conuly: (Default)
Because once you start thinking this way you really can't stop:

Where do centaur babies get their milk from? One would assume the human breasts (human breasts, human faces, makes sense) but then... do they not have horse nipples as well?

Also, interesting fact: Male horses don't have nipples in the way male humans do. Would this carry over to the human part of the centaur as well?
conuly: (food)
But they say that by the time they get to lunch, the food's warm, not hot. No doubt warmer than it would be without the insulated jar, but....

I'm thinking that like a tea cozy would help keep them warm longer. What would be the best material to make such a thing out of? (Can't find anything on Etsy, and the company doesn't make any of its own.)
conuly: (cucumber)
I've been getting headaches for close to a year now. They aren't sinus headaches like I used to get a lot of as a teen. And I don't think they're migraines, like my mother and sister are/were prone to. (I remember my childhood as many, many weekends of one or both of them sick in bed with a migraine or a root canal. Bad teeth, too. I really lucked out when I didn't get either one of those in the genetic draw!)

They usually come on very fast and strong. One moment I'm fine, the next moment my head hurts. I've actually said "ow", which isn't something you usually say for lingering pain. They almost always are on one side of the head only, usually at the front. (Temple?) They don't last very long, only five or fifteen minutes (and some of them less even than that, only two or three minutes!), but I might get several of them in a short period, so I essentially have headaches for an hour or two, one after another with breaks in between. The later ones aren't as bad as the earlier ones. This may repeat for a few days, and then nothing for a while. It *may* be aggravated by chlorine (as it all seemed to improve when I stopped heading near the pool to supervise Ana changing before swimming), but it's definitely not a sure thing, as I've had them without being near a pool or bleach for weeks. (For example, last night.)

Dark and quiet may help, or it may not. Sleep definitely helps... but only if they come when I'm tired and sleepy already, otherwise I can't sleep to begin with. (And for all I know, it's just time that helps, and sleep gives me lots of that!)

It doesn't seem to me that anything precipitates them. I don't get a warning aura or anything, or if I do I don't know it. Although I do have my period now, I haven't noticed that they mostly come with my period.

Any ideas? They're (mostly) not that debilitating after the first few minutes, but they sure are annoying.

Edit: Also, they're probably not cluster headaches. Except for the fact that they cluster, I don't think I fit the symptoms at all, and they don't seem severe enough. Cluster headaches are supposed to be worse than childbirth, and while I don't know about childbirth, I doubt my headaches are that bad.

Okay...

Sep. 25th, 2011 07:56 pm
conuly: (brain)
Ana's school does Spanish once a week. I'm not impressed, but then, I didn't expect to be. Eva's class doesn't seem to do Spanish, but I'm not sure. Regardless, I doubt I'd be impressed with her elementary-level Spanish either. (Even in MIDDLE school, I passed first year Spanish three times. Every year they just made us retake the same exact curriculum, starting with hablo.)

Can't afford actual Spanish classes. I can at least read the language, very easy writing system there. I want a nice simple after-school textbook or program that we can do a few lessons a week and actually learn a little of the language. (Also, same as above but with French or any other language.)

Some of you homeschool! Help me! Shipping possibly no object, who knows?
conuly: (werewolf theothernight)
Do you guys (still) get nightmares?

Because it's the weirdest thing about my dreams. Last night, I had this dream about an evil house that a. tried to kill you and b. tried to split you up from any friends you had with you so you and your friends would kill each other and c. spit you out in the wrong time period when you left so you HAD to go back in to get home again.

And it wasn't a very scary dream at all, it was just interesting.

I don't generally have scary dreams that scare me.

But earlier this week I had a boring dream about I don't know what, it was so boring, and I woke up at 3 in the morning feeling incredibly uneasy and couldn't fall back asleep for half an hour because the dream was so upsetting. Even though nothing happened in it!

So I guess that earlier-this-week dream was a nightmare, because it sure scared me, but that doesn't make any sense at all, does it? Shouldn't nightmares seem scary when you think about them instead of being frankly about as interesting as watching paint dry?
conuly: (change history?)
What we're reading next, I have no clue. I'm welcoming suggestions! Something a little lighter where nobody dies of smallpox. (That's the part we just finished, with her little brother dying of smallpox. I didn't tell the nieces, but things don't cheer up until the end of the next chapter either.) I mean, this is a great book, don't get me wrong, but I like to alternate in all respects. Maybe we can read The Exiles or, I don't know, Dancing Shoes or something. (Huh. Where *is* my copy of Dancing Shoes?)

Question: What can I do with paperback books to make the cover last longer? Or to preserve covers that already show signs of wear and tear?

Also, I'm going to have to start another running list of chapter books to purchase. If anybody wants to contribute, let me know. I also need advice (and lots of it!) on graphic novels. For the love of god, do I ever!
conuly: (food)
Blueberry pancakes with blueberry syrup
Cooked apricots with yogurt and honey
Sausages

VERY tasty, and my pancakes came out PERFECTLY, every last one. Yay!

