Tuesday, March 31, 2009

To Be Human

We took another trip, with our truck bed loaded with birch, to the Deer Park transfer site this past weekend. I'm so glad they recycle yard debris! While the three of us were taking turns tossing branches into the pit, we glimpsed actions that surprised us. Lord knows, we could probably do a little better in the recycling realm, but we try our best - truly. And over the years while raising our children, we tried to help them understand that while it's excellent to monitor your own behavior, they'll have more friends if they try not to become a monitor for everyone else. Unless the circumstances call for it, of course.
So it was hard to watch a young couple toss a computer into the household waste pit. "Don't they know they could've recycled that for free in the other parking lot??" Aiy, aiy, aiy!! Then we couldn't help noticing other items being tossed out of their truck that seems more suited to a trip to the Goodwill. {sigh} As we swept out our truck bed, another vehicle loaded with bicycles backed up to the household pit. That was the tipping point for N and Lise. They both stopped and watched, ready to head over to let them know about Santiam Bike's recycling effort, when the two of them saw the bike people had unloaded them to the parking lot in order to toss the garbage beneath.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Cherry Blossoms! (re-edited)

After watching this yet again, I've realized the need for a monopod. I don't know about you, but the shaking drives me nuts. My apologies. My hope is with a monopod, I'll be able to pivot.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Share and share alike

I was listening to a program about brains on OPB radio Saturday afternoon. The segment I heard dealt with children's brains and how children of a certain age may know the rules, but still break them. Something about the different stages of development of the frontal lobes.
Another time I heard a researcher talking about how the development of the brain can stall under certain circumstances - some sort of trauma at a young age. How might this affect us as adults? What if our brains missed the chance to develop empathy? Can the brain be trained later in life to make up for what it missed?
Pondering in print . . .

The Old Birch Tree

Lise's J opened up their bedroom curtains and spied a man in the front yard tree. I suppose that might be a startling sight when you're greeting the day. :>O Can't say I've ever experienced it . . .
I've never been that big of a fan of the birch tree. It's silhouette wasn't very attractive, it didn't offer much shade and it was messy nearly all year long. The snow and ice took the top out and we saw an opportunity. I'm always amazed at how much debris there is when you take down a tree. N's taken around 3 truck loads to the yard debris pile at the transfer site, with another one ready to go. We'll end up with some firewood when it's done. Not the highest quality, but we were happy to have it when the power was out those long 4 days.
Now to decide what to replace it with. The trees on Kuebler, near Kaiser Permanente, interested me with their stunning fall color and nice silhouettes, but they must've suffered a great deal of ice damage - they took them all out and replanted.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Morning Radio

Just finished listening (with one ear) to President Obama speak about his plans for Afghanistan. When he talked about building homes and schools, it reminded me of Studs Terkel. I think he was a guest of Jon Stewart's on The Daily Show when he said, that of course Iraq hates us, we stormed in and bombed their country. If we really wanted to fight Al Quada, that we'd build houses and schools for the citizens of Iraq. What I'd like to see next? Other countries stepping up with their shovels in hand.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The sun is up and so am I :>)

My post about the Keizer golfclub restaurant is up today. :>)

At sunrise, Izzy and I stood on the deck watching and listening to a robin send out a call and response to another robin close by in a neighbor's tree. Maybe just to let each other know where the other was?

Today's weather is supposed to be the best of the week. The sky is a soft, pale blue, so it must be true.

I stayed up to talk to Liseanne about her interview she had right before her shift yesterday. I'm fascinated about that department's interview method and so glad I've never had to worry and sweat my way through one. They invite a pool of interviewees into a room together and a panel either goes down the row asking questions or asks for volunteers (volunteers get the advantage of going first while the others put off the inevitable) to respond on each round of questions.

