Thursday, November 30, 2023

Best airplane ever

I had a thought today: "Hmmm, I'd really like to hang up some room-darkening curtains in our bedroom." This led me down a slippery slope: well, I should really put up the new curtain rods that I bought years ago...but to put the curtain rods up, I should repaint the window frame because I don't want to take the curtain rods down again to repaint later...but I can't just repaint, I have to scrape all the loose paint off and then prime the bare spots."

I fell down that rabbit hole but by the end of the day, it's all repaired, painted, cleaned up, and new curtain rods up. I still don't actually have the any curtains--those are on order! But I am *ready* for new curtains.

Other news today: my morning started off VERY early with a Grand Rounds presentation for VCU Medical Center in Richmond. I did a short overview of the evidence on term breech (a 25-minute verison of what often is a 60-90 minute lecture) and then the last half of the hour was a presenation about physiological breech birth, illustrated with several videos. Good Q&A afterwards, too.

Inga came in several times during my lecture, frantic because she had forgotten to print off the written part of her presentation about airplanes. I kept gesturing to her that I couldn't help her. At one point she held up a sign, but I couldn't stop the meeting. She finally went to school feeling a bit panicked. But never fear! I emailed her teacher and brought the printed copies to school shortly thereafter.

Inga was super excited that her airplane projects were voted "Best Airplane Ever" by her classmates. She did two airplanes even though the assignment only called for one. This is what we were working on late last night.

Inga's friend was in a community theater production of "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe." I took her to see it tonight. I'm a bit ashamed to say that this was the first time I had ever been inside our local theater in the 15+ years we have lived here!
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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Inga had a 7:30 pm practice with her team that's almost 90 minutes away! This is the third day in a row that her team has held practices. I had to drive her tonight because Eric was coaching Ivy's indoor team. Way too much driving, but Inga loves the team.

It's currently well after 11 pm and Inga is still working on a school project for tomorrow. She's building a Wright Brothers flyer out of kebab sticks, toothpicks, and linen.
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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Another day driving the kids. Enjoy it while it lasts!

Inga is building a wood & fabric replica of the Wright Brothers airplane for a class project. My bedside table is covered with shishkebab sticks, toothpicks, and glue gun supplies.

I had a fairly tedious workday editing manuscripts (specifically, turning a video lecture into something that reads more like a written text). The material is interesting but the editing is tedious.

I have to exercise a wee bit of artistic license in turning speech into writing. When we speak, we stop and start. Our ideas sometimes go backwards and loop back around later on. It makes sense when you hear it, but not so much when it's written down. My job is to put everything back in proper order, eliminate redundancies, and add in the occasional word or phrase so that the intended meaning is clear.

For the first in maybe the history of our family, Eric made something that was a flop among all of the kids (a lamb dish). It may have been the cut of meat itself. Or maybe it was just that those ingredients didn't mix well with lamb. Who knows? Something smelled and tasted a little "off," even to me. Freeze family first. I joked, "Well, if we all start puking and having diarrhea tonight, we'll know it was food poisoning!"
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Monday, November 27, 2023

I took pity on the kids and drove them to school. We're in a cold snap the next few days. My Minnesotan self scoffs at my wimpy children. Since I had the car, I went to the university to exercise.

I spent all day editing video captions and then editing them again to be suitable for a text-based booklet (to be sent to translators). Really fiddly work. My butt hurts. My back hurts. But it's done!

I helped Zari with her math homework and managed to re-teach myself hyperbolas so I could help her. It took a bit of head-scratching--I haven't done this since 11th grade!--but we figured it out. She said, "Why can't the two of you be math teachers? It would make my life so much easier?" Well, we're not math teachers but we are really good English professors and I'm still not half bad at math, even after all these years.

A short video of Dio's indoor soccer game on Saturday. 

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Sunday, November 26, 2023


It snowed for an hour today! But it didn't stay because it was too warm on the ground.