But now, here's a question Ana asked me and I couldn't quite answer. Why is it that when I bake (or cook in pancakes) blueberries they turn blueish-greenish, but when I make them into syrup they're all purple? Is it the baking powder or...?
conuly: (brain)
Honestly, I'm not sure any schools in the city do, they focus a lot on reading. (And come to think of it, I'm not sure they do enough science either, but that's another issue.)

So I've started going extra math with the nieces in the evening. Not much, but a few minutes here and there, that's my plan. Just as a supplement, right?

Yeah.

Ana goes "MORE math? REALLY?" and I know she needs to review basic math facts (I'm going to absolutely go through my Games with Math book and start doing one every day, she has got to get her addition and subtraction through 20 memorized, it'll make her life much easier) and sneaks books and changes the subject and generally tries to derail the whole process. (She also needs to work on freezing up when questions are initially hard looking or when she feels she has insufficient time, and on working out what to do with word problems.)

Evangeline goes "Can I do another? Can I do another?" and sneaks the workbooks away from me and does extra pages on her own time. She does stuff where, logically, she shouldn't know what to do because I haven't read the instructions - but she works it out anyway, automatically filling in the right letter to the box or whatnot. This is a girl who is just good at doing workbooks, who is just good at taking tests. It's not fair, you know? They're both more than smart enough, but Evangeline is going to be lucky through school if she continues being good at taking tests.

Of course, Evangeline is also reading now. Ana, of course, is into graphic novels. The other day we took car service (as we do every week) to the YMCA for swimming, and it was a blissful change from most weeks when they talk loudly, squabble, play "INVISIBLE PUNCHBUGGY NO HITBACKS!", fidget a lot, and generally test my patience. This week Ana took out two books, handed the first one in the series to her sister, took the second for herself, and they sat and read right up until I actually dragged Evangeline into the changing room. Evangeline mostly studied the pictures and sounded out a few words, but still - it was quiet! SO QUIET!

And since I'm being random, on the subject of changing rooms, is there a reason I'm the only one who insists my little kidlet change in and out of her own clothes? It's not like the people "helping" their kids are getting out of there any faster than I am. And am I wrong for thinking it's a bit absurd (I'd say daft, but it's not actually in my dialect and would sound weird if I did say it) that, in the girl's changing room, where Evangeline is the oldest child (boys can go in up until the age of six, but the other children in the room were all 4 and under), people are holding up towels for their kids to change behind, and shooing them back behind the towels? Isn't under six (under 4!) a bit young for that sort of affected modesty in a changing room? Am I weird for the fact that I don't object to Evangeline just, you know, changing her clothes in the normal way? (And when she's older and starts asking for that sort of modesty, isn't that what the separate changing areas in the women's locker room are for? That's certainly why Ana changes in there - she dislikes the chance of being in a room even with small boys to change, and she likes having a separate, closed-off stall to change in if she pleases.) For that matter, there are two (two!) closed-off single-stall bathrooms in the girl's changing room, and four shower stalls. If this level of modesty is really needed, wouldn't it make more sense to just appropriate one of them for a few minutes rather than do the whole "behind-the-towel" dance? It makes sense in a public area like the playground or the beach, but in the actual changing room?

I mean, it's not like I'm letting Evangeline run around the place naked, but for the brief moments between off with the bathing suit and on with the panties (let alone her actual clothing, by which point I really don't care), does it matter if she's, well, naked? In the changing room? AM I THE WEIRD ONE HERE?

(It may just be this group. LAST session we had swimming on Wednesdays, and though there was much "helping", nobody did the towel thing that I saw. THIS session we're on Tuesdays, different group of kids, and it was towels all over the place.)
conuly: (food)
Typically, when I want to make a vegetable a little softer, I steam it. I steam green beans, and broccoli, and the occasional carrots.

But when I want to make, say, mashed sweet potato... I boil it.

Should I be steaming my sweet potato as well to retain nutrients? How about my potatoes? (I mean, I recognize that's a bit silly with typical potatoes, but what if I have fancy purple ones?)

Obviously "steam your potatoes!" would be limited by the quantity of potatoes I intend to cook... but why do I boil them?

(Why do I ostensibly boil them, that is. Mostly I only ever do that for mashed potatoes, which invariably have a sweet potato or some carrots blended in.)
conuly: Discworld quote: "The new day is a great big fish!" (fish)
but getting into a groove and getting into a rut are two entirely different things?
conuly: Fuzzy picture of the Verrazano Bridge. Quote in Cursive Hebrew (bridge)
1. Is it okay to punchbuggy a. by proxy and b. over the phone?

2. I have a bread recipe that calls for some quantity of cooked rolled oats. I have rolled oats to use, so I will, but in the future could I substitute the same amount of cooked steel-cut oats since that's what I try to have on hand?

