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 www.cowes2010.co.uk  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 http://live.adventuretracking.com/cowes-torquay

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 http://www.cowes2010.co.uk/

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 amazon.com 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. 

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