Archive for April, 2013

Flat stomach

April 17th, 2013

I would like to tone up a bit. I'm not going to whine and moan about weight gain, but I am going to be honest that it happens when a person doesn't have enough time or energy to work out regularly or as hard as they used to, and has a small child to take care of.

I'm trying to be a little better about jogging after work. Claus, a former university coach, enjoys helping me reach my goals and is naturally inclined to provide me light coaching. He encourages me to go for a brief run with him, and even nudges me into doing simple isometric exercises like sit ups and pushups on the living room floor.

Olivia witnessed me doing it last week, a very rare sight. She sees me walk and run places, but I hardly ever do sit ups or things that involve the ground.

"What are you guys doing?" she asked.

I couldn't talk because I was concentrating hard on a plank. Claus told her we were exercising.

"Why?" she questioned.

My plank was done. From a collapsed heap on the floor, I told her that I wanted to have a flatter stomach, like hers.

It's not a surprise to her. She's termed my stomach "puffy" before. She probably just didn't realize Western people assign a beauty value inversely proportionate to the convexness of that body part.

We finished our exercises and a little while later, she asked, "Is it flat yet?" Kids. No patience.

"No, it'll take a long time. I have to be patient and I have to do this every day, so it flattens a little bit more," I explained, realizing with a little bit of depression that I'm probably not going to do this every day until it flattens out at all.

{Be gentle on yourself. Be gentle on yourself.}

Olivia then gave me the funniest suggestion: "Why don't you just throw up and then it'll be flat?" Sure, I can see how she would invent that simple logic.

That is a completely different weight loss plan, and one that I have not and will not ever be interested in trying. (Or its related cousin, where you don't put food in the stomach at all.)

"It doesn't work that way, Sweetie," I commented, "I'll just have to do it this way, very slowly, a little every day." Now I have to hold myself to it!

Mommy's assistant

April 15th, 2013

Olivia heard me talking about work, in a conversation which included the word assistant. "I can be your assistant, Mommy," she offered. "I want to go to work with you every day."

Cute, so cute.

"How lovely!" I said. "How will you assist me?"

"I don't know," she answered.

"Maybe you could make follow up calls for me?" I asked.

"I don't know how to use the phone," she reminded me.

"Maybe you could file some papers alphabetically?" I continued.

"I don't know what that means," she responded.

"Maybe you could return some e-mails on my behalf?" I suggested.

"I don't know how to type and I can't spell without your help," she countered.

"I see," said Mommy, the prospective employer. "What kinds of things could you assist me with?"

"I could watch Netflix in your office while you work!" she enthusiastically proposed.

That doesn't sound very helpful. Neither did Claus' alternative, which was "sit there and look cute." Haven't we all worked around people who think that's actually a real job description?

I redirected the conversation to being my assistant at home: folding her clean clothes and making her bed. Yes, that's helpful and cute at the same time!

Opae ula babies!

April 12th, 2013

My shrimp have finally bred! It's the moment I've been waiting for for 15 months!

Larvae hangs vertically in middle of photo - hard to see.

Larvae hangs vertically in middle of photo - hard to see.

In mid March I first noticed mosquito larvae wiggling around my ten gallon tank. I say this to also indicate that the salinity is also quite low. I don't have a hydrometer and I had started with a 1:6 salt:fresh ratio. Over time, I'm sure my inexact water changes have altered the salt level.

It's probably for the better. My shrimp friend, Dennis, goes by this imprecise system, too, and had mentioned the shrimp probably are living in a mostly freshwater mixture at breeding time.

Three months ago, I also added more coral rock to the tank to give them more dark breeding crevices in which to nest. For a year, I've noticed berried females, but the eggs have never hatched. It seems at any given time there are one or two pregnant shrimp in the tank.

More hiding spaces in rocks must have been the trick, because I recently saw seven little larvae floating around the tank. The larvae have a yolk to sustain them for two weeks, and they float vertically like apostrophe marks. After two weeks, they start getting horizontal.

An iPhone crop of the shrimp baby.

An iPhone crop of the shrimp baby.

Claus and I have followed them daily, our excitement renewed by the breeding program's success. He's become interested in the shrimp now, too.

We have watched the first group evolve from hovering helicopters to little bitty real shrimp. It's very exciting.

We have noticed that there are staggered groups of shrimp hatching in batches, so now there's all stages of juveniles in the tank. There are about ten babies total. The adults are not aggressive and ignore the babies.

Again, I think the abundance of rocks is the key, because we've also noticed there are usually three or four ovigerous females at all times - which is double the number from a year ago.

I started with about 175 shrimp in February 2012, so perhaps at this point I have 185? When I'm confident in the consistency of this population I'm planning to pull some from it to start another colony using a ceramic pot, because the depth and opaque sides more closely mimics the natural conditions of their anchaline pond habitat.

The opae ula experiment continues!

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Because you watched...

April 10th, 2013

I saw Meet Joe Black for the first time. It is on Netflix. In it, Brad Pitt plays Death.

At the end of the movie, I told Claus, "I think you're more handsome than Brad Pitt." I'm in love with my husband. "I pick you over Brad Pitt any day."

He laughed, "Oh, great. You chose me over Death. Thanks."

And then he pointed out he's Death's janitor.

Because you watched...

Ever notice how Netflix tries to predict your preferences and suggest more movies? We usually look at thrillers, action films, and comedies. The one - ONE- time we watched a musical, it was The Big Gay Musical, and Claus wanted to kill me.

Screen Shot 2013-03-31 at 9.29.06 AM

He thinks it's bad enough to have to look at people bursting out unrealistically into song every third minute. I, however, like some musicals and I love the gays.

He wishes he could forget. But Netflix remembers.

I was trying to research the work of actress Marcia Gay Harden. I typed in her name in the search bar. Two of her movies came up, and the query Did you mean Gay Movies? followed by (in Claus' words) 100 gay movies.

Claus looked at it and shook his head. "Even this machine knows you too well," he complained, and moved to commandeer the selection process. We probably watched, like, Seal Team 6 that night.

Posted in dad, family, mom | 2 Comments »

One day...

April 8th, 2013

"Mommy, can we go to a water park?" Olivia asked.

"One day," I answered.

Her BFF Meya was with us and I overheard translation: "That means never," she told Olivia.

"That means someday," Olivia countered.

Claus and I laughed. It does mean someday. But I'm not committing to which day. As Claus pointed out, "They're onto us."

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