3. Should I have made this a poll?

4. Can I count?
conuly: Picture of a sad orange (from Sinfest). Quote: "I... I'm tasty!" (orange)
I know that you're not supposed to boil certain vegetables because they lose some of their vitamins to the water. You're supposed to steam them or cook them in some other way instead.

I often try to get rid of spare vegetables by adding them to something else. Carrots, for example - the nieces don't consistently like carrots (that is, when one does the other doesn't), but they're cheap and we always have them, so I'm always grating them up finely and adding them where they're relatively inconspicuous. This helps bulk out the meal slightly, makes it a little more nutritious, and I get to move some carrots out of the fridge! (You'd think I'd learn and stop buying carrots, but then I see a few pounds of them for a dollar in the dubious produce section, and even old carrots keep. The siren call of carrots cannot be resisted...!)

Now, I've recently started making spinach rice. It's a good way to use up spinach (you buy it, but it doesn't get used that fast!), and it's yummy. You cook the rice same way as always, but when it's almost done you toss spinach leaves and butter (or margarine) on top and let it cook a bit longer. And in the process, I discovered that if you add very finely grated carrots to the rice BEFORE you cook it, and stir it in, the rice turns a pretty orange color, but that's about all. I love it!

Except... do the vitamins go away or not? I know that some of them disappear into the water when boiled, but then the water gets absorbed by the rice, so...? Are the vitamins gone now, or are they part of the rice, or what? (My knowledge of nutrition is somewhat limited, admittedly.)
conuly: image of a rubber ducky - "Somewhere, somehow, a duck is watching you" (ducky predicate)
We were sitting around playing I Spy. Evangeline, on her turn, went with "I spy something WHITE", which turned out to be a mirror.

Ana: NO! A mirror isn't white!
Evangeline: Yes it IS!
Ana: NO IT IS NOT!
Evangeline: YES IT IS TOO!
Ana: A mirror is ALL colors!
Evangeline: IT IS WHITE!
Both of them: TELL HER!
Me: Uh... hey, so, I'm going on a trip and I'm bringing an apple! Ana, you're next!

But this leaves me with the lingering, unanswered question...

What the heck kinda color IS a mirror, anyway?

QUESTION:

Jun. 18th, 2010 02:29 pm
conuly: (Default)
The big bug had a bag.

The duck made a quick quack.

I stood and stared at his stuttering steed.

Kit-kat, ship-shape, hip hop. What's it called when you do that? I can't think of the term. I remember rhyming of course, and alliteration, but what's this again?

Edit: Thank you, [personal profile] steorra! It is apparently known as para-rhyme or double consonance. English certainly uses it enough for effect that I *knew* I couldn't be the first one to notice it and want a name!

Also, consonance of just the last consonant is called Half rhyme.
conuly: image of a rubber ducky - "Somewhere, somehow, a duck is watching you" (ducky predicate)
What's the name of that head-mirror thing that doctors don't wear? And why don't doctors wear them, and why do they wear them?
conuly: image of Elisa Mazda (Gargoyles) - "Watcher of the City" (watcher of the city)
And from that roof I get the biggest icicles. I'm sure we have icicles on all sides of our house, which I simply can't reach, but the ones I can get to from my window sometimes get as big as my arm or larger - I swear one year I had one bigger than Ana! But of course, she was smaller then.

I used to take these icicles for myself to lick and then throw out the window or keep in the freezer until summer (something which never works as well as you think), but now I give one each to the nieces. Oh, I know you're not supposed to eat snow anymore and all that, but they don't really eat that much of it before they get bored!

So the big icicles, in the corner by my window, are all gone. (We might get more again soon, it's been snowing off and on all day.) But the little ones I couldn't reach, at the far end, are still there. And it's so strange - they had started out going straight down, like you'd expect, but now that the snow on top has melted some and they're hanging on by a thread (one just popped off just now!) they're all leaning in at an angle, towards the porch. Maybe the base of the icicle wears away unevenly? But why on the side *away* from the sun, then?

???

Feb. 1st, 2010 11:36 pm
conuly: (Default)
First, thank you everybody for the well-wishing on my birthday :)

Second, I'm watching Psych. And they're visiting the Army base, and everybody is in fatigues and... why are the flags on their sleeves upside down? Are they supposed to look like that? Why?
conuly: (food)
1. The kids keep coming home from school cranky and yawning. They get to bed too late.

2. When Jenn and/or 'dul gets home, it's already pretty late, and that's when they start cooking dinner.

3. Bonne-maman eats too late.

4. I'm home all day.

These added up to...

5. I should just make dinner every night instead of twice a week.

Which is what I'm endeavoring to do - prep dinner during the day, heat it at dinnertime. Anybody have any simple meal ideas? They should NOT rely on dairy (some substitution is okay, but it adds up fast), and they SHOULD have a good amount of vegetables or fruit in them.

