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.

Older Posts