Isa and Hannie made it back safe and sound ye...

August 31, 2007 by Seraph in Cortez

Isa and Hannie made it back safe and sound yesterday. They were both pretty tired, as Isa didn't sleep on the plane, and wouldn't let Hanni sleep either!
It was really nice to have them back. Robbie didn't even complain when Isa crawled into our bed around 3 this morning. She was wide awake, and hungry, by 4:30am, so our day started early.
I think she had a blast getting to meet all of her cousins, and the whole family seemed quite taken with her! They spent a lot of time swimming and playing, and some of the pictures they brought back are beautiful.
On the home front, we're gearing up for the start of school. I think we'll spend the long weekend finishing house projects and school supply shopping.
Sadly, dear old Mischa is pretty sick. We're trying antibiotics, but the vet thinks he probably has cancer. I'm endlessly frustrated with how little information a vet can give you. I know it must be hard to have a patient who doesn't speak, but I always get the same run around with our pets. I usually want to say that it's ok if they just don't know what's wrong! Anyway, enough of my venting!

It's Mocha Friday, though my morning coffee i...

August 31, 2007 by Adam in Family

It's Mocha Friday, though my morning coffee is still over an hour away.

Soccer season started, and Sam was out running around with his friends last night. He wasn't too thrilled to actually go, but once he was there, I don't think it was too bad. I pointed out that it was good exercise, which he grudgingly agreed with.

Emma and I spent much of the time picking blackberries, along with a small cluster of kids that tagged along. I think we have enough for blackberry coffee cake for the weekend. Emma picked quite a few, though half of them ended up being eaten.

After practice wrapped up, we went off to Ben and Jerry's for Sharon's birthday party. She's a good friend of Jamie's and her kids are good friends of ours, so it works out really well. Everyone ate too much ice cream and we took some very tired kids home to bed.

As for this final weekend before school, I think we'll do the usual swimming, library, and so on. Maybe we can sneak in some outdoor events and a lot of relaxation before the fast-paced school schedule begins.

I'm returning to Providence this afternoon, w...

August 31, 2007 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I'm returning to Providence this afternoon, with a detour to the Mall of America, the only place, apart from the airport, that the hotel runs a shuttle to. It would have been nice to see some of Minneapolis, but we were in workshops all day, and I facilitated Campus Compact VISTA leader workshops in the evening. The Campus Compact VISTA leaders were brilliant and accomodating.

It will be nice to get back into my own dusty house and wrinkled potatoes. After five days, the shiny surfaces and buffet-style meals can be too much of a good thing.

Okay, okay, Sandie lives far east of Mexico, ...

August 30, 2007 by Sue in Wielesek

Okay, okay, Sandie lives far east of Mexico, and even east of Gibraltar. I had a delightful time, and will try to post pictures and a little travel summary. I'm still kind of fuzzy after the long trip home, but am getting back on schedule.

I finished Bioshock this morning

August 30, 2007 by Adam in Adam's Games

I finished Bioshock this morning. The final confrontation was fairly traditional and quite easy by the time I was fully loaded up on ammunition, plasmids, and upgraded weapons. The earlier Big Daddy fights were more intense for me.

Still, the epilogue was very fitting, different than most games, and reflected the choices I'd made throughout the game. I like that sense of denoument and meaning.

Fortunately Metroid Prime Corruption should magically appear on our doorstep today. It's for the Wii and is very well reviewed. The previous game was a bit too challenging for Sam and I, but I'm hoping that as Sam as gotten older and they've toned down the difficulty, it shouldn't be as frustrating.

Jamie called at work, sounding a little on ed...

August 29, 2007 by Adam in Family

Jamie called at work, sounding a little on edge, and letting me know that I was welcome back at home any time. Fortunately it was pretty quiet at work. I was the only person there, everyone else off somewhere or working at home, so I snuck out a little early.

The kids seemed a bit grumpy, so I decided to get them out of the house and took them to a canoe rental place by Alton Baker Park. There's a bunch of canals that run by Autzen Stadium that I'd never gone on, and it was the first time the kids had ever been canoing.

We stayed a little longer than I should have (2 hours), and the kids got a little grumpy/tired towards the end, but in general everyone had a great time. Emma tried out paddling and she developed a love for the blackberries that were constantly on the banks. Sam's favorite part was going through the "rapids" near a short waterfall. Now I'm exhausted and ready for bed.

It was quite the change of pace from the drea...

August 29, 2007 by Adam in Adam's Games

It was quite the change of pace from the dreary, madmen-filled undersea city of Rapture, but we finished Sam and Max tonight. Sam (my Sam) was at the controls, and I'd offer up periodic hints if we got too badly stuck.

