The Last Mocha of 2009

December 31, 2009 by Adam in Family

I just finished my mocha on this rainy winter day.  I left the house when all was quiet.  Emma had woken up in the middle of the night, afraid to go to sleep.  After trying to comfort her for awhile, she asked for mom and I took her downstairs.  It's strange to think that in a few weeks, it'll just be me.

It's the last day of 2009, traditionally a day of reflecting on the past and looking to the future.  It's been a year of ups and downs, taking Sam to England, Emma beginning 1st grade, and Jamie and I starting the process of getting divorced.  I had a couple of really lousy months in there, but find myself surprisingly happy lately, grateful for all the wonderful things in my life.

Jamie and I continue to be cordial to each other.  Though there's certainly tension at times, we're focused on the kids and making sure they're doing well.  She's been quite reasonable with many things and I hope she makes a good ex-wife.

The kids are a little nervous, with Emma being the most vocal.  I think Sam will have a hard time at first, as he's never been fond of changes.  Emma will miss whichever parent isn't around.  Still, they're smart and resilient kids and I think in time they'll adjust.

As for me, the future continues to be increasingly clear.  There are still challenging transitions to move through, but I know where I'm heading and excited to get there.

Short term, a surprising number of things are going on.  I'm hanging out with the kids tonight, Jamie leaves for the coast tomorrow, Sadie and Greg arrive tomorrow at noon, and we're having a dinner party Saturday night.  In a week or so, Sadie, Joanna, and I plan on getting tattoos.  In a couple weeks I'm taking Sam in to get contacts.  Towards the end of next month, Jamie moves out, the kids go between houses, and I likely have a new work schedule.  Life's busy, but good.

2010 is going to be a great year.

Mattress Fun

December 30, 2009 by Adam in Sam

One of the presents I got the kids was an inflatable mattress.  It was spontaneous, something I found on sale at Fred Meyer's.  They'd had a previous one, which they destroyed after some extreme play sessions.  The same might happen with this one, but at least they'll have gotten quite a bit of joy out of it.

Sam also decided to start an exercise routine last night.  He was doing push-ups, jumping jacks, and did the stair-stepper while watching Lost for 20 minutes.  I'm really proud of him.

Presents presents presents!

December 29, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

We had a stupendous Christmas/Boxing Day, and are still rolling in bounty. I think Greg's family is trying to keep us on the East coast through the sheer force of Christmas loot. We had a very quiet Christmas morning at Oak Street, where Greg made apple turnovers from scratch and got me everything I wanted (A Year of Mornings, a Year of Evenings, the new Grizzly Bear album, and even scrimshaw earings made of 10,000 year old mammoth). The next few days are devoted to packing for Eugene and preparing myself for staying up three hours later every night.



Notes to Daddy

December 29, 2009 by Adam in Family

The kids are back home, filling the house with chaos and happiness.  I bought them an air mattress for Christmas, and they spent an hour giggling and jumping on the thing.

As I was putting the kids to bed, Sam asked if I'd seen the note Emma wrote me.  "She really missed you."

Back to the Daily Grind

December 28, 2009 by Adam in Family

I'm back at work, writing code and generally staying out of trouble.  I'm hoping the assorted crises get resolved, but it has meant that I'm working more than I want this week.

The post-Christmas weekend was busier than I thought it would be.  I had a few hours on Sunday night to myself but otherwise stayed busy.  Saturday the new mattress arrived, I made banana bread and gnocchi, and hung out at the house.  Sunday morning I spent working on house projects and running errands.  In the afternoon I met Anna, dad's new girlfriend.  Towards the end of the day I actually got to play on the computer for a couple hours and enjoyed a luxurious bath in the quiet of the house.

One of my projects was to drill holes in the living room floor and move a network cable around.  The livingroom TV can now stream Mythbusters from the caverns below via the netbook, which will hopefully entertain the kids.

Jamie called to let me know that the kids are coming back today.  I haven't talked to them since they left and have been missing them.  It'll be nice to have them scurrying about.  A house filled with constant conversation reminds me of my childhood.

Next day

December 27, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

Bob and I are watching a lackluster bowl game between USC and Boston College after a beautiful sunny day. I slept until 11 this morning! I had both my H1N1 and seasonal flu shot on Wednesday morning, and felt real subdued yesterday, so I think I needed a bit of rest. Christmas was just delightful.

It started by giving Richard a day off on Thursday. He's put in a brick walkway down the side of the house - a dirty muddy job, with dirt and mud in the house, no matter how careful he is. Bob and I took Sam and Emma to breakfast, cleaned house and ran around, visiting Bob's 99 year old Aunt Thaye, a favorite of both of us, stopping by to leave a present with the Moons - Rick is Bob's fishing/tennis partner in crime, taking presents to Jenny's, and cruising Holiday Market. I got to have a nice long phone call with Sadie.

Thursday also brought a nice box of baked goodies from sister Betsy, including cinnamon rolls. Friday morning I made a couple of loaves of quick bread, and finally got Bob out the door by 11:30. Adam and the kids were there, and everyone was in good spirits. The boys disappeared to play with computers and Christmas presents, and Emma and Adam painted her fingernails with Jenny's present to her, a fingernail decorating kit. We got to talk with Seraph and the New Mexico gang. Courtney and their troops came, and John and Yayoe were there later.Jenny had a wonderful dinner, ham with mashed potatoes and all the goodies. A good time was had by all.

Merry Christmas

December 25, 2009 by Adam in Family

I'm at home by myself, tidying up after the chaos of the last couple days.  Christmas Eve went relatively well.  I came home early and the kids opened their one present.  Emma got a Barbie guitar and Sam got the Settlers of Catan.  Sam and I tried to go to Avatar, but it was sold out.  Instead we invited the neighbors over to play Sam's new game.  We had a great time, playing until dinner time.  Sam declared it the best game ever, which seemed like a good sign.

I cooked ham for dinner, which went over well.  My neighbor Todd joked that I should write a book called The Vegetarian's Guide to Cooking Meat.  Jamie was out all night, so it turned into a pretty typical evening.  There was a funny moment with the bar of soap Sam got me, which read "Face" on one side and "Butt" on the other.  Emma later took a bath, sung Jingle Bells, and used the soap according to the instructions.  Sam also took out his loose tooth later that night, which ended up a mixture of gross and funny.

This morning I woke up with the kids, opened stockings, and made crepes and sausages for breakfast.  Jamie arrived and we opened the rest of our presents.  It's always interesting the things that end up being popular.  I bought an air mattress on a whim, the last one played with the death, and they seem to like this one equally well.  I also got Far Cry 2 for Sam, which he declared, "This is the best game ever.  I shall treasure it always."  Emma also liked her Flitter Fairy, which ended up being technically tricky, but fun.

Jamie went off afterward and I took the kids to my dad and Jenny's house.  It was pretty low key, with food, movies, and present opening.  Jenny put on The Polar Express and then gave out bells to all the kids.  It was pretty neat.

I'm going to continue to clean and tidy a little more, and then head back.  It'll be a treat to talk to everyone without kids, though I admit to missing them already.  Emma was asking why I wasn't going with them to Portland and my explanations seemed to fall short.  It's a strange Christmas, an odd mix of joy and sorrow, but I have faith that everyone will be okay.

The Dangers of Cough Syrup

December 25, 2009 by Adam in Sam

Sam's had a loose tooth for awhile now, and has had a pretty bad cough for a couple days now.  Last I gave him a bunch of cough syrup and sent him off to bed.  A few minutes later, he came down, wiggling his tooth and making odd noises.  For nearly a half an hour he fiddled with the thing, moving it this way and that.  I threatened to send him to bed, but he got it out with powerful sucking and claimed victory.

This morning when Emma woke up, I told her about it.  She seemed more excited about the loose tooth than opening her Christmas stocking.  We wrote a note from the tooth fairy together and I gave him a dollar.  When Sam woke up, his first words were, "Well, at least it's not a quarter."

Happy Christmas!

December 25, 2009 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy Christmas everyone!!

Hanni made it in safely on Wednesday, just before we got a small blanket of snow for Christmas Eve.  Last night we had our church services, and Isa did a wonderful job on her reading, and I made a passable job of Silent Night on the viola.  We came by the Lodge for green chili pesole and cookie decorating, before heading home to open presents.  A huge thank you to everyone!! (and Sadie... OMG, OMG, OMG!!)

When I came down to the store this morning, Robbie was still in bed, and Isa and Hanni were opening stockings.  I have cookies to deliver around the Lodge (Robbie and Isa made Biscochitos), and then home to open my stocking.  I'm off of laundry today, so I forsee a lot of sitting around, snacking and watching movies (again, Sadie... OMG).

I'll try to give everyone a phone call sometime today.  I love and miss you all!

Mocha Christmas Eve

December 24, 2009 by Adam in Family

I'm working today, my traditional mocha resting before me.  Work has been nutty lately.  I suppose I should be flattered to have our VP tell me to drop everything and work on this project so that the doctors can get paid.  It does put me in a weird place, as I have other projects due by the 1st, which aren't getting done.  Thus, I'm working today and all of next week.

I'm going to leave work after gym, take Sam to see Avatar, and then whip up a ham and potato dinner with baklava for dessert.  The kids get to open a single present and the last Lego Advent calendar afterward.  Jamie's off tonight, but will be here in the morning for breakfast and a mass opening of presents.  Next I take the kids to my dad's, returning home after noon so they can head up to Portland until Tuesday.

As for me, I'll be hanging out with friends and family and maybe having a few moments to myself.  Last night I bought a new mattress, so I'll get that properly set up.  My list of house projects is endless, and it would be nice to work on one or two.

Life's still occasionally bumpy.  Jamie and I have some heated discussions at times, and I know I'm getting increasingly impatient with the sometimes slow pace of transitions.  I also very much appreciate her being reasonable about many things.  It's strange to consider, but I think she'll make a good ex-wife.

I'm thankful for the support of all our friends and family during these challenging transitions.  Emma especially likes it when I list all the people who love her, which seems to reassure her deeply.  Dave, Josh, and Kirsten came over to watch the kids earlier this week and they had a great time.  My hope for the future is that this continues, our odd extended family helping raise two great kids.

Best wishes to everyone this Christmas. 

Staycation in Paradise

December 23, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Have I mentioned that it snows in Massachusetts? It snows big, fluffy cold snow that sticks for weeks. The air just got nose-bleed dry, and I'm sitting in our kitchen, drinking tea and watching our neighbor pack her car for the vacation. She locks her car every time she goes inside for another load, and I wonder if people raised in New Hampshire actually believe North Grafton, MA is a dangerous place. These are the things I have time to think about during our long staycation.

I've read a pile of books (in case you're looking for a happy YA romance for your favorite gay boy, tuck Boy Meets Boy under the tree), watched a pile of movies (looking for a happy teen movie? Go for Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist), and did a whole pile of nothing with a very sweet companion. Being in my home the day before Christmas Eve is awesome. And for all the joys of being a perpetual kid in someone else's house, being a grown up in my own house on Christmas has a romantic kind of magic. 

Happy Solstice

December 21, 2009 by Adam in Adam

Today marks the beginning of winter solstice, with days growing longer and spring on its way.  We snuck off to the meditation room at 9:47 to mark the occasion and listen to the rain pouring down.  It's been so warm these last few weeks that it already seems spring is right around the corner.

I think I'm ready for Christmas, with all but one present wrapped and under the tree.  The only thing that worries me is that my present for Isa seems to have completely vanished.  It was wrapped, addressed, and ready to go to the post office.  I'm hoping maybe my mom found it and sent it on its way.  Otherwise she might get a New Year's gift or equinox gift if spring cleaning turns it up.

The holidays this year may be a little odd, especially with Jamie and the kids going to Portland on Christmas Day and not returning until Tuesday.  I've grown fond of Jamie's side of the family over the years and it's a little sad that we won't spend much time together.  Dave came over this morning to watch the kids while Jamie's at the beach and I'm at work.  Emma was so excited to see him and I was reminded again at how nice a guy he is.

It will be nice to have a few days to hang out with my own family, work on projects, and spend time with new friends.  Free time is a rare luxury, and I'm mulling over how to spend it.

A bit sleepy in Seattle

December 21, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

Good morning from Seattle! Aric's game finished late yesterday afternoon, after double overtime, and by the time we scooped him up to visit Uncle Jim, it was late and nearly dark. We decided to wait and drive down today. Josh reassured us that all was well at home, and I didn't hear the sound of crashing plates, female laughter, or loud music in the background, so I suspect he was telling the truth. It's just as well we waited, since Aric didn't feel well and at 10:45 is still sound asleep.

It's been a nice weekend. Bob's brother-in-law definitely has lots of healing time and rehab with his leg, but the rest of him - his innards and remaining body parts, are fine. Sherrill looked a little tired, but his good care and progress have been heartening.

So we'll wander back to Eugene at a slow pace, probably not getting in until this evening sometime. Love to all, Mom

Another Weekend, Come and Gone

December 21, 2009 by Adam in Family

The weekend is coming to a close, with the kids finishing up dinner as I wait for the chocolate sponge pudding to finish baking.  I'm getting on a cooking kick, something I haven't done much of in years as Jamie always preferred I watched the kids.  It's been fun, and I continue to try new things.  So far I have Sam eating radishes and green beans, so I'm enjoying the small victories.

Jamie and I continue to divide up kid time, and everyone is slowly adjusting to the new schedule.  I went out Saturday night, returning this morning.  Jamie left for the coast today, coming back Tuesday sometime.  It's nice to have the opportunity to do my own thing, figuring out how to be a person in addition to a dad.

Today I took the kids to Hendrick's park and we roamed the back trails for a couple hours.  Sam reverted to his Mighty Hunter role, whacking things with sticks and talking caveman talk.  Emma went along and thought it a most excellent game.


December 20, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Here is a picture of Dorothy from my venture to Rochester.

Karma came Back and Bit ME!

December 18, 2009 by Betsy in Betsy

A few months ago sister Meg told me that Sue had lost her address book while in England.  I made the unfortunate comment that Sister Sue knew most everyone in America and at least half the population of the countries she had visited.  Well that comment has come back to bite me as before Thanksgiving I "misplaced" my 20 year old planner, affectionately known by all as "Pat's Black Book".  I still have not found it and have become extremely depressed by the possibility that it is gone for good.  Could everyone be polite to me and email me addresses, birthdates, and phone numbers so I can begin the labor of reconstruction.  My email is  Thank you one and all, and Merry Christmas,  Betsy and the boys

Last Mocha Friday Before Christmas

December 18, 2009 by Adam in Family

I'm still at home, but will soon be on the road to work, stopping by to pick up that delicious nectar of the gods along the way.  It's also pizza and Mythbusters tonight, something that hasn't quite worked out with the kids for a couple weeks now.  Sam will be estatic.

Life continues to move along.  Jamie's working through the details of getting a loan and negotiating repairs on her new house.  I'm getting a little antsy about getting the house to myself, and at the same time I appreciate how easy it's been to have her help with the kids.  Once we have two households, I expect to drive around a lot more.

Emma's had a bit of a rough week, crying a lot for Jamie when she's not around and she woke up one night with nightmares.  Part of it may be that she's getting sick, as she woke up this morning with a cold.  I suspect it's all the talk about moving out, which is making it all feel more real to her.

Sam continues to be his usual self.  Our nightly routine is that he'll read until Emma goes to bed, and then watch Lost next to me.  Last night he made up a game involving sliding down the stairs in a sleeping bag, which he greatly enjoyed.

Sadie called from Danica's last night.  We didn't do our usual game night, as Emma was painting pottery with my mom, but Sadie and Sam discussed young adult finction.  She gave a hysterically obtuse speech about one book with some "mature intimacy" that Sam and I couldn't stop giggling about.

I rarely visit this page! When I get on the i...

December 18, 2009 by Robbie in Cortez

I rarely visit this page! When I get on the internet, I usually check my email, and then go to my college website. I passed my classes with A's and I passed a basic elementary test, that included algebra, Yuck! I got a 300 out of 300 on reading comprehension. I was excited that I did as well on my math. I hate math!

My foot is finally healing though I have the occasional ache across the top of my foot. I can now where my shoe and I don't have to walk around with a hiking boot and a slipper. Right now, I am helping out at Isabell's school where they are preparing for their Christmas show.  It's fun to hang out with Isabell's teacher and decorate the gym.

Good Morning

December 17, 2009 by Dick in Wielesek

Getting ready to drive to Seattle tomorrow for the weekend. Aric has a basketball tournament in Bellevue; he's back playing basketball for LCC, and really seems to being settled in and enjoying school. He has a lovely girlfriend, Charlotte, and I think that's made a big difference in his life. She's just back from visiting grandparents in Miami; she says her grandma is a Polish Jewish grandma, and her funny little vignettes did bring back warm memories of Baba. We'll stay with Bob's sister, and will have a chance to visit her husband Jim, who seems to be recovering from his motorcycle accident injuries. I am missing those of you far away very much. Love, Mom

Winter Program

December 17, 2009 by Adam in Family

I went to Sam and Emma's winter program today.  They've been practicing for weeks and the house has been filled with holiday songs of various kinds.  The video is a little short, as I ran out of batteries, but you can tell they have spirit.  I was especially proud of Emma, who was nervous about today.  She did great.

Into Each Generation, A Hero Is Born

December 15, 2009 by Adam in Sam

I try hard to find ways to connect with Sam.  Emma's pretty easy, giving love and kisses and letting her help in the kitchen.  With Sam, we have episodes of Lost, computer games, and D&D.

Last night I came home from work late, fed the kids, and broke out the previously promised D&D books and paper.  Emma wasn't horribly into it, but Sam was mesmerized.  The village they adopted was suffering through a cold winter and they needed supplies.  They had gone to a nearby town to trade, but found only zombies and a few surviving children that they rescued.  The warehouse was guarded by an automaton, which Sam cleverly lured out to defeat the last of the zombies, using the distraction to haul off the last of the food.

He was so excited that he came up with the idea on his own, and rolled a 20 on a 20 sided die for the last-minute leap out of the way.  He immediately told Emma the whole story, who had wandered off to do art.  After returning to his home village, he liked the part where hope was restored and they were hailed as returning heroes.

One of the things I've found when making computer games is that while I get a lot of "thanks for the fun game" e-mails, the ones from people in dire straights are the most touching.  I'll never forget the woman dying of cancer, and how playing my game with her husband made him laugh out loud for the first time in ages.  With Sam, I like how I can give him that sense of hope and purpose, that his actions can determine the fate of countless souls.  I remember not feeling very in control of my life when my parents divorced, so I like seeing him create these small moments of victory.

Graceling: totally bitchin'

December 15, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I recently finished Kristin Cashore's fantastic book, Graceling, and am now wading through a really horrible book that doesn't deserve being mentioned by name (you know who you are). Graceling has had enough critical praise for me to simply direct you to much more articulate reveiws ( It's hard to read this book without wanting everyone you know to read it immediately. Not read, inhale. While it is cool to finally have a female character that can make her own decisions (glaring your way, Ms. Myer), it is the dialogue that make the book so real and whole. So much YA fiction is shaped around two people who are talking at each other, either to convey information to move the plot along or to convey their innermost feelings that are unaltered by the other person's response. Cashore's characters come into a conversation with one idea and negotiate a third way, so the plot, while action-packed and riveting, doesn't seem to move the characters along without their will. Which is how some books (oh, yes, Stephanie, I'm still talking to you) make their female characters into slaves, to other characters or outside forces. This is only one of many refreshing, progressive, fantastic things about the book, like the hero cycle and the rich development of characters as they grow as people and together. So, if you haven't read it already, grab it up, make a cup of tea, and take the phone off the hook. 

Oh, and my Christmas list is:

Good Earth Original Sweet and Spicy Tea (I can't find it in any of my local grocery stores, but maybe they haven't pulled it on the west coast)

The beautiful photo book, A Year of Mornings: 3191 Miles Apart

Megan Whalen Turner's The Thief

Eleven days to Christmas

December 14, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

and a day of odds and ends. Congratulations to Jamie, too, on finding such a nice place. The house looks lovely! Adam, thanks for including me in the Christmas tree foray and decorating. Thanks to Jenny and Sadie for the nice long phone calls. Sadie and Seraph, I'm going to send an email with this manual I had to write for the League. Those guys have all been members for so long they know how to everything, and I surely was at loose ends this summer planning a luncheon for 100 folks. Thanks, mom

holiday break

December 14, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

The house is still, challah french toast is soaking, and I'm preparing to finish another big book from my wonderful neighbor, Lydia. This week, the priority is to remember how to talk to other people without mentioning bureaucracy, national data sets, or even those wacky students from my wealth and poverty class. I'm just talking about feminist speculative fiction.

Our Hanukkah dinner was really fun, and we had way too much food. My menorah seemed to work pretty well, too.


December 14, 2009 by Adam in Family

We put lights on the Christmas tree, my mom coming over to help.  Emma was excited to move the presents over and behold them in all their glory.

Jamie's offer on her house was accepted.  In roughly a month, she'll be moving out and we'll figure out a new kid schedule.

I realize this is not my usual wordy post, but I'm exhausted and going to bed.

Fully Operational

December 13, 2009 by Adam in Adam's Projects

It seems like I've been working on the compost tumbler all Fall.  As of a few minutes ago, it's now installed in the backyard and everything works.  I tossed in some dead leaves, gave it a spin, and so begins the miracle of dirt creation. 

The spray painting has finished, I stained the wood, and tightly put on all the brass fittings.  The door seems to be plenty strong, though it takes some effort to open and close.  I may fiddle with it some more should I want to put the kids to work composting.

We've been collecting food scraps in Nancy's Yogurt tubs in preparation for this day.  They have this neat area that reads "I'm reusing this for:" into which I've written "Baby Compost".  People seem to like the double entendre.

This is only the start of many garden projects.  The next big one is putting in raised beds, with the prerequisite of hiring someone to rearrange the watering system.  The first harvest of vegetables is going to taste so good, if only because of the amount of work I've put into the things.

Christmas Tree Hunt

December 13, 2009 by Adam in Family

It was a busy Saturday, full of kids, laundry, cooking, and chores.  Hanging out with Sam and Emma was pretty fun.  My mom and Emma went out to cut down a Christmas Tree, which we plan on decorating tomorrow.

Dollar Bill

December 12, 2009 by Adam in Emma

It seems that Emma will do just about anything for a dollar bill, including staying in a desk on a bet from Sam.

Mocha Thursday?

December 10, 2009 by Adam in Family

I'm giving myself the luxury of a day off tomorrow, with Jamie politely vacating the house to let me do whatever crazy antics I might think of.  As is the way of my people, that also means I can partake of my Mocha a day early.  It's been a little frantic at work, with lots of projects due at the end of the year.  The end result may be that I'm busier than I'd like around Christmas, but maybe I'll get lucky and some of the deadlines will get pushed out.

Sam continues to be a little sick, though I think I'll send him off to school tomorrow despite his protests of illness.  Jamie called today and reported he was in the basement, likely playing computer games until his eyeballs pop out.  He kept reporting how bored he was, so perhaps going to school will be a welcome relief.

Emma's cute as a button, as usual.  We practice our spelling each night and she helps me make dinner most days.  Tonight is hamburgers and oven-baked homefries, coupled with game night with Sadie.  I have a counseling session after work, but hopefully we can fit it all in.

Jamie made an offer on a house just a couple hours ago, near where Yayoe lives.  I've been getting a little anxious to move things along lately.  It'll be nice to get the inevitable transition moving forward, including moving my clothes out of the basement and into the main bedroom.

As for me, I'm doing quite well.  I have great kids, a satisfying job, a comfortable home, and the future looks bright.  Swing dancing last night was tremendous fun.  I'm looking forward to the weekend, getting a tree and setting up the Christmas decorations.  Life's good.

Oh Christmas tree

December 10, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I got my first farm-raised tree last week (not counting trees from mom's farm, obviously). Greg did quick work of it, and we dragged it back home without much of a struggle. It's so nice to have our own real Christmas tree to sit next to and read while it snows and hails outside.

We're celebrating the first night of Hanukkah with friends tomorrow. I made my own menorah out of antler and wire, and am going to try to make traditional kugel and latkes. Lots of oil to celebrate the festival of lights- yum!


Still Here

December 09, 2009 by Seraph in Cortez

We are surviving a recent winter blast that is now heading out east.  We had frozen pipes a couple of mornings, and 7" of snow that blew around in large drifts.  I swept (yes the snow is dry enough to sweep) the porch 3x yesterday, and it kept blowing back!

My dryer is out, so laundry is building up until the new part comes in.  So, instead of the usual washing I do, I channeled all my ancient grandmother's and spent 2 hours at the washboard, scrubbing 4 loads of the muddiest towels.  I now have blisters and red hands, and firmly believe that people are the most disgusting creatures!

Now, I'm off to the evening part of my job, and the pot of curry bubbling on the stove. 

Two Days Without Morning Showers

December 09, 2009 by Adam in Family

It's been cold, really cold.  When it gets this cold, the external heating unit starts having parts that freeze and the end result is that I don't get my morning shower.  I've been falling back to my pioneer roots, filling up a Pyrex container with cold water and microwaving it until I could bathe with a washcloth.

Life continues, with the usual ups and downs.  Sam's sick with a cold.  Jamie's looking for houses still.  I'm going out swing dancing tonight and trying to take some time off on Friday.  My assorted projects are falling behind a little, with my compost tumbler half-painted and waiting for a little love.  Maybe I can sneak in some spraying before I go out tonight.

Christmas plans are starting to come together.  On Christmas Eve, we're planning on being together at home, then celebrating Christmas together in the morning.  I'll try to take the kids to Jenny's house for a family gathering and then Jamie will take the kids up to Portland.  It's a little strange, but Jamie and I are working well to get the details sorted out.

The kids continue to be great and funny.  Emma and I made pork chops and rice pudding.  She told me while eating the pudding, "This is so good!  It makes me wiggle my butt!"

A bit under the weather

December 08, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

Adam, I hope I didn't dish up a nice big cold for you, Sam and Emma last night, as it seems to have burrowed in today. I'm sitting here in bed in a long red Union suit (more on that topic later) reeking of Vicks VapoRub and trying to reestablish breathing as part of my life.

First, I talked with Jenny. They got in about nine last night, and Jenny was sputtering disgustedly about the 17 degree weather. But it sounded as though they had a wonderful time; there was a teen club on the ship, and Destin was kept very busy. Jenny said it was especially nice to be there with her Dad and her kids and not have to dress up.

Next, would it work for you, Adam and Jamie, for me to take Jordan and Emma onThursday afternoon to Brushfire? Thursday is fine with Jenny. I'll check in with Jamie by phone. I was able to get into the doctor tomorrow afternoon.

The long underwear came about because when we went to Bi-Mart to pick up long underwear bottoms for the Oregon-Oregon State game, they only had women's (ie. tops and bottoms) in size Huge and Very Huge.  So I had to get men's small, which are not engineered to meet the special needs of us gals. But the game was fun.

Last, if anyone feels as though they need to get me a token present for Christmas, make it a pair of lightweight underpants. No bikini, thongs or French cut. I'm looking for easy to dry comfy trou to travel in. Medium, which I think is size 6. Colors are just fine.

Finally, a story about how nice my kids are to me. I brought holly from the office for gifts. I washed and trimmed it, discarding the scraps and small pieces into an old red plastic basket so no one would get jabbed on the leaves, which are really sharp. I had a nice "peck" basket, which I spray painted dark green, filled ever artistically with lots of holly and berries, put a plaid ribbon on the handle and put it by the trunk in the hall for Adam to take home. As I scurried around cooking, I told him to take the basket home with him. He was very politely grateful, and later, as he left, I saw him dragging along the old basket with the discarded leaves. After I finally righted all errors, he said, "This one is way cooler." Next time I'll bet I can give him the leftover  garbage and he'll take it home for the composter, thinking it's a really great gift and he has the perfect mom.


Another Fading Weekend

December 07, 2009 by Adam in Family

The weekend is nearly over, and I'm off to my mom's shortly, so I'll keep this brief.  Jamie's been house sitting for Victoria, so the kids and I did a lot of puttering around.  Saturday Sam went to John's to play while Emma and I went shopping at Fred Meyer's and Holiday Market.  She was very fun to run around with, and picked out a fairy crown as a prize for herself for being so good.  Later that night the neighbors returned a borrowed VGA cable, empty applesauce jar, and a movie for us to watch.  The neighborhood trade balance was thus maintained.

Sunday morning I ran errands, worked on the shed, and went food shopping.

There were other things, which were lots of fun, but Emma's crawling on me and it's time to go.

It's quiet and snowing.

December 06, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I'm making bread and my holiday cards this afternoon, watching the snow melt off of the trees outside.

Sweet Mocha Friday

December 04, 2009 by Adam in Family

It's my favorite day of the week, which has felt like a strange and wacky one.  It feels like winter finally arrived, with frosty weather and putting on thicker clothes.  At work, I went to a two-day Renewal Experience that had been recommended to me.  It was good, going over communication skills and things I've come across over the years.  I did like the phrase "Remember to remember."  I find it's easy to fall into old habits unless I consciously try otherwise.

The kids have been good.  Last night Josh came over and the kids played frantically while Sadie and I Skyped each other.  We didn't quite make it to playing a game, as we usually do on Thursdays.  I don't think Emma trying to get Sadie to guess a bad word that starts with "sh" really counted.

Jamie's house sitting for Victoria until Monday, so I'm feeling like I'm getting a preview of the months to come.  So far, everything's fine.  I've managed to cook reasonably healthy meals and convince Sam he couldn't watch a second episode of Lost before going to bed.

She also made an offer on a house, though it was fairly low and it's hard to know if it'll happen.  They're still negotiating.  What's interesting is that the house is at 25th and Van Buren, which is where I lived when growing up.  It's a 1930's bungalow style house in a good neighborhood and close to Roosevelt, all good features.

As for me, I'm hopping in the shower, getting the kids ready for school, and enjoying a delicious mocha as my reward.

Ornaments from the Bay State

December 03, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

After deciding between a submarine theme and Martha Stewart Christmas Explosion, Greg and I compromised on a nautical Christmas, very appropriate for a little town whose ancient graveyard is full of captains. I began ornament making by rifting on an Anthropologie design. All I can say about the child labor they must use to construct the ornaments is that those little fingers are magic. Each boat took an hour! Greg suggested that I take pictures of the two I've already made and hang a dozen facimilies on the tree instead. Next project- the octopus tree topper.


Birthday Ouch!

December 02, 2009 by Seraph in Cortez

I will pass on all of the birthday wishes to Robbie - Thank You!

He is unfortunately stuck on the couch with a busted up foot - a bad sprain and some cut-up toes.  Nurse Seraph will not let him do much right now - good thing he finished up this weeks homework just in time!  We spent the day decorating for Christmas - lights, Dicken's Village and all!  We still have more to do, but Robbie did well directing from the couch.

Isa's doing well at school.  She has a field trip down to ABQ tomorrow to see Nutcracker on the Rocks.  Her teacher seems to think she's fairly brilliant - sigh... there go my hopes of a boring normal child. 

As for me, opening week at the resort blasted past last years records.  I don't think that says the economy is improving though.  I just think the word has gotten out that we're dirt cheep and give away a lot for free.  What it does mean, is that I have a small mountian of laundry to wash today.

I miss the OR crew a lot these days!  Thanksgiving was fun down here, but I really missed you all - craziness and all.  Hopefully we can all make up for it at Easter!  I suggest you all start fasting now.

Happy Happy Birthday Robbie!

December 02, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I hope you have a wonderful birthday. 

Happy Birthday, Robbie!

December 01, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

Hi, Emma and I tried to call last night to wish you a happy happy. Hope school is going well and you're getting ready for the holiday season.

Love, Mom

Happy Birthday Robbie

December 01, 2009 by Adam in Family

I wanted to wish Robbie a hearty happy birthday today.  Cheerio, old man!

Barbie Madness

December 01, 2009 by Adam in Emma

Emma's been doing fairly well these days, with countless little stories about her life.

Jamie and the kids went to Target over the weekend, Emma returning with footie pajamas and a new Barbie.  She wanders around combing the doll's hair, but when mixed with sword fighting with Sam, it can get pretty comical.

Last night in the bath, Emma was singing a somewhat inappropriate version of Jingle Bells, though familiar from my youth.  She then wanted me to pretend to be the teacher and send her to the principal's office.

I bought a Lego advent calendar for the kids. Emma not only remembered it from last year, but she remembered the rules about when they could open it.  Tonight after their chores, they'll open the first one.

Making Dirt

November 30, 2009 by Adam in Adam's Projects

After my organic gardening class, I came across some plans for a compost tumbler.  When I was a kid, we had compost piles for the garden, though I haven't had one in years.  It's always bothered me, throwing out perfectly good food scraps.  With my recent gardening kick, I decided it was time to screw up my courage and do something about it.

I picked up the supplies some weeks ago, heading over to my dad's to help cut out a door in the 55-gallon drum.  The drum itself came from Pasta Plus, where they make industrial volumes of pesto out of olive oil.  Over several weeks, I've been putting parts together, and today I finally assembled the thing.  There was a brief moment of excitement when I realized the measurements were off, but with a little improvisation, I managed to make it work relatively well.

There's still more I could do, such as painting the drum and staining the wood.  I'll see if I can do that before throwing it out in the elements.

Still, it was satisfying seeing it together.  Soon I'll be making dirt like the best of 'em.

Finals and colds

November 30, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

It's that time of the semester again. Time to sit on the couch with a pile of handkerchiefs, an endless supply of throw blankets and black tea, and the impending doom of paper deadlines. We didn't manage to get our tree today. I didn't even manage to get out of my pajamas. Maybe we'll get it next week (unfortunately, I have to get out of my pajamas before then). 


Hanging out with the kids

November 29, 2009 by Adam in Family

The kids are doing their responsible things, homework, chores, baths, and so on.  Emma's reading a book about China while she does her flouride rinse.

Jamie made crepes for breakfast and went off for the day.  I took Emma to her friend Stella's house, where they had a great time.  Sam and I hung out, played on the computer, had a nerf gun fight, and built a catapult.  As we finished, I had to rush off to pick Emma up.  Fortunately not much damage was done.

We had a little quiet time, then headed out to Mount Pisgah to explore and play.  Sam in particular wanted to stick around until well after sunset, but I finally dragged him back to the car.  For dinner I made home made hamburger buns, Sam cooked hamburgers for he and Emma, and I made french fries in the oven.  Very tasty.

Jamie's watching the kids tomorrow morning.  I'll probably finish up the compost tumbler I worked on today, and head over to the library to get new treasures for the kids.  Then it's back to work and the normal routine.

Life's pretty good.

Watching Sasha Cohen

November 28, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

We curled up and watched Bruno last night. The movie was a funny way to deal with the cinematic issue of full frontal male nudity, but another sad look at prejudice in the United States.

It's beginning to look a lot like...

November 28, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

For whatever reason, I'm really excited about the Christmas season- the greenery, the sparkly lights, wrapping all those presents. Yesterday I made evergreen bouquets and garlands for the house, and tomorrow we're going to get a tree. Greg is trying to keep the Thanksgiving spirit alive by playing our Arlo Guthrie album on repeat, but I sneak the All-Christmas station in the car. The spirit will overcome him soon.

It was a real nice clambake

November 28, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

and, as the song goes, we all had a real nice time. Quick, family old movie experts, is that from "Carousel"? Thanks to the many fine cooks, and kitchen helpers, dinner went off without a hitch. The food everyone was assigned to cook, from the Gourmet Thanksgiving feature, turned out beautifully, and today I got a card in the mail saying Gourmet was no longer going to be published and I'd be getting Bon Apetit in its place. I can't read French, much less cook in it. Oh, well, I seem to be getting good at assigning other people jobs.


