Sunday, March 28, 2010

Dictionary Moment: Geoduck

Geoduck: "an edible clam of the Pacific coast that weighs as much as five pounds." 

I believe I have seen this word, and its definition, previously.  But I never gave it much thought, until Scoot's class gave their musical tour of Washington last week.  To represent a nearby town on the Hood Canal, they sang "The Geoduck Song," a lively pattering tune about harvesting the things.  What sent me to the dictionary was the pronunciation: "gooey duck." 

The SOED, replete as it may be with words only obscurely connected to the English language, is silent on geoducks.  So I turned to the good old red Webster's.  It confirmed Scoot's pronunciation, and revealed that the word comes from Chinook Jargon, the local mishmash of native and European tongues.  It also strengthens my theory that whoever wrote these words down wasn't a phoneticist.  There's a town around here named Puyallup, which I would assume to be pronounced "poo-yall-up."  But no, it is "pyoo-al-up."  Poulsbo, on the other hand, should be pronounced "paulz-bo."  The O was a misprint.

The moral of the story:  When you launch a great Voyage of Discovery, send along a linguist and a spellchecker.  Or at least a big shovel, if you dig geoducks.

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Time to Plant

Spring is here, and my garden is growing!
The broccoli, onions, and tomatoes are flourishing inside,

and the peas are biding their time outside, while I make new beds around them.

The Caterpillar's class took a field trip to the local creekside trail, where they planted trees.

D2 exercised his power of cuteness, and since the trees and shovels were his size, anyway, he got to plant a tree, too.

It looks like Charlie Brown's Christmas tree, but someday this "Plain Girl" may be a queen of the forest.  Yes, he named it himself, mystifying the nice lady who helped dig the hole.

We also planted fish.  These little salmon hatched in the Caterpillar's classroom, and now they are ready to go wild.  "Planting" them in the creek is the term the experts use.

D2 had cuted this gentleman before he even knew we were part of the field trip.

There were plenty of fish, and we all took a turn.
I think D2 took three.

How does your garden grow?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Junior Gallery

Here is a sample of the photos the boys have taken with their camera since Christmas:
The view from the summit of Saturday's hike

Self-portrait of toes, by D2

Scoot's screensaver

I wondered whose car this was...

until I realized it was posing on Rollo's windowsill, like all the other vehicles do.




Scoot at the piano, with the Caterpillar's ear hovering nearby



Spectral Wookiee

But what on earth is this?  No one admits taking this shot.
Please provide this wonderfully textured mystery with a title!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Stash to Treasure: Skirt and Jacket

A couple of years ago, Scoot was wearing holes in his knees like nobody's business, so I decided I should sew him some trousers.  I bought a pretty basic pattern and a stack of cloth, and stitched up two pairs in blue denim as fast as I could.  And . . . he hated them.  I couldn't blame him.  The pants were far too wide.  I took them in a bit, and thought about altering the pattern.  But I was discouraged, and never sewed him any more trousers.  I just forgot about the other pieces of fabric.

Until, that is, my recent organizing project.  I measured the larger pieces, and found that the beige twill was large enough for an A-line skirt from my favorite skirt pattern, Simplicity 5914.  And the green denim, with a little help from some off-white corduroy and brown lining scraps, was just right for a jacket.

I started with McCall's 5191 (which seems to be out of print now), but altered it a bit to make it look more like this (which wasn't discounted when I first discovered that I admired it.  Can you tell this project took a while to get started?).  I eliminated the front yoke, pleated the pockets and moved them down, added a waistline strap in the back, and curved the princess seams to make them look more, um, princessy.  Since I didn't feel like shortening the sleeves, I put the cuffs on inside out, and turned them up.  It was a fun challenge, and I only had to buy the buttons! 
So, here are the jacket and skirt together on a lovely, almost-spring day.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

π Day

Today is one of the favored days among young nerds at the boys' school,
 π Day
Since π is approximately 3.14, they like to celebrate it on 3/14.  Today being Sunday, though, Scoot's class will observe the occasion tomorrow by doing circular math, reciting digits of π from memory, eating pizza pies and sweet pies.  Scoot decided to contribute a coconut cream pie, and he fixed it this afternoon.

But why let them have all the fun?  We have plenty of nerds in our own household.  We are sufficiently nerdy to know that the Greeks pronounce π the same way we pronounce P, but we like pie anyway.  So we had a shepherd's pie for dinner...
and an apple pie for dessert.

And we didn't bother to measure the pies' areas, circumferences, nor volumes.  But we all agree that they were delicious!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Mad Marchness

I looked out the window, and what did I see?
Snowflakes falling on a flowering tree.
March is bringing me a brief surprise,
Snowflakes melting right before my eyes.
I can't make a snowball or build a fort.
It lasted no longer than this report.
It was really so, though evidence may hide--
That's my excuse for exercising inside!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Decision Making

When I directed D2 to pick a shirt this morning, I didn't know what a complicated process it would be.  First he pulled out four shirts.  He examined the sleeves, and returned the long-sleeved white turtleneck to the drawer.  He neatly folded the remaining tee shirts and stacked them up.  An abbreviated "Eenie Meenie Mynie Mo" seemed to indicate the teal shirt, but, picking them up, he said, "I think they will all win."  He tossed them on his brother's bed, cried "they all won!" and joined them for some celebratory bouncing.  Then he spread them out carefully on another part of the floor, and did "Mynie Mo" a couple more times, yielding teal, then white.  He piled them all on his head and bounced some more.  Then he piled them on my head, and said they looked like a towel.  Finally he picked the teal shirt, because he liked it.  I knew he would!  Apparently the trousers and socks weren't required to go through such an extensive screening process.  Perhaps I should try his methods when I can't decide what to wear.  Or should I just let him choose for me?