Sunday, September 27, 2009

His father's son

Wil is the image of his father in so many ways. He looks just like Chris at that age, he's a very picky eater (but hey, at least he's eating now!) And today he followed the footsteps of dad, only at a much younger age, in another adventure:

He went searching for presents.

While I was putting away the boys' laundry, Wil decided to explore in our closet, which he is not supposed to go in. And he found a guitar that was supposed to be a Christmas present but will now be a birthday present. He was so proud of himself, bringing it to me proclaiming, "Look! My guitar!"

After being reprimanded for that, a little later, while I was downstairs starting a load of laundry, he decided to explore our closet more, looking for more presents since he discovered my (now former) hiding place. He was pulling things out, although luckily didn't find the rest of the loot as it was above his reach.

Needless to say, I had to find a new hiding place after he went to bed, and our door was closed until then to keep him from exploring more.

He's not quite 3! Isn't this supposed to start when he's older? Chris doesn't remember looking for presents until he was around middle school age. He was also sneakier, opening boxes, playing with the toys, then repackaging them. His mom didn't know until a few years ago when he was telling a story at Christmas dinner.

I guess I should be pleased that Wil didn't try to hide it and immediately brought his find to me. But there aren't that many places to hide things in this house! And I'm not going to do all my shopping on Christmas Eve just to keep him from finding stuff.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Exploring religion

I've been exploring various religions recently to see what they have to say.

I started by trying to read the entire Bible, although I'm still in the Old Testament, because I'd like to read it myself rather than just have someone tell me what is in it. I will eventually finish. I'm also in the middle of The Complete Idiot's Guide to World Religions, which briefly skims the major religions of the world. I have finished Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism and am just getting into other religions around the world. It's interesting to read the basic tenets of each and there are parts to all that I find fascinating.

I won't go into what my personal take on religion is because I really don't want to get into a flame war. But Chris sent me a link to a YouTube video that fits with my current exploration, so I wanted to share it.

Putting faith in it's place

I will say that two of the reasons I started this learning quest are 1) the habit of believers of various faiths to try to push their particular religion without worrying about offending anyone who believes differently and yet getting offended if you try to state your point of view and 2) current events including a) insistence that the U.S. is a Christian nation and b) anti-Islamic sentiment. I really don't want to say more because I'd rather not start arguments. But the video above really fits with my quest.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Triangles and circles and squares, oh my

Last night as I was making Wil's lunch for school today, I found myself once again cutting the sandwich into triangles. Wil loves triangles* so this is partly a tactic aimed at encouraging him to eat his sandwich. But  there's a much deeper story here too.

One of my childhood memories is of eating sandwiches cut on the diagonal at my grandparents' house. At home, they were always cut in half top to bottom into rectangles, but Grandma and Grandpa always cut on the diagonal. It's funny how these things stick with us, but I always liked that. And I never cut my own sandwiches that way - it was something special.

Now I find myself cutting sandwiches for the boys and for Chris on the diagonal all the time. So when I did it last night, I stopped to think about why I do it. I think it has to do with rectangle sandwiches being ordinary everyday in my mind and triangles having that special bit of love in them. I guess sending Wil to school and Chris to work with triangle sandwiches is my way of sending them with a little love in their lunches. Hokey, but I think that's it.

* Part of why Wil really likes triangles is because he participated in a psychology study over the summer. It was a week long sleep study, plus a lab visit where they played games with him. One of the games involved a play house. A character would knock on the door and he had to decide if he wanted to open it. Mr. Triangle would give a Hershey's Kiss, Mr. Square would take one away, and Wil didn't know who was knocking each time. The point was to see if he would stop playing because he had enough rather than risk losing another.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Road warriors

There are several road construction projects on the books for the Bloomington/Monroe County area. There is a group opposed to ALL of the projects. I am on the email list where the group discusses strategies and thoughts about traffic because I am president of the Grandview Hills Neighborhood Association and by being informed, I can pass along information to folks in our neighborhood.
To start, some of the proposed projects (in various stages) include:
  • widening Bypass from Walnut to 3rd
  • widening SR 45 (E 10th St) from Bypass to Russell Rd
  • I-69 expansion from Indy to Evansville
  • improving E 10th St though campus, possibly by making a pair of one-ways
The B-TOP group does not want any of these to happen. They also have proposed closing 10th St and 3rd St through campus to bus only traffic.
All of this is an introduction to a few of my thoughts. While I can agree with the need to make the local roads more pedestrian and bike friendly, I have concerns about the idea of crippling transportation.
There are no true east-west corridors through town. Options include Bypass, 10th (which doesn't go through), 3rd/Kirkwood, Rogers/Winslow/Country Club/Tapp. The point of closing 3rd and 10th through campus is to make campus safer, which is great. And their goal is to get more cars off the street and force more people to walk, bike or use public transportation. But I really don't think that will happen. If the main roads to get across town are closed, I really think that would force more traffic onto neighborhood streets. Compound that with not widening Bypass, which is already crowded, and I think gridlock would be terrible.
It's great to want to get cars off the road, and I try to use the bus or walk when I can, but there are a lot of people who live on the opposite side of town from where they work, all services are not of both sides of town, and many people live where buses don't go. There are also people for whom other options are not ideal.
I'm ambivalent about the need to widen SR 45, although turn lanes/signals would be appreciated. My only concern there is the what will happen with our neighborhood.
Bypass has enough traffic that I think widening is probably necessary, although I would like to see better bike and pedestrian access.
Making 10th and another street a pair of one-ways would probably be a better option than closing 10th the through traffic. Isn't it better to concentrate traffic on a few streets where people know they need to be careful than disperse it into neighborhoods?
Anyway, I may update with a few more thoughts later, but that is my first round of thoughts on this issue.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

