Wednesday, April 30, 2008

This is just for Chelle, and the 'possum under her house

If he's looking for something to read, 'possums prefer Spider magazine.
And you thought I was kidding.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Guilt trip from a toddler

This morning I woke up to a fight. Scott had left to take Zaven and Caly to school and he'd left Zoe and Quinn playing and watching TV in the living room. It only takes about a half hour to drop them off and drive back home, and he knew I'd been up with the baby late last night, so he just let me sleep and let them play. Since our bedroom is right beside the living room, there's no way you can sleep through it if something goes wrong. So I woke up to both of them screaming at the top of their lungs. I knew from the sound of the scream it was hurt feelings, not injuries, so I wasn't in a panic. I went to the baby gate and Quinn was across the room. He was crying hard and when he heard me, he ran across the room and slammed into the gate I was standing behind. He hit hard and bounced off of it so hard he fell on his butt. And then he was so mad and hurt and offended that he wouldn't let me pick him up. I reached for him and he just screamed harder and swatted at my hands.

I finally just wrestled him into a hug and sang to him 'til he forgave me. But the sad thing was, I felt so guilty. I hadn't done anything wrong. I was just standing behind a gate, trying to gather my wits to figure out how to open it (I am NOT a morning person.) But from his point of view, he ran to his mom for help and she shoved him and knocked him down.

Zoe told me Quinn was mad because she hit him. I asked why she hit him and she said he kept turning the TV on and off over and over so she hit him, but he should say he's sorry because when she hit him, he hit her back.

I think maybe she's figured out how to tranfer her guilt over to me. Clearly she has none and I have too much.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The tulips by my mailbox

An afternoon at the new library in Somerset

These are from the newly built library in Somerset, KY, where Grandma and Nana and Papa all live. The entire upstairs is a children's library, and they built it with a train theme, complete with tracks on the floor and ride-on engines to match. The engines weren't out the day I took these pictures, but there were so many other books and games and toys that the kids hardly noticed.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The loudest child on the planet

Zoe is loud. Not just a little loud, either. She is incredibly, amazingly, deafeningly loud.

Tonight, Scott and I needed to run to Lowes to get some stuff for the bathroom. Quinn was asleep, it was almost Zoe's bedtime, everyone had eaten, and things seemed reasonably calm. So we decided to let Zaven and Caly babysit while we ran our errand. And this is what happened.

Zoe got loud. Loud enough that they told her if she was going to scream that loud she'd have to do it on the porch. Now this is pretty much the rule in our house. Yell if you want, but do it on the porch. We're an eighth of a mile from our closest neighbor so it's not that big of a deal. So she went on the porch and yelled and hollered and screamed. Then one of the neighbors in the subdivision an eighth of a mile away yelled back. So she yelled. So he yelled. Back and forth.

Then she yelled one time and he didn't yell back.
So she yelled, "CAN YOU HEAR ME?"
...and he yelled, "NO!"
Then she yelled, "CAN YOU HEAR ME?"
...and he yelled, "NOT QUITE!"

By the time we'd got home all the kids except Quinn had conversed with him and they'd made plans to do it again tomorrow night. I, however, am going back to Lowes to see if they've got a cone of silence.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

M-7 and M-8

This is M-7, Ptolomy's Cluster. It's called that because Ptolomy described it in 130 A.D. He called it a nebula, but with a telescope you can see that it is made of stars. Nebulas also have dust and gases. They look like smudged sky.

This is a nebula. Well, actually it's a nebula and a star cluster, too. There's an It's M-8, the Lagoon Nebula. It is visible to the naked eye... but it doesn't look like this. It just looks like a grey smudge. And in time lapse photos, it looks red. But Hubble makes some pretty pictures, and these two shots of it are beautiful. The colors are produced by using special filters on the image to show different gases as different colors.

