I found this old photo of a group of friends ...

June 30, 2006 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I found this old photo of a group of friends from Williamstown, and realize that Nick, Kareem, Sara Ansell and I are the only ones left in town. Sniff.

I'll be coming into Portland on the 16th- late on Saturday night, or early on Sunday morning, depending on your generational vantage point. Dad promised to fix my teeth on Thursday morning, but I've also been promised fun at the beach. I leave late on Tuesday night for to the daily grind. I had a great lunch with a student this afternoon, a fellow who, while introverted in my first two years working together, has become quite disarming and inspiring. I've also had the honor to eat with a group of my student colleagues about once a week to dream up programs for next year. Student leadership development is so easy with students who knew how they wanted to change the world in sixth grade.

I've just had my morning mocha and am settlin...

June 30, 2006 by Adam in Family

I've just had my morning mocha and am settling down for the day. This week has gone relatively well, considering I was gone for over a week. I think it's due to this time of year, when lots of people are on vacation anyway. Things seem to be slowing down, which is nice.

I think we're going to have a relatively low-key weekend, though the rest of them in this month are pretty exciting. Jamie's and my anniversary is next weekend and my birthday is in a few weeks. Somewhere in there I might have jury duty.

Last night Jamie helped the kids make whip cream, which was liberally applied to a rootbeer float, ice cream, and peaches. It was joyous fun for all.

Present and accounted for if you mean us Sue

June 29, 2006 by Betsy in Betsy

Present and accounted for if you mean us Sue.

Wait until Sam and Emma start doing Mr

June 29, 2006 by Sue in Wielesek

Wait until Sam and Emma start doing Mr. Bill!
Are our East Coast family and friends okay?

A few days back, Sam and Emma were taking a b...

June 29, 2006 by Adam in Sam

A few days back, Sam and Emma were taking a bath as usual. One of the toys they regularly play with is a shark puppet that doubles as a washer. I came in to find them putting on an old Saturday Night Live skit I must have told Sam about long ago.

Emma would hold up her hands like doors and Sam would say "Knock, knock." Emma replied, "Who's there?" with an answer of "Candygram." As soon as she opened her hands, Sam's shark puppet would then attack. They did this over and over, much to Jamie's and my amusement.

It's been busy busy here, trying to finish up...

June 29, 2006 by Sue in Wielesek

It's been busy busy here, trying to finish up wills before
clients go off on holiday and get killed (cheerful thought) and trying to get the order done in the case I just tried before the judge kills me! I just saw the headline that they
found the tomb of King Tut's mom. No matter how sleazy the
present military-industrial-political power structure is, I
think of the last 100 years as times of incredible scientific advance. Grandma and Grandpa Steane, Muriel and Clare came from England 100 years ago the only way possible, by ship. When Lohring and I were married in 1963
we couldn't buy birth control in Connecticut (all birth control was against state law), and birth control pills didn't exist until a couple years later. An amazing time!

I've been able to add the coffee shop, mail r...

June 28, 2006 by Seraph in Cortez

I've been able to add the coffee shop, mail room, and print services to my repertoire at work! My supervisor returned from vacation yesterday, and the pace has picked up considerably. It's nice to put my education to use, as well as to work on projects that I'll actually get to see in stores. Our intern group has also formed a relay team for the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life. It runs over night July 11-12 at Sellwood Park in SE Portland. If anyone is interested in coming up they have lots of family friendly activities going on, and it's money for a great cause. I'll probably be sending out an e-mail to everyone trying to guilt you out of donations (so be warned)!
Isa has such a great time at swim lessons last week, that Robbie signed her up again. She does really well, except she's still hesitant about putting her head under water. It's been so hot lately that she and Robbie have spent great portions of the last two days sitting in the wading pool and running in the sprinklers!
Sadie--let me know your schedule for your trip. I can arrange to pick you up from the airport, and get you where ever you need to go (or if you want to stay a bit...:)). Also everyone we should chat about a birthday party for mom.

As the saying goes, it's Africa hot

June 27, 2006 by Adam in Family

As the saying goes, it's Africa hot. Tarzan couldn't handle the heat. Going up the stairs to our bedroom was like descending into the pits of hell. When I went to work at 7 o'clock this morning, it already seemed toasty. Stupid global warming.

I've achieved some sort of vague Internet fame. When you search Google for "Adam Miller", a link to my gaming site comes up first. I suspect it'll eventually change, but it's nice to see that I beat the other Adam Miller's out there - the musician, the stockbroker, and the baseball player. Gamers rule!

