Dental work is unnatural, even when surrounde...

December 31, 2008 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Dental work is unnatural, even when surrounded by family. Jennifer was wonderful to arrange time in her dental office. Dad heroically filled my four cavities. I’ve scraped the crusted blood from my forehead (how does it get everywhere?) and am waiting for the feeling that I got punched in the face to subside. Like most teeth surgery, it feels like torture for the first twelve hours but I feel fine in the morning. And at least I can tell my dentist that I hate him without him taking it too personally.



Emma called me at work this morning to see if...

December 30, 2008 by Adam in Emma

Emma called me at work this morning to see if I was feeling better since I was so sick yesterday. It was very sweet, and evidently she did it all on her own. When I talked to Jamie afterwards, she had no idea Emma had called me up.

Emma's been a treat this winter vacation. We've drawn together, pretended to be assorted creatures, and spent a long time playing in the snow. For some reason, her voice sounds different to me these days. I can't tell if it's deeper, or if her conversations are just more intellectual.



I went running yesterday, my usual six miles ...

December 30, 2008 by Adam in Adam

I went running yesterday, my usual six miles on a treadmill. It was pretty tough, and took me longer than usual, probably a result of not running for over a week.

When I got home, I started getting a headache and by five o'clock, it had turned completely debilitating. I stayed in bed until close to six the next morning, briefly emerging to eat a couple big bowls of cereal. I feel basically fine this morning, other than a slight overall ache.

I guess the moral of the story is to take it easy after a break.



I'm back at work after many days away due to ...

December 29, 2008 by Adam in Adam

I'm back at work after many days away due to the holidays and weather. While it's been fun to hang out at home, sleeping in late, and indulging myself playing video games, it does feel like time to get back into the routine again.

I had over 150 e-mails to pour through and have yet to dig myself out yet. Still, I'm getting closer and hopefully the most critical issues are done with. Even better, most people seem to be away from work, so I think I can catch up without too much insanity.



We made it to Portland, safe and sound

December 27, 2008 by Adam in Family

We made it to Portland, safe and sound. The roads were clear right up until we got off the freeway and into the residential area. After that, there was lots of melting snow and slush. Josh, Sam, Emma, and I spent the afternoon rolling massive snowballs and making snow forts. I was cheerfully tired by the time we opened presents and ate Christmas dinner.

Today I think we'll try the local park and see if we can turn a cardboard box into a makeshift sled. Jim and Judy are taking the kids into the city to see the lights, and I think Jamie and I are having dinner somewhere by ourselves. Such a treat.



It looks like we're about halfway through our...

December 26, 2008 by Adam in Family

It looks like we're about halfway through our various Christmases, which is increasingly a multi-phased holiday. Yesterday we went over to my mom's house for brunch. There was huge amounts of food and people, and presents scattered everywhere. The kids returned home with vast quantities of goodies, and I managed a few of my own. My personal favorites are the spoon lightsaber and the ventriloquism book. Awesome.

Afterwards I pretended to be a teenage girl and we all went to see Twilight. It was pretty much everything I expected, with my favorite part being sitting next to Sadie who informed me when I was supposed to squeal and giggle. Good times.

We're off to Portland today, though I'm not sure for how long. Because of the weather, we've put off Jamie's family Christmas until now.



Sam and I have been playing Grand Theft Auto 4

December 25, 2008 by Adam in Adam's Games

Sam and I have been playing Grand Theft Auto 4. One of the great things about it is the ability to create cutscenes within the game, and then edit them together into a short movie.

I took a break from the typical mayhem to put together "Vegetarian Vigilante", a tale of a seemingly innocent dietary fad turning to extremism and violence. In the end, our young anti-hero must come to terms with who he has become, and face what he must do to atone for his actions. Remember parents, don't let your kids get hooked on veggies.



This was the year that Christmas was canceled

December 23, 2008 by Judy in Hanes

This was the year that Christmas was canceled. Snow here in West Linn is about 15 inches, with more expected today and tomorrow. We're going to try to catch Jamie et al by the weekend, and are trying to meet up with Jeff and Cari at the beach over New Year's. What a mess!



We celebrated our Christmas yesterday

December 23, 2008 by Adam in Family

We celebrated our Christmas yesterday. Since so much is going on, we've been doing things early for several years now. The kids immediately opened their stockings, running around with their walkie-talkies and having fun. After breakfast, they dug into their presents and played with them.

I didn't really get much for Jamie, though she liked the digital picture frame I got for her and Emma. There were video games galore, so they kids tried a sampling of them all. I got some great stick figure warning stickers from Jamie that the kids quickly stole a few from.

For the rest of the day we hung out and didn't do much. Our plans for today were to go to Portland, but that's all up in the air with the weather so bad. We'll see what happens today.



Isabell went for a sleep over at Niamh's hous...

December 21, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

Isabell went for a sleep over at Niamh's house today so I could go to a co-workers birthday party. I'm just realizing that half of Santa Fe smokes dope. No one at the party did this of course, but mention of previous parties obvious had this element. It was fun to talk to my other teaching partners and learning the gossip of the directors. Obviously no one is fond of Nancy nor Stephanie. All of the teachers are frustrated and are eventually leaving in the next few years.

I left around 11:00 drove back to Penasco where they had their version of a Rave. I stopped by to check it out and stayed for over an hour dancing and having fun. It's amazing to see all of the different people who show up for this. Not the hippie type but the funky type who listen to techno rave music. I saw one of my parents from Dragonfly School there, it's kind of strange seeing a parent going wild on the dance floor. Know when I see her at school, I'll have a different vision of her.

I'm going to pay for this tomorrow morning that's for sure.



The week is coming to a close

December 19, 2008 by Adam in Family

The week is coming to a close. It snowed and schools were closed again. I decided to throw in the towel and not try to go to work.

We headed out into the winter wonderland around ten, though Sam was reluctant to leave the warmth of the house. We made our way to Metropol, everyone's spirits perking up as we frolicked through the snow. I gobbled down a bear claw and downed another mocha. Afterwards I managed to sneak in a hair cut and Jamie picked up groceries.

After we got home, Sam played with the neighbor kids and I had some time to myself. Tonight Seraph and Sadie come for dinner. I can't wait.



When I arrive in Oregon next week, please

December 19, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

When I arrive in Oregon next week, please...please...I don't want any family drama. I just want a quiet week, where I can get up in the morning, enjoy a cup of coffee, with rum, watch a bunch of sappy Christmas movies and enjoy being with family.

Thursday was so mind boggling at work, I have no idea how I survived. I got to work, and I realized I needed to sign up for an early childhood class for January and the registration date was yesterday. There's scholorship forms to fill out, and expensive classes to take, and the whole enchilada. The kids were on speed, it started to rain, and it ruined all of the beautiful snow. The whole school prepared food for all of the animals in our school yard, so we had kids all over the place make projects, but half of them were bored and were running all over the place. We had an inside recess with all of the kids running wild. I really wanted to go and hide.

I finally managed to leave around 2:30 so I could drive to Taos to finally pick up my Subaru. This has been a hastle for over a month trying to get my car out. I did get 10% off my deductable. My rental car was quite expensive, and I then rushed home to watch Isabell in school winter performance. When I got there, they canceled it do to the weather.

However, things went a little better. We Had pizza at Sugar Nymphs, a bistro in Penasco. While there, a family came in and they have game night every Thursday. They invited Isabell and I to play Scrabble, and it was really fun to play with them.

Today has a half day of school, and I'm off for the holidays, so I will go in and help Isabell with her party. Her friend Niamh will be coming over for a sleep over, and then on Saturday, Isabell will go over there and have a sleep over, so I can go to Sagitarius birthday party at one of my co-worker's house. Should be fun.



Well, I'm involved in a discussion of how to ...

December 17, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

Well, I'm involved in a discussion of how to kill a lobster in a humane fashion, so you can tell that Sadie made it home safe. Her plane, but not her luggage, arrived at 1:45 last night. The roads were iffy, and we borrowed Adam and Jamie's Subaru wagon - we didn't really have any problems.
Seraph called in, and she will try to take the train down from Portland this afternoon. Sadie is reading one of the Twilight books, reading choice sections to us in a breathless voice. The last one included our hero facing a
"horde of bloodthirsty vampire newborns." Oh, what the hell, my generation had "Peyton Place".



News of Sadie and Seraph

December 17, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

News of Sadie and Seraph. Seraph made it into Portland fine and called around one pm from her house. Sadie wasn't so lucky calling to say that her 5:20 pm flight was delayed until 8:10 pm. She's scheduled into Denver, where she'll possibly catch a flight into Eugene, or a later flight into Portland. If into Portland, she'll take a cab to Seraph's and they'll come down on the bus tomorrow.



Do you know that feeling of trying to please ...

December 17, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

Do you know that feeling of trying to please everybody and you seem to fail miserably every time. Arlene is a lot like that. I try so hard to keep the house clean, I shovel the parking area, and I break my back doing everything to be polite, however Arlene always finds a way to be disappointed. I shoveled for an hour and half, trying not to put snow in her parking area. (We all share a parking area.) I thought I did a pretty good job...then Arlene and Anne are shoveling later on, and she tells me I shouldn't be blocking her area. Wow...watch the air come rushing out of a balloon. I was so proud at what I did and then this. I know I shouldn't worry about what she thinks, but it's hard since I like to please people.

I ventured out today and made it to the post office and sent off all of my Christmas cards and presents. I actually did Christmas cards this year. Amazing! I can hear the angels singing "HALLELUAH!" Anyway, I drove 10 miles an hour and eventually made to and from the Post Office in under six hours. Just kidding. All I want for Christmas is a sleigh and eight minature reindeer. Horses will work fine too. If your still wondering what to get me, I'd like the Planet Earth DVD set, and all of the Charlie Brown DVD holiday set. If that is too hard, I'll settle for Peace on Earth and Goodwill to all men.




It's been a bit crazy the last couple days

December 16, 2008 by Adam in Family

It's been a bit crazy the last couple days. Yesterday was fun and I opted not to try and work. Sam in particular spent a ton of time in the snow, ending the day tired, sore, and happy. We are now the proud owners of a snow fort in our front yard, complete with an arsenal of snow weaponry.

Today has been a bit more strained. The kids didn't have school again but I've been trying to work. Everyone is a little on edge after so many days inside, plus we didn't have hot water until I went out with a blow-dryer to melt the pipes to our gas hot water heater.

Now Sam's playing with the neighbor boys again and the girls are taking a walk through the snow. I'm trying to get on top of e-mail so work doesn't get too crazy. I did promise the kids I'd let them open one Christmas present if they were on their best behavior. Desperate times call for desperate measures.



No School Today! No School Today! We are snow...

December 16, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

No School Today! No School Today! We are snowed in, with more than seven inches of snow on the ground. Sipapu Ski area eight miles down the road reported 18" of new snow in twelve hours. Taos Ski Valley reported 20" of snow. It seems that all of Taos is closed today, with people calling in and saying they are closed.

Seraph leaves for Portland today, and I hear that Portland is also covered in snow today! I hope she will fare well in this winter wonderland.

Yesterday the roads were in poor condition, and Seraph and I left the house at 7:30, and when we were close to Las Trampas, our car started to slide and we were lucky enough to slide into a snowbank. We tried to dig ourselves out for a half an hour without any luck. Several nice people stopped by to say that they would drive down the road and call a tow truck. Finally a snowplow drove by and the man was nice enough to pull us out. I was very grateful for the help and we were on our way driving 20-25 miles an hour.

Two hours later we finally arrived in Santa Fe, where I dropped off Seraph at the bus station, where she took the bus down to Albuquerque. I went to work, and all of the child were so happy to see me that they all rushed over and hugged me. I think it was such a relief to get to work that tears almost rolled down my cheeks when the children came rushing up to me. Love those kids! The snow didn't let up, and by 12:30, Santa Fe Public Schools finally dismissed school early. I left school around 1:30pm and headed home. When I approached Espanola, the roads cleared up, and the hills and land around it were only snow dust covered. It still amazes me at how many micro climates this area has. At around four I picked up Isabell at school and came home and relaxed.

Today I will be wrapping presents, writing cards and walking to the post office and sending off presents.



I stumbled across blurst

December 15, 2008 by Adam in Adam's Games

I stumbled across blurst.com the other day. Sam is especially fond of Off-Road Velociraptor Safari, though I'm partial to Splume. It's always a treat to find a free web game that's as fun as a full commercial game (if perhaps a little short).



Saturday we went out into the wild and bagged...

December 15, 2008 by Adam in Family

Saturday we went out into the wild and bagged a good Christmas tree. We went to my mom's farm, as usual. It had snowed a little in the hills, so it felt quite seasonally appropriate. Note that the video has some graphic tree-related violence, so it may not be appropriate for young children.

The outside world is blanketed by white this morning. The kids aren't going to school and I'm seriously doubting that I'll make it to work. I may end up doing a tiny bit of meetings today, though I'm going to avoid doing much.

I suspect today will be a continuation of yesterday, where we spent most of the day doing house projects and taking it easy. Last Friday I was completely stressed out from all the things I needed to do. By Sunday evening, I was feeling quite relaxed after frantically working my fingers to the bone.



Tonight was Las Posadas on a cold and chilly ...

December 15, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

Tonight was Las Posadas on a cold and chilly night in Vadito. It was the first Posadas here in a long time, and the community got together and did a fantastic job of putting it together. Poor Mary, was cold, but put on a brave face as she and a much older Joseph went door to door to see if there was any room for them. Finally at the community center the weary travelers were let in and a fiesta celebrated their arrival. It was really nice to be able to attend the first Las Posadas, and it felt very personal, as there was a small but brave band of followers on this first Christmas miracle.



I thought I'd add a few photos from Thanksgiv...

December 14, 2008 by Dorothy in Danica Miller

I thought I'd add a few photos from Thanksgiving in Meadville that Lohring missed. Some portraits that include Lohring, a photo of the lovely flowers he bought for our Thanksgiving table, and a picture of Dorothy sitting in the conservatory of the Baldwin Reynolds House (Meadville's one historical landmark house) where she and I went after Lohring left to see the 'Trees of Christmas'.



Winter has descended upon us in a cold and sn...

December 14, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

Winter has descended upon us in a cold and snowy hurry. Seraph now has a job up at Sipapu Ski area, where she works in the rental office. When she left for work on Saturday there was another couple of inches of snow on the ground. Isabell and I went to town had breakfast at Michaels, went to the library and went Christmas shopping. We spent the whole day going in and out of shops until I was satisfied that I bought all of my presents. We all so took our time and finished all of our laundary that needed to be done.

Seraph was suppose to call us around three and meet us in Taos to go and see Twilight once again. At 4:25 when she didn't call, I was getting concerned about her, and horrible images sprang to my mind of Seraph stuck in a snow bank. Isabell and I raced up the mountain, and a huge sigh of relief escaped from me, as I saw her small gold Kia pass me. I turned around and we raced back to Taos. We find out that Arlene had kept Seraph later than she was suppose to work, and Seraph was not to happy about this. We missed the first fifteen minutes of the movie, and I would have been happy missing it, however Isabell really wanted to see it again, and we really didn't miss much at all.

We woke this morning with wind whistling down the stove pipes and snow drifting over the house. Seraph had to work this today, but she will take a break and come to church, so we can read the advent scripture today. I hope this job works out, Arlene is a sweet woman, but tends to be all over the place, and forgets that Seraph needs to be somewhere on time. Seraph really only wants to work part time during the week. Arlene has other ideas, and wants Seraph to replace Arlene as the assisant manager of the shop. I told Seraph if this becomes to much, that she could always find another job. Some how, it will all work out.

The nights have been beautiful here with the full moon illuminating the snow and leaving long dark shadows transversing the land. When you walk out around nine o'clock, it feels as if night has become day and the moon has become the sun. It's so beautiful seeing all of this snow and I'm still amazed at all of the wonderful cloud formations. Yesterday, as we headed back to Taos after finding Seraph, the mountains were shrouded in an orange mist from the setting sun and it all felt so surreal!



In a moment of weakness this week when I shou...

December 12, 2008 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

In a moment of weakness this week when I should have been writing, I made stockings for 34 Appleton Street.



The 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforc...

December 12, 2008 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

The 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act and I are officially finished with each other! You know, all that "tough" rhetoric was sexy at first, but let me tell you- in the end, punitive prison policies make horrible bedfellows. I'm starting packing (and reading all of Seraph's wonderful books) right now.



Another Friday, another mocha (soon, anyway)

December 12, 2008 by Adam in Family

Another Friday, another mocha (soon, anyway).

I woke up at 4 am with a huge list of things I needed to accomplish for the holidays. So far, things are coming along fairly well, with all the assorted electronic gizmos bowing to my will. I can feel my stress levels going up these last few days as my lack of time becomes even more pronounced.

The shed is coming along nicely. They turned off the power for part of Wednesday to get lights and power to the shed and hook our main power to the roof. The shed now has a door and single window, with another soon to come. We're doing the painting ourselves, so I suspect I'll be out some cold weekend mornings with a paintbrush in hand.

Emma continues to have a cold, though I think she's on the mend. We have a fairly busy weekend ahead of us, though hopefully we can get a Christmas tree, do our assorted events, and have a little time to relax.



I just turned in my statistics final, the Jap...

December 11, 2008 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I just turned in my statistics final, the Japanese American assets paper is out of my hands tomorrow, and then its just me and the 1994 crime bill. Home stretch!



We had a somewhat exciting project day yester...

December 11, 2008 by Adam in Adam's Projects

We had a somewhat exciting project day yesterday, though fortunately I didn't have to do most of the work.

We were without power for the middle of the day. There were some power lines that had to get moved for the balcony remodel. At the same time, they ran power to the shed. The shed itself now has a roof, though it still needs tons of other things, like windows and a door.

On an unrelated note, we got our digital converters for our television sets. It was relatively painless to get the tvs currently on analog hooked up to a little box and switched over. As a bonus, our older televisions now get the higher channels which they couldn't before.



Tomorrow is one of those boring phone-call, p...

December 11, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

Tomorrow is one of those boring phone-call, paperwork days which I dread. The last couple of days have involved long hours on the phone, internet, and standing in line geting
land-line, internet, and Comcast bundled. We actually found both the Comcast and Qwest sales people really helpful. I got my new cell phone, one I can use with a Sim card in England.
Bob and I are going to combine our Verizon accounts and add
a line for Sadie. To think that the first telephone I remember in our house had a crank on the side and our phone number was three longs and two shorts (three complete rotations and two half rotations.)
I forgot to say that Ripley had a fitting burial, under a big pine on the hill, with mushroom fairy circles all around. It was sunny, and Sarah and Nate took us to see their chickens and chicken coop. The farm is always lovely in the winter. The neighbor is deternined I should thin the trees and make a truckload of money, but I can't bear to yet. Think I'll let God manage the forest for awhile longer. He, she, or they have been doing a fine job for several billion years now.



The UIM approved our world record! A much be...

December 10, 2008 by Lohring in Lohring

The UIM approved our world record! A much better video is now on youtube.



Emma's struggling with a cold, having been ou...

December 09, 2008 by Adam in Emma

Emma's struggling with a cold, having been out of school since late last week. She has a red eye too, probably some kind of secondary infection. Other than the occasional headache, she seems to be doing okay. Yesterday she was looking like she'd fall asleep at dinner, then afterwards was doing Kung Fu flips in the basement.

Emma's reading and writing are improving immensely. She watched High School Musical and made a Wildcats! sign for her bedroom. She needed a little help with spelling, but otherwise did just great. Of course, later she tried to get me to dance like the High School Musical people, but I wasn't quite able to pull it off.



We woke to six inches of snow this morning, a...

December 09, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

We woke to six inches of snow this morning, and it was a winter wonderland. Trees, roof tops, and cars buried in powdery snow, I haven't seen snow like this in a long time. Of course all schools were canceled or two hour delay in the Taos vicinity. So, I expected Santa Fe to be on the same schedule, but there was no such luck. They only got a few snow flurries, and school was on schedule. I tried my darnest to get out of the drive way, however my rental car started slipping and slidding, and there was no way I could get out. I called several subs, and finally found one who could come in and cover for me for the day.

Isabell had a two hour delay,and took the bus in, and poor Seraph and I are snowed in with no place to go. We'll have to figure something out to do. Maybe a nice winter walk, read books by a cozy warm fire, play a rousing game of chess, or snuggle and drink hot chocolate. Wow, what a way to spend a snowy day. Sorry, Oregonians, I wish I could send snow your way.

^



Adam, I need to ask a favor

December 08, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

Adam, I need to ask a favor. Let me preamble it (ooo, a noun
verbed; I too can be a 21st Century FOX) with the reminder that you'd get stuck doing this after I die if we don't do it now. I have gone through all the family photos from 1985 to the present and have dated them. I talked to Jamie, who will cheerfully give you a kid free day. Seraph and Sadie will be here about the 17th, and Robbie and Isa don't get here until the 22nd. I know that Jenny is going to take a
couple of weeks off at the holidays, and I'll call her this evening. I also want to get all the family heirlooms divvied up. Seraph and Robbie will have the U-Haul, and they
might as well take the table. I remember having a huge expense and hassle arranging for shipping the china closet Aunt Clare gave me, and I might as well give Seraph a chance to take the table. Would you figure out with your cute sisters a good time for us to get together, without
kids, to do this?



Mom's house the day I left

December 06, 2008 by Lohring in Lohring

Mom's house the day I left. Half of the snow was melted by then. It all brought back winter memories, both good and bad. I'm really glad to be home in Eugene.



My old elementary school

December 06, 2008 by Lohring in Lohring

My old elementary school. It had four rooms, one for each grade from first through fourth. I really did walk through the snow to school. It's now a doctor's office but looks the same on the outside.



My dad's old company

December 06, 2008 by Lohring in Lohring

My dad's old company. It's now very run down and home to a garbage service.



Where I lived until high school

December 06, 2008 by Lohring in Lohring

Where I lived until high school. My room window is the second story dormer window.



My old neighborhood looking up the street tow...

December 06, 2008 by Lohring in Lohring

My old neighborhood looking up the street toward my house and my aunt Alice and uncle Ben's house. Tom. Jed, and their family lived almost across the street from us. That's a brick street. It's the latest technology after cobblestones.



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December 06, 2008 by Lohring in Lohring

Sache



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December 06, 2008 by Lohring in Lohring

Danica and Amara



My mom with Jed and Alice

December 06, 2008 by Lohring in Lohring

My mom with Jed and Alice.



I did get back from Meadville, finally

December 06, 2008 by Lohring in Lohring

I did get back from Meadville, finally. The trip started with mechanical problems on the plane, so 4 hours after the flight was scheduled to leave I got rebooked on a late afternoon flight that got to Eugene via Medford! The group from Medford to Eugene was pretty loose with a group of really funny college students having fun with the stewardess. I got home at 12:00.

Meadville was in the middle of an early snow storm so I took pictures of all my childhood memories. Unlike most places in the country, Meadville hasn't changed all that much. I spent some time with my aunt Alice, as well as Jed, Amara, and Sache. All are doing very well.

My mother is not holding up as well as Alice, also over 90, because of her short term memory loss. I'm not sure how much is that and whether there are other factors. My mother can still do cross word puzzles and play bridge, but can't carry on much of a conversation. She seems fine initially, but runs down quickly. I'll post the pictures next.



This has been an exciting week with Seraph su...

December 06, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

This has been an exciting week with Seraph surprising us on my birthday on Monday. It's a strange feeling having the full family back together, when it was only Isabell and I for three months. The great things is that I can leave for work earlier and come home earlier. When I first started working, I was contracted to work from 8:30am to 4:00pm, however I get to work at 7:45 and finish the day at 3:15. It's nice coming home to have my family back and enjoy the evening with Seraph.

I forgot to mention a very memorable disasterous birthday dinner I had with my mom, dad, Carolyn, Teresa, John, and Isabell last Friday evening. We had a wonderful day shopping around Taos Plaza, and eventually wondered back to the hotel where my dad and Carolyn were staying at. We had a few drinks while we waited for our reservations. At 6:00pm, we all sat down to enjoy a fine dinner. My dad let me order anything on the menu, so I ordered a $72 kobe steak meal. While the rest had ordered bison, ribs, and lamb shops. When the meal arrived, all of us wore stunned looks as we eyed the small portions of meat, vegetables, and french fries. The meal took up only 20% of the plate, and then when we tried cutting the meat it was tough and dry. We were so upset over the meal that we complained to the manager and we refused to pay for the meal. Luckily we had had a few drinks before hand, and saw the humor in all of this. In the process, we warned a few arriving customers, and they fled into the night. We left, and went to Ogalvies Restuarant on the plaza and had great deserts. One birthday meal I will not forget in a long time.

Today, we got our first half cord of wood, and stacked it up against our outside walls. I felt like country boy out there with our warm clothes, hiking boots, and gloves as we stacked the wood. We had a mix of cedar and pinon wood, and the heart of the cedar was colored egg plant. It is so beautiful that one doesn't want to burn it. We have another load coming in next week. Since Seraph has been here, we burned more wood that I have in the last month. It will take Seraph a little longer to adapt to the cold crisp weather here.

Tonight, Isabell had her Winter Trapezee Recital at the Penasco theater. I was amazed at how much they have learned in such a short time. Isabell did really well, and I was impressed by the artistry of all of the kids. I love living here, and seeing all of the fun activities that they have for all of the kids. They try so hard to make this a family friendly town, and I am very grateful for this.

We will be taking care of Eric and Shaun's chickens while they travel to California. In exchange, we will get fresh eggs. There are so many advantages of living out here!



Friday am, and I had my Emma Elixer while Jam...

December 05, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

Friday am, and I had my Emma Elixer while Jamie and Angie worked out this morning. She and I were into an elaborate
role playing game (she was a wild kitty left in the desert, as well as a variety of characters prompted by her trip to see Kung Fu Panda. She loves these games, though occasionally I'm called to switch characters a bit quickly for my elderly brain.) In the middle of today's game, she looked at me and said, "You're a weird Grandma!"
Bob and I are shortly off to the farm to bury Ripley. Seraph didn't have time to bury him and he's been hanging out in her freezer compartment. (Thank heavens prospective
buyers never wondered why she had a large box marked Radio Shack, or whatever, in there). Bob went up on Wednesday to spend some time with Anna, and stayed over at Seraph and Robbie's house to see his sister, who came down from Seattle on Thursday. So he put Ripley in the trunk, and has been grousing at me all morning to get going so we can dispose of Ripley appropriately before the trunk gets smelly. The
stuff I do for you kids.
Love, The Evil Queen of the Kung Fu Kingdom, the Fierce Lion, the Kitty Owner, etc, etc...and old mom



It's been pretty eye-opening reading about a ...

December 05, 2008 by Adam in Adam

It's been pretty eye-opening reading about a half million job losses last month. It makes me extremely thankful for my job. My new philosophy is to be as positive and helpful as I can to the people around me. In the unlikely event of layoffs, everyone will think "Well, we can't lay off Adam. Everything would fall apart!"

Fortunately being in health care, our industry seems fairly stable. People will still get sick and need care. PeaceHealth also seems relatively financially secure, especially compared to other folks.

I have started to do a review of all my CDs and sources of income, along with prioritizing the "nice to have" things. Christmas will likely be a little light, though I'll probably spoil the kids a fair amount.

I'm still trying to make sure Sam and I can go to England this year. On the plus side, travel should be relatively cheap due to the incredible drop in fuel costs. I think it's about $750 per person now. Strange times.



Sam's been reading the Lightning Thief series...

December 05, 2008 by Adam in Sam

Sam's been reading the Lightning Thief series and really getting into Greek mythology. We also dusted off our Magic cards and played a bit. Add to the mix an upcoming computer game project involving a card game, and you end up with Sam making his own Greek-themed magic cards.

It's been good for his typing and research skills. He's even doing a book report that requires an art project, but I think he'd like to keep the card creation thing as his "just for fun" project.



It's Mocha Friday, though I'm still at home g...

December 05, 2008 by Adam in Family

It's Mocha Friday, though I'm still at home getting ready for the day. Soon that delicious elixir with be mine.

The big news of the week is that we're having a shed built in our back yard. I'm a little freaked out about the cost, but I suppose we're helping out the local economy and have been talking about it for awhile now. It's going up pretty quick and hopefully will be a useful addition to our back yard. Next is to replace our rotting balcony, though visions of dollar signs are dancing in my head.

Everyone's had a bit of a cold this week. Sam and Emma stayed home from school yesterday and Emma was complaining of a sore throat this morning when she woke up early. Hopefully she'll feel better when it's time to get out of bed.

Jamie went off to a Christmas party with her friend Victoria. The kids and I had a good time together, with both of 'em pitching in to help make dinner. At bedtime, everyone cuddled up in Emma's bed and I read them a story about bugs.

As for the weekend, I haven't thought that far ahead. I need to start making my assorted Christmas presents, and probably buy a few more. I'm not going quite so gung-ho this year and focusing more on event-type presents, handmade things, and buying locally. Well, mostly. I still spoil the kids horribly.



I awoke to my first NM snow this morning

December 03, 2008 by Seraph in Cortez

I awoke to my first NM snow this morning. I managed to remember all of my safe snow driving tips while taking Isa to school. Hopefully folks were not too ticked at the newbie while I crawled along at 25mph! I did tell Isa that here you get a white Chirstmas, but at least the snow disapears with winter!
I head back to PDX on 12/16, and Isa & Robbie will be coming back on 12/22. Much love & wamth to all until then.



Last night Sam ended up punching our stove wh...

December 02, 2008 by Adam in Sam

Last night Sam ended up punching our stove while reaching for a hand cloth. I asked him if the stove had offended him somehow, but he was in too much pain to laugh. We gave him Tylenol and a bag of frozen corn to put on it, along with sagely advice to hit something softer next time ("Like your sister," Jamie added).

Fortunately by this morning he was mostly better, so no permanent damage.



Hi, I talked with Seraph this morning; she wa...

December 01, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

Hi, I talked with Seraph this morning; she was heading into
Colorado. Had a nice chat with Sadie yesterday; she spent Thanksgiving in Maine, with Greg's family. Much love to all, Mom



December already

December 01, 2008 by Adam in Family

December already.

Thanksgiving with Jamie's family went quite well. They were all well behaved, except when Nebraska was having problems in their football game. Fortunately they won, so Jamie's family was the model of polite behavior for the rest of the day.

I took the kids out swimming both Saturday and Sunday. Yesterday we went to the wave pool at Splash! and I practically had to drag them away. By the time we got home they were starving and tired, so Jamie's dinner was exceptionally well loved by all.



We had a good Thanksgiving yesterday

November 28, 2008 by Adam in Family

We had a good Thanksgiving yesterday. Sam woke up at 3:30 in the morning for some crazy reason, though he was mostly functional all day. Jamie went to see the Festival of Trees with the kids the day before, and they returned with a giant inflatable hammer and bat. Sure enough, the first thing they wanted to do in the morning was hit each other. As expected, it ended in tragedy.

After breakfast, we were all quite lazy. Sam and Emma played with Sam's new Brickarms Lego weaponry. I think there was a series of zombie attacks or something. Emma helped me make dough for dinner rolls while Sam played his new scary computer game. Eventually we wandered over to my mom's house to help cook and supervise the kids.

Emma and Jordan hit it off immediately, playing a variety of games together. I was occasionally pressed into service to deliver letters that she'd write to different people (and animals, in one case). At one point, they decided to bury Destin in the laundry chute. Ah, the joys of youth.

In any case, it was great to chat with Seraph before her grand New Mexico trip. The food was good and Sam had a second birthday party and cake. Eventually we returned home for movies and quiet time.

Now we get to do it all over again, this time with Jamie's family.



Sam and I both finished up Fallout 3

November 28, 2008 by Adam in Adam's Games

Sam and I both finished up Fallout 3. Towards the end it was a little on the easy side. Wandering around in powered armor with a plasma rifle means never having to say please. There were some issues, but in general it was a great game and loads of fun to play.

Sam and Emma both really got into an online game called Club Penguin. Emma in particular was trading chores for computer time, getting upset when she couldn't play, and so on. As far as I can tell, Club Penguin is a gateway game to tougher things like World of Warcraft, though clearly Club Penguin is geared towards kids and reassuring parents. I'm sure soon enough the kids will be camping mobs like the best of them.

Although I wasn't intending to do so, I gave Sam Dead Space for his birthday. I had another present lined up, but it broke and the game arrived at the same time. It's pretty darn creepy, though both of us are enjoying it. For some reason, things aren't as scary if I'm heavily armed and can blow them to pieces.



It's 7:30 Thanksgiving evening, and for a cha...

November 28, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

It's 7:30 Thanksgiving evening, and for a change, we had an early dinner, around 1:30 or 2:00. Thanks to Seraph, who arrived yesterday with her cookin' shirt on, we had an amazing variety of dishes, artfully presented. Thanks to Bob, who started the dishes, we did get the dishes done. Not, however, before bemoaning the fact that Yayoe and Hanni weren't here to shoulder the bulk of dish-doing!
Hope all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.



Happy White Thanksgiving Everyone! We had a w...

November 28, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

Happy White Thanksgiving Everyone! We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with me, Isabell, my mom, dad, Carolyn, grandma, my aunt Teresa, and uncle John, cousin Cory, his girlfriend, and their little daughter. Like a dream come true, we had snow on Thanksgiving, and watched as it piled onto our cars and the road. As we left, the roads were a little slippery, so we drove cautiously home and made it safely. Isabell is sleeping over at the hotel with dad and Carolyn. She will have lots of fun. Tomorrow we are going back to town to celebrate my birthday.

Yesterday, I went out to the house in Chamisal with an architect and went over plans and ideas for the house. It seems like a daunting task to build the house, but she has great ideas, and will help us a lot.

Mom made it around 5:00, and didn't get lost too bad. Just a wrong turn in Truchas, but made it safely. I had tacos, and a warm fire waiting for her when she arrived. We had a great time catching up, and enjoyed a relaxing morning before heading up to Questa.



Sam turned 10 years old today

November 26, 2008 by Adam in Sam

Sam turned 10 years old today. "I'm a decade old," he informed us this morning. We're having a small family birthday party for him tonight, then a series of birthday parties during each of the Thanksgiving gatherings. Finally, he has a bunch of play dates this weekend where gifts will likely exchange hands.

