Post-Christmas Farewells

December 29, 2013 by Adam in Family

I bid farewell to Sadie yesterday morning.  Joanna made a tasty breakfast and went off to church.  The rest of the crew played board games and chatted all morning until it was time to send her off to her next appointment.  The rest of the day was relatively uneventful.  Sam and I played Spelunky and died in interesting ways.  Emma and I broke out the Mythbusters science kit, and later made a concrete stepping stone, placing glass in interesting patterns.  Later that night we took Sam and Emma to their mom's and went out for dinner, which was so late they didn't make us pay for it.

It was great seeing everyone for Christmas.  Emma and Isa constantly wanted to hang out.  The crazy, wonderful 19-people at the dinner table Christmas dinner was incredible and Joanna made an amazing spread.  We gorged on leftovers for days.  Sam was quite social, cheerfully chatting away with various relatives.  The only missing were Duncan and Berry, which we fortunately had a long video chat with a couple days later.

I ended up with a ton of clothes, which I was quite happy about.  Joanna secretly knitted me a hat, which kept me warm on a long hike a couple days ago.  I got Joanna a spinning wheel, and she's been maniacally making yarn ever since.  Emma loaded up on art supplies for one of her gifts, and Sam was showered with money for the Steam game sale.

I'm off to work today, though I'm taking New Year's Day off and the following Monday.  Joanna leaves for the east coast in a few days.  Normal life returns soon after.

Back from Portlandia

December 24, 2013 by Adam in Family

We rolled into town a couple hours ago, tired but happy.  It was a fun adventure to our weirder city to the north.  Joanna was busy in the morning at church while I cleaned the refrigerator and did Christmasy things.  After lunch we hit the road and checked into Lucia for the night (I'll skip the part where I got the reservations completely wrong).

We headed off on our adventure, stopping by the Pioneer Square tree and finding our way to Andina's for Peruvian food.  We ate delicious, good-looking food, and I ordered a Sexy Lady upon the advice of a gym friend.  It was quite overwhelming and made me cry, as all sexy ladies should.  There was a brief required visit to Powell's Books.  We returned to our hotel to watch The Sound Of Music, which I somehow missed in all my years.

In the morning Sam and I texted each other briefly, Joanna and I puttered about, and we headed for breakfast at the Bijoux Cafe.  We were informed that our coffee was organic and grown on an all-women's cooperative, "even before Portlandia," according to our waitress.  The pancakes and coffee were perfect.

We stopped by the Nordstrom Rack to buy far too many knickers for Joanna, went to the yarn store for a certain sized needle, and returned to check out and collect our car.  We took some time for the gluten-free bakery, stocking up on goodies, and drove south to Albany to watch Catching Fire (that's when the complicated intersection of driving time and movie starts intersected).

Joanna and I staggered home, she cooked up some tasty dinner, and thus ended our eating and shopping adventure to Portland.  I wrapped some presents, Joanna knitted, and we finished up an episode of Call the Midwife.  Time for bed.

We're on our way!

December 23, 2013 by Seraph in Cortez

See you all in a few hours!

The Christians and the Pagans

December 22, 2013 by Adam in Joanna

Joanna sung at the solstice celebration at church last night.  It was lovely and well received.

A Brief Moment of Silence

December 21, 2013 by Adam in Adam

I rarely post in my own section of the blog because honestly, it's never just me.  Kids, Joanna, or my extended crazy family swirl about in the happy chaos that is my life. 

At the moment I'm alone in the house.  Sam and Emma went to their mom's on Friday.  We sent Duncan and Berry off to the airport with Kevin at 3 a.m.  Joanna left for her Christmas performance at church.  It's quiet and peaceful in the house, one of those rare moments that never happens for long.

Today was crazy productive.  I managed to:

  • Dry and fold laundry (without a clothes dryer)
  • Put up more Christmas decorations (Joanna was missing the banners on the ceiling).
  • Rake the yard
  • Dump kitchen scraps into the compost pile
  • Sweep up the broken flower pot
  • Clean the kitchen
  • Fix the table leg
  • Replace the broken kitchen light switch
  • Build and sand a small desk for the treadmill

At this point I think I'm going to take a breather then get ready for the evening show.  Cleaning the refrigerator can wait.


December 21, 2013 by Adam in Emma

Emma's teacher took some pictures and video over the last six months, some of which Emma appears in.

Pre-Christmas Mocha Friday

December 20, 2013 by Adam in Family

I'm at home and haven't made myself a mocha.  Emma is opting out of a Skate World trip, so I'm taking her to school at noon.  Duncan and Berry are off to school in PJs, an end-of-the-year treat.  They leave at the crack of dawn tomorrow with their dad, who stopped by last night to read bedtime stories.  Sam and Emma are off with Jamie until next Tuesday.  Sam's got a bit of a sore throat, but dutifully headed off to school.  I think everyone is a little wacky about the upcoming changes.

I'm going to make myself a mocha, eat my chocolate covered espresso beans, and dial in to work.  I have a huge list of house projects to keep me busy for the next few days, and then my lovely family descends upon us.  Can't wait to see you all.

Straight A's

December 20, 2013 by Adam in Sam

Sam got straight A's for his first term of high school.  He also only missed two days, mostly the result of powering through times when he felt lousy.  The only days he missed were the two before Thanksgiving when he was deathly ill.  We all raised a glass (of milk) to him at the dinner table and shouted "hip, hip, hooray!"

The Plan

December 18, 2013 by Adam in Family

I sent this out as an email, but I'm posting it here as well in hopes of getting everyone.  I suspect I missed some people, so please pass it along . . .

Okay all.  As usual, getting everyone coordinated for the holidays is like herding cats.  Here's everything I know about the plan for the next week or so.

Friday the 20th
Sam and Emma go with their mom

Saturday the 21st

Duncan and Berry fly to Rochester

Sunday the 22nd
Joanna and Adam go to Portland

Monday the 23rd
Sadie and Greg arrive in Eugene
Lohring and Ana arrive at noon
Adam and Joanna return from Portland
Seraph, Isa, Robbie arrive around 7 p.m.

Tuesday the 24th - Christmas Eve
Sam and Emma arrive mid-morning.
Lohring and Ana leave at 3 p.m.

Wednesday the 25th - Christmas Day
Joanna is planning Christmas dinner for all comers
Jamie takes Sam and Emma to lunch (or something)

Thursday the 26th - Boxing Day
Baby shower at Jenny's

Friday the 27th
Seraph and Robbie leave early.

We'll have three bedrooms to put people up (including the lovely shed).  Not
sure who's staying with us - just let us know.  We have a couple
vehicles for moving people about.  I'm not working the whole week.

The one day everyone will be here is Tuesday for lunch.  Perhaps we can
throw together something for a gift exchange with Lohring and Ana,
family picture, and chatting.  I'm going to try to get in touch with
Jenny.  My thought is that she can host people on Monday (since I'm not
coming in until later), and then people can congregate at our house
Tuesday at noon.

I'm not working the whole week and
can probably take some time off the following week.  I'll have Sam and
Emma for much of the time starting Tuesday.

Sound okay?  Please get in touch if people know where they'll be sleeping,
things they want to do, and so on.  I'm shooting for happy chaos, which
is as good as it gets with our family.

First Christmas

December 16, 2013 by Adam in Family

The weekend is wrapping up.  We successfully made it through our first Christmas, ten days early due to Duncan and Berry going to their dad's house next weekend.  Duncan and Berry awoke at the crack of dawn, and we staggered downstairs to drink tea and get ready for the opening of presents.  I woke up Sam and my mom arrived.  Everyone excitedly opened presents as we sipped tea.

I got a custom Minecraft t-shirt with pictures of our family server, built up over the many years.  Berry ended up with a stuffy Star Trek enterprise, which I thought was so cool.  Sam got a joystick which he excitedly used to play flight simulators all day.  Joanna got a Doctor Who throw blanket.  Duncan got an electric fish bowl (with robot fish).  Emma got a Marcelline figure from Adventure Time.  It was all most excellent.

Joanna left around lunch to a church event.  Emma played Just Dance 2014 for a long while.  There was reading and Minecraft.  I played a bit of Black Flag.  We all came together for a rousing game of Dixit with the new cards.  It was an excellent day.

Saturday was good as well, moving backwards in time a little.  Emma and I spent a bunch of time together, and all the little kids and I went to the library.  After lunch Emma went to multiple stores for Christmas shopping mayhem.  The day wrapped up with pizza and Bang Goes the Theory, as usual.

Tomorrow is work and school, but it's fortunately short and followed by a week off school.  Life's good.

Slushy Mocha Friday

December 13, 2013 by Adam in Family

It's a school day!

The children aren't nearly as excited as the parents for some reason, but they all dutifully got ready on this combined Monday/Friday and in Sam's case, the first day of the Winter term.  It's all quite exciting.

I'm going to see if the car will start after so many days of inactivity.  I suspect it's fine, and the roads look a little slushy, but I don't think I'll need chains.  Returning to normal sounds quite nice.

