Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Fuzzy Math

I would have to say my math education was rigorous and required a lot of memorization but that doesn't seem to be the trend these days, or at least in Washington. So, when our kid got to 1st Grade I figured we would be doing some real math but everything I get back in homework is this touchy feely math. When your kid comes home with work to do you expect it to be practice. Half the time I have to look at it and wonder how to retrain my brain so I understand how to explain this to my kid.

Look at that. Tell me what fuzzy strategy you used to solve? Well, I got in my tutu, danced around, made pie and put some plants in under my grow light to solve. None if this is going to get you into MIT honey. I am sure if a future child applied they could write all this down and those fine people there will go, "wow, genius!!"  So, in order to cope or deal with this situation I have made up my own imaginary math.  Besides this homework we got a whole page on reducing fractions.

Reducing fractions is hard to explain when your kid doesn't have their math facts memorized yet. We are working on that. Another example of weird homework is the messed up phonics books they use, made up by some dyslexic somebody. By the way, this awful book doesn't even use real linguistic terms. My husband sits down with our kids and does his own lesson for her. Soon our kid will have an M.A. in linguistics really soon.

Tuesday night I discover deep in my kids backpack 10 whole pages of English homework due THIS Friday. I know, it is Wednesday and Friday leaves TWO days to do ten pages. Why!!!  How would that now be possible but somehow me and my kid will stress about it and it will get done.

I am seriously NOT looking forward to 4th grade next year.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Purim, Purim, Purim, Moooooo!

The sign on the back of my bike
Honestly, I don't leave my house and think, "wow, today is going to be a blog worthy day!" Most of my mind thingies are a result of years of accumulated craziness.

This Purim was meant to be epic, without trying.
This cow care about safety
Our starting point was Shabbos. The Shabbos before Purim it is customary to hear Parshas Zachor. This week was my week to help with kiddish set up so I was worried I would miss it but the minute we stepped into shul someone said to me and my daughter, "hurry up, they are about to start". We go up and listen, check. Help kiddish set up, check. Make our way to where my husband davens and got to hear Parshas Zachor two more times. Three times, without even trying.

Shabbos Ends and Purim Begins:
The evening megillah reading went smoothly despite the two kids crawling on the floor. You would think that was obnoxious but I was so intent on listening and impressed that my 8 year old was following along the whole time I didn't care. One of the kids was really distracting because her costume was hilarious and she seemed to be modeling it the whole time. I had to stop myself from looking.

The morning early megllah reading was very mellow since it was EARLY.

Skip forward, checky check all the other mitzvahs except seuda. My daughter was tired after the super awesome evening party so I delivered all her goodie bags alone. She made a bag for all the girls in her class. Forget the Chilly Hilly, this was my personal bikeathon. I have the climb hills and sweat. I hate sweating, it looks ugly.
A hill I rode down, weeh. I meant, MOOO!
Oh oh but what did I wear? I told you I would be a cow, moo. Here is my costume after considerable damage. Damage I will explain in a minute. I did a whole, "how many cars can I crash with this costume?" Safety first, helmet over cow head, annoying cow bell so when I bike you can hear me, and apron with pockets to stash stuff, primarily candy.

Wait, how did it get so damaged? Oh that is where the adventure begins. My daughter made ice cream cone cupcakes and we made lovie goodie bags I loaded on my bike. Now since I was out I was going to stop at the store. After I made all the deliveries, I stoped at PCC and DOOM! My wallet and cell phone are NOT in the bag.

My guess was it went into a goodie bag. I had 10 options so I biked to my dear friends house and she lends me her car so I can find my wallet and phone. Yeah, here I am trying to be eco-friendly and bike. Using a car feels, wrong. So, one of the goodie bags was an easy delivery because the people were passing me in a car and all they had to do was roll down the window. Little did I know that more than food was in that bag.

Here is her tale: I handed over the bag to the kid friend and she took it from the back of the car window. Little did I know that somehow my wallet and cell phone was dropped into the bag. So, an excited year old was even more excited when she saw a shiny wallet and a cell phone. Ohh, "look, Ima, I got a wallet and a cell phone!" Of course the mother thought we had some theme going on. So the mother is driving along and the kids are so excited about my wallet and phone. At some point the mother realized that it was a real phone and my wallet with credit cards, change, drivers licence  Tully's card. Everything an 8 year old girl could need.
Costume worthy of The Garden Renegade
While this drama is unfolding I am in a red car with my moo helmet. I am sure I confused everyone because first I was on a bike and suddenly I am driving a red car. My car adventure allows me to go to the famous Julie Bass home and show her my costume and hope that my wallet and phone were in her bag. Nope! Next stop was home and use of the regular phone. I call the first mommy from the delivery list and hello, yes they have the phone and wallet.