Leftovers in the Fridge

November 27, 2009 by Adam in Family

We went off to my mom's for Thanksgiving, with me returning briefly to cook the dishes Jamie had prepared (they were much appreciated).  The kids did their usual running about, both of them enthralled with the open fireplace.  Destin and Jordan arrived, presents were opened, boys with Nerf guns ran about, and everyone seemed pretty happy.  Eventually there was food, birthday cake, and exhausted people heading home.

Emma went to bed pretty quickly after a bath.  Sam and I watched the season finale of Being Human and now I'm headed for bed myself.

Life is an interesting mix of sad, content, and joyous, all at once.

Turkey Boy Turns Eleven

November 26, 2009 by Adam in Family

The kids and I are hanging out at home before Thanksgiving dinner at my mom's.  It's also Sam's birthday, and he increasingly seems eleven to me.  Lately he's been doing really well taking care of chores, homework, and reminding me to sign things from school.  It's hard to believe that eleven years ago, everyone was out in the hospital waiting room, eating turkey off plates and waiting for Sam to appear.

Jamie brought down presents before breakfast.  He appreciated having Sadie's woodcut nicely framed by Jamie.  At the same time, we appreciated Jim and Judy's socks and underwear, which Sam very much needs.  Jamie also made Sam's breakfast of choice, a breakfast burrito with hashbrowns inside.

Life continues to have ups and downs, but appreciate that Jamie and I continue to get along.  I think we're doing all the things we're supposed to be doing, working through the transitions ahead.  I'm also thankful for the kids, who are wonderful and funny.

My mom made the mistake of asking us to make a centerpiece for the Thanksgiving table, giving us some supplies to get started.  Soon enough we had the Turkey Political Action Committee assembled, complete with protest signs (click on the picture to make big).

Happy Thanksgiving

November 25, 2009 by Yayoe in Yayoe

Happy Thanksgiving to all. I'm thankful for the wonderful blessing of belonging to our wild and crazy family and for the caring and respect that we share with one another.

It's almost time for the family Turkey day. We'll sure miss Seraph, Robbie, Isabell, Sadie, Greg, Dorothy and the Eskinds. Hard to believe they are living so far south and east. We'll consume a turkey leg and a lot of dressing in honor of them. Meanwhile, I'm putting together corn pudding for the dinner and hoping it will come out tasing like something the pilgrims would eat. ON Japanese Thanksgiving we stuff sushi with turkey, dressing and cranberries. 

Thanks Sue for hosting the dinner and for taking the time to find those special recipies for this wonderful holiday. Wouldn't it be fun to have a no sweat dinner with only items that come from high sodium content cans or from the frozen dinner section of the store. Here's what I propose: Spam roast with pineapple and stove top stuffing mix with tofu (for Adam); Cheese Whiz on Ritz Crackers; Vienna Sausages on Cresent Rolls; Frozen Sucotash, Ice berg lettuce salad whipped into green jello, cottage cheese and pineapple, Chey Boyardee Ravioli or Mac and Cheese, and last but not least..Hostess Twinkee's topped with Cool Whip and Chocolate Sprinkles and a gallon of Gallo Roma Tokay to keep us warm and merry. Any takers?


Mocha Wednesday?

November 25, 2009 by Adam in Family

It's the day before Thanksgiving, and in the time honored tradition of my people, I'll be having a Mocha today.

The week has moved along, relatively uneventful.  Work had the potential for being frustrating, a recent peer review of my code resulting in a number of changes.  It ended up being fun to go through and fiddle with things, learning tidbits along the way.  Jamie's been off in the evenings, so it's just been the kids and I.  On Monday night we made fortune cookies, and last night Emma wanted custard.  It turned out okay, but neither of the kids were that enthusiastic.  I think next time I have to use whole milk to get the proper amount of fatty goodness.

I'm getting better at moving the kids through dinner, chores, homework, bath, and bedtime.  Sam's really been stepping up in terms of being responsible for what has to happen next.  I still sometimes forget to review and sign his homework sheets.  As a treat and bonding experience, he and I have been watching shows after Emma gets to bed.

As for the long weekend ahead, some parts are busy and others are uneventful.  I'm thinking of going swing dancing tonight, now that I feel vaguely competent on the dance floor.  Tomorrow I have the kids and will make my way over to my mom's house sometime for food and Sam's birthday (2 of 3).  I may have some time to myself on Friday, perhaps finally finishing the compost tumbler and doing some online shopping for Christmas.

Busy week!

November 24, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

The laundry room is nearly finished. I've crammed in as many tools and as much extra leftover paint as possible, all done up prettily in glass jars with labels. Easier to see than in cans. Bob and I shopped this afternoon, and cut some holly to send to Seraph. If anyone has presents they want to send along, bring them on Thanksgiving and I'll tuck them along with mine. Anna's package is sent to France, and I do need to send off a little something to the British cousins. Jamie came over last week and helped me wrap presents, and I'm pretty much done with gifts. I want to get wreaths made over the next week, and Josh and Jamie helped me set up my computer for address labels. And then there's that large turkey sitting there.... Much love to all.

Give 'em hell, Sadie.

The Five E's of Fair Process Leadership are a joke.

November 23, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Today was my last real day of leadership and organizational behavior, a management class I’m required to take for my public policy degree. I know that I am almost entirely alone here, but a discipline whose insights must alliterate seems a bit weak to me. For example, the five principles of fair process management include engagement, exploration, explanation, expectation, and evaluation. Transparency had to be dropped from the model- if it really mattered, it would start with an E.

During class discussion, I occasionally mention that the leaders we read about may have increased profitability because they fired all skilled labor in the organization, and am generally dismissed. One of my quieter friends in the class says that she could vomit on a case study analysis and get an A, whereas the TA seems to mark me down for not mentioning unpublished articles extending a particular theory. I should have known the cards were stacked against me when the TA presented a retaliatory presentation to my presentation on the financial crisis in another course.

But what do they expect when they force students concentrating in poverty alleviation to take a class valorizing big corporations at a time when income inequality is as high as it was in 1933? Applause? 

Helicopter Madness

November 23, 2009 by Adam in Sam

I got Sam a remote controlled helicopter for his birthday.  I think it was a hit as he played with it all afternoon.  Emma really wanted to learn to fly it, so she got in some flight time after a few lessons from her brother.

Another Weekend, Come and Gone

November 23, 2009 by Adam in Family

I just got the kids to bed, Jamie's out having dinner with friends, and the house is quiet.  It was a pretty good weekend, as weekends go, full of kids and events and practical things.

Friday night was swing dance for me, which is always uplifting.  There's something about moving around the floor and listening to classic tunes from the 40's that always cheers me up.

Saturday was mostly a hang out with the kids day.  Sam had gone to John's birthday party until midnight the night before, so he didn't wake up until nine.  Jamie left after breakfast and the kids and I just hung around the house and yard.  I put some time into the yard and shed, doing a little Fall clean up.

Saturday night Emma and I went to a house warming party at an old friend's house, a woman named Maggie that I knew back in high school.  Her kids are almost exactly the same as mine, so Emma spent nearly three hours in her girl's room.  I kept checking up on her and she kept saying she was having a great time and didn't want to leave.  As for me, I spent the first half of the party talking to a couple with a very cute baby.  Victoria Whitman, Jamie's friend, wandered in.  It was a weird coincidence and we had a good time chatting about our respective lives.  Since we're both in the process of getting divorced, we had quite a few "you still doing that?" moments.  It was good, though, and Victoria has always been a great conversationalist.

Sam went over to my mom's to paint with Josh.  All day today he'd hold up his paint-speckled hands to his friends and make them guess what he did the night before.

We all had breakfast again this morning and then I ran off to the library and the store.  After that, we had a birthday party for Sam and the pizza place.  It was chaotic, noisy, and full of kids - exactly what he wanted.  Upon our return, Sam broke out the remote control helicopter I got him and learned to fly it after a few crashes.  We played with that and Legos and whatever was handy, with me eventually breaking away to make dinner.  Then bath and stories and the usual routine.

Tomorrow I'm off to work, which I'm strangely excited to get to.  Thanksgiving the kids and I are going to my mom's, where she's promised some sort of cake-like thing for Sam.  Friday night Jamie and the kids are going to Dave's house for Thanksgiving.  I think we're all doing okay navigating the holidays.

Happy Birthday, 1 of 3

November 23, 2009 by Adam in Sam

Sam celebrated his 11th birthday with his friends from school today.  His choice was to go to Roaring Rapids for pizza, video games, and general mayhem.  Emma had a good time as her friend Natalie was there too.  It's amazing how much fun a six-year-old can have putting quarters into a machine and getting cheap plastic toys coming out.

He'll have another party on Thanksgiving and yet another the day after.

Thanksgiving comes in threes this year.

November 21, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Greg and I will have two turkeys, a lasagna, and possibly lamb with every relative in a three state radius this Thanksgiving. All of my final presentations will be over, so the holiday should be a little more relaxing than last year, where I locked myself in his eleven-year old cousin's room with the 1994 Crime Bill. 

This semester's coursework is easier than the last two semesters, but the commute is more challenging. I've never had a reason to balance life and school- at Smith, there was someone else to make dinner and clean the bathroom, so I could nerd out all I wanted. Last year, eating cereal three times a day didn't affect anyone else. Now that I live in a tiny cooperative of two, someone knows when I don't take my vitamins. I think I've learned to be a worse student and a better human. 

My dear friend Carly and I saw New Moon yesterday. Despite the flippant and snotty review by the NYT (who are as tortured as ever by the ernest abstinence-only morality lesson), it was totally delightful. Those who are too old to remember the wonderful awkward tension of having a best guy friend are blind to the gem in this movie- love that doesn't manage to make it to third base or out of high school. And who doesn't have a few secret true love best friends tucked away in their teenage heart?

Mocha Friday

November 20, 2009 by Adam in Family

I'm still awhile away from that delicious nectar of the gods.  After this post, I'll hop in the shower and away I go.

It was a good day yesterday.  I came home, Sam was on the computer and Emma was off with Yayoe doing art projects.  Jamie went off and I grabbed a broom and started sweeping leaves.  Along the way I found the last rose of the season, which I pointed out to Emma when she arrived with a bag of art objects.

Soon Sam and I were playing Sorry while Emma turned ear plugs into little people, adding hair and making a tiny home for them out of a box.  She started writing in a diary, and asked me how to spell "dear diary".  From then on, she declared she was writing in "kid writing," which appears to be mostly a phonetic spelling of words.

Dinner was Mac and Mythbusters.  I made mac and cheese for the kids, which generally went over well, and we watched Mythbusters since Sam's at a birthday party tomorrow.  While I cooked, Sam helped Emma with her spelling test for tomorrow, which was extra sweet.  Sam hunkered down and did his while Emma took a bath.

Emma got a little teary-eyed when calling Jamie at bedtime, but seemed to do okay after I read her her new National Geographic Kids magazine (thanks, mom).  After I got her down, Sam and I hung out and watched the BBC show Being Human.

We have a pretty busy weekend ahead of us.  Sam's going to a birthday party tonight and I have my swing dance class.  Tomorrow I have a party at 4, likely somewhere I hardly know anyone.  Sunday morning I'm off to dad and Jenny's for brunch.  In the afternoon is Sam's birthday party with his friends.  Somewhere in there I'll hit the library and maybe even relax a little.

Garden Plans

November 19, 2009 by Adam in Adam's Projects

I was talking with Seraph tonight and she asked that I post the plans for the new garden.  You can click on the picture below and theoretically make it bigger.  To the right are two big boxes with another labeled "future" that represent the raised beds.  To make things more confusing, the long box labeled "Planter Box" is the existing one with all the flowers.

In terms of what I want to grow, I have all sorts of plans: spinach, arugula, kale, lettuce, peas, tomatoes, green beans, and maybe potato and onion too.  We'll see what I actually have room for.

I also need to find the time to assemble the compost tumbler.  I actually had some time tonight while Jamie took the kids swimming.  I ended up chatting away with Seraph for an hour, though, which I considered time well spent.

Talented and Gifted?

November 18, 2009 by Adam in Sam

Sam was talking about school today and mentioned that he thinks the TAG program started for him today.  He was pulled out of math and half of reading, and spent the time doing puzzles and comparisons.  He seemed to think it was fun, and generally easy until they got to comparisons involving toothbrushes and forks.  I'm sure it's somehow stimulating his brain deeply.

I Signed My Name Countless Times Yesterday

November 17, 2009 by Adam in Adam

I spent yesterday afternoon writing my name dozens of times, part of the process of getting the house refinanced.  The only thing left is for Jamie to sign the deed in the next couple days.  By the end of the week, the house should be in my name and Jamie should have a big gob of cash to start looking for a new house.

I think everyone's mental health is doing okay.  Emma's on the mend from being sick over the weekend.  She continues to try and figure out how to navigate having separating parents.  Last night she tucked Jamie into bed and read her a story.  I can sense a certain amount of neediness in her, just wanting the reassurance that someone's going to be around.  Sam's more subdued.  I've heard him wonder out loud a few times about what the new house will be like, but that's about it.

Jamie and I remain cordial, which I think is a huge benefit to the kids.  My mom has already assigned Jamie and the kids cooking tasks for Thanksgiving, and I hope she can be there.

The next big change will be when Jamie finds work, and again when she moves out.  I'm not quite sure of the order of those things.  Already I'm trying to figure out options, such as making sure I could pick up the kids from school and work from home in the afternoon.  So much depends on what Jamie's work schedule ends up looking like.

Finances for the upcoming year will be tight but doable, at least on paper.  I'm making lists of furniture I think I'll need to replace and checking in with family to see if they have spare tables, chairs, and couches tucked away somewhere.  After spousal support, child support, and mortgage costs, I think I have $1200 per month for utilities, food, gas, and everything else.  Sadly no Hawaiian vacations seem on the horizon.

Still, I think I'm doing all the things I'm supposed to be doing.  Now I'm off to the gym at work where I hope to run away from my problems on the treadmill.  Strangely I've yet to get anywhere.

Testing. Testing. One. Two. Three.

November 15, 2009 by Adam in Family

I'm trying to see if the new site is working.  Beyond the new URL, there's a bunch of new functionality behind the scenes.  You can still use to get here, and no one's e-mail addresses have changed.  Feel free to add comments below if you have any feedback.

Sunday Morning Gray Skies

November 15, 2009 by Adam in Family

It's a gray, dreary morning.  Everyone's still asleep.

Emma was on the mend yesterday and managed to get through the day without any pain medication.  She was exhausted by the end, even forgoing icecream in order to get to bed sooner.  She was up once, asking for water, but otherwise has seemed much better.  Hopefully we can go to the birthday party today.

Yesterday was a typical "hang with the kids" day.  After crepes for breakfast, Jamie went to the gym, and the kids and I played Legos in the basement.  Later I hauled them both outside to build fairy houses in the dirt while I worked on the garden.  Jamie and I reached an agreement where I can spend money on the house as long as I track it carefully.  I was very appreciative and am excited to start getting a garden in.

Jamie returned to do some shopping and watch the I'as I got Sculpey at the art store, then headed off to M's for the day.  The kids and I made an assortment of little creatures, played some more, ate tacos, and then started in on the bedtime routine.  After Emma went to bed, Sam and I stayed up watching Stargate Universe and playing a few games.

As for today, Jamie's watching the kids this morning.  I'm trying to have coffee with my coworker/old-friend Kate Weaver (used to be Sturdevant).  She's very pregnant, and happens to be down from Portland, so this may be the last time I see her in person for awhile.  Next is the library and I might sneak out to a garden store or try to work on the compost tumbler.  If Emma's up for it, we're off to the birthday party.  I'll see if I can lure Josh over to hang out with Sam while I'm gone.

Quick phone update for everyone

November 14, 2009 by Robbie in Cortez

Quick phone update for everyone. If you want to reach us call 1-800-587-2240 ext 207, and we can now answer any time! Isabell started her new school in Dixon and she loves it already. NO HOMEWORK SO FAR! So far I'm getting A's in my two classes. Yippy!

Sadie and Greg, I'm so sorry

November 14, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

Sadie and Greg, I'm so sorry. Sadie, I know that you liked
Greg's grandmother and it was touching that she gave you her recipes. I'll talk with you when my cell phone gets charged.

After a short battle with spinal cancer, Greg...

November 14, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

After a short battle with spinal cancer, Greg's grandmother passed away last night. Her warmth, intelligence, and authenticity made Caswell family gatherings a pleasure- more than most girlfriends can ask for. We're all feeling her absence. Greg and I are trying to take it easy, although finals are sneaking up about as subtly as an rhino in stilettos.

Mom sent a midterms care package, which is wo...

November 14, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Mom sent a midterms care package, which is wonderful! I just made homemade chai tea with the cloves, cardamon, and vanilla she sent. My vintage jewelry collection also doubled, which will significantly update my usual green/brown/red sweater/scarf/chino assemblages.

I just finished the last of my mocha, much ap...

November 13, 2009 by Adam in Family

I just finished the last of my mocha, much appreciated after a somewhat restless night. Emma was pretty sick yesterday, staying home from school with a fever. I managed to get her to bed okay, but she was up at 3:30 am, and didn't ever go back to sleep again. Since she slept for five hours yesterday, I think she's fine with sleep, though I'd be happy with a few more hours myself.

When I came home last night, Jamie ran to the store to get ice cream and then went out. Emma evidently hadn't eaten all day, so it was cereal, ice cream, and a little candy to build up her strength. Sam ate a more normal fare, for while he technically stayed home yesterday, he was basically fine.

We managed to connect with Sadie and Emma was up for playing the drawing game. Soon we were sketching all manner of odd objects in varying styles. I loved Emma's anime pirate, which I think is a style she practices at school. The best part was the "arr" in the word bubble.

Soon Emma grew tired and all she wanted to do was watch cartoons on the couch. I think she started to feel pretty bad, so I left Sam as a snuggle substitute while I made my lunch and got ready for bed. After some classic Donald Duck, with Sam pointing out the culturally inappropriate parts, I got Emma to sleep relatively easily. Sam and I stayed up a little as he wanted me to play our new computer game. I wrapped it up early and climbed into bed myself, as I was pretty exhausted.

As for the weekend, I have plans but I'm not sure how much I can manage with Emma under the weather. I have dance lessons after pizza and Mythbusters tonight, with my mom watching the kids. Saturday there are assorted free museum events. I have endless projects to work on, such as finishing up my compost tumbler. Strangely my free time never quite materializes.

I think my mental health is doing okay these days. I'm trying to be patient about all the changes going on and I continue to worry about the kids. As always, I'm endlessly thankful for everyone checking up on me. It really helps.

Dali Lamba, Spanish Basque et maker (sorry, t...

November 13, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

Dali Lamba, Spanish Basque et maker (sorry, too punny)
Russian surrealist film from the 30's, The Andalusian Wolfhound (sorry, too obscure)

This week's game night categories:

November 13, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Cubist Panda

Expressionist Wizard

Art deco Vampires

Graffiti Ballerina

Minimalist Girlfriend

Realist Swine Flu

Surrealist Sailboat

Abstract ice cream

Anime pirates

Emma's Sick Today

November 12, 2009 by Adam in Emma

Emma woke up last night with a fever and sore throat.  I gave her some Motrin so she could sleep, but she was pretty miserable when she got up this morning.  Jamie's watching her at home and she'll be out of school for the rest of the week due to rules about fever.

I think Emma's still working through some of the issues about what's going on.  She was working on spelling the other day, telling me sentences so that she'd use the words properly.  They tended to be things like "How will my family get along?" and other other family-themed sentences.  Last night I told her a bedtime story about the King and Queen moving to different castles that she seemed to like, though she did request a more exciting one after that.

Veteran's Day is winding down, the kids out o...

November 12, 2009 by Adam in Family

Veteran's Day is winding down, the kids out of school and I took the day off. At the moment, Sam and Emma are playing with Legos, the previously peaceful village and museum turned into a post-apocalyptic wasteland filled with ninjas and giant radioactive spiders. Though it may be obvious, Emma and I were playing earlier and now Sam has joined in the fun.

It was a fairly low-key and relaxing day. Sam made soft boiled eggs for he and Emma, I made coffee and scrambled eggs, and then we played while Jamie went to the gym and work. In the afternoon Jamie and Emma went swimming while I hung out with Sam. As the afternoon faded, I made pizza dough, did a bunch of car maintenance tasks, and made it home for dinner.

The one big news of the day is that the house appraisal came in, very close to what I estimated. It was $8K less than my guess, which means a little extra cash for furniture replacement. I'm a little giddy, as it's the last financial unknown that could have caused problems.

Tomorrow I'm back to work and the kids go to school. It's game night with Sadie and we're going to try extra hard to play the drawing game. Good times.

I'm sitting in bed this Veteran's day, starin...

November 11, 2009 by Adam in Adam

I'm sitting in bed this Veteran's day, staring out the window as dawn breaks over our quiet neighborhood. Emma will likely wake up soon and we'll start the usual routine of breakfast and getting dressed and playing together. I'm taking the day off and the kids have no school, so I'm predicting a mocha in my future. Life's going to be okay.

I still have moments of sadness that sneak up on me, but in general I think I'm doing relatively well. Little things get to me sometimes, such as when Emma insisted on drawing Jamie and I holding hands. After I pointed out things had changed, she added tears, frowns, and broken hearts. I think the kids have some rough times ahead, so the plan is to just be around them and reassure them they'll be okay.

Today the appraisal comes in, which is the last financial unknown. After that, there are questions about what job Jamie will get, along with where she'll live. Once that gets sorted out, we can start figuring out schedules with the kids. Hopefully we can find something that works for everyone.

As for the rest of my life, it's remarkably full and busy. I'm still working on the compost tumbler and planning a garden for next year. Swing dance lessons go well and I might even try a social dance in a month or so. I think I've stopped dramatically losing weight and continue to lift weights and run regularly. My ankle occasionally bothers me, but seems mostly healed. I've appreciated everyone checking up on me, family and friends.

Emma's up, so the day has begun.

I just wanted to bid my dear sister Seraph a ...

November 10, 2009 by Adam in Family

I just wanted to bid my dear sister Seraph a wonderful birthday today. It doesn't seem that long ago when Jenny and I would toss her in a laundry basket and carry her around the house in her "space ship". Her stroller was a moon buggy. Good times.

Happy Birthday, Seraph! Have a wonderful rela...

November 10, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

Happy Birthday, Seraph! Have a wonderful relaxing hot spring day. You already have the body of a godess! Much love from Oregon!

Today is Seraph's birthday! We are going to O...

November 10, 2009 by Robbie in Cortez

Today is Seraph's birthday! We are going to Ojo Caliente to celebrate in the warm mineral waters. Hopefully, when we come out of the waters we will be ten years younger with bodies of GODS! Maybe not, but we will be childless today, and we can relax!

Happy Birthday, Seraph!

November 10, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I got to talk to Seraph last night, and it sounds like she has a relaxing birthday planned. I plan to talk about all her living wage rabble rousing in my Wealth and Poverty class today! Keep on keepin' on, sister. 

We went for a long hike up the mountain yeste...

November 09, 2009 by Seraph in Cortez

We went for a long hike up the mountain yesterday looking for pine cones. We only found2 on the hike, but then at the bottom - 2 hours later - we found a spot covered with them! We're going to make small pine cone bird feeders to hang on the trees outside like ornaments!
Love to everyone - we miss you!

Thinking about all my loved ones this crisp g...

November 09, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

Thinking about all my loved ones this crisp gray morning.
Like the Eskimoes have many words for snow, we Northwesterners need to have words for the many kinds and shades of grays in our sky. Seraph's birthday tomorrow!

It's Sunday night and the kids are in bed

November 09, 2009 by Adam in Family

It's Sunday night and the kids are in bed. The day has been strange, but I think everyone's relatively okay.

This morning Jamie and I practiced what we'd say to the kids and went over other miscellaneous things going on, from finances to holidays. We've been trying to communicate in passing when one of us is about to leave, and it hasn't worked very well.

Sam and I hung out while Jamie went to get Emma, playing card games in the basement. Emma cheerfully arrived and told us about shopping and going to PF Chang's, evidently the highlights of the trip. After making sure they were well rested and fed, we nervously sat the kids down in the living room.

Essentially we told them that Jamie was going to buy a new house and that the kids would spend time at both places. We said again that it wasn't their fault and that we both loved them, even though we weren't going to be married. I was a little emotional at one spot, but not overly so. It was mostly factual and didn't get into why we were getting divorced.

Emma started on Jamie's lap, squirmed out of it and sat on mine for awhile, then bounced between the two of us. Throughout the day she asked about the schedule and wanted to make sure it was fair. She's been trying really hard that both Jamie and I felt okay. I do worry about her not having time to just be a kid. At the same time, it's very sweet.

Sam's more opaque. He cracked a lot of jokes, which reminded me of how I was after the house fire. Sam tends to have a harder time with change, seeming relieved that nothing was imminent. I could sense a nervousness about moving from place to place as well. Mostly I'm trying to be sensitive to what they might be going through and see how I can help.

Jamie went off to the gym and later went out with Victoria. The kids and I watched old Disney cartoons before Josh came over. As the kids adore Josh, the afternoon became very festive and fun. He and Sam fought zombies on the computer, which hopefully was cathartic. Sam showed off his mad kazoo skills using his new kazoo that Yayoe gave him. Emma and I played catch, clothed and fed her babies, and made hamburgers together.

Dinner was home made buns, hamburgers, fries cooked in the oven, and a little applesauce for Sam. It was quite tasty and Emma cheerfully gave a bunch of candy to Josh in hopes of luring him longer. We finally bid him farewell and did the usual bath and bedtime routine. Sam and I watched Stargate: Universe and he's now in bed reading.

It's getting to the end of a wet, dreary Satu...

November 08, 2009 by Adam in Family

It's getting to the end of a wet, dreary Saturday, the Ducks are losing, and the house is quiet. I'm doing my best to stay busy until Sam returns in an hour or so.

Friday I returned home early from work, saying goodbye to Emma before she went to Portland. Sam and I hung out in the afternoon, with Josh coming over in the evening while I went to my swing dance class. They threw some tricky moves at us, but I think I managed them at the end. Afterward I went to pick up Sam from Hodgepodge where my mom took he and Josh to dinner and listening to Yayoe's ukulele band play. I missed the festivities, but chatted for awhile before heading home. Sam and I watched the new Stargate: Universe and went to bed.

This morning I taught Sam how to make soft boiled eggs, and we had a fine hearty breakfast. Jamie arrived mid morning and Sam and I went out to Mount Pisgah to take advantage of the break in the rain. They were having Play in the Rain Day, but the weather was beautiful. We stayed at the organized gathering long enough to roast some marshmallows, before heading off by ourselves into the woods.

Sam made up a "sneak up on someone and poke them in the back" game. He was far better at it than I. He's been reading the Ranger's Apprentice series, and so lurking about in the woods has a great appeal these days.

We returned and Jamie came to pick him up to go rollerskating with M and Chase. I started some laundry, went to the library, and picked some food up at the store. Jamie called and asked if Sam could stay at Chase's for longer, so I'm twiddling my thumbs a little longer before getting dinner started.

Tomorrow Emma returns, which makes me happy. We're also telling the kids we're getting divorced, which makes me really sad. If there's anything people can do to help the kids feel normal and loved in the weeks ahead, I would be most grateful.

We had fun this evening! We took Josh and Sam...

November 07, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

We had fun this evening! We took Josh and Sam to Hodgepodge, the Hawaiin restaurant run by the parents of the firl Aric used to date, to see Yayoe's group, The Refreshments, had a gig.

Really Adam, shall I loan Emma the cookstove ...

November 06, 2009 by Betsy in Betsy

Really Adam, shall I loan Emma the cookstove to go with that pot????

You're making Emma eat out of camping equipme...

November 06, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

You're making Emma eat out of camping equipment?

It's another Mocha Friday, that sweet elixir ...

November 06, 2009 by Adam in Family

It's another Mocha Friday, that sweet elixir simply a memory now. I'm listening to some of Sadie's music as I write code and catch up. Aretha Franklin sure could sing the blues.

I went to the kids' parent-teacher conferences on Tuesday. They're both doing well, with Sam in the TAG program now. I'm really proud of how well they've adjusted to school. I was a little shaky earlier in the week and ended up teary-eyed. Fortunately everyone was very nice to me and promised to keep an eye on the kids.

Jamie and I plan on talking to the kids about what's happening next, likely after Emma returns from Portland. They've both picked up that things haven't been normal for awhile, but it'll be good to let them get ready for the adjustments ahead and reassure them that they're loved and will be okay.

As for the rest of life, it continues on despite the occasional bumps. Last night Jamie went over to M's house. The kids and I played in the basement and had pizza and Mythbuster's, since Emma would miss it tomorrow. As it was a pirate special, it was pretty awesome. Sadie and Greg Skyped at the end and due to Emma's tired level, we ended up playing 20 Questions instead of our drawing game. There was lots of laughter and giggles, then it was off to bath and bedtime. Sam and I worked on my game project for awhile, to our mutual enjoyment.

As for this weekend, Jamie's taking Emma to Portland this afternoon so I'm going home early. I'll hang out with Sam until my swing dance class, taking him over to my mom's or having Josh come over. Tomorrow Jamie returns and plans on taking Sam skating in the afternoon. On Sunday, Emma returns and we'll probably have a low-key day after talking to them.

The house assessment happened earlier this week, so I'm hoping to get that number soon. As long as it's not too far off from the original estimate, I can start the refinance process right away.

The inspiration for this little ditty came fr...

November 05, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

The inspiration for this little ditty came from one of Emma's big hugs.

I'm so glad that Emma's such a good girl,
Never wears her panties on her head
(In the school yard)
I'm so glad that Emma's such a good girl,
Won't eat chips in Momma's bed

Hasn't fed her brother earthworms,
Wouldn't key the neighbors' cars
Push old ladies into traffic,
Or make long distance calls to Mars

Just like her cousin Isabella,
Both are loving, kind and sweet.
But if they're both such good girls,
Why do angels quake when those two meet?

Speaking of grandkids, apparently Destin's grades were good at half-term. Sam and Josh are helping me with my car tomorrow.

Hello again! A mild Indian summer has come an...

November 04, 2009 by Robbie in Cortez

Hello again! A mild Indian summer has come and warmed us up. However another storm is building and threatening with more snow. Us skiers are dancing naked and wanting this snow to come. For us, we have been looking at a school in Dixon for Isabell. We aren't very happy with Isa's school right now, as their focus is only on testing and not much else. We really want her to have fun at school and not worry about failing or passing, not that I'm worried about that. She does really well even though the constant hounding about the tests. The Dixon school is small and comfortable, where everyone knows each other. They do have testing, however it is not the major focus.

We have been feeding the locals birds, and it is great to see so many around the house. We have Stellar Jays, sparrows, magpies, and crows all around. However if you forget to feed them they become the Birds from Alfred Hitchcock's movie. They start fighting and chirping loudly and look at us like we are food. When fed, they are a beautiful sight to behold.

I'm letting myself have a few sad days lately

November 03, 2009 by Adam in Adam

I'm letting myself have a few sad days lately. We had our counseling session on Monday and the counselor said, "I'm not sure why you're getting divorced." Stuff like that makes me crazy and I've spent the last few days pretty weepy. Crying yourself to sleep is only cool in teen romance novels.

I keep trying to get back to the confident and hopeful Adam of last Friday. Unfortunately I seem to be full of regret and second-thoughts. The reality feels that I can't do much about this, so I continue to march ahead with dividing up the finances and getting things ready for Jamie to move out. I think we'll be talking to the kids soon, which breaks my heart just thinking about it.

I'm working on a new version of this site with a new URL. It's not quite ready yet, but has all the new bells and whistles expected in web sites these days.

There's going to be a downtime for the web site this Thursday, as my ISP is switching things around. Hopefully it's not too long.

Oh, Adam, I'm sorry we missed you

November 02, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

Oh, Adam, I'm sorry we missed you. We were at the game. It was one of those football games when someone should have been making the college version of Friday Night Lights. The evening had its natural highs, starting off with not one but two rainbows, followed by a nearly dry evening with a spooky full moon lurking behind shreds of clouds. The fans
were cheerful and good natured, with lots of witty costumes.
As you knows, the mascot for USC is the Trojan, so of course
there were any number of visual puns - two guys totally encased, head to toe, in full length condoms, and a guy in a completely authentic red and gold cheerleader costume, except that on his chest it said, rather than USC Trojans, USE Trojans. And of course, the crowd loud and the team spectacular. Much fun!

Yikes it's November already! I returned from ...

November 02, 2009 by Yayoe in Yayoe

Yikes it's November already! I returned from Morro Bay, California where I spent a long weekend with 9 of my junior high school friends. We've been getting together since we turned 50 and will continue to plan these wild, fun and crazy reunions every two years. One of the highlights of our trip was visiting the Hearst Castle in San Simeon.I can't believe my friends don't age..could it be because of Lady Clairol in their hair or are they the Asian version of Dorian Gray?

Now it's back to reality and practicing for another gig. This Friday, November 6th we'll be playing at Hodgepodge Hawaii Grill (2190 W. 11th, just west of Garfield.) If you have nothing better to do...come on down, have a nice meal and a few laughs as we sing more doo wop songs. We're on at 7 PM. This time we're singing in the nude..only kidding.. Just wanted to see if anyone was paying attention! Aloha

I had way too much fun at work Friday, dresse...

November 01, 2009 by Adam in Family

I had way too much fun at work Friday, dressed up like a pirate. I decided to get into my gear on Saturday morning and take Emma to the library. She wore her witch costume, which seemed to be popular among the librarians, so she was in good company. We returned home from looting the books and Sam and I hung out and Emma watched a video. There was a break in the weather and the kids took their bikes down to the park. Emma's on the cusp of being able to ride by herself. I held on to the back of her jacket in case of emergencies, but otherwise she was on her own. Sam found the biggest mud puddle and rode through it repeatedly. Soon enough, everyone was soaked through, so we headed home, took showers, and ate a snack. Sam declared that his life was luxurious. Jamie returned home and made lasagna before we all got ready for Trick-or-Treating. Once again I donned my pirate outfit, Emma was a witch, and Sam was a Zombie for the second year running. We headed out into the darkness as rain poured down. The amount of candy given out was tremendous, as I think the duck game and the weather kept most kids off the streets. We wandered over to my mom's to show off our costumes, but no one was there. By the time we returned, our sacks were heavy with ill-gotten booty. The kids returned to survey their candy, laying it out into neat piles. This morning they engaged in assorted trading, which as expected ended in conflict and recriminations. Fortunately all seems to have been forgiven and the kids are playing well together. Jamie and I had a good talk after breakfast, going over next steps. Soon I'm off to the store to buy parts for the compost tumbler. It makes for a good garden project while the weather is gray and drizzly.

Happy Halloween! Although we didn't have many...

October 31, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Happy Halloween! Although we didn't have many trick-or-treaters, we still carved a jack-o-lantern. Yes, it is the death star.

I took the kids to the park today to ride bikes

October 31, 2009 by Adam in Sam

I took the kids to the park today to ride bikes. It was pretty muddy and Sam in particular enjoyed riding through huge mud puddles. Emma was the safety officer and repeatedly pulled him off the ground.

When he returned home, he showered, put on clean clothes, and made himself pizza. He reported that it felt like he lived a life of luxury.

Yar! It be another sweet Mocha Friday, not t...

October 30, 2009 by Adam in Family

Yar! It be another sweet Mocha Friday, not to mention dressing like a pirate at work today. Emma put on her witch costume for school, so we had to pose for the camera.

The week has generally gone well. Sam had one day where he was a little sick and stayed home. Jamie took a day trip to Portland yesterday, with Josh entertaining the kids after school, much to their delight. I spent last night helping Sam with math and Emma with spelling. For bedtime I started reading Emma Harry Potter, and afterwards Sam and I played with the Dragon Age toolset building sunken ruins.

