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Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I wanted to take a picture of the over-the-top rhinestone mouse I gave to my step-mother for the holidays. Then I saw the wine and tomatoes. Then I noticed some of the still life paintings hung on the walls. A few arrangements later and voila! Just call it my addition to the otherwise tasteful art in my parents' home.
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Monday, January 19, 2009

Toys, toys, toys

It's mid-January and I'm just getting to posting Xmas pictures. I guess I'm probably not the only one to have a long holiday recovery time.

We have a tradition in our house that many people seem to feel is cheating. We don't open presents on the 25th of December, we open presents on the first day that everyone's vacation has commenced. Why wait for a whole week before opening your presents? You could be spending that week enjoying the presents. Many presents we give and receive are sharing presents or games that we can all play together, so we even get more family time in. The main reason this tradition isn't cheating is that we aren't Christians and we try to be fairly practical. As such, it seems appropriate to celebrate the first day of our family holiday break.

I do like to take note of the solstice to bring back a little Halloween feeling. In a deep, warbling voice I announce solemnly to the children, "It is the darkest day of the year..." At first, they thought I was joking, then they thought I meant something supernatural. So, we had a little astronomy lesson to explain the joke. Jokes are always funnier when you carefully lecture the listener on all the important humorous elements.

Back to Xmas. We went to my folks house where my dad has steadfastly maintained the practice of giving toys. I love toys. I love giving toys. I love playing with toys. The only thing better than toys are in-joke toys. For instance, I've been getting my sister nose-themed gifts for three years running...

Theo got me a whole host of wonderful toys that I'm still happily playing with. The toy in this post though, is a toy my dad received -- a ping pong ball floater with which to practice your nerf shooting skills. Jasmine adored it and spent quite a bit of time perfecting the art of getting all five balls floating. (The main difficulty was her long pony tails or the sleeve of her sweater knocking the balls out of the air.) She giggled like mad every time she had all floating at once. She has the same taste as my Dad for shiny, colorful objects and toys that are slightly absurd or surprising. Actually, I think the rest of the family will also have to admit to the magpie-like predilections.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Driving into the Sunset

It's not a macro. If anything, a sky like this makes you feel like a micro. There have been some incredible sunsets around here lately. We saw this particular one as we headed down to Albuquerque for the holidays.
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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

My Sister's Eye

I know, there are two pictures of eyes, but it's the same eye.

I think her eyes are yellow with green rims. Most people tell me I'm nuts and that her eyes are green.
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Robotic New Year

The new year brings such hopes of hitherto unknown productivity.

I'll call 2009 a success: We've done Boxing Day and voluntarily donated some toys for the first time ever. Well, the boys donated some of their toys; I haven't quite managed to separate myself from my collection. We've also done a family, multi-hundred piece puzzle and nearly finished two gear/circuit board/gear box type robots. If anything else productive happens this year, I'll call it icing.

This picture shows the current state of Rowan's robot. We should have it finished this week. Its motion is programmable via a black and white, two-ringed disk. I can't wait; Rowan isn't quite as impatient and likes playing with the gears and experimenting with the various ratios. We should have it finished this week.

Kai's neon purple, wheeled robot is totally completed and merrily running into walls, then reversing and turning to run into another wall. If it hears a shrill-voiced child scream, "STOP! STOP! STOP! STOP! STOP!" it will also change direction. I bet you can imagine, with sympathetic pain and very little effort, the happy and barely-tolerated decibel spikes puncturing our frontal lobes.

We try to remember that the screaming is the result of an educational activity. That lasts about two minutes, then we reach for the remote and speed dial the Cartoon Network.
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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Dumping the Paint

Lately, I've had the rottenest luck with photography. Well, I guess it's not so much luck.

I haven't been carrying my camera around everywhere, which means of course, that I see the most amazing things. I wonder if I see them specifically because I don't have my camera. If I had my camera, I'd probably be bemoaning the fact that I can't see something to take pictures of.

I do need to make more photo time. I've been squeezing in a little more.

The ones below were taken while I was cleaning up Jasmine's watercolor painting extravaganza. Since it was at home, I did have the camera. Yea!

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