In Sickness and In Health

March 26, 2010 at 8:18 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I didn’t even want a dog.

Now, a year later, I cried hearing that he was sick. Kidney failure. But we didn’t have enough time with him.  He is the perfect dog for our family.

Maybe I am over reacting, and he will be OK.


Dragon Tales

February 20, 2010 at 10:17 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Arthur 1, originally uploaded by MAKNJ.

For Christmas, my nephews got this dragon. I was trying to take a picture without flash, which explains the yellow tint to the photo. i call this his “Jurassic Park Velociraptor” pose!

How Time Flies

February 19, 2010 at 11:26 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I can’t believe my little boy is eight today.  I planned to use this blog to write about our adventures traveling with a young child.  We got so busy traveling and growing up, I now have notes from several trips we took years ago, but I never posted about it.  He requires almost no special attention now, other than the fact that he barely eats regular food.  But, give the kid a chicken nugget meal in the car, and he’ll gladly sit with us in any restaurant and let us enjoy our exotic cuisine.  Throw in the DS, and he’ll sit quietly all night!

The only time he's ever been "Static"

Here he is getting a makeover at the Maryland Science Center.  He loved it even more at 8 than at 6.

This effect of hair standing up on edge worked better with the girl with long blond hair, but obviously I am not posting someone else’s picture up here.

He actually got to do an experiment last month when we were there:

He is evaluating the relative effectiveness of dish soap, household cleaner, and bleach on germs.  He had to come up with a hypothesis, set up a control test tube, and add the agents to the other tubes.  He then exposed the tubes to ultraviolet light, where anything alive would phosphores.  He found that bleach was most effective, which confirmed his hypothesis, but we were surprised to find that dish soap was more effective at killing the germs as household cleaner!  They had results of the experiment done by real scientists, and we found that Oliver’s results were consistent with theirs.  So, he is a real scientist!

Great visit to the “Wet Lab.”


June 13, 2009 at 9:57 pm | Posted in East Coast, Festivals, Food, The Great Outdoors, Travels | 1 Comment

Oliver’s First Camping Trip

Ok, first of all, for you hard core campers out there – this is just one step more rustic than the Holiday Inn, but we’ll just call it camping and be done with it.

Last fall, Kevin, Oliver and I headed down to North Carolina for a great festival outside of Asheville:  The Lake Eden Arts Festival, also known as LEAF.  We had been to it in the past, before Oliver was born, and were looking forward to seeing it through his eyes:  Music…dancing…kid-friendly crafts…camping, and excellent food.  What other outdoor festival serves gourmet French crepes for lunch?

A few days before meeting up with our friend Mary at the campground, Kevin logged to the fesival website to get a time table and learned that it was sold out.  That’s right, no more tickets to be had!  Well, all three adults had taken time off of work, and the little one had his heart set on missing school, so we were not about to give up on our camping trip, so we set out on the long drive.

We had a great time:  Spent time with Mary, visited the Biltmore Estate and Table Rock, ate ice cream, and even visited his Carolina Cousins on the way back.   Oliver had never had s’mores before, an oversight we quickly remedied.  Now he’s a big fan.

First Campfire

June 13, 2009 at 9:49 pm | Posted in East Coast, Food, The Great Outdoors, Travels | Leave a comment

First Campfire, originally uploaded by MAKNJ.

Loving Cup

June 11, 2009 at 3:02 pm | Posted in Miscellaneous | 1 Comment
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Loving Cup, originally uploaded by MAKNJ.

My sister gave me this mug. I am a big tea drinker, and this matches a plate I gave her when she was starting her family. It says “You are Special Today.” I use it on special events, to mark occasions, and then, sometimes, I use its magic power to remind me that I am special on days when I am down.

This mug is not for everyday use. You need a REASON to use it.

That is, until my parents moved in with us. My mom used the mug indiscriminately, any day of the week, making it lose its specialness and power. I considered telling her the problem, but I knew she would not understand, and might laugh at me. And there is nothing as not-special as being laughed at by your own mother.

And then one day I came home and it was broken. There were several chips in it, as if it had fallen to the floor. And bounced. Noone owned up to it. I have not used the mug since.  I wanted to throw it away, until I looked at it from a certain angle and saw the shape made by the largest chip.

I guess you can find love anywhere if you look.

Baked Sweet Potato Falafel

May 20, 2009 at 11:27 pm | Posted in Food | Leave a comment
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Baked Sweet Potato Falafel Recipe – 101 Cookbooks

Seriously…I am going to beg my sister to make this with me this weekend.