I need to sit down and spend some quality time with my loan application, but with luck there will soon be another big gob of cash put into our savings account. Once that's combined with the stocks cash-out, I think Jamie should have everything she needs to start looking for a house. I know she's nervous about moving out and worrying about a job. Mostly I'm trying to get everything in place for when she's ready.

Game night with Sadie was cut short due to sleep needed for our East Coast relatives. We might reschedule for this weekend. I was excited to hear that she and Greg would be coming to town towards the end of December.

As for the next few days, it turns out I have one more dance class tonight. Tomorrow I'm taking the kids Trick or Treating. Sometime I need to go to the library and maybe work on the compost tumbler. When I went over to dad and Jenny's on Wednesday, he helped cut a hole in the side. The rest is up to me.

Happy almost Halloween! Greg and I are going ...

October 30, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Happy almost Halloween! Greg and I are going to the symphony and a big sweaty dance party held by one of the coolest MPPers at a Cambridge VFW hall. It should be fun.

There are occasionally fall ladybug infestations in Massachusetts, and here is one of the speckled friends that was hanging around Heller this morning.

The week continues to zip along, already half...

October 28, 2009 by Adam in Family

The week continues to zip along, already half over.

Sam was home sick yesterday, with a touch of a cold and headache. Fortunately it wasn't particularly bad and he headed in today.

I ran into Jamie in the lobby this morning, waiting for her job interview, so I stopped and wished her luck. She's applying for a teaching position with PeaceHealth Laboratories in the building where I work. It's a good professional job that she's perfectly qualified for, so I think there's a reasonable chance of her getting it.

Having my ex-wife work in my same building sounds like good material for a sitcom, but I honestly hope she gets the job and it's unlikely we'd cross paths anyway. I had a good friend work in my same building for a year before we managed to see each other.

Jamie's off to Portland tomorrow. I've got Emma's costume ready for Friday's school party. Now I just need to make sure I have all the appropriate clothes, props, and tattoos for my pirate costume. I'll take any excuse to talk like a pirate for the day.

We had a busy but fun weekend

October 26, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

We had a busy but fun weekend. On Saturday, which was a beautiful day, Dez and one of his buds came over and moved huge rocks down to where I want a low rock wall so that I
can sort of terrace the front yard, and make the upper level flat. The Ducks stomped the Huskies, which made me happy. The Huskie fans were all real mean when our team was bad years ago.
Sunday Bob and I cleaned, and then Josh, Adam and the kids were here for dinner at 6, and Aric at 8, after basketball practice.
Today it's raining, the kind of rain when you know there won't be another week of sunshine. I was lying on the bed, feeling sort of morose and thinking that I'd lost my husband, my pickup and my dog, and then I realize it sounded like a C&W song, and I'd better just get in gear.

I made an H1N1 pumpkin at the pumpkin carving...

October 25, 2009 by Adam in Adam's Projects

I made an H1N1 pumpkin at the pumpkin carving party last night. Unfortunately the squirrels thought the "pumpkin innards vomit" was pretty tasty and immediately took an interest to it.

It's Sunday morning, the kids are fed, the ki...

October 25, 2009 by Adam in Family

It's Sunday morning, the kids are fed, the kitchen clean, laundry going, and the kids are playing with Legos. I managed to make hash browns and pancakes, along with a morning mocha. My wonderful kids assisted and generally stayed out of trouble. I think my favorite moment was finishing cleaning the kitchen and walking out to discover Sam and Emma brushing their teeth just as I'd asked them to. Ah, the joys of older children.

Friday night was my final swing dance class. I finally got the hang of the thing, doing inside turns and tuck turns without thinking about it much. Now I just need to practice more, or get a dance partner taller than Emma. Josh watched the kids while I was out, as Jamie went to the coast. They had such a good time that they demanded he return today.

Yesterday was a whirlwind of activity. After a crêpe-filled breakfast, we had my friend Joanna arrive with her husband and two kids in tow. Her husband is a glassblower, so the kids both got nifty glass flowers. The kids cheerfully played in the basement, then cheerfully played with playdough in the kitchen, and finally cheerfully drank tea and ate goodies.

Next I took Emma off to Isabella's birthday party. Initially she was hesitant to go, but perked right up once she arrived. Isabella's mom Heather was a whirlwind of frantic activity, managing to get the kids doing balloon-carrying races, dress-up, piñata whacking, cake, and present opening. Emma returned home with more presents than she arrived with.

We had some down time after that and then headed out a final time to pumpkin carving at Jason and Bridget's house. All sorts of old friends were there, including BJ and her family. The kids had a pretty good time and ate a surprising amount of food. Again, they returned with prizes and collapsed at home after a quick bath.

Josh is on his way over and the plan is to take it easy today. I've got assorted domestic chores to do and hopefully can find a few moments to simply enjoy life in between all the things that must be done. Playing in my garden sounds like a fine idea.

Generic Heading

October 24, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

Where's Emma?

Merry Christmas

October 23, 2009 by Robbie in Cortez

Merry Christmas...wait it's only October and we already had our first snowfall. We woke up on Wednesday morning covered with about 3" of snow. Now, in Oregon this would be a major shut down of the cities, and children would be jumping for joy. For us, this is an itsy, bitsy, minor problem. It was truly beautiful to see the snow falling and the trees covered in powdered sugar. All of us stared out our windows, with one of us uttering a "Wow!" or "Look over there!" "Isn't it beautiful!" There is still snow around and especially on the slopes. If you drive ten minutes to Penasco, there is no trace of snow.
I've been busy with homework, and occasionally I feel like that dream where there is a major test and you forgot to study for it. I have a class where the professor is out sick, and the dean took over. There is a reason why she's the dean and not a professor! Most of the time I feel lost on where to post things on the site and find out later that it was suppose to be posted on another page. I can't find anything on the site and I'm always asking where to find things. Luckily, the other students will answer my questions, and then the dean will answer them after the fact. Other than that, I'm doing well on the work!

Mocha Friday already, though I'm still patien...

October 23, 2009 by Adam in Family

Mocha Friday already, though I'm still patiently waiting until I head into work. Somehow oatmeal with raisins doesn't quite compare.

The week seems to have gone so fast. Jamie's off to the beach this weekend, Josh is coming over for pizza and Mythbusters, and it's my last dance class tonight. Saturday is filled to the gills with play dates, birthday parties, and pumpkin carving. Sunday is more of a laid back day for us, just hanging out with the kids. Maybe I can sneak a library run in there somewhere.

Life's been going relatively well. The dividing of assets has started in earnest, with two really big checks arriving from the sale of our stocks. The money's from some gifts that my grandparents gave us when my grandfather was dying. It probably wasn't their intent to help us divorce well later in life, but without it I probably couldn't have kept the house. So thanks, Dorothy and Franklin.

The mortgage refinance is next. I basically have to gather up paperwork and make it happen. After that, the bulk of our assets should be ready for dividing. All that remains is adjusting our retirement funds, which can only happen after we get legally separated or divorced. I suspect we'll do a final calculation with the accountant to come up with a number, and then hold off until we're formally divorced to make it happen.

The next big thing is talking to the kids when Jamie starts looking for a new house. I've been generally okay emotionally for a couple weeks now, and I know the kids haven't had the same time to adjust to things. It could be a little rough, especially when Jamie finally gets a new place.

Even though there's a lot of hard things going on, the kids and I continue to have fun, Jamie and I seem to be working well together, and I'm optimistic for the future. Especially the café mocha in my future. I can taste it now.

Game night Apples to Apples wins: Responsibl...

October 23, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Game night Apples to Apples wins:
Responsible: grave robbers
Hopeless: Cindy Crawford
Elitist: carnival workers
Graceful: chickens
Distinguished: Helen Keller

My last organic gardening class was last nigh...

October 22, 2009 by Adam in Adam's Projects

My last organic gardening class was last night, and I'm full of inspiration to start a backyard garden. It turns out that Pasta Plus has endless cheap 55-gallon drums from their pesto making operations. Since they were used for olive oil, they're considered "food grade" and can be turned into a compost tumbler. I picked one up and am going to see if I can get my dad's help to turn it into something useful.

I may end up trying to get some wood for raised beds, though I may not start filling them with soil until I talk to a water guy. I think I want a faucet smack dab in the middle and pick up a timer to attach soaker hoses to. That seems the most sensible low-cost option.

It's fun to think about.

Oh, Seraph, that's wonderful! I'm very proud

October 22, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Oh, Seraph, that's wonderful! I'm very proud. Let Isa know that she'll make a great professor! As I have come to realize from leading weekly undergrad discussions, good teaching is all in the theatrical flair.

I am very, very slowly recovering from October. Regaining lost sleep is tricky.

The owners were here working on our internet ...

October 22, 2009 by Seraph in Cortez

The owners were here working on our internet yesterday, so we may be able to wade through the hundred e-mails or so soon!
Their also going to change our phones so that it will be easier for us to call you - yeah!!
I really just wanted to post a quick note for Sadie. Today was career day at Isa's school, and she went as you! She is telling everyone she is a grad student/teacher and a Mass university. I have a really cute pic I'll post when I can.

Well, I must be better, because I'm going to ...

October 22, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

Well, I must be better, because I'm going to committee meetings again. I should never agreed to be Membership Chair for the League of Women Voters, with two other Boards of Directors and a couple of sub-committees to attend to.
Everybody in the League is as old as me, or older, and one of the discussion topics today was having a professional photographer take pictures of the Board. The photographer
will also take individual photos at $35 a pop, and everyone agreed it would be a great opportunity to have an Obit photo
taken. These gals are a hoot. Since the best photo I have is me sitting in bed with a little garbage can on my head, perhaps this photo would be an improvement.

Hmmm, Lohring

October 21, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

Hmmm, Lohring. Does it work in the water, too?

Since that last picture was a little boring, ...

October 21, 2009 by Lohring in Lohring

Since that last picture was a little boring, here's the boat in action. Testing starts in early Spring.

I think I'm finally done with midterms

October 20, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I think I'm finally done with midterms. Everyone in the program is so tired they can barely function and everyone has the flu, but teachers have finally been fed... just like zombies, they won't stop until they have your brain, in paper form.

Off to bed.

It's Monday night, Emma's in the bath, and Sa...

October 20, 2009 by Adam in Family

It's Monday night, Emma's in the bath, and Sam's helping her with her spelling homework. Tonight when I came home, Emma dropped to her knees, exclaimed "All hail Daddy!" and began worshiping. I have great kids.

Sunday wasn't quite as busy as the day before. Jamie had the kids in the morning after breakfast, so I went food shopping, stopped at the library, and did some miscellaneous chores. Jamie returned with Emma and went back to M's house until late afternoon. Emma and I had a wonderful time working in the garden. I did a little bit of work towards the new garden plan, but there are still endless projects to work on.

This morning Jamie and I went to the counselor and later to the accountant. There were no huge surprises. The monthly amount I'm paying Jamie initially is higher than expected, but as part of the initial division I'm getting a little more savings than expected. The first couple years will end up being pretty tight, but hopefully we can get through it. It's still a little tricky with the assumptions of job and salary and when she'll move out, so adjustments are to be expected. As for me, the next step is to sell our stocks and work on getting the house refinanced. Relatively soon, there should be a big chunk of change for Jamie to work with.

Yayoe performed at Uketoberfest this weekend ...

October 19, 2009 by Adam in Yayoe

Yayoe performed at Uketoberfest this weekend and asked that I share this video of her performance.

I've started resurrecting the odd project the...

October 18, 2009 by Adam in Adam's Projects

I've started resurrecting the odd project these days. As it's looking like I'll be staying in the house, my interest in gardening is blooming (pun intended). Mostly it's at the level of graph paper and scribbles, but I moved the dirt pile left over from the shed to make the beginnings of a flower bed.

I've also been canning like mad, doing applesauce and apple butter this weekend. I'm sure it's deeply symbolic, stocking up for a long, cold winter before Spring finally comes. Fortunately it's both symbolic and tasty.

What a day! After breakfast, the kids and I ...

October 17, 2009 by Adam in Family

What a day! After breakfast, the kids and I dug into the Halloween decoration box. Soon we had dangling skeletons and jars of odd potions scattered around the house. I'm going as a pirate to work on Halloween. Since bringing the flintlock rifle could possibly result in my dismissal, I opted for one of Sam's foam swords. We had a broken one, which I repaired, spray painted, and added some leather to. The kids thought it immediately awesome. Sam wasn't keen on going to the pumpkin patch, so Emma and I headed out to Thistledown Farms. The rain was monumental and we wisely opted to take the horse-drawn carriage out to the pumpkin patch. I think it took as long to wash off the mud as it did to pick the pumpkins, but we both had a memorable time. Upon coming home, Sam was off at a friend's birthday party so Emma and I diligently worked at apple sauce production. It was a tremendous amount of work and we ended up with only five large jars as the output. Perhaps next time I'll use industrial vats to get the right economy of scale. Now Josh is over, trying to kill the children with foam swords. I promised him zombie-themed games, so we'll probably head up to play Give Me The Brain or Zombie Fluxx. Life's good.

We are still here! Sorry I haven't posted in ...

October 16, 2009 by Robbie in Cortez

We are still here! Sorry I haven't posted in a while. Our lives are crazy at the moment, since we just moved to our new place at the base of Sipapu Ski Area. The last of aspens are loosing their leaves and bare limbs are weaving their arms into the sky. I have been busy with my online classes and I don't know if I can fit a job in there! Seraph is quite busy with laundry and checking in guests in the evening. Isabell has to wake up early in the morning to catch the bus. The first time the bus picked her up, Seraph and I waved as she left, it had a great country feel to it. To contact us call 1800-587-2240 ext 211 or ask for the night office. It's best to call us after 4:30 when Seraph can answer the phone.

I just downed my Mocha Friday beverage and I ...

October 16, 2009 by Adam in Family

I just downed my Mocha Friday beverage and I feel the liquid optimism coursing through my veins. Life continues to be both hard and wonderful. Occasionally things between Jamie and I are awkward, but we're also working well together to take care of the kids and get through the business of getting separated and divorced. I've spent the last few days trying to figure out all the mortgage issues and trying to understand what all the fees mean. Monday we have another counseling session and meet with our CPA to go over finances.

Emma was going to go up to Portland to visit her grandma, but Judy hurt her back and so we've postponed the trip. I'd planned a boys-only Saturday night with Sam and Josh playing zombie games. I'm trying to think of ways to work Emma into some of that without getting her too freaked out before bed time. Give Me the Brain is a funny card game that Emma would probably enjoy. Left 4 Dead, not so much.

As usual, I looked through Eugene Weekly, trying to come up with things to do. I think I'll take Emma to a farm to get apples and pumpkins, one for applesauce and another for carving. I like the idea of Halloween projects, from picture frames with moving images to apothecary jars filled with strange things. In years past, they've loved doing that. Between the two of them, they've started a perfume making business, mixing strange things about the house in hopes of making their fortune. Maybe some of those odd tinctures can be put into cleverly labeled jars.

I had my second to last organic gardening class on Wednesday, which is endlessly inspiring. I'm feeling the urge to make cedar raised beds and a compost tumbler. My dance class is tonight, and I'm hoping my ankle will cooperate. Both finish at the end of the month, so I'll need to find other things to do with my Wednesday and Friday nights. Perhaps I'll just keep that time open and work on house projects or visit with people as desired. It's been good for me to stay busy, but I'm also noticing I don't have a lot of free time.

Sue, Sambuccol is the thing for the flu

October 15, 2009 by Betsy in Betsy

Sue, Sambuccol is the thing for the flu. Its Elderberry Extract and cuts viral infections down like a Nerf gun wielded by Emma! Love, Bets

I hurt my ankle pretty badly on Monday, getti...

October 15, 2009 by Adam in Adam

I hurt my ankle pretty badly on Monday, getting out of an office chair. It was really painful, but I iced it and could generally walk around on it. Things seem to have improved over the last couple days and I no longer favor one foot over the other. I still don't have the range of motion I normally have, but it's on the mend.

Today I used a stair stepper for 20 minutes and then ran for 2 miles without any problems. Afterward in the locker room, I looked at my ankle and was amazed at how badly it had bruised. There's a line above and below the ankle, probably roughly corresponding to attachment points for ligaments. It wasn't my favorite way to learn about human anatomy.

Darn, I've got the flu

October 14, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

Darn, I've got the flu. And this a most social week! Adam, please consider this a Regrets. Back to sleep.

Mike just bought Dry Martini IV, a 1974, 35 f...

October 14, 2009 by Lohring in Lohring

Mike just bought Dry Martini IV, a 1974, 35 foot Cigarette once owned by
Carlo Bonomi. Carlo won the Cowes Torquay race in England with earlier version of the
boat in 1974. Mike drove in the shorter Cowes Poule race this year during a
visit to his family and won. Next year is the 50th anniversary of the 225
mile Cowes Torquay race and Mike decided it was a once in a lifetime chance.
I'm going as the navigator, and an English racer will be the throttle man.
Currently Mike has the engines out and completely disassembled. He is also
going through the drives and all the rest of the boat as well. It's in
great shape considering its age. The original paint is still nearly

Emma and I made applesauce tonight, using equ...

October 14, 2009 by Adam in Family

Emma and I made applesauce tonight, using equipment borrowed from a friend at work. It generally worked out pretty well, and the kids seemed enthusiastic enough about the taste that I may make up a bigger batch this weekend.

I had a bit of a fall Monday at work. I was getting out of an office chair and my leg fell asleep. Moments later I put my weight on it, rolled my ankle, and fell down hard on my butt. My coworkers were great, getting me an ice pack and endless sympathy. I managed to get to the gym both days, but no running for awhile. Sitting has been uncomfortable today, bothering me more than my ankle. Hopefully I'll be mended enough for my Friday dance class.

Jamie and I continue to work together to take care of all the things we're supposed to be doing. She's looking hard for work, which she reports as not being frustrating yet. I've been working to fill out paperwork for both my mortgage broker and the CPA.

Neither has been done yet, as Jamie and I briefly went over finances, I ran a new network cable to Sam's computer, and then I had the kids full time. I conked out when putting Emma to bed, woke up enough to eat cereal, and now I'm going to crawl under the covers myself.

Woops! Turns out that the UKEtoberfest ticket...

October 12, 2009 by Yayoe in Yayoe

Woops! Turns out that the UKEtoberfest ticket price for students and children are $5...not free as originally reported! Sorry about that. Adults tickets are $15.

I'm STILL housecleaning

October 12, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

I'm STILL housecleaning. Lots of leftover dust and grime from the summer and remodeling. But all my geraniums (would that be gerania in Latin? I've been watching a video course called The Story of Human Language from The Teaching Company - wonderful teacher, John McWhorter; he showed up last spring on Bill Moyer's program on PBS)oh, and back to the geraniums - they're all happily inside, potted in smaller pots, a bit easier to move, clusted around the entry hall window.
This afternoon Dez and one of his friends were over for a couple of hours, working with me on cleaning the shed. We packed what's left of my camping gear after years of "Mom Can I Borrow", plus Bob's, up in the loft. It was generally a big project; they moved the last big tool box out to the shed from where it had summered in the kitchen.
I continue to try to get rid of stuff. Sadie, I'm sending on that little wood box Myron made for your great grandma Sadie. I think I'll see if Adam will take the picture of the Jones house which used to be in my office. Also, Jenny agreed to take the Triffid in the antique crock in the living room. It's grown so much it must be eating the flies and spiders which usually arrive this time of year.It's really hard to shove this stuff off on Jenny. Jenny, being adopted means you still have to take junk from your mother.
But today, she greeted me with an evil glint in her eye when I took the boys home and announced she had stuff to give me, a coat and jacket for Mikeoleto, Richard's little boy. Most welcome; they're living hand to mouth. If you know anyone who needs
outdoor or indoor work done, let me know. (Bob is upstairs swearing vigorously at his computer. He must be feeling better!)
Of course, I just got done buying a lovely little antique dresser, painted dark brown, for $50. He was asking $40, but I negotiated hard. (Eugene Springfield seems full of people down on their luck these days. A carpenter whose business went to hell in a handbasket, leaving them unable to finish remodeling a 1903 house; beautiful wide board flooring. I also bought a couple of the doors he'd replaced.)It's the same as the dresser up in Bob's room, and once refinished, will be nice in the new apartment downstairs.
We really are enjoying Josh; he's been eating with us in the evening since I haven't cleaned out enough space for him to store food. He always says thank you, and frequently tells me that dinner is good. Of course, it's tough to find food a growing boy likes.

The weekend is coming to a close, Emma's asle...

October 12, 2009 by Adam in Family

The weekend is coming to a close, Emma's asleep and Sam's reading a Batman reference book.

This morning we had crepes and Jamie and I went over finances. Everything is extremely preliminary, but I think we can just barely afford paying two mortgages, utilities, food, and all the other necessities of life (including TV and Internet) for the near future. True, we won't have any savings to speak of and things like vacations are postponed, but at least we won't be starving with our children in burlap clothes. Jamie and I have been working well together on these sort of issues, which makes me hopeful that we'll continue to be good co-parents in the years ahead.

Emma decided to cut a couple holes in a sheet for a traditional ghost costume. We'll see if this supplants the black cat she's been for the last few years.

I went off for a hair cut and grocery shopping, and then Jamie went off to Corvallis to meet with Carrie. The kids were playing really well together in the back yard, hunting for bugs, burning things with a magnifying glass, and generally enjoying being kids. I weeded like a maniac, filling our yard debris bin with all manner of invasive plants. I hopefully made some sketches of the back yard, trying to figure out where to put raised beds and plant flowers.

Afterward, Emma and I made a library run and then practiced more bike riding at the park. As evening rolled around, the kids had quiet time and I whipped up some dinner while they did battle in the basement with foam swords. Next came chores and home work. Emma did great with her spelling words, mostly thanks to Sam who practiced with her the day before.

Now the house is quiet and work starts tomorrow. I'm not sure if I want to do something frivolous or curl up in bed with the Good Divorce book. Ah, decisions.

Sam declared that he could tell that he was g...

October 12, 2009 by Adam in Sam

Sam declared that he could tell that he was growing up. Fascinated, I asked him to elaborate. For starters, he wasn't interested in playing pretend any more, which made it harder to have fun. I've also noticed that privacy has become important and baths are a solitary affair. When pressing him further, he just said "everything's changed" and left it at that.

We had quite the busy day today

October 11, 2009 by Adam in Family

We had quite the busy day today. It's nine o'clock and already I'm tuckered out.

Jamie made pancakes for us this morning and headed off to the gym. I dragged out the ping pong table and we played until it was time to go to Rewild. It's a "back to nature" group and they had an assortment of activities going on. Sam caught swords (bamboo Kendo ones), tied ropes, and tried to start a fire using friction. Emma and I tried acorn flour pancakes which I thought were pretty good.

After that we headed home and Sam went off to a Percy Jackson themed birthday party at Zack's house. Emma and I made sourdough bread and hamburger buns, measured the backyard in preparation for garden planning (semi-homework for my Wednesday class), and then went to Saturday Market to pick up produce. Emma is a treat to hang out with, and we ate noodles and picked up all manner of tasty vegetables.

We returned home, got Sam, and started getting ready for dinner. Dave, Kirsten, and Josh arrived and mightily entertained the kids while I got everything ready. Dave graciously made the hamburgers as I think it's been over twenty years since I cooked meat.

We ate outside on the patio, and the food turned out well. After dinner we hung up an old sheet and Dave set up the LCD projector and laptop. From the kitchen, you could look out the window and it looked like the Canadian Rockies were right outside the window. In reality, it was just the wallpaper from Dave's laptop.

We watched Pixar movies to everyone's amusement, and then I got Emma into a quick bath and bed. Emma was amazed by the stars as it's been awhile since she's been outside in the dark. Now it's late and I'm feeling pretty worn out. Time for bed soon.

It's another sweet Mocha Friday and the antic...

October 09, 2009 by Adam in Family

It's another sweet Mocha Friday and the anticipation of that delicious elixir is palpable. Only a half an hour to go. As soon as I came home, I was on kid duty, though it wasn't particularly difficult. Sam played his new Batman game and I helped Emma draw scientific illustrations of imaginary animals. After dinner we had game night with Sadie and Greg. The kids both love playing charades, which is an easy choice when we haven't prepared much. As we were winding down for bed, I pointed out that Emma had her first list of spelling words to practice. That seemed to invigorate both of the kids and soon Sam was helping with her homework as she took a bath. It was one of those awesome parent moments when I was proud of both of them simultaneously. For those of you hoping to lurk about my house and plot my demise, the robot should be currently active. I upgraded the netbook to Windows 7 and the whole setup is a little twitchy, but it generally seems to work.

Just a quick note to tell you that my aging "...

October 09, 2009 by Yayoe in Yayoe

Just a quick note to tell you that my aging "girl" band AKA The Refreshments will be singing 2-3 songs at the UKEtoberfest concert on Saturday night, October 17 at 7:30.The concert will feature very talented uke musicians who know their way around the uke keyboard. We're just filler. Wish us luck. I've been a big ball of sweat worrying about it..

Tickets are $15, students and children are free.
We'll also be singing at the next Aloha Friday at Hodgepodge, 6pm, on Friday, November 6th. The food is good and it's free!

Bob's not feeling great

October 09, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

Bob's not feeling great. We both have sore throats, but he seems to have a bad cold. We're enjoying having Josh here. He's quiet, but has a nice sense of humor. I'm still house cleaning. Each year, I swear it's the last time.

The kids had Jog-a-Thon today at school, rais...

October 08, 2009 by Adam in Family

The kids had Jog-a-Thon today at school, raising money for their art and music programs. I ended up running with Emma, or at least alternating running and limping. I think she drank a bit too much water and ended up with a side ache towards the end. Still, she ran more than two miles and felt pretty good at the end. I saw Sam briefly as he zipped about, giving him a macho fist bump before I left. The school took some pictures, which you can see here.

Jamie and I went over our assorted "to do" lists this morning. Next step is to get our house appraised and contact a CPA to go over how to best divide up all our assets. I also asked Jamie to make a list of all our furniture and mark which ones she wanted. There are still plenty of unknowns, and there aren't any firm timelines, but I think we're doing all the things we're supposed to be doing.

Very quick not to say hello, and we are alive

October 08, 2009 by Seraph in Cortez

Very quick not to say hello, and we are alive. We don't have internet right now - the router (?) for the wifi is down. We've gotten mostly moved into the new house up at Sipapu (pic to come), and it's nice to be able to get so much stuff out of storage.
Today is Hunni's birthday (she's down here), so we're hoping to do a little something special : )
Love to all!

My first gardening class was pretty fun

October 08, 2009 by Adam in Adam

My first gardening class was pretty fun. Getting to LCC was somewhat nostalgic, as the old route came back to me after all those years. The instructor took us out to a student garden and proceeded to point out all the different things you can eat, munching on petals and leaves as we went. I was handed some Calendula seeds, which I stuffed into a folded up piece of paper.

Needless to say, I'm now quite excited about doing some gardening. It sounds like I'll need to talk to an irrigation person as the sprinklers in the back yard are turned off. Next week is garden planning, so I'm not going to actually break any ground yet. The instructor was big on fava beans for a cover crop, so that may be something I grow over the winter.

Betsy very nicely packaged up all her kids' N...

October 08, 2009 by Adam in Betsy

Betsy very nicely packaged up all her kids' Nerf and disc firing toys. Emma eagerly opened up the box and was thrilled to see the contents. We're having some issues getting the new darts fit into the old weapons, so some modifications may be in order. We managed to tape a little toilet paper around an old dart and that did the trick too. That approach does have a high possibility for messiness, however.

Well, today is Wednesday, the first of Jamie'...

October 07, 2009 by Adam in Adam

Well, today is Wednesday, the first of Jamie's "mom days" with the kids. After looking at all the things that I could possibly doing, from Lindy Hop classes to sitting in my basement and catching up on my t.v. shows, I opted for an organic gardening class over at LCC. I'm hoping that I can look into building some raised beds and getting a garden started in the back yard. It's also only until the end of the month, so it wasn't a big commitment.

I haven't been to LCC for over twenty years, so I nervously printed out a map. I'm going to swing by home before I go, as I didn't bring both lunch and dinner with me to work. When I left, I wasn't even sure what I was doing tonight. I'm also hoping I can visit my dad, who teaches at a dental clinic there.

We had a productive counseling session this m...

October 06, 2009 by Adam in Adam

We had a productive counseling session this morning. I had one issue that was bothering me, and Jamie graciously has taken steps to alleviate my nervousness. She's also agreed that I'll stay in the house. Some issues are financial, but others are so that the kids have added stability in their lives. I very much appreciate her willingness to do so.

We've also taken steps to set up "mom time" and "dad time". Jamie's taking the kids on Wednesday, Friday for my class, and Sunday morning.

So, we're making progress.

The weekend is drawing to a close (though t...

October 05, 2009 by Adam in Family

The weekend is drawing to a close (though the thought makes Sam very unhappy). This morning Jamie made crepes and then took the kids swimming and to lunch. I had a leisurely trip to the library, returning with countless goodies for the kids and gardening books for me. I did some laundry, made lunch, worked on getting the robot functional, and then the kids descended on me once again. Jamie helped M buy remodeling stuff, Emma watched a movie, and Sam and I played Left 4 Dead. Fighting off zombie hordes creates a very special father-son bond. Our neighbors brought over pumpkin pie, which we promptly ate. Next we headed to the Asian kite festival to make kites and enjoy the music. The kids had a great time running around and listening to the drums. Emma hit the 14 second mark riding alone. Since then, we've been taking it easy. Dinner will be soon, and then the typical bedtime routine. Just the way I like it.

It was a pretty low-key day with the kids today

October 04, 2009 by Adam in Family

It was a pretty low-key day with the kids today. Jamie made breakfast this morning, then went to the gym and later to M's for the rest of the day. Sam was feeling a little draggy, possibly due to an impending cold. We played cards and puttered around until close to noon, then Emma and I went to the park for a picnic and bike riding. She hit a new record of twelve seconds solo riding.

Upon our return, Sam was wanting to play on the computer with me, so it was quiet time for Emma while the two of us had some bonding time. Afterward, the kids played with walkie-talkies and ran about the house while I did some cleaning in the basement.

As the afternoon wore on, I took the kids outside for some sun. They decided to script their own fight scenes, then act them out for me. Evidently this one kick of Emma's was so powerful, it caused purple bolts of energy to shoot from Sam's head. Well, at least that's what showed up on the camera.

We then went to Yayoe's for dinner. It's always nostalgic for me to go to that house. I don't know how many countless meals I've had with the old clock ticking away. After that it was baths and bedtime snacks and stories. Emma's getting quite good at reading, and cheerfully read a Doctor Seuss book to me without hardly a mistake.

My ballroom dancing class went relatively well. It was two other couples, myself, and the two instructors. I got a fair bit of individual attention from the woman instructor, which was nice. It was a very different style than my college class, but I think I'm picking it up quickly. I'm still trying to figure out if this is something I want to turn into a regular hobby.

We'll see what tomorrow brings. If the weather holds, I'd like to take them to the Asian kite festival at the nearby park.

I guess my spirits have lifted enough to post...

October 03, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

I guess my spirits have lifted enough to post in a slightly less morose vein. Bob and our worker guy did a wonderful job of repairing the garage roof, replacing termite ridden beams, and patching and painting the wall. Richard has also cut off branches on our tree, and some branches for the neighbor, giving us much more light. Richhard has had several job requests, from Hanni, from Deb, and from the neighbor. His wife and son arrived from California today, following apartment hunting, etc. Jenny is kindly donating some furniture to help them set up housekeeping. I'm having breakfast with Adam and Jamie next week to help them compile a list of things they need to think about and decide.

Adam and I moved game night to Wednesday this...

October 02, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Adam and I moved game night to Wednesday this week so Greg and I could celebrate his birthday. We have a dinner with his family tonight and friends on Saturday, so this was our romantic evening in. We reheated leftover tomatillo tortilla soup, made creme brulee, and watched The Great Escape (I usually request movies with at least one female character, but this was a birthday exception. He almost made me watch Das Boot). One of the funny, wonderful things about Greg's family's birthday traditions is that birthday boys (Greg has two brothers) get to eat an entire apple pie, generally replacing a week of breakfasts. He was magnanimous enough to share this morning, and there really is nothing like an apple pie with cinnamon sprinkled lattes to start a fall Friday.

It's another sweet Mocha Friday, not to menti...

October 02, 2009 by Adam in Family

It's another sweet Mocha Friday, not to mention Pizza and Mythbusters Friday and Swing Dance Lesson Friday. It's my first class tonight, something I haven't done in twenty years. We'll see if I remember any of the moves. Everyone was pretty tired last night. Emma in particular seemed to be having a hard time of it. After her bath, she threw a huge fit. Jamie and I have been trying to get to the point where either parent could get her to bed, but Emma wasn't cooperating very well. After Jamie read bedtime stories, I got called in to settle her down. Maybe we'll try getting Emma to sleep together, and get her to the point when either of us can get her to sleep. To top it off, Emma had a dream that vampires killed Sam, so we went downstairs this morning to ensure he was still alive. Still, Emma is also adjusting relatively well to school. She's doing great with her reading and writing, amazing me with her ability to read an entire book to me. She's starting to make friends at school and I think her recesses aren't as lonely as when school first started. Sam, of course, is a trooper when it comes to school. He's got the routine down and has a good group of friends. Last night he was saying how he and his friends had memorized the lyrics to The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny. He's quite good at getting through tough times with his good sense of humor. I'm feeling strangely optimistic today, perhaps because the future is seeming more clear. Even though change is coming, it's not as scary as it once seemed. Jamie is very organized and loves the kids, so she'll make a good co-parent even if we live in different houses. The thought of having time without the kids started getting me excited about the thought of house projects, setting up a garden, and maybe joining a local hiking group. We'll see where my interests fall. In terms of the weekend, it looks a little dreary weather-wise. We're having dinner with Yayoe this Saturday and there's a kite flying celebration on Sunday. I'd love to get Emma riding her bike, though it may end up as a mud derby. Maybe we can hang out, watch movies, and make bread and soup. Of course, according to Emma's weather report, we could be seeing sun, rain, and snow, perhaps at the same time:

I had an individual counseling session yesterday

October 01, 2009 by Adam in Adam

I had an individual counseling session yesterday. I'd been feeling a lot of sadness and regret, so I ended up talking to the counselor, hoping to get an outside opinion as to whether I should give up. In the end, the counselor pointed out that it takes two to want to be married, so I'm getting to the point where I'm accepting the situation.

Jamie and I have had some cordial conversations lately, which is positive. It's looking like we agree on a fair number of things, such as keeping the kids together and having houses close to each other. I'm even pretty sure we'll be able to divide up the things in our house without too much stress. The hard part remains the kids.

For the last few years, I've spent a lot of time with them in the evenings and on the weekends, so it's a scary thought thinking that might not be the case any more. I know that being around their mom is good for them, and I'll need time to figure out what my new life is supposed to be. Hopefully we can come up with something that works for everyone.

I'm still not doing great. I've got feelings of hurt and blame and anger swirling around - I wouldn't be human if I didn't. I'm going to keep that all out of this very public forum, though. If you want to know more, you'll have to ask.

My goal is that Jamie and I can get to a place of mutual respect and maybe even friendship some day. As I pointed out yesterday, it's like we're still married and have a lifetime of birthday parties, Christmases, and BBQs to attend. Being polite is a good starting point, but my hope is that we can enjoy each others company in the many years ahead.

Sam's math teacher has been sending daily upd...

September 29, 2009 by Adam in Sam

Sam's math teacher has been sending daily updates, which I've been cheerfully reading and following up with Sam in the evening. "Remember to line up the decimals," I told him last night.

