Monthly Archives: February 2008

Simple Math & Weekendery.

2 snow days + 1 toddler + 1 cranky girl + 2 cabin fever-afflicted parents = ThankgodtomorrowisMonday.


To Sam, Jess, and boys:  We had a great time Saturday night, thanks for providing much-needed respite from housebound monotony. 

In a final act of desperation after too much time cooped up, we took Ethan to Target for new shoes this evening.  We don’t like to spend that much on shoes he’ll grow out of in 6 months (if we’re lucky).  Ethan loves his shoes and he and his shoes are not soon parted.  When I pulled off an old sneaker to try a new one, he screamed in protest.  His screams were so shrill they set our ears ringing.  You’d have sworn we were beating him with a strap.  I’m shocked the police weren’t summoned.

When we returned to the parking lot, he said he’d like to go buy more shoes.

As I said before, Monday morning cannot come soon enough for any of us.

Potty Milestone.

Ethan managed to go in the potty on Tuesday evening.  He earned a sticker and was so proud of himself:

ethanfirstpotty1 ethanfirstpotty2

His upper lip is so chapped — we’re working on it.  It’s improving, but he sucks on it when he has a cold.

Ice, Ice, Baby.

We’ve got ice on the ground today — enough ice that even Laurel’s school called off (which is rare, I understand).  I woke up this morning to go work out, made it as far as the driveway and realized groceries would take priority so I went to the grocery store instead.  It was already getting pretty icky here, but once again, the Murano came through.

The kids are hanging on the couch watching TV, and death to anyone who wants to criticize me for it.  Besides, they’re supplementing TV with books.  Observe:


Ethan’s wearing big-boy underwear today, which is the reason for the towel beneath him.  He’s on his third pair and it’s 11:08.  Sweet.

Science Fair Extraordinaire.

Laurel finally completed her science fair project tonight, when she was down to the last minute.  We’ve hounded her for months to get it done but she waited and put it off until her sense of urgency finally kicked in, oh, last week sometime.  Her project is a portfolio about Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, more commonly known as Mad Cow Disease.  I previously mentioned her encyclopedic knowledge of Kuru in step 4 of this post.  Here, she puts it to use.

I’m showing a few photos from the project — click for the full version — and ending with the text from her report.  I apologize for the poor quality of photography — I’m tired, Greg’s at the end of his rope with Ethan’s behavior tonight, and I just didn’t want to mess with them anymore.

 prismwhole prismhaiku

prismbrain prismcrossword


My Report about BSE


Bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or Mad Cow Disease, is one of a group of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies

(TSEs). TSEs affect many species, but the cause remains a mystery. In this report, we will discuss the how, what, who and where of several diseases that still remain great mysteries.


Known as the laughing death, Kuru is believed to have originated in Papua, New Guinea, among the Fore tribe. The strangest thing about Kuru is that 8 times more women and children died than men of the disease. The Fore were cannibals, so when one of the Fore died, the women loved ones would perform a ritual which included stripping the body of meat. The women would then, along with their children, eat the internal organs (including the brain, which was said to make the women and children smarter). The brain was carrying the Kuru. The men would eat the muscle, which was said to make them stronger.


Scrapie is normally found in sheep, cows, and goats. The problem with any TSE is that before anything shows symptoms, no one knows it’s there. Scrapie symptoms are smacking of lips, biting legs and body, and, most of all, scraping not only hair, but skin off.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is found in humans. It almost is exactly the same as BSE. It affects the brain the same way as Mad Cow Disease.


First found in Europe, BSE is not believed to travel unless ruminants are shipped between countries. BSE is not very contagious, but can cross species, such as giraffes, goats, sheep, and cats. Pigs and chickens seem immune to it. It has been moved from countries.

Prospects for the future include prevention and control. The U.S. government has banned meat from these countries for BSE: Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, the Republic of Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Oman, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

The U.S. has banned meat from these countries for shipments from BSE countries: Albania, Andorra, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Hungary, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Monaco, Norway, Romania, San Marino, and Sweden.

Perhaps someday scientists will learn what keeps chickens and pigs safe from TSEs, and use it for a cure.

Chef Ethan.

I decided to use up some leftover chicken by making chicken and noodles, a family favorite.  Ethan has started getting into the act by helping me whenever he can, pouring this and that into the mix and helping to stir.  This time, he insisted he be allowed to use the rolling pin.  Ignoring the inherent risks in giving a toddler a rolling pin, I acquiesced, and he did a great job, loving every second of it.