Oh but in this short time the Sefardic community seemed to have broadcast to everyone that my cell phone and wallet went missing. It must be special telepathy. I wasn't able to transmit back that I found it so I am letting you know. I got it!

Seriously, you would think that was the end of my drama. We go to a friend's house and have a lovely seuda with her family and another family we are friends. We were suppose to stop off at another friends house but by the time we left the first house it was already 9pm. Mr Peyos and his BFF make their way to the house where men are singing. Oh, but who also happens to be there? The Puyalluper Rebbe. Yes, just recently moved to Puyallup with his sidekick "The Gebbie". Mr. Peyos is served a tall plastic cup of vodka, a drink he is familiar and tolerant too. The man chugs it down says a few l'chaim's and makes his way home. He looked fine when he came home so I thought nothing of this so called "vodka". Well, Mr. Peyos is getting old and he doesn't seem to absorb vodka the same like when we were young and with two less grey hairs. This is where the tale gets ugly. I don't know what it is Mr. Peyos drank but he ended up in not the best state. This morning he is fine but what a night last night!

So, the whole Purim was eventful, without trying and I managed to get a workout in a cow costume, lovely. I can't wait until next year!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Kombucha for All, no just for me.

I knew this week was going to be difficult blogging. Thursday was a fast day and I had errands to run so by the end of the day I had a massive headach. I was glad a friend was able to pick up my kid from school and bring her to the house. 

While I waited and cleaned the house I decided to bottle my kombucha. On Sunday Mr. Peyos and his friend brought over their carboy full of beer in order to bottle. Too bad it won't be ready in time for Purim. As you can see from the picture it is a cool glass container for fermented goodness. This was a good experience for me. As much as they splashed stuff all over my floor and I ended up having to wash lots of towels afterwards, I learned a lot about sterilizing bottles and capping them. 

Mr. Peyos was nice enough to buy me these beautiful blue bottles so that the beer he made and my kombucha don't get mixed up. 

Here is how the process works. First, I used the basic recipe from Sandor Katz's book Wild Fermentation. I found so many YouTube videos showing me people talking about making it and many people are really concerned with ph, but I am not sure I care so much. I watched one video that said that I should NOT use black tea to brew because it has dangerous oils. I figure if good old Sandor is alive an uses black tea I am not going to worry so much about it. 

Our friend at Brassica and Brine had sent a mother. Here it is, all jellyfish like. When it arrived it smelled like vinegar. While we waited for the first batch to brew I ended up buying some at the store to taste. I actually felt really good drinking it but if I didn't have a "mother" to begin my own I would be talking about $3 a bottle per day. Mr. Peyos was adventurous and bought a non-flavored variety and said he felt sick afterwards. I explained to him that I had been building up my gut by eating all that sauerkraut but he has decided to refuse my offer to try what I make in the end. 

Here is the small jar of the second batch I brewed. Basically this is just sugar, hot water and 3 green tea bags. I love tea. Once the whole mixture was cool I put the "mother" in and covered with cheese cloth. That rubber band is to keep the cloth in place.

Here is the final product from the first batch. I forgot to take a picture of the dark mixture. I flavored this batch with a juice from Trader Joe's but you can flavor it any way you like. A lot of people on YouTube like to flavor with ginger. 

Next step is to bottle this so I can get that extra fizz just like the store. Tada! Only 3 bottles so the second time around I will brew more since I have two mothers now.

If you are wondering what kind of beer Mr. Peyos and his dude friends brewed take a look at a potential label I won't make. 

Good Shabbos and Purim Sameach. This blog will hopefully be back and running like normal on Monday including my Purim Wrap!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Ride on the Sidewalk?

Some time ago I said that sidewalk biking was dangerous. Well, it is for the most part but their are instances when the sidewalk is not all that evil. After Mr. Peyos got ran over once we try not to bike in certain areas, namely Martin Luther King south of Dearborn.

Now, occasionally some sidewalks are hardly ever touched by feet. People do walk in the Rainier Valley hood but usually people come out when the sun is shining and it is "warmer" or to rob you of your iphone.

I used to have one of those handy City of Seattle Bike Maps in my basket, but after years of learning the lazy routes up to Capitol Hill and back I realize I don't need it much.

So, in order to be informative and show you that it is more practical to bike, here is how to get up to Capitol Hill using sidewalks as my private cycle track.

Here is where my journey begins. This is riding north on Martin Luther King. To my left is Lowes and an Amazon building. For the most part it is safe, no cars come in or out. I promise, you won't get run over here. Do look out for the cars coming in/out of the Amazon building.

Once you cross the crosswalk to can keep moving down the sidewalk. FYI, in keeping with plain paranoia, I dismount the bike and walk across the crosswalk.

