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Archive for March, 2010

My Retirement Plan

For those of you who are not aware, Michelle is writing a book.  It is a short non-fiction book on… well, I’m not sure I can tell you.  Sorry Sweety.  Something about technology in conferences.  I know it is not specific to libraries so I think it has to do with using today’s social networking and teleconference technology to hold conferences.  Anyways, not the point of this post.

I have decided that these non-fiction books aren’t going to fit into my retirement plan.  And by retirement plan, you have to realize that I am hoping to just keep my family floating for long enough for my wife to hit it rich and I can leech off her immense wealth.  I’ll even settle for mild to moderate wealth, as long as I don’t have to work.  So here is where I need to steer my wife in a new direction.  These non-fiction books require a lot of research, and believe it or not you can’t just make stuff up.  You have to write about facts.  Then, after all that, it doesn’t pay great.  I mean, don’t get me wrong it pays, but remember I am looking for break the bank type of retire now kind of pay.

Here is what I think Michelle should do.  Drop the non-fiction and move into fiction.  In fiction books she just gets to make up whatever she wants.  I say she goes into the YA field.  They sell big right now and readers are more forgiving to all kinds of things because they can just say, “Ah well, it’s just a children’s book.”  High reward, low risk.  But to make things even easier, she doesn’t even have to be original.  Have you seen the top sellers these days?  Vampires and werewolves, superheroes, fantasy, greek mythology.  None of these are new or original concept.  She can just recycle old ideas into a new story.  She doesn’t even have to get the mythology correct, she can change it to her whim because it is her universe.

Now, I understand that I have to play my role.  So I am currently thinking of a basis for her story or universe.  Here is what I know.

  • The main character (I prefer ensemble casts so I think I would push her towards a small group of people, 3 or 4) has to be a young teenager with some real life problems.  That helps the audience to relate.  Don’t worry they can be shallow problems.
  • There has to be some love interest.  Could be a love triangle.  Could be a love destined to be together from the beginning of time.
  • Character development is the most important thing.  In all seriousness, this is what makes books good.  You need a good plot / environment but what makes stories shine is always the characters.
  • The main character(s) need something that isolates them.  Most likely as both a gift and a curse.
  • Needs some kind of supernatural, superhuman, magical, fantasy, futuristic, etc. theme.  Something to take the reader out of this universe and into another one while still saying something about our own world.

So far I am thinking something along the lines of angels and demons but even that is a little played right now.  I need the new old thing.

I kind of went off on my views on how to write a book.  That’s a little odd coming from me since I am neither a good writer or a reader.  But I am allowed to have opinions right?  Right?  Maybe I shouldn’t.

–Ries, unicorns.  How about unicorns.  Girls like unicorns!

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Kegerator

This is probably the crowning achievement of our new hobby.  I am sure there will be more to come as time goes on and we further invest.

Michelle’s parents just moved to another house.  In the process they were getting rid of a fridge.  We had just bought a used fridge off of Craigslist to control fermentation temperatures of our beers, especially lagers.  We had talked about the possibility of putting taps in a fridge and begin kegging our homebrew.  With the fridge falling in our laps and a little extra money from Christmas, we decided we could not pass on the opportunity.  The picture shown to the right is the final result.

Outside of Kegerator

It holds two 5 gallon kegs, so each keg will hold one batch of beer.  Frosted beer glasses go in the freezer.  Michelle has really enjoyed making labels for each of our batches.  She makes them into magnet form so that we can stick it above the keg for identification.  Before long, our fridge will be covered in old magnets of previous batches.

Kegs inside

We still want to paint the outside of the fridge to spruce it up a bit.  We had some initial beer leaking problems because I failed to insert some rubber washers but that is fixed.  We have a CO2 leak on one of our valves so we still have to fix that.

We now have a refrigerator and freezer for every 400 square feet of house.  I wonder if that says something about our priorities?

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Every year, Ries’ family celebrates a Christian Seder meal. We prepare a kosher seder meal and go through the ceremony. Wine, kosher and otherwise, flows and there is a bounty of food. It is a wonderful reminder of our heritage in Christ. Most years, I am in charge of making the haroset and the kugel. The haroset is part of the seder ceremony and the kugel is just delicious.

Kugel is easy and delicious at any time of year. This recipe is very flexible. You can use any combination of sweet potatoes, carrots, or all of one or the other. I have cut the margarine and sugar for this recipe from the original, which had a crazy amount of both. I use a food processor to finely dice the vegetables. You can also easily increase this recipe by adding a bit more of everything but sugar. I think this year I used closer to 8 c. of vegetables and 3/4 c. of margarine. It is a very forgiving recipe.