Today I made:

Black beans with corn, red pepper, garlic, and culantro (that's not a typo)
Kale with tomatoes and sweet chorizo (bonus, the sale gave me three ounces of the spicy type free, so I'll use it elsewhere)
Sweet plantains with lime juice
Rice

So you can see that I have a green veggie (the kale), a yellow/orange veggie (the corn, and the mangoes for dessert), a red veggie (the tomato and red pepper), some starch (brown rice and plantains) and, of course, some protein (black beans and the chorizo). So that's a pretty complete meal, and other than the fact that mangoes cost a dollar apiece right now and I don't like them it was all pretty inexpensive, though it'll be cheaper still if I plan my menu in advance for next week. That's why I'm asking for ideas! Ideas for sides or for main dishes (which do NOT need to be meat-based) are appreciated. No crock-pot, so nothing like that.
conuly: (gravity still_burning)
Oh, don't give me "earth's rotation" and "angle of the sun", I know that! But...

Look, I googled to find what time sunset was in NYC, found out that today it's 4:55. Sunrise was at 7:17 Okay, fine.

But in Anchorage it's sunrise at 9:52, but sunset only at 4:27. The sun rises two hours later there, but it only sets about thirty minutes earlier? I'd always assumed it was constant - if it rises an hour later, it sets an hour earlier, that sort of thing. And over in Honalulu the sun rose at 7:12 (barely earlier than here in NYC) but it doesn't set until 6:12. Maybe my problem is in viewing my own city as the default, and if I viewed these times as varying from the equator (or the North Pole) they'd make sense? I understand that summer and winter are more dramatic closer to the poles, and less dramatic close to the equator, but... like I said, I thought you took from both sides of noon more or less evenly wherever you were.
conuly: Quote from Veronica Mars - "Sometimes I'm even persnickety-ER" (persnickety)
(It's a short book! It's easy to read it several hundred times in rapid succession!) When Gerald first sneezes, he sniffs and rubs under his trunk, presumably wiping away his snot. But when he sneezes the THIRD time, his tissue goes all the way to the bottom of his trunk. OMG CONTINUITY ERROR!!!

Which all raises an interesting question. Do real elephants sneeze?

The answer is apparently yes. Incidentally, I love looking at pictures of elephant family groups, they resemble ours with older siblings and whatnot. I don't know of many animals that can do that.

Also? Videos of elephants painting. You don't see people teaching dolphins to paint!

QUICK!

Sep. 4th, 2009 09:41 pm
conuly: Picture taken on the SI Ferry - "the soul of a journey is liberty" (boat)
What's that song in the background? I had it running in my mind for AGES a few years back, but of course one can't identify a song easily if one doesn't know the words!
conuly: Quote from Veronica Mars - "Sometimes I'm even persnickety-ER" (persnickety)
Ana and Evangeline sometimes come out with gems of wholly inaccurate information. For example, in California they told us that they thought if water got in their ear they could go blind.

Me and my mom: No, honey, in fact, that's pretty much the stupidest thing that's ever been said, seriously.

Them: But Grandma said...!

See, now, there's the problem. If it should happen again (we found out after the fact that Grandma is also responsible for them thinking mice and raccoons go seeking out little girls to get sick, although how much of this is what she actually said and how much of this is small child hyperbole and blame-shifting, I don't know), what do we say? I mean, if we've already dismissed the idea as being completely asinine and without merit. If we know in advance where the idea came from we can say "sometimes grown-ups make mistakes, sweetie", but usually they don't pull out their credited source the first time we ask, only after we share our opinions on their little tidbit of false information. (I hate that. If I ask who told you, and you say you don't know, keep saying you don't know! Don't remember after we tell you you're wrong! NOT COOL. That's what happened when Ana's friend told her sex = grown-ups kissing in bed. It took me a month to track down where she heard this! Well, actually, that explanation of sex isn't that far off, but anyway.)

Hey, hey, LJ, what on earth should I say?
conuly: Quote from Veronica Mars - "Sometimes I'm even persnickety-ER" (persnickety)
Ana went to this program today. 45 minutes of trampoline and 45 minutes of rock climbing. AWESOME! She loved it, big grin on her face the WHOLE time.

Didn't nab a single picture, I'm sorry to say, but that's okay, I plan to go back.

Here's the thing. The group of 14 kids was divided approximately by age. Ana, of course, was in the younger group.

The older group did rock climbing first. I noticed as they did it that all the kids were up on the rock at once, on the part of the rock face that juts out a little and is somewhat more challenging.

When it was Ana's group's turn for the rock, because they were younger, they went in what I could see is the "easy" spot - straight up and down. Unfortunately, that spot (the corner) was small enough that only one kid could go up at a time (this after 15 minutes talking about safety, which was necessary, no argument). So Ana didn't get much climbing in... and as it was, she was getting up there (15 feet!) pretty fast. It wasn't difficult for her at all. (It never is, no type of climbing.)