The kids have been running wild a bit lately, not going to sleep at any normal hour. I've been having a hard time watching them outside as it's so darn hot. I think I'm at a disadvantage due to my low surface area to volume ratio. Stupid physics.

Last night I was lucky enough to meet Will, C...

June 27, 2006 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Last night I was lucky enough to meet Will, Callie's special friend, who went to school with a colleague of mine. Unfortunately, I'm not much of a conversationalist after 9:30pm. Will is healing well from his grueling journey, so any cold beer and human contact seemed to make him buoyantly happy.

Work is not fantastic at the moment, and I'm counting the days until I can spend a little quality time on the left coast.

Jamie and I were remarking the other day how ...

June 25, 2006 by Adam in Sam

Jamie and I were remarking the other day how Sam has become generally happy and pleasant. It's increasingly rare that we need to raise our voice with him, or come up with some sort of "consequence" for his bad behavior. It makes life much easier, and I've been making a point of telling him that I appreciate it.

Sam's reading is incredible compared to a year ago. He doesn't have all the rare and unusual words down, but he's clearly picked up Jamie and I's reading talent. Last night he was reading "Princess Smartypants" to me and even adding intonations. Before it was mostly a monotone struggle to puzzle out the words.

We're still adjusting to the end of school and start of Summer. So far he seems pretty happy with the switch. I think he'll miss his friends, but we've so far filled it up with vacation and Josh visiting. Later we'll have Summer camps and swimming lessons.

Emma's latest answer to the question "What do...

June 25, 2006 by Adam in Emma

Emma's latest answer to the question "What do you want to be when you grow up?" has become "A doctor!" Funny how things shift around.

I spent yesterday morning with Emma, just the two of us. We went to the library to listen to music and pick up books, movies, and computer games for the week. Already we've played a game, watched a movie, and read over half the books. I think we're going to have to go more often.

Emma is amazingly good at making new friends. She hooked up with a slightly older girl, who ended up teaching her ballet moves. Her mom passed along a phone number in case we wanted further "lessons". Later Emma met and danced with another little girl. Emma was fascinated because she didn't have any toes on one foot, which they calmly discussed together.

After the library, we pulled out the wading pool and splashed around at home, then had lunch and worked on her Valentine's Day heart projects. That particular book is a favorite of hers, found in the "girl's section", as she calls it due to every book being pink. It's really just all the Valentine's Day books, but she loves the color of them all.

It's hard to imagine that two days have passe...

June 24, 2006 by Adam in Family

It's hard to imagine that two days have passed since we got back home and basically nothing of any importance has happened. Thursday I took a lot of walks with Sam, returning with a sunburn and four dozen bagels. Friday was spent having breakfast with my mom and entertaining Josh. He and Sam played Garry's Mod endlessly on the computer, creating creative physics traps for each other. Afterwards they played Magic, which got Sam very excited to play more.

Towards the evening I took them swimming. Emma was a great jumper and loved to swim around with her head under water now that she has goggles. I had fun swimming halfway across the pool, under water, chasing after rings that Sam threw to me.

As for today, I'll probably stick to my normal library and humble bagel routine. I also promised Sam a game of Magic when he woke up this morning. Great fun.

A lovely Friday morning, and much love to all...

June 23, 2006 by Sue in Wielesek

A lovely Friday morning, and much love to all! I had a delightful breakfast with Adam, still on holiday, and am going to see Cars with Jenny and the boys this afternoon.
Who says I need a Mercedes and diamonds to have a good life?

We're back! It feels good to be home, the mo...

June 22, 2006 by Adam in Family

We're back! It feels good to be home, the most remarkable thing being all the green surrounding Eugene. After several days up in the high desert, it seems strange to see the trees so big and close together. It's hard to know where to start with our adventures, so I'll go chronologically.

On Friday we mostly took it easy, and Saturday as well. The place we were staying, Eagle Crest, is mostly a golf resort. Right outside our back door was the golf course, and out our front door was another row of houses and then the golf course. It was a bit odd. Fortunately there was a pool and playground, I'm guessing for the wives and children of all the golfers staying there. Sam liked wandering off the well-watered greens and going out to the scrub to look for creatures. I think Sam found over 20 different critters, including deer, rabbits, lizards, snakes, and more.

