Friday, August 31, 2012

Burke Museum

Early this week we hopped on the bus over to the Burke Museum for a last week of summer break outing. We hadn't been before and I'd considered having us go on a weekend as a family, but museums aren't really Ryan's thing. Gareth had seen the pictures of the dinosaur fossils on their website though, and had been asking when we were going to see the fossils ever since.

I hadn't been to the UW campus yet either, so it was fun to see a bit of that. It's quite a nice campus, with lots of lovely brick buildings, lots of green (of course), as well as the requisite nasty ugly building from the 60s or 70s (is there any campus that doesn't have one of these?).

We got to the museum a bit before our friends, so we hung out looking at the fossils and other items on the first floor until they got there. Gareth was very impressed with the dinosaur fossils and enjoyed looking at the polar bear and lion skulls as well as a display on volcanos. He was excited enough to enjoy looking at them all a second time when his friend got there. The museum starts charging admission at age 5, which is good because the 2 year old in our group was less than impressed with everything. But the older kids enjoyed themelves. In addition to the fossil and volcano displays they also had several stuffed birds and squirrels and things and a display on various Pacific cultures.

We ended by checking out the photography exhibit. Gareth said this wasn't very interesting, despite asking questions about several pictures and stating they were "cool" while we were in there. But I can understand why photography wouldn't compare to dinosaur fossils and playing with puppets for him. Overall, a successful outing. Now I'm waiting for school to start so I can go to King Tut with Ryan during the day. And there's a display of quilts over in Bellevue that I hope to check out soon as well.

Monday, August 20, 2012


I tried making an omelet for the first time the other day. In fact, I believe it was the first time I've ever eaten an omelet as well. The recipe came from the Quinoa 365 cookbook, one I'd been drawn to several times just from the picture. Ryan isn't one to care about aesthetics of a meal, but I find when I'm looking for recipes to try that it helps me a lot if the picture of the dish is colorful and otherwise aesthetically pleasing.

First, I chopped the vegetables. See how bright and cheerful they are?

Then I sauteed the asparagus, mushrooms and green onions (this smelled so delicious):

Then tossed those with the tomatoes:

At this point I found out Ryan's bus hadn't come yet and he'd be later than usual and kinda forgot about taking pictures. But when he was home I mixed together the eggs, milk, quinoa, and pesto and started to cook the omelet. The recipe called for two eggs for one omelet, and the omelet looked quite a bit smaller than the size pan I was using. So I figured I'd double that and it'd work out decently. In the end it looked like our omelets were much thicker than the recipe pictured, so maybe I should've stuck with the single recipe for our pan. As it was, I wasn't really sure how to get all the egg cooked without burning the underside. The recipe said to just cover it for a couple of minutes until the top was cooked, but it didn't seem to quite work that way for me. In the end, I managed to get everything cooked, but the bottom of the omelets were a tad dark.

I transferred the omelet to a plate and added the cottage cheese. Here's half of an omelet (they were huge):

Not quite as pretty as the cookbook picture, but still pretty tasty!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

First "Swim"

Taking Gareth to swimming lessons twice a week has given both Ryan and myself the urge to go swimming ourselves. The only problem being that neither of us owned swimsuits. The last one I had had been purchased when I was 14 or 15 and Ryan had thrown his last one out a few years back. The urge to swim finally overpowered Ryan and we went out last weekend to pick up some suits. My options were definitely limited, I'm assuming because of the time of year. And can I just say how difficult it is to find clothes/swimsuits when your body is still a completely different size than it normally is.

Ryan worked from home on Tuesday and we went off in the afternoon to the public swim at the local pool. I was worried that Malcolm and I would end up staying home since swim diapers start out for 16 pounders. Turned out it was a bit big, but doable. And luckily we'd inherited a swim suit in his size from his cousin. I'd figured we'd never use a 3-6 month suit, but am now glad we took it anyway.

Gareth stuck with Ryan and Ryan got him to put his head under water several times. Malcolm stuck with me. At first he sucked in his breathe every time the water hit his belly as it was a bit cold. Once he got used to the temperature he didn't much care that he was in the water. It was noisy and there were lots of other people and so many new things, so he was a bit overwhelmed. He handled it pretty well, but wasn't terribly interested in making eye contact or engaging in any way. I moved him around a bit in the water while he sucked his fingers. Unfortunately we didn't get any pictures. A lifeguard offered, but my phone was in a locker. By the time I met Ryan and the boys back in the lobby after our swim, Malcolm was back to his usual smiley self, though he was totally exhausted we'd later discover. I figured he'd want to eat while at the pool, but he didn't ever cry or in any way indicate he was hungry. Then I thought I'd feed him when we got home, but I turned around to help Gareth with something and a couple minutes later Malcolm was out. I thought picking him up and going to find the burp cloth would wake him up, but no. He slept for a couple hours and then was ready to go to sleep for the night about 9:30, and didn't wake up until 8 the next morning. Now that's something I could get used to!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


I don't handle blood well. I learned this when I was seven and was tested for Lyme disease. The nurse told me I could watch them draw my blood if I wanted, which I did want since I'd never seen blood drawn before. After she finished she asked if I was okay. "Yeah, I'm fine," I said, right before I fell off the chair to the floor. As a high schooler I whacked and cut open my toe on a wall while babysitting some kids. One of the kids I was supposed to be caring for had to help me clean and bandage it, because I couldn't look at the blood.

