East of the Sun, West of the Moon



Filed under: Family — Erwin @ 6:10 pm

Yesterday it was my turn, apparently.

Over the weekend A had emptied his stomach the hard way. On Wednesday N called to be picked up from school because of the same issue, so there went at least part of the afternoon. On Thursday morning we got a call from the after-school lady that she (and husband) were sick (yeah, same thing as the kids, how’d you guess), so I got to pick up the kids at 3pm, cutting my day short a bit. Finally Friday morning (in the 4am sense of the word) the honour was mine. Ugh. I’m usually the strong guy around here, but this seemed an unavoidable missile heading my way.

So in the past 24 hours I spent about 20 of it asleep or in bed at least, and of the 4 that I was out of bed I picked up the boys from school (because the after-school lady hadn’t recovered yet) and prepared dinner. A pity that I didn’t get to enjoy it as much as I normally would.

Out of the 5 days then, 3 were partially or completely killed off by this, even if I wasn’t the one that was actually sick. Grrr. And of course next week there is going to be Thanksgiving on Thursday and Friday and school has generously given them Wednesday off as well. Gee, thanks, I had nothing else to do anyway.



Filed under: Family,News — Erwin @ 3:20 am

History repeated itself, the Kansas schoolboard effectively approved (un)intelligent design in the classroom:

Revisiting a topic that exposed Kansas to nationwide ridicule six years ago, the state Board of Education approved science standards for public schools Tuesday that cast doubt on the theory of evolution.


The new standards will be used to develop student tests measuring how well schools teach science. Decisions about what is taught in classrooms will remain with 300 local school boards, but some educators fear pressure will increase in some communities to teach less about evolution or more about creationism or intelligent design.

I’m fairly comfortable living where I am, but crap like this really makes me wonder if we should up and move about 30-40 miles east, into Missouri, where a lot of other things may be equally wrong but at least they get this right! In fact, if we pick the right town M could end up having a shorter commute, I don’t care where I live as long as I have a functioning broadband connection, it would only be the children that would switch schools. Hrm.

Of course, the problem is we’re all so damn busy that we don’t really have time to look around, M just started a new job for which she needs all the time and energy she can get and we just invested money in a new car so things need to settle down a bit financially before we prepare ourselves for a jump of that magnitude.

So the end result will likely be that we stay where we are and keep an eye on what school feeds them. *crosses fingers*


What’s for dinner?

Filed under: Family,OS X,Software — Erwin @ 5:01 pm

Saving Dinner: The Menus, Recipes, and Shopping Lists to Bring Your Family Back to the Table For the past two months we’ve been cooking from this book now and enjoying it in various ways:

  • Buying groceries has become easier because of the weekly lists that it provides.
  • Aside from occasionally juggling recipes around for practical reasons, we tend to know in the morning what we’ll be eating in the evening. No more last minute oh damn, what are we going to feed the kids situations.
  • These recipes (which are easy to follow) have allowed me, who used to stick to a fairly fixed list of things I Knew I Could Cook, to do my share of cooking.

In fact, the last few weeks it’s been almost exclusively me doing the cooking on weekdays, which allows us to have dinner ready when M comes home with the boys and means we have more time available between dinner and their bedtime to get useful stuff accomplished.

It’s also supposed to help us save on cost of dinner, on average, and we probably do but it’s hard to tell because of not keeping track of spending on groceries as accurately as we perhaps should have.

On that note, if anyone knows of an OS X equivalent of GnuCash (and I mean a non-X11 application at that), I’d love to hear about it.



Filed under: Family — Erwin @ 7:22 pm

I’m sure the school district thought it was convenient to give the kids the day off for Halloween, after all that avoids the whole topic of celebrating this pagan holiday. It’s not so convenient for me though, working (or not, as mostly seems to be the case today) at home!


Time of the season

Filed under: Family,Humo(u)r,Software — Erwin @ 3:52 pm

The Zombies - Greatest Hits Oh my, I do believe this year was one of the few times I was taken by surprise about last night’s change from summertime to standard time (in the US and Europe anyway). On the plus side, we got a relatively early start without realising it.

This could also explain why the backup software (called Bacula) kicked in twice last night, at 1:05 AM, assuming time officially goes back from 2AM to 1AM, unlike the 3AM to 2AM that I’m used to. Easy fix, I’ve rescheduled to run at 3:05AM from now on, that should avoid this kind of problem in the future. *crosses fingers*

Yesterday we did the last lawnmowing of the season, including gathering the leaves and all that fun, for half the yard. The plan is to do the other half this afternoon but I’m now wondering if we won’t get to as I just now heard some thunder and saw one or two lightning flashes! Not that we’d be bored, there’s always enough to do elsewhere. 🙂



Filed under: Family,Technology — Erwin @ 3:21 pm

So recently M started a new job in a new location which among other things means she’s driving about 70 miles a day, 5 days a week, sometimes more. Doing that with the one vehicle we own, a Mazda MPV, didn’t seem like the smartest thing in the world, given that its average MPG is somewhere between 18 and 24 depending on what kind of driving you do. On top of that it was becoming apparent that it would probably be a good idea to have a 2nd car so that I could get things done occasionally without having to wait until 8-9pm when she’s home, the kids have been fed and are in or close to bed, or to wait for the weekend, which we’d like to spend on fun stuff, not has-to-be-done stuff.

