Mary Anne Mohanraj

Journal

September 22 -- 9:44 AM

Things you do not anticipate slowing down your morning -- not being able to find Anand's shoes, searching all over, giving up and deciding to send him to preschool in yellow rain boots, a ten-minute total meltdown (tears streaming down his face) because Anand was SURE that boots are not allowed at school. I eventually coaxed him into going, promising that I would talk to the teacher for him, and that if they really weren't allowed, we would go and buy him new shoes right then and there. But I think what really convinced him was a chocolate chip cookie for the walk to school.

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September 21 -- 4:51 PM

World-building question. Trying to figure out population numbers for my recently-settled planet. Assume they arrive with a high level of technology: space flight, gene tech, etc. Also wealth. But the planet has bad (barely breathable) air, and is mineral-poor. They erect a dome and build a city within it, then a bunch of agricultural and mining districts around it (non-domed). The capital city has a university, big medical complex, rich / middle-class / poor residential areas -- maybe half the size of London in Shakespeare's time?

At some point, they build a second and possibly third city, but I'm still thinking that most of the planet is uninhabited. I need to have a rough sense of how many people are on the planet, how many are in the capital city, and how many are in each agricultural district (of which there are hundreds).

As a vague initial guess, I'm thinking 20,000 in the capital city, and another 500,000 in the surrounding districts. Maybe roughly 3000 / district?

Ideally, I'd like to have enough people in a district that it's a politically fairly important number, worth going to some effort to secure its votes. But a small enough number that the leader of the district could plausible have met most of the people in it.

Numbers are not my strong point!

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September 21 -- 3:04 PM

I wish I had a proper 'before' picture -- you must imagine this little strip of yard just COVERED in weeds taller than I am. We've been debating what to do with it, and since the weeds are so happy there, we thought we might have a chance at fruits and veggies. There's one fruit tree there already, in its second year -- it'll be another few before it bears fruit, I think. We hacked down the weeds (Kevin), then dug up the bed and spread soaked newspapers, cardboard boxes, and straw (local college student Adam).

So I guess I didn't actually do any of the labor, but I planned it all, and that's work too, right? Anyway, with any luck, the straw and the rest will decompose nicely over the winter. I do have a long stretch of daffodils and tulips in there, which I think will come up without any trouble. And then perhaps they can be moved? If so, then we should be all set for adding some compost and building up some slightly raised beds there. Veggies, yay. :-)

Hope you don't mind the semi-dressed Anand, btw -- that's his preferred summer backyard garb. And oh, if you have a dog, be warned that they might like to go roll in the straw and then track it back into the house, onto your couch. Ah well…

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September 21 -- 8:50 AM

Good morning! I am trying to motivate to get moving -- it's not happening yet. Apparently, all I want to do is watch Firefly re-runs and knit. Maybe another cup of tea. And here's a little echinacea for your morning, aka coneflower. It withered way back for lack of water at one point this summer, but it's come back strong. There might be something to this whole planting drought-tolerant plants thing.

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September 21 -- 12:43 AM

Kavya: This is the best night ever!

MA: Aren't you tired? (It is now a good hour past bedtime, as we prep for Anand's morning balloon and present surprise.)

Kavya: It's just SO EXCITING! I think I'll never be tired. I could do this all night!

I think Kavi has inherited the Mohanraj party-planning gene full force.

Turns out that it's not as hard to come up with yellow food for your yellow-loving-son's birthday party as one might have thought. I didn't even make the saffron rice with sultanas and cashews. Yellow deviled eggs, of course, Thai yellow curry two ways (once with shrimp, once with beef and potatoes).

Kavi made Anand a fancy card, which she read to him -- she pointed out proudly that she turned the A in his name into a yellow bird (from Angry Birds).

Corn chips with corn salsa, mango salsa, cheese salsa was really good. Yellow bell pepper and yellow tomatoes with dip (and later hummus was added). Lemonade and ginger ale was pretty -- but I made a mistake, I think, adding scoops of vanilla ice cream; it didn't look as good, and wasn't popular with kids or adults. Ah well -- live and learn.

Anand chose to wear his wizard's hat and the yellow tie-dye shirt from Michael's birthday party. At the end of the party, Margot gave Kavya one of her signature goodbye hugs-and-spins.

And at the very end of the party, everyone was playing -- this photo amuses me because you can see Michael and Anand playing Legos, other kids playing a matching card game, and Kat with Settlers of Catan.

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