7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 229)
Trash piles, beeper finders for beeper finders, and scorpions (of course)
Were you wondering how that trash pile in my living room is coming along? I bet you couldn’t sleep because you were so intrigued by these kinds of fascinating details of my life. You’ll be thrilled to hear that it’s mostly gone now, and the house is getting back in order.
I realized today that one of the things that triggered this big room reorganization was getting that personal trainer. When I faced the prospect of having to get up at 6 AM two days per week, that made me realize that it was impossible to go to bed at a decent hour since my two oldest children (7 and 8) often kept me up late.
They’re both night owls and have a tendency to get loud and wild whenever they play with each other, which made it a not-ideal setup that they shared a room — I often had to get out of bed multiple times to tell them to be quiet. I knew that my oldest (the only boy other than the baby) would need his own space soon, but the schedule thing pushed me over the edge. Now, half of the upstairs playroom has been cordoned off by heavy drapes and designated as my son’s room, and my night-owl daughter will share a room with her sisters who tend to go to sleep early. Hopefully this will help everyone settle down in the evenings.
It’s been a good reminder that committing to make a positive change in one area of your life usually has ripple effects into other areas as well.
I killed a scorpion on the kitchen floor the other day by dropping a book on it. I’ll skip the part about how I initially LOST IT BECAUSE I STOPPED TO TWEET ABOUT IT, and will even pass on the opportunity to dwell on the fact that THERE WAS NOTHING UNDER THE BOOK WHEN I PICKED IT UP, as tempting as that may be, because I have a different point to make:
How could I possibly be so bad at drawing scorpions? I mean, my experience with this subject is so vast that you’d think I’d be like Stephen Wiltshire drawing those insanely detailed pictures of NYC when it comes to scorpions. And yet when I tried to offer a visual representation of what was under the book for my children who are too young to read, I think I left them suspecting that I had squashed a horned tadpole.
You know the beeping remote control finder thing I mentioned in Wednesday’s post? The one that Joe wants to put on the cat’s collar? We kept losing the remote control that you use to trigger the beeps, so we had to get another one and attach a beeper tag to it. Seriously, people we had to get a beeper finder for our beeper finder.
This tells you pretty much everything you need to know about our lives.
My blog will have a new look soon! I’ve been working with my awesome designer, John Flynn, to put together a new look that’s simpler, lighter, and a better fit for my style. The design I have now (also by John) has been perfect over the years that I’ve had it, but I’ve felt for a while like it’s time for an update.
I was a web designer myself for years, and I love these kinds of projects. It’s fun to ask questions like, “What do we want visitors to understand about this site within the first few seconds after they arrive? How can we convey that through visual elements?” I think that John has hit the ball out of the park once again, and I can’t wait to show you the new look! It’s very different.
Devin at the great new-to-me blog A Philosophy Degree and 50 Cents did a post where she offered a visual tour of the curricula she’s using in her homeschool this year. I cannot get enough of this post. I’ve read it 20 times. It’s so interesting to see what someone else is doing, and having the pictures of her material helps me “get it” better than if it were only a written list.
Therefore, I hereby decree that all homeschooling bloggers shall do their own “visual tour of our curricula” posts, and have them up by next Thursday so that I can have stuff here with two-day shipping for the start of our school year if I get any ideas. Ideally, some savvy person with a homeschooling blog could host a linkup to collect all such posts in one place.
What’s that you say? Nobody cares what I think and I have no authority with which to issue decrees? Well, how about if I put it this way: homeschoolers, please please please please do these posts so that I can bask in your wisdom!
Earlier this week I asked for help articulating why these pictures looking into Manhattan homes through their windows are so stirring. I think Casey nailed it when she said:
People are very disconnected from each other, even more so now than in the past. It’s so easy to get caught up in our own lives, that we don’t see what’s going on around us. It’s also easy to lose sight of the humanity of the people around us, because of their otherness and separateness.
These photographs stop us in our tracks and make us SEE the world around us that we’re missing. Even more, each photo gives us a glimpse into the lives of those Others and makes them real to us again. It breaks through that veneer of mystery and foreignness and lets us see the ordinary. We connect with the ordinary, and that in turn lets us feel connected to the people we see in the photos. That visceral connection can be very stirring.
It’s nice to know eloquent people.
For those of you looking for delicious and easy Fall meals, here’s one from the “If Jen Can Do It, You Can Too” files. It’s a fried rice recipe that I modified from this one at Allrecipes.com to make it easier and more veggie-heavy:
HEARTY FRIED RICE
– 1 pound Jimmy Dean hot sausage
– 1 head cabbage, cored and shredded
– 4 cups cooked white rice, cooled (the rice will get gummy if it’s not cooled)
– 1 (14.5 ounce) can bean sprouts, drained
– 1 (16 ounce) package frozen green peas and carrots, thawed
– 2 green onions, chopped
– 5 eggs, beaten
– Soy sauce to taste
- Cook the sausage in a large skillet. When it’s done, set it aside but leave the grease in the pan.
- Add the cabbage and the thawed bag of peas/carrots and cook until the cabbage is wilted.
- Add back in the cooked sausage, as well as the bean sprouts and cold rice. Pour in soy sauce to taste.
- Push the mixture to the side of the pan, and add the eggs in the free space. Get the eggs partially cooked, then scramble them in with the rice mixture.
NOTES: This freezes very well for future meals (I throw individual portions in Ziplock snack baggies for easy lunches), except for the eggs. If you want to freeze some portions, do it without the eggs, then add freshly scrambled eggs when you reheat it. This recipe is very flexible, so add more or less of any of the ingredients depending on your tastes.
Have a great weekend, everyone!
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