The Anal Scope

February 27, 2010 by Adam in Family

I had a rather interesting Friday afternoon.  Joanna came in to work, though she was still rather sick, and started complaining of dizziness.  I suggested Urgent Care, and we wandered over to the hospital to experience our healthcare system first hand.

Relatively quickly, they got her into a room where a doctor chatted with her briefly, and then assorted people came in to perform a wide variety of tests.  The EKG guy could have done standup comedey and quit his day job.  The blood draw took longer than desired.  The CAT scan was ominous but otherwise pretty quick.  Eventually the doctor wandered back in again, letting Joanna know that everything was fine.  His guess was a mix of a mild concussion and the tail end of a viral illness.

Joanna was a trooper throughout and I think we were reassured that everything was fine.  Her dizziness has faded and this morning just has a headache.  Hopefully the tea, banana bread, and ibuprofen will take care of that.  It was interesting spending an afternoon in a hospital room, which I almost never do.  Our favorite part was the drawer labeled "Anal Scope," which quickly became the punchline of every joke.  Internet safety tip: don't Google it.

For our standard Friday date night, we just hung out at my house.  Arrested Development cures all ills.

I'm going to run off to get my kids momentarily.  If the weather holds, maybe I can get them helping with the garden beds, which are stacked in my driveway.  I might go to Splash! too, though no one was sounding particularly enthusiastic about it.  Tonight is pizza and How It's Made, which could turn into our new tradition.

First Tooth Lost

February 26, 2010 by Adam in Emma

Emma lost her first tooth on Wednesday night.  She was wrestling a little rough with Sam at Jamie's house, bonked it, and out it came.  Apparently it took awhile before they found it.  She said it was sore for a day or so, but is now perfectly fine.  She's already got her adult tooth poking up behind it, so it looks surprisingly normal.

Breakfast with Mom Friday

February 26, 2010 by Adam in Family

Thursday night was Bachelor Night at the Miller household.  I left work, picked up some cash, and paid for four raised beds that were dropped off at my house last night.  Next was heading to Jamie's to fix computers.  Emma showed off her loose tooth, I said hello to Dave and Kirsten who were over for his birthday.  Sam helped me test Skype until it started working and grownups were dancing silly in front of webcams.

After that, I spent an hour shopping, getting way too much food since I was so hungry.  I'm going to have to force myself to stick to only items on my list as I have a tendency to stockpile for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.  Or at least that's what I tell myself.  After returning home, I worked on laundry, dishes, and made some banana bread for a still-sick Joanna.  I've fortunately remained in fine health, which I attribute to exercise, clean living, and general awesomeness.  I stumbled into bed around ten, sleeping wonderfully well in a very quiet house.

This morning I had breakfast with my mom.  No mochas, but plenty of coffee.  At the moment I feel as if I have the strength of a thousand men and the wisdom of the sages.  It certainly helps me type fast, in any case.  We had a good chat about all manner of things, once again affirming that my mom is a smart, nice person.  My opinion was helped by the fact that she picked up the bill.

I'll probably go over to Joanna's tonight as she's still feeling a little under the weather.  Berry and Duncan will likely clean Colette and I's clocks while playing Zingo.  They enjoy doing the Zingo dance when they win, which eventually both of them seem to do.  Tomorrow I get to pick up my kiddos and hang out with them.  I think we'll try pizza and How It's Made, as we've finally run out of Mythbusters.  It should be fun.

Holla... I mean, Challah!

February 25, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I have a dear friend who often invites me over for shabbat. Because she keeps semi-kosher, I can't contribute to the meal. But after a year and a half, I've convinced her to let me make challah. The most I can reasonably do to kosher-up my kitchen is burn it down, so I poured boiling water over everything and put the over on self-clean. Unfortunately, heating the oven made the kitchen smell more like roasting bacon. For someone who considers herself fastidious, having someone ask you to wrap your kitchen utensils in three layers of tinfoil is quite humbling. But the bread looks pretty, and we got to have challah french toast smothered in brandy-soaked apples with the extra loaf this morning. The perfect Purim!

Bachelor Day

February 25, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm generally on my own for Thursdays. It's a little odd, being away from the kids and Joanna and left to my own devices. Still, I appreciate being able to work on my seemingly vast list of projects without interruption. Tonight I'm hoping to get the garden beds delivered to my house, along with food shopping and cleaning out the basement.

It was an odd day yesterday. Joanna and I went to visit the Charlemagne French immersion school, scoping out places for Duncan in the Fall. We both really liked it and I had fun trying to read the various French signs on the walls. I could probably handle first grade in French without too much trouble. Maybe I'll go back.

