Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Happy Moments

Yesterday was a beautiful day. It had been hot, but a cold front passed through and brought lower humidity and northwest winds plus a 20 degree drop in temperature. Very nice. Mary had soccer camp in the afternoon, and somewhere during the day as I made mention of how nice it was I asked her if she'd like to go fishing. Of course she jumped at the chance - Mary loves to go fishing - so after soccer camp we drove down to Hannen Lake to try our luck. As usual, we didn't catch a darn thing. We saw a snake in the water: he swam all the way around the wing dam we were set up on, and he scared the living daylights out of Mary. While we were eating supper we saw a rabbit (which Mary ran off to chase) and on the way out we saw a big, fat raccoon run across the road and down a slope, plus at a bend in the road we saw a doe and two fawns in a draw. No luck with the fish (other than seeing grass carp fins sticking up out of the water) but lots of luck in the wildlife department. While driving home Mary asked me if I minded going fishing with her and not catching anything. I said I really didn't mind: it was nice just to get out, and what mattered is that Mary will have happy memories of fishing with Mom. However, I think the next time we go fishing we'll call my Uncle Hep and ask him to join us. He's very good at fishing and can teach us a lot. That will be helpful as we happen to know very little about fishing!

Anyway. I know I've not been blogging much lately, but quite honestly, I've been busy. Along with summer school and household chores, I'm working as a part-time CAD technician intern for the ESCO group. (I think I've mentioned this before.) I need the internship hours in order to graduate, and I should be able to get my AAS in Architectural Technology in May. But last Friday my boss stopped me in the hall and quasi-offered me a full time position. I'd start that in August, and go to school part-time while I work. I was surprised at the offer, but I told him I'd get advice from Carl and my instructors and get back to him. Long story short, I accepted his offer and re-arranged my school schedule accordingly. Fortunately I can work from home, so I can get my 40+ hours per week there at the office (during the day) and here at home at night to make up for the time I'm in school. I'll still double-major in Construction Management, but it will take me longer to complete that degree since I'm going to go at it more slowly. One nice thing about this job is ESCO will help pay my tuition for classes that will benefit the company, so I need to track down the Electrical Eng. Tech. instructors and find out if there's anything I can take to help me understand industrial wiring and circuitry.

Speaking of school, I should mention that Hannah is in College for Kids this week and next. She's taking Sumi-I (Chinese brush painting) Chinese (the language) and "Sherlock Holmes" (which is a class about solving mysteries and applying logical thinking). She just turned 13 last Saturday (wow!) and when I'm home she spends most of her time in her room. I think that's typical of a teenager, isn't it? When I'm not home she's keeping track of Mary, so I can understand her wanting to get away when her responsibilities end. I don't blame her one bit. And we did offer to take her fishing, too, but she declined. Fishing is not her gig.

I have to say that I'm proud of the way my girls have stepped up and helped us this summer. With both of us working, plus the time I'm in school, the girls are home alone more than they've ever been before, and so far nothing bad has happened. They're also helping me with more chores (like folding laundry, doing dishes and washing the dog). It's been a relief, the way they've behaved, and at the end of the summer I'm going to have to do something special for them. Not that College for Kids, soccer and diabetes camp, and going to Adventureland aren't special, but I think they deserve a particular reward for their efforts. And in May, when I get my AAS degree, I think I'll reward myself, too. I'm pretty sure this reward will involve Carl somehow.

It will definitely involve chocolate.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Kitchen Perspective

When I got home from school today, I found a pile of rhubarb stalks in the sink that Carl and Mary had picked for me. I'd told Carl that if he'd harvest some rhubarb for me, I'd make pies. Nothing like motivation, eh? Anyway. So the girls and I got busy right away on the pies. The girls washed the stalks while I chopped, and then Hannah helped me with the rest of the pie making. She wants to learn how to do these things, and she does so by watching me and then doing what I've done. Mary, on the other hand, is a total experimenter. She took a few chunks of rhubarb (I had plenty - thanks, honey!) put it in a bowl and added milk, Splenda, flour and baking soda, then mixed the goo up. I had some leftover pie crust, so I lined a small glass dish with it and let Mary pour her goo in. Then we nuked it for 2 1/2 minutes, and when it came out, it didn't look too bad, but it was spongy. It may yet harden as it cools, I don't know. For all I know, it may actually be edible!

But today's events got me to thinking: what is cooking? Is it an art form or is it chemistry? If you'd ask my sister, she'd probably say art form. That's because she's an extremely talented cook - she can go into almost any restaurant, eat a meal, and then go home and re-create it perfectly. I, on the other hand, regard cooking as chemistry. You mix stuff together, apply a heat source, and after a measured amount of time your "experiment" is done. Unfortunately, this approach results in meals that taste like a lab experiment. I think Mary is also approaching cooking this way. However, she's bolder, mixing things together and cooking it just to see how it turns out. I don't have that kind of courage. And Hannah? I think she'd consider cooking an art form. If she wants to explore this type of art, I need to find her a tutor, one who has the ability to stand at a counter for hours mincing garlic and peeling the rinds off of oranges. Hmmmm.....where to find a cooking tutor.....

Oh, Kaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaathy!