Monday, August 27, 2012

The Saga of the Oatmeal

I've mentioned before, I know, that Jupiter eats oatmeal for breakfast in the morning.
Every morning.
Exactly the same.
Ha**aford Natures Choice Organic Maple and Brown Sugar.
With milk on top.  (apparently milk in CT is different than milk in Maine, because on vacation she refused the oatmeal on the grounds that the milk was different).

I suspect that over the past 6 years Jupiter has consumed more of this particular oatmeal than any other living being.

Maybe I should actually put the store name in this post; and they could send me a bunch of the $2 Natures Place coupons.  Boy, do I get excited when I see those anywhere.

Last week Mimi called me and asked if I had anymore of the oatmeal packets because she was all out and the store in our town was out of stock. I had one last box in my cupboard; and on Friday went to the store in the town where I work to get some more. 

They were all out too.

I started calling friends to have them check their local H Supermarkets.  No dice.

Yesterday I posted on the H Supermarket Fcebk page to ask them if they were planning to get this oatmeal in stock anytime soon as it is the only thing my daughter will eat for breakfast and I can't substitue for brand or flavor.  I did not post that my daughter is 8 years old, and for the love of heaven, school starts this week and this is NOT THE TIME TO MESS WITH HER ROUTINE.  We NEED this oatmeal!!! We have anxiety and eczema and attitude already; messing with the breakfast is just a guarantee for disaster. I did post that if they could find me a store anywhere in Southern Maine that had the product in their inventory, I would happily drive there to get it.

I had to email my sister from work today to have her see if H Supermarket responded to my post.

The reply indicated that one of the Portland stores had some in stock.  It also indicated that Jupiter has excellent taste in breakfast foods. If they only knew.

(After she answered me, my sister went out to check the H Supermarket in her town.  None.)

I called Mimi since they were out and about; having fun before the first day of school (countdown: 12 hours).

Mimi got the last box in the Portland store. Mimi made them call the stock people to check the back room in case they had more. All the H Supermarket people think we're crazy people now.

Supposedly they're supposed to get more tomorrow.  I'm not hopeful.  But if you're the Natures Place Supplier and you're reading this:  Please send more oatmeal to Maine.  Fast.

I wonder if I started mixing the oatmeal packets together gradually like you're supposed to do with cat food when you switch brands, if that would work. 

Special thanks to everyone who particpated in the great oatmeal search of August, 2012!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

NYC 2012

So we went to New York for two days.  Well, technically we went to a hotel in southern Connecticut and took the Metro North train into the city two days in a row. Which works if you're from Maine and buying train tickets and riding trains is part of the educational value novelty of being on vacation. And just outside of New Haven is as close to New York City as you care to drive, thank you very much.
Jupiter wanted to go to the American Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  She prefers to experience her learning; and not just read about it.  Hard to say no to that interest; even if I had to get the washing machine repaired the same week.

I can see why people want to live in New York.  There's SO MUCH.  But I get overloaded after about a day and a half.  Or possibly just exhausted; hard to say which. 

Day one we were supposed to go to both museums.  We arrived at Grand Central Station (which requires a couple few hours of its own to properly experience; apart from arriving and departing) midmorning and grabbed the Times Square subway shuttle to get to a different uptown subway train.  We weren't sure which train to take and the subway guy in the booth didn't have a subway map.  Really?  The transit cop looked it up on his Iphone though.  Then we went down to the platform and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited.  No train.  So finally we decided to cut our losses and started walking.  I figured it wasn't that far to Central Park; and then walking from the park would be fun; if hot.

The bike rental people on the edge of the park are in your face aggressive.  But once we get in the park it's pleasant.  We get to the museum just after noon.  It's mobbed.  I suspect it always is.  We looked at some of the animal and prehistoric exhibits.  There are no mummies (Jupiter was hoping to see one).  We get hungry and have to break for lunch at the cafeteria at the museum.  I am horrified that I have to pay $21 for two slices of pizza, two juice pouches, and lousy parfaits.

