a cloud that caught my eye

I considered using a post title with some sort of sky, cloud or storm idiom, and even briefly considered titling this post “Post title with some sort of sky, cloud or storm idiom.” But not having much to say, I figured I would just post the photo along with a title that describes the photo. Wow, I have now typed a lot of words that don’t say much of anything.

You see, whenever I go a long stretch without posting, I find myself struggling with what to say once I start up again. Somehow, I managed to post only once all last month. It was one of those cases when I found myself so overwhelmed by the many things I felt I should say here that I instead said nothing. With heavy world and national events weighing on my mind, I found myself unable to post the fluff that most easily flows.

So here I am once more, starting in with posting something with light and bright. A bright fluffy cloud.¹

¹ Of course, the lightness of a cloud is deceptive. A fluffy floating cloud can actually be quite heavy, being as it consists of hundreds and thousands or even a million pounds of water.

Rainbow Jelly (friday foto finder: food)

A few years ago, a doctor wanted Phoebe to go on a clear fluid diet for a day as a part of a medical evaluation. In addition to clear juices and broths, she was allowed to eat Jello. Jello is not something we tend to eat in our family, but under the circumstances, I decided to go all out. I picked up packages of cherry, orange, lemon, lime and grape Jello, and I put together a dish of rainbow jello for my rainbow-loving girl.

The process involved making the different layers of color separately, letting each chill and gel, and then adding the next layer. I honestly don’t remember how long the process took. But I do remember that the result was quite striking to look at!
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When Theo was a baby, maybe a year or so old, I came across a link someone had shared of Andrea Bocelli singing to Elmo. We were travelling at the time, visiting my in-laws, and a super-tired baby Theo was sitting on my lap long after he should have been asleep. I clicked on the video, and Theo was entranced. What’s more, he was lulled. By the end of the video, he was asleep in my arms.

This is not the sort of magic than an overtired parent easily forgets, and this video was revisited quite a few times over the next year or so. (Not always with exactly the same magic.) I also bought the song (not the Elmo-directed version, but the original Italian version), and found that it was effective at getting Theo to nap on car rides. When Theo was a little bit older, he would request the song. However, the name he had for it was “Rainbow Jelly.” I’m not sure how long it took us to figure out what he meant, but eventually we realized that it must have been how he’d misheard “Andrea Bocelli” in the video.

And so it was that I was inclined to call the rainbow layered Jello “rainbow jelly.”

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Last week’s friday foto finder theme was food, and given my recent run on rainbows, I couldn’t resist sharing photos of this. It is somewhat debatable whether this treat counts as actual “food,” but Phoebe had fun with it.

To see what other potentially more nutritious food items have been shared, pay a visit to the fff blog.
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Another day, another rainbow.

Today’s plans were a bit of a washout. The kids’ swimming class at the town beach (on the lake) were cancelled due to thunderstorms, and the playdate we’d had planned for after the class as well. The day’s weather pretty much ranged from dark skies and heavy downpour to blue skies with scattered fluffy clouds. After a couple failed attempts to set up another playdate, we headed briefly to the playground. We stayed for a good while under the cheery blue skies, but left upon overhearing talk of thunderstorm and tornado warnings. Happily, the weather in our town was fairly calm, and tornado-free, but we did have a few more thunderstorms in the evening. Then the sun came back out for a bit before setting. This time, I knew exactly which direction to look for the rainbow. We looked out over the back deck, and were rewarded with some faint stripes of color between some of the trees. We watched for a few minutes, and then caught a glimpse of a lower and brighter arc of another rainbow, barely visible through the leaves. Then the colors faded. I didn’t get any photos. But wouldn’t you know, maybe 15 or 20 minutes later, there was a shift in the light again. This time, when I looked out on the deck, I could see quite a bit of rainbow. I grabbed my camera, ran out on the wet deck in my bare feet, and had time to get a few photos of the rainbow before it faded away again.

I was quite impressed by how bright the photo turned out. That top photo was not edited at all. Here’s another photo, a bit zoomed in, and with the brightness and contrast and such mucked with a bit.

I found it interesting that as I mucked with it, I could make out more repetitions of the rainbow. Whereas the previous double rainbow of earlier in the evening, as well as that of a couple weeks ago had arcs that were quite spaced apart, this version had tight stack of rainbows. I can actually make out a faint third repetition of the color bands, and even the barest hint of a fourth.

Wikipedia tells me that this is a supernumerary rainbow:

A supernumerary rainbow—also known as a stacker rainbow—is an infrequent phenomenon, consisting of several faint rainbows on the inner side of the primary rainbow, and very rarely also outside the secondary rainbow. Supernumerary rainbows are slightly detached and have pastel colour bands that do not fit the usual pattern.

Sweet.

(Apparently, seeing rainbows is a good excuse to post.)

double rainbow day

The last few weeks have been a storm of productivity and activity. John and I have both made it through some major professional deadlines, and our metaphorical skies are just clearing up.

Last Monday was a particularly big, and successful, day for both of us. My commitments had kept me in Boston late, so John ended up taking the kids to his evening karate class. I headed to the karate school to collect the kids, and ran into a quick summer storm. As Phoebe and I left the school (Theo had decided to stay with Daddy), the sun was just coming out. We looked around, hoping to see a rainbow (because you know we love rainbows), but had no luck. “I can never remember which direction to look,” I said to Phoebe. As we drove home, I’m happy to say that I got my answer: look for the rainbow in the direction opposite the sun. As we drove along eastward through the winding and hilly roads, with the setting sun behind us, the rainbow would appear and disappear again behind the tree cover. At the top of one hill, the rainbow arched itself invitingly over a farm, so I pulled over to take a picture with my phone.