All-in-all, I was pretty happy with the series. The sense of humor was bizarre and over-the-top, as expected. The puzzles were only borderline nonsensical and often resulted in a funny outcome. I think the first few episodes were stronger than the latter ones, though perhaps it was because the style of humor wasn't quite as fresh.

Still, there's nothing like crazy ol' Max and his gratuitous violence.

We had a good weekend that was highlighted by...

August 28, 2007 by Seraph in Cortez

We had a good weekend that was highlighted by the Oregon Symphony in the park concert on Sat night. It was great to see the park packed and the symphony receive 2 curtian calls. There were even teenage girl's at the side of the stage getting autographs after the show. It all made me feel giddy!
At home we're getting ready for Isa's return. I know there will be a few grumpy days as we reestablish a schedule, so I want to get caught up on everthing else now.
We also need to have some tests run for Mischa. He seams to have "lost his voice", and the vet thinks it might be a thyroid issue.
I was home sick yesterday, so work is crazy today. We're heading into our Fall 08 development time and the pace is picking up. I guess it keeps me on my toes and out of trouble.

The first morning living in the Bloomington P...

August 28, 2007 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

The first morning living in the Bloomington Park Plaza hotel is quite nice. My window overlooks flat expanses of asphalt and the rolling hills of the mall of america. All of the VISTA leaders are great, though, and while I'm a little tired of the enthusiastic facilitators- "this week will transform the rest of your life!"- it's nice to have someone restock my shampoo every day.

The beach was gorgeous, I was all set to spen...

August 28, 2007 by Jamie in Family

The beach was gorgeous, I was all set to spend several days. However, Sam missed Daddy and wanted to go home, and the kids started their annoying fighting and then Emma missed Daddy and I couldn't take it any longer by myself. We (meaning I) cleaned up and drove home. Phooey.

I just got a call from Jamie

August 27, 2007 by Adam in Family

I just got a call from Jamie. Initially, all I heard was Emma crying in the background. Then Jamie pops in and says "We're coming home." and that the kids missed me.

I think the beach trip wasn't quite the lovely visit it was envisioned to be. Ah well, the one day to myself was quite nice. It'll be good to have the kids home again.

It's Monday and I'm back to work

August 27, 2007 by Adam in Family

It's Monday and I'm back to work. Jamie and the kids are over at the coast and the house seems terribly big for little ol' me. I kept myself busy by mowing the lawn, gardening, doing laundry, and generally tidying up. I think they're coming back Wednesday or so, but it's up to Jamie and her whims.

Mostly Jamie and I hung out with Emma on Friday night and Saturday. We went for a long walk to the store, visited the library, and spent the afternoon hanging out. It was quiet without Sam, who had already gone to the coast. Having just one kid around is a very different experience.

I spent much of yesterday in Rapture

August 27, 2007 by Adam in Adam's Games

I spent much of yesterday in Rapture.

No, not the state of mind, but rather the undersea city, Rapture. It's part of a game called Bioshock, which is almost certainly going to win game of the year.

It's a wonderful game, set in an art deco city under the waves. What began as a utopia has turned into a place full of once-human monsters, transformed in pursuit of an ideal. The gameplay itself is full of interesting choices. Though it's technically a first person shooter, it's often a bad idea to simply jump in with guns blazing. I'm fond of hacking the various robots in the game, setting up ambush points, and luring my foes to me. There's also a range of magic-like abilities, such as the power to shock your foe, move things with your mind, and so on. Fun stuff.

The story itself is intriguing as well, with lots of moral and philosophical discourse all about. At this point, I think I'm over halfway through and will hopefully finish before Jamie and the kids return. Though it is fun to indulge at times, I do look forward to my family coming home.

Sandie lives in a Mexican city on the coast o...

August 25, 2007 by Sue in Wielesek

Sandie lives in a Mexican city on the coast of the Mediterranean, which is a fabulous place. I¨ll post more later. Much love, Mom

In preparation for VISTA leader training, I'v...

August 24, 2007 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

In preparation for VISTA leader training, I've created a series of pencil and paper games for VISTA leaders to do while we learn about how to be transformational leaders. One of my favorites is a game called "categories," in which you have to write down something in a specific category that begins with a certain letter. My categories are books your VISTAs could read, movies that are good, civic engagement vocab, and something you'd rather be doing. My example row, using the letter "R," includes Rules for Radicals, Ratatouille, and Reading a magazine.

Despite Janet's unenthusiastic review of Rocket Science, a film that she jadedly categorizes as "quirky suburban teen comedy," I'm hoping to see it this weekend. It's about a boy with a stutter who joins a debate team for a girl. How could that not be delightful?

My Friday Mocha is long gone, I've gone throu...

August 24, 2007 by Adam in Family

My Friday Mocha is long gone, I've gone through the morning's e-mails, and the work week is wrapping up.