I'm not sure what I'll do with the day, but I don't think I should sit and finish my graphic project. Nope.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ghost Poopie Dog

"Izzy! What is that in your mouth?!
Eww! What IS that?
Oh! A ghost poopie!
Where did you find that?"
In a box amongst Auntie Lise's things, that's where. I'm glad she hadn't gone nuts and had them entangled in her beard. That would've been disgusting, not to mention a challenge to get rid of.

N and I had our blood date tonight. Instead of venturing into new territory, we let the Muchas, at Word of Mouth Bistro, reel us in with their panko encrusted halibut again - hook, line and sinker. I love that place! I'm so glad it's in our town. Salem deserves more of these good places that have been opening up over the past several months.

The nurse who took my history this evening was a hoot and a half! She nearly had me rolling on the floor with her stories about her two birds. Particularly the little talkative one.

Hmmm, I'm thinking Izzy found something fishy during her walk. Not a good smell! Time for a wash!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Good Evening

Last night I had an urge for chicken thighs cooked with chutney and yogurt. Fran's J had an urge for fajitas, and since he's a good teammate in the kitchen I gladly changed my direction.
My urge was still there this evening, so Fran suggested chicken tagine. We did a recipe search, found one we had the ingredients for and began to prep and cook.
L's J arrived home from work in a good mood just minutes from the dinner bell.

Good food, good wine and best of all? There was still daylight left. I didn't do anything more than fill the birdfeeders and pull a few weeds, but I LOVE when the daylight lasts longer.

Reader's Guide

Not long after we moved to Salem, one of my nieces had her second child. I prefer to give (what I consider) sensible gifts - meaningful, yet useful. I remembered a book I saw reviewed on AM Northwest (Margie Boule & Jim Bosley at that time). It covered at what point a parent should call the doctor when their child becomes ill. When it first came out, I had bought one for myself. It was a good book with plenty of useful information regarding childhood illness.
I began my search by opening up the phone book to scan the listings under bookstores. One name and ad stood out, "Reader's Guide". I liked the fact that they carried both new and used books. I called, was told they had the book and would I like them to set it aside? That was the beginning of a long and happy relationship. When family would come to visit, it was on the list of places to go. When the girls wanted to find a particular book, it was where we headed first. On rainy no school days, it was our first choice of places to hang out.
I read an article in the SJ, about a month ago, reporting that the family who has owned Reader's Guide all these years has sold it. Not only has it changed hands (transaction not complete yet), BUT the new owner has moved it down the street. The new location looks like a warehouse from the outside - I haven't been able to bring myself to venture inside.
I'll miss the old location. I don't know if it was originally built to be a house, but that's the feeling I had as I wandered through the rooms. Best part? The kitchen was always full of cookbooks and other food related tomes.

Monday, March 23, 2009

It's all in the details

I was so glad that it worked out to meet Shirley for her birthday breakfast this morning! I didn't want this week full of opportunity to get away from me. I'd hate to miss a chance to sit and visit with my dear friend. My apologies to Dave and family for not continuing our tradition of eating at Sassy Onion, but I had to show Shirley the newest hot spot in town. :>)
Attention to detail, I think that sums up what the Muchas do - very well. Even the potatoes were delicious.
There are times when I feel socially inept/slow/stupid. I was reminded of those shortcomings this morning (not that I ever forget) when I happened across some new friends at WOM. I blame it on my shyness. The older I am, the easier it's become (the whole talking to people thing), especially in the last year with the extra pharmaceutical help. But mostly I just feel like I missed an entire volume on how to properly interact, along with all the social niceties and rules. Will I always feel reined in by my worry of whether I'm interrupting or bothering people?
Maybe by the time I've reached 80 I'll have it all figured out . . .

Sunday, March 22, 2009

What's the opposite of vicarious?