Back at home, I could just make out a hint of rainbow between branches of our tall trees over the driveway, but my phone couldn’t capture it. We decided to walk back out to get better views. Phoebe ran in the house for her camera, and then we walked back up the road towards the farm¹ (a different farm) at the top of the hill. We poked our heads into various neighbors’ driveways, admiring the rainbow’s arch in the clearings over each house. At one point, we saw that there was a double rainbow visible.

By the time we reached the top of our hill, the sky was clearing quickly, and the rainbow soon disappeared.

Since it was so nice out, we decided to keep going a bit on our walk. We went towards the cow farm, and waited for the traffic¹ to clear before crossing the street.

Then Phoebe and I visited with some of the neighborhood girls.¹

Anyhow, the rainbows and the walk were a lovely end to a big day.² It was fun to chase rainbows with my rainbow-loving girl.

¹ As I post these photos, it does really strike me how rural it is where we live
² For some reason, I’m having trouble actually coming out and saying what my big day was actually about. In case you are interested, I had my prospectus hearing, and met some deadlines towards a grant application, which (as of two days ago) is submitted. My first grant application. Perhaps I will say more about these at some point, but likely I’ll choose to talk more about rainbows.

fresh eggs in a Barcelona market

I took this photo in Barcelona, Spain in 2009. This ended up being one of my favorite photos of the trip.

I think part of the appeal is how differently the eggs are displayed and sold there vs. here in the US. Here, eggs are always in cartons, stacked neatly, and tucked into refrigerators. You just wouldn’t come across a giant mound of eggs, piled all higgledy-piggledy like this, in a US market. It is also fun to see the different sizes of eggs together: the smaller brown chicken eggs, and the larger pale eggs, which I believe are duck eggs. (I realized that I could just make out the sign, and for a moment was trying to figure out why it didn’t say “pato” for duck. But this was Barcelona, so most of the signs were in Catalan. I can just make out that the sign says “ous d’anec.”)

I also liked how the photo captured the moment and the atmosphere of the market. It was early morning, and I passed through on my way to the conference I was attending. Later in the day, it would be full of people and bustling. Just then, however, it was quiet.

This week’s friday foto finder theme is “eggs.” I do have quite a lot of eggs in my photo library, so once again, the difficulty lay in choosing which to serve up. To see what eggs others have on their menus, pay a visit to the fff blog.

drawing a blank

Do you ever feel like there is something important that you are missing? As if the signs are there, but you just can’t figure out their messages? Maybe it’s just me.

Here are 4 photos of blank signs I’ve come across in my wanderings.

The first 3 are from nearby Massachusetts towns, and the last is from a suburb of Dublin. I’m sure that if the signs actually showed any text, the text would somehow reflect the location.

Yet again, I found myself stuck about what to post. Too many options, not enough time to work through some of them. Happily, I came across this set of photos that I had put together at some other point when I felt stuck. So, I guess these blank signs offered me some direction.

the frankenstein of beverage containers

When one purchases a soft drink from a convenience store, one frequently has the choice to buy one in a bottle or in a can.


An ordinary-looking drink can.


An ordinary-looking drink bottle.


What’s this?


I don’t understand this confusing world anymore!

When my cousin and I visited Beijing a couple years ago, we came across this monstrous hybrid of a beverage container while going about our business. Naturally, we were compelled to buy one, and try it out. It turns out that Glinter, the soft drink that comes in the bottle-can/can-bottle (cottle? ban? bancottle? cottleban? Dear-god-what-is-this-word-coming-to-container?) is a fairly ordinary-tasting concoction. I say “ordinary-tasting” because I don’t much remember what it tasted like, though probably something much like Sprite or 7-up, but perhaps (judging by the image on the…packaging) more orangey. (A web search tells me that this soft drink is from Malaysia. I won’t link to it, since it plays music, and I hate when websites play music. But feel free to google it. If you dare.)

This week’s friday foto finder theme is “novelty.” My kids end up getting all sorts of cheap novelties from birthday parties and things, but mostly they are pretty uninteresting. (Can novelties get old? Yup, I think so.) But rather than dig out some plastic doodads, I thought I’d share these photos I had of something I found to be pretty novel.

Speaking of novel, when I asked John what the phrase “the frankenstein of beverage containers” evoked for him, he replied, “you’re talking about the Vessyl, right?” Of course, not knowing what the hell he was talking about, I thought he said “vessel.” But it turns out that the Vessyl is a weird cyber-monstrosity of a beverage holder. It’s a cup that, using advanced technology, tells you what beverage is in it. Or, as ValleyWag puts it, it is “the $200 smart cup that helps dummies remember what they’re drinking.” That is certainly…novel. (I wonder why they didn’t call it the iCup?)

And speaking of novel gadgets that actually are a bit more appealing (at least to me, seeing as I can usually remember what drink I’ve poured), have you seen this pen that can scan objects for color and mix inks to match them? I don’t really have a use for such a thing, but it does sound like it would be fun to play with.

To see what other novelties have been shared this week, or to share photos of your own novelties, pay a visit to the fff blog.
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