Archive for November 2006

Nov 17 (Friday)

November 17th, 2006 — 6:24pm

math at — rays/lines/line segments, beginning long division, decimal places

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Blue and white hat

November 17th, 2006 — 11:10am

Here are photos of a little hat I made, of blue and white cotton yarn. The pattern is horseshoe lace, which has an 8-row repeat so I worked four rows in each color. MY dentist’s receptionist asked for one just like it in navy blue, so when I make that one I’ll write down the pattern for you.

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Nov 16 (Thursday)

November 16th, 2006 — 8:00pm

Bayshore science (muscles)
Bayshore art (plaid)
Bayshore Spanish (crossword puzzle)
handwriting practice

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The Dragon Costume

November 16th, 2006 — 5:37pm

Finally, photos of Henry’s Dragon costume:

It was constructed on a pair of navy-blue sweats. Henry bought the purple-and-green latex dragon head at Costume Castle. We made spines of green felt, stuffed them, and sewed them to the back of the shirt. The tail is purple felt, stuffed, with spines inserted into the top seam, and attached to a belt around Henry’s waist. The wings are leftover pool-cover material, which is basically blue bubble-wrap. We cut the wings out and just stitched them to the sleeves and sides of the shirt. Voila! A dragon!

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Our Island Story, ch. 49

November 15th, 2006 — 11:14pm

049 – Wat Tyler’s Rebellion

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Gumdrop Geometry

November 15th, 2006 — 8:03pm

This morning after chores Henry and I sat down with the big bag of geometry stuff that Lyndy sent home with us. (Henry was sick on Math Club day but Lyndy saved our materials for us and gave them to us on Science Club Day). We read about polygons and polyhedrons, Platonic Solids and Archimedean Solids. We built polygons with pretzel rods, and polyhedrons with gumdrops and toothpicks. We played with tangrams and pentominoes. And I think we both learned something! I took photos of our gumdrop creations, which are, of course, still in the camera… I’ll try to dump/upload/post one tomorrow.

Sally went out for a bit so the house was quiet (so funny that a 66-year old makes FAR more noise than an 11-year old) and I recorded the last 2/3 of chapter 4 of Vanity Fair for Betsie. The woman who originally read chapter 4 disappeared so we couldn’t get her to fix her truncated file. But I recorded it, and pasted both parts together, and tried to get them to match in sound quality. I think I did pretty well.

Oh! Our LibriVox “A Tale of Two Cities” audiobook is done!!! Frabjous Day! You can download it here:

(All LibriVox recordings are volunteer-created, FREE, and in the public domain. Please download, copy, share!)

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Nov 15 (Wednesday)

November 15th, 2006 — 7:08pm

Worked with Lyndy’s geometry materials for hours — polygons, polyhedrons
Built polyhedrons with toothpicks and gumdrops
Built polygons with pretzel rods.
Worked with pentominoes and tangrams
researched and built a Fuuma Shuriken

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Kayray’s Big Day

November 14th, 2006 — 11:54pm

Karate in the morning — Henry helped with the little kids’ class. I ripped out my green sock (for the fourth time) and started over in a pattern that is more fun to work. (k2, p2 around for 8 rows, then k 2 rows plain, then p2, k2 around for 8 rows, then k 2 rows plain. Cute!) The pretzel cable was beautiful, but the pattern was too complex to memorize and I got tired of needing constantly to refer to my chart. Not good if you want to knit while having a conversation or watching a movie.

Then bank, then hardware store for glue and things for Dan, then fabric store so Henry could choose cloth for a cloak for Christmas. He chose a lovely leaf-green linen blend for the outside, and a tasteful brown plaid flannel for the inside. I’ll make it reversible so he can switch it around as the mood strikes him. He says he wants a round hood, not a pointed one. Good to know.

Then home, chores, laundry, email, food, LibriVox. Then out to Bayshore for Mythology and Musical Theater. I dropped H off and went to the far-away hobby store to get more glue for Dan. A man needs the right kind of glue! And then I drove back to Bayshore and knitted my sock and listened to Loveline during Henry’s classes. Ice T and his wife were the guests. He seemed quite intelligent, actually, and I enjoyed the episode a lot. Usually I can’t listen to the rapper-guests because they say “y’know’m'say’n'?” every other word and it drives me nuts.

So — then home again. Henry played with young Colin and I taught a piano lesson. Then we looked at all the fun Geometry stuff that Lyndy sent home with us and did a couple of five-minute room rescues, and then I tried to whip Henry’s iPod into shape. It complained about being full and I had to struggle with it quite a bit to get it to empty some things out, and load on the things Henry wanted. Its behaviour was vexing and puzzling — but at the VERY end I think I figured it out — Henry had accidentally pasted his entire library, or nearly all of it, into a Harry Potter book playlist. So of course it was loading the whole library onto his iPod even though we didn’t THINK we were telling it to. Then Henry’s dad came to pick him up and I threw together some dinner and then Dan came home and ate and then we drove down to Chloe’s house to listen to a band rehearsal and hang out a bit. Very fun!!! I worked on the Tale of Two Cities project the whole time — resampling and re-encoding several files, and fixing up all the id3 tags, and adding the reader names into the validator. I still need to do a quick listen to the beginning and ending of each of the 45 files, to make sure none are truncated. Andy, the wonderful volunteer who took over the project (the original BC disappeared without a trace) and I are worried that some files might not be complete. But we’ll get it figured out.

