Monday, July 30, 2007

Dutch Treat

A friend sent me a copy of an article from the Dutch popular science magazine Natuurwetenscap & Techniek which features my other blog. Between my German and a bit of help from a friend who does know some Dutch, I managed to puzzle my way through it. The whole thing was quite a surprise, though, as I had no idea that any such article was in the works.

The featured quote is from this post about a pair of molecular earrings.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Caution: Tired Teen Tales

My teen is tired. He's at camp for 7 hours a day, playing rugby, climbing towers, canoeing, and I suspect only sits at lunch, and then does some catching up with friends in early evening, sometimes at the pool. All this means Crash is a seriously pooped pup, and sometimes a bit grouchy. Just in case I missed the subtler signs of his mood, he raided the basement tool box for something a bit more direct. I took the hint.

After dinner, he was up in my study on the computer. I was putting towels away in the hall when he popped out and inquired about Pandora's box - did I really think the box in the garage was left by a goddess, or was I just using the title? Huh? He's reading the blog - all of it. We had an interesting talk about it all cleaning up the kitchen later. I asked him how much he read. "All of it, except what I'd already read and what was really boring." "What did you think of the writing?" "Some was really good, and some so-so. You average out OK."

Since I started the blog, I've collected the posts about the kids and bound them into a book for them each year, and I'll often tell them if I've posted about their antics, and occasionally they will ask to see them. This blog is not particularly anonymous, either. So why did I feel a bit self-conscious when Crash started rummaging through the blog tonight?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Taking umbrage

For forty years, my mornings have started with a cup of tea - these days, sweet and black. Until about fifteen years ago, my preferred cup was Lipton. Now I use loose tea, easy enough with a basket that just pops into my mug. My tea ran out with my retreat. Every morning I'd invade the kitchens for hot water to brew my cuppa, then take it out into the eastern cloisters and watch the sun rise. I ordered more when I got home last week, but in the meantime have been drinking the tea in the photo. After seeing the Harry Potter movie, though, the color of this box so reminds me of Dolores Umbrage. Suddenly my morning ritual felt much less soothing, as if Prof. Umbrage would appear in the kitchen and start posting rules on the walls. "Do you really need so much sugar in your tea, dear, hmmm?"

the pink, pink tea

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Caustic Comments

For several years I've had a benign growth on my back (like my need for bifocals, yet another sign of senescence). Today it needed to come off (for reasons I will spare you, but that did manage to gross out the thirteen year old boys at my dinner table, a feat I generally have a hard time managing). So tonight at 6:15, I had the !@(* thing excised, all 3 cm of it. The physician who did it was good and kept up his end of the distracting conversation well. Alas, my attempt to describe what quantum mechanics might have to do with the nifty device that measures your blood oxygen levels while he put in the local was not up to my usual standards. I was mostly doing my best not to faint.

Just as he's getting ready to start the actual procedure, my cell phone goes off. "Better get that now," he says. I snag my purse from the chair next to the table and answer, hoping it's Math Man telling me he's home from his trip to the state capitol and I can turn the home front over to him. Nope, it's Barnacle Boy, making dinner. "Mom, we don't have any ground beef. " "Sure we do, check the top shelf of the freezer, left hand side," I reply, feeling momentarily disoriented as I sat amidst all the medical paraphernalia giving directions for this mundane task. "Thanks. Can you pick up a baguette on the way home?" there no way to get off duty?

We treated the resulting 2 inch wound in my back with lunar caustic (silver nitrate to the modern chemist) to cauterize it, no stitches, so I can swim sooner. The local is wearing off right about now and I'm wishing I was in Dublin with a friend there on sabbatical, having a beer!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Sheep Genome: Transcription Complete

My sheep is finished, alas, Barnacle Boy (the intended recipient) finds it "too fuzzy", so I'm off to find a wool that he likes. The wool was lovely to knit with indeed, so I will follow up with a sweater of the same stuff (for me, not the boy!)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Slowly, slowly...

My spiritual director is fond of advising, "Sloooowly, sloooowly...." a relic from his time in India. As I headed out the door after 8 full days of silence, my director for this retreat offered similar wisdom, though less colorfully expressed. "Don't plunge back in for a day or two, take time to unpack the mental bags as well as the physical ones." It's been good advice, though by 11 pm on Saturday night after cantoring the evening Mass, followed by a barbecue (a working dinner for my spouse), I was wondering if I could take it (the advice, not the pace).

Random impressions:
  • It was hot and steamy for several days, which has the positive effect of encouraging stillness. I spent several afternoons sitting in the cloister garden, reading and drawing (not well, but a good contemplative exercise).
  • Watching a 20 acre field, glittering with fireflies. Special effects like I've never seen.
  • A deer and her fawns crashing through the hedgerow at night (after which I took a flashlight - deer up close are BIG).
  • The line of sneakers holding open the doors on the second floor, in hope of getting a cross breeze.
  • Hoarding quarters to do my laundry again, like grad school

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Into the silence

Today was beyond relentless. Never tell people you are leaving and won't be reachable - suddenly everything is a crisis!!

I'm off to spend 8 full days in blissful, blessed silence.......