Ugh, we have to start school again tomorrow. It's supposed to be well below freezing in the mornings, which means chilly bike rides for all of us except Inga, who walks.

We watched The Adjustment Bureau today. It was pretty good.

I made turkey tettrazini for dinner. We used to eat this quite often as children, especially after Thanksgiving. I haven't made it for years! After this, I'm putting the rest of the turkey in the freezer. I'll pull it out in a week or so. Otherwise we've eaten all of our leftovers except for a slice of cake and pie and a few cornbread muffins.

I started working on an ocean goddess for Ivy's room. Several years ago, I made Pele and Tefiti. But I never had time to finish the third one. I found an image and Ivy gave me her approval. It will all be done with fabric appliques, as with the other two that I made. That's my last big project for the fall!

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Saturday, November 25, 2023

Soccer and cisterns

Another big soccer day. Eric took Ivy and Inga to two indoor games this morning. He came back and an hour later, I took Dio to two indoor games while Eric and the other kids went to a community festival at the university. Eric sold some of his books and then went out to eat with a few other authors.

I did more sewing and now Ivy has two sets of linen pillowcases, one with pleats and the other without.

Dio, Zari, and I watched The Truman Show. I saw it when it first came out, and it was fun to revisit that movie after so many years.

I had a meeting this morning with a local brick mason. I have several little masonry projects on a few properties and was thrilled to find someone who could do them. I probably could but I don't have enough time!

One of them is to redo the cistern lids on a few of the properties. We opened up our own cistern and it is HUGE. It may very well take up half of our back yard. It's still functional (our gutters drain into underground drain pipes that lead into the cistern). In fact, our home water supply used to be via the cistern; we still have the original pump that brought the water in, but the pump is now disconnected from the indoor plumbing.

So interesting how these things used to function. It would be fun to hook up a sump pump and use it for garden irrigation. Not like we really need to water things here in humid, wet Indiana! But some years we do have relative droughts.
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Friday, November 24, 2023

Mini meals and a bedspread 11 years in the making

I am thrilled to announce that I finally finished Ivy's bedspread. It only took me 11 years! I dyed it when I was pregnant with Ivy. I turned some of the dyed fabric into ombre linen ring slings but the rest sat for years.

I had originally planned to embellish each 18" square of fabric with a sort of rosette in the middle and place pleats around each edge. But I was never able to get it to look right. I finally came up with the idea of sewing parallel lines of pleats to give the cover some extra texture.

The bedspread is more turquoise/aqua than it looks in the photos. The pillowcases are the palest shade of turquoise.

Inga cooked a miniature meal for Dolly. She handmade the noodles and the minature buns. The menu was: mini buns with butter, mini turkey burger, mini ramen, mini pesto pasta, mini cake & mini pumpkin pie. So clever.

Dio and Eric went to a sports store to try on shoes. Dio's feet have grown again! He found a pair of shoes online that he's begging to have. "They're on sale! But only today!" I said I'd think about it for an early Christmas present. They are Air Jordans and I am certain Dio wants them due to watching Lupin, where the main character has multiple pairs of Air Jordans in every color.

Granted, shoes are a useful present--they'll get worn every day. So I'm not 100% opposed.

Dio had to carve a pumpkin for biology class. He made a tree with a swing.

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Thursday, November 23, 2023

What a lovely day. It was busy in the morning but everyone helped. The kids cleaned the house and then helped with various cooking prep. We had:

- roast turkey (of course!)
- mashed potatoes with browned butter and sour cream
- gravy
- green beans
- green salad with roasted sweet potato & pomegranate seeds
- sourdough rolls
- regular cornbread
- jalapeño, habañero, & cheddar cornbread
- mushrooms roasted in garlic & balsamic vinegar
- crackers with smoked salmon, pickles, & olives
- crème brûlée
- pumpkin pie & whipped cream (brought by a guest)
- browned butter butternut squash cake with browned butter frosting

Needless to say, we have enormous amounts of food left over. Yay! No cooking needed for several days.

