It's been an age since we last posted

March 31, 2008 by Seraph in Cortez

It's been an age since we last posted. For Easter we went out to the Warm Springs reservation with Hanni. Isa loved horse back ridding, and swimming several times a day. Robbie and I got massages, and Robbie even got in a game of golf!
Today it's back to school for Isa. I think she was getting a little bored the last days of the break. Although she did ask how long it was until summer vacation!
I'm in crazy deadline time at work. Things should calm down some after April 16th, but I'll will stay mostly insane until mid-June.

We've been a lot lower key these last couple ...

March 30, 2008 by Adam in Family

We've been a lot lower key these last couple days after the excitement of Friday. On Saturday we headed into town and spent a great hour at Powell's books. Sam picked up the Zombie Survival Guide. I grabbed three for myself, and Jamie tossed in something vaguely romantic looking at the last minute. Emma got fairy wings, which she's worn off and on the last couple days.

For lunch we went to Old Town Pizza, which was supposedly haunted. The kids liked to run around and look at things. Emma thought Chinatown was pretty neat. Some day we'll have to take her to the Japanese gardens.

As for today, we were thinking about going to the Pittock Mansion, but never quite got there. We visited Jamie's dad. Sam wanted to see the rifles, mostly from a zombie defense perspective. Emma liked seeing all the Native American things Ray had collected.

Since then, we've been puttering around, getting our last lazy moment in while we can.

Totally forgot (I know, and when is that news...

March 30, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

Totally forgot (I know, and when is that news) to say that I had my first Family and Friends trip to the shrink, with
Aric, who is at least as nice as you kids, and sometimes more willing to go along with the gag, as Mom used to say.
It was good; we talked about kid-stepmom roles, and about my desire to be a helpful resource but not bossy. Dr. Webb
obviously was impressed with Aric's good nature; at the end of the session told Aric he admired him for being willing to come in (I believe
his rather earthy compliment was, "You have b....") Okay, Adam, you're next. I talked with Sadie about doing this with me. She said she'd better write some stuff down, because the meeting could fall on one of those days she and
I are nuts about each other, and it would just be a big waste. I'm expecting a laser pointer and a flow chart.
Emma, you know how Sam was trying to teach you not to be
afraid of spiders by taking you down to the furnace room and turning out the light (not to worry, A. and J, I was standing there with my finger on the switch in case she started to scream.) Anyhow, Emma, I got you a rubber spider
to put in Sam's bed when he's not looking. Don't tell Sam!

After waking up yesterday morning to find the...

March 30, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

After waking up yesterday morning to find the ground white with hail, this morning is sunny and clear. I'm hoping tho that the geranium starts I left overnight in the trunk of the car are not cursing me and my progeny. Bill Poole has been here doing the small loose end things like putting in the bathroom mirror and other stuff on my Honey-Do list. I'm going to try to pin down Sadie's summer vacation so we can plan the picture distribution I scheduled for last winter. Boy, if that doesn't make her want to come home, I don't know what will! Had fun with Jordan at Brushfire.

We're up in Portland, slowly waking up

March 29, 2008 by Adam in Family

We're up in Portland, slowly waking up. Yesterday we rolled into town and headed straight for OMSI. It seems that a good percentage of families with kids decided to do the same, and we had to park four blocks away. Inside was so crazy that Robbie and Isa decided to give up once they got to the line for tickets.

We had a pretty good time once inside. Sam loved doing the brain teaser puzzles. We also spent a bunch of time in the physics room. With his hair so long, experiments with static electricity were especially dramatic.

As for today, I'm not sure what we're doing. I'd like to go downtown and putter around. It's pretty rare that we go to the city proper. Typically we're puttering around West Linn, taking it easy.

I just got this e-mail with the subject "From...

March 27, 2008 by Adam in Emma

I just got this e-mail with the subject "From Emma" in my InBox:

dear dadda emma loves you with all her heart. even mom too, and so does jamie love you with all her heart
and sigh i was a poop for you

It's Mocha Thursday for me today

March 27, 2008 by Adam in Family

It's Mocha Thursday for me today. We're heading up to Portland tomorrow, so I'm partaking of my weekly indulgence a little early this week. It'll be fun to get out of town for a few days. I'm looking forward to taking the kids to the zoo or OMSI. Perhaps Jamie and I can even sneak downtown for a little while.

