Massive Mocha Thursday

December 30, 2010 by Adam in Family

I just redeemed my coffee punch card for the biggest mocha they had.  Even better, it was free, which is the most tasty kind of mocha.

It's been an interesting week.  While the kids were off at Jamie's since Tuesday, Sam's been coming home at night.  Tuesday Joanna and I went to the Granary to listen to jazz and eat home made ice cream.  Last night Sam and I had a "boy play night".  We got together with Josh to play Borderlands.  Joanna watched briefly and made a few snarky comments about running around shooting people.  Mostly it was fun listening to Sam laugh hysterically with Josh, as they clearly had a good time.  The evening was topped off with cereal and The Office.

Yesterday was also a day of frantically running around, signing and moving legal papers about.  My lawyer Lynn called this morning and declared that we were officially divorced.  There was an odd moment in Jamie's lawyer's office, entertaining the kids while Jamie signed things.  Emma was a little sad, realizing the finality of it all.  She was clingy in the end, and I had to reassure her that I'd see her the next day.

It's nice to have things finally settled.  Jamie was very helpful getting things sorted out.  I was a little miffed at our lawyers in taking so long, so I got super grumpy with them in order to finalized things as planned.

Dave and Kirsten had Ezra Wednesday night, and Sam and Emma were talking about how it was seeing their new nephew.  Congratulations to both of them.

Tomorrow is the start of a four-day weekend with the kids.  I think we're going to try to go to a movie tomorrow, a library trip, and somewhere in there I need to get my hair cut.  Tonight Joanna and I are going out to dinner at a waffle place, of all things.  I'm hoping for a lot of hang-out time with kids before school starts in earnest.

I finally put together the Christmas video.  The end is the best part, with my dad dancing to It's Raining Men on Just Dance 2.

Post-Christmas Festivities

December 28, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm back at work, dealing with assorted crises before our go-live next month.

The day after Christmas was entirely lazy, with the exception of Sadie's engagement party.  We managed to get four children into the minivan, unleashed them upon the fancy party guests, and ate our way until leaving relatively soon.  The decorations were lovely, mom, and the food was great as always.

Emma loves her Sansa music and video player, and we ordered a custom skin for it.  Her cute cat sticker should arrive soon.

Monday I stayed home with everyone while Joanna went off to work.  I was pretty tired due to Duncan waking up a little after 5 a.m. for the last few days, though espresso perked me up.  Every day is Mocha Day during Christmas vacation.  Sadie and Greg arrived a little after 10 a.m. and we began the endless game playing.  It was lovely, including great boardgames such as: Cosmic Encounter, Last Night on Earth, and Munchkin.  Sadie took the younger kids downstairs to play Just Dance 2, much to their delight.

It was great having them around, not the least for backup parenting as I scrambled to get a bunch of legal stuff done.  Basically if things don't get finalized by the end of the year, there are lots of expensive tax implications.

I took Emma over to Jamie's this morning, and will see her back Thursday afternoon.  I'm not quite sure what Sam's up to, though I think he's going over there as well. He'll be around this Friday when I take the day off, as Jamie's out of town until the following Tuesday.  It'll be nice to have four days off with the kids.  Perhaps we can take in a movie or go to the snow again.

Tonight Joanna and I are going out for the first time in a long while, I think to listen to music somewhere.  A low-key night sounds wonderful.

Magical Ponies

December 25, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's Christmas Day, and everyone is wiped out.  The kids are playing with their respective toys.  Duncan's playing Kirby on the Wii, Sam's playing Dead Rising 2, Emma's watching Glee on her Sansa, and Berry's dressing Polly Pocket dolls.  Joanna and Collette are both lying down, completely exhausted.  I continue to trudge through cleaning and helping kids, slowly but surely.

I was pretty mopey this morning, missing Sam and Emma quite a bit.  It was my first Christmas away from them, which ended up being rougher than I expected.  Duncan woke up at 5 a.m., and we opened stockings while Joanna slept a bit.  Berry was up soon after, looking through her stockings too.  Eventually we moved to Minecraft and Joanna eventually awoke.  Duncan and Berry webcammed with their dad and opened presents.  I made crepes and coffee.

I went over to my mom's this morning for a little while, chatting with Sadie and Seraph on the phone.  I brought back another mass of presents, and soon enough Sam and Emma arrived.  Poor Sam has some sores in his mouth that are causing him trouble eating.  We put on some topical anesthetic and he was able to much on the traditional English Christmas dinner that Joanna had made.

There were crackers full of paper crowns, turkey, brussel sprouts, and Yorkshire pudding.  We stuffed ourselves and started in on the presents.  It's impossible to describe the next hour, only that the kids were overwhelmed and Sam kept saying it was too much.  There are robots, dolls, and assorted clothes laying about.  I ended up with two magical unicorns, much appreciated.

We're off to Jenny's in a little bit.


Mocha Christmas Eve

December 24, 2010 by Adam in Family

Duncan woke up early and I crawled out of bed to let Joanna sleep.  She has a cold today, and ended up sleeping in until nearly nine.  She's napping again.  Hopefully she'll be up and about for Christmas.

I made two batches of crepes, one normal and one gluten free, along with my traditional Friday mocha.  Food was eaten and Minecraft was played.  Berry and Duncan convinced Joanna to play for a fair stretch of time.  I've been trying to indulge in various cleaning frenzies, but have only managed to clean the minivan.  Before the day is done, I have a few presents to wrap and I'd like to try out the new power washer I bought.  I may just stick with the present wrapping.

Sadie and her entourage are coming to hang out tonight to play Cosmic Encounter and chat.  Tomorrow at noon Sam and Emma arrive.  I'm still not sure when I'll be able to do Christmasy things with everyone else.  Tomorrow night for dinner and Jenny's perhaps.

Christmas Tree Adventure

December 23, 2010 by Robbie in Cortez

Finally, we decided to go and get our tree. First, I searched high and low for a saw, as we didn't have one (last year we used an axe). When I finally found one, Seraph, Isabell, her friend Gennys and I started our long hike in search for our perfect tree. We climbed a hill, and marched through long untamed, dried, yellow grass. We then started up a rocky snow covered hill, panting all the way up. We slipped, rested, crawled up on all fours, and eventually spotted our tree encircled in a giant halo. When we reached our destintion, we gave great praise to our tree, cut it down, and dragged it 50 yards back to our house!

It's nice to live so close, so we can hike up and cut down a christmas tree!

Missing Teeth and Children

December 22, 2010 by Adam in Family

Sam and Emma went off to Portland with their mom this morning.  It hit me a little harder than expected, so I've been moping around this morning.

Emma came with me to the dentist yesterday to watch Sam get his tooth extracted.  He got nitrous as he was a bit nervous, picking the bubblegum scented mask.  The roots got stuck, so there was some rooting about.  Emma kept covering her eyes and wanting to punch out the dentist for hurting Sam.  Sam had his traditional recovery of mashed potatoes and watching The Office all afternoon.  We've been keeping the pain killers up, so he's actually doing pretty good this time around.

Tonight Joanna and I are going out on a hot date to Target.  The rest of the week is work, house projects, and getting ready for Christmas.  Sadie's coming over for a hug tonight, which will be nice.  I'm not sure what's happening Christmas Day, as I just heard Jenny's doing something at her house and I don't know when Sam and Emma return.  Christmas is the season for family obligations and trying to keep kids happy.  Hopefully I can juggle it all.

Horrible Stories

December 22, 2010 by Adam in Emma

Duncan interviewed Emma about her assorted horrible stories which produced her latest scars.

Snowy Weekend

December 21, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's Tuesday, though I had to think about it a bit.  I'm alone with the kids, the three younger ones playing cheerfully in the basement with Hobbes.  Sam is playing videogames, a brief respite before going to the dentist to get a tooth extracted.  Poor guy.

We had a fun and mostly lazy weekend.  Sam was at Jamie's overnight.  I took the kids to the library while Joanna got her hair cut short.  Pizza and Mythbusters was enjoyed, and I got a new high score while grocery shopping (over $375 in a single trip).  Church on Sunday involved Emma dressing as an angel and Berry and Duncan were cows.  Santa happened after that.

Yesterday was the epic snow trip.  I got chains for the minivan, ran errands, made lunch, and loaded everyone up in the car.  It was strangely quiet due to the in-car entertainment options.  It made for a lovely trip along highway 58, the rain turning into snow.

There were moments of grumpiness (mine, mostly), but once I gave up trying to control a horde of children in the snow, I enjoyed myself immensely.  We ran into a bunch of people with sleds who were extremely nice and let us share.  Snow people and forts were built.  We ate Metropol goodies and drank hot cocoa.  The drive home in the dark was slightly more rowdy, but generally cheerful.  Once we got everyone home, they conked right out, leaving Sam and I to play Worms together.  Joanna was out completely at 8:30.

Christmas Gifts

December 21, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez

Hello!  Some of the gifts from us may arrive on time for Epiphany, as it's taken awhile to get my act together.

I sent Saie & Greg's and Adam & Joanna's gifts to Mom's house, and there are 2 parts to Mom & Bob's gifts.  Sam, Emma, Duncan and Berry's gifts are coming! 

Yayoe & John - your gift is getting mailed you your house.

Jenny, Destin, and Jordan's gifts won't come until latter, but I'll call and tell you what it is on Christmas!

Dad & Ana's gift was sent to the Springfield address.

Spidey Mocha Friday

December 17, 2010 by Adam in Family

Berry decided to wear Duncan's Spiderman hat this morning.  It was hysterical with the pink jacket and shoes.  We left her off at school where she proclaimed she'd wear it all day long.

It was nice having Emma home last night.  She must have been up early this morning, as she was reading her pink book about how to be a glamorous book.  There are already book marks for things she wants to make or do.  Should be an interesting four-day weekend.

Sam made it to school yesterday.  His teacher nicely reported only one question missed on his quiz.  Sam played chess with Jordan, as usual, winning one game and losing another.  He'll be at Jamie's tonight, returning tomorrow before pizza and Mythbusters.

Joanna's getting her hair cut short tomorrow while I take the kids to the library.  As we have four days off, I think we'll manage a mix of work, play, and getting ready for Christmas.  If we can manage it, we might do an OMSI or snow trip on Monday.  Fun, fun.

Short time to solstice

December 16, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

Bob and I ran errands all afternoon yesterday, and people seemed bursting with exuberance and good cheer. I wonder if we northern hemisphere people are hard wired to be aware of the winter seasons, and all the "Spirit of Christmas", festivals of light, etc, just followed logically. We had beautiful blue sky yesterday.

It's been three whole days without worker guys in my house. I feel as though there is no longer a woodpecker tapping on the side of my head.

Can't wait to hug Sadie!

Back to School

December 16, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's been a bit of an interesting week, with work news and sick kids.  Sam was sick every day but today, and Emma every day but Monday.  I stayed and worked from home yesterday, keeping an eye on everyone when Jamie went to work.  Strangely I accomplished more than a typical day in the office.

Most of our evenings have been low-key, playing Minecraft with Sam, watching Glee and Chuck, and working on laundry.  Last night we took Berry and Duncan to the Little French School for their winter festival.  My video camera batteries were almost dead, but I managed to get a few choice songs.

Back to Work

December 13, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's Monday morning, and likely an important one.  In another hour, I think we're going to get some information as to which jobs are moving to Vancouver.  I'm hopeful, but it's scary nonetheless.

The weekend was the usual mix of wonderful, crazy, and fun.  I had a few grumpy moments, as well as time when I was having insane amounts of fun.  I probably worked too much one of the days, and taking everyone down to the park in the rain eventually ended up being lots of fun (though it took a few catastrophes).

Friday night Joanna and I went out to Moroccan food, complete with belly dancing.  We ended up recognizing the dancer as someone we worked with, though it took awhile.  She rarely balances swords on her head at work.

Saturday was pancake day for everyone but Sam, who was at his mom's.  I took all three kids to the library, where they were quite well behaved, returning home with a massive cache of books.  Sam came home early, as he wanted to build NWN2 modules.  I went to get pizza and groceries for Pizza and Mythbusters night.  Everyone is into playing Minecraft now, myself included, so there were lots of turns being taken.  It's funny hearing Berry say "MinusCraft" when she talks about it.  Emma also did a great job with her homework, getting all her math done and much of her Tansinia project.

Sunday had fairly nice weather, so we spent some time outside working on the yard.  Joanna strung more Christmas lights and I did some yard cleanup and pruning.  Sam got picked up to go to a movie with Chase, but evidently they got kicked out and wandered the mall until returning a couple hours later.  In the afternoon we made our park run in the rain, with people getting very wet but generally having fun running and jumping about.

There was lots of work too - six loads of laundry, an equal number of dishes, and countless meals cooked and served.  Still, I've always known I'm a family guy and I get deep satisfaction watching everyone grow up.


The Present Situation

December 13, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I have contacted all the siblings, and we're going small handcrafted presents for folks this year. Bring on the jam, cookies, and crafty delights!

I have just finished my (crafty delightful) solstice gifts for the Miller-Wielesek-Kuramitsu-Bartlett clan, which require only one (blasphemous) thing (in the casual context of Eugene) on your part: lapels on the 26th. 

GOOD NEWS!!! Things are looking up!

December 10, 2010 by Robbie in Cortez

I finished my last class on Tuesday. I handed in my portfolio, went out with a few friends and celebrated with a glass of wine. Today I got my test results back and I past both of them! My reading endorsement test will now allow me to be paid $25 an hour. I also heard from the masters program that said that Taos schools are now involved in the program, and I can go there to participate in the program next fall without me traveling more than forty minutes to another school. I do need to think about this, as my principal told me that there is a chance that I can get a "real" teaching job at Velarde next fall, either teaching kindergarten or first grade. Velarde has past AYP for the last five years, and getting a teaching job here, would look very impressive on my resume. AAHH, choices! What to do, what to do...

Pirate Mocha Friday

December 10, 2010 by Adam in Family

Emma got to dress up like a pirate today for school, complete with a little bird tied to her shoulder.  I was, of course, deeply envious.  Fortunately it's mocha Friday, so all is well.

Sam and I got some hang out time together last night, watching the last episode of The Walking Dead.  Emma took awhile to go to sleep and kept waking up, but was generally okay with me checking up on her every ten minutes or so.  I also got the Neverwinter Nights 2 toolset working on his computer and he was busy building modules this morning.  I think I'll see if I can help him put a little adventure together.  I miss it, and don't have time to do one of my own, but perhaps I can assist with dialog and scripting.  He's off to Jamie's tonight and possibly tomorrow night.  We'll find a way to continue our pizza and Mythbusters tradition.

I'm excited to hang out with Emma this weekend.  Tomorrow certainly has a library trip involved, and I'd love to go swimming with the kids Saturday night.  There are also Christmas things to prep for and a potluck tomorrow afternoon.  Sam and Emma have been asking to play D&D, and I'm thinking about starting up a new 4th edition campaign for them.  I have an old monitor I can turn on its back to act as a play surface for maps, and they can move their physical characters around on top of them.  We'll see how nerdy I get.

Work has been a little brutal lately, but I've risen to the occasion.  I'm taking care of problems left and right, despite the fact that our Microsoft consultant couldn't handle them.  I did start talking to my naked mole rat.  I'd like to think he was my little helper, assisting when the work became too overwhelming.  My team recommends therapy.

Joanna and I are going out tonight, eating Moroccan food and watching belly dancers.  Emma was excited to hear that while the normal babysitter is unavailable, we were replacing her with another cute, young blond.  The last time we went, a drunk person got arrested on our car.  Hopefully tonight's visit is less exciting.

It's Raining Teeth

December 09, 2010 by Adam in Family

Duncan lost a tooth in the middle of dinner, popping right out while eating spaghetti.  He seemed a little disappointed that he only got a card and a dollar in the morning.  I told him that if he wanted a magic pony too, he had to loose a tooth and an ear.

Sam got his grades last night, lots of A's, some B's, and a single D.  The single D bugs me, as all the report card had was a note that Sam was missing assignments.  This was the class where I met with the teacher and e-mailed him a bunch of times trying to get his assignments, then worked with Sam to get them turned in.  Still, considering Sam missed a bunch of school and seemed despondent the first couple months, he did pretty good.  I'm excited to hear how his new classes are coming along tonight.

Joanna and I went to South Eugene High School to listen to the concert last night.  They were remarkably good for high school students, looking very young and earnest.  We went home a little early and headed to bed.  Joanna's been feeling achey today and my throat has been sore.  Maybe we got what Sam had earlier this week.

Emma's home today, which is terribly exciting.  She gets to dress like a pirate tomorrow.  I'm trying to figure out how I can too.

Collecting Glass Bottles

December 08, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

In college, I collected slate tiles that fell from the campus roofs during storms. I have half an early twentieth century pipe and match collection. And there are the suitcases. But this is my first bought collection, which will spend a day in the sun this August.

I also had a temporary crown applied to the nub of my tooth last night, after they ground down what was left of it that was good and holy. Nervous about flossing on the first night, I waited until tonight, when bloody popcorn dislodged from my mouth. Remnants of my former tooth? Bits of Greg's wonderful Tuscan soup?  The world will never know. 

Sam's First Sewing Project

December 08, 2010 by Adam in Sam

Sam had the first day of his new term yesterday.  He seemed generally interested, taking a new science class and his costume design class.  I think he misses his old science teacher a bit, so the new one is on probation.  In his sewing class, he was directed to sew something, so he made a little blue bag.  Not bad for a first attempt.

Unfortunately Sam was pretty sick this morning, so I kept him home.  Joanna and I haven't been feeling great either, but the call of duty is strong.  Hopefully he can get caught up soon.

Christmast Tree Hunt

December 06, 2010 by Adam in Family

This last weekend seemed way too busy, perhaps because of the endless work accomplished over the last 48 hours.  There was laundry, cleaning, shopping, and the rest, as well as a variety of Christmas-related tasks.  Fortunately some of it was terribly fun.  I had a good time getting a Christmas tree and bringing it home.  Sam, Emma, and I helped hang lights outside.  Stockings were hung by the chimney with care, and all that good stuff.

I did manage a couple hours of playing Minecraft, and it was just as entertainingly addictive as Sam said it would be.  After learning to fear the dark, I built a little shelter and mined the depths of the earth.  By the end of the night, I was dressed in iron armor with an iron sword, atop my castle battlements.  I had no need to fear the zombies that prowled the night.

I made crepes both mornings for breakfast, including gluten-free ones for Joanna.  Kids played, Emma did some homework, and we had a family dinner Sunday night.  Joanna wanted duck, so it got cooked up and only Yayoe and Collette made it.  In a way, it was nice to have a smaller crowd, and Yayoe's tofu was devoured by Emma and I.

Now it's back to the normal routine, which sounds fairly relaxing after a somewhat frantic weekend.

Final crunch

December 05, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I returned from a long weekend in North Adams this afternoon to a very sad Gregory, who is holed up on the couch with a looming paper deadline. Thus begins the mad dash towards finals. He is dutifully typing away on early American race riots- always one for cheery paper topics.

The winter is getting fierce, and I'm quickly demolishing my store of brandied pears, drizzled with maple syrup over yogurt. Mmm.

Go Ducks

December 04, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

On the way back from picking up an ill Emma from school, she announced that she hoped that the Beavers would win the Civil War tomorrow. I spoke firmly to Jamie, but she didn't 'fess up.

I think all the basement sanding is done, and I'm looking forward to vacuuming and dusting up the accumulated grime.

Pirate Mocha Friday

December 03, 2010 by Adam in Family

Emma's back, wonderfully entertaining me last night.  She has a Pirate Day at school next week, and was showing off her accent and missing two teeth.  Both were lost this last week

We had a low-key night, eating pasta dinner with Collette, playing the New Super Mario Brothers, and watching Glee when the little kids went to bed.  Sam got to sleep in, as it was the end of the term yesterday and there was no school today.

The plan is to get a tree tomorrow morning, likely after a massive batch of crepes get made.  Sam's going to Jamie's overnight.  Joanna's going to work on homework while I manage a movie night for the kids.  I think she's a little stressed by the sheer volume of work she needs to do this weekend, so I'm doing what I can to make it easier.  I'll be happy if we can put up a Christmas tree and get some decorations up.  Well, that and the usual feeding of chickens, doing laundry, and keeping everyone fed, but I've grown used to it.

My mocha's done.  Time to call our consultant and ask where all his promised work has gone.


December 03, 2010 by Robbie in Cortez

I am quickly coming to the end of my Alternative Teaching Program. I have one class on Saturday and a final class on Tuesday. For one of my classes I have to do student teaching. My job is basically my student teaching. My advisor comes and observes me while I teach and I also needed my principal, Mrs. Lopez, to come and observe. Anyway, my advisor came in and said that I did a wonderful job teaching and said that I was a natural and I am going to be a successful teacher. Mrs. Lopez couldn't make it to either observation and finally came in today with Angela another Title 1 reading teacher from Alcalde. Angela observed me with first graders and also said that I was a wonderful teacher, and "it was a fresh of breath air to watch me teach." Mrs. Lopez finally came in to observe and also said that I was a terrrific teacher and said she would hire me on the spot as a teacher (right now I am reading tutor). None of the observers had any negative feedback. The critique from Mrs. Lopez was the high for me, as she is an excellent educator with an incredible teaching background. For her to give me that feedback, made my day, and I now know that I will be a very effective and influential teacher.

Civilization 5 and More

December 02, 2010 by Adam in Adam's Games

I occasionally get a few moments to play games these days.  I've been slowly playing through a game of Civilization 5, and managed to win the space race.  Last night Sam and I played a game of Civilization 5 together, which turned out to be rather fun as well.  His Russian empire joined up with my Roman one and we proceeded to take over much of the main continent of our world.

With my limited time, casual games are in favor with me.  Bob Came In Pieces was somewhat fun, rocketing about and reassembling myself.  I picked up some rhythm games, but only played a little.  Sometimes I just watch Sam play his assorted games, and long for the days when I had hours of free time to burn.

Sam and I played some Titan Quest with Josh a couple weeks ago, stopping when crash bugs made it not fun.  I have some more coop gaming fun planned for the winter break.

Term's End

December 02, 2010 by Adam in Sam

Sam's last day of the term is today.  He's out of school Friday, and has new classes come Monday morning.  The new ones are art, drama, and Behind the Seams:

This class designs and sews the costumes for the spring musical. Students do not need previous sewing experience but must be willing to learn and to make items for the school instead of personal use. Students learn basic sewing techniques, both with a machine and by hand. Interested students will also be selected to help backstage during the show. To earn a C2 or higher students must be independent workers, willing to make mistakes and redo their work, willing to give their time in many different types of sewing projects and be able to learn and be tested in basic vocabulary and techniques. Credit is based on improvement, work completed and cooperation.

Sam told me he enjoys Roosevelt more than elementary school, which is a relief after a bumpy start of the year.  In addition to Jordan, he has a new friend Conner, a fellow Gleek who's also into semi-obscure games like Minecraft.  This morning he was excited to go to his Check It Out class, where they were putting together a movie. All-in-all, he seems to be doing pretty well with school and life and such. 

Of course, he did lose another tooth yesterday.  He put it on a plate, which I promptly put in the dishwasher.  After he pointed out my folly, I rooted around for five minutes with a flashlight until I found the thing with Berry's assistance.  This morning Sam got another funny note from the Tooth Fairy.  I told Sam that I'm happy to pay him a dollar for the privilege of writing funny letters.  He suggested two dollars.

Happy Birthday Robbie!

December 01, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy Birthday Robbie!  38 amazing years, and just getting better!

Twelve Years

November 30, 2010 by Adam in Sam

Sam turned twelve last week.  Joanna and I were flabbergasted to realize that in ten more years he'd be graduating from college.  Sam certainly seems old these days.  He stays up later than the younger kids, is treated with a fair amount of adult respect.  His homework has expanded immensely this year, and he'll often work from after dinner until past eight on homework.

He continues to settle into school, playing chess nearly every day and getting a new best friend named Jordan.  He loves his video games, and has purchased a fair number with his birthday money.  This morning I tried to talk to him while he started up Metro 2033 and was loudly shushed.  I sheepishly looked at Joanna and we burst into laughter.  Sam explained that it was hard to understand the Russian accents.

I like the boy he is, and proud of the man he's becoming.

Getting My Elf On

November 29, 2010 by Adam in Family

Sunday morning we woke up leisurely, once again without children.  I had promised Joanna a compost sifter, so I wandered down to the basement and quickly put one together.  Soon our mound of decomposing vegetable matter will turn into sweet smelling soil to heap on our raised beds.

Joanna worked away as I puttered and cleaned.  Soon it was time for a quick library trip, and then off to the hospital to begin our volunteer time as an elf.  The outfits were fun, especially the ears.  Soon I was helping Santa, giving out candy and smiling at little kids.  Even though it was surprisingly long, it was hard not to smile at all the kids.  Santa himself was a trooper, barely standing for four hours straight.

At the end of my shift, I dropped off Joanna and picked up the kids.  As promised, I went food shopping in my full elf outfit.  It was fun ordering pizza for Santa.  The evening was a low-key pizza and Mythbusters.  Sam, Joanna, and I watched Chuck after Emma got to bed.  Life is slowly returning to normal.

Duncan and Berry return Tuesday night.  Next weekend sounds like our annual Christmas tree hunt.  I really look forward to Christmas and taking some time off work.


Thanksgiving, Birthdays, Portland, and Back Again

November 28, 2010 by Adam in Family

Joanna and I are alone in the house, a nearly unheard of state to things.  We're back from Portland, happy and tired.  Joanna whipped up a tasty soup and cut up some gluten-free bread from a bakery we found.  Now she's working away while I post and ponder refinishing furniture.

Thanksgiving was great fun.  Sam and Emma were around and we had a great, lazy day of games, shows, and a walk through back alleyways.  Joanna cooked up pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes, and I helped her make zombie brownies for Sam's birthday.  As we moved towards the evening, we went to my mom's house and stuffed ourselves on delicious food.  Hanni made some great sticky buns for Sam, which he kept eating throughout the next few days and took to Jamie's to continue.

Friday morning, Sam's actual birthday, we gave him the previously mentioned brownies, along with far too many presents.  He strangely enjoyed the Bender robot from Futurama, which came with a bottle of beer and cigar.  He and Emma would wind it up and gleefully watch it stagger about.  I also got him The Last Night On Earth, a zombie game which we immediately played.  Emma dropped out midway, and a reluctant Joanna took her place.  Soon she was cheerfully dispatching zombies with her shotgun and good dice rolls, and the heroes saved the day.  My dad came over to hang out and fix computers, and helped set up the zombie game.  I have fond memories of boardgames with little cardboard cutouts as a kid.

I took the kids to Jamie's and we got ready for our Portland trip.  The drive was quick and we checked into the hotel deLuxe early in the evening.  Dinner was at Pastini Pastaria, which had gluten-free spaghetti.  Next was off to Sealed for Freshness, a hysterical play about Tupperware parties of the 60's.  We were very lazy and slept in until past eight in the morning, eventually working our way to Mother's Bistro for breakfast.  I had the tofu scramble, and Joanna had salmon hash, both very tasty.

We returned to check out of the hotel, briefly stopping to webcam with Berry and Duncan.  Next was window shopping and visiting the Nordstrom's Rack where I patiently held coats and watched Joanna try things on.  We then wandered into Border's, which was having a going out of business sale, and got some great deals on Christmas presents.

On the way out of town, we stopped by a gluten-free bakery for goodies and coffee.  The drive home was somewhat dreary and long.  I pondered Christmas presents and projects.  I'm going to try and refinish an old end table of Joanna's tonight.  Tomorrow she and I are dressing like elves and volunteering at the hospital.  I've promised the kids I'll try to pick them up tomorrow in our full elven attire, complete with ear extensions.  Should be fun.

A Nice Thanksgiving!

November 27, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

Everyone local was here but Berry and Duncan, and a good time was had by all. After Jenny's wet start, she nonetheless came early to help. Destin was a prince, and made short work of several household projects. In fact, both Sam and Destin were quite helpful in the kitchen, too. We talked a bit about Sadie and Greg's engagement party. I wonder if it would be fun to have the family specialties for food - Grandma Jones' cinnamon rolls, Grandma Black's bread, Bob's grilled salmon, etc. Maybe Hanni would make kuchen or one of her baked treats and freeze it - poor Hanni, you can't get out of baking just because you're going to be a thousand miles away. I think I'll hire an event planner.


November 25, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy Thanksgiving, and Happy Birthday Sam!!! (Your birth still makes this the most memorable holiday!)

Snow Day

November 24, 2010 by Adam in Family

It snowed yesterday, school was canceled and I worked from home all day. It was surprisingly productive, with the number of interruptions being quite minimal. Sam was sick on Monday, and cheerfully enjoyed a second day of leisure.

I took Sam to play with Emma in the snow at lunch, which had mostly melted at that point. We got wet and cold, and generally enjoyed ourselves. Joanna went into work for a few hours after the roads were clear.

It's very strange not having the little kids about. Our evenings are a little aimless, filled with episodes of Chuck and catching up on miscellaneous tasks. The flea eradication project continues. I set up a dish full of soapy water, with a light above it. They've both caught a number of fleas, but the amount is dwindling.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, as well as my anniversary with Joanna. I think we'll mostly hang out with the kids during the day, but I have a little prezzie for her. Our main celebration is the grand Portland outing, which should be quite entertaining. Thanksgiving dinner is scheduled with my mom, and Sam requested cinnimon rolls for his birthday dessert. We'll do another little celebration on his actual birthday tomorrow too.

As for today, I'm getting things done and doing a bit of online shopping. I love getting goodies for kids, as I know I get to play with them too.

There And Back Again

November 22, 2010 by Adam in Family

Joanna flew across the country and back again, safely getting Berry and Duncan to their dad's in Rochester. She was pretty worn out this morning, having driven until eleven last night. We still managed to get to work on time.

It was a quiet weekend with just Sam and Emma. We had a lot of fun, generally staying indoors out of the rain and cold. We played Cosmic Encounter, video games, building things in the basement, and made soup and cookies. Sam was at Jamie's Friday night, so we bid farewell to Joanna, Berry, and Duncan Saturday morning and went to the library. Emma checked out books on fashion design, then we went home and waited for Sam to arrive. Sam and I finished our Trine game, which was challenging but fun. It was a pizza and Mythbusters night, after that.

Sunday I made an omelet for breakfast, worked on homework, played a bit, and ran around in the basement. I got all the laundry done and cleaned up quite a bit. The basement in particular got well scrubbed. The kids are still getting flea bites, so it's time to lay more traps tonight.