Swimming lessons are done for the week. Sam did quite well, though he doesn't think he learned much due to his class being so crowded. Emma had mixed feelings about lessons as well. I think it was colder than she wanted, even though she seemed to like her instructor quite a bit. Emma's on the verge of learning to swim. When we go tonight, I'll have to test her on the skills she's learned.

Last night Jamie went to Angie's and then a meeting at the Little French School. Sam played with the neighbor boys, getting muddy and tired. Emma played in the sprinklers. For dinner I made a huge batch of noodles, and then we retired to play a bit of Sam and Max. Good times.

It's a big weekend for Sam, who's going to the beach with Jim and Judy. I think they're going out crabbing, even. Jamie's talking about talking Emma to the coast to join them on Sunday, returning sometime early next week. It'll be weird to have some quiet days in the house.

So, it'll be just Emma, Jamie and I for tonight and tomorrow. I think we'll do swimming and then the library in the morning. Other than that, it would be nice to have some downtime to just hang out. We'll see how it goes.

Our week continues - though much quieter then...

August 23, 2007 by Seraph in Cortez

Our week continues - though much quieter then the weekend. Robbie has been wrapping up my "honey do" list and trying to get some R&R. Work has been mildly crazy. I have a meeting with some of my least favorite vendors this afternoon. We "affectonatly" call them Dumb and Dumber. But it does mean that I've donned my power suit and have consumed large amounts of coffee!

My taste in media doesn't always overlap with...

August 21, 2007 by Adam in Adam

My taste in media doesn't always overlap with Jamie's, but we've found a common love of the new show Mad Men. It's about a man who works for an ad agency in the early 60's in Manhattan. The whole thing is surreal, pointing out how life was like back then, in stark contrast to our own. Everyone smoked, drank, and hit on the office girls. The kids don't wear seat belts, play dress-up in big plastic bags, and always eat at the little kids' table.

I'm going to have to check with my mom and dad to see if life really was like that back then. It almost seems like a parallel universe, where I keep thinking they're normal people until they do something really bizarre.

It's been cloudy and sprinkly the last few days

August 21, 2007 by Adam in Emma

It's been cloudy and sprinkly the last few days. I decided to brave the weather and take Emma to her swimming lessons last night, as usual. It was a bad sign when she was the only student and the instructor showed up in a wet suit.

Still, the pool wasn't too cold. She got individual attention for twenty minutes or so, and then I pulled her out to swim in the warmer play pool. We frolicked until we froze, then drove home with the heater on full blast. Good times.

Mom left for Gibraltar from Providence this ...

August 21, 2007 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Mom left for Gibraltar from Providence this morning. We ate at many wonderful restaurants along the way, watched the Borne Ultimatum in the Providence Place mall, and got to sit on a beach in Jamestown. I have a new watch and lots of toilet paper.

Next week I'll be going to Minneapolis for VISTA leader training, which should be incredibly fun. Not the training, of course, but spending time with other Campus Compact VISTA leaders. We have a fledgling listserv and have frantically shared documents back and forth. I want to put them all online and then build a Campus Compact VISTA recruitment machine that rivals the Teach for America website. We, alas, do not have a recruitment budget, but that's neither here nor there. We have the web and each other.

Robbie and I had a nice - child free - weekend

August 20, 2007 by Seraph in Cortez

Robbie and I had a nice - child free - weekend. We went out Friday night, walked around most of downtown, and had a fashionably late dinner.
On Saturday Robbie had his PTA training, and I came into work, but after that we went to check out Ikea. The place was sensory overload! We got some great home ideas, but pooped out after 3 hours.
Sunday morning we hit our favorite coffee shop, went to the Rembrant exhibit at the art museaum, road the tram to OHSU, and walked around the PSU campus. We watch movies and ate cold pizza until is was late enough to call Isa.
When we called she was eating breakfast and watching cartoons in German. She is having a great time, and hasn't decided if she wants to come back!

Sam and I have been loving the new Sam and Ma...

August 20, 2007 by Adam in Adam's Games

Sam and I have been loving the new Sam and Max game. He'll click and I'll enjoy the wacky results, offering suggestions as needed. We've already blown through half the game, filled with zany humor and gratiuitious acts of senseless violence. Now we're going up against the president of the United States, who has evidently gone insane and enacted mandatory gun registration laws.

The Season One game will likely be over far too soon, but I think the "Season Two" version of the game will be a must buy for Sam and I to play. We're having so much fun with it. Point-and-click adventure games are a rarity these days, but still retain that sense of fun that modern games rarely attain.

The girls made it home safe and sound on Sunday

August 20, 2007 by Adam in Family

The girls made it home safe and sound on Sunday. Sam and I had a great guys-only weekend, filled with camping, computer playing, and action movies, exactly as planned. The one thing we weren't able to do was to rent a canoe and paddle about, but we'll try again some future weekend.