I've been working from home the last two days, and occasionally hanging out with kids.  I got a massive icicle for Sam, which he made me take a picture of.  There were plenty of video games in the evening.  I picked up Emma from her mom's house, and delivered Jamie to work yesterday.  The weather has made us all quite accommodating.

We're doing our family Christmas this Sunday afternoon as Duncan and Berry go to their dad's the next Saturday.  We've got presents to wrap and things to get ready for, but I think we're generally on target.  I can't wait to see all my siblings when they arrive in about a week.

Snowed In

December 11, 2013 by Adam in Family

We continue to be surrounded by snow and ice.  It was terribly pretty the first few days.  With no school and being stuck at home with children, Joanna and I are getting a little stir crazy.  The kids seem happy, playing video games, reading, and making the occasional outing into the snow.  Joanna turned into a Christmas Machine (her words), creating all sorts of presents and paraphernalia for the holiday season.  Our first Christmas is in four days, as Berry and Duncan are heading to their dad's house for a few weeks.  As for me, I'm working from home and occasionally getting pulled away by kids to play a video game or two. 

I think we've mostly adjusted to the snow.  We've got hot water and figured out how to flip the breaker back when the power shuts off.  There's one circuit that has computers, heaters, and the basement treadmill.  I was running yesterday and was unceremoniously jerked to a stop in the dark.  You get used to it.

Joanna took Berry and Duncan off to the park yesterday, sliding over a little jump and having a good time.  Emma's getting dropped off today, so maybe I can take everyone on this last day of snow.  Sam hit the treadmill hard yesterday, two stints of 40 minutes or so.  I think he's enjoying his anime show.

I suspect tomorrow is back to normal, as it looks mostly above freezing.  We'll have two days of school, a weekend, another week of school, and then no school until next year.

Never a dull moment.

Generic Heading

December 10, 2013 by Yayoe in Yayoe

No Hot Water

December 08, 2013 by Adam in Family

I think I've got the Christmas spirit up to my eyeballs.  Yesterday both Joanna and I got to the point where the snow became less charming and more of an obstacle.  At the moment our hot water is off because the cold water pipe that goes to the outside gas water heater has frozen.  I've got a heater and warming pad set up, but no luck yet.

Saturday morning I hooked up the chains on the minivan and we set out to fetch Emma from her mom's house.  The hills were a little exciting, but we made it okay, if twice as long as usual.  After we got the girl, we picked up a Christmas tree at a nearby lot.  It was weird, after so many trees from the farm, to get one that was perfectly conical and had neatly trimmed, dense branches. 

We made it home, and Sam arrived soon after.  He and Jamie walked the 40 minutes across town.  We decorated the tree and puttered about.  Towards evening, I grabbed Sam and Emma and we drove to get our weekly pizza.  It was an adventure, but all went well.

This morning I stuffed everyone with crepes, pancakes, and bacon.  Joanna and Duncan headed to church.  Berry and Emma are playing in the basement.  Sam wants me to play video games.

The hot water is still off.

So Many Games

December 08, 2013 by Adam in Adam's Games

I made it through the Steam Thanksgiving game sale only slightly unscathed.  I've yet to play The Wolf Among Us, the new Civilization expansion, and Spelunky.  What I have been playing is Assassin's Creed: Black Flag and Starbound.

Black Flag is a great pirate game, where I play as a scoundrel captain sailing the Caribbean.  I keep improving my main ship and I have a fleet of captured ships I keep sending off on trade missions.  The main storyline is decent, but I'm having the most fun capturing other ships, harpooning sea life, and diving undersea wrecks.  I'm admittedly somewhat guilty with the whaling, though I entertained everyone with my Captain Ahab impersonation when I found and caught the elusive white whale.

The other game that we've all been playing is Starbound.  It's a lot like Terraria, mining and exploring and such.  The main twist is that you're in a galaxy with tons of planets.  You fly a space ship around and explore strange places both on the surface and underground.  It's still a beta, but an entertaining one.  I'm the sole human in the family - Sam's a bird man, Emma's a plant person, and I think Duncan is some kind of robot.

I'm busy playing away as I wait for the pipes to defrost so we can get hot water again.

Snowy Mocha Friday

December 06, 2013 by Adam in Family

I'm currently chewing on chocolate covered espresso beans, given to me in the form of an advent calendar by my lovely wife.  It's more like a rationing system, as I overdid it last year and couldn't stop eating them once I opened the bag.  The consequences were significant.

It's been snowing crazy all morning.  I woke up early and excitedly checked the outdoors, and then we were woken by Berry who wanted to go outside immediately.  To top it off, St. Nick arrived in the night, putting presents in front of everyone's doors.  It's an exciting day.