I totally intend to go again (and get some pictures next time)! She had so much fun! But if they divide roughly by age again, I want her in the group that does more climbing. Watching her and the other kids I think she's ready for it (with the same level of help that the others had, of course), and I know she'd prefer to do more climbing instead of sitting down.

How does one go about requesting this without coming off like one of those people, though? You know, the ones who think their kids are sooooo special rules just don't apply? I don't think there is a hard-and-fast rule here, but I certainly don't want it to seem like I think my niece is just much too advanced, etc. etc. etc.
conuly: (Default)
He introduced me to [livejournal.com profile] we_swap_snacks and I'm so in my first snack swap.

I got matched with somebody in Saskatchewan. Which I apparently can't spell. Hold on. Spellcheck, I choose you!

Huh, there's an a in that word. Got it.

So, as I was saying, I got matched with a Canadian. I was hoping for somebody overseas, but I've never been to Canada, so that's all right.

Having never been to Our Neighbor to the North, I have no idea what sort of snacks are common there, so I'd love it if my Canadian friends can post about snacks they miss after visiting here, or things they've seen in the media but have never personally had. Also, I'm going to keep a running list once I get it started of things I'm buying to swap, so any critiques of "Man, that's ALL OVER THE PLACE" would be useful. I'd hate to embarrass myself sending something she can pick up down the block for a buck!

I'd also like to send some NYC-specific treats, and here I have the opposite problem. Having lived in this city pretty much my whole life, I have no idea what's NYC-specific! If it doesn't say I ♥ NY on it, how can I tell? (And I really am reluctant to buy tourist crap.) I may post in [livejournal.com profile] newyorkers for help picking NYC-specific snacks and convenience foods.

Any advice?

MY LIST! )
conuly: Quote from Veronica Mars - "Sometimes I'm even persnickety-ER" (persnickety)
1. The other day, I watched Evangeline carefully set out two cups and a bowl, fill the bowl by trekking back and forth to the bathroom with the cups, and then spend a happy half an hour scooping water back into the cups and pouring from one cup to the other.

Now, I know that this is a fine learning activity. It builds fine motor skills (and some life skills as well), it teaches an intuitive grasp of measurement and basic physics, you learn a lot by pouring water back and forth. And so I let her do it. (She cleaned up afterwards, another learning activity.)

But the question is - I know how useful this is for her development, but how the heck does she know it? Who told her? Children the world over enjoy pouring water from one cup to another, but who the heck tells them it's a good idea? HOW DO THEY KNOW THEY SHOULD DO THIS?

2. Evangeline and I talk about nutrition sometimes when we eat our lunch. I've tried to impress upon her the simple rule that we should eat a variety of colors in our daily diet. (Natural colors, thanks!) This is a rule that's easy for even very young children to grasp, and you can express it in a fairly poetic way, too.

I know that a variety of foods is good for my body. Does the same hold true for the compost? Like, if I compost a little bit of mango and a bit of eggshells and a bit of coffee grounds and a bit of wilted lettuce, is it going to make richer dirt (and therefore healthier, more nutritious fruits and vegetables) than if my compost is made primarily of, say, orange and banana peels?
conuly: (Default)
(And please feel free to spread the link to that entry around, I need help!)

...why not help me with something else and list me some fairy and folk tales. Not specific editions, per se (although if you have one that really rocks, that's awesome - and I'm openminded. If it merely seems like it could be traditional, such as The Apple-Pip Princess (black princess FTW!), or if it is based off of a traditional story, such as Bubba, The Cowboy Prince, I'm game), but just... stories themselves.

My nieces flatter me by saying I'm the best one to read books to them, they do, but I want to learn how to tell stories without having a book with me as well. And I also want to build up a supply of traditional stories in the bookcase, so I've got it both ways.

I suppose I could look up the Aarne-Thompson categories and mix and match to make up my own but... seriously, it's 1:44 here already. I don't know if this is an aspie thing or a me thing, but delving into an online (no mess!) pile of sorted and organized stories (and I've already told you all how I really like traditional stories and their variations as it is, oral tradition and how it changes is the underpinning of most of my interests)? I wouldn't get to bed until morning. TUESDAY morning, that is.

So, uh, no. Not today. (Maybe not ever. I know my limits. TVTropes is bad enough!)

No, no, no. A simple list of every fairy/folk tale our collective mind knows will suffice for now. I'm only going to list-list the traditional (old, that is) ones, but I'll keep recent books in mind if they're mentioned. Fables, too, those are good.

Read more... )
conuly: (Default)
About somebody wanting to replace her clover with grass "for her babies" (we all largely piled on to politely enough say that clover beats grass any day of the week) got me thinking - our huge patch of clover that went from the front to the side of the house is much smaller. The grass is taking over!