Rumor has it we'll get snow tonight. That typically means school gets canceled, so I might work from home tomorrow morning. It also means it's time to break out the heat lamp for the chickens. Only one of the three is producing eggs these days.

I'm excited for the short week, Sam's birthday, and heading to Portland with Joanna this weekend. Should be fun.

36 mitered corners

November 21, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Yesterday, I took on the challenge of learning to miter fabric corners by sewing new napkins, dish towels, and a tablecloth. Lesson learned: sewing is actually an excercise in precision ironing. I'm pretty happy with the results, and Greg is totally into soft floral patters. Bonus for me.

On another note, Greg's computer is on its last legs. Its fan makes a sound of the exact tone and quality of the opening to Lou Reed's version of This Magic Moment from the Lost Highway soundtrack (honestly. It's an unsettling similarity). Bad news. I think we'll all be giving him Apple gift cards for Christmas to defray the cost of a new machine. 

Mocha Friday

November 19, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's a delicious mocha Friday, piping hot and delicious. I have far too much work, but it's interesting and the caffeine makes me smarter than I really am.

It's been pretty low-key at the house this week, as Joanna was sick and out of work for a couple days. I took Berry and Duncan to school and generally kept things semi-organized. Fortunately she's on the mend and at work today, getting ready for her flight tomorrow.

Last night I left work early so Joanna and I could try on elf costumes. I was talked into volunteering the day after Thanksgiving, working at the hospital as part of a Santa thing. I think I'll be lifting children onto Santa's lap. I'm getting bells on my shoes and pointy ears too. Emma came with us and loved the costume store, trying on dresses and admiring the wigs. It was a long drive to Cottage Grove, but fun.

Emma scored a perfect 15 out of 15 on her spelling test. Sam got his final assignment from when he was sick at the beginning of the year. Last night he was working on his final draft of his immigrant's journal, written on paper aged with tea stains. I think he enjoys the creativity of the assignments in Cultural Connections. He also reported another time getting a fellow chess player in checkmate, so it's nice to see him building confidence all around.

I also went food shopping last night. Joanna and I were going to volunteer Wednesday, but instead retreated to the shed and watched Doctor Who as she was feeling so bad. Last night we were going to go dancing, but I instead sent her upstairs to nap. This pushed out my typical food shopping until last night. Emma came along, and was exceedingly cheerful, while I helped Sam over the phone with his homework. I ended up getting a pomegranate, white tea, and yogurt due to Emma's prompting. I completely forgot a couple snack items for Joanna's flight. Life seems to involve a lot of juggling and work, but it's meaningful and satisfying.

We've been taking extreme measures to kill off the fleas in the play room. I dumped a mixture of borax and diatomaceous earth all around. Sam's soapy water filled flea trap caught ten fleas so far, and I'll put my powder in his room tonight. I think that should take care of them nicely.

Sam's off at his mom's again tonight, and we'll have a low-key evening of packing tonight. Joanna leaves after breakfast tomorrow, Emma and I will likely go to the library, and pick up Sam after that. I predict a lazy weekend full of Mythbusters, homework, and house projects. Hopefully we can do a family hike too, perhaps visiting the Mount Pisgah Play in the Rain event.

Tea and munchins

November 19, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

I had a delightful visit with Colette, Duncan and Berry on Tuesday afternoon. The children were worried that Hobbes would forget them, so came over for a bit. It was the usual madhouse, with worker guys all around, but the kids shone through. Colette and I did an impromteau (that can't be spelled right) version of Little Bunny Foo-foo; Colette makes a smashing Good Fairy!

The rest of the week has been devoted to League of Women Voters events: my Membership committee, the Board meeting, and the monthly luncheon.

The Mud Mountain has moved from the front yard to the back, and the walls in front are in. I've given up cleaning the mud from the floors. I plan to end my days in Wellingtons rather than house slippers.

Bob, bless his heart, worked all this very cold afternoon putting in faucet covers and anti-freeze.

Busy Week!

November 18, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez

The week has kept us all on our toes! 

Isa came home early on Monday with a stomach and headache, and then stayed home on Tuesday.  She was much recovered by Wednesday.  Monday night she was feeling good enough for us all to go see Mega Mind, which was fun.

Yesterday, Robbie had his advisor come and observe his classroom.  Overall they told him what we already knew.  He's a pretty awesome teacher.

I've been getting the computers in the store, cafe, and ski shop all set up for opening day.  I've spent huge amounts of time in the cave where the server lives, updating records.  We have a new manager in the cafe, so I had to clear all the old info, and re-enter the new menu into the POS system.  Additionally, the managers - who have never really learned to set up anything in the 2 yr old POS system - are out of town today, so I'm running over to do some sales training this morning. 

Somewhere in there I've finished up the kitchen remodel (the new light fixture goes in this morning).  I'll post before and after pics when I get the chance.  Also, I think there's a holiday next week : ) and Alex will be out to visit.  Should be a fun time, and our snow's great, so Robbie and Isa should get some runs in!

Mid-Week Update

November 18, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's hard to believe that the week is half over already. Joanna and I have been sick, her more than I. She stayed home today after I took her from work early yesterday.

The flea infestation is slowly being taken care of. We put out a bowl of soapy water, hung a light over it, and caught a couple. Last night I picked up some Borax and diatomaceous earth to spread around on the carpets. Everything got vacuumed yesterday too. With luck, treatment, and no cat, it'll all get taken care of.

Sam's science grade went from a no-pass to a B, after he talked to the teacher and got a bunch of his work graded properly. We have some questions for his health class to turn in and then I think he'll be completely caught up. He's doing a journal on immigration that's pretty cool, role-playing a Russian carpenter.

If Joanna and I are up for it, I think we're going to Food for Lane County tonight to repackage food to give out. Should be fun. Tomorrow is dancing, I think, and Saturday morning Joanna, Berry, and Duncan leave for Rochester. Joanna's gone for the weekend, but we won't see B&D until after Thanksgiving.

Robots, Board Games, and Play

November 15, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm back at work after four days of hanging out with the kids.  It was lovely and lazy and extremely self-indulgent.

Sam was at Jamie's Friday night, and our babysitter was busy, so Joanna and I hung out with the younger kids and watched the Sherlock Holmes movie.  Saturday Sam arrived in the morning, and I took the younger kids to the library by myself.  We had a good time, and I'm getting the hang of managing three kids at once.  We returned with a hefty supply of books.

In the afternoon we took the younger kids to the Autumn Fair at the Little French School.  We shopped briefly and all moved to the craft room to work on projects.  Emma made an archer doll with my assistance.  She also had three of her old teachers recognize her, which was cool.

I managed to sneak in assorted play time, specifically with a game called Trine.  It's a physics-based fantasy game.  My favorite character was the wizard, and spent a lot of time dropping summoned boxes on people's heads.  Sam and I ended up laughing a lot, which was the main point.

The evening was low-key and Sam, Joanna, and I ended up watching Chuck as is the way of our people.

Sunday Joanna and I went to church on Sunday and heard Bishop Spong speak, a mixture of stand up comedy and how he didn't particularly like religious people.  The afternoon Joanna took Duncan on a play date.  Sam, Emma, and I played a great game of Magic.  Emma and I played a vampire board game.  I broke out the robot, which Sam immediately grabbed and begun to program.  Soon the whir of servos filled the kitchen, followed by a robotic "Whoops" whenever it ran into things.

Life is good.


Final Race Post (I promise)

November 13, 2010 by Lohring in Lohring

Well, two months later I finally quit taking naproxin and am recovered.  A very short video that summarizes our experience is at  The first 19 seconds are when everything was going well, and the rest was after Mike got hurt.  At the end Eric is climbing out on the deck to secure a gas cap, and we are trying to figure out why the GPS stopped working.  The first 19 seconds look so gracefull I almost want to go back.  (STOP ME!)

Tea-Filled Friday

November 12, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm on my second day off of work, which has been quite lazy and relaxing.  I've been hanging out with kids, playing games, and generally being self-indulgent.  It's been wonderful.

Swing dancing was great on Wednesday.  They had a live band and the place was packed.  I felt a little inadequate among all the amazing dancers, but Joanna's pretty easy to dance with and ignore everyone else.

Yesterday Joanna was off of work and we generally hung out at home.  I took Sam to the dentist, where they took out one of his baby teeth that was causing issues. It was somewhat uncomfortable, and he basically sat around taking ibuprophen for the rest of the day.  Lots of The Office was watched.

Emma arrived in the afternoon and joined the lounging about.  We went to the store together to load up on pizza for pizza and Mythbusters.  Kids were sent to bed.  Chuck was watched.  Life's good.

Today Joanna had to go off to work, and Berry and Duncan to school.  Sam, Emma, and I played a great game of Magic, where Emma completely slaughtered us.  I just picked up Duncan from the Little French School.  Emma enjoyed playing on her old playground briefly.  Now Emma and Duncan are drawing while I sip tea.

I am still alive and kicking...barely!

November 12, 2010 by Robbie in Cortez

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I have been drowning in a flood of final school projects and work. I have a huge portfolio due at the beginning of December. Luckily, I had most of the work done for it, but I had a lot of other smaller projects that I have to finish. During my lunch break I have been typing up these papers and stressing out. I have realized that I don't multitask well and stress out quickly. On top of this project, I started another class and hoping it would be easy without any projects. No such luck! I have a webquest project due with a partner who is meticulous about every little detail. I just want to finish the project, but she wants to make sure every little detail is flushed out. AUGH! I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel though. Finally, the last stressful item on my agenda is that I have to take competency and reading endorsement test on Saturday the 13th. The competency test is for graduation and the reading endorsement test is for work. Once these projects are finished in early December, I will have finished the program.

Work is going well, and I do enjoy the students. I work with students that are just below benchmark, from 1st-6th grade. I will work there for a year, and next year I have been accepted in a Masters of Education for Special Needs program. Through a special grant, they will pay for my schooling, place me in an independent school district and pay me $30,000 a year.

I have also been dealing with buying a new car. I have been looking at the new Ford Fiesta, but have had no luck with the Taos dealer. I am now in contact with a dealer in Albuquerque who seems to interested in working with me.

Once December comes around, I can finally relax for a little while!

Marking the 11th hour of the 11th day of the ...

November 11, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez

Marking the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.  While I strongly believe we should honor all vets, I wish we'd honor them better by ending wars.  Try spending 1 day NOT hating something or someone - even those that really piss you off.  One part of a better world is allowing everyone to have a different opinion, and being ok with that.

The Walking Dead

November 10, 2010 by Adam in Family

We've been sick on and off the last few days. Joanna was out Monday night, laying down upon arriving home and waking up briefly around ten. Berry and Duncan cheerfully let me feed them and get them in bed, leaving Sam and I to watch another episode of The Walking Dead. As before, it's awesome and creepy.

Sam was home sick yesterday, with mom picking him up from school. I fetched him and kept an eye on him at home. While downstairs reading, he managed to pull out his loose molar. Tomorrow he's getting two more pulled, so the Tooth Fairy will be shelling out quite a bit of cash.

Berry has the sniffles, and wasn't feeling very well last night, and was coughing a bit. Duncan's been fine, and Joanna reports that his parent-teacher conferences went well this morning, as expected.

I continue to actually read a book, which is loads of fun. I'm not quite sure why I stopped reading, other than the absolute lack of time.

Sam and Emma both reported bug bites, and Sam found some fleas jumping about. I bought some spray stuff, vacuumed his carpet, and started washing all his clothes. With Hobbes gone, it seems they've decided to feast on juicy humans.

Joanna and I hope to go swing dancing tonight, a live band. I've also got some conferences with Sam's teachers tonight. Busy, busy.

Generic Heading

November 10, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez


Gettin' there

November 09, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

Well, there's certainly still lots of things to do outside, but most of the stuff which requires supervision is done. I'm glad, since I managed to get a cold, and I'm sitting here in bed surrounded by little mountains of soggy tissue. I'm trying to reach you by phone, Seraph, to wish you a happy birthday. I'm not sure Jenny has had a chance to talk to anyone but Adam and Lohring, but Jordan twisted his leg, and has to stay home, in bed, for a week. He's also supposed to have an MRI. Jenny said she would keep me updated, and I'll try to be better about posting. It was so nice to see everyone on Sunday. Adam and Joanna, that was an inspired idea.

Lazy Weekends

November 08, 2010 by Adam in Family

Well, the weekend was lazy for me. Joanna ended up going to two different birthday events, while I generally took it easy. Joanna was also recovering from her cold, and napped a lot on Saturday, but was mostly improved by Saturday.

Friday evening I left work a little early, paid off the contractor that supposedly worked on the basement leak, cashed the insurance check, went shopping for Sunday dinner, got Tasty Thai food, and picked up Emma. Sam went to Jamie's for the night, arriving in the morning after breakfast. I made a triple batch of crepes, which is about how many we go through in a week.

My mom's helper guy, Richard, came over at ten. We got the light up in the basement, and the storm window back on the french doors. It felt really good to get that all accomplished. Afterward, we made a family expedition to the library, returning with endless books, even one for me that I've actually been reading.

Sam and I played Titan Quest when Joanna took Berry and Duncan to the first birthday party. It was amazingly fun, adventuring across the Greek landscape fighting mythological beasts. Emma even played a little. Sam and Emma got a ton of homework done. Emma in particular went through quite a bit of reading, math, and handwriting practice. The evening had us watching Mythbusters and eating pizza. I'd gotten Joanna a gluten-free crust, and it turned out nicely. After everyone got to sleep, Sam, Joanna, and I watched another Chuck episode.

Sunday morning I made gluten-free chocolate-chip scones. I managed to break a plate after breakfast and cut up my fingers a fair amount. We had another lazy morning, with Joanna working on assorted computer projects for work. Collette scooped up Berry, Joanna took Duncan to the wave pool where they had a great time, and I took Emma to Morgan's house. Sam and I played more of our game, making me feel very self-indulgent.

The evening was full of cooking and family, barely fitting everyone around our two tables. The food was excellent, as well as the company.

Wedding Project Two

November 07, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I'm working on signage for the Walden Bean Farm. Here are my first painted signs, all of which have black chalkboard paint in the middle. That's a beet, a banner, and a growler of beer.

Wedding Project One

November 07, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

After a month adjusting to work, I'm starting to pull together wedding projects. Here are a few mock-ups of centerpieces. 

Doc Marten Mocha Friday

November 05, 2010 by Adam in Family

I think my broken toe is finally healed, at least to the point where I can wear my Doc Marten's on Friday as I used to. I bonked my pinkie toe on a chair yesterday, and the pain wasn't excruciating, so that's a plus.

Sam's really enjoying Cultural Connections, where he's roleplaying a Russian immigrant. His character was rolled up like an RPG, and he's a strapping young lad with no money, excellent health, and an elementary school education. He was up writing stories about his journey to America last night.

Emma arrived yesterday, and was happy and charming as usual. Joanna was sick and lost her voice, staying home yesterday. I arrived to find everyone but Sam in the backyard, getting the garden ready for the winter. I'm not quite sure what she plans on doing with the green tomatoes, but I hope it's tasty.

After dinner last night, we played Duncan's favorite game of telephone, each person whispering in the next person's ear. Everyone seems to get into it, and occasionally the phrase gets garbled into something especially funny. Last night was more fun than usual as Joanna could only whisper.

There was some big school news yesterday, where they plan on closing Crest Drive where Emma goes to school. It's all quite annoying, but I'm hopeful Jamie and I can figure out a good school for her next year if it all comes to pass.

As for the weekend, we have the big family dinner on Sunday. I'd like to accomplish some chores, though the usual reality is that I can never get everything done. Sam's spending the night at Jamie's and home tomorrow morning. Play time with the kids sounds great. I'm not sure if I can pull off a date with Joanna tonight, as our usual sitter is busy. Maybe I'll call my mom and see if she can feed three kids tonight.

There was a funny moment this morning when Jamie arrived and started assisting Duncan and Berry to get their shoes on and out the door. I'm glad we're all able to get along as well as we do. Emma has no school, so she and Jamie get to hang out today. I'm taking two days off next week, so it'll soon be my turn to watch kids on their days off school.


November 03, 2010 by Adam in Family

I went to Emma's parent-teacher conference yesterday. Her teacher had glowing words for her enthusiasm, kindness, and overall helpfulness. The two areas that Emma needed help in were handwriting and coin recognition. There's always something, I suppose. It was good to see her doing so well with reading comprehension and math. Plus it was fun to just see her for a little, as I don't get to again until Thursday.

Sam reported that he played chess as usual during lunch yesterday, and got checkmate within five moves against a moderately good player. That was neat to hear, not only that he's doing well, but that he's making friends and fitting in. His homework is increasingly caught up, and school isn't quite as overwhelming as it once seemed.

The holidays are coming up and plans are getting finalized for Thanksgiving, Sam's birthday, school furlough days, and winter break. Jamie and I had a productive chat yesterday and I think it's mostly sorted out. Joanna and I are trying to figure out a Portland trip.

Last night I went food shopping and helped Sam with homework over the phone as usual. The plan is to go swing dancing tonight. Life continues onward.


November 01, 2010 by Adam in Family

Halloween has come and gone, our neighborhood awash with hordes of children.  Emma wore four different costumes between Friday and Sunday - a kitty, a vampire or two, and someone wearing a nice dress and makeup.  Berry had two - Taylor Swift and a princess.  Duncan stuck with a lady bug.  Sam opted not to dress up this year, and cheerfully ate all the candy the smaller kids didn't want.  He feasted well last night and this morning.

In terms of the rest of the weekend, it mostly involved puttering about.  Saturday morning I took the smaller kids to the library while Joanna got a hair cut.  She was pretty wiped out, so she had a bit of quiet time while I finished painting the basement.  Everything but the main light is up at this point, so it feels good to finally get that accomplished.

The afternoon was full of birthdays and Halloween parties.  I took Emma to Kate's party, which had ten or so class mates.  Tom and Julie had done up their house in an elaborate fashion, and Emma enjoyed playing with the various skulls and fortune telling props in the basement.  As for me, I talked to a guy dressed as the Cat in the Hat who ran Emma's Coyote Kids program last year.

It was a low-key night, with Joanna and I watching Doctor Who since Sam wasn't around.  Emma had trouble sleeping, but finally crashed around nine.  There were chores in the morning, laundry and cleaning.  I was admittedly a bit grumpy, but perked up later in the day.  Everyone put on costumes for church, and we returned home to Sam at his computer.

We had a deliberately lazy afternoon, with everyone playing inside and out.  Halloween was fun, seeing everyone's costumes and watching Berry use her cuteness to haul in the candy. Emma had trouble sleeping again, so four of us watched Chuck and went to bed.

The Halloween Edition of Mocha Friday

October 29, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm dressed as Chuck, from the Chuck TV show, sipping on my mocha and working on SharePoint issues.  The badge came out particularly well for my outfit, which otherwise looks like a standard shirt and tie with Converse.  The plan is I wear it off and on to the various Halloween festivities throughout the weekend.

Sam got his grades on Wednesday, an odd mix of A's and B's, as well as a couple C's and a D.  He still had some missing assignments from when he was sick, and getting them, turning them in, and getting them graded has been challenging.  He still has math and science, which I'm hoping will be done soon.  I've got to get him a new book for independent reading when I take all the kids to the library tomorrow.  And lots of math.

Yesterday was somewhat fun, leaving work early and taking Emma to Skate World.  We ran into a friend of hers, and many people were dressed up.  Unfortunately her stomach started to hurt, she got hungry, there were some falls, and we decided to head home.  Duncan's stomach was hurting this morning too, so I'm hoping we don't all get sick this weekend.

Berry and Duncan have a birthday party to go to tomorrow, as does Emma.  We'll see how everyone's feeling.  Joanna and I are going to a movie at the old McDonald Theater tonight, which should be entertaining.  Hopefully my mom can come over and play Pretty, Pretty Princess with Emma and Berry.


October 27, 2010 by Adam in Family

We're a Glee household. Last night after Berry and Duncan got to bed, Sam, Joanna, and I piled on to the couches to watch the latest episode. I have a soft spot in my heart for Rocky Horror Picture Show, and an episode based on it did not disappoint.

Other than that, it's been a relatively quiet week. The nuttiness of the weekend has faded and Joanna and I have both recaptured our humor and good natured demeanor. Duncan and Berry have been generally cute and charming. Sam has been working for hours on homework every night after dinner. Joanna discovered a new British accent that cracks everyone up.

Last night I went shopping, as usual. The routine is to put on my headset and wander the aisles throwing food in the cart while helping Sam with homework. I had to reassure the checkout woman that the voices in my head were really there. Sam strangely likes me helping remotely, and I like the company as I shop.

I have a lot of things I'm looking forward to that are coming up. Tonight Joanna and I are going swing dancing. I'm taking Emma roller skating Thursday afternoon. Halloween is this weekend, and I'm going to either dust off my pirate outfit, or try and pull off Chuck.

I did get news that Sam is going to have to have a couple teeth extracted. I'll try to get it soon enough before Thanksgiving so that he can eat turkey and his birthday cake. These things are important.

Relaxing at Work

October 25, 2010 by Adam in Family

Some Mondays I look forward to going to work after a really busy weekend. My tasks are fun and interesting, and the interruptions are fewer and typically polite.

Sam worked on homework every day for three days. The PowerPoint presentation was put together, his poster on submarines was created, math was finished, and he revised his book cover based on assignments he learned was missing. To top it off, I learned he finished his woodworking quiz. It took a few weeks, but he got 100% as required and can now use all the nifty power tools. So, I was proud of him for getting everything done. It was somewhat exhausting, and I didn't accomplish a lot else beyond that.

The basement is slowly coming together. I painted one wall and put the washer and dryer in place. That felt good. Yesterday I put in the smoke alarm and the shelf. I still need to put in two lights and paint more, but it seems less overwhelming than at the beginning. I still haven't heard anything from the contractor who was supposed to do all this work. Kind of annoying.

Other than that, it was your basic cooking meals, doing laundry, cleaning, and so on. Sunday morning I made great gluten-free scones, and Joanna and Berry made cookies in the afternoon. Everyone but Sam went to carve pumpkins at Jason's house like the year before. Emma came home with Sea Monkeys, which she's very excited about.

I look forward to the routine, and settling down a bit. Cereal and Chuck each night sounds like a wonderful reward for the end of a rough day.

Bad Mom, bad friend

October 25, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

Apologies to all. I have been so busy dealing with the landscaping stuff that I have been awful about communicating. So, Yayoe, you have been almost constantly in my thoughts. I am hoping that you are recuperating well. Hanni, we loved the wonderful tomatoes you gave us. Sadie, I promise we will spend time together even electronically. Seraph, I haven't talked to you since who knows when. Tell me a time, any time. I love you all.

Way Too Much Coffee Friday

October 23, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's Saturday morning already, with everyone still fast asleep.  Yesterday was a whirlwind day, which I took off from work in order to accomplish everything.

I took Emma to school in the morning, bringing Sam along for the ride.  It went smoothly, other than the forgotten backpack which was lost in the shuffle of the piggy bank, jacket, and poncho.  Afterward, we headed to the Glenwood for a tasty breakfast with my mom.  No mocha, but plenty of coffee.  There's the possibility that she take our cat Hobbes, who isn't getting a lot of attention and makes the basement off-limits for me for a long time.  We'll see how that turns out.

After breakfast, Sam and I returned home for homework.  He slowly waded through math while I sanded the drywall smooth and applied spray texture.  It doesn't quite match, but it looks well enough.  I had a huge sense of relief to finally put the washer and dryer back for good, as well as clean up most of the mess.  I have some touch-up and the ceiling to paint, but the vast majority is done.  The contractor who was supposed to do it never showed up the week before last.  Like with work, if you want to do something right, I've learned it's best done yourself.

Sam worked on his PowerPoint presentation on stress relief through crying after lunch.  I left him plugging away at it while I picked up Emma from school.  We immediately went to an afternoon birthday party at Skate World.  Emma had never skated before, and I hadn't for probably twenty years.  It was awesome, though, skating around the rink and holding hands as she worked really hard to figure it out.  There were many falls on her butt, which was still sore that night.

Eventually we had cake and slipped out to visit Joanna at work.  Emma went home with her and I went to get pizza.  Once again we had pizza and Mythbusters, the tradition continuing.  Sam worked on PowerPoint a bit more, exercised with the weights I got him and did stair stepping.  After all the kids were in bed, the three of us watched two episodes of Chuck and went to bed tired, but satisfied.

I'm not sure we've completely nailed down the schedule for today.  I'd like to go to the library.  Sam needs to do some more homework, and is going to a birthday party this afternoon.  Joanna and I are trying to get some time together.  Tomorrow we're going to a pumpkin carving party.  Life's busy, but good.  Better start making crepes for the hordes when they awake.

Cleaning closets

October 20, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez

So yesterday afternoon I pulled everything out of our bedroom closet.  It's pretty big, and we've spent a year shoving bags and boxes of random crap into it.  At this point Robbie gets home, takes a look at the pile on the floor, and promptly lies down on the couch with a washcloth over his eyes, saying he has a headache!  I don't know why he doesn't understand my OCD episodes.

Anyway, I have spent this morning sorting through years of saved papers, documents, and again, random crap.  I know have neatly labled expandos for each year, with only the really important documents (I realized I don't need to keep EVEY bank statement and bill from 2006).  Sadly the pile hasn't gotten smaller.  Now I have a pile of paper the height of Isa that we'll need to burn.  We don't have a shredder or recycling, so I think we'll roast marshmellos tonight by the warmth of burning check registars.

A last note on all the paperwork.  I noticed that the times we;ve been really broke, we kept amazing records.  The years when we were a part of the free spending economic process, our records are sloppy and incomplete.  I guess we didn't care about every possible tax write off then.

3 Hours of Homework

October 20, 2010 by Adam in Sam

Sam worked on homework from after dinner until bedtime. It was surprising just how much stuff he had to do. Roosevelt seems to have quite a bit more homework than in elementary school. We helped him write a limerick on density, research a paper on submarines, and do some math. He has more for today, and this weekend I'm hoping to help him work on a PowerPoint presentation. The topic is crying as stress relief, which may come in handy.

Figuring out what Sam does in his free time takes a bit of detective work. Lunches are spent in the library with the chess players. He evidently plays with them on occasion, even though he claims to be worst player in the bunch. He was talking about game variations that I've never heard of, like Bugout and Subspace. I like hearing that he's making friends and working himself into a little community of sorts. They seem like a cool bunch, made up of quite a few "frenchies," the folks from the French immersion school where chess is played frequently.

He's out of school this Friday, so I'm taking the day off of work. Hopefully we can get time to catch up on his homework, as well as get some play time in. Should be fun.

Long Time, No Post

October 19, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez

Hello All!  I've been on vacation off and on the last two weeks, so we haven't had much time to post! 

We had a great visit with Hanni, Charles and Judy for Hanni's birthday.  Poor Hanni had a cold, but still managed to be cheeful and fun.  It was fun to catch up with everyone and show them around the area.  I only managed to get everyone lost once!!  Charles and Judy drove back to WY on Sunday the 10th.  Isa and I camped out in our campground on Sunday night, and Robbie and I went to Ojo Caliente on Monday night for our anniversery. 

 Isa was sick with a cold during the week, but was better on Friday.  Friday, Robbie delivered Hanni to the airport and then joined Isa's class at the ABQ Natural History Museum for an overnight field trip.  Sat we all met in Santa Fe and used a gift certificate we had to stay at a resort there.  Isa had a friend along so that was fun.  The rest of the weekend was low key, with me back to work tonight.

I've spent the day working on our 2009 taxes (arrggggg).  I don't know why we have to be all biblical and have tax season coinside with the end of ski season!  We're working on a USDA loan for a house and property in Dixon so I've got to get them done though, sigh....

Quiet Weekend

October 18, 2010 by Adam in Family

We had a fairly quiet weekend all-around. Sam and Emma went to the beach with Jamie. Emma went out shell collecting and claims to have touched a seal. Sam took the "relax at the beach" approach, spending the weekend reading and watching assorted videos.

Friday night Joanna and I took Berry and Duncan swimming. They continue to really enjoy the water, and we had a fine time all around. Saturday was surprisingly busy, starting with a Health Kids run where B&D loaded up on prizes, got their pictures taken with the U of O cheerleaders and mascot, and ran around inside to get their face painted. After that was a trip to Target, Ben Franklin, the Beanery, Down to Earth, and finally an orchard out in Springfield. We returned home with an apple tree, exhausted.

We puttered around for the afternoon, doing chores and enjoying the day. I actually got some reading in, the Walking Dead books that Sam strongly recommended. They were excellent and creepy, and made short work of them. Joanna had a work event, leaving Duncan and Berry with me, my first night taking care of them alone. Fortunately they were wonderful and Berry exclaimed that I could babysit anytime. They quietly fell asleep and I managed to play a little Civilization V before Joanna returned, gussied up and tired.

Sunday was a hearty breakfast of crepes and bacon, with gluten-free crepes for Joanna. They were delicious, as always. We went to church, came home for lunch, and puttered about until Sam and Emma arrived. Sam's been motivated to earn some money for a game, so I put him to work digging a hole for the new apple tree. Since I got a little more of his time, I took him to the basement and we patched drywall a little more. It's looking really good.

Emma is fun to have about, as always. We laughed and played in the yard and had a good time. We did some of her math homework and worked a little on her reading. I missed tucking her to bed at night.

Emma Update

October 15, 2010 by Adam in Emma

Emma's had all sorts of exciting things happen to her in the last week, much of which was filmed. Emma had her BFF Morgan come over for a visit, ran in the jog-a-thon, dyed her pink, got glasses, and was generally cute and sassy.

Vanilla Mocha Friday

October 15, 2010 by Adam in Family

Just to prove that I can be exciting and zany, I had a vanilla mocha this morning. Plus it was the special, so it was cheap. But I'm zany, too, honest. It was a rough week for Sam, as he had stomach pain Wednesday night, was up late, and was completely out of it Thursday morning. I worked at home until it was time for him to go to school. I fretted about him all day long, but when I arrived home he was laughing and fighting zombies with Josh so all was well. He's getting increasingly caught up with his homework, and hopefully with a weekend push he'll finally get to where he needs to be. Emma stayed over last night, and was a treat to have about as always. She got her glasses, so she excitedly wore them off and on throughout the night. It was also Berry's half birthday, so we had cupcakes, sang songs, and handed out a small present. She was horribly excited and wanted to take her new jewelry case to sharing at school this morning. That didn't pass the mum test, so we went with the heart pillow. The kids are both going to the beach with Jamie until Sunday afternoon, so it'll be somewhat quiet about the house. I think we'll try going swimming tonight, a kid run for Duncan in the morning, shopping for fruit trees in the afternoon, and then Joanna's going to a work gala that evening. I'm putting the kids to bed, which hopefully will go well. I have a Barbie DVD, just in case. Sunday I'm hoping the kids get back early afternoon, as Sam's been wanting to work for money and I should have some holes to dig.