Still nobody walking.

This is still the sidewalk

Here I turn left and continue on the street.

Past the services for the Blind.

Trying to take a picture and turn at the same time.

Now I am biking north making my way closer to the I-90 trail.

In my head I hear turtle music.

TADA!! Lookie, I am biking up past the African American Museum.

Continue west on the I-90 trail.

Yeah, I made it across 23d Ave. So far nobody walking or on a bike.

Making my slow way past the skate park and bike polo. You can see Judkins Park ahead.

Nice slow rounded path up.

Washington Middle School ahead. This is exactly what a trail should be, functional and through areas where people need to go.

Now I have made it past the sloping hills of Judkins park at 18th Ave S., looking lightly west north.

You need your daily dose of discounted pastries? On my right is the Franz Bakery Outlet.

18th Ave, north.

Past one of the old shuls, now a church, ughhh.

Past a very blue Good Neighbor Grocery on 19th Ave, north. Memories of the crazy guy who threatened to kill us.

See, now safe and sound on very bikey 19th Ave where you will easily spot other cool people on a bike.

I took this so you can get and idea of how much climbing that is. Those tall buildings are the tips of downtown Seattle.

So, the last last picture is of me locking my bike up on 15th Ave. on the oddest sun day we haven't had in a long time. Enjoy the rain today!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Anniversary Wrap

Thursday I was motivated to visit Mr. Peyos at work.

Fluffer Nut YOU Metal Machine!
First I had to return some library books and had to smoosh my bike next to a plant because this metal machine was in my way. What a jerk. I know the Columbia City library has very few parking spaces but seriously this is rude.

So after this and a post office stop I made my way to my ultra favorite cycle track downtown. Where? I like to call this my South Lake Union Transit Track. Oh, but you say the train is going to run me over. Okay okay, I actually like to bike behind the train. Yes, even slow poke me can keep up with it. The other nice fact is that people who drive metal machines HATE driving behind it. So this means I have a clear road  for me. Now, if you are going to do this you HAVE to take the road. You can't ride off to the side because as you may not realize, a bike wheel can get stuck in the train track and
that is not pretty.
At some point I suspected the S.L.U.T driver realized what I was doing and forged faster than ever. Don't worry, my Krispy Kremes were well secured by my scarf. I got a few ohhs and awws because I had donuts. This is something that never happens when I have lots of groceries and a kid. Donuts are always more impressive. Yes, I am stopped at the light and I did NOT go through it!
Once I arrived to the Amazonian hub I found Mr. Peyos. I thought I was going to have to park my bike here but he had something more luxurious in mind. I like these racks. This makes more sense.
Mr Peyos led me into the employee bike parking. This is only accessed by other employees so like the bike space hogs we are, Mr Peyos and I took up bike space for 8 bikes. Like the Olsen twins would say in Full House, "How woude!!" It's okay, nobody was parked down there. I spotted this bike in the space near us. Ugg, it looks heavy! Even with the electric assist it looks heavy. Too bad I didn't spot an electrical outlet to charge the battery. That would have made this secured bike parking extra awesome.
The rest of the trip required me to hand over my ID so I can pass through the wonky security system. The guard always makes me nervous.
Here we are in the elevator. 
Now here is where he works. Don't you love all the desk? I have no idea how they pack so many people in that space.

The nerds were all too excited to get pink sprinkle donuts. One woman was stuffed because her boyfriend gave her a meat platter for that holiday that also happened to fall on Febrary 14th. Nothing says I love you like meat platter.

Okie dokie, and that's how two weirdos without a car celebrate 16 years of marriage.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Friday Grow Light

Happy Friday! I had an amazing anniversary where I biked to Krispy Kreme, bought 3 dozen pink sprinkle donuts and then personally delivered them to all the women and the 3 men in my husband's department so they don't hate him.

I loved all the stares I got from people while I biked down 1st Ave with the Krispy Kreme goodness strapped to the top of my basket. I had a couple people look even drool. One person laughed and said, "ohh, donuts!"

On to new things. I looked under my grow light this morning to see little seedlings peeking through the pots I like to have people smell and then tell them that it was made out of COW Poop! Smell, smell it! As you can clearly see, I am growing peppers in this tray.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Anniversary Mr. Peyos!

Yes, today marks 16 years of legally binding marriage. We did not get married on Feb. 14th on purpose. It was actually a day that the Frederiksberg Commune had a day opened for us. We got married on a cold snowy day in a part of Copenhagen called Frederiksberg. I am not sure if we biked there, it was so long ago.

I met Mr. Peyos when I was 19 and slightly lost in a train station in Berlin. We got married not too long  after that.