So I want to reseed the clover, naturally. And I thought I might put a few patches of other groundcover on the edges here and there, like creeping thyme and whatnot. Can anybody suggest other groundcovers that are attractive (look or smell or feel pretty) *and* that can stand being stepped on often? It's not so much a yard as a creeping path - one day I'll draw a diagram of our house and yard space.
conuly: (Default)
You saw Friday's ep, right? The horror movie one? Read more... )

So, anyway, neither of us watches horror movies much. Me especially. I appreciate the value in a good scare, but not the kind of good scare that will potentially give me nightmares. (Do you know how LONG it took me to finally get through House With a Clock in its Walls? Of course, I probably shouldn't've been reading it at midnight, alone in the attic....)

We know this episode was full of references to this and that, but we just don't know to what.

1. Generally, where is there a site where I can see all the various things Psych has referenced? It's a very referency show, there must be a site about this somewhere.

2. Specifically, that scene at the end, with the three of them standing and looking out at the lake? It's obvious that's something (especially with Juliet emphatically shushing Shawn as he ruins the moment), but what movie is it?
conuly: (Default)
Yeah... I kinda need the script of everything the moles say in Moleville, the optional stuff as well as the unavoidable stuff. Any chance you guys have it, or know where to get it?
conuly: (Default)
So, Ana's lips are ridiculously chapped.

[Poll #1327895]

And a very, very, VERY random question: Why do pimples on or behind the ear hurt more than pimples anywhere else? What's up with that?
conuly: (Default)
Yakko, Wakko, and Dot.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
Ed, Edd, and Eddy.
Up, up, and away!
Ego, superego, id.

I could go on like that all day. What is it called when you have three or more names or words in a list, and the first ones all are alike in some way but the last one is different? Like, the newest Sandra Boynton book, 15 animals, has a boy naming every animal in his house. They're all Bob except, naturally, the last one. There has to be a name for this!
conuly: (Default)
I know that some types of potatoes are good for baking, and some types of potatoes are good for boiling, and some are good for frying. Others are "all-purpose" potatoes, presumably good (or bad) at everything.

But... how do you know which is which? I mean, if I handed you a random potato, and you didn't know what variety it was, and maybe you'd just found out that there are more than three types of potatoes in this world... how would you know what to do with it without asking?
conuly: (Default)
(Not that I know how much she can really read, but I'm going off what she admits to.)

This means I want suggestions for books in two different categories:

1. Books without words, where the kid works out the story alone

2. Beginner books that are intended for early reading - I've heard of, say, Bob books, or republished Dick and Jane books, that's the sort of thing I mean. They don't have to be inspiring, they just have to be simple.

Any suggestions?

Oh, and I've added a lot of books to my various online catalogs, if you're interested in what the nieces already read.

I have more books in Amazon than the others because I also include books there that I don't actually own - ones we took out from the library or read at the bookstore, especially if we happened to decide *not* to get it and I know why. After all that effort I'm now slightly irked that so few people call my reviews helpful there. (Well. Not that much effort. I get lazy after the first two words!)
conuly: (Default)
The other day, when she met my uncle's girlfriend, she asked me a highly embarrassing question - "Why is her tummy so big?" and I tried to hush her up (while not simultaneously saying it's wrong to be fat, etc. etc. etc.)

Bit silly, the woman works with small children and anyway, I'm sure knows she's not overly skinny, but still, it was the only polite response I have for that sort of situation. (And advice is appreciated.)

At the time, I was thinking "Thank goodness she whispered", but now I wonder if she whispered on purpose (which still wasn't totally polite, since the woman was in the room with us, but at least it's an effort, right?)

Later that week, she asked me why the water here tastes "different". And I said that our water in NYC is some of the best in the world, and Bonne-maman isn't that lucky.

"Connie! That's not a polite way to say that, because you could hurt Bonne-maman's feelings! You should say "Sometimes things are different, and that's okay", because that's nice!"

Well. What do I say to that? (I said sorry, if you're curious.)
conuly: (Default)
I realized after I took a picture that it *can't* be plantago anything - the bottom of the leaves is right, the roots are right... but instead of the veins in the leaves going straight up and down, they kinda meander. Honestly, I don't know what I was thinking.

Read more... )

Honestly, I don't normally see big-leafed plants like that, and what I do see are carefully potted plants that are tended, you wouldn't think they're natural to our climate up here! But this year I see these everywhere, and in untended gardens, too.

Long-ass roots, as I said.

Edit: The nice people in [livejournal.com profile] gardening are saying it's burdock, which seems right. If you can say otherwise, though, do tell me.
conuly: (Default)
Which is apparently yogurt made from buttermilk. Not buttermilk, the cultured stuff you buy at the store which you can mock up with milk and vinegar; but buttermilk, the stuff that's left over after you make butter.

