Sunday, May 29, 2011

Busy Sunday

 Busy taking Chloe to the park and cleaning and working on the house!
 This girl loves to swing!
 and climb!
 and slide...
 She likes to go for a good walk.  We all went and enjoyed it very much.

 I worked outside building forms for a sidewalk between the slab and the shed.  Perhaps one of these days we will do a few more things, but for now I am working on the sidewalk and a man gate for our back fence...that will come tomorrow if I don't take all day on the sidewalk.  The tangle of string is to keep Toby and Gypsy out.
I purposely did not incorporate straight lines...just in case you're curious.  While I was busy outside, Cora was busy inside sorting and rearranging Chloe's wardrobe and also doing house work...a result is that we are both bushed tonight.  Chloe suffers no such problem, though.  

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Work of Art? Nah, Jim Did This.

After working on this for about twenty minutes I got it to here...I think I like this.  Just takes a little exploring, time, and patience!

I think we have a busy day ahead.  We have some shopping, an early nap, a bit of house work, and a movie in our future, plus some baby sitting grandparents...who knows what else!  Please let me know what you think of this photo.

Oh, and we will return to the regularly schedule Chloe photos shortly.

Friday, May 27, 2011

New Slang!

 There is a song named "New Slang."  It is surprisingly catchy.  Which is why I titled this post the same.  This new technique, which is to say, new to me, is a new slang.  It seemed easy to get used to and overuse, just as one might slang.  I drove home from work and took a bit of a side trip that I never have before.  It was along a canal and I found some new views of the valley from it.  I loved the clouds today.  They really begged for photos!
 Then, when I found the new technique that matched them perfectly...well, all was good in the world!
 I thought I'd throw this self-portrait in for good measure!  It was a convex/concave mirror in a local school's metal shop.
 Here is what tonights photos COULD have looked like, but I fell in love with the new technique...have a look at the difference.  Feel free to let me know what you think of the pics!

I hope you all have a good weekend!  Three days never go so fast as these!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dinner and...Jeez, Do We Have Energy For Anything Else?

I had a pretty good day at a middle school today.  I taunted children and made them work.  I started the second book (my second time through this series and I totally recommend it!) of the Magic Bites series.  I picked up Chloe and began dinner.  I really got going on it when Cora got home.

I made a version of P.F. Chang's lettuce wraps (...they are yummy!) and they turned out well!  I think it was the sauce that did it.  Also, it might have been my lovely choice of fresh vegetables.  Here is the recipe if you are all interested.

It was breezy today.  I should have found something to take pictures of, but the wind and my advanced state of tiredness prevented me...also the fact that it seemed like it SHOULD be Friday.

I guess it's time for bed.


Shh- People Are Watching!

 I got a tremendous reaction from yesterday's Black and White Wednesday post, which was very welcome.  Every once in awhile you wonder if you are good at what you do.  I know I'm nowhere near spectacular, but the compliments were greatly appreciated.  Not to mention, I love reading comments.

I took the camera with me yesterday, but it was raining when I got off work and nothing screamed at me to take its photo, so I abstained and just went home and did some dishes that were screaming instead...I hate noisy dishes, and this batch had grown a bit more than an attitude.  It's amazing what having a toddler with an interest in moving around does to a household.

Saturday's tour was interesting.  I look forward to going back again later this summer ( some more friends and I are going this time) because I have some more questions to ask.  For instance, what happened to the tag/label above the twin gages in the photo below?
It was really neat seeing a different side of the reactor this time.  I am talking about instrumentation.  The gages are mostly pneumatic or hydraulic.  There were small copper tubes and pipes everywhere.  Each bent to exacting standards and truly a form of art in themselves!  Here, have a look at a couple shots I got of the "behind the scenes" stuff.

Click on this image and get the largest photo possible so you can examine how the wires were held together.  Yes, someone took A LOT of time with a needle and thread keeping those wires together and tight simply by sewing them together...or tying them, either way, that is CRAFTSMANSHIP!  There was a thermometer monitoring the temperature of the electronics IN this little box!
 look at every little tube!  Each one in someway related directly to one of the 2004 process tubes in the reactor!
 Here in this last photo you can see the work a plumber must have nightmares about, each of these was sweated together.  Look closely and you can see the solder!
Thanks should go to the docent who pointed this little detail out to me, I was so engrossed in the outward appearance of the control room that I nearly forgot to dig deeper!  Just the number of man-hours necessary for this is amazing, and the entire thing was up and running in eleven months.  From the first shovel full to first reaction.  THAT is amazing!  Of course, knowing how many workers were employed at Hanford during the war, maybe this isn't as much of a surprise as it seems, still, even with multiple shifts, this is amazing!  Because when they began digging, there were NO concrete plans!  They built on the fly!

