Tuesday, September 30, 2014


For the first time in about a decade I got in a pool to swim & work out today.  We joined a local health club with a (5 lane, 25 meter) pool and childcare, and I decided to take advantage.

Tadpole enjoyed her new play space.  I have a few doubts about how long she'll enjoy it after the novelty wears off, but we shall see.
Sprout got the "younger sister dragged on other people's schedules" treatment today as we ended up at a park with a friend of Tadpole's for much of the early afternoon, perked up with a snack, then headed to the gym.  She apparently slept after minimal crying.  This will not be our typical schedule if I make a habit of this.

Which ... I think I'd like to.  It's abundantly clear that I have no endurance compared to when I was on the team in high school.  I can't right now work out hard enough to tire any muscles.  But I can build endurance, and I still have pretty good form.

Brief digression to extend my incredible gratitude to coaches Jeff, Scott & Joel who coached me in high school and drilled us constantly on body position in the water.  I was rolling all over the place (as intended) and have a lot of control over when/where my hands and arms are moving for both freestyle and backstroke.  I did a length of butterfly, which was a mistake, but also did some one-arm fly which felt good, and I can manage a passable length of breaststroke (always a weakness).

I "swam" for about 20 minutes, by which I mean I was moving pretty consistently.  In the middle, there were definitely times where I walked at least half the length, in large part because I didn't want to swim with bad form.

I have one issue with form (a holdover from high school days) - when I breathe on my right, I hunch my shoulder up a bit and make small, weak muscles do work they shouldn't have to.  I'm going to work on getting out of this habit, but also just mostly breathe to the left for now.

So what can I do:
I can finish a lap of freestyle, but only about a length with form that feels good.  (Partly because I don't have the rhythm & spacing for flip turns back yet)
I can do about a length of backstroke, previously my favorite.  Form here doesn't feel as good, but it's still fine.
I can do a length of breaststroke.  Breaststroke never really clicked for me, but I have a good space to work from.
I can finish a length of butterfly if I want to, and I still have a fine dolphin kick.

About 10 minutes in, I was really struggling with breathing and endurance, and nothing felt good, but I kept going, give myself permission to walk or keep my head out to breathe, and refocused on a few drills I remembered, and by the end I was remembering why I enjoyed swimming so much.  It felt good!

Now I just need to figure out if there's a way to get to the pool around school and nap schedules, and how often I can go before either Tadpole or Sprout decides it's too much ...

Monday, September 29, 2014


Since my former college RA is sharing her recipe for homemade yogurt which I've been thinking about trying ... here's how I do sourdough bread.  I'm not going to post the recipe from King Arthur flour, but here's the starter I use, and the pretty pot I keep it in (recipes included when you order from them).

When you get the starter, you feed it with a batch of 2:1 flour:water a few times to wake it up.  After that, it's important to either stick it in the fridge or take out a cup every 3-4 days and feed with flour/water. 

Heres some not-entirely-unhealthy starter.  Bubbles are good.  Orange and stinky are not.

There are two options for making bread, the OK way and the damn good sourdough way.  The OK way involves mixing starter with flour, water, salt, and bread yeast, kneading, letting rise for a while, turning into 2 loaves, letting rise for a while, then baking.  The damn good sourdough way only uses yeast from the starter.  Mix with flour and water, let sit for a few hours, then overnight in the fridge.  The next morning, mix in a bit more flour and salt, knead, rise, form loaves, rise, bake.  It's not always pretty, but it's damn good sourdough.

After you have a healthy colony established, you can give some to friends (so they can return the favor if yours ever goes bad), or stick some in the freezer to revive if yours goes bad (I haven't tried reviving, but the internet informs me it works).

Kneading can probably be done in a stand mixer, but it's 10 minutes of work, so I'm happy doing it by hand.

You can make sourdough biscuits.  I use this recipe.

This does throw off 2-3 recipes / week to keep your starter healthy out of the fridge, so I always have bread to give people, but I think it'll keep for a week or two in the fridge before you need to feed it.

