The mountain (again) and water in the kitchen

Mount Rainier from Centralia, WA June 22, 2017

I woke up to this view of Mt. Rainier from my home office this morning. I would say I am sorry for putting up so many images, but I have not gotten tired of it yet and I am not yet sorry for putting up so many pictures of the mountain. In other good news, the plumber is scheduled to be here at 8:00 AM tomorrow morning so we should have water in our kitchen. We need to get one more hole drilled for the vegetable sink sprayer and that is not scheduled to happen until 3:00 PM. That means I get to play plumber for a little while to put the (already hooked to the water supply) sprayer. What could go wrong?

A new blog header and some new and old memories

New Mt. Rainier Blog Header

You might have noticed we put up a new blog header. Lorena found my old Canon PowerShot SD 750 pocket camera when she unpacked the house. I immediately went out and took this picture. I am not a great photographer and the camera, while it may not be the best in the world, is small enough to fit comfortable in a shirt pack, still takes good enough pictures that I cannot tell the difference.

This move has really been a joy. We are thankful for it all from our old friends in Texas (Dan, Al, Jill, Gary, Debbie, Sue, the Lee’s, the Drake’s, all of them) to our new friends, starting with Bob and Gena, there is much for which to be thankful. The least of these things for which to be thankful is the “stuff” we are unpacking and even that brings back memories–this is the camera Grandpa Lauro always used while he was with us.

Kitchen remodel: Texturing and (still) faucet searching

We bought a ladder so the texturer could textureFor a non-eventful day, today has been pretty eventful. Yesterday, we realized that the ceiling in our house is really high. Mark and his wall and/or his ceiling texturing guy brought an eight foot ladder to texture the ceiling. It turns out he needed a ten foot ladder. It dawned on us that we would need a ten foot ladder to clean the windows, so we went down to our local Ace hardware store and bought ourselves a new ladder. The texturing is done now so the living room and the kitchen are now ready to paint.

In the mean time, we have now ordered our third vegetable sink faucet. The first one was too big, the second one was too long (we would have water on the floor–it is a little sink), and now we hope we have ordered one that is just right. It is the same brand as the main sink and the pot-filler sockets so it should match nicely. Also, it is what is called a “bar” faucet so the length of the spout is only eight and a half inches so it should center itself over the drain in the sink. In addition it has a sprayer. That will require another hole in the faucet, but it will be worth the wait. We ordered it from Amazon and paid for one day shipping so, hopefully, we will have water before the weekend.

The latest and most painful challenge so far for Lorena is to decide what color she wants to paint the walls. I am staying out of it. I am sure it will be fine whatever it is.

Christian and Boston Pops

Christian's picture of Boston Pops June 2017

Christian is living a couple of blocks from the Boston Pops Orchestra. He says it is really hard to get good tickets to any of the interesting performances there. Still it is cool he lives so close. He says he walks by it all the time. He took this amazing picture yesterday.

Kelly (home for the weekend) and Kiwi

Kelly home for the weekend, takes the train down from SeattleKiwi in timeoutKelly came home for the weekend. She and Lorena have big plans that have to do with shopping. She saw some fashiony thing she just has to have at the Country Cousin restaurant so they are going to head out to find it. Fortunately, I have plenty of work to do on my sickle cell disease project so I cannot go.

The only down side to having Kelly here is that Kiwi has been acting out. We are not sure whether it is because she is so excited to see Kelly or because she sees Kelly diluting the attention she gets when no one is visiting. At any rate, Lorena had to put her in timeout. I have to say, it surely does not seem like that helped much.

Kitchen remodel: Here is the main faucet

Main faucet, but no water yet

Mark asked us to check the package for the main faucet to see if everything was there, so we pulled it out and put it into place. We like it a lot. the vegetable sink faucet is scheduled to arrive today. We are looking forward to seeing that, too. The water is not yet hooked up to anything. We are looking forward to that happening next week.

Kelly update

Kelly's new glassesFirst, the important stuff: Kelly’s new glasses arrived and I think she looks just stunning with her new librarian hipster look.

On other fronts, there are lots of good things going on. She loves her work, her company, and her fellow employees. She made a great decision to stop for now at a Masters degree and get some experience. I am not sure how she could have found a better first job than the one she is in. Amazingly, she makes use intense of the things she learned during in her Bachelors degree and internship in Statistics to inform her work doing precisely what she learned studying Marketing Strategy during her Masters degree. Write now she is deep into planning and running focus groups. Before that she developed a huge (for her corner of the industry) marketing survey and then evaluated the results with statistical tools the company had never previously used. One recent new innovation she brought to the company was a better way to set pricing more informed by data and analytics than by expert opinion alone.