I've been very proud of Sam lately. He's a smart, funny, responsible kid with lots of different interests.

His fencing is going well. I think he likes it a lot more than soccer, and he's improved immensely since he started. I think he'd be interested in going more often, though it's challenging to fit it all in. Perhaps when he's a little older we can both go to the Eugene Fencing Club together.

The other day he ran out of computer time and declared his boredom. I asked if he wanted to play Magic, so we broke out my old cards and gave it a go. As I played, I realized that there was a ton of math, reading, and logical thinking involved. We played a year or so ago and he needed a lot of help. Now he was able to build his own deck and really challenge me.

School is going well for him too. He's a voracious reader and is very good at spelling. Math is more of a challenge, but he typically understands everything. Mostly it's just that he hasn't memorized all the multiplication and division tables, so that slows him down. From a social aspect, he likes going to school and hanging out with friends. I'm glad he's so enthusiastic.



I wish I could be there, too! I'm afraid that...

November 26, 2008 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I wish I could be there, too! I'm afraid that I'll be spending my Thanksgiving writing papers.



Oooh, Sadie, your absence will be especially ...

November 25, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

Oooh, Sadie, your absence will be especially noted, as will Anna's, Robbie's and Isa's. All the grown ups will be elsewhere for Thanksgiving Dinner (not that you guys aren't grown-ups) and it will be Aric, Adam and Jamie and kids,
Jenny and the boys, and Seraph. Many hugs to all, om



I had a very quick trip to Meadville, arrivin...

November 24, 2008 by Lohring in Lohring

I had a very quick trip to Meadville, arriving at Cleveland at 3:00 local time and driving to Meadville in the daylight. there's snow everywhere and it's really winter. I'll post pictures



This week was the first full week we've had i...

November 23, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

This week was the first full week we've had in a while, and it felt very long. Luckily it was uneventful, and the kids did a pretty good job of listening and playing. This week we are having a stone soup lunch on Tuesday with families bringing vegetables, herbs, and spices. It should be a fun day. Thank God that there are only two working days this week, and I'm looking forward to some down time with my mom and my dad in town.

We've had a beautiful and unusual warm weather the last few weeks with highs in the mid 60's. It's been welcome, but I'm in the mood for cooler weather and I believe it is approaching us soon. The forcast says snow is on its way on Friday, and early next week. The ski areas are hoping it will come soon so they can open full time. Today is overcast with cold breezy conditions sweeping down from the mountains. A good day to relax and sit around a blazing, crackling fire.

Christmas has come early here, with decorations appearing overnight in Taos. Friday night, Niamh slept over, and we drove to Taos the next morning to find Farolitos (lunch bags with sand and a candle) gracing rooftops of hotels and banks. It's so weird to see all of these decorations up already when Thanksgiving hasn't approached yet. I'm not sure if I agree with this or it's slowly welling up inside of me and I'm looking forward to the festive season.

On the same day, I drove Niamh and Isabell to Niamh's house where they had a sleep over. It was so nice to get out and walk around Taos without being loaded down. I went to the library, walked around the plaza, and went to see Quantum of Solace (sadly, it wasn't the best James Bond film, hopefully they've learned from their mistakes, and will do better next time). I went grocery shopping, finally went home, and watched another movie. Today, I went to church, and now I'm home writing, and reading a book.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!



It's Mocha Friday

November 21, 2008 by Adam in Family

It's Mocha Friday. I said goodbye to my family, headed to work, and finished off my delicious beverage. I'm trying to fortify myself for Jamie and Emma going up to Portland, leaving Sam and I to fend for ourselves.

Last night I noticed the Wii blinking for attention, ran the system update, and decided to play a few songs in Guitar Hero. Soon enough, everyone was getting in on it. Sam had enough computer time left over to play Barracuda. I played a song by Superbus (in French), Paint it Black, and a couple others. There's something deeply satisfying with throwing up the horns and shouting "Rock and Roll" after the end of a particularly challenging song.

It's been a good, if uneventful week. Sam worked on fencing yesterday while I entertained Emma. He's gotten his technique down pretty well. Whenever I watch him, I get this burning desire to get back into fencing too. Maybe we can do the Eugene Fencing Club together one of these days.

Emma's really gotten into reading and writing. They teach spelling phonetically at her school, so she's always sounding out the syllables of things I say. She's also really gotten into having her own web site. I'm going to see if I can snap up Emmatopia while I can.

As for what Sam and I will be doing this weekend, I'm not sure. He's got a birthday party tonight, leaving me alone in the house for the first time in ages. If the weather is nice, I want to ride bikes and see Quantum of Solace. Swimming is always a plus too. Fun, fun.



Here I am, back in Eugene, watching an interv...

November 17, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

Here I am, back in Eugene, watching an interview of President-Elect Obama on "Sixty Minutes". What a relief to hear someone intelligent at the helm of our rather shaky ship of state. I had a delightful week with Seraph in Portland. She had people touring her house nearly everyday, and two open houses, one for realators on Tuesday, and one scheduled today. Her house does look lovely, very shiny and
pretty. However, it's obvious that the bottom has fallen out of the market there. Some friends wanted to have their wedding at Seraph and Robbie's, so we scurried around like
Martha Stewart clones, liberally spreading flowers and candles hither and thither. I had a couple of "garlands"
(90% off, end of season sidewalk sale at Hiron's - where else?) which I beefed up with various other Hiron's goodies.
They looked quite artsy-fartsy on the railing at Seraph's house. I performed the wedding ceremony (nothing like an all-purpose wedding service!) my seventh. Everyone seemed to have a good time. As always, it was fun to spend time with Seraph.



The weekend is coming to a close

November 17, 2008 by Adam in Family

The weekend is coming to a close. The kids are playing, Jamie's out at a friend's for dinner, and I have a few minutes before I need to start cooking.

Yesterday was a very pleasant, with crepes and omelets for breakfast. I went off to the library and then took the kids swimming. The afternoon was a lazy affair followed by a quiet dinner.

This morning Sam finished Fallout 3. After breakfast we headed to the back yard to chop down the butterfly bush in preparation for the shed building tomorrow. Emma loved sawing and dragging limbs around. We got it all cleaned up and headed in for snacks.

Emma really wanted to learn how to ride her bike, so we went to the park. Jamie and I took turns holding on to her seat. Sam got in some practice as well. After a good long while, we went home where Emma watched Kung Fu Panda and Sam and I fiddled with the computer.



Some times I wake up or I'm driving and find ...

November 17, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

Some times I wake up or I'm driving and find myself thinking that I'm actually here...here in New Mexico. This is a dream that I thought wouldn't happen for a long time. Now that it has happened, I still can't believe how fast it all came to be. It all happened in a blink of an eye.

Though I loved Oregon and still do, my heart and soul pulled me to the huge and blue skies of New Mexico. The final straw was the awful rainy winter and spring that we experienced in Oregon. I just couldn't do that anymore, I needed release, and I needed a sign to move here. Thank goodness for Craigslist! A listing of a beautiful house in Vadito drew my attention and once I talked to Seraph the plan became reality, and I flew to NM to see the house, see family, and interview for a job. From there it was an avalache of activity; talking to Eric and Shaun, looking for jobs, and getting our house ready to put on the market. Before I knew it I was off with my mom without any job security. I had a few job leads, but no offers. In Utah, I received a call from one preschool in Los Alamos offering me a job, and waited for a second interview in Santa Fe.

Once there, we found our cute rental home, went to Santa Fe for my second interview, left for Los Alamos with out an answer from the school. I was enamored with the job, and the Los Alamos job didn't have the same spark. I told the woman in charge I was waiting for a job offer and that I would call her tomorrow. Biting fingernails, I waited, and finally Stephanie called and said that I had the job. With a breath of relief I was on my way to full filling my lifes dream.

I still can't get rid of the Pacfic Northwest. There's a direct pipeline from NM to PNW. I've met so many people who have lived in Porland, or Seattle. I meet at least one or two people a day who have connections with the PNW. When I lived in Portland, I had several friends who are from NM. One of my parents is from N. Portland, and has family that lives only a few blocks from our house. The afterschool teacher is from Seattle. I'm constantly in awe at how many brief encounters and coincidences that I've seen from the pipline.

Back to normal time. Thursday and Friday were conference days and we didn't have school. It was interesting meeting with the parents, learning about their children, and their behaviors at home. Now I know these kids secrets!

Saturday, we went to Questa to pick up my laundary from my grandma, and presented her with a rosary from Chimayo. She was so kind to do all of that laundary for me. Afterwards, we went back to Taos to go to the library, and to get our haircuts. After this, we went to Ojo Caliente where they have hot springs. This place is the only place in the world where there are four different springs; soda, arsenic, iron, and lithium. All of them reportedly have their own healing powers. It's an hour a way, so we drove over in the afternoon, and enjoyed the healing powers of these ancient springs. It feels and looks like Tuscon with it's red rocks, and pear cactus growing. We had a lot of fun, and Isabell was really the only kid there. I was worried that the adults would be offended having her there, however they loved seeing her youthful energy. After two hours, we left and had dinner at a mexican restaurant in the town. I met a woman who lived "off the grid" nearby. She lived part time here and in Los Angelos. Her name was Arianna Solare, and she is a singer who has recorded a couple of CDs. I had this feeling that I should of known her, but I had no clue who she was. She sings folk vintage music, and she gave me her website information. When I got home I looked her up and heard some of her music, and I was impressed by her. Maybe the napkin she wrote on, will be worth a fortune in the future.

At church today, I had my first taste of Thanksgiving. We had a Thanksgiving feast potluck and many people showed up for it. I stuffed myself with great food, and Isabell played with a lot of friends. I found the solution to many of the empty churches. Have potlucks every Sunday, and all of the people shall follow. Sounds like a nice solution to me! This Afternoon was lazy and little boring. We tried to rack our brains for something to do, but we couldn't come up with any grand ideas. Isabell played outside, and watched a movie, while I surfed the internet and made lasagna. I did go for a walk down the road and talked to Seraph. I miss her so much, and I can't wait for her to be down here with us.



Dad! You're becoming a community organizer! I...

November 15, 2008 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Dad! You're becoming a community organizer! I couldn't be happier.



I've spent the month so far in continuous mee...

November 15, 2008 by Lohring in Lohring

I've spent the month so far in continuous meetings. First I was in Washington, DC for a meeting on our grant, then in Dallas for the major dental public health meeting, and finally in Oregon for the dental public health coalition meeting Friday. I was a presenter at all three on our clinic model. Now I need to make it work. I think I need to become a politician in my old age and convince all the bureaucracies involved that they need to do more than preserve their organization. I developed a list of people to take to lunch for a start. Does anyone know some lobbying groups? I assume I have contacts in the HIV community, but Latinos, who pressured Lane County for the Riverstone medical clinic, and seniors would be other good groups to talk to.



I haven't yet mentioned the best thing about ...

November 14, 2008 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I haven't yet mentioned the best thing about Waltham. Russo's is where restaurants and regular folks go to buy the most beautiful produce in the greater Boston area. I go in for onions and come out with kohlrabi, local snap peas, and a lust for vegetables. In fact, seven percent of my total happiness can be attributed to Russo's, holding constant the weather, my workload, and how many parking tickets I have lodged in my windshield. The second best thing about Waltham, or more particularly, about going to Brandeis, is that you never have to cook for yourself on Fridays. Due to hachnasat orchim, I get to be the grateful recipient of Shabbat hospitality. As long as I can find street parking in Somerville.



It's Mocha Friday

November 14, 2008 by Adam in Family

It's Mocha Friday. I'm sitting at my desk, having drained the last of that wonderful elixir. Already I feel my fingers typing with the strength of ten men.

It's been a quiet, uneventful week. Work hasn't been crazy for a change. The kids have been healthy. Yesterday I watched Sam fence while entertaining Emma. On Wednesday we had Josh, Dave, and Kirsten over for an elaborate asian-themed dinner. The only big thing was that Emma is now doing chores, excitedly part of the same check system that Sam has. Her chores are simpler, and I find myself helping her a lot, but it's great to see her wanting more responsibility.

Jamie's talking with the first of the builders as we embark on our grand backyard project. Basically we're replacing the rotting balcony, adding a shed, and extending the patio. I'm freaking out a little about the cost as we go into the recession, but I always freak out when I see the bill, so I'm getting used to it. Jamie's previous remodels have turned out well, so I keep telling her I trust her judgement.

I can't wait for the weekend. My favorite times each week are swimming with the kids, going to the library, and having a hearty breakfast.



Sam and I continue to play Fallout 3

November 11, 2008 by Adam in Adam's Games

Sam and I continue to play Fallout 3. It's loads of fun, bringing back memories of the original while also having vastly improved visuals. I just got trained in power armor and picked up some Enclave power armor. That plus my shiny new plasma rifle should make for easier fights ahead.

My favorite quest was a weird virtual reality area where everything was set in 50's suburbia. I was trapped in the body of a little girl and had to find my way to freedom. Good times.



I woke up this morning to my radio alarm goin...

November 10, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

I woke up this morning to my radio alarm going on saying that school was still on time. I jumped out of bed and what to my bewildering eyes do I see, snow. I expected in to be windy and rainy, but there was at least two inches of snow on the ground and it was still snowing. My gift to Seraph is snow.

I took a disappointed Isabell to school and headed to Taos to figure out all of the fun details for my car. I took it to the repair shop and waited for the results. A very nice older woman came in and her car was also hit, but the person "painted" her car with his. She was the friendliest person I've met in a while, and she said that she grew up in the Penasco area and her father owned a grocery store in Chamisal. When I told her that I was a preschool teacher, she laughed out loud for joy. It ended up that she was the director for headstart for 15 years at the Taos Pueblo Headstart. I told her that I might pursue a Masters in Early Childhood Education, and she told me a friend of hers got her masters on-line in a year. I gave her my name and number and she said that she would get in contact with me. I love these coincidences, especially in small towns and I also love knowing everyone. Here I worked at a really nice school in Portland, but I felt like I never saw any one around. Here I bump into people all of the time that I've met once.

The cost wasn't to bad considering the damage and said that they could fix it for me. The insurance agreed to pay it and that was a little relief. I took my time puttering around Taos; had lunch, went to the plaza, and to the library. I had an orthopedic appointment at 2:00 and what an experience. I've seen their sign before, and decided to stop by since mine are falling apart slowly. They fit me in, and asked all of these strange questions about pain. I told them all I needed to get were new prosthetics. First they took x-rays, and then finally gave me a perscription to a place in Santa Fe. All of that and I still have to go to Santa Fe! Anyway after that I went to the car rental place, and got a car and headed home to a winter wonderland!



I had a great time in Eugene this weekend

November 10, 2008 by Seraph in Cortez

I had a great time in Eugene this weekend. Yayoe & I kicked up our heels at the opera, and with her Ukulele group! It was fun to once again eat the 3+ cereal concoctions of my childhood. On Sunday we had a great lunch at Mom's house. It was so much fun to catch up with everyone.
Based on all sorts of circumstances - especially Robbie's accident, I decided to speed up the moving process. I put in my 2 weeks notice at work this morning, and am working with our realtor to sell our house asap. It's simply time to start moving forward, even if the finances are more difficult.



It's just me and the kids

November 09, 2008 by Adam in Family

It's just me and the kids. I've been feeling a little under the weather this weekend, so I haven't been up to my usual excitement. Last night we did a lot of reading. Sam read Ripley's Believe It Or Not to Emma. Later we picked our favorite animals out of Emma's library book.

Today I made crepes and sausages. We played in the basement until Sam wanted his computer time. Emma and I played Sorry. Eventually we headed to the library for books and bagels. Upon getting home, it was quiet time. The kids watched movies and I played Fallout 3. Later we all went outside to dig in the dirt. We managed to stick around through some of the rain, but eventually it drove us inside.

The kids played well together for awhile, but eventually things went downhill. Dinner was basic, not fancy like Jamie, but they finished it up. Emma made a birthday card for Seraph. Amazingly, she spelled some of the words all by herself.

Tomorrow we hope to swim and go to Seraph's birthday party. Everyone is looking forward to Jamie's return as well.



*Before I start on how much I love New Mexico...

November 08, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

*Before I start on how much I love New Mexico, I had an accident this morning in Taos. I was stopped at a red light heading to Questa, when I got rear ended by a huge truck. I had Isabell and her friend Niamh with me, luckily there were no injuries. The driver was a young girl, and she told me to follow her to the Katchina Lodge where she worked. The left drivers side back was smashed to bits, and my hatch door does not close all of the way. I find out that the girl is underage, and has no insurance. Her father was trying to be reasonable, and said that his daughter would pay for the damages. It looks like it's going to cost a lot of money. I had to deal with the insurance company, and file a claim. Not fun, luckily Niamh's mom picked Isabell up too and now they are having a sleep over. I love NM, however, nothing is opened on a Saturday. I was looking for an auto shop, but they aren't open on the weekends. Just now I feel like I'm a thousand miles from civilization. I'll have to take Monday off, and deal with the adjuster, and get a rental car.

Back to my love affair with New Mexico. On Wednesday we woke to a fresh dusting of snow. I was so excited that I turned on the radio to see if school was canceled or not. (SORRY...ARGGGH!!I CAN'T FIND THE CORK SCREW FOR A NICE GLASS OF WINE! Phew...I found it!) Anyway, no such luck. Isabell was disappointed, and tried to convince me that I wasn't listening properly. I dropped off Isabell, and was cautious driving fearing the higher I went I would find lots of snow. But my fears were not, as I was surprised to find no snow in Truchas, which is the highest town in New Mexico at over 8000 ft. I arrived in Santa Fe without seeing any snow at all. I had a little bit of snow on my car and brought it in for the kids to see. Around 10:30 we were ready to go outside, when out of the blue, the wind kicked up and it started to snow. I was the last one out and by the time I got down to the playground, it was a winter squal. The kids were crying and scared, so we rushed back upstairs. Once inside the kids were excited, and watched the storm from the windows. I thought I would have to drive home in this, however within fifteen minutes, the storm past as fast as it arrived. It was cold and windy, but the famous New Mexican sun arrived. We went back outside, where the snow was the driest and lightest I had ever seen.

On Thursday late afternoon as I was driving home, the Truchas Peaks were lit by a beautiful mauve (aspen glow)color. It was so breathtaking, that I wanted to be in a rustic lodge with picture windows, with a roaring fire, a glass of ruby red wine, soft jazz, and with the love of my life, and enjoying the dying dusk, as the mountains disappeared into the night sky. By the time I got home, I wanted to post, but my internet was down.

Friday, I stayed late to write up assessments for our kids, and I got a late start back up the mountains. I brought my camara to recreate that scene on Thursday, however the light didn't cooperate with me, so I rushed home to pick up Isabell. When I got there, I was bombarded by Isabell and Niamh wanting a sleep over. I reluctantly agreed, rented Hairspray for the girls, and I rented The Inconvenient Truth. I've been hesitent to watch this movie, but I decided to brave it out and watch this documentary. I was saddened to see the truth, however by the time it was over, I really want to build an enviromentally green house. The move ended with hope, and only hope Obama will help reduce carbon emmissions.

I finally figuered out how to regulate the heat in the woodstove, so I was toasting warm last night. I have my red wine, crackling fire, views of the mountains, but sadly no love of my life to settle down with. (Worlds smallest violin is playing right now.)



Generic Heading

November 07, 2008 by Betsy in Betsy

Sue, maybe the country finally grew up!



Hi, Fam, Seraph is down this weekend

November 07, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

Hi, Fam, Seraph is down this weekend. Since it's her birthday, I'm going to do an early dinner on Sunday for her.
I thought I'd aim for two or three, but can do a late brunch, now that I finally figured out how to do that puffy egg thing.
I'm still euphoric, though I feel as though the country went
to the brink of greed and almost to the brink of civil unrest. It feels as though some one gave us permission to speak out loud about Race and Race issues to each other;
Black people and racial minorities are full of joy, and White people feel as though some of our sins are washed away. United in good will, we can finally talk about the
griefs which separated us.



After a contentious election, there's nothing...

November 07, 2008 by Adam in Family

After a contentious election, there's nothing that brings the country together more than Mocha Friday. Republicans and Democrats can unite around that delicious caffeinated beverage, sagely discussing the finer points of ground coffee beans.

It's been a fairly typical week. I got to watch Sam fence yesterday while Josh watched Emma. He's getting quite good. Every time I watch him I have this urge to grab a foil and try it out myself. Maybe when he's older we can go to the Eugene Fencing Club together.

Jamie's going off to the coast today, with me watching the kids. I don't have anything particularly exciting planned. I'll try to go on a hike if the rain stops for awhile. I'd also love to go swimming and visit the library. Otherwise a lazy weekend sound perfect for me.



For the last few days, I've been spending my ...

November 07, 2008 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

For the last few days, I've been spending my time licking the dust off horse stalls in War Relocation Camps at the foot of the Sierra Nevadas and trying to interpret it into income data for Japanese Americans in the 1980s. It's been interesting research, but consuming and less than joyful. So tonight I was taken to a Decembrists concert to stand for hours with my boots stuck to dried beer. The band threw a full sized Barack Obama cut-out into the audience to lovingly crowd surf, and we chanted, in response to the lead singer's cry of "Yes We Can" with "Yes We Did!" There was a buoyancy to the event, a unity and hopefulness about the future. As we got up to leave, sweaty and happy, I realized that sometime during the concert, someone had unsnapped my jacket pocket and taken my wallet.

I have a presentation on crime and the prison system tomorrow. Life is funny that way.



This is in memory of your great-great uncle J...

November 06, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

This is in memory of your great-great uncle Joseph Stallsmith. He was an 18 year old soldier in the Union Army
when he was killed in the Battle of Bushy Run. That war was fought to take away the ability of wealthy people in the south to treat people like animals. The war has been long, but it's nice to see a victory.



I woke up to NPR using the words "president e...

November 05, 2008 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I woke up to NPR using the words "president elect Obama" this morning, and the world felt more hopeful. Particularly for my career in public policy.



I woke up to the news that Obama won, and it ...

November 05, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

I woke up to the news that Obama won, and it snowed last night! If we lived in Portland, we would have a two our delay or a cancelation, however here in the mountains it would have to take an avalanche to cancel school. Isabell was disappointed, but this is only the beginning.



Fallout 3 came yesterday

November 05, 2008 by Adam in Adam's Games

Fallout 3 came yesterday. I've fallen completely in love with it. Few games allow you to hunt mutant ants in your negligee, sporting a laser pistol and combat helmet. It's like a twisted version of the Sims.

I have fond memories of the previous versions of the game played in decades past. This latest version is much prettier, but still sports the same humor and themes of the originals.

So far I've left my vault, saved a town, and am exploring the ruined tunnels under Washington D.C.. Good times.



It's been a weird day

November 05, 2008 by Adam in Family

It's been a weird day.

Jamie was really sick last night, basically unable to do much more than lay around and feel miserable. I jumped into primary parent mode, making breakfast, getting the kids to and from school, and spending most of the day watching Emma.

That was combined with playing a new game called Fallout 3, where I roam around a post-apocalyptic Washington D.C., plus the elections. Tonight a tired Emma was sitting in the bath and turned to me saying, "I bet Obama's going to win." I could just smile back and sleepily nod.



October flew by like the leaves on the trees

November 05, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

October flew by like the leaves on the trees. We had a misadventure on Halloween, and I had one very disappointed little girl. We were suppose to go trick or treating with Isabell's friend Niemh, but Isabell didn't want to go to Dixon for Halloween. She wanted to stay nearby, but I didn't know the areas in Penasco and Vadito very well.

On Friday, I was exhausted from our own Halloween Party at school, and wanted to stay nearby. I picked Isabell from Trapeze, and went to a Halloween party at the local community center. They had a haunted house, in which Isabell was scared, and wanted to go out. Luckily it was short, and she was fine. It was fun for her to run around with friends, and I talked to several other parents. We were told that Taos plaza was very good for trick or treating, and Isabell wanted to to go desperately. It was only 6:30pm and we thought we would have plenty of time. We arrived in Taos at 6:55, and the plaza was deserted. Isabell began to cry, and I felt terrible about this. I rushed back to Vadito hoping there would be time to trick or treat, but all houses looked dark. I suggested that we'd go and see The Nightmare Before Christmas, Isabell brightened up, and we had a good time.

I was very anxious for the arrival of Seraph and my mom, and I knew they'd be here around 1:30am. I lit a candle in a plastic pumpkin, to show them the way around midnight and went to bed. At 2:45 the phone called, and was panicked to see how late it was, and envisioned a terrible accident. However, they were lost in Penasco, and couldn't find Vadito. They had been close, but thought they had gone to far and went back to Penasco. I guided them in from Penasco, and I was very happy to see them. Exhausted, they fell asleep right of way.

Saturday, we woke up early and headed to Taos for breakfast at Michaels, and headed back to the Penasco area to go and see the house in Chamisal. A contractor came out to see the house and to see if it was worth renovating it. At first glance he was little discouraging, but once inside he thought there were great possiblities and that gave us hope. Seraph was impressed by the house and the beauty of the area. We went home, and Seraph worked out possible designs, and exhaustion descended on us. We all took small naps, awoke, and made a delicious dinner.

Sunday, we all went to church where everyone was very happy to meet Seraph and my mom. They were probably happy to know that Seraph really did exist. Afterwards, we went up to Truchas to go to an art gallery. I bought Seraph a beautiful bracelet for an early birthday present. Afterwards, we drove to Dixon for their annual art and craft show. The streets were packed and we saw some exquisite art, however Isabell, who doesn't care for this was bored, and wanted to go. We took a quick trip to several galleries and went to Taos to do some grocery shopping. Once at home, we ate a small dinner and headed to bed.

Monday, we drove up to Questa for a quick visit with grandma, and headed back to Taos to see Elisabeth for Taos Lending Team, to calculate numbers for the purchase of the house. It's always above my head when it comes to these things, and I can only pray that it all works out. After our meeting, we had lunch on the plaza and hurried home to pick up Isabell from school.

Tuesday, We dropped Isabell at school, and then we all drove to Santa Fe, where I introduced Seraph and my mom to the staff at my school. They stayed for a while and headed to the plaza and the state capital to see the art inside.
They came back around 12:30 and we said a final goodbye. It was sad to say goodbye, and I can only hope that these final two months will fly bye so we can be together as a family again.

With the time change, night has approached as I drive home, and the evening sun has dipped into the horizon, leaving a fire in the sky. Low dark clouds are nearing, with a promise of snow in the air. We are expecting cold and blustery conditions tonight and we might wake to snow. We will have to wait and see.



I just got back from LA and will be off to Wa...

November 04, 2008 by Lohring in Lohring

I just got back from LA and will be off to Washington DC tomorrow. I'll try to keep in touch through the web site.

We had a so so weekend (for us) with one new record running my engine in Mike's boat. We put another engine in for a different class but got beat slightly by another well prepared team. We did go 10 mph faster than that engine has ever gone and its builder wants us to try again with a better engine. We'll be back!



There's this wacky little site called "Gender...

November 03, 2008 by Adam in Adam

There's this wacky little site called "Gender Analyzer" where you put in a URL and it decides if a blog was written by a man or a woman. I immediately had to try out this one and try it out.

Sure enough, it appears that I write like a girl. Jamie would probably nod sadly and agree.



The weekend has come to a close and I'm back ...

November 03, 2008 by Adam in Family

The weekend has come to a close and I'm back at work again, loving how the time change makes me feel like I'm lazy.

Saturday I did my usual library trip, and took Emma swimming afterwards. Jamie went off with Pat and Carlanne in the evening, so the kids and I watched a bunch of Pixar shorts.

Sunday morning we all went up to Mount Pisgah for a family hike. Sam was reluctant to go and reluctant to leave, as usual. The views were gorgeous, with the trees taking on all the colors of Fall. Eventually we headed back into town for lunch at 5th Street, then home for quiet time. I got Emma the new Pixie movie, which she adores. Sam watched the Korean monster movie The Host, which he said was good.

In the afternoon Sam had Sophia over and Emma went to a birthday party. Jamie made gnocchi (which I can never pronounce right), and it made for a tasty dinner.

All-in-all, it was a great start to November and I'm looking forward to a month filled with Seraph and Sam's birthdays, as well as Thanksgiving.



Happy All Saints Day

November 02, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

Happy All Saints Day. Stay in touch with your ancestors. Vote! (Those two imprecautions are unrelated!) Seraph, Robbie, Hanni and Isa, have fun, fun, fun.



The kids had a lot of fun for Halloween ...

November 01, 2008 by Adam in Family

The kids had a lot of fun for Halloween last night. Sam dressed up as a zombie, spending quite a bit of time getting ready. Emma was a great little kitty.

Jamie and I were somewhat stressed out before I took the kids out. Emma didn't get much sleep that day and they were both bouncing off the walls. Once I got out on the streets, I relaxed considerably and had a good time. Sam's friend Chase and his mom came along. It was fun visiting all the neighbors and seeing the neighborhood kids wander about.

This morning they went through all their candy, reminding me of Christmas after presents were opened. The kids traded various candy, and gave all the coconut flavored ones to Jamie.



It's Mocha Friday and Halloween, a winning co...

October 31, 2008 by Adam in Family

It's Mocha Friday and Halloween, a winning combination. Yesterday an e-mail went out at work, saying that the manager had to approve all costumes. I asked Glen if I could wear my sexy nurse outfit, but alas he never responded.

The kids are getting their costumes ready to go. Emma is cute as a little kitty, as always. Sam's going as a zombie, deciding to take a pair of scissors to some clothes of his. As for me, I think I'm going with Klaus, which mostly involves the right accent and goggles.

Hopefully we can have a quiet weekend. Library and swimming are high on my list of fun. With the new James Bond movie opening up, I'm thinking about seeing it with Sam. Maybe we can get outside and enjoy the weather before it gets too cold.



The week has been moving along at a good clip

October 29, 2008 by Adam in Family

The week has been moving along at a good clip. Poor Sam was sick yesterday and today, sniffling away.

We're still trying to nail down our Halloween costumes. I think Sam and I are going Steampunk, but we haven't really invested much time into getting things we need. Perhaps we can go shopping for vests and pocket watches.



Emma's at fun age

October 28, 2008 by Adam in Emma

Emma's at fun age. She's still a little kid in many respects, enjoying playing pretend and having me carry her around the house. At the same time, I see her as being on the cusp of turning into a big kid.

Lately she's been working hard at reading and writing, voluntarily practicing her skills when she has a few minutes. Last night I was giving her a bath, and we broke out the foam letters. I'd put up a word and see if she could read it. Eventually it degenerated into her randomly arranging the letters and making me pronounce the bizarre outcome.



We had a great weekend

October 27, 2008 by Adam in Family

We had a great weekend. After so much travel, just hanging around with everyone was blissful.

Saturday morning was filled with Dutch babies and coffee, a personal favorite. Afterward we walked down to the library and then over to Saturday market. It took awhile, but we returned loaded down with books and fresh vegetables. After our return, Emma and I worked on her pumpkin, and Jamie printed out skeleton parts to assemble for our front window.

Saturday evening Jamie went off to Angie's house. I called my dad and we went out to dinner and hung out. We got the kids in bed before they got too wacky.

Sunday had crepes, omelettes, and coffee once again. Jamie and Sam walked to get Halloween supplies while Emma and I played assorted games. I took the kids swimming and then we returned home for an afternoon of movies and relaxing. Good times.



This week seemed very long

October 26, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

This week seemed very long. We had a field trip to one of our children's home where they had pumpkins for all of the children. It was really fun to go out there, and pick pumpkins, feed chickens, and have our lunches under the portal. It was very relaxing, and I didn't really want to go back to school. Isabell was able to go with us, since she didn't have school that day, so it was nice for her to go and pick her pumpkin. After school, we tried to go to Goodwill and Salvation Army, boy, do I miss Goodwill, and St. Vinny's in Portland. These places here do not compare! It was a very busy area, with lots of congestion and I felt claustophobic with all of these cars encroaching on me. Once on the highway home, and I saw the mountians beckoning me home, I felt the tension lift from within me. I'm now decitified and I have no desire to return to that hectic life style.

By Thursday, I was tired and the kids were wired from the day before. Going on field trips in the middle of the week really throws off the schedule. I was already for the weekend, but still had two working days left. On Thursday evening was Isabell's parent-teacher conference, and I rushed to her school, and waited for twenty minutes to see her teacher. I was pleasantly surprised to see such a huge turnout for the conferences, all possible parking was full. After twenty minutes, Mrs. Esquibel told me that Isabell is great student, is getting mostly all A's, and loves having her in her class. I felt so proud and guilty at the same time. Since I'm working full time, I feel that I'm not giving Isabell my full attention, sure, I try to make sure she has all of her homework done, but I feel disconnected with her school. When I lived in Portland, I had all of the time in the world to help at school, but here I don't. Isabell is an amazing kid, and I'm so proud of her as she adjusts to life here.

On Friday, Isabell had her friend Niamh, pronounced Nieve, over for a sleep over. They are friends from trapeze class, though they go to different schools. She's a very sweet girl, and they had lots of fun. I rented a movie, made pizza, and popcorn for them. Both stated that they were going to stay up all night playing Littlest Pet Shop, and watching movies. By ten o'clock they were both out cold. In the morning, we made gingerbread, and then headed to Taos, where they went to a mask making party. They both made cat masks and gave them to me. Very sweet! We went to the library, and then I took some money out and went back to a garage sell where they both bought costumes. I was suppose to sign papers for the house in Chamisal, but no one was at the office, so we went to Walmart to buy me a costume. Then we went to go swimming, however they were closed, so we went to a children's Halloween party downtown, where they got bags of candy, played games, and had a great time. I was ready to go home, when our realtor called and said that someone would be at the office, and that I could go over and sign papers. Went back, finally signed the papers and headed home. I talked to Niamh's mom, and I suggested that she could sleep over one more night. Isabell and Niamh got along famously, and her mom agreed! We went home, had more pizza, and they played and watched more movies. Again they said they were going to play all night, but eventually they fell asleep around ten o'clock. I was so happy Isabell made friends with Niamh, since I don't know any of her other friends. Hopefully we can get together often, since they get along so well.

Today, we dropped off Niamh, went to church, and now we are resting a bit. A hike might be possible this afternoon. Will have to see.



I haven't really been doing much gaming, othe...

October 24, 2008 by Adam in Adam's Games

I haven't really been doing much gaming, other than dabbling with World of Goo. Sam and Emma have been fighting over playing Sims 2 as their Spore addiction faded. For awhile, Sam would cheerfully declare that so-and-so had a baby, or the dad set himself on fire while trying to cook. I'd greet him in the morning and wish his Sims a happy birthday, as he'd keep me up to date on their various milestones. My favorite quote was, "Having a baby isn't that hard."

Last night I showed off World of Goo. It's based on an experimental game I played years ago, basically a physics puzzler where you make towers out of gooey balls. They've turned the idea into a full game, which is fairly brilliant. The kids played the demo last night and are itching to get the full game. We'll see how it goes.



It's mocha Friday

October 24, 2008 by Adam in Family

It's mocha Friday. I was listening to the economic news and wondering if it was time to tighten my belt, but decided that espresso could be one of the luxuries I continue to occasionally indulge in.

The kids are out of school today. Jamie had parent/teacher conferences this week. As expected, both our kids are smart and nice. Sam's teacher recommended Stanford for Sam. When I heard the news at dinner, I loudly declared that Sam was going to be a Yale man.

I'm slowly catching up at work, with yesterday not being quite as frantic as the first of the week. Hopefully I can get caught up today. I also got my flu shot yesterday. I can't tell if I'm being a big wimp, but I was really sore afterwards. I woke up early this morning and had to take some more Advil before I could get back to sleep.



Ah, class with macs

October 24, 2008 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Ah, class with macs.

I thought that I was just busy because of mid-terms, but I think "mid-terms" was a way for me to believe that the pace of school would eventually slacken. That just isn't the case; mid-terms have opened up into group projects and final research papers. I'm writing an interesting paper on the affects of U.S. public policy on Japanese American asset accumulation and facilitating a class on prison policy. If you have any suggestions for a history paper, I'm fishing for a topic.



Oh, Seraph, I'm so sorry

October 23, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

Oh, Seraph, I'm so sorry. Ripley was a nice kitty, a real
Jellicoe cat (From TS Eliot Book of Cats- that's not quite the right name, though.)



It's been very busy these last few days

October 22, 2008 by Adam in Family

It's been very busy these last few days. Sunday was wonderful, hanging out with the family again. The kids were pretty worn out by the end, getting a little cranky. Sam went to a birthday party where they had laser tag, and he thought that was the best thing ever.

The rest of the week has slowly things move back to normal. Sam was sick on Monday with a cold. I've been digging through piles of work, still not quite caught up. Jamie's been trying to work and watch kids as they have a lot of half days and Friday off entirely.

Last night the kids and I had lots of fun in the basement. We made up a game that involved them getting on their hands and knees, then seeing how much stuff we could pile on their backs. I stacked assorted pillows and cushions all the way to the ceiling with Sam, which was entertaining for all.



Sad news to report from Portland - last night...

October 21, 2008 by Seraph in Cortez

Sad news to report from Portland - last night my old cat Ripley died. She was 14, and has been aging quickly over the last few months. She's moved with me 10 times, in 5 cities, and would always be waiting form me at the front gate when I got home. Good cats are hard to find.



Yeah, kinda looks like a severed robot thumb

October 21, 2008 by Jamie in Adam's Projects

Yeah, kinda looks like a severed robot thumb....kinky ;-)



I had some gold foil left, and a bland lookin...

October 21, 2008 by Adam in Adam's Projects

I had some gold foil left, and a bland looking USB key. When I had the kids on Sunday, I decided to work on it while they were drawing and such. It went pretty quickly and Sam helped put the foil on. I did a couple layers of gold, then vinegar to get the patina right. Next it was sprayed-on polyurethane and a thick layer of harder plastic. By this afternoon it was dry enough to reassemble and glue.

I'm pretty happy how it turned out. I occasionally need some portable storage when I forget my big drive, so it's nice to just keep around. Plus it looks cool.



What a nice Sunday! It didn't include a hike ...

October 20, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

What a nice Sunday! It didn't include a hike in the woods, but it was lots of fun visiting with family. I'd missed Hanni's birthday lunch earlier this month, so it seemed like a good day for a birthday brunch. Jenny and the boys cancelled at the last minute; she called to say that she still had one kid in his underwear and the other totally nekkid, and she was already late. (We just watched Tampa Bay
clinch the pennant, and I'll bet Greg and the other nor'East Coasters are mourning...) Seraph had come down to spend a weekend with Hanni, and Yayoe was able to carve out some time from her duties at Uketoberfest to come by, and Jamie and Emma came by, bearing home made cinnamon rolls. Seraph and Hanni stayed on for the afternoon, and we looked up the house Robbie and Seraph made an offer on. It's an amazing house - built in 1900, it looks like an adobe house from a western movie.
I'm hoping that it's not been too much remodeled, because the basic log beam/plaster roof is lovely, as are the thick walls. Lots of work, but hopefully much of it could be done
prior to move-in. Having redone two late 1800's houses, I know it can be done, with lots of elbow grease.
Bob and I had fun at the Uketoberfest. Yayoe had an active part in planning the festival, and we missed her group's "gig" at Cosmic Pizza on Friday night; Bob had an
Elder Ombudsman conference on Friday and Saturday, with a
banquet on Friday evening. We did make the ukelele concert on Saturday night, and it was very trippy. My notion of ukelele playing is based on Arthur Godfrey in the 50's, and
this was from a different galaxy. What a great town to live in!



It was wonderful having three days off last w...

October 19, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

It was wonderful having three days off last week, it made the week shorter, but we had a lot going on at school . We had two birthday circles; each child brings in his or her parents and we sit in a circle with a candle lit in the middle. The candle represents the sun, and the child walks around the circle with the parents and teachers narrating the childs life. It's very new age, but I think it's neat for the parents to witness the growth of their child.

On Thursday, we went on a beautiful hike up near Santa Fe Ski Basin. The Aspens were still in glory, and the weather was heavenly. We stopped at a place called Hyde State Park, and the small lodge was built during the WPA era, which happens to be my favorite period of time. The children did really well, as we set off on our hike. I had a little boy named Samka with me, who refused to walk, so I had to give him a piggy back ride. We passed several artists painting the golden aspens, and wanted to stop and see their painting, but alas that was not to be, as we kept on trooping up the path. We passed several evergreen trees decorated with aspen leaves for Christmas.

After school on Friday, I went to pick up Isabell from trapeze, and had pizza afterwards. Isabell's friend Neve from trapeze and her family ate pizza too. The kids wanted to watch The Great Debators, but I told Isabell that she wouldn't enjoy it, but insisted on watching it. We all watched the movie, with only Neve's mom and I enjoying the movie while the kids ran and danced around the theator. Luckily there was only a few other people there, and it was fun for Isabell to have someone to play with.

Our valley is in a middle of a gold rush right now. Not a monetary gold one, but a golden cottonwood tree rush that takes your breath away. The cottonwoods snake their way along the Rio Pueblo river which stretches up to the high mountain peaks. We witnessed this spectacular sight on our way to Taos, where we went for breakfast at Michaels, and then went to Questa to visit my grandma. We stayed for a while and headed back to Taos to go to the library. Afterwards we went to Prudential Real Estate, met with Dawn, where we made a bid on a small old adobe house in Chamisal! Seraph and I are realizing that buying the house in Vadito, would tie us down for a long time, and we couldn't really enjoy our lives. The house in Chamisal is very cute, very run down, but with love we could make it into our own beautiful casa. We will find out this Wednesday if our bid was accepted. The other good news, is that our house in Portland is hopefully going to be bought by some good friends of Seraph, and then we can go ahead with the buying process of the house in Chamisal.

Today, after church we went back to Santa Barbara Camp Ground to hike some more. I'm currently reading a book called Last Child in the Woods, a book I highly recommend for parents. The author directly links the absence of nature in the lives of today's wired generation to some of the most disturbing childhood trends: The rise in obesity, attention disorders, and depression. Children are being discouraged from playing outside, and are too dependant on todays technology and are losing touch with nature. I feel so lucky that Isabell loves the outdoors, and that we have this great "backyard" where we can go hiking and exploring. Parents told me about this incredible hike that we had missed last Sunday. We hiked up further, and discovered beautiful groves of leafless aspens with branches weaving themselves upto into the indigo sky. It literally took my breath away, as I laid down amongst the carpet of aspen leaves. Isabell joined me for awhile, but soon tired of this and wanted to continue. Around another bend, was another joyous spectacle of aspens. It was a Cathedral of Aspens as their towering trunks soared up to the heavens. I always said that if I were to die, I want my ashes to be spread amongst aspen trees, and I have now found my resting spot. Looking up amid these towering bare trees, one could imagine snow flurries fluttering around you as you gaped at these lofty trees. We hiked down again, and could feel the cool soft breeze as it penetrated your clothing, and you could hear the soft whistle as it whirled around you. We saw one little aspen with one yellow leaf hanging on for dear life, and it reminded me of a Peanuts cartoon that I saw a long time ago; in it Snoopy, Woodstock, and a few other birds, where holding up a blanket, waiting for the last leaf to fall off of a tree. I have searched unsuccesfully for years trying to locate this cartoon again.

We hiked down, went home for forty five minutes, and went to seet the Princess Bride. I love this movie, and Isabell who hadn't seen this movie in years, like it a lot.

We've had a pleasant cool weekend, and I have loved every minute of this beautiful weather.



It feels so good to be home

October 19, 2008 by Adam in Family

It feels so good to be home.



While I'm still a little busy to give you any...

October 18, 2008 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

While I'm still a little busy to give you anything close to Robbie's full, beautiful prose about our anniversary in the Pioneer Valley, I can give you a schedule of our weekend, which near saved my life. It was three weeks ago and I'm still living on the memory of the Smith greenhouse and perfect fall weather.

Friday
5:30-6:00 visited Amherst Essentials and bought a big blue poster with a stylized guillotine on it that says "Paris 1789" in flowery letters.
7:00 Dinner at Judy's

Saturday
7:30 dutch baby baked pancakes
9-10 Top of Mt. Holyoke
10-11 Apple picking
11-12:30 Eric Carle Picture Book Museum
12:30-3:20 Montague Book Mill
3:30 Procured free Schwinn bike by the side of the road
3:40-5:30 Walked the Northampton strip
5:30-9:30 Dinner and Erin McKeown at the Iron Horse

Sunday
Frittata breakfast
Smith College greenhouse
Country drive home

The rusty Schwinn is still in my trunk and backseat, waiting for new tires and a coat of paint, but I'm hopeful that I'll get to it before the first snow.



Jamie and the kids are probably waking up rig...

October 18, 2008 by Adam in Adam

Jamie and the kids are probably waking up right about now, eating a hearty breakfast. As for me, I just got back from the fitness center, took a shower, and I'm getting ready for my last meal before heading off to the airport. I'm pretty beat, having stayed up talking until midnight. I'm getting too old for life in the fast lane.

Hopefully things will go smoothly and I'll be greeted by my smiling family at the end of the day.



Another busy day, not quite over

October 18, 2008 by Adam in Adam

Another busy day, not quite over. I think I only got six hours of sleep last night. I eventually gave up and went for a run in the fitness center, then drowned my sorrows in a cafe mocha. I think the only record of my trip will be that single Visa charge.

I'm very much looking forward to the trip home tomorrow, though I'm not thrilled about the plane rides. I'll try hard to remember the sourdough bread in San Francisco, but I think I have plenty of goodies to bring home for the kids.



I'm worn out

October 17, 2008 by Adam in Adam

I'm worn out.

I managed a run this morning and had a whirlwind day of activity. I just came back from dinner, braving the crisp Edmonton air. Though it's a bit of a challenge, I've managed to find something for my vegetarian tastes every place we've gone.

The fortunate part about being busy is that I find myself missing my family whenever I get a little free time. This very much has to be my last trip for awhile.



The Bioware folks left a nice bag of swag in ...

October 16, 2008 by Adam in Adam

The Bioware folks left a nice bag of swag in my hotel room before I arrived. The good news is that I'll have adequate goodies for the kids when I return home.

Dinner was fun, chatting over dinner. I'm still having a hard time putting names to faces, as all I know these folks by is what they've written online.

I had a hard time sleeping last night. I had a dream where we were taken over to the Bioware offices. The lobby was Western-themed, with log fences and stuffed prarie dogs. They were going to show us the game behind an elaborate metal door with an electronic lock. For the demonstration itself, they handed out assorted toys and maps, along with some greeting cards that inspired their art direction.

I did my morning run in the fitness room and am heading down for breakfast shortly to meet everyone. We'll see if my vision was prophetic or not.



UKEtoberfest is happening this weekend! This ...

October 16, 2008 by Yayoe in Yayoe

UKEtoberfest is happening this weekend! This Friday there will be a uke concerts at Cosmic Pizza at 7:30 and on Saturday, all kinds of uke classes including Insta-uke for $5(we provide the the ukes) and another fabulous 7:30 PM concert at Agate Hall (the old Condon School). If interested in what's happening go to Uketoberfest.com to see the schedule.

It should be fun...I'll be working there, taking classes during the day and participating in a group singing gig with the Marmalukes at Cosmic Pizza. Come on down..kids are welcome!



I'm in Canada, successfully checking into the...

October 16, 2008 by Adam in Family

I'm in Canada, successfully checking into the Delta hotel in Edmonton. It's been a long day, with the San Francisco flight being delayed somewhat, though I was still able to eat a lunch of corn chowder and sourdough bread before I left for Canada.

The immigration folks were very interested in the fact that I was born in Canada, asking a whole bunch of questions about my trip. They eventually told me I should apply for Canadian citizenship and decided not to stamp my passport. Very odd.

Now I'm off to dinner. I already miss my family terribly.



I'm headed off to Canada today, still fiddlin...

October 15, 2008 by Adam in Family

I'm headed off to Canada today, still fiddling with my packing and trying to decide what to take. Maybe I can just wear all my clothes at once.

Everyone in the family has been very nice to me before I leave. I marked the times I'm leaving and coming back on the calendar next to Emma's bed. We've been counting the days and seeing just how long I'll be gone.

The kids' school went to the Hult Center to watch ballet yesterday. Emma really didn't want to go, but Sam though it was pretty cool. When they got home from school, they played this incredibly long and complicated game involving magnets on the refrigerator. It involved Emma building up a great empire by mining ore and defending her village.



I ran across this weird web site that's about...

October 14, 2008 by Adam in Adam

I ran across this weird web site that's about web sites. Sure enough, we were on it. The funniest part was the web site description:

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.

That pretty much sums up the entire website. I guess I'll stop posting now.

I was also fond of the snapshot of our site, which I'm going to post here as well.



It's my last day in Eugene

October 14, 2008 by Adam in Family

It's my last day in Eugene. Tomorrow I'm headed off to Canada for my all-expense-paid trip to visit Bioware. Hopefully I can survive the harsh northern winter weather and don't have to eat my cohorts when the food runs out.

Emma's been visiting with me at work today while Jamie goes off to a doctor's appointment. My coworkers have been very entertaining, taking pictures and offering up their cubicle toy collections. She's been very charming to everyone and thankful to all. I'm glad we had this chance to visit before I go off for four days.

Even though it's a Tuesday, I decided to make it a Mocha Tuesday in honor of my upcoming trip. I'll run extra hard at lunch today.



Cheers, dad! More to come (once midterms h...

October 13, 2008 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Cheers, dad!

More to come (once midterms have passed).



We did it! We averaged over 98 mph in two se...

October 13, 2008 by Lohring in Lohring

We did it! We averaged over 98 mph in two separate pairs of runs, one for the US record and one for the world record. The current world record is 50.8 mph and the US record is 70 mph. It is the first time anyone can remember that existing records have been broken by that great a margin.

(Adam's note: There's an extensive pre-race article here).

There are some pictures (requires log in) here .

Video is posted here).



My steampunking continues

October 12, 2008 by Adam in Adam's Projects

My steampunking continues.

Yesterday I took off the front of my monitor and applied a layer of gold foil. It's impossible to work with, easily tearing and blowing away at the slightest breath. Somehow I managed to apply a layer everywhere, along with a second round of patching the holes.

I wanted to go with the aged patina look, so instead of the expensive stuff you could buy, I dripped vinegar all over. I figure artists don't know their acid/base chemistry, so I managed to save some bucks. Today I sprayed on multiple coats of polyurethane and reassembled everything.

It looks pretty good, though now I feel like I should do something with my mouse and keyboard. Hmm . . .



It's been a very full and exciting weekend

October 12, 2008 by Adam in Family

It's been a very full and exciting weekend. Saturday Jamie went to a wedding and Sam went to see the City of Ember movie with a friend. Emma and I went swimming and went to Humble Bagel. Eventually Sam returned and we all got into a pillow fight. Around evening time Jamie returned and Emma and I went to the park. She had a great time walking over with her lantern held high, collecting chestnuts, and playing in the sand.

Today Seraph came over for breakfast and playing with the kids. She and Jamie went to King Estate Winery and I took the kids hiking Spencer's Butte. They both kept asking to turn around, but once we got to the rocky peak, the excitedly rushed to the top.

Everyone was pretty beat afterwards. Sam and I finally played and finished his zombie game. Jamie took Emma out for ice cream. Seraph headed home and Jamie left for dinner at Pat's house.

Only a few more days until I head off to Canada. It should be very fun, though I'm going to be happy when my travel is over for the year.



"I live for autumn

October 12, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

"I live for autumn. All year long I have reveries of those cool beautiful days to come, and memories of Octobers past. It is the most alive, the most heartbreakingly real season in my bones..." quoted by John Nichols from his book The Last Beautiful Days of Autumn.

No truer statement could be said about autumn in New Mexico. We are in the middle of a glorious Indian Summer and the aspen leaves are fading into the cool fall breeze. A few trees are bare, and leaves are clinging on bravely, afraid to glide through cool autumn air. Not only are the aspens beautiful but the autumn sunlight reveals deep shadows on the rust red rocks as I drive home through Chimayo. Isolation is a word that comes to me as I drive through these hills, as shadows and light dance from rapid cloud shadows as they scuttle across the rocks. Once in the mountains, the trees sway to and fro, as leaves blow gently across my windshield.

My heart becomes full, as I take in these wonderful sights, and inside I want to become an artist. Not only a painter, sculptor, but a fly fishermen, and guitar player. New Mexico is an art form...one thrives to be an artist, and not only as a hobbiest. Driving through the mountains today, I watched a man in his fishing vestiges wade into the rushing stream, casting his rod. His motions were smooth as he swung his rod back and forth, and it was an art form.

I bought a guitar yesterday, and want deperately to play spanish music, and feel frustrated that I can't pick it up and play skillfully. I look through the beginners book and strum diligently, but far from playing beautiful notes. This too, is an art form, and hopefully one day I will be able to sit by a fire, or sit outside and play smooth music.

Today, we took a drive in "our backyard", a half an hour from our house we drove to Santa Barbara Camp Ground, and hiked through the dazzling aspens, and other fall trees. A breeze whipped around us, as we hiked along the river. We stopped here and there to look at pebbles that glistened in the water. We'd find one that looked spectacular among the rocks, and I would pluck it out, only to be disappointed. It belonged with the other rocks as they framed the beautiful pebble. I collected stray aspen leaves, and with the help of Isabell she found a red aspen leaf. It was so beautiful and looked so out of place, that it came home with us. My senses here are so acute here, that I notice small things around my feet. I found an aspen leaf with a small dew drop on it; we found a honeycomb among the grass, and spotted beautiful bluebirds hopping in and aroud the brushes and trees. I took many beautiful photos, and when I figuere out how to post them, I will share with you the beautiful images of Northern New Mexico.

Friday morning, as I came out to defrost my windows, the haunting sound of coyotes echoed throughout the valley. Though chilling, it was beautiful hearing them communicate with each other. A few times I see them trotting throughout the woods, and I have seen a pair saunter through the red rocks near Nambe. Misunderstood creatures, whom farmers hate, and enviromentalists love. I think they are exquist animals with cunning skills. In lore they are tricksters, and collaborators, and I believe they are beautiful animals who help stablize the ecosystem.

I thought I'd give a bried story of my love affair with New Mexico, instead of an everyday account of what I do each week. This is as close to poetic as I come.



Quick update on my weekend plans! I'm headin...

October 10, 2008 by Seraph in Cortez

Quick update on my weekend plans! I'm heading off to Lincoln city after work today. Jenny & I have a room at the same hotel as Dad, so hopefully we can meet up for dinner or breakfast. Tomorrow are the boat races, and I find my self extremely excited about it! Saturday evening Jenny & I are driving back to Eugene, and I'll be staying at Mom's house.
Sunday morning will be breakfast with Adam, Jamie, and the kidos, and Jamie & I are sneaking off to King Estate in the afternoon. Yeah!
Other exciting news is that we may have buyers for our house! My friend Michael - a former Ai professor - and his fiance are working out the financing, but want to buy our place. As happy as I am about the sale, the part that makes it even better is that they have decided to get married in November, and I have offered to have the wedding at the house! I'm nearly giddy with the thought of adding a wedding to the history of the house.



It's another mocha Friday, though I've been d...

October 10, 2008 by Adam in Family

It's another mocha Friday, though I've been drinking Mochas nearly every day this week. Yesterday was pretty strange - I'd get a caffiene-fueled burst of energy, then crash and want to sleep. Somewhere in there I managed to run outside for five miles. Work kept paging me even though I wasn't planning on working. I eventually gave up and put in a bit of time.

I was surprised to see Sam's hand in a bandage when I arrived. He fell on the road when running to Sophia's house. Unfortunately it kept him out of fencing yesterday, though hopefully he'll be better soon.

Jamie's off a bunch this weekend, so it looks like I'll be spending time with the kids again. I'm looking forward to breakfast with Seraph and hopefully I can get the kids to the pool sometime.



Again, I remind you that there are four seaso...

October 09, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

Again, I remind you that there are four seasons in Eugene -
Winter, Spring, Summer, and the season Before the Rain Comes. We're taking a quick break because this is one of the days on which the rain already came. I got to spend a lot of time with Dez and Jordan over the last three weeks, helping Jenny get the house ready to put on the market. We really should paint the benches and work table on the back porch, but really, everything is in pretty good shape. I'm not sure if I mentioned that her new house deal finally went through, after lots of waiting, and finally, setting a deadline for the Sellers.
Seraph will be spending Saturday with Lohring in Lincoln City, for his boating speed record and then will be down to spend some time with Adam and Jamie on Sunday.
I got to spend some time puttering with Emma yesterday while Jamie and Grandma Judy had a quick lunch at King Estate. It turned out that Sam had cut his hand in a fall, and fortunately Grandma Judy hadn't lost any of her nurse's skill during those years of hospital administering, and soon she had him bandaged up to his comeplete satisfaction.
Happy belated birthday to Hanni. Seraph and I are going to
try hosting a Belated Birthday Brunch on October 18th for Hanni combined with a General Celebration of the Ukelele for Yayoe, possibly with a lecture on its Place in History and (perhaps) a Sing-A-Long. (You can always tell when I've been reading Winnie the Pooh or a Victorian Novel.)
For my Trashy Jokesters, I'm sending on a funny Hallowe'en video.



I'm back home again after my long work trip t...

October 09, 2008 by Adam in Family

I'm back home again after my long work trip to Bellingham. I flew in at 11:55 pm last night and blearily drove home to crawl into bed next to Jamie. The kids were happy to see me at breakfast. I gave them both tv trays, which is a bit of a joke as every time I cook for them, I put the food in our one set of green tv trays. Sam got the pirate-themed one, and Emma got one with ballerinas.

As for today, I may try and work a bit. Emma wants to play with me and Jamie wants to go to Costco. I'm still pretty tired out from not much sleep. The coffee in me says I should go run around, but my brain tells me to lie down and snooze.



I'm in the midst of mid-terms: writing a pape...

October 08, 2008 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I'm in the midst of mid-terms: writing a paper on William Jennings Bryan (known by one of his biographies as "A Godly Hero," but better known as the cowardly lion in the Wizard of Oz) for history, slogging through a Social Frameworks take home that is more a test of will than intellect, and preparing for a presentation in Assets.

I have found myself coordinating the re-surveying of a low-income neighborhood in Waltham (of which I am a resident) to procure federal funds for affordable housing. While I swore that I wouldn't ever labor without pay again, I foolishly replied to an email from a professor desperate to get the project off her plate. I may also be helping form the new MPP student association's community service committee because I opened my big mouth during a meeting and said, "I think we should call it the 'Community Partnerships for Social Justice Committee,' so our mission is explicit in the name." As I've found working at colleges, anyone with that much opinion in a meeting is quickly co-opted into leadership. Sigh.

Due to some of these stresses, among others, I can just barely sleep- this from a woman who has, like every good Miller, fallen asleep at 10:30 pm every night no matter the circumstances. I'm sure I'll snap out of it in a month or two.

The autumn is beautiful here; I'm going to Northampton this weekend and Williamstown at the end of the month to leaf peep a bit. Hopefully, I'll do some apple picking and canning soon.



I'm sitting in a hotel in Bellingham, waiting...

October 07, 2008 by Adam in Adam

I'm sitting in a hotel in Bellingham, waiting for seven o'clock to roll around so I can head off with my team for breakfast. Everyone was groaning about the hour, but I was up at my usual five thirty, got in a four mile run, and am all ready to go.

I had a lot of fun yesterday, mostly hanging out with Emma and getting ready for the trip. Emma and I painted our little Sculpey gnomes, recorded her voice on my computer, and she played a little Spore. I went to school with her and Jamie, where Emma introduced me to all the grown ups. It was very cute.

When we got home, Jamie and I managed to catch an hour of Mad Men. They were talking about how airline travel was so unusual, when now we take it for granted. As usual, it was an excellent episode. Before I left, I set up a treasure hunt for the kids, with various clues leading to chocolate and a game. Hopefully that'll entertain them for at least ten minutes.

My plane ride was uneventful, landing in a soggy Seattle. It took Darin and I longer than expected to drive into Bellingham. The first hour getting out of the city took forever. We slid by Fred Meyer's for food, I ran for four hours, and then ate cereal and went to bed.



We are now the proud owners of a 1997 Lincoln...

October 06, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

We are now the proud owners of a 1997 Lincoln Town Car. No joke. Ron was buying a new or newer car, and could only get $1,000 as a trade-in, so he just gave it to Bob. Our vehicle fleet is now a 1965 BMW motorcycle, a 1969 Oldsmobile, a 1973 Isuzu, a 1997 Lincoln, and a 2002 Honda. The 1972 pickup finally bit the dust. Bob's State Farm agent loves him.



It has been a nice and relaxing weekend, and ...

October 06, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

It has been a nice and relaxing weekend, and wish it would last a bit longer. We had a great harvest festival at my school on Friday night. My Aunt Teresa was really nice and brought Isabell down from school, so she could come and join the festivities. I was hoping that Teresa and my grandma would stay, but they left right afterwards. In the evening, there was a band playing, great potluck food, and lots of families enjoying the relaxing atmosphere. Several teachers, including myself hung around, listening to the music, and watched the parents playing with their own kids. It was so nice just hanging out and not watching the kids.

Saturday, we took our time waking up, and eventually went out to the post office. I don't get to the post office until Saturdays, because it opens when I leave, and closes when I return. Waiting for us at the post office, were four packages. It felt like Christmas, as we returned home and opened them. One was from Grandma Hanni, a Kit Kittridge costume that was fantastic looking, and a few Halloween decorations; A package from Grandma Susie, with more clothes of Isabell's, and a few goodies; A book of South African animal stories from Grandma Carolyn; and finally a book I ordered from England. It was a book about New Mexico printed in 1936, but was only published in Great Britain, how crazy is that!

Once the presents were unwrapped, we went to Taos to the Library, to Michaels for breakfast, and off to Grandma's house to do laundry and catch up with the family. We stayed until 6:00 and went back to Taos to watch Beverly Hills Chihuahua. It was a very cute movie, and afterwards, Isabell talked all the way back about wanting a Chihuahua too. I really don't want one that looks like it had to much caffine, and one that I can loose under the stove. When we left, it was a down pour, and a welcome reminder of Oregon. By the time we got home, it had let up a bit, and we went to bed.

On Sunday, we went to church, and decided to go to Taos once more to buy a few things at Walmart and at Smith Groceries. When we left the house, we looked up into the top of the mountains, and there was a good dusting of snow on top of the peaks. I was so excited, and wanted to take a picture, but the clouds were moving fast and it wouldn't clear up enough for me to take one.

We walked around the plaza for a while, bought some presents for my mom and Seraph, and went home to relax. When we arrived it was hailing and very cold, and soon we started the first fire of the season. I was expecting Elisabeth from Taos Lending Team to come over to discuss finacial matters, but she called and said that her car broke down, and she couldn't make it. So I made enchiladas, watched Fools Rush In, and enjoyed the fire. Arlene called me, and told me there was a double rainbow, and I ran outside with my camara and took several pictures of this glorious sight. I'd post them, bought the pictures are really big and would take a long time to down load. I'll have to figure it out later. It was a nice relaxing evening, and now I'm ready for bed.



I just wanted to add to this thread on educat...

October 06, 2008 by Meg in Lytton

I just wanted to add to this thread on education, as it was the subject of the Query in our Quaker Meeting this morning and an incidental discussion in the Care and Counsel Committee meeting before Meeting for Worship. At C&C meeting, I mentioned that I attended my high school reunion last weekend. Most of my classmates had stayed in the area and continued in their parents footsteps in a fairly poor area of SW Pennsylvania. Another Committee member, Tippy, a retired professor from UC Davis, commented that she had attended her high school reunion in a blue collar town where most of the men had gone into the Army for WWII and then took advantage of the GI Bill and then purchased low cost, often government-subsidized homes. This led to the US middle class (something we rebellious anti-Viet Nam war students railed against!) and the educated work force that fueled a creative economy for 40-50 yrs!

Another aside-Dick and I are swapping MacCullough's biography of John Adams back and forth, with 2 bookmarks. We started it on vacation in August in Boston, when we were embarrassed that we were the only people on the T that weren't reading! All Bostonians seem to have their noses in some written material all the time! Anyhow, when he wrote the draft of the constitution of the State of Massachusetts, John Adams included an impassioned section in the preamble about the responsibility of the government to foster and facilitate education for all the people. He expected the legislature to edit that section out, but they left it in, unchanged! Do you think this is may be why Massachusetts and Boston continue to be the intellectual powerhouses they still are? How do we inculcate the love of learning that not only makes life richer but helps to make our lives more comfortable? I think the difficulties of the Depression and WWII may have contributed to the motivation to learn, which may even have been a distraction from the nightmares of life outside the ivy tower.

On that note, we're all fine. Callie is working incredibly hard at Duke and has been selected to do some other extra-curricular projects that she is pleased about. Will is happy with his program and his parents just visited them.

Julie is dissecting her way through their cadaver, the low point being dissecting the penis. She seems very happy, despite the long hours of study. They finish Anatomy this month and move on to Biochemistry. She is in NYC this weekend visiting Alex.

Kayla is happy and working hard on her classwork and her job at Oberlin. She is having a little trouble re-adapting to the social life of a small town after her time in Belgium this summer.

Not much more news of import.No exciting adventures planned.



It's been a very full and busy weekend

October 05, 2008 by Adam in Family

It's been a very full and busy weekend. I didn't have any particular plans going in, but every moment quickly filled up. Jamie went off Friday at noon. The kids and I played until it was time to send Sam to John's house. Emma dutifully went to get a hair cut with me, and I treated her to ice cream afterward. Swimming was next, with Emma spending most of her time with her friend Erikya. When we got back, Emma was so tired that I barely got her dinner before she fell asleep.

Saturday morning we had a quick pancake breakfast, got Sam, and then my dad came over. We had a long outing to the art supply store, Humble Bagel for lunch, and the gaming store. My dad spoiled the kids, getting a zombie game for Sam and a memory game for Emma. We returned home and played our various games until it was time for me to take Sam to Zach's birthday party. Emma and my dad played the Sims while I was off buying groceries. I returned home to manage them both, eventually sending him off and getting Sam from his birthday party.

As usual, it was quite the affair, with a Lord of the Rings theme. Dwarves, elves, and humans dressed in medieval clothes were everywhere. We hung out for a little, then eventually returned home with assorted plastic weaponry. Next it was dinner, bath, and bedtime for all. I was pretty beat.

As for today, we're going off to breakfast with my mom shortly. After that, my dad wants to race electric boats. I'm not quite sure when Jamie returns today, but we'll likely return home around lunchtime and hang out until she returns. Busy, but fun.



Seraph, try Greece, where university educatio...

October 03, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

Seraph, try Greece, where university education is free if you score well on a national test. Or try Botswana, where
university education is free to all citizens. But not here in the richest country in the world.

Or stay in the US and potentially have to listen to Sarah
talk and smile at the same time forever and ever...



It was a Mocha Thursday for me, as I'm off wo...

October 02, 2008 by Adam in Family

It was a Mocha Thursday for me, as I'm off work tomorrow watching the kids who are out of school. Jamie's going to the beach with Pat and his family for the weekend, so I've got to come up with interesting things to do with the kids. Fortunately Sam has a sleepover and birthday party to attend to, plus my dad has promised to do something with us on Friday. Hopefully I can make it through to Sunday.

I ended up getting another Nerf gun related injury last night. Sam and I were having a duel in the basement, and of course Sam wanted the lights off. Sure enough, we crashed into each other, Sam fell, and I stubbed my toe fairly badly on his gun. I may end up skipping running today as it's still fairly sore. The level of Nerf gun violence in the Miller household can certainly be shocking.

The next couple weeks are non-stop travel for me. Next week I fly to Bellingham to do a team meeting. I'm not especially thrilled, but there's a running track near the hotel. The week after I fly to Canada. The always-amusing Bioware folks informed me that I should bring a warm jacket, along with a rifle for the snow wolves that savage the countryside. Should be fun.



The house in Vadito has been the catylist for...