Which raises an interesting question in my mind. See, the nieces can't have dairy. They can, it seems, have goat milk. I've been experimenting with goat yogurt (they liked) and plain goat milk (they didn't like so much), and smoothies (mmmmm), and now I'm wondering... can I make butter from homogenized milk if I have no access to either unhomogenized goat milk or goat cream?
conuly: (Default)
The intrepid hero(es) wander off and do something that gets them "out of phase" with the rest of the universe. They can see and hear everybody, but nobody else can see or hear them. Maybe they're totally incorporeal, and maybe they can move things around.

But why doesn't it ever work the other way? Everybody else can see and hear them, but they're wandering around in a fog, only able to see the other things and/or people out of phase?
conuly: (Default)
Does the "squeek squeek" bats purportedly make ever sound more like "skiffle skiffle"? If not, what the heck was that flying above my head yesternight that was grey (probably - y'know, it was dark out) and looked bat-like and went, uh, skiffle skiffle as it flew?
conuly: (Default)
Read more... )

Incidentally, on a different episode - here's the thing. We, unlike the characters, can't have our Read more... ). We already know you're creepy! There's no need to stand still and make frowny faces at the cameras every five minutes! Just once would be more than enough. Really.
conuly: (Default)
(If you can't answer, I'll just have to crosspost, so save me from that!)

Ana tentatively agreed that she'd be more likely to try egg whites (no guarantee she'd actually enjoy them, but that's fair, I have my own odd aversion to pasta with non-shrimp seafood mixed in) if the egg was made into a cute shape.

Like with an egg mold.

Thing is, I hate peeling eggs. I never really get it right, and it's a pain and a half, and shell gets everywhere - ugh!

So I had a bright idea. At least, I think it was a bright idea. What if I used a poached egg instead of a hard boiled one? Would that work? I can't think of any reason why it wouldn't, other than the fact that the texture of the egg wouldn't be quite as smooth and shiny.

Edit: How about this one - what happens if you boil popcorn instead of frying it?
conuly: (Default)
Okay. So, let's say you're looking at your average pea plant. And, following the rules of genetics as set out by Mendel, we know that if it's got one recessive gene for a trait, and one dominant gene for that same trait, the dominant one is the one we'll see.

Now, I'll interrupt a second and say that bio was never my subject. Chem was easy, and physics was a blast, but I only got through bio (the third time. Time one was a flop, and time two... well, I passed the tests, but I still wasn't able to really do the work) by memorizing a bunch of facts that didn't make much sense to me. (They made more sense once I took chem, and more again when I took physics. We teach high school science backwards.) So you'll correct me if I say anything devastatingly wrong.

Now, as I understand it, your chromosomes themselves just consist of a small number of nucleotides. So what makes a specific combination of nucleotides say "make this pea green" or "this one's gonna be a yellow pea" or even (in the case of extreme manipulation or random mutation) "purple all the way"?

For that matter, how does a pretty small difference in DNA make me a human, and outside we've got daisies? Or even a huge difference, every little detail different, how does it work to make things? How does it make sense?

I never understood that point. I just threw it back up on the tests, whatever I needed to know (the second and third years. The first year was a loss completely), and I've forgotten a lot of it, since I didn't really learn it properly the first (three) time(s) around.
conuly: (Default)
JKR's flash-only site is nifty, even if it suffers the flaw of being flash-only.

So why on earth is her text-only site so... uh... ugly?
conuly: (Default)
I couldn't find the boughten play-doh, so we made our own. Scented it with a little bit of rose water. There's something viscerally good about seeing children playing with undyed play dough, and knowing that you did that yourself. It smells so... wholesome, it really does. Like the store bought kind, but moreso.

Play dough is really easy - just about two parts flour to one part water, and as much salt as you think it needs. I always have it too sticky like that, so I keep adding flour until it's right. Takes about five minutes of my life - less if I make the kids do it, and they think it's fun.

It's like cakes all over again. So many things we buy as a matter of course, we assume make our lives easier. And I guess they do, sorta - but it turns out that the homemade replacements aren't actually that difficult to make, or even that time-consuming.

I was reading a review on Amazon.com about a cookbook, and somebody commented that parts of it were "too time-consuming" because she's a mother of a pre-schooler, so she substitutes (this is her example) canned beans for dried. I didn't get it. From where I'm sitting, soaking the beans is the easiest part of cooking! Sure, it takes several hours, but you don't need to be there. You don't even need to be awake. Just put some water over the beans and go to bed, and by tomorrow they'll be ready to cook. They're healthier that way, and cheaper, too, and it's so easy. I suppose if you start cooking every day by looking in the fridge and seeing what you haven't run out of yet, it makes sense, but that costs more money and time to do, and stress as well.

I was inspired, after the play dough, to look up some recipes for glue, for paint. Why, it's easy to make glue, and not that hard to make paint that'll stand up to the needs of a very young child. (It's not like your very young child is Picasso and needs good quality art supplies just to make a mess on the table, right?)

