January 10, 2006

Clearing The Baffles

Stuff piles up over time and I can tell certain things aren’t going to become their own blog posts. So I’ll clean mental house and toss them all in one post.

I hear it’s bad for search engines if you do this — it’s easier for them to index your site if each post has its own subject. Also, it’s bad for my readers because if you’re not interested in a subject, you have to scroll down. Oh well.


Oranges When Sharon returned from California, she returned with oranges (and a couple of lemons). Some of them are blood oranges, which I don’t come across that often.

Blood oranges are originally from Sicily , but are now grown in Texas and California. And: delicious.

Sharon knows that during the winter, I eat a ridiculous amount of citrus fruits. One thing I haven’t seen this year yet: pomelos. Where have all the pomelos gone?


Last week, a fellow cacher in the area noticed that one of my caches (Tracker Jim’s Pirate Stash - GCP4BM ) had been out of commission for a bunch of months. I had disabled its listing after the second stage of the puzzle went missing. Of course, I was planning to replace the thing, but I worried that the 2nd stage location might have to be rethought to avoid future “muggling.” So I hesitated fixing it. Then the world went insane the week after that (this was late July). Geocaching temporarily went out the window as I didn’t have the time or impetus.

So, this other cacher recommended to geocaching.com that the cache be “archived.” (Translation - removed from the database) If the cache were to return, it would have to be re-approved. Or, another cacher could put another cache in the area instead, ensuring that my cache wouldn’t be re-approved.

So I got my act in gear and replaced the second stage. It’s in the same location, allowing the cache to be active while I consider a new location for stage 2.

Tracker Jim’s Pirate Stash is a good cache. Check it out if you’re in the area.


Gym is different from when I was a kid. K tells me they’re doing “Spanish” today. We used to run around.

Maybe they run around in Spanish?


French Onion Soup Made French Onion Soup for the first time. It was a copycat of the Panera recipe.

I was pretty happy with the result. I paid $0.79 for the recipe at Top Secret Recipes. I am planning to make some modifications, though.

When I’m happy with it, I’ll probably post my version here.

BTW - I own about 3 of that Top Secret guy’s books, and they’re pretty good. I got my cinnamon roll recipe from him (again, slightly modified). He knows his stuff.


After going there with Bull, I returned to the Trinity Brewpub in Providence with my Dad and Alex. I always get the pulled pork sandwich; they do a good job with it.

They were out of the Brown Ale, so we went wiht the Red. It was quite good. A funny malty finish that was very refreshing. The IPA I followed it with was very fruity. And, for some reason, 2 pints really was enough last night. I must be coming down with something. Actually, I swear I’ve been fighting something off for a while.

New Year’s Eve Singing Gojira

Everyone backed out, mostly because of illnesses, so we spent the night with Godzilla (Final Wars) and Karaoke Revolution Party. As per Bob’s recommendation, I got a second microphone and we tried some true duets.

We have some practicing to do.

Godzilla Final Wars is like a Godzilla film mixed up with a martial arts film. Not a bad combination. Goofy fun.


We visited Thirdmate and TCR for Thirdmate’s birthday on Saturday. We had to be late because of pressing GSA cooke responsibilities (Yes - it’s that time again.)

The girls ran around in the big field next to the house looking for a large sheep named Otis who likes to be patted on the head (according to the birthday guy). I got to meet some of his friends, and enjoy some food and Guinness. It was good fun and good company. I think the kids were especially impressed by TCR’s hospitality when she provided hot chocolate with whipped cream. They settle right in comfortably for that. Thanks for the invitation!

I think this is the first time (in a long time) I’ve met someone face to face after having conversed online. Well, actually, I’ve done that for work-related things, but not recently for personal things.

We have to set up lunch sometime soon. Especially since they’re so close, and I eat lunch all the time.

Trains and Furniture

Newport Train Ride We took a ride on the train in Newport, and the kids got to enjoy balloon animals.

If you have a chance and are in the area, it’s decent fun and lasts about 90 minutes. You follow the coast east of the Sakonnet river (someone correct me if I’m wrong here) north for 45, and then reverse course back to America’s Cup ave where the train has its little station. It’s been a month (well, December anyhow) for weird
field trips. We also visited IKEA (Flickr set here) and that was interesting, although M complained that it gave her a headache.

We marveled at the relatively inexpensive furniture, and the stuffed animals and such. The kids loved some of the kid’s stuff. We were there for a couple of specific pieces. And then I thought I’d lost my cell phone. That was fun, too.

I somehow managed to stay calm and enjoy lunch at UNO. I am not good about losing things. I misplaced the top part of my tripod just after Xmas (It’s somewhere in the house… I know it!) and I still haven’t located the damned thing.

The crowds weren’t too bad at IKEA. The key is to go on a weekday, and go early in the morning when it opens. It’s already busy by the time noon rolls around.

OK - I feel good to dump those out onto the weblog. Remember when you visit to check out my Flickr photostream as well. That’s usually active even when my blog is quiet. I’m averaging something like 2 photos a day over there.

Posted by James at January 10, 2006 6:29 AM
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The soup was awesome. How can you not be happy with it?? Except for maybe the pepper.

Posted by: julie at January 10, 2006 10:00 AM

Spanish in gym...

K and M both have the gym teacher whom "nobody" likes. I know they do *some* physical activity, but he also throws in learning the bones of the body, learning sign language, and learning Spanish. That completely annoys me, because they do *plenty* of desk work and need physical activity. Hey! Maybe that's why they have a class called phys. ed. Just a thought. As it is, they only have it twice a week, and K misses all of her recesses because of cello and other activities, so can my kid please just jump around??