We've thought about going to Morton's Bistro for years, but for whatever reason we never did. Last night we splurged much more than we normally would. Seemed like our duty. ;>) Making mental note to sit down with Lise to write review together today.
(Oh! A neck and wrist massage? Thank you, Zuzu!)
Now that the Muchas are having such success in that old building near State and 17th, I've begun to look at some of the other charming houses with a different eye. Yesterday I noticed two for sale in business zoning. "What should go in there?", I muse. Like Morton's. The property it's in now has a lot going for it, but attracting people from the outside, isn't one of them.
Flickers look HUGE when they eat out of our feeders. He's doing some contortionist moves, as he tries to hang onto the perch and get his head at the right angle to eat. The little birds chased him away. Really??
Sorry mind wandering.
Potatoes are done. Time to get them ready to make hashbrowns. Wish I had some grape tomatoes to add to the eggs.

Friday, March 20, 2009

A barking good time!

The vet called this AM to remind me that Izzy needed to go in for a heartworm test. She said they weren't that busy, so I gathered up little black dog, her leash, her bed and we motored down Commercial. The wait wasn't too bad, unless you were that poor woman who felt like everyone but she had been called to the back. Yeah, their new system is confusing; waits for techs-short, waits for a vet-long, if you have an appointment-the best.
As soon as the two of us were back in the car, it dawned on me that her ears were due to be plucked. How barbarous does THAT sound?! {shiver} So off to Lancaster for a quick stop at one of the big pets-be-us. "Boy are her ears hairy!!" Umm, that's why we're here . . . While we waited for our turn, I thought we could browse the store since she'd been so calm - growing up and all. We rounded a corner near the cat toys when suddenly a LOUD sharp bark escaped Izzy. Immediately following were two toddler screams and then crying. I scooped her up and trotted over to apologize to the wee ones, "That was loud, wasn't it?! She's scared too, that's why she barked at you." And then I introduced Izzy to them (secure in my arms, no barking) and we were all friends. Hopefully!

Speaking of Carolyn . . .

Just read this on the online column. Not advice from her, but one of her readers from Oregon.

On when to offer "constructive criticism":

Two of the wisest women in my life have shared some advice with me that has served me in good stead. My mother told me that if it can't be fixed in five minutes, with the materials at hand, then don't mention it. So, an unzipped zipper, doughnut crumbs on your shirt, parsley in your teeth -- all fair game to bring to someone's attention. Height, weight, stain on clothing, size of nose -- off limits.

The second piece of advice was given to me by a dear friend, about how to tell if one is gossiping or not. If I'm not part of the problem and/or I'm not part of the solution, then there is no need for me to discuss it with anyone. These two guidelines have been invaluable to me and I've taught them to my kids from the time they could comprehend them.

Shelly in Oregon

Feeling Squirrely

We have an abundance of squirrels in our backyard. I understand this isn't a rare condition, but it's a bit of an irritation on days when their numbers appear to be greater than the birds. We put the feeders up for the birds after all.
I watched a news (or was it a cooking show?) segment on BBC America a few months ago about London being overrun with non-native squirrel species. The reporter suggested that perhaps if the entire population ate one squirrel every week or month or ??, the problem would soon be solved - as well as fewer people going hungry. I assume if I'd stayed tuned to the channel, a segment on ways to prepare squirrel would have been forthcoming. Maybe I should've stayed glued to the couch. There might come a time when I need some survival tips. :>.
My daughter Lise and her hubby J (along with their Jack Russell terrier and cat) have been living with us since last summer. I believe their terrier, Nixon, sees the squirrel residents as a challenge. He sits by the sliding glass door watching their frantic activity. Is he planning how to capture one of those furry morsels? I don't know if that's what he daydreams about, but that IS what he did. I've never seen (and that squirrel evidently hadn't either) a dog move so fast. It took both Lise and I to prevent him from enjoying his swift kill and to dispose of the body. I think a leash will become imperative when letting Nixon out in the future.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Coffee's brewing :>)

I've been up for an hour and a half. Either Izzy and Zuzu were having so much fun running around the house playing that they wanted a witness OR Izzy just wanted me to know she needed to go out, due to that early morning frolicking. It just didn't make sense to crawl back into bed for a few minutes. An hour? That would've been worth it.