Afterward, Joanna got really sick, finally catching what Berry and Duncan had for the last few days. I took her home early, where she spent a lot of time throwing up and laying in bed. Colette, the kids, and I hung out drawing, eating dinner, and playing games. Joanna briefly emerged to help with bedtime, and then went back to sleep.

There was some brief excitement when she got up later to get herself some apple juice and passed out. I rushed into the kitchen to find her sprawled dramatically on the floor, broken glass around her. Fortunately there were no cuts and she was relatively unharmed, though I forbade her to get anything for herself again.

I left my cell phone at work, which means I missed talking to my kids last night. Emma's first tooth came out, according to a message on my answering machine. I tried Skyping Sam last night, but his microphone wasn't working. We typed a few things, made some funny gestures, and signed off. I think I know how to fix the problem now and may suggest it tonight when I'm home.

This morning Joanna got some good news on her ongoing court case, though it will still likely drag on for months. We celebrated our three-month anniversary today, albeit in a fairly low-key fashion due to vomiting and exhaustion. She's also staying home today, trying to get some rest.

Hopefully everyone will be in better spirits by the weekend and we can have a bit of fun. I'm excited to see the kids again.

Wednesday Already?

February 24, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's just been Emma and I for the last few days.  She was worn out Monday night, so she went to bed early.  Yesterday morning I got her out of bed by the promise of laughing baby videos on the big screen.  She instead wanted to watch cute bunny videos on the TV I hooked up to my computer.  It entertained her enough that she let me brush her hair without too many complaints.

We worked on spelling, chatted, read books, and did singularly ordinary things.  It was very nice.

I continue to work on house projects, trying to get some garden beds delivered.  Furniture still needs to be rearranged and I'm generally working on the living room lately.  It's a good place for the kids to hang out while I cook dinner.  Since it's by the fireplace, it makes it warm and cozy.  The latest was to disassemble, move, and reassemble the library table, put the TV on it, and hook up my computer.  It means I'm now typing this post and the letters are huge.

The kids are going to Jamie's today, back Saturday morning.  I'll miss them.  In the meantime, I'll be visiting with Joanna and her kids, as well as working on the house.  My list of projects is massive, but achievable.

The Brave Explorer Returns

February 24, 2010 by Adam in Sam

Sam's back from Bend, where he's been for the last couple days.  I think he generally had a good time, his highlight being watching the Cube movies.  He seems to have a touch of a cold, and last night I gave him some cough syrup and sent him to bed after we watched Lost together.  It's nice having him around again.

Getting better

February 22, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez

Things are getting better here, though my cars still in the shop.  We're in the middle of a large storm system.  While this brings in great new pwder, it keeps knocking out my internet connection.  Sigh... more when the signal is stronger!

Back to the Daily Grind

February 22, 2010 by Adam in Family

We're back to work, the exciting weekend a fleeting memory.  Sam and I hung out Saturday night, chatting and playing games together.  We were both thrilled when I fixed the graphics issue on his computer.  Evidently his fancy video card was turned off in the BIOS and just had to turn it on. 

Sunday morning I made crepes for the kids and Jamie took Sam off to Bend.  Emma and I went to the library and I dropped her off at my mom's while going to church with Joanna and her family.  Emma was excited when I returned, showing off the treasures grandma Sue had given her.  My mom nicely gave me an unfinished antique table and rocking chair.  More project work for me, but I love doing that sort of thing and the style is excellent.

I rewired the home network while Emma watched a movie, and then Joanna and her kids came over.  We played in the basement, Joanna being a good sport and giving birth to babies to the delight of children.  Child labor was enlisted to start seedlings.  Eventually we all went to PF Chang's where Emma got to watch Berry and Duncan have assorted meltdowns due to lack of apple juice.  For the most part though, the smaller kids were cheerful and playful and entertaining.

Emma was a good sport overall, enjoying the role of the older kid for a change.  She's still not quite sure what to do with the occasional screaming, but she liked helping and having kids around that will actually play pretend with her.

Joanna and I would occasionally look at each other with an amused smirk.  The days ahead will be chaotic, but it'll be a happy chaos.


February 21, 2010 by Adam in Family

Friday night Joanna and I went to listen to Chris Kokesh at Tsunami Books.  The music was good, bluegrass and folk music.  It felt good to get out and do something grown-up and fun.  Even better, the venue was a used book store.  Sadie will be pleased to know that I picked up Graceling, which I had to return to the library before I finished.