Mid-Week Update

October 13, 2010 by Adam in Family

Life continues to be great, busy, and full.  Emma's glasses arrived, which we're trying to get to her.  Duncan lost a tooth, writing a very sweet letter to the Tooth Fairy.  Sam went home Tuesday with a headache, and have been frantically trying to catch up on homework.  Hopefully we can get caught up and reduce his stress levels.  Emma wanted to come over Monday night to practice bike riding.  Berry has been cute and funny and singing the "Get Your Sparkle On" Barbie song.

The house projects continue.  As I can't really afford to pay anyone to fix things, I've been doing it myself.  The contractor has yet to call, so I've been finishing the drywall myself.  We had the roof leak over the weekend during the heavy rains. The sprinkler system doesn't work.  The outdoor light does this weird on/off cycle.  The gas fireplace doesn't turn on.  Maybe next year I can go through and pay to get all the miscellaneous issues resolved.

Joanna and I went out to our first Lindy Hop lesson last night, and it turns out the room was double booked.  There were a couple tai chi people, and we decided we could probably have taken them.  Of course, they'd fight in slow motion and we'd have to do a dance fight.  It probably would have ended in tears and hysterical laughter.

Post-op progress report

October 13, 2010 by Yayoe in Yayoe

HI There,

Just a quick note to say my recovery is going very well. It's been almost a week since my surgery. I'm up on crutches, walking, taking nourishment, chopping wood/carrying water, etc. John and friends have been wonderful helping out and taking good care of me.

I have very little pain but a lot of swelling which makes my leg look like a eggplant. If you're curioius  I'll show you my incision at the next family dinner. It will of course be an X-rated visual. It's hard to believe that my new hip/socket got thorough such a small opening. I'm still wondering if they threaded it through my nose or something weird like that! You know those surgeons.

The Tooth Fairy Cometh

October 11, 2010 by Adam in Sam

Sam, Emma, and Duncan all have wiggly teeth.  Sam was the first to lose one of his, popping out while Emma and I were bike riding.  He was especially excited, as he's trying to get money these days.  As is traditional in our family, I gave him $1 and a note from the tooth fairy.

Five Days Away

October 11, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's been so much fun having five days off, four of them with the kids.  Much was accomplished, from fixing the dead battery and corroded cables in the car, to patching the basement drywall even more since the contractor didn't call.  More issues popped up, such as a leak in the living room roof, which is mysterious.  Joanna sewed up a storm, finishing pajamas for both kids.

Saturday morning we all went to the library, where I loaded up on zombie graphic novels for Sam.  There was a puppet incident, and Duncan had a minor meltdown, fortunately reverting to a nice boy again by the afternoon.  We all worked on projects and I did a store run for pizza at the end of the day.  I took Emma out for a bike ride, where she ended up getting really good.  Sam returned from Jamie's and we had pizza and Mythbusters, the first time in months.

Sunday morning everyone but Sam woke up early and we drove to Autzen for a 5K Race for the Cure.  It was pouring rain, so Joanna took the kids to load up on cookies and swag.  I had a great time running hard through the rain, passing people as I went.  I heard a "Go Adam!" as I ran across the finish line, and we all wandered home.  I cooked up a massive breakfast for myself, and froze a bunch of crepes for the week.  I woke up Sam, who stayed up reading The Walking Dead, and we chatted about zombies while slathering on whip cream.  Good times.

The rest of the day was made up of homework, house projects, play dates, and a trip to the park for riding and play.  Sunday dinner we discovered that the kids love artichokes, or at least the part where they dip it in butter.  Sam did stairstepping, Emma ate tofu, and we watched more Chuck after the littler kids dozed off.

Happy Anniversery!

October 11, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy Anniversery Robbie!!  13 years - wow - here's to many more : )

BTW Adam, Robbie wants to know if you really can get lucky by drinking mocha.  Hee hee, maybe he'll become a coffee drinker after all.

Mocha Evening

October 09, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's nearly dinnertime, and my morning's self-made mocha is long gone.  Joanna and I are going to a coffee shop to listen to music, so I may end up getting lucky again.  We'll see.

It's day two of no school and no work.  Joanna had her "hot needles in the back" procedure, and is recovering nicely.  Her fog seems to have lifted, after almost twelve hours of sleep yesterday between the night and naps.  She ran errands, worked, and is sewing up a variety of kid outfits.

Sam, Josh, and I played far too much Left 4 Dead 2 yesterday, battling zombies and giggling all the way.  Sam is also working hard on catching up with his homework.  After missing a week and a half of school, he has quite a way to catch up.

Jamie picked up Sam this morning after breakfast.  I took Emma to the eye doctors, where she picked out glasses.  I walked Berry and Duncan over to Collette's and Emma took me for a haircut and Metropol goodies.  Emma and I worked on homework, ate lunch, and went down to the park to ride bikes.  Upon our return, I worked on laundry, cleaned up the basement, taped drywall, and generally worked too much.

We have assorted events this weekend.  Tomorrow we'll likely go to the library, and I have a 5K run on Sunday.  Maybe I can even relax a bit along the way.

I'm Awesome

October 09, 2010 by Adam in Emma

I had quite a bit of time to hang out with Emma today, which was loads of fun.  After the homework and assorted house projects, I took her down to the park to work on her cycling.  Somehow, it all came together today and she was riding around all by herself.  She's awesome.

New Glasses

October 08, 2010 by Adam in Emma

Emma's been complaining of poor vision, and after an at-home eye test, I decided it was time to take her in.  My longtime eyedoctor, Dr. Arbow, was friendly and good.  Emma was an excellent patient.

It turns out she's a little farsighted, which makes reading up-close difficult.  The recommendation was for reading glasses, which she eagerly tried on and will pick up early next week.  With luck, she won't need glasses as an adult, though.  Evidently farsightedness is very common at her age.


Jog-A-Thons and Back Procedures

October 07, 2010 by Adam in Family

I didn't really work today, though I found myself at work more than once.  Sam was also on the mend, semi-cheerfully heading off to school.  I dropped off Joanna, did a bit of work, and drove over to Emma's jog-a-thon.  She was having a great time, and was her usual cute, impish self.  She's excited to come over tomorrow for four days of no work and school, as am I.

Next was a stop at the battery store to replace the battery for the Sentra which died in the Oregon Community Credit Union drive-through.  I headed over to pick up Joanna and took her to her back procedure place, where she was getting her lower back nerves zapped with RF.

I rubbed her feet as she got her IV hooked up and waited.  Off she was wheeled, returning 30 minutes later, stoned out of her mind.  Evidently whatever sedation they gave her was pretty significant.  Eating the cheese stick they gave her seemed to take forever.  I eventually got her into the car and off to home, where I doted on her throughout the day.

Sam came home and we worked on getting his schoolwork organized.  I was a little miffed that his science homework didn't make it home.  Hopefully we can get that next week.  He still has a long list of odds and ends, but at the end of the afternoon, I felt far more together.

We got kiddos to bed and watched Glee.  Tomorrow is the dentist for Sam and Friday is the eye doctor for Emma.  Otherwise I want to hang out and take it easy.

Happy Birthday, Greg

October 05, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

and happy first day of work, Sadie. Many hugs.

Walking through the Woods

October 04, 2010 by Adam in Family

It was another whirlwind weekend, as it often is when everyone is about. Sam stayed home on Friday, still sick, but was fortunately much improved on Saturday. He played with his friend Chase, and then switched to John upon arriving home. The two of them had a good time until John's departure Sunday morning.

Joanna and I snuck away for a little bit Friday night, walking over to Metropol to get a bit of fresh air and goodies for the morning. Joanna's been playing with her GoFit gadget, which records her steps, activity, and so on. It's highly entertaining to the scientist in me.

Saturday afternoon Emma's friend Morgan also showed up, and the two girls had a great time playing Sims 3 and filming movies. I entertained Berry and Duncan while Joanna shopped, repeatedly dropping them on the Foof in the basement.

Sunday came with a huge batch of crepes and whip cream. Emma, Berry, and Duncan watched a new Barbie movie while Sam and John hung out. I did a bit of work on the drywall, which hopefully will get finished by some contractors by next weekend. I'll do the painting, and can hopefully call it good without going completely broke. The kitchen sink works great, at least.

Everyone but Sam went to church, returning for lunch, playing a bit, and then going for a walk on Ridgeline Trail. We found an odd little shelter made out of sticks, which fascinated everyone. Emma loved picking blackberries, and Berry and Duncan loved to eat them.

That night, there was a huge dinner for my family. It was great seeing everyone, celebrating Hanni and Collette's birthdays, and eating good food. After endless dishes, cleaning, and getting Emma to bed, Joanna, Sam and I collapsed on the couch to watch Chuck. It's those simple pleasures that I live for.

Emma may need glasses. I've got an eye appointment for her coming up later this week. My car battery died. We got a new chicken. Life goes on.

Nice to See Everyone

October 04, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

Thanks to Adam and Joanna for the lovely dinner. It was good to see everyone, tho we missed Yayoe and John, as Yayoe is trying to avoid all potential germ situations, as her hip replacement is comming up this week. Please send good thoughts her way. We had a late celebration of Colette's birthday, and an early celebration of Hanni's.

I've been a negligent grandma for the last month. I've had worker guys pretty much non-stop since Labor Day, and I'm glad that the back yard is about ready for the excavator to show up. The basement is coming along, too.

Taylor Swift Friday

October 01, 2010 by Adam in Family

I can always tell when Emma's back home again. Berry ends up dressed up and covered in makeup. The two of them start singing songs and chatting. Taylor Swift is pretty huge in the house, and there was a lot of singing over the last couple days. Sam continues to be sick, was out yesterday and again today. I'm trying hard to get him caught up with homework. We've been doing his reading every night, and answering questions. There was a break for Glee on Tuesday, and yesterday he watched the final episode of The Colony. I hope he's not worrying about school, and it's just the virus everyone else has had. Transitioning from Summer can be rough for everyone. Joanna's finally feeling better after a week of coughing and sneezing. I really hope this weekend marks the end of all the sicknesses. We have lots of playdates lined up, as well as the Sunday night dinner. Should be fun and busy. Strange rumors continue to rumble around at work. We had a bleak team meeting where it seemed more likely that everyone's jobs would move to Vancouver. I'm not leaving my kids, so it would mean I'd need to find new work. Still, internal communication is horrible and no one really knows anything. It could be that nothing happens, and even if it does, it's not for years. I tossed and turned last night, then awoke hopeful. I've reinvented myself before, and can do so again. My mocha was wonderful this morning. Joanna and I are going to have a quick date of sorts together tonight, walking down to a coffee shop and chatting, then returning home. I look forward to the weekend and hanging out with kids. Family is very reassuring.

At Least The Kids Got To School

September 28, 2010 by Adam in Family

Poor Joanna's been feeling under the weather the last couple days, and decided that she wasn't up for going to school. After Sam and I being sick all last week, it wasn't entirely unexpected.

Joanna helped get Berry and Duncan to the car, and then I drove them to Fox Hollow and put Berry on the bus to the Little French School. The kids were surprisingly cheerful, possibly due to my endless silly dialog.

Joanna told me she got Sam to eat a bit of food and sent him on his way. Sam's bump on his forehead from yesterday is still a little red, but no bruising so far. He was swamped with homework against last night, and I had him reading and doing math for most of the night. Tomorrow will be more of the same. I'm hoping that Joanna and I can find some time to hang out this week. So far, illnesses and busy babysitters have kept us at home, watching old episodes of Chuck.

Picnics, Birthdays, and Too Much Drywall

September 27, 2010 by Adam in Family

Jamie had the kids from Friday afternoon until Sunday night, so my plan was to put up drywall in the basement and get things increasingly finished up. Little did I know what was in store for me. Friday night was fun and pleasant. We went to Fox Hollow for a fundraiser picnic. Duncan and Berry played like crazy on the playground, with everyone impressed by how brave Duncan has become leaping about the play structures. I ran into lots of people I know - James and Michele from work, and Barbara who used to teach Emma at the Little French School. In any case, Duncan slid down the hill on pizza boxes like everyone else, and they all had a good time. Saturday I started in on my basement project in earnest, picking up the supplies I needed from the store, along with a replacement freezer as the old one kept shocking me. Once I returned, I begun the messy task of hanging insulation and cutting drywall to fit. It ended up being far more difficult than I thought, and Joanna and I wrestled two main ceiling boards into place with much swearing and grunting. I cleaned myself up and took Berry and Duncan to drop off old TVs and clothes at Goodwill, followed be eating outside on a lovely evening. Sunday morning was more of the same, putting up more drywall before church. It was getting old at this point, and my arms and back were sore from the day before. I took a break for church and lunch, and was back again at it for the afternoon, finishing up a little before four to join Joanna, Berry, and Duncan down at the park. Sam and Emma returned, and I took Emma to the park where they all excitedly hugged each other. At five we gathered up Collette and headed to PF Chang's for dinner. That was an exciting experience, with a full glass of lemonade spilled, and vocal complaints about disliking noodles. Eventually it grew cheerful, helped along by numerous desserts and funny games by Sam. Sam was quite cheerful and seemed perky after his week of being sick. He stair-stepped and lifted weights while watching Futurama, and I sent him off to bed. Unfortunately his morning ended up a comedy of errors. He read his school book an extra chapter too far, rushed out the house without his trumpet and Me Box, returned to the house and lost the key in the bushes. Climbed in through the window and left again, forgetting things a second time. When he came in the third time, he bumped his head. Each time he called and I reassured him that it would be okay. I was a little nervous the last time, and was reassured to hear when he got to the office okay. So much for an easy return to school after being sick for a week.

House Warming, Dress Shopping, Rochester

September 27, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

This weekend Greg and I travelled to Boston for two house warming parties, and took the opportunity to try on a few dresses. Somehow, despite the endless coordination and communication about the wedding, I still went weak when I slipped on the first a-line gown. Stepping (literally) into this ritual costume was much more powerful than I anticipated. Because getting married is a deeply normative and historically oppressive act, sequined by two hundred years of commercialization (as they say, blood diamonds are forever), I thought I'd feel gross about wearing its primary symbol.

But I felt connected. I feel connected to Greg's grandmother when I look at my (and her) engagement ring, and I feel connected to generations of women who were brave enough to choose the person they loved. Especially now, and especially in Massachusetts. Unlike all of the wedding blogs that ensure me that it will be my special, individual day, trying on a white dress was humbling and diminishing. That's what rituals do- subsume personal identity into a collective culture. 

The question for every feminist couple is, how do you situate all the wedding rituals so you're embraced by an open, just, healthy community to help carry you both through the incredibly hard task of staying married? And how do you balance breaking the rituals necessary to create that just culture without diving headlong into the hyper-commercialized individualization of weddings (the wedding industrial complex, as it's called)? Etsy-made hairpieces and hand letter pressed invitations harken to a time when labor was local, but spending thousands on either brings us into that hyper-commercialized space again. 

Many, many men and women that I've talked to bowed to pressure from parents and spent lots of money. It's hard not to- everyone expects a sit down meal and save the date cards. And in this economy, why not invest a little in local services? Even if dresses are made in the Philippines, no one can outsource photographers. But as the center of this preposterous universe, the wedding industrial complex has given me (the very special bride) the power to say no. This can be a false empowerment (no ERA for my soon-to-be married ass), but I have some strategic rights that I look forward to leveraging. And when I finally slip on the handmade dress that Seraph stitches for me, I hope we'll all feel part of a just and locally made labor of love. 

But enough thoughts on the wedding process. I'm off to Rochester to see Lohring, his fiance Ana, Danica, and Ben!

New Job

September 25, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I just accepted an offer at a local college as an operations manager with their experiential education department. It's an easy commute, and we live smack in between Greg's school and my new position. I'm so releived that I can live with Greg, contra dance on the weekends, and finally afford my addiction to Bueno e Sano burritos. After four months of intense searching, I'm excited to roll up my sleeves for more than cover letters.

I Actually Finished a Game

September 24, 2010 by Adam in Adam's Games

So I finally finished a video game this week - Mass Effect 2. I started it about a year ago, and it was a very high quality "save the galaxy" sort of game. My game playing time has shrunk to a bare minimum, usually an hour or so a week. All my free time has been filling up with the necessities of taking care of the house and small children. Last night Joanna crashed at eight o'clock, Sam was watching a show after stair-stepping, and I had a little time to myself. I did laundry, packed lunches for small children, unloaded the dishwasher, loaded the dishwasher, and had a bowl of cereal.

I do have Civilization 5 on the way, and I hear that taking over the world is even more fun than Civilization 4. I'm also looking around for a new game to play with Sam. We finished up Resident Evil 5 together, which was a lot of fun. Maybe I'll play a little Bioshock 2 or something until then. In my free time. Whenever that is.

New surgery date

September 24, 2010 by Yayoe in Yayoe

HI There,

I'm scheduled for a Black and Decker total right hip experiential on Thursday, October 7th. A cancellation happened so I jumped at the new surgery date. Sorry I'll have to miss our family dinner on the 3rd. I'll be back to my old mischevious and hyperactive self by the end of October. So look out..I could be dangerous again!


September 24, 2010 by Jenny in Jenny

Well on a sad note..Millers lost to Marist 32/26.this is our first loss of the season..those boys did an amazing job..we almost won..edge of ur set kind of game..Destin didn't see any playing time..but he was ok with only played the top 25..we have 42 kids on the team..crazy big.The boys just wanted to win..Well i just got done taken both boys to school..and getting ready to head to the gym for my fifth class of the week..ZUMBA is the name..Im sorry the hear that the Team adam is not feeling so well..I hope you are all taking multivitams..Jordan came home earily yesterday not feeling good..after two multis, a vit C..and a good night of rest he was off to school..I'm starting both kids on daily vit for the next 5 months. New RX is 2 x gummi vit & vit c 500mg daily..and lots of love..can't go wrong with that...hope every one has a great friday.

Finally On the Mend

September 24, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm working away at my mocha this morning. It was free due to buying ten already, and thus all the tastier. I finally feel normal after a week of being sick. Normal is pretty awesome.

Sam's doing better, but Jamie called to say that she was keeping him home today. He ate breakfast, which is a plus, and wolfed down dinner last night. Still, his throat is sore and isn't quite up to his usual cheerful self. Thankfully Jamie's going to help gather up his homework, which has built to the overwhelming stage after a week from school.

Emma was home last night, which was lots of fun. She played with Berry and Duncan, spent some quality time with the cat, and managed a very short game of Monopoly with Sam and I. I think Sam's missed her a bit, and am glad they get to hang out together this weekend. Then it was bath, stories, and bed. This morning I got out of the shower to find her and Joanna chatting in bed about the relative merit of brothers, which was pretty amusing. It was also picture day today, and she was looking pretty great with her purple hair.

Jamie has the kids until Sunday evening, and I have a long list of project work to accomplish this weekend. If I can finish hanging drywall in the basement, I'll declare success. Hopefully I can sneak in some other things as well as take a little time for enjoyment along the way.

Post Luncheon Relief

September 23, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

Well, the League of Womens Voter Lunch was for all intents and purposes hitchless. I have a wonderful committee, and they do all the work, while I dither.

Actually, the only hitch is that I gave my car key with the parking meter key to Bob when he went to pick up some LOL (that's Little Old Ladies) and he forgot to give it back. Fortunately, I caught up with him just as I finished the clean-up, so I wasn't really stranded.

I'll miss Destin's game tonight, as it's Symphony. And I'm so sorry to hear Sam is ill.

Much love to all, Sue




September 23, 2010 by Jenny in Jenny

Well my morning started off well. Destin finally has his own alarm he was up and in the shower at 6:30..Today is game day..We play Marist at 6: 00 pm if anyone would like to go...this is going to be a hard one..we are 2-0..They i came home after dropping Des off..then got Jordan up and sat down for breakfast..after dropping Jordan off at school..i went to the gym..fourth day in a row and took a kick boxing class..that is the best way to releave stress. Now i have to run over to the rental house and hang up curtins..Well just wanted to say all is good..wish us luck tonight..GO MILLERS..for those of you who don't know Destins football team is the MILLERS..good name.

Midweek Check-In

September 22, 2010 by Adam in Family

Wednesday already. Poor Sam's been sick all week, throwing up a couple times and generally feeling lousy. I'm finally getting over a cold that started on the weekend, and my stomach felt bad yesterday too. I'm hoping he's on the mend today, and can get some rest. The start of school always seems to bring a rash of sickness with it. Good times.

The week has generally been uneventful. Joanna went out to her PTO meeting at Fox Hollow last night, with Collette watching the kids. Sam and I retreated to the shed to watch The Event, which seemed like a good-but-typical Mystery show. After Joanna returned, we gathered around the TV to watch the season premiere of Glee.

I talked to Emma a little last night, who seems to be doing well. Some other girl in her class got purple streaks in her hair the same day she did.

Berry and Duncan are their usual selves, cheerful and grumpy and funny in a zesty three-and-five-year-old blend. Getting everyone to school in the morning is always a great adventure.

Yea Destin

September 22, 2010 by Jenny in Jenny

Yea Destin..was typing..when i was working..what else is new..all i can say is WOW.the good news is he loves school.


September 22, 2010 by Jenny in Jenny all it's really me. I finally have some time on my So first off i want to say thanks to every one for the words of encouragement. I would have to say the first few day were rough.but with words from all my family and pampering from Jordan..i made it threw.. So to fill every one in..Let start with the boys. Destin 14 aka..the football rock at practice he got the ball and it took 6 kids to take him down. Jordan who still continues to go to his dad's house just got home..they have a new puppy..her name is peirre... (Destin speaking) jordan does school and not sports as usauall, he plays golf wich isnt even a physicaly demanding sport so i dont know about that. Im still pretty awesome, and handsome but i mean come on, when am i not awesome and devilishly good looking. im playing Miller Football wich is amazing like me and im amazing at it because i am. in my mind im the MVP but in reality i am to everybody just doesnt know it yet, but they WILL see. (wow i just read what my mom said at the top "LOL" really? i mean come on mom please something more creative maybe?) Im lovin high school the lunch is hot but the chicks are hotter. everybody loves everybody and its really kool, ALOT better than middle school if i do say so myself. I look forward to everyday of it and only look back on those best days. Oh and Adam, it would be awesome if i could have my own family link posty thing so i do stuff like this exept on my own koolio page. (Mom Speaking) Love to all im going to try to start posting more seeing to it that i have more time on my awesome hands that i should be feeding my favorite son with right now (:

Pirate Days and Purple Hair

September 20, 2010 by Adam in Family

It was a full, exciting weekend, as it usually is. Friday night we opted not to go swimming, and instead hung out at home. Saturday I made endless crepes, a triple batch to supply Duncan with his current favorite food most days. We ate a little late, and everyone got a tad grumpy, eventually remedied with whip cream. Emma and I worked on her math homework, which she breezed through. Since it was Talk Like a Pirate Day, we applied pirate tattoos and dressed up as appropriate. Eventually we gathered up everyone in the minivan and picked up a trumpet for Sam's band class. Later that day he discovered just how much noise he could make with the thing, so we banished him to practice in the shed. After that was the library where we picked up a book for Sam's reading class, and wandered over to see the pirate-related festivities. Pirate flags were made and Berry practiced her pirate phraseology. We made it home and everyone settled down. Emma and I went to Provisions to get Sam's pizza of choice, which was readily devoured. Joanna made some post-divorce cheesecake, which everyone gobbled up. Sam started working on his "Me Box" assignment, gluing National Geographic pages all over an old wooden box, into which assorted personal items would go. So far we have pictures of his family and computer, along with vials of pizza and cheesecake. Sunday was a little odd. Emma had talked to Natalie on Friday and really wanted to go to church. We called and texted Jamie, as I told Jamie I'd check with her first. Berry also got a stripe of purple in her hair, and Emma wanted one too. Finally Jamie got back, a bit after church started, so I took Emma to church, and later we dyed everyone's hair. Emma had a good time and wants to go again. We went out to Mount Pisgah to run around in the woods. Emma found a fuzzy black and orange caterpillar that she brought home. Sam ran around like a mad man. When we got home, Joanna was exhausted, so I sent her upstairs for a nap. Somehow I managed to put on movies for everyone, feed them endless snacks, and make dinner. Sam and I watched Prince of Persia, though I only caught little bits. I got to bed, and was awoken moments later by Sam who announced he'd thrown up on the rug. I grabbed cleaning supplies, cleaned everything up, and gave him some TLC. This morning he was still feeling lousy, so I called his school and told him to go back to bed. Needless to say, I was a little groggy this morning and my cold was in full swing. This morning was the usual chaotic event, with Jamie calling out before we left to point out that we'd left Berry and Duncan's lunches in the refrigerator. It took an extra cup of tea this morning before I truly perked up. I'm currently stuck in meetings past noon, but soon I'll escape to freedom!

Jenny is awesome.

September 19, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I talked to Jenny this afternoon, who just lost her job and is taking a well-deserved breath before making the next step. Every time we talk, I'm reminded by Jennifer's incredible work ethic and expert knowledge in her field. Jenny is such a competent professional, I have total confidence that she'll find a new opportunity as soon as she's ready. And in the meantime, it sounds like there is a fourth and ninth grader who will get a little more time with their mom! Jordan sounds like he's doing amazing, and Destin is currently a smart (yet wildly popular) football star. All that moving from middle school to middle school is clearly working to his advantage now, because Destin knows hundreds of students from the entire district. Jordan is as kind-hearted as ever, giving Jenny lots of love during this transition. 

All is well in the Pioneer Valley. We went back to Grafton last night to play a marathon four hours of Cosmic Encounter with our old neighbors. Now that's my idea of the perfect Saturday night.

The Last Few Drops of Mocha

September 17, 2010 by Adam in Family

We were up quite a bit last night, Joanna even more than I, so this morning's mocha is especially delicious.  I have vague memories of Emma waking up, and Berry cheerfully telling us her dream at five in the morning.  The rest is a blur.

Wednesday night swing dancing was lots of fun.  We probably should start showing up to the lesson part, as they were doing the Charleston and I was completely hopeless moving into it from the basic swing move.  Still, it was nice to get out and be grownups together.

After work yesterday we went over to Lynn's to pick up Joanna's final divorce papers.  Lynn had a bottle of champagne for her, as this one was evidently particularly tricky.  I still have a little while to go, though hopefully we're in the final stretch.

After that we picked up some weights for Sam I found on Craigslist.  It's a pretty complete set and the cost was really low.  He's strangely excited about it, and my plan is to get him going with a cardio and weights routine each night.

We got home late to excited children, Emma giving me a huge hug.  After three days it was most welcome.  Joanna helped get dinner ready and headed out with her mom to Fox Hollow's curriculum night.  Thanks to Netflix, Berry, Duncan, and Emma cheerfully watched a movie while I helped Sam with homework.  He's got a huge amount this year, typically taking an hour and a half to get through it all.  Emma's promised me homework this weekend, and Duncan starts getting some in February, so I can see lots more in the future.

I signed over the title to Jamie's car to her this morning, as evidently it died and is getting sold for scrap.  Emma has yet to tell me the dramatic "riding in the tow truck" story.  Sam spent yesterday lunch chatting with his new friend Chase.  He seems generally excited by school and was talking about how he loved his health class.  Joanna is breaking out her organizational skills and printed a morning schedule for everyone, along with a breakfast menu to give the kids.  Emma thought it was brilliant, and was quickly ordering us around like the subservient staff that we truly are.

I think we're shooting for a low-key weekend.  Tomorrow is Talk Like a Pirate Day, celebrated at the library in the afternoon.  I want to pick up Sam's trumpet and book.  Hopefully we can fit in an outdoor adventure in there too.

A reminder

September 16, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

Remember, Talk Like a Pirate Day is approaching soon. Festivities on Saturday afternoon at the library, I believe.

In the spirit of the day, Yayoe, if they mess up the surgery, ask for a peg-leg!

We will be thinking good thoughts as the time approaches!

Surgery date!

September 16, 2010 by Yayoe in Yayoe

HI There,

I still can't believe I need a new right hip. To make it real I've scheduled surgery for October 26th with Dr. Shah from Slocum. He does the minimally invasive procedure which has a faster recovery time. I'm the first one on the surgery cancellation list so I may go in sooner if they call me. Wish me luck..

Meanwhile, we have 4-5 gigs to do in September, October and November. I plan to play even if I have to use crutches or a walker or come by ambulance. (can you imagine that!).

SO now I've added "gimpy evil step-mother" to my title. sheesh. What's next huh?  GIMPY


Cars, Trumpets, and Freezers

September 15, 2010 by Adam in Family

Lots of small things going on. Joanna sold the Subaru yesterday, and ironically the battery died just like with our Sienna. Slowly the little things left over from the move are being taken care of. I think we'll be buying a new freezer soon, for example, as the old one keeps shocking me. Maintaining a house of six takes some effort.

I need to rent a trumpet for Sam, as that's his instrument of choice for his band class. We decided he should practice in the shed. The homework continues for the boy. Last night I went grocery shopping while talking him through his homework assignments via a bluetooth headset thingie. Eventually I made my way home, unloading food into the basement refrigerator, and he crawled in through his bedroom window.

Joanna and I are going swing dancing for a little tonight, after dinner and getting Sam started on homework. Should be fun.

Homework, Homework, Homework

September 14, 2010 by Adam in Sam

I like helping Sam with homework. We get to chat, I use my rusty teaching skills, and there's a sense of mutual accomplishment at the end. Last night was his first batch of significant homework assignments - math, art, and a bit of poetry. We chatted about percentages and various ancient cultures. I made him a cracker plate and he rewarded himself with one after each math problem finished.

I think he's generally okay with Roosevelt, despite the occasional adventure. He somehow managed to cut his neck on the way home yesterday, in addition to getting lost. Fortunately he's a resourceful lad, and he recognized landmarks to guide him home and improvised a band-aid out of tissue and tape when he couldn't find the real ones. It's fun watching his confidence grow.