By then it's almost 3pm and we decide to go to the Art Museum the next day because it's open late on Fridays; so we will have more time to spend there.  I've heard it's really big. So we try to find our way out of the museum; get lost; and land in the solar system and earthquake exhibits for awhile before we find our way out.  So instead of heading accross the park to the art museum; we head south through the park because Lina also wants to go to FAO Schwarz.  She's 8 years old; she wants to go buy candy.  We also get a creative art sketch diary for Jupiter; Matroyshka measuring cups for me, and an NYC Memory game.  On the way back to Grand Central; we stop at the American Girl doll store so Jupiter can buy an outfit for her American Girl Target Our Generation Doll ( far as I know; she still thinks they're real AG dolls.  Since she colored the hair of one of them green and purple; it's a good thing they're not real).  Then we have to eat at Grand Central Station; which is marginally less expensive than the meal at the museum.

We ride the CIA train back to CT.  It was really a metro north train; but was the silent train that never announced the destination or any of the stations it stopped at; much less the next station it would stop at.  I was therefore obligated to ask other passengers where we were when the train stopped at our station; because the train also stopped way at the end of the platform where there was no sinage.  We made it off the train; all was well.

Friday we went back and started the day by walking over to the UN.  You  may not bring beverages into the UN complex.  Then we rode the subway downtown to ride the Staten Island Ferry and take advantage of a free cruise past the Statue of Liberty.  Then Jupiter wanted to take the bus back uptown; so we had to get new MetroCards (at the subway station; because we couldn't get them at the bus kiosk); then run the metro cards through the machine at the bus kiosk to get a receipt to be presented upon demand to the bus police.  Which happened about halfway through the long bus ride and one girls cell phone conversation about the end of her summer internship and a wedding. After the bus we walked several blocks accross town to quite possibly the hugest museum in the world.
And bought tickets.  And went in.
And got lost. 
My brain couldn't get around the scope of either how much amazing stuff there was; and how old much of the amazing stuff was. 
We saw some Ancient Greek art; then we found our way to the medieval art and saw lots of armor (displayed on horse statues).  I spent more time looking at the museum map and trying to figure out where we were than looking at art.  We thought we might be lost in the museum for ever and in the decorative arts section Jupiter picked out which beds she wanted to sleep on.  Then I was thirsty; so we stopped in the American Wing in which we found ourselves for a bottle of water and a cookie.  Then we finally found the ancient Egypt section.
Where they did have an actual mummy.  Jupiter was pleased.
 The docent (how cool a job in how cool a place) tells Jupiter she can't touch the sculpture (a huge sarcoughagus; maybe) she's walking around and touching.  Only visually impaired visitors are invited to touch the sculpture. I think (but don't share) that sensory seekers should also be allowed to gently touch the sculpture.
 We never got to see any paintings. 
Fortunately when we were in the gift shop; I heard a mother telling her sons that they couldn't leave the museum yet; because they hadn't seen any paintings.  The sons were dismayed until they learned she was kidding.  Sort of.  The father informed me that all they had seen were the sections devoted to armor and ancient Egypt. 
Outside we go around the corner to the Ancient Playground in Central Park.  Jupiter finally got some swinging and spinning sensory input.
Then we rode in a cab back to 42nd St.  I sat in the middle; and could see out the windshield.  EEEK.  Forget taxis.  Give me a nice sedate subway ride any day.  Although I guess it was good training to force my car accross lanes of traffic and through toll booth lines on the way home. 
The train back to CT has automated station announcements, which is good. It's also a local train after Stamford; which is slow.  We get back late late late.  Fortunately the next day, we don't have to get up early.
Now we're home.  I've unpacked and done the dirty laundry (washer is fixed) and unpacked the few goodies I was allowed to get at I*EA New Haven.  Which I found out is only 20 minutes from the hotel and has a restaurant where I got meals for both of us for $7.  Next trip; we're eating at the I*EA.
Vacation is more than half over.  
Darn it.

Photography by Jupiter NYC 2012

Friday, July 13, 2012


We had ice cream for dinner tonight.  Dairy Queen drive through. 
No worries; we don't do that on a regular basis.  Or even a yearly basis. 
However, someone is not a fan of hot weather. 
At least there was calcium.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thai Corn Chowder

I'm looking for ways to use up last years frozen foods still in the freezer, to make room for the new frozen foods I will want to replace them with over the summer.  Last trip to the Portland library, I found a slew of cookbooks in the NEW section, one of which offered up this recipe.  I suspect that the library does not love it when I actually use their cookbooks for COOKING, as opposed to just reading them on the couch or in my lawn chair in the sun.  I was careful though.  I kept the cookbook far away from the stove on its very own plastic bin.  This soup was simple, and delicious, and gluten/dairy free.  It was supposed to be vegetarion as well, but I was out of veggie broth base and replaced it with a packet of chicken base.  I suspect the secret to this is the farmer's market corn on the cob that I cut off the cob and froze last fall.  It was delightful in this soup.  I kept meaning to have just one cup with supper, and inevitably went back for more.

