Eight Bucks Of Science

Ok, sort of science. More like science-ish play. I discovered that we can get dry ice at the nearby Fred Meyer’s. (The nice woman at Baskin Robbins told me this after informing me that we couldn’t get dry ice there anymore. We did get a consolation prize of ice cream.) Nathan had recently seen a video of someone making a dry ice bubble machine — basically dry ice, hot water, and dish soap — so naturally it was necessary that we get some.



And I have to say that soap bubbles filled with smoke, where the smoke spills out over your hands when you pop them, are pretty cool. Everyone had fun poking at the bubble mass, including the baby, although she seemed to feel that this was no more or less strange than all the other bizarre things that happen in this world, like haircuts and wind, and spent much of her time off playing in the rain.



Nathan wants a suit. He says he’s willing to hold off on a full-scale tux for the moment, but he at least wants a proper suit and tie (and the tux would not be turned down). Not much interested in running out to have him properly fitted for formal clothes, I was not averse to browsing at a thrift store, where we found a reasonable shirt and pair of pants.


But not a tie. Perhaps ties for small boys don’t tend to show up in thrift stores, or perhaps I just missed them. Fortunately it turns out that ties are small and almost trivially easy to make. With a free pattern for a velcro-fastened tie found online, Nathan and I were able to produce a tie for him even in a leisurely, much-interrupted morning.

And now I want to take this moment to brag about my eldest son.

My previous experience of sewing with a small child centered around one of the neighborhood kids, a girl about Nathan’s age who occasionally expressed interest in doing a project (especially when the boys didn’t want to play). I quickly found that I couldn’t make any assumptions about her knowledge or skills. When I used the word “rectangle” and she stared at me blankly, I caught myself, backed up, and explained the concept. When she seemed to have a lot of trouble mastering how the ruler worked I thought that maybe I was mistaken about how early that skill is learned. But it was the fact that, while sewing with my machine, she freely admitted to being mostly interested in making it go as fast as possible that discouraged me. Of course I didn’t expect her to sew beautiful straight seams — these things take practice. But I did expect some effort.

So when I recently tried a sewing project with Nathan (a billfold, as he had actual paper money for a change), my expectations were low. And I was astonished by him. Not only did he seem to quickly grasp the concept of measuring his money to see how big the billfold needed to be, but he designed the billfold himself, incorporated my suggestions (I was careful not to offer too many), and, to my utter astonishment, sewed beautifully even, careful lines of stitching. Seriously — did someone sneak into the house and teach this kid how to sew behind my back?

I don’t want to read too much into this — there are a lot of differences between the two situations, not least of which may have been their respective levels of interest. But still, I was impressed. So I tackled the tie project with utter confidence, and he did the majority of the sewing, and the whole thing felt quick and happy. So much so that over the next week, we made three more.

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Just A Picture


First Blooms


It’s inevitable that, sometime near the end of winter, we get a little taste of spring. Some fifty (or sixty!) degree days, sometimes even accompanied by sunshine, settle in and pretend that winter is just about over. This is dangerous weather; it can fool the trees into unfurling too early, potentially making them vulnerable to a March freeze.

It’s also dangerous because some of us start to get gardening fever, and want to start planting things. Right now I am restraining myself by focusing my energies into planning — drawing out my garden map, creating a detailed (and rational) timeline of gardening tasks, and trying to remind myself that with planting inevitably comes weeding and watering.

Oh, but it’s so, so tempting…