Rainy, grey, lush, and lovely. This is my kind of weekend, my kind of weather. A cup of warmth, owl string lights in the playroom window where my computer sits, a night of cuddles and staying up past bedtime with my children to watch the new episode of Once Upon a Time (“Could one of your problems be a hell-bat with beady little eyes?” LOL!), and staying up even later to finish the last two chapters of Stuart Little with my littles.

“Document the world inside your skin/The tenor of your shins/The timbre of your limbs/Now commence to kick each brick apart/To center on your heart/Starting with your heart (bright heart)/….If I am waiting, should I be waiting?/If I am hoping, should I be hoping?/And all around me/It’s sunlight, it’s shadow/It’s the quiet, it’s the word/It’s the beating heart…”

-The Decemberists

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Saturday, mid-afternoon. Sitting in the garage, pondering projects and possibilities while K and E frolicked in the rain and played in Eric’s workshop. We pull the car out often, since we’ve made a bit of a pop-up art studio in the garage proper. The walls are adorned with their artwork, and we have an easel we pull into the middle. Art is everywhere in our garage. Our old hutch creates a bit of a division between the main part and the back half of Eric’s workshop/lab, and it holds some art supplies and fire logs and some odds and ends. We play music (this weekend, the new album from The Decemberists and Sonic Highways from one of my favorite bands, The Foo Fighters.

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I tried to get tickets for The Foo Fighters in Anaheim or Inglewood this coming fall, but as of now the concerts are sold out. Someday! Sonic Highways might be my favorite Foo album, altogether. Extraordinary. Hard to say, though: I am obsessed with the way they made Wasting Light. There’s a documentary online: all of it was done in Grohl’s garage, and of course with guest musician Krist Novoselic on Should Have Known. Good things happen in garages, and one day I want to write about the power of that free space and its influence on both the music and computer science industries. Perhaps that is why we spend so much time in ours. Anyway, though: one of my favorite songs, Let it Die, is on Echoes, Silence, Patience, and Grace.

Speaking of which, I have been scouring everywhere for piano sheet music to Let it Die. I can find guitar tabs, but that’s about it. Have you seen this performance? It is my dream to perform this. The pianist in this piece has recreated Let it Die on piano just by ear. So far as I can ascertain, there is no piano sheet music to be had for this song yet. I might have to extrapolate, but I need greater experience first. I am still a newbie.

In the meantime, I am working on Nirvana’s Come As You Are and a Taylor Swift song, as well, in addition to fiddling around with many of our Music Together songs. I play lullabies for the kiddos, and sometimes substitute our own lyrics. Piano is going well, and I certainly enjoy making music almost daily. I have to be careful, though: I can sit down to practice “just a bit” and suddenly find a whole hour passed.
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“Heart of gold/But it lost its pride/Beautiful veins and bloodshot eyes/I’ve seen your face in another light/Why you’d have to go and let it die?/…In too deep and out of time/…Why you’d have to go and let it die?/Heart’s gone cold and hands are tied…”

I feel Grohl’s grief keenly in this song, having lost someone I love too soon, also, to death by alcoholism. The anger at the futility of it and being able to do nothing about it, plus the profound sadness of missing someone you love, reverberates in Grohl’s vocals at the end of this song.

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After publishing my book list on Saturday morning, I deviated from my plan of reading the new Edge.org essay collection for the time being, and picked this out of my bookshelf instead. I bought this right before having Katie, and it is time to absorb it seven years later. Excellent so far, with science interwoven.

On Friday we went to California Adventure with the Matics-Lambert-Horne-Booth families, and these are two of my favorite pictures:

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Eric and his Uncle David on Mickey’s Fun Wheel

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Katie’s first time on Tower of Terror! She LOVED it!!! She got nervous right before we got on, but then was asking to go on it again immediately following! We’re the fam in the front (me, Katie, Uncle Brad, David). The three of them were all quiet as clams and I was quite vocal (I managed not to cuss this time, though!!!), so what’s up with that? However, this was my second time and I can report that it was not nearly as terrifying for me as the first time. I think that was partly due to knowing what to expect, but even more due to having to remain partly in “mama bear” mode. I couldn’t let myself get all the way scared this time, in case Katie needed me. I could feel my mind holding part of myself back so I could be present for her. It’s so weird to find the ways in which that Mama Bear Mode manifests.