We had some family time late afternoon and evening once our guests were gone. We watched the last episode of Lupin (season 3) and right before bed, The Naked Gun. The kids were laughing and groaning because it was so bad.

We took a walk together after the sun set. The kids had so much energy.

And sorry, no pictures! Too busy cooking and then eating 🙂
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Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Still sick

I've been under the weather still and was just too tired to write in my journal the last few nights. I was feeling on the mend, but then it got worse again. It's nothing that I can really point to other than a general malaise, fatigue, and occasional body aches. I'm able to work if I'm sitting down at my desk, but anything else wears me out. 

But...I tested myself and it's not Covid. Phew.

Inga missed both days of school this week. But she seems recovered today.

Eric brought all the kids grocery shopping for Thanksgiving. "We spent under $300...barely!" Zari announced when they came home. Eek!

Prepped today:
  • sourdough is folded and rising
  • crème brûlée is cooked and cooling in the fridge
  • turkey is thawing
  • browned butter is prepared, ready to turn into browned butter butternut squash cake with browned butter cream cheese frosting (we may not eat this for Thanksgiving since we have 2 other desserts already!)
  • drinks are outside cooling off

The kids are in charge of 1) cleaning the house and then 2) helping cook. 

The turkey has to be in the oven by 9 am, then we'll work on mashed potatoes, cornbread, stuffing, sourdough rolls, green beans, brussels sprouts, and a salad.

Today I heard Ivy and Inga giggling in the upstairs hallway. Here's what I found on my phone...

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Sunday, November 19, 2023

We all attended Zari's play, the last performance. Most of the actors spoke so fast that about 50% of the dialogue got lost. Someone needs to tell the theater director to slow those kids down!

We had our usual pancake breakfast this morning.

Inga started feeling sick this evening, the same thing that Ivy and I had. I had her take a hot shower and tucked her into bed early. I'm feeling not 100%, but better than yesterday.

We have leaves that need to be raked, probably the final time for the season. I did a few minutes and then realized that I was pushing myself too much.
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Saturday, November 18, 2023

Ivy and I came down with something yesterday. I had obligations that I couldn't get out of--running the bake sale during Zari's theater performance. I felt ok earlier on in the day and baked sourdough bread and cookies for the bake sale. But as the afternoon wore on, I was feeling increasingly worse.

I powered through the bake sale and play performance, barely. It was fun to watch--I wish I hadn't been feeling so icky, though.

Zari played the role of a butler in the play "Charlie's Aunt." It's a comedy written in the late 1800s and was surprisingly good despite its age. She had to wear a wig, which was so close to her normal hair color that many people thought she had cut her hair again!

I've been in or near my bed most of today. Eric ran around like crazy. Ivy and Inga had 2 games this morning, and then right after he got home and grabbed a bit to eat, he had to turn around and drop Zari off for her next performance and then bring Dio to his soccer game.

Zari was complaining of being bored today, so we pulled out several boxes from the attic closet. Some were filled with photos going back to my high school years. Others were papers and other memorabilia from high school and college. I did some decluttering (who needs articles that I photocopied back in 1999?) and reorganizing. It was fun to look through so many old photos and the memories associated with them.

Oh, and here are a few fun pictures from the Louisville Breech & Twins conference that someone just sent me. One is me with my giant pelvis, the other is me and Gail Tully. She was demonstrating something about pelvic anatomy and maternal movement, I just can't remember what exactly!

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Wednesday, November 15, 2023


It's great to be back with Eric and the kids.

I got home late afternoon. Eric and Ivy picked me up from the airport. I had an accidental early start (3:30 am) and couldn't get back to sleep after I woke up. I'm definitely ready for bed!
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Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Busy all day teaching! It was a great workshop and fun to try out a new format. I'm very excited to be home tomorrow.

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Monday, November 13, 2023

Garden of the Gods

I had an off day, and I didn't want to spend it cooped up in hotel room! Instead, I left early in the morning to visit Garden of the Gods, about an hour south of Denver. (I'm still waking up on Eastern time, so I was out the door by 8 am, after having read in bed for a looooong time, showered, checked my email, etc.)