So the past month we’ve been looking around at cars. New cars, used cars, more used cars, and then new cars again. Initially we really had our eyes on a hybrid, but with the waitinglists that Honda and Toyota have on theirs that seemed to demand more patience than we had. Then using fueleconomy.gov I put together a list of the most efficient small cars in 2001-2005 that fit our practical wishes (regular gas, automatic, not a hybrid, average mpg over 30).

The one that stood out quite favourably was the Honda Civic in any of the past 5 years, and a nice looking car at that. Long story short: As of yesterday we own one ourselves, a 2006 model even (Back To The Future anyone?) that should do 40 mpg in highway driving, 30 in city driving. With the kind of commute that M is driving that ought to save us about $50 per month on gas, more when the gas prices go up again!

So while it is obviously an investment that we’ll be paying for the next couple of years, I like to think that it’s one of the best investments we could do given the circumstances. 😉 In a year or two we’ll probably get rid of the MPV as well and get me something smaller and more efficient, but that has less urgency unless I suddenly land a job where I need to leave the house. Shocking thought!


A change of pace

Filed under: Family,OS X,Software — Erwin @ 2:30 pm

Starting last Thursday M has a different job in a different location, but within the same company. A move up, mind you. We’re 99% sure she’ll get to keep the job but officially it’s an interim position, so there’s always a chance someone else might respond to the (company-internal) job-opening.

For now, however, it means a few changes:

  • The alarm goes off at 6:00 AM, 30-45 minutes earlier than before.
  • She drives to work at 7:15 AM, because it’s a 30-35 minute drive to get to this new location, where it was less than 5 before.
  • This means the boys can’t get a free ride to school, so they’re back to walking or riding a bike. Nothing horrible as we live fairly close to school, even walking takes 15 minutes at the most, but with fall arriving soon, the weather may not be so nice for much longer.
  • While it’s a longer drive to work, the store hours are slightly different; it closes at 4:30 PM on most days, so she’ll be able to get home roughly around the same time as she did at her previous location, quite often even earlier due to the different job.
  • Assuming M ends up keeping the job, we’ll likely want to go car-shopping and get her a smaller, more fuel-efficient at that, car to drive to work, while keeping the minivan around for short trips around town or ones that require more room.

On an entirely unrelated note, have I mentioned yet how much I dislike NFS? Well, I do. I seem to have hit a bad spot recently between OS X 10.3.9, Linux 2.6.x, and iTunes 5.0, where it just won’t perform under certain circumstances that I can’t pinpoint nor fix sufficiently. The non-performance being that it stalls, which is great fun (not). The problem is that my collection is big enough that I can’t just say “Oh well, I’ll just store it locally” either, so I’ve been rather irritated for the past week.



Filed under: Family — Erwin @ 2:56 am

For some reason I thought this particular Raid spray wasn’t going to smell too bad. I’d prefer truth in advertising and have them just say that it stinks so you’ll leave the room for a while, because I’m certainly not enjoying this natural clove scent. Ugh.


Today’s wrap-up

Filed under: Family — Erwin @ 2:07 am

Today, like yesterday, was long and tiring. After doing various things from 8 to 5-6pm the kids get home and still need to be forced to do their homework. That shouldn’t take very long, but… they’re talented in that respect, 15 minutes of homework can take 1-2 hours with these two. Of course that somewhat conflicts with, say, dinner and the fact that their bedtimes are supposed to be before 9pm. Ugh.

We’re looking into finding someone that might pick them up after school and, unlike the after school program actually get them to do some if not all of their homework before M picks them up from there after 5pm. That way those 2 hours won’t be totally wasted and we may actually have some time to do something else afterwards, like go swimming!

Installed the new version of Adium X that was released today, now browsing through the rest of VersionTracker‘s newsfeed to see what else there may be of interest.

Hopefully tomorrow will be a slightly more regular day. *crosses fingers*


Busy days ahead

Filed under: Family — Erwin @ 1:45 pm

Today we’re packing and other preparing. Tomorrow M and I will be driving to Indianapolis to attend GenCon. Largely related to the company I work for but also to meet some people I’ve been working with for years (online) but never or seldom meet.

Not quite sure how well the internet situation will work out, so best/worst case will be that you won’t hear from me until next week. 😉

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