Meghan Makes Rank of “Captain Jack”

Our friend Sam is scout master for his son’s Boy Scout troop.  In order to teach the kids knots he put together a knot board to tie eight of the most important knots to know.

There are ranks.  “Captain Jack” is when you can tie all eight, in under two minutes… while blindfolded.

We are very proud of Meghan, who missed being “Fleet Admiral” (all eight, under a minute, blindfolded) by mere seconds.  She beat the pants of every member of the troop, including Sam’s own son.  Fortunately for my own ego we had to leave and could not try for Fleet Admiral one more time.

Patio Furniture FTW

kids on new patio furniture
There was at least one of these three ensconced here for the remainder of the afternoon

Bought some new patio furniture on a lark today, now I just need to finish preparing the patio.

We stuck it on the deck in the meantime, where it attracted some squatters almost immediately.  I think they like it.  They should, as the human children gave me puppy-dog eyes until I caved and agreed to buy it.  (Butter had nothing to do with the purchase, but she spent the most time of anyone on it today.)

Beta Goes Rock Climbing

Way back at Christmas, Meghan came up with a most appropriate gift for Beta: time at the local rock climbing gym.

We didn’t use it right away because we were out of the country, and then something always seemed to come up or we just weren’t thinking about it, until this past week.  I remembered about the rock gym, Meghan arranged a time, and this morning (Mother’s Day to boot) we showed up for the first of five sessions.

A rock climbing gym, in case you’ve never been, is a series of walls with a random assortment of hand-holds embedded into the surface.  It’s meant to simulate rock climbing enough to help you build strength and skill.

rock wall climbing
Beta nearing the top of a difficult ascent

You wear a harness and clip onto a rope.  Some faces have auto-belays, some have ropes slung and wrapped over a bar above the face (pulley-style) so a partner eases you down.  The ‘cave’ wall has no ropes, as the entire face is inverted.  It has a very thick pad to land on instead.

We booked two hours, and Beta made it through impressive one and a half hours of it.  By the end she had “spaghetti arms,” but she was talking about going back before we were even back in the car.  Score one for mom!

Egg Roll in a Bowl

eggroll in a bowl

Ingredients

You’ll need a pretty big pan with high sides for this recipe.  A 14″ cast iron pan is good.

It’s a pretty low maintenance dish, so you can easily cook it alongside other things.  Bagged slaw saves a ton of time.

This makes a pretty good meal by itself, or goes great as a side dish.

  • Sesame oil
  • 1 pound of ground Chicken or Pork
  • 1 small or 1/2 medium white onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger
  • 1 bag (14 oz) dry slaw mix
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce (reduced sodium is fine)
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sesame seeds (optional)

Steps

  1. Heat a tablespoon of sesame oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add in the meat and onions.
  2. When the meat is nearly done and onion is soft and translucent, stir in garlic and ginger.  Cook for a few more minutes, stirring on occasion.
  3. Dump in soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and slaw.  Stir frequently until everything is well-mixed, the soy sauce and rice wine vinegar reduce,and the slaw softens up.

Season with salt and pepper to taste, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Adapted from http://theskinnyfork.com/blog/chicken-egg-roll-bowl

Meteors!

The Girl Scout troop was going to do some late night thing for a badge – go somewhere people work late, go to Panera for dinner, watch a movie, blah. I have to say, I thought Girl Scouts would be more like the Boy Scouts (Hiking badge YEAH!). But no. Girls apparently don’t do the cool stuff.  I mean, hosting an “extreme nighttime party” as a badge requirement?!

Yesterday, we figured out that the Lyrid meteor shower peaked tonight, April 21. Faced with the choice of seeing Stop and Shop getting restocked, and heading out with blankets, 3 layers of hoodies, and some Dunkin’ hot chocolate, the choice was clear.

Screw Stop and Shop.

We went to a recreation area in Tewksbury, the closest we could find to a good, dark, publicly accessible field. After setting up a blanket under us, and another on top, we cuddled together and started watching the skies. We saw multiple meteors, two normal satellites, and one Iridium flare. Every one of those satellites was spotted by Beta, the Champion of Satellite Detection. She pointed out the Iridium satellite before it had a chance to flare, so we all got to see it.

We hung out in the field for about 45 minutes before it got too cold, and we were tired.

And of course, on the ride home, Beta saw one last  meteor. Awesome end to the night.

The General

We all went to see The General at The Cabot, back by a live musical performance.

The General is (very loosely) based on a real-life train theft during the Civil War, but it’s played to some drama and comedy by a prime Buster Keaton.

The true story is that a group of Union spies stole a Confederate train (which was, in fact, named The General) with a plan to damage the rails and generally cause mayhem on their way back to friendly territory.  It didn’t quite work out as planned because they were pursued and (eventually) caught.

The cinematic version takes a few artistic liberties to entertain and “wow” the audience with stunts, as well as adding a love interest and a human side.  It’s considered one of Mr. Keaton’s finest works, and “[he] always said that this was his favorite of his own movies.” (source)  It’s an amazing film to watch, moreso when you realize that the stunts were real, frequently filmed in one take, and as hazardous in real life as they are in the story.

The film that we watched was from a restoration made in 2016, with a new musical arrangement that was played live.  The quality of the film is very good, better than the gif above, while live music accompaniment is the way it was meant to be enjoyed.

The Cabot is a restored theater in downtown Beverly, MA.  It contains many of the artistic features one would expect from a classic venues.  We had center seats and a great view.  This was our first visit, but won’t be our last.

Photo: © Lauren Poussard

In which I sew on buttons

Alpha loves the Newsies. Alpha had Christmas money, and bought herself suspenders. Alpha asked me to sew buttons on to her pants so they wouldn’t snap off. Since we took her phone away, she’s got the time to pester me, so here we are.

Buttons on a pair of pants.
Buttons buttons who’s got the buttons

Mission accomplished.

Also, reading glasses help with the threading of needles.

Me in glasses.
My glasses match my shirt!