I read just the other day an excerpt from an old cookbook, preaching frugality. It is the height of waste, I was told, to buy vinegar. One should buy some vinegar once, and then just keep topping it off with this and that - old cider, sour beer, whatever. It sounds so simple, but who makes their own vinegar now? Or stock - why do we buy stocks? What could be easier than dumping your vegetable garbage and bones in a pot and watching TV for a few hours?

Our garden last year was so simple, we didn't touch it, and we had fresh veggies all summer and into fall.

What else is there that's really just so easy to do, that people generally don't do? And why don't we? I appreciate that people don't know how, but why don't people know how, or think of it?

Edit: To be clear, since I don't think I was, I don't mean "This way is better than that way" except for tangible things - these things are easier than they're portrayed (even if they're not totally easy), and they do save money.

I mean, more along the lines of "Why don't people see these as options? Why don't they know these options exist?" It's one thing to know your choices and make an informed choice to do this or that because it's easier for you. It's totally different to make your choice because you think something is impossible for you when it's not, or to not even make your choice because you don't realize you have one.

So like, to be specific, planning meals in advance *is* cheaper. But if it can't work for you, or if it's not a priority, that's your business. This is me, totally not caring (except if you're my mom, in which case, I really wish you'd stop buying food that looks good now, but that never gets made and goes bad in the fridge or freezer) because it's not my concern at all.

*deep breath*

I'm running off now.
conuly: (Default)
All these predictions!

I understand why the sea level rising, say, 100 feet is horrible. I understand why less rain in various parts of the world is horrible. Changing weather? These things are concrete to me.

But then I keep reading that predictions say the world could warm one degree, three degrees, five degrees in the next century, and... I stop.

I grasp that these increases in temperature are what ultimately causes the rising sea level, the droughts. I get it.

But I don't get how what seems to be such a small increase in temperature can really be such a big deal. Three degrees? I doubt I even *feel* three degrees either way, even if we *are* using Celsius. Five? I'd barely register it. So how does it make such a big impact on the entire Earth? That, I don't understand.
conuly: (Default)
I've asked over in [livejournal.com profile] parenting101 and I've asked over in TBW and the answers that I've gotten have mostly been... less than helpful*.

Angelique has been asking (again!) about how the baby is made. She still thinks that we're cooked to become alive, and she presumably still thinks we're eaten, too. Which makes a certain kind of sense, and is why I no longer say that a baby is in a tummy. It's always "womb", and often even "womb, which is near the tummy, but not, because the tummy is for food, right?"

Last time she asked, I told Jenn, and we agreed on getting a book, and... nothing ever came of that.

So today, I want book recommendations. Books that treat the subject simply and plainly and honestly, and that will make sense to a fairly bright four year old, or even a not so bright four year old who thinks, or wants to think, that we're baked like cookies.

And please - unless you have a copy in English that I can buy, no links to scans of that German book that actually shows what goes on prior to conception and says that people have sex because it feels nice. While that's the sort of attitude I appreciate (though I'd of course run it by Jenn and 'dul first!), I don't want it in German. This child is still learning to read, after all!

*How do you politely clarify your request without also telling the person who gave you totally the wrong type of advice that their advice is the prime example of the sort of stuff you don't want to say? Somehow, this nice woman managed to hit all three points of things that I did not want! And she meant well, and it would be good advice if I was coming at it from the same direction she is. I felt bad.

Edit: I've now gotten better advice elsewhere, so with that advice and your advice here, I should be set. I hope.
conuly: (Default)
I remember this book I'd forgotten all about, and I lost my copy irrecoverably.

Read more... )

Edit: Thank you, [livejournal.com profile] sayga! Afternoon of the Elves.

Edit again: Another book request? I hate to leave my helper unhelped.
conuly: (Default)
Where can one buy a large container of unflavored soy yogurt?

Because, while eating my pumpkin tomato soup today (with sour cream on top for me, but not the kiddos, I'm afraid), I had the best idea ever!

I need to get some yogurt at once and proceed to make raita. Not Indian raita, but Tex-Mex raita, to take the place of sour cream. Take a minute to think how wonderful that would be. Mmmmmm....

But since the baby (this is her official name now - "I not Eva - I THE BABY!") can't have dairy and Angelique can't have dairy and Jenn can't have dairy and Elise and I probably shouldn't have all that cow's milk either, it's either soy yogurt or goat yogurt, and I suspect soy is going to be easier to find around here.

Any ideas?
conuly: (Default)
It was growing on our nearly-dead tree outside my window. I couldn't get a good picture of it, but the limb fell down recently (honestly, the best thing to do would be to chop down the whole tree now, but nobody listens when I say that) so I went up and took two pictures, one of the underside and one of the... uh... otherside.

The top )

The bottom )

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