27 September 2007

That special project

OK, so back at the end of august I posted a review of the month, and I mentioned I managed to pull off a "special project" without Cory knowing. Well, she knows now. :)

As anyone that meet us around the time of the engagement through wedding knows, I designed a custom ring for her, two ribbons of gold (one white, other yellow) spun around each other with three pockets opened up between them holding three diamonds. Everyone that's seen it has universally loved it. I had spent a lot of time going around to various jewelry stores looking for what I wanted, none really had it. I asked at several if they could get it, or make it, none were interested. Then I visited Rochester Lapidary. I had taken a simple cad sketch with me, and they were happy to custom fabricate it for me after picking out stones. At the time it was a matter of spending a few hours with one of their designers, then coming back in three weeks to see the finished piece. Needless to say, it wasn't 100% what I wanted, but it was still pretty damn awesome. These days, the process is a whole lot better. :)

So when we learned Cory was pregnant, I had decided that I wanted to get her a pendant to commemorate the event. I spent a LONG time looking at the "mother and child" pendants that are all the rage these days. One simple glaringly obvious thing stood out about every single design I ever saw. All these women must have been single mothers, because not a single one of them had any kind of father in place.

Well, fuck that.

I don't have an Arts degree for nothing.

I can do better than that.

So I went directly to my old buddies at Rochester Lapidary. These days the process for custom designed jewelry is a lot different. They render it in 3D on a CAD system, and not until you approve of the rendering do they proceed to use a CAM system to cut a wax model. Approval of the wax model will allow it to go to casting. At both steps we ended up revising it to get it to the point of what I had in my head.

Here's their first interpretation of the scribbled drawing I made there, and the hour or so of chat with their designer:

And here's the final render of what was sent to the CAD/CAM to cut the wax:

Which is amazingly close to the final work:

That's my Alexandrite on the left, Cory's Zircon on the right and Quinn's Peridot on the bottom (duh).

The tale of the incredibly shrinking beard

Sigh, it's a sad tale to be sure.

I've had this beard since... well... I can't really remember when.

I've certainly had it for as long as I've been in MN. I had it in CA for a long time before I came back here... it went through a few variations back there... a full traditional ear-to-ear beard (that itched in the summer, so it didn't last long)... a fu-man-chu like shaped and trimmed to length incarnation (way too much upkeep)... and a few different lengths have emerged over time. But being here in MN pretty much kept it at a consistent length that I call "winter coat zipper length". That's been 11 years now.

Now that Quinn is here... it's had to be trimmed.

Three times now I've shortened it. Finally it's short enough that he can't really get a grip on it enough to pull.

And sadly, that short (claims to be 1" on the clipper guides, more like 1/2" by my ruler) the gray shows even more.

Oh well, at least I can still wear socks with sandals, and cheap t-shirts with nerdly sayings and fit the "unix geek" image everyone expects.


06 September 2007

HOWTO: warm up milk quick and easy.

Note that this might work for formula too, if it's chilled in the fridge before use.

This is a simple solution that allows me to warm up previously "expressed" (dumb word for pumped) milk that's been chilling in the refrigerator. Usually it's in either small bags that attach to the pump, or in small bottles that similarly, attach to the pump. If I'm on the ball, this allows a minimum of screaming while getting the milk to the desired temperature pretty much "right on time". It all has to do with balanced thermal mass and conductivity. And it seems pretty much impossible to get it too hot this way, resulting in burns.

What you need:

  1. a cup that is big enough to fit the bottle/bag(s) of milk needed for one serving. (we have some drink glasses from St Louis' Fat Tuesday from our 1st anniversary that work perfectly.
  2. a second cup that is small enough to fit snuggly inside the top of the first cup, and weighs a bit. (I use a brushed alluminium and foam "can cooler" with the logo of Cory's former employer... it was collecting dust previously)
  3. Hot water from the tap. (not microwaved or stove boiled, though our DHW system is still set to what I call "Scald your skin off" temperature, but Cory calls "just right for a shower"... That won't last long now that Quinn is here)

how you do it:

  1. fill the cup with HOT water
  2. drop the bag in (note that bags work better than plastic bottles, which work better than glass bottles I expect.)
  3. place the second cup atop the bag to hold it down in the water
  4. wait a few moments
  5. pull the bag out and massage the milk to re-integrate the milk and cream.
  6. if contents feel like "body temperature" now, break out of the loop
  7. if the water has cooled to at or near the milk temperature, replace with fresh hot water from the tap
  8. replace bag
  9. go back up a few steps and put the bag back in and hold it back down

I usually can warm a bag of milk without replacing the water, a plastic bottle sometimes takes two water baths to get to temperature. (and I replace massaging the bag with shake/swirling the bottle)

Frozen milk works the same way, just takes longer. :) I did a 4 oz bag that was rock solid in 10 minutes and 5 water changes.

I suspect a thermal cup would work better than the current flimsy plastic cup I use, this winter when it's colder I'll have to investigate the switch over.

Labels: ,