The whole family went over to Barbara and Zoltan's last night, getting everyone to bed a little later than normal. I think everyone had a good time. We played Apples-to-Apples and the kids played cheerfully together. I sort of feel sorry for Sam, who's the one person who doesn't understand any French. Though most of the conversation was in English, there was occasional French or German phrases tossed around. Emma was bossing the dog around in German by the end of the evening.

We're loving our basement these days, which looks brand new with the fresh coat of paint. The other day Sam and I had a rousing game of Radioactive ball. The goal is to knock the ball into the other player with a couch cushion. If it hits, that part is considered unuseable, so we're always crawling around on the floor towards the end of the game. Good times.

A quick hi from Mom

March 23, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

A quick hi from Mom. We drove up to Portland yesterday to visit a cousin of Bob's in the VA Hospital, and to stop at Seraph and Robbie's for a brief visit. A lovely day weatherwise, as well. Love from mom

Happy Easter to all

March 23, 2008 by Adam in Family

Happy Easter to all.

Yesterday we got to color eggs, my favorite part of the whole holiday. With Jamie's ever-vigilant desire to minimize waste, we only got two eggs to decorate. I went all-out and made them into temporary works of art. The bunny breaking out of the egg turned out well, but I was most happy with my watercolor-style egg. I ended up masking off certain parts and then using a paintbrush to add the dye. It seemed a shame to see Jamie turn them into egg salad this morning.

The kids had a good time finding eggs this morning and now Emma is settled with a movie and Sam's reading the book he got. I'm going to start painting soon, the last step in fixing the leaky ceiling. As a bonus, we're patching up other holes that have appeared over the years. I suspect we'll have to do it again as the kids get older, but hopefully it'll look nice for a little while.

Though it's dreary today, I'd like to take the kids outside. Everyone seems in a better mood when they get a chance to run around.

Emma's been really excited about Easter this year

March 23, 2008 by Adam in Emma

Emma's been really excited about Easter this year. Throughout the week at school, they've been making eggs and drawing pictures of bunnies and chicks. Yesterday we spent hours working on Easter-themed projects. There was a paper bunny named Lucy that became our table's centerpiece. I took the "Happy New Year's" off a party thingie and turned it into bunny ears. We made and colored paper eggs and taped them on the kitchen door.

This morning Jamie had to keep Emma in bed until seven o'clock, as she was up early. She came down the stairs and was all smiles as she went looking for eggs and opened them up. At this point, she knows that we're the ones hiding them, but it doesn't seem to diminish the magic all that much.

After the egg hunt, we did a Peter Rabbit puzzle and I read the story of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle in a British accent.

Now she's watching Barbie Mariposa, a fairy-themed Barbie video. She opened up the little marketing brochure inside the DVD case, filled with cross-promotional advertisements for dolls and such. Her first words were "Can I have these?" We laughed and replied, "All of them?" Later on she looked over all her Easter goodies and said, "I didn't get very much."

Sam got his spelling test home last night and...

March 21, 2008 by Adam in Sam

Sam got his spelling test home last night and I noticed he'd missed one of the non-challenge words. I told him I was very proud of him. He looked at me funny, wondering why I'd be proud that he'd got one wrong. I replied that it was the first time this year that he'd missed one.

Sam's been doing relatively well these days. Fencing has been on hold for a couple weeks, but he's looking forward to starting up again. I might lure him over to the Eugene Fencing Club some days, as I'd love to fence with him.

It's Mocha Friday, though that wonderful elix...

March 21, 2008 by Adam in Family

It's Mocha Friday, though that wonderful elixir is gone for now. Jamie called me at work this morning to discuss the replacement of our normal coffee maker with a French press. I waffled a bit, concerned about the volume, though she won me over with the argument that it made stronger coffee. If all else fails, there's always my trusty espresso maker.

Emma visited a dairy farm yesterday, returning home full of facts about udders, manure, and milking machinery. She also got her animal magazine, which prompted us to make a bunny and duck out of pipe cleaners.