As a reward, we finished watching 2012, agreeing that it was a fairly boring movie, punctuated by horrifically awesome special effects.

Hard work is Boring

September 14, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

I promised myself that I could work outside once the house was tidied up and paperwork more or less under control. So last Friday the worker guys dug out one flower bed and I planted a lot of bulbs on Saturday. Today, I gave up on the temporary fixes and had them dig out the up-the-hill neighbor's old broken perf pipe running above the driveway. They lined the bottom with gravel, and will finish up installing the new perf pipe tomorrow. Hopefully there will be a nice layer of topsoil from R&S on top of the whole shebang and I can plant a row of spring flowers.

Last Thursday I went to Dez' football game. They have a great team and it was really fun to watch. Bob's birthday was Sunday, and it was perfect since the Seahawks won on Sunday and the Ducks on Saturday.

I've been doing phone calls for the Kitzhaber campaign on Monday nights.

Two Weekends, Two Parks

September 13, 2010 by Adam in Family

I put together a video of the last couple weekends. We have butterfly releases, dinner parties, a walk by the Willamette river, and the most recent trip to Mount Pisgah.

t of time was spent doing the normal household chores - laundry, making meals, shopping, and maintaining a family of four. The kids got along surprisingly well. Sam built a spaceship for Berry. Emma decided that she and Duncan were getting married. We all had a pretty good time. Joanna and I got to sneak out together for an hour on Friday night, leaving the babysitter with all the kids. When we returned, I saw Emma showing her Fred YouTube videos, so I assume all went well. I wish I had more time to work on the basement project. Still, it's great to have a kitchen sink that finally drains, the first time it's ever really been that way. We invited Sebastian over to play Settlers of Catan with Sam and I. Emma spent many hours dressing up Berry and putting makeup on her. Joanna got her hair cut and worked on a flier about meat. Though there seemed to be endless chores, I got to watch the finale of Sherlock and another episode of Chuck. Good times.

Dancin' and Pukin'

September 12, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

As you know, Greg and I are fans of clean country living, so I generally don't go out dancing, or at least not in situations that end in vomit. But on Friday night we went to the Greenfield contra dance. Suffering from a dearth of females (Smith and Mount Holyoke just started, so the carpools of small pixie headed ladies have not yet made their way up I-91), I was spun around by so many enthusiastic 60 year old men that I couldn't see straight at the end of the night. We had a great time, but we were both a bit dehydrated the next day, and I got one of those brain crushing headaches and threw up a bunch. Fortunately, I was able to drag on a pair of pants and we got to the Carolina Chocolate Drops show at seven, possibly my favorite concert ever. 

Visiting Greenfield and the Iron Horse in one weekend reminded me of the awesomeness of this area, and I'm going to go to the Sacred Harp singing on Tuesday, something I really wanted to do in college but lost access to when I moved to Williamstown. 

Greg's classes are great so far, and his professors seem genuinely passionate about teaching. But even with four math classes, he's already buckling down with reading.

Medicinal Mocha Friday

September 10, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm nursing my mocha this morning, wrapping up the end of an occasionally overwhelming week. Getting all the kids into the new schedule, dealing with plumbing, work craziness, and some disagreements I'll be vague about are all contributing to feeling a little overwhelmed. Fortunately those blissful Mocha Molecules™ are unfurrowing my brow and easing my woes.

Sam had a full day of school yesterday, spending much of the morning in his home room. It's in the library, and he tried to describe all his classmates. There's Gus, his locker partner, assorted tall 8th grade girls, a cool 8th grade boy whose name I forget, and a few others. Sam got his classes too, including wood shop and band for his electives. I'm hoping the wood shop class means he can help build a porch for the shed. He generally seemed pretty positive about school, and was quite chatty about it. Hopefully his first day of classes today goes well.

I've been trying to make sure he has everything he needs. I paid $90 in fees and passed along another $18 for pictures today. He should have six months worth of lunches for $300. He's been walking with Sophia and Abagail, but may switch to Ben across the street come Monday.

We went around the table at dinner last night, asking everyone for cool stories from the day. Emma talked about the bunny at her school. Berry smiled and said hers was a secret. Duncan told of going on the playground with big kids and not being scared. Sam said he got a quarter, which was stolen, then retrieved. He ended up giving it to Duncan with only a little coaxing.

Last night we all went to a Roosevelt ice cream social, then ran around Amazon Park. Emma chased Joanna and tickled her. Sam chased Berry all around the play structure. Eventually we made it home and got everyone to bed. Sam did his usual stair stepping while watching Futurama, watched Scrubs, and I sent him to bed. I played Mass Effect 2 and Joanna continued her butterfly growing project. We all collapsed to bed early.

This morning was a bit of a madhouse, but we generally made it to school and work on time. It's clear we need a better routine, possibly with a series of alarms and timelines. Ah, the joys of schedules.

First Days of School

September 09, 2010 by Adam in Family

Everyone went to their first days of school yesterday. Duncan and Berry got dropped off at the Little French School. Jamie took Emma to Crest. I sent Sam up the hill to walk to Roosevelt, making sure he needed to leave when the big hand got to the three on an analog clock.

The little kids seemed to have fun at the Little French School, which is where Emma went before Crest. Berry was pretty tuckered out and took a nap for the first time in months. Unfortunately that meant she was up late last night, so I reminded her teacher to avoid naps in the future.

I talked to Emma briefly yesterday, and it sounds like her first day went well. She's coming to my house tonight, so hopefully I can grill her more.

Sam's advisor is Honore, the librarian. Ben was duly impressed, as she's supposedly very nice. I think it's awesome that his home room is the library. He liked hot lunch, which is one fewer thing to deal with. Mostly yesterday he met with his Web leaders, who are student advisors, and played assorted games in the gym. Today is also not a real school day, according to Sam. He's meeting his advisor, getting his locker, paying endless fees, and hopefully finding out what his classes are. Tomorrow is the first real day.

Joanna and I divided the kids up this morning as the shuttles weren't quite ready yet. I took a smiling Berry to school and went in to work. This afternoon I'm staying at home and supervising plumbers to finally fix the kitchen sink issue. Tonight is an ice cream social for Roosevelt. Busy, busy.

There will be days like this

September 08, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Just one more engagement photo, which just about perfectly captures our personalities- my cool disregard matched by Greg's kooky grin and excited embrace.

For the last three days, I've woken myself up in the middle of the night from wedding nightmares. Last night, mom remodeled her house with a three story pink mica water feature in the living room, and a classmate from high school was having her wedding photos taken on a sparkly rock outcropping. The basement, on the other hand, was remodeled into a freaky haunted house. The night before that, I was forced to go through pictures of table card style after table card style, ala Clockwork Orange. Being engaged is awesome. But it's also terrifying and infinitely stressful to plan a wedding, because all the collective expectations can so quickly become an avalanche of Martha Stewart terror-fantasies. 

I've started working with a graphic designer and am beginning self-guided meditation. Both seem like good first steps on the road to recovery from early onset wedding anxiety. 

Ice Cream Socials

September 08, 2010 by Adam in Emma

I met Emma at her school's ice cream social.  Endless kids were running about, but her first stop was to see who her teacher would be for next year.  Mrs. Mathesion was the chosen one, and she has a couple friends in her class.  Jamie and I also started the new schedule, so Sam's at my house and I'll get Emma back Thursday night.

Hi, y'all

September 07, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

It was nice to see everybody! Thank you so much, Adam and Joanna, for putting on your monthly potluck.  A special thanks to the "big" cousins for entertaining the "little" cousins.

Laboring as Well

September 07, 2010 by Adam in Family

Joanna's putting Berry and Duncan to sleep.  Sam and Emma are off at Jamie's.  I'm winding down a full and busy weekend, thinking about all the things I've yet to do.

Friday Joanna and I went to listen to Yayoe play Ukulele, eating ice cream and nibbling on Market of Choice deli food.  We snuck briefly into a hair supply place to pick up some red hair color.  The night was warm and wonderful and Yayoe and her band were great as always.

Saturday morning I picked up Sam and Emma and fed everyone a hearty breakfast.  Joanna began making peach jam, which ended up continuing into the afternoon while kids played and carried on.  Emma, Berry, and Duncan set up camp in the basement.  Sam watched Scrubs.  After the last of the jam was canned, we headed to the library for a brief outing.  That night Sam and I finished Eagle Eye, continuing the movie that had been filled with car crashes and continued to do so until the end.

Sunday we tried normal pancakes by Sam's request, as evidently the endless crepes were getting tiresome.  Sam, Emma, and I went for a bike ride while everyone else went to church.  After lunch we had a big family outing to the river path, running into Jamie, M, and Chase out of the blue.  Everyone's favorite sport seemed to be throwing rocks into the river.  I personally liked the rose gardens, with the endless roses whose smell reminds me of Fruit Loops.  Sam, Joanna, and I watched Sherlock that night, a modern retelling of Sherlock Holmes, which I thought quite good.

Jamie picked up Sam and Emma late morning to go to Dave's for a Labor Day BBQ.  We hit up Target for school supplies and I tore down drywall in the basement to get ready for the plumbers.  It's messy work, but hopefully will save me some of the thousands the contractor would have charged.

Emma has her ice cream social tomorrow at four, and Berry and Duncan have similar school events.  Sam starts Wednesday at Roosevelt.  Soon the new routine will be upon us.

Labor Day

September 06, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez

Just a quick hello before I head off to labor on this Labor Day morning!

We've been "spring" cleaning this week.  I've filled Robbie's Audi w/ boxes from the kitchen, and I still have to fit in 2 garbage bags full of old linins.  Both Robbie & I have gutted the old clothes from our closets (we did Isa's clothers at the begining of the summer - but with all of her growing, we could stand to do it again).  Last night we rearranged the living room, opening everything up and making more breathing room.  There's sill a bunch of boxes in our bedroom closet to go through, which scares me!

Other than that, we went and picked raspberries yesterday.  There were slim pickings, as most of the berries won't be ready until next week.  We'll try to make a jar or two of jam with what we have, and sneak over to pick more next week.

Well, off to work.  I wonder if holidays, like Labor Day, will fall to the way-side as more of the US economy moved towards the service industry.  Remember to thank your grocery clerk, barista, or anyone else working today so that you don't have to!

Glad I'm Not Eaten

September 04, 2010 by Adam in Family

Joanna and I went for a nice hike around the trails near the hospital.  It was a bit of an adventure, and the trail near the river faded to deer trails and tall grasses.  There had been cougar sightings, so every little noise made Joanna jump a bit.  I joked around, and was somewhat cavalier about it.

We'd been hiking for 45 minutes, trying to figure out how to get back to the hospital, when Joanna announced "I see cat ears in the river."  I thought it might be nutria, a rather large rat-like thing, and we continued on.  Within a minute, we heard a deep growling/coughing noise and immediately decided to slowly backtrack and head inland.

We got a little giddy on the way back once we reached the big field next to the hospital.  All the people in the gym thought we were pretty awesome for having seen one of the mythical cougars.  I think we'll stick to exercising in the gym next week.


This week Isa continues to be sick

September 03, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez

This week Isa continues to be sick.  She tried school on Tuesday (made it half day), went all day on Wednesday, but was home yesterday and today.  Her nose is swollen and scabby (gross), but she's starting to get better.  She was feeling well enough to create a dark wizards spell book this morning! 

On Wednesday Robbie and I went to a farm with our friend Amanda to pick tomatoes.  We stayed to help pick 1000+ pounds of veggies for the food bank, and bringing home 2 large buckets of tomatoes, and a box of peppers, chilies, and mellons.  Isa and I worked late canning tomatoes, and I now have canned tomatoes and tomato sauce to go with my pickeled green beans.  This weekend we're hoping to pick raspberries for jam, and next week it will be apples!  In the next week or two we may go out and dig potatos with Amanda.  I feel a bit like animals hording for the winter!

Robbie started work today.  He missed the training in August, so he's in doing an observation with another Title 1 Tutor today.  Next week he should get a regular schedule.

Sweet Mocha Friday

September 03, 2010 by Adam in Family

For some reason I woke up at 5:30 a.m., convinced Joanna that getting out of bed was a fine idea, and everyone got to school and work when they were supposed to. Dishes were done, laundry was folded, and the kitchen was cleaned up. Of course, today is the last day of summer school, but it's nice to know that we finally figured out the routine. Last night was busy. I got to say hello to Emma when we returned, who was playing with Berry and Duncan, as well as catching ladybugs. My mom very nicely cleaned and organized Emma's bedroom. The rest of the evening was fairly frantic. I helped Collette put up curtain rods and a couple other things. Then it was off to food shopping, where I somehow managed to get it all in one cart. Returning home, Joanna and I collapsed on the couch to fold laundry and watch Chuck. We also delivered the "sorry I backed into your car" pie to the neighbors, who were quite appreciative. The plumbing issue has turned into a confusing, expensive mess that I'm trying to sort out. Insurance will pay for replacing the ceiling, but not the plumbing. The contractor already charged me $900 to open up the ceiling, and the plumber charged another $600 for the less-than-satisfactory emergency repair. I'm getting a check from the insurance and my hope is that I can somehow do a bunch of the work myself and it won't be quite as crazy expensive as it is. I'm getting a plumbing estimate today, and maybe Monday I'll start cutting holes in walls. There are countless other things to do, such as taking old TVs to be recycled, and selling the Subaru. The sprinkler system is still not working. Still, things are getting done and taken care of. Most of the driveway is empty, and Joanna's office is unpacked. We saved all the bubble wrap and let Berry and Duncan jump up and down on them. Sam and Emma have school supplies and clothes for school. Life is slowly getting organized. My morning mocha was delicious, as always. Tonight Joanna and I are going to watch Yayoe play the ukelele. This weekend the plan is to hang out and get ready for school, perhaps with a berry-picking trip in the middle. Sunday night is the big family dinner. I'm looking forward to seeing my dad after his death-defying open ocean race.

Broken computer, broken internets

September 02, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

This is the first day in two weeks where both my computer and the internet have been functional. During my computer-free time, I made another dress, which I wore for our engagement photos. Sleeves and pockets are two oft-forgotten features in ready-to-wear dresses that I'm really crazy about.

I want to thank all of the wonderful, wonderful people who have sent cards, emails, and called to congratulate us. It is so much fun to be engaged to Greg. I mixed our books together yesterday- what a thrill to have my Lies My Teacher Told Me next to his Sundown Towns!

At this point, we're planning a mid-August wedding on a family farm in Maine. There are many more details to iron out, and we're taking advantage of the last week of our mutual vacation before Greg starts school on Tuesday. He's taking three math classes, a computer science class, and an honors political science class his first semester!

Morning Eggs

September 01, 2010 by Adam in Family

This morning Emma directed Duncan and Berry to fetch her herbs from the window box, and cooked herself scrambled eggs for breakfast. Everyone had great fun, and Emma extracted promises that they would come stay with her when she moved to Italy as an adult.

Yesterday was fairly remarkable, in odd little ways. The old pipe from the kitchen sink burst last week, after the plumber drilled through it while cleaning it. At the moment that part of the basement has the ceiling removed and there's a temporary pipe that lets us use the kitchen sink. Fortunately insurance is going to pay for all but the deductible, so I think I'll be stuck with a little over a thousand in damages. That's strangely the good news, as otherwise it would be over three thousand.

Jamie and I also appear to have reached an agreement on spousal support. I think that means that we can finally get something written up and signed relatively soon. The next few years will be tight financially, so I'm hoping no more pipes burst until then.

I've arranged for Sam to walk to Roosevelt with a couple girls from the neighborhood. Hopefully that'll increase his street cred, or at least minimize the chances he gets lost. Sophia used to go to school with Sam, so it'll be good that he has a familiar face with him.

In terms of Joanna and I, I think we're spending our hot date night at home, replacing car batteries, getting ready to make peach jam, and unpacking the office. Good times.

Weekend Fun

August 31, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez

We had another great - but busy - weekend!  There was a mycology (mushroom) group here this weekend.  So we watched a bunch of middle-aged nerdy science guys & gals scour our mt, and display 150 different types of mushrooms.  This inspired us to go on our own hunt/picnic on Sat afternoon.  We filled a basket with lots of cool fungi to dissect (at this point we don't know enough to actually eat anything!), and made a lot of spore prints.  Over all it was a lot like Easter egg hunting.On Sun there was the Santa Rosa Festival in Dixon (where Isa goes to school).  So we went over and walked in the parade.  We were all pretty tired, and headed home soon after. 

Yesterday Isa woke up with a stuffed up nose and sore throat.  She ended up staying home, while Robbie headed to Velarde to get his new job set up.  He will be a Title 1 tuoter, working with K-3rd graders who are having reading problems.  It starts at 25 hr per week, and could quickly go up to 40 hr.  It will also give him the perfect foot in the door if they open up a second 3rd grade classroom! 

Parades and Beaches

August 30, 2010 by Adam in Family

We had a very exciting weekend, all around. Friday night Joanna and I headed down to the Eugene Celebration for music, food, and a horde of people dressed in interesting costumes. Days later, Joanna brought up the ice cream bar, dipped in chocolate and nuts. It was that good. Saturday I collected the kids, fed them crepes and bacon, and headed down to watch the parade. We lasted a reasonable length of time before the kids got restless and we dashed across the parade route to make it to the library. We stocked up on assorted books before making the long walk home. I ended up carrying Emma much of the way, along with the massive bin of books she begged me to take with her. The afternoon was fairly low-key. Joanna stepped out to get the reins of the Fox Hollow web site. I went to TrueValue after that and got the parts for the tire swing. Assembling it went surprisingly well, making our backyard even more of a playground/farm combo. I made dinner for everyone and their bottomless stomachs. I think I eventually got to sit down and have a bite after fetching butter, salt, more drinks, and a half-dozen other things. Sunday was our great expedition to the coast. The drive out went fairly well, with movie players for all. Sam got a little car sick, so we parked by the side of the road briefly to let him eat ginger candy while we picked blackberries. Soon we were on our way to Heceta Head. We got the perfect parking spot and picnic table. Immediately everyone rushed off to jump in the water. It was a perfect beach, with sea caves and a little stream to build forts upon. Sam and Emma got completely soaked and we were constantly getting people to change their clothes. The weather was beautiful and we played until late afternoon, stopping by Florence for dinner before heading home. We're in the final week before school starts. We have another grand school supply shopping trip, and Sam should get a bunch of clothes arriving magically in the mail thanks to Joanna. I'm starting to get excited for the fall to start in earnest.

Heading Home

August 30, 2010 by Lohring in Lohring

Look at that last picture and you can understand why Mike broke his rib.  That's a 5 ton boat.  The boat in the foreground is the other boat Mike restored.

I'm at a hotel at Heathrow getting ready to fly home.  For my final English meal I had a Big Mack with two all beef patties, special sauce, etc.It was very new and one of the nicest, cleanest McDonalds I've seen.  I'll call in as soon as I get back.

Race pictures

August 30, 2010 by Lohring in Lohring


More race pictures at:

The Day After

August 30, 2010 by Lohring in Lohring

Well, we survived but it was close.  First the good news.  We were first in the historic division and Mike also won an award for the best restoration for his work on the Uno Embassy.  We all got a huge amount of recognition from both the racers and the officials at the awards cerimony.  People came up to me all week to comment on the boats.  Some had been following the race for decades.  I'm sure only a very few people understand what a huge effort went into both awards.  The cost was way beyond money.

Now for the "bad" news.  The race started with a huge thrash to get the final details ready so the boat could pass inspection.  We made the start and things were about as I expected with 1 meter waves.  We were running well when, 1/2 hour into the race, Mike got a little out of position and broke at least one rib during a hard hit.  From that point on, we tried to take an easy and slower route.  We were still fifth at the 1/2 way point, but our GPS had a plug get loose and stopped working.  We followed another boat around the Torquay turn marks and headed home.  We got the GPS plug fixed only to have one of the mounting knobs fall off.  As the day went on, the waves got worse.  We were running with the seas and stuffed the boat into several waves.  Even though we were only running inthe mid 20 mph area, that much water in the face was hard on my and Eric's necks.  The Uno Embassy boat had its windshield broken fron a wave.  Mike got out of the bottom of the boat and took over throttling from Eric.  The GPS decided to work once in a while, but I ended up holding one side in the bracket for the last hours.  Because of the way I had to stand, I was leaning against the side of the bolster.  As Mike and I found out, it is not well padded.  My back feels like it was beated with a rubber hose.  In the end, we made it around the last buoy and down the Solent in waves that were aproaching Tuesday's 2 meters. We wern't sure we actually crossed the finish until the GPS came on one last time and showed our track through the middle of the line.  We made it!  Many of the 40+ starters didn't.

I changed, showered, took more Naproxen (sp?), and went for a beer or two.  The awards were next.  Mike was checked by the doctor and given codine.  Mixed with beer it improved his mood.  I gave Eric some Naproxen.  We all started feeling more positive.  I donated my vest and helmet to Mark, a young man who was a tremendous help in getting both boats ready.  Mike let him drive the Dry Martini over the day before, and he was thrilled.  He said it was the fastest he had gone in a boat.  He can take my place.

I'm on the way back to Heathrow for my flight out tomorrow.  See you all soon.


Day whatever

August 28, 2010 by Lohring in Lohring

I'm off to Cowes this morning.  All the information except the tracking is at  They just ran the Cowes 100, a warmup for tomorrow's big race.  Fabio Buzzi won as expected.  He is heavily favored to win tomorrow as well.  My new friend, Andy Macateer, was third.  Eric and I helped him install new engines in his boat.  The weather looks good, so wish us luck.

Mocha Friday

August 27, 2010 by Adam in Family

My morning mocha is a distant, sweet memory. I'm busy writing arcane code and enjoying the caffeine bubbling through my veins.

I scooped up Sam and Emma from my mom's house yesterday. Emma proudly showed off her training bra, which evidently got handed down to her from Natalie. I'm a little fuzzy about these things, but I'm not sure several years of training are really necessary. What do I know, though? I had a conversation with Sam about when he'll start shaving last night. It's amazing how quickly they grow.

In any case, it was fun having everyone running around, playing and chatting. We had mac and cheese, followed by ice cream cones. Sam and Emma both gave Berry a final push on the swing before leaving.

Next up was a meeting between Jamie, Sam, Emma, and myself. Jamie had suggested some changes to the kid schedule for school, and we walked through it with everyone to make sure it was generally agreeable. The new plan is that Sam will be at my house Saturday night through Friday afternoon. Emma will be here Thursday afternoon through Monday morning. Jamie plans to take Emma to school and watch her most afternoons, which I very much appreciate. Thursday afternoon she'll hang out at my house with Collette, Berry, and Duncan. Sam will walk or bike to Roosevelt each day. It's a big change, especially for Sam. I figure we'll see how it goes and adjust as needed.

I left Jamie's house and went food shopping. I borrowed a bluetooth headset from Joanna and Sam chatted with me on the phone as I shopped for an hour. It's gotten to the point where I need two shopping carts to bring all the food home. We arranged buckets under the basement drips that appeared after the plumber's visit on Wednesday, folded laundry, and finished watching Up in the Air.

This morning we got Berry and Duncan to school and tonight Joanna and I plan to walk down to the Eugene Celebration. Duncan's really excited about having the babysitter come over. Tomorrow the plan is to watch the parade in the morning, along with a library trip. Sunday is our grand Florence expedition. Life's good.

The web site you can track the race on is htt...

August 27, 2010 by Lohring in Lohring

The web site you can track the race on is

All the trackers are shown at the Cowes Yacht Haven for now.  We're tracker #26, Dry Martini.  The race start is scheduled for 10:00 AM GMT or 2:00 AM Pacific time.  The end of the race should be around 6:00 AM Pacific time.

A busy week and a half

August 27, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

For some reason, the beginning of the school year always seems like the real beginning of the year. We've all been scurrying around getting school supplies and school clothes. I took Jordan shopping for shoes, and after we found a pair at Burch's with a $12.00 pair of socks, he was so pleased he announced to all and sundry, while the sales clerk cracked up and pronouced him ready for QVC, that it felt like he was walking on pillows. (He also told me at Ross' that he wasn't buying trendy clothing because the girls would be too attracted to him, and, as he noted matter of factly, he didn't like girls yet.) With Jenny's help, we went through his closet for his many outgrown clothing and it's being tidied up for Duncan. Anna left a purse and some toiletries for Emma, and oh how she enjoyed saying "toiletries" in a most mature voice.

Day 5

August 26, 2010 by Lohring in Lohring

It was much less eventful today as Mike and Eric were out of town.  I took a walk through downtown Southampton to the waterfront.  On the way I got some sun tan lotion, some cash, and a book for the trip home.  Thanks Adam and Jenny for the PIN#.  I didn't realize how old the city is.  There are remains of the city wall and buildings from medieval  times.  The maritime museum is in a warehouse that has been in use for at least 300 years.  Because the Titanic sailed from Southampton, most of the crew was from here.  The sinking left lots of fatherless familys who got some government support.  An interesting statistic was that 100% of the first and second class children survived, but only 30% of the third class children survived.  The museum was small and only took me, the person who reads all the captions, around an hour for the visit. 

In the afternoon I met Paul at Driver's to help with the fiberglass repair.  We were lucky with the rain and got everything finished.  Tomorrow I will put everything back together and make the final preparations for the race.  The forecast for Sunday is 1/2 to 1 meter waves (3 to 6 feet) with around 10 mph wind.  Check out everything at

Blackberry Picking

August 26, 2010 by Adam in Family

Joanna and I try hard to get out together once or twice each week. Last night we'd planned on going blackberry picking and then watch Up in the Air on a laptop in the back of the minivan, parking somewhere pretty. We ate eggs on the patio with Berry, Duncan, and Collette, bid them farewell, and drove up to Crest drive to pick blackberries.

It was grand, painful fun. We ended up with a couple big tubs of berries, and scratched and bleeding legs and arms. The weather was beautiful, and I had to pull Joanna away as the sun set. Since it was so late, we ended up going straight home. We put on the movie, I folded clothes, and Joanna kept crocheting her blanket. It was a great movie, and I'm eager to finish after we had to cut it short due to lateness.

This morning we only had two kids, with a bit of Tears of Suffering from both Berry and Duncan. I had to break out the silly humor and voices on the drive to school. For some reason, expressing my longing for a magical pony got them giggling and cheerful once again.

Tonight I'm going home for dinner, talking with Jamie and the kids about the new school schedule, and wrapping up the night with food shopping. Life's busy, but good.

My Baby Is Home!

August 25, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez

Sadly, I'm not talking about Robbie or Isabell, but my car.  We picked up my beautiful girl, after 6 months and 4 mechanics later (only in NM)!  We quickly took her down and got her washed up so she's all shinny and new looking.  She's still driving a little rough, but that's to be expected after sitting so long (and it's been awhile since I've driven a stick).

We also spent the morning detailing the Subaru.  Robbie's new-to-us car should be here next week, and he already has some interested buyers in the Subaru.  So we buckled down and scrubbed away 9 years of gross.  We kept joking that the old boy would know something was up as I removed ancient raisins, Cheerios, and glitter!

So the Cortez family once again has happy cars!  We're easy to please.

Day 4

August 25, 2010 by Lohring in Lohring

Well, now I know what they say about offshore racing is true.  I'll try to describe our test yesterday, but you had to be there.  We headed off down the river on a nice sunny day at a comfortable 60 mph.  We turned into the Solent and things got a lot rougher.  The 20 to 25 mph winds from the previous day's storm met the outgoing tide and kicked up a 3 to 6 foot confused sea.  We never got above 45 mph and were often down to 25 mph.  A couple of times the boat was out of the water long enough so the wind actually started to blow it over a little.  Eric bent the steering wheel after one impact.  The pounding was very punishing. 

The boat handled the conditions very well.  The combination of Mike's throttling and the boat's design kept everything under control.  Mike said it was Cigarette (our boat's brand) weather.  The crew didn't do as well. It was the first test of our new GPS, and I didn't have time to set it up well.  On top of that, my helmet cam fell off and my glasses fell down inside of my helmet.  Pushing up my face shield only got everything coated with salt spray.  I had a hard time seeing what the GPS was reading. and didn't realize we had gone east then west on the Solent.  When we turned to go back after about an hour, I had trouble understanding where Mike wanted to go.  He recognized that Cowes was close so we headed in and tied up.  We headed for the bar and had beer and dinner.  Don't tell anyone I ate a spotted dick for desert.  We discovered that the high speed ferry had stopped running due to the conditions.  Mike said it was the roughest conditions he had been out in.  Eric and I had no idea and didn't know if we needed to be concerned.  (We were.) 

After dinner the weather looked better so we followed the big ferry out of the harbor.  I setup a route on the GPS so we wouldn't get lost.  We didn't want to push things but 45 mph was comfortable.  We passed the ferry and were back in the river in no time.  Mike ran the boat up to 80 mph to be sure everything was still working.  It was.  The only damage was a loose exhaust header bolt and a new crack in the deck from flexing.  We tied up the boat and went to the hotel to look at my helmet cam video.  My computer doesn't handle the HD video well, but it should be interesting.

Today we hoisted the boat out and cleaned everything off.  Mike and Eric headed off to Poole to install the engines on the Embassy boat, a three day job.  Mike arranged to get the deck repaired tomorrow, and I installed a foam floor mat.  I spent the next few hours under the cover playing with the GPS.  I got routes setup for everywhere.  The rain started to come down hard so I called a cab and went back to the hotel.  I'm now starting to notice the bruises on my hip, knee, and forearm.  The muscles on the top of my legs ache as well.  I'll be glad for a few day's rest before the race.

Budgets and Carnivals

August 24, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez

We had a fun yet exhausting weekend.  Some of the exhaustion was our own fault as we all stayed up way too late on Friday and Saturday nights. 

Poor Robbie, on Friday I made him sit with me and update our budget.  We reviewed all of our statements from the summer, and by the end we couldn't help but laugh at ourselves.  It was clearly a child free summer!  We could see how we slowly moved from real grocery shopping to milk and cereal trips - followed by a lot more dining out!  I rained in Robbie's book expenditures (no - not school related books - just the addictive purchases), and we've learned to plug in more auto maintenance into the budget.  After we crunched all the numbers, we will be able to start putting away a big chunk into savings each month, and still keep a decent cushion in our bank account.  I know doing this is right up their with Chinese water torture for Robbie, but it did feel nice to have it down on paper (or on a spreadsheet as the case may be).