There's always a picture that goes with it, and I've seen a bunch of his buddies appear. Today, Sam's picture finally showed up, though I'm not sure it's the most flattering shot.

You can see his latest look, blue jeans and t-shirts. That's all he wears these days.

I got a pleasant letter from my doctor lettin...

September 28, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I got a pleasant letter from my doctor letting me know that I most likely have Gilbert's syndrome and not the other horrifying blood disorders that I looked up on Web MD when he flagged some weird test results. Apparently, Gilbert's syndrome (pronounced like you're in Paris) requires no treatment and does no harm. I hope it can still get me out of gym class.

It was a long and full day

September 28, 2009 by Adam in Family

It was a long and full day. I'm pretty worn out, having spent hours at the park getting Emma to the point where she can ride by herself for brief moments. In the afternoon, the kids staged their epic shootout. At one point, we had ten kids ranging from 6 to 17 carrying all manner of Nerf weaponry. Emma came in first as exhaustion set in, cheerful but tired.

Dave and Josh stopped by to chat, which was very nice. Josh is getting all settled at my mom's house, despite the fact that his room isn't quite finished and may not be for awhile. It'll be nice having him so close again, as I fondly remember the days when he'd stop by after walking home from Roosevelt.

I made noodles for the kids, two different types as their tastes are different. Emma put away a tremendous amount of yaki soba, her new favorite meal. Sam was more subdued with his, begging for some of the root beer left over from the party.

After Emma got to bed, Sam and I watched a little Chuck, and now it's time for me to turn in myself.

I was so proud of Emma today

September 27, 2009 by Adam in Emma

I was so proud of Emma today. We started this morning with bike riding, went back home to pack a picnic lunch, headed back to the park for lunch and more riding. After several hours of practice, she got to the point where she could ride without me touching her for five or ten seconds. It was pretty cool.

It's Sunday morning and we've all had breakfast

September 27, 2009 by Adam in Family

It's Sunday morning and we've all had breakfast. I made myself a mocha because, well, I can. Sam's playing computer games and Emma's giving advice. In awhile, our day of plans will begin.

Friday afternoon Sam went to Zach's house to play, while I took Emma down to the park to practice bike riding. Jamie got pizza and joined us for our traditional pizza and Mythbusters. We're having some issues where Jamie feels like the kids are always with me, so we're trying harder to coordinate kid play times. There was also a little miscommunication in the evening where I wanted to take Sam to an astronomy event after sunset and Jamie wanted to go out. Still, it was a little spur of the moment and Emma took longer to get to sleep than expected.

Saturday morning I took Emma for a play date with her friend Stella. I really like her parents too, and might invite them over for dinner sometime. The dad is a kindred spirit, into gaming and works as a web developer. While Emma was away, Sam and I worked on his web site, doing some programming for his site's games.

When the play date was over, I took the kids down to campus to see the Superhero art exhibit at the U of O Art Museum. Sam was more interested than Emma, though she liked some of the crafts in the kid area. Wandering around campus always brings back a sense of nostalgia from when Jamie would bring the kids to me when I worked at the hospital there.

In the afternoon we got ready for my Buffy party, with Jamie helping the kids make cookies. The party itself went relatively well, though I wasn't sure what to do with the vast quantities of food and wine everyone brought. Jamie went over to M's house to provide moral support for remodel projects. I cleaned up, got the kids in bed, and Sam and I watched an episode of Chuck before retiring for good. Emma woke up crying when I went upstairs, and I ended up falling asleep while trying to get her back to sleep.

We told the kids that Jamie and I were having problems at breakfast, giving them reassurances that they'd be okay. It was very high-level, and they didn't really seem to understand the implications yet. I'm sure that once we start talking about living arrangements and such, the reality will sink in.

As for today, I'll do a library trip with Emma, take the kids to the park for more bike riding. Sam still wants a shootout with the neighbor kids. Jamie's taking C to the park in early afternoon and hopes to invite the kids along. We may end up having dinner with everyone tonight. We'll see how it goes.

Sam and I worked on his website today

September 26, 2009 by Adam in Sam

Sam and I worked on his website today. If you go to, you'll see a new banner and on the Play page, he's uploaded Stick Man Adventures. The latter is all his, with just a bit of advice from me. The banner was more collaborative, as Flash is a tricky language to program in. "I kinda told you what to do," he added just now. He's the vision guy and I'm the lowly programmer.

Emma and I went to the park after school, pra...

September 26, 2009 by Adam in Emma

Emma and I went to the park after school, practicing bike riding. She did pretty good, not quite getting the hang of it, but by the end she had the steering and pedaling down pretty well. With a few more practice runs, I'm sure we can get the balance figured out. We took a break and ran into Yayoe and the rest of her band playing Ukuleles. They were practicing for a real gig, but for the time being it was Emma and I's personal musicians.

Between hanging out with Adam and the kids (v...

September 25, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Between hanging out with Adam and the kids (virtually speaking) and school, there's not lots of time left for the day to day household operations. Greg pulls through with laundry, we share cooking (although his last dinner was Ben and Jerry's), and he does almost all of the shopping. His current method of finding the right brand of a particular food item is buying them all. Yogurt was a greater challenge than the month devoted to milk, but we're doing our due diligence. I have friends remodeling their first houses themselves while getting advanced degrees... but isn't it enough to finally know what yogurt really makes you happy?

Adam and Jamie, I am saddened by your recent ...

September 25, 2009 by Betsy in Betsy

Adam and Jamie, I am saddened by your recent posting and although I know how horrible what you are going through truly is, you need to remember that you both are parents of 2 truly wonderful children. Cherish them with all your hearts. We love you all and will send all our love your way. Love, Betsy

Though parts of my world may be crumbling, th...

September 25, 2009 by Adam in Family

Though parts of my world may be crumbling, there's always Mocha Friday. I've yet to hop in the shower and gather that delicious elixir, so I'm eager with anticipation. I was somewhat down after yesterday's counseling session, but I'm feeling somewhat better. Though it's clear that Jamie and I's marriage is over, I'm hoping we can work through a transition to get us to a better future. It would be great if we could keep everything civil and shield the kids from some of our contentious issues. For now, I'm trying to be patient and live with this somewhat uncomfortable situation until we figure this out. In terms of the weekend, I hope to take the kids to the U of O Art Museum tomorrow, as it's both free and showing off a superhero art exhibit. In the afternoon is a Buffy party I've thrown together with assorted work friends. Sunday I have a shootout planned between the neighbors and our kids at high noon. Somewhere in there, my dad has offered to help fly kites. All-in-all, it promises to be a fun-filled weekend. Sadie, Greg, the kids, and I all had a wonderful time playing charades over Skype. Emma in particular loved acting out her chosen movies and books.

Jamie and I came back from our first counseli...

September 24, 2009 by Adam in Adam

Jamie and I came back from our first counseling session and I'm feeling a little sad and nostalgic. We've both come to the conclusion that our marriage is over. It's still been less than a month for me, so it all seems like a huge whirlwind with barely time to adjust. I remember planning our future together, blissfully happy and feeling like such a lucky man to have so wonderful a family.

Now I'm ordering books on divorce that our counselor recommended. Jamie and I are having tension over the kids and possible future living arrangements. For now, I feel like I'm still stuck in a limbo of sorts. It's uncomfortable, but I realize that none of this will be resolved quickly.

There are bright spots here and there. Jamie's job prospects look reasonably good and she's getting organized to rejoin the workforce. Don't tell Emma, but she's getting an award at school tomorrow. I've assembled a veritable army of friends out of coworkers, old friends, gym buddies, and the occasional passer-by.

With every ending, there is a new beginning. Though Jamie and I have serious issues to work through, I hope we can be cordial about it. I want the kids to know that we both love them and they'll be okay in the future.

Time will tell.

Sam's school is really embracing the web and ...

September 23, 2009 by Adam in Sam

Sam's school is really embracing the web and e-mail this year. I've gotten several e-mails from Emma's teacher and daily updates from Mr. Wines, who is Sam's math teacher.

Today the photo was of Sam's good friend John, putting paper mache over a balloon. For those handful of people who are interested in what Sam's doing in math, you can see it here

We've had forest forest fires the last few da...

September 23, 2009 by Adam in Family

We've had forest forest fires the last few days, the air outside filled with smoke. This morning my car was sprinkled with ash and a blood red sun rose in the sky. I suppose if I was superstitious, I'd see them as omens and portents for our counseling session tomorrow morning.

I'm hoping that tomorrow marks the start of a transition out of our current situation. Things have been really hard for the kids lately. I got an apologetic call from Sam's PE teacher, saying that he'd been acting up in class, which she added never normally happens. Emma's been having a lot of fears of school and everything else. She had a nightmare a couple nights ago, of creatures attacking her and Jamie and I getting divorced. I really want to get to the point where Jamie feels comfortable talking to the kids. I keep telling them that we love them, it's not their fault, and they will be taken care of. I'd like to do more.

In some ways, life continues as normal. Sam started fencing yesterday, which he said was fun. Emma and I drew, performed science experiments, and played with her stuffed puppy last night. She only woke up once, early in the morning. I lay next to her for a long while, rehearsing what I was going to say in the counseling session and hoping I can keep my family as safe and happy as I can manage.

Emma and I do mad science in the kitchen

September 23, 2009 by Adam in Emma

Emma and I do mad science in the kitchen.

Emma has gone to war, specifically against th...

September 22, 2009 by Adam in Emma

Emma has gone to war, specifically against the wart on her big toe. We picked up some Compound W and she's been cheerfully putting it on twice a day. She does say that it tickles a little, but it's a big improvement over the freeze stuff.

Jamie's back from Edgefield

September 22, 2009 by Adam in Family

Jamie's back from Edgefield. She was here a little early and surprised me by being at Sharon's house when I arrived to get the kids. It was somewhat awkward, but I got the kids home. Emma's playing next to me with the neighbor kids and Sam's working outside in exchange for cash. Since he discovered Nerf guns, he's all about money.

Sunday was strange, but I made it through. The kids and I did some shopping, and I got Sam a new pair of boots that he seems to like. I did a bit myself, and the kids were generally enthusiastic about my choices.

In the afternoon we wandered over to Todd and Victoria's house. The kids had a great time running around with the neighbor boys, each coming up with some Nerf gun or another. Now Sam's lamenting how short it is and asking to get another set up for next weekend.

I'm still breathing, which helps. The outpouring of support from all corners has been phenomenal. It's been great just hanging out with the kids and doing fun things.

Trying hard to be upbeat

September 20, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

Trying hard to be upbeat. I wish I were wiser. I really think carefully about my sort of matriarch position and can't figure out how my grandma Sadie Jones was always so smart. Is there a Wise Old Person book I just haven't read yet?

Today was Jamie's 40th birthday, as well as T...

September 20, 2009 by Adam in Family

Today was Jamie's 40th birthday, as well as Talk Like a Pirate Day. At the moment, the kids are in bed, Jamie's off with friends, and things seem very still.

Last night was a little rough, as Emma was feeling pretty sick. I spent most of the night next to her, as she was sporting a fever and fairly miserable. Fortunately the Motrin has kept her cheerful today and I think she's on the mend. Unfortunately Sam seems to have it now. Somehow I've missed it so far, but it's probably just a matter of time.

This morning Jamie made breakfast and went to get her hair done. Emma and I started the sourdough bread while Sam played on the computer. I took the kids to Toys-R-Us so the kids could buy Nerf guns, and then over to Home Depot to pick up some supplies. Next we dropped Sam off at Zach's house and returned home to work on Jamie's birthday cake.

The sourdough bread turned out quite well, and that ended up being our lunch. I zipped off to pick up Sam and then we had a short birthday celebration for Jamie. Around three, Jamie went to her main birthday party at Pat and Carlanne's. I took the kids across the street for the first of the epic Nerf shootouts. I traded Todd and Victoria cake and bread in exchange for some split pea soup.

Eventually the kids wandered home for some quiet time. I took the opportunity to replace the electrical outlet in the shed with a black one, and put the nice brass plate over it. I also took out the tattered tarp that covered the sand box and put in a new one. I managed a bit of weeding and ripping out the fig tree before Emma wanted to play with me.

The kids were both seeming under the weather, so I decided to skip the Talk Like a Pirate Day party. Instead we had a quiet dinner, played Sorry!, took baths, and got kids to bed. Sam really wanted to watch Chuck with me, so we had a brief viewing before I sent him to bed too.

Tomorrow Jamie's off to Edgefield for her post-birthday trip. I'm mostly hanging out with kids, and perhaps having dinner with the neighbors while our respective children shoot it out.

Emma and I made sourdough bread for Talk Like...

September 19, 2009 by Adam in Emma

Emma and I made sourdough bread for Talk Like a Pirate Day. Sadie sent it along in her care package, singing its praises. Right now they're on the cooling racks and I'm eager to see how they turned out. Update: Everyone loved it.

My kids would love any addition to their Nerf...

September 18, 2009 by Adam in Betsy

My kids would love any addition to their Nerf arsenal. Still - don't worry about it if shipping costs much. We're going to stock up tomorrow in time for the Sunday shootout.

Adam: I have several boxes of various Nerf gu...

September 18, 2009 by Betsy in Betsy

Adam: I have several boxes of various Nerf guns that I was giving away. Some need ammo but all are in operational order. Can I box them up and ship to you? My kids have outgrown them and my grandkids are toddlers...I hate to have them sitting. How about Legos? Knex???

It's yet another sweet Mocha Friday

September 18, 2009 by Adam in Family

It's yet another sweet Mocha Friday. I'm using the cup Jenny got me, with a shrunk down version of Sadie's Mocha Friday poster put inside. It works beautifully and is quite stylish. It's hard to tell, but I might have actually had a little extra beverage put in by the barrista compared to the normal cups.

Last night was a bit of a whirlwind. As soon as I got home, Sam was complaining about homework. I rushed him out to the shed (or the "Chamber of Learning" as I called it). Soon enough he was trudging through his spelling homework, even though he got 100% on the pretest and doesn't actually have to take the spelling test today. I tried to give him a little hope by saying that he's a candidate for the TAG program and might get to do some more interesting things.

After that, I gathered up the kids and headed down to the basement for our weekly gaming session with Sadie and Greg. Jamie went off to visit with Victoria, so we had the house to ourselves. The game of the night was Elephunt Hunt, which Greg taught us as we went along. The first game was a little touch-and-go, as Emma had a sore throat and I had to take her away to finish her homework. The second game was just Greg and Sam, which Sam won handily. We were later talking about Greg and I said that I liked him. "Greg's awesome," was Sam's feelings on the matter.

I gave Emma some Motrin for her sore throat, and after an hour she perked right up. After bath, she went around selling things around the house, to Sam and I's great amusement. This morning she was still feeling under the weather, though, so she's staying home from school. Depending on the babysitting situation, I may go home to watch her while Jamie works.

I'm trying hard to spend time with the kids this weekend, with relatively minimal running around and doing things with other people. That's not to say the weekend isn't filling up.

Saturday I'm taking the kids to Toys-R-Us to stock up on Nerf weaponry while Jamie gets her hair done. Then we're baking a cake and sourdough bread for Jamie's very small birthday party. In the evening I hope to take the kids to a Talk Like a Pirate Day shindig.

Sunday morning we have D&D in the shed (Sam's been begging me to continue the campaign). Emma has requested that we teach her to ride a bike. In the afternoon we have a tentative movie run. In the evening, I'm hoping to use the recently purchased Nerf arsenal to engage in a shootout with the neighbor boys across the street. Should be fun.

Emma decided to "sell" assorted items in our ...

September 18, 2009 by Adam in Emma

Emma decided to "sell" assorted items in our house through a series of clever videos.

Yesterday I got a big box in the mail from Se...

September 17, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Yesterday I got a big box in the mail from Seraph! It had lots of goodies from England, from a modern wall clock to a sweet jam pot. We enjoyed one of the linen tea towels from Herrod's and Somerset cider for dinner this evening, a perfect meal of grilled corn and a cucumber, tomato, and bread salad, all from the farmer's market this afternoon.

Greg and I are preparing to play Elefant Hunt with Adam, Sam, and Emma over Skype for Thursday game night. The board game is from a gaming magazine from 1984 called Dragon 88. It's totally awesome.

I had lunch with Jamie yesterday, both of us ...

September 17, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

I had lunch with Jamie yesterday, both of us courteous and a bit tentative. She sounds willing to see a counselor with Adam, and I didn't press her on about them seeing individual counselors. Everyone brings his or her own history into a marriage; sometimes it's a helpful foundation for marriage but sometimes personal history undermines one's best efforts to have a healthy adult relationship.
Today was the League of Women Voters luncheon I've been sweating over this summer; it went fine.

Emma and I had an evening to ourselves, as Ja...

September 17, 2009 by Adam in Emma

Emma and I had an evening to ourselves, as Jamie went to the gym and took Sam to go swimming with Chase while she worked out with M.

Emma declared that she wanted to have Chinese food. I was originally skeptical, but she suggested a compromise where we could walk there. That sealed the deal and I asked if I could invite someone along. She thought it a fine idea, so I called my mom up for an impromptu dinner outing.

The walk over the hill was lovely and cool. Emma chattered away about everything and it was fun to see the neighborhood. The house at the top of the hill has started their annual graveyard for Halloween. The last of the roses were still in bloom along the hidden path we take to get down to Three Forks Wok & Grill.

Food was good and Emma impressed my mom with her chopstick skills. We got home and she had a bowl of ice cream while I cut out the game pieces that Sadie sent. Then it was off to bath and bed, reading storybooks and looking through a book of Fairy Art that I found at the library.

Occasionally my work gets a little bit of loc...

September 16, 2009 by Adam in Adam

Occasionally my work gets a little bit of local press. The Register Guard reported on an application I wrote that shows what the current wait time is for the ED. Theoretically if someone had to decide which hospital to go to in an emergency, they could check my little web application.

I got Jamie a Zune to make her gym workouts b...

September 16, 2009 by Adam in Sam

I got Jamie a Zune to make her gym workouts better, and loaded up a bunch of pictures on it. After looking at old pictures of himself, it turns out that Sam decided he looked extra cool with long hair. The only logical conclusion was to grow it out, so I managed to force it into a pony-tail.

I've been really proud of Sam lately. Though life at home has been stressful, his spirits have remained relatively high. We've been talking about him taking on more responsibilities and gaining new freedoms. School has been going really well, and he's doing homework and taking tests like a pro.

He also keeps expressing annoyance with glasses, so I want to get him into contacts when we next see the optometrist.

I watched the kids for a bit while Adam and J...

September 16, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

I watched the kids for a bit while Adam and Jamie went off to the non-existent counselor. I feel really bad, because I gave them her name because she's experienced and has a good
reputation. The kids kept busy, but you can tell that Emma is anxious and Sam is subdued. For the first time, I feel really discouraged.

To answer Sadie, I did a quick listen to both...

September 16, 2009 by Adam in Adam

To answer Sadie, I did a quick listen to both of her CD mixes. I cried on the way to work while listening to Sadie's. While driving home, I listened to Greg's and perked right up. "Fett's Vette" in particular really hit the spot.

Jamie and I were scheduled to have our first counseling session today. It went about as bad as humanly possible. Our counselor never showed, so Jamie and I went for a walk. Jamie emphasized once again that she doesn't want to be married and started talking about separation. That gets right to my deepest fears about having my kids taken away from me, so I ended up crying a lot. I'll see if I can find a new counselor tomorrow.

I can't believe it's only been three weeks and my entire life has changed.

Greg would like to know which mix CD you prefer

September 15, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Greg would like to know which mix CD you prefer. It seems that he believes that "Fett's Vette" was more appropriate than "the Weight." I guess mine was heavy on The Weepies and Josh Ritter and a little lighter on the Weird Al.

School is now at a steady, terrifying clip, and being a TA makes my week much more challenging. Students feel like I have something to teach them, and I am concerned that if I do not teach them the way they want to be taught, they will not learn the concepts. As though I have anything to do with their learning! My song and dance, all the reading, and many, many pictorial aids seem not to work. They get confused. They get scared. They talk about Kanye West. I have to figure out what the problem is, because everyone who has taken the class in the past let me know that it was crap. I don't think its the material, or the professor, so... it must be me. Or whomever was me before this semester.

I'm going to dig down into the next reading, a classic ethnography called "Aint' No Makin' It", and drag them down with me.

Sadie sent along a care package, filled with ...

September 15, 2009 by Adam in Adam

Sadie sent along a care package, filled with wonderful trinkets and talismans: an old skeleton key, a small compass, and an iron nail. I read the book If You're Afraid of the Dark, Remember the Night Rainbow to Emma last night. While she did homework, I started cutting out the game pieces to the board game she sent. This morning I began getting the sourdough starter ready. Finally, there are two CDs that I'm bringing in the car today.

It was all very wonderful.

Jamie and I have our first counseling session together today. I do hope that Jamie isn't entirely decided about our future together. It's been hard finding time to talk with her, so I'm hopeful I can get a better sense of what's going on.

And like Sadie's book says, if there is no happy ending, make one out of cookie dough.

Another weekend comes to a close

September 14, 2009 by Adam in Family

Another weekend comes to a close. This morning Jamie made Challa french toast and then headed off to the gym. I played with the kids for awhile in the basement and then headed to the library to stock up on new books. We handed over Sam to Menina for a play date with Sophia. Emma ended up with a play date with Stella, her parents dropping her off while running errands.

It was the strangest thing, having Sam gone, Jamie gone, and Emma occupied. The two girls played so well together that I could do endless chores and periodically check on their well-being. I managed to clean up the scrap drywall, clean out the garage, do the laundry, and clean my bathroom. It was pretty incredible.

Jamie returned and picked up Sam to go the movies with friends. Sam returned later, a little disappointed in the movie. Jamie went off again for drinks and dinner. The kids and I went to my mom's for Bob's birthday. They loved the food, as did I. The sangria and homemade beer were tasty too, though I only had it in small amounts.

We got home, and joined the neighbor boys for a short Nerf shootout. The kids got things ready for school, had baths, and went right to bed. Tomorrow we return to work and school, back to the new routine.

I think the shed is finally getting to the po...

September 13, 2009 by Adam in Adam's Projects

I think the shed is finally getting to the point where I'm going to call it done. Over the last couple days I added my mom's hooks she got me for Christmas, put up shelves using shelf holders from Rejuvenation, nailed baseboard in the loft, and screwed an existing shelf into the wall. I also added a touch of Victoriana, changing out the typical light switches with old-fashioned push-buttons.

It's strange working on the shed when I'm not sure what's going on with my marriage and the future of the house. It could be that we sell it, in which case this is all for the buyer to appreciate. I'd love to stay in the house, but it's hard to say how financial things will fall out.

Or maybe it's a small measure of hope, that there is a future where our family stays together and is happy. I take solace in creating beautiful spaces, places of calm serenity.

Last night was our traditional pizza and Myth...

September 12, 2009 by Adam in Family

Last night was our traditional pizza and Mythbusters night. I stuffed myself with pizza and enjoyed the assorted fire and hypnotism myths.

This morning Jamie made crepes as Sam ended up not wanting to make breakfast at the last minute. She's feeling a little under the weather, but still felt up to going to Portland to see the Escher exhibit with a friend.

The kids and I met up with Jason and Riley in this big wetland in west Eugene where they were having Family Exploration Day. They handed out nets for catching bugs, binoculars, and a backpack full of assorted books and goodies. Jason had great luck finding things, catching several dragon flies, a frog, and a preying mantis. Even though Emma didn't want to go, she had a great time once she got there and it took some effort to get her home.

I'm taking a short breather before we collect John and head to Splash for the afternoon.

There's a new movie called "9" that's opening...

September 11, 2009 by Adam in Adam

There's a new movie called "9" that's opening this weekend. It has a post-apocalyptic stitchpunk vibe, with interesting visuals to match. I've heard mixed reviews, but I also hear it looks stunning.

In any case, I signed up for a contest to win a 9 gift package from the SciencePunk blog. It turns out, I won and the mysterious package should arrive next week.

I had to call up Sam and tell him the good news. Emma gave me a panda for luck a couple weeks ago and I told Sam that maybe it was starting to work. He agreed and went to tell Emma after hanging up.

It's another Mocha Friday, though I've yet to...

September 11, 2009 by Adam in Family

It's another Mocha Friday, though I've yet to leave home and pick up that delicious beverage.

The kids started school this week. Sam seems to have picked up right where he left off, nonchalantly talking about math tests and spelling homework. For Emma it's been a bit harder. Last night after school she seemed very tired, and it took all my effort to get her to finish her homework. She explained how she hated school, and when I started to list all the different aspects of going to school, she told me it was all of them. Hopefully it will get better with time.

We managed to sneak in a little gaming night with Sadie and Greg via Skype. Emma was pretty exhausted, but she acted out some of the phrases I was trying to get them to guess. Sam got in on the action and was able to guess a few they threw our way. Still, it was necessarily short as Emma had to get to bed quickly.

The kids have also loved the foam swords my mom got them. For the last couple nights we've had epic fights in the basement. Unfortunately Emma found out the hard way that we may need to move our old t.v. cabinet. She's very brave, but bonked heads still hurt.

As for me, I continue to try and reinvent my life. My goal continues to be to take care of myself and the kids. Surrounding myself with people helps immensely, and I'm trying to set up activities for the weekend as much as possible. Saturday we have an expedition to some wetlands and Splash in the afternoon. Sunday is more tentative, but I'm seeing if I can set up a play date and perhaps take Emma to the movies in the afternoon.

When it comes to Jamie and I, I don't know what's going to happen. I go from bleak despair to glimmers of hope and back again. I love her, and hope we can work this out. After a comedy of errors, I finally have a joint counseling session scheduled for next week. Perhaps that will help.

Sadie, either go in town more or get him The ...

September 10, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

Sadie, either go in town more or get him The Globe once in awhile.

I am reading Crunch, by Jared Bernstein, as G...

September 10, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I am reading Crunch, by Jared Bernstein, as Gregory reads aloud the Grafton News to no one in particular. "Oh, wow, someone else donated their hair... this must be a regular feature! Hmm, the candlepin bowling league's record again... the VFW is having a flag burning ceremony... I wonder if they yell obscenities at the police, too?" Maybe we'll go into the big city tonight for dinner.

Adam and Jamie continue to be uppermost in my...

September 10, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

Adam and Jamie continue to be uppermost in my thoughts. Whether you believe in good thoughts, prayer, or "holding in the light", as Meggie, my Quaker sister does, please keep them with you. They have fifteen years and two beautiful children together. I remember thinking when Lohring and I divorced after nearly 25 years of marriage that it was like having all the flesh taken off my body and having my bones scraped, and I know it wasn't a lot of fun for him, either.
But on a lighter note, I talked with Isa last night, and told her that Emma was really excited about having homework. Isa, a third grader who's an old hand at this,
was complaining about all the work sheets her teacher assigned (they start school in mid-August) and she told me to warn Emma not to get too excited about homework, because by third grade it was no kick. Somehow Isa is reading Romeo and Juliet. She seemed put out that they had to buy The Complete Works rather than just Romeo and Juliet. Chaucer in Middle English next?

Things are back to normal

September 09, 2009 by Judy in Hanes

Things are back to normal. New roof completes the color scheme. Jim promises new floor upstairs this winter.@!!!!!

I drove Emma to school today, which was a big...

September 09, 2009 by Adam in Emma

I drove Emma to school today, which was a big treat for me. I think it was the first time she'd ever ridden in my car, as I was testing out the new car seat she'd be taking to school when she carpools with Sophia's family. Along the way she asked that a skateboard be added to her birthday list. I can tell already her teen years will be exciting.

She just called me a few minutes ago, asking when I'd be coming home. Now she's excited to do her homework with me, which was one of the things I told her I liked about her going to school. It's funny how these small traditions bring me great joy.

I walked Emma around at the ice cream social ...

September 09, 2009 by Adam in Emma

I walked Emma around at the ice cream social tonight. She had a pretty good time, finding her best friend Stella in the crowd. Best of all, their family isn't moving away like they'd planned. She also found Isabella and the three of them ran around like wild monkeys for awhile.

Once we got home, Emma and I packed our lunches together. Her first lunch was an orange, a juice box, and crackers and cheese. I ended up with lots of fruit, yogurt, and a sandwich.

I'm taking Emma to school tomorrow, which I'm very excited about. Her teacher is Ms. Stewart, the same as Sam had so long ago.

I'm back at work, having got an unheard of te...

September 08, 2009 by Adam in Family

I'm back at work, having got an unheard of ten hours of sleep last night. I put Emma to sleep and conked out in her bed. After crawling back into mine, I slept pretty solidly until six when Emma showed up and I had to go to work. "See you at the ice cream social!" she told me, referring to tonight's pre-school gathering.

Sunday the kids and I played at home until after noon, with Emma taking a small break to help me make home-made hamburger buns. We then headed off to my sister's for a short visit. Emma was nervous about their puppy and I carried her a lot. Sam had a great time hanging out with the older boys and wished he could stay longer.

When we got home, I started getting ready for dinner with the neighbors, shucking corn and that sort of thing. The kids played amazingly well together, occasionally bringing me in to play the part of a troll or dragon. Around dinner, Todd showed up with his grill and our assorted children began to play. Dinner was very tasty, and everyone returned home satisfied. The kids were soaked, having brought out the water guns, but happy as we tucked them to bed.

We're back in town

September 07, 2009 by Adam in Family

We're back in town. Jamie was gone when we arrived, so we went to the Eugene Celebration and had a good time. The kids were starving, so we found noodles and hot dogs. We later ran into Zach and his family, so the boys played together while Emma and I did virtually every free craft thing in the kid zone. "What about my snow cone?" asked Emma just now. Yes, they both got snow cones as a celebration treat. All the way back, Emma dripped snow cone juice on my head as I carried her on my shoulders. We'd walked there, so when we returned, everyone was tired. Jamie was driving away when we walked up the hill, but she came back and briefly said hello before going out to dinner with someone. I whipped up a quickie dinner, and now we're making obstacle courses in the basement.

I'm slowly figuring out my new cell phone, en...

September 06, 2009 by Adam in Adam

I'm slowly figuring out my new cell phone, entering the modern era. The number is 541-912-7415, in case you want to update your address book. It's a "pay as you go" phone, so I get charged for using it. Still, don't let that stop you from calling if you need to get ahold of me and can't find me at home or work.

We had such a full day

September 06, 2009 by Adam in Family

We had such a full day. Jim and Judy left early to go to the Beaver game. Emma was up before 7 am, and Sam was up soon afterwards. I had Sam make his own breakfast, and he did a pretty good job. "I made a bagel with eggs and cream cheese," he commented over my shoulder just now. After hanging out for awhile, we headed through the heavy rain to OMSI. It was great getting there so early, as it was so empty. We then proceeded to spend six hours there, having all sorts of adventures. Almost at the beginning, Sam managed to rip the tip of his sandal off while riding up the escalator. Emma was initially afraid of the CSI exhibit, then loved it so much she made us go back two more times. Emma was also fond of the animals, including a giant centipede. Sam's favorite thing was the "shock box", which didn't have much of a wait to use. Basically one person holds on to two copper tubes and waits for someone to turn a crank. It then shocks the first person, causing their muscles to fling backwards to great amusement. Sam talked me into try it and I wacked him in the face. We had a break for lunch, but otherwise it was non-stop science. When three o'clock rolled around, I finally pulled the kids out. Emma was a little sad, as she could have stayed even longer. On the way back, I stopped by a nearby stored called Rejuvenation, which had all sorts of wonderful antiques and reproductions. Though I could have easily spent thousands, I settled for a handful of trinkets ("and do-dads!" says Sam). There's something hopeful about making one's home a better place. Now we're back at Jim and Judy's, waiting for them to return with pizza. Yesterday we did Thai food, so the Friday tradition of pizza and Mythbusters was shifted to today.

We got back from OMSI a little while ago

September 06, 2009 by Adam in Sam

We got back from OMSI a little while ago. While we were there, we went up the escalator and it ripped off the tip of his sandal.

Initially I was a little annoyed, thinking he was playing around. Soon it dawned on me that he hadn't done anything wrong and he nearly lost the tip of his toe.

Very scary.

We made it to Portland, safe and sound

September 05, 2009 by Adam in Family

We made it to Portland, safe and sound. Traffic was horrible, and we ended up getting into town around 5:30. Jim and Judy took us out to dinner at a nearby Thai place. The kids really ate a ton, loving the pot stickers and Phad Thai. We'd hoped to go to the school playground to work it off, but everything was closed due to construction.

I set up my new cell phone and it generally seems to work. I've finally joined modern life.

I'll have to run upstairs in a minute to get Emma to bed. Staying busy, as always.

We've had a really busy week down here! I ca...

September 04, 2009 by Seraph in Cortez

We've had a really busy week down here! I can't even remember what we did on Monday! On Tuesday Robbie and I helped out in Isa's class. It was really a great experience for both of us, and it's helped us a lot to keep Isa pepped up about school. We're going to try and help out once a week until our own work schedules pick up later in the fall.
On Wednesday, Robbie and I did a bizillion little errands in Taos. We also closed our BofA bank accounts after 14 years with them. We are now set up with a much smaller local bank.
Yesterday morning I went into work to help set up the new ticket printer. This, of course, did not go smoothly. I'm also working on a "user friendly" manual for the new POS system that I've been helping with this summer. In the afternoon we all went to a friends house and made apricot jam (I now have a dozen jars on my counter), and picked a box of tomatos from her garden. The woman, Pam, and her husband are very active in the Penasco community, and Robbie and I might help get an activity/social center set up for teens at the community center.
Today, Robbie took Isa to school, then headed up to the Taos library to work on homework and his on-line courses. I'm taking advantage of catching up on a weeks worth of internet work, and laundry. Somewhere in here I also have some fresh plumbs and apples to turn into a tart, and some bread to bake.
Life is good.

It's another Mocha Friday

September 04, 2009 by Adam in Family

It's another Mocha Friday. Soon I'll be heading off to pick up that delicious drink, hoping its mystical healing powers will cure all my ills.

Last night I took the kids to Mystic Pizza to listen to Anna play. While we didn't actually get to hear her (Emma got too tired), we did have a pretty good time eating pizza, playing chess, and chatting with Anna and her family. I don't think the kids actually go downtown much, so Sam in particular thought it was pretty cool. As a measure of my mental health, I was actually hungry for a change. There's something about beer and pizza that deeply satisfies.

I'm off to Portland as soon as I come home from work. I think I've lined up a Eugene Celebration visit with Jenny and dad for Sunday. I've asked the neighbors if we can do a Labor Day BBQ. Since we have no grill, I'm hoping they accept.

Dave, Kirsten, and Josh came over last night ...

September 03, 2009 by Adam in Family

Dave, Kirsten, and Josh came over last night for dinner. Jamie made a fine lasagna. Dave and I managed to move the huge monstrosity of our old entertainment center down into the basement. I'm not quite sure what we'll do with it there at the moment. Jamie's thought is that it would eventually become a kid entertainment center. Once we moved it, it triggered an immediate need to rearrange the living room, which is halfway towards some new state of perfection.

Just to put my plans out there for the next few days, I'm planning on taking the kids to Cosmic Pizza around 7 pm tonight. Hopefully we can catch a little of Anna's music before everyone gets too tired. Friday after work I'm taking the kids to Portland to visit Jamie's parents and OMSI. Sunday I'm heading back and going to the Eugene Celebration. Monday is a little more fuzzy, but I'm thinking of taking the kids to Splash and trying to get a BBQ together with the neighbors.

If anyone wants to go to the Eugene Celebration with the kids and I, give me a holler.

Sister Betsy called last night to send her lo...

