Wednesday, February 28, 2007


It was a co-worker's birthday today, and another of my co-workers (Amber the prolific anonymous commenter) made cupcakes. Let me just say - as much as I like to bake, and as fancy stuff as I make, I am terrible at cupcakes. Always end up overflowing or not filling them enough and having puny little cakelets. Amber's were a dream. Got a little smudged in handling, but that's ok. Anyway, she had to go home with a sick child this afternoon, but I promised her a picture of them. Voila!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

4th Street

Got to go out to a surprise dinner with Mich at one of our favorite restaurants, 4th St. Bistro tonight. (Mich's mom is spending the night and babysitting.) Had a wonderful meal - Mich had a great potato-leek soup with bacon crumbles and green onion drizzle - it was like a baked potato in a bowl. I started with a baby green salad with pears, pistachios and cocoa nibs. We both had spanish-influenced or flavored main courses - I had the chicken breast on potato puree and peppers with pepper mustard, and Mich had seared ahi with picorillo tapenade. Shared a 2003 Jaffurs Syrah that was very pleasant. I had a tiny, light round chocolate cake with coconut ice cream for dessert, and Mich had their classic Scharfen Berger chocolate tart (most of which she brought home for her mom.) Lovely evening, lovely dinner.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Samurai pie

Been watching the Backyardigans lately - the title of this post is from a season two episode in which a couple of the characters are, well, samurai pie-makers. Who have to defend their pies from pie-stealing ninjas. Anyway. They have to make the "Great Pie" for the empress. Julien wanted to make a "Great Pie" this weekend, so we came up with this. It's apple (Granny Smith) with a layer of pears on top and a few slivers of cream cheese for good luck. (It was a cream cheese crust and I had some left over.) It's half gone now...

Playing hard and resting hard

So my parents are in town, and I'm not sure who's more exhausted - Julien and Sofia or Grandma Gail. Here's photographic evidence -

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Books not read

One of the downsides to reading books by a couple of your favorite authors right in a row is that it's hard to follow them up. I can't seem to find anything that's really catching my attention after You Suck and Hurricane Punch. A few that I've started but probably won't finish:
Stuart: A Life Backwards by Alexander Masters
The Yellow House by Martin Gayford
I, Lucifer by Glen Duncan
Before the Dawn by Nicholas Wade
And at least another two that I left at work and can't figure out the titles ofright now...


Did some reorganizing this weekend and found a whole bin full of stuffed animals that we had put away because Sofia was too young to enjoy them. Not anymore. One of the wicker baskets that she now keeps them in has wheels on it, and she likes to push it around like a stroller. Check it out - obviously enjoying herself...

Monday, February 19, 2007


Just finished another book; albeit a reread - Fellowship of the Rings. (If you need me to include a link for this one, you can just stop reading now.) Almost finished it this morning at the gym, and didn't want to take it tomorrow morning - I hate finishing up halfway through a session on the bike or elliptical trainer and having nothing to do for the rest of the time. Anyway, I was trying to remember the last time I read these - I think it was shortly after the movies came out. Funny that my main reactions to them are still in what way they differed from the films - whose lines were used somewhere else, etc. I keep reflecting that those movies were done SO WELL. Can't imagine any way that they could have been done better. The few changes that there were worked very well in the film format, and the little switching around of lines also flowed. On to Two Towers tomorrow morning...

I AM counting this one -

Book 11

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Hurricane Punch

Had to drop everything I was reading a few days ago when I realized that Tim Dorsey had a new book out. He's kind of a guilty pleasure of mine - one on the few authors that we shelve in Mystery who I read consistently. Also, he's kind of sick and twisted - he writes Florida crime fiction - think Carl Hiassen or Elmore Leonard, but a bit more humor (like Dave Barry) and more twisted. His main recurring character, Serge Storms is a Florida history nut/serial killer with heart of gold. The main schtick (and what makes him a sympathetic character) is that he only kills people who deserve it, and only in really interesting ways that fit their transgressions. I know, sounds debauched, but it comes across really funny. Anyway, this one, Hurricane Punch, revolves around a copycat seriel killer and the crazy Florida news media. It's his most well-crafted to date, I think, and he's backed off of gruesome description somewhat. I really enjoyed it; read straight through in maybe 3 days. Not sure who to recommend it to, though...