Mr Peyos preplanned in order to mark our anniversary Mr. Peyos brought home on Monday a hermetically sealed jug of beer he was brewing with two other dudes and stuck it in our very cold closet.

On the day we are to mark our day Mr. Peyos is going to bottle the beer and we will drink it. If we get a sitter maybe we will even ride our bike around and deliver the bottles to one of the other brew dudes.

Happy 16 Years of Bliss!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I-90 I will bike over you for FREE

View of Seattle From Mercer island
Sometimes I forget where I live. We came from the land of the hippy and now we live in conservative uptight land. Now, I am sure you are saying that Seattle is totally groovy but it really isn't and I attribute it to the fact that people lack sun. If you get on a bike you get probably more sun than those people in the metal machines.

Most recently I taught a gardening class. I taught how to start seedlings for your spring garden. The class was given at one of the synagogues and I briefly mentioned my class to friends. That is who showed up, friends. I think that the advertising for the event was fair. What was the best part, it was FREE. I didn't even charge the shul for the supplies. How could people not want to show up? Two people I didn't know showed up, but the other 4 people were my friends, people I knew. These were people with huge families who left their kindlach for a little to learn about gardening in the Pacific Northwest. Then again you can't get Jews to do anything unless food is involved.

Yes, I was slightly offended I took time out of my week to prepare, go buy the sterilized organic seedling mix (All the way at the bottom of Madison, not an easy bike ride back home). My husband somehow had the foresight to know that this was going to happen. I even made a resource list correctly citing sources.

So, like stupid me I propose a bike to Mercer Island event for families. Like everything, I must have a goal. I am not going to bike up and down rolling hills if it doesn't mean that I am trying to get somewhere. For this reason I find the Chief Stealth Trial slightly pointless. It even makes it easier for all the thugs who walk it to rob people.

The Beginning of the Bridge route
My organized bike event would show people that they can bike across the I-90 bridge. Once the toll kicks in they can roll across that bridge all the while thinking, "haha, I'm on a bike".

So, what is on Mercer Island Jews needs?

For one, there are the two stores where you can buy all kosher and not natural partially hydrogenated pre-packaged foods. Wow, that is harsh.  I don't think I need to bike there to add to my digestive issues.   I will give up and go there to buy matzos right before Pesach and then fill up on the frozen gefilte fish blocks.

What else is there? Island Crust Pizza. It's okay but I always come away knowing that I would have been better off making one at home. Mr. Peyos is not a fan of eating out and never has anything good to say about food made by someone else. Although, he did smile when our friend's kid in baking school made a very European cake and he ate a slice.

Side Note about Jewish Publications:
Now I understand that every Jewish community has to be sensitive to diversity so Jewish publications have to accommodate when it comes to making a "Best of.."column. Recently I was reading one such publication and all the food related "Best Of's" were not kosher. Fine, you eat trief, that's your decision. When it came time to name the Best Pizza they picked the kosher one. Frankly, if you are going to go all out and name a trief restaurant then do yourself a favor and go to a good pizza restaurant  I couldn't tell you where to go but I am sure with all the places to eat in Seattle one is bound to be better than the kosher one.

Heck, you might as well put Ezell's on that list because it smells SO good! I have never eaten there but the smell alone is enough to drive you crazy. Also, if Oprah eats it, then YOU have to eat it.

Then like everything in Seattle, you can't criticize or even joke about it or else suffer the passive aggressive wrath of someone who lacks too little sun. I am a slave to torturing myself on Twitter:

No, I do not support you! Toll that bridge. Why do you get a free pass? Is it because you decided to live on that island?

Most recently someone complained in the Bellevue Patch about how the toll was going to affect Jews. I hate to say it, but if your life is somewhat worse because you can't get kosher marshmallows, life must be really in the dumps. Probably people will shop less and those people who have kids at the Jewish high school might have to find alternatives but it is not just an Eastside Jewish phenomenon. People on this side are going to totally freak out because they can't get their naturally hydrogenated kosher parve, give me a stomach ache cake at Albertsons. Can you tell my common theme about food?

Okay, my efforts to get Jews on a bike in a commute way is so far unsuccessful. I would hate to lead a bike ride over the I-90 bridge when it is "warmer". Anything over 40F is warm to me. After chasing after Mr. Peyos on Superbowl Sunday I ended up with little more than a light sweater and a scarf. My neck gets really cold. I don't like sweating and "warmer" weather would mean sweat. This is a sight that is not pretty. So, in conclusion, if you want me to do anything make sure I am not sweating because I get pretty cranky when that happens. This is the main reason I actually enjoy the Seattle weather.

Bike Escape: Fay Bainbridge Park 2019

I went camping without kids. How did I manage that? (insert shrug) One of the old time pedal parents went with me. Our schedules for this ...