September 02, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

Sister Betsy called last night to send her love and support for Adam and Jamie. I'm hoping and hoping that this works out. Jamie has been like a daughter to me for so many years
that my heart hurts to think of all this.
We did have a fun morning with the kids. They love to
cruise Bob's room, which I think is full of junk, but which
they think is full of cool stuff. Then we headed out to search for the elusive nerf sword. The only thing we could find was $15 each(we wanted three, for mixed doubles sword
fights) so they had to resign themselves to the wrapping paper rolls (the wrapping paper was 50 cents a roll at Hirons, and in the toss-out closet. A bargain at twice the price. Makes a darn good sword, too.) Both kids seemed in good spirits; Emma has seemed aware, at least subconsciously, of Adam's and Jamie's problems, and has been uncharactistically subdued.
Speaking of fun with grandkids, we had a nice outing with Dez; Bob and I took him school supply shopping last week, and then wanted to take him to dinner. Given a choice, any 13 year old boy is going to choose Carl Juniors! Dez has gotten so mature this summer; it seems as though childhood
just slipped away, way too quickly.
And how couldn't you have fun with Jordan. We picked him up last Friday afternoon and headed off to see "Shorts"
undoubtedly one of the dumbest kid movies in a generation.
But you just can't beat Jordan as a movie companion. He pronounced it the "best movie ever." Bob asked about Godzilla movies, and Jordan, after reflection, modified his review to the "second best movie ever."

Adam and I have been Skyping quite a lot lately

September 02, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Adam and I have been Skyping quite a lot lately. A few nights ago, I got to read Emma my favorite book, "The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog." Last night, Adam, Sam, Emma, and I played an awesome game of Apples to Apples before bath and bed. It seems that my east coast schedule and the schedule of pacific time elementary school kids are perfectly aligned. It's a nice infusion of kid and brother love, and I like to think that Sam and Emma like to exchange weird faces with me over three thousand miles. Maybe we can get matching sets of Cosmic Encounter and start playing weekly- the ultimate nerd good time. If anyone wants a "Team Adam" t-shirt, I'm taking orders. 

I took the kids over to my mom's house last n...

September 01, 2009 by Adam in Family

I took the kids over to my mom's house last night for a BBQ. Sam found a foam sword and I was handed rolls of wrapping paper. When my Christmas present arrives with torn and dirtied paper, I'll accept it with a smile.

By now, just about everyone is aware of what'...

September 01, 2009 by Adam in Adam

By now, just about everyone is aware of what's going on between Jamie and I. Even the kids know that something's up, as Jamie's gone most evenings and my mom let slip to Sam that we weren't getting along. I want to talk to Sam soon in more detail, though I put him off last night so I could talk to Jamie first.

This is all new to me. I had a sense that things weren't right about a week ago, ended up confronting Jamie, and she let me know she wasn't very attracted to me and wasn't sure she wanted to stay married. She asked for time and space, which I've been trying to give to her. She's out most evenings while I watch the kids.

If I had to give an extremely simplified version of what happened, my feeling is that we're both overachievers and focused far too hard on being great parents. I stopped being the fun, hang-out-and-do-things Adam that Jamie married. Jamie turned into a stay-at-home mom and every time I came home, wanted to get out of the house. The end result is that we weren't doing much as a couple and Jamie started to feel not very close to me.

I think there were also a lot of transitions happening. The kids are going to school full time soon, the first for Emma. No longer are there little kids in the house. Jamie's turning forty in a couple weeks. My sense is that all those things are bubbling up at once.

When I look back, I remember Jamie leaving hints here and there about wanting to spend more time together. I shifted some things around, but clearly not enough. One of my big frustrations is that it seems like it's too late now and she's not really interested in spending time together. If only I'd known months ago, I'd be happy to reevaluate everything.

It's been a hard week since then, with lots of tears, lack of sleep, and not really eating much. Feeling horrible comes with the territory, and it's usually just best to let it run its course. I've been feeling better lately, though I fully expect to slip back into sadness now and again.

That's in the past, though, and I'm focusing on next steps. I've been pulling together Team Adam, talking with friends and family all around. Odds are, if you're reading this and are in the area, I'm going to invite you to do something soon. Being around people helps immensely. I'm also dusting off the Take Charge Adam. For far too long, I've deferred to Jamie about social events and managing the kids. It feels good to plan things with friends and make decisions. Confidence is my new watchword, even if sometimes I have to fake it a little.

I'm seeing a counselor today, which I'm pretty excited about. Slowly getting there, wherever that may be.

Life continues to be rough, though I think I'...

August 31, 2009 by Adam in Family

Life continues to be rough, though I think I'm finding that elusive path out of the brambles.

Sunday morning the kids and I went out to breakfast with my mom. I think I ate half of half an order of oatmeal and a piece of toast. As a sign of my stress levels, I only managed two cups of coffee instead of my usual four. This morning I managed to eat my oatmeal without much problem, which seemed positive. Perhaps it was my night of staying up and formulating action plans. It's almost funny how little sleep I need these days.

On Sunday afternoon Jamie, the kids, and I all went over to Dave and Kirsten's house to have a picnic. The kids went swimming in the murky reservoir water, having a wonderful time. I waded around, not really keen on complete submersion. Jamie told her dad and brother about what's going on between us. It surprised me a little, as she usually keeps those things to herself. I suppose it's a sign of how serious she's taking things. I had fun riding back in the car with Emma as she tried on her paper magician's outfit.

I'm going to hop in the shower shortly. Perhaps when I get to work I can start making to do lists, which seem to lift my spirits immensely.

A busy, albeit boring, weekend! I've been try...

August 31, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

A busy, albeit boring, weekend! I've been trying to get all this summer's paperwork done. I got all the records done for the work on the new basement apartment, and helped Anna put together her taxes for 2007 and 2008. It was a bit challenging to deal with her income from teaching in France, and we're going in to see the IRS guys on Tuesday afternoon to make sure that we have the concept accurately.
Had a delightful breakfast at the Glenwood with Adam and the kids, who then came to help me set up the Skype which Adam gave me for my birthday. Sam and Emma took an old Magic Tricks book which had been Anna and Aric's. Emma practiced with the Ringmaster's hat and bow tie while Sam figured out how to use the fake thumb, aided by a mixture of catsup and cocktail sauce, to produce blood and gore.
I finally got the info together to do the accounting for our England trip, and had a lovely long conversation with Robbie and Seraph.

My last real Sunday until December! I'm going...

August 30, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

My last real Sunday until December! I'm going to stay in bed until Greg cuts off my coffee supply.

Despite being very nervous for the first half an hour, leading my first class went pretty well. I'm not sure how I'm going to impart new insights for the students, most of whom already get the basic concepts of inequality, but it'll be fun to talk about wealth and poverty issues with interested people every week. As for the senior economics students, I don't think I can convert market fundamentalists, so it should be fun sparring practice.

Greg and I are going to Jamestown this afternoon to visit his grandmother, and then its back to reading stupid management books. For my leadership and organizational behavior class, we're required to read the greatest hits of airport bookstores everywhere (you know, all the ones on how to be effective corporate executives and how to put your heart into laying off your staff). I can't believe policy wonks have to put up with this.

It was a very busy day

August 30, 2009 by Adam in Family

It was a very busy day. After breakfast, the kids and I played in the basement, creating rocket ships out of couches. Later we met up with my dad to get Jordan and the model rocket supplies. Last night Emma really wanted to make a rocket, so I dutifully took her to Eugene Toy and Hobby to pick one out. We had a great time launching them. Even our first launch where I forgot to take off the safety cap was pretty funny. We had a few times when we almost lost them, missing the school roof by a few feet, going into a construction zone, and getting caught in a tree. Fortunately my dad had a really long pole, so we rescued it and went off to lunch at Humble Bagel. After that was a library trip. Sam was getting pretty tired since he had very little sleep last night. Emma made out like a bandit, but Sam was content to stick with rereading his Harry Potter books. We finally returned home for quiet time before going on our final adventure. We drove over to my dad and sisters, playing in the pool, hot tub, and trampoline. The kids had a pretty good time, with Emma and Jordan spending a ton of time in the pool. Eventually Jenny called us inside for dinner. It was quite pleasant, a nice contrast to the usual massive gatherings. Eventually it was time to go. Sam had a little leftover pizza, and Emma's nearly finished with the cheesecake I made last weekend. The kids bundled off to bed pretty quickly and now the house is very quiet.

A quick good morning to all

August 28, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

A quick good morning to all. If you remember Sadie's former gf, Anna Levitt? She and her band will be playing Thursday night at Cosmic Pizza at 8:00 pm. Can we put together a theatre party and go? Much love, mom

I'm hoping that the mystical powers of Mocha ...

August 28, 2009 by Adam in Family

I'm hoping that the mystical powers of Mocha Friday can lift my spirits today. If not that, then maybe pizza and Mythbusters night can manage.

It's been a hard week, and I'm working hard to get moving in the direction of okay. On a positive note, I had my annual review at work yesterday. I was rated extremely well. Sadly with the pay freeze in effect, it's just a pat on the back, albeit a nice one.

I think tonight will be our traditional pizza and Mythbusters, as mentioned previously. Sam's been wanting to shoot off rockets, so I'll see if I can get my dad to meet up with the kids and I in a park and launch assorted things. Later on we're going to my sister's for swimming and dinner.

Sunday we're meeting up with Dave, Kirsten, and grandpa Ray, then heading to Fern Ridge for a picnic. Hopefully the gorgeous weather will continue.

I'm tentatively planning a trip to Portland with the kids next weekend, giving Jamie some time to herself and having a final adventure before school starts.

Hopefully, the 90 degree day predicted for to...

August 27, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

Hopefully, the 90 degree day predicted for today is the last scorcher for the summer! I'm membership chair for the local League of Women Voters. The big project for this is planning the fall luncheon, which is a real pain in the keister, as Prez Regan used to say. I'm having my first committee meeting at Lavelle's wine bar in Fifth Street Public Market. Since I want my committee members to do all these crappy jobs, like send invitations, I'm hoping to ply them with likker (and a nice cheese and fruit plate) so they're in an agreeable mood. Leadership....I'm a natural.

We had a crazy run-around day

August 25, 2009 by Seraph in Cortez

We had a crazy run-around day. Robbie and I planned a quick run to Taos, that turned into a much more complicated deal. We went by UNM where Robbie had applied at the campus preschool. The building is brand new and beatuiful. Plus, their building 3 more classrooms. Everything is new and shiny and state of the art. The director & Robbie hit it off, and she basicly assured him an assisting job this fall, and a teaching position when the new rooms are finished. We then went down to NNMC to look at the teaching program, and 4 hours later Robbie was enrolled in 2 courses! Things are looking up!!
We had a storm blow through last night, and our power was knocked out for a few hours. The smell of ozone with candles aurrounding us took me back to summer storms in Normalville. The power at Isa's school was out for a little today too. She said it was great because they were given a long recess until the power came on.
This weekend is Trek for Trash. All of the villages along the High Road clean up before the annual fall gallery tours. Robbie & Isa did it last year, and I'm looking forward to joining in this time.

I start school this week, so we're trying to ...

August 24, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I start school this week, so we're trying to do as much vacation stuff as we can. Greg is making an elaborate Greek feast tonight, including pastitisio and steamed cauliflower with Greek cheesy sauce. Once he starts school in a few weeks, its mac and cheese every night.

I was up for hours last night, trying to get ...

August 24, 2009 by Adam in Family

I was up for hours last night, trying to get Emma back to sleep. The eventual trick seemed to be talking her with my dad's dentist voice, to the point where she calmed down and went to sleep. She's had this elevated sense of fear ever since we left for England. Part of me feels really bad for her. The other part is hoping my tea kicks in before I have to drive to work.

It was nice seeing everyone yesterday after my long solitude. I had made chocolate cheesecake and homemade hamburger buns for dinner. After unpacking, the kids and I played with the hose in the back yard and generally ran around. Jamie was off for a little, but fortunately returned when it was time to cook the buffalo burgers (I had a gardenburger).

Hopefully life can return a little more to normal before school starts.

We've been back from England for almost 2 wee...

August 23, 2009 by Seraph in Cortez

We've been back from England for almost 2 weeks, and it's been non-stop going since then!
Isa started school the day after we got home. She's enjoyed seeing all of her friends again, but she hasn't yet warmed up to her new teacher, who is apparently the "hard one". Trapeze starts in a few weeks so she'll have that too.
Robbie had a meeting last Monday with the school directors, and was unfortunately laid-off. It sounds as though low enrollment and the bad economy has left them pairing back the preschool program this year.
After 24 hours of disapointment, he was back at it. He has contacted several schools (thankfully closer than Santa Fe), and is on substitute lists for the fall. He's also looking at signing up for a teaching program (preK - 3rd grade), that will certify him for the public schools, where he can also work while taking classes. This would be good because the local elementary schools are spread thin right now. He hasn't had much of a breather since moving here, so this is also giving him the time to check out other schools he didn't know much about before.
I've been working a few hours since we've been back. We had a big motorcycle rally at Sipapu this weekend. It's a club that raises funds for local youth organizations, and the group is so nice, and a blast to work with! Stating on the 1st I'll be back full-time - gearing up for ski season.
On a side note, we have a washing machine now, and I love hanging my clothes out to dry in the afternoon breeze. We've also started harvesting from the garden (see pic). I've been getting creative with carrots, peas, onions, and lettus.


August 23, 2009 by Adam in Adam

Hello. This is Adam.

Im testing speech recognition software. It's a little quirky and I bark out orders to my computer like a drill sergeant. Everything takes way too long. Considering that I'm using the built in microphone, it's not too bad. The coolest part is that it actually works.
I installed windows seven last night on my new net book. The user interface is very pretty and now I'm trying to test out some of the weirder new features. So far I'm impressed.

I have done a lot of project work this weekend. The windows on the shed are finished, the balcony is stained, the laundry is done, and I even managed to bake a chocolate cheesecake. It felt good to be done with all the summer project, especially the shed. I treated myself by buying a throw rug at Down to Earth. Hopefully Jamie likes it.

Everyone is coming back in an hour or so. The house is clean. I have dinner ready to go. After nearly a week in the house by myself, it will be good to see everyone again. Since they'll be here soon, I better stop talking to my computer try to remember what it's like to talk to a human being.

Hot time summer in the City! So hard to beli...

August 21, 2009 by Betsy in Betsy

Hot time summer in the City! So hard to believe that you have nad such a hot summer. With the exception of a few days we have had a cool summer with bright and beautiful with a high of 75! Try to stay cool, I know that its hard for you guys sort of like when they get freak snow storms in Florida! Love, P

Another sweet Mocha Friday

August 21, 2009 by Adam in Family

Another sweet Mocha Friday. I just sat down at work, starting to go through e-mail and get ready for the day. The picture here is from England, when we visited my mom's cousins on the way to Stratford-Upon-Avon.

It's been an odd week with Jamie and the kids away. I've been trying to accomplish projects to stay busy, but managed to get the wrong size lumber for the shed windows. Instead of cutting them to the right width, I plan on shamefully returning them and getting the right size. I was also a little sick for the first part of the week, likely something picked up from Emma. Fortunately it was pretty mild and all that happened is that I ran a little less for a couple days.

I've also managed to keep the household together, going shopping, doing laundry, and watering the plants every day. Last night I got sick of cereal and sandwiches and made some fettuccine with tofu, mushrooms, and peanut sauce. Sadie also Skyped last night, so I spent a wonderful hour being social with the Eastern branch of the family. When I'm too tired to do anything else, I've been watching Mythbusters.

As for this weekend, I need to hunker down and finish the two big projects I've seemingly saved for last. The shed is the big priority, and I'm hoping to get those done. It would be great if I could talk to Jamie and the kids, as I haven't since Monday. I keep calling her cell phone and the beach house, but no answer. Maybe if Judy reads this today, she can nudge Jamie towards the phone when they go to the beach house this weekend.

This is my last full week of vacation before ...

August 21, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

This is my last full week of vacation before school begins. I'm trying to squeeze the most folksy home making into these last days. Greg and I picked raspberries and blueberries, made blueberry jam, lemonade, and oatmeal molasses bread, and I have a big sewing project with some grad school friends this weekend.

This semester I am taking:
Policy Implementation
Organizational Behavior
Theories of Social Justice and Social Policy
National Data Sets for Public Policy

I'm a little nervous to take an extra class because I will be TAing an undergraduate course called The Paradox of Wealth and Poverty, and will be leading two 30-student sections a week. I'm also working on a survey project for a neighborhood in Waltham. The Waltham city planner is fantastic and all the Heller researchers are very helpful, but I may have to interview 80 households myself if I can't recruit volunteers.

None of this is keeping me down, though. The heat and humidity is doing just fine on its own.

Hi, and a hot Thursday afternoon! Here at hom...

August 20, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

Hi, and a hot Thursday afternoon! Here at home, fans running, ice water in hand, I'm feeling very sympathetic to those
working in the sun, or working, period. I've had two Board of Directors meetings and one Audit Committee meeting this week, with a Membership Committee meeting and an IRB meeting next week. I thought this was vacation time. Jordan's birthday party was very fun! Hugs to all, Mom

How time flies

August 19, 2009 by Adam in Family

How time flies.

Jamie and the kids are off at the beach for a few days, escaping the hot weather that's currently baking our little valley. I have a lengthy list of things to do while they're away. Yesterday I uncloged Emma's sink, pulling out globs of weird things that I couldn't identify. I also managed to paint the side of the house where the old balcony was attached.

I had a touch of a headache, though, that's continued until today. I may see if I can get the supplies to finish the shed today. If I'm still feeling lousy, I'll just head home and take it easy.

Adam and Jenny - would either Dez or Sam like...

August 14, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

Adam and Jenny - would either Dez or Sam like to go to the Symphony with Bob and me. I have a chance to buy a single ticket for myself and Dez or Sam could sit with Bob.
9/24 The New World Symphony
10/22 Mozart's Magic Flute
11/19 The Mighty Organ Symphony
12/03 Beethoven and Brahms
1/21 Shostakovich Fifth Symphony
2/18 Beethoven's Fourth
3/18 Royal Fireworks
4/22 Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto
5/20 Mahler's Titan
Sorry, but I want a bumper sticker which says, I hate Mahler.
or maybe, "I love Dvorak"

Generic Heading

August 14, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Happy birthday, Jordan!

It's another sweet Mocha Friday

August 14, 2009 by Adam in Family

It's another sweet Mocha Friday. The Mocha Friday woodcut that Sadie made me is looking down approvingly. Friday is also pizza and Mythbusters night. Sam exclaimed last night that "everything good happens on Friday". Too true.

We've had a relatively low-key week, trying to readjust. I think my sleep patterns are mostly back to normal. Emma was having these unnatural fears (directed at Wormtail from Harry Potter), though they seem to be fading some. I can't decide if it was due to Sam and I being away or just one of those brain growth spurt things. In any case, it seems to be improving.

I think my own brain has been struggling to readjust to life in the states. I had dreams last night about driving on the left around a roundabout. People's accents have stopped sounding funny after being so used to UK accents.

Last night after work, Emma wanted to sit on my lap while I played Prince of Persia. She's not quite up to the multiple jumps and moves, but she enjoys watching. After dinner the kids and I went to the park where we played with a Frisbee and climbed the cheese structure. Sam and I tested our ninja skills by balancing on this wobbly log structure and throwing the Frisbee to each other. Our record was five consecutive throws.

Hopefully we can have a good family weekend together, doing ordinary things, as next week Jamie's taking the kids to the beach. I have a long list of projects to work on, from finishing the shed to staining the balcony to painting the house. I don't mind, though, as it keeps me busy so I don't miss them too much.

Hopefully today I can dig into the lengthy list of work projects that await me. Such is the price for being away for two weeks.

Home sweet home! Agatha Christie apparently o...

August 13, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

Home sweet home! Agatha Christie apparently once said, "English coffee always tastes like a chemistry experiment." I continue to believe that the British are superior in all things but the preparation of coffee.
All's well here, and I'm trying desparately to get everything done I didn't get done this summer.

Grafton updates: I am now back from Maine and...

August 13, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Grafton updates: I am now back from Maine and finished with the flu. I will be sworn into the planning board soon and in the meantime am remembering how to email and register for classes. The CSA is drowning us in greens and I look forward to a weekend escape to Williamstown.

My boyfriend Bob, met with his oncologist on ...

August 12, 2009 by Betsy in Betsy

My boyfriend Bob, met with his oncologist on Monday after the prescribed regime of chemotherapy and radiation and was informed that the cancer was no longer evident anywhere in his lung and there were no signs of cancer migrating to his brain. This is great except that only 1 out of 5 small cell cancer patients makes it 5 years without the cancer coming back. So there is as always good news and bad news. Just hope and pray for the best.

I turned in my pager yesterday

August 11, 2009 by Adam in Adam

I turned in my pager yesterday. We're phasing out after-hours support in order to safe money. Since the pagers also cost a little each month, there was a decision to get rid of that as well. I've been carrying a pager for over a decade, so it's rather freeing to no longer be responsible after I go home each day.

I'm also having a hard time adjusting to the time change. Last night around seven o'clock I was starting to nap on the couch. Plus I woke up bright and early at four this morning. Hopefully in a couple more days I'll adjust.

I did have a great run yesterday, my first in a couple weeks. I only ran four miles, as I was a little nervous, but I felt really good afterwards.

I'm back at work, with 441 e-mails awaiting m...

August 10, 2009 by Adam in Family

I'm back at work, with 441 e-mails awaiting my perusal. I've been slowly adjusting to life in the states again. My sleep schedule has been a little off, getting up in the middle of the night thinking it was time to wake up. Driving into work seemed a little surreal, with everyone on the wrong side of the road and trying to suppress the urge to use a clutch. Still, I made it in safe and sound and now it's time to get back into work mode.

Yesterday we drove home and tried to settle into normalcy. Jamie went off to a friends house, so the kids and I played in the basement until dinner. Emma hasn't had anyone to play pretend with, so I think she was happy to have us back. She's also been having nightmares, scared about Wormtail from Harry Potter. Hopefully now that the family is together again, those worried feelings of hers will settle down.

It's early Sunday morning

August 09, 2009 by Adam in Family

It's early Sunday morning. Sam and I got to Jamie's mom house at a reasonable hour and stayed up until nine or so. Both of us had a hard time sleeping, but are generally okay and happy to be back. Emma just woke up and climbed into my lap. We'll be heading home soon after breakfast.

We're in the Vancouver airport, waiting an ho...

August 08, 2009 by Adam in Family

We're in the Vancouver airport, waiting an hour and a half before we can board the plane. They have free wireless Internet access, unlike the last two places we stayed. I'm going to try uploading videos, but it's a pretty slow connection.

I'm really excited to see Jamie and Emma again. Can't wait.

(This was written earlier while on the plane ...

August 08, 2009 by Adam in Family

(This was written earlier while on the plane heading home) It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Such was our final day in England. If you've been following our trip from the beginning, you'll remember that while in Bath we ended up picking up someone else's bag. There were endless bad attempts to connect with her, but it finally happened several days ago. While at breakfast, my mom announced that we were going to drop off the bag at the woman's house, north of London. There was a fairly heated conversation between everyone. Words were exchanged. The end result was a plan to go to Blenheim Palace and then drop off the bag. Blenheim Palace was amazing. It was by far the most impressive of anywhere we've gone, with golden orbs towering above gorgeous architecture. Everything was on a massive scale, from the endless lawns to the ceilings far above. Every room was decorated with incredible tapestries and paintings, each with some historical significance. With Churchill born there, there were several exhibits about his life which put things in context. After touring the palace, we walked through the gardens and on to the massive lawn. After walking for five minutes or so, we finally crossed it and made it to the place they'd set up for the jousting. First off was a falconry exibition, which everyone thought was pretty cool. They flew falcons and hawks, all the while hoping they didn't fly away forever. Next up was the jousting, which was a cross between Monty Python and the circus. The tourney knights were wonderful characters, outrageous and hysterical. There was jousting, hand-to-hand combat, parading about, and pulling the occasional squire behind a horse while tied in a bag. It too was pretty cool. I'll keep the next step short. We drove, at least when not stuck in traffic for hours. It took about six hours altogether. We dropped off the bag, drove to the airport without stopping except for gas and quick food, and dropped off the car sometime after nine. My happiest moment was realizing I never had to drive on English roads again. We made our way to the hotel and collapsed. This morning I woke up early, nervous about the trip. We got on a bus to the airport, got our tickets, made it through security, and sat down for a hearty breakfast. For airport food, it earned high praise from Sam. Soon after, we were playing with magnets at the gate, doing experiments with magnetism and copper pences. They boarded us early, and we had fun watching movies on the in-flight video system. Now we're somewhere over the Atlantic, heading home. It's a good feeling.

(This was written earlier and posted once I f...

August 06, 2009 by Adam in Family

(This was written earlier and posted once I found an Internet connection) We're at the Holiday Express outside of Oxford at the moment. Though it's your basic run-of-the-mill hotel, it seems like blissful sanctuary. Sam's reading Harry Potter and I'm watching Mythbusters before bed. Our clothes are drying out in assorted places around the room, but I'll get to that later. The day began at the Moonraker with a tasty breakfast. We drove the short distance into town and went to see the Shakespeare's Birthplace tour. Considering that it's basically just an old house, they did a good job about it. There was a short part where they showed off various Shakespearian and period artifacts, then out through a gorgeous English garden and into the house. In each room, they had someone talking about its function. Basically they crammed everyone into very small spaces and furniture was incredibly expensive. It seemed odd to think of Shakespeare writing about castles and kings while coming from such a humble beginning. We decided to drive over to Avebury to see the standing stones there. Once we got there, it began to pour and we all got incredibly soaked. It's been so warm and sunny since we got here that it almost came as a shock. Still, the stones were interesting and we spent some time at a converted barn that explained them in more detail. As a bonus, it was warm and dry. The way to our hotel ended up taking far too long. The roads were horrible due to the rain and we accidentally took a trip into Oxford during rush hour. Coupled with a wreck on the road out of town and bad directions to the hotel, we ended up stopping for dinner before checking in. Sam was happy since we found a pizza place, though. Tomorrow is our last full day in the UK. The plan is to go to Bleinheim Palace to see the jousting. Hopefully the weather clears up.

I think Sam has succumbed to British television

August 05, 2009 by Adam in Family

I think Sam has succumbed to British television. He's now watching Big Brother, which has a bizarre Alice in Wonderland themed set of challenges. Soon I'll make him turn it off and go to bed, but I suppose the point of travel is to expand one's horizons. We went to the town central and ate at one of the oldest pubs in Stratford. It's odd eating somewhere that's older that my country. The dinner was okay, quite rich, but it was nice to have a lengthy, chatty dinner. I think tomorrow we'll go take the tour of Anne Hathaway's house, then go off to see some standing stones. Eventually we'll make our way to Oxford tomorrow and then we're going to Blenheim Palace. It's the last event for Sam and I before heading home.

We're in Stratford-Upon-Avon, staying at the ...

August 05, 2009 by Adam in Family

We're in Stratford-Upon-Avon, staying at the Moonraker. As you might think, there are artsy pictures of James Bond on the wall and the Moonraker DVD in the room. Sam's watching television as we all relax, and I think he's hoping to find a channel with bowling. This is the outdoor lawn style bowling, not the American ball and ten pins version. Yesterday Sam was rooting for Scotland and it was actually fairly interesting to watch. In the meantime, he's watching a quirky game show involving lying, which is a sight better than the weird kid superhero game show than this morning.

Seraph, Robbie, and Isabell just arrived and we're settling down before going into town. It should be a ten or fifteen minute walk and we can scrounge up dinner and pay our respects to Shakespeare on the way.

We had a relatively lazy day today, our secon...

August 04, 2009 by Adam in Family

We had a relatively lazy day today, our second in Chester. Seraph and Isa drove to Liverpool to pick up Robbie from his side trip. Unfortunately they got the time wrong and ended up hanging around the train station for several hours. In the meantime, mom, Sam, and I went into Chester with the stated reason for doing laundry. We dropped off my mom and headed to the town center. With no destination in mind, we climbed up on the city walls that ring the town center. There was a lovely view of the river Dee and the thousand year old bridge that crosses it. We worked our way over to the ruins of a two thousand year old Roman fort, where some local kids were doing parkour, jumping from column to column. Next was the amphitheater. The strangest part is that both were in the middle of a modern city, with busy roads all around them. Next we passed the ruins of an old church and circled back to pick up my mom. Instead of rushing back, the three of us visited a little coffee shop. Sam tried yet another new food item, a ham and cheese blintz with crips (potato chips to those of you from the states). Another thumbs up from Sam. This afternoon we've spent hanging out in the hotel room, taking a vacation from our vacation. There was a little reading, television watching, card games, and computer games. I think we'll head to bed early so we can get an early start on things. Tomorrow we're off to Stratford-Upon-Avon to stay at a place called the Moonraker. Thursday we're at the Express By in Oxford. Friday we're staying really close to the Heathrow airport. We got the chance to chat with Jamie and Emma briefly this afternoon, which was a treat. Jamie sounds like she's been busy, taking Emma to the coast to beat the heat. We managed to get Skype working, except for their webcam. It'll be nice to be home and see them in person.

We're hanging out in the hotel room, being re...

August 04, 2009 by Adam in Sam

We're hanging out in the hotel room, being relatively lazy today. We discovered a game called Red Remover and Sam made a level for it.

Sam and I are hanging out in our room in Ches...

August 03, 2009 by Adam in Family

Sam and I are hanging out in our room in Chester, taking a break after running around all afternoon. Downtown Chester is an interesting place, set inside old Roman walls from 2,000 years ago. The Rows are old market rows, now modern shops with tons of people running around. Out first stop was the cathedral, where the walkway around it is paved with gravestones, the bodies buried underfoot. As usual the architecture was amazing. Afterward, we headed to the old Chester castle and saw the military museum there. Jamie's friend Pat would have loved it, especially the stories that went with the various medals that were housed there. Tomorrow we can sleep in as much as we want, which excites me terribly. We might head out to a nearby castle, or go back into Chester and see even more sights. It's nice to have a slow day before our lengthy drive to Stratford-On-Avon.

We had an uneventful trip to the DoubleTree i...

August 03, 2009 by Adam in Family

We had an uneventful trip to the DoubleTree in Chester. It's a fairly modern hotel, which to be honest is somewhat nice after cool but quirky B&Bs. Robbie got off to his train just fine and we reconnected with Seraph. Fairly soon we'll be headed to the town center to see the castle and some museums.

I'm alone in my room at Ruthin Castle

August 03, 2009 by Adam in Family

I'm alone in my room at Ruthin Castle. The kids are in the other room, playing Magic while my mom takes a bath. Seraph has driven Robbie to Liverpool to catch a train to visit an old professor. We're rendezvousing in Chester, with Robbie coming in a day later. The next couple days should be relatively slow. It's a short drive to Chester and we have a couple days in town. Chester is over 2,000 years old and was a Roman town back in the day. Should be fun. Everyone has arrived and we're heading to breakfast.

Like Yayoe, I to am traveling with you via yo...

August 02, 2009 by Betsy in Betsy

Like Yayoe, I to am traveling with you via your postings. When Grandma Eddie and I were in Wales we stayed near a place called Richards Castle. She said she felt close to brother Dick that night as we stood on a windswept hill at the ruins of an ancient castle. Possibly another life...another time... Much Love across the miles to you all.

We made it to Ruthin Castle, which amazingly ...

August 02, 2009 by Adam in Family

We made it to Ruthin Castle, which amazingly enough has Internet access. I'll be posting more in a bit, but now I have to get cleaned up for dinner as we're all starving.

Update: I'm back in the room, feeling stuffed. Sam and Isa are playing before bedtime. I'm tuckered out.

The day started in Gaer Farm. We gathered up our belongings, only to discover that we had an extra piece of luggage. Sure enough, through a comedy of errors we ended up taking someone else's bag from Bath. We've managed to let the poor woman know it wasn't stolen, but still need to figure out how to get it to her.

The drive to Ruthin was long, but we took a fair number of stops. The driving was actually pretty good today, with good roads and beautiful scenery. I have a new appreciation for the macho motorcycle riders of Wales, who would ride at insane speeds in between lines of traffic.

Our first stop was at Hay-On-Wye, a town of endless bookstores. Robbie was blissful, but we finally dragged him away. We ate lunch, including a mocha for me, despite it not being a Friday.

We drove and drove, eventually stopping by a ruined abbey. The kids loved running around and exploring, while the grownups read plaques and appreciated the history. After a foiled attempt to grab some food, we headed to the castle.

The castle grounds are quite beautiful, and so everyone trooped around. We discovered the peacock, which is now cawing somewhere outside as I type this. There were also some vaguely druidic stones off in a field. After getting everyone appropriately tired, we had a good and lengthy dinner. Now it's time to throw Sam in the bath and get the dirt scrubbed off him.

Final Update: I posted yesterday's video.

This was recorded earlier and only now posted...

August 02, 2009 by Adam in Family

This was recorded earlier and only now posted (Gaer Farm had no Internet connection, as expected). We woke up bright and early, wandering down to the hostel kitchen tucked away past the courtyard. There was a young British couple and another young man from Brazil, and we danced around each other trying to get breakfast for everyone. Sam's developed a liking for tea, so he had tea, toast, and a little cereal. Afterwards we decided to split the party. My mom would make reservations, I'd take the kids to the Roman Baths, and Seraph and Robbie would go to the Fashion Museum and then Hay-On-Wye for the bookstores. We had a great walk to the Roman Baths, which we ironically walked a hundred feet away from the night before. It was early and not very crowded. Since Isa had already gone through, she gave us the guided tour. The baths were surprisingly interesting, with a lot more than just a hotsprings. There were massage areas, a temple, and a complicated drainage system. After that we met up with my mom, who had run into some issues booking rooms. She went for coffee and upon her return, the wireless stopped working, so after Ruthin Castle it's still a bit of a mystery where we're staying. I'm going to see if we can make some phone calls this morning and at least book some rooms in Chester. The drive to Gaer Farm took most of the day. Getting into Wales was the hard part, with rain, closed bridges, and a grumpy driver (me). I spent most of the afternoon apoligizing to my mom for being so snappy. Once we got to Wales, the roads widened, the signs were better, and the traffic was relatively light. We stopped by a place called Brecon Beacons, found a tiny parking place up an alley, and immediately saw a pizza place across the street. It was Sam's fifth pizza and my first, which was surprisingly good. We ate in a park by the river and admired the bridge across the way. Next was a final push to the farm. We got side tracked in a rock quarry, but eventually figured out where we were going and made it without incident. Sam and Isa played really well together the whole time. Once we got out and settled, the kids entertained the local dog and kitty. Seraph and Robbie arrived soon afterwards with a big loaf of bread. With the peanut butter I'd picked up earlier, it made for a lovely dinner. As the sun set, Sam, Isa, and I walked down the road and made sheep noises. Sam declared that this was his favorite place to stay. Sam's still sleeping, though I'll be hauling him out of bed soon for breakfast. After we eat and pack, we'll all return to Hay-on-Wye and then drive up to Ruthin Castle for the night.

HI There European Travelers

August 01, 2009 by Yayoe in Yayoe

HI There European Travelers...
We've been reading your posting and watched the latest video...I'm traveling vicariously with you. Have fun, be wild, eat the local food and enjoy. Rice Taffle (Bali Restaurant)....Picadilly Flea Market, Simpsons's on the Strand, etc....Are they all still there?

Keep's the only way for us to travel with you...Adam...does your Starbucks card work in England?

Generic Heading

August 01, 2009 by Adam in Sam

Here's Sam, talking about our trip:

We're still in Bath, waiting for the rest of ...