On Sat we went to the Penasco carnival.  Within 2 hours we had gone on numerous rides, played games (though we refused to let Isa play the one that gives you a free goldfish), and eat cotton candy, funnel cakes, snow cones, and corn-on-the-cob!  We left tired and sunburned - all in all a good time.  I switch around my work days so I had Sat off and worked on Sun.  Robbie headed out to church on Sun morning, while I worked and Isa hung out.  After church, Robbie went to some friends to watch the parade.  He came home with massive amounts of candy for Isa and a new violin.  He traded his guitar for a violin and will be taking lessons with Isa.  This lead to a round of tuning and shoulder rest trials, all the while Isa and I were giving Robbie a crash course in Twinkle Twinkle! 

Day 3

August 24, 2010 by Lohring in Lohring

We spent yesterday mostly working on other boats.  Eric spent lots of time on the phone trying to get the new engines delivered for the other boat Mike built.  Mike worked with another competitor, Dean Gibbs who was also changing to newer engines.  I spent a little time fixing things on our boat, but mostly stood around.  Everyone thought the GPS I bought was too small, so Mike and I bought a new one.  It's much easier to use and read as well.  We got it mostly installed and will finish this morning.  It's finally a nice day.  I hope we can actually test.  Below is a link to the yacht basen at Cowes.  We should be there Saturday.

Back to Work

August 23, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm in the third meeting of the day, and it's not yet noon. Ah, the joys of the business world. We had a pleasant weekend all around, relatively low key and full of kids. Saturday morning was our typical library run, bringing home assorted goodies for all. Sam turned out to really love Foxtrot, which he read pretty consistently all weekend. Emma tried to take home 5 Guinness Book of World Records books, which I paired down to 2. We stuffed kids full of food and puttered about, putting in some more work getting things put away. After that was a Target run and Jordan's birthday. We loaded up the minivan and spent the remainder of the afternoon swimming, hot tubbing, jumping on a trampoline, and eating lots of food. We returned home, got kids to bed, and wrapped up the day. Joanna kept working on a nightgown for Emma. I fiddled with my computer. The next morning we had crepes and blueberry pancakes, a welcome part of the weekend routine. More unpacking occurred while kids played. I fixed Joanna's old computer and set it up for Duncan. Art work was hung on walls. We went to a church picnic at noon. Emma got her face painted with flowers and sparkles. Sam indulged in hot dogs and chased Duncan about. Berry and Duncan reveled in the playground at Tugman Park. The afternoon continued house projects and play. The kids had quiet time, and Joanna ran off to buy some more shelves for her office. We rode bikes down to the park, Sam pushing Berry and me holding Emma. Duncan was less than enthusiastic about bike riding, and soon everyone was playing on the cheese or in the sand. Everyone was surprisingly cheerful and played well together, with even Sam getting in on the action. The night wrapped up with tacos and everyone going to bed early, even Sam. There may be some changes to the kids schedule coming up. Jamie suggested some changes as school approaches quickly. Jamie, the kids, and I are getting together to chat soon, and hopefully get things finalized soon. It's hard to believe that there are only two and a half weeks until things change yet again.

Day 2

August 23, 2010 by Lohring in Lohring

We spent Sunday in a sea survival course.  It was a short and simplified version of the course I took this summer in Newport.  It was a good review and we spent a lot of time in a swimming pool getting in and out of a life raft.  Afterward we went down to the boat and installed the GPS.  While Mike went to the train station to get his and Eric's wife, Eric and I watched one of the other racers try to install their second engine.  When they were about to give up as there was no space to lower the engine into place, Eric insisted that it could be done.  With a lot of careful maneuvering, the four of us got the engine in place.  The racers turned out to be fairly well known and were great guys.  

It stormed during the night with high winds and rain.  We still plan to test today for a short time. I'll try to take some pictures with my helmet camera to test it. If it works I'll post some.

The Weekend Fun Begins

August 21, 2010 by Adam in Family

Sam and Emma have arrived, and I'm cooking up crepes for a traditional tasty breakfast.  Emma's eating zucchini from the garden which Joanna just picked.  It's nice having all the kids about.

Last night we took Berry and Duncan swimming, where they had a really good time.  It's neat seeing them get increasingly confident in the water, and with their floaties they roamed about the pool by themselves.

It's nearly breakfast time, and then we're off to the library.


August 21, 2010 by Lohring in Lohring

I finally made it after around 24 hours of no sleep.  All the various connections worked except I couldn't find the bread and breakfast I was supposed to stay at.  Fortunately, the hotel I was registered at for the rest of the week was easy to find and had room.  I then spent the rest of Friday getting a phone to work for calls in England.  That went fine except that 5 pounds doesn't buy very many minutes.  I then got ready to e-mail everyone and broke the power cord to my computer.  The guys who unlocked my phone were very helpful and steered me to the English equivalent of Radio Shack.  I soldered on a new connector and am up and running.

Mike is working on a boat in Poole so I may move there for some of the week.  I'll let everyone know.  For now I'm at Jury's in Southampton.  I've been walking around and hope to explore more in the afternoon.  The place has a great history as both the pilgrams and the Titanic sailed from here.  They are still an active cruse ship port.  If the misty rain lets up, I'll go out this afternoon and get some pictures. 

Sweet Mocha Friday

August 20, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm wearing the Superman shirt Joanna got me, and working away at my morning mocha.  Life continues to be busy, but satisfying.  We're slowly dealing with all the little aspects of moving in together.  I'm hoping to get our donation pile moved from our driveway soon, and we have someone interested in buying the Subaru.

Wednesday night Joanna and I went out to the Em's game, which was surprisingly fun and different.  Joanna quizzed me on the rules, and then comically cheered for our team while politely encouraging the visitors when they did well.  We were up in one of the suites, served traditional American food, and had fun mocking the terrible puppet show they snuck between innings.  We headed home early, after it was clear the game would go on pretty late.

Last night after work, Sam, Emma, and Josh were running around in the backyard, as Jamie was working and my mom was doing some event at the Fairgrounds.  I taught Sam how to jump a car, as the Subaru battery had died from disuse, and we had to show it off that night.  He also rolled the free tire we got on craigslist into the backyard.  Hopefully I can get it hooked up this weekend.

I went out food shopping after dinner while Joanna got kids to bed.  It's amazing how much food I buy these days, and I ended up using two shopping carts to return to the car.  I returned home, and we cleaned the kitchen and did the dishes.  Joanna and I collapsed on the couch and watch an episode of Chuck.

We have a fairly busy weekend ahead, with picnics, birthday parties, and house projects.  It's getting towards the time of week when I start missing the kids again, so it'll be nice to see them tomorrow.

Moving to the Country

August 18, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

After three weeks of transition, Greg and I are finally settled in our new apartment. The Pioneer Valley is absolutely beautiful, and we can get farm fresh produce and dairy from stands and local stores. Combined with the nearby buritto joint and live music everywhere, we're in seventh heaven.


Midweek Fun

August 18, 2010 by Adam in Family

The week has been moving along nicely, uneventful and pleasant. The summer routine has involved Josh watching Sam and Emma Monday and Wednesday, my mom Thursday afternoon, and Jamie the rest of the times. For Berry and Duncan, they're home a little after noon, with Collette keeping an eye on them and sometimes taking them places. Emma often plays with them when they're about, leaving Josh and Sam to do more boyish things.

It's strange thinking that this is only the second week with everyone under the same roof, as it seems like much longer. We haven't had any huge traumas, other than the usual middle-of-the-night excitement. Last night Berry came upstairs to scream outside our door. Joanna got her back to sleep and I got Emma back to sleep. Another time there was sheet changing. Usually our nights are fairly restful and the kids are more polite than not. It's certainly busy, but never boring and often fun.

Jamie came by to drop the kids off last night, and we have the school schedule generally planned out. She's free to pick Emma up after school and watch her in the afternoons. The plan with Sam is to drop him off at my house the mornings Jamie has him, and have him walk or ride his bike back to my house in the afternoon. Jamie also expressed an interest in having just one kid from time to time. Otherwise I think we're going to keep the sleep over schedule the same.

Jamie and Joanna also had a very nice chat in the kitchen while Emma and I watered. I'm glad they're able to get along so well, and all us grown-ups can focus on raising good kids.

Tonight Joanna and I are off to the first of the Em's games in the new stadium. I've never had box seats before, and they're feeding us. It's with a bunch of marketing people, and fortunately I've watched a lot of Mad Men to prepare. I better start drinking whiskey now, followed by smoking and womanizing. Can't wait!

Stuck in SF

August 17, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

At this point, the SF to Eugene leg of this flight is delayed an hour. Since Bob and I are getting up at 4:30 tomorrow morning to go up to PDX to see Anna off to Paris, it may be a long day. This trip has had a lot of delays. Love, Mom

What a nice weekend!

August 16, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

Got a great last minute room at a Super 8 with a 4.2 customer rate, a rating well deserved. There were a couple of reunion events - an informal get together on Friday night and a dinner dance on Saturday. The kids in my class were really nice, and I enjoyed seeing everyone again. Got to hang out with a couple of my favorite buds.

On Sunday I went up to the Normalville Church for services, and got caught up with old friends. They have the same minister who did Dad's memorial service. I then went into Monroeville to see Margie, and had a good visit. It's a treat to get to know Margie when we're both grown-ups.

Adam and Joanna, expect us at the next family dinner. I'm pleased to hear that John was out and about.

Libraries, Parks, and Home

August 16, 2010 by Adam in Family

It was a full weekend with the kids, starting on Friday night and picking up Sam and Emma from Jamie's house.  Collette stayed over for dinner, and Keyana came to babysit Berry and Duncan for a dry run while we were there.  I think we managed a two minute snog in the shed, but otherwise ran around.

Saturday was surprisingly busy for Joanna.  I made my usual massive breakfast of crepes, whip cream, and bacon.  Joanna and I had gluten-free pancakes.  We took the younger kids to the library and a snack afterward.  Duncan brought home a bee puppet and endless Dora books.  I found a book for Sam and the Bloody Jack sequel on CD.  We worked our way home and then Joanna took her kids off to a birthday party at Skate World. 

Sam and I worked hard to finish our zombie game, finally finishing later that night.  I had to take a break in the middle and made Sam exercise.  He opted for stair stepping to Futurama, which has become his favorite option.  Emma went down the slip-n-slide and played in the kiddie pool.  Once Berry and Duncan arrived, they ended up joining her until dinner.

I opted for waffles on Sunday, which weren't as popular, but the sausage was a hit.  Joanna took her kids to church.  I stained the bookshelves we bought, and put Sam to work cutting wood and drilling holes for the future tire swing.  Emma and I hung out in the shed, and generally puttered about.  Joanna left me in charge of all four kids while she helped move a desk for her mom.  Fortunately everyone was well behaved and I stuffed them full of eggs for lunch.

We loaded everyone up in the minivan for a test run to Amazon park.  It was generally successful and the park itself went over well.  Even Sam got into the merry-go-round and climbing structures.  Eventually we loaded everyone back into the Sienna and went home to a couple hours of quiet time.  The Incredible Mister Fox was playing, and I watched the first bit and found it great.  Sadly work called me away and I was hanging curtain rods and putting up new curtains in Emma's room.

We had our first family dinner, with John, Yayoe, and Collette as guests.  There was tons of food, and the chocolate mousse was amazing for dessert.  Joanna and Yayoe broke out instruments and played music together for awhile, and it was off to bed for Emma.  Now it's time for bed myself.


August 14, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez

Isa headed back to school on Wednesday!  We're slowly readjusting to a normal routine, though not everything is running smoothly yet.  It is great to have the girl home though!

Aaaah. The mountains of Pennsylvania

August 13, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

Only twelve hours after originally scheduled, I arrived in Pittsburgh, remembering again what a beautiful area this is, probably more like Wales than Oregon. The trip across Pittsburgh runs right along the Allegheny River. My hotel is great, and after Betsy and I talked, (Bob's mom didn't die, but Bob's in the hospital, and sh'e feeling she can't make the trip) I decided to stay a couple more days here. It's funny what a visceral connection I have with this bit of geography. Here's a pix from Callie's wedding. I didn't really post much about the wedding, but it was very nice.

We also had a good time at Katie and Chad's wedding last weekend. Several of Sadie's highschool buds and their parents, who I got to know well, and who Bob has met, were there. A gorgeous location at a winery along the Siuslaw River.

Sweet Mocha Friday

August 13, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's another beautiful Friday in Eugene. I love the warm summer air and opening up the house in the morning to let in the breeze. It promises to be hot again this weekend, so maybe I'll break out the slip-and-slide and hose kids down.

Life continues to move along. We're working on selling the Subaru, and getting used to driving the minivan. I have a sprinkler guy looking at our sprinkler system on Monday after the burst pipe and flooding of last week. We picked up an unfinished bookcase yesterday off craigslist. The plan is to sand and stain it sometime this weekend. The garden is growing massive. Chickens are happily producing eggs.

I'm picking up Sam and Emma tonight, and Joanna has promised authentic bangers and mash for dinner. I have "The Fantastic Mr. Fox" from Netflix waiting to be watched. Tomorrow we'll make a library run and Joanna is taking Berry and Duncan to assorted play dates and birthday parties. Sam has virtually begged me to finish our zombie game we're playing together. Emma just likes to hang out and play together. Maybe we can do some bike riding practice.

I think we'll do a short family trip in the minivan to Amazon Park. We'll work our way up to epic vacations. Now that we've finished Glee, Sam, Joanna, and I need to decide on our next show to watch. Chuck has been suggested, and Sam wants to watch The Colony.

Having Berry and Duncan about is reminiscent of Sam and Emma when they were little. Last night was a bit rough, with the usual testing of boundaries. I think having little sisters and kids of my own has helped immensely. I'm able to laugh at the absurdity, and reassure Joanna that it gets better. I pushed my food shopping until after the kids were in bed, getting a text message informing me that Joanna was going to finish baking and then join the circus. Fortunately everyone was cheerful in the morning.

Farewell, Eugene

August 12, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

Going back for my class reunion. 50th high school. This means I am older than dirt.

Farewell, Eugene

August 12, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

for a few days, while I go to my 50th high school class reunion. What that means is that I'm older than dirt. I'm still waiting to hear from Betsy; when I made contact with her a couple of weeks ago, she said we could get together in Normalville, but when we last spoke, she said they were expecting Bob's mother to die that night or the next day, so she didn't know what she would be up to.

It's been a busy, happy week here, with Sadie's and Greg's news, and having Anna in Eugene for a couple weeks before she leaves for Paris again; she, like Sadie, has a lovely family who have taken her under their wings.

Be back Monday night. Right now, my 8:23 pm flight is scheduled to leave at 11:00 pm, (bad weather in San Francisco) heaven knows when I'll get into Pittsburgh. But I have pastries from Hideaway Bakery, so I'll survive.

The Mystery Machine

August 11, 2010 by Adam in Family

When Joanna and I went shopping for minivans, "anything but white" was one of the criteria. Now that we own a white minivan, she decided to spruce it up and ordered a bunch of flower magnets. Last night we had the kids put them on. This morning Joanna and I discussed which of the kids mapped to which Scooby Doo characters. Somehow we ended up as the dogs.

Berry and Duncan have been back for a couple days now, settling into their new bedrooms. It's actually gone amazingly smoothly. The little kids were up several times during the first night. Last night everyone slept really well, and Berry was our six o'clock alarm.

There have been some comedic moments, such as when I left for work yesterday, leaving Jamie, Joanna, and all the kids running about. Fortunately everyone is polite and cordial. Emma seems to like having more people to play with, cheerfully helping push Berry and Duncan yesterday. Sam is his usual cheerful self, and we had a good time watching the Glee finale last night.

This morning we took Berry and Duncan to their new school. They're off taking a tour of the Natural Science Museum. Josh is watching Sam and Emma, hopefully getting them to the park or outside at least for a little while. Everyone will converge on the house this afternoon, and Jamie picks them up tonight. There's a lot of shuffling around, but everyone seems to be okay with things.

I'm not quite sure what we're doing tonight. Joanna probably should go to bed early, and there continue to be endless things to unpack. Tomorrow I'll likely go shopping. Friday night I have the kids. Life's good.

yesterday, greg asked me a question

August 11, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

And I said yes!

Another Quiet Weekend

August 09, 2010 by Adam in Family

I kissed Joanna farewell Friday night and sent her off on her trip to return with Berry and Duncan. I've been following her adventures in Rochester, and got word this morning that she picked up her monkeys safe and sound. She's off on a play date this morning, and then begins the long flight back, returning around ten o'clock tonight.

My dad came over and we chatted for a long time on Friday. He wanted to go over his will as a precaution before racing speedboats around the English Channel. Fortunately we also talked about more entertaining subjects. I wrapped up the evening cleaning the Subaru and listening to Bloody Jack.

The next morning my cleaning and unpacking frenzy continued. The kids arrived, and we began our low-key weekend together. Emma and I went to the library. Sam and I figured out how to hook up the bike trailer and we carried Emma to Amazon Park, having far too much fun on the merry-go-round. I continued to unpack and do house chores. Later that night Sam and I watched Moon, which he declared the best movie he'd seen of that genre.

The next morning we had crepes, whip cream, and sausages. I puttered in the garden, planting peas and giving everything a good water. I declared a screen-free afternoon. Sam vanished and I later found him reading Calvin and Hobbes in the shed. Emma and I lay in the hammock and played with the real version of Hobbes. I put the kids to work patching an inflatible mattress and moving boxes.

That night we walked over to my mom's house, eating dinner with the usual suspects. Anna was in town, and she and Collette chatted away in French. Sam was pressed into present wrapping. Emma was her usual cute self.

Sam woke up before me this morning, so he'll probably be exhausted tonight. Emma was a little sniffly, but much improved from last week. I left them in the care of Josh, with a long list of chores they could do.

Empty Bedrooms

August 06, 2010 by Adam in Family

Berry and Duncan's bedrooms are finally looking ready for occupancy.  We were moving things around and I had to stop for a moment and look about.  Duncan's bedroom seemed so cheerful and full of promise.  It made me want to be a little boy again.

Sam called last night while we were packing and moving, so we chatted for nearly an hour.  He's excited to come home, which was heartening.  Emma was up late, chasing Sam around the yard.  Evidently she was sick yesterday and napped for three hours.  Hopefully I can get her to bed at a reasonable hour Saturday night.

I also cleaned up the minivan last night, discovering all manner of interesting goodies.  There's a power plug-in in the back, which I can see powering video players and the like on long trips.  I was impressed at the amount of leg room everyone will have, and all the bottle holders and cubbies scattered around.  The ash tray in the back is a bit odd.  I'm not quite sure what to do with that.

Joanna's off tonight to fetch children from afar, leaving me to go grocery shopping for the upcoming horde of children in the week ahead.  I'm hoping to clean the Subaru this weekend and get it ready to sell.  Maybe Sam and I can put up the climbing wall this weekend too.

I look forward to Monday, which has the feel of a new beginning.

Oh, and that mocha?  It was delicious, as always.

Almost Home

August 06, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez

After 24 hours of delays, Robbie is heading home with Isa and Hanni.  Here's a snapshot of some of Isa's redecorated room.

Another Day, Another Flood

August 05, 2010 by Adam in Family

I finished a medicinal mocha this morning, at Joanna's insistence. I woke up with a mild headache and it didn't take much prompting from her to grab one on our way in. Emma's been under the weather for a few days, so she probably passed it to me in one of her kisses, my favorite disease vector.

I went home a little early yesterday, working from home for an hour. Emma sat on my lap and listened to my meeting with me, while Josh and Sam played some zombie boardgame. Eventually Jamie came to collect them and I got dinner ready.

Joanna and I downed some tasty soup, helped Joanna's mom fix her bed and put up curtains, and picked up a new minivan battery at Costco. Exhausted, we settled down to watch the Hot Tub Time Machine. Fortunately the movie was really bad and we stopped early, as we noticed the quiet evening was broken by the sound of rushing water.

Soon enough we found the back stairwell full of water, jets of water streaming in from the concrete walls. Evidently the sprinkler system had broken again and was flooding everything. I immediately shut off the sprinkler system and started bailing out water. Joanna ran down to the basement and started mopping. Even with the water off, it took a good twenty minutes before the water stopped pouring in. After a few rounds of giddy laughter, we went to bed and collapsed.

This morning Joanna drove the minivan to work in preparation for taking it to Portland tomorrow. Tonight she'll pack and get everything ready. I'll be working on the endless list of tasks, from getting the Subaru ready to sell, to trying to unpack a little more. Even though I know it'll raise the chaos level of the house, I look forward to getting everyone home on Monday. It'll be nice to get everyone settled in a more permanent arrangement.

Cute pix

August 03, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

Hi, we got all five grandkids together yesterday afternoon for a swimfest at Jenny's. Thought this was a nice picture.

Lost Tooth

August 02, 2010 by Adam in Sam

Sam's had a loose tooth for awhile now.  This morning when I woke him up, I noticed a big molar up on his bookcase.  Since I'm a relatively fair dad, I gave him some money and a note for his tooth too.

Braidy Bunch Mobile

August 02, 2010 by Adam in Family

Blood was spilled.  Minivans didn't start.  It was epic.

Let me start from the beginning, though.  Joanna and I reached the conclusion that we had to get a minivan to move 6 people from place to place.  Driving two cars was wasteful and annoying.  Now that we're officially all living together, it was time to take the plunge.  We checked our bank accounts and decided we could just swing it, meeting our financial obligations if we were fairly conservative with our purchase.

Scouring craigslist, we looked at a couple 1999 Siennas.  One was okay, a little expensive, but Joanna had a bad feeling about it and we passed.  I had my phone checking craigslist for me, and it found one Sunday morning while we were off shopping.  After a missed attempt, we got in touch with the owner, negotiated it down a little, checked Carfax and the blue book value over the phone, and agreed to buy it.

This morning I drove to pick up cash, dropped off my car, rode my bike over, made the deal, and cut my finger loading my bike in the back.  I sat down, ready to go, and the car wouldn't start.  After getting the now-previous owner, both of us cursing, and finding jumper cables, we managed to start it and I drove it around.  Later I realized that a seatbelt had gotten stuck in the power door when we test drove it, and the battery ran down overnight.

Regardless, we're now the proud owners of a white 2000 Sienna minivan.  Hopefully it does what we need it to.  Suggestions on nicknames are welcome.

Other than that excitement, we had a generally good weekend.  I picked up the kids Friday night.  The house continues to get unpacked, and Berry and Duncan's rooms are coming together nicely.  The pile of things to give away grows in our driveway.  I got to fight zombies with Sam and swing and eat popcicles with Emma.  Glee was watched.  School supplies were purchased.  Emma loves having a cat.  Having Joanna around is ten different kinds of wonderful.  It was surprisingly fun to get the house put together and everyone settled.

Joanna's leaving for Rochester on Friday, returning with Berry and Duncan on Monday.  Josh is watching Sam and Emma today, working at my mom's for part of it.  Only a little over a month of Summer to go, and then we're into the school schedule again.  I'll try to enjoy the lazy Summer days while I can.

Rain Rain Go Away

August 02, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez

After 8 consecutive days of rain, our little river finally flooded last night.  Our campground had a small secondary river running through that was fed by the overflowing pond.  Additionally several large trees came racing through, though luckily they didn't take out any of our bridges.  There are several folks nearby whose cabins had flooding, and at least 2 cars were washed into the river.  Sadly, due to all the septic systems, it also smells like sewage.  Not sure I'd eat any fish from there for awhile!  This is a picture from this morning - after the water had retreated a foot or two.  It was a lot clearer today, and they finally lifted the flash flood warnings this afternoon. 

Mocha Friday

July 30, 2010 by Adam in Family

I just finished the last of my mocha, that delicious elixir perking me up for a day of coding fun.  I get to see Sam and Emma tonight, after a week away.  Joanna's been dreaming of being pregnant in high school, which she decided was a symptom of Glee withdrawl.  Hopefully we can remedy that tonight.

The unpacking and settling in continue.  I bartered with Todd across the street to help move couches in exchange for grape jam.  The kitchen feels fairly well put together, and last night I assembled the guest bed in the shed.  Joanna's cat Hobbs is making friends with the neighbors.  Collette is still staying with us through tonight, but her apartment should be ready to sleep in tonight.

The basement and garage are still filled with boxes, but we continue to slowly move things to where they're supposed to be.  Joanna and I simulaneously came to the conclusion that we have to have a minivan soon, so we're busy looking at Odysseys and Siennas all over the place.  There's simply no other way to transport four kids from place to place.

Life's a little chaotic, but good as well.  The house will soon be full of activity and kids and excitement relatively soon.


Ana's Birthday

July 28, 2010 by Lohring in Lohring

I had a fun weekend at Ana's.  Her birthday was Saturday and quite a few of her relatives that live here came to celebrate her 60 years.  I wanted lots of witnesses since my present was an engagement ring.  She said yes after some persuading.  I think she was surprised. Her niece's husband sang "Crazy" for us.  He doesn't do Patsy Cline for just anyone.  LOL

Our offer on a coast house was also accepted.  It's localed on Siletz bay and is new, built in 2007.  We got a very good deal.  You all need to visit after we get settled.  It has three upstairs bedrooms with a huge room for the kids.

Vacations and More Moving

July 27, 2010 by Adam in Family

All the moving is done now.

At least, that's the theory. Tonight we're making a final drive down to Creswell to pack up the cleaning supplies and clean anything that remains dirty. Hopefully it won't take too long, but so far my estimates have been sorely optimistic.

Joanna and I had a lovely time at Eagle Rock Lodge. We drove along one road near where Sam and I went hiking early this year. Once we found the lodge and toured the grounds, I immediately recognized the big Eagle Rock that Sam and I rafted past just a couple weeks ago. Our room was bedecked with fishing decor, strangely charming. We fell asleep in the hammock by the river, waking to the sound of screaming teenagers as they rafted past.

The next day we drove over to Sahalie Falls and enjoyed the scenery, before sadly returning to Eugene to pick up the U-Haul. From that point on, it was lots of loading and unloading, without the help of two strapping young lads to help out like last time. Sometime around eight o'clock I unloaded the last box, swept the truck, and Joanna drove it back. The garage and play room is a maze of boxes, calling out to be unpacked and put away. Joanna's mom is staying another night or two as her apartment isn't quite ready for her. The plan is to get the common areas in order before digging into the piles of boxes stored below.

Still, it feels great to have it finally done. Life feels like it's moving on.

Five Days without Children

July 25, 2010 by Adam in Family

I picked up Sam and Emma yesterday morning and we had a pleasant, low-key day of hanging about the house and getting used to the changes.  Emma thinks Hobbes is pretty awesome, and spent much of the time petting her and hanging out.  Of course, being a cat, it does make it hard to join in the fun with my allergies.  I managed to sneak down for fifteen minute stretches to visit.

Joanna had to work for most of the afternoon, so the kids and I hung out until four o'clock.  We visited Jenny and her boys for a birthday BBQ.  The kids and I swam, hot tubbed, and jumped on the trampoline.  After having a good time, we returned home to get Emma to bed, and Sam and I stayed up late fighting zombies together on the computer.

This morning was our traditional crepes and whip cream breakfast (along with sausages, gluten-free pancakes, and hot chocolate).  Hopefully that'll fortify everyone for the week ahead.  Jamie left, taking the kids.  Collette and Joanna returned to Creswell for last-minute necessities.  I made a big salad using greens from the garden.  Now I'm just waiting for Joanna to return before we sneak away for an evening together.

Tomorrow we're renting another U-Haul to pick up the rest of the things at Creswell.  Hopefully it won't take too long.  The rest of the week will be unpacking and organizing, with my kids returning Friday.  I like how the house is slowly coming together.  After the Death Swing broke, we were down to two swings.  My playground equipment package arrived and I replaced it with a real swing yesterday.

I think I'll enjoy my brief time in a quiet house, perhaps mend a pillow or nibble on fruit.



July 24, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm exhausted, nearly twelve hours of hauling Joanna, Duncan, Berry, and Collette's things from their Creswell house to Collette's new apartment and my house.  Collette is folding laundry and keeping an eye on Hobbes.  Joanna is upstairs soaking.  I should probably eat food and consider sleeping, but I'm in a bit of a daze.

The morning started wonderfully, waking up with no children in the house and no where we needed to be at the crack of dawn.  We langorously arose and met up with my mom at the Glenwood for her birthday.  There was a little present and we coaxed our waiter to light a single candle we put in her oatmeal.  Songs were sung.  Wishes were made.

Next was getting the U-Haul and getting Richard and Miguel to help move.  They were amazing and it would have simply been impossible to move without them.  Next followed the usual packing, moving, taping, swearing, and eventually getting everything to their appropriate places.  Obstacles were overcome.  Scrapes were had.  Bodies were exhausted.

I managed a little Skype with Emma, who seems to miss me terribly.  I look forward to seeing her tomorrow morning bright and early.  It's going to be really weird not seeing them until the following Friday.  From a practical standpoint, we have lots of work unpacking left.  Still, I miss them already.

Time to ponder going to bed and maybe eating an apple or two or ten.  I'm exhausted.



July 22, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's been a busy week for me, so much so that I've forgotten to post for awhile.

Joanna saw her kids off to Rochester, where they've been occasionally webcamming.  It's strange not having Berry and Duncan about, with certainly less giggling in the household.  Joanna's essentially moved in at this point, though her funiture and such remains in Creswell until tomorrow.  I'm celebrating mom's birthday by taking her out to breakfast, followed by hours of moving heavy things around.

We had a moment of panic when Collette's first apartment fell through, but fortunately another magically appeared just a few blocks away from my mom's house.  It'll be nice having everyone so close, and should make hauling kids about much easier.

Sam and Emma seem in good spirits, enjoying hanging out with Josh Monday and Wednesday of this week.  Part of the time they worked for my mom, with Sam paying off his debt he used to buy me a birthday present.  The Death Swing broke, so I bought a real one, along with some climbing holds to attach to the shed to make a climbing wall.  Emma continues loving the chickens and eating snap peas from the garden.  My mobile phone awesomeness paid off when I got a two-for-one deal at Ben and Jerry's with my Foursquare prowess.

Last night and tonight we'll be packing more boxes in Creswell, with a small break for a counseling session tonight.  I think we're going to sneak away some time this weekend to celebrate being child-free for the first time in ages.  After that, it's a week of unpacking when Jamie takes the kids to Bend for the week.

Marshall and McKenna's big project

July 22, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

My project list is on hold while I pack and move this week and next, but I wanted to share a complete house remodel from my dear friends Marshall and McKenna. I'm totally floored by their work, much of which they did themselves!

