Sunday, June 29, 2008

New timewaster

I've found a new timewaster, err game. They call it Four Rivers Puzzle, but it reminds me a lot of mah-jong. So far, I've gotten my time down to as low as 2 min 45 sec.

I know I should be finishing up my packing, but this is much more fun!


testing from tablet

This has been a test of uploading photos to the tablet and posting from there. It obviously works, but it is a pain because I have to hunt and peck to type.

I'm going to try to post some photos from our trip as we go, but they will be light on text unless we find a compter with a standard keyboard.

Shadow noticed this cat over the doorway at one point and reacted as though it was an intruder cat. Luckily he got over it.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

The swim meet that wasn't

Last swim meet of the season tonight.  It had stormed a bit mid-afternoon, but it had all appeared to blow over, so we were good to go.  In fact, as we arrived at the pool, the sun came out and all of a sudden, our cool, breezy, overcast late afternoon turned into a hot, steamy, muggy late afternoon.

Our team warmed up.  Their team warmed up.  They lined up the first few races worth of kids.  First up the 5-6 year olds.  Swimming 2 lengths of the pool.  It took some of them a loooooong time.  Then the 7-8's.  I went to round up M's age group (my duty for the evening) and found that they had all gotten themselves to the bullpen, ready to be seated.  Hooray for competent kids!

Next up, the 9-10's.  A's group and A was swimming.  He swam.  I cheered.  He finished, with a new best time (but not as much better than last year as I had expected).  It thundered.  

Oops.  15 minute delay.  But the swimmers stayed lined up.  We made it 5 or 6 minutes without thunder and thought we might be ok.  Nope, more thunder.  The kids were let free to roam.  We waited with intermittent thunder.  Various people were checking their phones and calling people to determine how big and fast the storm was.  They decided that we would wait until 7:30 before deciding to call the meet off (about 45 minutes away by that point).  We chatted and ate our picnic dinner.  All was fine until KABOOOOOM!  Massive crack of thunder.  It sent us all scurrying inside the building, most of us with our chairs and belongings.  Then a bit later the sky opened up and it poured.  Buckets and buckets full, it seemed (at least an inch, most of it in 15 minutes).

Then the sky started to clear up.  Started looking good.  We even saw the sun.  A few raindrops still but not much.  Then a bit more rain - enough to chase most people back inside.  A little thunder still, but we figured it was just the tail end of the storm - we could still hear thunder even though it was past us.  Then at some point in there, pop, pop, pop went the transformer - and there went our power.  Hmmm.  Even if we got the meet started, we probably wouldn't be able to finish it in the dark.  But some swimming is better than none.  

Then about 7:25, another KABOOOOM, more thunder, lightning and rain.  We gave up.  Meet was called.  They tallied the results based on 5 1/2 races - a tie.  No chance to make up the meet since Saturday is the end of the season.  


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

More swim meets

It seems like all we do these days is swim meets (and swim practice).  And it seems like we have been practicing for ages, but yet, it also seems like the kids are finally settling in to their strokes and we know what is going well and what needs to be worked on.  So, of course, the season is almost over.  Our last meet is Thursday.  Technically there is the county meet on Saturday, but it is an all day event (because we have kids both under and over age 10), and we just don't have time to do that all day when we're also trying to get ready for vacation next week.

Last night's meet was close - very close.  We lost by 13 points.  If we had won one relay instead of the other team, we would have won.  13 points out of over 800 total points (I think the score was 408 to 421).  While it would have been great to win, it was also good to have a close meet.  I really don't think anyone knew who would win.

A had a pretty good night.  He got 2 more best times, in breast and back.  His breaststroke still looks a bit shaky at times to me (still sometimes getting 2 kicks in per one arm pull), but the stroke and turn judge deemed it acceptable.  M didn't have such a good night - he DQ'd his butterfly - first time all year (didn't get his arms out of the water at some point).  And he was slower on breast and freestyle.  There's always Thursday...  

M did have a great night last week, though.  He took 2nd in breaststroke!  And yes, there were more than 2 people swimming - there were 4 in that race.  So, yay M!!  First time for a (non-relay) 2nd place ribbon!


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Wands, a la Harry Potter

M found a cool website which featured how to make a Harry Potter wand.  I looked it over and it certainly seemed workable.  Now the site says that it only takes 20 minutes to make.  Well, that's a bit of a stretch.  Maybe its 20 minutes of hands-on time, but that doesn't include locating all the materials, waiting for glue to dry (several different times), waiting for paint to dry (again several times).  I would guess that our wands took more like an hour of my time, spread out over most of the afternoon.  But they really look cool!

This first picture is of an intermediate stage, where we put on hot glue to texture the wands.

I had the kids draw where they wanted me to put down the glue, but really they could have done it themselves (since I have a low temp glue gun).

M's wand.  It's really a little browner than it appears in this picture.

A's wand.  

In both cases, we skipped the "distressing wash" step of the process, since we had spray painted the wands black initially and enough of the black showed through the other paint to be equivalent to a wash. 