For those of you who do not know what a kosher seder meal involves: no yeast or dairy can be used in the food. That is why margarine is used instead of butter and matzo meal is used instead of bread crumbs.

Carrot and Sweet Potato Kugel

    1/2 c. margarine, melted
    3 c. grated or diced sweet potatoes
    3 c. grated or diced carrots
    1/2 c. matzo meal
    2 tbl. kosher red wine (or grape juice)
    1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    1/2 c. packed brown sugar

Heat oven to 375.

Grease 9×13 casserole pan or a size equivalent baking dish.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Pour in baking dish.

Bake at 375 for 45 minutes or until it starts to brown a bit on the top and sides.

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New Legos

Originally uploaded by Wandering Eyre

Thanks to some dear friends, Ries and Gideon were able to get a bunch of lego bricks last week. They had fun picking them out at the store. Since then, Gideon requests lego play often and his engineering daddy is only too happy to comply.

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Yesterday, after praying a blessing over our breakfast (wheat waffles and strawberries), Gideon clapped and said, “Good job, Mommy. Good praying.”

It made me laugh.

He is so busy these days and he narrates everything to us. I can hear him talking about his actions when he is in other rooms of the house. Our house is not that big so I can hear him no matter where he has hidden himself. Often, his honest narration get him in trouble. For instance, here are some things I overhear which result in scoldings:
“Stepping on books.”
“Jumping on bed.”
“Sprinkling.” (which involves turning over his cup and sprinkling water on something)
“Poking puppy dog.”
“Coloring table.”
“Trying to get up on table.”
“Climbing on chairs.”

He also will honestly answer me when I ask him, “Gideon, what are you doing?” He will tell me even if the thing he is doing is something he should not be doing at all. I know this will not last, but it is funny. Soon enough he will be hiding his infractions.

Gideon has begun to understand time in the sense that things are in the past or in the future. Everything that has already happened was “last week” no matter when the event occurred. Everything that is going to happen is “tomorrow.” It is wonderful to see him make these time connections. We sure were busy last week, according to Gideon.

The boy in question just told me he was hungry so I better feed him.

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Dental Care


IMG_1924

Originally uploaded by Wandering Eyre

Gideon loves to brush his teeth and by brush I mean suck the toothpaste off his toothbrush. This is a picture of him, being adorable.

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Holes

It must be wonderful to be young and to have every day filled with new and exciting discoveries. Every experience is unique and wonderful. Gideon made a truly astuonding discovery last Thursday. Here was the event as it unfolded:

Gideon was taking a bath and playing. I noticed he had his hand underneath his junk (his boy parts which we do call by their actual names but I figured would be better left off this post). I figured he was just playing with it or cleaning his “undercarriage” as the boys in this house call it. He looked up at me and said with wonder in his voice, “Bum… has a hole. Bum has a hole in it.” I realized he must have been reaching a bit farther back than I thought. With my lips twitching up I replied, “You are right. Your bum does have a hole in it.”

He kept feeling around and repeating, “Bum has a hole in it.”

I told him that was where the poop comes out. He thought about that for awhile, continuing to feel the area in discussion. I could see the wheels turning around in his head.

After a couple minutes of this conversation going in circles between the two of us, Gideon said, “Tell Daddy. Tell Daddy something.”

I was fairly certain I knew what Daddy was going to be told, but I yelled for Ries, who was doing the dinner dishes, “Daddy! Gideon has something to tell you.”

Ries dutifully appeared and I smiled at him, trying not to laugh.

“What, Gideon?” Ries asked.

In a very serious voice, Gideon announced, “Bum… has a hole in it.” Then he asked, “Daddy bum have a hole in it?”

To his credit, Ries, who had been hearing the exchange before entering said very solemnly, “Yes, my bum has a hole in it. That’s where the poop comes out.”

“Everyone’s bum has a hole in it,” I added for good measure. Gideon made the connection and said, “Mommy’s bum has a hole in it?”

“Yep.”

The conversation continued in this vein for the rest of bath time.

Sunday night at bath time, I said something to my child I thought I would never say in my life, “Gideon, take your finger out of your bum. That is where the poop comes out. Yucky.”

It was really hard to ask him to do that with a straight face. I was laughing on the inside.

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