October 02, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

The house in Vadito has been the catylist for our move to Vadtio, NM. When we were heads over heals for the house, we thought we could make it on my salary, and what ever money Seraph would make. We now have serious thoughts about the place. Do we really want to have such high monthly payments? If they lower the price for us, we still would love to buy the house. However, I have been looking around and want to stay in the area, so Isabell still can attend Penasco Elementary School. On the other side of Penasco, is a village called Chamisal. It's a very cute town, and there is an old parish house for sale. It was builit between the late 1880's and 1900. It's only 65,000, and it's definitely a fixer upper. It has a lot of charm, with flag stone floors in the living and dining area, scroll work around the doors, and walls. The kitchen and bedroom need complete updating, and we thought it would be great to add a couple of rooms, another bathroom, and a couple of kiva fireplaces. It's on decent size lot, and there would be plenty of room to grow. It's an option that we are thinking of doing.

Today, I learned a new aspect of fall in New Mexico; the roasted smell of green and red chili. When we were on the playground at my school, someone nearby was roasting chili, and what a heavenly scent as it drifted toward us. I became ravenously hungry for chili, and have decided to buy some this weekend.



Emma had growing pains again last night

September 30, 2008 by Adam in Emma

Emma had growing pains again last night. I climbed into bed with her around 4:30 am, but she couldn't get back to sleep and so I did all the things my mother did. The muscle massages helped a little, but mostly the warm bath and Tylenol did the trick. Eventually I'd like her to try stretching, but it always seems to hurt so much. Poor girl.

In any case, Emma gave me a call this morning, asking for pizza for breakfast. All is well again.



Patrick will start college next year

September 30, 2008 by Betsy in Betsy

Patrick will start college next year. I'm already looking for a 3rd-4th job. Tupperware anyone????



So, I tried not to cry at work yesterday as a...

September 30, 2008 by Seraph in Cortez

So, I tried not to cry at work yesterday as all of our stocks nose dived, and Isa's college fund continues to dwindle. I guess it's a good thing that I never thought my generation would be able to retire in the first place. My only hope for Isa is to migrate to a country with paid higher education.



So, are we all impressed by America's leaders...

September 30, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

So, are we all impressed by America's leadership?



We had a fun, but busy, weekend

September 29, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

We had a fun, but busy, weekend. Saturday morning found me trekking across town to meet with a friend of Jenny who is getting a divorce and just wanted to talk to someone. I scurried home and Bob and I prepared to drive up I-5 to Woodburn Shopping Mall to meet Seraph. We met up and Bob sat in the car with the kitties while Seraph and I power shopped. Then we three went off to Marsha and Steve's where there was an end of the summer fiesta. All their family, old friends, and the Mexican guy who rents from Steve and Marsha and his family... Bob, Seraph, the kitties, and I left around eight, and were quite happy to hit the sack.
Seraph had breakfast with Yayoe and Hanni, and then we shopped for dinner In the meantime, Anna had come down from Portland and Bob's cousin Ron brought his pick up down to take back the double bed to Portland for Anna. The group increased in size, and we would up with ten for dinner. Good times!



Saturday, I woke up early to clean house, and...

September 28, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

Saturday, I woke up early to clean house, and make fried potatoes. It was nice to relax for a little and enjoy a nice warm breakfast. Afterwards, we went over to Eric and Shaun's to help with the gallery. While there, I overheard Shaun talking to a person on the phone about the house. I was discouraged about this news, and lost heart in being there. I tried being cheerful, but deeply troubled by this. I pray everyday that our house will sell fast.

We left for Taos around one, and felt better when I saw a mountain in full autumn glory with aspens in dazzling gold. We went to Taos Public Library, checked out books, and went to the Taos Arts and Crafts Fair. Right of way, I found Christmas gifts for dad and Carolyn. We walked around admiring all of the beautiful pieces of jewelry, paintings, sculptures, and other amazing art. Afterwards, we walked around town, and the plaza before heading home.

Sunday, we went to church finding out that one of the pastors is leaving the church to work as a hospice in Santa Fe. She was extremely nice, and will be missed by the congregation. After a brief stop at home, we left and headed up to Sipapu Ski area to hike and play frisbee golf again. On the way, I had to stop and take a picture of the mountain I spoke of. All of the aspens bursted to life, like fireworks on fourth of July. I was mesmerized by the sight, and only came to my senses with Isabell telling me she was tired of aspen trees. Once up there, a frisbee golf tournament was just wrapping up. We played ten holes with brief stops to take photos of the glorious aspens. We tired out after the tenth hole, and decided to go down by the river to play. Isabell was like a deer hoping from rock to rock and crossing the river several times. I attempted it and managed to do this with out falling in. Up stream, a family was fishing in a deep pool, and watched as they caught several trout. After they left, we went were they were fishing and looked into the slow deep moving pool. The sun reflected off the water, and I could see two or three trout gliding upstream effortlessly. It's so beautiful to watch these fish in their natural habitat. I've seen them in streams at the High Desert Museum and at the Portland Zoo, but never in nature, and found another reason why I love it here!

This evening, while Isabell watched a movie, I made a cup of tea, listened to Celtic Women, lit a candle, and I settled into a papasan chair overlooking our valley. I watched as the dark mountains slowly disappeared into the night sky as they became one.

On Friday, we had an inservice day, and Isabell sick, came with me. One of our meetings we learned about brain gym. A new concept that I've never heard before. The basic concept is to reenergize your brain and make the left and right hemispheres work together. Isabell has been learning this at school, and it is an amazing concept. We did a few simple excercises that worked to energize and relax you. I tried these tonight and it really worked. I also read The Secret a few months ago and applied that philosophy to my life. I feel relaxed and positive and hopefull life will be good this week.



I finally finished Spore, as close to finishe...

September 27, 2008 by Adam in Adam's Games

I finally finished Spore, as close to finished as it gets, anyway. I had a really hard time getting by the Grox. I ended up switching to a strategy where I bought up a ton of repair thingies for my spaceship and just ignored the damage. The end felt like going through a maze while slowly taking damage. The finale was cute and funny, but not particularly dramatic. I did enjoy building up my vast spice empire to the point where I could collect vast sums of money whenever I wanted.

The kids continue to enjoy playing spore, typically going back to the cell phase. Sam created a flying pig this morning, which he's quite happy about.



It's Mocha Friday

September 26, 2008 by Adam in Family

It's Mocha Friday. I'm off the wagon again, another delicious mocha cooling beside me.

Poor Emma was sick this morning. She woke up Jamie with a "Mama! Emergency!" and had to have her crusty nose dealt with. I kept her company for a little while before turning her over to Jamie for the day.

It's been a good, if uneventful week. Work was very busy yesterday. As usual, I was playing the hero and scurrying about. Jamie called me home early a couple days since the kids were sick. Every year when school starts, the waves of illness sweep through our family.

We're lining up events for this weekend. Both Jamie's dad and Seraph are in town on Sunday. Sam has a long play date tomorrow. Emma really wants to go swimming. Hopefully we can fit it all in.



Fall is definitely in the air

September 26, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

Fall is definitely in the air. Cottonwoods, aspens, and other decidious trees are trimmed in yellow. In another week or two, all of the trees will be decorated in yellow, orange, and reds. Creeping brush and bushes, between the pine trees, are oranges and reds, and look like a trail of fire along the ground. I'm ready for the cooler weather to come, so I can wear sweaters.

This week is going much better, the kids are finally getting with the program. We are having fun, and are finally doing art projects with the kids. Stephanie and I are bumping heads about when to do the art work. I wanted to do this later in the morning when we had our circle time, so I could introduce the theme and art project. Stephanie prefered the morning when the kids arrive. This didn't work, because we had snack and long outside time. We tried bringing kids in to do the art work, but they rather play outside. I finally realized the only way to solve this was to do the project in the morning. I compromised, and it seems to work.

Today, it was a pretty good day, but we had seven potty accidents in a half an hour time, and that kept us on our toes. One of the parents brought us Concord grapes, and we made juice out of them. It was really good!

Isabell has been fighting a cold this past week, and I've been feeling guilty wanting to keep her home, but I've just haven't been able to take the time off. Tomorrow, I have an in-service day, and I'm going to take Isabell out of school, and she's coming to work with me. I have meetings and planning time, so Isabell will probably hang out, relax, read books, and maybe watch movies. Hopefully three days off will help her overcome her cold. Friday night we are going to watch a movie called Tortilla Heaven, a movie that was filmed around here. I can't wait to see this movie. I'd like a relaxing weekend so I can catch up on cleaning the house. I know I'll be helping at Eric and Shaun's gallery on Saturday, and we'll have a trip to Taos. Maybe Isabell and I will go on a fall hike on Sunday. We'll wait and see!



I do not often enough provide the balance tha...

September 23, 2008 by Jamie in Jamie

I do not often enough provide the balance that this family blog desparately needs. The voice of reason and reality. The one servicing all the strings, if not pulling them. I am enjoying my favorite season, though not getting nearly enough direct exposure. I had a lovely first 39th birthday, and so many friends and family reminding me how lucky I am. Angie, Victoria and I had a decadent though far too brief spa afternoon at Angie's mom's house on the McKenzie River...complete with hot tub and our own personal masseuse. I need to hang with these chicks more often. I was treated to gourmet appetizers and a relaxing evening at Pat and Karlann's on Saturday, and a family gathering at Sue's Sunday so I didn't have to cook much over the weekend. It sure is nice having someone cook for you. I'll have to remind the family of that more often ;-)
I also am looking forward to spending the first weekend of Oct with friends at the beach house. Happy Fall!!!



Oh, mom, I'm so glad you're starting Sam on t...

September 23, 2008 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Oh, mom, I'm so glad you're starting Sam on theory early. I often think of you as the source of my interest in organizing philosophies, beginning with Campbell and Jung. Kids should be taught Marx, Weber, and Durkheim in middle school, just to start getting a handle on critical analysis. The first leg of school is nearly over- October begins the high holidays, and we get some respite from this month's grueling pace.


Hopefully I'll get to go to the Fluff Festival this weekend, celebrating the creation of Marshmallow Fluff in 1917 by Archibald Query. Bostonians eat peanut butter and fluff sandwiches as children- that's fluff boy. Weirdos.



Seraph and Sadie, remember Abel's Island

September 23, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

Seraph and Sadie, remember Abel's Island. I sat with Sam a bit today; he had a cold and Jamie had to take Emma to school. I read him several chapters, and we discussed it from a Joseph Campbell myth perspective. Next is Jung.



It was a good, if mostly uneventful weekend

September 22, 2008 by Adam in Family

It was a good, if mostly uneventful weekend. The high point for me was taking the kids swimming both days. They had such a good time and I finally got over being sick, so we played until we were exhausted. For Jamie, she had a birthday party every day. Friday night I got Thai food and assorted Metropol cakes. Saturday she went to Pat's house and his wife made a huge hors d'oeuvres spread. Sunday we had dinner with my mom and got yet another cake.

Otherwise I played a lot with the kids. The kids have both been playing Spore. Sam's been using rolls of black electrical tape to assemble an intricate gun out of junk laying around the garage. Emma got to play with her friend Sahve down the street. Good times.



Sunday evening, taking it easy until the Mad ...

September 22, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

Sunday evening, taking it easy until the Mad Men program comes on. This has been a hectic couple of weeks. I spent two days in Portland with Seraph getting her place on the market. I spent some time over at Jenny's doing the same thing. Bob, bless his heart, helped me with some fall housecleaning. I did some phone bank stuff for Jeff Merkley, who's running against Gordon Smith for a Senate seat. I think I can safely say that people in general are furious about "smear" campaigning. Apparently there's a photo team paid by Gordon Smith which follows Jeff Merkley
around trying to catch him in a gaffe. Amazing!
I had fun taking Jordan to see "Kung Fu Panda" this afternoon, and Aric, Adam and Jamie, and the kids came over for dinner.
Talked to Seraph tonight.



We've had a nice and relaxing weekend, and I ...

September 21, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

We've had a nice and relaxing weekend, and I feel refreshed for this week. I was so happy that this week ended. It was a tough last few days, with me thinking I was not up to the task of being a teacher. Our non-nappers were a handful, and wouldn't listen to a word I said. I was so depressed on Thursday night and Friday morning, that I really didn't want to go to work. Luckily, Friday turned out to be beautiful, and there weren't many kids either. We made playdough, had fun outside, and the kids did really well during nap time. I felt so good leaving work, that I was singing out loud and happy to go home. Monday, Stephanie, me, and the other TA's will meet after school and see if we can solve some of these problems.

Saturday, we woke up early, went to the post office, picked up my new glasses, and headed to Taos. (My nose pads on my glasses broke off, and I ordered new ones a month ago, and they finally arrived now.) In Taos, I got my tires rebalanced, since they needed it badly. Driving 65 miles an hour the car would vibrate badly. After this was done, I went to the plaza to get my lens transfered to my new glasses. While I was parking, a woman pulled out and hit my car. It wasn't bad, a little dent, and scratch, and it really wasn't anything to get excited about. The woman was really nice, and apologized perfusely. While I was writing down her information, a man that the woman knew came out to see what was wrong. He immediately tried to blame me for not parking properly, and saying anybody would hit me for the way I parked. I was about an inch inside my line. He told her that he was going to call the police, but she said not to listen to him, and that she would be leaving soon.

This is something I learned while living here. Spanish men tend to be very over protective of woman, and they feel that women can't solve problems on their own. Single woman who live in the villages are assured to have hispanic men knocking on there doors at all hours of the day.

Back to the story in hand. While she was leaving, the man chased her down to make sure she didn't want to call the police. She assured him that it was her fault and didn't need to call the police. I watched in amusement as this unfolded in front of me. Once she left, I got my glasses fixed, and headed toward the library. After a brief stay at the library, we went to our traditional breakfast stop at Michaels. After breakfast, we got our haircuts, and went to Questa to see my grandma, and to do our month load of laundry. Isabell, was able to catch up on a week worth of Disney channel, since we don't have any TV reception. We were there for most of the afternoon, and headed home.

Sunday, I helped out at Eric and Shaun's gallery. This weekend, and next is the the High Road Art tour, and many retired people take this tour every year. It was fun, hanging out, and seeing who came to look at the art. We hung out in the front yard, laying in the hammock, and throwing apples at each other. Eric and Shaun are great, and are almost like family. They love having Isabell around, and Eric had fun tossing apples at her. Shaun is funny. A Subaru Forester drove, and she joked saying, "There's no money there!" A reference, that a lot of people own Foresters around here. We stayed for a little while, walked next door to the community center where they had more art. They also had a small kitchen, where Isabell ate a hot dog, and I ate posole. Eventually we walked home, rested, and went to see ET at the theatre. We are now at home, and we are enjoying our evening.



It's Talk Like a Pirate Day

September 19, 2008 by Adam in Family

It's Talk Like a Pirate Day. If anyone needs assistance, here's a documentary to get you started:


I was sick yesterday with tummy trouble, so I worked from home and took it easy. I'm at work today, though not quite feeling myself.

It's also Jamie's birthday today. I have a not-so-secret plan to arrange for food and cake and a small present.



Happy birthday Jamie!! Even though it's Talk...

September 19, 2008 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy birthday Jamie!! Even though it's Talk Like A Pirate Day, I hope your family sang Happy Birthday without too many "argggs..."



We're on Wednesday, and almost over the hump

September 18, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

We're on Wednesday, and almost over the hump. Thank God! Monday, was a much better day at school, as the kids were getting better at adjusting to school. After school, I went home, picked Isabell from school and went home for a little while. Arlene came with us, as we went to look at a home near by. This house four bedrooms, five baths, three fireplaces, two sunrooms, and an acre and a half. It was built in 1978, and it was decked for the 70's. It was combination of the Brady Bunch and a bad late 70's early 80's ski movie house. On one wall in the livingroom/diningroom, there was pull out A-track player, and a record player. In another part of the room, there was a wet bar, and pool table with Coors Lite Lights over the table. Upstairs, there are three bathrooms. One in the master bedroom, and two in the hallway; one is blue, and the other is pink.

The plus side, is that there are gorgeous views from the sunroom, and the river winds down below through lush vegetation. There is fireplace in the formal livingroom, one in the den, and one in the masterbedroom. With a little updating, it could be a beautiful house for entertaining. I'd keep the record and A track player, so we could get down be groovy! All family and friend will have to wear bell bottom pants, and polyester leisure suits. Of course, when Isabell went to bed, I had to watch one of those bad 80's ski movies to be in the mood.

Tuesday, I got off school a little early, picked up Isabell, and went home. Arlene is renting a trailer to an old friend named Anne. She's in her late 70's but very active. I really like her, and she has had an interesting life. Anyway, she came over to see if I can help her install a chimney to her woodstove. I had no idea how to help, but I had act manly. The pipe is a telescope type that extends, so we first tried screwing it in, but that didn't work. So she held one end, and then I pulled and twisted to make it longer. NO SICK IDEAS! Eventually, we got in on the stove and connected to the ceiling. I felt like a real country boy! I came home, and made rice in a pot, with out a rice maker, and felt like a real cook! I'm starting to be self-reliant!

Today, started out so promising. The kids were doing so well, until quiet time while the other kids napped. Any improvement on Monday went out the window. I had five kids today, who were so wild. They yelled, threw puzzle pieces, and ran around! I tried talking to them gently, and they laughed more, and kept on throwing things. I felt so inept as a teacher. Stephanie came in, and I thought she'd solve the problem in a minute. She had a time stopping the children, and it took her 20 minutes to calm them down. Eventually a game of burrito child helped out. You wrap a child in a blanket and you pretend to cook and eat them. They love it!

I came home, had a glass of wine, watched Harry Potter with Isabell, and I am preparing to go to bed, and watch another bad 80's ski movie. Sad, but true, I have a couple of these bad movies with T&A. I don't watch it for the T&A, but for the excellent skiing. I dream of skiing!



The kids and I continue to play Spore

September 17, 2008 by Adam in Adam's Games

The kids and I continue to play Spore. Emma's nearly at the end of the tribal phase, soon to reach the civilization phase. Even with Sam and I reading instructions, it's pretty close to the edge of what she's capable of doing. Still, she seems to be having a great time with it and often has to negotiate with Sam for play time.

Sam plays every opportunity. He's at the space phase, slowly building his empire and exploring the galaxy. His latest plan is to reach the rumored black hole in the center of the galaxy and see what's on the other side. It's good to have goals.

I haven't had as much time to play, but I've had fun when I do. Basically I have a small but thriving empire that I'm cultivating, working on alliances with nearby races and trying to keep the annoying warmongers from attacking me.



The week has been moving along

September 17, 2008 by Adam in Family

The week has been moving along. Yesterday Emma was up at five o'clock with bad dreams. I sleepily went over and tried to get her back to sleep, to no avail. I read her stories, got her something to drink, and eventually gave up and took her downstairs. She was pretty tired later that night.

Sam had fencing, which he seemed to enjoy. Emma has karate tonight, which I'm excited to hear about. Hopefully Jamie took some pictures.

I had a great breakfast with my mom yesterday, filling up on pancakes and drinking lots of coffee. It was a great way to start the day.



The weekend has come and gone

September 15, 2008 by Adam in Family

The weekend has come and gone. I had a great time with the family, visiting the Eugene Celebration and generally running about. Saturday Jamie made Challa French toast with blueberry chutney. Later I took the kids to a free karate lesson, with Emma having a great time with the instructor. Later we watched the parade, sadly missing Yayoe's ukulele march. Afterwards we wandered into the celebration itself, where we ate, made robots at some art place, and ate some more. Eventually we all went home and took it easy for the rest of the day.

Sunday we had crepes, then went off again. Sam and I went to the library where he spent nearly an hour reading a book about the National Enquirer. The girls went back to the celebration. Eventually we met up at home for a little lunch and quiet time. Angie whisked Jamie away for massages and hot tubbing, while I played with the kids. The highlight was playing in the sandbox and getting quite messy. Eventually Jamie returned as I was getting Emma to sleep. Good times.



We just wrapped up a beautiful weekend

September 15, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

We just wrapped up a beautiful weekend. On Saturday morning, we drove to Penasco to help with the cleanup, and had lots of fun. There were about ten adults and kids helping out, and Isabell did a really good job of picking up trash. There was a lot of laughter, as the boys tried scaring the girls and women saying they saw a snake. One boy actually found a water snake inside a can. At first we thought he was joking, until he actually pulled out a two foot snake! I loved being out there, and enjoying the company of these people as we talked and joked around. There is one woman who workes for the catholic church, and she lead us in prayer in front of a vacant lot. She explained later on that the area was used for drug trafficking, and a man had died there. They eventually cleaned it up, tore down two trailers, and now it's vacant. I suggested that they make a park there, and they thought it was a great idea. I better be careful, because I'll end up on the committee leading the project!

I planned on going to my grandma's to visit, and do laundry, but I couldn't get a hold of her. We went to Taos anyway, and brought our recycling. Living in a small village there is no garbage or recycling pickup. There is a dump in Chamisal that I haven't gone to yet, and you have to take your recycling to Taos. It's a pain in the butt, but that's only a small sacrifice. After separating the recycling, we had breakfast at Michael's (a weekend ritual), went to the library, and headed to Taos Ski Valley for Oktoberfest. This is mom's old stomping ground, where she was a certified ski instructor. It's a beautiful drive through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, with a pristine creek winding and weaving beside the road. Once there, we had a lot of fun wandering through all the sights. Isabell got her face painted, jumped in the bouncy castle, and we took the chairlift up the mountain. Isabell was a little scared as we rode up, since this was her first ever chairlift ride, however she loved the scenery. They have a sign at the bottom that say, "Don't worry, this is only 1/30 of the ski area!) The run is called Al's Run, and it is extremely steep! Once back on level ground, Isabell made a friend with a girl her own age from Hobbs, NM. She and the girl made sandcastles, and played around in the sand. Her parents were really nice and even bought me a beer. Eventually, the festivities wound down, we said goodbye to our new friends, and headed home.

Sunday morning I woke up early, and decided to make chicken enchiladas for the potluck for our church. I didn't sign up, however I thought it would be nice gesture.
I made a big plate of enchiladas, hoping I would have extra, but my mistake, they were popular and I came home empty handed.

I planned on going to Questa to see grandma again. Grandma, Teresa, and John had gone to Albuquerque yesterday, and I made plans to see them again. We drove up, and John informed that Teresa and Grandma went to Espanola checking on my cousin Daniel. To long to explain, so I'll spare you the details. Long story short, I didn't get to do my laundry, however I did visit with my grandpa. I'm ashamed to say that this was the first visit with him since I moved here. In my defense I have to say, that he is very depressing to be around. He is alway complaining that he is dying and his body is always aching. Even Isabell doesn't feel comfortable around him, and it was nice chatting with him, but I was ready to leave.

It was actually nice coming home and resting. A luxory that I don't do much of. Isabell watched a movie, and I sat down read a book, and took a short nap. Later in the afternoon, Isabell and I took a walk, and watched the sun slowly vanish behind the mountains. As we turned around, we were greeted by the most beautiful and magical sight; The full moon slowly rising over the valley, and we were in awe as it ascended into the evening sky. We grabbed the camera, and took a few pictures. If you've done your homework, and watched the Milagro Beanfield War, you'll know what I'm talking about. I could hear music wafting through the evening air, and could almost see the old man prancing around with his accordian as he waltzed through town. You need to watch the movie! It was all so magical, and I immediately new that I made the right decision on moving here. I have been looking at other properties in the area, in case this house doesn't work out, but after tonight and seeing the moon, I just couldn't imagine us anywhere else!



Emma's been having fun with Spore as well

September 13, 2008 by Adam in Adam's Games

Emma's been having fun with Spore as well. Here's a little video of what her creature looks like:


Sam's really been getting into Spore as well, using up his chore checks to play more. Right now he's in the space phase, exploring the galaxy and vaporizing alien species.



As most of you know, I have been working with...

September 13, 2008 by Lohring in Lohring

As most of you know, I have been working with Mike Bontoft on a boat to set the world water speed record for electric boats. The current world record is 58 mph, but boats have gone 70 mph. On our last test before the October 11 record trials in Lincoln City, Oregon, we became the first electric boat to unofficially exceed 100 mph as measured by two GPS units.



Mocha Friday is back

September 12, 2008 by Adam in Family

Mocha Friday is back. I've started in on another of those delicious elixirs, though I may try to get a sugar free one next time, as this seems a little sweet to me.

This last week at work I've been hunkering down and finishing a high visibility project. The longer it went on, the crazier it got, so I decided to finish it fast, work with my main customer, and ignore everyone else. So far, so good.

It's also been the first full week of school for the kids. Emma seems to be enjoying things, and she shares her latest alphabet signs and songs at dinner. Sam's having a good time with his friends at recess, and enjoying the books they're reading in school. Time seems more scheduled for him, with his chore, homework, packing lunch, and occasional fencing class. Of course, he continues to find time to play Spore, which is his new favorite game.

Jamie hasn't exactly been relaxing while the kids are at school. Mostly she's going shopping or heading in to work. So much for watching old movies and eating bon bons.

I feel a little weird having two trips next month, one to Bellingham for work and another to Edmonton the week after. I find myself being extra nice to everyone, and strangely excited and nervous about my trip to Canada.



This week has been long, and crazy and I can'...

September 12, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

This week has been long, and crazy and I can't wait for the weekend. Tuesday night was our Back to School Night, so I was in Santa Fe from 8:30am-8:00pm. After school, I went to see my Great Uncle Francis, I realized that he only lived a few blocks away from the school. However, he was not there, so I went to the plaza, where there is an antiquarian bookstore I wanted to visit. When I started off insearch of it, dark clouds rolled in, and it started to rain. When I reached my destination, it had already closed, and I headed back towards the plaza in a down pour without a rain coat, but I didn't mind in the least. It was a nice warm rain, and by the time I made it to the plaza I was drenched. I went under the portal of the Palace of the Governors, where the Pueblo Indians sold there jewelry. I looked around, got spoked by a loud clap of thunder, and went to have an early dinner. I ate spicy enchiladas, and a beer called Roswell Alien Ale, it was a great label with an alien and a spaceship on it. I felt relaxed as I went back to school, and had our meeting with the parents. They are a great group of relaxed parents and it should be a great year.

We stayed longer than I anticipated, and called Arlene that I wouldn't be back until 9:00pm. Luckily, I know the road well enough, so I could go a decent speed around the curving roads. I spotted a huge beautiful Elk with an enormous set of antlers on the side of the road. It spooked me a bit, realizing that these magnificent animals could wander on to the road. By the time I made it home, I was so tired, that I put Isabell to sleep and I crashed right of way.

Since I arrived late, two consequences occurred. One Isabell was not able to do her reading log, and then she lost her homework. I felt terrible that this had happened, and I wrote to her teacher. Then next day, she found the homework, and the teacher told me she could hand it in on Monday. I felt so grateful and relieved that Isabell has such a nice and understanding teacher.

I'm between two worlds living in New Mexico. More than half of me is German, and the other half is hispanic. When I'm around my community in Vadito/Penasco, or my family I feel my hispanic heritage, and I love being around them. They are so relaxed, and easy to laugh around. They are all very friendly, and as you drive slowly down my road, they all wave to you, and you feel very much part of this village. At our Back to School night, the cleaners were busy getting the classrooms ready, and they all are hispanic. They were very happy group, and joked around quite a bit. One lady that I met, greeted me warmly, and jokingly asked If I were there to help her clean the tables. I love there is easy ways, and I feel totally comfortable with them.

I need to explain something about there culture. It is a mistake to call the people hispanic. There is a proud group that could call themselves hispanic, and are a liniage from Spain, and have "true blood." But, most people have Indian blood too, so they are not true hispanics. Over time, the spanish people called themselves Hermanos (brothers) and this is where family places a big role in the Spanish culture. Family is number uno in this community, and it doesn't have to mean immediate family. They are all brothers, sisters, and cousins, and the term hermanos was shortened to manitos (little brothers.) A term that I like very much, as it applies to most communities in the mountains and valleys of Northern New Mexico.

In my other world, I have been mostly raised in an upper class anglo society. In every community that I have lived, I have never really lived in a diverse neighborhood. Living in the areas that I have, one doesn't see many hispanic, African American, Asian, or Indian families, so I never really knew these cultures very well. I wasn't really introduced to these cultures until Seraph, Isabell and I moved to North Portland. Here, in this area of Portland, it really is a melting pot of culture, and it took me a long time to feel comfortable in such an environment. In the long run, it was great for Isabell, who grew up here, went to day care, and elementary school with such a diverse population. It won't effect her, and she can live anywhere, and feels like she fits into any community. As for me, I have only taught at well to do schools, where the community is segregated from the rest. In Eugene, I worked at EEI, in South Eugene, in Portland I worked at Hillside, an influent neighborhood, and here in Santa Fe, I'm working at an expensive school. If there are children of diverse backgrounds, they are usually adopted. When I moved to New Mexico, I really wanted to change this pattern, and work with the families of the area I'm living in, but to really afford to live in Vadito, you have to have a well paying job, and they are hard to find around here. To find good paying jobs you have to travel to Santa Fe or Taos, and these schools are usually private, and don't have the cultural backgrounds. It is sad, because I would like to immerse myself in this community, and I will try to do this, by volunteering in the community. On Saturday morning, Isabell and I are going to help with her friends from school to do a trash pickup of the area. This should be fun to hang out and talk to the kids, and adults that will be participating. Ironically, we are doing this clean up for the Enchanted Circle Art Gallery show for all of the communities between Taos and Santa Fe. (Each town will participate in this clean up.) It's usually for the well to do anglo tourists who come through these areas that stop at these galleries. Here again, I'm between two worlds as I want to get to know my community and be apart of the family, however, I also want to mingle with the anglo society as they tour the galleries and spend lots money on art. (By the way, that's not going to happen.)

I love it here, and I thank God everyday for this grand opportunity to live in an area, where anglos, spanish, and Indians live, and I want to immerse myself in all of these cultures, and I want Isabell and I to enjoy these cultures and learn from them, too. When Seraph comes, she will also enjoy this, too, and we as a family will love every aspect of New Mexico.



Yeah Adam! Have fun in Canada

September 11, 2008 by Seraph in Cortez

Yeah Adam! Have fun in Canada. This might be one moment you wish you had taken up that Canadian citizenship (if only to avoid the passport issues).



I got the oddest offer yesterday

September 11, 2008 by Adam in Adam

I got the oddest offer yesterday. I was offered a trip to Canada to spend a couple days looking over a new game (shrouded in secrecy and all that). It would be two days of travel and two days of indulging my gaming hobby. The big hassle right now is seeing if I can get a passport in time. Last night Sam and I went down to get our pictures taken. Today I'm going to see if I can get the process going and expedite it. The trip is a month from now, and I think it takes a couple weeks for the passport to arrive.

I have this weird excited and nervous feeling about the whole thing. I woke up at one o'clock this morning just thinking about it and it took forever to get back to sleep.



EUGENE CELEBRATION THIS SATURDAY! HI There

September 10, 2008 by Yayoe in Yayoe

EUGENE CELEBRATION THIS SATURDAY! HI There...I'll be marching with the Iron Mango Orchestra (ukuleles) at the parade..playing Hawaiian songs..Look for our float....we're #67 in the line up....No throwing of tomatoes etc for being out of tune..

I'll be wearing my big wide Panama hat and wearing thermo underwear under my Aloha shirt..Aloha.....



Graduate school

September 09, 2008 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Graduate school. We've been reading about welfare policies' affect on de-commodification of labor, and all I can think about is how wonderfully exempt I am from the market as I sip my tea and read hundreds and hundreds of pages of social policy. The program is also woefully disconnected from the community, so I don't even have to enact change! The mission of the program, "Education Forwarding Social Justice," means forwarding social justice... once you've read more Locke. The best thing about my classes is the wealth of experience from my fellow classmates, who have been policy analysts, researchers, and program directors. They make going to class interesting.

We are in the middle of September storm season, the only time that Waltham looks like Eugene. The perfect day to settle in with a good book and think about the fact that I've now read more social policy that Governor Palin has in her political career.



Hi, all, I'm sitting here in a lovely motel r...

September 09, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

Hi, all, I'm sitting here in a lovely motel room at the Mill Casino, where the Veterans Affairs Grantwriting workshop which Bob is attending here in Coos Bay has reserved a block of rooms. They have free Wi-Fi, which is a real treat! Bob and I drove over this afternoon, and it's hard to imagine that it was only two weeks ago that we were leaving Athens.
We did have a wonderful time in Greece. Athens is an interesting city because, while it is a sprawling city, all of the "historical" sights are in a fairly small area known
as Plaka. And the Parthenon (which is the famous building
in the ancient complex of religious buildings known as the
Acropolis) is on a steep hill in the middle of the Plaka area, so it's easy to get to.
Later, olmom



Saturday, a strange "loco" north wind swooped...

September 09, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

Saturday, a strange "loco" north wind swooped into town, leaving me on edge. Isabell and I went to Taos to go to my Uncle John's company picnic. We left early to take my car in, to get a tune up and took the public transportation into downtown Taos. We walked up to Michael's Cafe, and the wind blew through my soul, leaving me homesick for Seraph. Isabell was feeling it too, and we ate a huge cinnamon role in silence. I really wanted to talk to Seraph, but I couldn't get a hold of her, and I was feeling depressed. We left Michael's and went to a bookstore, to see if that would lift my spirits. Surpisingly, it didn't. I didn't find anything of value, but Isabell did, and then we went to the library where I picked up a few books for school. The Auto shop closed at one o'clock, and we rushed from the library to the park, hoping that my Aunt Teresa would drive me over to the shop. It was 12:35 when we arrived, but Uncle John told me that Teresa dropped him off, and that Teresa went back to Questa and would be here soon. I frantically, called the shop, and I then paid over the phone, and they left the car for me outside. My soul recovered a bit, as Teresa showed up, and we watched Isabell participate in the potato bag, three-legged, and obstacle race. They tried a water balloon toss, but the kids had more fun throwing them at each other. After that, they had two pinatas, and Isabell came out like a bandit. My cousin Cory, his girlfriend Joni, and there five month old baby came by to visit. I haven't spend much time with my cousins, and I don't feel in touch with them. They live a different life style than I do, and I have a hard time talking to them. They live a simple life, and I really don't have anything in common with them.

My cousin Cory, was talking about getting wood for the winter and how he would go up to the mountains and cut some down. Since that conversation, I've seen trucks loaded up with wood everywhere. Pinon, is a very fragrant tree, and is one of the type of woods that people burn during the winter season, and leaves a ever lasting impression. Fall is right around the corner, and I can't wait for the cooler days, and smell the aroma of burning pinon.

