Sugar Swirls


I made snickerdoodles yesterday, and thought rolling them in colored sugar would be fun. I swirled the colors together and got the above. For the record, though, that large decorating sugar doesn’t stick well to snickerdoodles. They aren’t sticky enough. Cookies turned out fine anyway.

Springtime Curmudgeon

Strangely, it’s looking quite like spring around here, and has for a number of weeks. Even our camelia has gotten into the act (not to mention our grass, which desperately needs mowing already, in the places where it’s still prevailed against the more dominant moss).



We’ve had weeks of mostly dry, sunny weather with highs in the 50s or even 60s, so much so that I’m not biking every day it’s sunny (read: not raining) the way I normally would this time of year. Frankly, I’ve started wishing for some more rain and cold weather, just because this unnaturally pleasant pattern is so far from the norm. Not that I’d trade for six feet of snow, or sustained temperatures in the single digits, mind you, but I’d just like a little more seasonal weather. Plus, the lack of snow pack in the mountains, which mostly confounds skiers for now, is likely to presage a summer drought, never a good thing. Climate change, northwest-style? Continue Reading >>

A Few Stories

Believe it or not, life has been happening beyond our fireplace project. Here are some things we’ve been up to lately.

Playing in the tube maze at Nana's house.


At the park with Harper doggie (oh, and, incidentally owner Christy) this weekend, Harper took his first Ride down a slide, and I managed to get a couple pictures.



It’s been warm, but rainy lately. Benji and I go outside anyway, and he’s started “helping” worms find dirt when they’re out wiggling around. I heard that sunlight paralyzes worms, but can’t confirm that from observation due to lack of sunshine. However, I can confirm that toddlers squeezing worms seems to have a somewhat paralytic effect, which may or may not wear off if the worm survives the trauma. Continue Reading >>

Home Improvement: Fireplace Edition, Part 6

After discovering the box o’ ductwork, I spent some time scrambling around trying to figure out what to do. Jim and I met a couple times to try to figure out a solution, but no clear solution proved forthcoming until I met with Pat, the guy we hired to tile the fireplace. I explained the problem to Pat, who does kitchen and bathroom remodels singlehandedly, and he started thinking about what we ought to do.

After some discussion, we agreed that Pat would take over the project from here, since he can finish everything that needs to be done on his own. This choice took a huge weight off my mind — the project may still take a while to finish, but we aren’t going to have the same scheduling gaps and down days just waiting, and I know who’s going to do what. Also, Pat is clearly a creative guy who enjoys problem-solving; his business is called Creative Home Works. A little ducting puzzle doesn’t faze him at all. Continue Reading >>

Home Improvement: Fireplace Edition, Part 5

The subtitle for this post should be “What you’d call good news, bad news.”

Good news: Our rough-in inspection passed! Ian was here for the inspector, who took about two minutes to review his notes, look at the work we’d done, and sign off on the changes. Huge sigh of relief! Maybe I’ll sleep tonight (last night was all wakeful shades of inspection-related misery).

Bad news: Last night, I looked into a box that was in the construction area of the house. It had been sitting there for quite a while and I’d forgotten what was in it, and some insulation ended up on top of it. An unassuming box. Continue Reading >>


The last month or so, I haven’t slept much. I’m hoping that all this remodel work drives the sleeplessness, so that when the project ends, I’ll resume sleeping more normally, but I don’t think that’s going to be the magic bullet I want. Whatever the cause – if there is one – I’ve struggled to adapt to operating on three or fewer hours of sleep per night. I’m not caffeine user normally; never have been; but some days I get up tired enough to need a little chemical assistance to get through the morning. Masking chronic fatigue isn’t a long-term solution, but once every week or two it helps. Continue Reading >>

Home Improvement: Fireplace Edition, Part 4

Let’s just jump right in where we left off. I’m not mentioning much else in life because it’s going pretty normally otherwise, and this is what’s (literally) keeping me up nights.

Without further ado: Bright and early this Monday morning, the heating duct guy called and told me that in another hour, his guys would arrive to install our heating duct.


This only took them about two hours — they said it was a trivial job, even with having to replace some copper water pipes (going to our master bathroom) with… PEC? Some kind of flexible plastic tubing. They took off, and I immediately called to schedule the inspection for the next day. Continue Reading >>