Thai Corn Chowder
125 Gluten Free Vegetarian Recipes
Carol Fenster, PHD

2 cups yellow corn (fresh or frozen)
2 cups unpeeled diced red potatoes
1/2 cups finely diced yellow onion
2 Tbsp grated ginger root
1 sm garlic clove, chopped
2 cups GF vegtetable broth
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp grated lemon zest
1 can light coconut milk
10 lg fresh basil leaves, chopped
10 lg fresh mint leaves, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
salt/ground black pepper, to taste
2 whole limes, halved

In heavy med saucepan, bring corn, potatoes, onion, ginger, garlic, broth, salt, red pepper flakes and lemon zest to a boil over high heat.  Add water if necessary to cover.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, 25-30 min, until potatoes are tender.  Add coconut milk, basil, mint, and half of the cilantro, and bring to serving temperature.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve in warmed soup bowls, garnished with remaining cilantro and lime halves. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The License Plate Game

My sisters and brother and I grew up playing the "License Plate Game" during the summer.  Summer in Maine (not calendar summer) runs between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  During this time frame; we challenge ourselves to find license plates from all the US States; and being in close proximity to Canada; as many provinces as we can.  It used to be just all of us working together; but apparently it has evolved into contest between houses.

My sister in North Conway is currently in 1st place.  North Conway may have a slight advantage at the license plate game.  At least until we spend a day wandering parking lots in Freeport.

Now I'm sharing this game with Jupiter.

The game has also evolved into supplemental school.  And to be completely honest; we did supplemental school today instead of the math review worksheet that came home in her folder.  Now when we find out-of-state license plates; I send Jupiter at the end of the day to locate all the states we find on her wall map.  Today we got to find Texas, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Florida.  And just something I found weird; Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida and Michigan were all parked in driveways on our bitty one way street. And I admit, I didn't recognize Michigan when we drove by and had to back up in the middle of the street to see what it was.  And if Tammy's Mom hadn't been out around town somewhere, we would have seen Vermont too.  As soon as I get around to getting some new stickers, we can put stickers on the laminated wall map.

Then we had a conversation about why we might see some states more often than other states.  When I asked her why this would be, Jupiter came up with "Some states are more closer" all by herself.  We also discussed how some states have more people than other states, and how Florida is further away, but like her friend Jesse's grandparents; lots of people here go to "vacation" in Florida during the winter.

So then Jupiter decided she wanted to assign points to all the states.  So we had to figure out which state we would be LEAST likely to see.  ("Can you drive a car from Hawaii to Maine?  No. Can you drive a car from Alaska to Maine?  Yes.).

I did actually see a car from Hawaii in the parking lot at Mart of Walls last week.  My other sister the referee says it does not count because it was the day BEFORE Memorial Day and not actually Memorial Day.  But for our house, it counts.  I'm not likely to see a license plate from  Hawaii again unless I actually move there.  Although I have hope that if they actually shipped a car here from Hawaii, they're planning to stick around awhile, and we may see them again.

Anyway, we also made a list of all the states (and provinces) to go on the wall next to the map.  I asked Jupiter if we should sort them geographically or alphabetically.  She said alphabetically.  Of course.  Alphabetizing is a great skill to work on.  It took me a really long time to alphabetize 50 states and the District of Columbia. It took me a long time to make a non alphabetized list of 50 states and the District of Columbia.  I had to look at the map because I was about five short.  I skipped Nebraska.  And Nevada.  Guess I don't like N states.  And there's that one Canadian Provicne that I can never remember (Manitoba).

Maybe the way we go to Freeport, we'll take a list and just mark off how many times we see each state.  Graphing, anyone?  I bet we can find things to do with this game all summer.  But apparently I need a wall map of Canada.  Maybe we'll have to go to the Delorme Map Store in Yarmouth.  They're sure to have a Canadian wall map.  And the world's largest globe.

