Wednesday, May 30, 2012

When I Think

by Robert Creeley

When I think of where I've come from
or even try to measure as any kind of
distance these places, all the various
people, and all the ways in which I re-
member them, so that even the skin I
touched or was myself fact of, inside,
could see through like a hole in the wall
or listen to, it must have been, to what
was going on in there, even if I was still
too dumb to know anything—When I think
of the miles and miles of roads, or meals,
of telephone wires even, or even of water
poured out in endless streams down streaks
of black sky or the dirt roads washed clean,
or myriad, salty tears and suddenly it's spring
again, or it was—Even when I think about
all those I treated so poorly, names, places,
their waiting uselessly for me in the rain and
I never came, was never really there at all,
was moving so confusedly, so fast, so driven
like a car along some empty highway passing,
passing other cars—When I try to think of
things, of what's happened, of what a life is
and was, my life, when I wonder what it meant,
the sad days passing, the continuing, echoing deaths,
all the painful, belligerent news, and the dog still
waiting to be fed, the closeness of you sleeping, voices,
presences, of children, of our own grown children,
the shining, bright sun, the smell of the air just now,
each physical moment, passing, passing, it's what
it always is or ever was, just then, just there.

Monday, May 28, 2012

This long weekend

This weekend was pretty busy.

                        Swim lessons and farmers market and date night.

                            Haircuts and beach dates and visiting new babies.

                                   And then today we went to the Folklife Music Festival and heard several of Seattle's great kindie bands: Johnny Bregar, the Board of Education, Harmonica Pocket and everyone's favorite, Caspar Babypants!

                            We were there with a ton of our friends and neighbors, as well as everyone else in Seattle who has kids.

                            Dance party!!!!

Linking with Amanda for Weekending.

Friday, May 25, 2012

This Moment

Linking with Soule Mama for This Moment.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Chicken Scratches

I've decided this summer I want to work on my sewing skills. I do enjoy it, I think, but I don't do it very often and I am such a beginner that every time I do, it's reinventing the wheel. This counts for any and all kinds of sewing, machine and hand.

So I have a goal that I will work on some sort of sewing project at least once a week over the summer. (Summer starts in June via the calendar, not based on the weather of course. I might be waiting a while for that.)

I have a couple of easy machine sewing projects lined up, I have the fabric and everything. I also am interested in embroidery and I have a cool alphabet sampler and every so often I try to teach myself the stitches.

I forgot how learning things is hard. I get all excited in my head, with visions of samplers hanging in Unity's bedroom and me running around town in hand-made outfits that both flatter and fit me. "Oh this?" I could say. "I made it."

But I forget how dreaming up an idea is one tiny piece of creating something. The rest of it is doing the work. And making the mistakes. And throwing it down in frustration and consulting the internet and friends and deciding to wait until tomorrow. While I lay on the bed and dream up more ideas.

Chris keeps reminding me that knitting was like this for me when I first started. And that wasn't really that long ago. Two or three years? I had a pair of hot pink plastic size 17 needles and some extra bulky wool yarn and a copy of Stitch and Bitch and I puzzled my way through a scarf. And I love it now and I knit on the bus and while watching BBC dramas. Which is not to say I am an expert at all, but I have come a long way since the size 17s.

But to get from here to there is the work. The commitment. The coming back to it and trying again even when I'm frustrated, trying to find that place where my brain opens to the skill and my body understands what I'm supposed to do. I have to pick it up again.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Things I am grateful for:

1. Fun things to do on a rainy day
 2. Friends to hang out with.
3. Being able to be home full-time with my amazing kids.
4. Our continued good health.
5. My beautiful amazing Quaker Meeting
6. The Rumpus' Letters to Each Other, which has gotten me so excited to check the mail every day. 
7. My supportive husband who comes home from work and helps with dinner and bedtime and then watches BBC dramas with me.
8. Caspar Babypants and all the Seattle kindie bands who make kids music fun for everyone.
9. Our families who continue to love and support us.
10. all the roads we've walked that got us to this place, right here, right now.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Weekend Jam

This weekend marked an exciting milestone for us. Our local farmer's market has opened for the season! It's still early, so all I bought was pickles and apples, but it was so exciting to take the kids and stroll around visiting all the booths and seeing neighbors.

