Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sigrid and I celebrated Valentine's Day early last Saturday night, when the boys were away for a sleepover. We had ate Turkish food at Tuba, and finished up with tea in tulip glasses.

The boys are celebrating Valentine's Day at school. Here is the card that Soren is handing out to his classmates.

Many Moons

This morning, Soren debuted in his first SFS play. He played the king, and had a bazillion lines. He really hammed it up.

It was a fine production!


One of the presents Soren got from Grammy for his birthday was a set of three giant confetti filled balloons. We blew these up for his birthday party, where they were much enjoyed. A week later, the first of them popped.

The other two have since popped, too. Here's the remains of the last:

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Makey Makey

One of Soren's friends got him a Makey Makey for his birthday. It's a circuit board that masquerades as a USB keyboard. You can turn anything that is mildly conductive into a key by attaching it to the Makey Makey with an alligator clip. Then, if you ground yourself, you can generate a key press by touching the "key." In the pic below, Soren has grounded himself by putting his foot on some foil that we've attached to the ground on the Makey Makey, and is playing an electronic piano using six keys made of Brussels sprouts, a half onion, some mandarin slices, and a piece of lemon.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

The EGGtastic Breakfast

One of the writing projects the first graders at SFS do is a "small moment." They go through multiple drafts, come up with several possible titles, and do their best to come up with vivid writing. Here is Soren's small moment.

(Next up is a "how-to" project. I helped Soren brainstorm ideas for his how-to. The first thing he came up with was "how to cook eggs"!)

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Bacon of the Month: Broadbent's

Month two of my Christmas Bacon of the Month gift is 14 oz. of Broadbent's dry cured hickory smoked bacon. I fried 4 pieces up in a skillet for about 12 minutes over medium heat.

Here's what it looked like at the start. The bacon is very firm (perhaps due to the dry cure, which reduces the water content), and sharply colored (perhaps from the long smoke—3–4 days).

I assumed the flavor would be very intense, and that this would be my ideal style of bacon. I was half right. It's very intense, but at least as a bacon eaten on its own, I prefer last month's Nueske's (a wet cure). The dry cure results in a different texture that is reminiscent of Canadian bacon. It also yields a pretty salty bacon. All in all, a very intriguing bacon that might be best used as an ingredient (BLT? in a salad?) rather than as straight bacon.

macro greens

We like to plant some micro greens in the garden in the spring. We get several good harvests out of it, but eventually it stalls, and I stop paying attention to it. Usually all that remains are some spindly stalks as the plants go to seed. This year perhaps I gave up too early, because there is a vigorous jungle crop in the garden now.

I'll have to see what in there is actually palatable. It could be that most of it is too bitter or tough at his point. But I'll bet this chard will still be tasty.


Happy birthday Soren!

Soren had his school birthday party, complete with birthday singing, on Friday (no pics). Then, on Saturday, we went to another kid's first birthday (돌) party, and Soren somehow finagled his way into getting his name in lights on the cake. And everyone sang him happy birthday again.

Then, when we got home, we had his official birthday party. After a delicious hot dog dinner, we celebrated with (again) candles and singing!

We watched Johnny English Reborn, which the reviewers mostly said had tired, rehashed spy thriller parody humor. But those tired gags can seem awfully funny if you've never seen them before, so the crowd loved the movie.

Post-sleepover, the boys had abundant device time...

...followed by strawberry-nutella crepes, lovingly made by Sigrid.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

super blue blood moon

A super moon is a full moon that is within 90% of its closest approach to earth. A blue moon is the second full moon in a single month (there was also a full moon on January 1). A blood moon is a moon during a lunar eclipse (earth between the moon and the sun). This morning, we had all three. I woke up and walked down the street to Douglass Park. (I had planned to head to Glen Canyon but was pleased enough with my view from the park.) I took several pics at f/2.8 with varying exposure times, steadying my camera against concrete, car roofs, and chain link fence. This shot is at f/2.8 with a 1/3 second exposure, steadying the camera against the chain link fence at the edge of Douglass Park. The house you see there is at the end of Carnelian Way, overlooking the park.

I like the shot with the house, but if you want to see a bit more detail on the moon, here is a closer crop. The lunar eclipse was just about at its peak point when I took this picture. The time stamp on my camera (which might not be entirely accurate) is 5:27 a.m., with peak eclipse scheduled for 5:29 a.m.

Pairing this early morning viewing with our solar eclipse trip last August, I really feel like I've had a good eclipse experience in the last few months.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Oyez! Oyez!! Oyez!!!

The Honorable, the Chief Justice and the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States! Oyez! Oyez!! Oyez!!!

That's a 44-piece Lego model of the United States Supreme Court building.

The real thing.

Monday, January 29, 2018


Saturday, January 20, 2018

Women's March, the sequel

Last year's Women's March was the boys' first protest. Today's march was sunnier, drier, somewhat smaller, but still very well attended.

The boys did quite well, although we did eventually need to make a quick pit stop to buy some kettle corn from a street vendor.

Last year, the actual marching part didn't start until later, and was so crowded that we barely moved at all before deciding to head home. This time, we were able to actually march, and made it all the way to Justin Herman Plaza. (A side benefit of that is that we boarded MUNI at Embarcadero Station, which means we got seats.)

That protest sign was a last minute thing. We happened to have just gotten a poster from Centro Legal de la Raza, so used some leftover poster board from a school project to make it into a sign. The poster features art by Micah Bazant.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Tunisian Orange Olive Oil Cake

Sigrid made this out of the Zingerman's Bakehouse cookbook. One of the ingredients is a whole orange, which you prep by simply running the orange (peel and all) through a food processor!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

January tomato

I usually pull out our tomato plants after the season is done, but this year I left one there. I figured it was too cold for any more tomatoes to ripen, but with enough time...

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


Sigrid and I went to the annual California State Parks Foundation luncheon, held this year at Anchor Steam!

After the lunch, we got a tour of the brewery, marking our third tour of an alcoholic beverage plant in the last few months.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Empress G&T

Elizabeth bought me a bottle of Victoria Distillery's Empress 1908 Gin for Christmas. The distinguishing botanical from a flavor perspective is probably the Empress Tea (the gin is inspired by high tea at the Fairmont Empress hotel). But the distinctive color comes from a post-distillation infusion of butterfly pea blossoms.

The color in the blossoms comes in part from anthrocyanins, which are also found in many other fruits and plants, including blueberries, cranberries. Anthrocyanins are purple in neutral pH, but red in acidic solutions. The picture below has iced gin on the right and a gin & tonic on the left (the tonic is acidic).

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Bacon of the Month: Nueske's

Sigrid got me a six-month subscription to Zingerman's Bacon of the Month Club. Month one is Nueske's Applewood Smoked Bacon. Thick cut (twelve slices in one pound), smoky (too smoky according to the boys), meaty, and very tasty. At Zingerman's urging, prepared it two ways, in a skillet and baked. The skillet fried pieces were a tad more interesting, but pretty similar.