Now, with that in mind, WHO WOULDN'T find the Cold War interesting!?!?!

oh, and I hope if you are new to my blog you don't mind learning a little about my interests! History is big!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Eyes Have It

B-Reactor at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation was the worlds first full-scale production reactor.
On the way home from work I stopped to take some photos of the wild flowers.

 and, of course, Chloe, too!

the long road

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tired Again

I have had it with this wheezy little irritating cough!  I just about am going crazy!  For the most part I have no cough, but about 5 times during the day that irritating little tickle starts wiggling in the back of my throat and I can't do anything but cough!  Cough drops suppress the urge, but they don't stop it.  I am convinced that cough syrups are nothing but sugar water or some other useless concoction.  I am fed up with this!!

Chloe, sweet darling that she is, woke up at 3AM.  We both got up and quickly fixed her a bottle, changed her, and put her back down.  Cora went back to sleep while I lay there with a tickle growing in the back of my throat.  I thought that it might help if I sat up, so I went to my chair...and NO, it doesn't.  I tried to sleep, but that did not happen and I have been up since...either tossing and turning or just sitting here wishing I was asleep.  I even took a tylenol three since the Dr. said that is as good as the best cough syrups...I feel more tired now and though I am not coughing right now, that little tiny tickle is there still.

Well, that's enough whining.  Or is it?  The phone that I inherited from Cora finally bit the dust.  As you may recall, I lost MY phone in Tokyo.  Cora gave me hers when we got back from China as she had qualified for an upgrade before me.  So I have been walking around with a red phone.  Over the past few days I had been having to charge it and charge it to keep it charged.  The charge lasted little more than twelve hours.  We dropped by our friendly neighborhood Sprint store and my man Efren made a call and saw to it that I was ready for an upgrade at relatively little cost to me!

I am now the proud owner of a smartphone.  It has applications that do wonderful things.  It even seems to be a better PHONE than the old one, which I was forever having trouble hearing through.  This thing allows me to hear with ease!  It's touch screen and all kinds of awesome!  I may be in love.

Well, hopefully the third graders I am teaching today will be nice and allow me a nap...yeah, right.

I hope everybody has a good day!    

Sunday, May 22, 2011


On August 9, 1945, the B-29 Bockscar took off from Tinian Island and flew to Nagasaki, Japan, where it delivered the worlds third atomic weapon.  The fissile material in the bomb, dubbed Fat Man because of its shape, had been created and refined at Hanford, Washington.  The first production reactor began sustained reaction in September of 1944, though shortly the reaction ceased because of Xenon poisoning.  Soon the pile was back up to speed thanks to Dupont safety margins.  

I had the opportunity to visit this reactor yesterday!  It is a National Historic Landmark and a Museum of the Manhattan Project.  I went with a friend I grew up with and we managed to be on the correct tour so I could take my camera.  Here's some of what I got.

It was a lovely Saturday!  Cora and Chloe did some shopping and I got a chance to relax after the tour.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Dandy Girl

 She said Double U today, and she was doing a decent rendition of the ABC song.  She asked for Cheese instead of a bottle the other night.  And prefers cheese to most other food items...although she is more than partial to strawberries.  she pronounces cheese CHEZZZZZZZZZZ, with emphasis on the ZZZZ.  She is a wholly remarkable girl.
Today, sometime around noon, I get to go on a forced march with some fourth graders.  We will be seeing the school where they will be next year.  should be fun...on the other hand, it is supposed to be hot today.  I'm saying, "screw the 'dress-code' I am going to be comfortable."  Jeans and tennis shoes for me.

Tomorrow, we go to the Tri-cities.  Me to see the B-Reactor and Cora and Chloe to get a haircut.  I'm not entirely clear who is going to be sheared, but it may be the smaller of the two.  You should look forward to some low-definition pictures from Cora's camera.  She asked to use mine for it last night and received a look from me that almost had her howling with laughter.  Cameras are sacred.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Four Months! Can You Believe it?

