Friday, November 30, 2007

Happy Belated Thanksgiving

Hope you all have successfully devoured the Thanksgiving leftovers! Blogger and my Dad's computer didn't like each other, so I couldn't post this earlier. So pretend it is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and read on.......

Happy Thanksgiving with lots of cranberries (by AMD)

(Jeff's paper count: 2.5 stacks down, 1.5 to go, 3 more coming in by Wednesday night)

One of the joys of being a parent is sharing things you love with your kid. Orchestra pictures will be coming later, but to honor the holiday, let's look at CRANBERRIES!

I grew up with a cranberry bog practically in our backyard. We walked - or in my short running phase, jogged - around it (1.3 miles), learned about its history (used to be a pond), helped harvest, ice-skated on it, etc. We have about a million stories about "our" bog. So naturally we share this experience with Xan.

We had a special treat this year: on the road between the airport and my parents' home we stopped off at a different cranberry bog where my dad was helping a friend with the harvest.

Grumpy (yes, that is really what his grandfather wants to be called- it's great!) walking with Xan on the road between two sections of cranberry bog. Notice the bog on the right in its dry spring-fall dry state and on the left in its winter dress - covered with water (according to my 8th grade research on the topic, this is because cranberries don't like lots of temperature changes, so keeping them under water keeps them at a mostly steady temperature; from personal experience I can say it also makes for a great skating rink in January).

One way to harvest cranberries is "wet:" flood the bog; then use a machine to hit the berries off the vines. The berries rise to the surface, perfect for corralling together (see above). Then they send them an escalator-type contraption to a truck (below).

Berries that are wet harvested are processed into juice and sauce, mostly. (The whole berries you can buy in the store are dry harvested.)

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving! Eat lots of cranberries!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Lion, not bear!

(Jeff's paper count: 1 stack down, 3 to go; 4 more stacks still coming in by Thanksgiving)

Xan's Halloween Report (respectfully submitted by AMD):

8:ooam: "Halloween, Mama! We will get chocolate, and candy, and lollipops!"The latter is the treat of choice this season, oddly inspired weeks ago by two random students on the AU shuttlebus (who left the wrappers on the seats).

3:30pm - protest putting on costume. Agree only when parents plead that it is just for two friends in the department.

3:30pm - trick or treating in the department, starting with the graduate students in the lounge who teach him the classic "trick or treat, smell my feet......"

3:45pm move on to professors in their offices. Handling the "trick or treat" and "thank you" routine with ease. Starts to go further "trick or treat... um... give me good to eat!"

(this photo looks remarkably similar to last year!)

5:00pm Left campus and joined four colleagues and friends in a trick-or-treat friendly part of our town. Angela was very lame and took no photos; Jeff was working at a film screening on campus, so there is no visual evidence of the event.

But if you will, imagine this little lion happily traipsing after a slightly bigger fairy princess on a neighborhood sidewalk in the Halloween dusk. It was magical.

Monday, November 12, 2007

There is no substitute........

While there is no substitute for the true author of this blog, there is also no end in sight to his backlog of papers to grade. So in the interests of not allowing a similar backlog of topics to stymie him when he returns to posting, Jeff is allowing me to procrastinate on my lesson prepping write an entry or two. Basically, I'll be keeping the chronicles of Xan's life up to date and avoiding any movie commentary. For those of you who don't know - I am "Wifeling," Mother-of-Xan, and She-Whom-the-Cat-May-Upon-Occasion-Actually-Obey.

Before putting up Xan posts, I'll start with a quick "life with Jeff" vignette. Specifically, a list of ways to tell that Dr. Middents is in grading mode:

1. The amount of hair product is drastically reduced and instead he controls the poof of his hair with a baseball cap.

2. When I wake up in the wee hours of the morning, he is asleep on the couch / dining room table / floor with a pile of papers on his chest.

3. His futile dialogues with the cat feature lines such as "Vega, would you give this a B or a B+?"

4. He reaches for his 25-pound dictionary, muttering "Oooooh, I absolutely do NOT think that word means what you think it means."

5. He cannot tell you how many papers he has left; he lists how many stacks of papers he has left (4 stacks now - 4 more to come by Thanksgiving)

6. He drinks coffee. Sometimes starting at 10pm. The man almost never drinks coffee.

7. His generally amicable TA says "You're STILL not done?"

8. He begins to sport a grading callous on his right pointer finger.

9. He tries to get his 2-1/2-year-old son to help grade, again.

10. He doesn't blog.

Yet this amazing man will still take Xan around campus to trick-or-treat and bring him to family orchestra concerts (posts and photos coming) - and even do dishes!

Anyone have any advice for Jeff as he grades?