Their year-long journey is captured with beautiful pictures here:


July 20, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy belated birthday to Adam!!  Happy early birthday to Mom!!

I can't believe it's been almost a month since our last posting.  Yes, we did get rain.  It comes most afternoons between 3 and 5pm, rains off and on for an hour or so and then stops.  Very nice!

I've been busy with work, and Robbie has been busy with school and job hunting (yes, hunting is more appropriate then searching).  We're starting to get excited for Isa's return in August, even though everything else feels in limbo.

Swings and Chickens

July 19, 2010 by Adam in Adam's Projects

In between birthday festivities, we managed to coordinate a few house projects. The first was the arrival of the chickens. Joanna and I covered the bottom of the chicken tractor with a metal fence to keep out raccoons and the like. Saturday Joanna rounded them up and brought them over, much to Emma's delight. Emma loves watching them and feeding them. This morning when Josh arrived to watch the kids, she immediately brought him over to show off the chickens. The chickens evidently had a pretty good move, as Emma found one egg from both of them yesterday. She fried one up and gobbled it up eagerly. I also managed to turn the all-wood Death Swing into a Padded Death Swing, affixing pipe insulation with pretty brass furniture nails. Sam and I did some Mythbuster-like tests where we swung it into each other without causing significant injury or discomfort.

Birthday Boy

July 19, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's my birthday today, and had a lovely weekend full of food, family, and chasing children. Joanna made a gluten-free version of my favorite potato cake, which turned out delicious. Chickens arrived, much to Emma's amusement. Saturday I scooped up the kids from Jamie's house and the kids immediately made me open their birthday presents. Sam had bought me a Starbuck's gift certificate and Emma wrote out various coupons to do the dishes or play with her. Joanna and her kids arrived at noon, along with chickens. We played and baked cake and got ready for the evening potluck. The kids watched Princess and the Frog via Netflix, which is looking to be a pretty cool service for $9 per month. Eventually my family began wandering in and we ate and chatted and played some more. Eventually everyone got to sleep and Joanna, Sam, and I watched Glee. Sunday was our usual hearty breakfast, followed by Joanna, Duncan, and Berry going off to church. Emma wanted to hang out with my mom, so Sam and I got some rare time together to go for a bike ride. He was tentative at first, but eventually got pretty comfortable. We went to Roosevelt to get used to the ride, stopped by Starbucks to cash in his birthday present, and returned books to the library. Once everyone returned, there was another round of eating and playing. I bid farewell to Berry and Duncan, as they left for Rochester this morning to spend time with thier dad. The rest of the afternoon was pretty lazy, working on chores and going on a trip to the park with the kids to frisbee and eat sour cherries. It promises to be an exciting week. Joanna and her mom are spending the next few days packing, and Friday we move. I'm having a birthday breakfast with my mom, followed by renting a van and moving things around. This Sunday Sam and Emma are off to Bend for a week, so it's going to be strangely quiet for awhile. Life's good.

Sweet Mocha Friday

July 16, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's a pleasant Mocha Friday, made all the sweeter by my barrista upgrading my beverage after  hearing about my upcoming birthday.

I don't have any exciting news from the last couple days.  I picked up some fencing from True Value to stick to the bottom of the chicken tractor after work, and then had dinner at Joanna's house.  We watched an episode of the $100 home makeover show that had one of her friends in it.  I think I managed to sleep over nine hours last night, which was truly remarkable.

This weekend should be fun, with birthdays and moving chickens.

Rafting the McKenzie

July 15, 2010 by Adam in Family

I had a pretty amazing day yesterday. It was Isa's last day, so I stuffed the kids full of crepes, whip cream, and sausages. I sent them all outside to play, doing a bit of clean up work in the garden while they skateboarded and swung. After packing for the trip, my mom treated the kids at Metropol and I got a haircut. Finally we drove past Vida, met up with our guides, and took a shuttle to Finn Rock to start our rafting adventure. My dad, Destin, Jordan, Isa, Sam, Emma, and myself all went along. Emma and I were in one raft with some others, while the rest of the crew took the second raft. Emma was pretty tired, having got up at four in the morning (she shared a bed with Isa, which evidently didn't go well). Fortunately the cold water and rapids perked her up and she was smiling and jumping in the water. The other raft was only visible a few times, when we got close enough for squirt gun fights. They seemed to be having a good time, though. Our guides had a constant banter going, as one of them was the daughter of the woman who owned the rafting company. Eventually we returned home wet, tired, and happy. I got the kids off to Jamie's in time for Josh's birthday party. I went for dinner at Joanna's, and then off to swing dancing. I still feel like a novice compared to most people there, but we had a great time moving about to old sultry tunes. Two more days of work and then it's my birthday weekend. Lots of changes with Berry and Duncan visiting their dad, Joanna's brother and nephew heading home, and Joanna beginning the moving in process. The plan is to move Joanna and her mom on the 23rd, and if anyone wants to come along to provide moral support, they're much appreciated.

Summertime Fun

July 13, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's been an exciting three-day weekend.  I had the kids on Friday, so Joanna and I spent our date night making Duncan's birthday cake.  It turned out really well, and since it was in the shape of Dora, it was a huge hit.  There was Glee watching later, much to Sam, Joanna, and my amusement.

Saturday morning the kids and I hung about, with Emma joining me for a library run.  Joanna and crew joined us for lunch.  I helped entertain everyone while Joanna took a short nap.  Emma started talking with an English accent around Christopher again.  As three o'clock rolled around, a horde of small children descended on us.  It was madness, but the birthday boy had a good time.  After everyone left, we played with water balloons and had a good time.

Sunday Joanna and her kids went to the country fair.  I had planned on going, but Emma backed out, and I regretfully decided to stay.  The rest of the morning I moped about and did chores.  The house ended up spotless, though I still wish I'd gone.  Eventually they returned, packed up, and headed home.

Isabell has been a wonderful house guest, and Emma has loved having her around.  We got into a huge water balloon fight with the neighbors and everyone got soaked.  Today the girls tried on clothes, made music videos, and used the backyard swing.

I took Sam to the doctor for his physical today.  He's completely massive.  Later we got him new pants and he wears a size sixteen.  We visited Joanna and work before heading to Splash for exhausting wave fun.  It turns out Emma really likes the water slide.  Eventually we went home for chores, play, and relaxation.

Project Four: Wedding Table Cards

July 11, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

One of my college friends asked me to make her table place cards for her wedding next weekend. I think they look a bit like vegetable seed packets.

These are the fronts and backs, all individually stamped. Whew!

Project Three: Peach Melba, Pear Ginger, and Rhubarb Jam

July 11, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

In order to justify packing and moving all of my canning supplies, I decided to fill my jars with jam. I now have peach, pear, and rhubarb jam to carrying me (and most likely a few neighbors) through the winter. Rain came yesteday, calming last week's heat wave. I've been watching my downstair neighbor's animal kingdom, which includes a toy poodle, boa constrictor, fifty gallon fish tank, half dozen hamsters, white feeder mice, and a dozen finches. I'm just glad they didn't liquify from the heat while in my care.

Sweet Mocha Friday

July 09, 2010 by Adam in Family

I've downed the last of my delicious Friday mocha and am now munching on peas from our garden, picked fresh last night. It's amazing just how good they taste in comparison to buying peas from the store, shipped from countries unknown. It's nice having vegetables year-round, but nothing beats local produce.

Wednesday night Joanna and I went out to song circle, singing in the forest with a group of now-familiar aging folk song enthusiasts. There were several Beatles songs in honor of Ringo Starr's 70th birthday. Thursday was my errand day. I went grocery shopping after work, coming home to give all my plants a good soak after a couple days in the 90s. The blueberries are getting tasty, and I have enough greens to make salad for weeks. I had a nice long webcam with Sam, where we chatted about him finishing his Mass Effect game, and he recommended online videos. Poor Emma had a headache and was under the weather.

I'm picking up the kids tonight from Dave's house, as Jamie's going to the beach again. I've promised Sam an episode of Glee, which he's excited for, not to mention starting Mass Effect 2. Tomorrow is Duncan's birthday, so it's a cake making date night for Joanna and I. On Sunday we're off to the country fair to watch naked people in body paint dance about. Good times.

If A Tree Falls On An Office Building, and No One's Around

July 07, 2010 by Adam in Family

Jamie got a note from John, letting her know that a tree fell on the office. It doesn't look too bad from the picture, but maybe you should call when you get back into town.

Oh, and you're still good watching the kids tomorrow afternoon, mom? No rest for the weary. :) Welcome back.


July 07, 2010 by Adam in Sam

I managed to convince Sam to go to one camp this summer, a four-day archery camp. It seems they do a lot of other things besides shooting bows, but he seems to come home each day relatively cheerful, telling stories about assorted misadventures.

Yesterday he told us about the scrape on his knee, which he got playing "hamster ball." Evidently they take a big plastic ball, zip a kid up inside it, and fill it up with air using a leaf blower. He said it was loud, uncomfortable, and he had a great time moving it around an obstacle course.

This morning I gave Josh instructions that he had to put sunscreen all over, as it's going to be 95 degrees today. Last night Sam asked what happens if you sunburn your bones. Hopefully it won't come to that.

Epic Heat, Epic Shopping

July 07, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Yesterday, for mom and Isabell's final day in Boston, we mapped out and explored every kid's clothing store between Back Bay and Downtown Crossing, from couture to H&M. Despite the hundred degree weather (no exaggeration! Our lieutenant governor is still in the hospital recovering from heat stroke), both of them held up for six hours of relentless shopping. Isabell valiantly tried on every item I pulled off the shelves and brought home her first beloved pair of skinny jeans. Mom also picked up a couple hundred items for other grandchildren. We all managed to stay nice to each other and reasonably hydrated. It was a vacation miracle. 

Yet More Teeth

July 06, 2010 by Adam in Emma

Emma's been playing with her dangly front tooth for weeks now, as it barely held on by a thread. This morning she woke up, gave me a hug, and realized it was no longer in her mouth. We searched around and found it on the floor. Time for the tooth fairy to break out the wallet tonight.

4th of July Weekend

July 06, 2010 by Adam in Family

The weekend was a blur of people, food, and explosions, three days long and so full that I'm not quite sure where to start.

Assorted house projects were completed.  The rope ladder went up, a nice addition to the two swings.  There's a pretty dragonfly knocker on the shed now.  I mulched part of the front garden.  Peas and lettuce were picked.

Joanna and her family came over several times for food and hanging out.  Emma started talking with an English accent towards the end.  There was pizza and Mythbusters, lunches, and assorted hanging out.  Emma fed peas to Berry in the chicken tractor.  My dad visited for a long while on Saturday, which was nice.  It had been a long while since I'd seen him, so it felt good to get back in touch.

Sunday involved cooking hamburgers on the grill and setting off fireworks that night.  Emma stayed up until nearly ten, well past her normal bedtime.  This was the first year the fireworks seemed pretty exciting to her.  Sam opted out of watching fireworks from the balcony.  We looked out the window at people setting off big fireworks at Washington Park, but otherwise stayed inside.

On Monday, Sam went to his first archery class and generally seemed to enjoy it.  He ended up with a bit of a sunburn, so this morning the sunscreen was liberally applied.  He gets to actually shoot arrows this morning, which hopefully will make it even more exciting.

The next few weeks are getting increasingly challenging to plan.  There are birthdays, events, moves, visits, and all manner of things to schedule.  Seeing Isa again this Sunday will be nice.  Jamie asked if she could take the kids to the beach this weekend, which I'm still mulling over.  It's a little last minute and it means missing out on some planned things.  Hopefully I can talk to them tonight.

So, life feels busy and full.  It's exciting, and occasionally overwhelming.  In some ways it'll be nice to have things settle down a bit next month.

Mocha Friday

July 02, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's been another pleasant summer week, and a nice Mocha Friday in particular. Wednesday Joanna and I drove up to pick up her brother and nephew. Christopher is an interesting guy, diving in the Galapagos last week, and talking about buying a house in France. Arthur is exceptionally cute, with a proper English accent as well as being fluent in French. Thursday I took off so that Jamie could work and I watched the kids. I exchanged the raft that burst last week and upgraded to the Fish Hunter model. We had a great time paddling around behind Autzen Stadium and discovering nature. Sam found a mud bird's nest under a bridge that was pretty cool. We had a somewhat lazy evening. I tried to get the kids to help build a rope ladder, but the distractions pulled people away. Emma watered the garden, at least. I showed Sam Sim Earth, which you can download off the Internet. We had a great time terraforming Mars, and I think he managed to wipe out a civilization or two. The kids were picked up by Jamie this morning, bright and cheerful. I handed over the first of my very large spousal support and child support checks. We're not entirely settled, but there was something strangely satisfying with getting on with things. Hopefully we can get the rest sorted out and get on with the business of raising kids. Joanna and I are going to try and listen to some music tonight, and tomorrow we're going to shoot for a mass expedition to Saturday market. I'm not sure how the rest of the weekend will pan out. All I know is that Saturday night is pizza and Mythbusters and Emma wants to raft again. We'll see how it goes.

Boston Town

July 01, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

A lovely smiling Sadie picked us up from the airport after a trip which came off without a hitch. Bob took us to the airport at about 4:30, miraculously finding an open donut shop on the way.

He was a wonderful trip companion on our tour with Isa. He manages to be both playful and gentle in his directiveness with Isa, and she in turn was just a lovely travel companion. She and Sadie are going off on a walk before we all go to see Eclipse. Oh, and Seraph, we stopped for an ice cream at the Biggest Small Cone Place" I've ever seen. Next time I'm getting the "Tot" size.

This little town is a wonderful small New England town, and the house Sadie and Greg have their apartment in is a beautiful old old house. In fact, the room I'm sitting in has the old wide boards as flooring.

Sunny Days with Cousins

June 29, 2010 by Adam in Family

Emma got to spend time with Isa yesterday, having a wonderful time. I picked them up from mom's house after work, feeding everyone dinner and taking them down to the park afterward. Sam and I practiced our ninja Frisbee on the snake. There was much giggling and laughing. Emma shot milk out her nose from laughing for the first time. My little girl keeps growing up.

Sam played Sims 3 a bunch yesterday, his Sim family having twins and then triplets. He finally gave up, declaring five toddlers and babies as too chaotic. I had to explain where Sim babies come from over dinner.

Emma picked up a Zelda manga at the library, and I've been reading it to her at night. This morning she decided she was going to finish it herself, which she did quite well. It's been awesome watching her get so good at reading.

Tonight Joanna and her kids come over for their usual Tuesday sleepover. Once Joanna's brother Christopher arrives, I'm not sure when we'll manage to get together for a few weeks. The summer schedule is event-filled and it's sometimes challenging to coordinate everything. It does keep life interesting, though.

Home Again, Jiggidy Jig

June 29, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

Then off to Boston, to buy a fat pig...leaving Eugene tomorrow morning at 6:00 am.

Isa slept in a bit yesterday morning, and has been soaking up cousin time since. She's at Jordan's for a sleepover right now; Lohring will fix breakfast, and I'll go pick her up later this morning for some more Emma time. Are these not the nicest kids?

Hanni and Yayoe, I'll have her at least call today; hopefully I'll be able to break into the fun, fun, fun...


Boxes, Bikes, and Nautical Disasters

June 28, 2010 by Adam in Family

It felt like the first weekend of summer, full of adventures and play and laziness.  One of my favorite moments was laying squished up in a hammock with Emma, listening to her read her Ponyo book all by herself.

Friday night Joanna and I went to the Graveyard Club, a quirky play in Pleasant Hill.  Community theater at its finest.  In the morning I picked up the kids and took them home, Joanna and her kids arriving after lunch.  We had a lazy day of play and running around outside.  Everyone but Sam went to the park to ride bikes.  Emma's graduated to Sam's old bike and is right on the edge of being able to ride by herself.  Berry was very enthusiastic, despite the scraped knee.  Duncan's slowly getting more comfortable himself.

I managed a few projects, washing the car with the kids, emptying and moving the compost tumbler, and putting up a second hammock.  Emma and I did a fast library run.  I still have bark-o-mulch to spread and a rope ladder to build.  It's fun watching the back yard come together.

Mythbusters was sadly a rerun, though we watched How Its Made with our pizza.  Joanna, Sam, and I watched the Doctor Who finale, which was surprisingly good.  We've decided to switch to Glee as a replacement.  Sam has really gotten into it lately.

Sunday breakfast was the usual massive affair, followed by musical events in the basement.  Joanna and her kids went to church while I took my kids rafting at Alton Baker Park.  Sadly we overinflated one of the chambers and burst it, but the raft still worked relatively well.  We watched Canada geese, nutria, and other aquatic creatures.  There were showers all around for our return.  The rest of Sunday was lazy, with a forced reading session on the hammocks.  Emma's turning into a very good reader, and it's fun to hang out with her while she reads.

This morning Dave came to watch the kids, which they were both excited about.  Josh is back in town, and my mom should be here tonight.  Summer is proving to be an interesting mix of relaxing and busy.

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

June 28, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I sure miss Greg, but it's nice to seize the free time for preserving summer. The rhubarb is from a dear friend's organic farm in Dover.

Ingredients: 4 c. crushed strawberries, 4 c. de-stringed cooked rhubarb, 4 c. sugar, 1 box of pectin

Take a large heavy pot and pour in the strawberries, rhubarb, and pectin. Stirring constantly bring the above to a rolling boil, then add sugar. Return to a rolling boil and boil for 1 minute. Turn off heat and skim off excess foam. Pour the jam into clean jars, wipe off jar, seal lids, and boil jars for ten minutes. With patience, the jars will seal themselves in the coming hours with a satisfying *pop* sound.


Project Two: Check

June 27, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Dressmaking is not as meditative as I anticipated, but it is an exercise in self-reflection. I know now that I am not a naturally procedural thinker. Technical, non-intuitive directions are challenging for me to understand. This, combined with my bullheadedness and aversion to slip-stitching made this project more difficult than sanding and varnishing outside for three days. On the upside, I have a new dress with a real zipper and pockets. Thanks to my new dress form, it also fits like a glove.

Now for strawberry rhubarb jam!

On Our Way Home

June 27, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

Isa says to say that she's having fun, she's swimming in the hotel swimming pool (we're in Susanville, Ca.) and she can't wait to get to Eugene. She is so excited to see her cousins. Last night she told me that she wanted to fly up to Eugene to celebrate her birthday.

We went to Death Valley National Park yesterday, and are contemplating driving through Lassen to connect with I-5.

We're dirty but cheerful!

Project Two: Dress

June 26, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I'm not actually finished with the dress, but let me say that making things out of fabric is really, really hard. It takes a ton of spatial intelligence that I don't have. But I have finally cut all the fabric, snipped all the linings, and ironed everything into flat geometric pieces.

Greg also has a new project going, his Baltimore blog: Yesterday, one of my local farmers called blogging self-indulgent. This from a guy with his own blogspot for kale recipes! Sheesh.

Please Rain

June 25, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez

We're in desperate need of rain down here.  The weather report is calling for it, the clouds roll in, we hear the thunder, but alas, no rain.  There are several large fires burning in our region, and the Forest Service has put out some Stage 1 fire restrictions.  So far this doesn't affect our campers, but without rain they'll upgrade to Stage 2 restrictions, and there go the summer s'mores! 

Rafting the Mill Race

June 25, 2010 by Adam in Family

I took yesterday off work, letting Jamie get a work day in and letting me spend more time with the kids.  The morning started off very lazily, stopping by Target, dropping off cold medicine for Joanna at work, and then going to Dick's Sporting Goods for a raft which was on sale.

I got the kids from Jamie's and headed home.  The first order of business was to try again with a climbing net.  Unfortunately my beat-up hammock made for a pretty lousy one.  I'm to the point where I'm going to simply buy a real one.

Next off was playing with fire.  I tried to make match rockets, but they must have changed things since I was a kid.  The tinfoil wrapped around the match simply melted through rather than containing the ignition and turning it into thrust.  Hopefully they learned some science from the failure.  Sparklers were passed out as a reasonable substitute.

Next was getting the raft set up, inflated, and driving it strapped to the roof down to campus.  It was a little exciting, but didn't fly away, and we found some quirky parking.  The kids were pretty excited to get it in the water, and we had a great time puttering about.  Sam in particular liked the industrial feel of the millrace, with odd garbage, bridges, and machinery strewn about.

Unfortunately the raft got poked by a downed tree on our way back.  I put the kids in and crossed the stream before it deflated, sinking knee-deep into the mud.  Everyone made it back to the shore and I required several showers before feeling truly clean again.

The rest of the afternoon was pretty lazy.  We patched the hole, watched movies, and played on computers.  I took the kids back and went down to Corvallis.  Joanna fed me snap peas fresh from the garden, though sadly was still up much of the night coughing.

It's mocha Friday, and I'm well caffeinated.  Tonight Joanna and I are seeing a play in Pleasant Hill.  Tomorrow I'm collecting the kids and promised Emma more rafting adventures.  Good times.

Good Morning from the Grand Canyon

June 25, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

I'm so glad we got a hotel in the park. We drove to a viewpoint just a few minutes after sunset as the colors of the canyon muted into dusk. The moon is nearly full and the temperature ideal! Lowell Observatory was interesting; we saw Saturn and Isa reminded us she wanted to be an astronomer. The Petrified Forest was 99 degrees; we nearly petrified. Isa is the best little kid. Hope we can plan lots of cousin time; I think that not many kids is the only downside of Sipapu.

She and Shiloh have the run of about a jillion acres of river and woods.

Project One: check

June 25, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I completed my first project, designed to keep me busy while Greg is in Baltimore. It took three days and I got an offer from neighbors to start my own lucrative refinishing business, but they are now done and back in the living room.

Here is the before and after:


Honolulu here I come!

June 24, 2010 by Yayoe in Yayoe

Hi Family,

I'll be in Honolulu visiting Josh/Jodie/Robbie (age 3) and Curtis (5 months) from June 29-July 7th. Now that the weather is so wonderful in Eugene I almost hate to miss summer here but I'll make the sacrifice by watching the sunsets at Waikiki and listening to Hawaiian music. Josh is working very hard remodeling their new home which is about 10 minutes from Waikiki. The family is not ready to move in just yet because there is lead in the soil and around the exterior of the house. He's also working at his new job inspecting radiation equipment. He lost his old job when the state health department downsized his division where he was an environmental specialist taking water sample tests all over the island. Sniff. So aloha for now.






Odd Middle of the Week

June 23, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's been quirky the last 24 hours or so.

  • My rope ladder in the back yard didn't pan out particularly well.  I may have to buy a real one.
  • Joanna's cough continues, and she was up most of the night, exhausted today.
  • Her car was broken into by a polite thief, removing only $2 in change.
  • This morning Jamie arrived amidst the chaos and tentatively asked, "You're not expecting me to watch all these kids, right?"  I laughed and replied, "What's a couple more?"
  • When Berry decided to change her dress at the last minute and ran into trouble, Jamie nicely assisted.

Like mom used to say, some days I feel like I'm gathering material for a novel.

One More For The Fairy

June 23, 2010 by Adam in Emma

The Tooth Fairy visited us last night, a belated scribble in a note and dollar bill stuffed into Emma's mailbox by her bedroom door.  The way it was described to me is that Sam caused Emma to faceplant on our front hill, though she seemed not at all bothered by the method.

I miss the funny shark teeth already.

This morning Emma woke up and we did the usual cuddle in bed.  I let her know that I had to take a shower.  She asked if I could take a picture of myself on my phone and cuddle with that.  I cheerfully obliged.

Fun in New Mexico

June 22, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

We had a very speedy trip down, given that we didn't leave Thursday until three in the afternoon. Bob drove until 11 pm, and we reached Vale. That route is a perfect reminder of the variety of Oregon, and its incredible beauty. The next day was also pedal to the metal, and we arrived in Green River, Utah about ten.

The last day was a lovely drive through the mountains. The section from Durango

south past old silver mines at Silverton and Ouray was amazing, high up into the Rockies.

It has been so much fun to spend time with Seraph, Robbie and Isa. On Father's Day, we drove down to Chimayo, which has the old church where the annual Easter pilgrimage Robbie walks ends. We had brunch outside at an old ranch-now-restaurant (the restaurant had burned down about a year ago and had been rebuilt, and just reopened). It was really lovely! Then we went to the church, where there were lots of families with the elderly parents. The dirt in the floor of one room is supposed to have healing powers, and we also saw lots of people carrying back the dirt, and one man was rubbing it on his gnarled hands.

Sunday late afternoon Bob, Isa and I walked down to the river to play. Isa's situation reminds me of my own growing up - no TV, a huge area to run around in, and lots of books.

Yesterday, Isa and I walked straight up a mountain to play in some wooden tipies

up on top, while Bob and Robbie played tennis. Later, we all drove into Taos and had dinner at a neat Middle Eastern restaurant, and returned to an amazing dessert. Seraph made a Red Velvet cake with beautiful chartruse frosting, home made ice cream, and home made hot fudge.

This morning Robbie went into Santa Fe for a job interview, and we're hanging out keeping Seraph company. We head over to Las Vegas, New Mexico this afternoon to stay in the big restored hotel, where they filmed some of No Country for Old Men, then on to Flagstaff tomorrow. We'll try to post pics!

Much love, Mom 


Swings and Loose Teeth

June 22, 2010 by Adam in Family

I had a long, lazy three-day weekend, generally pleasant and sunny.  The kids continued to be sniffly but are on the mend.

Sunday we hung out with Joanna and her kids, with Emma in particular helping entertain Berry.  When the rain came, they retreated to the shed for snacks and games.  It's nice to see that space finally used for something.

Sam tried to spend Sunday night at John's house, but returned home after not feeling well.  Monday we walked down to Metropol for treats, and started making a rope ladder next to the swings.  The weather was gorgeous, fitting for the first day of Summer.

Jamie's watching the kids today and tomorrow, and then I'll take Thursday off to watch them.  I'm not sure what's happening next week, but hopefully we can handle it before our normal babysitters arrive in town and the summer schedule begins for real.

Last day

June 22, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Today is Greg's last day in town before orientation at UMass and the summer math/robotics academy in Baltimore. I have a series of projects to distract myself from his absence, including refinishing two chairs, learning proper dressmaking, and making the table placecards for my friend's wedding. I've re-ordered the Netflix cue so all the Richard Prior movies are at the bottom and the John Adams mini-series is at the top. I have a series of coffee dates, the strawberry festival is penciled into my calendar, and there is always the library.

But it goes without saying that Mr. Caswell is irreplaceable.

Happy Father's Day

June 20, 2010 by Adam in Family

Happy Father's Day, all!

I'm entertaining Emma and Duncan with Fimo clay.  There were Doras, goo balls, and hearts with angel wings.  Time to paint.  Joanna's still sleeping, her cold continuing on.  Hopefully it will distract little people long enough to get breakfast started.

Everyone was under the weather yesterday.  Sam and I put up the second swing, this one far more real than the first.  It's very secure and we managed to do it without drilling into the balcony.  The rest of the day was spent hanging around the house or puttering in the garden.  Sam and I worked on his computer game some more, which has a man-versus-nature theme.  Emma watched Pirates of the Carribean, declaring it was a pretty good movie.

Hopefully we can get outside a little today and enjoy the weather.

Father's Day

June 20, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy Father's Day one and all!  Thanks Robbie for being such a wonderful dad : )

School's Out

June 18, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's mocha Friday for me, the second mocha in two days. Everyone seems to be sick lately, Sam wrapping up his cold and Emma starting in on one herself. Thursday night Berry was up screaming for an hour, clearly not feeling very good. I required caffeinated assistance come morning time. Sam and Emma had their last day of school yesterday. The afternoon was filled with Field Day, a series of outside games to wrap up the year. Sam had been sick all week, but was there to enjoy the festivities. Emma had lots of fun, exhausting herself at the end. They bid their final farewells and headed to Jamie's house. As for this weekend, Joanna and I are hanging out as usual tonight, and tomorrow everyone descends upon my house. With everyone feeling under the weather, it may be a movie marathon weekend. I'm taking Monday off to watch the kids, and hoping we can rent canoes at Alton Baker Park. This year Sam gets his own, as there's too much negotiation with two children in one boat.

Grafton Life

June 18, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Greg and I moved all of his boxes into storage today in preparation for his summer in Baltimore. We're leaving Grafton after a year here, a place where I sat on the planning board, editorialized for the local rag, and on which I wrote my final policy capstone. Despite this, I have two conflicting reflections: first, that I never felt totally at home, and second, that I didn't do enough to give back- I paid my excise tax, but I didn't pay the community tax.

I wanted my rabble rousing to make the town a little more critical, engaged, and interested in its own preservation. I don't think that happened- the cranky haters still voted three to one for Scott Brown.

So what did I really do? My editorial column ended and I resigned from the planning board. My recommendations for citizen engagement in public planning are in the hands of a town committee. All of the policy and community planning work I was a part of is ongoing (and unfinished).

Of anything that I can look back on and say, that was when I paid my community tax, was the night before my final policy capstone presentation, when our neighbor's apartment flooded into the apartment below. Instead of memorizing index cards, I spent the night filling garbage bags with fallen, bloated ceiling tiles. And because of that night - and many other nights with board games and cookouts and impromptu walks on the track, I think our neighbors will be with us for a long time.

And whoever said paying taxes didn't get you anything, well, they never met Blaise and Lydia.

Bob Marley

June 17, 2010 by Adam in Family

It was an odd and interesting day.  Sam was sick again today, missing his graduation ceremony.  I took Joanna in for a quickie medical procedure, and then returning home to keep an eye on everyone.  Joanna slept most of the afternoon, in between Desparate Housewives.  Sam played video games.  I wrote interfaces between Oracle and SQL.  Somehow I think I got the short straw between the three of us.

Toward the end of the day, I made Sam go into the basement and play some big ball.  It seemed to perk him up and he was in good spirits as we dropped him off at Jamie's house.  Hopefully he's well enough to go to his last day of school tomorrow.

I went to Joanna's house to help entertain children and tidy up.  After dinner we had some impromptu Bob Marley in meow language:

Leaving on a fast...

June 17, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

Well, the old Town Car is oiled and aligned, its two new tires gleaming. We're aiming to get into Vadito late Saturday, but Seraph and Robbie, we will keep you posted. I won't mind leaving the Pollen Belt for awhile; my nose is so big we really need a travel trailer. Hugs to all, Mom

PS The place will be locked up pretty tight - Adam and Aric will have a key. 