So, three quarters of a year in, she has started to think a little about what to do next. She will finish her first round trip of the Marketing process in the fall and really needs to get her second round trip in where she does it completely on her own, and then a third round trip to own the process. After that, she needs to decide what to do next. There is a great growth path for her right where she is, but there are other academic and work options.

Kelly’s values are not at all in alignment with the Seattle zeitgeist. There are some particular evils held in high regard that are difficult to abide and they permeate even parts of the society, particularly in places like Portland and Seattle, that historically have been less coarse and held good morals. I think that reality will play heavily in whatever direction she wants to head next.

Still, when you have new stylish glasses like these, life looks pretty good.

Kitchen remodel: The first faucet arrives

Main sink faucet in the boxWe have had a little bit of a struggle getting the faucets here to our remodel to be able to really start using the kitchen. We were really happy today the first set arrived today. It consists of the faucet and sprayer for the main kitchen. We ordered the pot-filler and the vegetable sink faucet, but they are not scheduled to get here for another week or so.

We had a struggle choosing the faucets. We found the main sink and pot-filler faucets that were just perfect, but we could not find a vegetable sink faucet, so we ordered the best the closets we could find. Today, though, Lorena found one that was much better so I ordered it on Amazon. We will have to send the previous one we ordered back, but in the end, we will have faucets that match.

Remembering Grandpa Lauro

Granda Lauro and Grandma Conchita get married, Conchita's mother signs

Lorena’s father, Grandpa Lauro died just three years ago on June 10, 2017. We think of him often. Last Saturday, Lorena’s brother Tio Lauro went to the town and house where Grandma Conchita was born and raised to help some other members of the family clean it up because no one lives there anymore. They found a lot of great old photographs and this is one of them. The picture was taken on November 13, 1965, the day of Grandpa Lauro’s and Grandma Conchita’s wedding. The lady to the left of Grandma Conchita is her mother Leonor. She is signing as witness to the wedding. We just love this picture. We had never seen it before and wanted to save it for posterity.

Is there a mathematical theory of evolution?

Introduction to Evolutionary InformaticsAn article about a book titled Introduction to Evolutionary Informatics starts out like this:

Five years ago, Gregory Chaitin, a co-founder of the fascinating and mind-bending field of algorithmic information theory, offered a challenge:

The honor of mathematics requires us to come up with a mathematical theory of evolution and either prove that Darwin was wrong or right!

In Introduction to Evolutionary Informatics, co-authored by William A. Dembski, Winston Ewert, and myself, we answer Chaitin’s challenge in the negative: There exists no model successfully describing undirected Darwinian evolution. Period. By “model,” we mean definitive simulations or foundational mathematics required of a hard science.

The article is very interesting in its own right, but I am also looking forward to reading the book. I am sure the whole book is worth a read, but my interest got piqued in particular by a some statements in the article about the measurement of meaning in information:

8. Information theory cannot measure meaning.

Poppycock.

The manner in which information theory can be used to measure meaning is addressed in Introduction to Evolutionary Informatics. We explain, for example, why a picture of Mount Rushmore containing images of four United States presidents has more meaning to you than a picture of Mount Fuji even though both pictures might require the same number of bits when stored on your hard drive. The degree of meaning can be measured using a metric called algorithmic specified complexity.

Rather than summarize algorithmic specified complexity derived and applied in Introduction to Evolutionary Informatics, we refer instead to a quote from a paper from one of the world’s leading experts in algorithmic information theory, Paul Vitányi. The quote is from a paper he wrote over 15 years ago, titled “Meaningful Information.”22

One can divide…[KCS] information into two parts: the information accounting for the useful regularity [meaningful information] present in the object and the information accounting for the remaining accidental [meaningless] information.23

In Introduction to Evolutionary Informatics, we use information theory to measure meaningful information and show there exists no model successfully describing undirected Darwinian evolution.

Homeschool planning sheets

Click on the images or the following links to the single day planning sheets at a larger size:
[Kelly’s 2010 planning sheet] [Christian’s 2007 planning sheet]
Kelly's homeschool planning sheet from 2010Christian's homeschool planning sheet 2007Lorena found most of our homeschool planning and other materials when she unpacked our stuff for the library last week. It was a lot of fun to look at them and remember a little bit about where we were and what we were doing at the time all this took place. I forgot how much effort went into to providing a precise enough plan that the kids would know exactly what was expected of them while I was away at work.