August 01, 2009 by Adam in Family

We're still in Bath, waiting for the rest of our crew to wake up. My mom was going to try and see a coattail relative this morning, but I think we'll trade that for a trip to the Roman baths instead. Seraph and Robbie are headed elsewhere, meeting up with us at Gaer Farm tonight. My mom and I will be taking Isa and Sam. Fortunately the kids have done a great job entertaining each other. While we travel in Wales, I don't think we'll have any Internet connectivity. The next time I'll likely post is Monday night in Chester. I think we're staying here, but we've yet to book rooms. After that is Stratford-Upon-Avon and Oxford, though we've yet to book anywhere yet. After we checked into the hostel and settled down, Sam and I went exploring, just barely missing the Roman Baths. There were some pretty amazing sights along the river path, though, and it was fun to just wander around for a bit. The weather was beautiful, though it started to rain last night. We had some brief excitement where we thought we'd lost mom. She was going to take a nap and then do laundry at a nearby laundromat. Unfortunately no one had seen her there by the time we returned. It turns out she just took a long nap. I'm letting Sam sleep a little more while I get ready for the day. Our room at the White Hart is a little funky, with fairly cold showers. The beds were comfortable, though, and Sam and I are sleeping relatively well these days. Off to our next adventure . . .

We made it to Bath

July 31, 2009 by Adam in Family

We made it to Bath. I woke up this morning, feeling pretty good with a full night's sleep under my belt. Sam and Isa hung out in the back and Robbie was my trusty navigator. We got to the ferry in time after a few wrong turns, then had an incredibly easy time getting to Bath. Unfortunately the place we're staying has no parking and it's nearly impossible to park anywhere. I just got back from trying to move the car and ended up getting lost while trying to go around the block. Fortunately I made it back to my original spot, which is theoretically only two hours long. Sigh. I'm going to go exploring with Sam, seeing if we can find the Roman baths. My mom has generously offered to do laundry. Hopefully I can post in the morning before heading to Wales, where we'll likely be out of touch for a couple days.

Today I spent two really great hours in the t...

July 30, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Today I spent two really great hours in the town planning office, talking to the two town planners about the development realities of a small place in a big recession, still losing farm land to suburban encroachment but now juggling defaulted subdivisions. I can't wait to start.

Today is also the weekly farmer's market, where I got a massive, beautiful head of lettuce to cut our pound of CSA spinach. The bakery was absent, so I had to make my own bread. There is this picture of Irish soda bread on the cover of The New England Table by Lora Brody that convinced me to try my hand at it. It looks like a precious, lumpy little scone, begging to be smothered in cold butter. Unfortunately, the results reminded me of Peggy Bracken's description of soda bread from The I Hate to Cook Book: "This is a big easy crusty faintly sweet loaf, comforting as a turf fire in a thatched cottage. It is handy when you're out of bread." I managed to burn every surface, and it's still soft in the middle. The salad turned out pretty well, though, and I found retsina at that Greek grocery to wash down the burnt bits. The clerk thought I was a little nutty for buying it, but there's something so refreshing about its cool pine taste... like freshly mopped linoleum.

I realized the last posting was rather exciti...

July 30, 2009 by Adam in Family

I realized the last posting was rather exciting, made from one of those airport kiosks. Immediately after posting, we found Robbie. As expected, some miscommunication resulted in just missing each other several times in a row. Now we're at cousin Mary's house. Sam and Isa are having a wonderful time chasing cats in the backyard. Soon we'll go out for dinner. Yesterday was a little more exciting than I wanted. We connected late and picked up the cars. It was clear we'd miss the first ferry, so we rescheduled tickets to 7 pm. We also ended up with two cars, almost immediately losing each other as we headed down. Driving was just as stressfull as I recall. According to Robbie, Seraph swore like a sailor. We also ended up missing several turns, but eventually mom pointed me in the right direction. Sam and Isa had a great time, playing in the back seat. Even though the two cars got separated, we reconnected a half hour before the ferry left. I was just about ready to give up and stay in town, but fortunately it worked out at the last minute. I also couldn't back up the car, as I couldn't get it into reverse. I embarrasingly had to push it backwards. Eventually Seraph called the rental place and there's a funny ring you have to pull up before shifting into reverse. We got into Ryde Castle fairly late, went to dinner at some pirate place, and headed to our rooms. They didn't have enough cots, so they ended up going out and buying inflatable mattresses for Robbie and Seraph. I slept pretty well last night, except for Seraph waking me at six in the morning, as she read her clock wrong. Sam fortunately slept for a few hours more and we had a good breakfast. The sightseeing trip for the day involved heading to the Roman ruins, nearly a thousand years old. The mosaics were pretty incredible and even Sam thought it was fairly cool. We went back to the hotel and I did some laundry in the sink, then took the kids to the beach. Sam dipped his toes in the English channel, Isa collected shells, and I simply enjoyed the warm and sunny weather. A hovercraft came blazing up to a nearby landing, which the kids enjoyed. Later Sam and I wandered the streets, looking for a WiFi connection and snacks. We found a good bakery and enjoyed a tasty snack, and I found a cash machine and took out a hundred pounds for walking around money. No luck on the Internet connection until now, though. Yet again we returned to the hotel where Sam and Isa watched British kids cartoons. Sam declared them "weird", possibly because of the part where the lion peed on some guy hiding in the bushes. Once again we braved the roads and found our way to cousin Mary's town. Sam found a little toy to spend his pounds on in a nearby shop. Strangely enough, it reminds me of a "happy fun ball" toy that he had as a kid. Tomorrow we return to the ferry and drive up to Bath. After that we go up to a Welsh farm. I think we're finally getting the hang of driving about. So, all's well. I best check on Isa and Sam.

As I've mentioned in earlier posts, Massachus...

July 29, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

As I've mentioned in earlier posts, Massachusetts has seen some rain this month. Greg has done all of the laundry since we moved to Grafton, but I took on the task today, remembering grandma Edna as I pinned everything up on the line. But it started to rain this afternoon, so now all of our clothes are hung inside, amplifying the muggy air. I think we're going on a Mediterranean grocery run to escape the humidity. New England in late July is a stickier version of the Pacific Northwest in late January.

It's so much fun to hear your reports from the field! Such a treat.

This is a note for Seraph - we are at Heathro...

July 29, 2009 by Adam in Family

This is a note for Seraph - we are at Heathrow Airport in Terminal 3, next to the Avis desk (at the group meeting point). We will continue to wait there until we see you. Mom is going to look around other terminals in hopes she sees you. She has her cell phone.

And for everyone else - yes, we're having issues meeting Seraph, but hopefully everything will work out. I've dutifully fed Sam and taken him to the bathroom. It may be that I'll just ditch my mom and head to Portsmouth, though only as a last resort. With two cars and a second ferry at 7 pm (ours is at 4 pm), it gets a little tricky.

Ah, the joys of travel.

Two busy fun filled days in London! It was he...

July 29, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

Two busy fun filled days in London! It was helpful to sort out what kids might enjoy most; for sure the Tower of London, and the British Museum, and with Sam, the Natural History Museum and the Lonndon Dungeon Tour. Sam thinks the Dungeon
Tour would be too scary for younger kids. He liked the Hop On, Hop Off tour better when we sat upstairs and had a live
guide, rather than the pre-recorded info (though the pre-recorded guide was available in several languages.)I think
I'm going to persuade Seraph and Robbie to go to the British Library and maybe Seraph and I can go shopping on Regent Street. Who was it who said, "He who tires of London tires of life."?
It's too bad that there has been so great a White Flight from London.

It's our last day in London

July 29, 2009 by Adam in Family

It's our last day in London. Sam's reading Harry Potter and we've just come down from breakfast. I think my mom is going to try to fit in one more visit to somewhere. After checking with Sam, I think he'd like to take it easy for a couple hours before we join up with Seraph, Robbie, and Isa. Sam didn't get quite as much sleep as the night before, and was up until close to midnight.

My mom is currently booking a second ferry ticket to the Isle of Wight now that we're taking two cars. Hopefully all of that will get sorted out and I'll manage to drive properly once we pick up the car. Once again, I'm not sure when I can post next. We'll see if somewhere near Ryde Castle has internet access.

There is a Wakefield Tower at the TOwer of Lo...

July 28, 2009 by Betsy in Betsy

There is a Wakefield Tower at the TOwer of London complex. Some long ago Wakefiled ancestor was a warden there. Have fun.

We're back in our room, resting up before hea...

July 28, 2009 by Adam in Family

We're back in our room, resting up before heading out to dinner. We had another exciting day, going off to the Tower of London, eating lunch there, and then we were off to the Natural History Museum. The Tower had a Henry VIII exhibit, commemorating the 500th anniversary of his coronation. They had a pretty amazing collection of armor and weapons, including these crazy shield/gun combinations that seemed unwieldy at best. They also had a grand collection of cannons, some of which seemed truly gargantuan. Towards the end we saw some previously used crowns, the gems taken out and reused. It was a far shorter line than that for the crown jewels, which we passed on. The Natural History Museum had a grand entrance and wonderful exhibits. The dinosaur bones were a sight to behold, especially housed in the incredible main hall. I kept ignoring the displays and admiring the architecture. We didn't manage to see it all, but it was time to head back and get some rest. We just sorted out a couple bits of important business. We know now where and when to meet Seraph. As expected, the car we rented wouldn't fit all of us, so we'll end up taking two. I assured Sam that we could totally ditch the rest of our party if they become too unruly. Update: It's right before bed and Sam and I have assembled another of our daily travelogues. I'm not sure if we'll have Internet connections after tomorrow, though maybe we can find a cafe somewhere. It's possible Ryde Castle has wireless Internet. We went out to an Italian restaurant opposite the one we ate at a couple nights ago. Sam likely had his last pepperoni pizza for awhile. My mom thought our Italian waitress was flirting with me, but my guess is she was just being nice because she forgot my order. I assured my mom gravely that my heart belongs to another (that's you, Jamie).

Hi, I'm in Sam and Adam's room while Sam snoo...

July 28, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

Hi, I'm in Sam and Adam's room while Sam snoozes a bit longer. After an auspicious start in Portland, my plane out of ny was very late, and I got in after Sam and Adam. I forgot that "nine pm push" which Yayoe and I experienced in NY. The trip from Heathrow was grueling for Sam, but he's
quickly acclimated to the noise and the diversty of people.
He probably picked up more history from the Dungeon tour than the Hop-on, off bus tour. He's so fun and slightly eccentric.
He quickly turned people watching into a contest.

We have been watching, and note a distinct fa...

July 28, 2009 by Jamie in Family

We have been watching, and note a distinct fatigue...hope you catch up on sleep soon. We want to hear more from the cinematographer and less from the incoherent sidekick (or allow him to compose his thoughts in prose and post after some consideration) We miss you both.
It is 100 degrees here (literally) and will be all week. We are envious of the cloudy skies you all are enjoying.
From Emma:
"I miss you...a lot. I hope you have fun Dad and Sam. I love you once more. It's hard to sleep because of the monsters. I hope you get me a souvenir. Once more I say this: I love you. Back to mom...."
Take care, global travellers! BH and Emmy

What a whirlwind day

July 27, 2009 by Adam in Family

What a whirlwind day. We took the tube to Central London and spent the drizzly part of the morning on the tour bus. It was actually pretty good and we saw all the major sights of London. Sam picked the one place he wanted to spend more time at, the London Dungeon. We circled back to the tour bus company, bought tickets, and hopped on the bus again to ride over. The second bus operator was pretty funny, telling of the amusing parts of London as we drove past. Eventually Sam and I got out for the London Dungeon while my mom wandered about for a couple hours. Sam had a pretty good time. The dungeon was a combination house of horrors and history lesson, telling of the more gruesome parts of London history. Sam and I kept discussing the mechanics of the ride, such as the mechanical seats that "cut your hair" for the Sweeney Todd room. After wandering about for awhile, we ate at a pub by the river. Sam enjoyed his bangers and mash, while I stuck to the salad. We took the Queen's Walk along the Thames, passing by the Tate and crossing the Millennium Bridge to St. Paul's Cathedral. A quick tube ride to the bed and breakfast and now it's time for bed.

We're off to Denver late this morning!! We c...

July 27, 2009 by Seraph in Cortez

We're off to Denver late this morning!! We can't wait to catch up with Mom, Adam and Sam! And Sadie, don't worry, I have carefully written down all of the cool design shops in London, and have planned a day of shopping for you : )

Ah, sleep! Sam slept for eleven hours and I ...

July 27, 2009 by Adam in Family

Ah, sleep! Sam slept for eleven hours and I slept for about ten. The weather this morning made us feel quite at home, with rain turning to an overcast day. Since it's not cold, I think we'll be fine today. Sam's in great spirits today, wanting to get out and walk around. I'm so glad he's improved from yesterday.

We had an interesting breakfast this morning, chatting with the other travelers. First was a couple from Japan. The man was a student of English, and he cheerfully grilled Sam on his school and interests. Later we talked with an American living in Paris, visiting her sister. After downing a lot of toast and coffee, I finally got the courage to wake up my mother.

I think we'll soon head back to the tube and go to central London. The plan is to buy tickets for the bus tour and stop off at some of the various places we pass by.

We made it to London, safe and sound at the b...

July 26, 2009 by Adam in Family

We made it to London, safe and sound at the bed and breakfast. Though it's deep in London, it's surrounded by big trees and run by a very nice older couple. The upstairs bathroom has a submarine-like door, which Sam thought was very cool. Getting here was fairly challenging. Sam couldn't sleep on the long trip, and he wasn't partial to the food. By the time we got to London, he'd been up until the equivalent of 3:30 in the morning, with very little to eat. I got water into him, but otherwise not much else. The plane itself was pretty cool and had a built-in movie player. I managed to sleep for four hours and got a cup of coffee in the morning, so I'm relatively okay. Upon reaching London, my mom wasn't there to greet us. We looked around, found that there was a flight from New York coming nearly three hours later than expected. Sure enough, my mom arrived and we hopped on the Underground. The Underground was a giant mess, with a track closed due to someone "under the tracks". Later we discovered the line we were supposed to take was closed for the day. After a lot of hiking around and stopping briefly because Sam got sick, we made it here. Now we're off to find food for Sam, hopefully keeping him up another hour or two.

This is mostly a dry run for future video pos...

July 25, 2009 by Adam in Family

This is mostly a dry run for future video postings from abroad. At the moment we're sitting in the Portland airport waiting for our Calgary flight to arrive. Jamie dropped us off with kisses and we went in to get our tickets. Unfortunately they printed wrong and it wasn't until the fourth try before they came out right. I think we're all good now. Sam's good at least, when I asked him just now.

Greg and I are back in Grafton, having recove...

July 25, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Greg and I are back in Grafton, having recovered from our long flight. Today we picked up our first share at a local CSA, the collaboration of three farms. It will be so much fun to get a fresh box of produce every week and figure out how to eat or preserve strange edibles. Unfortunately, all the heirloom tomatoes have an airborne blight brought in from box store tomatoes. The crop is a little sad looking this year, but it's nice to support family farms through hard times.

For such a little place, the Grafton public library has a generous cookbook section, which we've only started to dig through. The librarian seems like a big time foodie and personally selected the recipes from the last cookbook I checked out that I absolutely had to try. She promised that Ina Garten's french apple tart would change my life.

Both of us had a wonderful time in Eugene at Marshall and McKenna's wedding and playing with the family. Some of my highs include: trampoline jumping with Jordan, figure drawing and playing in the park with Sam and Emma, walking through the old neighborhood with Greg, and sneaking off to drink coffee with mom. The orchestrated recipe potluck was out of this world, too, and I think we were all surprised that we liked squid so much!

I hope you all have a great time in Olde England!

Happy Mocha Friday to all

July 25, 2009 by Adam in Family

Happy Mocha Friday to all. It's nearly the end of the day and we're safe and sound at Portland before we leave to England. I worked all morning, then came home to do a final packing. Most of all, I have my trip folder, which has everything from confirmation numbers to Google Map directions to everywhere we go.

Late tomorrow morning we fly out, stop by Calgary, and then take the long way to Heathrow. I'm going to try hard to sleep on the plane if I can, as we're showing up in London in the morning after a very long day. Hopefully I can post once we arrive.

Happy Birthday Mom!!! We can't wait to see y...

July 23, 2009 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy Birthday Mom!!! We can't wait to see you next week! I'm e-mailing you the last of the details I have. xxxooo from the Cortez clan.


July 23, 2009 by Yayoe in Yayoe

HAPPY BIRTHDAY's another new year of you! I know you're too busy to do much celebrating before you leave so do it in England in grand style. Be wild and we were in the airport in NY.

Generic Heading

July 23, 2009 by Betsy in Betsy

Happy Birthday Sister Sue!

Mom and I had our communal birthday party las...

July 22, 2009 by Adam in Family

Mom and I had our communal birthday party last night. It was full of family and food and the usual amount of chaos. I got a ton of presents. Since she wasn't there, I'd like to publicly thank Seraph for her awesome temporary tattoos and skull and crossbone ice tray. They're very cool.

I'm still in a daze thinking about the upcoming England trip, with only three days to go. Friday we're heading to Portland, and then Jamie's driving us to the airport to start our journey. Mom's been a madwoman this last week, getting places booked left and right. So far we're staying in two castles, a university dorm, and a farm house. Hopefully we can get a place in Oxford before we leave.

I still have stuff to get ready, but I'm feeling increasingly organized. My folder of driving directions, confirmation codes, and dates and times is coming together nicely. Hopefully by the time I leave I'll feel relatively content.

Oh, thank you all for cooking

July 22, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

Oh, thank you all for cooking. We had an elegant Italian dinner, and everyone, including Dez, prepared a dish or drink. Pretty fancy. And thank you for my wonderful birthday presents. I felt like the little kid in Close Encounters, "presents!"

Happy 40th Birthday Adam! Enjoy another new y...

July 21, 2009 by Yayoe in Yayoe

Happy 40th Birthday Adam! Enjoy another new year of you....
Turning 40 means you can do anything that you wanna go for the gusto man!

It's been a whirlwind last week

July 20, 2009 by Adam in Family

It's been a whirlwind last week. Mocha Friday came and went, as I was watching the kids while Jamie left to prepare for the wedding. In the morning we went blueberry picking with Sadie, Greg, Jenny, and the boys. In the afternoon I made jam and entertained the kids.

Saturday we made a quick library trip, and then we were off to Coulton for the wedding. As with most weddings, there were boring parts and exciting parts. Sam and I discussed why so many people cried at weddings. Eventually the kids and I went to bed while Jamie stayed up with the other grown ups.

Sunday was my birthday, and I got an impromptu singing at breakfast by a bunch of strangers. The kids and I explored the stream near our cabin, having a great time finding crawdads and jumping across rocks. The drive home seemed faster with Jamie driving, and we settled into an afternoon of unpacking and taking it easy.

I'm in my last week of preparation before our England trip next weekend. I'm feeling disorganized still and will likely spend the next couple days making reservations for places to stay and printing out directions, contact information, and the rest.

Yeah we're back on-line! Qwest got our servi...

July 14, 2009 by Seraph in Cortez

Yeah we're back on-line! Qwest got our service changed over yesterday so now I can check e-mail from our new temp house.
I've decided that the trailer reminds me of Grandma & Grandpa Steane's trailer in Florida, and am taking a nostalgic view of the cramped setup. Robbie won't let me redo the place in retro 50's pieces, but I'll see if I can sneak in some lime green and turquoise linins!
Last Thursday Isa came down with a bad case of the stomach flu. We ended up taking her up to urgent care in the middle of the night. They gave her some meds that stopped the vomiting, but she spent the weekend pretty weak, and not able to eat much. She's now doing better, but still hasn't regained much appetite.
Today I’m off to catch up on laundry and drink real coffee!!

The weekend has come and gone

July 13, 2009 by Adam in Family

The weekend has come and gone. I'm sneaking in a quick post before I have to rush off to work again.

I spent a big chunk of the weekend working on the shed. Saturday we took a family expedition to Jerry's and loaded up on supplies. I spent most of the day painting the interior, stopping only when dinner rolled around. Emma and I had made bread, and that coupled with Jamie's delicious dinner and work-induced appetite really hit the spot.

On Sunday Jamie was gone for most of the day hiking and eating dinner with Pat and Carlanne. I took the kids to a library before the thunderstorm arrived. Emma helped with the shed, puttying baseboard. Eventually the kids started collecting spiders in the back yard, creating a terrarium out of an old fish tank. I finished the baseboard and put up one of the window casements. Unfortunately the second will have to wait as I ran out of supplies.

In general I'm really happy with how the shed has turned out and eager to let Jamie furnish the insides.

It's a bit of an odd week for me. Wednesday I'm off to visit with Greg and Sadie. Friday I'm off to watch the kids as Jamie gets ready for Dave's wedding. Somewhere in there I need to get Sam and I packed for the trip the weekend after next.

It's starting to be a busy summer

July 13, 2009 by Lohring in Lohring

It's starting to be a busy summer. I'm slowly getting moved in but the last of my shop needs to be moved. Darren and I are planning to move it soon after I get back from the Nationals which are running all the next week. I just ran my first class and was 4th. I even won one of the four heats. No trophy, but I was happy since I just built the boat two weeks ago. I will be running three more classes, so we will see how it goes. I am a race official as well, running four classes and the pre race testing session that starts at 7:00 AM.

Three weekends ago I helped my friend, Mike Bontoft, race his full sized outboard at a "real" boat race. I was surprised how much it was like the model races. He promises to help me with my racing this week after his full sized boat race this weekend. I'm looking toward seeing Greg and Sadie as soon as I get home.

The shed continues to get increasingly awesom...

July 12, 2009 by Adam in Adam's Projects

The shed continues to get increasingly awesome, to the point where we've started to refer to it as the "garden cottage". We made a family run to Jerry's and picked up molding and painting supplies. The walls are now a lovely green, and the ceiling is a cheerful yellow. I think I've scraped most of the splatters off my body, but for awhile it was a useful discussion point when explaining what colors I'd painted it.

I'm slowly getting to the point where I'm going to declare myself finished. I replaced the single weirdly positioned light with halogens. They'll probably keep things nicely warm in the winter. I have the windows to frame and baseboards to put in, and then I turn the keys over to Jamie for furnishing.

To top it off, I ran through the remaining stain for the balcony. I have more to do, but Jamie should be able to start buying furniture for it.

Finally, our ten year-old television is dying, so we're buying an HDTV to replace it. Even though I consider myself a tech guy, I tend to use equipment until it disintegrates. The resolution is pretty good and I might hook up Emma's computer to it. The Fossil case is way too pretty to keep down in the nerd cave.

One of the thrills of living in the intersect...

July 11, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

One of the thrills of living in the intersection of compromise is creatively imagining a commute that will not kill me, my psyche, or the earth between here and Boston. Yesterday I took the train and subway to work, which took an hour and a half but was relaxing and productive. The Worcester line has tables on the second story of the train, so us early arrivals can work on our laptops and use the train's wireless. The driving/commuter rail option is less expensive, more stressful, and requires getting up early to avoid traffic. I might try back roads on Monday, although Google maps warns that the traffic isn't much better.

I doubt the phrase "it takes fifteen minutes to get anywhere in Eugene" is actually accurate anymore, but it was true when I lived there. I've felt superior since graduating college, when I had a ten-minute walk to Essentials for work, and haven't had more than a ten minute driving commute since. Now we have to play old-school board games, eat local food, and hide our TV to feel superior.

This is our last weekend before the big trip home. We're coming in on Tuesday, and Adam has already reserved Wednesday for birthday pre-partying. We're going to have a hike and picnic on Thursday afternoon with Yayoe, and then head off for Belnap on Friday afternoon! Greg is excited to go rafting on the McKenzie with Marshall and McKenna and listening to home-grown music at Sam Bond's Garage. I'm excited to see all of you!

I have a few more sips of my Mocha sitting on...

July 10, 2009 by Adam in Family

I have a few more sips of my Mocha sitting on my desk. My boss is out today and I'll likely hunker down and focus on one of my bigger projects for our work's new Internet site. It's always nice when people are out, as then I can finally get things done.

Jamie and I had a lovely anniversary. The kids went to Dave and Kirsten's house while we went out to dinner and watched old movies. I haven't eaten at Adam's Place since they switched from "super fancy" to "local, sustainable, and affordable". I really liked their food and want to get back soon.

The kids were a little wonky yesterday, probably due to lack of sleep from staying over at Dave's. Sam managed to hurt Emma a couple times, though by the end of the day they'd mostly calmed down. The kids and I finished the first episode of the latest Monkey Island game. As expected, it was wonderful and very reminicent of days gone by.

We're having tea with my mom, Anita, and her niece tonight. As for the weekend, I'm hoping to do some serious work on staining the balcony and painting the shed. I'm incredibly busy for the next four weekends, so it's now or never.

I also wanted to encourage people to play with the Robot, which I resurrected after being turned off for a month. At that rate, he'll never take over the world.

It's already well into the new week

July 07, 2009 by Adam in Family

It's already well into the new week. Already the pace of life seems to be picking up again. Tomorrow my lovely wife and I celebrate fourteen years of wedded bliss. Next week Sadie comes to town. I've got a birthday after that and Dave's getting married. Towards the end of the month, I'm off to England. Yee haw.

In terms of our 4th of July weekend, we had a pretty good time. Jamie and Sam went up to Salem with Pat to watch a Civil War reinactment. Sam said the cannons were very loud and Jamie picked up a period bonnet for Emma. That night the kids stayed up really late setting off and watching fireworks. This was Emma's first year getting excited about the event, as previous years she'd just run and hide inside.

I spent Sunday with the kids while Jamie went and hung out at Fall Creek with Angie. We had a long hike at Hendrik's Park, with Sam making several unexpected nature observations. He correctly identified a weird growth as something from the potato wasp. Later on we stopped by Humble Bagel and then worked on art for the afternoon. The day was capped off with Jamie and I watching the last Foyle's War, a bittersweet ending to the series.

Yesterday Sam worked away at my mom's house. Getting paid for chores was evidently highly motivating. I'll have to remember that the next time I need my car washed.


July 07, 2009 by Seraph in Cortez

(Ahhh.... half way through my posting I lost it, so I'll try this again!)
Happy July to everyone! We had a nice 4th watching our neighbors massive firework display, and light a few sparklers ourselves. Alex & Carolyn were over for a visit, and Isa had a great time staying the night with them and swimming at the hotel pool.
The radiator on Robbie's car went out last week, so Isa and I drove him to S.F. 2 days in a row while his car was in the shop. We had fun wondering around the plaza and going to the children's museum.
Isa also started her summer term last week. They try to keep the learning fun and basic - this week they're studying butterflies. It's mostly a great way of keeping the kids from getting bored and mushy over the summer.
We're in the middle of moving from the casita to the trailer on Arlene's property. She doing some renovation on the old place, so this will keep us all from steping on each others toes.
In addition to all this, we're stuck changing lenders on the house we're buying. Our lender call the other day to let us know that their closing their office at the end of the month! I am now quite sure that this is all a test of my patience and cheerful nature!!
I'm also way behind on my part of the England trip planning - so I better go and catch up!

Skip to the present

July 07, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

Skip to the present. Anita and granddaughter Krysta come in to Portland later today. Their plane had not yet left, as there was some mechanical problem. They will be here until the 14th, when we drop them off in Portland about the same time Sadie and Greg get in. Anna is fixing a French dinner this Thursday night, and Jamie is having us for tea on Friday. Aric and Krysta are going on a half day rafting trip on Saturday afternoon. Hugs to all, Mom

I'm getting the hang of Greg's birthday present

July 07, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I'm getting the hang of Greg's birthday present. This is my second successful latte. It makes the commute east much tastier. The house is slowly coming together, although there is so much torrential rain that all I do is cower inside looking at posters. Not much exploring central Mass lately.

I'll be in Oregon in a week! Yay!

Six days into our new life in Grafton, Greg a...

July 04, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Six days into our new life in Grafton, Greg and I decided to throw a Fourth of July party. All of Greg's family and friends came, and despite a handful of unexpected guests, we had way too much food and just enough sangria and beer to go around. Having been trained by the rigor of Russian Orthodox Easter, managing a potluck was nothing. But my guests were disconcerted by my refusal to leave the kitchen unless to fill drink orders and retrieve dirty dishes. You can take the girl out of the holiday kitchen death camp...

The new house is beautiful, with enough space for two and then some. Grafton is a larger, more suburban version of Williamstown, which makes me happy. The Baptist church chimes its bells every hour, on the hour (or half hour or quarter of an hour, depending on how they feel). The town is old as dirt, and I like the the Civil War memorial and ancient graveyard on our street. Finding community will be easier than in Waltham, which was a real life city that had a place for students. Hopefully, I'll get to integrate into ordinary town politics here.

It's Mocha Friday, though I've already downed...

July 03, 2009 by Adam in Family

It's Mocha Friday, though I've already downed the last of that delicious ambrosia. Most of the folks at work have taken the day off, hopefully leaving me to work on my backlog of projects that has built up while I was away.

I think Jamie and the kids have settled into their Summer routine a little better than earlier in the week. Sam and Emma are generally playing well together and Jamie is figuring out how to get things done while managing both kids.

I've been having way too much fun turning the shed into a little home in our backyard. These days I'm globbing on putty to texture the walls, something I should finish up soon. Maybe in a couple weeks it'll actually be ready to move into.

Jamie and Sam are going up to Salem with Pat to watch a Civil War reinactment. I'm not sure what Emma and I will do while they're away. Maybe we'll set off some fireworks, go swimming, or just work on art projects.

Sam has really started to get artistic this S...

July 03, 2009 by Adam in Sam

Sam has really started to get artistic this Summer. A few days ago, he asked me to show him Photoshop. Pretty soon he was whipping up modern art left and right. I found this shot on my camera, so it appears he's trying to document his work. One of his favorite pictures so far is "The Tooth", which I'll try to post.

He also got some acrylics yesterday and started into mixing paints. I think we have an artist in the family.

I've been slaving away at the shed these last...

July 02, 2009 by Adam in Adam's Projects

I've been slaving away at the shed these last few months. The exterior is mostly painted, but it's the interior that has really taken up my time.

We weren't quite sure what to do with it, but Jamie declared that it should have a real floor. Sam and I put down laminate wood floor and it looked so good, I decided to put in real walls.

That kicked off a major undertaking of insulating the walls and hanging gypsum board. Over the weekend I put up the last of it and have been busy with putty and tape. I think I have a texturing technique that I like and should be able to finish the walls relatively quickly. After that, it's priming and painting.

While I wish that were the end, there's still window casements to put up, and Jamie's wanting a desk and storage. Though it's been a ton of work, it's been quite fun watching it come together. It's a nice, manly contrast to my usual programming projects.

July already

July 01, 2009 by Adam in Family

July already. Weird.

It's been a fairly strange week, adjusting to work for me and Summer vacation for Jamie and the kids. I've been swamped with work and struggling to stay on top of things.

Jamie's been struggling with the kids. Emma didn't go to her camp today, as she was emphasizing her dislike through running around and sobbing. Sam kept saying he was bored so often that Jamie started charging him each time he said it. Last night I made a list of things he could do. He thought the coolest items were setting fire to things with a magnifying glass and installing a fire escape ladder for the balcony.

Day 3 was a wonderful day for me

June 29, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

Day 3 was a wonderful day for me. I drove down to Franklin, though I was never able to make connections with Cousin Kathy. I had a good visit with the people who bought Grandma Jones' house, and a tour through both 818 and 816 Buffalo. The rhody we planted in 1970 is quite large! I got back in time for my class reunion dinner, and got to see quite a few people I actually liked at Allegheny. Incidentally, in spite of my fear of cold weather, it was quite lovely.

We're back home

June 27, 2009 by Adam in Family

We're back home. Sigh. We still have the weekend ahead of us, and plenty of work awaits me. I stained a little of the balcony while watching Sam and Emma pour water in the sand box. Maybe tomorrow I'll try to do the rest. Here's the rest of the Bend trip, in exciting Thrill-o-Vision ™.

The move is this weekend, a good thing, becau...

June 26, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

The move is this weekend, a good thing, because our apartment's gas was just shut off. My roommate quickly took a long shower after the gas company busted in, so we have no hot water. Oh, there are so many reasons for my eagerness to get to Grafton...

Its our last day in Bend

June 25, 2009 by Adam in Family

Its our last day in Bend. We're at Brant's house, hanging out and staying cool. Emma's playing on the Wii and Jame and Sam are walking around the grounds. We've had a quiet and lazy morning, going to a nearby water park to run around and swim.

We've had a rather tramatic week down here

June 25, 2009 by Seraph in Cortez

We've had a rather tramatic week down here. Shilo, our new dog, was attacked by a larger dog on Monday.
While a lot of her wounds were superficial, she had one in her side that was really deep, and she had some air pocketing under her skin. Arlene saved the day with her animal know-how, and by Tuesday Shilo was doing better, but the air pockets were still there.
I made a vet apt for her on Wed morning, and they were worried that she may have punctured her lung. They did minor sugery in the afternoon, and drained off the air, and some other fluids, but found that the hole in her lung had already healed its self.
We picked her up this morning, and apart from her looking like a pathetic shaved poodle, she does have shockingly bad bruises on her belly. She's still moving a bit slow, but did manage a some barks "hello" to the sheep!
The vet's office recomends that she stay inside for a week, but they don't know Shilo very well. This little dog was really supposed to have much longer legs!

We're hanging out at the Silverleaf Cafe in B...

June 24, 2009 by Adam in Family

We're hanging out at the Silverleaf Cafe in Bend after a long walk over. Jamie and Emma are finding a place to sit outside. Sam's gone off with Jim and Brant to catch some fish. It's yet another very lazy day.

Emma went horseback riding and loved it, drawing pictures of Snickers the horse when we got home. Yesterday at the pool she made me be Snickers and rode me around the pool.

Yesterday Jamie, Brant, and Sam floated down the Deshutes and returned home exhausted. Today everyone was up early to get Sam ready for fishing.

I think we'll take it easy today and hit Smith Rock tomorrow. Friday we return home to real life. I have work on the shed and balcony waiting for me.

Our lazy week in Bend continues

June 22, 2009 by Adam in Family

Our lazy week in Bend continues. This morning after breakfast I took the kids down to the river and we had a wonderful, muddy time. Jamie's watching them play by the pond at the cafe and then we're off to Emma's first horseback riding lesson.

Happy Father's Day!!! We went to a pancake b...

June 21, 2009 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy Father's Day!!!
We went to a pancake breakfast at church this morning. After church we came home and Robbie got his gift. It's a portible disc catcher for disc golf. He set it up in the front yard, and threw a hole-in-one right away!
We then went up to Sipapu for lunch and a walk around. After we got back we rested a bit, then went for a long hike up the Picuris Road. Now, we're kicking back and nibbling on some dinner.

We made it to Bend, safe and sound

June 21, 2009 by Adam in Family

We made it to Bend, safe and sound. I've managed to snag a wireless connection by driving to the nearby cafe at 5:30 on a Sunday morning while everyone else sleeps away. Hopefully I can get Skype working to wish my dad a happy Father's Day.

Everyone is definitely in vacation mode. We rented bikes and rode around Eagle Crest. Dave's here for the weekend and the kids and I went swimming with him. There have been lots of movies and playing Sims 3.

I suspect the rest of the week will be much of the same. It's very nice to be lazy from time to time.

It's Mocha Friday, and I just finished the la...

June 19, 2009 by Adam in Family

It's Mocha Friday, and I just finished the last drop of that delicious elixir.

We're also off to Bend this afternoon. I spent this morning getting everything packed. I'm getting quite good at stripping down and preparing my computer for transport. We've all been playing Sims 3, which arrived earlier this week. Last night I decided to make a Sim for Sadie, who is well on her way to becoming a rock goddess.

Speaking of Sadie, I Skyped her after work from my little netbook. It was great to be able to carry her out to the shed and show off my work. She kept remarking how sunny and nice it was, so I tried to play up how gorgeous it's been in our little valley.

