Sunday, January 17, 2010

In the Living Room

Roller-blading in the living room to demonstrate a point of ice-skating theory to Pocket of Bolts. Hey, got to de-stress somehow.

Survived the first week of the term... barely. My new opinion about writing lectures is: they are not as *hard* to write as I feared, but they take much much much longer than I'd hoped.

On Friday my estimate was, if I worked every day of the three day weekend, I *might* be able to get my head above water. Somewhat. Two days in, I'm thinking that was a little optimistic. I mean, I have worked pretty diligently both yesterday and today (minus short breaks for ice-skating and such), but my head is not quite above the water. Sigh.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Condiment Plate

One of Pocket of Bolts' favorite dinners is Asian Beef Wraps. It is steak grilled and then cut into strips and briefly marinated in a spicy Southeast Asian style sauce (fish sauce, lime juice, siracha, etc.). These are wrapped in lettuce leaves together with various vegetatious condiments (pictured here). We usually have it with rice as well. It's a Southeast Asian variant of a common Korean meal we had often when I was little... I think of it as a summer thing, but for PoB it's comfort food any time of year. He usually is in charge of making it, but I often sous-chef, and the carrot curls in this picture are all me. :-)

Last day of "freedom" before the term starts back up in earnest. I spent the day in my office trying to get stuff ready. The way my procrastination works, it's always easiest to make myself work on the lowest priority things, the stuff farthest out. So, for once, that was my dissertation. Got a little course planning in too, though, since I *had* to.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Heat Lamps on the El

Yesterday I had to do an errand somewhere in the city I don't usually go. I took the brown line to get there, and then I got lost because I had never been there on the brown line before. It was snowing really hard. I called Pocket of Bolts but he didn't pick up. I thought about calling someone else, but then I wandered around and found my own way.

This is the platform of the brown line on the way back, after sunset. I really like how the heat lamps had melted the snow.

Yesterday we also went to see Where the Wild Things Are at the Siskel Center. A lot of it was very good but it was ... somehow more sad than I wanted it to be. The sense of wonder potentially inherent in the story and concept was definitely there ... but, did it also have to get so badly smashed so often. I felt it was definitely more an allegory for adults than a fun film for kids. But I don't have a problem with that.

School starts on Monday. I feel worried and not ready, even though I have worked really hard this week. Too slow.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Black-Hearted Red Carnations

Painted free-hand. I have almost never tried that. Pocket of Bolts got me the flowers yesterday to try cheer me up. I sat at the kitchen island and made a picture of them while he made dinner.

ZP: "The ones in the picture look anemic."
PoB: "They don't look anemic. They just seem that way to you because you are sad in your heart."

We both like the vase best. PoB said it looked like a comic-book picture. I kinda like that.

Monday, January 04, 2010


These long clams, I thought were pretty amazing looking. This is only a cell phone picture, but even so. We saw them in Chinatown, when we went down there for dim sum on Saturday. The dim sum was decent, though not spectacular. We chose a place pretty much at random, because ... well, Chinatown is just around the corner. Why should we make a rare and special occasion of it? Why shouldn't we be going down there all the time, any time, exploring and getting to know all the various restaurants?

After dim sum, we went to the grocery store where we saw these clams. We were getting stuff for hot-pot, which we made in honor of Pocket of Bolts' friend coming over for dinner. We also got stuff to make kimchee, but I haven't gotten around to making it yet. It's reasonably easy, but seems like such a ... process. Haven't quite had the energy.

Went back to work today. I was just about the only one. None of my colleagues were back yet... classes not starting for a week. But I have plenty more than a week's worth of work to get through. I made a somewhat decent start on it today. Hopefully at least did enough that I won't be staying up until 2 AM (for the 6th night in a row) worrying about it.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Ice Skating

Pocket of Bolts goes ice-skating for the very first time. We went yesterday and bought ice-skates. It was this kind of calculation: skate rental is $10 a pair and the wait in line was running about an hour. Pocket of Bolts values an hour of his time at about $50; I tend toward a more modest $15-20, but still... given that skates cost about $45 with tax... we'd only have to go twice at most to make it worthwhile. Not to mention avoiding having to stand in line (outside) in 20 degree weather. Pocket of Bolts was very nervous about skating for the first time. We went yesterday and he most clung to the rail and made his slow way around. When other slower beginners were monopolizing the rail, I took his hand and helped him go around. He is big and I am small, but I was amazed how effectively I managed to support his tottering self. Haven't ice-skated in a long time, but still... felt rock-steady. We only stayed about half an hour, until the resurfacing machine started up. That was enough. As with the Art Institute: when it's free, you can go for a short time and not feel under pressure to get your money's worth.

We went again today. It was amazing how much progress Pocket of Bolts had made. He could mostly go around just holding my hand, only grabbing for the rail now and then. He seems to be starting to intuit the means of propulsion. Watching him make progress makes it even more fun to go skating because it's something he never thought he would be able to do and now he is starting to be able to do it. Millennium Park is also a very neat place to skate, with the Bean (Cloud Gate) looming over and endless potential people-watching. So hey, despite the frigid weather, Chicago winter's not all bad.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

New Years Day Walk

A very cold day yesterday, but we felt like going for a walk. This is a bridge in Grant Park.

It had a great tree by it, and the tiny person near the tree is me.

Pocket of Bolts in a field of snow and trees.

Us reflected in the new modern wing of the Art Institute.

Pocket of Bolts contemplates how those people's camera-flash has just ripped a hole in the fabric of space-time.

We saw lots of people with ice-skates. Coming down to the free outdoor skating rink that it turns out they have in Millennium Park, we saw a bunch of people there, waiting out the resurfacing.

I said: "*I* want to go ice-skating!"

Friday, January 01, 2010

Direction of Travel

Yesterday we went up to the roof. In this patch of frozen snow, right near the door, there were the strange patterned tracks of all these birds. No human footprints mixed in: it was extremely cold and icy, really too cold to be up there. Still, looking out over the city in all four directions gives me such a feeling of expansiveness. On the cusp of old year and new year, wondering about the direction that life will take next. Just now it's hard to feel eager or excited about it. But maybe... soon...