Towards the evening on Sunday, Sam and Ben spent an hour building up the Imperial Army out of Star Wars Legos. Emma and I played in the basement along side them, jumping around to the Mission Impossible theme song.

Afterwards I took Sam to a birthday party, where they'd rented the entire Amazon pool. It was sort of weird, not having a kid I had to watch. Sam played with John. I swam around and socialized with some of the other parents. The life guards finally kicked out the kids, who swarmed the dessert table. Sam returned with a Pirates of the Caribbean action figure and shrunken head as a party prize thingie.

Alina, Sara Spettel-Aliyar's wife, had Pracil...

August 20, 2007 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Alina, Sara Spettel-Aliyar's wife, had Pracilla, a perfectly healthy and beautiful baby to keep their two dogs company. Congratulations!

I took Sam on his first camping trip

August 19, 2007 by Adam in Sam

I took Sam on his first camping trip. I opted for someplace close, so we went out to Fall Creek. When I was eighteen or so, we'd head out to Fall Creek nearly every Summer afternoon, so it was a return to my old stomping grounds.

We packed up Friday afternoon, found the camp site, and took a tour about the place. The swimming area in the brochure was completely dry, the lake level down twenty feet below normal. Still, it was fun to run around a dry lake bed and explore. Eventually we went back and set up camp.

Sam's favorite part was playing with fire, with the excuse of cooking dinner. We cooked and ate hot dogs on sticks, then moved on to marshmallows. Eventually Sam tossed on the remaining firewood with pyromaniacal glee. Eventually we dumped the water on the fire and went to sleep.

Sleeping was the hardest part, loud and bumpy. Our nearby campers were up fairly late and a bit chatty, along with too many dogs. In the morning we eventually woke up, ate a bagel, explored the river, and drove on home.

We continued our guy-only weekend with some Sam and Max, going to the Bourne Ultimatum, and a short walk at the duck pond. Now he's watching old episodes of Sliders and we're taking it easy. Good times.

Isa and Hanni made it safe and sound to Germa...

August 17, 2007 by Seraph in Cortez

Isa and Hanni made it safe and sound to Germany! Apparently Isa didn't sleep during the trip, but had a great time. There was a bomb scare at the Frankfurt airport, so it took them awhile to get sorted out. As I said to Isa - this was sure to be a grand adventure!
Hanni said that as soon as they made it to Cousin Susie's house Isa crashed. It will probably take a bit for her schedule to even out.
Robbie and I did not go out and party right away. I worked late, and Robbie worked with the PTA at a neighborhood event. We then came home, watched old episodes of Little House on the Prairie, and rubbed our sore feet!
I think we have some more exciting plans tonight : )
Tomorrow, Robbie heads out for a PTA training and I'm coming into work to get some e-mails out. The difficulty of working with Asian countries is that their Monday morning is my Sunday night!

Mocha Friday

August 17, 2007 by Adam in Family

Mocha Friday. That delicious elixir is long gone. It was almost medicinal today, along with three Advil. I woke up in the middle of the night with a bad headache, stumbling downstairs and ending up sleeping on the Foof (the blue beanbag-like thing). I slept in past the time I normally went to work, so I came in pretty late. Fortunately I almost feel okay now, as long as I don't jiggle my noggin around too much.

Jamie and Emma were getting ready to go to Portland this weekend. Sam and I will be camping tonight. He has beef jerky and marshmallows out, which I guess is all an 8 year-old boy needs to eat on a camping trip. I'll probably bring along something a little more sensible.

Since it's a boys-only weekend for me, I think we'll try to see a movie, play more Sam and Max, and generally have a good time. I'm sure by the end we'll frantically clean so as not to get in trouble by the womenfolk.

Sam and Max: Season One arrived on our doorst...

August 16, 2007 by Adam in Adam's Games

Sam and Max: Season One arrived on our doorstep yesterday. Sam was horribly excited to play it, sticking up the poster on his wall while the game installed. I'm a fan of Sam and Max from years gone by. In fact, if Emma had been a boy, we would have named him Max.

For folks wanting a taste of what Sam and Max is all about, you can take a look at the blooper reel. Though it's not actual gameplay, you get a feel for the irreverence behind the game.

Mom is in town, and as we are want to do, we ...

August 16, 2007 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Mom is in town, and as we are want to do, we have eaten for most of her visit. Our first night, we ate roasted wild boar with figs and polenta, exquisitely grilled vegitables, and a perfectly baked fig tart with vanilla ice cream. Last night, because I was still full from Al Forno's, we went to Loui Fuller's down the street and split a seafood salad with grilled grapefruit, a vegitable tart, and a pear tart with ginger ice cream. I didn't take pictures of any of our amazing meals, but I should have. Tonight we're eating in with the harvets of my neighborhood farmer's market.