It also made me realized that the kids worked hard to get where they are. Although both kids were able to advance to the point where they did full time college level work by the time they finished eighth grade, they did it more through hard work and day to day advances in each of a plethora of areas than by any special intellectual prowess.

For example, at the time of Christian’s 2007 planning report, just after he turned 12 years old in the sixth grade, Christian was just one year ahead of what would have been the most advanced students when I was in the sixth grade back in 1966. He got there through a ton of hard work, inching through Singapore Math for the previous two and a half years. the same thing was true for Kelly in 2010. She already had about a year of college credit from CLEP tests by the time this planning report was written, all through a lot of painstaking daily work.

It did not seem so onerous at the time. This is just what we did. By keeping at it and doing all the work every day, we inched a little ahead every year to the point where I was able to write this series of post about the culmination of our homeschool efforts on skipping high school.

Kitchen remodel: Quite a bit complete, but quite a bit left to do

The broken bottom ovenI thought I would try to catch up on the kitchen remodel posts today because I unexpectedly found some breathing room from my day job and side gig. The  kitchen is really starting to look like it is going to look in the end with a couple major items some medium size items and a lot of small items. I thought it would be easiest to just show some pictures of where we are and explain what is left to do.

First, I promised a picture of the oven that got broken in or before shipping. We no longer have the shattered door, but we have a picture of the empty space where the door should be. It does not even look so bad that way, but it is worthless for anything other than shelf space the way it is now.

Here is all the stuff remaining that we know needs to be completed:

1. Faucets for the main and vegetable sinks and a pot-filler faucet for the stove
2. Exhaust hood for the stove top
3. Glass for the buffet/coffee service cabinets
4. All the drawer and cabinet door pulls
5. Adjustment of the cabinet doors so they are level and even with each other
6. Bottom oven door replacement
7. Paint for the kitchen
8. Moulding for the living room
9. Moulding for the cabinet tops

and finally…

10. Paint for the living room if we can afford it. Otherwise we wait or do it ourselves.

Update: Oops. Thought of a couple more:

11. Light brackets for the ceiling lights
12. Wall plastering
13. Under-cabinet LED lights
14. Electrical fixtures
15. Dishwasher

More pictures to give a sense for the state of the kitchen:

Almost done: Full frontal view of the kitchen

Almost done: The vitrina without glass

Almost done: View from the dining room

Almost done: View of the stove, ovens and backsplash

Not the remodel, just a little progress

Library on the landing, left Library on the landing, rightLorena works hard at getting us unpacked from our recent move. It is easier to see the floor in some of our rooms and more than half of the stuff has been moved out of the garage. The challenge now is that we sold and gave away a ton of stuff when we left North Carolina. Even though our living space is smaller here (we are not counting the daylight basement apartment) that it was in North Carolina, we are short on furniture to make it livable. It should be done to get the stuff, but in the meantime, our visitors are going to frequently be relegated to folding chairs.

The pictures in this post are our second floor landing/library. We hope to change the floor, add some bookshelves and make the railing be something you can see through, but that will come after we finish the kitchen and do a few other upgrades–hopefully including something to help us manage the parts of the property that are not purposely wild.

Lorena found a lot of our old homeschool plans, books and projects when she unpacked thing for the library. I hope I get the time before to long to go through them. I always get asked about how we did our homeschool, not that we think we did such a great job, and it would be kind of nice to be able to tell them something other than that we got good programs, tested, and worked hard. The planning was actually pretty extensive and we have the lesson plans at hand now to really demonstrate that.

Kitchen remodel: Mark, the Electrician and the Tile Guy

Mark and his electrician (Frank Waddell)  The electrician working on the under-cabinet lighting

I thought the picture on the left was a great picture of our contractor Mark and his electrician with the ceramic guy in the background. We arrived on Wednesday night while they were still in the house. What a great team of people. It has just been a joy working with Mark and his people. The picture on the left is of the installation of one of the under-cabinet LED lights above the coffee shelf. The LED’s are great because they do not heat up too much like halogen, are now just as bright (for this application) and last a long, long time.

