Pumpkin Huntin'

We went to the South 47 Farm, a neat effort to preserve farmland in the heart of sprawling suburbia, to look at pumpkins and other growing things yesterday morning. They're organic, there's a CSA operated there, and they have some u-pick or u-dig crops. (Flickr photo set)

I dug potatoes.

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Ben looked at gourds.

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He rode a pretend tractor.

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We rode on haybales in a wagon behind a real tractor.

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Both boys slept on the way home.

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Honestly, Rex was there. Lynn was mostly manhandling him, and I corralled Ben. We came home with swiss chard, six small gourds, one medium pumpkin, some potatoes, and a moderate amount of mud. It poured today, so we're glad we hit it yesterday. We'll be returning soon.


Ben is now numerate. He can read numbers. It started with bus numbers--the 25, 43, and 48 are all buses we can take to get to his childcare--and has extended now far beyond! The 44, 45, 217, 74, and other buses are within his purview. He's making numbers up, too, and can read numbers that he hasn't heard me say, so it's not memorization.

I never thought of numeracy preceding literacy.

One Muffin Makes You Smaller, One Muffin Makes You Tall

Who knew a muffin could be such a problem?

I bought two muffins yesterday at a newly relocated gluten-free, wheat-free bakery that's near my office. Delicious, although liquid-sucking: You had to drink constantly while eating it to keep your mouth from sealing shut. One of the problems with gluten-free stuff, sometimes.

I ate one of these dark chocolate muffins and brought the other home to Lynn. Unfortunately, they must have use a super-caffeinated chocolate source. The other ingredients were pretty simple, like brown rice syrup and garbanzo flour.

Not only did Lynn and I have trouble getting to sleep, but Rex awoke at about 11 pm after sleeping four hours and was wired like a college student hopped up on Jolt cola. Lynn fed him. Didn't help. Then we realized that feeding him could make it worse if it were the caffeine. We defrosted some frozen milk. He drank all of that, Still wouldn't get back to sleep. Lynn bounced him on a ball for several minutes. I did the same. He finally went down at about 1 am. This has been our only overnight problem for months--and one of the worst nights we've ever had with Rex.

This morning he woke happy and chirpy at 5 am (just 30 to 45 minutes earlier than usual). I got him up, did the reflux drug we have to give him, and handed him off 30 minutes later to Lynn. I went back to bed for two glorious hours; she was up for an hour with him, and has now been back to bed for an hour herself.

I expect the two of them will be fagged-out, as the Brits say, but this is a child-care day for Ben, so I can scoot him off, and perhaps Lynn can grab some naps while Rex sleeps today.

I sent a nice note to the cafe, which tends to serve people with a variety of health issues in the first place, asking them to check on their chocolate. If it had just been Lynn, well, it might have been various things. But for both of us and Rex to be hit--wow!

Good Samaritans, Injuries (Not Mine) on Sunday Morning Bike Ride

I was riding on Lake Washington Blvd today on the last day of Bicycle Saturdays and Sundays (thank you Group Health and Cascade Bicycle Club) when about 5 miles from home, after a car stupidly turned in front of me--into the "don't drive here" area and with bikes loaded on it!--I shifted into my top downhill gear in front but largest gear in the back. My chain isn't long enough for that, and it stuck. Stuck hard.

I turned the bike over and was working on it, when a group of four cyclists passing by called out if I needed help. I said, to my own surprise, yes. They all stopped, and three of the four helped me for about five minutes to unjam the chain! Great guys all, and much appreciated. I continued on down to Seward Park and home.

On the way back, witnessed the aftermath of a single bike crash--woman was bleeding in the head, obviously concussed because she thought she could continue riding. Her friends were helping. One of her friends or a passer-by called 911 and was told the woman would have to agree to accept help before they sent the damn ambulance!! The caller had to argue for several minutes. Finally, they agreed to send the ambulance. An EMT was passing by on a bike, stopped, and began to help with some more expertise. I stopped to direct traffic (on a not very busy street but in an awkward place) around the accident until the ambulance came nearly 10 minutes later.

Tons of cyclists and motorists stopped to offer help, rides, etc. We just had a fatality near my home when a dump truck ran over a biker (dump truck turning right, biker going straight). The biker was hit at the south end of the University of Washington Bridge, at an intersection I no longer bike through on my regular commute because I decided a year or more ago it had too poor visibility and too many stupid drivers and cyclists.

In the accident I saw, the woman was wearing a helmet. Given what her injuries looked like, she would have been dead or in severe trauma had she not been wearing one.

Tap Your Little Finger

This evening Ben asks to see some pictures on the computer of himself and some other things. I say, sure, I'll show you on the little computer (the iPhone). He says, no, the big computer (the laptop). I say fine, and pull it down.

We start looking through photos:

Ben: Tap the picture with your little finger [gestures with his finger at the screen]
Daddy: Let's not touch the screen, Ben.
Ben: Tap the picture!
Daddy: [figuring it out] Ben, do you mean the finger on the little hand that changes from the arrow when I move over a photo?
Ben: Yes.

Ben has figured out the user interface. In Flickr, the arrow cursor is replaced by a "Mickey Mouse" hand (a white glove with four fingers, three curled and one pointing). Ben wanted me to "tap" (a good word) the picture with the gloved hand's "little finger."

Someone in Cupertino is smiling right now.

Latest Book Scam

As a public service, I occasionally publish the email I receive from scammers who are trying to place fraudulent orders from booksellers. I run isbn.nu, which provides book price comparisons, but I don't per se sell books. Thus, I'm a target, but a well-informed one. I post these messages partly because they get indexed by Google, so a bookseller who does a minute of research on a strange order will find this message. I replied to this individual that their scam was well known and they might as well give up. I just try to rattle the cage a bit.

These books, by the way, are sold into Russia, apparently, usually by way of Nigeria. The fact that this email is signed as if it's from a UK bookseller is fascinating. I did a couple minutes of checking, and there's no such bookseller, and only one bookstore in that whole region of Liverpool, apparently.

Here's the email:

Dear Sir / Madam,
                    We will like to place an order for the above Books , How many copies of each of the books have you in stock for now ? Kindly send us a price list and the rate of discount  given for bulk purchases. Also do let us know the Mode of payments accepted .
Author: Netter, Frank H
ISBN: 9781416033851
Edition : 4th Edition   
  2. Davidson's Principles And Practice of Medicine .
Author: Boon Nicholas A.
ISBN: 9780443100574
20th Edition.   
  3. Pathologic Basis of Disease .
Author: Kumar .
ISBN: 9780721601878
7th Edition.         
  Thanks , Looking forward to hear from you soon .
  Kind Regards:
  Paul Chaney .

  Store Sales Assist,
  Bright Books & Cafe'
13 Liverpool Road North,
Maghull , L31 2HB
Phone/Fax:(+44) 0151 531 9875
  Cell :  (+44)  07031745484