Yes, I am a geek. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Suprise Wild Strawberries

The volunteer wild strawberries in my garden have borne fruit.  As I recall, last year I was picking wild strawberries the third week of June, so they are a bit early. Which is good, since they have spread to the point of taking up a large part of the garden itself, but once they've blossomed and I know they're going to set fruit, I can't bear to uproot them. 
So on Saturday, we were picking berries.  Jupiter ate them fresh off the plants, despite the dirt, but I managed to hoard a small handful.  Not near enough for jam.  But maybe enough to flavor something else.
I had some fresh homemade yogurt that had already had the whey strained from it.  So I popped that into the donvier ice cream maker with 1/3 cup of sugar and the garden strawberries.
It froze into a delightful frozen yogurt in just about 10 minutes.
Completely excellent frozen yogurt, with still a nice yogurty tang to it.  And Jupiter didn't like it because she thought it tasted too yogurty.  So now I don't have to share it with her. 
Then I had to make more yogurt, so I can make more frozen yogurt.

I adore the yogurt maker and the ice cream maker.  Someday when I win the lottery, I am going to stay home and cook delicious food all day.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Jupiter wants to know what this means.

I've been telling her for the last 20 minutes; at least.

Obviously it's not working.

Monday, April 30, 2012


I cleaned my desk at work today.

Typically I'm so busy working as fast as humanly possible, I don't notice everything on my desk.  This is a relatively slow week; so I cleared the drawers and desk top and confidentially destructed a zillion pieces of paper. 

And the sheer number of calendars was revealed.

My desk calendar tracks the work meetings, appointments, birthdays, and activities; and the dates my numerous passwords get changed.

My regular monthly calender serves to track my PTO and if I just need to know what day of the week a particular date fell on.

My PTO calendar tells me when other people on the floor are not scheduled to be at work; or even better, when I am not scheduled to be at work.

The school district calender tracks no school days, early dismissal days, and the Last Day of School (30 1/2 more days).

So I thought for awhile about how that was just TOO.  MANY. CALENDARS.

Then I added a bunch of appointments and meetings to the email calendar.

Then about an hour later I saw the Baby Blues Page a Day Calendar.  That one serves no function other than to make me laugh because my life shows up in the pages so very often.

When I got home, Jupiter and I had to go through the hot lunch menu calendar.  She hasn't touched a hot lunch since kindergarten, until about two weeks ago.  Now she's all about the hot lunch.  So we had to post that on the fridge.

Which reminds me, I forgot to reset Jupiter's magnetic perpetual calendar for the new month. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Active Kitchen

I love when my kitchen is actively cooking but I am not actively in it.

The yogurt machine is incubating.

Dried chickpeas are boiling away on the stove so I can freeze them to use for recipes.  I read somewhere (actually I think many somewheres) about how its cheaper to boil up the dried ones and freeze them; than to buy the cans all the time.  Plus you don't get the BPA from the cans in the food.  I bought the dried chickpeas a month ago, but hadn't gotten around to boiling them up yet, and finally ran out of canned chickpeas to work with. 

The bread dough is NOT rising, because I forgot to buy flour yesterday to make soudough bread.  I love the recipe, but it's very flour intensive.  But never fear, soon enough we will be making some pizza crust to rise for  Sunday supper pizza.  Not sourdough crust though.  Jupiter will eat homemade pizza if I make Plain Pizza Crust, so that's what we make.  Added olive oil makes everything better though.

A few weeks ago it was Mango week.  Last spring I happened to be in WFM one day, when they were handing out mango samples so we jumped right in line.  And it turned out they were Champagne mangos.  I've also seen them called yellow mangos or some other name which probably references where they are grown, but I can't remember exactly what it is.  They were totally sweeter and not stringy or fibrous and it was the most delicious mango I had ever eaten, so I bought and ate bunches of them.  Even Jupiter ate them last year. Then the season ended, and I waited and waited and waited for spring to come again so I could buy more of them.

Finally Mango Week rolled around again.  This year I bought a whole case of them; on a Tuesday after swim class.

By Sunday morning they were still in the case, moving quickly beyond the ripe stage.