Later on, Teresa took me to pick up my car and we headed home. We watched a movie called The Education of Little Tree. About a boy who lives with his Grandfather and Grandmother in the Smokey Mountains during the Great Depression. Good movie, sad ending, and I felt terrible again, knowing I wanted Seraph there with me. So far, I've been doing really well, with my love and adrenaline for New Mexico and it has carried me through. Here and there I've missed Seraph, but that day, it really hit me like a brick, and I really wanted her right then.

Sunday, I woke and my soul felt much better as we went to church. Every other Sunday, they alternate churches between Penasco, and a small town called Chamisal. It's not far from here, and it's a very cute little adobe church. They are selling it, and it peaked my curiousity. Seraph and I had talked about finding a cute church and converting it into a house. In the end it was only a fantasy, and it would take a lot to convert it. On the way home, we went throught the Picuris (Pick-a-rees) pueblo, in seach of baby buffalo, but we didn't see them . It was a beautiful drive though, and we'll have to explore it again. Later on in the afternoon, we watched Babe at the the theatre, and came home and I worked on projects for work.

Today, we implemented our new schedule, and it went pretty good. We have some ironing out to do, but I believe it will work. My group of kids is very good, and they are read to do the calendar. When I left work, huge billowing clouds hung overhead, and thunder rumbled through out the city. I'm still so fascinated by these beautiful display of clouds, as they look like towering cities in the sky.

My watched stopped at worked, and I didn't have my cell phone, so I rushed home thinking I was going to be late picking up Isabell. But I had no worries, as I was on time. She had trapezee lessons at the theatre after school. I love this small community, because they do so much for the kids. It was free, so there were a lot of families. It seemed that the "white people" crawled out of the woods and joined the class. There aren't many white families in the area, since it is mostly hispanic and Native American. But some of these white families appeared, and I just stood there amazed. Next time, I'll come out of my stupor and ask where they live!

We rushed home, grabbed my homework binder, and hurried off to Taos from my class. We had a quick bite to eat, and made it to my class, only to find out that they canceled it for the term. There were not enough students. I was P.Oed for two reasons. One, I need to take the class for work, but I have six months to take the class again. Secondly, they could have called me to tell me this, but NO, I had to waste gas and drive all the way there. However, I went to Wal*Mart, bought some poster board for work, got a new battery for my watch, and an answering machine. If you ever have the need to call me, my number is: 575-587-1910. You can call me in the evenings.

There was a bonus though, we drove home to a beautiful sunset. The sunsets here appear like the ones in the Old Western movies, where the cowboy rides into the sunset. I would love to do this, but I think it would hurt! I perfer to watch them while driving and from my front porch.

I had an email from a parent from Hillside, exclaiming that my old kids missed me, and one little girl was told by her mom that I was on an airplane. Now the the little girl thinks I live in the sky! Almost the truth, my head usually is stuck in cloud 9! Yours would be too, if you lived in such a beautiful state.

More next time.



The bachelor weekend with Sam has come and gone

September 08, 2008 by Adam in Family

The bachelor weekend with Sam has come and gone. We had a pretty fun weekend, filled with boy things. On Saturday we tried to go canoeing, but sadly they were closed. We watched a movie, did some filming of our own, and did a few chores.

Sunday morning we went for a run, made a fun little movie where things went backwards, went swimming at noon, and played Spore until the girls came home.

Emma had a great time seeing the baby elephant at the zoo. It's nice to have everyone home again.



I picked up Spore yesterday, after Sam practi...

September 08, 2008 by Adam in Adam's Games

I picked up Spore yesterday, after Sam practically begged me to get it. It's a great game, with Sam rating it very high on his favorite game scale. Even Emma's gotten into it, explaining about the cell and creature levels. She occasionally had a hard time with the cell level, with the giant creatures being too weird and scary for her. Needless to say, she's an herbivore.

I got a chance to play last night and this morning. It's pretty fun, and I've taken my Adamoids from cell to Tribal level. I started out as a carnivore, but tiptoed into eating plants too with a weird sucking attachment. After I left the sea, I started out eating my nearby nest mates, but decided it was usually easier to impress them.

Odd events happen along the way. I discovered a strange monolith, survived a meteor shower, and watched an alien ship abduct some nearby creatures. Good times.



Sam had the strangest dream today

September 07, 2008 by Adam in Sam

Sam had the strangest dream today.



The first chaotic work week has ended! We hav...

September 06, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

The first chaotic work week has ended! We have 21 kids, but usually we have around 19 as most kids don't come the full five days. I have to say that my group of kids that I have by myself, are great. They listen, they pay attention at circle time, and do a great job. Stephanie on the other hand, who chose the children for the classrooms, has her hands full. She has a few wanderers, and criers, and she worries if I can handle my kids. I keep on reasuring her that I'm perfectly able to handle them. One of the big problems that I have noticed, was that the children arrive between 8-9:15, and we have an art project set up, and the kids are free to choose an activity. I don't like this, because when we do an art project the kids have no idea why they are doing this. I'm use to having a circle time at the beginning of the day, and explaining our theme of the week, and what the art project is going to be. Finally on Friday, I told Stephanie that we need to have more structure, and have a circle time at the beginning of the day. She readily agreed, and so I wrote out our new schedule, and hope we can implement this on Monday.

On Friday, it was a pretty good day, as two parents of criers stayed the whole day. The father suggested that the classrooms were too big, and that is why his son his having a hard time adjusting. Between you and me, this kid doesn't have chance. Even when his parents are ten feet away, he goes panic and starts screaming. Anyway, another change, is that we are going to split our groups for longer times. Since I have a smaller classroom, I'll be myself for two hours with 9 kids and Stephanie will have 13 kids with a TA. I like this better, because it will give me time with my kids and I get to know them better. I guess this is why they pay me the big bucks!

After work last night, I picked up Isabell, had pizza at the Bistro, and then watched Transformers. It was actually a packed house, with several kid running around. It's great, because it is family oriented, and they have mats for the kids to lay and play on. I had a little boy, who was a first grader, and he kept on asking me questions and declaring he was "the smartest person in the world!"

We drove home under a heavenly sky of stars. Isabell claimed that she hadn't seen so many stars in her life. I tried in vain last week to show her the stars, but she didn't want to go out and see them. Now, she was amazed!

Today, we are going to Taos, to go to my uncle Johns company picnic. It should be fun to hang out with them, and maybe wander around town.

We've had beautiful clear days here, and it actually got so cold yesterday morning that there was frost on the car windows. It almost feels like an Indian Summer. I can't wait to see the aspens, and cottonwoods in full autumn colors. With the contrast of pine and golden aspens, it should be a spectacular fall!



It's another non-mocha Friday

September 05, 2008 by Adam in Family

It's another non-mocha Friday. For some reason, I keep driving past the Starbucks on my way to work and settling for tea. This weekend I'll make up for it by making my own mochas at home.

I try to get some picture for the Friday posting, so I grabbed the camera and the kids and I did self-portraits in the mirror. The auto-focus failed horribly, and I couldn't really switch to manual with the kids running around. So much for being artsy.

Jamie and Emma are going to Portland this afternoon. I delayed leaving for work so I could say my goodbyes. I'm not quite sure what Sam and I are doing this weekend, but hopefully we can do some hiking and canoeing before Fall appears in force.

Emma had her first day of school yesterday. I think she generally liked it, though she got into a bit of a "boys versus girls" scuffle on the playground. With her starting Karate soon, hopefully future events won't result in her giving anyone a bloody nose.

Sam informed me he was sort of excited to go back to school, though mostly for recess. Then he added that he's excited to finish the salt-dough Oregon maps they're making. Today they get to paint them.



Ah, the things I do for my Steampunk office

September 05, 2008 by Adam in Adam's Projects

Ah, the things I do for my Steampunk office. Yesterday I decided to pretty up my old flatbed scanner. I have a bunch of vinyl laying around from the keyboard mod and decided to give the scanner a faux-leather top. I broke out the scissors and a hot glue gun, and went to work.

Well, it turns out the hot glue gun's first word is "hot" for a reason. I ended up giving myself a bad burn when I squeezed out some hot glue on my finger. Soon I was a demonstration for the kids on why you should be careful. Jamie informed me that the really stupid thing was that I'd already given myself several small burns, but kept going anyway.

In any case, it turned out fairly well. I like the fake rivets made from brass-plated paper holders. They're stuck on with glue, so it's purely decorative, but so is most of the stuff around here. I'll eventually do something to the bottom, though I think I'll avoid anything to do with a hot glue gun.



This week is the first week that the children...

September 04, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

This week is the first week that the children return to school. On Tuesday we had a big potluck with the parents and the kids. While it was fun to meet the families, it was chaotic to see where all the children were. There are two playgrounds at the school; upper and lower. Obviously, the kids wanted to be in both places, so teachers had to be stationed at both playgrounds. For the most part the kids seem really nice, though there are a few wanderers who roam around the classroom. We have a few kids that are on the shy side of three, a few kids who just turned three, and a few who turn four in the next month or two. We have nap time after lunch, and it's like herding cats. We have to keep walking around and laying children down; when one goes down, then next child gets up and heads for the toys. For the kids who don't sleep they go in the other room, though they really need the sleep.

Today, the children trickled in, and we had cardboard boxes out that the children painted for our parade on Friday. I had a successful circle time, however my teaching partner Stephanie had a few wanderers and had to be herded back to the circle. We also had a few..."I want my mommy!" types. They are always the boys too...damn mama's boys!

Over all, the children did relatively well, except for a few cryers, wanderers, and nonlistners. The nice thing, is that I have the drive home. For the first time since I've moved here, the weather was absolutely beautiful this afternoon. Usually when I go home, the clouds have drifted in, and we have a few thunderstorms. I've said it before, I love the drive back and forth. There's something here in New Mexico that just agrees with me. I have returned to my spiritual home, and my soul is free to live. I loved the Pacific Northwest, but my soul always felt contained, and I never felt content with life. Here, I rediscovered my smile, it's back where it belongs, and I can't be happier. I smiled, and shouted out as I drove with the windows down, and enjoyed every minute of the scenic drive. Luckily with wide open spaces, my voice doesn't carry far. Friends and relatives, you need to come out here and experience what I feel here. You'll love it!



Sam starts his first day of school today

September 03, 2008 by Adam in Sam

Sam starts his first day of school today. He didn't want to go to the ice cream social last night (and instead played Resident Evil), so he won't know who his teacher is until he shows up this morning.

There are a few changes this time around. For starters, he's bringing his own lunch. Jamie has a chart of acceptable food and the two of us were packing our respective lunches last night. The other switch is that he's going to be taken to school by Sophia's mom and Sam, Sophia, and Emma will be picked up by Jamie in the afternoon. Hopefully that's fun for everyone and saves a little gas. Sam and Sophia seem to share a common love of Nerf guns, video games, and weird YouTube videos.



We had a good day yesterday, the kids gatheri...

September 02, 2008 by Adam in Family

We had a good day yesterday, the kids gathering up all their rocket gear and heading to Amazon park with my dad. Emma was really into it at first, but then the loud noise of ignition made her scared. We ended up in the car, watching Sam and my dad launch until they couldn't launch any more.

Next was lunch across the street, and a quick stop at Evolution Gaming to check out all the nifty old school games. We returned home, empty-handed but generally happy.

Jamie was off for awhile with Angie, while I played with the kids. Later Emma, Jamie, and I made tamales. For dinner Sam's friend Sophia and my mom came over. The kids weren't that into the tamales, but I loved them and will probably be eating them for lunch all week.

Sadly I'm back to work now, with way too much to do.



Living in a small rural area has been a very ...

September 02, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

Living in a small rural area has been a very interesting experience. Arlene, is a single woman who lives by herself, and values her privacy. She has her eccentricities, that can not be explained. When I first called her to see if I could rent from her, she explained to me that she didn't want me to tell many people where I was staying. I do understand this, because when you live in a small community, word gets around fast. Also, everyone is related to everyone else. You might have a scuffle between cousins, but when someone says anything bad about that cousin, you defend them to your death. Yesterday, we came home from watching Wizard of Oz, and a hispanic man came running down the lane, asking if Arlene was OK, I had no idea what he was talking about, because I could see Arlene talking on the phone and waving to me. Arlene came out to the gate, and had a heated conversation with this man. Obviously, something had happened to her ram, and she is one that cares very much for her animals. The man insisted if the ram was sick you should shoot it. Arlene vemenetly told him to knock that type of talk off, and told him thank you for checking on her, but to leave.
Later she came over and told me when someone comes over that I don't know to close the gate right of way and walk away. She told that her neighbors are all nice, but this man abuses alcohol and drugs, and has two faces. Nice most of the time, but damn mean when high.

Another reason why she doesn't want people to come into her property, is that she is working on the house we are staying in, and doesn't have licenses to work on the house. She's afraid that people will notify someone, and then she will be out the money. She's a great woman, but it's hard trying to tell people where I'm staying. However, most people know Arlene, and know that I'm staying here. It doesn't take much for people to know who lives where.

Another small community matter, is with our sellers Eric and Shaun. They don't want anyone knowing that they are selling their house and property. So I have to be extra careful when I say we are looking at property around Vadito. They haven't said anything to his brother and sister-in-law about selling the property. They were at the art show, and luckily I mentioned that we were looking for property and didn't mention Eric and Shaun's house. I was taken back, when they said that if Eric and Shaun's place went up for sale, they'd like to buy it. It seemed strange that they didn't mention this to family. I do understand that they probably don't want to get overly excited by the prospect that they we might buy it, and then be greatly disappointed if it falls through.

Ssshhh...don't tell anyone, but we are ghosts living in a heavenly place.

The other day, I saw a house for sale on craigslist about eight miles north of Espanola. It sounded like a beautiful homee, and I became intrigued with it. I emailed the guy who owned it, and setup an appointment to see it today. We left at 9:35 thinking I'd make it on time to see it at 10:00. Isabell was in the back listening to Johnny Cash. (We saw the movie Walk the Line the other night, and now she is hooked on him, and the song Jackson.) I keep on forgetting about the manana miles, and it was already ten when I turned South from Dixon. I still had 15 miles to get there. I tried using my cell phone, but there was no service. Finally, I was able to call, and told the owner that I was running late, but he said it was no problem. We drove through San Juan Pueblo, (a very cute town), crossed the Rio Grande River, turned right after the bridge, and drove up to a beautiful house. The main house is over 100 years old, and contained two rooms. The house is L-shaped, with one room added to the short L side, and then they added a livingroom, another bedroom and bathroom to the long L. A portal (Front covered porch ran along the front of the house. It had beautiful scenery looking over a long green field, and a spectacular view of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. It was definitely a handsome house, and was torn between this and the Vadito house. Both have their own charm. We left for Espanola, and I talked to Seraph about the house. I can always tell from her voice when she is not excited about something. When I told her that I looked at another house, I could tell by her flat unenthusiastic voice that she wasn't impressed. Number one, it is to far from Isabell's school. We love her school, and don't want to take her away from it. Secondly, we love the community of Vadito. Everyone is so nice, and they try so hard to keep it a safe community where neighbors keep an eye on each other.

After this, we went to the Super Wal*Mart, and went grocery shopping. I hate going into a place that I'm not familiar with. I had a small grocery shopping list, but it took me an hour an half to find all of the groceries. Never again will I go there again. On the way home, I realized that Vadito was our home. I love driving up into the mountains and seeing miles and miles of forested valleys, mountains, and little oasis of meadows, where giant cottonwoods wade by small creeks. I love how the sky reaches down and touches the mountains.

When we got back, we went on our frisbee golf adventure and what an adventure we went on. The course is on Sipapu ski area, and it didn't dawn on me what the course would be like. I bought two disks, one for "driving", and the other for "putting", got a map and headed for our first frisbee golf experience. I'm usually pretty good at picking up new sports, and thought this shouldn't be too hard. How hard is it to throw a frisbee? Just like golf, they have Pro, Advanced, and Recreational tee off boxes. Most of the holes are parr three. (You have to make it in the basket in threes shots.) The first hole goes straight up the mountain. Just like when I tee off in golf, I have a natural slice and it doesn't go very far. Eventually after six throws we made it to the basket, where we "putt" the frisbee in. Though I was disappointed I didn't fair well, we had lots of fun. The second hole, was down hill and down to the right. At first, we couldn't find the hole, I didn't think it would be that far away. I consulted the map, but it didn't make any sense and decided to ask the woman at the shop where the basket was, and she said it should be there. We went out, and realized it was further than I thought. After another six shots, I finally realized this was harder than I thought, and we seeked out the recreational tee box. The third hole was across the stream, and far away. We cheated a bit, got closer, and tossed it over the stream. This is only a brief discription of what occurred, I won't go over every hole detail, but it was more mountain climbing then throwing a frisbee. On one hole, my natural slice ended down the side of a hill, where I slipped and slid down a slick muddy hill, almost lost the frisbee, and managed to make it to the hole in eight shots. We climbed up the mountain, down the mountain, and across the mountain. two and half hours later, and twenty holes, we finally made it down the mountain! It was a lot of fun, but what a work out. Besides the hiking and searching for frisbees, the scenery is spectacular up here; huge stands of pine trees, intermixed with tall gracefull Quaking Aspens, and a new favorite of mine the Blue Spruce. I've never seen huge stands of them before, and I was in awe at the blue hue of them. My mom loves these trees, and has one planted in her yard, but they are breathtakingly beautiful to see them in the wild. This was the first time in a long time, that I had such fun with Isabell, and not worrying about anything.

We came home, made dinner, and ate outside, watching the clouds race by. I had a glass of red wine, and watched as the birds fluttered from fence post to tree. I bought a hummingbird feeder today, in hopes of attracting them to the house. I was astounded to see so many hummingbirds i



We're back from the beach, a little tired, bu...

September 01, 2008 by Adam in Family

We're back from the beach, a little tired, but glad to be home.

Our grand adventure started Friday afternoon with everyone in high spirits. I had a laptop for each kid, so they were completely silent the entire trip. It was weird. Once we arrived, I helped unpack and we made a quick trip to the beach while Jamie made dinner. Since it was so late in the day, we wrapped the evening up after watching the first half of My Fair Lady.

Saturday started with a hearty breakfast and a trip to the beach. We built this huge castle, complete with a moat and a river that went all the way down to the ocean. Beside the river were a number of buildings, roads, and bridges. Fortunately the tide was coming in so the kids gleefully got to watch it all wash away. After returning home for a snack, I took the kids swimming for a good long while. Jamie took Emma to Newport to buy crab, which we had for dinner. Eventually we finished My Fair Lady and Sam and I decided we had to make Jamie watch the Buffy musical next.

Sunday was almost exactly like Saturday, with more sand castle building and swimming after lunch. Jamie cleaned like a maniac while I watched the kids, getting the house in pristine state before we all returned to our normal lives.



Even when I could read this site at work, I c...

August 31, 2008 by Seraph in Cortez

Even when I could read this site at work, I could never watch any of the You Tube links (another blocked site at work). Just now I was able to watch Adam's Lute Hero video. I nearly laughed my ass off in this little coffee shop. Adam - you have to send me your clothing sizes, so I can start working on the complete Steampunk look! Thanks for the morning chuckle!!



I live in two worlds, two worlds that often c...

August 31, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

I live in two worlds, two worlds that often collide within one another. Living in New Mexico one can experience both of these worlds. Here you have poverty and wealth, living right next to each other. In Vadito, their are neighbors who have to work very hard everyday to make a living, but down the road, there is a brand new beautiful house, going for $425,000, that some well to do family will buy. It is evident in that Vadito, like any other village in the Sangre de Cristo mountains, it is a different world than Santa Fe/Taos. These villages compromise 65% hispanic, 35% Native American, and 5% white. On any given day, you can go into Santa Fe and Taos and see hispanic and Native culture, but there is a more pronounced white influence. An example of this, is when I went to see my relatives in Questa. No, they aren't poor by any means. The live comfortably, but it's definitely not the life style I would prefer. However I do enjoy their relaxed life style and sitting around and talking. After spending the afternoon with them, we were invited to a friends art gallery opening. Five of Taos top art talent were exhibiting their art; so there were many well to do people attending the opening. Isabell and I explored the art, and the people who attended. I found it more interesting watching these people as they were as flamboyant as the art; young hip couples, older influential couples, and nouveau young single people eyeing the art. I casually glanced over the price guide to the art, and stared in disbelief at some of the outrageous prices: $45,000 for an oil portrait of a woman with tatooes. (Not in my life would I hang this picture in my house.) This is an area that I can thrive in too. I love being in this atmosphere, and I can feel the money in the air. If there was only a way I can tap into this wealth, like one tapping for syrup in a maple tree. I drank smooth red wine, snacked on goat cheese, crackers, and strawberries, and mingled with the people. What can I say, I love this type of environment.

I have also lived both life styles, too. I grew up living the wealthy life style, traveling to Germany, Mexico, and South America. Staying in nice hotels, and eating out at five star restaurants. Traveling with my dad, is like living on Fantasy Island, and you never want to go back. I've also lived the life of eating macaroni and cheese in every creative way possible.
Either way, I can be happy. I've had wonderful times with Seraph eating noodles, watching tv, and enjoying each other. I can also be happy living the high life, and schmoozing with the wealthy. I don't need a million dollars to live this life, but a life where one can live modestly, and have friends come over for dinner parties, and enjoy delicious wines, would be very comforting.

This life continued, as Isabell and I left to go home and a beautiful sunet illuminated the darkening sky. Here in New Mexico a sunset can't be described in one word. They are breathtaking, gorgeous, awe inspiring, etc. These sunsets reminded me of nights in Mexico watching the sun vanish behind the Pacific. The difference being that the sun vanished behind waves of mountains. A life worth living.

Once in Vadito, Isabell wanted to watch a movie, and I tried in vain to get Isabell to come out and see the spectacular night show outside. The stars were in full glory tonight, and one could see the Milky Way! The Milky Way! I can't remember the last time I saw the Milky Way. Now I know why I moved out here! The only other way to see the stars like this, is to a planetarium. Here I feel alive watching the stars. Feeling small is not a horrible thing, it makes all the big worries seem so small. When I lived in Ashland, I would drive up to the top of Mt. Ashland in the night, sit there while I viewed the city lights, and realize that my problems were minisculed compared to others. Life would go on, and everything was going to be okay. That's how I feel here; the sky is huge, the mountains are beautiful, and all I can do is smile and enjoy my new found life.



Quick note from Portland! I'm a bit out of t...

August 30, 2008 by Seraph in Cortez

Quick note from Portland! I'm a bit out of touch, as FM has classified this site as a gaming site, and it's now blocked from our network. Sigh... big brother is watching. Anyways, not having a computer at home, I am now at an internet cafe nearby catching up on Robbie's posts. It's starting to get far too quiet here, and I go between lathargic, and high speed house work. During the slow times I've been doing small projects like sorting the CD collection and organizing financial records. Durning peak times I'm pressure washing, sanding, and painting! The house will be officially on the market in a few weeks, and I hope you're all ready for me to be down on weekends! I've told my realtor I can be out whenever she needs me to be.
Love to all!



When I awake in the morning, the sky is a bri...

August 30, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

When I awake in the morning, the sky is a brilliant royal blue, and I enjoy watching the sunrise, as it washes the mountain in bright sunlight. Though, it's a long drive, I love driving in silence, and thanking God for this opportunity to live in such a beautiful place. By the late afternoon, dark clouds have formed over the mountains, and lightning and thunder illuminate the skies. Over certain areas, long dark finger like rain can be seen over the hills, while long beams of sunlight stretch from the clouds down to the hills. From Santa Fe towards Truchas, the hills are light rust red, with stunted junipers, and they are contrasted beautifully by the dark clouds that have formed behind it.

For the most part, I was able to finish my room, while others still had a lot to finish up by Tuesday, the first day of school. I was late picking up Isabell on Friday, so we went to the bistro, and ate really good pizza. Afterwards, we decided to watch Walk the Line, about Johnny Cash. Even Isabell thought it was a good movie. I forgot my cell phone at home, and I was worried that someone would try to call, and I wanted to go home before the movie to get it, but Isabell didn't want to go, so I chanced it, and enjoyed the movie. When we left the movie, a thunderstorm had settled over Penasco, and a gentle rain fell over the land. It was quite a show watching the lightning appear over the mountains. They were not contained in a certain area, but flashed everywhere.

Today, we are planning to go to Questa and see my grandma, and my uncle and aunt, and do some clothes washing. We'll head back to Taos, go to the library and hopefully get our library cards. I need to do some grocery shopping, and then we were invited to Shaun and Eric's (owners of the house we want to buy)for an art opening. Shaun said that Eric's nephews are in town, and Isabell might like playing with them.

I have two days off, and on Sunday we will go to church, and then watch Babe at the theater. On Monday, I hope to go up to Sipapu Ski area, where they have free frisbee golf. I've never played before, and I thought it would be fun for Isabell and I to play. It's suppose to be a championship frisbee golf course, so this might be very special.



My body is here, but my soul is still in the ...

August 29, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

My body is here, but my soul is still in the warm clear water of Crete. When it gets back to Eugene, we'll post. Love, the not-quite-as-ancient-as-the-buildings-we-saw Old
Mom.



It's Friday, but strangely not a Mocha Friday

August 29, 2008 by Adam in Family

It's Friday, but strangely not a Mocha Friday. I'm instead sipping tea and eating almonds and raisins. I decided the ultra-sugary mocha wasn't what I wanted today. We'll see if it's just a fad.

Instead of showing off a picture of the kids as usual, I thought I'd give people a sense of what I put my family through. Jamie gets these big Nancy's Yogurt containers with a place on the side for writing what you're putting in it if you reuse it. Jamie prefers the clear containers, of which we have plenty, so I've been writing silly things on them for my own amusement. Last week it was "Body Parts" and this week it's the "Souls of the Damned." Such fun.

The last week of Summer vacation is coming to a close, something that Jamie has been looking forward to greatly. The kids waiver between playing together nicely and trying to kill each other. Hopefully once they're back in school, they'll lean more towards peaceful coexistence.

The week has been fairly uneventful. I bought a couple rockets and assembled them with the kids. Perhaps on Monday we'll try to fire them off. Unfortunately I've thrown out the igniter, launch pad, and parachute wadding, so I may need to send Jamie out to get some today (I'm guessing the store is closed on Monday). The last time we launched rockets, Emma was scared. Now she seems pretty gung-ho, which seems to go along with her new Kung Fu persona.

We head to the beach this afternoon, one last hurrah before school starts. I'm hoping to spend a lot of time building sand castles and swimming at the pool, hopefully giving Jamie some time to relax.



Since I stayed up until 11:45pm and woke up a...

August 28, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

Since I stayed up until 11:45pm and woke up at 6:15, I was especially tired. I woke up Isabell, got her ready for the bus, and followed her out on my way to Santa Fe. I arrived at 9:00, and proceeded to empty out a room that I am going to use as the class library. Someone had donated hundreds of elementary age books, so there were 10 heavy boxes of books. Reminded me of all of the books that are in storage. The room was quite dusty, and that really effected me. I did manage to find a whole collection of American Girl books, that were not in use, and liberated them for Isabell. Anyway, I managed to get rid of the books, and set up my room, though I didn't have a lot to set up on my shelves. Every summer, they have to empty the rooms, because they share the space with 200 elementary age children and at end of the summer they have to rearrange all of the classes. So the supplies are scattered everywhere, and I had to search for these supplies.

By the end of the day, my head started to pound from lack of sleep and all of the dust I stirred up. I left work and the sides of the my head felt like it was in vise grip, and it took all of my concentration to get back to Penasco to pick Isabell up at Boys and Girls Club. Only Devine Intervention guided me safely over the mountains and curves. I picked up Isabell, went home, and went to sleep for a hour and a half. Isabell was so so good to me, and felt bad leaving her on her own. She woke me up around 6:30, and I wobbled to the kitchen and stuck a pizza in the oven, and watched Millions on the bed until Isabell's bed time. My headache subsided gradually, and went to bed at 10:30.

The next day, I woke up at 6:30, washed dishes, and tried waking Isabell up at 6:55, but she was dead to the world. I finished cleaning the kitchen, waved the bus driver on, and had breakfast. Finally at 7:35, I woke Isabell up, and made her rush around the house to get dressed, and have a bite to eat. She was a little late for school, so I went in with her, and got an excused tardy slip and walked her to class. I was about ten minutes late for work, but no one noticed, and I started filling my shelves with art supplies, and chatting with my co-workers. It's a great group of women, as usual I'm the only male, which I don't mind. One, I'm use to this, and second, I don't mind!

I met Dee, the owner of the school, who also runs the after school program. A nice lady from Texas, who has her own rules for the after school children. There are several of our children who are in the after school program, so we had to go over the rules. It's funny, because Stephanie my supervisor has different ideas then I am use to. She lets the children play with sticks, and use them as weapons. I totally don't agree with this, but it's one of those new fangled ideas that children need to learn how to play with them appropriately. Which is a good idea, but all I can hear in my mind is, "You'll shoot your eye out, kid!" They also let the children wrestle, supervised. The rules are, that they have to stop when they say stop and not to rough. It's whole new philosophy. Dee, is a very conservative person, and I tend to agree with her on these type of rules. But since we are our own separate school from hers, we can decide what is best for our children.

After our meeting, I decorated one corner of my wall with a large tree, owl and squirrel. I left work around 3:30, and it began to rain. By the time I arrived in Penasco, the sun was out, with the only evidence that it rained earlier here were small puddles of water.

The one exciting thing that happened tonight was that Arlene's cat came in our house. She's big, fluffy, and calico colored, and she came running into our house. I forgot about her, and right after Isabell fell a sleep the fireworks began. Skippy spotted Arlene's cat, hissed and pounced on her. A huge raucaus from both cats occured, and I tried to head them off by going around to the other side, and trying to catch the cat. When I approched it, it hissed at me, and right then Skippy bolted for her, and it came racing out through the living room. (Since this is a one room house, Isabell sleeps in the living room on a bed.) Both were hissing and growling, and they both could of woken up the dead. I was afraid Isabell would wake up, but I was shocked when I looked over and saw that she was tight asleep. I have no idea how she slept through the whole thing. Again I tried to help the cat get out of the house, however she was traumatized, and started hissing and pawing at me. I tried throwing a rug on her and grabbing her, but she didn't like this and raced by onto the breakfast nook and onto the window sill. I tried throwing the rug on her once again, but everytime I did this, she jumped up in the air and ran to the otherside. I was getting anxious and scared that this cat would turn psycho on me and turn Cujo on me (Stephen King book). I grabbed the cat carrier and tried coaxing the cat into it with out success. If Arlene looked out her window, she would have seen me in my underwear chasing a cat with a wooden spoon trying to get her into the cage. Eventually, I opened both doors to the outside, and the damn cat finally took the hint and bolted outside. Good ridance! Finally I get some sleep!



O



Robbie; I need to point out the obvious obser...

August 27, 2008 by Jamie in Cortez

Robbie; I need to point out the obvious observation that geeze, dude, you apparently NEEDED to move to New Mexico. I am almost convinced that I need to move there myself!!!! Save a guest room for me, I feel a soul searching coming on ;-)



If you want to know more about my life in New...

August 26, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

If you want to know more about my life in New Mexico, I recommend that you either read or watch the movie The Milagaro Beanfield War. An Introduction to the hispanic life, and its beauty. Another book I recommend is called, The River of Traps, by William DeBuys, that describes the area around here. The story takes place only about 20 miles away. He also has a book called Enchantment and Exploitation: The Life and Hard Times of a New Mexico Mountain Range. A great book that tells the history and environment of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. You can find all of these and more at your local libary.

Living in the mountains, has many advantages, but there are few disadvantages that have developed. Number uno is that cell phone reception is a nuisance. Since the adobe walls are three feet thick, there is NO reception what so ever. The cell phone keeps searching for service, and eventually you loose phone power. Outside, I walk up and down the fields searching for bars. I hold it North, East, South, and West as if I'm praying to the gods, but no luck. One day, I went to the post office on the main road, stopped on the side of the road and finally called Seraph. I thought this was ridiculous that I had to go to the main road and call anyone. Another day, I stepped outside the gates on to the road near our house, pulled out the cell phone, proceeded to my cell phone ritual, and miracles of miracles, I found service. I had to stand in one spot in the middle of the road to receive it. The spot is know known as the sacred milagro spot. To make things weirder, is that I have better reception in the morning than in the evening. I constantly have to walk around a bit, and say, "Can you hear me Now!"

On Tuessday, Isabell proudly went on the bus, and she headed for her second day of school. Seraph packed up her bags and we went to Taos, and explored the plaza. (Most of these towns such as Taos and Santa Fe, have these square plazas, that use to be the original forts. Santa Fe's plaza contains the Palace of Governors, which is four hundred years old.) We explored all of the little shops and entered narrow little pathways that led to other boutiques. We ate at nice little restaurant, outside and listened to the touristas as they rambled by. This is a little self-centered, but my senior year in high school, we lived in Sunriver. My friends and I use to sit around and spot all of the tourists. It felt great knowing they were visiting and we actually lived there. The same feeling came back as we sat there eating, knowing I'm not the tourist anymore. I live in this great state, that everyone is visiting. Sorry, hate to brag! Anyways, after a delicious lunch, we strolled around, and said our last goodbyes, as Seraph headed back to Denver to fly out. It was terrible to see her go as she will be in Portland for four more months. I know she'll be back in September or October, but she won't be there when I need a pep talk, or to share sunsets, or to enjoy Isabell as we go hiking or go to the markets.

