Today be the 19th o’ September, and lest ye be not aware, International Talk Like a Pirate Day.¹ Arrrrr.

¹ I hae been a celebrant o’ the holiday since 2007 when I first learned of it. That year I enthusiastically put together a series of posts, including a throw-away pirate name post followed by a rather dorky post on how to talk like a pirate, complete with spectrograms of “arrrrrrr.” I feel I did redeem myself, however, with my pirate resume and subsequent rejection letter. In 2008, I put up a pirate ThThTh list. In 2009, I apparently completely forgot about this important holiday. (My excuse was that I was in Spain. This is one of my all time favorite excuses, and I hope to have more opportunities to use it in the future.)

the Ikea Rat Launcher

40588_pe134275_s4.jpgFrom time to time, I have been known to do a product review. (Some of you may remember my review of the iPhone, and the followup discussion of the Apple iCup.) I’ve been wanting to share this product for a while, but thought it would be good to wait for the Year of the the Rat celebrations to kick in. So, here it is: a review and demo of the Ikea Rat Launcher.

The Ikea Rat Launcher

This colorful and inexpensive device can launch an Ikea stuffed rat several feet up into the air, way up over a toddler’s head, resulting in a flying rat and a giggling toddler. (Individual results may vary.) Below are some images from our extensive testing of this product in late October of last year.


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For the full demonstration, you can watch this video.¹

This ingenious product also doubles as a storage device: rats can be collected and placed in the launcher for later launching. An attractive reptilian cover keeps the rats from escaping.
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Warning: this product is not recommended for toddler storage.


While the Launcher appears large enough to accomodate a toddler, attempts at toddler storage may result in the following:²

¹ Sorry it’s a bit long, at 2:42, but I was too amused by Phoebe’s belly laughter and backwards toddling to cut any of it out.

² This one’s only 15 seconds. You know you want to watch it.

the downward spiral

phoebe_park_jeep.jpgPhoebe and I got to have a leisurely day together today, after a long week of not having much time together. We celebrated by going to the local playground. It was a bright beautiful day. I had fun following Phoebe around on her rounds.

I didn’t have the camera with me this time, but I did get some pictures from the last time we went, about 2 weeks ago. This seems as good a time as any to share a couple of them. It was a bright warm day last time, and the trees were showing their fall colors. (Most of the leaves are off the trees now.)


And here’s a very short movie, showing Phoebe going down the big spiral slide. (See how much fun I have following her around?)


What with participating in NaBloPoMo, on top of all my other life duties, this promises to be a busy month for me. I have all sorts of things in mind to write about this month, but I expect I’ll have little time and energy to follow through. And just to help keep me from letting my posts degenerate into a series of posts about what I had for breakfast, or possibly worse, posts that are just lists of stuff I meant to write, I figured I should jot down a list of my more honorable intentions.

Stuff I Mean to Write:

  • a bit of a wrap-up of my CSA adventure
  • at least one post on some language topic
  • at least one post of some redeeming social value.
  • at least one addition to the kick-ass women project
  • four more Themed Things Thursday Posts
  • at least one post on pants. A week.

Phoebe’s park adventure

Phoebe had a grand time on her big trip to Europe. She particularly enjoyed those times when she got to stretch her legs and walk around, which didn’t happen often enough for her. I’ve put together a short movie (less than 2 minutes) of one of Phoebe’s Paris park romps, using some footage taken by my mother.

a small laughing matter

Phoebe is making great strides in her walking skills. Also singing. And tickling. I have a few movies from earlier this week that I can’t help but share.

First, the tickling! Phoebe found a hole in John’s sock:

Second, Phoebe walks forward on cue, retracing her steps of 3 weeks earlier:

Third, my favorite. Phoebe starts off strong with singing (or possibly trying to communicate with dolphins), and showing off her stellar hand-eye coordination. But just look out for the dramatic finish.

(That last bit makes me laugh every time I watch it. As it did the first time I saw the little topple. John says that Phoebe will some day resent me for that little laugh of mine that can be heard at the end of the movie. Perhaps she will resent me, or perhaps she’ll realize that she could have a career in vaudeville.)

Anyhow, we’re down in NY once more for the weekend visiting the in-laws. The drive down was looooonnnnngggg. (So long that I am inspired to use additional non-standard orthographic elements to represent my exaggerated lengthening of the word.) Traffic was slow, leading to a 4 and half hour trip, when it usually takes 3 and a half. One extra hour doesn’t sound toooo bad. But, somebody no longer falls asleep in the car. (Oh, except for the last 5 minutes of the drive, leading her to wake up cranky and howling upon our arrival.) She (it’s Phoebe we’re talking about here, by the way, not me) seemed to need constant entertainment the whole way down. I generally sit in the back seat with her. And I sang, I danced (well, the belted, seated kind of dance), played games, recited stories, soothed, talked, sang, talked in silly voices, sang, counted toes. (Did you know that Phoebe has 5 toes on each foot? I counted them several times to make sure.) When I’d stop, we’d get screaming. (Not me, mind you.) Let me tell you, we had some Quality™ time.

But, we arrived, tired, but generally with some sanity left intact. Though my voice is feeling a bit strained today.

And here we are. John and his mother are out hunting for a new microwave, and Phoebe is napping. Later, we’ll go visit John’s dad in the hospital. (It’s a sub-acute care facility. He’s been in and out of many, many hospitals of various types since he rebroke a hip last summer.) It’s good that we’ve been able to get down here pretty often.

There’s a particularly bright star on the horizon. We are (hopefully, hopefully, hopefully) going to get to go to my favorite restaurant in the universe. It’s a little place about 40 minutes away from John’s parents’ house in a town called Pine Bush. The restaurant is called Pure City, which leads me to regularly call it Sin City. (Not to the proprietors, though.) I keep meaning to write about it. However, it may not make it’s way into this week, since this is Cheese Week. And this restaurant is 100% cheese-free. Aside from some tofu cheesecake. Does that count?