Sometimes I don't even handle the thought of blood well. When I was visiting Ryan's family one Thanksgiving (before we were even dating, so really they were Sarah's family back then) we all went to watch Master and Commander. It got to the scene where they amputate the kid's arm and I knew not to watch in case there was lots of "blood". But I couldn't stop myself thinking about what it would be like to saw through someone's arm and how it would feel to pierce the skin and as you hit the bone and all the blood and on and on. I tried to stop thinking about it, but just couldn't. I started feeling woozy and closed my eyes to try and let my stomach calm. Next thing I knew Sarah was shaking me and I'd missed several minutes of the movie. I had fainted in the movie theatre (but thankfully remained in my seat) and her dad had noticed I was twitching and was wondering what on earth was wrong with me. Yeah, that was embarrassing. (I have since watched that movie with no problems whatsoever, by the way.)

I've learned that it's good to have someone else around if I cut myself because I very quickly get all shaky and faint. So slicing my finger today while making dinner when Malcolm was screaming and we were trying to get ready for a swim lesson wasn't such a great move since Ryan wasn't home. Poor Gareth got really freaked out while I tried to wash the cut at the sink while keeping my head as low as possible (not an easy task). Despite all his shaking and fear and uncertainty about what was going on, he managed to get me the box of bandaids and call Ryan to ask him to come home. I knew Ryan wouldn't be able to make it for 45 minutes or so, but it was nice to know he was on his way just in case I did end up fainting, which for a few minutes felt dangerously imminent. In the end, I didn't faint, but did throw up before I managed to get a bandaid on (bandaids are really difficult to open when your hands are wet by the way) and sit down on the floor trying to calm my breathing and stop the shaking and numbness before attempting to take care of the now frothing-at-the-mouth Malcolm. Of course, by the time Ryan made it home things were just fine, though my finger still hurt like the dickens, and I felt a bit silly for having him come home early.

Thing is, I don't have too much trouble when Gareth gets cuts and scrapes. Even when he hit his head on a door hinge a couple years ago I was able to handle that quite well (I did have to look away from time to time and take a deep breath, but that's not bad for a head wound I'd say). And for his typical knee cuts and scrapes I have no problem cleaning them up. So apparently it's not so much the blood that's problematic (though it definitely is to some extent), but maybe the pain aspect. When I'm washing out Gareth's cuts I'm not causing myself any pain (though if you heard him you'd think I was cutting his leg off). But if I've cut myself there's a lot of causing myself pain to get it taken care of, not to mention the pain from having a sharp knife slice through your skin. If only I could somehow get myself to react as well with my own cuts as I do with Gareth's. Any friends been successful at overcoming queasiness at the sight of blood? Oh, and tomorrow I get to discover just how much this will mess with my practicing ahead of my audition at the beginning of September. Horrible timing.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A Break, Sort Of

July was crazy. Playing in the community band is fun, but it means two weeknight rehearsals each week and then a concert every Saturday or Sunday (sometimes both) through the month of July. Usually our director (who I take lessons from) brings in some soloists from out of town. People like Robert DiLutis, but this year they all happened to be in Europe or in the middle of moving or something. So instead he featured the first clarinets at each concert, which was rather fun. One of the second clarinetists was named the best freshman or some such at her high school this year, so for one concert he made her an honorary first and we all played a Pierne solo together, with Flight of the Bumblebee as an encore. At the last concert I played "Two Little Bullfinches" with one of the other firsts. So, yeah, that was all fun but quite tiring. I think Ryan is happy that I've got a month off as well. Of course, I need to practice like crazy this month to prepare for the Seattle Phil audition at the end of the month, so the break is really only from performances. If I get the spot, then those rehearsals start just after Labor Day, as do clarinet choir rehearsals.

Early in July we celebrated my birthday, which actually went quite nicely this year, unlike the year when I had to spoon-feed Ryan because he was crazy sick or the year he spent the evening all depressed because he hated his job and my birthday went forgotten. We purchased a Chocolate Caramel cake from a dessert store here, and it was delicious and worth the very many pennies it cost.

Malcolm has hit four months, meaning he got to go get some shots, which he wasn't happy about. He really wasn't thrilled with any part of the doctor visit, actually, but I can't blame him since he'd just fallen asleep and I woke him up to get in the car and then woke him up to get out of the car and then he fell asleep again while we walked from the car to the office, and he had to wake up again when they were ready to start his exam. For those interested, he was 24.5 inches long (30%) and 13 pounds, 9 ounces (20%). His head is in the 60th percentile. He's rolled over a couple of times, but mostly just rolls to his side rather than all the way. Gareth was never much into rolling and it's looking like Malcolm might be the same. He looks like he'd much rather be able to get his knees under him and start crawling. He sometimes seems to be on the verge of laughing, but hasn't ever managed that yet either.

Malcolm and his Firefly

Gareth is getting really excited for school, but still enjoying summer at the same time. His backpack just arrived yesterday. 

School starts in September, just after Labor Day as well. Hopefully we all enjoy our last month before things get crazy. I'm thinking we'll get in a couple of hikes or museum visits before then at least.