 It also inspired me to clean last summers fruit out of the freezer to make room for the coming bounty.

                                          Thus, cherry jam. With just a hint of vanilla. And just in time too, we are down to our last jar of jam from last summer.

Also we got out a step stool and introduced Unity to the wonders of the washing machine. Hey, if she's going to change her clothes three times a day... To her credit she is actually really excited about helping out around the house and has been asking if there are any dishes she can wash. Well, if you insist. I give most of the credit to her Montessori school for making practical life skills fun.

Linking with Amanda for Weekending.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Trends in Baby Names, Part 2

At the risk of taking over this blog with more baby name graphs and analysis, I thought I would put a couple of more interesting ones I made, based on Polly's assertion that the name Brixton will eventually be one the top 1000 names for boys.

The Social Security name data for lists 14,258 unique spellings for names given to 5 or more baby boys who were born in 2011.  With 66 of the 1.8+ million boys being named Brixton you might think that it would be quite a while before Brixton cracked the top 1000, but the funny thing about names is that parents tend to like a lot of the same names, especially for boys.  

The top 10 names account for 8.8% of the number of baby girls and 9% of the number of boys.  The top 100 account for 34.3% and 46.5% respectively.  Or, nearly half the boys born in 2011 were given names in the top 100! 

This is further complicated by the fact that people often use alternate spellings for names which are pronounced the same way (i.e. Jayden and Jaiden). But the SSN treats them as unique names, so I will too.

Another way of looking at this is at how many babies were given the name which falls in the 10th, 100th and 1000th most popular names.

You can see from this that in order to break into the top 1000 names, there need to be around 192 babies named Brixton in a given year. Breaking the top 100 is much more difficult, while the top 10 is reserved for old favorites like Daniel, William, Michael, and Alexander.

There's a couple of neat graphs which can be made showing the percentage of the total each baby name represents and the cumulative percentage (shown for the top 1000 names).  You can see that the curves that the top boy name account for a larger percentage of the total than girl names; meaning that there is more diversity in girl names.

There's actually a name for this type of distribution in mathematics: The Pareto (or Bradford) distribution.  There's a bunch of math which would give you a formula that would describe each of the curves, but I'm not that much of a nerd. For analysis on a more nerdier level than I can accomplish, check out this research paper on the effects of popular culture on the naming patterns in France.

So, the question then is, about how long will it take for Brixton to break into the top 1000 if the popularity of the name keeps increasing at the same rate?  For this question I'm a little fuzzy on how to estimate the formula for the curve, but Excel has some cool formulas (LOGEST and LINEST) for estimating logarithmic or linear formulas based on statistical data.  So here's a projection based on existing data.

If trends continue at the same rate, Brixton may crack the top 1000 names around 2016. However, parents are fickle beings, and the popularity of names with 'x' (Paxton, Braxton, Brixton) may wear off, especially as more and more kids carry those types of names.

All I can say is that we've done our part for the name Brixton, it's up to the rest of America now.

Yarn along- a special anniversary gift

Finally I can share this latest knitting project. It's an anniversary gift for my parents, who just celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. I found some yarn with a tie-dye 1972 feel and made placemats. I used the linen stitch which was new to me and very fun. I like the loose airy feel it creates. I added the medals to their package because being successfully married for 40 years? Well that deserves a medal!

Linking up with Ginny for Yarn Along.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Trends in Baby Names

For those that don't know, Polly spends quite a bit of her waking (and sleeping) hours thinking about names.  She reads name blogs, discusses names in online forums devoted to the subject and looks forward every year for the big holiday for names and the people who love them: Mother's Day. That's the day when the Social Security Administration releases their baby name statistics and name devotees can discuss trending topics in names.  

Sometimes Polly will ask me, apropos of nothing, whether I like name A or B more.  I am horrible at this game, since I can barely remember my own name, let alone other people names, and will answer A or B almost at random.  Then Polly will ask me 'why?' and I will mumble out an answer usually along the lines of 'I donno' or 'just cuz.' 