I'll work on the short people's photo albums for the lion's share of my day today. N and I stopped at Costco to pick up the photos after we worshiped fish and chips at Word of Mouth Bistro.

Just finished listening to a story about hair on NPR. So it's possible that the shape of your hair follicle can change due to hormonal changes? (Circular follicles give you straight hair and oval - curly.) I didn't know it was possible for hair to change. Crazy! I guess a ton of research is going on, because there's money to be made. I can think of a lot more worthy research projects, but it's fascinating none the less.

Zuzu the cat is giving me a neck and facial massage. Funny little cat!
Okay time to finish a few things before I finish getting ready for work.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

He Said She Said

Anyone who spends time with me in the staff room at lunchtime or in the morning when I'm reading my daily favorites, knows how much I enjoy reading Carolyn Hax and her opinions. I grew up reading Ann Landers. So when I discovered Carolyn, it was like finding an old friend. They're cut of the same caring yet no-nonsense-to-the-heart-of-the-mattter cloth.
I have a tendency to view every relationship issue I'm invited into with what I believe to be a Carolyn perspective. Or I'd like to think so.
Two friends of Fran, within a few days span, broke up with their fellas. Neither was a healthy relationship; one involved a married man, the other featured one person making all the sacrifices - yes, all.
Fran's been frustrated watching these friends make these choices. So hard to tell a friend that you don't think the person they've chosen to give their hearts to is worthy of them, but she has - gently and repeatedly. Now she'll be listening rather than trying to illuminate. So hard to watch someone you love in a relationship where the other person fails to give them the kind of respect they deserve (and listen to the excuses made for that lack of respect). So hard to watch them and hold their hands while they mourn the end
- without saying, "I told you so."

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I know, I know . . . we need this danged rain!

but personally? I prefer the Camelot delivery system where it rains at night and the sun returns each morning. Can I get a little of that?

I wonder what tonight's dinner will bring. Night before last, Fran used up all of her energy making us braised short ribs and garlic mashed potatoes. Talk about your comfort food! Last night, she picked out the recipe and her J and I (my addition was about 20%) made Tagliatelle alla Bolognese from the new Cooking Light magazine. We added a loaf of Cascade Bakery's Salem Sourdough and broiled asparagus topped with balsamic vinegar and feta cheese. Heavenly!

Fran goes in for her 4 week Dr Weeks' appointment this afternoon. I can't go, so N will be taking her. It's time for exploratory surgery. Actually, it's past time. A 24 year old should not be incapacitated by pain for 2 years. Probably a good thing I won't be there. If Pat says one more time that maybe it's time for job training, I think I'll scream and won't be able to stop.
Update: N was distracted at work and forgot her appointment, rescheduled for next week.

Monday, March 16, 2009

What kind of rain is it?

I'm sure there are other places where people sit and muse over the types of precipitation falling from their local patch of sky.
As I look out into this sky, just above the trees in our and Ron's backyard, I'd say what's falling right now consists of fine yet condensed droplets - a saturating type of rain.
But what kind of rain doesn't saturate?

The Daily Grind

It's about time to replace my Bodum coffee grinder. I've loved it, except for the collection bin that breaks easily. Guess I can be a little hard on plastic.

From Drop Box

Short week for short people

I still can't get used to these weeks before Spring break with only two short people days. Teachers get frustrated with families leaving early for vacation when they're trying to schedule conferences, but it must be so irresistible - for those who have the opportunity to vaca.
We have a bunch to get done in the next two days. And then I get the chance to catch up on classroom chores.
That's a good thing.

On the day that you were born . . .

Happy Birthday Shirley!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Am I blue?

I'm not sure why - the day started off quite well, but as evening approached so did one of my *lovely* shadows of sadness. If the rain holds off for the rest of the day, maybe I can coax N into a walk to the park in the dark. Exercise and fresh air should help, shouldn't it?