June 15, 2010 by Adam in Family

The annual Crest Drive carnival was last night.  Sam missed it, as he's been sick, staying home a second day this week.  I'm nervous leaving him alone, but he's been doing relatively okay.  Yesterday he made himself waffles and microwaved pizza.  For dinner he requested "something that can't be prepared in a minute."  I made him ravioli.

The carnival itself was the usual blend of fun and madness.  Emma loved getting tickets and redeeming them for a weird mix of Made in China trinkets.  The duck scoop in particular was quite lucrative, as the volunteer operator wasn't given any reward instructions.

Joanna showed up with Berry and Duncan, and the three kids ran about eating, playing, and showing off their treasures.  Emma and I went home tired, but content.


June 15, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez

Isa made it safe and sound last night to Tucson.  She was a ball of nervous/excited energy about flying on her own.  I think the waiting was the hardest part, and we got to the airport really early which didn't help.  It's expected to be around 100 degrees while she's there, so I imagine there will be a lot of pool time!

Hittin' the Road

June 15, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

Trying to take care of the last 3,284 details before we head for New Mexico. We leave on Thursday. Hugs to all, Mom

Water Slide Madness

June 14, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm back at work, trying to get into the swing of things. Sam's home with a lingering cough, but generally okay. I dropped Emma off at school and left her with a yearbook she was cheerfully looking through. It was a good weekend, overall. The kids continue to all get more used to each other. They had a great time on the water slide and breakfasts were full of tasty good conversation. There were the occasional worries and breakdowns, but they seem less common. Saturday night was pizza and Mythbusters, and then another Doctor Who for Sam, Joanna, and I. The next day was puttering around until church. I'm not sure when I'll make it back, as my mom's out and I've been wanting to spend some alone time with Sam. I may end up doing things like bike rides with him while Emma plays with my mom. In the afternoon I took Emma to buy an air rocket and swing equipment. I haven't figured out how to attach the official swing, but I improved a rope swing with a seat that the kids thought was pretty awesome. More work is needed. The evening was pretty quiet, the summer heat seeming to sneak up on me. I ran about in shorts and opened windows. The sun is amazing.


June 14, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez

Isa's sporting a new super-short hair cut, but I can't post pictures as the goal is to surprise her cousins!

Amanda and Charles

June 14, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Greg and I returned early this morning from my dear friend Amanda's wedding in Princeton, New Jersey. This was my first prolonged stay in New Jersey, and by all accounts, it is exactly as one pictures it. Princeton itself is beautiful and so steeped in money that investment firms and Ralph Lauren have elbowed out anything locally owned on Main Street. Past the mansions are mega malls and furiously swerving drivers. The miracle is, despite the inequality and superficiality, New Jersey also made two of my favorite people: Carly Bruder and Amanda Milstein. So what is a New Jersey wedding like when the two people getting married are vegetarian egalitarian Marxist Jews?

It's both a little weird and tons of fun. The things that Amanda and Charles obviously controlled- their outfits, the ceremony, and their friends- were awesome. Amanda was beautiful and unadorned, without makeup to veil a huge grin. Their ceremony reflected a deep respect for each other's beliefs and their joy in togetherness. And like Charles and Amanda, their friends are happy, silly, and committed to a joyous practice of Jewish faith and traditions. There was dancing. There were skits. There was a puppet making table. Everything with Amanda's fingerprints on it was thoughtful, bright and funny. 

Amanda and Charles' loud and loving dancing almost overshadowed the un-Amanda parts- the extravagant country club reception and multi-course meal. The older guests were cut from a different cloth, occasionally rude to us ushers and less interested in the incredible klezmer band. But the older generation will not last, and the new generation, stomping and laughing and singing praises, will eventually take over. And hopefully, they will take New Jersey with them!

So, here's to Amanda and Charles, whose sustainable and local three-course meal was its own step toward the world they want to live in.

Summer's Here

June 12, 2010 by Adam in Family

I realize we have another week of school, but it's feels like summer has suddenly come upon us.  I took Friday off and played with the kids all day.  It was a little cloudy, so the kids and I went to the library and both of them got library cards.  We puttered about all afternoon.  Sam and I played computer games together.  At the library, both kids got free books as part of a reading program and Emma read hers to me off and on all day.  She's got the reading bug now, going through most of a chapter book by herself.

Joanna, Berry, and Duncan arrived that night.  We'd thought about going swimming, but Joanna had a migraine and Emma and Sam didn't want to go.  We settled for playing, reading bedtime stories, and going to bed early.  Sam and I stayed up and watched Stargate Universe, decrying yet another "To Be Continued."

This morning everyone seemed much improved.  I made my usual massive breakfast of crepes, bacon, sausages, and gluten-free blueberry pancakes.  And whip cream.  Far too much whip cream.  It's a massive undertaking, but fortunately cafe mocha makes it all possible.

We headed to Target where Emma bought herself a purse and toy with her birthday dollars (thanks, dad!)  The rest of the crew stocked up on house supplies and Sam finally got new shoes.

Returning home, I broke out the slip-and-slide, hooked it up to the warm water off the water heater, and had an hour of four kid sliding madness.  Even Duncan, who's a little cautious around water, got in on the action.  Eventually we had to call it quits and feed everyone lunch. 

Oh, and yesterday Emma burned some gnomes.  We covered the safety rules, as usual.

The Last Music Performance

June 09, 2010 by Adam in Family

The kids had their end of the year music performance at Crest Drive today.  Emma was so excited to have me there, leading me to her classroom and having me sit behind her while we waited for the performance to start.

I had heard some of the songs before.  Last night, Emma led Duncan and Berry in a song and dance routine while they ate tacos.  Emma seemed pretty cheerful throughout, while Sam seemed a little too cool to sing songs in front of everyone.  He did crack a smile when his friend John got to play the shunned kid for one song.

Wednesdays are always a little bittersweet.  Joanna and I plan on going to the movies tonight, followed by a fun-filled shopping trip at Target.  I miss the kids already, though fortunately I get to see them on Friday.  Jamie's going to Bend and I'm taking the day off.  The plan is to get them library cards so Josh can take them to the library once per week.  I'm also hoping we can enjoy the weather and hopefully go swimming.


June 09, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy Birthday!!!!  We love you!!!!!

Tuesday Odds and Ends

June 08, 2010 by Adam in Family

It was nice visiting with Yayoe last night. Both kids enjoyed her cooking, and I got a few brief moments to chat with her. When we got home, books and games had arrived, courtesy of Sam's gift cards from his birthday and Christmas.

I continue to strive to organize my life these days. Both Joanna and I are in a state of weird financial limbo, unsure of how much savings we have or what our adjusted incomes will be. Optimisically, we put together a budget, though it has a lot of missing numbers. Hopefully the influx of unknown dollars will be more than the outgoing unknown dollar amount.

Both kids have really loose teeth. I'm expecting them to pop out any moment, so I hope I have some dollars handy. Sam's also getting a physical and shots this July. Evidently he hasn't had a checkup for seven years.

Tomorrow is the kids' musical performance at Crest. Friday I'm taking the day off to watch them as Jamie goes to Bend to see her new nephew. I hear the name is Finn, according to Emma. It is indeed strange that I don't talk with that side of the family anymore. I hope they're all okay.

Everyone is getting together for tacos tonight. Once again my vegetarian self will be cooking the meat. Hopefully my childhood cooking skills will return to me.

The Job Search

June 08, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I just want to acknowledge how supportive all of you have been in the last three weeks of post-graduation, full-time job hunting. Thanks for the kind words during what continues to be a stressful time, even with the illustrious degree. 

Our bookshelves are bare and packed boxes line the spare bedroom. Greg is moving to Baltimore at the end of the month, so we'll move his things to Amherst next week. I stay in Grafton until the end of July. That gives me two months to find the perfect job- one that combines service-learning, community partnership development, education, and perhaps a little public policy. And with the help of public speaking podcasts and lots of practice, my high level skills and experience summary was never more concise. 

Here is another beautiful picture of Seraph from her trip east.

Fun-Filled Weekend

June 07, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm much relieved about Emma. We had a good weekend and she happily played with Berry, Duncan, and Joanna. There were lots of hugs, reading at quiet time, and general cheerfulness. Joanna led an effort to interview everyone and create some house rules. Emma in particular seemed assuaged, and relieved when kids were moved to their bedrooms when screaming broke out. I also tried to spend a lot of time with her, which she seemed to appreciate. As for the rest of the weekend, Friday afternoon I saw Emma get an award at her school. Later on both kids tried to Skype me at once and I had to take time switching between them. That night I made dinner for Joanna and we went down to the public library to listen to music and pick up a few books. Saturday morning I scooped up the kids and played until lunch time. Joanna, Berry, and Duncan arrived for Phad Thai that I'd whipped up, and later on they headed out to play in a park and go food shopping. Emma and I made bread. The kids and I went to another park to practice bike riding and play frisbee. Eventually everyone regrouped for pizza and Mythbusters, followed by bedtime. Sam, Joanna, and I watched our weekly Doctor Who. Sunday was the usual massive breakfast, which miraculously wiped away all crankiness. We barely made it to church, with me dropping my kids off at my mom's house. Once again we regrouped at home for lunch and playing. Joanna and Emma worked on the house rule posters. Duncan and Berry played off and on throughout the day. Towards the end of the day they headed home and I took the kids to the park. We explored Amazon creek, returning muddy and tired. Emma picked flowers and Sam failed to build a bridge across the creek, sensibly deciding not to jump. His shoes had to go through the wash as they were completely gross. Dinner was leftovers, pizza for Sam, Phad Thai for Emma, and cereal for me. Emma and I chatted at bedtime, going through her worries and trying to find ways to make sure she's okay with the upcoming changes. If I keep engaging her and making time for her, I think it'll all work out. The evening ended with Sam and I watching Stargate Universe, and heading to bed. Good times.


June 07, 2010 by Adam in Emma

I went to the Crest Drive award ceremony last Friday, where Emma got the award for respect. It's cool seeing the kids get awards over the years, and Emma has hung them in her room with pride. She was very excited seeing me after the previous day's weepy Skype call. There was smiling and dancing and wiggling. I'm quite proud of that girl. Afterward Sam and the other people who went to Outdoor School stood up and sung songs. It's so strange that the kids only have a couple more weeks of school and then they're on vacation. Sam in particular is done entirely with Crest Drive and will be off to Roosevelt this fall. How times change.

Sunny Days

June 04, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez

Remember when I was complaining about the long winter?  Well, in true NM fashion, we skipped spring and landed smack in the middle of summer.  It's been absolutly beautiful!  There are moto-cross trials this weekend, so we're swamped with riders and their familes.  Isa's already made friends with a bunch of kids.

We snuck over to Las Vegas yesterday for lunch and a walk around.  Now if we can just magic up the perfect teaching job for Robbie over there!

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

June 04, 2010 by Adam in Adam

It was a rough day yesterday and this morning. I'm sipping my mocha, taking a breath, and thinking of the things I can do to make things better. It's what we parents and grown-ups do.

I went to Emma's last Coyote Kids class, where she gave a presentation. They must have started early, as though I was a little late, they were nearly done when I arrived. Emma was sad and nervous, thinking I'd forgotten about her. In the car afterward, all these feelings bubbled up for her, that she was afraid I wouldn't love her if Joanna and her kids moved in. We Skyped later, where we talked about things she worried about and generally felt sad to be apart.

While I was cleaning the house and getting ready to go to Joanna's house, Sam called. He was bored, feeling like he had nothing to do. We talked about game design and he texted me a couple pictures of his concept art. We chatted while I drove, eventually wishing him good night sometime after 9 p.m.

That night Joanna and I had a good talk about things, trying to take reasonable steps to make sure our kids felt loved and supported, creating sensible house rules, and finding time to spend with our kids individually. This morning was pretty rough, with much screaming from Berry and Duncan. I remember what it was like to move young kids through the various routines, and when two of them decide they'd rather be playing, it can make for quite the challenge. Joanna was feeling overwhelmed by it all, worried I might be having second thoughts about moving in.

In a funny way, it's almost a relief. Our councilor talked about a honeymoon period, followed by a lot of acting up. It sounds like we're in the expected next phase now.

Short-term, my plan is to spend a lot of time with Sam and Emma. I'm going to Emma's award ceremony this afternoon where she's getting an award. Sam's wanting to learn how to program and design games, and I hope to work on that with him this weekend. I also have a lot of days I'm taking off to watch the kids when Jamie works and my mom and Josh are out of town.

Longer-term, I want to work on house rules and establishing new routines so that the house is relatively harmonious. Joanna and I hope to set up time with our own kids, everyone together, and the two of us alone. There may be some rearranging of the house so that people get an appropriate amount of space without being too far away.

I also emailed my mom yesterday, telling her that I wasn't going to send Sam along on the trip. I tried to do it in person, but my crazy schedule and pathological tendency to avoid conflict ended up with the impersonal email approach. She really wanted Sam to go along with her, so I certainly understand her being upset. I need to call her soon.

As for tonight, Joanna and I are going to the library to listen to music and pick up an audiobook I put on hold for Sam. I'm really looking forward to seeing my kids tomorrow. I continue to be both happy and sad, doing what I can to make life better.

Building the Arc

June 04, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

If I were to add a few words, it would probably be glub, glub, glub. We've had as much rain in the first four days of June as we usually have in the entire month.

We had the area where the patio will go excavated in anticipation of having a patio poured later in the summer, and it's a giant mud pit. I'm thinking of skipping the patio and just putting in rice paddies.

Mid-week Changes

June 02, 2010 by Adam in Family

Sam's presentation went well.  He accidentally referred to Richard Feynman's "one eye" as opposed to his "own eyes", which produced lots of laughter.  Still, my impression is that the presentation was fine.  It's hard to believe that the kids have only two and a half weeks until summer vacation.

Joanna took most of the day off yesterday, as she was under the weather.  She very nicely came over early to make burgers and mac and cheese for everyone.  After dinner we had an epic hide and seek session, even getting Sam and I to hide in closets and behind curtains.  Joanna couldn't help giggling, which gave her away more than once.

I drove the kids to school, with Sam chatting happily about his game idea for his first programming task.  I'm going to have him work with Josh this summer to see if I can get him learning the basics of programming.  Sam asked if he could work on concept art while at his mom's, and I cheerfully agreed.  The kids are off to Jamie's for a few days, though I'll see at least Emma occasionally, as she has several end-of-year presentations going on.  Coyote Kids is tomorrow, and awards are this Friday.

As for tonight, we'd normally go to song circle, but we're both a little under the weather.  We might try to go out for a little while if I can find something interesting to do.

Birthday #2

June 01, 2010 by Adam in Family

Emma's second birthday was both more wild and subdued.  Everyone over sixty congregated in the living room, sipping tea and chatting.  Everyone under twenty descended into the basement and played loudly.  We few in-between folks ran back and forth, making sure neither group got into too much trouble.

In terms of the rest of the weekend, it went generally pretty well.  Sam and Joanna were sent out for pizza on Saturday.  A chicken tractor was delivered Friday night, making a great place for kids to play until occupied.  Joanna dug out her Donkey Kong board game and we all played together.  Sam and I finished watching Lost Monday night.

Joanna and I both came down with colds, so we were a little draggy on Monday.  Still, we managed to hold down the fort.  Joanna and her mom went apartment hunting.  The plan is that by August 1st, Joanna and her kids will be moved in and Collette will have her own place.  There's a lot of details to go through, but it generally seems to be going well.

As with all these life changes, mostly I worry about the kids.  I'm not expecting perfection, and issues do come up on occasion.  Emma wasn't particularly happy about getting lip gloss applied to a bunch of things in her room.  Berry has gotten bumped once or twice while playing.  Still, I'm surprised at how well they do get along.  Emma likes having people who will play pretend with her.  Sam is amused by Berry and likes to help Duncan do his computer puzzle games.  We continue to work on house rules and resolving conflict.  As I pointed out to Joanna, "The Brady Bunch was a pretty funny show."

I'm picking up Sam and Emma shortly, and then we all descend at the house for dinner, homework, and bed.  I'm curious as to how Sam's research project turned out.  I made him practice in front of us last night, but he'd only do it if he hid behind the coffee table.

Birthday #1

June 01, 2010 by Adam in Family

I put together a video of Emma's first birthday, along with the elaborate work that went into the birthday cake. 

Joanna and I planned the cake in advance, bringing home all we'd need to make a guitar-shaped cheesecake.  We had two cheescake circles, one with a gluten-free crust.  The guitar neck was made of organic chocolate cake, and a thick layer of chocolate was poured over everything.  It was a huge hit and by the end of the long weekend, the cheesecake was gone.  Friday night we spent hours baking, and finished it up the next morning.  Ironically, Emma decided she'd rather have vanilla ice cream.

I picked up Sam and Emma Saturday morning, and Joanna, Berry, and Duncan arrived shortly afterward.  We did our usual playing around and getting ready for the party, with guests arriving at 3 p.m.  Emma had a great time, with a lot of Taylor Swift themed music playing and singing along.  The girls got dressed up and their goodie was a picture of them together to take home.

Seven Years Old

June 01, 2010 by Adam in Emma

This whole weekend, I kept being amazed at how old Emma seemed.  She'd read books, help with cooking, and have deep discussions about the world.  She had a very social weekend, charming the young and old alike.  We also had some time alone, shopping for birthday presents for Jenny.  It's been a memorable year for her, with lots of changes and growing.  I've been proud of how well she's handled it all.

Tonight we lit candles using twisty ties in the microwave, then melted the faces off of gnome candles.  It was very sweet.

Darn It

May 28, 2010 by Adam in Family

I noticed a hole in my sock this morning. Joanna immediately whipped out a needle and thread and darned me. It was very sweet.

I was a little mopey yesterday, the first of Emma's birthdays that I've ever missed. I talked to her on the phone a couple times, which was nice, and we have a bunch of parties planned this weekend. I kept myself busy yesterday, shopping for vast quantities of food, working on laundry, and taking in the mail. Life feels very full these days.

Tonight Joanna and I plan on making Emma' birthday cake, an elaborate blend of cheesecake and chocolate cake, shaped into a guitar. Hopefully it'll be well received by the girls descending on our house Saturday afternoon. Sunday evening we have a family birthday for Emma and Jenny. Monday is a BBQ of some kind, though I don't know when. Hopefully we can have some time to relax or play outside. I'd love to get Emma practicing on her bike again.

As for me, I'm going to finish my mocha and work on our new Internet site. It feels good to finally be able to fix things after the last of the vendors have been swept away.

More Family!

May 28, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

Yesterday morning Richard brought a baby squirrel which he found on the ground outside their apartment complex. Unfortunately there didn't seem to be much chance of leaving it in the high traffic kitty path for the mom to rescue, so we warmed it up (it's been cold and rainy) and got some puppy milk substitute from the pet store. He was pretty subdued yesterday, but this evening started wolfing down his food. I think he's about a month old. I'll check with the animal rescue center; it would be nice if he could just move into the Doug Fir with the other two squirrels when he's older.

Birthdays and more!

May 27, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy Birthday Jenny!!  I'll do a celebatory happy dance in your honor!

I had so much fun with Sadie & Greg that I was making plans to move into their closet.  It was great to see Sadie become a master (hood, robe, only missing the staff), meet Greg's family, and have game night with their truly wonderful neighbors!  Plus, we went to the most amazing mall and touched beautiful things.  Ok, so maybe I'm the only person who will remember the mall as one of the highlights, but there really were amazingly beautiful things to see!  We also saw quintisential New England places, full of history and trees (Sadie - shall I mention the trees again??)

Birthdays Galore!

May 26, 2010 by Adam in Family

Last Sunday, Joanna and I made baklava for Sam, his favorite sweet.  She has a tradition of celebrating half birthdays, and this morning we whipped out a half-birthday bakalava with candles, a card, and presents.  He was surprised and happy, quite enthusiastic about this new excuse for a celebration.  He immediately turned some of the money in the card, coupled with his savings, into a new computer game.  Hopefully he'll wear the new socks sometime too, as his current ones are surprisingly holey.

Jenny also has her birthday today, and for a few months we're the same age.  Happy birthday, Jenny!  I'm throwing a family birthday for Emma Sunday night, and you're welcome to come.  I need to send out e-mail invitations, as I've been slacking off lately.

Emma's birthday is tomorrow.  For some reason seven seems so much older than six.  I've arranged for a rock-and-roll themed party for her and her friends Saturday afternoon.  It should be an exciting weekend.

Sam informed me this morning that he actually enjoys school.  He went on to say that it was because they weren't learning anything, but I suspect that he's just gotten good at school and enjoys the things they've been doing in class.  I'm a fan of secretly teaching kids while they have fun.

This morning was filled with children as Joanna and her clan were over last night.  Emma played with Berry and Duncan in the basement while Joanna and I rushed about making breakfast and cleaning up.  Everyone was generally cute and funny, with a few moments of tears when they had to go to school.  Duncan cheerfully offered up his Tears of Suffering for others to devour after he'd settled down.

Crepes and Tricycles

May 24, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm back at work, the frantic activity at work replacing the frantic activity of home.  Both are pleasant though, in their own ways.

Friday night Joanna and I hit up a gardening store, ate relatively good sandwiches at the Go Healthy Cafe, and turned in early.  Saturday morning I collected the kids and went home.  They'd had doughnuts, which evidently stifled their appetite until noon.  Until then, we played Munchkin and had a great time, with Emma winning in the end.

Joanna, Berry, and Duncan arrived for lunch and we generally hung about the house.  Sam spent much of the afternoon at John's house, with Emma and I collecting him for pizza and Mythbusters.  After the smaller kids went to bed, Joanna, Sam, and I watched Doctor Who to round out the evening.

Sunday morning was filled with crepes, whip cream, and lots of playing.  Sam hung out with Josh for a few hours, and Emma with my mom.  Joanna and I made a special something for Sam's upcoming half-birthday, as well as getting things ready for Emma's birthday party.  Our hot date Friday night will likely involve making cake.

As the day wore down, I tidied up the house and forced the kids to go outside after dinner.  As usual, they complained loudly about going, but had a great time once they were out there.  Sam had the usual Nerf shootout with the neighbors.  Emma broke out the tricycle and rode around like a maniac.

This morning everyone was funny and cheerful, well motivated by leftover crepes and whip cream.

Outdoor School Wrap-up

May 24, 2010 by Adam in Sam

Sam's teacher passed along some photos of his outdoor school experience, which I'm posting here.  My general impression is that Sam didn't especially like outdoor school, though it was memorable.  He made some comments about singing a lot, and that normal school would seem so easy compared to outdoor school.  Hopefully he built a little character along the way.

Conquering Concord

May 22, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Sitting and listening to the shot heard 'round the world in Concord.

Thanks to all the graduation well-wishers!

Belated Mocha Friday

May 21, 2010 by Adam in Family

My morning mocha is but a distant memory, though I can still feel its magical powers bubbling through my veins. It's been a good work day, cleaning up vendor messes and generally whipping our new Internet site into shape.

Joanna wasn't up for open mic night, so we saw Date Night for date night. Quite funny. Tonight we're hitting a gardening store and heading out to west Eugene to visit a gluten-free restaurant we've been meaning to get to for ages.

I haven't heard any more from Sam, who is probably on his way to Jamie's house at this moment. I hope he had a good time. I Skyped Emma last night, who told me how she made root beer from scratch at Coyote Kids. I think she likes doing nature things, so hopefully we can do more of that next year.

Kirsten showed up at my house last night, delivering Josh's old bike to Sam. I hope to find some time to get it ready for him in preparation for the summer and next year. It's in pretty good shape and really only needs a fender for rainy weather. I'll see if I can teach Sam some basic bike maintenance too. I have fond memories of replacing bike tubes with the use of two forks (sorry, mom!).

I'm excited to see the kids tomorrow. Emma has asked to plant something this weekend, so I'll try to oblige her. Swimming would be fun too, though I'm not sure I'll get everything ready in time. Both kids are wrapping up the school year, and I'm trying hard to get everything ready for summer. Time flies.

I do exist!

May 21, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

Woould you believe that organization is moving right along! Other, of course, than forgetting my League of Women Voters board meeting. I went to see the first film in the Archeology Film Festival on Tuesday night, The Secrets of the Nile, ancient Nubia. Here's what I don't get. I knew as soon as the graduate student published the article in Nature in 1984 that the Out of Africa theory was the only thing which made sense. But if that small band of people and their descendants wandered down the Nile over 100,000 years, why aren't there more artifacts from that time period along the Nile, even with the annual flooding. Now they're putting in major dams on the Nile, and all these things will be underwater and covered by silt.

Bob, Aric and Anna had a nice trip to Canada, but for the fact that the basketball coach at Simon Fraser suddenly quit his job after 15 years, and after making an appointment to meet with Aric, didn't call Aric, and completely blew him off. Aric enjoyed meeting the coach at University of Victoria, but they can only take one more US player, so we can only hope. They could only offer a tuition only scholarship but we're hoping for something.

Sadie and Seraph, I'm hoping to Skype with you while you're together. We need to talk telephones.

I had a nice lunch with Dad, and got caught up on his news.

Outdoor School

May 20, 2010 by Adam in Sam

I was a little worried about Sam, who wasn't very excited to go to outdoor school this week. This morning I got a report from Dave, one of Sam's teachers, along with this picture.

Any anxiety Sam had before coming has seemingly washed away. He's doing great, and has a great cabin with his buddies. See ya Friday!

It sounds like the brainwashing is working.

Mid-Week Shift

May 19, 2010 by Adam in Family

Wednesdays are always sea changes for me. The kids are off and I usually hang out with Joanna or get things done at my house until Saturday morning. I've felt a little off all day. Monday night the kids and I went to Roosevelt for orientation, after a quick dinner at home. It was terribly nostalgic. Walking into the library was like a dream, as almost thirty years ago I spent many a lunch hour watching movies like Young Frankenstein. Emma was eager to stay, though tired by the end. Sam seemed a little excited, especially as we hooked up with three other Crest kids. There are at least two others in the neighborhood who are going into sixth grade. Sam left for Outdoor School today, returning Friday afternoon after three days of no-electronics. He's been unhappy about going, so I put together a care package for him: the Munchkin game, another card game, baklava, home made beef jerky, and the Graceling book. Hopefully he'll have a good time, though he told me "If I come back saying I had a good time, I've been brainwashed." I guess I'm crossing my fingers for brainwashing, then. We had Joanna and her kids over last night, a quick meal of quesadillas, followed by bath and bedtime. Emma was sweet, reading her school book to Berry and Duncan. Sam reveled in watching Malcolm in the Middle episodes. Everyone got up surprisingly early and I cleaned, packed, and herded my way through the morning. I think I got everything ready for Sam's trip. Emma was very huggy as I dropped her off to school. It's always odd that I won't see them for a few days. Tonight Joanna and I are visiting an open mic at a coffee house. I may have to indulge in a decaf mocha.

Poster Girl

May 19, 2010 by Adam in Emma

Emma was given a school project on the Amur Leopard a couple weeks ago, in preparation for her upcoming zoo trip. Jamie helped her research, writing notes down on a piece of paper. Starting this last weekend, Emma's been enthusiastically making her poster, directing me to find certain pictures and writing notes underneath each one. It's impressive to see her so self-motivated. I've assisted when directed to, but otherwise it's all hers, typos and all.

Graduation Presents!

May 19, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Many, many thanks to all the gift givers and well wishers this graduation season! We've especially enjoyed the anonymously given luggage rack, which is used as a base for playing our favorite board game, Cosmic Encounter.

Talent Show Weekend

May 17, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm back at work, another weekend come and gone.  Because of my work trip, I'd swapped days with Jamie and had the kids Thursday night onward.  Friday afternoon I picked up Sam and Emma from the Musgroves, with Emma returning home with a bag full of worms.  We stopped by Tasty Thai, which has lots of gluten-free food for Joanna.  Dinner was outside in the gorgeous weather, Duncan and Berry playing in the sandbox and running about the back yard.  That night Sam, Joanna, and I watched Doctor Who late into the night.

Saturday was a massive breakfast of oatmeal-yogurt blueberry pancakes for the grown-ups, and crepes and sausages for the kids.  Whip cream has evidently become a necessity as well, even more so than chocolate milk and marshmallows.

Emma and I went to the library with Joanna, Berry, and Duncan.  The newcomers were duly impressed with the library, Duncan remembering having gone there once before with his dad.  We loaded up on Dora books for the small kids, a puberty book for Emma, and a couple funny teen books for Sam.  Emma and I hung out a bit longer to eat bagels and slap the statue out front.  It felt good to have some one-on-one time with her.

The afternoon was pretty low-key.  Sam and I played Sleep is Death, a quirky two-player storytelling game.  He figured it out faster than I did, being the storyteller for three different tales: our first test, Adventures with a Skull, and Jail Break.  Sam has a bit of an exciting-streak, but I managed to turn most of them into comedies.  I later led a story with him, which I'll try to put online.

We wandered down to the park for play, and then had tacos for dinner.  We delayed pizza and Mythbusters until Sunday night as the day was just too full.

Sunday morning was equally low-key.  I took Sam and Emma to my mom's while the rest of us went to church.  I had some time afterward with Emma while Sam worked at my mom's house.  Later the two of us watched the talent show where Joanna, Duncan, and Berry performed.  After saying our farewells, I picked up Sam and we had a quiet evening.  Sam finished his poster.  Emma worked on spelling and helped me go grocery shopping.

The week ahead promises to be exciting.  We're off to Roosevelt tonight for Sam's orientation.  He helped pick his electives and woodworking and reading went to the top of his list.  Swimming and biking were in there too, with debate way down at the bottom.  We'll see what he ends up getting.

Sam's also going to outdoor school along with his entire 5th grade class.  He's not really looking forward to it, so I hope he has an okay time.  I'll see if I can put together a care package of sorts.  Donations are welcome.


Emma's Song

May 15, 2010 by Adam in Emma

Emma's asking me to write down a song she's making up in the bath:


Open my eyes, I feel the sun in my hair.

And I like going fast and I can't go where

And I'm late for my train.

Sometimes I can't realize

I'm standing right here in the world

The place I want to go

Is with you

Is the one I want to be with

But I can't find a place in my heart to fit you in

After twenty days

And I'm going all up in your life

And I'm feeling something new

That you should be with me all the time

And I just can't get loose

And I just came through another weekend

And another day until our date

It's seven in the morning

I just woke up and I'm running late for my second date

And I just can't get in my car

I have to do stuff fast now

Here's a hint for you to stay

Just with me, that's all I need

That's all I need.

You to do.  You to do.