I basically don't buy bread anymore because OMG Sourdough so good! But I have to imagine that the flour needed to keep starter & bread going (we use King Arthur all-purpose flour) isn't price competitive with basic bread.  It's a good way to work on measuring with a 3 year old, though.

Monday, September 8, 2014

I'll always take care of you

Today was a bit chaotic, with much accomplished, but often left half-done for a while, so the detritus of entertainment, cooking, and laundry was littered through the house.  Also, we have a shower that doesn't leak and a baby who can fall asleep in places other than her crib!

Late in the day after prepping a dinner for Tadpole and another for R and I, I set a few dishes to soak and headed upstairs to check on R and the baby.  We chatted for a bit and then headed downstairs to discover that not only had I left the water running, but the seal I applied on the kitchen sink the last time we discovered it leaked when it overflowed was not as watertight as hoped.

With a bit of prompting, I got some towels.  A bucket under the sink caught most of the water, and was mostly filled with things that can take getting wet.  It was, in the grand scheme of things, just one more of the ways in which life was chaotic today, but all worked out for the best.

Tadpole (of course) wanted to help, which was the last thing I felt up to dealing with as I pulled various cleaning supplies out & set them to dry.

Daddy, are you sad?

No, I'm not sad.  I'm just very ... frazzled right now.

Oh.  OK.

(long pause)

Mommy, daddy is very frazzled.  Frazzled is like sad.  I'm going to bring my friends to watch from back here.

(aside - I *love* watching her try to figure out how words and concepts fit with words and concepts she already knows.  Even in the midst of cleaning up overflowing sink, this was fascinating and delightful!)

Later that night, as we were getting ready for bed:

Daddy, I'll always take care of you when you're frazzled.

Thank you Tadpole.  (big hug).

Yes, I'll help when there are spills, and I'll always be here to take care of you.

Hopefully she'll feel the same way when I'm in my dotage.  But for now, there are days when Tadpole's driving me to distraction, and others where she's the one saving me from it.  Today was the latter, and I needed that.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Overheard Today

This morning, while I was feeding Sprout, Tadpole decided an extra spoon was needed.  Sometimes we give Sprout a spoon to keep her hands occupied.  As she's become more coordinated, I've backed off this technique because the second spoon becomes a hindrance.  Tadpole was having none of this.  She was in a "helpful" mood, and determined to help whether I liked it or not.  Second spoon was coming, and if I didn't accept that a tantrum was in order.

Through strategic use of deep breathing exercises, the threat of exiling a favorite toy (I try to stomp pretty hard on defying something I've just said), and requests to use her words, she finally let me explain why I did not want a new spoon. Which she accepted, and then came these magic words.

Or, I could get a new spoon and we could put it on the table in case you want it.

Yes, Tadpole.  Yes.  That will absolutely work.

Solved that problem!

(Repeated three or four times while I laughed and agreed.)

Driving home from a school event, we got this (unprompted) gem:

Friends are coworkers because these four reasons.

1. That's how the world works.

2. Coworkers are coworkers

3. Coworkers use work because coworkers get money to buy other things*

4. It's the absence of work that's how coworkers get money.

That's what Tadpole's are for.

* OK, 3 was shorter, but we forgot & asked her to tell us again for posterity & that's what she came up with.

Finally this evening after we'd read bits of One Fish, Two Fish, I got this gem while she was washing up:

Ned doesn't have a good bed.  We should get him a new bed.  I wouldn't like his bed because it has holes in it.  I would cry if I had a bed with holes in it.  When I had a crib, I didn't fit in it and I cried a lot.  I had to sleep on the floor because it has holes in hit.  But now I have a big girl bed.

So there's that.  We need to get a new bed for Ned.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Overheard Today

While Sprout was fussing in the car:
Tadpole: don't worry Sprout, I'll take care of you. I have to go to school some days, but Tadpole will always come back. I'll take care of you. I'm a good big sister.

Later, on news that she was going to do a solo play date with a friend while Sprout naps:
I'm going to see A. She's a good friend and coworker.