Arlene's parents are here visiting for the week, and they are quite a kick. Boni and Carmen, her parents are in there mid 80's and are still very active. He had a stroke not to long ago, but he still helps Arlene around the house. They are so warm and generous. Seraph and I met them on Monday morning. I had forgotten that they were here, and I wanted Seraph to meet Arlene, we went over and this small hispanic man welcomed us in to her house. It finally connected that he was Arlene's father. It was kind of weird walking in and talking to them, but they were so friendly that we didn't dare refuse. Carmen came out and offered us coffee, and raisin bread. Seraph and I looked at each other, and smiled. We accepted graciously and talked to them for a while. Arlene finally had a break and slept in. Over the week, I helped Boni weed the garden. I'm use to my little electric weeder, that buzzes merrily around the yard. Arlene had the big manly man gas powered weeder. A Tim Allen special power tool. MORE POWER!! She bought a new one, and I felt like a city kid with this big powerful tool. She showed me how to use it, and I was ready, decked with goggles, and pads to protect my city jeans, and shoes. I took it out reved the engine, and suddenly it died on me. I tried pulling the chord several times and it didn't turn over. I thought I ruined it, but Arlene came out and tried it herself, and she couldn't do it either. I felt better. She took out the manuel, and she thought is was the carborator. I shook my head not knowing what she was talking about and agreed. While she called the shop where she bought it, I flipped through the manuel and saw an illustration of the carborator. I took out a screw driver, and turned the screws like it said in the manuel. Tried it again and it started but died. It also said to check the spark plug, so I took it, cleaned it, replaced it, and it started right up! I was so proud of myself, I felt like a manly man!

Arlene's garden is not a regular size garden, it's thirty feet, by 10 feet. Boni started on one side and I on the other. I started and I thought I did a lot, until we sat down for a delicious lunch of tortilla, beans, and chile. I looked at where I weeded, and saw a ten foot clearing. I sighed in disgust. Everyone took a break, so Isabell and I went bike riding, and rested. I thought I was done for the day, but there was Boni weeding again. This man has more energy then the energizer bunny. I couldn't let him make me look bad, so I had to go out there and weed some more. Two days later, I finally finished the garden.

The beautiful thing about this area, is that you wake up to beautiful blue skies, and by the afternoon, dark clouds come in and you'll have awe inspiring thunderstorms. From under the porch, we sit and watch them slowly cross the sky. Absolutely beautiful! Here the clouds aren't flat gray like in Oregon. Here the clouds billow out in different shades of whites and grays. Huge clouds that looks like fortress surround us, making us feel so small. All of Northern New Mexico has different micro climates. It could cloudy, windy, and rainy in Taos, but in Vadito it's partly cloudy and sunny. WHere in Oregon, you can drive from Portland to Eugene and never seen the sun. I can know understand artists when they say the love the light in New Mexico.

Since we don't have dishwasher, I tend to fill up the sink with soapy water, and place the dishes in there to soak. In the evening I started to clean the dishes in the sink and put them in the dish rack, when I grabbed something wet and soft. I shrieked, dropped the thing, and look down at it again. It was a mouse that obviously had fell into the sink, after the cats chased it around. Half of me was disgusted, and the other felt sorry for it. I used a cup, swoopt it up and threw it outside. Now I see why Arlene was encouraging when she said it was great to bring our cats the mousers. I don't know if I'm aware now, but I swear I hear the little padder of feet scurrying through the night. The cats are always playing at night, so I'm not sure if they are chasing mice, or chasing each other.

On Saturday, Isabell and I drove down to Santa Fe for the annual Indian Market. Hundreds of vendors, were selling jewelry, pottery, statues, and paintings. Thousands of people strolled through the booths, buying or viewing the art. I love watching the different people; you can spot the obvious sunburnt tourist, and you can see the wealthy Santa Fean people with their turquoise jewelry, and urban cowboy wear. I want to be just like them! I love the older women here, as they were broom skirts, blouses, turquoise jewelry and their hair tied in a bow. No need to worry, Seraph knows my obsession with older women. We wondered up and down the booths, with Isabell wanting to buy a bow and arrow. I dragged her around looking at turquoise rings. Finally found one, that wasn't to expensive, bought it,and a



Hi, I posted from Athens, but I now realize t...

August 25, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

Hi, I posted from Athens, but I now realize that it didn't actually get through cyberspace to the site. We're about to take the ferry from Crete back to Athens. Sam and Dez, this is the next trip after England. We saw lots of the things we studied about,all of which are more amazing in real life. The water really is crystal clear aquamarine, too. Love to all, Mom



I'm back at work, after a very quiet weekend

August 25, 2008 by Adam in Family

I'm back at work, after a very quiet weekend. Having Sam out of the house was very odd, and the lack of kid squabbling created a peaceful atmosphere about the house. Emma was sweet in the mornings (though she'd often turn to the dark side in the evenings).

Jamie helped me assemble the bench, after having it sit in the driveway for a month. Her help was invaluable. Saturday night dad came over and we hung out together. Jamie also made this wonderful peach pie that I can't resist.

Sunday Emma and I went shopping, where I picked up some running shorts and decorative hooks for my room (Steampunky ones for the WWII headphones and a candle lamp). Later we tried to go to the pool, but they were having dogs swim in it before they did their annual cleaning. I tried to get Emma to bark like a dog, but they weren't buying it.



I had to go back and edit some of the stories...

August 24, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

I had to go back and edit some of the stories, because I forgot to some stories about the cats.

When you move to a sparsely populated state, you find out that people not relatives of yours, or they are your relatives. When I was checking into the hotel in Chama, I started talking to the woman at the front desk. I was telling her that my last name was Cortez, and I had relatives in Questa/Cerro. She mentioned that she new a woman in Cerro by the last name, and she had blond hair, and freckles. It didn't ring a bell until she said that her name was Ella. It struck a chord, I told her that she was my great aunt of my grandpa's side. Small World!

One on the road, I was so happy to that we didn't try driving in the dark to Taos. The road was curvy going over the backside of the mountains. It was truly beautiful with evergreens, aspens trees, and open meadows, with little streams winding in and out. But my poor car struggled through the curves. Once on the otherside, made good time, and finally crossed the Rio Grande Bridge. It was looked so impressive in movies, but was disappointed when I finally crossed it. It wasn't as long as I thought. The sheer depth of the Gorge was impressive, but that was all.

We finally reached Taos around noon, had a great breakfast and my favorite Restaurant called Michaels. The first lesson for you non southwesterners, is that there is chile and there is CHILE. They usually ask you if you want red or green, they have both styles of chile, and both are great. Green chile is a little milder then the red, and both taste great going down. Later you'll be reminded why you don't eat to much of it. When you choose both, its called Christmas style.

After engulfing two breakfast enchiladas, we went to Walmart, gathered all essentials, and went to Vadito, which is thirty minutes southeast of Taos. My next adventure started when I couldn't find Arlene's place down a narrow dusty paved road. I went by it once, had found myself stuck trying to turn the trailer. Once again, my mom was out yelling for me to turn the wheel the other way. By this time all of the two hundred residence of Vadito knew we were here. Finally I got it back on track and proceeded to miss it again, I tried calling Arlene, but she was not there. I tried again, and missed it, and was stuck again. This time I had a hell of time turning it around, as the neighbors watched and rolled on the ground laughing. By this time my mom telling me she was ready to have a heart attack. Finally I motioned to the neighbors and they let me go through their yard and turn around. After I swallowed my humiliation, I finally found Arlene's house. She told me I needed to back in, and in turn, I hopped out and Arlene backed it in for me. The house is very cute and it was built in the 1830's, where it was once a saloon and dancehall. The most interesting aspect, is that Billy the Kid use to dance here. Isabell and I were very excited about this history. I let her watch Young Guns, before we knew this, and she thought that was very cool. They history around here is quite interesting. A group called the Penitente, religious group from the 16th century, taught and preached to the local people. They didn't have any formal training, since many of church clergy were driven out by the Pueblo Revolt of the 17th century. Without the priests, the Penitentes kept alive the yearly cycle of feasts and festivals with improvised observances of their own, many of which featured flagellation and other physical penances. The Catholic church didn't recognize this group for many years, and it was one of the reasons why New Mexico didn't become state until the 20 century. Now, they are recognized, and have gone away from many of their old traditions. Their churches are called Moradas. They are still around, the Brotherhood (not the Penitente anymore. They are still affluent in their villages, helping people in need.
On the hill behind Vadito there is a cross that has been there since the 17th century. Of course over the years, it has been replaced with a new one.

I went outside and enjoyed the tranquil setting. Arlene's fields extend down to the cottonwood lined Embudo River. There is an old stag tree that has been there for four hundred years. The tree is inhabited by an owl, which I haven't seen yet, but hope I will. She has sheep, llama's and four dogs, that Isabell loves to play with. One of the sheep is named Toots, whom Arlene rescued from a frozen ditch. She brought him home, dethawed him, and raised the sheep in her house. Now he is accustomed to the dogs and thinks he is one of them. We have our own compost...Toots. Mountains, and fields surround me, and I can't help but think this was the right move.

Once unpacked, my mom and I drove to Santa Fe for second interview with the preschool I've been wanting to work for. I was hoping to get an answer for them that day, because I was offered a preschool job in Los Alamos. (The next day, I was offered the job in Santa Fe, and I was thrilled.) The job is an hour away, but the pay is great.

On Friday, I took my mom to the airport in Denver. Here I moved from the rain, only to drive all the way to Denver in pouring rain. I haven't seen rain that much in years., even in Oregon. I thought we had all of the time in the world, but like I said before a mile in Oregon is a Manana mile here. Through the pouring rain, I raced to get my mom on the plane. When we got to the south of Denver, there were toll roads to the airport. I had to stop three times, to pay, but it was much faster then taking the normal rout. The airport in Denver is thirty two miles away, and I didn't think I'm make it, but we did make it at the last minute. We arrived at 8:55, and mom made it on at 9:27. Whew!

I stayed the night since Seraph and Isabell arrived the next day. Again it was pouring, and I thought this was ridiculous. They arrived safely, and I welcomed them to Portland...I mean Denver. Couldn't tell the difference with all of the rain. Luckily they got their luggage, because it started to lightning, and they canceled luggage service until it stopped. We got a quick bite to eat and headed out in the down pour. Seraph's back was aching, so we stopped here and there for rest. I looked at the map and saw a shorter way to Vadito, I thought. Again Manana miles came into play. We drove into Raton, and kept driving down. I was planning to cut through the mountains, take a scenic drive, but the weather played havoic. We stopped got gas, and was informed that the direction I wanted to go was very stormy with hail and sleet. We went south to Las Vegas, NM not Nevada and stopped for dinner. To make this story short, by the time we made it home, we had been driving for 9 hours. It took my mom and I 4 plus hours to Denver. My short cut was a long cut!

The next morning Seraph awoke to a beautiful blue sky, and Isabell was introduced to the country. We went up to Questa to visit my grandma, and my aunt Teresa and my uncle John. John took Isabell on a ride to his four-wheeler, and Isabell had a huge smile across her face. I think she'll be okay out here. A freak hail storm arrived and drove us inside.

On Monday, we drove Isabell to school worrying how she would do. We walked her to her class, and met her new teacher. A very sweet woman, and Isabell seemed to be fine. We left with heavy hearts, and drove to Taos, bought some more necessities at Wal*mart, went to the college to register for my 45 hour credited class for my Early Childhood certificate. Then we went and met with the Center for Performing Arts for Seraph, to see if there were any job opportunities. We were informed that it would only be for volunteer jobs, but were told to check out Santa Fe's TV & movie headquarters. We will do that next time Seraph is in town. We came back had lunch, and delivered shoes for Isabell for PE. Watched Milagro Beanfield, and then we went and picked up Isabell. Are worr



Back on the road again, we carefully dragged ...

August 23, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

Back on the road again, we carefully dragged the cat carrie back to the car, headed south and we saw the most awe inspiring scenery. It wasn't beautiful as it was wide open country, with little vegetation, and mountains on either side far in the distance. It leaves a lasting impression, and makes one ponder how big the United States really is. My mom and I both love Geology, and we both appreciated it, and discussed how all of this was formed. Which means we need to find a book on how this was formed.

Before Isabell was born, Seraph and I went camping through the Steen Mountains, Arches National Park, and Zion National Park. It was trip that we will alway cherish, as it was absolutely spectacular. Seeing these beautiful red rocks that were sculpted by wind and water was an amazing sight. It was also special, because we hiked The Narrows in Zion. We hiked through a stream between these towering red cliffs, where I was recently diagnosed with CMT (A degenerative muscle disease in my feet) which means I don't have upward movement with my feet. To be able to walk through the water and hike was an incredible accomplishment.

Anyway, my mom and I drove through Arches National Park, and I got gas near the campground that Seraph and I stayed. In the far distance you could see some of the arches. If we had time, I would have loved to seen them again. We drove on to Moab, stopped for some food, and headed off. I noticed that the temperature gauge was heating up, so I decided to turn around and go to the nearest oil change place. While we waited, my mom took the cats out, since it was really hot there. He informed me that my temperature guage was malfunctioning and that I could by the part cheaply at Chuck's automotive store. I went there bought the part, and was informed that there was a Auto Shop around the corner. We went there to see if we could get it done fast. The man was really nice, but said he couldn't get it done for a while, and said there was another place down the road that might be able to help me. In an hour we were off again, thanks to a nice family owned business that helped me out, and it didn't cost to much. Again we had to take the cats out so we wouldn't have any fried pussy cats.

Our next stop was in Monticello, UT where I stopped for gas. It happened before, where I had to get my American Express card cleared for security reasons. I understand that when you are spending money all over the country, the company wants to make sure that some one hasn't stolen your card. This time, they said that I couldn't use my card. They feared that I might dash into the Canyonlands and disappear with my mom, cats and a hot American Express card. I called the company, was informed that Seraph had to call them. I promptly called my dear Seraph, and she straightened up the situation, and I was off again.

We crossed into Southern Colorado, went through Cortez and thought we would make it Taos the same day. I believe that when you make to the Southwest, the mile hear becomes a manana mile. It takes for ever to get anywhere out here. We drove and drove, and didn't seem to make it any further. I called my landlord Arlene, and told her we'd make it around 8:00pm. Finally we made it to Chama, NM. I thought it would be a hop, skip and a jump, but found out I was wrong. It was 7:00pm and there was no way that we were going to make it, since we still had two more hours to Taos. I called Arlene, said we'd make it tomorrow, got a room, went out to eat, failed miserably at turning the trailer around, had a wonderful dinner, and went to bed.



We move forward to 8/10/08 and it's time for ...

August 23, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

We move forward to 8/10/08 and it's time for our big move. For most of the weekend, Seraph and I pack up boxes, dividing the ones she needs and the one I'll need down in New Mexico. We keep joking that this looks like we are separating and we have divide our belongings.

On Sunday, our adventure starts by my mom, Isabell, and I going to pick up the U-haul trailer. Everything was just fine, the guy hooked us up and off to home we go, but a mile down the road the trailer hitch pulls out of the its socket, leaving only the chains to hold to the car. I looked in my review mirror and the trailer is weaving in and out, and luckily I pulled over, only to see it coming closer to the car. I was freaking out, my mom was freaking out and Isabell was freaking out. Thank God, there was no damage. Once I got my senses back in order, I put the hitch back in, and drove straight back to U-haul with Isabell crying that she wants mom to pick her up. When we got there, the guy obviously did not put the hitch together right, which he apologized and assured us that it would be alright. My eyes were glued to the review mirror all the way home.

Before I go on, I should explain that my mom have a great relationship, but when we are both hysterical, we are total wrecks, and easily get on each others nerves.

Starting again; if you have ever driven with a trailer, you'll know what I've gone through. I drive it home and I try to park along the right side of the road, and I can't for the life of me go in reverse and park the trailer, without hitting the sidewalk. My mom is yelling at me to turn the wheel the other way, which I am by the way, and I can't. By this time I told my, very nicely, to get out of the car. I tried again, gave up, and parked on the other side of the stree. My stress level is up, we have a painter friend over to quote me a price (which was ridiculous), pulled Seraph to side, and cried. How in the hell was I suppose to drive to NM with this freaken thing behind me. Seraph is my guardian angel, for she knows how to sooth my soul, and I begin to feel better about all of this.

On Monday morning we were off and flying, I felt great knowing I was only two days from NM. The drive through the Gorge was beautiful, and I said my silent good-byes knowing it would be a while before I saw them again. Once in the Blue Mountains, my brave Subaru, barely made 40 miles an hour. I'm not use to driving with such a heavy load, and seeing VW buses passing me. Boy, I thought, I hope we don't have many passes to go through. We actually made good time, and saw the famous windmills that they are setting up all through Eastern Oregon, Idaho, and Utah. Seeing them up close is really amazing. They are so big and powerful. Everything at this point was good, and we wanted to go as far as we could, and by the time we were near the Idaho/Utah boarder, we were getting tired (Oh did I mention that we had the cats too. They did great) and were looking for a place to stay. We saw sign that said Snowyville twenty miles, and decided to stay there. We saw another mileage sign, only to find that Snowyville disappeared. We drove and drove, but no Snowyville. We weren't even sure if we even crossed into Utah, since there was no welcome sign. We were ready to give up, I called my grandma in NM saying we were going to the next town, when out of the blue Snowyville showed up again. By this time we were so tired, that we laughed out loud. We stopped took one look at the motel, and decided, it was just not what we were looking for. Six rooms, five guys smoking and drinking; get the picture. We drove Brigham City, all of the hotels were booked. I told my mom that everything would be okay. She's beginning to panic, saying we should of booked something ahead of time and she began to worry about the cats. They had been the carrier for over thirteen hours, and she was afraid they would die. We go to Ogden, everything is booked. Now I'm starting to panic a bit. I borrow a phone book, and call the Best Western operations. First they tell me everything is booked, but he finds one room for us in Southern Salt Lake. By this time it's 11:00pm and both mom and I are frazzled. We finally made it. Most of the hotels did not take animails, so we had to stealth like, carry a huge carrier up the back stairs and into the room. Skippy who does not like the car (thinks she going to the vet) immediately went under the bed. Nightwalker on the other hand began exploring by jumping on the bed, under the bed, on top tables and chairs. We had to literally drag Skippy from under the bed just so she could eat.

More tomorrow!



Jumping forward, Seraph and I decided it was ...

August 22, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

Jumping forward, Seraph and I decided it was time for a change, as we needed a change in pace. We were so stressed out with city life; rushing Isabell to school, taking her to dance classes, rushing to work, and not relaxing. I was stressed at the point of being sick, and not sleeping. Oh did I forget to mention the rain? This last winter and spring was so depressing. That was the final staw.

Here was our chance, to leave all of this behind, and start fresh again. 90% of me wanted to be back in New Mexico, and 10% said what the hell are we doing! I have all of these great friends, a nice house, and lots of beautiful Portland to explore. Then it rained, and the decision was made.

It's hard to explain why I love New Mexico, but I can only say that it's in my blood, and it's my spiritual home. Some say, that once you visit Northern New Mexico, you'll leave part of your soul here, and you'll always want to return.

My biggest concerns were that Seraph was born and raised in Oregon, and that Isabell was finally adapted to her house, school and friends. But Isabell impresses me more and more, and she responded by saying that she can always make new friends. What a wonderful child! Seraph alway has and will always have an adventurous spirit. The most important thing about us, we always be together, and home is where we all are. Plus it helps that there is a lot of sun here.

Moving on, my fantasy mode was in full swing, dreamng of eating apples and swinging in a hammock, and enjoying life to its fullest. We'd sell our house for big money and buy this house in Vadito. But I fell out of the hammock and reality came rushing back. Our house is on the corner, and there are businesses next door, and a busy street. None of this bothers us, but our realator said this might bug other people. To make this short, she said we would have to lower our price. This meant that our down payment on the house in Vadito would be smaller, and I thought our dreams would be smashed to bits. I talked to Eric and Shaun, the owners, and told them our situation. They fully understood and emailed me later on, saying that they really liked us, and they would figure something out to solve the problem. I love them! We decided to rent a house in Vadito. With the help of Eric and Shaun, they knew someone who had a rental in Vadito, fully furnitured. Thank goodness for small towns!

Reality struck again, as we prepared to move. Seraph is one of those gung ho type of people; pack everything, paint the whole house inside and out. Did I say that I live in a fantasy world? Not all of the time, but most. So I helped as much as I can, while preparing for this trip. We managed to paint Isabell's room, the family room, and the sunroom, but poor Seraph had to finish the rest, as my mom and I left for New Mexico.

I will continue with the journey later on!



It's Mocha Friday, with me foregoing Starbuck...

August 22, 2008 by Adam in Family

It's Mocha Friday, with me foregoing Starbucks as Jamie lured me to the kitchen nook with homemade mochas. Sam headed to the coast with Josh, Jim, and Judy last night. I did projects and drawing with Emma while Jamie drove Sam and Josh up to Corvallis to meet everyone. Tonight I'm planning on taking Emma swimming.

Last night the kids practiced their Kung Fu, with me as the photographer. Emma's adoration of Kung Fu Panda continues, though we're trying to make sure she doesn't end up injuring everyone with her wild kicks.

It's great hearing from Robbie on his grand adventure. I can't wait to see pictures!



This wasn't suppose to happen for another two...

August 22, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

This wasn't suppose to happen for another two to three years, but thank god for craigslist. I love to stroll through the list of houses, and I was only looking for houses in our price range. However, a listing caught my eye,and I couldn't help but clicked on the listing. But what to my wondering should I see! A beautiful territorial adobe house with apple trees, three acres, and a gallery to boot! It was absolutely beautiful, and I called Seraph right of way! I told her not to look at the price, as she would've fainted of sticker schock. After regaining consciousness, she told me if could make this work, we could possibly move to NM. My Loyal Craigslist, came up with a preschool job in Santa Fe. I called them, and they seemed pretty interested in me.
After talking to Seraph, I decided it was best to fly down to NM, and see the house myself, and go and see the preschool. So in May, I flew down, drove up from Albuquerque. I stopped in Santa Fe at the Walgreens. When I came out, a beautiful sunset awaited me. The dark clouds had turned a beautiful apricot color. Feeling like a fool, I secretively took out my camera and snapped a few pictures. Unfortunately, a few people spotted me, but they agreed that it was a beautiful sight. I believe that sunset was a sign and a warm welcome to New Mexico.
I drove to Questa to stay with my Grandma, and the next day, I drove to Vadito with my Grandma to see this "fantasy house". All I can say, It was more beautiful in person, than in pictures. Shaun, the wife, showed me around the house, as I took photos and filmed a majority of the house. Every corner and nook gave me something to smile. Above the property is a water irrigation ditch called an acequia. This water is what feeds the fields. In my fantasies, no not those ones, I could see Seraph, Isabell and I growing pumpkins, vineyards, corn, a variety of vegetables.
They also raised chickens, the coop was made of adobe as well. I was in love, and trying to figure out how to afford the house, was making my mind spin.
After viewing the house, I dragged poor grandma to Chimayo, a very spiritual church, were many people claim to have been healed. In fact every Easter, thousands of people pilgrimage to this holy site. We prayed, (me for the house) bought some souvigners, departed, had some delicious New Mexican food in Espanola, and headed back to Questa. With a quick stop in Taos to find a bookstore. People who know me, know I can resist a bookstore.
I spent a wonderful two days with family exploring ski towns, the Rio Grande, and lazing around. When the day came to leave, I was sure that I would return sooner than my family thought.
I will stop here and continue tomorrow.



INTERNET!!! I'm finally connected, it only to...

August 21, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

INTERNET!!! I'm finally connected, it only took five days to finally get it. I'm here in beautiful Vadito, NM. I've decided from now on, I'll be writing in journal form, so family and friends can follow my adventures. I'm afraid that friends will have to wait until I have e-mail. It takes a few days to process, then it will work. I'll post more in a while.



Well, I'm back grudgingly from the Land of En...

August 21, 2008 by Seraph in Cortez

Well, I'm back grudgingly from the Land of Enchantment.
It was a wonderful few days, though sad to leave Isa and Robbie behind. They are settled in on a beautiful piece of property down the road from the house we want to buy. The landlady keeps sheep & lamas, and has several dogs. Needless to say, Isa was in heaven.
Isa was off to school on Monday. We were a little nervous for her, but she ended the day with friends, and was ready to start taking the school bus each day (it stops right in front of the house).
Robbie doesn't start his new job until next Monday, so he has been helping out around the farm, getting signed up for a class at the University, and generally getting his feet on the ground.
While there, we had dinner with the couple with the house & gallery we are looking at. They were wonderful, and full of great stories and helpful advise.
I've been working away on the last of the house projects. Weather depending - I should get the outside pressure washed & painted this weekend.



The week has been slowly moving along, the la...

August 20, 2008 by Adam in Family

The week has been slowly moving along, the last of the lazy Summer days slowly coming to an end. Sunday night the thunderstorms rolled in. I spent Monday morning laying next to Emma (who often calls out for Mom or Dad), listening to the hail plink against the roof.

The kids were tired when I got home yesterday, probably from running around with John and Natalie during the day. We finally settled on a "Master Thief" game involving webcams, and later a bunch of freeze tag. Eventually Emma was so tuckered out that all she wanted to do was play on the Kung Fu Panda site.



For the last couple months, Sam and I have be...

August 20, 2008 by Adam in Adam's Projects

For the last couple months, Sam and I have been working away at a Steampunk keyboard mod. At this point, it's fully operational, though there are still endless little tweaks we could do. It's a little far to get to the Enter key, and the Shift keys seem to require an extra stretch for my fingers. Still, I can touch type without problem and Sam was able to play Unreal Tournament 3 without any issue.

My office area continues to get that high-tech Victorian look. Sam and I painted and added "rivets" to his computer case. Jamie bought me a neat candle holder for my birthday and promptly forgot about it, bringing it to me last night while I gave Emma a bath (she sang Happy Birthday to me when I opened it).

Fun, fun.



We made it back, safe and sound

August 16, 2008 by Adam in Family

We made it back, safe and sound.

It started off well enough, packing up and chatting away for the two hours it took to get to the trailhead. Immediately upon leaving the car, mosquitoes began swarming. I broke out the bug spray, but it basically did nothing. By the time we hiked the half hour to the camp site, I was swearing away and threatening to head back home. Sam wanted to stay, so we stayed.

We set up the tent quickly, leaped inside, and killed whatever mosquitoes had followed us in. Dinner was tasty, as we were exhausted and hungry. Afterward Sam got on his swimming suit and jumped into the lake for awhile. The bugs feasted upon us, so we hid in the tent reading until it was time for bed.

We slept horribly, uncomfortable and continually woken up by the wind blowing the tent around. When dawn came, there was no discussion, just a plan to pack up as quickly as possible and head back to the car. I carried both packs to maximize speed, swatting and mosquitoes that landed on my bare arms. Sam ended up falling and skinning his knee. We finally made it to the car, threw our gear inside, and killed any that came in with us. We were safe.

A couple hours later we were back at home, with Jamie handing me a coffee as I went into the door. We showered, cleaned the car, and reveled in civilization. It was good to be home.



It's Mocha Friday, though I'm at home today (...

August 15, 2008 by Adam in Family

It's Mocha Friday, though I'm at home today (and drinking drip coffee since Jamie prefers it). We're headed up to Indigo Lake, south of Oakridge, for an overnight camping adventure. Sam and I have lists of items, our gear mostly laid out, and a trip to REI planned for this morning. Jamie was planning on taking Emma "camping" in the basement tonight, if only to escape the heat. Jamie and I were fighting over the bed in the craft room, which is the only air conditioned room in the house.

This last work week has been great, and the hospital move went really well. Now it's time to gear up for all the projects we put on hold.



One of the nice things about vacationing loca...

August 15, 2008 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

One of the nice things about vacationing locally is that one doesn't feel the pressure to do everything that only exists here in paradise, and conversely, to abandon everything that smacks of home. Greg's family is sitting in the living room of a condo in Provincetown, reading political blogs and mystery books (Jane has recently discovered that her angsty novel involves a literal skeleton in the closet, and Greg is reading the Anatomy of Fascism, which is a mystery to me). The weather is overcast, so I'm agitating for swimming (the beach to yourself and no worries of burning!). That's not yet the household consensus. Chances are better that I can drag everyone down to the dozens of galleries a block down from this place. The condo itself is a kind of gallery, tasteful in every way, each wall hung with paintings that inspire but couldn't possibly overwhelm the well-composed decor. Once I can afford this kind of place myself, I'm only going to rent from gayplaces2rent.com.

I also have some work to do, which I may have a crack at... right after a second cup of coffee.



I took Emma to the fair last night, along wit...

August 14, 2008 by Adam in Emma

I took Emma to the fair last night, along with my coworker Summer who's been down to help with the hospital move. Emma was completely excited, as she's become enamored of Summer. I think Summer was less maternal to Emma and more wanting to be a five year-old again. The entire time I felt like I was chaperoning a play date between the two.

We started by looking at the animals. The mama pigs are always fun, and Emma liked the baby pigmy goats. I personall liked the chickens that were giant puff-balls, with no eyes visible. I decided they moved about purely with their sense of smell.

Later on we went out into the junk food, carnie games, and monster trike rides. It was all fairly overwhelming, and we finally wandered over to the kid ride section. We very quickly blew through twenty bucks for three rides. Emma went on the balloon ride all by herself, looking occasionally nervous but proud of her bravery afterwards. There was also a pig race and someone juggling with fire. Summer spoiled her the entire time. Eventually I declared it was time to go home and we wandered back, Emma often holding Summer's hand.

While Sam's been going on play dates non-stop this Summer, poor Emma has only had a handful. I'm glad she was able to finally have one, even if it was with someone a couple decades older.



Hi, Sweeties all, a quick check in from the b...

August 14, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

Hi, Sweeties all, a quick check in from the blissful land of
Isa Visiting. We got in Tuesday afternoon, and she spent yesterday morning hangin' with Yayoe. Then we did a bit of shopping in the afternoon, picking out an ice cream cake for Jordan. Jenny had a lovely family birthday party for Jordan, and we put on a dress rehearsal of the Oregon Trail play. Much love to all, Mom



Work was blissfully quiet today

August 12, 2008 by Adam in Family

Work was blissfully quiet today. We have hordes of staff on hand to support anything that went wrong with the new hospital, but fortunately most of the issues were pretty routine. Most of the problems people are reporting aren't computer related, but instead seem to have to do with construction or the phone system.

I took the kids off to Toys-R-Us when I got home from work. Sam wanted to use up some of his chore-acquired checks, and he went out specifically looking for another Nerf gun. He's really excited about this one, as it disassembles into assorted pieces. I let Emma indulge her Kung-Fu Panda obsession and got her a Po doll. It says things like "Ouch!" when you hit it, so it's like the opposite of Tickle-Me Elmo.

Later we went swimming and got completely exhausted before bedtime. Jamie had a few hours to herself, which I think made her quite happy.

Last night Sam had his hair cut slightly, the first time in years. I think he likes it.



Hi, a quick note about our plans

August 11, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

Hi, a quick note about our plans. Bob and I are driving to Portland late in the day today and staying overnight with Seraph. We're going to bring Isa down, hopefully for a day at the fair and to have a little birthday dinner with Jordan and
some play time with Sam and Emma. We'll go back up on Thursday. Margie will be in this weekend, and I'll hope to see her. We leave for Greece on Monday.



I'm hanging out at the old Sacred Heart Hospi...

August 10, 2008 by Adam in Adam

I'm hanging out at the old Sacred Heart Hospital (now called "Sacred Heart Medical Center, University District". Fortunately it's been very quiet, literally and figuratively. Everything is going smoothly, I've mostly been helping out the trackers when they go on breaks and such.

I'm going to try to sneak home and hang out with my family pretty soon.



Today was my one real weekend day, as yesterd...

August 10, 2008 by Adam in Family

Today was my one real weekend day, as yesterday I'm working pretty much all day long. I tried to fit as much as possible into every moment, as well as yesterday evening.

Friday night the kids wanted to go swimming, so I ditched the baseball game with my coworkers and we hopped into the car. The pool was nearly empty, so we broke out the huge floaters and played a game involving sea monsters. Mostly Sam recreated scenes from Jaws, with Emma alternating between shooting Sam with flare guns and lassoing him with imaginary rope.

This morning Jamie made another wonderful breakfast and we walked to the library. Everyone returned with interesting tidbits, and we headed to Saturday Market to meet up with Summer and Debbie, a couple of out-of-town coworkers. Emma and Summer immediately bonded and Summer spoiled Emma horribly. They ended up getting their faces painted and Emma ended up with a new dreamcatcher for her room.

We headed home, unloaded Sam and Jamie, then I took Emma for a picnic at Hendrick's Park with Debbie and Summer again. Mostly I chatted with Debbie while Emma and Summer chased wild turkeys.

As the day wore down, Sam and I had some Nerf gun fights. We finished painting and reassembling his computer, which now matches his monitor and other equipment. Jamie made yet another great dinner and dessert. A very tired Emma was tucked into bed early while Sam and I played Unreal Tournament 3, gleefully making things explode until bedtime.

I just finished up my pre-move go-lives. Tomorrow I'll wake up at the crack of dawn and experience the madness of the hospital move.

Fun, fun.



It's Mocha Friday, that sweet conclusion to t...

August 08, 2008 by Adam in Family

It's Mocha Friday, that sweet conclusion to the end of the work week. Of course, the work week doesn't really end today as we're moving the hospital this Sunday. Tomorrow evening I have a bit of work to do, and then Sunday I'm starting at the crack of dawn and working until they let me free. I really want to take the kids to a birthday party at Amazon pool that night. We had a great time the year before.

Sam's been a social butterfly lately, playing with Sebastian in the morning and Sophia in the afternoon. When I got home, Jamie went off to work and Emma and I played while Sam and Sophia played with Nerf guns. Eventually we walked Sophia home and threw dinner together as Jamie came in the door.

It's hard to think that in only three weeks, school starts up again and the kids will go to the same place.



For the first time in five years, I have a we...

August 07, 2008 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

For the first time in five years, I have a week off at home. In fact, I have three weeks. I feel like the joyful newlyweds in Beetlejuice, pre tragic death, cleaning up and doing projects, happy for full stretches of days to get my affairs in order and set up job, home, and school details. I'm avoiding quaint bridges, just in case.

Things are not all fun and games; I have health insurance, tuition, a broken exhaust pipe, internets, and two graduate jobs to think about before orientation on the 25th. But I did squeeze in a Princess Bride Quote Along at the Coolidge Corner Theatre last night. Awesome.



This morning I was awoken by a naked Emma and...

August 06, 2008 by Adam in Family

This morning I was awoken by a naked Emma and clothed Sam, coming down to the basement to greet me before I went to work. Emma had horrible nightmares a couple nights ago, keeping Jamie and I awake much of the night (admittedly it was mostly Jamie). Last night she slept great. She had a dream where another kid was trying to drown her in the pool, but she was saved by Tigress from Kung-Fu Panda.