I had a lovely 4.5 mile hike. It wasn't particularly strenuous but the views were lovely and the weather was perfect. Just enough chill to start out with a light jacket, but that soon came off as I warmed up.

Pike's Peak is in the background in some of the pictures.

I spent the afternoon preppring for tomorrow's workshop. I think it's all ready now.

On the down side, my plantar fasciitis is definitely acting up and that's so frustrating. I've had it before. It's really hard to not walk, which is one of the things that helps it heal! My norm is between 10-20,000 steps per day. How can I help it get better without turning into a slug?

Also a picture from dinner last night at an Indian restaurant. Everything was delicious. And since almost all of the clientele were Indian, were knew we'd chosen well 🙂

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Sunday, November 12, 2023

More conferencing

I still don't have a single picture from the conference. If you're reading this and happened to take a picture with me, please send it to me!

I woke up around 6:30 am, still with a headache. It's gotten better today but is still in the background. I exercised at the hotel gym (elliptical) and still had plenty of time left over before the conference started.

I popped into a few morning sessions but spent all afternoon at my book table, often answering questions or watching people's breech videos they wanted to show me.

I went out to dinner (Indian) with a midwife I met several years ago and her friend. Then I came home and did another 30 minutes of biking in the gym. To my body it's 2 hours later, which means going to bed with a full stomach. I'm not used to that!

I have tomorrow off, which will give me time to tweak my presentation and also to do something fun outdoors. I'm in Denver, after all! I'm open to your suggestions. I have a car so I can go places.
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Saturday, November 11, 2023


I am at the Midwifery Wisdom Experience in Denver. I manned (womanned?) the book booth and caught a few presentations. Between waking up at 4:30 am and 2 hours of jet lag, I was kaput by 8 pm Colorado time. I skipped out on the skits--which I am sure were hilarious--because I had a headache and felt my brain getting all fuzzy. I'm sure I'll be fine tomorrow after a good night's sleep and some morning exercise.

Sadly I don't have any pictures! Maybe tomorrow...
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Friday, November 10, 2023

I'm getting ready for one more conference. Bags are (mostly) packed.

Inga and Ivy had indoor soccer practice, followed by indoor pickup soccer at the university (Eric, Zari, and Dio). So everyone but me has had their fill of soccer today!

What else? I can't think of much. Oh, here's a fun picture of Zari using my fetoscope on Dio. I found it when I was uploading pictures to a digital picture frame. I was 35 weeks pregnant with Inga.

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Thursday, November 09, 2023

Art exhibit

A few times a year, our local museum (formerly a Carnegie public library) hosts art exhibits from the local schools. Everyone but Dio was featured--which makes sense, because Dio doesn't have art class this year!

My varicose veins and plantar fasciitis have both been acting up, which has been really frustrating! My workspace is set up to be standing or walking, both of which hurt a lot right now. If I'm active, I pay for it.

Dinner was simple because the art exhibit cut into my normal prep time: pan-seared broccoli, lemon pepper chicken, and quinoa cooked in bone broth.
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Wednesday, November 08, 2023

Slippery Jacks

A friend messaged that she had slippery jack mushrooms from her yard and kale from her garden. I drove over this afternoon to pick them up. I just got done rinsing and prepping the mushrooms for dehydrating. They seem to go bad so quickly that I wasn't sure they'd be ok by tomorrow evening. The kale is all washed and ready to turn into kale chips.

Zari and Dio had atheletic award ceremonies at the high school. It took 2 1/2 hours! We were definitely ready for it all to be over. I had a moment where I just couldn't stay awake. Sitting in a dim auditorium, with a distant voice droning on about student A and student B and student C...and I was out.
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Tuesday, November 07, 2023

A pretty unremarkable day. Exercise, video editing, meetings, then school pickup. Ivy had student council but she needed me to bring her a t-shirt for her classmate, so I had to bike to school twice in the afternoon. Inga had a soccer gathering at her middle school, so I baked cookies for her to bring. Eric had a faculty meeting so he came home right around dinner time.