M wanted to take his wand to church this morning and show it off, but we dissuaded him.  Both kids did show them off to my mom and she was suitably impressed.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Puzzle Websites

I've found a new website to waste time on - it's a paint-by-number puzzle site.  I've done these type of puzzles before (fell in love with them in Games magazine years ago) and I wanted to have some puzzles to take on our vacation.  Many hours of plane travel and limited luggage space means that these are a perfect plan.

I also went looking for a form of Sudoku puzzle I encountered once - it is 5 interlocking sudoku   puzzles.  I got introduced to it at a welcome station for Ohio.  Lots of fun.  I found Samurai Soduku here.  Seems rather fitting given that these are for a trip to Japan!


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

5 out of 6!

We got the results from last nights meet, this morning.  Each kid can swim 3 individual events, so for M and A, that is 6 individual events.  Out of those 6, they got 5 new best times!  Woo hoo!

As we had feared/expected, A was DQ'd (disqualified) in breaststroke last night, but he had best times in both freestyle (for the 3 straight meet) and backstroke (first time he swam it faster this year).  M had best times in all 3 of his events - breast, free, and butterfly (he took 8 seconds off his time from last year!!)  Way to go kids!!

M gets another shot at beating his times later this week, while A will be off camping 3 nights with the Cub Scouts.  I'm rather liking this trading off of kids deal so far.  It certainly makes things calmer around the house (and gives the kids new things to talk about rather than just fight - always good!)

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Want some fruit?

It's summer and we all love summer fruit.  It's a good thing too as I may have overdone it in the fruit department.  Currently we have:

Oh, and we finished up a pineapple yesterday.

We'll be eating fruit with breakfast, lunch and dinner most days!  Not always at dinner, but since we have swim meets twice a week and take a picnic to them, fruit is always included.

Speaking of swim meets, we had another tonight.  M's first meet for this summer as he was away at camp all last week.  He's hoping to get several best times - and he should if he didn't get disqualified.  Their stroke and turn judge is a real stickler - he disqualified kids right and left all night long (both teams equally it seems).  The kids are happy - we won the meet.

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Mostly back from camp

M came back from camp yesterday, with most of his stuff.  He's missing a towel - not a big deal, that's why he got sent with the mismatched/stained/worn old towels - its why I save old towels after all.  Unfortunately, he also came home without his glasses.  His new glasses.  The ones we picked up 2 days before camp started.  Grrrr.  Unfortunately for me, the glasses place put a rush on the order or they would have come in while he was at camp.  In which case he would have taken his old glasses and while it would be bothersome not to have the old ones as a backup, it wouldn't put me out any money.  

He managed to lose them at night, in a field (while scuffling with another kid), in the dark, without a flashlight.  He says that he and another kid (or 2) looked, but they didn't find them.  He didn't tell any adults until they were packing up the next morning.  When D arrived, the two of them looked, but had no luck - not too surprising, since M wasn't exactly sure where he lost them (I understand that part - dark, night, open field, etc).  I'm holding off on getting new glasses for the moment, hoping that possibly someone will find the glasses during camp sessions this week.  I know its a long shot, but its all I've got right now.  And in case they don't turn up, I need to get his prescription and find a cheaper place to get new glasses.


Friday, June 13, 2008

Random bits of Friday

Another swim meet last night.  LONG meet.  It was the other team's first meet this season (and many of their kids were new), so it was very chaotic.  We made it through all but the relays at the end of the meet before it started storming.  Never did get much rain (unfortunately), but the thunder and lightning shut down any swimming - just as well, as it was getting rather dark by then (around 9:15) making it hard to find kids and organize them.  

A got 2 more personal best times: 
freestyle - taking almost another full second off his time
breaststroke - didn't get disqualified this time and took 6 seconds off his time from last year


A and I went swimming this afternoon.  At one point it was very amusing to notice that we were the only swimmers there for 4 lifeguards to watch!  Actually only 2 of them were on duty, the other 2 were just there hanging out.  I don't remember ever doing that when I lifeguarded as a teen - by the time I'd spent 35 hours or so at the pool each week, I wanted to be somewhere else when I was off.


M comes home from camp tomorrow.  With a bunch of dirty laundry I'm sure.  Even if he didn't wear it all, it will probably have gotten dirty one way or another.  I have to quick wash his class A uniform shirt and take off M's patches from it and sew A's patches on.  A gets to move up from a blue uniform shirt to khaki shirt this year, so I decided it made the most sense to hand down M's shirt and get M a new larger size.  A needs his shirt by middle of next week for his camp, so I have to get busy on it.  M won't need his new one until at least August, but I should probably do both while I'm at it.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thankful for rain!

We hadn't had rain in way too long - two weeks maybe? So it was very, very nice to get rain last night - 1.5 inches. Since we're in a drought we're really not supposed to be watering (we actually can water just a little, but the rules are arcane), so the plants are happy for the rain too...

We are allowed to water food crops, so Mr. Blueberry here has been getting the soaker hose about every other day. Not needed today, though.

