Thursday, April 12, 2018


A lot has happened in ten years!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Spirited Away

Saturday, April 07, 2018


Anders and Soren came up with a new use for the air cannon at the Exploratorium that normally is used to send a beach ball into the air.

We also spent a bunch of time in the Tinkering Studio, which has a great vending machine...

...that sells electronic components and tool kits.

The Tinkering Studio also has a wall of trophies, featuring disassembled toys.

Sunday, April 01, 2018

egg hunt

The boys found fourteen eggs (twelve that they had decorated, plus two that we got at a dinner last night) in the backyard.

The Easter Bunny rewarded them for their efforts.

Food Bank - apples!

For our second family shift at the Food Bank, we lucked out and got to pack apples, rather than the far more common shift of portioning rice into bags.

We packed 2+ pallets of apples into smaller boxes. Here Sigrid is, celebrating the bottom of the first pallet of apples.

Soren tried to escape this pic, but you can see his head peeking out from behind some boxes.

It was a small crew today (instead of the 80 volunteers they expected, we for some reason only had about twenty of us), but we managed to box up 12,600 pounds of apples in our two hour shift. You work up an appetite when you're surrounded by apples for two hours, so we went to Little Chihuahua for an early lunch.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Pagan Eggs

My contribution, in honor of Michigan playing in the Final Four later today.

Bacon of the Month: Underground Bacon, Juniper & Thyme

April arrived a bit early, with installment #4 of the Zingerman's Bacon Club arriving yesterday. Wet-cured with juniper and thyme, and smoked with hickory and apple wood. It's pretty interesting. Perhaps not a good candidate for a go-to everyday bacon, but it's delightful nonetheless.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Vivaldi Club

Midday performance for the elementary school.

Here is one of the several pieces they performed.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

apple pie

Anders and Sigrid made a pie.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Happy Pi Day!

We ate the whole thing!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

hair salon

Until today, I was the only one ever to have given either of the boys a haircut. But they've been on a mission to grow their hair out (exactly how much is unclear), and I wasn't sure my skills were up to the longer cuts, so we went to Great Clips in the Diamond Heights Shopping Center.

VoilĂ !

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

new fence

We (and our neighbor) got a new fence for the west side of our backyard. We're told the old fence lasted 25 years, and the design on the new one is a bit better, so hopefully it will last even longer!

Step one was taking down the old fence.

The new posts went in next

The old fence had used pressure-treated wood for the posts, because they went straight into the footings. The new design has metal brackets in the footings, so that the posts are above grade. This is the improvement I mentioned above, which hopefully will extend the life of the fence.

Here is the nearly completed fence. The change in grade between the two yards is addressed using 2 x 12 pressure-treated wood along the bottom of the fence.

The other notable design difference is that the fence is symmetrical, so we and our neighbor see the same pattern of overlapping boards (a "picture frame board-on-board" design).

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Bacon of the Month: Ozark Trails

This month's bacon selection from Zingerman's hails from Arkansas. It's wet-brined, peppered, and probably the lowest on the sugar (and salt) so far. It's also the thinnest cut, and the smallest package (12 oz. versus 16 and 14 in the previous two months). To me, it tastes the most "bacony" of the three varieties. The pepper kicks in slowly, with a delayed aftertaste that I noticed several seconds after my first bite. I'd have to do a side-by-side comparison to be sure, but I think I like this better than the Nueske's!

Thursday, March 01, 2018

bedtime reading

mathematical thinking

The fourth graders are sometimes given a "problem of the week," which this week asked them how many more minutes there are with at least one 5 in them than minutes with at least one 6 in them in a 12 hour period (using a digital clock with no seconds). They are allowed to have an adult help them work through the problem.

One notion I've been trying to work with Anders on is that for a problem like this, figuring out the answer is only part of the solution—you also need to be able to explain your reasoning. Anders quickly figured out that there are "matching" minutes for 5s and 6s. That is, just as there is a 1:05, there is a 1:06. Then we explored the 5 o'clock and 6 o'clock hours, where every minute has a 5 in one, and every minute has a 6 in the other. Finally, we talked about the minutes from :50 to :59, where every minute has a 5, but only one (:56) has a six.

After all of that, we figured out the answer (there are 99 more minutes with at least one 5 than with at least one 6)—in fact, we figured it out three times, using slightly different techniques (two of which are on the left page below). Finally, we worked out a way to express the solution (right page). Once we had hashed that out, Anders wrote up the answer himself.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Big White: Seattle detour, Saturday

And we're off! Oh, except the second leg of our flight has been canceled due to whiteout conditions in Kelowna. So... quick, book a hotel in Seattle!

The Hotel Max is super hip, with retro games like Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots.

It's also right next to the United States District Court.

We arrived a bit before 4, and our room (which we had just reserved online) wasn't quite ready. We went down the street to a coffee shop. Let me tell you, Seattle hipsterism makes San Francisco look staid.

We were three blocks away from Seattle's Pacific Place Din Tai Fung... the boys (and Sigrid) tried xiao long bao for the first time...

...and some kimchi dumplings... orange juice with sprite...

...and some red bean buns to close dinner out.