I woke up this morning, got the kids, and made a massive breakfast for Joanna's and my respective children.  It was epic, but fun, with crepes and sausages and far too much whip cream.  We hung out, inside and out.  After lunch Emma and I went to the Asian Celebration, had a noodle bowl, and did some crafts.  Eventually we got home and the kids and I spend the afternoon outside.

I managed to do some yard work, set out the patio furniture, and swept a little obsessively.  Having such warm, sunny weather in February is exciting and I'm having far too much fun getting ready for spring.

Mocha Friday

February 19, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's Mocha Friday. I seem to have misplaced my badge, but my good looks and charm appear to have gotten me through the front door and to my cubicle.

Last night I made corn chowder for Joanna and then we went off to look at the kindergarden at Ridgeline Monessori, the third in our series of tours. This one had an elaborate presentation with video, quite different than Crest or the Little French School which were more low-key. I also ran into assorted people I knew at the other places, and I could see the little wheels turning as they tried to figure out why I was there with Joanna. Sometimes it's more fun to leave them guessing. The real challenge is finding a place that lets you drop kids off before 8 a.m. so she can get to work. So far there's only one.

Sam called and was having problems with his computer, so I went over to Jamie's house. Emma immediately glommed on to me, clearly tired, and wanting to go home with me. Eventually we calmed her down, Jamie read a bedtime story, and I laid down next to her until she went to sleep. I also got their Internet working reliably, along with the wireless router. Sam was happy. Hopefully this weekend I can get Emma's computer set up too.

I went shopping afterward, then cleaned out some planter trays for starting seeds. I'm working on getting planter beds and irrigation ready for the garden.

This weekened we're going to the Asian Celebration, hanging out with Joanna and her family, and Sam's off on Sunday with Jamie to Bend.

Grafton Civic Life Series No. 2

February 18, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

The Reciprocity of Public Servants and Private Citizens in Pay As You Throw

After decades of organizing slums in Chicago, Kansas City, and Rochester, community organizer Saul Alinsky wanted to take on a new organizing project- the middle class. He explained that America’s suburban “Silent Majority” was neither conservative nor liberal, but “alienated, depersonalized, without any feeling of participation in the political process.” Many scholars and activists have echoed the sentiment that America is steeped in alienation, that our civic life is in a four-decade freefall. The League of Women Voters have given way to professional advocacy organizations. Suburban sprawl demobilizes neighborhood associations. As Robert Putnam argued in his work on the weakening of our social connections with each other, more of us are bowling alone.

As a newcomer to Grafton and student of democratic participation, I was ready to join the ranks of suburban commuters nostalgic for the Grange. Boy, was I wrong. In my eight months here, I’ve seen residents seize Aulinsky’s challenge, advancing towards a genuinely participatory community. Private citizens found farmer’s markets, preserve land, and grow thousands of pounds of organic produce for the Worcester County Food Bank. In addition to private action, and often behind the scenes, our public servants are also investing in citizen voice.

Municipalities need residents to help evaluate and promote policy changes in times of lean. When the town faced a $450,000 budget shortfall, the town administrator and board of selectmen relied on a group of volunteers to half the Town’s second largest budget line- garbage collection. The recycling committee proposed Pay-As-You-Throw, a program that reduced the town’s trash collection from 400 to 200 tons a month in the first six months.

In June 2009, Doreen DeFazio stepped down from her position on the recycling committee to coordinate Grafton’s new Pay-As-You-Throw program. Of the public and private work to advance recycling, DeFazio says, “it takes efforts from many different angles. I take small steps forward, and the recycling committee takes small steps forward, and you look back and say, ‘this is really working.’” Consequently, Grafton has increased the number of households recycling from 12 to 44 percent in the last year and a half. “I look at Groton, and they have a 66 percent recycling rate. That’s where I want Grafton to be.”

Saul Aulisky would call this public-private arrangement cooptation. But DeFazio believes that commitment to civic life is stronger than ever. “I grew up in Grafton as a farm town of 8,500 and when I came back, it was totally different. But often feel its more of a community now.” The difference between Aulinsky’s vision of social change and the social change that is happening right now in Grafton is a commitment to partnership, even in the midst of conflict. “Last week I witnessed 1,500 people patiently cast their vote for a new school,” says DeFazio. “I’m proud to be part of this community. I think people realize that it’s a gem, and they want to be here and be active.”

Grafton Civic Life Series No. 1

February 18, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

The Civic Ecology of Land Preservation

Last Saturday, we saw how citizen engagement in local issues can alter the future of Grafton. The special town meeting is proof that our local governing structure demands local solutions and citizen approval, although policy itself is not made at town meeting. So who really gets things done in town? Do most policy changes come from citizens on boards and ad-hoc town committees, or through voluntary associations? As a new resident and member of the planning board, I became interested in public problem-solving within the context of development. This series is an attempt to understand civic life in a town in transition, where looping subdivisions rub against the pastoral landscape.