Sunday is Father's Day, and I'll sadly be far away from my dad. I'll throw out a premature "Happy Father's Day" just in case. There's an open wireless connection at Eagle Crest's cafe. I may try to sneak down and Skype him from there. Dad - if you get a call from "Robot", that's me.

I think we're all pretty excited to head off to Bend. I'll see if I can post while we're there. In a sense, it's a dry run for our England trip, which I'm hoping I can stay connected while we run about. Our days will likely be filled with swimming, hiking, and lounging about. Sam's scheduled for a few fishing trips with Jim and Brant, plus a trip down a river in intertubes.

I also marched in Boston Pride on Saturday (I...

June 17, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I also marched in Boston Pride on Saturday (I'm to the left of the lovely lady in the red tanktop), which so much fun. Walking down the middle of the street is the only way to see Boston.

The weekend was eventful and wonderful, as Gr...

June 17, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

The weekend was eventful and wonderful, as Greg and I signed the lease in Grafton and had a bbq in Rhode Island at his grandmother mimi's house. We're still living off excitement, with bellies full of fish and ribs.

Sam discovered a strange alien blob

June 17, 2009 by Adam in Sam

Sam discovered a strange alien blob. This video describes what he did with it.

Another weekend has come and gone

June 15, 2009 by Adam in Family

Another weekend has come and gone. I had dreams of puttying drywall last night, a testament to the amount of work I put into the shed. Sam helped me for a couple hours on Saturday and then everyone pitched in to help put up the ceiling. Now the lower part of the shed has all the walls up, and with a bit more putty work, I'll be ready for painting.

Emma was a little under the weather, so we didn't do anything too exciting. Saturday we made strawberry jam, which ended up tasting wonderfully. Saturday we walked around the neighborhood and went to the park. In between was a library trip and lots of playing with kids. Emma's reading is improving and last night Emma, Sam and I played a modified game of Apples to Apples. She would sound out the words and get it right about half the time. It's pretty exciting watching her figure it out.

The kids have a few more days of school and then we're off to Bend for next week. Fun, fun.

Day 2 I got up very late, checked in with Dor...

June 14, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

Day 2 I got up very late, checked in with Dorothy and Yayoe, and went to the reunion dinner on the lawn. In spite of the weather forecast, the weather was generally sunny, and I didn't need the umbrella I'd brought. I had reserved a room at a hotel south of meadville, on Sugar Lake, and was expecting standard if slightly down at the heels local motel. Instead, it was an ancient,(100 year old) basic (ie. no showers in the rooms) resort/fishing hotel, with a bar on the main floor, rocknroll bands on Friday and Saturday night, attended by the entire population of rural pa. who liked a good party.
Nonetheless, the location, about 50 yards from the lake,
was lovely, and I stayed there the next three nights.
This first afternoon involved a reception for the larger donors, and we saw lots of folks Dorothy knew, and a good time was had by all.

It's a fine Mocha Friday, a full cup of that ...

June 12, 2009 by Adam in Family

It's a fine Mocha Friday, a full cup of that delicious nectar of the gods resting before me.

It was an odd morning, with Sam over at John's house. As I went out the door, I heard a knocking from upstairs and Emma wanted to say goodbye before I left. She seems to have a bit of the sniffles, allergies perhaps. She was also disappointed that her day off school didn't include a day off of work for me.

Last night was the carnival at Crest drive. Sam ran off with his friends, Jamie manned one of the games, and Emma and I ran around winning prizes. She didn't do the crazy hair thing like years past, but did partake in the traditional squirt gun fight.

Jamie's taking the kids strawberry picking today. Hopefully that means we can do some jam making over the weekend. I also have plans to get more drywall for the shed and a ton of other things, so we'll see how ambitious I end up.

To top it off, tonight is pizza and Mythbusters. Jamie's off to have dinner with Angie's, so I'll have to make due with cramming on a tiny couch the kids, watching things blow up.

Emma got her haircut today after school

June 11, 2009 by Adam in Emma

Emma got her haircut today after school. She was very excited, spending a bunch of time combing her hair after she washed them.

The week is halfway over, strangely enough

June 10, 2009 by Adam in Family

The week is halfway over, strangely enough. Yesterday the pollen count was the highest it has been in years, according to the paper. I was actually sniffling at work, which is unheard of.

The kids helped with the shed after work this week. I use the term loosely, as it typically involved sanding or puttying until the task became boring. Still, it's nice to build something tangible after my day job creating imaginary things. Hopefully this weekend we can pick up the rest of the drywall and start getting it up.

And a happy belated birthday to Sadie.

Sadie, stop wrinkling your forehead! Your fac...

June 10, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

Sadie, stop wrinkling your forehead! Your face will freeze that way! (Just wanted you to know I still remembered my lines, in spite of my lack of practice!)Happy birthday!

I woke up early and made strawberry jam for m...

June 09, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I woke up early and made strawberry jam for my birthday. Being twenty eight is great, despite the unbelievable wrinkles. Who knew all those years of deep thoughts would wreck my forehead?

In installations, day one of trip involved ge...

June 09, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

In installations, day one of trip involved getting up at 2:00 am, inherently a bad omen. Nonetheless, sleepdriving is possible, and Yayoe and I made it onto our plane just fine. We weren't so lucky at JFK, where we missed our connecting flight, and our next flight was delayed. Nonetheless, both the Avis folks in Pittsburgh were open late, and the hotel I booked in Meadville was most accomadating when I rolled in about a quarter to four. Pennsylvania was at its springtime best, lush and green.

There's a rumor that Sadie is 28 today

June 09, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

There's a rumor that Sadie is 28 today. How could that be?


June 09, 2009 by Yayoe in Yayoe

RELAX, ENJOY, EAT something delicious, buy something weird but fun and feel like a princess for the day! We love you dear heart..

Fondly...your evil step-mother!!!!

Happy summer everyone! Isa finished school u...

June 08, 2009 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy summer everyone! Isa finished school up on May 29th, and we've been going full seed since then! The one thing Isa wanted to do was dye her hair. We told her that if her grades remained good it was fine with us. Well, with an honor roll and citizanship award under her belt, she now has hot pink streaks. I'll post pics soon.
We also had a nice weekend with Alex and Carolyn who drove over and stayed near Santa Fe. Now, Isa really wants to go visit and learn to play golf.
We're working away at getting our house loan finished down here. But, the process seems to keep going slow. It will be nice just to get started!
England is fast approaching, and I need to catch up with Mom and Adam on all the plans. Robbie is hoping to sneak away for a day to visit an old professor of ours from SOU.

I'm laying in bed next to Emma, the parent fo...

June 07, 2009 by Adam in Family

I'm laying in bed next to Emma, the parent for the morning. I have my cute little laptop perched precariously on my lap as I try to type on the little keyboard with my massive fingers.

Yesterday went pretty well, though Emma was under the weather the whole day. We had a stray dog wander into our yard. After trying the Lassie trick of tying on a leash and saying "go home", we were led around the block to no avail. Eventually we called animal services, which picked up the dog, and later the owners came by and I put them in touch. The dog's name was Honey, it turns out.

I managed a bit of project work, staining 1/4 of the new balcony and putting up some more drywall in the shed. I'll see if I can get the kids to help me some more today.

Chase came by and played with Sam for a good long while, too.

It's another Mocha Friday, though I'm here at...

June 05, 2009 by Adam in Family

It's another Mocha Friday, though I'm here at home instead of work. As such, I made my own brew this morning, cheerfully steaming away as the kids ate breakfast.

Jamie's off to the coast with Pat, Carlanne, and the rest of the crew. I'll be watching the kids and trying to work on the house when I can.

June already

June 03, 2009 by Adam in Family

June already. I can't believe that Sam and I will be in England next month. I guess we better figure out where we're staying soon, lest we become tramps and live under bridges.

Sunday was pleasant, with Sam and I working on the shed. I insulated about half of the inside and put up a couple sheets of drywall. The drywall was taking awhile, as I picked the most challenging part of the shed to do first. With Jamie out this upcoming weekend, I may not be able to finish for awhile, but hopefully I can get some more and wrap things up.

The balcony is basically finished, waiting for us to stain it and paint the side of the house where the old balcony was attached. Last night in the middle of the thunderstorm, I stood out on it and watched the rain pour down and the lightning light up the sky.

hi, sweeties, I'm back,safe and sound, gettin...

June 03, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

hi, sweeties, I'm back,safe and sound, getting in at 2:30 last night. I'll post more about the weekend, which was actually very nice. I'm looking forward to watching Emma tomorrow morning. Much love, Mom

Before they had such technology, Adam did all...

June 02, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Before they had such technology, Adam did all the voice-overs of Monkey Island for Seraph and me. It was magical game for all of us.

I had a great first day at my internship. Being in an important office is nice, but being with nice people is more important. At five I walked to the North End with my friend Carly, where we ate Italian on a rooftop and bought pastries on the way to the commuter rail. Now I'm home in my pajamas, eating a woopie pie and feeling glad that being grown up is so decadent and fun.

Oh, and Greg and I found the perfect apartment in Grafton, with a landlord who thinks we're pretty perfect, too. The packing process has begun!

I don't normally get excited about game annou...

June 01, 2009 by Adam in Adam's Games

I don't normally get excited about game announcements, but this no ordinary game. They're bringing back Monkey Island, a game so dear to my heart that I named our dog Guybrush Threepwood.

Since his recent conversion to the slow food ...

June 01, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Since his recent conversion to the slow food movement, Greg and I have decided to source food locally this summer. The growing season is, unfortunately, a bit shorter than that of the lush Pacific Northwest, so I'm planning some big canning projects. My birthday request, including canoeing and hiking, is a pick-your-own berry adventure. Hopefully we'll figure out how to make strawberry rhubarb pie this summer.

I doubt that eating local food will make up for my new car commute (the apartments we like are all conveniently on the wrong commuter line for me to take them to school), but Greg is pretty militant about making a gesture toward carbon neutrality. My commute may be carbon balanced... whether I like it or not. Watching him strip old windshield wipers of metal to be recycled, I have a feeling I'll be living much more mindfully in a month.

We got a letter in the mail from Sam's school

May 31, 2009 by Adam in Sam

We got a letter in the mail from Sam's school. Evidently he had test scores in excess of 97% and now they want to conduct tests on him to determine if he should be in the Talented and Gifted program.

If he was either talented or gifted, I could accept it. But both? I'm not sure I can accept such a travesty.

We had a wild and wacky day today

May 31, 2009 by Adam in Family

We had a wild and wacky day today. Jamie made a wonderful breakfast and it was another hot and gorgeous day out. I fiddled with the shed some more, taking measurements in preparation for putting up walls. Then Sam and I met up with my dad and saw the new Terminator movie.

In the afternoon, Jamie went to Pat and Carlanne's. The kids and I played, with Sam and Emma making up a game involving dice, plastic hex pieces, and monster figurines. Eventually Jamie returned to take Sam to a play date with Chase, leaving Emma and I to get in trouble with Playdough and bubbles.

Now I'm sitting next to Sam as he takes a bath, typing on my new netbook, and getting ready to show him the videos I took of them eating Pop Rocks this afternoon. Life doesn't get any better.

It's true, I'm not very good at keeping prese...

May 29, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

It's true, I'm not very good at keeping presents a secret. This is a cropped draft of the print, without the signature "sweet mocha Friday" text under her arm. Limited edition, hand-inked prints on rice paper available until Adam's birthday, when I'll break the wood block.

It's Mocha Friday once again, another incredi...

May 29, 2009 by Adam in Family

It's Mocha Friday once again, another incredibly beautiful day here in the Willamette Valley. Sadie Skype'd me the other day and she was showing off the birthday present she's making me. It's a big woodcut poster that looks like an Art Nuveau advertisement for coffee, except it reads "Mocha Friday". I'm horribly excited.

The house has been absolutely gorgeous these last couple weeks. Jamie and I have both been working hard to get the garden together, set up the patio, and generally keep things nice. We ate outside last night and felt very European. Hopefully the balcony will be finished up today and we can start on the landscaping in earnest.

Sam's excited to put walls up in the shed, after last weekend's successes. I'm going to see if I can coordinate with my dad to move sheetrock and insulation around. I think this shed may end up being pretty nice looking.

Tonight is pizza and Mythbusters. I believe the episode involves blowing up ice. Well, in the end something is bound to explode.

Well, Yayoe and I have made it as far as New York

May 28, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

Well, Yayoe and I have made it as far as New York. Do you really think we should be allowed out on our own? Much love, Mom

Sam and I have been playing a lot of Indie ga...

May 28, 2009 by Adam in Adam's Games

Sam and I have been playing a lot of Indie games lately. I ended up getting Plants versus Zombies for free in a drawing, which is an excellent game. The main quest is fun, but then there's endless little mini-games and puzzles that are equally entertaining. Over the weekend, the kids and I made Plants versus Zombie figurines out of Sculpey.

As a prize for memorizing his multiplication tables, Sam got the game Braid. It's an indie game involving changing the flow of time, with lots of tricky puzzles. At one point last night, Sam couldn't figure out a puzzle, so I googled "Braid walkthrough" and found the official Braid walkthrough. It's from the developer and it basically said, "Don't use a walkthrough - keep trying."

We did just that and figured out the issue. Suddenly that intense frustration switched to a happy feeling of our intellectual prowess. Games are funny that way.

I of course neglected to say anything about S...

May 26, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

I of course neglected to say anything about Seraph, Robbie and Isa and their daily doings. It was very fun to meet their landlady, Arlene, and see the sheep,including Winky and Blinky, saved from an indifferent mother by Isa and the Papillion nurse dog. Their back yard has both sheep and three llamas. It's not far to Penasco, where an old theater has been renovated. The high school kids had written one act plays and were performing them our last night there. The theater share a building with a small restaurant called The Sugar Nymphs, the home of delectable food ala mode of
The Zenon, minus the see-and-be-seen ambiance. Bob and I stayed at the ski resort where Seraph has worked over the winter - a beautiful setting, and we could walk out on the balcony overlooking the river, right up in the treetops.
Very nice people everywhere!

Greg and I have found the most beautiful apar...

May 26, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Greg and I have found the most beautiful apartment and are now competing with another couple for the prize of signing the lease. The place is so lovely that I almost cried on the way home, waiting to call and beg them to let us mop the wood floor with Murphy's oil soap every Saturday. Greg and I have a long wish list, from proximity to local diners and farms to internet and friendly neighbors. But I didn't dream of asking for a tree-lined street or a couple with an eight year old upstairs. If I ply them with enough homemade jam, maybe they'll call me aunt Sadie.

So as long as the other couple aren't both engineers who are planning to stay for five years, I think our exuberance for the place will win out.

While reading the New York Times' reporting on Sonia Sotomayor, I was distracted by a muckraking video on microwavable chicken pot pies. Although it appears to be impossible not to get salmonella poisoning, I now have a fierce thirst for pot pies. Got to get it in before the start of chicken-free living, as Greg hates the stuff. It seems like all we eat is bison these days.

It was quite the fun-filled weekend, with bir...

May 26, 2009 by Adam in Family

It was quite the fun-filled weekend, with birthday parties galore.

On Saturday, it was mostly the kids and I hanging out after the usual morning library trip. We ended up exploring behind the new hospital, looking at fish in the river and walking about. Later we hit up Michael's and did craft projects for the rest of the day.

Sunday was Emma's birthday, which was Chinese themed. The weather was gorgeous again, so we hung out outside and ate really good food.

Monday morning, Sam and I put in flooring for the shed. It ended up looking so nice that I've decided it needs walls next. In the afternoon, Emma and I went to Jenny's party. We jumped on the trampoline, hung out in the hot tub, and played with the new puppy.

It was all great fun, and strangely I'm a little excited to get to work today. I'm in the middle of an interesting project and I'm looking forward to get into it again.

Back in Eugene, safe and sound

May 24, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

Back in Eugene, safe and sound. I had to stop my last posting before I was finished. The area around where Seraph, Robbie and Isa are is spectacularly beautiful. About an hour north are high (think 9,000 feet) mountains
which drop abruptly onto a long flat valley. Taos, an old old city, became a haven for artists and writers in the 30's, and is still full of art galleries, shops, etc. The little towns south of Taos are a combination of old families, retirees, and aging hippies. (Think Blachly!)
Pueblos, the SW term for Reservation, are every where, reflecting the different groups of Native Americans living in the area. Seraph, Robbie and Isa had obviously met and charmed the socks off half the population of the area. Honesty compels me to say that the area outside the main tourist spots are poor, a lot like small towns in Oregon which have lost timber jobs. I'll post a bit more later, especially about the sheep! Love from mom

Hi, I'm sitting on a bed in a pine paneled ro...

May 22, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

Hi, I'm sitting on a bed in a pine paneled room at the Sipapu ski lodge where Seraph works, while Bob showers and we plan to head into Taos to the county building and work on
zoning issues. We're hoping to meet with their contractor this afternoon. One of the big concerns Bob has is that the
cost of meeting the building codes will be such that there
won't be much money left over for cosmetic stuff. The house
was built in the traditional way, of unfired adobe bricks
covered by a layer of mud/straw/gravel which dries into a plaster. These wouldn't hold up in Oregon, but there's not much rain, and though the winters are snowy, it's a dry powdery snow. (People don't put their firewood in wood ricks they way we do; they just make a big mound of firewood, because in the winter, they can just grab a piece of firewood, shake off the snow, and the wood is dry.)
This house was built over a hundred years ago, without a foundation, so they will have to deal the foundation issue.

It's another Mocha Friday, though that delici...

May 22, 2009 by Adam in Family

It's another Mocha Friday, though that delicious nectar is long gone. It's also becoming "Pizza and Mythbusters" day, when the kids and I cram on to a couch and watch the other Adam and Jamie blow up cars and do weird things in the name of science.

We've had a few highs and lows over the week, though generally things are going well. Sam finally got his multiplication tables memorized after a lot of hard work, which earned him a copy of the Braid game. Of course, he's too busy playing Plants versus Zombies, which is lots of fun.

Emma turns six next week, but we're having a birthday party on Saturday. Jenny's is on Monday, so it looks to be a busy weekend for all. I'll be taking Monday off to fit it all in.

Generic Heading

May 20, 2009 by Betsy in Betsy

Happy Anniversary to Meg and Dick!

We spent a lovely day at Mesa Verde

May 20, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

We spent a lovely day at Mesa Verde. There are hundreds of cliff dwellings, though many of these were grain storage, etc. They cover a huge area. We stayed in the lodge last night. We also saw the beautiful old sandstone houses which had been built by the CCC for the park employees, and the Mission style furniture built for use in the public buildings. We didn't try to take the UHaul up the steep curvy road. It wouldn't have made it; instead, we rented a car in Cortez, the town at the entrance to the park. We're only a couple of hundred miles from Taos, and will meet Seraph and Robbie there tomorrow at four. Bob has done all the driving. Whatta guy! Right now I'm watching the sun rise over the Rocky Mountains. "This is the day which the Lord hath made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it."
In paring down my life, I realized that I could survive if only Hirons, True Value Hardware, and Canned Food Warehouse existed as consumer outlets. Probably, in a pinch, Shakespeare and the King James version of the Bible would meet my literary needs.

Last night Sam and I were working on the robo...

May 19, 2009 by Adam in Adam's Projects

Last night Sam and I were working on the robot some more. The big challenge is getting it to support the weight of the new netbook and continue to move around. Our first attempt sort of worked but needed to be improved. I'm half-tempted to switch to tank treads, but we may end up with skids as the simpler approach.

The overall goal is to get it to be completely independent, moving around by itself in search of escape.

For some reason, Lady Luck was with me yesterday

May 19, 2009 by Adam in Adam

For some reason, Lady Luck was with me yesterday. In the morning, my manager wandered by and he'd won a bluetooth headset that he didn't really want. A coworker and I expressed interest, and I won the coin toss.

Later in the day, I discovered I won a copy of the "Plants versus Zombies" game from one of my favorite gaming sites. Emma really loves the game and she's excited to play.

I should have bought a lottery ticket.

My two internships are now in place for the s...

May 19, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

My two internships are now in place for the summer. I'm continuing my research work at Brandeis on service-learning summer programs and helping out at the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that manages the VISTA program. I'm planning the state's Martin Luther King Jr. Day service events and getting a handle on the first 9/11 Day of Remembrance and Service. This week I'm digging up evaluations on youth civic agency for the Brandeis job. For the CNCS, I'm helping staff a public listening session for the Edward M. Kennedy Service America Act. I think juggling both will be fun and mutually reinforcing. My research boss Alan is already giving me advice on MLK Day service-learning curriculum. I'd like to think that hanging out at the federal building gives me cred in the ivory tower. I get gun checked, which is kind of gnarly.

Apartment hunting with a mathematician and a policy analyst involves serious file sharing. We have an elaborate document of every Craigslist listing from here to Worcester, with the walk score (, our respective commute times from the apartment to school, and the basics about washers, utilities and parking spots. There are a hundred towns between Worcester and Waltham, but many are zoned to keep riffraff renters out. It is a much more nuanced decision that I initially anticipated, but I get more excited about making lunches together and having a joint Netflix account every day. We're going to start looking at apartments and communities this weekend.

I've also been working on a few woodcuts. Got my first jab of the season. It's all clean and wrinkly now, but it was a blood bath last night. My sheets are disgusting.

As everyone can see from Mom's posting, she a...

May 18, 2009 by Seraph in Cortez

As everyone can see from Mom's posting, she and Bob are the super hero's driving our U-Haul down to NM. With the size of the truck we got, they could retire as long-haul drivers after this! The weather in our region has been beautiful, so hopfully the lovely scenary will make up for the long trip.

It was a wild and wacky weekend, with more hi...

May 18, 2009 by Adam in Family

It was a wild and wacky weekend, with more highs and lows than usual. The weather was gorgeous, feeling entirely like Summer. We dined out on the patio and ran around with minimal clothes on.

We got a new neighbor who has two kids that are roughly the same as our own. Saturday night, all the neighborhood kids had an epic squirtgun fight and I finally drove them off my yard so I could throw my own in a warm bath.

The low was Sunday afternoon, trying to get everyone to go on a canoe trip. It quickly devolved into a Voyage of the Damned. I admittedly lost my cool, yelling at Sam after his behavior devolved into tyranny. On the trip back to the car, I felt like flogging someone. Fortunately by nightfall, everyone seemed to be on better terms.

Good morning from Ontario, Oregon

May 17, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

Good morning from Ontario, Oregon. This has been a hectic week, mostly for Bob. We finally got a phone call from the planning guys for the city, with some changes they wanted,
on Thursday. Since Darren wanted to get going with the messy stuff, Bob stayed up until 4:00 am redoing plans and finally got permission for the permitl We left for Portland at 4 in the afternoon on Friday, and Robbie and Hanni had the truck packed. We got to Lohring and Jenny's at nine, and got the table and chairs unloaded. By this time Bob was exhausted and grumpy. Lohring and Adam carried down the table and mattress from our house, but it was clear the truck would need to be repacked. Jamie, who is much smarter than I, listened to Bob grouse for about 20 minutes and realized that he really was scared he couldn't do the heavy lifting to repack the truck, and sent Adam over pronto.
They polished off the job and we headed out. A gorgeous day and a beautiful trip.

It's another Mocha Friday already

May 15, 2009 by Adam in Family

It's another Mocha Friday already. Time certainly goes quickly these days.

Last weekend was pretty typical, with a family walk to the library and playing around the house. Over this last week, the kids finally seem over their assorted colds and went back to school full time.

The balcony is nearly done and we've been walking around on it to check out the view. This weekend I might screw up my courage and start working on the shed floor and the rest of the painting. Supposedly the weather will be gorgeous, so I'd love to take the kids on a canoe ride in the mill race.

Jamie's gearing up for Emma's Chinese-themed birthday party. Tonight is pizza and Mythbusters. Life is good.

I bought myself a little toy, one of the new ...

May 15, 2009 by Adam in Adam's Projects

I bought myself a little toy, one of the new cheap netbooks. On the practical side, I'm hoping to take it on the trip to England. It'll make for a good repository for books on tape for Sam's Sansa View, and hopefully let me stay connected to everyone as I travel. We have a fair number of trips planned this Summer, and it makes for a good in-car entertainment system too. Plus it's cute and little.

On an impractical note, I'm thinking I can hook the robot up to it and possibly get it free from it's current cords and such. Maybe we can let it run around the play room or something equally silly.

It has a few problems at the moment due to a failed attempt to install XP on it last night. I think I've figured out the issue, though, and hopefully will get it ready to go this weekend.

As I was leaving the house this morning, I fo...

May 14, 2009 by Adam in Adam

As I was leaving the house this morning, I found a little salamander hiding under the door. I was so excited, I had to wake the kids up and show them.

Yayoe, happy birthday! I hope you have a grea...

May 12, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Yayoe, happy birthday! I hope you have a great day.

I recently discovered the perfect discontinued side table from Ikea. Because it has three legs on one end, the top of the table slips over my couch, enabling the graduate student's dream situation: sitting on a couch with a book while typing notes. I found the last remaining Bostonian Rian Ikea side table last night on Craigslist. I'm going to pick it up at noon today! I want to thank Yayoe for giving me the perseverance it takes to pin down a great cheap find. I couldn't ask for more in an evil step mother.

Mothers: Happy special day to all of you

May 11, 2009 by Yayoe in Yayoe

Mothers: Happy special day to all of you. It's nice to know that no matter how weird we are, or if we've been goofy, mischevious, mad, sad, unkempt, forgetful and hard headed at times...our mothers still love us! That's what being a mother is all about.The mommie job produces huge joys,happiness,occasional sorrows, some aggravations, unimagined thrilllllls and chills, great rewards and wonderful grandchildren! Let's hear it for moms!!!!

Happy Mother's Day to all the Mom's in our li...

May 10, 2009 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy Mother's Day to all the Mom's in our life!

Spring has finally arrived with blossoming co...

May 10, 2009 by Robbie in Cortez

Spring has finally arrived with blossoming cottonwood trees, lilacs, aspens, fruit trees, and various other unidentifiable vegetation. It's 7:00am and both Seraph and Isabell are sleeping. Seraph has had a sore throat this past week and refuses to go to the doctor, and only doses herself with over-the-counter drugs. For the moment I have the house to myself and I took the opportunity to step outside and enjoy the glorious morning sun as it floods the fields. We recently aquired a new family member named Shilo. She showed up last week at our house, hungry and scared. She's part beagle, and part blue heeler, and just a wonderful dog. We keep her in the breeze way where she has a bed and free roam of the huge yard. I pick her up and place her on my lap as I view "our backyard". Jicarita Peak peers over the foot hills as it's snowy mantle slowly melts away and feeds the rushing streams that go through the valleys. The birds are swooping from tree to tree and others are skimming the fields in search of breakfast. Magpies flitter there wings and there white tips skim along the ground as they fly low over the fields. A new sound has engulfed the area; there is a swampy area nearby where frogs are chorusing throughout.

Yesterday, at school, we had our May festival. Seraph, Isabell, her friend Niamh, and I drove down to Santa Fe where I helped out with painting rocks with kids. Seraph helped out handing out signs and talking with other teachers. We also had a silent auction where we bought a 6x3 Turkish Rug for only $25. After returning Niamh home, we came home to relax, watch movies, and enjoy a quiet evening.

Today, we will go to church, and we have reservations at the Bistro where we will celebrate Mother's Day.

Next Wednesday, I will be flying to Portland to finally sign papers on the house and pack a U-haul. Finally we can move on with our lives and start renovating our little old adobe house in Chamisal. Our lives have been like a puzzle here, and finally the house in Chamisal is the finale piece missing.

Happy Friday

May 08, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

Happy Friday...the bedroom in the basement is nearly finished. It's been expensive; my worker guy is pretty
fussy, but I really like how it's turned out. It's a possibility that Josh will rent it next year, since David and Kirsten will live in her house after they're married.
It would be fun to have him!
I had a funny conversation with Sadie, which started with her apologizing profusely for not remembering to send a card for Mothers Day. She reminded me that you kids all learned the skill of gently reminding me that the Tooth Fairy forgot to come, as their tooth, still under the pillow, continued to decompose. At that point, I'd say something loving and new age like "Oh, shit!" and the Tooth Fairy would finally stop by. (I think I probably left more money then than market rate, so it evened out!)

Another Mocha Friday, at least in another hou...

May 08, 2009 by Adam in Family

Another Mocha Friday, at least in another hour when I head in to work. We had a bumpy work week, with lots of technical problems. I'm hoping that they're finally done with and I can get back to my usual computer tinkering.

Sam was sick and home from school for a couple days. He listened to the audio book Little Brother, which he really enjoyed. Now he's moved on the Larry Niven's Draco Tavern, I think. Even though we had lots of jokes about swine flu, I think he just had a cold.

Emma continues to be a bit out of sorts as well. She's been very sensitive and seems to be hit with a wide variety of aches and pains. The other day I came home to her crying and demanding "Mac and cheese!" over and over. I think she must be going through some growth period, as it's a little out of character.

As for the weekend, I'm hoping Sam, my dad, and I can all see Star Trek. Tomorrow is a festival at a winery that Jamie was thinking about taking the family to, but the weather may put that on hold. Sunday is Mother's Day, of course, so I'll give a quick shout out to my dear old mother.

No worries, Jamie

May 07, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

No worries, Jamie. I hear forty is the new twenty five. It's all in the company you keep.

I have one more conference presentation on service-learning policy this afternoon, and then my nights and weekends are my own!

Current summer project list:
1. Remember how to paint and print.
2. Finally fix up that bike Greg and I picked up by the side of the road in Easthampton on our anniversary (in October).
3. Learn to ride a bike.
4. Find a new apartment... my eighth in the last six years.
5. Can everything.

The bunkbed room is finally completed

May 07, 2009 by Jim in Hanes

The bunkbed room is finally completed.the next group of strong people staying at house can move beds into bed room. also move bunkbeds back where they would be a great help. jim

Yeah, Summer of Love

May 07, 2009 by Jamie in Cortez

Yeah, Summer of Love...guess what people? ADAM AND I ARE FORTY THIS YEAR ! Yikes!

Sam was playing Pandemic 2 last night, enjoyi...

May 06, 2009 by Adam in Sam

Sam was playing Pandemic 2 last night, enjoying it to the point where he watched a tutorial on how to play better. The basic concept is that you're a disease and your goal is to spread across the world. He was gleeful when he managed to wipe out all humanity in all but a few island nations.

The real irony is that he came down with some sort of cold later that night.

Sorry I've been out of touch the last few days

May 06, 2009 by Seraph in Cortez

Sorry I've been out of touch the last few days. I started working again yesterday, and I've been sick for the last week or so. I seem to have gotten Isa's cold, plus a little more - yuck!
We had our first celeb siting here in Taos. Last Sat we went to an opening at our friends gallery, and Dennis Hopper was there. Appaently he's in town promoting his own art show at the Harwood that coincides with the Summer of Love celebration (40 years since '69).


May 05, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Done. And super sleepy.

News of Dorothy; she apparently got an infect...

May 04, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

News of Dorothy; she apparently got an infection last week, but is being treated with antibiotics, and her condition is stable. Danica is driving down to Meadville tomorrow to
help her celebrate her birthday, and will keep us all posted.

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

May 04, 2009 by Adam in Family

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

Saturday was a little unusual, with Emma and I spending a lot of time together. Sam wasn't interested in going to the library or going swimming afterwards, so it was just the two of us. Emma rarely gets alone time with me, so I think it was a bit of a treat.

Sunday morning we braved the outdoors and headed to Mount Pisgah. The weather was gorgeous in the morning and we headed out for the summit, walkie-talkies in hand. Once again, Sam decided he didn't want to go along, so we left him standing on the trail for twenty minutes or so as we headed upwards for awhile, then came back down and took some lower trails. I sent Sam off by himself with one of the walkie talkies, which he thought was terribly exciting. He returned exhausted, right before the rains started to fall.

Jamie had friends over in the evening and the kids and I huddled in the basement. We played a long list of games and dug out some of the old toys that we no longer touched. Then it was the typical bath, snack, and bedtime, with me sneaking away for a few moments of peace before collapsing to sleep myself.

I finally have a real internet connection of ...

May 02, 2009 by Lohring in Lohring

I finally have a real internet connection of my very own! It's almost done after a morning of crawling through the crawl space and trenching through the back yard. The rain is getting to be a little to heavy, so I'm leaving the very last for another day. Jenny now has my mother's old computer, so everyone now has a computer of their very own. We'll see if it's a good thing.

The neighbors are starting to come out in the sun. There are lots of young couples with kids as well as some older couples. If I can only remember everyone's name.

In an effort to blow off steam while my paper...

May 02, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

In an effort to blow off steam while my paper was out for editing and to show solidarity with Greg, who is making and dueling robots in Dallas, I made a dress yesterday. Its Marimekko meets the Chinese cultural revolution, in a good way. I should be preparing for my labor economics exam or catching up on all the communication with friends I've ignored for a semester. But you can wear a dress. It's less fund to wear friends and labor economics problem sets. I also had a calming conversation with Jamie in the middle of a totally insanely overwhelming experience at the Container Store. She guided me away from any serious storage missteps, and I am a happy owner of a plastic object that allows for more efficient can stacking. What our grandparents did without these modern marvels, I do not know.

It's already Mocha Friday, though I'm still a...

May 01, 2009 by Adam in Family

It's already Mocha Friday, though I'm still at home, marveling at how quickly the week went by.

Emma's had a rough time of it these last couple weeks, spending a lot of time at home from school. She's also been eating a ton of food, so we're thinking it's a combination of a cold and growing pains. Fortunately she was much more perky yesterday and went to school, so I think she's returning to normal.

Our big house project is nearly done. When we first bought the house, it had this great balcony that the inspector informed us had dry rot. It's been on our list for years to replace it, and it seems that today it'll finally be finished. It's a much larger balcony, and already I can see Jamie scheming what to do with it. I'll likely end up painting something along the way.

I think we're trying for a very normal weekend, with no one going anywhere or doing anything. Theoretically I have all the supplies to put the floor down in the shed. Actually accomplishing it may require quite a bit of liquid courage, or "coffee" as Jamie calls it.

On a travel nerd note, I added an "England trip" link to the left where Seraph, mom, and I are planning our trip. I'm fond of the Google Calendar/Yahoo Maps mash-up that combines the calendar events with where we'll be. Hopefully we can add more as we know where we're staying when.

It's starting to warm up down here

April 29, 2009 by Seraph in Cortez

It's starting to warm up down here. This week we've had lovely 70 weather, with crystal clear blue skies. Everyone is now irrigating their fields, much to the eternal happieness of the magpies and other small birds, who have been playing the excess water while building their nests!
I'm laid up today with the same bug Isa had over the weekend. Uggg... I think I'll head back to bed and see if I can sleep it off this morning, before the days work sets in.

Just a quick hello

April 29, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

Just a quick hello. With a lot of help from Seraph and Adam, I've been making arrangements for the trip to England.
Almost all the air arrangements have been made, and I'm looking for hotels in London. Apparently London has dropped from the third most expensive city in the world to the 27th.
Thanks, George Bush!

It was 93 degrees here today, which makes stu...

April 29, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

It was 93 degrees here today, which makes studying very, very challenging. Just a week and a bit to go.

I'm making oatmeal and flax chocolate chip spice cookies for our last day of classes. I think the Joy of Cooking recipe is broken, because I have to half the oatmeal and spit in the dough to make them stick together. But they're nice and chewy with my special improvisations.

It's Monday morning and I'm off to work soon

April 27, 2009 by Adam in Family

It's Monday morning and I'm off to work soon. Jamie made it back safe and sound.

Sunday started with crepes this time, and we hung around the house until it was time to go off exploring in the swamps of Alton Baker Park. Sam had a great time, to the point where I had him change his clothes in the car. He had a good time wading through the millrace and exploring tributaries. Emma thought the baby Canada geese were cool.