And, despite mom's shock that I can live on $12,000 a year, it's what many people must do, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I have plenty of socks.

It was another swimming night last night

August 16, 2007 by Adam in Family

It was another swimming night last night. Emma has mixed feelings about the whole thing. She was getting pretty chilly towards the end since she's in the big, unheated pool now. Afterwards we played for a couple minutes in the play pool, then she decided she just wanted to go home. I think that after staying up until 10 o'clock the night before, she was pretty tuckered out.

Jamie was off at King Estates Winery with Angie, so I managed the best I could. Dinner was a quirky affair. Sam got waffles, Emma had rice, and I snuck in a bagel in between courses. Afterwards we watched a short educational video about the earth's habitable zone. Sam's been going around saying "Doctor Spitzer, Doctor Spitzer!" nonstop.

We also got a little present in the mail, the new Sam and Max game. It came with a poster that Sam put up in his room. The game itself is pretty funny. I think Sam's favorite part is that the main character (Sam) can whip out a large gun and start randomly blasting things. Ironically, that was the solution to the first puzzle we ran across (turning normal cheese into a reasonable approximation of swiss cheese). Good times.

Happy birthday, Jordan! I'm in Providence wit...

August 16, 2007 by Sue in Wielesek

Happy birthday, Jordan! I'm in Providence with Sadie, baffled at how she manages to live on an income which has to be below the poverty line. Nonetheless, her roommate is very nice, and their apartment cute. Maybe Sadie should be doing a Martha Stewart show for the impovrished. Still, I think socks, underwear and money would be good gifts...Love, Mom

The county fair appears to have started in ea...

August 15, 2007 by Adam in Family

The county fair appears to have started in earnest. Last night I was trying to go to bed while 70's dance music blared from the fairgrounds. Through some quirk of geography, the sound travels right up the hill through our open window. Plus Emma was up past 9 o'clock, crying and fidgeting. I ended up sleeping in the basement, which was vastly uncomfortable on an improvised bed made from couch cushions.

Sam and I are slowly getting ready for the weekend activities. We're camping Friday night while the girls go up to Portland. We have marshmallows and hot dogs, which is all one needs for such an activity. This is a pretty low-key event, just camping out near Fall Creek. Maybe next year we can do some backpacking to a camp site and really rough it.

I've been taking Emma to swimming lessons the...

August 15, 2007 by Adam in Emma

I've been taking Emma to swimming lessons the last couple days. It's fun sitting out on the edge of the pool, watching Emma learn various strokes and techniques with a half-dozen other little girls. After lessons we'll play for a half an hour or so, going down the slide or playing in the shallow pool.

Just for fun, I made a little Lego person of ...

August 13, 2007 by Adam in Adam

Just for fun, I made a little Lego person of myself. You can try it too, right over here.

A quiet Providence weekend draws to a close

August 13, 2007 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

A quiet Providence weekend draws to a close. Everyone in Rhode Island seems to be celebrating Victory Day, which I think is silly, so I'm at work. I've started to selectively re-read some of the old Harry Potter books that I haven't picked up in years, and it's fun to find how all of the peices, names, and little details wrap themselves together in the end. I never liked the second book enough to re-read it, but that's when Harry hides in the wardrobe in that Dark Arts shop and Peeves breaks the matching wardrobe. It's neato.

What a great weekend! It seems like a bit ...

August 13, 2007 by Adam in Family

What a great weekend!

It seems like a bit of a rarity to say that, but this weekend went really well. Friday night we all went out to Barbara and Zoltan's house, Emma's old French teacher and her husband. They have two kids, around Sam's age, and everyone ran around and had a good time.

On Saturday Jamie went out to coffee and hiking while the kids and I did our library and Humble Bagel run. Sam's gotten into an old science fiction show, Sliders, and has been telling me all about it. He's also been playing with Sebastian, who lives across the street. Sebastian has recently become the middle child and Sam's company is probably very welcome.

On Sunday I took the kids to the ponds by Autzen stadium. They got very wet and mudding, having a great time until Emma got too cold. Later Jamie went out with Sam to get new shoes and school supplies. Emma and I seemed to play every game in the house, from Clue to Give Me the Brain. We also did a couple rounds of painting, which is always fun.

After dinner, I took Sam to collect his rock from Zach at Amazon park. They were putting on Romeo and Juliet, which ended up being somewhat boring to Sam. Since Romeo was played by a female actress and Mercutio was particularly bawdy, I found the performance quite amusing.

Now it's back to work. The big go-live this weekend is on track, but several hours behind. We'll see how our help desk calls do today.

