Monday, August 23, 2010

Big Day

Finn, lining up for his first-day 'big school' assemby.... then off to Mrs. Mfula's class

The toddler became a big kid, just like that.

O, happy to be back -- he got a new haircut, too. More of a trim, eh?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

London, take two

sigh. I can only assume this is Mr. ThirteenSocks' perspective looking down on the little people while he's flying high in the London Eye. (I was back at the flat with the sick little monster) The Eye is like a ferris wheel gone mad at 135m/443ft tall that sits on the South bank of the River Thames. The Space needle is 145m/605ft and the Eiffel Tower is 324m/1063 ft) to give some perspective. It was completed about 10 years ago and over 32 million people have ridden the thing. "You should go some time." says the love of my life. Oh, really?

There are 32 pod/capsule/thingies, each weighing 10,000 tonnes/metric tons. Each capsule, representing each of London's 32 boroughs, holds about 25 people (metric or otherwise). You can see 40k/25 miles...all the way to Windsor Castle on a clear day. Are there clear days in London? A revolution takes about 30 min - slow enough that the wheel doesn't need to stop to let people on and off. Some 800 people can be carried around in one revolution. Advanced algebra was used to calcuclate that figure.

"The Eye... exists in a category of its own.... It essentially has to fulfil only one function, and what a brilliantly inessential function it is: to lift people up from the ground, take them round a giant loop in the sky, then put them back down where they started. That is all it needs to do, and thankfully, that is all it does."

It took 7 years and skilled workers from design/architecture firms in 5 countries to make this contraption. Maybe it took a few Storm Troopers to help out also? Well, who ever's bright idea that was, the Storm Troopers are still in London and they can't get back to their ship. They are just hanging around, looking for work and trying to extort money from passing tourists by holding their puppies for ransom. dZina* held her own against the forces of evil.

*dZina, whose name means "name" in Nyanja, the Chewa tribal language commonly heard in Lusaka -- spoken by some 15 million Bantu people in Southern Africa, is our friends' new puppy.

And then there were these guys: the Fanti Acrobats International. This photo is from the Seattle Times "photos of the day." O described this to me but the photo..... apparently this is not the most impressive part of their performance. yikes:

Little Monster, taking serious notes at the Imperial War Museum before he started feeling like this:

We minded the gap, just not the clock. Here we are en route to the airport an hour late. made it, sprinting and sweating and without our duty-free Bombay Sapphire. Rats.

Bye Bye, London, tah tah.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

before and during

one of established our 'rose of sharon' hibiscus

our new backyard digs....still a 'during' photo but didn't the guys work wonders? we can't wait to see how it comes together and how all the plants fill in. the boys are most excited about their trees - a fruiting cherry and a vine maple. I am keeping my fingers crossed that my new hibiscus (white flowers) makes it through the summer.

the (not exactly inviting.....) "Before:"

Row, Row, Row my boat!

Witness here the maiden voyage of my gorgeous Pygmy Arctic Tern. Todd (aka Mr. Boatbuilder) finished it 98% last summer and 99.5% this needs polishing and the final coat of epoxy, deck rigging needs a name.

Mr. Boatbuilder hopes to get started some day on a Pygmy Coho for himself but has a great fiberglass boat in the meantime with a storied travel history we hope to match. Not surprisingly, the kids were instantly hooked by this sweet little boat (14-feet and all of 28 pounds) that even FPFJ could handle on his own (in two feet of water with both of us standing by in case your were already calling CPS).

In a perfect world we would ship the Coho kit to Zambia and put it together here where we have the time and space and great dry climate .... but sadly, Zambia does not have the water nor access to all the little things that TJ ran out to Ace Hardware for at midnight! As I a perfect world...

exploring the kelp beds off Lincoln Park

Auntie Jean and FPFJ in Puget Sound "IT"S TIPPYYYYYYYY!" (It's so not!)

Kyla soloing at barely 11, headed off on an adventure of her own!

Harry of "Harry Went to Town" fame:

Little 13socks: "It's PADDLING mommy, not rowing."

we know what you mean, jimmy

august 2010

To be with the others, you have to have your hair short and wear ties. So we're trying to make a third world happen, you know what I mean?
Jimi Hendrix

august 2009
september 2007


the boys, enjoying the sights on the Olympic Peninsula

Ah, the glamourous life of international travel.... by now we have photos of the boys like this (in the VWvan), on airplanes big and small, sur le metro a paris, on the tube in london (adds a whole new dimension to 'mind the gap!"), on a dhow in the indian ocean, on the cornishe in senegal, in our own car, and in hotel rooms and flats and houses all over the world. (I’m exaggerating on that last point...but even as i write this they are striking a similar pose.)

We have many stories of children so completely wrecked from jet-lag, long drives, and even longer flights that they are literally sick with exhaustion. It’s amazing they are as cheerful and cooperative on these trips as trips across town. No moment has been too much that a bag of discretely stowed M&Ms could not resolve.

Yeah, Kids!

Bigger yeah for M&Ms!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Rattlesnake Lake Hike

The view from the top of Snoqualmie Valley's Rattlesnake Ledge about 30 miles/48 km from Seattle. Rattlesnake Lake/Rattlesnake Ledge was named not for rattlesnakes (of which there are none) but for the the rattle of seedpods on the prairie nearby the lake.

One reason for the hiking trail's popularity is that dogs are welcome. (Ruby and Maddy on a pre-hike swim in the glacier-fed waters)

A boy and his dog (post-hike, racing to get a ball). Finn eventually got in as well, but not before shouting loudly enough for all of King County to hear "ARE THERE CROCODILES IN THIS WATER??? and ...... is there ANYTHING ELSE THAT CAN KILL US?"

The trail was recently renovated.....seeing this work was a great reminder of times gone by (in a past life TJ ran an NGO doing trail maintenance and construction and spent many-a-weekend wielding pulaskis and hauling gravel)
This giant boulder is significant for a couple of reasons but the boys were most interested in the story of the hike I took them on when O was 3 and Finn was not yet born. I helped O and Ruby get up there (where O is sitting is about 7 feet up, the back side of the rock drops off down the slope) and somehow hoisted myself and my big belly up and then.....we got stuck!

A detour on the way back home meant a stop over at our second favorite waterfall - Snoqualmie Falls. At 270 feet it's about 100 feet shorter than Victoria Falls but I have to say that it's the 5640-wide chasm from which the Zambezi River spills over that 360 feet drop is makes Vic Falls just slightly more....awe inspiring.
The kids did such a great job with the hike that we let them pick out a treat.....they picked the biggest & most obnoxious-looking ice lollies from the gift shop freezer. We were almost too frightened to look at the ingredients list but were shocked to learn these scary-looking, buck-fifty frozen treats are made with just a touch of cane sugar and .... get this..... are colored with tumeric, elderberry, and beet juice! it's a nestle product imported from switzerland. God bless the Swiss for giving us chocolates and ice lollies. who knew.

Low Tide

the cousins exploring the seagrass beds on one of the lowest tide days in Puget Sound since 1916.

After much coaxing to get IN the water, we could not get the little guy OUT.
draining of the galoshes requires teamwork! next time....sandals!
It was all too much for Finn and Uncle Alan.... they favored a siesta.

dog tired

Bella, dog-tired from her week at the beach house

Our Ruby with Chewy....never too tired to chase a ball.

Ruby and Bell take a quick time out together

Can you hear me now?

yes, he has a double-tall caramel mocha in his sippy cup..... made by the family's newest barista:

self-taught ....he wants his own machine now