On Sunday, Dave, Josh, Kirsten, Sam, and I took a trip on the Crooked River Railroad. It went from Redmond to Prineville, a slow and rocky trip with a Western theme. During the middle of the trip, we were chased by bandits on horseback and robbed at gunpoint. Fortunately we were also served brunch and entertained by assorted western songs. "Ghost Riders in the Sky" is still stuck in my head.

The only problem was the movement, which caused me to be pretty queasy. Sam barely touched his food and was pretty quiet the whole trip, so I think it got to him too.

Monday was spent at the High Desert Museum, which was pretty amazing. There were lots of live animals, from bobcats to porcupines. Indoors you could walk through a mine and into a pioneer town. Jamie didn't think it was particularly authentic, however, as it was missing a saloon and red light district. We ran around until exhausted. Emma collapsed that night at seven o'clock and didn't wake until eight the next morning.

Tuesday was the day when Sam and I ran off to do our own thing. I took the car and drove south to the Lava River Cave. It was closed, but that didn't deter us any. We wandered up ourselves, a backup flashlight from the hotel in our hands. The caves were pretty incredible, very dark and cold. Blocks of ice were on the floor and you couldn't see where you were going unless you shone the light directly down. After going in a ways, Sam let me know it had reached his freaky limit and it was time to head back.

After that, we drove up to the Lava Lands park and we walked alone through paths that wound between miles of lava rocks. It was closed like the other park, so we were the only ones around. It was a neat, if short trip, to survey the devastation that once took place there. Afterwards we drove back into Bend and watched Mission Impossible 3.

Today Jamie decided that it was time to return home. The tomatoes needed us, and we bid Judy farewell to work on her tan. It was a surprisingly short drive home and we just unpacked and ordered takeout from Tasty Thai. We have a long four days ahead of me to try to do nothing of any great importance.

A quick Cortez family update

June 21, 2006 by Seraph in Cortez

A quick Cortez family update.
I finished up my finals and saw many of my friends graduate...sigh. After two grueling days at the Supply Store working on inventory, started my internship. I now understand Adam and all of the Dilbert cartoons, as I have entered the endless maze of cubes. I can get to my box (complete with my own partially working computer, and phone mail), but so far my lackluster directional skills have only gotten me as ar as the bathroom! We're set up a bit like Ft. Knox and I'm sure the amount of wandering and card swipping I'm doing is sending out red flags!
Robbie and Isa have been enjoying there summer so far. They've gone down to Kells twice to watch World Cup Soccar, and Isa has been taking swim lessons in the afternoon. I think it will take them a bit to get used to their new found freedom.

This is definitely a belated posting

June 19, 2006 by Sue in Wielesek

This is definitely a belated posting.First, the Memorial Service for Dad was quite lovely. Seraph and I left bright and early on Friday morning, and the rest of the weekend unfolded with surprising precision. We met Meg, Dick and the girls at the Philadelphia airport, waiting with to-go dinners for us. About an hour's drive west of Philadelphia,
we stopped at a tiny town called Boiling Springs, where we
picked up Callie's very nice boy-friend, Will, who has been
hiking the Appalachia trail from Georgia to Maine, and drove on to Donegal. Anita and John had arrived earlier, and
we all made plans to get together with the rest of the family at the coffee shop in Normalville the next morning.
It was a merry gathering, with cousin Ann, Alan, Alan's wife Jeanne, and all rabbits friends and relations. The
service was very nice - with funny stories by Dad's sailing
buddies, sweet stories from Margie, Julie, and local friends, and a nice biography from Meg and a reading from
Betsy. I couldn't remember the name of the Rudyard Kipling
poem, but was able to fake it well enough to recite it; the one which ends "Home is the sailor, home from the sea, and the hunter, home from the hill." The church ladies fixed a nice lunch for after the service, and we then retired to the house to visit longer. We all got together once more on
Sunday morning in Donegal, and then regretfully said our good-byes. We drove back to Philadelphia, stopping in Boiling Springs to see the end of their Memorial Day parade and watch their Memorial Day service. At the risk of offending you, gentle readers, I hate this war, much as I hated the Viet Nam war. I want our troops home now.
Anyhow, Seraph and I had a good flight back; I bought her "The Devil Wore Prada", a really fun read.
Once back, I plunged into preparation for trial. I had to co-ordinate three expert witnesses and a witness from the local child welfare agency, all of whom were clear and competent in their reports and testimony. In domestic relations cases, it's rare to have a good side and a bad side, because people usually bumble along and do their best, or lie because of the way they view a situation. But in this case, I had right, truth and justice on my side, and the person on the other was either a liar, liar, pants on fire, or crazy. The judge gave us everything we asked for and more.
This weekend was fun but busy, with Anna's graduation from the U of O. It started out with the Phi Beta Kappa breakfast
(how come I'm so lucky as to be surrounded by all these smart kids!) and then the History Department graduation, at
which Anna was a speaker. Bob and Deb hosted an open house at Deb's in the afternoon - lots of family and friends, and very nice. I had brunch for Bob and the kids on Sunday morning, and then Yayoe, Hanni and I, all looking quite stylish ourselves, went up to Portland to the Fashion show which Seraph's school puts on. Isa modeled for the second
year, and did a fine job. Then home, and to bed, not a moment too soon. Love to all, mom