We're sharing a nice Argentinian Malbec we picked up at Santiam yesterday. And it's nearly time to fill our plates with one of Fran's creations. She took two recipes for braised short ribs and distilled them into one. I would never have dreamt of being so cavaliar in the kitchen. Not that I do that well with following directions, but I've always been sure we all should.

What I'm reading this morning

I just found an interesting controversy in La Grande, Oregon. And now I have even more respect for the talent and intelligence of Steve Martin.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Recent comments read on twitter

"No more sick days left, calling in dead."
"Drawing with a mouse is like drawing with a rock. Ugh."

A long Texas month

(reference to missing my daily emails from sissy K vacationing in Texas)

We slept in much longer than usual this morning. Probably had to do with staying up late and being roused too early by a puppy who needed to go out and afterwards wanting to jump into the middle of the water bed to play. It didn't take long to demonstrate that we weren't in the mood and she settled down for a snooze between us. Although, it doesn't get much cuter (as far as puppies go) to watch her try and go after N under the covers. Such determination! Last night she went so far as to grab some sheet in her mouth and to try and pull it off of him. Ah! Grandpuppies! ;>)
I'm making that mental list of what we should do today; mail package, buy bird and squirrel food, go to wine store for that special shiraz, go to liquor store (I've been missing my occasional whiskey sour) . . . and figure out what we're making for dinner. I'm sure there must be something else.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Was today longer than most Fridays?

Today did go well, but the short folk and I didn't get to use the computer lab. Darned testing, anyway! Shouldn't "fun with KidPix" take priority?? Sheesh, what's this world coming to?! Yup, making fun, sorry!
N and I drove north to Keizer to eat at miNa's restaurant. What a pleasant surprise! I just finished the post. It took longer to write than it did to eat the meal!
Now I'm just diddling around. I want to stay up to see Lise. Sounds like she had a crappy day today. Sounds like a job for . . . "huggy mom"!!
Yeah, it's past my bedtime!

The Daily Show - end of the rumble

Go Jon!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Stop looking at puppies!!


Get serious, K, how would you ever manage with 3 dogs and 2 cats in the house?! Potty training was okay in the summer, but during mud season? Ha!

Izzy was traumatized at the park yesterday. Two young boys come up behind us riding these luge-type things (as seen on TV). We had to hop off the sidewalk to keep from being run over. That didn't seem to bother her too much, but when we met them the second time she tried (as hard as a puppy on a leash can) to dash away. I ended up carrying her for awhile and trying to calm her down. Even though they left the park, she stayed on alert for the rest of the walk. Barking before a blind corner, in hopes of flushing them out. I would've been more amused if they hadn't startled me as well.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

random thought

While driving past a newly seeded field, festooned with white, whipping flags, I wondered if the birds and mice in the neighborhood feel like a local restaurant has just announced it's reopening - featuring ALL of their favorite things . . .

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Do you kazoo?

The short people and I made kazoos in science today.
I know it's silly, but one of my favorite things to do (when doing kazoo science) is to tell them to hum and then plug their nose. I love the looks on their faces!
Since Kim will be gone again tomorrow, her teacher asked for some direction for their turn at tomorrow's science. It was good to write it down. Gave me a chance to think a little harder about what I'm doing and why.

Paella Craving

I don't know what the spark was, but I began to crave paella not long after rising this morning. My hunch is the description of a local bistro's jambalaya they were featuring for a breakfast special. I doubt if anything will ever come close to that first paella I ate on that freezing cold, camping trip on Diamond Lake. We were so ill prepared for that weather and with all of the shivering I'm sure our appetites were heightened.
What a decadent dish for this economy - with shrimp, chicken thighs, chorizo & saffron as some possible (and my chosen) main ingredients.
I hear Top Gear playing in the other room. Time to join the crew for some TV fun.
What will I crave tomorrow?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Gadgets are awesome - sometimes

I set-up an igoogle page several months ago. After being unimpressed (I want it to be able to replace several tabs, not just a couple), I've returned and discovered a few more useful and fun gadgets. I have my gmail, my twitter, and now blogger (maybe one of these days the entire dashboard). There have been a few that stopped working (and were quickly dumped), but I'm enjoying the page much more now. Whoops! Better feed those turtles!

