Archive for January, 2012

Science Fair Time!


Dillon got his science fair stuff about a week ago.  And it was kind of galvanizing.  He has, since we went to a wedding at Sweetwater Organics this summer, been talking about doing an aquaponics experiment for science fair this year.  And in August, when we had seven months to work on it, I thought it was a great idea.  Of course, we didn’t start in August.  So when we realized we had about ten weeks to complete the experiment and report the results, I got a little panicky.

I admit it, I tried to talk him into an easier experiment.  We had heard a story on NPR about a guy saying he found a mouse in his mountain dew, and Pepsi’s official response being “a mouse totally would have dissolved in mountain dew.”  Aside from the total ick factor of a dead animal dissolving in a can of soda, D and I wondered if that was true and thought it would be a pretty funny thing to test.  I felt like using a chicken wing instead of a mouse might be a reasonable way of testing it, but my vegetarian son didn’t think putting any parts of a dead animal into a soda really sounded like it was his thing.

So we returned to aquaponics, after reiterating that we don’t have a heck of a lot of time, and something vague about seed germination, and did I mention I have killed every houseplant I’ve ever tried to care for?  But D is really serious about it.  So we went on the official Sweetwater tour on Wednesday, and D asked some very reasonable questions, and we bought the (kind of expensive) bible of aquaponics, and he has since read most of it.  He definitely now knows way more about it that Charles or I, and sat for a good part of the day today planning out what we need to buy and how everything is going to fit together.  So we are going forward with it, and I think it is going to be a learning experience for all of us.

Tomorrow our goal is to purchase materials and figure out if you can actually buy seeds in Wisconsin in January.  Some of these things might need to be ordered…  But in the meantime, if anyone has an old fishtank that needs a new home, or pumps, hoses, or shale gravel, please do let me know!

Dillon with one of his inspirations at Sweetwater



Dillon: Mom, you are a really good cook.  (Nomming my homemade lasagna…)  And even when we go out to eat you have really good taste.  Like, you pick places that are really good.

Me: I try…

D:  You also have good taste in jokes and stuff.  I can understand why dad wanted to marry you.

Me: Yes but can you understand why I wanted to marry your dad?

D: He’s a computer nerd.

Me: You don’t understand a lot about girls yet, do you?

D: I also think it has something to do with you having good taste.  Like, he’s a pretty nice guy.  Except sometimes when he gets angry, and he’s kind of like the Hulk.  ‘About 2/3 of the time he knows who is on his side.’  That is a quote from the Marvel Superhero Squad that I checked out of the library yesterday.  (Goes into long plot exposition…)

Knitting a Hat


So I have had knitting envy for a long time.  I like crafty stuff and I love to sew, but I never learned to knit.  A couple of years ago, my sister taught me how to knit a scarf, but the result wasn’t great, and while I had aspirations of spending some time on it and getting better, I didn’t.  Other stuff got in the way.

Until… This Christmas, Rose got a “Knifty Knitter,” which is basically a loom to help you knit cool projects.  And Lo- behold my first project:

knit hat

I think it turned out okay, for a “self-taught by reading the directions” kind of thing.  That I made while I drank martinis and watched “How I Met Your Mother” for four hours on New Year’s Day…  I think I made the stripe too wide, and maybe a little high on the hat, but I am going to experiment with this.  So if you need a hat and don’t mind wearing an experimental one, let me know.

Also I should probably teach Rose how to do it now, since it is technically hers.  She’s really into finger knitting these little bracelets for everyone, so her Nana Joyce thought she’d like to learn the next step, and it was a huge hit at Christmas.

I am going to ask Charles to do a guest blog on how he made a replacement knitting needle for this – it uses a little proprietary tool somewhere between a crochet hook, a latch hook, and a knitting needle, and the kit came with four looms and only one needle, and my mom and sisters all wanted a turn.  (To the point where we were calling craft, yarn, and fabric stores all over Southeastern Wisconsin on the day after Christmas to see if they had spare needles.   Which none of them did.)  But Charles made one out of tempered steel, and it is fabulous.



Dillon: Mom, what’s 4-D mean?
Me: Um… Well, you know what two-dimensional and three-dimensional are, right? I don’t think anything is 4-D.
Dillon: No. Mom. The fourth dimension is time.
Me: [mental headdesk] Right. So why did you ask me what something was if you already knew the answer?
Dillon: Well, I saw something at the movie theater and I wanted to know if it was a real thing or just advertisers wanting to charge people more for stuff.
Me: Oh. The second one.