This picture is also of M-8, and it shows how the gases are twisting and mixing. See how right where it's brightest, there are those shapes that look just like tornados? Those are tornados. Well, space tornados. That sounds really silly doesn't it? What's going on in the picture is that some areas of the nebula are hotter than others. The outsides of the clouds (where the light hits it) gets hot. The shaded interior stays cool. The difference in temperature means the same thing in outer space that it does on Earth. The gases shift around. So there's a wind. And tornados. Space tornados. And you thought this was gonna be boring!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Just so I remember

Zoe thinks that the singular of "clothes" is "a cloe". She also thinks that when I say "a knife" I'm saying "an ife". She'll sometimes tell me she wants "the blue ife".

Quinn says thank you now, but he pronounces it "gan-ku", and he growls it out like a Klingon. He seems to think it's what you say to threaten the person who might take your banana back. And he sings all the time. I'm thinking he'll be a Pip when he grows up.

Caly asked me if this summer she and I could go on a shopping spree and spend $100 on toys. She is feeling a bit abandoned by Zaven going to Upward Bound for two months, and she wanted to do something really special. I told her we might, I would have to see how much money we had. Today she told me that if we did it, she wants to buy Zoe a fancy princess tricycle. The trike is about $30. She wants to spend a third of her spree money on her sister. I hope I never forget that.

And Zaven will sit with the baby in his lap and sing and sing. He sings the Beatles and Warren Zevon and Jimmy Buffet. Yesterday he was singing Margaritaville and Caly noticed he'd changed the refrain. "Some people say that there's a sis-ter to blame... but I know, it's all Momma's fault."

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Taxing Effort

My taxes are done. I am at peace with the world.

This year, our taxes were more complicated. Scott had started a business in 2007, so there were oodles of receipts to go through. And it was an educational experience. In the process of preparing our return, I learned a little bit about our federal government, and a bit more about the way my husband's brain works.

And what facts did I uncover for your consideration?
  1. Jack of All Trades is not a federally accepted job description.
  2. Deodorant is not a business expense. Even if you need it.
  3. You can have a business and not know it. And when you do, Turbo Tax will say, "Congratulations! You have a business!"
  4. Buying it at Ace hardware does not automatically make something deductable. Especially if that something is a candy bar and a coke.
  5. Quicken is a brand of financial software. The Quickening is from Highlander. There's a difference.
  6. If your job is to salvage scrap metal, and to repair and/or re-sell cars... you cannot deduct a single cantaloupe.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Malice of Afterthought

Caly was accusing Zaven of something the other day. I don't remember what... but I do remember that she accused him of doing it on purpose. I chimed in to agree, mostly to tease him, and said, "You did do it! And with malice of forethought!"

To which he replied, "Actually, it was an afterthought."

I guess malice of afterthought is when you didn't mean to hurt someone, but when you realized that you accidentally had your reaction was, "Oh yeah! Now THAT'S what I'm talkin' about!"

It reminds me of the story of Wiggle, the Cannibal Pig, but that's a tale for another night.

Friday, April 4, 2008


Quinn is a sweetie. That's all there is to it. He loves people and animals and hugs and bananas. Now it may not sound as though bananas belong in that category, but if he's not just starving when you give it to him, he'll sit in his high chair and hold the banana and talk to it and smile at it and visit with it before he eats it. Of course, if he's hungry, he just bites its head off.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Bad hair day... or good, depending on your definition

Zoe and Caly at Caly's birthday party last year.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

M-4 again

Since all those star cluster pictures tend to look alike, I thought I'd check the Hubble Telescope website and see if there were some prettier ones to look at. I found a neat one of M-4 that I had seen before but forgotten about. It's a close up of one section of the cluster, and if you look close you'll see a green circle a little more than halfway up on the right edge of the picture. The first thing I thought when I first saw this picture several years ago was Wow, that green circle thingy doesn't even look natural. No, it's not a natural green circle in the middle of space. (Insert mental image of me blushing.) In reality, that circle was put there by a computer to mark a particular star on the picture. The star is a pulsar (I'll explain that some other time) and the reason they marked it was because it's orbited by the oldest planet known.

This is an even tighter close up of the same picture, just so you can see there's something in the circle.