We kicked major booty

June 16, 2006 by Sue in Wielesek

We kicked major booty. Heh, heh, heh.


June 16, 2006 by Adam in Adam

Amazon.com recently started selling groceries. Well, I poked around out of curiousity and found myself staring and dirt-cheap boxes of organic cereal. A few clicks later, 48 boxes of assorted cereal was being packed up and ready to be sent to our house.

Before anyone thinks I'm completely insane, I eat a lot of cereal. It's one very large bowl for breakfast and another right before I go to bed. It seems I'm always pestering Jamie to get me more cereal, and not just the tiny individual boxes, but the kind you buy by the pallet.

So, hopefully this will keep me stocked in cereal for awhile yet. The whole concept of having food shipped to your door for free is an interesting one. The prices were cheaper than Costco too. Could be an interesting new trend.

I'm looking forward to next week's semi-vacat...

June 16, 2006 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I'm looking forward to next week's semi-vacation in Boston and Cape Cod! Our VISTA Close of Service will be this week near Province town on the tip of Cape Cod. While I will still be acting as VISTA leader in training, there should be moments to relax on the beach and not think about Habitat for Humanity's wetland problems on their newly bought land, who will coordinate the America Reads/America Counts tutoring program next year, or if we'll fill the VISTA corps by pre-service orientation in early July.

The weather here is pristine, and the town is currently crowded with Williamstown Theatre Festival interns, striding down Spring St and waiting to be discovered.

This is from a Memorial Day BBQ at Nick Baker's house. Oh, the things we do to keep ourselves occupied...

When Sadie was little, she would crawl into m...

June 16, 2006 by Adam in Family

When Sadie was little, she would crawl into my suitcase and I'd carry her around the house. This was considered high adventure and when in college when I lived with my mom, Sadie came down stairs (now 7 or so), she sheepishly asked for another ride. It was a tight fit, but we managed.

Emma discovered the same fun yesterday, climbing in and asking for various rides. Another Miller tradition handed from one generation to the next.

We're nearly all packed and ready to go. The kids go to school this morning, their last day. I'm going to see if I can sneak the computer with me and perhaps make some postings from Bend. I'm going to try and walk down to the library and pick up some kid videos and a book for myself. Somewhere in there I'm hoping to finish packing.

For those of you keeping track, the work issues worked themselves out yesterday. My brilliant ideas won the day, or at least I exhausted my foes due to endless, lengthy e-mails. I even got to do some coding with our new languages and standards, which was new and interesting.

If I'm not able to post, happy early Father's Day to all you dads out there.

Josh is back in town

June 15, 2006 by Adam in Family

Josh is back in town. He and Dave came over last night to watch the kids while Jamie and I finished watching a movie we started a couple weeks ago. Josh seems pretty much the same as always, if perhaps another inch or two taller and a slightly deeper voice. As always, he was most interested in video games, sneaking home with the manual to one of my newer games.

Work was nutty yesterday. I spent somewhere between three and four hours on the phone. Unfortunately one conversation got particularly heated and it took me awhile to get to my "whatever place" (sort of like other people's "happy place"). I went to the gym, calmed down, and wrote a lengthy e-mail giving pro's and con's about the different approaches. We'll see what happens today.

It just struck me that today is technically my Friday since I'll be going off on vacation tomorrow. I certainly think that suggests a mocha, don't you?

It's been a calm and pleasant week

June 14, 2006 by Adam in Family

It's been a calm and pleasant week. Nothing of great importance is going on. We're slowly getting ready for the trip, doing the typical family stuff, and enjoying the warm if cloudy weather.