Thus began the day of "active cooking".  By 7am, I was up and scalding milk for the new yogurt, straining the whey out of the last of the old yogurt and cutting up 17 mangos.  Also had to cut up a pineapple for Jupiter because during our last visit to WFM, the sample was fresh pineapple and Jupiter tried it and liked it.

Odd how if I hand her something and tell her to try it she won't, but if store person hands her something to try she will.  But it's a healthy choice, so whatver workds.

By 9am the yogurt was incubating and I had made 8 jars of mango freezer jam, and put the rest of the mango cubes into bags in the freezer. Finished straining the old batch of yogurt, and put away the cut up pineapple in the fridge.  It feels like I made something else that day too, but I don't remember what it happened to be.  It might have been the loads of laundry in between the fruit and yogurt processing.

Then we went to church.

Jupiter does not want me to post the picture of her stirring the sugar into the mango.

So today, the appliances are doing most of the work.  And I will shortly be repotting some baby plants into bigger pots while the appliances are doing their thing. 

Weekends should be longer. Or workdays should be shorter.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

New Picture Story

So this picture is not actually in MAINE: so it's a little inconsistent given the title of the blog.  (Jupiter is not the only one becoming more literal.  I suspect it is contagious).  But I took the picture yesterday before I realized that Jupiter was looking out towards Logan airport.

That's where our connecting flight from Moscow via Frankfurt landed; and consequently; the place of Jupiter's arrival on US soil and the conferrance of US citizenship to her.  Although, since I was holding her the whole time; her feet technically did not touch the ground there (literal).  So the picture has its place. 

I explained to her that's where we landed when we came home from Russia, and she said, "Oh cool.  Can we keep going now?" 

But I got to take the picture first.

Guess Who??

No, Maine has NOT fallen off the face of the Earth.  Not that one could tell from my prolific blog posts or anything.  We are, in fact, still here.  And even with three extra days off this week, and having the chance to catch up on a great many things, I still have not caught up with everything.  I suspect that ever being caught up with everything is a state that exists only in my imagination. 

Life is not boring.  That is for sure and absolute certain. 

Even now I am multitasking; uploading 75 photos to Shutterfly while I compose this. Don't ask how many photos I have left to upload to Shutterfly. I couldn't even begin to estimate that number.  I finally got my new camera (thanks to a great Amaz*n sale and gift cards I got for my birthday).  There are only two problems with the camera.  While excellent for photography; and capable of performing a great many functions I don't know how to make it do, it's not good for say, bringing along snow tubing.  Also; I have great difficulty in remembering to remove the lens cap before pushing the power button.  I wonder how many times I can get away with that before the camera breaks.

My last post was titled :Vegan Lent.  Shortly after I posted about Vegan Lent, Vegan Lent was brought to a premature end by Virulent Virus; which hit me like a truck on a Tuesday morning and literally dropped me to the floor.  Note: they really really hate it when you pass out at work. They also failed to belive me when I tried to convince them from the bathroom floor that I was "just resting".  As a result of the Virulent Virus; I could only consume rice crackers and chicken noodle soup.

No worries: no permanent damage was caused by the virus.  Large amounts of paper and mail did result; since they had to file an incident report with the insurance company in the event I needed workmen's compensation.  They sent me a copy of the incident report in the mail ( I take issue with the phrasing "Employee was found passed out in the bathroom".  I was not in any way, intoxicated.).  A copy of the incident report was followed in short order by a mileage sheet to submit in the event I had to travel to receive treatment for my workplace injury, and in a seperate mailing, an insurance card to cover any prescription medicines required due to said injury.  These mailings were subsequently followed by a mailing indicating the non coverage of my workplace injury as it was caused by a non work related condition.

But wait, there's more.  After that, I recieved a call and email that I had to sign and return a dependency form because I had missed more than 24 hours of work, even though the claim was denied.

I suspect logic such as this is directly related to the high incidence of insurance fraud.

Listening to BOOMING in the woods behind my house right now.  I'm so glad we've the governer has legalized fireworks now.  The ground is super dry, so I hope they are literally shooting off the fireworks IN the river.