Like many towns shifting from rural mill villages to residential subdivisions, Grafton residents have complex and often conflicting values and visions for the future of the town. According to the 2001 Comprehensive Plan, forty percent of Grafton residents surveyed said they were attracted to the Town because of its small-town character. And with the extension of the commuter rail and route 146, commuters can have more bucolic for half the price, and still get to work by nine. That simple cost-benefit analysis got me here in the first place.

But someone’s got to keep an eye on the bucolic while I’m busy with my commute. Anyway, bucolic is the most cost-efficient use of local taxes. Unlike residential developments, open land doesn’t make a family or call the fire department, and uses thirty-seven cents in services for every dollar a town collects from property taxes. For every dollar of revenue a town raises on a residential property, that property uses one dollar and nineteen cents in town services.

Unfortunately, like residential development, land preservation takes a pile of money and a sophisticated understanding of state land use policies. It also requires the technical expertise of town planners to support the Community Preservation Committee and ensure that Land Trust acquisitions are not hindered by subdivision defaults. And tax policies incentivize generous donations from landowners to protect open land.

Because of the interdependence of stakeholders, land preservation is a lesson in civic ecology. Public incentive structures and technical support bolster the work of independent organizations like the Grafton Land Trust. In May 2004, the town and Land Trust worked in partnership to protect the Hassanamesit Woods from development. As Ed Hazzard of the Grafton Land Trust explained, the property captured Grafton residents’ sense of history. Archeologists unearthed cultural artifacts and a cultural identity for a town that is as defined by highways as by its town common. The less visible story of Hassanamesit is the persistence of local residents to preserve citizen engagement and Grafton’s civic identity.

Joanna's Kids

February 18, 2010 by Adam in Family

Sam and Emma are off at Jamie's house until Saturday morning.  There was some tense calls at work from Sam when his Internet connection didn't work, but fortunately it was all straightened out.  I had hoped to Skype the kids tonight, but they never got on once I was around.

I went down to Joanna's tonight and helped make crepes for dinner, then chased children about.  It helps a little when I miss my own.

Shark girl

February 17, 2010 by Adam in Emma

Emma's been focused on loose teeth for awhile now, as many of her classmates are starting to sport gaping holes in their smiles. A week or so ago, I noticed her adult tooth poking up behind her baby tooth. She thought it was just a hard part on her gum, but I pointed out otherwise.

At first she was a little nervous, but I reassured her it was fine, then called my dad to make sure it really was okay. His advice was to keep wiggling the already loose tooth in front and try to pop it out.

Personally I think it's awesome looking (and make sure you click to enlarge).

When it rains, it pours!

February 16, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez

Hey everyone!  Sorry I've been out of the loop lately (what's new...?).  Our internet is still a little screwy at the house.  My car's been in the shop for 2 weeks - the timing belt went out, and it took awhile to find a reliable place.  A few days after that, I started to have problems with my back again.  It's been over a year since it's bothered me, and I still don't know if it's a muscle or pinched nerve problem.  It's starting to get better now, so I'm feeling a lot happier.  Huge thanks to Adam and Sadie who sent me books and movies, all of which helped a lot when I've been stuck in bed!  We survived the holiday weekend at work (some of our largest skier counts yet), but V-Day got pushed aside a bit.  Between Robbie's foot on his birthday, Isa's birthday getting snowed out, and my back on V-Day, we've been failing in the celebrations these days.  I think we'll try a fun day trip one of these weekends to make up for it.  Anyway, I think about you all a lot, and I can't wait until April!!

Back to Work

February 15, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm back at work, staring at code until my eyes get blurry.

Sunday was pleasant and low-key. Sam woke up crazy early, I told him to go back to bed, and he slept until close to 11 a.m. Emma and I had a pleasant evening of puttering about and getting her computer ready to be moved over to Jamie's house. Emma picked out the computer case she wanted and I bought a new webcam to hook up to it for Skype. Jamie called to inform me that Comcast fixed the Internet at her house, so everything should be ready to go.

I got Sam up and took the kids to my mom's house, then went off to church. As usual, it was uplifting and made for a nice time to think through my life. When I went to collect the kids, Emma was mopping away and wouldn't leave until she was finished. The kids and I headed back, briefly played, and then went down to visit Joanna.

