Some Summery Somethings

On the laundry line, one of the things was a little out of place…
What's Different Here...

Playing with water in the yard, we’ve a real dearth of offensive weapons. Actually we just have the one, the hose. So one person gets the hose and the other people…. get really wet. I cogitated on this problem, looked around the back yard, and literally with a little duct tape, the water table lid, and some PVC pipe, came up with some defense: The water shield.
Water Shield: Construction

Water Shield: Modeling

Which works well enough to let the user get close to the hose-sprayer and dump a bucket of water on the sprayer, although ultimately everyone gets wet, which is, of course, the whole point.

Water Shield: In Action

Love, for Preschoolers

The other day I was reading 1 Corinthians 13 for my Bible study. I realized this could work really well from a preschooler’s perspective, so I decided to write it. If you haven’t read 1 Corinthians 13, read it here first so you know why this parody is amusing. (I also referred to this alternative, more literal, translation.)

Without further ado, here’s the famous chapter on love, from a preschooler’s perspective.

THE WAY OF LOVE

If I always use please and thank you, but don’t love, I might as well be throwing a tantrum.

If I can explain and understand feelings so I always think of others first, and if I am willing to share even my most precious toy, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.

If I give all my fishy crackers to kids who are hungry and even don’t complain when I get a consequence for something I didn’t do, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. No matter how well I use my words, how often I put others first, or who I play nicely with, it’s all pointless without love.

Loves tries its best to do its best.
Love shares.
Love doesn’t whine for candy at the store.
Love doesn’t boast about how it’s the best,
Doesn’t yell to get attention,
Doesn’t demand the first turn,
Doesn’t get frustrated and throw things,
Doesn’t remember when things weren’t fair,
Doesn’t laugh when other kids get owwies,
Enjoys telling true things,
Tolerates playing with littler kids,
Trusts that Mommy and Daddy will come back,
Keeps looking forward to free play
Even while sitting still and listening at circle time.

Love gives it two good tries. Schedules and plans will finish; play-doh will dry out; grownups will run out of explanations. Right now you can read a few words, but the words you can read don’t tell the whole story. But when you learn to read all the way, you’ll be able to understand chapter books.

When you were a little baby, you couldn’t read and follow Lego instructions to build cool vehicles; you just wanted to eat the little pieces. When you got bigger, you quit trying to eat the pieces and built vehicles from your imagination.

Now it’s like a bad computer phone call, with pixels instead of faces. But it won’t be long before we can actually be in person. We’ll see not only our family’s faces, but be able to get hugs and kisses and play with them.

But for right now, until then, we have three things to help us be more kind and patient: Playing, snacking, and napping. And the best of the three is napping.

A Girl in a Man’s World

I just read How the Bicycle Paved the Way for Women’s Rights, which is what got me thinking about being a woman in a man’s world. (Funny thing about the article: It basically devolved into a discussion of newspaper coverage of women’s cycling fashion from the turn of the century. What the heck?) I found it interesting to learn that my hobby played a role in women’s rights:

The bicycle took “old-fashioned, slow-going notions of the gentler sex,” as The Courier (Nebraska) reported in 1895, and replaced them with “some new woman, mounted on her steed of steel.”

I’ve always gotten along with guys; I don’t consider myself a radical feminist or anything. I’m a (fairly) wealthy white woman, and I do not consider myself underprivileged or victim of prejudice. But more and more, I’ve been thinking about what my life looks like and how it’s determined by these cultural norms outside of my control.

I’ve always gotten along with guys, and that’s good, because…

  • At the technical school where Ian and I went to college, there were more boys named Matt than girls in Ian’s class. But in my classes, which focused on biology and writing, there were more women.
  • My occupation, in the software business, once again surrounds me with dudes. But in my department, there’s a pretty equal split of men and women (although it’s two male managers in a team of six, hmm).
  • In my chosen hobby, there are way, way fewer women than men. Statistics on this are difficult to find and tend to conflict, but at the level I prefer to ride (as fast as possible, with as few stops as necessary), men comprise the vast majority.

(Sorry, I’m afraid I may use more bullets even in my everyday writing since I started technical writing full time. They’re just so darn efficient!)

One of the things I’ve learned, spending most of my free time and work time with guys, is to push for my view. I’ve always been loud and willing to express my opinions, to put it nicely. At the same time, I’ve learned that guys respect me and listen to me based on two things: How firmly I’m willing to speak; and whether I can actually put my money where my mouth is.

For example, when I’m biking with a group of guys, we often call out hazards or alerts to each other. If I call out, “Steep hill, gear down!” at the beginning of the ride, the guys will hear me (I am loud) but it’s not until I’ve beaten most of them up the hill that I earn their respect. The next hill, if I suggest to gear down, they’re more likely to listen. There’s not a lot of negotiation or worrying about feelings, and they aren’t likely to be miffed that I beat them up the hill. More likely, they’ll work harder trying to catch me, and I’ll work harder trying to stay ahead.