We left early and headed home so that I could be home for Steve to come over in advance of his Atlas race the following day (Saturday). I got stuck in traffic, despite having the FASTrack, all the way on the 91 AND the 15. It was crazy.

But when we got home, Steve arrived, and we had time for him to teach us Magic: the Gathering.

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He has some sweet decks. I tried out his mono-red deck and his blue deck. He played a green deck and then a black and white deck. Steve is such a great, clear teacher. I had watched some online tutorials, but Steve had a way of contextualizing the steps of play and creating a narrative around it. All I want to do is to play Magic right now. It’s so fun! I cannot believe I didn’t play in high school! I sat with our cards a bit the next day and started trying to put together a deck for Katie and a deck for myself. I find myself endlessly pondering combinations, though, and I think the thing to do is just to make a trial deck without too much overthinking, play it, and start tweaking…instead of trying to make an optimal deck to begin with, lacking data points from trial and error. There’s an art and creativity and strategy to this game, though, which I find incredibly appealing. I’d like to work up to a white-blue control deck, but I might start with red and black, actually. Maybe give Katie mono-green, or even a green and white. Not sure.

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Oh, and I should also mention that it was Steve to the rescue for our tumbled quartz lab (part of our rock unit). We were in the midst of a triboluminescence lab, and for the life of us, we could not manage to strike the quartz well enough to get the sparks going. I tried, the kids tried, Bill tried…off and on all day on Thursday. I thought we would have to write up the lab as a failed attempt. But then Steve got the internal electrons to charge brilliantly. After he got it started, we each managed to do it, too.

Today, we tried again, though…and nothing! Perhaps Steve is magical??? Anyway, this picture here will be going into our lab notebooks!

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When it rains, a warm cuppa in a new Dumbo mug. I have too many Disney mugs, but I do actually rotate and use them all, many times a day. Why yes, I did sit against the feather pillow intentionally while taking a picture of my Dumbo mug. I felt there was a certain continuity there!

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Rain or shine, baby! Long Run Sunday is a way of life, no matter the weather. 10.68 miles (too wet to do my usual Type A move of running to the nearest whole number, 11) in soak-me-to-the-bone rain this morning. At 7:15 AM, on this stretch of long road, it was just the moo cows and I out for our morning air. Both shoes and socks were soaked and I was running with a squishy sound, trying to dodge other puddles. Can’t say it was my best long run, but I got the job done. The first 6 miles, in fact, I felt enthusiastic to be out in the purifying rain (Oh, look at the rain! I love the rain! It smells so good! This is so neat!). At about 8.5, I was starting to get mentally done…I have to admit. I felt so clear and at peace the rest of the day, though, so it was worth it. Nothing like a long run to mellow out the system.

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This afternoon we went back into our garage and did an art project with oil pastels. I gave it a go myself this time. I am intrigued by surrealist and modern landscapes and art right now, kind of an echo of where my mind has been immersed in my reading and other thought-life. We put on music, looked out at the rain, and just created…
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Pastels are a favorite medium for me, and I don’t experiment with them nearly enough. I might try to pursue some learning in that area this year, see what I can come up with, maybe push myself to become more artful and expressive.

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Finally, meet Kiki, the witch from Miyazaki’s Kiki’s Delivery Service. We’re making our way through Miyazaki’s work. Amazingly beautiful animation. I am so taken with the Japanese mindset and artistic (literary, too) perspective right now. We watched My Neighbor Totoro this weekend, as well. So many connections with Murakami’s work… Really exploring some new intellectual passions right now, and I am excited about that. I think an evolving thought-life is one of the keys to happiness in this life. Keep studying, keep learning, keep exploring the Self and all its many forms of expression. It’s really not possible ever to be bored in this life. It’s weird to me when people say that. Really? There are not enough hours in the day to do/see/be/feel/give/experience/create/study everything I wish I could! Even as I celebrate what does happen each day, I always get to the end of my day and say to myself, “I wish I had also done this…this…and this…today!”

Rainy weekends are my favorite!

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