Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The ‘Indiana Jones’ Trilogy Retold Via Maps [Pics]

The ‘Indiana Jones’ Trilogy Retold Via Maps [Pics]:
Artist Andrew DeGraff mercifully didn’t map out Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
If you’re in the Los Angeles area, you can view these pieces up close at Gallery 1988, which is a museum dedicated to pop culture.
Paths of Raiders
Paths of Raiders
Paths of Doom
Paths of Doom
Paths of Crusade
Paths of Crusade
[Via io9]
No related posts.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Ages and stages: age four

Ages and stages: age four:
Written by Kara Fleck, Simple Kids editor and Rockin’ Granola mama.
There’s a magical little creature who lives at our house.  She’s very shy around strangers, but around her family she lights up the room and is sometimes the noisiest child in this large family of ours.
She makes up stories and plays games.  She has a vivid imagination.  She loves horses and the color purple and baby dolls.  She dances and sings and also likes to sit quietly with a stack of picture books or a pile of paper and crayons.  She wears twirly dresses and silky capes and also Batman pajamas and a pirate’s eye patch.
This magical creature’s name is Lucy and she’s my four year old daughter.
“Four is, indeed, highly versatile.  What can he not do?  He can be quiet or noisy, calm or assertive, cozy or imperious, suggestible or independent, social, athletic, artistic, literal, fanciful, cooperative, indifferent, inquisitive, forthright, humorous, dogmatic.  He is many people in one.”  – Your Four Year Old: Wild and Wonderful by Louise Bates Ames, PhD.


My four and a half year old’s four current favorite things

1. Being the “little mommy”

If she has seen me do it, Lucy copies it.  I have a little mimic and we jokingly call her “little mama Lu.”  Little mama pretends by reading books to her babies and by rocking, comforting, feeding, and caring for them.  She makes grocery lists and cooks for them and takes them to the living room “library.”  She even has a little cardboard computer that she sets up on a milk crate desk, where she writes her blog and does her budget, just like mama.
She has a little family of six children, her baby dolls, each one loved and adored and unique in her eyes.   We recently compromised on the half a dozen trips she was making up and down the stairs each morning (and then repeats at night) transporting her little dolly family from her bedroom to the living room.
We decided that carefully pack all of her babies into a milk crate and allowing a grown up to carry them down stairs in the morning and back upstairs at night was better, and Lucy never forgets to remind us to “bring my babies for me, please.”
Her mothering extends past her babies to include her siblings, too.  She’s capable of being very gentle and patient (especially for a four year old) with her toddler sister.  She’s usually at my elbow when I pack the diaper bag, watching what I include and reminding me if I forget anything Amelia might need.
Recently my eleven year old reported that she woke up in the middle of the night to Lucy pulling up her blanket.  When asked about it the next day, Lucy said, “I didn’t want her to be cold and she had no blankets.  She might get a shiver.”
Which is not to say that she’s not sometimes stubborn or cross or that she doesn’t have days when she absolutely refuses to share anything and stomps and shouts.  While she can be very sweet and caring, the pendulum can also swing the other way.  But, thankfully, not quite as often or rapidly as at age three.
Lucy either LOVES something or she flat out HATES it.  There isn’t a lot of middle ground and compromises are hard won.
And, while her mimicry is adorable when she’s at my side, copy-catting her older sister isn’t so appreciated.  From a parenting standpoint, it can be tricky to navigate the needs of the eleven year old for privacy and personal space when the four year old wants to constantly be at her side, fascinated by all that her big sister says and does.
And, it didn’t take Lucy long at all to figure out that if she wants to annoy her older sister all she has to do is copy everything she says.  (It also didn’t take Jillian very long to figure out to be silent and smile, thankfully.)

2. Cooking and baking

Whenever Christopher or  I are in the kitchen, no matter the time of day or the meal, you can bet that Lucy is not far away.  She’s very curious about cooking and food.  She seems to be particularly interested in some of the ways we use food in social situations, too.  More than once she has brought a smile to the lips of a visitor to our house by asking them if they want something to drink or eat and Lucy is always the first one to remind me that we need cocoa after every trip outside.
She does a lot of imitation and pretend play with her toy dishes and play food, but she really loves any chance to cook “for real.”  From cracking eggs, to stirring, to adding ingredients, to tearing up lettuce and chopping up veggies with her safety knife, she is actually making a real contribution in the kitchen.  The learning tower is a good aid in this and lets her get right up to the counter alongside us.
She enjoys any opportunity for using the real kitchen tools – the rolling pin and pizza wheel are her favorites (the latter with close adult supervision, of course).
She helps put away the groceries and has learned the names of many fruits and vegetables this way.  Helping to put things away means that she knows where they are when it is time to use them as we prepare food, too.
Foods Lucy likes to help make:
  • cinnamon rolls
  • pizza
  • salads (lots of chopping, cutting, and tearing)
  • cookies
  • smoothies