The kids ran around in the back yard as Joanna and I made shepard's pie and chocolate mousse. Everything turned out really tasty, and the mousse was completely belly-filling. All the kids seemed to get along relatively well, once again. Sam led Duncan and Emma marching around the house, and later helped Berry put together puzzle pieces.

Jamie and I had our last counseling session this morning. Other than the spousal support stuff, we seem to generally be in agreement and things continue to move along. I'm at the point where I just want to hand over the spousal support decision-making process to professionals. I don't feel very capable of figuring it out myself, and it seems to be a source of contention between Jamie and I. It'll be nice when that's dealt with.

Sadie sent along this picture of my great grandmother and I, swearing I was holding an early prototype of my Droid. Maybe so, as the cute little device has felt strangely familiar in my eager little hands.

Single Spacing

February 15, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

okay, let's see if this works. on facebook, i joined a group about innuendoes. But the name of the group includes a word which should be just plural, rather than possessive. this leads me to the question of whether I should belong to a group using bad grammar unknowingly, rather than stylistically. Adam, the shift/enter thingy works. Love you, Sarah Palin, for the zest you're adding to the English language! But I've always been ahead of the curve on this one, finding that the word "thingy" is a great substitute for knowing what I'm talking about. Sarah, maybe ....


Help me, Adam, with my spacing.

February 15, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

Adam, my postings have weird spacing, skipping a space every few lines. What should I push to change it to single space throughout?

Well, darnit

February 15, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

I pushed the wrong button and lost my posting about my amaryllis, reblooming from last year. Two nice big coral blooms, just in time for Valentines Day. My squirrel is fine, and in spite of Bob naming it Fatty, he will eat out of my hand.

Not Bob's, though. And Mama Deer and the twins stopped by this week for dinner. They're very tame now. They probably stop here and next door because we're the only houses on the street with neither fences nor dogs.

We Skyped with Anna last weekend. She's been accepted into graduate school in Paris, and just sent a message yesterday that she got a 9,000 euro scholarship, bringing her tuition for the two year program down to about 21,000 euros, about 33,000 USD, still a lot of money.

I had a wonderful Skype with Sadie mid-week. She read me her first two articles for the Grafton paper. Like the rest of you kids, she's a good writer.

Bob has been working hard on planning for the last stages of the basement remodel. We're going to have Olin, Angie's brother, do all the work which needs to be done under permit, and Richard can do the framing and wallboard in the main room.

Speaking of contractors, I've had really unpleasant interactions with Darren. It's now the law that you have to fill out a 1099 for any independent contractor you pay more than $600 in a year. He wanted to go over my figures, and I took my folder to his house to go over the figures. That conversation was fine, but I don't think he realized at the time that, because you have to send a copy to both Federal and State, he was going to actually have to report, and pay taxes on, about $30,000 I paid him. In the next conversation, on the telephone, he started to berate me, accusing me of reporting the income only because he'd filed a motion to have his child support. I had to go over last night because I was going to take Destin to Dark Side of the Moon, a ballet based on the Pink Floyd album.

He really went off on me, in front of Destin. How awful it was. I came home and drank three glasses of wine.

Fortunately, I had been able to exchange tickets for this afternoon's performance, and Bob went with me. It was quite spectacular. Great choreography, good dancing, live band (The Floydian Slips!) and amazing lighting.

We took Josh, Sam and Emma to breakfast this morning, which was fun. Also, I joined a book club. We're reading Tran-sister Radio. I think I mentioned that at my last interaction with a transgender person, I was able, without blushing or acting weird, to ask her if she were trans and tell her that she really looked nice.

She reacted with pleasure and I was glad I was confident enough to say something. Thanks,Sadie. It must be insecurity provoking to change your gender and wonder how the world is reacting. Have a good week, everyone!

Happy Valentines!

February 15, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

Making Robots for Valentines Day

February 14, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I am sitting with Greg as he surrounds himself with bolts and flat metal peices and communicates with his fellow robot geeks online. Apparently, many geeks spend Valentines day making sweet robots, not sweet romance. Although my geek make me dutch babies with brandied stone fruit this morning. I'm a lucky lady.

Sorry for my bloggin absence. I'm writing on civic life for the Grafton Times, so my thoughts on exurb life have to be channeled productively and include actual facts and interviews with real people.

Computer Fiddling

February 14, 2010 by Adam in Adam's Projects

I continue to work on the computer situation here at the Miller household.  Yesterday Emma and I went to the computer recycling place and I had her pick out a computer case for herself.  Last night Sam helped me take all the guts out of the wood and brass case and put it into the new one.  So far, everything seems to be working properly.