Sam has recently gotten a passion for sketching. The other day he wanted me to take a picture of the neighborhood cat so that he could draw it. Jamie dug up an old book of animals so that he could find interesting ones and draw them. He's been doing extremely well with school lately, especially reading and writing.

Emma's drawing skills have improved as well. She loves drawing faces with huge eyes and tiny bodies. She can also recognize her name, and she demands that each one of her drawings have it on the corner, just like in school. I also watched her play an education computer game the other day, counting, recognizing letters, matching, and effortlessly moving the mouse about.

As for us old folks, Jamie and I haven't been doing much of interest. Jamie's been doing her Tuesday and Thursday workouts, starting to feel like she can actually do the routine without feeling like dying. I do my little house projects, game projects, and play a bunch with the kids.

Just a quick note

June 13, 2006 by Sue in Wielesek

Just a quick note. I am working late but about ready to leave the office. I'm in the middle of what I hope will be my last appearance ever in a court room. I'm going into the fourth day of trial, which I'm doing pro bono. It looks as though right and truth are going to prevail!

Sunday afternoon

June 12, 2006 by Adam in Family

Sunday afternoon. I'm beat. For some reason, I get this burst of energy on Saturday, cheerfully hauling kids about and playing with them non-stop. Now I'm sitting on the patio with the laptop, making sure they don't get in too much trouble.

The big event for the day was a trip to Oakway mall, where the kids spent most of the time running around in the courtyard. We picked up a little food, a belt for Sam, and various other items. Other than that, we painted some deck furniture and tried to relax.

Next week is the kid's last one before Summer vacation. Emma's preschool is likely closing for good, so we'll have to figure something else for her this Fall. I think Sam might actually miss school, or at least all the friends he's made there. Josh is in town for quite awhile this Summer, so I'm sure all the cousins will get together while he's around.

I'll send along my birthday greetings to Sadi...

June 11, 2006 by Adam in Family

I'll send along my birthday greetings to Sadie as well. A quarter of a century. Why I remember changin' diapers and, well, nevermind.

As expected, we did our usual swimming, library, bagel routine like we do every weekend. It was lots of fun. Sam and I finished watching Apollo 13 while Emma watched a playtime video. At one point I ran downstairs when I heard some noise. Emma was running back to the video with a bowl and fork, announcing she was making music like the kids on the show. It was sweet.

Since the weather has been good, we went outside a fair amount. The kids caught bugs and Sam worked on his fort inside the huge butterfly bush. I pressure washed an old piece of patio furniture that needs to be repainted. Jamie drove a friend to the airport and got a pedicure with Jenny. After dinner, we took a walk through the neighborhood and explored around.

As for today, I'm not sure what we're up to. All I know is that Jamie's promised blueberry coffee cake for breakfast. Unfortunately I can't think of anything after that to top it.

Happy Birthday, Sadie

June 10, 2006 by Betsy in Betsy

Happy Birthday, Sadie. Congratulations, Mikayla. I am stuck in Ohio suffering from a horrible head cold. I coughed so hard last night I almost got up and drove myself to the ER. What terrible misdeeds did I do to deserve a summer cold? Best wishes to all. The Midwest clan

Ohmygoodness! This is the day that Anna Monas...

June 09, 2006 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Ohmygoodness! This is the day that Anna Monas, Jenny Minnity-Shippey, Donald Duck, and I were born! Jenny and I are now perfect squares, Anna Monas is a prime number, and Donald is a timeless mathmagical adventurer! Uzaib dropped in this morning to apologize for not being able to come to my birthday party, satiating my despair with a cow-dotted milk-shake making Moo Mixer. Very Williams College, whose mascot is the Purple Cow. Alas, like Uzaib, most townies are engaged with Alumni Reunions this evening. It's too wet and rainy for an outdoor shindig, but we still have an indoor porch and some very enthusiastic mathmagic lovers. With Uzaib engaged in reunions, we are now able to pull out the booze and pig roast, which we had previously decided against in deference to his religious beliefs. However, my supervisor and chaplain to the college will also be attending, so we'll have to keep our revelry to interfaith-appropriate levels. Thank you for the well-wishes! I couldn't be a happier 25.

Happy Birthday Sadie!!! I love you (and miss...

June 09, 2006 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy Birthday Sadie!!! I love you (and miss you)! Enjoy your quarter century mark.