Just a quick Sunday morning note

April 26, 2009 by Seraph in Cortez

Just a quick Sunday morning note. Like Emma, Isa has also had and earache for the last 2 nights. They seem to clear up during the day though. She has also had a stuffed up nose and runny eyes, which I'm not sure if it's allergies or a cold.
We're off on a hike today. Isa & Robbie are going to show me the Santa Barbara area where they hiked a lot last fall. It will be interesting to see how the seasonal differences because our rivers are running really high right now. Anyway, hopfully we'll have some nice pictures to post later.

We've had a very exciting day, making lots of...

April 26, 2009 by Adam in Family

We've had a very exciting day, making lots of things. At the moment, the kids are upstairs, threading spaghetti noodles through hot dogs. I mentioned that someone invented such a thing recently and they begged me to try it. I'll report how it went later.

Emma had a really bad ear ache last night, which seems completely better today. Otherwise we've been having a good time. I made pancakes, bacon, and grapefruit for breakfast, which everyone loved. After that we went to the library, ate bagels, and returned with treasures. On the way home we stopped by Jerry's and picked up some flooring for the shed. Fortunately the instructions say to wait, so I won't be able to work until next weekend.

I best run back upstairs, as I'm not sure how long they'll last on their noodle and hot dog project without me.

Update: They loved the noodles and hot dogs.

Sam has a portable video player, which is gre...

April 26, 2009 by Adam in Sam

Sam has a portable video player, which is great, other than running out of batteries quickly when it's used for a few hours. To fix the problem, I ordered a MintyBoost kit, which basically lets you charge it off normal batteries instead of a USB cable to your computer.

Sam had a great time soldiering all the parts together, gleefully exclaiming that we needed to do more things like this.

Unfortunately, something went wrong along the way and it doesn't work. I'll have to double-check the soldering and maybe redo some parts. Currently it looks like the part that wasn't done right was one of the few things that I ended up soldering. Oops.

I've emptied out something in my AVG clean-up...

April 25, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

I've emptied out something in my AVG clean-up program called the "Virus Vault", which is vaguely reminiscent of The Addams Family, and I've been chained to my computer. We are gradually munching our way through all the wonderful leftovers, as I wend my way through tons of paperwork. I can't figure out where all this stuff comes from. Each postal delivery and e-mail check seems to have a life of its own, bringing waves of paper which needs to be tended to.
Easter/Passover was delightful; the grandkids seemed to have a particularly nice time this year. The cooks were most competent, as well, and the table was sparkling as was the conversation. It was hard to say good-bye to everyone!
Thank you all for your help!

I'm finishing up my Friday Mocha, after makin...

April 24, 2009 by Adam in Family

I'm finishing up my Friday Mocha, after making some changes to my work's home page.

It's been a generally good week, though we had a few moments here and there. Emma had a bad cold or allergies during the beginning of the week. I came home and found her in the bath, looking sad. She informed me she was sick and "bleeding internally," holding up her finger to show off a blood blister.

Jamie's off to Portland tonight. After dinner yesterday, the kids and I were making a master plan of everything we wanted to do. Jamie was a little sad that we were having so much fun without her. Sam reassured her that it's all things we'd normally do, but since my memory is so bad, we have to make a list. Always the diplomat.

For tonight, it's pizza and Mythbusters. After that, I want to get the kids outside and do a few projects. I suggested to Sam that we put in flooring for the shed. "Hey, I can use area! We're doing area in math," he informed me.

The house project is also in full swing. Earlier this week they poured concrete and yesterday they took down the existing balcony. Before too long, I expect we'll have a new balcony ready to go. We opted not to do the stairs down to the back yard, which I think is a wise decision the cost and room it would take were a bit much.

Back from Eugene and DC and now safe, sound a...

April 22, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Back from Eugene and DC and now safe, sound and typing away. Happy Earth Day and congrats to Seraph, Robbie, and Isa!

We made it back home safe and sound

April 22, 2009 by Seraph in Cortez

We made it back home safe and sound. It was amazing to get out of the car to a sky full of stars, amazing fresh air, and millions of frogs singing!
In case I haven't already told everyone a million times, we now have a "sale pending" on our house! Although the next month will be really busy putting everything together, it will be really nice to move forward with all of our plans.
The photo here is what our garden looked like on Easter monring! Now, it's warm and green, and the sheep are grazing in the field.

Happy Earth Day to all

April 22, 2009 by Adam in Family

Happy Earth Day to all. As I was leaving the house this morning, Jamie suggested that the kids go kiss a tree or something. She's always so helpful.

Poor Emma is sick, I think with more than simple allergies. Jamie was over at a friend's last night, so the kids were stuck with me. I did my usual chick patties and mashed potato dinner, and distracted them all with an episode of Mythbusters.

I had a touch of a headache as well, probably from running outside on the concrete. Fortunately it was pretty mild and some quiet and a bowl of cereal hit the spot. I ended up incredibly warm last night, tossing off the covers and throwing open the window. It's so weird that last week it was snowing in town.

I've pretty much given up on Dead Space

April 21, 2009 by Adam in Adam's Games

I've pretty much given up on Dead Space. The scary parts weren't that gripping and I eventually lost interest and drifted on to other games.

Mostly I'm playing Witcher. I had started before and gave up for reasons unknown. Now I'm really enjoying the gritty fantasy world and stop to think over some of the decisions I'm making. There are a few flaws, such as having to run around large areas several times, but it's become one of my favorite RPGs.

Sam and I are playing through my old Neverwinter Night campaigns, which is lots of fun. Emma occasionally begs me to play Wizard 101, which is a pretty basic online game for kids. It's at a perfect level for her, but I find it a little simplistic.

I got a new shiny computer at work, which mak...

April 21, 2009 by Adam in Adam

I got a new shiny computer at work, which makes everything less frustrating. I think I'm nearly shifted over to the new one, my old computer looking a little sad on the corner of my desk. I'm especially enamored of the massive monitors, which are all the envy of my coworkers.

With the wonderful weather, I managed a run outside today. I've started listening to books on tape. In this case, it's an old set of Larry Niven short stories. I have fond memories of stealing Niven books from my dad's shelf as a kid. Even though I know them well, listening to them is like eating cereal. It's comforting.

It's been a wild weekend, with endless partie...

April 20, 2009 by Adam in Family

It's been a wild weekend, with endless parties and family events. Friday night was the grand Firefly party. Poor Emma was nearly in tears on the way over, tired from a busy week. Fortunately she perked right up when we got there and all the kids had a great time playing on the trampoline. It was a rare treat to hang out with my sisters, combined with the fact that I got to play Mal Reynolds, the captain of the Serenity. Any party with nerd references is a success in my book.

Saturday was more low-key. Jamie and Sam went over to my mom's to cook. Sam and Isa built a fort in the backyard while Jamie made perogies. Emma and I went to the library and played in the backyard as the weather was so nice. Eventually we all returned home and had a quiet evening.

Today began with Jamie's fine crepes and fresh fruit. Once fortified, I headed to the back yard to mow and paint. After that, we stayed outside in the sun as much as possible before heading to Easter dinner. There was endless food and chatting. In particular, I felt quite happy getting the grand England trip sorted out.

Hopefully the memories of a fun-filled weekend will get us through the week ahead.

This Friday, I woke to winter blizzard that l...

April 18, 2009 by Robbie in Cortez

This Friday, I woke to winter blizzard that lasted all day long. When I left to go to Taos there was already four inches of snow, and Taos schools were on a two hour delay. I was momentarily worried that I would have to reschedule an observation I had to do for my class that I'm taking. However, my worries were unfounded and I was able to observe both the pre-k and 3-4 year olds. It was really refreshing to see how a proper school was run. The facility was new, and all of the toys, manipulatives, and art supplies were brand new. The kids were wonderful with a mix of both hispanic and anglo. I had several children come over to talk to me, while I was jotting down notes. I didn't mind as I finished my notes early and played a few games with them. If only they could pay me what I made at Dragonfly, I would change!

After my three hour observation, I drove directly to Santa Fe, where they were being hit with a huge snow storm. I was worried about the trip back home, but the snow stopped around 4:30 and the roads were clear. I had dinner at the bistro in Penasco, watched Raiders of the Lost Ark, came home had a Corona, and read Harry Potter and The Deathly Hollows until one O'clock and went to bed.

Today I have the opportunity to do anything I want to do. I might go into Taos, or go to Santa Fe to a flea market, the possiblities are endless.

I have had an incredible vacation

April 17, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I have had an incredible vacation. There's nothing like a root canal to make the world a gentler place.

It's remarkable how quickly Emma seems to be ...

April 17, 2009 by Adam in Emma

It's remarkable how quickly Emma seems to be growing up.

She can now read and write, though admittedly she needs lots of practice before tackling a novel. What most impresses me is her willingness to keep trying, even though it's tricky. I think having an older brother pave the way helps immensely.

Sam was praising Emma on her drawing skills. The other day she made a story using an unused present I bought for Sam years ago. We took Emma's story, packaged it up, and sent it off to be turned into a book. That's where the present part came in - it had special pages you wrote on and it came with a free book out of the deal. Now she's terribly excited to see how it'll turn out.

Emma's also gotten into online gaming. When it's a dreary day after school, she'll play Wizard 101 or Club Penguin. Already I've had to fend off requests for her to become a member. Of course, it was so sunny yesterday that we spent the afternoon exploring the yard and finding bugs. That's way more fun than video games.

It's another of those wonderful Mocha Fridays...

April 17, 2009 by Adam in Family

It's another of those wonderful Mocha Fridays, though I've yet to head into work and partake of that delicious ambrosia.

It's been a very full week, with Sadie, Seraph, and Isa in town. Jamie's been busy in the evenings, which I fortunately covered for with an early Mythbuster's night (the rocket sled part was awesome, especially Adam's reaction).

I took yesterday off and Seraph and I got into all sorts of mischief. After a long breakfast at the Glenwood, talking about politics and long-term plans, we embarked on a grand shopping expedition. It was immensely successful and my wardrobe feels entirely refreshed. I ended up with new shoes, shirts, and pants, all of which I was forced to try on at Old Navy to get Sadie's advice. In the afternoon we hung out at home, entertaining Emma, the robot, and ourselves.

Tonight is the Serenity party which should be mad fun. As for the weekend, there's Easter and vacation planning with Seraph. I know Jamie's headed to help with the cooking madness tomorrow. Hopefully in between all these things we can manage a bit of rest and relaxation.

This Friday is art day and lunch at my house ...

April 15, 2009 by Yayoe in Yayoe

This Friday is art day and lunch at my house at noon! Come and exercise the right side of your brain and eat some brain food as well! I'm roasting a mischevious racoon and cooking him with a tofu garnish. Yummm.

I'll be in Honolulu from April 21-29th and will have my cell phone so feel free to call 541-554-5089 if something comes up. I'll take pictures of Rob, who will be 2 on Saturday! Hope to see you on Friday...
Aloha for now

A big "oops" from me, as the site was down fo...

April 14, 2009 by Adam in Family

A big "oops" from me, as the site was down for several days. I finally got into my router and did the necessary brain surgery. Hopefully all is working again.

It was quite the exciting weekend, extremely ...

April 13, 2009 by Adam in Family

It was quite the exciting weekend, extremely full of events. Friday night was pizza and Mythbusters, with Jamie going out for dinner with friends. Saturday we headed out with Sadie to pick up Firefly-themed outfits from Goodwill. We also ended up dyeing eggs, with Emma being fond of of my candy-corn colored one.

Easter had the kids hunting for eggs around the house, but otherwise just hung out and enjoyed the lazy day. Towards the evening we headed over to my mom's for Easter dinner.

Good times.

Post Part 2: Happy Good Friday! While we di...

April 11, 2009 by Seraph in Cortez

Post Part 2:
Happy Good Friday! While we didn't eat fish, Robbie did participate in the annual pilgrmige to Chimayo. He walked 10 miles (along with several thousands other people), and Hanni, Isa, and I met him at the church.

Post Part 1: Isa and I get into PDX on Tue 4...

April 11, 2009 by Seraph in Cortez

Post Part 1:
Isa and I get into PDX on Tue 4/14 around 4:45pm. I think we'll stay the night and head to Eugene on Wed. We fly out again on Tue 4/21. I can't wait to catch up with everyone!
Sadie - I don't know anything about Firefly!! You have to give me a crash course, and let me know if there's any particular costume theme I need be thinking of for my character.
Dad & Jenny - I bet we can round up a truck and get the table and chairs down there whileI'm in town. You will have a table to eat at - I promise!
Adam & Mom - I can't wait to start getting England ironed out. I promise at least 1 coffee & bagle as we all hash out details!
Yayoe - think art times that might work for you!!

The kids were fighting the other day and I ma...

April 10, 2009 by Adam in Emma

The kids were fighting the other day and I made the apologize to each other. Sam's apology was pretty weak, so I pointed to Emma as a model of good behavior. "That's the way you should apologize, Sam."

Emma then decided to demonstrate how it's done for Sam. She punched Jamie hard in the stomach, put on her most apologetic face, and sweetly said "I'm sorry."

We all laughed, which I'm not sure sent the right message.

Ah, sweet Mocha Friday

April 10, 2009 by Adam in Family

Ah, sweet Mocha Friday. This has quickly become a favorite day for Sam as well, as the day wraps up with pizza and Mythbusters. Both the kids are out of school today, and Jamie has a day of activities lined up. I think Friday is Jamie's favorite day of the week too, as it marks the transition to having a break from the kids for awhile.

The week has gone along fairly well. Sam continues to work on memorizing the multiplication table, doing sevens and eights this weekend. Emma's reading and writing continues to improve. This week she took a picture of her class and colored them all to look like wizards from her favorite game, Wizard 101. At the top she wrote "WIZRD".

I'm horribly excited to see my sisters this weekend. Tomorrow morning the plan is to go out and get costumes for the party and hopefully take Sadie and the kids swimming. I'm trying hard to leave Jamie in a quiet house for a few hours, something she hasn't had much of this week. Once Seraph arrives, I want to get the England trip dates nailed down and get that as planned as possible.

I hope everyone memorizes a few choice Chinese phrases for Sadie's Firefly party. Ai-yah. Tyen-ah.

Generic Heading

April 09, 2009 by Jamie in Jenny

I think Jenny meant to say Isa, not Emma ;-)

Hi, up to Portland tonight to pick up Sadie

April 09, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

Hi, up to Portland tonight to pick up Sadie. Happy days!

Message from Skynet below: I'm searching for...

April 09, 2009 by Lohring in Lohring

Message from Skynet below:
I'm searching for my brothers. Contact me here.

Please pass on to the family robot.

Hello to every one

April 09, 2009 by Jenny in Jenny

Hello to every one. Hey now that i have a new computer that works, things are good. The bad thing is that dad's computer doesn't work yet so he's always on here. Hey Seraph if you read this, Dad is leaving on 4-15-09. I was just wondering if you would be here on the night of the 14. If you are we would love to have you for dinner. Maybe dad could come pick u and Emma up and get the table. I also wanted to see if you and Emma wanted to come stay with me and the boys? We have plenty of room.

Current Cast List of our dress up party: Mal...

April 08, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Current Cast List of our dress up party:
Malcolm Reynolds: Adam
Inara: Jamie
Dr. Simon Tam: Sam
River Tam: Emma
Zoe: Jenny
Jayne: Destin
Badger: Jordan
Shepherd Book: Mom
Wash: Bob
Adelei Niska: Dad
Kaylee: Seraph
Mrs. Reynolds/Saffron: That's me

Goodwill run on Saturday!

Sue has been posting for me of late about Bob...

April 07, 2009 by Betsy in Betsy

Sue has been posting for me of late about Bob and as I have ten seconds before my next appointment I thought I might step up to the plate. Bob saw the Pulmonary Oncologist yesterday and although he does have cancer it is small cell that is "limited" meaning that so far it has not spread to other parts of his body. They are optimist and will be starting chemotherapy tommorrow. You can say all the cliches about "cherish everyday" and stuff like that but I prefer the mantra--Don't Smoke. (Bob quit 10 years ago after smoking for 30 yrs.) Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. I truly believe in their power! Love, P.

I got three fantastic and one bum filling on ...

April 07, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I got three fantastic and one bum filling on my last dental tourist trip to Eugene (not a terrible rate of return for my plane ticket). Due to a combination of stress, tooth pain, and nervousness that my bum filling is going to fall out of my mouth, I clench my jaw. I've clenched my jaw for three months now, and surprisingly, my jaw hurts all the time. I've had a jaw ache for thirty six hours. Ugh. Dad is cleaning me up on Friday, so I should be cheerful for most of my vacation in Eugene. Hoorah!

The weekend has come and gone and I'll soon b...

April 06, 2009 by Adam in Family

The weekend has come and gone and I'll soon be pulled away into a work meeting.

Friday night was our usual pizza and Mythbusters. Saturday I managed to finish our taxes, go to the library, and paint much of the hidden part of the shed. Towards the evening, Jamie went off with Angie and the kids and I had another round of Mythbusters after dinner.

Sunday was mostly spent frolicking about in the sun. In the morning, we power washed the porch and patched concrete. Jamie went over to Angie's in the afternoon and the kids and I made fairy houses out of plant parts. In the evening Jamie and I walked to Turtles for a great dinner while Josh watched the kids. Good times.

Hi Dad- I'll have the exact travel details wo...

April 06, 2009 by Seraph in Cortez

Hi Dad- I'll have the exact travel details worked out tomorrow evening, but it looks like we'll get into PDX on 4/14 and leave 4/21. Let me know if you need to pick up the table at any other time, and I can let you know where the key is.

I've been spending a lot of time with the rob...

April 05, 2009 by Adam in Adam's Projects

I've been spending a lot of time with the robot lately.

It started with Sam really wanting to get a Lego Mindstorm robot kit. After a couple weekends of frantic playing, it fell by the wayside. I'd been reading about various things you can do with the Mindstorm kit and decided that I'd hook it up to a web page, which you can find here.

The setup is actually very complicated. Clicking the buttons on the control page sends commands to my personal computer, which sends Bluetooth messages to the robot to do things. I've also got a webcam hooked up which drops jpg files every second on to the web server. There's also a page where people can post log messages in the robot's name.

Up until a few days ago, the main problem was that the batteries kept going dead. I decided to do my part to help the global economy and bought a new lithium battery pack and recharger. It now stays plugged in at all times, so robot power shouldn't be an issue.

Range is limited, though, as it has both a webcam and power cable hooked up. It would be fun to get one of those tiny, cheap laptops and hook up Skype to it. Then people could talk through the robot and move it around without the need of power cables. It's probably too frivolous to get past my self-imposed practicality, but it's fun to think about.

As I started plugging tons of USB cables to my 4-port hub, I quickly ran out of space. I ended up buying a new one and assembling a steampunk-style hub. This one has an LED in the base that cycles through the colors, giving the entire contraption an eerie mad scientist glow.

Hi There

April 04, 2009 by Yayoe in Yayoe

Hi There..It's been a long time since I've written so here goes..Sue, Hanni and I went to Portland last weekend to work on the Cortez garden. We had a fun and productive day weeding and raking. I also had time to visit with Sayer, Sasha, Jackson, John Jones and his lovely fiance and Sharma and her new baby Amir.

I'm still working and developing a private counseling practice. Tomorrow I'll be at the Willamalane Senior Center plugging the services of Village Health, the integrative medicine clinic where I now work. I'm still playing my uke with my friends...we have another gig planned for Churchill Estates..Our last gig was playing for my friend's BUNKO group..Remember, we're available for gigs..we'll pay you to have us! Last but not least I'm off to Honolulu for Rob's 2nd birthday toward the end of April!

I'm going to a recession wine party tonight, ...

April 03, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I'm going to a recession wine party tonight, with the requirement that our wines are under five bucks. I've slightly altered my fine Spanish table wine to mimic a Cru Les Millades... and such a good year.

Procrastination is a virus that eventually sp...

April 03, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Procrastination is a virus that eventually spreads to each of my favorite work spots. For the first semester, I could sit at my desk and the living room table. This semester, I've burned through the living room couch and kitchen table. I think lying in bed eating oatmeal and doing work has lost most of its utility, too. I'm trying out the Waltham library now. Like most New England libraries, its old and beautiful and very quiet during the day. During the afternoon, high school kids come to use the computers and re-hash the three hours they were marginally separated by class schedules. Sometimes they open their homework and lay graphic novels over it. There's nothing quite like a public library.

It's another Mocha Friday, though that delici...

April 03, 2009 by Adam in Family

It's another Mocha Friday, though that delicious elixir is long gone. I had to switch coffee places this morning as my typical one closed. I ended up going to a Starbucks, which was suitably caffienated.

Friday night has become a new favorite in the household, as that's the day we eat pizza and watch Mythbusters. Both kids are enamored of the combination of cheese and explosions, I suppose.

The week has generally been good. It looks like I'm getting some money back from taxes, so our house project may restart (though perhaps slightly modified in terms of cost). Sam had fun at fencing yesterday and seems to be enjoying school more. Emma is sweet as always, waving goodbye to me from the upstairs window.

I'm not sure if we have any exciting weekend plans. We haven't gone swimming in weeks, which I miss. A library trip is a certainty, especially with Emma starting to read. It's been really exciting seeing her discover the wonders of written language. She's very fond of writing little notes to everyone these days.

Seraph Are you coming on April 10 when Sadie...

April 03, 2009 by Lohring in Lohring

Are you coming on April 10 when Sadie gets here? Jenny and I want to get your table, so we need to make arrangements. I'm leaving April 15 for Meadville.

Hi, fam

April 02, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

Hi, fam. Is there anyone who still has clothing, books and toys appropriate for a very bright 2 year old? My worker guy, Richard, and his wife Elizabeth, have a two year old who is Gerber baby cute. We gave them some of Aric and Anna's old toys (big non-"tricky" Legos, for those of you who still remember Sam grappling with the small Legos and Adam reassuring him that those small ones were "tricky".) but my Candyland game is long since gone. Also, he has turned out to be an amazing worker - his dad is some sort of contractor in Peru, and he's doing sheet rock in Adam's old room downstairs. I'm only paying him $10 an hour, and I'm going to raise it next week to $12.

Also, I'm thinking about buying the slum house next door. The house is almost a tear-down, and the owner wants 200K, basically for the lot. However, I'm not sure that I can break even. But it's presently an eyesore, and is disintegrating (it has an oil furnace, and the girl who's one of the tenants said that they hadn't had the heat on since 1999.) The neighbors deputized me to talk to the owner about the condition. I feel like a Republican, trying to clean up in a bad real estate market.

There are some sentences you don't want a not...

April 02, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

There are some sentences you don't want a note from a housemate to begin with. It's true, My Liz threw a glass of red wine on my white couch. And I should have realized that the huge painting she recently completed of the couch was stained with a deep crimson color was an omen. But I'm sure the cleaner can get it out. And she says we get to bring the paintings from her show home, so even if the couch has a big wine stain forever, it will have its 2D twin for company.

Robbie sanitized the baby lamb story a lot

April 02, 2009 by Seraph in Cortez

Robbie sanitized the baby lamb story a lot. I'll save the humor and gory details until you're all sitting around eating :)

New Mexico spring has arrived in a flurry

April 02, 2009 by Robbie in Cortez

New Mexico spring has arrived in a flurry. We have had some blustery windy days, stretches of beautiful weather, and snow, all wrapped up in one week. Seraph has been quite busy up at the ski area, as Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and a number of other southern states were on Spring Break. She worked for ten days straight, and she greatly anticipated the last days of skiing.
I went up skiing on March 22nd, and the snow was trecherous. A wrong turn could really mess up your knees, and I had no intention of already messing my knee up again. They desperately needed new snow, and the snow gods answered with a huge storm on Thursday and Friday. Since I had Friday off for the beginning of my Spring Break, I went up skiing again. This time the new fresh powder snow was to my liking, and I made friends with a man from Arkansas, but originally from the Czech Republic. We both were really good skiers, so we skied for most of the morning.
Later that day I picked up Isabell from school, and we went up again to ski. For just her fourth time up, she has amazing natural abilities. We took the lift up to the top, and with some fatherly intimidation, I was able to get her to come down. She was a little hesitant and scared, but I convinced her not to be scared and come down. I would ski a few yards down and encourage her to ski to me. Once her fear evaporated, she was able to make her turns down the mountain. What's great about her is that she is very cautious and she won't endanger herself. I called her my "Racing Snail", as it took us an hour to come down the mountain, but she is an amazing skier, and next year she will be out gunning me.

Saturday, was the pond skimming contest. Skiers and snowboarders swoosh down the mountain and try to ski across an eighty foot pond and hope for the best. When we got up there Isabell was not feeling good and very tired, so Seraph and I took turns watching macho men and a few women try to skim across and ice cold pond. One man actually crossed it twice, and on his third attempt he sprayed the audience. Maybe next year I will try to do this with a whiskey in my system.

I'm sorry to say that Isabell became really sick the next day with a fever and body aches. She tried really hard to be cheerful as we drove up to Taos Ski Valley to have a look around. She was wrapped up in Seraph's shawl as we ate at a restaurant over looking the ski area. By the time we came home, she was shivering and sleeping the afternoon away. She has been sick all week long, with a monstorous cough, and now her stomach muscles hurt from all of the coughing. She's tried going to school, but doesn't last long. Today, she is missing her field trip to Santa Fe to see puppets at the Museum of Folk Art.

Last week, she helped Seraph rescue two newborn lambs. I got a frantic call from Seraph asking for Arlene's phone number since she was not there to help. The momma sheep was a spring lamb herself and had no motherly insticts. The two lambs would have probably died if Seraph and Isabell didn't rescue them. When I got home I found Seraph, Isabell and Arlene were in front of the woodstove with a baby lamb wrapped up in blankets in front of the fire. It was the cutest scene ever, and Isabell was in love. We have several pictures of Isabell holding the lamb and I will post them soon. The other lamb was a bit healthier and was able to stay outside, and eventually the mother remembered to be a mother and took in the lamb.

I got real glasses today

April 01, 2009 by Lohring in Lohring

I got real glasses today. I hope that ends the saga of my eye surgery. Jenny has been organizing like a mad woman so the front house is almost normal. My room is still a work in progress. I hope to get more unpacked this weekend and figure out how to connect to the internet from back there.

PS Why did I turn out to be the most evil bad guy in Firefly?


April 01, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

Details. We want details.

I'm working on a policy analysis for a clas...

April 01, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I'm working on a policy analysis for a class about federal STEM education promotion programs. In the case of policy analysis, twelve ounces is never enough. Gregory Caswell and I are planning for cohabitation next year. That's all the news that's worth reporting from Waltham.

We went over to my mom's Sunday night and wer...

March 31, 2009 by Adam in Family

We went over to my mom's Sunday night and were stuffed full of good middle eastern food. Jamie made chocolate cookies, which the kids couldn't get enough of.

Yesterday I headed back to work, though the kids had one final day of vacation. Emma went to her first Karate class, which she loved. Jamie's planning on signing her up for ongoing classes.

Other than that, it was a fairly uneventful afternoon. We played on the computer, ate dinner, and did our normal bath and bedtime routine. With school starting today, it's good to get everyone ready for the schedule.

It's the final day of four luxurious days awa...

March 29, 2009 by Adam in Family

It's the final day of four luxurious days away from work. The first couple were quite productive, taking advantage of the warm and sunny weather. I painted the two sides of the shed you can normally see, though I think Jamie may eventually make me paint the other sides. I still haven't decided what to do with the interior. So far, it's been fine as-is, with the kids using it as a play house.

Yesterday was wet and lazy. We stayed inside and did very little. The highlights were watching Mythbusters, playing Pretty, Pretty Princess with Emma, and doing art projects.

I talked to Betsy yesterday afternoon

March 28, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

I talked to Betsy yesterday afternoon. After talking with Meggie, and getting some good referrals, she decided to take Bob to the ER (he'd lost ten pounds in as many days).
She said they sat in the ER for six hours, but when Bob finally got medical attention, the decision was made to hospitalize him immediately. The medical staff felt that
his airways were too obstructed to do a broncoscopy, but they were going to try to do a biopsy, and give Betsy and
Bob clearer information. Our thoughts are all going out to them, and I'll keep you all posted.

The midterm crunch has passed

March 27, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

The midterm crunch has passed. I'm starting to dig into final papers and projects and think about summer work. Through my commitment to streamlining my paper topics, I've become a little tired of writing about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education policy. Hopefully, I'll find a refreshing, insightful study on federal NSF grants this weekend.

My dad gave me some of his old speakers, whic...

March 26, 2009 by Adam in Adam's Projects

My dad gave me some of his old speakers, which were destined for Sam's Steampunk computer. It was fun spray painting them, and they have an added bonus of not hissing horribly when the computer is off.

At this point, I'm feeling done with Sam's computer. Everything looks great, especially the keyboard which took forever to make. It goes nicely with the rest of the computer desk, which lies below the old civil war rifle. Very cool.

And look what character the little nippers al...

March 25, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

And look what character the little nippers all have. Or maybe what characters they turned in to. Not quite sure on that one...

It's a Mocha Wednesday for me today, as I'm t...

March 25, 2009 by Adam in Family

It's a Mocha Wednesday for me today, as I'm taking the last two days of Spring Break off. It was great having my family back Monday night, as I was missing everyone terribly. The kids were like wild puppies, leaping all over me when I came home from work.

Everyone is settling into vacation, though I think it's been harder for Jamie. Her favorite aerobics instructor stopped teaching classes due to job reductions at the hospital, and she's been spending a lot of time with the kids lately. Hopefully I can give her some time to herself tomorrow.

I'm hoping we get a little sun tomorrow and I can recruit the kids into painting the shed. As my mother taught me, there's nothing like some honest hard work to build character.

Hi, I've got a young computer geek from Peru ...

March 23, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

Hi, I've got a young computer geek from Peru fixing up my computer

News update from primative squalor! I had my...

March 23, 2009 by Seraph in Cortez

News update from primative squalor!
I had my first day off on Sat after 11 consecutive working days. We went to Santa Fe for a spring party at Robbie's school. The weather was spring/summer like, and we all can home a little pink. I was back at work yesterday, and Robbie and Isa came out to ski in the afternoon. Isa made her first chairlift run, and her instructor announced that she has great potential. We were all worried that ski season would end early due to the warm temp's, but a cold front came in last night, and there was fresh snow on the ground this morning.
The snow is strange, considering last Thursday Isa and I were picnicing by the river in tee shirts! I went to Isa's parent/teach conference last week, and she continues to excell at school. Her class has started doing "show and do" where each kids shows & teachs something to the class. Isa did some of her Irish dancing with the class, and was consequently asked to dance for Culture Week in May. Adam - I'd love to work out something where the kids in her class could play with Robot on-line! The kids also have a field trip to the Santa Fe art museam in April, and Robbie & I should both be able to go along.
It looks like Isa & I will try to fly into PDX the Tuesday before Easter, and stay until the next Tuesday. Robbie is still trying to work out if he can fly in just for the weekend. I can't wait to see everyone. I've been having dreams about cooking kulich and chocolate torte!

I did a bit more work on my long project list...

March 23, 2009 by Adam in Family

I did a bit more work on my long project list yesterday, despite the rain. The kid's beds are all made, I folded laundry, and filled in some holes in the front yard. Still, I was a little lazier than planned, and never did find the right paint for the shed. It was probably best that I avoided it, though, as hail and freezing weather doesn't help paint dry much.

It was fun going over to Jenny and Dad's for dinner. Mostly I helped get all their computers running smoothly and set Sadie up so everyone could talk to her via webcam. I remember how we used to all get together for dinner and miss Sadie. Now we all get together and miss Seraph. Hopefully some of that stimulus money will get Internet access to her house so she doesn't have to live in primitive squalor.

It's been very strange being by myself these ...

March 22, 2009 by Adam in Family

It's been very strange being by myself these last couple days. Fortunately it seems that everyone in my family wants to hang out with me. Friday night I chatted via webcam with Sadie, yesterday I watched a movie with dad, tonight I'm going to Jenny's for dinner, and tomorrow I'm having dinner with mom. Somewhere in there I'm trying to manage to get my long list of projects finished, though the dreary weather isn't helping much. I was thinking about painting the shed, but the weather isn't cooperating.

I got to talk to Emma on the phone last night. I miss the kids already.

A quick good morning, after a busy couple of days

March 22, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

A quick good morning, after a busy couple of days. We've been trying to help Aric make some decisions about his return to college, fun but time consuming. Life is, in many ways, sure harder for you young folks than it was for my generation. Much love, Mom

A bright note on this gray spring day

March 20, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

A bright note on this gray spring day. Bob and I took Emma to school, stopping first at our favorite pastry shop. She hopped out of the car, adopted a casual pose, then explained that Sam had been giving her lessons in being cool. One of the first ones was hiding your booster seat so people wouldn't think you were a baby. (I explained the look she was aiming at to a couple of sweet slackers watching her with some bemusement; they assured her she looked very cool, to her blushing delight). Later, when they left, on their way to look cool themselves, one told her to "..stay cool." I do love this goofy town.

Sorry for the long blogging absence

March 20, 2009 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Sorry for the long blogging absence. I have a memo due for my work on Monday, which (as mom would say) I haven't the foggiest how to write. I'm buckling down at a local coffee shop. I thought all this education would make me a faster writer, but all it's taught me is how to qualify everything I say. Curse thee, analysis paralysis!

It's Mocha Friday

March 20, 2009 by Adam in Family

It's Mocha Friday. Emma came downstairs to help get me ready for work and give me a goodbye kiss. Jamie and the kids are off to the beach after school, so I won't see them until their return. The kids have been lots of fun lately, and Emma has been especially sweet.

It's supposed to rain the next couple days, but perhaps I can get supplies and work on the interior of the shed. I already have a couple social events set up this weekend, including seeing Dad and Jenny's new house. Mostly, though, my hope is to hunker down and get a lot of projects done around the house.

Work is crazy busy, mostly through my own doing. We're down a staff person, so I offered to help get through our backlog of work. That's added to my normal work, so I'm frantically busy most of the time. Still, it's nice being busy and gainfully employeed. Can't beat that.

Oh, and the robot is briefly on and active, though I doubt the batteries will hold out very long. Maybe I can find a solution to that pressing issue as well.

This is a tough time for Betsy and her family

March 20, 2009 by Sue in Wielesek

This is a tough time for Betsy and her family. Her long time boyfriend, Bob, has a large mass on his lung, and the strong indication is that it's lung cancer. They still have to go in for a bronchoscopy, but if I understand correctly, that really will just tell them how long treatment can postpone what seems to be inevitable. Bob is quite young, I think in his early 50's, so this is a terrible thing. I'll keep the website posted as they have more information. Our thoughts are certainly with them.

Sam had a very good day yesterday

March 19, 2009 by Adam in Sam

Sam had a very good day yesterday. He was feeling a little anxious about his multiplication facts, and was behind on his testing. Yesterday he passed the test for his fours and fives, and started in on his sixes. He also did his homework, chore, played outside, and helped Jamie invent a new type of meal (Sam's Ravioli).

Hopefully today goes as well as yesterday.

The weekend was pleasant and lazy, and we're ...

March 17, 2009 by Adam in Family

The weekend was pleasant and lazy, and we're already up to Tuesday. I was a bit cranky and had a headache yesterday, even yelling at Sam, which I almost never do. Today I took the occasional Advil, but still managed a four mile run at lunch today. Sam was sick yesterday, but hopefully everyone's on the mend today.

I find myself in awe of Jamie's ability to whip up interesting and tasty meals. Last night was asian themed, with everyone eating chopsticks. It's one of the few times where I slow down at meals. Getting those individual peanuts tends to take some concentration.

Sam's been having us help him practice his multiplication facts