Book 10

Caveman Princess

Sofia came up with a pretty good look when she stumbled out of her room this morning. We called it "caveman princess." Toting her stuffed animal by the foot, too. Note the sneeze and post-sneeze pics as well...

Tinker II, The Exciting Conclusion

Went back in to try to fix our bookshelf stereo again (see ). Had to take it COMPLETELY apart again, and lost one screw somewhere while I was doing it. Found the one connection that I missed, though, and now it all works perfect. I totally rock.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Capital P

Had a good time playing pool with Mich and Brian (the birthday boy) last night, noone else showed up. Pool is so funny - I haven't played in maybe 3 years (and never was stellar), but played fairly well last night. Lost both games I played, though - I always do really well then can't close the deal. But had some good runs, and enjoyed it.

Friday, February 16, 2007


A follow-up visit to our pediatrician today confirmed that Sofia probably has a very slight case of asthma. Nothing at all serious; the kind that only really affects her if she's got a cold. We'll get her prescription for a kiddie inhaler-tubey thing filled tomorrow, and see how it goes.

What else is going on? Going out for a little while tonight to celebrate one of Mich's employee's birthdays - she's got such a great crew right now, all guys you can genuinely hang out with. Not the alcoholics/meth tweakers of past years... On the nerd/dork front, I'm somewhat enjoying learning about wikis with the software that the library is now using for our staff resources. My motorcycle has a flat; going to try to get that fixed tomorrow. And we finally got some snow, so I may try to get a run or two of skiing in the backcountry in over the weekend as well. Busy, busy...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The World is Flat

About a week ago, I finished The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman, in audiobook format. I figured my driving time (avg. 18 minutes each way) to work made sense for me to start listening to audiobooks. This one was pretty good - I'm glad I listened to it, because I probably wouldn't have made it through the book. I particularly liked the reader's accents, when he was quoting someone from India or England. Anyway - the whole concept is that all the improvements in global information infrastructure have made it so that almost the whole world is on equal footing as far as opportunity - the field has been leveled. ie; flattened. The World is Flat. Cute. It reads a little too popular for it's own good - I'm sure this got picked apart by critics. But I did enjoy it; it gave me an insight into some things I usually don't think about. Like You: An Owners Manual, one of those NF books I had to read to see what the big deal was.

Not counting this toward my book total, feels like cheating, listening to it...


Had a pretty good Valentines Day - got the kids to school with vday treats, delivered a few valentines on the way, and got to work a couple minutes early to distribute cookies. Just had a nice dinner with Mich, although the kids were kinda sugar-hyped during it. Now getting kids to bed, and a couple quiet moments. Hopefully.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


Had a marathon Valentine's Day cookie frosting session today. Here's the aftermath of one of my batches of glaze. You can see the oven surface through the wax paper. I won't show you pictures of the cookies in case any of you are possible recipients; wouldn't want to spoil the surprise...

Saturday, February 10, 2007


That which was lost has been found. Julien's blankie has been missing for a coupl eof weeks, since Grandma Gail's visit. Pulled out the fold-up playhouse this afternoon, and there it was, scrunched up in the bottom. There was much rejoicing in the Becker household.

I've been slacking on the picture-a-day thing (thanks for pointing that out, Marc.) Actually, I think I've only missed one or maybe two days, but that does kind of ruin the streak. Oh well, first resolution down the drain. I'm still going to try to keep up on it, but so many days are: Wake up, breakfast, clothes on kids, school, work, home, dinner, baths, stories, goodnight. And when it's dark when I get home, that's even less photo opportunity. I was thinking I would pad with silly pictures of our house, or the kids, but lost interest in that pretty quick. Anyway...

