Sunday, November 23, 2014

Hip Hip Hooray...for Venn Diagrams

I've been pondering Venn diagrams lately.
I love the visual representation of set theory, and it has stuck with me ever since first learning of it in elementary mathematics. Mr. John Venn made them popular in a paper he wrote in 1880, but the concept has been around for much longer. Mr. Venn humbly referred to them as "Eulerian circles", which are a looser form of set diagrams and were invented by a Swiss mathematician a hundred years earlier. 
Now you know more than I knew five minutes ago.

I doodled around a bit tonight. Here are some of the Venn diagrams of my life.

This one is a homage to my dad. He always told me that if I learned to play the piano I would be popular, and, in a way, he was right. I have enjoyed many unique experiences and met some wonderful people through my ability to play the piano proficiently. And I have earned something of a living for thirty years teaching the skill to other people.
So, yay Dad!
That's me in the intersection. Kind of. Depending on your definition of "popular."


This is not me.
This is the opposite of me.
But I do know some people who fall into this intersection.


But this is also me.
Probably with a loose screw.


This is Bethany.
She may be the only person in the world who is represented by this diagram.


This is also me.


Or maybe this would be a better visual, with one being a subset of the other.
Because only people who watch Dr Who have any reason to be scared of weeping angels. 


This is our friend David. 
We went dancing together on Friday night and learned the horseshoe.
Are you jealous?
I think more men should dance with their wives and then more wives would be happy.
Dancing makes me happy.


This is Jeff.
He also dances with his wife.


And this is happening tomorrow.


Don't worry, it's only for a couple of months till Daddy gets home.
Life, it's a-changin'.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The fire is so delightful

By golly, we've been having some weather lately. For a couple of weeks, it was so wet that various fungi have been popping up in regions hitherto uninhabited by such wonders. Little fragile brown toadstools, big white and brown ones, and all kinds of in-between. I kept threatening to take photos, but never did.
Then this week has been frigid temperatures and gusty winds, followed by some freezing rain yesterday. This morning dawned bright and clear, so I took my camera as Barb and I walked our usual route and captured a few bits of beauty.
The sun was still low in the sky and glinting off the ice on the grassy field. 


Things were warming up fast and the icicles were melting, but we found some things that had only just been hit by the sun.


I love that this rose bush has hips, a flower, and icicles, all at the same time.


Here's something you don't see every day: icicles on palm trees.


 
This tree was covered in berries that were in turn covered in ice. I didn't notice the reflection of the berries on the leaf until I looked at the photo on my computer.


I think this might be my favourite: black-eyed Susan seed pods, covered in ice so that they looked like glass spheres. I think I can see my reflection in the pods on the left.


And tonight I am really enjoying the lovely fire that Jeff built when he got home from work.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Life's a beach

London came to visit for the last two weeks of September.
Oh yes. She brought her mom and dad with her.
The day after they arrived, we all went to the beach. 
Papa enjoyed entertaining two of his three favourite baby girls. And they seem to enjoy him, for some reason.


These girls love to spend time with each other, from the thirteen-year-old down to the one-year-olds.


Aunty Jenny and London are mutual fans.


And the boys are always thrilled to spend time with their Uncle Charlie.
I think there was an apparitional Natalie hanging around as well.


A raccoon decided to pay us a visit and we all had fun watching him from the back decks. He was not at all cautious and rather large.
Personally, I find raccoons to be rather scary.


It was a beautiful afternoon so we all traipsed down to the beach.
Sam and London chased seagulls.


The older kids chased waves. That's about all you can do in the chilly Oregon surf.


London and Madelyn played together in the sand for the longest time. We all dote on these wee girls, they are so stinking cute. And the two of them together are cute to the nth degree.


Thomy got buried in the sand somehow.


I love pictures of cousins having fun together. 
It is one of my main goals in life.


When everyone was as wet and sandy as possible, we went back to the house and ate dinner.


After dinner, we stood on the balcony...


...and watched this.


And then the men and older kids went home. The poor souls had to go to work and school the next day. The moms and the little kids stayed overnight and went shopping at the outlet mall the next day, because we're all about that.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The best time of year

I love September. It's still warm, but the days are getting shorter and the sun has a kind of lazy quality. I love to sit on the deck in the morning sun and watch birds fly around the garden and listen to their songs. There's a feeling in the air of things starting to wind down.
This September was a busy month. I had planted my tomatoes late in the season, so by September they were coming on strong. I usually roast and then freeze part of the crop and puree and preserve the rest. Mixed together later on, they are a perfect consistency and flavour for pizza or pasta sauce. 
This year, I decided to get tricky and pressure-can the roasted tomatoes to save on freezer space. Which worked quite well, except for the one jar that didn't seal and when I lifted it out of the pressure cooker it exploded all over the front of me. A perfectly round piece of skin, about the size of a dime, came right off the tip of my nose, and there were a few other smaller burned spots on my face. And some of the scalding bits of tomato went inside my robe and burned me in unmentionable places.
Here they sit, seemingly innocuous but actually rather deadly.


It was to be a few weeks of clumsiness and accidents on my part. I fell off my bike and sprained my wrist, broke the blender jar out at Vista House, sliced my finger badly while making a food cup for Shirley, burned a potful of boiled eggs, mistakenly left a pan of tomatoes roasting in the oven overnight not once but TWICE (!), and had several other bad spills and burns and accidents that I can't recall right this moment. I finally decided that I needed to start thinking proactively every time I embark on a task instead of plunging into it, and the strategy seems to be working.
TWENTY-THREE DAYS ACCIDENT-FREE, PEOPLE!
Jazzed I am!

Anyhoo. 
In the midst of my clumsy period, my dear friends from New Zealand came to visit for a couple of days. The weather was perfect and they went to see the Spruce Goose and the Portland Temple and one evening I showed them some of the local city sights.
I love friendly visits. I can't get enough of them. We used to get lots of friendly visits when we lived ten minutes from Disneyland. Living in the wilds of Oregon really helps you to identify your TRUE friends, because only true friends will travel this far out of their way to see you.


On another perfect late-summer evening, Jeff and I went to see Home Free. 
Jeff said I was smiling funny, but it's because I had gum in my mouth.
Sorry.


If you're one of the five people in the civilized world who haven't heard of this group (who are immensely easy on the eyes as well as the ears) check this out. 


And, during the concert, I self-diagnosed myself with age-induced crotchetiness.
Tell me, in all seriousness, why certain loud-mouthed women will always insist on calling out lewd comments to band members, both during and between the songs? It quite ruins a concert for me. I go to hear the music, not women who have too high an opinion of their own delightfulness.

Anyhoo.
Mid-month, I was lucky enough to have the Mitchell kids overnight while Mom and Dad had a well-deserved break. On Saturday morning we needed to get out of the house, so we went to a local park, thinking that it was Oktoberfest.


Well, it wasn't.
But we had fun anyway.


And then we stopped at Lori's Little Free Library to nab some books.


And then the little darlings cajoled me into visiting the frozen yogurt shop.


Daniel is such a softie for his wee sister.


And we were all very excited, because later that day we were expecting some very important visitors.