Mocha Friday

June 09, 2006 by Adam in Family

Mocha Friday. I'll be sneaking into work momentarily, getting ready to get a cup of that glorious elixir.

Speaking of coffee, I bid and won the Java Jive basket at the carnival last night. Sadly my bid to get monthly pies didn't make it, nor did the Sweet Life gift certificate. No word yet on if I won any of the raffle baskets.

The carnival was fun for the whole family, as promised. They do it every year to raise money for the school. It's how they fund their PE, music, and computer classes, it seems. Sam ran off and spent the whole time at the squirtgun arena. Jamie went to work a booth. Emma and I played games, won prizes, and generally had a good time.

We've got our normal weekend routine starting up - swimming tonight and then library and bagels tomorrow. Sam doesn't have school today and next week is the beginning of Summer vacation. A week from now, we'll be driving to Bend. Very strange.

Sadie, I suggest tarps

June 07, 2006 by Seraph in Cortez

Sadie, I suggest tarps...lots of tarps.

When I need to chill out at work, I stop emai...

June 07, 2006 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

When I need to chill out at work, I stop emailing and start using the telephone. Today is a chill day. After a morning of telephoning, I am eating my day-old half-off sandwich, parusing a four-page typed to-do list, and trying to consider when to take a vacation this summer. Nothing makes me feel more in control of my life than eating lunch at my desk and parusing my calendar for vacation time.

It will most likely rain on my birthday, and I'm a little nervous about Donald Duck in Mathmagic Land- my apartment is tiny and oddly shaped, and doesn't have many appropriate walls for projecting. We'll have to get creative.

Hi all, Incredibly busy week last week, tryi...

June 06, 2006 by Meg in Lytton

Hi all,
Incredibly busy week last week, trying to squeeze 5 days of patients into 4 work days. We did get to go with friends to Al Gore's new movie, An Inconvenient Truth, Friday night. Very scarey and thought provoking. It made me rethink our office renovation proposals with energy efficiency more in mind. I called the architect this AM--I hope he can somehow arrange for a New England style foyer for heat/a.c. preservation when the doors open. We started to switch to more fluorescent bulbs this weekend. I'm turning off lights like crazy.

All my conservation efforts were washed away by 2 extra, long car trips 6/4 and 6/5. Callie's boyfriend Will left the Appalachian trail around Reading, PA this weekend to come to Philly for his birthday and to say goodbye to Callie before she goes to Zambia this week to spend time on a Habitat for Humanity project. However, when he went back to the Trail yesterday, he slipped on rocks in the rain and gashed his shin. He managed to stop the bleeding with duct tape and steristrips but didn't have any way to keep the wound clean (down to the bone) and was in alot of pain. So Callie picked him up this morning and I patched him up in the office. I'm still worried about infection and the wound was too deep, wide, old and dirty looking to suture today so hopefully the big steristrips will help it heal quicker and nicer. He'll stay in Philly 'til the wound's healing, clearly not infected and the pain decreases so he can walk.

Ah, life's little diversions....

On that note, I'm still sucked into Dad's sailing books from the Aubrey/Maturin series (Master and Commander is best known). I was disappointed to see the author looks about 75- I fear he may retire!

Kayla's graduation next weekend. Allie is coming and maybe Betsy. We're having another family (Kayl's friends, and ours) to dinner by pool Saturday.

Well, midnight, so will finish.

It was a fairly relaxing Sunday, as weekend d...

June 05, 2006 by Adam in Family

It was a fairly relaxing Sunday, as weekend days go. Ray and Ella came down for most of the afternoon, bringing birthday presents for Emma and visiting. Emma is quite taken with Ella and was trying to convince her to crawl into the play tents we have set up in the basement. Dave and Kirsten came over later in the day, visiting and playing with the kids.

Emma thought her new clothes were wonderful, adding in a tiara and slippers to complete the outfit. Even Sam had fun with Emma's new toys, sliding the occupants of Dora's house off the roof in slow motion.

We did very little of any great importance. Sam finished watching the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. We'd exchange knowing "waa, waa, waaa" noises throughout the day. Sam read a surprising number of pages in his new book from the library. It's really meant for kids a few years older than him, but his reading skills have improved greatly since the beginning of the year. I helped him through the really tough words like "belligerent", though he managed "encyclopedia" on his own.

You can see the big version of this picture i...

June 04, 2006 by Adam in Family

You can see the big version of this picture in the photoalbum. Sam just got new pants, shirts, hat, and glasses from my mom. He decided he looked pretty cool, and so we had to have an impromptu photo shoot. Sam's sure looking pretty cool these days.