While I was recovering from the flu, I had Jupiter's parent teacher conference.  She tells me that Jupiter is kind and compassionate.  I'm glad she is kind and compassionate at school.  Although it is generally me with whom she has no interest in being kind or compassionate.  She is able to read above grade level.  However, in my experience, she has problems answering open ended questions about material she has read.  Multiple choice is fine.  But short answer questions; she doesn't know what to do with.  Which was clearly illustrated to me one night when she read a passage about bears and what they did over a year.  The first question asked: "How was winter different from summer and fall?".  And Jupiter very reasonably asked: "Why are they asking about seasons?  The story was about bears."  Some nights I think I should shoot videos of homework time to show the school staff.  During the conference, the sample reading paper asked "How was Sam's new house the same as his old house?"  Jupiter answered "Both houses have bushes in front and a big yard."  She only got partial credit because she was supposed to answer that he had a friend that lived near his old house and a new friend at his new house.  But the question didn't ask anything about friends, so she didn't tell them anything about friends.  She's literal.  If anything, she's becoming more literal. Also: she can't focus on sheet full of math facts and complete it in the time allotted to meet the state standard for 2nd grade.  Which is not a suprise for me.  Most days, she can't go in the bathroom and complete brushing her teeth without getting distracted by a toy, a water faucet, a washcloth, or a combination of any or all of those things.  And honestly, what's  important for me that she is capable of adding and subtracting.  She understands the concept and can perform it.  Not that she can do 50 facts in five minutes or whatever the standard is.  (I'm a little quite hostile towards the state standard).

We discussed these a week later at her 504 plan meeting. ( I also asked if they knew a place I could order unbreakable pencils).  Jupiter's teacher presented a list of accomdations she should have for next year.  They didn't take anything away.  It was excellent.  The next week, I emailed the coordinator to ask for homework accomodations because I forgot to ask for them in the meeting.  I remembered when we were in the car on the way home from swimming and I was asking Jupiter her math homework questions in the car on the way home because it's so much easier  than getting her to actually WRITE down the answers.  She emailed me back and said "absolutely."

That same week, Jupiter went on a field trip (to the Art Museum) without a family member. 

WHOOHOOOOOOOO!!!!!  Okay, so she completely rocked and banged against the backseat of the car everytime she was in it.  But she went on the field trip. 

Ooops.  Long post.  Guess I should post more frequently. 

Tomorrow is supposed to rain, so I can't build garden beds out of cement blocks or hack out bushes with a hacksaw.  So maybe I can post two days in a row.

Look out blog world.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Vegan Lent

I did a Vegan Lent last year and decided to do it again this year.  The hardest part  for me is giving up goat cheese (okay, any cheese) and ice cream for the duration.  But this year I've been eating so much homemade guacamole and hummus that I honestly haven't found much hardship in the vegan aspect.  (There was the birthday party Jupiter went to where ice cream cake was served...). 

Over the summer, I picked up a cookbook at the library called The Vegan Table, by Collen Patrick Goudreau.  Not because I planned on becoming a full time vegan, but just because I wanted to incorporate more veggies into our diets.  (Should Jupiter ever deign to eat anything I make from scratch)  But I found myself ordering my own copy of the cookbook, I think before I even returned the library copy.

A couple of weeks ago, I finally got around to obtaining all the ingredients to make Quinoa Tabbouleh.  Which was thoroughly delicious and I had a hard time not eating the entire 4-6 servings at once.

I made it again tonight.  A double batch.  And worked hard not to eat the entire 10-12 servings at once.  Still trying to keep myself out of the fridge.

Quinoa Tabbouleh
from The Vegan Table
p 179

1 cup quinoa
2 1/2 cups water or stock
4 scallions, finely chopped
1 cucumber, peeling optional, seeded and finely diced
2 large size tomatoes, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
1/3 cup lemon juice (or to taste)
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Rinse quinoa through a small stainer.  In a medium pot, add quinoa to water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 10-15 minutes. When all water is absorbed, quinoa is done. Simmer a few more minutes, if necessary.  If excess water still remains, turn off heat and let water soak into the grain. Let cool.

In large mixing bowl, combine scallions, cucumber, tomatoes, garlic, parsley, mint, lemon juice, salt, and olive oil and pepper. Once quinoa cools, add to bowl, mixing well and tweaking salt, lemon juice, and oil to get right consistency and desired taste.

I recommend this cookbook.  For non vegans too.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Other uses for mylar balloons (the only kind allowed in my house)

1.  Tie a jingle ball on the bottom of the balloon string and the cat will chase it.  And chase it.  And chase it. (Jupiter's iniative).