I'm looking forward to swimming tonight. It always makes a nice end to the week, relaxing and fun. Watching Emma swim around in the deep water makes me feel kinda proud of her.

One of the best things about being in a VISTA...

March 21, 2008 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

One of the best things about being in a VISTA corps, is, of course, making close personal and professional relationships. I simply can't facilitate certain workshops or work on projects without Carly, my previous VISTA co-leader. Half of my current projects are collaborations with her, or she advises me on their direction. Only recently did I realize what a rare gift our relationship was, when sharing one of our stories at a conference. I wanted to share this picture of us.

It's hard to believe that it's Thursday already

March 20, 2008 by Adam in Family

It's hard to believe that it's Thursday already. The week just seems cruising along, with Spring Break right around the corner.

I had breakfast with mom on Tuesday, and went out to dinner with Jamie last night. We took a pack of cards down to Turtles and played a few rounds of gin. Such rare moments are the bedrock of our marriage these days.

Sam's been playing a pirate-themed game on his Wii called Zack and Wiki. Naturally this led to him setting up this elaborate puzzle in the basement and Shanghaiing Emma and I to play through it. The pirate attire lured me down, but it was fun to see Sam's creativity in the puzzles. Last night when my mom was watching the kids, Sam had her going through paper versions of the game. Quite funny.

Emma's been a little weepy lately, and stayed home from school earlier this week. Hopefully Spring Break gives her a little time to take it easy. We're looking at going to Portland for the end of it, so I'll see if we can do a zoo run with Seraph, Robbie, and Isabell. Fun, fun.

Nice breakfast with Adam, and a delightful Ir...

March 18, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

Nice breakfast with Adam, and a delightful Irish dinner last night prepared by Jamie. Very much fun to see the kids;
Emma did a little Irish dance for Bob and me. Tons o' hugs to all.

The weekend is coming to a close and I'm plum...

March 17, 2008 by Adam in Family

The weekend is coming to a close and I'm plumb tuckered out. Friday night I took the kids swimming as usual, both of whom seemed to have a good time. I went to the library alone Saturday morning, returning with goodies. I found a Gremlins movie, so Sam would be assured a solid foundation in American B-movies.

For lunch we went to Humble Bagel, but first Sam and I stopped by the Roosevelt gym to see the Eugene Fencing Club's Ides of March tournament. It was fun saying hello to my fencing teaching from twenty years ago. I really want to get into fencing again, though I'm not sure if it's something Sam and I can do together. We were going to go to Barbara and Zoltan's for dinner, but Luka was running a fever and we ended up going out for dinner instead.

Sunday morning we went off to Oakway mall to run around. I picked up a snazzy new shirt I'm planning on wearing tomorrow. Emma got a fairy coloring book, which we worked on for much of the afternoon. Sam got a little 20 questions electronic game that he played all the way home. Jamie got a free coupon for a beverage since they forgot about her bagel order until she reminded them.

On the way home we picked up a whole bunch of soil and bark-o-mulch. When Jamie went to the Hult center with Angie, the kids and I put in a couple hours of landscaping work. I even broke out the power washer and seriously cleaned up after myself. It's looking quite nice.

As the day wore on, I found myself increasingly tired. Sam's been drawing elaborate puzzles, basically 2D versions of a computer adventure game. I sat with him for awhile as he drew keys, frozen in huge ice crystals, and various pools of lava and other obstacles. In addition to being creative, the detail on things like his cartoon cannibal were pretty amazing.

I brought some work home this weekend to fini...

March 16, 2008 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I brought some work home this weekend to finish the first draft of an article I'm writing on asset-based community development for our first ever national Campus Compact VISTA newsletter. I'm excited about the organizational structure of the newsletter, which is decentralized and has rotating editor positions. It only requires complete commitment on the part of the five committee members to take responsibility for their part of the newsletter; we'll see how it turns out.

I saw a FIRST regional robotics competition with Greg this Saturday. I think I was supposed to become a zealot after seeing one match, but I remain only moderately excited about robots. There is, of course, something interesting about a thousand high school kids dressed in matching outfits, taping their machines for battle. And I want to believe that those teams represent some fundamental societal shift to bring sexy back to science and technology. Alas, seeing white suburban geeks build robots seemed like the same old show, just a little more organized and with many more mascots that the traditional science fair. In short, I've failed as the girlfriend of a geek.