I'm also taking Sam's old Brass Zeppelin computer case and putting in a wireless network card.  The plan is to put that one upstairs and hook it up to the cable box, as it has an old but functional TV tuner in it.  Eventually I'll take my current main computer, put it in the wood and brass case, and hook that up to the big TV in the living room.

In a way, that's the easy part.  More tricky will be getting all the heavy furniture moved around.  One step at a time, I suppose.


Kids and Droids

February 14, 2010 by Adam in Family

It was a full but pleasant day.  The weather helped, feeling more like spring than anything else.  Joanna and I got the kids together, eating and playing and generally entertaining ourselves.  Joanna left her practice guitar here, which seemed to mesmerize Emma completely.  Berry and Duncan enjoyed drawing, playing with toys, and exploring the house.

They stayed until naptime, and then my new Droid arrived.  Joanna's been horribly jealous.  I've been playing with it, getting into all the nifty features and actually making a phone call or two. 

In the afternoon, Sam hung out with the neighbor boys and Emma and I went to get her a new computer case.  It was pizza and Mythbusters, the second to the last before the season's end.  After I got Emma to bed, Sam helped me pull out the guts of Emma's computer and put it into her new case.

Tomorrow I'm making a hearty breakfast for the kids, taking the kids to my mom's while I go to church, hang out with the kids until afternoon when we're going over to Joanna's for Valentine's Day dinner.  The kids are getting shepard's pie and it's chocolate mousse for dessert.  Tasty.

Purple, Purple, Purple

February 12, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm finishing the last few drops of my Friday mocha.  It warms the heart and fortifies the spirit.  Life is a mix of wonderful and frustrating, as has been the norm these last few months.  I was up in the middle of the night tossing and turning, working through things in my brain.

The kids stayed over at Jamie's house for the first time on Wednesday night, reporting that all went well.  My experience has been that they've been generally cheerful, though Jamie told me yesterday that she was being somewhat babyish.  Getting Emma's homework done continues to be challenging.  I was cooking breakfast and helping with spelling, making up little songs for different words.  I hope it sticks.

I took yesterday off to get to all the things I haven't been able to do.  I made it to Target to pick up some kitchen shelves, a laundry hamper, heating pad, and other miscellaneous things.  I talked to the irrigation guy in hopes of getting the planter beds in soon.  Jamie and I talked about divorce stuff more, continuing to agree on everything but spousal support.  The numbers she was asking for were nearly twice what we'd previously discussed, so we're going back to talk to lawyers again.  It's frustrating not having any guidelines, so I'm relying on legal advice to figure out what's fair and reasonable.

I hope this can be a good and calm weekend.  Jamie has the kids again tonight, and I'm picking them up in the morning.  I'm thinking Joanna and I will get our respective clans together for breakfast.  The play room is looking far too tidy as of late.  Sam, Josh, and I are planning a Saturday night gaming session.  Sam's been getting into online gaming, setting up an online group and chatting with his friends.  His typing has improved tremendously, so I continue to encourage it.

My mom and Josh are having the kids for lunch on Sunday when I go to church.  Other than that, I just wanted to hang out with the kids and enjoy playing with them.  If the weather is at all nice, maybe we can get outside and hike about. 

I took a short video of the kids playing their respective video games last night.  I love the little songs Emma sings to herself.  Plus her reading is improving.

Update on Dorothy and other family members:

February 10, 2010 by Yayoe in Yayoe

It's been a long time between postings! I spoke to Danica today. She was working in her new studio. She reports that Dorothy is doing much better than before when she was a Meadville assisted living resident. She continues to have up/down days but manages to still play bridge. Here's Dorothy's address and phone number:

Episcopal Church Home, 505 Mt. Hope Avenue, room  253, Rochester, NY 14620. Phone number (if you can ever catch her in her room is 585-325-5706).
Send cards...I know she'd love to hear from you.

As usual, I've been a busy old fart playing more gigs with my uke group. We'vbe been invited to play at the Brew Pub in Oakridge in Oakridge!  Last weekend Sayer, John Jones, and Jackson came for a visit. They're doing well and little Jackson is as tall as a 5 year old boy! My new grandson Curtis Kealoha is doing well and growing quickly. I'm still waiting for pictures of him and little blond Robbie. All else is fine here...




Sorting Out the New Schedule

February 09, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's been interesting trying to figure out the new schedule, which I think is slowly settling down. It's been busy, but I'm getting the hang of coming home, making dinner, helping with homework, and getting the kids to bed. Waking in the morning, it's much of the same, getting up an hour early to get myself put together. I've resorted to leaving myself sticky notes on the refrigerator that say "laundry" or "recycling" so that things go along smoothly.