Yesterday we did our normal routine. I always have fun going to the library and Humble Bagel afterwords, reveling in good books and baked goods. It was the start of the library's summer reading program, and Sam picked out a huge book called So You Want To Be A Wizard, which he seems pretty happy about. I think he's read the introduction so far.

After coming home, Sam watched The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Then it was off to Jenny's birthday party. Emma really wanted to go swimming, even though it was freezing. I dunked her in for a few minutes until she started to shiver. All the cousins ran around and had a good time.

As for today, it sounds like Jamie's dad and Ella will be arriving late this morning. I'm still trying to figure out what to do with the kids, maybe go to a park or go shopping for a new belt for Sam. We'll see.

I finished up HL2:E1 this morning

June 03, 2006 by Adam in Adam's Games

I finished up HL2:E1 this morning. The worst part was that it was short, which I suppose is the nature of episodic content. The level of polish was amazing, though. They really got carried away with scripting and animation. Each section of the game seemed incredibly well polished and fun.

I'm still not convinced of the value of an episodic approach over the traditional full story approach. It's like television versus movies, I suppose. Still, if Valve continues to do such a great job with thier mini-games, I'll keep buyin' them.

It's about an hour until Mocha Friday really ...

June 02, 2006 by Adam in Family

It's about an hour until Mocha Friday really kicks in. I woke up way too early this morning and sat down to play a little Half-Life 2: Episode One. With a name like that, it's got to be good.

Emma has taken this "turning three" thing to heart. She's become amazingly strong-willed as of late, sometimes to her detriment. I've been trying to explain that insects are meant to be watched, not played with, though she evidently thought I was being an old fuddy-duddy. She was playing with ants yesterday afternoon and sure enough managed to rile up the entire nest. A couple minutes later we were picking ants out of her hair and rushing her inside. Soon she was buck naked, crying, and sobbing "I'm doomed!" Fortunately after a hug and some insect bite medicine, she was much better.

This weekend is shaping up to be quite busy, with Jenny's birthday party and Jamie's dad visiting. Hopefully we can find some quiet time along the way too.

It's been pretty quiet in the world of gaming

June 02, 2006 by Adam in Adam's Games

It's been pretty quiet in the world of gaming. I think there's this unspoken rule that during the Summer months, kids should be outside playing and not sitting in front of the computer. Well, a new game came out, a semi-sequel to Half-Life 2. It's a three-part episodic sequel, $18 for 5 or so hours of gameplay. It's a pretty new concept in a world filled with $60 games and $35 expansions.

I've been playing Half Life 2: Episode One for over an hour now. It's pretty darn' good. The folks at Valve have the knack of mixing things up a fair amount, so a particular style of gameplay doesn't get stale. They're also working on the concept of "single player co-op", where your companion Alyx acts pretty much like another player. She's awful chatty, that's for sure.

Mainly the game is extremely well polished, with huge numbers of animations, interesting physical world puzzles, and some intriguing story movement. I'm being good tonight and calling it quits, well before ten o'clock.

I'm having a lot more fun with the new laptop...

June 01, 2006 by Adam in Adam's Projects

I'm having a lot more fun with the new laptop than I would have thought. At the moment I'm in the front yard, sitting on a bench. The kids are playing with ants. The sky is thick with clouds, rain just around the corner.

I think Jamie's found it useful as well, mostly because it's small and she can have it in the kitchen with her. She's set up a little desk, putting the laptop on top of an antique toilet seat. I suppose there's irony in there somewhere, though it's a bit of a stretch for me today.

Update: A few minutes later, Emma came to me, ants crawling all over her legs. We took her inside, stripped her bare, and picked all the ants off her legs and out of her hair. Sure enough, she had a half-dozen bites that we fortunately had some medicine for. An hour later she was fine.

The most sad and funny part was when she was standing in her room, buck naked and crying. "I'm doomed!" she sobbed. I suppressed a laugh and gave her a long hug.

Jamie asked Emma this morning what she wanted...

June 01, 2006 by Adam in Emma

Jamie asked Emma this morning what she wanted to be when she grew up. "Normal," Emma replied.

Taking a shower in the morning has an element of danger. Often I'll be washing away, only to hear a little giggle outside the curtain. Sure enough, Emma greeted me this morning, helping me put on chapstick and pick out clothes. Such service.

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