Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Beaver tails, etc

 So, last week, Skip announces that his FINAL French Honors (and I still want to type "honours") Culture Project is about Canada, Quebec in particular, and he is wanting to bring in Queues de Castor as the "food" component.

Sure, we can do that, honey.  When do you need them?

Um... first period, Monday morning.

So yesterday I got up at 530, in order to get the dough ready so he could make those little sweet greasy treats as the sun rose.  and yes, I did make him get up and make them himself (well, except for the measuring and mixing parts.  I just made him do the dangerous 'play with hot oil' bits in his sleep-deprived stupour.)

I am happy to report that he performed admirably, and the four dozen beaver tails that he took in to school at 730am were gone by 9.

Ken went to Ireland back in March.

The group that he went with was so successful that they were already planning the next collaborative effort for May before the California duo (Ken and his boss) had gotten on the airplane to come home.  The group that he works with consists of two guys in Ireland, Ken and his boss in California, and a fifth man in Sydney Australia.  The plan was for the five of them to meet in Sydney this week, and plow through some more sticky math-nerd problems for three weeks.  Then, some time in the summer, the five of them will re-convene in California.

That was the plan.

Ken comes up to me yesterday (this would be the day that I got up at 530am to make beaver tails) and says "No pressure, but I just want to check.  You can't take me to the airport tonight, can you?"

Turns out, his flight was at 1030, and he needed to be at  the airport around 730, which was right smack dab in the middle of my accompanying three choruses at the middle school in the year-end concert.  (And I know he was just asking to be polite.  He knew about the concerts, but it never hurts to give your wife the opportunity to help out if she can)

Um, that would be a negatory, good buddy.

Fortunately, there is the Super Shuttle.

So Kelly and I drive off to the concerts (with 8 dozen cookies for the bake sale), and I play the piano like a distracted 8 year old, but the parents are just there to hear their children sing, right?  The idiot at the keys shouldn't be even given a second thought, right?

I finish playing, and move back to the audience, where I text Ken: "Whew.  Survived.  Don't know if the nervous scary sweat stains will ever come out of the performance blouse, though"  ha ha ha ha.  yes, I am so funny I forgot to laugh.

Ken texts back:  "I am so screwed.  Canadians need a visa to travel to Australia.  I can't get on the plane"

My question:  What did we do to piss off Australia?

I thought Canadians could travel everywhere.  They welcome us with open arms.  We are polite, well-mannered, and self-deprecating, and other countries love us.  Or at least, that's what I thought.  Apparently, Australia has some beef with us, though, and holds us at the gate if we don't have the appropriate paperwork.  it's like the Iron Curtain, or something.

There were some tense moments, while Ken beat himself up over not knowing that he needed a visa, and me sending such helpful texts as "that stinks" and "will you get fired?"

But in the end, with less than ten minutes to spare, he made it onto the plane.


Of course, he'd budgeted extra time at the airport to get dinner after he got checked in, but he used up the entire three and a half hours in negotiations with whoever is in charge of doling out the Australian visas, so he ended up getting on the plane after not having eaten since lunch (which he'd had in a rush at work, early in the day)  I suggested (once again, so helpfully) that he look forlorn and throw himself upon the tender mercy of the flight crew.  I still haven't heard back about whether he was successful.

But now Ken is away for three weeks.  And the single-mom merry go round continues apace.

The concerts last night really need their own entry.  They were good.

There is another concert tonight.

I am currently throwing together beaver tail dough for the bake sale fundraiser accompanying the concert.  And I will be playing a few scary piano pieces, accompanying the Honor Chorus during the early minutes of the concert, and after that, I will rest, and wash my armpits, and then take photos of Kelly performing with the Honor Band.

Tomorrow, it's dentist appointments for the kids, and the Science Fair.

Thursday, I'm doing science with the 2nd grade class, and reading them Shakespeare (I love this teacher - she really introduces a lot of beauty to the class)

Friday is Nate's year-end party at school.  They're going mini-golfing.  Someone shoot me now, I'm chaperoning.

Saturday, Kelly is taking a friend of mine and her young daughter for a horseback ride on the beach first thing in the morning, and I'll be checking on the availability of Horse Camp for the summer.

Oh, speaking of the beach.

Sunday, there was this eclipse.  And we thought "What fun it would be to go out to the beach, and watch it using a giant pin-hole camera!"

So Ken made this great pinhole camera using a giant cardboard box and a sheet of white cardboard for the screen, and we piled the bikes into the back of the van, and headed over to the coast.

It was a lovely day.  I fully expected to get stuck in a line of traffic crawling over the hill to the coast, but the roads were clear.  I have no idea where all the traffic was, but it sure wasn't in Half Moon Bay.

First, Ken took the kids on a bike ride on the coast path.  I walked along behind them (way behind them) and took photos.

Just me, the wind, and a million seagulls.

And then, walking back to the meeting place, I was crossing this old rusty bridge, when I heard peeping.
Insistent peeping.

And it seemed to be coming from right behind my ear.  I stopped, and listened for  a moment, and was finally able to figure out where the sound was coming from.  By standing still as a statue for a few minutes, I was able to witness this:

And then we went to the beach, and nearly froze to death in the bright sunshine.  Who knew wind could be so cold.  Unfortunately, Ken had dressed for the bike ride, and not the wind-chill factor, and ended up nearly dying of consumption, or whatever it is that you get when you get too cold.

But his contraption was a resounding success.  Neither of the kids had retinal damage.
And we got to see this on the screen:

So, my second batch of beaver tail dough is complete.  Gonna make delicious goodness after school, while practicing the piano like a crazy person, so that I don't flub up the zillion and seventy two key changes in "You'll Be In My Heart".  Or the crazy timing changes in RiverSong, which I am playing along with an 8th grade flute and violin, including unwritten score changes to 'make it flow better'. Oh, there's no opportunity for disaster there.  None at all.


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