We have been parents for four months.  This lovely girl has been ours for four months...or maybe I should rephrase that.  We have been hers for four months.  She is a wonderful bundle of awesome.  Sometimes...well, most times, I just want to say, "I'm not worthy!"  But, I am glad someone thought I was.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Dandy! No Lyin', Just Daughter!

 I had the misfortune of being fooled by my substitute program last night.  I saw a job come up and took it.  It gave the date, but I did not, this once, look.  I simply grabbed the job and was happy I could stop looking for the night.  This morning another school district called, desperate for a sub, but I turned them down knowing I had a job...long story short, I apparently took a job for YESTERDAY.  So, I showed up for work and saw a blank expression on the secretary's face.  Never a good sign.  Turns out there was a bit of a snafu yesterday, some sub took the job, but didn't show up, and they must have cancelled it because it came up in my screen...Despite my calling my other two districts to see if they needed a sub, well, they didn't.  I would very much like to get my hands on that other sub...

On the bright side, I got to spend the day with my lovely daughter.  It was probably for the better, since she was not feeling 100% good.  So we had some good father/daughter time.  I decided to take her to the post office to get the mail.  Well, there was no mail, so rather than making a 180 degree turn, I decided to walk us to the park.

I am glad I did, since I got the chance to really introduce her to dandy lions.  You remember as a kid blowing on the seed head of a dandy lion.  Well, I figure this is a time honored tradition that needs to be handed down, neighbors' yards be damned!
 She decided they were much better on her cheek, and instead of blowing as she does very well with her bubbles now, she rubbed them on her cheek.  Then she offered me some.

 If you try to tell me she's not the cutest thing in the world...well, I'll just ignore you as a crazy person.

It was a good day.  I did a lot of laundry and dishes and even mowed the lawn while she was napping.  I also made some calls and relaxed a bit.

For dinner, I decided to try to approximated the wonderful Kung Pao Chicken we had in Beijing.  We haven't had anything similar since.  Well, after some discussion with Cora involving the suspected ingredients and some research on-line, I arrived at something that seemed likely to me to approximate that wonderful preparation we had four months ago...can you BELIEVE it's been four months?????  Jeez!  Parents for four months!!  WOW!!

Oh, yeah, food...where was I?  Would you like the recipe that I used?  Because it turned out good...not QUITE Beijing style, but mighty good!

OK, here it is:

2 chicken breasts(cut into small uneven pieces)
about 1/4 cup soy sauce (I'd reduce this next time)
about 1/4 cup honey(maybe a touch more)
1 teaspoon of peanut butter
about 2 tablespoons white wine
about 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
a dash of cayenne
a larger dash of red chili powder
about 1/4 cup sesame oil
some olive oil (what i cooked the chicken in)
one bunch of green onions chopped into 1/2 inch long pieces
1/2 cup of peanuts (unsalted, natural as can be)
1 teaspoon ginger finely chopped
1 tablespoon of garlic freshly minced
red chili peppers (you know the small dried ones) about a hand full.
and 1 teaspoon of cornstarch.

I made the soy sauce, honey, wine, vinegar, cayenne, peanut butter, sesame oil and cornstarch into a sauce. and cooked the chicken in olive oil, then added the chili peppers, garlic and ginger.  Once the chicken began cooking I threw in the peanuts and then waited, finally I added the sauce and the green onions...wait to add the green onions, you don't want them to be overcooked.

I added a bit more honey at the end to make it as sticky as the Beijing type, but missed horribly.  Still, it was entirely edible!  Give it a shot.  And if you do, let me know what you thought!

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Lucky Man

I am the lucky man.  I mean it.  I am THE Lucky Man.  I married a woman who understands my quirks and for the most part makes room for them.  She is understanding when I am not.  She's mature when I am not...which is...all the time.  She is a better parent when I am not.  Well, let's just face it, she's better than I am!  I am a Lucky Man!  I love you Cora!

I also have a wonderful daughter!

Have I mentioned that?

The wonderful Daughter, that is.

Did I?

Yeah, she's awesome.

I taught in the Valley today and took some pictures of the flooding.  It rained all weekend.  The rains have to go somewhere, and they seem to be flowing into the Yakima River.  It is due to hit the high water mark Wednesday.  Here's what I saw today.

I walked across some nasty overspilling water to get this photo.  It was spilling across the parking area.  It was most...ah...invigorating.

Then I came home and picked up the daughter and then we had a good evening.