Ah, back to Pennsylvania and Meg and Dick's

August 13, 2007 by Sue in Wielesek

Ah, back to Pennsylvania and Meg and Dick's. They are back from a weekend in Maine with their girls, and Meggie has just put my laundry in. The night is alive with locusts and crickets, and I am remembering what summer in Pennsylvania is like. I usually feel most homesick for Normalville early in the spring, but the chorus of summer singers has reminded me of sleeping out on the backporch when I was a kid.
Anna and I had a busy two days in New York, spending yesterday at the Museum of Natural History until they nearly threw us out bodily on the sidewalk, followed by a stroll in Central Park. Today, we were one of three cars that found parking places in the city, and we took the ferry out to Ellis Island. Anna found the records of her mom's family, and I found the Steane family. I couldn't find Dick's family, but they have a website, and I'll try again later. Love to all, Mom

The other day I was tucking Emma to bed and s...

August 10, 2007 by Adam in Jamie

The other day I was tucking Emma to bed and she exclaimed, "Where's the fish?" Sure enough, all the fish in the tank were missing and Jamie fessed up to having "disposed" of them. They were supposed to be Sam's fish and he was going to take care of them. Well, that all fell to Jamie and in an evening of passion and flushing, the fish were no more.

Of course, now everyone is clamoring to get a puppy. I've been quite firm in my refusal, reminding everyone that a dog requires an hour each day for walks, feeding, and play. Fish take just a couple minues a day and we couldn't handle even that.

Plus you can't flush a dog down the toilet. Well, maybe a chiwawa. Or a toy poodle.

Friday already, my mocha just a shower and sh...

August 10, 2007 by Adam in Family

Friday already, my mocha just a shower and short drive away. The week has been zipping along. At work, I'm frantically preparing for the big upgrade to our main clinical system. Lots of people in our department will be working this weekend, myself included, though I'm hoping it's only for a few hours here and there.

Last night the kids and I entertained each other while Jamie went to go power walking with her gym cohorts. We took turns being blindfolded and trying to accomplish various tasks, all while being filmed and having the robot vacuum the floor. There's a lovely movie of me bonking my head against a pillar and Sam avoiding the iRoomba in extremely dramatic ways.

We're off to dinner with at Emma's French teacher's house. Barbara is a neat woman, her husband is a scientist at the U of O, and their kids are around Sam's age. Should be fun.

I'm trying to think of this trip as the appro...

August 10, 2007 by Sue in Wielesek

I'm trying to think of this trip as the appropriate time to lose the ten pounds I gained after stress eating my way through Bob's convalesence. Anna and I did Penn, and Philadelphia, then forged on to William and Mary, in Williamsburg, on Wednesday. Anna met with the History Department person late Wednesday afternoon. We had dinner
at a nice little Eugene style (ie. funky but with good food; we had barbeque shrimp with cheese on grits, a dish we picked because we knew we'd never again see it on any other menu) and after dinner we walked around Williamsburg
Historical Village. We saw a firefly, much to Anna's delight. This morning we went to the Jamestown archeological dig, and toured the museum. It gave a really good idea about what the colony was like, particularly because about 25 men of the
colony died during the first August. I got the autograph
of the professor who supervises the dig. I suspect he must
not have a lot of groupies asking for autographs because
he was very nice and chatted with me.
Then it was off to Washington DC, where Anna and I had a three hour whirlwind tour of the city. We then came to Baltimore, where we got a room in a Bed and Breakfast in
a slightly shabby but still grand old home. It's nearly mid-night. John Hopkins tomorrow, then in to New York for the weekend. I don't need no stinkin' Death March. It's time for
those Senior tours...Love, the mom

I can't believe it's been over a month since ...

August 09, 2007 by Adam in Emma

I can't believe it's been over a month since I posted anything about Emma on her personal site. My only excuse is that it's been a crazy, busy Summer.

Emma continues to grow. She's much stronger willed than she was a year ago, which is occasionally trying. To some degree, that's what motivated Sam to get his own room. No longer was she the cute little sister. On the up side, she's very confident in her abilities, seeming more and more like a person in her own right.

Today she called me this morning to explain that she had "poison egg yolk". After some confusion and intervention of Jamie, I finally figured out that she got a little bit of poison oak on her. Normally her vocabulary is amazingly good. Last night I asked if the rock she'd found had crystals in it. "No," she replied firmly, "It's obsidian."

With mom coming to Providence as an ambassado...

August 09, 2007 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

With mom coming to Providence as an ambassador for the whole family, I've decided to give her a grand tour of Rhode Island (which is not very difficult in a state so petite). I will still have to go to work, so I've organized weekdays into neighborhood quadrents, so I can direct her to an area of town and let her get lost until I find her again at 4pm. It is, of course, an opportunity for me to go the restaurants I keep hearing about (Cuban Revolution and Kitchen) and the ones I want to visit again (Loui Fuller's and Taqueria Pacifica). Cultural tours will have to include the RISD and Brown art museums, the Cliff Walk in Newport, and a day on Block Island. My roommate is curious to see how much mom will actually assent to doing in the short week that she is here, and I'm curious to see on what day mom starts likening the visit to her death march with Rick Steves.