You will notice the lack of soccer practices today!
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Monday, November 06, 2023

Eric had an event on campus this evening, so it was my turn to drive Inga to soccer practice. 2 1/2 hours of driving total! It's a great team but if it were me, I wouldn't be doing it because of how far away it is. Good thing Eric is so dedicated to soccer!

Ivy came with me to keep me company. During Inga's practice, we drove to a nearby Aldi and stocked up on groceries, then we ate "dinner" in the car (salad mix, fruit, meat & cheese, and a few other snacks).

I was video editing most of the day. I got my exercise in (run Ivy to school, upper body exercise with the BFR bands, and then 100 minutes/4.6 miles of walking at my desk).

Here's a picture of the fog we woke up to yesterday morning.

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Sunday, November 05, 2023

Inga and Dio had early starts this morning to their respective soccer tournaments. Inga's team tied 0-0 but did not advance to the final. She and Dio came home before noon. Dio's team won so he and Eric had to go back in the afternoon for the final, which they lost 1-2.

With me and the girls home in the afternoon, I had one rule: we all had to go outside. We all started by reading books in the sun. Eventually Ivy and Inga started building a fort out of branches and Zari and I raked leaves. I love how, if the kids don't have access to electronic devices, they are forced to get bored and then get creative. We have too much screen time creeping in among all of us and it's good to have stretches of time when everyone is off.

Today I was reading "The Scarcity Brain" by Michael Easter, having just finished another book by the same author, "The Comfort Crisis."

We had "breakfast for dinner": waffles and bacon. Then one episode of Star Trek. We had a late evening Zoom, a virtual bookclub with my cousins to talk about Eric's book.
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Saturday, November 04, 2023

Inga, Dio, and Eric were out the door before 7 am for a long day of soccer tournaments. Inga's team lost their first game 1-2 (with Inga scoring the goal seconds before the game ended) and won the second game 1-0. Dio's team won both games 4-0.

It was a gorgeous warm fall day. I had a breech live session at noon, but spent much of the rest of the day outside reading, raking leaves, and gardening.

They were back after 5 pm, which gave us just enough time to watch an episode of Star Trek. Then all the kids went over to a friend's house out in the country for an evening of pizza, bonfires, and outdoor games. The dad has his own sawmill and woodworking shop. I begged for a tour because power tools are my jam.

We picked them up a few hours later. We knew they had a good time because they didn't want to leave!

Dio and Inga's tournaments both continue tomorrow with early starts for both of them. I think we'll delay our usual pancake breakfast and do "breakfast for dinner" once everyone is back home.
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Friday, November 03, 2023

I took Inga and Ivy to see the middle school musical production of Finding Nemo Jr. Inga had several friends in the production.

Another busy soccer tournament day tomorrow for Inga and Dio. They have to leave by 6:30 am. Good news...we have new tires on our car so we can actually go places!

I'm looking forward to not having to be out the door at 6:30 am tomorrow! My hope is to go back to sleep once Eric leaves. We'll see if that works. If not, I'll stay snuggled under the covers and read a book until the sun comes up.
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Thursday, November 02, 2023

Video editing all day...since I was editing and captioning dialogue that was relatively quiet, I couldn't have my treadmill on. Which meant that I was so cold all day! When I'm on the treadmill desk, I wear a t-shirt. When I'm standing still, I'm in multiple layers of sweaters and still shivering.

Still no tires. This is getting really frustrating, when a tire store does not have tires!
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Wednesday, November 01, 2023

This Halloween video is way more interesting than anything I did! Lots of video editing, some household chores to break the monotony. Dinner was acorn squash, chicken pot pie, and leftover birthday cake.

Still waiting for our tires to arrive...until then, we are grounded except for errands around town.
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