It appears that everyone's getting on the ban...

March 14, 2008 by Adam in Adam

It appears that everyone's getting on the bandwagon.

Happy Talk like a Physicist Day.

This event has been observed for 100 kilodays, within an order of magnitude. Though the sample size is low, it appears to be significant enough to challenge existing societal modalities.

I'm slowly enjoying my Friday mocha, along wi...

March 14, 2008 by Adam in Family

I'm slowly enjoying my Friday mocha, along with my usual snack of almonds and raisins. It's a perfect way to start the day.

Work has been comically busy as of late. I wrote down a list of all the things I needed to do, with multi-hour tasks summarized with single words like "FAX" and "Locums". My list is still far bigger than I want it to be. It's hard being a nerd super-star.

The week has been fairly typical at home. Sam brought home a report on who his hero was. I read it, thinking that of course it would be his father. It turns out Sam's hero is himself, which I should have expected. He explained later that I was his second choice, a sort of hero understudy. Swell.

Emma and I had a little time to play after work yesterday. My role shifted from me being the orgre that captured her in a blanket, to being a prince who rescued her, and then later I was a customer coming into her jewelry store. I don't think Emma lacks for imagination.

The weekend looks to be somewhat busy. Tonight will probably be swimming. Tomorrow night we're off to Barbara and Zoltan's for dinner. Sunday Jamie and Angie are going to the Hult center, so I'll need to find something to do with the critters. Perhaps I can make something up involving lots of duct tape.

A quick "I love you" and Good Morning from th...

March 12, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

A quick "I love you" and Good Morning from the elderly one.I've had so much fun the last few days. Friday Bob and I took the bus (through Amtrak, which confuses me somewhat) to Portland, where Robbie and Isa picked us up. Isa went to play with her friend Issac, who is such a cutie pie, and we grownups went to the fund raiser for Chief Joseph School. The parents whose kids go there are very hip, and it was a fun, light hearted crowd. I got a framed antique travel poster for $65 and a reading lamp with a figure of a little mouse reading for $65. The next day, Saturday, we drove down to Lohring's birthday party. It was also fun, and Lohring and I got to talk a little about my hoped for oral history of Dorothy during the family reunion. She has some great stories about the early days of being a doctor's daughter in Reno. She talked once about having babies born at their house. Hope this oral history thing works out.

Also, Jamie is going to come and help me organize family photos. I would like to separate the old photos by family - Miller, Steane, Jones and Stallsmith, and ask each of you kids to take the photos and memorabilia, letters, etc. from one family branch to pass on.

On Saturday night, Jenny, the boys, Seraph, Robbie, and Isa all were there for dinner. Lots of fun and trip planning. Earlier on Saturday, I took Seraph shopping at Folkways. You
know how hard it is to get her to go clothes shopping, but she finally acquiesed. (I know, how many parents have to make their kid accept a clothes shopping trip?) I wanted her to get a dress, but, as she pointed out without a hint
of sarcasm, she has two dresses. I should add that she looked lovely, and quite stylish, at Friday night's soiree.
Isa and I are planning to put on a Pioneer play when Sadie is here in July, so save room on your calendar, and we practiced over the weekend. We had a pretty day on Sunday, driving out to the farm to look for the cougars we've heard
live there (and Seraph and Robbie found poop which might be
cougar poop), and look for areas to dam to build up water resources during the summers since I don't see people grasping that global warming is with us. Isa and I had fun
looking for places where the faeries might be hanging out.
Last night was fun; I picked up Emma while Jamie went to work out and the boys went to fencing. We were supposed to go to the Tunnel of Doom for a car wash, but never got farther than our stop at Bob's to visit the kitties and do art work with his incredible collection of magic markers. We stopped for Spanish before going home.(I have yet to meet a non-anglisized south of the border person who refers to himself or herself as something other than Spanish. I also hate to use something other than the word Mexican for someone from Mexico; it's like validating the idea you should be ashamed of being Mexican.)Emma is such a kick!
Love to all, Mom

Jamie, the consummate evolutionary biologist

March 11, 2008 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Jamie, the consummate evolutionary biologist.