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

You: The Owners Maual

You: The Owners Manual was another one of those non-fiction books that I felt I should read, just to get a sense of what all the fuss was about. Turned out pretty interesting; I certainly learned a few things about the workings of our bodies. Seems pretty sane and well thought out; the one thing that kind of irked me was the silly, cartoony illustrations that seemed to offer as much humorous misinformation as actual help. Oh well. the author, Michael Roizen, followed this up with You: On a Diet. I'll bet that would be a pretty sane diet book, too, if one were looking or that kind of thing.

Book 9

Wii Golfer

Couldn't come up with a picture of my own today - this one is picked from my mom's Flickr account. She was down watching the kids while Mich and I went to the Clam Beach run, and Julien showed her how the Wii works. Here he is, matching blue shirt and all, taking a big cut on Wii Sports Golf.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Omnivores Dilemma

Wasn't sure whether I 'd like this one, but I'm really glad I read it. When I was part way through it, I described it to someone at the library as "a more erudite Fast Food Nation." Where Fast Food Nation was an expose of the fast food industry, The Omnivores Dilemma is more an exploration of the food industry as a whole. The basic format is that he traces four meals back from their origins to the plate - a fast food meal, a meal entirely from "organic" sources, a meal mostly from a certain sustainable farm that he spent a week learning the workings of, and a meal entirely of foods that he hunted or foraged. He never feels like he's preaching to the reader about how the food industry should be; although it seems like it's hard not to be critical of the huge factory farms and slaughterhouses that feed the fast food empires. The longest and most interesting section is on the "sustainable" farm he spent time at; he obviously was impressed with the way the farm operated as a whole. It was intriguing and inspiring; made me wonder if the ecosystem that they had created could work in a different climate; like Nevada. Anyway, great read - what good non-fiction should be, engaging and thought-provoking.

Book 8


Nice snuggly reading time with Julien tonight. He's working his way through the Magic Tree House series. Pretty good - chapter books, only pictures every few pages. He likes to read a page out loud, then have me read a page out loud to him. We usually do 2 or 3 chapters a night.


Well, actually, it's a little drainage ditch that runs in between the Library's parking lot and the soccer fields next door. It's landscaped pretty well, though, and looks pretty in the mornings. The big embankment past the soccer field is actually Highway 395, and just on the other side of that is the Summit Sierra Lifestyle Center (read Mall). That ice will be gone by Thursday, when it's going to start to rain...

Monday, February 5, 2007


Tried to fix our little bookshelf stereo system yesterday - Julien pulled out one of the CD trays over a year ago, and it won't go back in. Had to take it entirely apart to get to the CD part - It was like they built the whole thing around it. Lots of screws. Eventually figured out how to get the CD drawers back in, and got it all back together. Now it won't read a CD, though - I guess I forgot to plug something back in. I'll have to go back in later...

Saturday, February 3, 2007


So we have a trampoline. Some tenants of Nathan and Sarah's in Fallon moved out and left their trampoline, so they dropped it off at our house. It's not in new condition; a couple if tiny holes in the fabric and stuff, but it's pretty ok overall. I remembered how to do most of the stuff I used to be able to do, and Julien likes just fooling around on it. He's not really heavy enough to get a lot of bounce out of it, but he likes running around on it anyway. Sofia pretty much just stood there and jiggled.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Wear red

Today was national Wear Red Day, to raise awareness of women's heart disease. Almost all of our staff did wear red, and we took this picture, which I got to tweak a little. Made a b&w layer over the color photo, then erased the b&w over the parts I wanted to be in color. I think it came out pretty nice - good enough that I tried this with a picture of the outside of the library. Fun stuff - I'm only scratching the surface with the GIMP, but this was a pretty easy project, so I can't wait to learn more.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

More golf

Got to play a round this morning - went back to Wolf Run, where I have a gift card to run down. Pretty cold to start, the first green was even a little icy-crunchy. None of the greens would hold; landed shots on the front and they bounced to the back or over. Drives ran forever, though - I probably averaged 280 yards. Didn't keep score too closely, but shot about 90. One birdie, one double, buncha pars and bogeys. Got to try a few things - carrying a stream with driver instead of laying up, etc. Had fun and got some exercise. Bet my back will be sore tomorrow.

Found one place on the course where you can see my library - from the 8th tee.