It seems that my fellow family bloggers have ...

August 08, 2007 by Adam in Adam

It seems that my fellow family bloggers have been fretting over me after my overly dramatic tale of illness and suffering over the weekend. I am completely recovered, no sanatorium required. I actually just got back from the gym moments ago, back to my usual peak physical condition.

I discovered I missed my 20th high school reunion, which was last weekend. It's probably a sign that I wasn't part of any of the usual social circles. There's only a couple people from my graduating class that I really hung out with. Still, it would have been interesting to take the kids down to the picnic and see familiar faces.

Jamie called in a request today. I'm to take the children away from the house for the night. I can only imagine what plans she has. Perhaps bubble baths and frolicking naked about the house.

Of course, when she called, I was on a conference call with a coworker (who I'd put on hold) and had another coworker in my cubicle. She was on speaker phone, which I pointed out and added jokingly, "No swearing." "No swearing?" she replied. "Oh, sh..." Needless to say, my cubicle neighbors thought it was vastly amusing.

Last night was National Night Out, and cloudy...

August 08, 2007 by Seraph in Cortez

Last night was National Night Out, and cloudy weater aside, we had a great time! I don't know if other places get into this event, but it's pretty big in Portland. A lot of people hold block parties, and city parks, curches, and businesses oftern have music and food.
We will also be getting our widows replaced in 6-8 weeks. We've been getting bids on the project, and finally had to make a decision!

For those of you who may be worried that Adam...

August 08, 2007 by Jamie in Family

For those of you who may be worried that Adam is writhing in an elaborately carved four poster surrounded by flickering candles while we keep constant vigil for the fever to break....please be assured that he is fine. He experienced a nauseous headache Friday night and Saturday morning, but some rest and a lessening of stress at the office has effected a miraculous cure. No laudanum required ;-)

Hi, I'm sitting here in Meg and Dick's living...

August 08, 2007 by Sue in Wielesek

Hi, I'm sitting here in Meg and Dick's living room while Anna sets up interviews and meetings at other schools. She and I slept in late this morning, but then headed to Penn.
At first we couldn't find anyone in the History Department, but after a bracing frappacino, I went off to the fabled University of Pennsylvania Anthropology Museum and Anna went back for another try. She found one of the professors,
who was able to give her some good suggestions about who to
contact in the department. We then went to see the Liberty
Bell and some of the famous buildings in the Old Towne section of Philadelphia. We leave early tomorrow to head for William and Mary, near Williamsburg, Virginia. It has been very fun to see Meg, Dick, and Kayla and they have been
great hosts.
Adam, since you work for a hospital, do you think you could
find a doctor to talk to. Your fussy old mother would feel so much better.
And Seraph and Robbie, when we came in late on Sunday, we saw the kitty, which we couldn't see very well in the dark, and wondered if it were a guinea pig.

Sad news from the Cortez household this morning

August 06, 2007 by Seraph in Cortez

Sad news from the Cortez household this morning. Our old rat Scabbers died last night. He's been ailing for a while so it's not a huge suprise.
Strangly the pet balance in our house may stay the same. Starting Sat evening, a little kitten has been hanging around. Robbie and Isa are going around the neighborhood today to see if he belongs to anyone, but he seems like a possible stray. Isa has been calling him (her?) Skippy John Jones, after a favorite book cat that the little kitty looks like.
Our weekend was pretty low-key. I came in to the office on Sat while Robbie and Isa hit the downtown library celebration. They saw Captain Bogg & Salty preform and came back with several ballon creations.
On Sun we went out to the farm stands to get fresh veggies for the week. Some of our own corn is starting the rippen, and Isa is anxious to "harvest".
Mom came in late and left before we were up, but we are sending good travel karma out to her and Anna.

I got deathly ill Saturday morning

August 06, 2007 by Adam in Family

I got deathly ill Saturday morning. I woke up in the middle of the night and rolled around in the basement floor, popping Advil like candy. I was still in amazing pain by morning, scaring away the kids with my horrific grimaces. I kept telling myself that it would pass and after a nap I felt vaguely normal. Here at the end of Sunday, I feel just fine again.

Saturday involved a library trip by myself and watching movies with the kids while Jamie went first to her brother's and then to a birthday party. Fortunately everyone was in a good mood and I was feeling better, so it went pretty smoothly.

On Sunday the big event was a family walk to Metropol where I officially had too much coffee. Dave and Ray came over, and Sam made his grandpa some Swiss steak. Jamie let me have some time to myself in the afternoon before heading over to Angie's. Tonight was quiet, hanging out with the neighbors and taking it easy. Now I'm mentally preparing for work tomorrow.

