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Sunday, May 27, 2007

3-week update

Yes, it's been weeks since I've posted. Call it summer vacation if you will.

Linda is happy to have warmer weather. It makes getting around a lot easier if she isn't cold. We still don't go out too often, just because places are hard. But we've been getting to the gym off and on, we went to coffee shop recently.

We've all been outside more lately. I put a couple of roses in the yard. They're tiny now, but will presumably become sizable and fragrant. They've gone for a couple of weeks and haven't died, so I expect that as long as I remember to water them semi-regularly that they'll do well. I also dug up an oak tree from the pasture and transplanted it. It hasn't died yet, although I expect it to look weary for a while.

Linda often sits out with us, as long as she isn't too tired. I had to rehang her porch swing since a nasty wind blew it over and lost the hooks, but it is solid now. We've been working on strategies for her to get into and out of the swing without assistance. Actually getting to the swing is no problem, it is getting out that is challenging. In a pinch, she could crawl (across the concrete) but that's kind of a drag.

Ellie and I have hiked in the pasture several times. The ticks are bad, and the grass is getting to tall for Ellie, so we're probably done for a while until it comes time to cut hay. We found what looks like blackberry vines, but they haven't set their fruit yet. I'll have to go back and check, now that it has rained some, and see if they are coming along.

Ellie finished pre-school last week. She is going to do pre-kindergarten summer school in June at the public school. She is really excited about that, especially about riding the bus. That will be an adjustment for her, because she'll have to get up early. I mentioned what time the bus comes a few days ago, and she got all serious, "I'm not going to like getting up that early."

Otherwise, we've just been doing regular summer stuff. The dryer was squeeking, so we had it repaired. I've been upgrading computers at work since no one is using them heavily right now and it will be minimally inconvenient. I've been working on some extra projects. We've done a lot of reading. I'll be teaching again in a couple of weeks, so I'm really trying not to stress out too much during the off time.

Friday, May 04, 2007

I'm rich

I'm reading Naked Economics by Charles Wheelan. Over the last year I found somewhat accidentally that I enjoy financial books in general, but I'm actually reading this one to prepare for a class I'm teaching in the fall. Don't let anyone tell you that teachers don't have homework.

Economics is particularly nonintuitive, and usually pretty interesting. But sometimes it is just fun. Consider this (long) quote:

David Blanchflower and Andrew Oswald, economists at Dartmouth and the University of Warwick, respectively, have found that a lasting marriage is worth $100,000 a year, since married people report being as happy, on average, as divorced (and not remarried) individuals who have incomes that are $100,000 higher. So, before you go to bed tonight, be sure to tell your spouse that you would not give him or her up for anything less than $100,000 a year.

You can see by that measure I'm really packin' it in.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Cornucopia of creatures

We have ducks today. Ducks and butterflies, actually. For Christmas, Ellie received a butterfly set. You send off for caterpillers, watch them eat for about a week, watch them pupate for about a week. Today the adult butterflies emerged from their chrysalises. We are feeding 5 painted lady butterflies a diet of sugar water for the next day or two before we release them outside.

The ducks came from school. Last year they had a lamb a school which you could check out overnight. This year there was a set of ducklings and a set of chicks. We checked out the ducks today, so with the butterflies, there is a lot to keep a girl busy.

As if that weren't enough. In the pre-4H club, they are checking out chicks. So tomorrow we take the ducklings back to school, but we bring home some chicks. You can keep your chicks for 2 weeks if you like, but we've worked out an arrangement to keep them for 4 days and then take them to a local farm.

Hide the cat

Ellie has been very concerned about Kate, our cat. If you are going to have duckling and chicks around the house, you have to be careful that the cat doesn't make lunch of them. What Ellie hasn't realized is that we gave Kate away a week ago. She's been living at Aunt Mary's house since Friday. So we can have butterflies, ducks, chicks, and there's no danger of any of them being eaten.

When we got rid of the cat, Linda and I discussed how long it would be before Ellie noticed. We figured it would either take at least a week, or she would know somehow instantly. Ellie has gone looking for Kate a couple of times, and I thought the game was up. But each time she becomes distracted and forgets about it. Of course the first time we go to Mary's and Kate is there, there will be no hiding it. Of course I'll be able to say, "You didn't notice the cat was gone for a whole month." I expect a tantrum anyway.