At the same time, I’ve gotten many comments along the lines of, “You’re pretty fast for a girl,” as well as more overtly sexist ones: “Is this where the fastest housewives are?” and “If I was younger I’d want to marry you because you’re so fast.” DUDES. Would you ever, ever, ever in a million years say that to another guy? Harmless flirting with The One Girl isn’t harmless.

No, this isn’t the vast majority of guys I ride with. Most of them are great guys who want to know how fast my legs are, not what they look like. They treat me exactly the way they’d treat another guy, I think; that’s fair, and all I ask.

All I ask is the opportunity to earn respect, whatever environment I’m in — work or play; to show what I’m capable of and be judged on my abilities. Which is really all any of us could hope for, I suppose.

I’ve actually got a lot more to say about this, and about what I’ve learned being a cyclist in a driver’s world (can anyone say “discrimination”?), but unfortunately I’m out of time for now. Hopefully you won’t have to wait two weeks for my next installment.

Birthday Love

Yesterday I got a year older.

Actually, Benji asked me a real poser about that: “How do you get older?” I said, “One day at a time.” While I thought that was a pretty good answer, Benji didn’t really buy it. After that I ran out of answers, since “It just happens over time” also didn’t satisfy.

I had a nice birthday. Benji had the idea of making vanilla cupcakes with chocolate frosting and strawberries on top for me; he also wanted to go to the toy store and help Ian pick out a present for me. They did both those things, which was very sweet. The present was, perhaps not surprisingly, a 3-in-1 Lego vehicle set — the exact thing Benji would want! But in fact it does give me a wonderful present: peace and quiet while Benji “helps” build the set.

One of my coworkers made sweet biscuits and brought them in with strawberries and whipped cream to make strawberry shortcake for my birthday, which was also very kind and thoughtful. In the afternoon, I got to ride home with a biking buddy who works in Fremont, which was especially nice because we had a vigorous headwind.

And I got to have a nice hour-long chat with Colleen, who also sent me an adorable picture of Lumpy the Dragon for my birthday:
Lumpy

All in all, a nice quiet birthday. We’ll get together with my parents over the weekend and use the excuse of my recent birthday to eat tasty treats. I’m also using the excuse of my birthday to take Friday off and have a 4-day weekend. The weather has (mostly) turned nice, and things are looking summery, which bodes well for the 7 Hills of Kirkland ride we plan to do on Memorial Day.

Looking Summery

We made a water slide in our back yard over the weekend.

Summer Fun 1

Summer Fun 2

Summer Fun 3

Summer Fun 4

Summer Fun 5

It’s been about 9 or 10 months since we were able to play in water without getting hypothermia.

And, our lupines are doing fabulously — including a couple of genetic oddities.
IMG_20170522_192854

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It feels so bizarre to have bare legs and arms out in the outside (or at all, for that matter) — and, naturally, I got my first sunburn on Saturday because I forgot about the existence of sunscreen. I remember now.

Random Thoughts

Since my last update, I’ve mostly spent the time feeling really lousy. Benji, Mom, and Ian all got a nasty cold that consisted mainly of a really sore throat, bad headache, aching neck, and general exhaustion.  

I thought I’d dodged that bullet, but evidently not; my bullet was just delayed for a while. It was nasty enough I even took one day off work. The really under the weather feeling took a solid seven days to go away, and only yesterday did I start feeling a little perky again. Unfortunately, I’m not better: the coughing remains, and kept me awake most of last night. Which is a real bummer.

 Fortunately, I still have an Albuterol inhaler my doctor prescribed when I had pneumonia, and she confirmed I should use that when the coughing gets bad. I was concerned it would keep me awake last night, so I didn’t try it for a long time, until I realized I would be awake anyway from coughing. So I tried it and finally got to sleep. Next time I won’t wait!

That illness kind of dominated our weekend, so we didn’t get much done and Ian didn’t get any time to chill. Now I’m on the mend, hopefully both of those will change.

Speaking of on the mend, the weather seems to finally be realizing it’s spring. We had a lovely day over 70° yesterday, our first in more than eight months. The tops of my knees actually saw some sun, which was shocking for all I’m involved!

Alas, that was likely a fluke, and we’re back to rain again this afternoon. After 45″ of rain since October, I wish we could send our water somewhere else where they need it. My rain/commuter bike has gotten lots of miles this year, and I’m hoping when I finally switch to the fast bike, I’ll actually be fast thanks to all that resistance training.

There’s lots of other stuff going on, but it will have to wait for another bus ride!