I was slightly injured in a shoot out last night. The incident took place in the basement, as Sam and I went at it with Nerf guns. My feet was a little sweaty and Sam got me in the leg. For the sake of realism, I hopped on one foot and ended up landing hard on the rug. Fortunately only my pride was seriously hurt.

The work madness is starting to begin. I'm trying hard to not do anything too exciting this week and spend lots of time with my family. This weekend I'm going to see if Saturday can be mostly normal. Sunday I'll be working starting very early, but I'm hoping to sneak out to take the kids to a birthday party that evening.



Isa and I are safe home from our Chicago trip...

August 05, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

Isa and I are safe home from our Chicago trip - Buckingham Fountain, Millenium Park, fireworks on Navy Pier, the Chicago Art Museum, and the ultimate, the American Doll Museum. Lots of good time with cousins, especially with Derek, almost exactly Isa's age, and a good intellectual match. John and Anita the perfect hosts, as always. As Adam says, Good Times.



Everyone's home again

August 04, 2008 by Adam in Family

Everyone's home again. The kids are in the back yard, with Emma spraying Sam repeatedly at the hose. Jamie's watching them, periodically yelling "Not at the house!" Yes, things are back to normal.

We didn't do any grand events in Bend. On Saturday I took the kids on a long bike ride. Sam had this weird three-wheeler. Emma and I rode a tandem bike, which she happily helped me ride around. Later in the afternoon we went swimming and returned to the hotel for a dinner in honor of Dave and Kirsten's engagement.

Today we watched Mythbusters in the morning, swam around lunchtime, ate, and came on home. Jamie's exhausted, the kids are rambunctious, and I'm thinking that maybe moping around an empty house wasn't all that bad.



It's Mocha Friday, though I just finished the...

August 01, 2008 by Adam in Family

It's Mocha Friday, though I just finished the last drop a few minutes ago, furiously working some reported problem that turned out not to be my fault. As we get closer to the big hospital move, I find the number of last minute issues and weird problems continues to grow exponentially. I find my sense of humor is slipping up into the "inappropriate" zone in response to stress. I've been wondering lately if claiming my director was trying to kill me was such a keen idea. It was pretty funny at the time, though.

It's been a weird week all around. I had coffee with Dad yesterday, chatting away about his upcoming international speed record for electric boats. As for me, the house has been incredibly quiet. Last night I got the bench nearly finished. I painted the metal, though some touch-up is probably needed. The wood is all sanded and stained. I started to do the final assembly, but got frustrated that things weren't lining up quite right. I finally gave up and ate dinner.

I'm very excited to head over to Bend tonight. I've been missing Jamie quite a bit, and not just because I've eaten sandwiches and smoothies every day this week. I miss our evening chats after the kids have gone to bed and am looking forward to seeing her tonight. In terms of the kids, life seems vaguely pointless without them. I've been planning hiking trips and rocket launches for the weeks ahead.

For now, I'm going to use my caffiene-fueled super powers to try and get ready for the RiverBend opening. The e-mails continue to pour in.



It's the last day of July, the Summer slowly ...

July 31, 2008 by Adam in Family

It's the last day of July, the Summer slowly coming to a close. I've been at home alone all week, mostly staying out of trouble. Monday I ran errands, getting my hair cut and shopping for the week. I'm almost out of fruit for the perpetual smoothies I make myself each day.

Tuesday after work I went to Home Depot and didn't emerge for two hours. While everyone was out, I wanted to replace the wood on our old bench and repaint the metal. I managed to get the store to cut the wood to size. Last night I finally ripped apart the old bench and power washed the metal. This morning before 7 o'clock, I was spraying primer in my shorts. Hopefully tonight I can finish with the painting and perhaps drill and stain the wood.

Of course, I've got to pack for Bend as well. Dave's picking me up Friday night and I get to see my family again. It's been a weird week, so I'm pretty excited to run around with everyone.



Quick note to say that Mom & Isa got off safe...

July 30, 2008 by Seraph in Cortez

Quick note to say that Mom & Isa got off safely to Chicago on Monday. When we talked to them last night, it sounded like they were having a great time. Anita & John were doing a wonderful job showing them all of the sites, and Isa was excited to see lightning bugs for the first time!
Today they are going to the American Girl museum, which Isa has been looking forward to for months.
Robbie & I continue to paint, clean, and pack. Not nearly as much fun, but quite satifying in its own right.



Everyone's off at Bend, leaving me a bachelor...

July 29, 2008 by Adam in Adam

Everyone's off at Bend, leaving me a bachelor for the week. I've been trying hard to stay busy so I don't mope about the house too much. Yesterday I got my hair cut, went to the bank, and did my shopping for the week. It's strange buying food for just me. My menu for the week is full of smoothies and tofu sandwiches.

After work ends today, my plan is to head over to Home Depot and pick up the things I need to repair the bench in our front yard. It came with the house, and was falling apart even then. Hopefully replacing the wood slats and a fresh coat of paint for the metal will make it like new again.



The weekend has come and gone

July 28, 2008 by Adam in Family

The weekend has come and gone. I'm back at work and Jamie's busy getting the kids ready to go to Bend for the week. I left them a little note on the table and gave Emma a sleepy kiss before I headed out the door.

We had a fun weekend all around, though I was strangely stressed and grumpy for part of it. Fortunately Jamie was in good spirits, and I'm hoping my apologies made up for things. Saturday was theoretically the day I made a huge seven course meal, but it didn't quite work out as I'd planned. Jamie came back late from her walk with Pat, so I rushed about trying to get things ready. The kids weren't really into some of the dishes, though towards the evening everyone liked the mini-pizzas. Jamie and Sam watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail, while Emma watched her show.

I was in a much better mood on Sunday. Jamie made Dutch babies for breakfast while I put on a treasure hunt for the kids (the final clue led to the breakfast table). Sam and I went to see the Dark Knight, which was great. Afterwards, I tried to take the kids swimming, but it was closed. We then went to Toys-R-Us to get squirt guns, but they were out. We finally found some at Fred Meyers, and then spent the afternoon having shootouts in the back yard. I finally excused myself while the kids continued to have at it. Emma eventually got cold and blue, so they finished up with Nerf guns in the basement.

Jamie returned from work and made dinner for us all. I read Girl Genius to Emma in the bath and watched Sam battle zombies in his game. After bed, Jamie and I stayed up really late watching the season premier of Mad Men. My favorite part is talking about it with her afterwards, which we did for another half hour until we went to bed exhausted.

As for me, I have shopping, hair cuts, and assorted house maintenance planned. Let's see how much I really accomplish while everyone's away.



G'day, mates

July 27, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

G'day, mates. We had fun yesterday evening, with Jenny, the boys, Aric and his "just friend" Cecily over for dinner. Hanni, bearing a tray of her world famous cream puffs, Seraph, Robbie, and Isa stopped over for an hour. Jenny
was very solicitous about the implant bruising, and even called Lohring. He's still the best dentist I've ever had,
and I actually felt quite relieved. I should have used her boss, not the guy my dentist recommended.
I'll go to Portland with them this afternoon, and Isa and I will leave at 2 tomorrow afternoon. I need to make reservations at the American Girl doll museum so we can have tea.
Much love to all, old mom



It's yet another Mocha Friday

July 25, 2008 by Adam in Family

It's yet another Mocha Friday. Sam was up early this morning, wearing this same shirt and necklace as he was wearing last night. Dave returned from Hawaii and showered the kids with goodies. Both got t-shirts and necklaces. Emma wanted to keep playing a game last night where her necklace was magical and I was the evil villain trying to steal it away. It's funny how much joy such a small thing can create.

Yesterday Jamie took the kids to the Harrisburg museum. I think it really made an impression as both kids brought up things they had seen. Sam was amazed by the ancient car. Emma was excited about ringing the church bell. There were also these huge tables and benches made from a single massive tree, that impressed even Jamie.

Sam continues to be a reading maniac. He finished up a long four-book fantasy series that he said was as good as Harry Potter. I forget the name of the series, but the first book is called The Door in the Woods. When I asked him what he'll read next, he sighed a little and said he should probably read one of the Greek books my mom had given him. What a responsible kid.

Jamie and the kids decided that I should do one of my seven-course meals and a movie tomorrow. That's short notice, but I have a tentative menu I penciled out yesterday. I have no idea what the movie will be, but it looks like the meal's general theme is hors d'ouvres and matching beverage (e.g. croissants and tea, or pizza and root beer). We'll see if I can pull it off.

After this weekend, Jamie and the kids go off to Bend. It looks like both mom and dad are off as well, leaving me to fend for myself on a diet of bagel sandwitches and smoothies. Hopefully I'll manage.



Hi, much love from Mom

July 25, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

Hi, much love from Mom. I had the posts for my tooth implants put in on Tuesday, and I am still a sight! My face is bruised and swollen, and I wasn't prepared for how much it would hurt. So I'm sort of drugged up.
However, I'm looking forward to my trip to Chicago next week with Isa to visit Anita and John.



We rearranged our bedroom last weekend, pushi...

July 24, 2008 by Adam in Emma

We rearranged our bedroom last weekend, pushing the bed up against the upstairs window. It made for a great view and the kids love it, though we made a rule about not ever jumping on the bed.

This morning I was headed off to work, when I heard "Daddy!" coming from the heavens above. I looked up and saw a smiling, naked Emma looking out the window. She wished me a good day and said that she looked forward to seeing me in the afternoon.

It's made me happy all morning.



Happy Birthday Mom!!We wanted to call this mo...

July 23, 2008 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy Birthday Mom!!We wanted to call this morning, but we thought the birthday girl should get to sleep in, so we'll give you a ring tonight.



Sam let me know that I was the best dad ever ...

July 23, 2008 by Adam in Sam

Sam let me know that I was the best dad ever last night. This was after countless rounds of epic Nerf gun battles in the basement. There's something satisfying as a parent in unleashing a volley of foam darts at one's child. Most of the rounds ended in wild yelling, laughter, and the mock screams of the dying.

Sam's last fencing class was last night. I didn't have Emma, so I mostly just watched him the entire hour. It was fun, as he's become one of the better students in the class. He's got his parry and riposte down, and his footwork and stance are pretty good. Some day I'd like to join the Eugene Fencing Club with him. Maybe when he's a little older.



Last week, Jamie headed up to Portland with P...

July 21, 2008 by Adam in Adam's Projects

Last week, Jamie headed up to Portland with Pat and his family. Pat found this pair of WWII pilot's headphones that I told him to buy. They're in great condition with rubber covers over the speakers, cloth-insulated wires, and leather straps keeping it in place. I took apart some of it and discovered the date "Feb 11 1944" inside one speaker.

It took me a long time to figure out how to actually hook it up to the computer. After hours of testing connections and trying different configurations, I ended up going with the least destructive approach. I couldn't convince myself to cut those beautiful wires, so I ended up taking an existing set of headphone wires and hooking them up in parallel.

It works great, other than needing an extender for the headphone wires. The sound quality is actually not too bad. It's stereo, unlike the original setup, and I now have it hooked up to Sam's computer.

As an aside, you can see the mouse we painted over to the right in this picture. It actually includes a "Brass Zeppelin" logo on the top, instead of the Logitech one.

Probably our next step is to paint Sam's computer and make it match the rest of the stuff. Eventually I want to work on the keyboard as well, which is getting close, but still has some glitches.



The weekend has come to a close and it's earl...

July 21, 2008 by Adam in Family

The weekend has come to a close and it's early Monday morning. I have my tea and oatmeal, and my brain is slowly gaining the ability to reason coherently.

The weekend was great, starting with my birthday on Saturday. Jamie made her usual tasty breakfast, I hit the library, and took the kids swimming for a good long while. Later in the afternoon Sam and I went to Hellboy 2, which was another of the many great comic movies coming out these days. In the evening we had a small birthday party and Jamie served some of the best chocolate cake ever. Yummy.

Sunday was very lazy, with lots of time hanging out with the kids. We rearranged our bedroom so that our bed faced the one great view in the house. The kids played superhero play pretend, only occasionally trying to kill each other. Eventually we headed out to Hendrick's park to chase butterflies and wild turkeys. Emma pointed out puff balls, which we dissected to find wasp pupae inside. Eventually we wandered home for a lazy afternoon of movies, projects, and playing games. Good times.



And a very happy birthday to my funny, nice, ...

July 19, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

And a very happy birthday to my funny, nice, and (don't forget) handsome, son!



We had a sad thing happen at work yesterday

July 18, 2008 by Seraph in Cortez

We had a sad thing happen at work yesterday. One of our interns died suddenly. She was 20, in great health, and recently engaged. Although I didn't know her very well, it was a strong reminder to live life to the fullest, and not to dwell on the negative, because you can't always count on their being a tomorrow.



It's a wonderful Mocha Friday, that delicious...

July 18, 2008 by Adam in Family

It's a wonderful Mocha Friday, that delicious beverage still half full by my side.

Jamie and the kids arrived home yesterday, not quite being able to finish out the week at the beach. The children were like happy puppies, leaping into my arms when I arrived home. Sam in particular seemed to miss me a lot, and was even willing to go food shopping with me so we could chat by ourselves for awhile. It felt great having everyone home, though I definately saw my free time vanish in an instant. Fortunately I'm spending my time the way I wanted, including staying up late to read to Emma and eventually getting her to sleep.

Tomorrow is my birthday, which I'm vaguely excited for. I'm turning 39, which means I only have another year before having a midlife crisis. It's hard to decide how exactly I should attempt to recapture my fading youth. Perhaps skateboarding or salsa dancing.

Yayoe dropped off orchids, one of which I've taken to work to add to my plan collection. I think there will be a very small, low-key celebration of sorts, hopefully with Seraph's potato-chocolate cake. I'd like to take the kids swimming and maybe go see Hellboy 2 with Sam. I've got library books overdue as well. We'll see what I can manage to fit in.



Today is my very last day in the office

July 17, 2008 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Today is my very last day in the office. I'll be at a close of service event tomorrow, at a pre-service orientation training next week (my fifth July in Beverly, MA- it all feels full-circle at this point), and in Atlanta for my last week of service. It will be such a relief to get to August, settle in and have some breathing room to do the little things like fix my grotesque exhaust leak and get health insurance.

One of the things on my to-do list for the last six months, in preparation for school, was to buy a new laptop. And that is what I am typing on right now. It is absurdly fancy, and I got a free ipod touch and printer with it. I don't really know what to do with myself, hating technology and all. I just finished the last meal that I will ever eat at this desk. All our plates are in boxes at home, so I'm hand to mouth with bagels and burritos for another few days.



The week is moving along, and it's very quiet...

July 16, 2008 by Adam in Family

The week is moving along, and it's very quiet at home. Fortunately Jamie and the kids have been calling regularly, though it's still weird wandering around in a big, empty house. I talked with Sam yesterday, who reported he found a snake on the beach. They also went to the aquarium and enjoyed the exhibit on strange fish. I may join them this upcoming weekend, depending on how they're doing. I'll probably call tomorrow and see if they're ready to come home.

As for me, I haven't been doing much with my free time. I went shopping Monday. Last night I did laundry and worked on my Steampunk projects. It's surprising how quickly that extra time vanishes.



It's Monday and the weekend has come and gone

July 14, 2008 by Adam in Family

It's Monday and the weekend has come and gone. It was very much a Sadie-filled two days, which I enjoyed very much.

Friday night I was exhausted after running six miles at lunch, but I hunkered down and took Sam to see Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark at our local park after sundown. I almost fell asleep, but Sam seemed to enjoy it and it was a neat community experience with all the people there.

Jamie went off to the antique show with Pat and his family, returning with a pair of pilot's headphones from WWII in excellent condition. That made my day, though I still need to verify it works and hook it up to the computer.

Later Sadie called, inviting me to a brunch she was throwing for her friends. The kids played together exceedingly well, exploring the recesses of mom's house. We went out to swimming afterwards, having a great time and exhausting the kids.

In the afternoon, Sadie and Anna came over. Emma demanded they reinact Kung Fu Panda scenes. Later we made voodoo dolls out of Sculpey. Good times.

Jamie came back and fixed up a tasty breakfast on Sunday. The kids seemed worn out, so we mostly hung out at home all day. I got an R4 adapter for the Nintendo DS, so I put all sorts of homebrew games and home movies on it. Sam really got into playing Pocket Physics. There was lots of Lego playing, which Emma has started to enjoy. Her character is Lady Woodhouse and she has a trusted martian servant named something or another the third. Somewhere along the way was a nerf shootout as well.

My mom invited us over for dinner Sunday afternoon. Emma and Isabell had a great time chatting. Sam read comic books. All went well.

Now I'm back at work and everyone but me is going to the beach. I'm trying hard not to miss them too much.



Sunday night after a whirlwind weekend

July 14, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

Sunday night after a whirlwind weekend. Sadie's friend Morgan got married yesterday evening. On Friday night, I picked up Anna from the Portland airport at the appointed time, planning to pick up Sadie, who'd carefully made travel plans to arrive at the same time. However, given the vagaries of travel, her plane was delayed. Anna and I used the time to have a delightful dinner with Seraph and Robbie. Sadie got in about 9:30, and we didn't get into Eugene until about 1 am.
On Saturday morning we had a brunch for Sadie's friends, also in town for the wedding, as well as some of the parents
so it was really fun. This was such a nice bunch of kids.
The wedding was lovely, outdoors next to ERB Student Union on the U of O campus, under the huge pine trees. We all danced until midnight.
Today the family got together for dinner, and then we sent
Sadie and Anna up to Portland with Hanni.



David hacked J&J's computer (ie sat down at i...

July 12, 2008 by Jim in Hanes

David hacked J&J's computer (ie sat down at it) and entered new and news worthy items.... I'm going to Hawaii with Josh and there is nothing you can do to stop us HAHAHAHAHAAAA!!! Stay tuned to my posting for next summer-- what? a wedding; surely this can not be. Let me assure you--- IT BE =)
I hope to get to the beach soon- sounds like its become quite the hot diggs.



Happy Mocha Friday all, and my condolences to...

July 11, 2008 by Adam in Family

Happy Mocha Friday all, and my condolences to those of you who are without that delicious nectar of the gods this morning.

It's been a short week, full of hanging out with the kids and trying to stay cool. I'm not sure how to describe it, other than by giving assorted highlights.

Sam returned from my mom's yesterday with his hair in a pony tail. My suspicion is that his messy hair drove her nuts and Sam politely gave in and washed it. It looked great, though I'm not sure we'll see it too often. I asked him why he kept his hair long and he replied that he was afraid he'd change his mind after cutting it. Ah, the power of regret.

Emma has been playing with Sierra during her last few days in town. Yesterday they assembled an elaborate fairy home out of plants, rocks, and liberal use of a hot glue gun. I did my fatherly duty and played fairies with Emma in her new fairy abode.

After work yesterday, the kids and I spent a long period of time just being silly. We had a contest trying to get the other person to laugh by making funny faces. I broke out the tickle claw and chased Emma about. They were indeed, good times.

Jamie and the kids are leaving for the beach next week, so I'm going to get my family time in while I can. I suppose after that it's strip clubs and drunken revelry. Or maybe I'll just stay home and work on house projects. I haven't decided yet.



I just found out that my running time of 51:3...

July 09, 2008 by Adam in Adam

I just found out that my running time of 51:30 for the 10K Butte to Butte was actually a big lie. It turns out they didn't count the time it takes to actually get to the starting line. With so many people lined up, it probably took a couple minutes until I actually got to the starting line. The good news is that it means I actually ran the race faster than I thought I would. Next year I'll try to remember how long it took to get to the starting line so I can figure out my time a little more accurately.



This weekend is my friend Morgan's wedding, t...

July 09, 2008 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

This weekend is my friend Morgan's wedding, to none other than my favorite high school math tutor, Josh. Not only is it an absolute joy to see the two of them so happy together, and to bear witness to such a perfect match, but it's basically going to be an awesome high school reunion. Morgan and I ran in the same crowd in high school and I met lots of her college friends when I visited her for Thanksgiving or for her most fantastic Vagina Monologue production (she was the tax lawyer turned dominatrix). Josh's friends are all people I wish I had been friends with. Alas, I was a little too shy to chill with the kids that were reading the same science fiction and fantasy that I secretly read. Anna is flying in from San Francisco to be my guest to the wedding, and we've spent many phone conversations discussing how to match without matching.

Which leads me to the challenge of this whole beautiful shindig. Morgan asked me to read an Edna St. Vincent Millay sonnet in the service, and while I was planning to wear a short blue babydoll dress that I already own, it was far too short for a windy outdoor wedding in and reading a poem in front of grandparents. And, like many of the Miller women, the beatings on my legs whisper hemophiliac. No one want to see that kind of bruising at a wedding. So I bought a longer dress. But it wasn't going to match with any shoes I have left in Rhode Island (I faintly recall other shoes, that I carefully boxed and moved to Waltham, thinking "when will I ever need a pair of heels?"). Living in a city with a three-story, carpeted mall, one could hypothetically find a pair of shoes in an evening. Yet three hours and two-six trips to every store with women's shoes in the Providence Place Mall, my credit card lay untouched. Quite flustered, I called Seraph, who advised red and shiny, and it only took an hour to find shiny red shoes and a matching clutch the next day. Thank God for having a fashion designer in the family. Who needs a doctor in he family, when we can always have advice on how to look of the moment?



I'm back at work after our lovely vacation

July 09, 2008 by Adam in Family

I'm back at work after our lovely vacation. Work's insane, as expected, but I'm sneaking a few minutes to post and drink my tea. Yesterday was our official anniversary, and I had a great day, though strangely spent a lot of time away from Jamie. The day before we were mostly at home, though the drive down seemed a little long.

On Monday Sam and I rode our bikes to Valley River to watch Wall-E. It was a masterful movie, both visually and thematically. I also loved the short cartoon before the movie, and the animated parts of the credits.

Yesterday morning was much like a weekend. We had a great breakfast with blueberry smoothies and crepes. I went to the library with the kids and Sierra, who kept an eye on Emma while Sam and I walked back home. I think Sam and I managed a shootout in the basement with Nerf guns. All afternoon we worked on projects, including redoing the lights in Emma's bedroom.

In the evening before falling asleep, Jamie and I discussed the characters of Mad Men, eagerly awaiting the return of the series later this month. Good times.



The last couple days were very much project days

July 09, 2008 by Adam in Adam's Projects

The last couple days were very much project days. Sam was gung-ho on working on things, plus I got some supplies while in Portland.



First off are recent additions to the Fossil computer. I purchased a wood keyboard and mouse, which look fairly good, if relatively cheap construction. I visited the Fossil Cartel in Portland and added a trilobite to the keyboard and a nautilus for the mouse. I ended up using my Dremil with pretty good results, other than a scratch on the mouse. All that remains is doing something for the monitor and speakers and then the theme should be perfect.



Turning to Sam's computer, we took my old monitor and went with a metallic look. We took off the plastic and spray painted it gold. Visiting a scrap yard, we found some metallic shapes that look like leaves. Those were painted copper and artistically arranged. Everything got an "antiquing" pass where we basically painted in black and grime to give it a used look. For the finishing touch, my "Brass Zeppelin" plaque was glued to the base.

The keyboard is slowly coming together. I did a trial run to see if I could type with it. The back needs lots more support and there are a few keys that have problems, but the proof-of-concept was promising.



Sam was swinging on the hammock the other day...

July 09, 2008 by Adam in Sam

Sam was swinging on the hammock the other day, doing somewhat wild stunts. I think he was pretty tired, as it was late in the day after the 4th of July, so he was a little wonky. Unfortunately he fell off and hit his head fairly hard. At first I thought it wasn't serious, but after we took off some of the dirt, we iced it down and put Polysporin on it later that day.

The good news is that it's healed up nicely in the last few days and I think he learned a valuable lesson about the usefulness of being boring.



I'm at the Hotel deLuxe, hiding out in the bu...

July 06, 2008 by Adam in Family

I'm at the Hotel deLuxe, hiding out in the business center while Jamie sleeps in. We dropped the kids off at Grandma Judy's yesterday. It was nice that they weren't weepy at all, letting us sneak away with minimal guilt.

We started off our Portland adventure with a trip to Powell's. I love being able to browse around without interruption or time limits. I only ended up with one book, but it was fun picking it out. Afterwards we went to our hotel, visited the bar, and watched a little television until it was time to go out to dinner. We went to a place I think was called Wildwood and ate way too much food. It was a nice walk there and back, so I at least got to work off some of my calories.

As for today, we're going to the Portland Art Museum. I'd also like to hit some stores, and perhaps have breakfast at Mother's, which is my favorite breakfast place. It's been very fun and relaxing.



I'm beat

July 05, 2008 by Adam in Family

I'm beat.

I ran the 10K Butte to Butte this morning. I woke up early, put on my running outfit, and headed over to my dad's to drop off my car. It took awhile to get my packet, but that got straightened out and I got to the starting line with the thousands of other runners. The race itself went pretty well, with the run up the hill going great. It wasn't until the last mile or so that I really started to feel lousy. Fortunately I made it through the finish line at 51:30, coming in 997th out of 3,090 and 82nd out of 186 in my age group. I was pretty happy with the results.

At the end of the race there was tons of food and sweaty people. I ate a bunch and then walked to where my dad drove me to get my car. I was tired and hungry, but it wasn't until a few hours after the race that I came down with a nasty headache. I spent the afternoon resting as best I can, though I managed to fit in a Nerf gun fight with Sam and some play time with Emma.

I felt lots better after a nap and we had a small family sparkler adventure before bedtime. I'm going to retire soon and then get packed for our Portland trip tomorrow.



I'd like to think there was a good reason for...

July 03, 2008 by Adam in Family

I'd like to think there was a good reason for Emma to be dressed like a wild savage, chasing Sam around with the newly painted Nerf gun. I'd like to think my intentions were pure when the entire episode ended with the victorious exclaimation, "I shot him in the butt!" Fortunately the kids both had a great time, so I suppose it all ended well.

Today is my Mocha Thursday, since tomorrow I have to be clean and sober for the big race. Yesterday was fairly routine, with work being busy due to the acquisition of a new clinic in Bellingham. I ran six miles at lunch, making sure to stay well hydrated to avoid another headache. I felt file, though I made a lot of trips to the rest room. After I got home, Emma and I made things out of some leather material I had floating around. She was quite fond of her bracelet, which you can somewhat see in the picture.



Sadie, your post was perfectly timed, as I wa...

July 02, 2008 by Seraph in Cortez

Sadie, your post was perfectly timed, as I was just reading Edible Portland! Oh so wonderful!



One of the things I've enjoyed about living i...

July 02, 2008 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

One of the things I've enjoyed about living in Providence is the thriving local food community. In addition to my own foray into vegetable gardening in a community garden, which offers its own social and edible benefits, I live on a park with a Thursday farmer's market. It's not San Francisco, with cheap, plentiful, perfect produce lining the entire block, but it's intimate and enough for the few days I can manage to sit down and eat at my own table. I'm also an avid ready of Edible Rhody, which included my friend's cheese company, Naragansett Creamery, in it's spring issue. I want to eat every issue, which I think is the idea of food magazines. It's a bit different than Gourmet, which has a smugness that sours the pure love of eating good food.



It's Wednesday already, with this week blazin...

July 02, 2008 by Adam in Family

It's Wednesday already, with this week blazing along. It's hard to imagine that this Friday I'll be running in the Butte-to-Butte and Saturday we're heading up to Portland.

Sam went out with my mom to the Olympic trials last night. I asked him how it went and he dryly replied, "I now know the meaning of the phrase 'the crowd went wild'". I guess he watched the three Eugene runners win a race and everyone went crazy. Sam preferred the javelin throw, though, especially as it looked like a judge might be skewered on occasion.

Jamie took the kids to the reservoir with Sharon and her kids yesterday. I asked Emma how it went and she told me "mostly I sat on a foam platform and cried." Later last night, Jamie said there was a floating platform that the other kids were playing on. Emma swam over and they pulled her up, and later she realized she couldn't see the bottom and the lake was likely filled with toe-eating fish. After a half-hour of coaxing, Natalie helped her into Sam's arms, and he carried her back to the shore.

Monday night was really weird for me. I got a horrible headache when I got home and basically slept until 8:30. Jamie scurried about to get babysitters at the last minute before going to the Hult center. I'm still not sure what it was, maybe running outside at lunch and getting overheated. I might try the same thing again today, but this time make sure I'm well-hydrated.



The weekend is coming to an end, the kids in ...

June 30, 2008 by Adam in Family

The weekend is coming to an end, the kids in bed and I'll soon be doing my nightly stair stepping, this time while watching Resident Evil: Apocalypse. I do the strangest things in the name of exercise.

In general, the weekend was hot and lazy. On Saturday I went to the library and took the kids swimming at lunch. Neither wanted to go, with Emma being especially fearful, remembering an old pool injury. Once we got there, of course, they had a great time and didn't want to go. Since it was so hot, the pool was practically empty, as no one things about going to a heated pool in the middle of Summer.

Jamie went to visit with Angie, while I fed pizza to the kids. It was a great evening for running around, and the neighbor's had a pool out. The night brought thunderstorms and weather so hot that I slept downstairs in front of the air conditioner.

Today we did yard work in the morning, mowing and hauling off yard debris. The kids played on the slip-and-slide, laughing and getting covered in grass. After lunch we went to Fred Meyers and Sam had a play date that kept him busy most of the afternoon. I puttered a bunch, doing frivolous projects and enjoying myself immensely. After dinner, Emma lit a few sparklers after constantly asking Jamie if it was time. She laughed and made faces as she waved them about.

Tomorrow I sadly return to work and Sam goes with my mom to the Olympic trials. Life is good.



It began with a trip to Fred Meyers, as Jamie...

June 30, 2008 by Adam in Adam's Projects

It began with a trip to Fred Meyers, as Jamie need to pick up some miscellaneous things and she left me with the kids. As we wandered the toy section, killing a half an hour, I noticed the Nerf weaponry was on sale. Soon enough, we slyly tossed a Nerf pistol and a couple packages of glow-in-the-dark darts into her basket.

When we arrived home, Sam and Emma ran around playing with it. In particular, he liked the rotating barrel and satisfying cocking mechanism.

Once I pried it out of his hands, I sanded off the identifying marks, spray painted, and did my usual hand painting to make it look properly dirty and aged. It turned out exceptionally well, especially with the glowing darts. Very Steampunk, needless to say.



I'm occasionally willing to embarrass myself ...

June 30, 2008 by Adam in Adam's Games

I'm occasionally willing to embarrass myself in a variety of ways. I figured out how to hook up my wiimote to my PC, which eventually led to me using my Guitar Hero Wii guitar with the Lute Hero game I made for Neverwinter Nights. I was originally going to do a fairly plain "how to" video, but with Sam's prompting it quickly degenerated into a rock video starring my alter-ego Klaus.



It's Mocha Friday already

June 27, 2008 by Adam in Family

It's Mocha Friday already. Being sick for a couple days in the middle of the week seems to have brought this day along pretty quickly. I guess time flies if you're sniffling and caughing as well.

Sam went off with my mom and Dez, collecting things for his Summer school studies about Greece. He was most excited about an orrery he discovered in the map room at the Smith Family bookstore. After I got home from work yesterday, Sam and Sebastian played in the back yard, making a giant mess out of mud and clay.

Emma's last day of baking camp is today. She brought home a huge cake with assorted goodies around it. We broke out the slip-and-slide yesterday, though I think she was mostly looking for an excuse to wear a bikini. Later we visited with the neighbor girls, lipsynched to the That Spells DNA song, and put up new paper lights in her room.

The Olympic track and field trials opened today. I could tell because of all the music and screaming wafting in through our open window while we tried to sleep.



Emma's transitioned nicely into Summer

June 26, 2008 by Adam in Emma

Emma's transitioned nicely into Summer. She's currently going to cooking camp at the Little French School. Every night she's been bringing home assorted goodies for us to munch on. Though it's often challenging to get her out the door, she seems to have a good time with the other kids and her teachers.

She's also been doing her "summer school", which involves going through some Hooked on X books. They seem relatively good, and she's pretty excited about them. She finished her writing book, practicing her letters. She's got addition down and can recognize her numbers. Now I want to start in on reading, as she's just about ready to figure out letter sounds and put them all together.



Sam was loaned an ukulele by Yayoe and given ...

June 26, 2008 by Adam in Sam

Sam was loaned an ukulele by Yayoe and given brief lessons. This morning when I was sick I was woken up by his practicing, but it was such happy music that I had to hula into his room and smile.

Later on he did some more practicing outside for Emma and I. It's fun watching him get the hang of it, though towards the end he was getting a little frustrated with rapid chord changes.



I think I'm finally on the mend, though it's ...

June 26, 2008 by Adam in Adam

I think I'm finally on the mend, though it's been a hard couple weeks. I mostly worked today, feeling more caught up after dropping off the face of the earth yesterday. My only consolation was that lots of other people couldn't make the critical RiverBend phone meeting that was scheduled yesterday.

Mostly the last couple days have been spent taking Tylenol every four hours and balancing headache pain with nausea. I have this trick when my head hurts immensely where I get down on my knees and elbows, stuff a bunch of pillows under my stomach, press my head against the bed, and try to sleep. I think I had to perform that feat of acrobatics two or three times.

Finally this morning I whipped up an elixir of Tylenol and espresso. The spoon dissolved in my coffee and a small purple mushroom cloud shot out of the cup. Fortunately it cured all my ills and gave me the strength of a hundred men. Later it wore off, but I'm mostly feeling normal except for a small ache in my stomach.



My family decided there was a special place i...

June 26, 2008 by Adam in Adam's Projects

My family decided there was a special place in Hell reserved for people who abuse antiques. Sam wanted to go antique shopping with Jamie. Since I was sick and wanted to "get the stink blown off me", I tagged along. While there, I found an antique slide library made by Bausch and Lomb that looked exactly like a book with a ship on the front. Seeing a price tag of only $15, I bought it on the spot.

Later I ripped out all the slide holders and carefully cut a hole in the back. I disassembled my portable hard drive and it all nicely fit. Now I'm gluing everything over night and come morning it should be ready enough to haul to work. Even better, the power cord fits nicely inside.