So, the web guy at work just decided to take a sweet job somewhere else. I don't blame him; working on a campus like Brown means free cookies every day. And I like cookies. But my job is an empty shell without him, and not only am I terrified that I'll quickly forget how to use a computer and revert to stamping letters on homemade collaged cards, but I don't know how to have fun without him. He is my office bowling buddy, my science fiction friend, my satirical confidant. Our web guy speaks truth to power... or at least mocks power in a way that makes me feel good about challenges I face. It's gonna be rough going without him.

The week continues to move along at a steady pace

March 11, 2008 by Adam in Family

The week continues to move along at a steady pace. There's a big hole in the ceiling of our basement. It turns out I guessed the issue correctly (a leaky pipe joint). Perhaps if web development doesn't pan out I could give plumbing a try, though I'm not sure I have the properly low-riding jeans. Today the hole should get patched up and we can put this unfortunate event behind us.

My family members were their usual goofy selves yesterday. The kids break into song at the drop of a hat. Jamie attempted unsuccesfully to be above it all. Coming home after work is like visiting a comedy club on improv night.

I had breakfast with my dad, which was lots of fun. I seem to rarely see him, yet every time we get together we blab for hours. I gave him advice on networking his dental clinic. I also know more about the upcoming family reunion, though it seems much is still in flux.

Can one be "martyred" in molasses, really? S...

March 10, 2008 by Jamie in Sadie & Greg

Can one be "martyred" in molasses, really? Seems as if you are too weak to run from a wave of viscous sugar syrup, you may need to be picked from the heard anyway ;-)

I am sitting at home, wading through the emai...

March 10, 2008 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I am sitting at home, wading through the emails that are too pressing to leave in the withering sun of my inbox for another day. A national network of Campus Compact VISTA folks, so delicate in its beginnings, must be watered daily. Even if I have a cold, the revolution plows ahead.

Winter has finally begun it's strip-tease to Spring here in the northeast, shedding layers of salt and snow with a nice week of wind and rain. Providence is blessedly warmer than Williamstown ever was in March, although it is also much wetter. I spent Sunday in Boston, hunting down the plaque for the Great Mollasses Flood of the early 1900s and finding the small plastic marker thoroughly dissapointing. A proper plaque would have shown the hieght of the mollasses wave (40 feet!) or listed the names of those martyred (21 innocent victims, and uncounted numbers of livestock!). It's not even a part of the freedom trail; I plan to write a letter.

The weekend is over and I'm running late, get...

March 10, 2008 by Adam in Family

The weekend is over and I'm running late, getting to work. The time change took everyone by surprise and we scurried about setting clocks yesterday.

I took Sam swimming Friday night, as Emma didn't want to go. We had a great time and made up a game involving keeping a ball under water and trying to get it to a goal on either side of the pool. I missed Emma a little, but it's admittedly challenging to play with Sam and prevent Emma from drowning.

Saturday morning the kids went to Dave's house and Jamie and I went on a walkabout. We went to the library and picked up chocolate for my dad's birthday. Next we collected the kids, and headed out to the pizza place. There was singing and running about, and we went home exhausted. The kids were grumpy that night and Jamie was off at Pat's. I finally shuffled them off to bed and blissful sleep.

Sunday was amazing. The weather was warm and sunny and I leaped into shorts and a tank top. Jamie made a birthday brunch for Dave, Kirsten, and Josh with a "pioneer breakfast" theme. The food was incredible and then we all played outside for the afternoon. I spent an hour or so weeding and preparing the garden. Jamie took Emma to the park. Later on Sam and I washed and began reassembling the Lego pirate ship that had been given to us a few weeks ago. Good times.

I am writing this between a retruitment and t...

March 07, 2008 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I am writing this between a retruitment and training break at the IMPACT student conference at Northeastern University in Boston. I, alas, continue to have a fever/cough/cold/gravel voice, but I think that gave me a devil-may-care edge in my last workshop on Asset-Based Community Development. My co-presenter and bff Carly Bruder was equally drained through the two hour presentation. During a small group section of the workshop, she leaned over and said, "let's just cut out the rest." And we did, but no one seemed to notice- it was as if we, practicing Asset-Based workshop facilitation, gave up control of the workshop to that participants, and they stepped up the the plate with great panache. I was astounded. Well, if I had any energy left, I would be astounded; I just facilitated the best training I've ever done, and I wasn't even conscious for it.