3. Being read to

There are some advantages to being one of the younger children in a large family:  there is always someone to read to you, being one of them.
Lucy will bring us stacks of carefully chosen books and sit and read with us.  More and more I’m also noticing that she will sit and recite the stories she has memorized and “read” to herself, too.  Books and stories often become a jumping off point for pretend play.
She has an affinity for chain or circular stories where she can predict what happens next.
Lucy’s current favorite books:

4. Painting and crafting

Within the past two months or so it is as if someone has flipped a switch and Lucy’s creative drive is “on.”  If it involves painting, cutting, glue, glitter, stickers, or pom poms this child is interested and eager to dive in!
Lucy likes to make crafts with a purpose and will usually tell me about its purpose as she’s crafting and then narrate a possible scenario for it’s use.  Recently she made a “centerpiece for the table” from craft sticks glued to a paper plate in a careful and very purposeful manner.  It might look random to an outside observer, but Lucy was serious about the placement of each stick.
Or sometimes she will draw or paint a picture “for the wall” or be cutting felt and declare it “for a doll blanket.”  She’s very keen on her projects having a purpose.  And we, of course, are happy to oblige.
Other things Lucy loves at age four and a half:   playing outside (especially if we have snow!), knock knock jokes, taking walks, getting the mail, Wednesday mornings when the garbage trucks come, visiting the library, going grocery shopping with Daddy, going to the recycling center, eating cinnamon toast, and taking baths with lots of bubbles (as long as she doesn’t have to wash her hair).
“The typical Four-year-old is gloriously humorous.  From a loud guffaw to a subtle, sly wink, he runs the gamut of humorous expression.”Your Four Year Old:  Wild and Wonderful
There’s not much better than a smiling, happy four year old – wouldn’t you agree?
Does a four year old live at your house? What are they interested in these days? What are some of the challenges of this age? Some of the joys?

Ages and stages: age four is a post from Simple Kids

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Journey of a Home Office Begins ...

Every Journey starts with that first step.  One of the best benefits of my job is the flexibility to work remotely - e.g., ability to work from home.  Since I average at least 4 out of 5 days from home, I need a dedicated office area to work from.  Our house has an unfinished basement.  This will be the 2nd time I've worked to finish a basement.  Hopefully I will have learned from the last time we finished a basement (in our Harpers Ferry House) and can make this basement even better.

I've chose a corner of our walk-out basement.  I like our basement because it has tall ceilings (9') and it's a walk out, so there are full sized windows !

The soil in this area is supposed to be quite expansive.  The means that the floors may (or may not) heave.  The slab floors here are poured separately from the walls so they can move independently if need be.  When building walls in the basement,  we had to be cognisant of building the walls in a way that would allow that heaving to occur without cracking the walls or damaging the floors above.   There is a cool way that the building walls that enable this.  The wall construction is done by;
  1. Measure the height from floor to Ceiling
  2. Subtract 3" from that measurement & that's the measurement that I built the wall sections to
  3. The wall section was built using normal stud spacing of 16" o.c..
  4. Lay the PT sill plate with construction adhesive and powder charged nails.
  5. Lift your wall section and secure it to the ceiling using nails (ensuring you remain plumb with the sill plate)
  6. Every 2' you will run a 6" spike through the bottom of the wall panel into the sill plate.  I found that it was easier to drill a hole that allows the spike to pass through the bottom plate just barely.  you don't need to pre-drill the sill plate.  The walls were amazingly sturdy and strong for not having a floor to ceiling connection.

Framing begins ...

Finally finished framing - Long way still left to go, but rough framing  - DONE!

Saturday, January 26, 2013


Since moving out west to Colorado, I've found myself working on a lot of different projects.  I've decided that I'm going to try and start to record these efforts and make an almost how-to kind of approach to some of them.  I may not always have the "right" way, but it may also serve as a how-not-to :)