Adventures with short people

The short people and I had a sub today. She was familiar to me, since she retired from our school after 23 years of teaching, but this was the first time I'd worked with her in a classroom.
So many teachers I've talked to, are scared silly over working with our age level. I don't really understand why. Maybe it's not being able to take anything for granted. With us, it wouldn't hurt to do a brief review on using glue, scissors and crayons each day. Our sub was a tiny bit nervous, but she did well - even with the challenging AM group.
I think it's snowed hard 5-6 times today. Crazy! Darned cold, too! I don't know what the temp was, but I definitely took the wrong coat today. At least when Izzy and I took a walk after work, I was moving enough I didn't care I had on a light coat.
Okay, what should I make for dinner?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A grab bag o' weather

Lise and I drove out to a new wine shop on the west side of town - just as the sleet and snow ended and the temps began to rise. Thankfully.
We had a nice time tasting the day's featured wines, as well as sampling some wine fudge from a sweetshop in Aumsville. I can't remember having fudge with a pinot noir before. I had an urge to email the sweetshop's owner to let them know their website isn't working the way they had hoped. If it hadn't been for Lise, I wouldn't have figured out how to get past the cover/entry page with it's broken link.
On our way home we stopped at a new place in the south end. They roast their own coffee and make crepes - both sweet and savory. It's going to be a winner - perfect location teamed with the perfect menu for the clientele.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Things you can count on

Oops, sorry! Just got distracted watching a Pizza Hut commercial touting their lasagna (which they sell by the pound). "Even people in Italy loved it!" Uh huh, sure.

N and I had the urge for something delicious and predictable for dinner. I know I should've thought of somewhere new to go eat, but sometimes I just want to go to our old favorites. And so we drove downtown to Marco Polo's. :>) Our waiter was pretty green and made a couple of mistakes, but our entrees (shrimp curry fried rice and mongolian beef) were just what we hoped for. Mmmm!

Hard Work

N and I wanted a change in our usual Saturday morning routine, so we hooked up Izzy to her retractable leash and went for a morning walk around, through and back around the park. It felt good to be out getting some exercise on a Saturday morning. We should make it a new routine.

N has rehearsal this afternoon and then a concert tomorrow. I wonder if anyone will arrive at the wrong time due to the time change? ;>

L and her J are up in Portland having a grand day out for his bday. They plan on visiting good old Powell's and then the Rheinlander. We suggested reservations. I wonder if they'll heed? N and I were hoping he'd decide that dinner here in town would be okay. Oh well, we're just a couple of old fogies. ;>

Friday, March 6, 2009

Oh what a beautiful day!

I usually work for comp time on grading days, but not this year. I've been going to work with this bug from day one and decided I needed another 3 dayer.
I went out and about fairly early this morning, after I finished editing and uploading the short people's videos and slideshows. I wanted to touch base with a local diner to see if I could talk them into letting me create a simple web presence for them - location, hours, menu, pictures- linked to eatsalem.com. The woman I talked to was slightly skeptical, but stayed open minded enough to let me leave a note and some info for the owner/cook. I was impressed that they were still busy at 10:45 AM on a weekday.
I ran a few more errands and then decided to go home and see if Fran wanted to go out with me to enjoy a bit of this grand day. She did :>) and so we did. We ran some more errands, drove around with the sunroof open (and heater on) and stopped to get a mocha at Caffe Milan on the way home. I thought the mocha was even better than what we usually get at Breakpoint, but Fran thought it was a draw.
Izzy's enjoying her new toys and I'm thinking about working on J's bday dinner - one of his favs, mac and cheese.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Izzy and N Alert

You've been warned. Hit play at your own risk.