2.  Target for high snap kicks.  If you happen to be a bendy 8 year old practicing karate moves.  For me, not so much.

The Blue Board

All household members have successfully punched through the blue level martial arts practice board.

Even me.

Je suis francophile

So for all these years, one of my favorite parts about traveling to Quebec has always been just hanging out in the hotel room and watching French language TV (and the one memborable time I was watching English language news and suddenly watching a girl from my high school French class presenting the weather from Burlington VT.  My sister was mad I woke her up for that but not for French Scooby Doo).  I also like stocking up on French language picture books (prompting at least one customs agent to think we were teachers), and that stuff.  But really; I could spend days in the hotel room watching TV.

Then I bought a car in Saco.  One day when I had a very early car appointment, I by default gained control of the TV remote in the waiting area. And discovered French language TV that didn't require me to buy hotel room nights. (The waiting room in the car place also has large amounts of morning sun and wonderful singing acoustics, but Jupiter hates it when I sing at the car place). I'd forgotten that York county Maine gets Canadian French TV on regular cable.  I thought about moving to York County. Now we always get the early appointment, and spend an hour watching French language tv while the car gets a new headlight bulb or fresh oil. With any luck; this is cheaper than actually driving to Montreal. Not always, but sometimes.

Then the internet dawned on me.  Specificially, that TV stations have websites.

Yes, now I can watch French language TV (the cartoons are right at my verbal comprehension level) in my very own home, without having to get my car fixed. In all my spare time, of course.

Never fear; I will still have to go to Montreal to buy books and Kindereggs. And climb to the top of Mont Royal (which now has very nice steps to climb to the top).

Just in case anyone (besides me) wants to watch French language cartoons:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


I am so very grateful that I can request items from an entire network of libaries in Maine, and not just my town library or the library where I have my card.  I am also grateful for online card catalogs, which allow me to do my library browsing from home after bedtime and have the books (from both my library and all the other libraries too) put behind the circulation desk; so I can just ask for them at checkout (after raiding the shelves of the children's section; and sparing the library patrons the joy of listening to Jupiter ask a zillion times if we're done yet, when I am looking for something for myself.

And for all this, they don't even charge a fee.


Thank you, PPL and all the Maine libraries.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

If I won the lottery tonight....

Tomorrow I would be on a plane, traveling to a sunny deserted beach with palm trees, and in all probability sleeping while lying in the sun.  Also in all probability; getting a horrible sunburn.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Life in an extrasensory world

Jupiter is car rocking again.

This means that every time she rides in the car, she leans backwards and forwards, banging her back end against the back seat of the car.  Over. and Over. and Over.  Typically accompainied by a repetitive chant, but sometimes actual singing with words.  Often hard enough to make the car move back and forth on the struts while we're stopped at a red light.

I know there's a fancy name for this type of sensory input.  I know Heidi the Goddess of Therapeutic Riding Instructors could tell me what it is.  I don't keep track of the fancy names.  I just call it sensory seeking.

She gave it up about a year and a half ago, just deciding one day that she wasn't going to do that any more.  Honestly, I had gotten to the point where it was just what she did and I mostly didn't notice that she was rocking and chanting.  (Until I got the bill for replacement struts.  Just kidding.  I didn't have to buy new struts.  Although I did have to replace the whole car, come to think of it.  Although I suspect that wasn't entirely wrought by one sensory seeking child).  However, it tended to bother anybody else who rode in the car, who couldn't fathom why I would just keep driving and/or having a conversation while Jupiter was rocking away in the backseat.  If I stopped the car every time she rocked, I would be permanently stuck about three years ago. 

Hopefully if I was permanently stuck, it would be during the summer.

Now I notice it again.  She was sneaking it in here and there, and finally came out one day and asked if it was okay if she rocked in the car again.  I said "Sure!" Whatever you need to settle yourself that doesn't hurt yourself or anybody else is okay with me.

Her anxiety must be up again.  Despite the 504 plan, I don't think the school really has any concept of how much being in the classroom all day really takes out of her.  On the upside she's not coming home with a plethora of things which are not hers.  So if she's rocking again instead, it's totally a fair trade.

