linnea very closely. Now normally, we don't follow the kids too close because if we fall, they're at risk. The other thing we never do, and have never done, is hold hands, we've always let them walk on their own, so they could learn their own balance etc. On Saturday, dh was very close to Linnea and he said later that he felt like one of those guardian angel figurines, hovering right above her. He was ready to grab if need be.
nwhiker: (Default)
One more photo I must share.

HR090

That is just so Linnea. Middle of nowhere, just hiked over four miles, still has four to get back, there is a beautiful view... and she still finds the whatever-it-takes to strike a pose.

That kid isn't like the rest of us. Which is probably why she amuses us to no end.

Still, poses or not, she's a strong hiker, and I'm so freaking proud of her.


Other funny thing. On the tricky bit of trail, dh followed Linnea very closely. Now normally, we don't follow the kids too close because if we fall, they're at risk. The other thing we never do, and have never done, is hold hands, we've always let them walk on their own, so they could learn their own balance etc. On Saturday, dh was very close to Linnea and he said later that he felt like one of those guardian angel figurines, hovering right above her. He was ready to grab if need be.
nwhiker: (Default)
Harry's Ridge trail, in the Mt St Helen's National Monument.

Hike stats: 8.5 miles, nominal elevation gain 200ft. In other words... the end point was 200ft higher than the start point. That's net change. However, from the standpoint of boots on ground? Try closer to 1000ft, probably more.

Nutshell: one of the most fabulous hikes I've ever been on.

HR006

Cut for photos and more hike blather. )
nwhiker: (Default)
Harry's Ridge trail, in the Mt St Helen's National Monument.

Hike stats: 8.5 miles, nominal elevation gain 200ft. In other words... the end point was 200ft higher than the start point. That's net change. However, from the standpoint of boots on ground? Try closer to 1000ft, probably more.

Nutshell: one of the most fabulous hikes I've ever been on.

HR006

Cut for photos and more hike blather. )

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