The raccoon incident came to a close, with the swimming pool getting tossed into the garbage. A strategic withdrawal seemed like the most sensible approach. Otherwise Jamie might have voted me out of the office in the Fall.

Friday evening before vacation at the office

August 04, 2007 by Sue in Wielesek

Friday evening before vacation at the office. Mr. Lopez, this summer's smart reliable Mexican contribution to my life and the US economy, is out painting the fence as I get the last loose ends finished up. My office is down to this room and 40 boxes of files stored in the basement. My client list after twenty nine years of practice was in excess of 6,000 clients. That doesn't count doing more than
one case for many of them.
Sam and I went to Brush Fire for Friday Fun Day. He painted
his tank bank and I made a personalized kitchen magnet (mom, mom and new baby) for friends of Sadie's. Always a bit drifty about science, I was musing about whether to make the glaze on the baby a mix between their skin tones, when Sam pointed out that it didn't work that way. Ah, youth. Pass the bottle. (And why don't you just read
Joseph Conrad's "Youth"? It has Harry Potter beat all hollow.)Love from the old mom

Sorry we've been out of the loop for awhile

August 03, 2007 by Seraph in Cortez

Sorry we've been out of the loop for awhile.
Work has been somewhat hectic, and we're trying to finish up household projects before the summer ends.
Isa has one last round of swim lessons before she leaves for Germany. She has enjoyed swimming so much this summer, that we are looking into indoor lessons for the winter.
Isa and I are also 3 weeks into our music lessons. We have a teacher who is working with us at the same time - Isa on the violin and me on the viola. While she enjoys it, Isa is still somewhat resistant to the practicing element.
Othe other hand, I have been loving every minute of it. Even when I'm vastly out of tune, it's fun to see how much I remember!
Now that Ikea is open I fully expect everyone to come and shop. I've been holding out for the initial crowds to thin, but most people say to plan on 3 - 4 hours. Not sure I have that many hours in a day, but if anyone wants to join me it sounds like a blast!

Well, I finished my Mocha

August 03, 2007 by Adam in Family

Well, I finished my Mocha. Things are going horribly wrong with our main server at work, but fortunately I don't have to deal with it (yet).

We decided to repair and refill the pool yesterday. Both kids lent a hand, getting completely soaked in the process. Emma had a great time spraying down her brother, eventually coming inside when she turned blue from the cold. Unfortunately this morning I found the pool again partially deflated. I haven't decided if I want to surrender or not just yet.

I'm looking forward to heading home tonight and going swimming with the kids. They've all been learning new techniques and I want to see them show off their stuff. Sam's learning all sorts of exotic strokes and Emma can supposedly swim for real now.

Jamie has a couple events with friends happening this weekend (fortunately I got rid of those pesky time-consuming "friends" long ago). I think we'll do a library run and maybe Dave will watch the kids a bit. Some time to just hang out sounds very nice.

I'm about to declare jihad against the raccoons

August 02, 2007 by Adam in Family

I'm about to declare jihad against the raccoons. Last night Jamie was woken by a raccoon in our backyard. It had pulled the tarp over to the edge so far that it worked as a drain. Half the pool is now empty. I may be a vegetarian, but I'm sorely tempted to hide in the bushes with a baseball bat tonight.

We went out to dinner last night. Everyone got dressed up and we went to Ambrosia. Jason Kronholm was our waiter, so we got great service (and funny too). I realized that I've known him for twenty years. I'm old.

The last day of July

August 01, 2007 by Adam in Family

The last day of July. The older I get, the faster time seems to fly.

Work has been completely insane since the move. We had a significant computer upgrade that went badly, and I continue to deal with those issues. I somehow got named the lead person to deal with this million-dollar piece of software we purchased. From there, things get even nuttier.

In any case, I'm back home, entertaining the kids as usual. When I arrived, Sam was wearing a blindfold and had spent the afternoon going around blind. Tonight we turned a laundry basket into a race car for Emma. She kept calling it her "baby" in a tough-girl voice, much to Sam and I's amusement. Life goes on.

Sam finished Harry Potter, taking about two w...

August 01, 2007 by Adam in Sam

Sam finished Harry Potter, taking about two weeks to get through it. His reading has improved immensely since the first novel and it ended up expanding his vocabulary as well.

He also started swimming lessons yesterday. It turned out he was so good that they ended up giving him private lessons with a teenage girl. According to Jamie he was learning the butterfly stroke.

Sam's been getting into Garry's Mod again for the computer. It's basically a big sandbox game where you can do anything you want. Today we ended up making a ramp over a flaming truck that he'd jump over. At the moment he's building a haunted house, I think.

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