I need to secure it better and there's also a glowing light that shows drive activity. I'm sorely tempted to make a strip in the front with clear letters or symbols and have the light show through.



I was sick as a dog today

June 25, 2008 by Adam in Family

I was sick as a dog today. It was apparently my turn after Jamie, Emma, and Sam all got it. Evidently Sadie sent along get well cards for the kids, which I'll horde for myself and write my name over theirs.

Mostly I slept this morning, or tried to. Around noon I arose from the dead and vaguely puttered around with the kids. This evening I've been watching them as Jamie went off to console a friend. Fortunately they've generally been pretty well behaved all night.



I'm traveling again, and I cannot possibly wa...

June 23, 2008 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I'm traveling again, and I cannot possibly wait for a day when I can buy groceries and not worry about them rotting in my refrigerator. Next week...

However, the meeting I'm taking part in is very interesting. I'm learning quite a lot about the language and ways of foundations, research, and the disconnect between researchers and practitioners. The meeting is a wonderful avenue for me to think more deeply about the questions that civic engagement researchers and practitioners grapple with. The hotel is also freakin' amazing, as I have a sixteenth floor corner suite.



Good Monday morning! The plan for today is to...

June 23, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

Good Monday morning! The plan for today is to finish up phone calls and paper work, and start summer projects tomorrow. We're starting that regime by having the lawn mower repaired. We had Jenny, Dez, Adam, Sam and Emma for brunch yesterday. Very nice to see everyone.



The Audioscope is pretty much done at this point

June 23, 2008 by Adam in Adam's Projects

The Audioscope is pretty much done at this point. I screwed in a leather holder for the MP3 player, hiding the ugly wires. Sam came up with a great idea to make gear-like holders for the speakers. They're made from Sculpey, baked, and painted with assorted gold and black paints. The amplifier part of the component stopped working, but the speakers are great. Sam listened to old radio broadcasts of The Shadow last night in his room.

I did some more work on the keyboard, making holes for the key posts in the vinyl. Drilling holes failed horribly, wrecking the surrounding vinyl. I tried a Dremel to sand off the vinyl stretched over the holes, but that was fairly rough. My best result was with an Exacto knife and small scissors, making a rough square-shaped holes. Fortunately the material stretches so well that it didn't matter. My next step is to paint the white plastic black so it goes well with everything else.

I'll try to post some pictures when I get home tonight.



One of the items that seems to come up regula...

June 22, 2008 by Adam in Adam's Projects

One of the items that seems to come up regularly in Steampunk building projects is that of the orrery. While it would take far too much time to make some elaborate system of gears to turn the planets around a sun, I ended up doing something much simpler with the same concept.

Sam and I were playing with Sculpey and I said, "let's make planets". Pretty soon I had baked and colored planets resting on little brass posts. I took some wood trim, drilled holes, and varnished it for the stand. Towards the end of the day I made a label reading "Royal Astronomical Society - Eridani Expedition 1893", added planet names, and glued them on.

Now it looks like part of a secret history expedition to the stars. It seems quiet appropriate next to my framed advertisement for rayguns.

The new Audioscope is almost finished. I've taken out the light, as something went horribly wrong with the amplifying portion of the electronics. Fortunately the new speakers work great with the mp3 player alone. The only task left to do is to tack down a leather cradle to hold the player and hide the speaker wires.



Sunday morning

June 22, 2008 by Adam in Family

Sunday morning. I can feel myself coming down with whatever the kids have had. Hopefully I won't get it quite as bad as they did, as Sam in particular was pretty miserable. Fortunately Sam is much improved, though we're still giving him antibiotics. Emma is quite sniffly and spent much of Saturday taking it easy.

Since I have the kids to myself, it's been non-stop kid watching for the last couple days. After breakfast we puttered around, doing various projects and art things. Since we were playing with Sculpey, we decided out of the blue to make a bunch of planets and paint them. They were incorporated into various stands afterwards. Emma made a heart and flowers for Etta's birthday. I helped her spell out "Happy Birthday" for her card.

The party was pretty fun. Sam and I played Frisbee and kept an eye on Emma. Pretty much all of her Little French School class mates were there, and it might have been the last time she seems them all. Eventually it was time to head home, and I had to give her a bath to get all the sand out. Dinner was low-key, and the kids played an elaborate game involving airship pirates afterwards.

Emma declared her hunger after I got her into bed. Though I should have known better, I made her noodle soup. When I came upstairs, she was fast asleep and the soup went back to the kitchen.

As for today, we're pretty busy. Depending on how everyone feels, we may end up canceling or scaling back the day's events. At noon my mom wants us for lunch and from two to six, the neighbors are throwing a birthday party for Todd. I have no idea when Jamie's coming back.



Mocha Friday came and went

June 21, 2008 by Adam in Family

Mocha Friday came and went. I ended up making my own, as I stayed home so that Jamie could leave early to the beach. In the morning I ran errands, going to the library, movie store, and hardware store. Once I took possession of the kids, we went through all my treasures.

I had picked up several things for my room, and things had arrived in the mail. I now have a widescreen monitor which looks great. Emma's computer now has a wood keyboard and mouse to go with her wood computer. I also picked up an oil lamp that the kids immediately wanted to light.

We had lunch in the backyard and headed out to Metropol to get a sandwich for Sam. After that was the army surplus store, which Sam thought was pretty cool. We puttered around briefly at Island park, which seemed covered in a thick layer of goose poop. Needless to say, I was washing shoes upon our return.

The rest of the day was filled with movies, Monopoly, and playing in the backyard. Emma had some trouble sleeping last night, so I was up with her for an hour or so. We awoke to thunderstorms and I'm waiting for Sam to wake up before I start making breakfast.



The sun is out, I've finished my colonoscopy,...

June 20, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

The sun is out, I've finished my colonoscopy, and my bronchitis has disappeared. The only glitch on the boring
health radar is that I cracked a rib last Friday when I slipped while trying to plug in the computer and came down hard on the arm of a chair in the doctor's office. I had the
colonoscopy this morning; they had to take out a couple little polyps, and will send them off to be biopsied.
We are finally getting settled in and finding places for Bob's stuff. I'm looking forward to a nice weekend! Love to
all, mom



I did a little more work on the Audioscope ye...

June 18, 2008 by Adam in Adam's Projects

I did a little more work on the Audioscope yesterday, drilling bigger holes for the speakers, putting in holes for wires, soldering wires, and generally trying to get everything to fit properly. I'm thinking I'll end up disassembling a lot of the work I've already done. I suppose that if it's in the name of art, everything's fair.



The week has been slowly moving along

June 18, 2008 by Adam in Family

The week has been slowly moving along. Poor Sam is sick and his ear has been hurting quite a bit lately. He's really bummed that he's missing school as they're doing all sorts of fun things for these last couple days. On the plus side, he's been reading a ton, though I'm going to have to get some more books for him sooner than I thought.

It's strange to think that Summer vacation starts in just a couple days. I'm not sure Jamie is mentally prepared for the day-to-day kid watching, but she assures me she's made a long list of things to do. Sam's goals for the Summer were to get in great shape and watch every episode of Buffy. We'll see how it turns out.

Jamie's off to the beach this weekend, so I'm trying to think of interesting things to do. I'm thinking of taking the kids to Island Park and the army surplus store. Sam would love the latter.



Happy Father's Day to everyone

June 16, 2008 by Adam in Family

Happy Father's Day to everyone.

I already got my present a few days early, a lunch bag that replaced the one from last Father's Day. I finally broke the zipper after trying to stuff far too many fruits in at once.

Yesterday we hung out at Josh's graduation party. He's officially out of school and getting ready for the U of O this Fall. When we told Emma, she was suddenly sad, thinking she wouldn't see him again. We had to reassure her that everything would remain basically the same, and he'd still be living with Dave. In any case, Emma played with Josh's brother, and Sam and I worked in a little badminton. Dave made way too much meat.

For some reason, I was a little grumpy yesterday, perhaps a combination of too much coffee and allergies. I kept apologizing, which I hope helped.

Today was lots more laid back. Sam helped me with my crazy Steampunk projects. Emma went to the rose gardens with Ray and Darrel. I love this Summer weather and got a bit too much sun yesterday.



Sam and I made some huge progress with the St...

June 16, 2008 by Adam in Adam's Projects

Sam and I made some huge progress with the Steampunk keyboard. It was a day filled with sorrow and jubilation, as we had some great successes and a few catastrophic failures.

First off, we cut out all the letters, glued them into the buttons, and put on a thick layer of lacquer. Unfortunately when we saw the final result this morning, the black ink had bled into lacquer and the letters were virtually unreadable. Sobbing at the hours of work, we ripped out the letters and started again with plain buttons.

This time we tested a single button with a spray of polyurethane, which turned out much better. We ended up cutting out every button, inking the edges, and using the spray for all of them. It took hours, but the results were great.

The next step was to glue them on the pegs the keys rested on. I decided on gluing them in-place, just to make sure we didn't miss any key and we got them on straight. It was a good idea in some regards, as we found we missed a keys and had to reprint one. Later when removing the keys so we could get the base looking good, I discovered several keys had become superglued to the base.

It was very frustrating, but I was able to remove most of them with careful use of brute force. Unfortunately the L was permanently affixed. I ripped off the key and drilled out the base, swapping with a good base for a key I never press. Eventually every key but one was finished, though there was definitely suffering along the way. Now I'm thinking of how to handle the space bar. Currently I'm slowly cutting one out of brass with a Dremel, but it's slow going.

In other Steampunk news, I ordered a tiny pair of speakers for use with a Creative mp3 player. The evil marketing people had carefully made it so it can only plug into the speaker jack of their products. Fortunately fifteen minutes with a Dremel fixed that. I haven't put it into the Audoscope yet in any pretty way, but I hooked it up to the mp3 player and the sound is great. The current underpowered headphones should be nicely amplified, making it actually practical.



We're looking forward to a sunny weekend! Ye...

June 13, 2008 by Seraph in Cortez

We're looking forward to a sunny weekend! Yeah!!
Here's a pic from the reunion in Black Butte.



It's Mocha Friday, and a good thing too

June 13, 2008 by Adam in Family

It's Mocha Friday, and a good thing too. The site is once again under attack by hackers, though I think I've fended them off for the moment. When I get home I need to sit down with the weblogs and figure out how they're getting in. It's highly annoying.

Last night was the carnival at Sam's school. We went a little late, as Jamie went to the doctor with the sore throat that everyone seems to have lately. The kids ran wild. Sam gobbled down junk food and hung out with friends. Emma had fun in the squirt gun arena and had her hair colored. I somehow missed dinner, and ended up somewhat snappy at the end. Sam was hopped up on sugar, coming down to my office after bedtime and making rug angels on the floor (which didn't work very well).

Work is busy, but feels more under control than it has in a few weeks. The weather suddenly got beautiful, and I'm eager to do my run today at lunch. It'll be another six mile one, which should be nice after yesterday's weights-only workout.

This weekend I'm hoping to get out with the kids and enjoy the weather. I'm also itching to put in some more work on my steampunk keyboard. I'm trying to make a 3/8" hole punch so I don't have to individually cut out 100+ circles for the keys. Ah, the sacrifices I make for art.



I continue to do a little steampunk work ever...

June 12, 2008 by Adam in Adam's Projects

I continue to do a little steampunk work every day, it seems. Last week I made a fun little "Brass Zeppelin" plaque out of Sculpey and spraypaint. I'm not sure what I'll do with it, but I was thinking I should come up with an imaginary company name. I decided that the Brass Zeppelin Trading Company summed up the key steampunk elements nicely.

The buttons arrived yesterday and I cheerfully discovered that they should work great for the keyboard project. If you look at the screenshot, you'll see the letters and symbols I printed out to go inside the buttons. I started cutting them out with scissors, but quickly realized that I probably need to make a 3/8" hole punch if I want to get it done this century.

The vinyl also showed up. It's an unusual material, though I think it'll work for my project. It's surprisingly stretchy, and I'm trying to figure out how to best use it. Sam wants to make a vest with the left over parts. We'll see how that turns out.

I can tell that I'm going to need my dad's help soon. I'm running into limits that require a full machine shop.



The week has been slowly moving along

June 11, 2008 by Adam in Family

The week has been slowly moving along. I just finished a six mile run at lunch today, trying to see if I'm up for the Butte to Butte this July. I'm hoping I don't turn into one of those annoying runners that gets obsessed by distance, time, and speed. So far it seems something fun and different, and I really feel the exercise changing my body.

Poor Emma was sick yesterday, the shots giving her a fever. She stayed home from school, leaving Jamie looking tired at the end of the day. I took Sam to fencing by myself, which was a bit of a treat. He has a lot of fun dueling with the other kids.

My mom's coming over to ask computer advise. I think I have things planned most other nights this week. Busy, busy.



Here are my new heirloom tomatoes, just ready...

June 10, 2008 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Here are my new heirloom tomatoes, just ready to go out with the rest of my garden!



Emma was a rock star for her doctor appointme...

June 09, 2008 by Adam in Emma

Emma was a rock star for her doctor appointment this morning (I'm using the term "rock star" because "great" doesn't come close to it).

She was excited to see Doctory Jimmy, and answered all his questions with great humor and enthusiasm. She cheerfully followed directions and did a great job copying symbols, writing her name, and drawing a picture of herself.

When it came time to get her four shots, she sat quietly on my lap as I read stories to her. She didn't cry, flinch, or anything at all. Even the nurse was amazed, saying that everyone cries when they get that last shot (which was the most painful one).

Later on she said, "It was just like being pinched. A really hard pinch!" Even Sam didn't do as good as Emma when it was his turn years ago. What a trooper.



The coolest gift I've gotten so far: a reprod...

June 09, 2008 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

The coolest gift I've gotten so far: a reproduction WWI lighter. Very steampunk.

My garden is exploding with radishes, cilantro, lettuce, and baby spinach. Glad to know that this 90 degree weather is good for somebody. I spent all weekend in south county by the beach, as far away from my third story apartment as possible.



It was a pleasant, lazy Sunday

June 09, 2008 by Adam in Family

It was a pleasant, lazy Sunday. Emma and I headed out at the crack of dawn to fetch some Challa bread for French toast. After breakfast, the kids and I played in the basement and did a short round of croquet before I headed out to the library. It's been fun getting books for the kids, and I was barely able to fit them all into my bag. My favorite part is spreading them out before the kids, their eyes wide with glee.

The kids and I headed to Toys-R-Us. Sam's been earning checks by doing chores, and he finally turned in ten of them to do a project. He wanted a steampunk nerf gun, so we picked one up and later started to paint it. I asked Emma to help me pick out an outside toy. She eventually settled on a slip-and-slide, with lots of lobbying from Sam.

When we set it up, Emma was a little nervous and would just crawl down the slide. Once Sam joined in, they were doing assorted crazy stunts and having a great time.

The day eventually wore down. Jamie went for a walk with a friend, Sam watched Buffy, and Emma and I played assorted games in the basement. Good times.



Saturday is coming to a close

June 08, 2008 by Adam in Family

Saturday is coming to a close. The kids are both pretty exhausted. Emma's in a bath that turned pink from her red hair dye. Sam's watching Buffy and nursing a sore finger he squished in a window. I'm pretty exhausted and will likely go to bed soon as well.

The day started with crepes as usual. I got everything together for the race today. Emma got decked out in her cheerleader outfit and practiced assorted moves. Everyone was in high spirits as we drove out to the hospital and got ready for the race.

The race itself was somewhat challenging, and I really pushed myself. After I was done, I wandered over to the tent area to find Emma working away at some pastry. I finished in 23 minutes, so it was basically a short snack for the kids.

Afterwards we went home where I ate way too much food. Next was picking up John and Natalie and heading to Valley River. We watched Kung Fu Panda, with me sitting next to Emma and Jamie going shopping. The movie was quite fun, an homage to all the Kung Fu movies of my childhood. Emma really liked it, amazingly enough. She kept making comments like "the screen is really big" and "it sure is loud."

For lunch we went to 5th Street Market. The kids spend the entire time watching this elaborate fountain that poured water into tipping bell-shaped containers. I got some new running shoes at the Nike store, as my old shoes gave me blisters. When we got home, everyone played until John and Natalie had to go home. Now we're all beat.



Well, I finished the race

June 07, 2008 by Adam in Adam

Well, I finished the race. I ran the 5K in about 23 minutes, finishing 25th place overall, and 5th out of 10 in my division. I suppose one of the good things about turning 40 is that I move up to a new division. Something to look forward to.

I'm pretty happy with how well I ran. I did better than I usually do, motivated by passing other runners on my way to the finish line. I wasn't quite sure how far until the finish, so I think I picked up my pace early, and then had to maintain it longer than expected. I supposed it turned out for the best.

My whole family was cheering, especially with Emma in her cheerleading outfit. Everyone had a good time, as there were lots of treats and coffee for Jamie.



There's a mod for Half-Life 2 called D

June 07, 2008 by Adam in Adam's Games

There's a mod for Half-Life 2 called D.I.P.R.I.P., a vehicle combat game. Amazingly enough, I can get it running on all three computers, though admittedly Emma is still only barely able to drive around. She's fine, as long as we don't actually try to hurt her in any way.

Sam and I decided not to actually attack each other this morning. Instead, Sam discovered a method to launch yourself up a sand bank, hitting the nitro burners and flying up into the air. It was loads of fun, with the ultimate move being to perform a complete loop and land on all four tires. In this particular shot, Sam and I are synchronizing our launches. If you look closely, you can see him in the background behind me.



Alas, I caught Bob's bronchitis, and I'm now ...

June 07, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

Alas, I caught Bob's bronchitis, and I'm now heavily fortified with Prednisone and a Z-Pak. I was looking forward to going to Portland tomorrow morning to see Isa's
Irish dance recital, but according to the Internet, this bronchitis stuff can be contagious, and I don't want to spead plague and pestilence throughout Portland. I will be sending good thoughts. We have had a quiet couple of weeks of new co-habitation, pretty much laid low and generally medicated.



It's another sweet Mocha Friday, though I've ...

June 06, 2008 by Adam in Family

It's another sweet Mocha Friday, though I've got some time yet before I head off to work and start my day. Work is slowly getting under control again after my time away. I'm still plugging away at the new phone system, hoping to make it work properly. It's hard to believe that we've only got a couple months before the new hospital opens.

Emma's been a little demon as of late. Yesterday she lost her dessert privileges by kicking in the car in the morning. When she was reminded of it that evening, she responded by biting Sam pretty hard. My only hope is that I remember Sam having a rough phase during preschool and that he's now quite sensible.

I'm running a race tomorrow, a short 5K run on the trail behind the new hospital. Strangely, my family seems pretty excited about it. Emma's going to wear her cheerleading outfit, and Jamie's shopping for pom-poms today. Sam keeps asking what I get if I win. I'll just be happy if I finish somewhere in the middle of my age group.

As for the rest of the weekend, I don't think we have any firm plans. I've given up on swimming. Maybe if it's nice we can run around outside. We'll see how it goes.



The crazy steampunk keyboard project continues

June 06, 2008 by Adam in Adam's Projects

The crazy steampunk keyboard project continues.

Yesterday Sam and I finished up the rest of the keys. I had some free time after dinner, so I cut the tops off with a Dremel and made a big pile for Sam and I to clean up before his bedtime. He'd pop the tops off that were still dangling by a few threads and then I'd clean up the rough parts of the plastic. Pretty soon we had a pile of garbage and a pile of key bases.

I noticed there were slight differences between the key bases. We'll probably have to sort them out before we stick buttons on. Speaking of which, I ordered 110 brass buttons that I hope will work along with a bunch of vinyl. I'm nervous about the button sizes, though theoretically the dimensions will work.



I don't normally get a chance to play video games

June 06, 2008 by Adam in Adam's Games

I don't normally get a chance to play video games. These days I'm usually living vicariously through my kids, watching them defeat villains, save the world, or decorate a house (as is the case with Emma).

I've recently been playing Mass Effect by Bioware, and have been extremely happy with it. The quality is top-notch, and the story is quite good. There are some elements which aren't remarkable, such as the combat, and occasionally the difficulty of the game doesn't match my current capabilities. Still, I think it's my favorite role-playing game of the year.



In the last month or so, I've seriously gotte...

June 05, 2008 by Adam in Adam

In the last month or so, I've seriously gotten into running. It's a little weird for me, as I have unpleasant feelings about it back when I was in high school. It was always a hot, uncomfortable, and asthma-inducing experience for me. For some reason, I'm having a much better time with it. Perhaps I'm craving that endorphin release that happens around the mile and a half mark.

This Saturday, I'm going to my first race, a 5K run on a newly opened trail next to the new hospital. Just to see if I could do it, I ran four miles outside during lunch yesterday. Other than a blister on my foot, it was great. I'm tempted to train for the 10K Butte to Butte later this year. We'll see how brave I feel.



After falling in love with the steampunk keyb...

June 03, 2008 by Adam in Adam's Projects

After falling in love with the steampunk keyboards, I took the first baby steps to making my own. Emma helped me disassemble an ancient HP keyboard. All that remains are the electronics, keys, and the big piece of plastic the keys go into. Emma helpfully gathered up all the keys in a big container as I popped them out.

Later that evening, Sam donned the safety goggles Sadie bought and I taught him how to cut the keys apart with a Dremel. All we want is the post so that later we can glue new keys on. I think we managed to get eight done, with a little under a hundred to go.



This was written earlier and only posted toda...

June 03, 2008 by Adam in Family

This was written earlier and only posted today:
It's Sunday morning here at Black Butte Ranch. As usual, I'm the first person up. Already I took a long walk, made some tea, and am trying to be quiet while everyone sleeps.

Friday was nice, especially as I had the day off work. Jamie and I chatted away as we got ready for our trip. I ran errands, including a trip to a scrap metal place to buy brass for projects.

When the kids got out of school, we loaded up the car and headed out. Emma was relatively good, and I read to her for some of the way. Sam watched Buffy the entire time.

The rest of the weekend was mostly hanging out with family. We spent yesterday afternoon swimming, which was fun. Last night Jenny had this big crew of people doing double-dutch jump rope in the driveway.

All the cousins had a great time playing with each other. Bill, who's nineteen, helped Sam and Destin build an elaborate fort out of fallen longs. Isa and Emma helped cover it in pine needles. Every time they get together, they work on it a little more.

I'm heading home today. I'll miss everyone. At the same time, sleeping in my own bed sounds quite nice.



Hi, back safe and sound, and struggling with ...

June 01, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

Hi, back safe and sound, and struggling with my ATT e-mail, so many apologies if I should have responded to something.
It's Sunday afternoon, and we're recuperating from our trip and our respective ailments; bronchitis for Bob and a sinus infection for me. Notwithstanding those ills, we had a delightful time in Northern Ireland. It was a fascinating history lesson, particularly because the Scotch-Irish part of the family, the McCords (central Pennsylvania, circa 1720) is fanatically proud of being Scotch Irish. Apparently in the late 1600's, the English gave the troublesome Scots big chuncks of northern Ireland. Beginning around 1720, the Scots headed off to the US, as the Ireland breathed a sigh of relief. However, we found the
Irish so gracious, and we really enjoyed our time there.
The last week has been pretty delightful, too. We were met at the Eugene Airport on Friday evening by a smiling Sadie and her gentlemen friend, Greg. The next few days were crammed with everything we could do - Emma's birthday, dinner with Aric, dinner with Jenny's and Seraph's gang, and Anna, a trip to the coast, and food at some of our old faves. It just went too fast!



My little Steampunk hobby continues

May 28, 2008 by Adam in Adam's Projects

My little Steampunk hobby continues. I decided to do something a bit more practical, buying some nice glass jars for my bathroom, painting the tops, and putting fun labels on them.

For the less scientific among you, "Follicle Restraining Gelatine" is hair gel and "Photonic Resistance Cream" is sunscreen. They're way more cool with the new names, though.

Jamie did the calligraphy, which I'm hoping is a sign of acceptance, if not actual enthusiasm. She hardly complained about my paper aging via soaking in tea bags.



It's back to work for me today, though admitt...

May 27, 2008 by Adam in Family

It's back to work for me today, though admittedly it'll be a short week before the family reunion next weekend. I'll probably spend today fiddling with phones at work again.

Yesterday was very busy but very fun. In the morning Sam helped me mount the percussion cap rifle on the wall. It had been in the family since before the Civil War, so I felt guilty keeping it up on a shelf. I helped Emma print out a bunch of fairies, cut them out, and hang them from the ceiling as party decorations. Finally the magic party hour arrived and the hordes of friends and family swooped in.

It was great seeing all my sisters in the same room. Sadie made fairy wings for everyone, which ended up being a safety hazard. Jenny was telling us all about her adventures in France, from driving insanely fast to funny stories about waiters. Seraph and I chatted about Steampunk and the impact of world disasters on the price of clothes. I had fun showing off the Audioscope to my dad, and weaseled an offer of help making brass goggles out of him. My mom talked about Ireland and made me wish I had more time to chat with her. Eventually the kids all went down to the play room and screamed and yelled until the party was over.

Emma got quite a bit of loot. I gave her an MP3 player, which she cheerfully blared the Nutcracker from while she did art projects on Yayoe's giant drawing paper. Emma also ended up with a bunch of clothes, so there was the inevitable fashion show after the party.

As the day wound down, we cleaned up and tried to wrangle some tired and cranky kids through their normal routine. Sam was a bit frustrated with the amount of homework he had to do. His Jimmy Carter report is finished, but now he's catching up with his normal math and spelling. Tonight we have fencing, so it'll likely be another busy day.



I'm going to declare the Audioscope finished

May 26, 2008 by Adam in Adam's Projects

I'm going to declare the Audioscope finished. As with most of my hardware projects, there's a comedy of errors that resulted in me having to redo things again. I'd fix one issue, only to have another pop up. The most recent was that one of the speakers stopped working due to a broken connection when I bent the headphone wire to make the mp3 player fit. I also lost one of my fake rivets from the front part.

Still, a bit of soldering and glue later, everything seems to work and it looks appropriately Steampunkish. The speakers aren't as loud as I want, but I'm quite happy with the paint job on the mp3 player. That went fast and worked the best of all my experiments.

It might be fun to do another Steampunk project, but I think I'd stick to something simpler and practical. On the plus side, my office got cleaned up and looks very nice. I really like the dark wood and bare metal look. Plus it helped that I made Sam move all his Legos and other stuff.



We went to see the new Indiana Jones movie to...

May 26, 2008 by Adam in Family

We went to see the new Indiana Jones movie today, with Sam and Sadie ganging up to make me wear my "costume". Basically I've got a hat Colin gave me years ago that makes me look like Indiana Jones. The rest of the outfit is pretty standard, but the hat is the key. The movie itself was okay, with excellent action sequences and an okay plot. Sam declared at the end that Raiders wasn't about aliens, and I quietly agreed.

The weekend has been very exciting so far, with another day to go. On Saturday Sadie and Greg came over. The kids immediately swarmed them and gave them a tour of the house. I snuck away and returned with canning supplies. We made apple butter and ginger pear marmalade. Even better was making labels for the jam with made-up names like "Yellow Pony Curd". Very fun.

Today the girls decorated for Emma's party, which is sort of turning into a three-way birthday party for Jenny, Sadie, and Emma. As usual, my gifts were thrown together at the last minute, but they're well meaning. I also mowed the lawns, hoping beyond hope that it'll be somehow sunny tomorrow.

As for the rest of the day, I took the kids to the park, helped Emma play Wii Fit, and did a bit of drawing. Sam really got into Wii Fit, playing an hour yesterday and cheerfully saying how sore he was today. Ah, was a fascinating modern world we live in.



It's that sweet Mocha Friday yet again, my on...

May 23, 2008 by Adam in Family

It's that sweet Mocha Friday yet again, my one day of indulgence.

The kids were relatively good last night. Emma started to throw a temper tantrum when I told her she couldn't use Jamie's pens. I explained that throwing a fit didn't work and it was better to talk about it. She seemed okay with that and settled down again. We'll see if I can use the whole "logic" approach in the future.

Otherwise Emma was fun to hang out with last night. We drew, played dolls, and ran around outside. Sam dug up an old webcam of mine and made up the "security guard" game. The camera was trained on the big jewel Sadie gave him, and the thief tried to steal it away without being caught. Good times.

It's looking like we're going to have a very exciting weekend. Jamie and I have date night tonight, with Sam and Emma going over to Dave's house. Tomorrow Sadie comes to visit and hopefully make jam. Monday is Emma's bithday. Fun, fun!



The week has been moving along

May 22, 2008 by Adam in Family

The week has been moving along. I spent yesterday playing with the web-enabled phones that they're installing at RiverBend. It was kinda fun being able to see my phone number and picture on my phone. Today will probably be less play and more work, as I've got a ton of meetings that I need to actually stay awake in.

Jamie and Emma have seemed groggy in the evenings. Mostly Sam and I have been hanging out and visiting. Last night he watched Buffy while I worked on my computer game, then we'd talk about the episode later. I reassured Sam he wouldn't lose his immortal soul if he slept with a girl in high school, though perhaps there were other issues to consider. It's funny that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is an icebreaker for having "those" kind of talks about high school, growing up, and good and evil.



Perhaps she is greiving the fact that she wil...

May 21, 2008 by Jamie in Emma

Perhaps she is greiving the fact that she will be five soon, and no longer able to legally avoid school, frolic naked at the beach, or pass gas and have people say, "Oh, isn't that cute!"



Just to document that Emma isn't made up of s...

May 21, 2008 by Adam in Emma

Just to document that Emma isn't made up of sugar and spice and everything nice, I thought I'd quickly relay a temper-tantrum she had last night.

She was yelling and destroying things and kicking. We tried everything, even carrying her around outside like when she was a baby. Not much worked and eventually she got tired and went to sleep.

It was quite surprising to me, though. Normally she's such a sweet girl. I can tell she'll be fun as a teenager.



Well, Sue, Sam also wants a puppy

May 20, 2008 by Adam in Wielesek

Well, Sue, Sam also wants a puppy....which gives "places to go" a whole new meaning! :-)

(Edit: this is the real Adam. I'm guessing Jamie really posted the above, not me.)



Oh, dear, yesterday's posting should have sai...

May 20, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

Oh, dear, yesterday's posting should have said that the Irish do NOT move at the same breakneck speed as Londoners do. Derry is also the only completely walled city in Ireland, and some four hundred years ago, withstood a siege of 105 days.
It's brisk up here along the coast, but this morning is quite clear and sunny. This would sure be a good place to have a farm, and all the hedgerows and stone fences have been in place for the last five hundred years.
Adam and Jamie, you know Sam wants a trip to England, and I have been thinking about all the best places to go.



Hi, all, and sorry for not posting sooner

May 19, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

Hi, all, and sorry for not posting sooner. I've been having trouble with internet connection on my laptop. This trip to Northern Ireland has been a good end of the trip, since we both caught colds/flu and have not wanted to gallivant around at breakneck speed. Fortunately, people in Northern Ireland do move at the same speed as in London, so we are having a lovely time. Ireland looks a lot like eastern Pennsylvania, and Oregon. On Sunday afternoon we sat in an ocean front cafe admiring a scene, including mountains coming right down to the ocean, which looked just like Florence. We're in Derry right now, where the McCord part of the family came from. Apparently the Scots were lured here by the British with promises of lots of land, all taken from the Irish, and, according to what we gathered
at the Migration Studies Centre, part of the Ulster Folk Park, realized that the Irish didn't like them and they weren't going to get rich anyhow, so around 1700 started off for America. (There's some religious persecution in there somewhere, as well.) Although the locals all deny any
nationalist/loyalist/Catholic/Protestant conflict, we've seen quite a lot of political graffiti here in Derry. (The
city was originally named Derry. When the English took over,
about 350 years ago, the English renamed it Londonderry, I suppose just to rub the Irish's nose in the defeat. The "London" part has been spraypainted out on a lot of the
traffic signs. If there's anything I've learned it's that
people consider a particular place home, and they're sure unhappy if someone else tries to take it away. We've sure learned a lot of history on this trip. Much love, mom



New windows and sliders

May 19, 2008 by Judy in Hanes

New windows and sliders. New siding. New garage door. New garage inside. Hope it all works.



We had a pleasant Saturday, which continued t...

May 18, 2008 by Adam in Family

We had a pleasant Saturday, which continued to be very hot. After a tasty breakfast, we took the kids up to Hendrick's park where they frolicked in the flowers and chased a turkey around the grounds. We never did figure out why there was a turkey released into the semi-wild, but it gave Sam great entertainment.

Later Sam went to a play date with Chase and Jamie went to help at a garage sale. I took Emma to Michael's to pick up project supplies. She was very good the whole time, quite the contrast from this last week. Afterwards we drew and took it easy.

Jamie made a great salad, out of beets of all things, and we eventually got the kids to bed.



My little Steampunk MP3 player continues to c...

May 18, 2008 by Adam in Adam's Projects

My little Steampunk MP3 player continues to come along nicely. I discovered some great gold/brass spray paint that we had. I love the way it looks and it was pretty easy to apply. The hard part was carefully disassembling the plastic case so I didn't break anything horribly. After that I masked off the plastic screen and sprayed away.

I took some black paint, diluted it, and smeared it around to give it the "aged metal" look. Later I took some tinfoil to make the faceplate, sprayed it, and glued it on. To complete the look, I cut the tops off tiny brass nails and glued them on as rivets.

I'd like to add some lettering to the buttons to the right. If I can find some good stamps, I'll probably write on them with a Sharpie and then apply it that way. There's some crazier techniques that involve printing from a computer onto plastic, and then applying that before the ink dries. I'll probably try that as a last resort.



The Starbucks people gave me a free second sh...

May 16, 2008 by Adam in Family

The Starbucks people gave me a free second shot in my Friday mocha this morning. Already I can sense the Heavens parting and the caffeine angels descending down to fill me with bliss. I'll have to be careful to curb borderline inappropriate humor in my e-mail today.

It was smoking hot last night. I ended up sleeping downstairs as our bedroom was so warm that spontaneous combustion was a real concern. I opened the windows at one point and it didn't feel any cooler outside our house. This morning at seven o'clock I would have cheerfully ran around in shorts and a t-shirt.

I watched the kids last night while Jamie went to eat dinner with Barbara. Emma and I played in the sandbox and got very messy while Sam watched Buffy i