An apple a day

I took the boys to ApplAcres in Bedford yesterday. They really enjoyed picking apples off the trees. I only let them pick a few, but they had fun walking around the trees.
We also picked up a few things in the store - cider, apple butter, pumpkin butter, cheese. There were free popcorn and cider samples, plus a free apple for the kids (Sam had one, Wil didn't). It was a nice way to spend an hour.
Afterward, we stopped at the Big Lots parking lot in Bedford for a petting zoo that was there for a few days. Wil liked petting the goats and llamas and was fascinated by the ponies, although I didn't pay for a pony ride. There were also: a tiger, 2 capuchin monkeys, a python, a kangaroo, and a few more.
To finish off, I treated the boys to lunch at the McDonald's across the street since it was lunch time, almost an hour home, and I only had $6. I think they both had fun and we'll have to take Chris there sometime.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Self-serving folks out of jobs

I've been meaning to post about this for a while, but I always forget when I get home from the store.
Have you noticed how many things, including grocery store check-outs are now self-serve? And people love them! And then they complain that companies are laying people off, not hiring, jobs are disappearing....
Just thought I would mention the obvious: if a company can get its clients/customers to work for free, why are they going to pay someone to do that job? I generally try to be helped by an actual person when possible.
Something to think about.

Future teen idol

Lately, Sam's hair has been looking a bit like Zac Efron from High School Musical. I finally figured out why. He loves to play peek-a-boo by putting his blanket over his head then pulling it forward, which pulls his hair forward. Since his hair badly needed trimming, he was looking like a baby teen idol.
I did cut his hair the other day, so we shouldn't see this again for a few more weeks when it grows out. But if you wondered, that's how to get your teen idol hair do.

Friday, September 4, 2009

KISS for the food bank

One of the things I really like is when the local grocery stores have prepackaged bags ($3, $5 $10) for the food bank that you can pick up as you check out and drop in a bin on the way out. It makes it very easy to donate food and the food bank gets stuff they actually need.
Kroger usually has the bags on display around the holidays but I commented during our tour Tuesday that I really liked it because it made it super easy to donate. I don't know if my comments, made to the secretary to the manager, are the reason, but when I went to the store today, there was a display! I made sure to pick up a $3 bag (I go to the store at least twice a week, so if I get a small bag each time, the boys see us doing it and it doesn't break our budget.)
Here's the thing: having the food prepackaged and a collection bin at the store makes it simple to donate (you don't have to pick up extra stuff, hoping what you get is needed, then keep it separate as you check out or put it aside when you get home, then get it to the food bank, which is not in the most convenient location.) I understand why they wouldn't want to always have them out - people would get used to seeing them and not pay attention. But especially when the food bank is in desperate need it is such a no brainer! Having 3 or 4 food drives a year would really help.
Kroger does donate daily to the food bank as a company, per our tour guide Tuesday. I believe it. There is stuff they can't legally sell that has to be destroyed. But there is also a lot of food that is still good but won't sell. It's a good way to get rid of it since they don't need to pay for it to be trashed and it's good p.r.
So, kudos to Kroger for putting the bags and collection bins out again.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

How did my garden grow?

Well, this was a lousy year for vegetable gardens around here. I got some tomatoes; apparently I was lucky. A lot of people didn't get any either because of the unseasonably cool and wet weather or because deer ate the plants.
I didn't get a huge harvest, which is okay since I can only eat so many tomatoes, although I had hoped to take lot of extras to the local food pantry. Hopefully the weather will cooperate next summer.
Tomatoes were really my only crop since they choked out the peppers and eggplant and rosemary. The basil is ok; I still need to dry some.
Next year we need to plant fewer tomato plants and spread stuff out a little more. I would like a second box. For a first foray into square foot gardening, we did alright and can learn from this year's mistakes.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


One of my moms groups has started setting up tours at various companies. It's a lot of fun to see behind the scenes. So far we have toured Fazoli's (August) and Kroger (September). One thing these tours share is food!
Fazoli's was neat. We saw the big vats where they cook the pasta and the kids got to walk into the freezer. We saw the prep areas, too. But the kids really enjoyed trying on the headset for the drive-thru and talking on it. Since the restaurant wasn't open, they got to pretend to take an order. And we saw how the thingys work that light up when your order is ready. And we all got a slice of pizza.
There was much eating today at Kroger. I'm sad Wil missed it because he would have enjoyed it, but he was at school. Sam, who loves to eat, really had a good time. We toured the freezer and dairy cooler, the loading dock (and a semi), the general store room. Then the food started. We stopped at the meat/fish counter and the kids got to see sea food - including a prawn since the lobsters weren't in yet. No, nothing to eat there. But our next stop was the bakery where the kids each got to decorate a cookie to eat. And then we saw them make tortillas and each got a tortilla fresh from the oven. Oh, and a bit of cheese from the cheese/olive bar. And some chips from the chippery. The chips weren't fresh made, but they showed us the machine that makes them. They made a special veggie only sushi roll at the sushi bar for the kids to try. I even had a taste of the crab roll. After a quick stop in produce where our guide picked up a bottle of juice, we stopped at the Dunkin Donuts where the kids each got to choose a munchkin (Sam had cinnamon). We ate the doughnuts and drank the juice in the lounge - which is really nice with some chairs and tables, but also couches and a flat screen tv.
I can't wait to see what next month's tour will be!