Where's that 100s day shirt??

Ah yes, tomorrow we celebrate the 100th day of school! Ours is slightly different from the rest of the school since KG assessments take place the first 4 school days.

I've watched it done a bit differently with each of the 10 teachers I've worked with over the years. With some it was a borderline crazy day filled with fun learning activities and with the more recent - fewer activities in a more controlled environment.

Every year, at the end of the day I hear one short person ask when the party is. I guess you can't fool them all. ;>)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

And we're back . . .

The good news is that we didn't get lost once between the parking garage and the 3 pavilions we traveled through at OHSU today. That's pretty remarkable when I think back to the times we spent wandering (and worrying we'd be late) trying to find someone who could give us directions.

Fran's lung stats showed some improvement and they don't need to see her until March 2010.
We didn't get to spend as much time with Dr. Kouskov this time. He's such a sweet, caring man. I think they're trying to get him to stick to a schedule, when he just wants to sit and spend time getting to know the patients.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Fruit flies, fruit flies, pesky little fruit flies

Today's epiphany: If you have fruit flies in your building and you do a science activity with vinegar, every dog gone #*?@!! fruit fly in the building is going to find you within 30 minutes.

I'm glad Kim and I put on our thinking and trying caps and gave the new (to us) way to do dancing/bobbing raisins a shot. I printed out a couple of photographs I found online of the man who took a trip in his lawnchair with the help of helium balloons. I told the kids about his bold voyage to Idaho and then told them we were going to use bubbles filled with another kind of gas to lift raisins - gas filled bubbles made by mixing two household chemicals together. Heck, we didn't even need the bobbing raisins to make this an interesting activity for the short people!

First I gave them each a clear plastic cup half full of water, a small Dixie-type cup with two teaspoons of baking soda, four raisins, another small cup with 2 Tbsp. vinegar and a plastic spoon. (We reused all the little cups and spoons for all four groups throughout the day. I hate the garbage we can produce with some science activities.)
Once they had all of their supplies, I told them to pick-up their baking soda cup and to dump it all into the water.
Then I told them to pick-up the spoons and begin stirring while I counted and clapped out a minute.
Next I asked them to put raisins in one hand and the vinegar cup in the other and to add them at the same time.
I loved the ooos and ahs as the vinegar and baking soda foamed (a few overflowed) and receded. Then we watched the bubbles collect on the raisins,
raisins lifting up,
raisins dropping down.
A successful and fun day in science.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Streams of Salem

While we were driving around and through town yesterday, we began wondering which streams were which.
A few months back when I wrote a post about lunching at The Ram, a reader wrote to correct my mistake in saying their deck looks out on Mill Creek. He said it was the Shelton Ditch.
I remembered to look the info up (yet again) this afternoon. So confusing! It seems in the 1800s, men-who-wished-to-improve-on-nature decided to redirect water into both the Salem Ditch and the Shelton Ditch.

I'll be doing the dancing raisins science activity with the short people tomorrow. Science is usually on Tuesday, but N and I will be a OHSU most of that day with Fran while they do their lung tests and scan. I was reviewing one of my science books and ran across an alternative method for doing the dancing raisins. They start with a clear cup of water with 5-6 raisins and two portion cups - one with vinegar and the other with baking soda. First the kids stir in the baking soda, then add the vinegar and stand back to watch the gas bubbles attach to the raisin wrinkles and carry them up to the surface. The bubbles pop, the raisins sink and the process begins again. In the past Kim and I have used Seven-Up and seltzer water. They don't work consistently for every child throughout the day. We've tried smaller bottles and different brands, but we still get some disappointments. Maybe this will be the ticket, but I'll still warn them that sometimes things just don't work out the way we hope they will.