Secret Lives

Sarah’s out of town. I’ve been solo dad for the weekend. It’s been good. But despite best intentions, I do occasionally lose track of my progeny and have to track them down. Today I documented two unexpected incidents.

Aerial Snooze

Maggie was down for a rest. I rested for a while too. Griffin was awfully quiet. I went to investigate.

Nap time.
Nap time.

Griffin is sleeping on a bit of lumber about four feet off the ground. (He rigged the precarious “bridge” earlier to create an easier method for Maggie to get into the climbing tree.)

Dumpster Diving

Later, after Maggie woke up, they slipped out the side gate while I was mowing the back lawn. Upon my successful pursuit:


Nothing is cooler than the neighbor’s giant red dumpster. (Yesterday, Griffin asked for my help deciphering all of the warning stickers, then proceeded to ignore them.)

Yellow Cabin

Perfect weather for time out on the water. We couldn’t believe how warm the water was already—the kids loved it.

Some of Griffin’s favorite things at the cabin this weekend:

  • Finding agates
  • Swimming
  • When I was in the front of the canoe doing the driving.
  • Having butterscotch candy from the candy jar
  • Kayaking with Mama and seeing lots of turtles. We found a log with ten turtles on it. We called it turtleland.
  • Seeing pictures of the flying squirrels
  • Going to the dock and balancing on the edge
  • Snuggling with Mama and Daddy in the loft when we woke up

Some of Maggie’s favorite things at the cabin this weekend:

  • Finding special rocks
  • Finding some shells with Mommy while you guys going somewhere [Griffin and I dropped Sarah and Maggie off to do some beach-combing while we continued canoeing around the lake.]
  • Having jellybeans
  • Going up in the high high bunk bed
  • Seeing baby squirrels [in addition to the baby flying squirrels, which the kids didn’t get to see, we uncovered a red squirrel nest in the pump box for the well]
  • Reading books with Mama and Daddy and Griffin

Flying Squirrel Nest

Sarah was startled by a bat in the outhouse tonight. Or she thought it was a bat. Then she discovered a nest in the corner with four baby northern flying squirrels! This is cool, of course, but we’re also sad that we have disturbed the nest. Our best guess, based on Internet research, is that they are around 20 days old — thick fur, but eyes not open yet. We’re hoping they can survive this disruption.

The nest — they made good use of a roll of toilet paper.
You can’t quite see the patagium (“wing” membrane), but it was clearly visible as they moved.
Cozy! (You can see its patagium in this picture, a folded bit of flesh under its belly.)

Update: We were relieved to find that mama squirrel took her kiddos to a safer nest overnight. The outhouse is no place to raise a family.

Review: Butterick’s Practical Typography


Butterick's Practical Typography
Butterick’s Practical Typography
by Matthew Butterick

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved everything about this on-line book. I’ve been mildly interested in typography for years, but only as a dabbler: I love a proper em dash, end sentences with only a single space, keep an eye out for attractive layouts to emulate, and, of course, avoid comic sans. This book helps crystalize things I’ve mused about, and explains why some design decisions work and others don’t. It also gives me a great foundation to use as a teacher whose students do most of their work via keyboard. (Eighth grade ain’t too early to start getting it right.)

Butterick definitely practices what he preaches—the book is gorgeous and the writing is sharp and witty. A sample:

Butterick Sample

For those who want to get right to the heart of it, he includes a Typography in ten minutes chapter and a Summary of key rules.

My only regret is that many of his suggestions can’t be implemented in Google Docs which is my primary word processor these days. But I still keep full-featured word processors around for work that requires precise design, and Google may evolve to be more design-friendly in time.

Circus Boy!

We are very lucky to have a variety of activities for our kids here in the Twin Cities, and one of them is an amazing circus school, Circus Juventas. Now that Griffin is a little older, we thought he might enjoy a structured physical activity that would emphasize gross motor control, teamwork, and wasn’t too competitive. Having heard amazing things about the circus program, we thought it would be worth a try this winter. Turns out he loved it, and he loves performing!

Griffin's Bridge Pose

We were truly not prepared for how these kids would blow us away this weekend! The school is ages 3-18, and every single one of the kids we saw at the performance strutted their stuff and showed off their hard work. I can’t tell you the number of times I uttered, “WOW!” during the nearly three hour performance!

Griffin & Gabe on the German Wheel

Here are some video highlights from Griffin’s performance. The first is his dress rehearsal. The second is a highlight from the actual performance on Saturday as he and his friend, Gabe, performed on the German Wheel.

I’ve also included a clip from the unicycles act, just to give you a taste of the older kids, as well as several still shots of the many other acts we witnessed! Enjoy!