The plan this week is to get a phone that synchs to my Google calendar and sends reminders to me. Basically my pants will be bossing me around, which I guess is just like my college years.

The kids start spending the night at Jamie's this week, Wednesday night and Friday night this week and Wednesday through Friday next. Hopefully Jamie can swing by my house after school on Wednesday to pick up laptops and library books, and then I can get them on Saturday morning when I pick them up. There are lots of coordination issues to sort through, not to mention how strange it will feel to have the kids away for three days straight.

I think everyone is doing relatively well. Sam was up until nearly midnight last night, voraciously reading one of the books I got him. He said he was a little sick this morning, so I'm going to keep an eye on him and see how he's doing. I had a touch of a headache myself last night, though tea and Advil have done the trick.

I need to do some more dinner planning, I think. Last night was fresh made hummus and nan bread, along with beets. The kids amazingly thought the beets were okay, but that the hummus had too much garlic. The last of the chocolate chip cookies vanished. I'd like to make sweet potato casserole, with lots of brown sugar and oats on top. Maybe I can find some time tonight.

Both the kids got their report cards yesterday, doing quite well overall. Math appears to be a strong subject for both of them. Sam's also doing well in science and class participation. Emma's right on the cusp of being able to read well, and was telling us the warnings of her vitamin bottle at breakfast.

Worn Out on a Sunday Night

February 08, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's been a busy and interesting weekend.  Emma's in bed, Sam's watching Battlestar Galactica next to me, and I'm worn out.

Saturday was somewhat exciting, Joanna and her kids came over to play and have lunch.  It was a chaotic but happy affair, the play room turning into a giant mess by the end.  Cooking for six was fun as well, industrial production of pasta and side dishes.  Emma got along pretty well with Berry and Duncan, directing them in a music video to everyone's delight.

ded up being late getting the kids and missed Destin's birthday party.  I was pretty worn out by the time we got home.  I worked on computer stuff for Jamie's house, gave the kids a snack, and got everyone outside for gardening.  It was a beautiful day, and it was immensely satisfying to pull weeds and get things ready for spring.

Emma and I went to the library, returning home with loads literary treasures.  Dinner was an assortment of leftovers, though I made beets for my salad and cookies for dessert.  Emma made some new pastels for the fridge while Sam and I worked on his book report.

I'm worn out, but all is well.



February 07, 2010 by Lohring in Lohring

You all know I've been spending weekends with Anna, but you may not have actually met her.  Here is my favorite picture so far.

Puppy Puzzle

February 06, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek



February 06, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez

This is a picture of Minnesota.  He's a coyote (wolf?) mix that has been hanging out at the resort for a month or so.  While friendly, yet timid, he will never be a tame "sleeps at the foot of the bed" kind of dog.  We feed him, so he hangs around and lets us scratch his ears.

Cereal Commercial

February 05, 2010 by Adam in Sam

Sam made up this commercial for Peanut Butter Panda Puffs. Hopefully he's okay with me posting it.

Nearly Mocha Friday

February 05, 2010 by Adam in Family

Okay, this is a lazy late-night post because I don't want to have to go downstairs to the basement to upload photos in the morning.

Okay, I managed to actually get the kids to school, get my Friday Mocha, and make it to work. The change in the morning routine is settling in. I drive a different route to work, eat at different times, and do the entire morning routine with the kids. This morning Emma decided she needed to Skype someone, and Joanna was the only one available. Soon she was playing Rock Band drums for Berry and Duncan while they ate breakfast and I made waffles. Though it was silly chaos, eventually the kids got out the door and off to school.

The last few days have gone fairly well. Sam helped me disassemble the shelves in my old closet and reassemble them in the play room. The house is slowly feeling like it's coming together. Alma cleaned yesterday, which felt really nice. I keep checking in with the kids, asking them how they're doing. Last night at dinner I gave them the "sucky" to "best day ever" scale," represented by the table and a ketchup bottle held over my head. They were in the middle or a little higher, which isn't bad for a school night.

My endless lists continue to be chipped away. I picked up Sam's contacts, mailed Seraph's hard drive, and am managing to take care of all the house work. Tonight I'm going food shopping. I'm hoping to help Jamie with her Internet access this weekend.

As for me, I'm going to Joanna's tonight for stir fry. Tomorrow we have a play date with her and her kids. I'm going to try to get to Destin's birthday party on Sunday. Theoretically Jim and Judy are coming to visit Jamie this weekend, and I think the kids will visit them. Details are still fuzzy.

Life's good.