Then home late and to bed.

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Nov 14 (Tuesday)

November 14th, 2006 — 11:40pm

Karate (Tiny Tigers)
fabric shopping
mythology class
musical theater class
A Way with Words: Etymology, Threes
Morris Dancing

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November 14th, 2006 — 9:21am

Dan: I read an interview with that scientist, what’s-his-name.

Kara: The guy who was on the thing?

Dan: Yeah, that guy.

(ten minutes later)

Kara: Richard Dawkins.

Dan: Yeah.

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Our Island Story, ch. 48

November 13th, 2006 — 11:14pm

048 – The Battle of Poitiers

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Nov 13 (Monday)

November 13th, 2006 — 9:37pm

Science club — classifiying minerals, mass/volume
polygons and polyhedrons
A Way with Words – etymology

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Homemade Salsa

November 13th, 2006 — 1:10pm

I started making my own salsa recently.  It’s so good — I’ll never buy ready-made salsa again.  We don’t like spicy things, so if this salsa seems bland to you, add some hot peppers or something :)
You need:

  • Fresh cilantro
  • fresh ripe tomatoes
  • an onion (you only need a little bit)
  • a lime or a lemon
  • dash of salt

Mince up a bit of onion, very fine.  Separate the leaves and tender upper stems of cilantro from the tough bottom stems (throw the bottom stems out).  Chop coarsely. Chop a bunch of tomatoes.  Mix all this together in a bowl or an empty cottage cheese container or something.  Add a good squeeze of lime or lemon, and salt to taste.  If it needs more of something, add more of something :)  So good, so good.   I keep a container of this salsa in the fridge at all times.

2 comments » | Blog, Recipes


November 12th, 2006 — 11:18am

We have a few volunteers who are artistically/graphically inclined. They’ve been making CD cover art to go with some of our audio books. Wonderful designs! Tonight I finally collected all the artwork pdfs, made 150x150px thumbnail jpgs and 300×300 Album Art jpgs (I’m obsessed with adding Album Art to iTunes lately), and uploaded everything to one nice project on, with links back to the recordings and everything. Take a look:

Don’t those nice graphics just make you want to download a book and burn it to a cd and make a spiffy jewel-case insert for it? Why, that’d make a fine Christmas present for someone, don’t you think? :) At the bottom of the wiki page that Seth made,, you’ll find sources for library-style cd cases, so you don’t have to put a ten-cd book in ten individual cases, you know?A big thank-you to Seth and Ted, who made all this art for us AND released it into the public domain for everyone to enjoy!

3 comments » | Blog, Tech

Kara’s Lasagna

November 11th, 2006 — 1:00pm

By popular demand – my lasagna recipe!

Warning: this is a Kara-style, why-bother-to-measure, improvisational recipe. Find some other recipe that gives explicit instructions if you’re a new or nervous cook, and then come back and try this one when you’re ready :) You’ll use raw noodles and spinach in this recipe but don’t worry — it’ll all turn out ok!

Kara’s Lasagna


  • Dry lasagna noodles in a box. Not fresh, not pre-cooked — just regular.
  • A 15-oz tub of ricotta cheese. This will make a generous family-size dish. Use two tubs if you want a mega-lasagna with leftovers for days.
  • a bag of fresh, clean, salad-style spinach (you won’t need the whole bag, so you can make a nice spinach salad to go with your lasagna)
  • a bag of grated mozarella cheese, or grate your own.
  • a tub of nice fresh grated parmesan cheese, or grate your own. Please don’t use the sawdust in the green can!
  • about 2 jars of good pasta sauce. You might not need it all, but better too much than not enough. You’ll probably need a third jar if you’re making a mega-lasagna. When I use a can of Roma tomatoes for some other recipe, I save the thick juice to make the sauce go further when I make a lasagna.
  • an egg or two
  • salt
  • Italian herbs — basil, oregano, whatever you’ve got handy
  • an onion, chopped
  • several cloves of garlic, chopped
  • Assorted fresh vegetables: red and/or green bell pepper, fresh mushrooms, zucchini, sliced carrots, whatever you like. I use a box of fresh mushrooms and a red bell pepper as a start, and add other things if I feel like it. The more you use, the bigger your lasagna will be, obviously. Chop everything into appropriately-sized chunks.
  • ENTIRELY OPTIONAL: some kind of meat. I used uncooked sweet Italian sausage once, cut into chunks and cooked with the veggies. It was great! You could use ground beef or turkey, or chunks of chicken, or whatever. Just make sure your meat is thoroughly cooked before you assemble the lasagna.