I just finished the last few drops of sweet, ...

March 07, 2008 by Adam in Family

I just finished the last few drops of sweet, sweet Cafe Mocha. As expected, I now feel like I can take over the world. I suppose I'll have to settle for getting through my e-mail for now.

When it rains, it pours. Last night Jamie was off at the gym and then at Angie's house. I was playing in the basement with the kids, folding clothes, and noticed a funny bump on the ceiling. I reached out and poked it, only to have it pop open and a gush of water pour down. I cleaned up, cut a hole in the rotten part of the ceiling, and put a bucket underneath. Emma hit the nail on the head when she said, "Mamma's going to be really mad."

Sam and I continue to be a little sick. He's got a cough and I have the sniffles. Still, we both seem to be on the mend. Winters are always hard with the sicknesses that wash through our family. I can't wait for Spring.

We have a busy weekend ahead of us. Tonight is swimming. Tomorrow is my dad's 65th birthday party. Jamie's out in the evening. Sunday at noon is a pioneer brunch for Dave, in lieu of a birthday party. Busy, busy.

Sadie, you have to find the last few Doonesbu...

March 05, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

Sadie, you have to find the last few Doonesbury strips for Greg. Much love, Mom

It's been a rough last few days in the Miller...

March 04, 2008 by Adam in Family

It's been a rough last few days in the Miller-Mellor household. Saturday started fine, with Jamie heading up to Portland for the day to do some antique shopping. Unfortunately by the end of the day both Sam and I were getting bad headaches and weren't feeling so great. By Sunday I was better, but Sam took a turn for the worse. He had a fever for most of the last few days, peaking at 104 degrees. A couple nights ago he was throwing up and feeling miserable. Last night was better, though he wasn't looking at his best when I left for work.

Work has been a little nutty as the go-lives of last week were put off to this week. There have been some bumps along the way, leading to the occasional witty exchanges of dialog:
Pam: "At least you know what the explaination is now."
Me: "Sure I do! The explaination is that I'm an idiot!"

Hopefully Sam will be feeling better tonight. Yesterday after work I just played with Emma while Sam slept and Jamie took a break. There was playing pretend, dolls, drawing, and a little bit of computer games over the many hours. It's rare that I just hang out with Emma, so it was a bit of a treat. I think my "playing pretend" bucket is empty now, though. That girl's imagination is astounding.

I was going to see Greg and his family this e...

March 02, 2008 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I was going to see Greg and his family this evening, taking care of a few stray birthdays with one dinner while they're all in Rhode Island to watch one of Greg's robot competition. However, Greg usually returns from these grueling competitions with circles under his eyes so big it's as if he scuffled with some of the rougher high school teams. His speech is often reduced to a melodic, closed-mouth mumbling, and his fingertips and knuckles are scraped from the rough metal edges of the robots. So instead of carrying the conversation for both of us, we're going to eat macaroni and cheese at home in a stupor-induced silence. No one told me growing up would be so tiring.

Work is fine. I was talking to a friend from Williamstown recently, and I really miss the simple collaborations of the Northern Berkshires. Even the occasional politics of the place seem quaint from here. I'm excited and eager to start graduate school in the fall.

And, of course, the inevitable graduate school update:
The University of Minnesota MPP program: accepted with full tuition and a graduate assistantship
Brandeis MPP program: accepted with a couple scholarships and they're matching of my education award
Waiting on: UMass Amherst, PSU

At this point, my graduate choice has nothing to do with you. I promise. I'm not accounting for your existence in my decision making. Money is the only thing that counts. However, if you give it to me, I may consider adding you into my accounting.

Here we are in sunny Sunnyside, Washington, o...

March 01, 2008 by Sue in Wielesek

Here we are in sunny Sunnyside, Washington, on a short sidetrip after the Junior College basketball tournament in Tri-Cities. The Lane team didn't win either of their games, but they really did well to get into the playoffs. It has been fun to stretch out my Mom days a little longer.

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