Sunday, July 30, 2006

Hello Garfield

Caroline is an affectionate person, to a certain point. At night when I put her to bed she’ll hook her arms around my neck and not let go, coercing me to lie next to her for just a little bit. It is hard to resist that hook, since so often these days she spends her time practicing to be twelve, scowling at me and telling us vigorously to shhh when we say something distasteful to her (as in, just about anything she didn’t think of herself). So the hook works, and she can keep me for that little bit, until her delight turns to wiggles and she starts poking and prodding, or (if she’s feeling particularly silly) licking my glasses. But while she’s physically demonstrative, she’s not much for saying I love you, and has come up with her own version of the last bit of my good night ritual, when I say I love you, and she says hello garfield.

Helloo Garfield.

It took me a week or two to figure out this Garfield business, and it wasn't until tonight, lying beside her while we sang our good night songs and enjoyed the end of a fine weekend, that I realized what had happened. When I said I love you, she used to mumble I luv you or even I guv you. Then one night she switched to I Garfield, then to Hi Garfield. Tonight, perhaps inevitably, she decided on Hello Garfield. As a teenage three year old I guess she thought that even the cool kids couldn’t figure that one out, should she slip up and say it on the playground one day.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Ancient Egyptian a/c

Yesterday the sun baked our flat to its highest temperatures yet - something like 89F at 9 at night. This was a bit much even for our southern souls, and I decided to get creative with my cooling technique.

Inspired by a vague memory of a drawing of Egyptians fanning ice, I grabbed most of the ice packs from the freezer (we have an abundance, unused most of the year) and reverently placed them in front of our one fan. Then Caroline and I arranged ourselves Cleopatra style in front of the fan/ice setting, and waited. I took notes while Caroline tried to decide if it were possible to eat the ice packs, unstopper them or generally use them as weapons of chaos and destruction.

Once Caroline got tired of pretending to be Cleopatra, and the ice packs lost their icey edge and turned into wet packs we undid the arrangement and each tried our own technique.

Caroline draped a wet sheet around herself and refused to remove it.

I placed one last ice pack on my head and walked around quite elegantly and absurdly.

Will froze a beer to slush and drank it while lying on the floor and listening to music.

At midnight the flat had cooled down enough for me to get perky. So then I went to sleep.

* My notes: The air in front of the fan did get cooler as the ice in the packs started to melt (classic evaporative cooling). We decided it would have been even cooler if the packs were set in water - tonight’s experiment!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Counting, counting, numbers are for counting

Song Caroline likes to sing from her favorite Winnie the Pooh dvd, refrain running through my head these last few weeks as we track every heller and koruna we spend as an exercise in summer frugality. There is something oddly addicting about keeping track of daily life this way, so after a week I began looking around for something more to count. It didn't take long for me to add food eaten and calories burned to my opened often excel collection.

Watching the numbers add up each day has taught me more lessons than I expected it would. First lesson: the interesting relationship between calorie burning and consumerism. It’s obvious that when I don’t leave the house and instead work at home, I save a lot of money. No sandwich at lunch, no magazines or placemats purchased on the spur of the moment. But staying at home means that my daily walk to work is, well, nonexistent. I try to make up for it by pacing when I talk on the phone, doing lunges, toe lifts and other hanging about in a small space type exercises but the calorie burn just doesn't happen.

This week, I worked mostly at home. The thermometer kept registering 37 and beyond on our balcony, and when the mercury reaches numbers like that, our western facing office feels more like the inside of a bakery with the oven doors all open than a space for thinking. So I stayed at home, worked diligently, saved money, and was slothful. Until today. Today, I went to dance class.


That rolls off well don’t you think? I’ve already casually inserted that information into at least two sms and three IM conversations (yeah, just back from dance, and you?) but I do believe that this could well have been and in fact, okay, it was, my first dance class.

I didn’t fall down. Hurray!

Actually it went even better than that, and I credit the fun to the teacher who is a friend of mine and not only a great dancer, but a damn good programmer, business analyst and knitter. She patiently worked us through the routine, matching the music to our pace - slow slow slow slow slow until we had some twenty moves learned, and then we danced, fast, hip hop.

I can’t wait to show Caroline some of these moves when she next pulls out our dancing shoes. She’ll probably wonder what I’ve been up to while she’s been at the swimming pool staying cool. Maybe I should think about putting together a hip hop disney mix. Hm...

In the meantime, I’m heading back to dance class next week. Let the numbers add up, it‘s worth every cent.