They Pay Me To Do This

May 15, 2010 by Adam in Adam

I put together a short video of my work trip.  Yes, they actually paid me to do this.

Mocha Friday

May 14, 2010 by Adam in Family

My mocha is long-gone, the day feeling very busy and endless projects and tasks clamoring for my time.  It's nice being back after my work trip, returning slowly to the current routine.

I left work early on Thursday going food shopping and getting Sam to watch Iron Man 2.  It was big-budgettastic, with over-the-top special effects and Robert Downey Jr. in good comedic form.  The plot was serviceable, with some subtle digs at the defense industry.  I went home to a cheerful Emma.  She had a good time with the pink feather wig that Summer had given me from the trip.

As for the weekend, I'm going to try to be as low-key as possible in between the various things that are going on.  Joanna and her kids arrive for dinner, which I'm hoping can be orderd from Tasty Thai.  She's part of a talent show this weekend, so she has practice Saturday and is playing on Sunday.  Since she's playing Taylor Swift, I'll bring Emma along for the festivities.  Sam has some homework to finish and has requested that he learn how to program.  The latter may be a more exciting project, and take awhile.  The weather is also supposed to be beautiful, so I'm hoping we can get outside as much as possible.


May 13, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez

Here she is!  We spent way too much time last night on YouTube.  Ahhh... American past times.

All Work and No Play Makes Adam a Dull Boy

May 12, 2010 by Adam in Adam

It was another interesting day at our team's face to face meetings.  While originally intended for the woman behind me, we all tried on the pink wig Summer brought for everyone.  Lisa and her husband live on an island off the coast and we had dinner at her house this afternoon.  The weather was beautiful and the scenery amazing.

It'll be nice to get back home, though.  I especially miss Emma, who texted me "Frum Emma.  I love you." after I took a picture and sent it to Jamie's phone.

Birthday Roses

May 11, 2010 by Yayoe in Danica Miller

Here's a picture of Dorothy, who turned 92 on May 5th. She's back doing cross word puzzles, playing bridge, and thriving at her new facility in Rochester NY. She also sounded wonderful on the the old Dorothy we know and love!


May 11, 2010 by Adam in Sam

I sent Sam into the rain over the weekend with the waterproof camera.  Watching it makes me dizzy, so make sure you're sitting down first.


May 11, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez

Tomorrow the satalite dish arrives that should (crossing fingers, knocking on wood) deliver consistant internet.  We finally gave up on the resort delivering on their promise, so we're taking the initiative.  Anyway, once it's up we'll upload a pic of the new baby (our new computer that is)! 

Mother's Day Weekend

May 11, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's ten o'clock and I'm posting this from a hotel room.  After being up for nineteen hours, I'm exhausted.  Here's the video of our fun-filled weekend:

Gary and Lynda's Hostel

May 10, 2010 by Dick in Wielesek

Hi, guys, I'm going to curl up in my jammies as soon as possible and listen to the NPR show about Oakridge. Don't forget as people come and go during the summer that their hostel is available. It's ""

The radio show is



4:30 a.m. Mocha

May 10, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's crazy early in the morning and I'm soon to be picked up for my ride to Bellingham.  It's one of those face-to-face meeting things, our whole team getting together.  I have a cold this morning, so my enthusiasm about this trip is lower than usual.  Hopefully it'll be a productive few days.

It was a good weekend, overall.  I picked up the kids Saturday morning and we puttered around the house until Joanna and her kids arrived later that day.  I recruited Sam and Emma to help outside with preparing a mushrom growing area behind the shed.  Somewhere in there the kids got wheelbarrow rides, cries of glee filling the yard.  Once Berry and Duncan showed up, it was our traditional pizza and Mythbusters and then bed.

As usual, I rolled up my sleeves Sunday morning to make a massive breakfast of crepes, sausages, and whip cream.  Joanna got her requested ultrasonic jewelery cleaner for her Mother's Day gift, and proceeded to clean everything she could fit in there.  The kids ran about until it was time for church, with Emma and Sam hanging out at my mom's house.  Joanna was having a hard time with back pain that day, which didn't quite clear up until later in the afternoon.  Fortunately she was well enough to prepare and cook the chicken, and peel potatoes while I set the table.

Mother's Day dinner was a hit, with my mom, Bob, Yayoe, John, and Colette chatting the night away.  Emma was a social butterfly, impressing everyone with her ability to hold a conversation.  The kids were enamored with the steady flow of cookies and chocolate mousse that graced the table.  Eventually everyone went home, full and satisfied.  I took Sam and Emma to Jamie's house, where they imparted a long list of presents.  She seemed to enjoy the pottery the kids' painted, our secret getaway from a few weeks back.

I best shave and get ready to be picked up.  My ride arrives soon.  I'll see if I can put together some weekend movies on my drive up.

Mushroom Farm

May 09, 2010 by Adam in Adam's Projects

Joanna ordered mushroom spore laced dowels from the local farm cooperative.  Yesterday the kids and I got the dowels "planted."  First, Sam dug a trench behind the shed.  We lined it with plastic so that it would hold water, and set up the water spout to empty into it.  I drilled holes in logs and Sam and Emma pounded the dowels into the holes.  Finally we set up the logs in the trench.  With luck, mushrooms should appear in a few months, and the logs should last a few years.

Happy Mothers' Day, Jeannie

May 09, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

The dog party was pretty darn fun. Lucy was on her best behavior, and the other three dogs in attendance were cute, including a yorkie in a sun dress. I

know that Yorkies have to have really little brains, but when the owner does that little topknot thingy with the ribbon, they look smart and perky. Jenny gave me a lovely red cyclamen, and I will take a picture of it sitting by the lamp in the dining room.

The appraisal woman will be here on Wednesday to do an appraisal of the furniture, the plumber should start soon on the basement work, and I'm close to the point of planting flowers, etc.

Many hugs to all.


May 09, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy Mother's Day to all!!  We love you!

Busy week!

May 08, 2010 by Dick in Wielesek

The people who are buying the Reardons' house are doing some major remodeling, and had a person come in with a backhoe to do some terracing in the backyard. At the end of his project there, he came over and did a little work for me. I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. We have the new window installed in the basement, and the floor dug up for the new plumbing. Haven't found any bodies, in spite of the murder here in the late 40's. Guess she shot her husband and called it quits thereafter.

Anna arrived mid-week, looking cheerful and as though she were looking forward to her job in Portland this summer. She'll be working at Sur La Tab, where she worked before, a fancy cookware place. Bob, she and Aric will be doing a road trip to Seattle next weekend, so Anna can see her friend Liz, about to mitose,

and Aric can look at colleges.

Adam is having all us moms for Mothers Day dinner, which should be nice. And of course, I'm going to the birthday party Jeannie is throwing for her dog at Jenny's



Naked Mole Rat

May 07, 2010 by Adam in Adam

We've had a project at work that involves redoing our Internet site. It's been a comedy of errors, with vendors coming and going, and assorted obstacles and delays along the way. As of this week, we've finally been given permission to dig in and try to fix things ourselves. It's been a little crazy, with no documentation and occasionally vague requirements, but it's also been tremendous fun and satisfying to actually accomplish things. That being said, I have taken to talking to the naked mole rat that Seraph gave me long ago. This morning Joanna snuck into my cubicle and put together a little movie of my quirky cubicle hijinks.

Mocha Friday

May 07, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's Mocha Friday, though my beverage of choice is but a distant memory. It was a free one today, after obtaining the required ten punches on a card. Free is always tastier.

Thursday evening was a bit of a frantic madhouse, rushing to the library, grocery store, post office, and home to Skype with Emma. She explained how she learned to follow a calf with her eyes clothed in her Coyote Kids class after school. I'm glad she's having a good time doing something a little different. Emma was a little worried she'd miss me due to my upcoming business trip, but I assured her I'd see her on Saturday. Sam also got on briefly to show off his new headphones.

I drove down to Creswell after packing my lunch and clothes for the night, collapsing early to sleep. I think I'm getting a touch of whatever Sam had, as I feel a bit of scratchiness in my throat. Fortunately caffeine and Advil work like a charm.

Tonight we have absolutely nothing of importance planned, other than making dinner and taking it easy. Tomorrow begins the kid and Mother's Day festivities. I have a Mythbusters and My Neighbor Totoro lined up for kid entertainment. Of course, anything is fun to watch with enough pizza to go around.

Mid-Week Omelette

May 05, 2010 by Adam in Family

I drove the kids to school this morning, after fulfilling their assorted breakfast requests. Emma wanted an omelette, which I managed to do quite well. Sam got cheese eggs and waffles, quite disappointed that Emma got the last of the whip cream in her frothed, warm milk.

Sam was really sick for most of this week, with a sore throat that made it painful when eating anything. We had some brief success with numbing his throat with teething gel, but it only worked briefly. Yesterday night he suddenly improved. We had Joanna and her family over for dinner. Sam ate chicken, macaroni and cheese, broccoli, and mashed potatoes. Later that night he had an entire peanut butter and honey sandwich.

There was some excitement yesterday, though. I was about to send him to school, when he went to throw up as Emma got in the car. I think it was lack of food combined with Motrin and vitamins. He perked up later and I left him at home so I could meet with auditors at work. Meanwhile, the SWAT team was called in a few blocks away. I called my mom and Sam hung out at her house for the rest of the day.

Emma has been cheerful and pleasant as always. She's gotten really good at sight reading and has been eagerly reading Frog and Toad to me at night. She also got some makeup and a hairbrush from my dad, presents from his time in Disney World. Soon I was chatting with him on the couch, straight hair and glitter on my cheeks.

As for me, Joanna and I have song circle tonight. I'm hoping to accomplish some miscellaneous shopping and house projects tomorrow. The weekend should be the usual kid-filled happy chaos, with Mother's Day dinner as a tasty finale.

You're graduating!

May 03, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I got this perfect little card from mom and Emma today. Thank you!

Singing Through the Weekend

May 03, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm back at work, and the kids are at school. I'm not sure they were thrilled about the latter. Sam still has a sore throat, but I think he's on the mend. The hardest part is getting food in him, as swallowing hurts. I've been making a lot of rich, foamy, warm milk, and other things that have lots of calories and go down easy. Hopefully he'll be better by the end of the week. Friday night Joanna and I went to the Supreme Bean to listen to Ali Losik. She played the piano and ukulele, wonderful jazzy tunes about love and happiness. Coupled with a mocha, it made for a fun night. Sam was dropped off at the house Saturday morning while Emma and Jamie went to King Estate Winery for the day along with Jim, Judy, Josh, Dave, and Kirsten. Sam was feeling so miserable at the time that he wasn't up for pizza and Mythbusters. We ended up having yakisoba and Mythbusters, which worked well enough. I think Berry and Duncan were feeling a little under the weather, as they seemed more tired than usual. They still had a good time playing and running around outside. Evidently Duncan is set on crepes every Sunday morning now. I made gluten-free pancakes for Joanna and I, and while we thought they were delicious, Duncan was quite adamant about his love of pancakes he can roll up. The kids had a good time at my mom's on Sunday. She managed to find some food to feed Sam, and for some strange reason we played marbles on the table upon my arrival. Since the weather was so gorgeous, I borrowed a Frisbee from my mom and we ended up going to the park to play. Emma's gotten really good and we were out so long I got a sunburn. Sam finished up almost all of his research project, Emma's reading a chapter book to me for school, and everyone had a quiet evening together. Emma loves Taylor Swift. I loaded up some songs on her mp3 player, so she's been running around the house singing along.


May 01, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez

Our internet has (again) been off and on this week.  I've just now picked up a very low signal, which is amazing as we got 8" of snow last night and our power was out for 6 hours.  I'm glad I've only planted things that are hardy to -30 degrees.  Sigh....

Mocha Friday

April 30, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's another delicious mocha Friday, that sweet elixir now a distant memory.  I'm hunkering down for a busy day at work.  I think we get to play the heroes, cleaning up after consultants.  It feels good to do it right, despite the inevitable comedic hijinks that will likely ensue.

It seems we have a passel of sick kids.  Jamie called to let me know Sam was taken out of school with a fever.  I webcammed with him yesterday, his voice deep as he lay on the couch.  He's out of school today, and hopefully he'll be better by the weekend.  Emma was her normal cheerful self, making me spell words for a change.  Hopefully it got her ready for her test today, in a roundabout way.

Over at Joanna's, both Berry and Duncan had a fever yesterday.  We came home to find them laying on the couch, half-asleep.  They went to be fairly early, both of them waking up in the middle of the night.  I took over for a very tired Joanna, sitting up with a wide-awake Duncan at 3:30 a.m. as he read books to me and started every other sentence with "Guess what, Adam?"  Finally he got back to sleep and both kids are out of school today just to be on the safe side.

Hopefully tonight Joanna and I can get out.  There's a musician playing at a nearby coffee house, and a play at the U of O.  Tomorrow Jamie's keeping the kids later to spend some time with Jim and Judy, so I'll likely hang out with Joanna's family and make myself useful.  Pizza and Mythbusters on Saturday is a must, though Berry and Duncan may already be stuffed with pizza from a birthday party at Chuck E Cheese.  Sunday will likely be a "hang out with kids" day, which sounds lovely.

I put together a short video of Emma and I reading, as well as some of the work I did around the house on Wednesday.

Dorothy's birthday May 5th

April 30, 2010 by Yayoe in Yayoe

Just a quick FYI...Dorothy's 92nd (I think it's 92) birthday is on Wednesday, May 5th. I listed her address on my previous posting.

I'm still waiting to hear from Josh about when his family will be moving to their new house. He and Jodie's mother are doing the inside remodeling and hope to be done by mid May. We'll hop on a plane and visit when they are settled in.



Don't laugh

April 28, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

but how do you tell girl squirrels from boy squirrels. Both the squirrels sit on the back steps and look in the window until I bring food. One will eat out of my hand and the other is a little shyer. I think one is pregnant, but Bob just says they are just really fat.

Oh How My Garden Grows

April 28, 2010 by Adam in Adam's Projects

I took the day off work.  I'm generally caught up with my projects, mostly because I'm waiting for other people to do something before I can do my work.  It made for a good excuse to spend the day at home catching up with my endless list of errands and home projects.

I had breakfast with my mom, went to the library, got groceries, and visited Down to Earth.  It was at my last stop where I picked up string trellace and bamboo poles, the weather cooperating well enough to get everything set up.  The plants in the picture are peas, but I have pole beans coming up next to them.  I also found the bush beans and planted those today.  All-in-all, there should be quite a few things popping up in a couple months.  The lettuce, beets, and radishes are coming along nicely, and I have some tomatoes and squash at work that are perking up.

I also did some major cleaning and organizing this morning.  All the boxes and bags and wrapping paper went to the upstairs closet.  The art supplies moved into the hallway.  I had four big plastic bins into which all of Sam's flotsam and jetsam went, stored in the old sauna in the basement.  The two bedrooms on the main floor are looking surprisingly tidy.

As for me, I'm nursing a cup of tea and listening to Taylor Swift on Emma's picture frame (it plays movies too).  My list isn't complete, but I may give myself a couple hours to play video games and relax before heading over to Joanna's.  Tomorrow Alma comes, and the house should be made singularly clean and shiny.  It feels good to get everything ready for the future.

Swimming through the Weekend

April 26, 2010 by Adam in Family

It was another very full weekend, with generally happy kids. Emma was under the weather, but was doing much better by this morning. Friday night Joanna and I drove down to Cottage Grove to attend a fundraiser for Children's Miracle Network. A bunch of high school boys put on a pageant, which involved much dancing, cross-dressing, and spandex. It was pretty awesome, though we left at intermission due to overall fatigue.

me, pizza and Mythbusters, and eventually sleep. Duncan liked having Sam and Emma around to help him with tricky World of Goo levels. Duncan and Berry also recruited Sam to play some game involving eating him. Joanna and Emma played guitar. I managed to accomplish assorted house tasks and smile at everyone's antics. At the end of the day, Sam, Joanna, and I watched Doctor Who, which produced odd dreams throughout the night. Emma had a hard time sleeping that night, and I was up a bunch, but she seemed better in the morning. Everyone loved the crepes and whip cream, as usual, with Duncan eating a remarkable four. My kids went to my mom's house, while the rest of us went to church. I picked up Emma afterward for ice cream, with Joanna briefly joining us for a scoop. Then it was library, car washing, planting beans, playing in the garden, and homework for all. Jamie and Josh came over to plan summer kid-watching, and I think we sorted everything out. Josh stayed for dinner, to the kids' amusement, and I read fresh library books to Emma. Sam and I watched Lost, and everyone slept very well. Life continues to be busy and good. What else could I ask for?

Richard Feynman

April 26, 2010 by Adam in Sam

Sam decided to research Richard Feynman for his school's independent research project. It was a bit of a surprise for me, but he's really gotten into it, and is nearly done reading You Must Be Joking, Mister Feynman. I think he appreciates the physicist's sense of humor, even though he doesn't always follow the science. He's put together a YouTube video for his presentation, which turned out surprisingly good.

Damn Digital Age

April 26, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

Adam, I goofed. I went to the Sadie Google list and put down my X. But in doing so, I managed to delete one line. I didn't read it carefully, but I think it said John Ritter or Josh Ritter poster. I've never heard of Josh Ritter, but I can't imagine

Sadie wanting a John Ritter poster. Can you fix my error?

Is Emma feeling better?

New phone, same number

April 26, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

Hi, I got a replacement cell phone. Same number.

Graduation Survival Kit

April 25, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I just got a "graduation survival kit" from one Evil Step Mother, which included copious amounts of chocolate, a mustache (that I wore all night), and miniature versions of everything on my graduation gift list. It made my day.

Mocha Friday

April 23, 2010 by Adam in Adam

I'm slowly working my way through my Friday mocha, answering e-mails and chats and the like. I have some code to write, but it's of the fun sort that I'm actually eager to get to.

Joanna and I took Duncan and Berry to work briefly on Thursday. Thursday night was my bachelor night, full of errands and house chores. I returned all the Comcast equipment, bringing my monthly TV bill to $34 down from over $200. I might even shut down cable entirely if we go another month without watching TV. We'd be DVD and Internet only, which is fine by me.

Fortunately I balanced everything out by spending nearly $300 on a grocery shopping run. I found some good deals on syrup and the like, hopefully supplying us for months to come. I also ended up buying meat, feeling wholly inadequate with my purchases. Joanna wanted to make jerky, and hopefully I got the necessary ingredients. Finally it was home for laundry, making a big bowl of salad, and putting a few things away before heading over to Joanna's for the night. I tried to call the kids to check in, but they were watching a show and then it was bedtime. I'm excited to see them tomorrow.

Tonight Joanna and I are going to a pageant at a high school, a fundraiser for Children's Miracle Network. We'll take pictures and video, and hang out with teenagers. I'm secretly hoping I'll be crowned the pageant king, making up for years of neglect in high school.

Underwater Adventure Seekers

April 21, 2010 by Adam in Family

My coworkers have been showing off their Kodak PlaySport ZX3 video cameras.  After researching options, I plunked down my $150 and picked one up.  I love the tiny size, the high resolution, and the fact that it fits in my pocket so easily.  I've been playing around with it for the last couple days and have been happy with the results.  It's also waterproof, which Emma really enjoyed.

Last night Joanna's mom took the kids to my house, and all seven of us sat down for a dinner of mac-n-cheese and steamed green beans and applesauce.  It went over pretty well, and the kids got along fairly well.  After they left, it was homework, bath, and the normal bedtime routine.  This morning I got the kids up, made it through a generally amusing breakfast of syrup spilling and shreeks of laughter, and got everyone off to school.  I'll see them all Saturday morning, though I may try to Skype Thursday for a little.

My social agenda is packed tonight, going to happy hour with a Joanna to socialize and network with fellow marketing and communication people.  After that is dinner at church with everyone, and then off to Target to buy a long list of things.  There are a couple other side trips we might sneak in, though I have no idea where the time will magically appear from.

 All-in-all, life is busy and good.

Quick update

April 20, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

For those of you thinking about Isa, she will spend the weekend of July 10th and 11th with John and Yayoe. Adam, Josh said he and David were planning to have him live with his dad and Kirsten next school year, so I can stop nattering about figuring out how to save the apartment for him. Ah, things resolving themselves right and left.

Another Lousy, Non-Infinite Weekend

April 19, 2010 by Adam in Family

I asked Sam if he'd had a good weekend, to which he replied that it was lousy. I was worried at first, but quickly realized that it was bad because it was ending. Everyone seemed to have a good time and the main complaint was that it was over too quickly. Joanna and I had a lazy Friday after work, making dinner together and eating out on the patio in the warm weather, and then off to soak in a hot tub. In the morning I picked up the kids, slowly fed them as they settled back home, and then we met up at an undisclosed location for present-related purposes. We'd considered swimming, but couldn't quite get organized, and the weather was so amazing that I mowed the lawns and played outside with Emma. We put together an odd dinner of pizza, hamburgers, home fries, and noodles, followed by a very fun Mythbusters. Even Berry was relatively still while watching spy cars eject parachutes and deploy smoke screens. In the morning we had a massive breakfast of crepes, hot chocolate, sausages, and endless whip cream. Emma lost a tooth, which added entertainment to the meal. Everyone puttered around the house until it was time for church, with Sam and Emma hanging out with my mom and Josh as usual. I picked the kids up afterward, got everyone working on homework, and then rejoined Joanna and her family at Hendrick's Park. We had a good time running about, which turned into endless games of chase. The park was beautiful, with many of the flowers already in bloom. It felt good to get outside and even Sam seemed fairly enthusiastic. Eventually it was time to split up and go home, though Duncan in particular wanted to continue playing. The rest of the evening was routine and quiet, with Sam and I watching Lost to wind down the evening.

Lost Tooth #2

April 19, 2010 by Adam in Emma

Emma lost a tooth Sunday morning. She'd been toying with her dangling tooth for days now, as it got increasingly floppy. It was my crepes that did the tooth in, finally pushing it out of the socket. She's been good about thanking the tooth fairy after getting a dollar for her tooth, though she's clearly aware of the mythical nature of the aforementioned being. That doesn't make it any less fun or rewarding, though.

Mocha Friday

April 16, 2010 by Adam in Family

My mocha is slowly dwinding, my enthusiasm for writing computer code on the rise. I had a good evening out with Jason last night, going out to dinner and then a movie. The movie itself was okay, full of action and special effects with a fairly familiar story. Chatting with Jason about our friends that we've known for decades was my favorite part, and just hearing about how it was like for him to be a dad and husband. I think we've both aged well. I drove down to Joanna's to find her writing music. I ate my nightly bowl of cereal and read about all the cool eco-friendly things our neighbors are doing in the neighborhood newsletter. This morning we shepherded children through the routine. Joanna complimented me on my drinking the Tears of Suffering trick, as they now stop entirely and laugh whenever we break it out. Berry demanded Bob Marley on the drive in to town, which we managed with our Droids and YouTube. Technology saves the day. I chatted briefly with Emma yesterday, seeing if she was okay with some weekend plans I have brewing. I'm glad I get to see them tomorrow, as I get fidgety towards the end of the week. I have a fair amount of events schedule for the weekend, including swimming and hopefully getting out to a park on Earth Day Sunday. Hopefully it's generally enjoyable for all. Joanna uploaded a video of the Barbie cannibalism that her mum took. I realize that after yesterday's teasing, something had to be posted.

Barbie Leftovers

April 15, 2010 by Adam in Family

Joanna's daughter Berry turned three yesterday. There were presents scattered everywhere, the hardwood floor given a patchwork rug of wrapping paper. The remains of the Barbie cake came out after dinner, with everyone cheerfully chomping away. For a finale, Berry got to eat the frosting off the Barbie itself. Video footage was taken, in between the grown-up laughter, though Joanna sadly told me it must never be posted on the Internet. Evidently there's something inherently wrong with Barbie cannibalism when performed by a cheerful three year-old.

I'm going out with my old friend Jason tonight to see a movie. It'll be good to hang out with him and chat, something of a rarity these days. I think I have enough time to run home, bring in the mail, and pick him up for dinner.

I miss my kids when they're away, despite all the good things happening in my life. Joanna and I ran by the river at lunch, the cherry blossoms blowing in the wind. It was quite beautiful.

Easter Photos

April 15, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

Damn Digital Age

April 15, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

Ok, so I don't really get uploading photos.

Easter Redux

April 15, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

Easter has come and gone, much like the Country Fair, leaving behind the flotsom and jetsam of an Event - leftover chocolate cake, wine bottles, a thin layer of Easter basket grass everywhere, enough blinys, caviar and pirogies for some very tasty snacks, and lots of good memories. Bob just polished off a couple of shish kabobs and a big hunk of cake. There are some lingering mysteries - who ate the ears off Sam's chocolate rabbit, and why is there a large branch in my car? It was wonderful to see Seraph, Robbie and Isa. Isa, Jordan and Emma had mucho funno together. Seraph figured we had 33 people here this year, but along with Seraph's amazing cooking, we had lots of help - the shish kabob team, the amazing clean-up team of Yayoe and Anna, the duct tape brigade of Sam and Josh. And of course, the unsung hero, the princely Bob, patiently putting up with my entire fam, loading and unloading groceries, hauling around tables and chairs, and generally being cheerful. And of course the real mystery - I'll never know what Lohring promised his lovely second ex-wife and his sweet Lady Friend to prompt them both to show up at his first wife's house to do the dishes once a year, but their help is most appreciated!

Changing of the Guards

April 14, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's Wednesday, which is when kids go to Jamie's and I head over to Joanna's. I'm growing used to the routine, as are the kids.

Though the week has been routine, it's been full of countless funny moments that make life worthwhile.

Sam and I hauled logs home so we could grow mushrooms behind the shed. My mom decided we'd made the whole thing up and were just seeing how far we could take our bizarre requests before she became suspicious.

Last night in the bath, Emma and I were singing along to Taylor Swift songs. Her expressions were priceless.

Joanna and I continue to battle for mayor of our work in Foursquare. This morning she stole my Droid and hid it until she checked in and stole the mayorship back.

There have also been ordinary good things. Sam is now cheerfully making and recording video games, his latest obsession. Emma was out picking cherry blossoms. I've been rearranging rooms, putting up decorations, and generally making the house work better for the new situation. Things are feeling more settled. Seedlings are sprouting in the garden. All is well.

Back Home

April 13, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez

We made it back around midnight.  There were spectacular lightning storms all the way up from ABQ.  The house was in one piece and the cats still loved us, so we couldn't have been gone too long.  Robbie will pick up Shiloh today, so we'll see if she's still speaking (barking) to us.  We're letting Isa sleep in a little this morning.  Robbie will be taking her down to school in a while.  We've got inventory underway at the store today and tomorrow, so I'm not sure it I'll be down here or up doing laundry.  Sigh... back to real life.

Easter Weekend, Take Two

April 12, 2010 by Adam in Family

It was a fun, busy weekend, full of family and food. Friday night Joanna wasn't feeling good, so our hot date night consisted of food shopping and making mushroom soup. The food was excellent and it was nice to take it easy before our weekend of frantic activity. Meanwhile, Jamie took the kids to jousting at the fairgrounds where they had fun doing archery and axe throwing, in between watching a scripted competition. Sam said it was very similar to what we saw in England, and lamented that he'd like to see some more realistic battles. I pointed out the possibility that limb removal might dissuade the participants, but he wasn't dissuaded. I helped blow up 50 balloons at Joanna's in preparation for Berry's birthday party, and then picked up my kids. After the required breakfast of crepes, whip cream, sausages, and hot chocolate with marshmallows, I put them all to work doing vaguely useful things. Sam and I moved his bedroom into the basement office. He declared it cozy and seems to enjoy being down there. Emma helped mop his old room and cleaned up the years of dust bunnies that had gathered behind his bed. Interestingly enough, Sam declared that he wasn't interested in moving most of his stuff, so his posters, soccer medals, and accumulated treasures will all go in storage sometime. I went to my mom's to say hello to my sister and help with Easter preparations. Emma had a wonderful time hanging out with Isa and Sam and Josh did their usual puttering about. I ran over to Joanna's to deliver Berry's birthday present. It seems that Hungry, Hungry Hippos was a keen purchase for three and four year-olds alike. Finally we all went out to Kabuki's for dinner and I brought Josh along out of general appreciation. Sunday morning the kids and I had another hearty breakfast and started playing Settlers of Catan. I took the kids over to my mom's while I went to church, and then picked up Sam for mutual hair cuts. Sam was invited to a Nerf shootout among the neighborhood kids, and so he roamed the streets until it was time for Easter dinner. There was far too much food, candy, and mayhem. Joanna was told that Easter was the equivalent of hazing, and that she'd be accepted if she survived the night. Fortunately everyone had a good time. Berry ended up with a pink cake with zombie hands, much to everyone's amusement. I got the kids to bed at a reasonable hour, and they woke up relatively cheerful this morning. Emma managed to get her giant purple stuffed bear into her back pack so that she could take it to her mom's house. Good times.

Goblin Girl

April 11, 2010 by Adam in Emma

Emma was having far too much fun with a noodle package tonight.


April 09, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's been a quirky, rough start to the weekend. I'm fretting about everyone again, as is my nature.

Yesterday after work I went to meet Jenny and Seraph. We went to Area 51 Tattoo in Springfield, which like all tattoo parlors is a fascinating place to visit. Jordan was reading a Goosebumps book and Isa bought some candy cigarettes. Apparently you can buy all manner of inappropriate things at a tattoo parlor. It was great visiting with Seraph and we caught up on all the things that can't be mentioned on public web sites or Facebook. Soon enough she was sitting in a tattoo chair and getting ink poked into her skin.

She was a real trooper about it, as would be expected from a woman who had given birth and broken her wrist a couple times. She seemed happy with the result and didn't mind the 80's big-hair band music blaring from the speakers. Jenny's getting her key tonight and then all four of us will have similar, though not identical keys.

I went home to check up on the house and make sure things were still intact. I put away dishes, folded laundry, packed lunch, checked the mail, and other mundane things before heading down to Joanna's. Kids eventually were put to bed while I did dishes and made myself useful.

This morning was a bit rough, with Joanna's back bothering her quite a bit and Berry breaking out the Tears of Suffering in full force. Jamie called at work and is worrying about Sam's behavior. I'm going to spend some time with just him this weekend, and hopefully we can talk things through. My goal for the summer is to get him spending time with friends, staying active, and getting ready for Roosevelt in the fall. He's pretty averse to any camps, so I'm scrambling about trying to find things he'd be interested in. I'm