Ok! Heat up some olive oil in a nice big pan. Cook your onion and garlic for a little while, until it starts to get slightly soft. Add the rest of the veggies (hard/solid things like carrots should be added before soft/quick-cooking things like zucchini). Add meat, if you’ve got meat. Add herbs, generously. Cook until it’s all done and smells most sentimental. It’s better if the veggies don’t turn to mush, of course. But make sure that meat is done. It’ll cook more in the oven but why take a chance?

Dump your ricotta into a big huge bowl. Add several handfuls of raw spinach and mix it around with a wooden spoon. Remember that the spinach will shrink a lot, so why not add some more? Add a few spoonfuls of parmesan. Dump in the cooked veggie mixture and mix it all around. Taste, and see if needs salt. I usually add several good shakes. Add an egg or two.

Ok now get your pan. I use a deep 9″x9″ casserole dish with a lid for family-size lasagna, and a 10″x14″ pan for mega-lasagna. Put a layer of RAW lasagna noodles in the bottom. Dump in about half (or a third, depending on how much you made) of your cheese/vegetable mixture. You want a nice even layer. Sprinkle on a generous layer of mozarella and a few spoonfuls of parmesan, and then a good thick layer of sauce. This is no time to be stingy! Repeat these layers until you run out of stuff. End with sauce. You want a LOT of sauce.

Cover and bake (preheat the oven!) at 350 degrees fahrenheit for an hour. Let it rest for 10 minutes or so before you serve. YUM!


I love this recipe. The noodles turn out perfectly al dente and absorb all the extra liquid, so you don’t get that yucky runny juice in the bottom of the pan. And you don’t have to fiddle around with slimy half-boiled lasagna noodles and big gobs of cooked spinach oozing all over the cutting board. Freeze the leftovers. They reheat deliciously. Let me know if you come up with an awesome new ingredient or variation!

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Nov 10 (Friday)

November 10th, 2006 — 10:05pm

bass practice
guitar practice
A Way with Words – Latin
Homer Price

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things i did

November 10th, 2006 — 10:05pm

I did a lot of stuff today. Hmm, let’s see… Well, after the normal morning stuff, (feeding people, morning chores, email, etc) Henry and I went out to buy turtle food. We had a list of other errands to do, but then I remembered that I had a make-up lesson to teach at 10, so we went home. After the lesson I did more housework and Henry played his guitar and bass for a long time. He worked more on “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” (on guitar), and “The End” from Abbey Road (on the bass). And then when he was ready we went to the hobby store for Dan, then back to Trader Joe’s for ricotta, ice cream, eggs, vitamin water, etc. Then to Stater Brothers for straws and prescription stuff.
Then home. We put everything away and grabbed a bite to eat and then played World of Warcraft together for a couple of hours. He played his level-14 night elf warrior, Naronda, and I played my level-14 dwarf Priest, Kayrayovac, and we did Darkkshire quests. You know, the Red Crystal, the Cliffspring Sample, killing the rabid bears, talking to that dude up north across the bridge, etc. It was lots of fun to do those lowbie quests that we already know by heart :) We both leveled, too.

Then I did 4 recordings — a chapter of The Middle Temple Murder, a chapter of How To Speak and Write Correctly, and two sections of poetry, and then I did moree housework and made a lasagna for dinner. Maybe I’ll post my recipe tomorrow. It’s really easy — you don’t bother to cook the noodles or the spinach and it turns out just fine.

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Our Island Story, ch. 47

November 10th, 2006 — 8:03am

047 – The Siege of Calais

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Nov 9 (Thursday)

November 9th, 2006 — 11:19pm

Subtraction practice
worked on Multiplication chart
practiced guitar
Meeting with Karen

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Rush Hour

November 9th, 2006 — 9:33pm

Last night Dan showed Henry how to use his amp setup and everything, which sounds much than Henry’s setup, and Henry got all inspired and started to learn “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”.  This morning he practiced for about half an hour, and then at 10 we left for our meeting with Karen.  Handed in our “work samples” and discussed all the fun stuff we’ve been doing together.  Very pleasant.  Henry brought his guitar along and played for her :)

Then we went straight down to Chloe’s house to listen to the band rehearsal. Traffic was hellish — two separate accidents on the freeway and everything clogged up for miles.  We got there an hour and a half after they started playing, heh.  But what we heard sounded good!  Henry played Gameboy with Chloe and I ripped cds and knitted and stuff.  When rehearsal was over we stayed and had more fun.  Henry played music with Bob and Chloe and I listened and talked, and then we just goofed around some more.  Nice.  I had planned to try to leave before rush hour but I missed the window of opportunity (if there was one yesterday) so we stayed until nearly 6.  Listened to My Man Jeeves all the way there and back, too, which made the drive as pleasant as a rush-hour freeway drive can be.

So tired.

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