Archive for June, 2010

I knew them when…

22 June 2010

Some graduates of the school where I teach made this video about the BP reaction to their spill.  It is very well done, but does contain some lyrics like b**ch, motherf**ker, and s**t, so it isn’t something you want to show your kid or play at top volume at work.  But it is funny!  If you like it, please pass on the link to people you know.

Growth

20 June 2010

Every day, the corn looks taller.  I find it amazing that growth happens like that.  In the afternoon, the corn looks taller than it did in the morning.  And yet, the dill is taller than the corn!

And, of course, taller than me.  I am hoping to get dill SEEDS soon, since the cucumbers are burgeoning.  My husband planted a smaller variety this year, much more suitable for dill spears.  They are about as long as my cell phone.

We’ve been eating them in salads, but there are about to be a lot of ripe ones all at once.  I’ll make bread-and-butter pickles first, since I am still waiting on dill seed…

200!

17 June 2010

Today I reached my 200th mile in training walks! Woooooooooooeeeeee!

I am celebrating by buying new walking shoes yet again. I have become dissatisfied with my wonderful Merrill trail walking shoes, which are just not quite wide enough for comfort on a long walk. The Etonics that I got at the Chester County Running Store are great, however, so I am ordering another pair of those, same size but the alternate color scheme so I can tell them apart, because I want to be sure not to wear the same pair two days in a row. I’ve heard that if you wear a pair of shoes only every OTHER day, they last twice as long!

(I had to say that. It makes me giggle. I heard it on NPR some number of years ago, said in all seriousness.)

Garden!

6 June 2010

Not MY garden, it’s ALL my husband’s dedication and hard work.  But I am still allowed to admire and eat it!  He’s been planning this garden since last summer, deciding where to put things and how to rearrange.  He planted the garlic last fall, and this spring he ripped out all the roses that weren’t doing well, leaving just the healthiest ones (except for one which is in the garlic field, but I expect that one won’t be sticking around long.

First, the front part is flowers.  These are mostly started from seeds except for the Marigolds.  There are zinnias behind the cosmos which are behind the lilies, but you can’t see them there.

There are also some salvia, if you look closely.  The cosmos are obviously not blooming yet, but there are flower buds!

Behind these flowers are the tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers, one “hill” of each.  We are hoping for fewer cucumbers than last year, and these are supposed to be smaller.  We already have tiny cucumbers growing, but the peppers and tomatoes have not blossomed yet.

Continuing back toward the house, we have a row of corn.  This is highly amusing to both of us!

Then we have the herbs.  The dill and the cilantro have already bolted, and the parsley is still about an inch high.  There is no sign of any basil.  There is a hopeful blank space in the row, however.  Here is a picture from before they bolted:

The tiny little patch of bright green to the right of the frilly dill is the parsley.  The rest is purslane, which we don’t grow on purpose but which is edible.

Next, there is a row of purple beans, climbing poles.

You can see the next two roses behind the beans.  On the other side of those roses is the garlic patch, which is also where I planted my radishes early in the spring.  They came out really nicely!   I just  tucked them in between the garlic stalks.

Behind the garlic field are a couple of rows of sugar snap peas, which are a great snack that my husband usually eats when he comes home from work, before coming into the house.

Today my husband suggested that we could get a good picture of the whole garden from above, by holding the camera out the window over the garage:

As you can see, my husband has been weeding!  He did a very good job.  I couldn’t get the snap peas into the photo, but you can see most of the rest of it.  I love having a husband who is interested in gardening, and a place for him to do it!

Parsing

4 June 2010

As part of my training for the 3-Day in October, in addition to doing lots of walking I am supposed to be cross-training.  In other words, doing some non-walking form of exercise.  I have re-started doing Dance Dance Revolution, which I have not done very much at all lately.  I prefer one of the older versions, DDR MAX2.

This version has what is called “Endless” mode, though it does end as soon as you fail a song.  What it does is play a prescribed sequence of songs in batches of 5, without much pause between songs.  In the usual game mode, you play a song and dance to it, then you get a grade/score, and then you choose another song yourself.  In Endless mode, there is no choosing.  That is done for you.  Today I made it all the way to song 25 before failing.  Why have I had trouble getting that far, when I used to be super-good at this?  Well, not as good at it as my husband, but pretty darn good at the level I was used to.

It’s all in reading the moving arrows fast enough to put your feet in the right place at the right time, and knowing the music well enough so that it is obvious to you when the right time is.  And the arrows can move pretty darned fast.  You need to have a neural connection that allows your feet to move to the correct location on the dance pad without having to parse it out in your mind first.

I have some connections like that in other situations.  Reading English, certainly.  And in the past few years I discovered that I have a connection like that for doing jigsaw puzzles.  When I am doing a jigsaw puzzle I feel as though I am not even thinking, my eyes see the puzzle piece and my hand puts it in the place it belongs.  Touch typing is like this too.  You know what words you want to come out onto the page or screen, and your fingers go to the right places to form those words.  You may even find that if you DO start thinking about it, you start hitting incorrect keys.

Anyway, I’m having difficulty with getting my groove back in DDR because I haven’t been keeping up the neural connection that lets my feet go to the right place at the right time, and I haven’t been listening to the songs to keep the rhythms in my mind.

I was thinking that I really want to get to this stage with the hiragana and katakana in Japanese. Every so often I play a little game on the computer to match the symbols to their sounds, and I can generally match all of them in under 2 minutes, but I still take what feels like forever to sound out a word.  I remember sounding out words when learning to read, as a child, but I don’t remember how long it took me to be able to just read.  This process feels agonizingly slow, and I need to get it done so I can start learning kanji (the more complicated symbols that are usually used in place of spelling out entire words.)  Meanwhile I plod my way along, kana by kana, through words that usually turn out to be something like “com-pyu-ta” (computer) and I feel both proud that I got it and sad that it is a word borrowed from English instead of a “real” Japanese word that I might know.  Oh well, the words I know are most likely to be written as kanji instead of hiragana or katakana anyway.

I gotta go back to those flash cards.  Maybe after a walk.