April 27, 2009 at 9:42 pm | Posted in Books | Leave a comment

My friend Marie has started a new blog called The Shore Bookworm.  Here is the meme about books, and I will answer it on behalf of the whole family:

1. To mark your page you: use a bookmark, bend the page corner, leave the book open face down?   Kevin uses dogears a lot, so I do, too, when we are reading the same book.  For hardcovers,  I use the dust jacket flap as a bookmark.  Oliver reads books that you finish in one sitting, so he doesn’t use bookmarks, but he does love to collect them!

2. Do you lend your books?  We usually give books away, or trade them.  We’ve made a promise to ourselves not to accumulate  books, so we only keep the very special ones.

3. You find an interesting passage: you write in your book or NO WRITING IN BOOKS!   Usually, no writing, but Oliver has been known to color ina book.  Not so much now that he can read.

4. Dust jackets – leave it on or take it off?
   Oliver and Kevin get rid of them as soon as they open the book.  I try to save them before they get stepped on, because some of the kids books have great art.

5. Hard cover, paperback, skip it and get the audio book?   We like to wait for paperback if we can.  Audio books are great on roadtrips, and for falling asleep, but only unabridged ones.  I love iTunes!

6. Do you shelve your books by subject, author, or size and color of the book spines? Before Kevin:  by subject, and then alphabetically by author within subject.  Fiction all by author.  (I used to work in a library – I’m lucky I don’t use the Dewey decimal system.)  After Kevin:  Which ever book you just read goes i the open spot on the shelf.

7. Buy it or borrow it from the library later?   Our procrastination makes library books very expensive.

8. Do you put your name on your books – scribble your name in the cover, fancy bookplate, or stamp?   We both have books from our childhood, in which we proudly wrote our names.  Now, we don’t bother.  But I do still have the book stamp my parents gave me for Christmas one year that crimps the paper like a corporate seal. So cool, I was thrilled.  except for my name being spelled wrong.  So I don’t use it.


9. Most of the books you own are rare and out of print books or recent publications?   The only way we have stumbled into a rare out of print book is if we owned it when it was new, and now it’s out of print.  All the value in our books is in the words, not the pages.

10. Page edges – deckled or straight? Straight!
11. How many books do you read at one time? Usually one novel at a time, but several non-fiction.  Oliver has one “bedtime reading” chapter book that we read to him, and any number of books he reads each day, one after the other.

12. Be honest, ever tear a page from a book?
  Never.  (‘Cept for Oliver, but that doesn’t count, he was just excited about the fox and the box and the house and the mouse)

Please let us know your answers.

Photoshop Before and After

April 25, 2009 at 6:37 pm | Posted in East Coast, Miscellaneous, The Great Outdoors | Leave a comment
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I took this at the park on a warm winter day. You know the kind, where you can’t resist wearing your short sleeve shirt and saying “I can’t believe this is January!” 

I was trying for the visual interest of the perspective of the fence getting smaller, then the punch of him in his colorful shirt.  (We bought that shirt at the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, NJ.  I have one just like it.  What is it about tie dye?)
I like this picture, but I couldn’t leave well enough alone.  So I changed it and like the new one so much I posted it on my Flickr page.
I added a little vignetting and changed it to black and white.  But I let his shirt shine through:










Kevin wanted some pictures to hang on the wall in his new office, so he shopped at MAKNJ’s Photography Studio (my study in the spare bedroom) and picked out this one.  But I didn’t like the way it looked in the frame, so I went back to the color version, desaturated it a little, and then applied a tint so it’s sort of sepia toned.  




Then, I read this post on Shutter Sisters asking us to show some before and after pictures we had edited.  They call it “Before, After, and Beyond.”  if you’ve done anything fun with your photos, leave a link in the comments.

Returned from Hiatus

April 22, 2009 at 8:52 pm | Posted in Miscellaneous | 1 Comment

I just commented on a post at NOLA Notes, who has this function where it posts a link to your last blogpost (cool).  And I realized I had been silent since my birthday.  Silent, me?  Unlikely.  But true.  I somehow let three months pass by without noticing.  I will endeavor to be more regular in my posting.  After all, I do have a lot to say!

Coming soon:  Photos from the Doo Dah Parade in Ocean City, results from Oliver’s standardized tests, and life with our new dog.

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