Posted by: Maggie at January 10, 2006 10:08 AM

Yesterday I got some Cara-Cara oranges at Whole Foods -- YUM! They are the sweetest.

Posted by: Karen at January 10, 2006 10:34 AM

Gym is different from when I was a kid. K tells me they’re doing “Spanish” today.

And people wonder why so many kids today are fat.

For some, gym class is the only time they get to exercise. Some kids live in crappy neighborhoods, and their parents are afraid to let them play outside, so they become chip-munching blobs on the couch in front of the TV.


Posted by: Patti M. at January 10, 2006 11:44 AM

When Lynea was teaching Kindergarten, she found she had a bunch of kinesthetic learners, so should held EXTRA phys-ed. She combined the phys-ed with other lessons like simple math and learning the days of the week and months of the year. It helped the kids to be moving while learning.

But this sounds like something different.

Posted by: briwei at January 10, 2006 12:13 PM

What it sounds like is crap.

Look around! Kids need phys. ed.!

While I think it's lovely that the school wants to teach them a foreign language--and they should--that type of instruction belongs in a class room, not in PE class.

Posted by: Patti M. at January 10, 2006 12:18 PM

Maybe the kids are doing the "Head/Shoulders/KneesAndToes" thing, only as "Cabeza/Hombros/Rodillas y Dedos del pie"? That'd be a heck of a workout.
And, yes, it's remarkable all we have in common. I was just thinking, "Lunch." (Leftovers, the reason for potlucks. I should have swiped more paella or jumbalaya or that yummy rice stuff).

Posted by: ThirdMate at January 10, 2006 2:01 PM

Yes, you should have swiped more jambalaya, but you didn't. I ate the rest of it. And it was good. :)

Posted by: Julie at January 10, 2006 2:23 PM

"I feel good to dump these" ... what kind of Engrish is that?

I am not at my best in the morning.

Posted by: James at January 10, 2006 2:23 PM

It's not kinesthetic learning, it's crap. If this guy wanted to branch out in his old age, he should have started teaching another subject. He has no business taking up phys.ed. time with Spanish, bones, or sign language. Luckily, he's retiring. The other guy's really good.

Posted by: Maggie at January 10, 2006 2:58 PM

Retiring, you say?

Wonderful! Maybe you could offer to help him pack his office so as to speed him on his way.

"Need any boxes?" you could ask.

Posted by: Patti M. at January 10, 2006 3:20 PM

I hope you go far.

I'll even help you pack.

Posted by: James at January 10, 2006 5:01 PM

I saw pumelos for sale at BJ's last night!

Posted by: Sharon at January 10, 2006 6:05 PM


Well, that's a start. Maybe they're just coming out.

Posted by: James at January 10, 2006 6:59 PM

I had always heard "pomelo," not "pumelo," so I looked it up to see if I was picturing the right thing.

Seems like pumelo is a variant spelling of pomelo (search under Citrus maxima and you'll find it has several variant names).

For instance, the pomelo is also called a shaddock, and this etymology is quite interesting:

From www.m-w.com:

Main Entry: shad·dock
Etymology: Captain Shaddock, 17th century English ship commander
: a very large thick-rinded usually pear-shaped citrus fruit differing from the closely related grapefruit especially in its loose rind and often coarse dry pulp; also : the tree (Citrus maxima syn. C. grandis) that bears it

Posted by: Patti M. at January 11, 2006 12:03 PM

I debated the spelling when I wrote this entry. Many variations are in use, and I just went with the one that seemed to have the most Google hits. "Pomelo."

However, I was initially inclined to spell it "pumello" or "pomello."

Posted by: James at January 11, 2006 12:49 PM

I say let's all go with shaddock and see how far we get with the supermarket staff.

Posted by: Patti M. at January 11, 2006 1:10 PM

We had yummy "Honeybells," an extra juicy hybrid of grapefruits & tangerines, in a big bowl at the potluck and not one was eaten buy the guests. The giant fruit salad was completely totaled, though. Maybe it is that pesky "wrapping" citrus fruits come in. I had a wonderful experience with a blood orange at a Railroad Museum conference in Sacremento once. Glad the kids liked the Newport Train ride. (how's that for a bizarre segway?) And the visit with us! We were really glad you all came! Sorry you missed Otis.

Posted by: TCR at January 11, 2006 10:23 PM

I typically only eat oranges at home, where I can cut them in slices and eat them like watermelon. Oranges smell better if you peel their skins off instead of cutting them, but I don't like the sensation of peeling orange skins for some reason.

Posted by: Julie at January 12, 2006 8:34 AM

I'm subscribed to your flickr stream so I always check it out. It's a nice source for pictures to drop in my miscellaneous burkes album.

I don't think I've ever had a blood orange. Sounds yummy. We eat scads of clementines in our house over the winter. Julie, if you don't like the sensation of peeling oranges, you might want to try clementines. They're like tiny oranges in a skin that's a size too big, and barely attached. It usually takes less than 10 seconds to complete the peeling experience.

Sorry we were too sick on New Years Eve to come by. But Lynnea got one of the karaoke games for Christmas, so now we can practice! I almost got completely better btw, but kept staying up late (like 3 AM) to finish a project for work, and got sick again. I just finished it last nite, and am taking most of today off. I'm all sniffly... boo hoo.

Posted by: Chuck S. at January 12, 2006 9:01 AM

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