She's had a cold and when she has a cold her nose runs by the gallon, so we haven't been able to attend any open swims lately.  During summer she swims mostly every day which really helps with the sensory seeking.  She really misses it during the winter.

She has swim class tomorrow.  We have a new Lycra swim cap to try out.  Her hair is long enough that she really should be wearing a swim cap.  Week 1 of the new session she had a purple silicone cap.  It ripped while we were putting it on.  So much for that.

Last week, she had a pink and yellow silicone cap.  We actually got it on her head.

She was in tears before she even got in the pool.  It covered up her ears and essentially amplified all the pool noise.  Which is quite noisy at that time of day.  While she was in her lesson, I tried on her cap to try to get her perspective on things.  It was, in fact, louder and disorienting.  Plus the silicone caps are prone to pulling hair as well.  Apparently I should have read the product reviews BEFORE ordering the product.

Ah, the irony of sensory issues.  Some things you need more of, and some things you need LESS of.  Like noise.  And smell.  But not taste.  Ironic, isn't it?  She hates strong smells but loves strong tastes. One would think those two would be the same, one way or the other.

So tomorrow, we're going with the Lycra.  The product reviews indicate that it doesn't pull hair.  We tried it on and the noise doesn't seem to be louder with it on.

I have a pink and yellow silicone swim cap up for grabs.  I guess unless I start swimming laps.  Which I should.  But I need swim goggles that do. not. leak. because of my contact lenses.  Never had much luck there.

Sometimes she extrasensory world requires trial and error to find what works.  Which is never boring.

I don't know how I functioned before I found out all about this sensory stuff.  It's really fascinating.  I could go on all day.  Which would make for a very rambly post.

Which it may be already.

Friday, January 13, 2012


In the car on the way home, Jupiter and I were discussing "Her Day."  She's better at this type of conversation when she's in the backseat and I'm in the front seat, so this is typical.  I asked how her day was and she said "Good."  Which she always says.  "Only one yellow slip".

"Oh, were you talking when you weren't supposed to?"


"Oh.  What did you do?"

"I said "MEEP".

"Oh-kay.  Guess I need a little context to go with that."

(Enter a discussion about what context means.  But it's not relevant to the post, so I will not include it here).

"Mrs. R said "No More Talking."  Then I said "MEEP! I was trying to be funny".

She was trying to be defiant, more likely. It just comes natrually.  But I just had this vision of her in the classroom, waiting for five seconds after Mrs. R said No More Talking, and then coming out with "MEEP!"

I laughed hysterically in the car until we were halfway home.

I'm sure these yellow slips aren't working out the way Mrs. R expects them too.  We went to the conference and Mrs. R asked Jupiter to explain to me the pile of yellow slips she'd received in the classroom over the previous few weeks.  For talking, for the most part. I can't get that bothered about her talking once a day in the classroom.  But at least I didn't laugh my head off at the conference. 

I just know Juipter is going to go back to school on Tuesday and come right out and tell Mrs. R that I thought it was funny that she got a yellow slip.

I am so busted.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Jupiter's Hair when it Looks Neat

Her hair can look neat.  But she hates it when I braid it.  It's not stylish enough, I guess.  So I fight the hair battle on select occasions.  Ironically, I fight it more at night because keeping her hair braided at night lessens the amount of rats nest detangling we have to do in the morning. Although for evening braiding we don't go all out with the pinned up braid princess look.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Vehicle Talk

I was going to call this C*R Talk, but I believe that name is already taken.

With any luck, I will remember this conversation verbatim.  Or close to it.

Tonight we were driving home from swim class (anybody else out there who spends 80 minutes driving in the car for a 30 minute swimming lesson?  Yeah, just me.  Thought so.) and the conversation turned to imagination.

Jupiter:  "I have a good imagination.  I want to keep it."

Me:  Yes, you do.  I am not very imaginative.  But I have other good qualities."

Jupiter:  (In all seriousness).  "Like what?"

Ouch.  When I picked my head up off the steering wheel, I asked her if she could think of any.  "Willing to drive 80 minutes in the car for a 30 minute swimming lesson" comes to mind.  Just saying.

Jupiter:  "Good at dressing badly."

She is not innacurate.  Although I'm not sure it's one of my BEST qualities.

I am, however, pleased that she can use adverbs properly in spoken English.