Not quite ripe yet, maybe tomorrow. I can't wait until I can go out and pick my morning berries...
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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Meet Results

Actually A took over 8.5 seconds off his best time for 25 yard freestyle.  He was quite happy with that.  He also got a best time for 25 yd butterfly - in this case because he had never swum it legally before.  Last night his fly wasn't fast or pretty, but evidently it was correct.  So, yay A!

Unfortunately, he was disqualified on his breaststroke - his favorite stroke.  The coach gave him some pointers this morning, so he's going to work on his stroke.  He's planning on swimming breaststroke again on Thursday night.

Later - we went to the pool after dinner and A did practice a bit. His breaststroke looks a lot better now. We gave him a few pointers on backstroke starts and they look great now. He even practiced diving just a bit - its coming along, but not there yet.


Monday, June 09, 2008

Pentathalon swim meet

Tonight was the first swim meet of the season.  It was also a rather different sort of meet, as there was no other team.  Instead, our kids all swam against each other and they each swam all the different events.  So, rather than picking your favorite/best/hate the least 3 events, the kids each swam 5 different events (plus 2 relays).  It made for a busy night and a lot of swimming.

A was not too happy that he had to swim butterfly and the IM (individual medley - one length each of butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle).  But he struggled through it.  He did much better on the back and breast.  I didn't check times for him on most of his events, but I did on his freestyle.  He took almost 8 seconds off his best freestyle time!  (He's still not as fast as most of his age group in freestyle though.)  The swimming last fall really helped him with the freestyle stroke so he is staying horizontal while he swims and not letting his feet sink.  I think his freestyle will be even better when he isn't all tired from doing an IM.  We'll find out tomorrow how his various times compare to last years.  A is looking forward to getting some "best time" ribbons.  

I'm sorry M wasn't able to be at this meet because I would like to see how he's doing in all the different strokes, not just the ones he chooses to swim normally.  Actually it will be interesting to see which events he chooses to swim in this year.

M is currently off at Scout camp.  He called home tonight to say that he needs a toothbrush (I packed one for him, but then he used it and didn't put it back in the bag).  I'm glad he noticed the toothbrush was missing (I'm not sure he ever used it last year) and I *hope* that maybe he is brushing with his finger...  We'll be down there on Wed, so will take a toothbrush then.  He also wants a stool he wove the seat for a couple of years ago - either to prove he has done it or to unweave it and do it again - in either case working towards a basketry merit badge.

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Saturday, June 07, 2008

Packing for camp

M is headed off to Boy Scout camp tomorrow, so we've been packing.  I told him to go pack clothes - 7 each of shirts, underwear, socks.  "Why?", he asks, "I won't wear all of them".  

Unfortunately, he's probably right and there's really nothing I can do about it.

Last year, he came home with only a handful of dirty clothes:
2 shirts
2 uniform t-shirts
2 pairs underwear
10 pairs socks
2 swimsuits (which he evidently wore as shorts all week long)

He evidently took to heart the Scoutmasters advice to change socks to avoid getting a blister.  Now we just need someone to convince him to change shirts and underwear...

M also complains that "they make us change clothes all the time" - 
class B uniform shirt for breakfast
regular shirt for rest of day
class A uniform shirt for dinner
swimming once or twice a day

With all that changing, you would think that he could occasionally change underwear - but then you and I aren't 12 year old boys!

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Friday, June 06, 2008

The day the AC came on

Yes, we finally turned on the AC today.  I think this might be the earliest in June we've turned it on in years.  (Though we never made it into June without AC when we lived in Baton Rouge.)  It's been stifling hot here lately and everyone else turned on their AC days (if not weeks) ago.  Unfortunately the weather forecast doesn't offer any relief in sight.  

Not good news for M, who is heading off for a week at Boy Scout camp next week.  If it will finally rain, he may get some relief from the heat, but otherwise he'll be hot.  Luckily most of their activities are in the woods or on the water.  

A finished up his week of Cub Scout camp today.  Hot, hot, hot.  And the pool never did become usable.  Instead they had water balloons and an enormous slip-n-slide type thing.  A said he was hot, but he did fine - probably helped by the fact that we don't over-air condition at home.  Some kids were evidently really struggling with the heat.  Their bodies don't get acclimated to the heat, so when they are out in it, they can't cope.

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

3 Weeks of Scout Camp

I looked at the calendar today and realized that we have 3 straight weeks of Scout camps for the kids.  

A is at Cub Scout day camp this week.  He's having a great time, but its not my favorite as it starts at 8 am.  I've been up by 6 the last 2 days getting myself and him ready.  But tomorrow I'm doing afternoon carpool so I can sleep in a bit - I just have to get A fed and lunch packed.  I can sleep in until 7:00!

Next week M has Boy Scout camp.  Overnight, from Sunday afternoon til Saturday morning.  No getting up early for me!  Unfortunately it means that M will miss the first 2 swim meets, though.

The 3rd week, it's A's turn for camp again.  This time it's only for 3 days (and nights) with his Webelos den.  A is looking forward to his first solo camping trip - until 4th grade, the boys are required to have a parent camp with them.

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