Getting ready to install the backsplash over the stoveThis pictures gives a sense for the state of the kitchen when we got there on Wednesday night. It is much further along and I plan to post a bunch of new pictures this weekend.  The ceramic tile back splash is completed (we love it). This is the ceramic guy getting ready to do his thing. We really enjoyed having him here working. He placed the tiles on Wednesday, then came back and spent another four hours on Thursday morning to add the grout and (non-silicon) caulking. I think he spent more time cleaning and shining the back splash when he finished installing it than he did on the installation itself. Lorena was super, super happy with how it came out.

Kitchen remodel: Backsplash complete

I just have a few minutes now at lunchtime to put up what happened so far today. I have more pictures from last night when Lorena and I got home which I hope to put up later tonight. The kitchen has come a long way, but there are a ton of details left. The following are of the backsplash before and after grout behind the coffee shelf and the stove top. The first picture of the stove top shows it with the stainless steel knobs. The second one has the classic Thermador blue knobs. We are not sure which ones we like best. Fortunately, they are easy to change whenever we get tired of the ones that are on there.

Coffee shelf with backsplash tile in place, but no groutCoffee shelf with backsplash tile in place and grout

Stove top backsplash, no grout, stainless knobsStove top backsplash, with grout, blue knobs

Kitchen remodel: A pad for the propane tank

The pad for the propane tank to feed the new stove topWell, a ton of stuff got done today on the kitchen and Mark took a BUNCH of pictures for us. The problem is that he texted them to us and we do not have access to our text messaging on our phones until we get back to into (or at least within radio range of) America sometime tomorrow evening. Nevertheless, he got the pavers put down to make a pad for the propane tank which will be installed along with the gas lines tomorrow. That we means we will have a mostly working kitchen when we get home.

We are very excited to see how it all looks, but are not sure we will be able to put up many (or any) photos tomorrow because we are going to try to make it to our Wednesday night bible study if we possibly can. One of the other things they will be doing is hooking up the Kitchen phone line which we will not use for phones, but only for our DSL service. What that also means is that I have about a half day worth of work to set up wireless for all three floors in the house and especially my upstairs office.

Kitchen remodel: Drawer and cabinet pulls

Drawer and cabinet pulls for the Centralia kitchenThis post is not such an exciting one unless you are really into drawer and cabinet pulls, but later tonight we should have something on the shattered bottom oven of the double oven set. We will have to wait a week or so until a replacement door gets here. Everything is now installed except the stove hood. The back splash has to be all installed before that can go in. The black splash cannot really go in until the potfiller over the stove goes in, so I think we are a few days away from having everything. After that, they will paint. Hopefully, I will have one or two pictures of where we are later tonight.

Mark found the exact pulls Lorena wants and will be installing them soon. This picture is from the catalog.

Christian eats a lobster roll

Christian's first big Boston experience--the lobster rollChristian keeps very busy in Boston. Mostly it is work at the labs, but in his limited spare time so far, he went out and paid an exorbitant amount of money for a lobster roll. I told him it was a find investment and I would have been ashamed of him had he not done it. He lives within walking distance of a ton of museums, Fenway Park, Boston Pops, and a gazillion restaurants and coffee shops. I have to say though, I think a lobster roll is a great place to start, especially if you can wash it down with some Maine Blueberry Lemonade made with Wildflower Honey!

Unpacking the books

Lorena start building the library in CentraliaSince we actually believe (or desire, God willing) we will be in the house for years to come, Lorena has earnestly started to unpack the books and put them into what we hope to be at least part of our small, but memory filled library. We have what we have always felt like was lots and lots of books even though we have  thrown out quite a few. This is about 1/3 to 1/2 of our books so I guess we really did not have that many in the end.

A lot of our books are the stuff we kept from homeschool. We also have a lot of the kids’ work and all their test and other records filed away in a filing cabinet. I do not know if I am nuts to keep the stuff, but it was such a big part of our lives that it is kind of hard to throw the stuff away. We read a lot of these books aloud together. I guess we are hoping we will have friends’ kids who will enjoy them when they visit and maybe even grandkids someday.

All this stuff went up onto the second floor landing where there is room for some more book cases when we can afford them. We have a couch and two chairs and want to put a ton of lights in there, too. Right now, we have a closed balcony wall that looks down into the living room from the landing. We want to modify that so we have a glass barrier that so it will open the room up a bunch more. There is already plenty of light coming in from skylights in the living room and a could of high windows. It is a nice room. Honestly we are loving this house.