Sigh. I'm sure this is insanely frustrating, sort of like if someone didn't think 3-D printers or a $25 computer the size of a paperclip were inherently cool. To make it up to her I try to put my elite hacking skills ('findstr' and Excel) to use making some more nifty graphs which show the trending popularity of some specific names. 

Polly, I love you, here are some more graphs!

Polly is convinced that the name 'Brixton' will eventually be in the top 1000 names for boys (due to the similarity to Braxton and Paxton).   Thoughts?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Ding ding! Let the season begin.

I know in some parts of the country, it's been summer temps for a while now. But we are just starting to get some ( and of course there's no guarantee they'll stay. We like to say that summer starts right around the 4th of July.) But, the upside of all that is that we treasure each and every sunny moment.

                                 This weekend we had our first beach date. First of many.
                        The Meeting kids admire the view. I think we live in the most beautiful place on earth.
                                       We took the water taxi to West Seattle. It's funny, you get over there and everyone is running around in bikinis and bumping music out their car doors. It's as close to Miami as we're going to get.

                               We rented a little bicycle cart and went peddling down the boardwalk.
                               It was so cute.

Brixton has this amazing ability to sleep anywhere. I have so many pictures of him sleeping on floors, on picnic tables, in my lap, in the car. It's a gift that we highly appreciate.

I'd say it was a pretty good weekend to start the summer (fingers crossed we get to keep it for a while.)

Linking with Amanda for Weekending.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Trends in Reading for Q2 for Polly

We are pleased to report to shareholders that Polly has shown steady growth in reading for the second fiscal quarter of the year (and a sneak peak at the third quarter). While the number of books per month has remained steady, the number of pages per month has shown growth, with an impressive 3901 pages in April. Even more impressive are trends in the average number of pages per book, which show an increase as well, leading us to think that Polly has been taking on larger books during the spring, which investors need to see for sustained reading growth.

However, statistics from February show a large number of books read, with the smallest number of pages per book and the largest number of pages per day, leading analysts to believe that Polly focused on what the industry refers to as 'young adult' literature during the doldrums of the middle of winter. This shows the versatility of Polly as she reacts proactively to ensure sustained reading in a volatile market.

Overall results were 8,219 pages for the quarter from 26 books, with an average of 90.32 pages per day. Polly is very pleased with her results for the second quarter of the fiscal year and the initial statistics for the third quarter suggest similar strong growth for shareholders.

Please note that these statistics do not reflect reading in the 'children's books' and 'magazine' categories which may also impact shareholder dividends.

HBD you and me

                             My brother and I are three years and a day apart. So it's both of our birthdays!
                             I am beyond grateful for him and can't imagine life without him. Lots of love Guel.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Happy Birthday Grandma Rene

                           Happy Birthday to my Grandma Rene, who would have been 101 today.
                           The matriarch of my family, the symbol of love personified, she is a constant
                            inspiration. As we like to say in the Lewis clan, love lives on.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Happy Birthday Chris!

                               We love you!!!

Monday, May 07, 2012

Our weekend getaway

This weekend we went to the Olympic Peninsula to celebrate a certain Papa's upcoming milestone birthday.

                               It was magical. We had a little cabin on the beach, just rustic enough.
                                (Brixton wants me to tell you about how we threw rocks in the water.
                                 We did.)

                                And yes, this beach is a bundle-up beach. That's what happens when you
                                are in a rainforest.

                                   We hiked through the Hoh rain forest. It's hard to describe- these
                                    massive trees, older than old, covered with moss.

                                I guess it puts turning 40 in perspective.

These trees are still growing out of their nurse log. Little sprouts will start to grow on a fallen log, feeding off the nutrients. They grow in a row, all lined up on the log. These huge trees are still lined up around what's left of their nurse log. So beautiful.

Friday, May 04, 2012

This Moment-the artist

Linking with Soule Mama.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Sick as a....

             Still dealing with a massive cold here. Sigh. I've realized there are two kinds of sick people- the kind who wanted to be petted and fussed over (dogs) and the kind who just want to crawl away and be miserable alone (cats). Doesn't matter what kind you are, if you are a parent you never really get either luxury.

I'm just hoping it doesn't sweep through the rest of the fam.