Semi-Single Parenthood

February 04, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's been a good week. The initial day or two was a little tricky, mostly just the challenge of getting off work, picking up the kids from Jamie's house, and getting dinner ready in time. The kids were slightly sillier than normal on Monday. I figure that letting them be a little loud was a fine way of working out emotions. I let Sam see if he could get Emma laughing so hard that milk shot out her nose, but drew the line at shooting out noodles.

The house feels increasingly put together. The couch is great, and a mixer, blender, and potato masher arrived from Amazon this morning. Emma had a great time unwrapping it. I've also been figuring out the new routine, getting up early to get ready for work, and then getting the kids up. I've been making waffles from scratch the last couple mornings, which I may continue to do on occasion just for fun. I'm still struggling on finding time to help Emma with spelling, though fortunately Jamie's been doing that when they go to her house after school.

Joanna and I went out to the monthly song circle last night. I probably wouldn't have sought out and done it myself, but I find I'm having a great time. I picked the song Barrett's Privateers, which is always entertaining. Jamie and Joanna also met for the first time last night, there was no fisticuffs, and so I'm declaring it a success.

I'm reinstalling my work computer today. Windows 7 sure looks pretty, but my critical software all needs to be installed. It promises to be a long day ahead of me.


February 04, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy Birthday Destin!!  How'd that happen again!  Just remember, I'm over 30 now, so you can't trust a thing I say :)

I now - sort of - have internet in my office.  Yeah!  So look for more news from us.  Isa not only managed to turn 9, but also loose her 2 top front teeth in a week!  Robbie's started classes again, but he's still getting in a lot of skiing.  It's snow again today, another 5" so far!

As for me, my car's in the shop - we think the timing belt is out.  Sigh, it's always something.  Work continues as always, in fact I should get back to it! 

Happy Birthday, Dez

February 03, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

I stopped by yesterday evening to drop off a 1099 for Darren, and Dez reminded me that it was his birthday. I hadn't seen him since Christmas, and he seemed so much like a man, I just had to say....well, you guys all know the song.

One Red Couch

February 01, 2010 by Adam in Family

I got the red couch moved into the living room at lunch, courtesy of my fine coworker Chuck who traded me jam for the privilege. I think tonight I'll order my kids to sit on the couch and watch TV in order to properly break it in.

Joanna sent along some pictures from the dance marathon over the weekend. Emma in particular had a great time.



February 01, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

I think I'm getting older. Yesterday seemed like an intense day - not bad, just intense. In the morning, Emma and Bob had this hilarious comedy routine going, starting with a discussion about the alternate uses of bacon (Bob was cooking breakfast), including using a slice of raw bacon under each arm as deodorant. After breakfast, Emma wanted to play doctor, so Bob "helped" her diagnose my illness - he kept insisting on chiggers, while she held out for "Dionysis". As Jamie picked up the kids, a painless hand off, it occurred to me that it was the first of years of shuffling kids back and forth.

One poignant moment occured as Emma and I looked through photos on my laptop and found a nice picture from the Firefly party of Adam and Jamie standing together. She said she would like to have it because she wanted to see them both at the same time. Of course I'm happy to see Adam and Jamie mated up with people who are perhaps better suited to them, but I can't help but, like Emma, feel sad.


Ah, Transitions

February 01, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm sitting on a throw pillow, two feet away from the big screen TV which is hooked up to the netbook.  I'm generally moved into the upstairs and trying to sort out how to be quiet while I get my breakfast together and try to get ready for the day.  In a few moments I'll hop in the shower, wake the kids, and navigate them towards school while I put together myself and get out the door.

Yesterday was very full.  The kids seemed cheerful in the morning.  Sadie called over Skype and read books to the kids.  They then played "Where are you?" with Sadie, covering the webcam and then putting her in odd places around the house.  At one point all three of them were in a sleeping bag and I was joking with Sam about hiding college girls from me already.

The kids went off to my mom's to play with Josh and I went to church.  Jamie wanted to spend time with the kids, so she picked them up from my mom's and spent the afternoon with them.  I went over to Joanna's house, entertained her kids and mom, and then we went couch shopping at Gateway.  There was a pretty great deal on a red couch, $322.  I'm going to try to trade strawberry jam to see if a coworker will help transport it for me.  Otherwise I guess we try to tie it to the roof of Joanna's Subaru.

Later that night, Joanna and her kin descended on my mom's house.  Everyone seemed to get along pretty well, Emma teaching Duncan math and Sam smiling at Berry's two year-old logic.  Fortunatley there were lots of toys and lots of dessert.

Today is the start of the new routine.  We'll see how it goes.

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