Saturday, May 30, 2009

I coughed up too much precious phlegm and became choleric.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Do any of the other parents do school pick up and drop off in their nighties?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Upon seeing new fringe 'I don't look like me or Alexa, just some random beautiful little girl'.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday, May 15, 2009

It's a wild ride.

Like BEB, I love parenting. It's the most engaging thing I've ever done, mentally, emotionally, intellectually, intuitively, instinctively, culturally.... full on. 

I find it fascinating how intense parenthood is. I think it's because, doing it this way, being the involved, stay-home kind of parent, my genetic replicators and memetic replicators are working together. Before I had kids there was a chance that my genes' lineages might be pretty much a dead end, passed on only in viruses that mutated inside me. Before kids my genes were 'wanting' me to change my life, and breed but my memes were doing all right, I had friends and workmates talking Susan-talk all over the world. 

Once my chatty household included a child, my memes had a different chance at long and bushy lineages. Since having the kids I have been less good as a correspondent, I haven't been to see BEBPaige, or even Abacus lately, and yet, there's nothing as amazingly likely to reproduce one's parents' ways of doing things as bringing up a child. For example, my children went to the same Playcentre and go to the same school that my parents took me to, my children are pedantic and imaginative like I was, they look up insects and words in reference works as I was taught to. Hazel loves Anne McCaffrey like my mother does and likes to talk about maths at the dinner table like my father does. 

Now the children exist, my 'selfish' memes are 'trying' to become my children's 'selfish' memes. They 'want' those children to reproduce them as much as and for as long as possible. That means my memetic reproductive urges are busy making me want my children to live long and prosper, passing on my ideas and ways of living to others. 

Sean likes Anne McCaffrey and maths too. The similarity of Sean's and my memomes (y'know, like genomes but for memes) are one of the things that makes all our memes more likely to get replicated as together we reinforce each other's and new memes we pick up (e.g. schema learning theory) go well with the other memes we already have (an interest in theoretical discussion). I find myself pleased when my children are friends with people like me, people who reinforce my memes. 

My genes have two chances now too, and my genetic reproductive urges are busy making me want my children to produce grandchildren (preferably lots). My memes want quality grandchildren, the kind who'd like to look at my insect books and dictionaries with me, the sort who would learn from me and talk Susan-talk. Right now my children are too small for the difference in outcome between many-grandchildren and grandchildren-like-me to make a difference to how I sense my reproductive urges. Genes and memes both 'want' my parenting to be successful, my children to be well-loved, and it might be that they are pulling more in the same direction than they have since I was a toddler, back when my memetic learning was so importantly structural that if I hadn't done it I might have died too young to pass on my genes. 


No hitting, yes vote

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Dinosaur feather notes.

Wikipedia's dinosaur clades Saurischia and Ornithischia are the two basic sorts. 
Wikipedia on dinosaur feathers, maybe feathers arose with Ornithodira, the last ancestor of both pterosaurs and dinosaurs (which includes birds). 
Wikipedia's beautiful tree of life

Fossil feathers head to toe on a dromaeosaur, a close relative of velociraptor and thus, with Tyrannosaurus Rex, a part of the advanced therapods who have bones like modern birds (and sharp teeth not like them). (Science Daily, April 2001)

Tianyulong confuciusi, a feathered Ornithischia. Ornithischia includes armored herbivores such as Triceratops and Stegosaurus. (National Geographic News, March 2009)

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Monday, May 11, 2009

The 6 pack outside the back door has a big sat hiding in it.
An irritating habit I didn't previously have opportunity for: leaving furniture in the car.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

"Dear Mummy
you are as lovely as the colours themselves. I love you because you are colourful and because you help me through the tough times in my life. I love you 1000001 10 100 times around the globe. 
love from Hazel PS you have a colourful heart. 
Happy Mothers' day"

Monday, May 04, 2009

Monsters vs Aliens' Susan does not want her old life back. Hanging with preschoolers is being a 50' woman in so many ways.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Hazel's Banana Breakfast

5 bananas
4 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs.


2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons butter
Dash milk
2 tablespoons honey
Dash more milk.


Bake at 180*C until knife comes out pretty clean.

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Friday, May 01, 2009

Mrs. Beeton again.

It really was a surprisingly acceptable substitute for milk, though different (less sweet, less white, more filling). Like soy milk substitution, I don't think I'll take up pouring beaten egg into my coffee regularly. 

Yeah, egg in coffee. I needed the conjunction of a fresh-laid egg and nerve. The egg has become easier, fowl houses are fashionable among my friends (and if any of you want to start with bantams I think I know 3 young hens in search of a good home) and so the nerve was provided by the example of my daughters keenly eating raw egg out of bowls this afternoon. For those concerned about the possibility of eggy lumps in the coffee: there were a few, they sank. I left that half inch in the bottom. 

I think I'm more likely to take up still more nutritrious coffee though I might try to do it without boiling either the milk or the coffee. 

1864. INGREDIENTS - 1/2 oz. of ground coffee, 1 pint of milk.

Mode.—Let the coffee be freshly ground; put it into a saucepan, with the milk, which should be made nearly boiling before the coffee is put in, and boil both together for 3 minutes; clear it by pouring some of it into a cup, and then back again, and leave it on the hob for a few minutes to settle thoroughly. This coffee may be made still more nutritious by the addition of an egg well beaten, and put into the coffee-cup.

Time.—5 minutes to boil, 5 minutes to settle.

Sufficient to make 1 large breakfast-cupful of coffee. 
(This recipe also from Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management, first published in 1859-61, now available from
I'm reading Kathryn Hughes' biography of Isabella Beeton, a book better than eggy coffee. 

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Stephane Grappelli turns me to jelly

I want to play like Stephane Grappelli, like Pamela Dowsett from Swing Reverie...

and I want to hear this song

Music by Doug Bowes 
Lyrics by Marie-Lynn Hammond 

my man plays in a barroom band 
he’s got one pair of lightning hands 
well he sits in the middle 
and he plays jazz fiddle 
right beside the big trombone 
oh it’s dark when he goes out to work 
and light when he gets home 

I asked my man to show me how to play 
he said ‘forget it sugar 
that’ll be the day 
you know this may be 1931 
but a woman belongs at home
baking pies and making eyes 
at the man she calls her own’ 

so I bought me a fiddle on the sly 
and a crank-up gramophone 
I can’t go wrong I’m playing along 
with Stephane Grappelli 
he turns me to jelly 
I’m learning tricks 
and real swell licks 
while my man is snoring away 
goodbye Yehudi hello Venuti 
my how that kid can play... 

well did you hear the news 
my man has done left town 
he ran off with that old Marjorie Brown 
oh I cried for a little 
then I grabbed my fiddle 
and I went down the the bar 
I said ‘Hey boss listen 
you’re missin’ a musician 
but you don’t have to look too far 

’cause here I am 
better grab me while you can 
or I’ll be struttin’ my stuff in ol’ 
Ina Ray Hutton’s 
all girl band