We went outside and started assembling Fort Kickass, our snow defenses against the Millers across the street.  It's a semi-annual occasion.  They added Flynn to their list of able-bodied warriors, while I recruited Berry and Duncan.  It promises to be a glorious year.

I'm kinda sorta working today, though we'll see how much I manage.  Joanna is walking to the U of O to do a volunteer mentoring thing.  My mom was going to babysit while I worked, but she has a bad cold and I don't want her moving around in the snow.  I think I'll soon have to feed and entertain a horde of children, at least until Jamie gets Sam and Emma sometime today.  Then I'll have a slightly smaller horde.

We've got date night today.  I've suggested to Joanna that we walk down to Willamette Street for dinner.  We'll see what adventures await us.

More babies!

December 05, 2013 by Sue in Wielesek

More happy news in the family. Meggie's oldest daughter Callie is pregnant, and is going to have a boy. The baby is due April 15 or thereabouts. She and her husband Will live in DC, and she has a job similar to Sadie's - that is, she gets to work from home, preferably in her jammies, I hope.  You know that all three of Meggie and Dick's kids, and three of my four kids have birthdays which fall within a two month period. What can I say, Seraph?  It was probably a cold winter...

Second Thanksgiving

December 02, 2013 by Adam in Family

We had a lovely, pleasant three day weekend.  Friday morning I scooped up Sam and Emma where we did as little as possible for the next few days.  That night we celebrated Emma's half birthday, with Joanna making her a lemon poppy seed cake and she got an Adventure Time book.  There was also pizza and actual Mythbusters after a long delay due to Sam's sore throat.

Saturday I took the younger kids to the library, where they were all well behaved as usual.  Berry ended up with a huge haul, including a book on the excretory system.  Awesome.  Emma suggested that Sam and I play sleeping bag gladiators that afternoon, which ended up exhausting us all.  Eventually we staggered over the hill to my mom's for Thanksgiving dinner.  It was the usual chatty tasty affair, with the salt/sugar mixup being the only small fiasco.

Sunday was pretty low-key.  Joanna and Duncan went to church.  The rest of us went off to the woods at Hendrick's park to hike and play hide-and-seek.  After a short stop at Humble Bagel we returned home.  Somewhere in there we made and painted clay dragons, the girls drew a bunch, and I played a tremendous amount of my pirate game.  The sea shanties keep drawing me back.

Everyone is ready for work and school this morning, parked temporarily in front of computers until we leap out the door and into the unknown once again.

What's My Name Again?

December 02, 2013 by Adam in Wielesek

Betsy was looking through her mom's diary and came across this entry.

Happy birthday Robbie!

December 01, 2013 by Seraph in Cortez

I took Robbie and Isabell to Ojo Caliente for a nice dinner and late night soak.  I have no idea how we made it home, as every bone was on relax mode!  Today we've had a nice little birthday breakfast and presents before I head out to work. Poor Isa has been sick, so she went back to bed after the presents.  

The holiday weekend is wrapping up...sigh...can we please have 3 weeks of snow days before winter break?

Happy Thanksgiving

November 29, 2013 by Adam in Family

It was a quiet and pleasant Thanksgiving.  I started out at the crack of dawn, working away at home.  I built interfaces, made web pages, and had a couple nice emails from coworkers thanking me for what I've done. It was quite productive.

Duncan and Berry convinced Joanna to make a real Thanksgiving meal, so they went off to the store and then played football (aka soccer) with some friends.  I invited my mom and Bob over for nibbles.  I watched the rest of IP Man while I ran, then watched in awe as Joanna made an elaborate Thanksgiving meal in a short period of time.

Dinner was tasty, especially the pumpkin pie and sweet potato casserole.  I stuffed myself and had a couple glasses of cider.  Emma kept chatting away over IM to both Duncan and I.  It was nice to have around in spirit, if not body.

I also spent a couple hours playing Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, which is a fun little pirate game.  I don't quite have my own ship yet, but I look forward to teaching my crew assorted sea chanties.  Yes, it's a feature.

I look forward to getting Sam and Emma tomorrow.  We completely forgot about her half birthday, so we plan on remedying that shortly.  We missed pizza and Mythbusters, so I think we'll do that Sunday.  There's some homework both kids have, so it won't be all fun and games.  Maybe just mostly fun and games.

For Sadie

November 29, 2013 by Seraph in Cortez

Here is the library side of our living room.

Thanksgiving Eve

November 28, 2013 by Adam in Family

I worked from home today, keeping an eye on Sam and Emma and generally getting things done.  Sam is on the mend finally, eschewing pain pills and eating a decent if soft meal.  Sam was perky enough to play Planetary Annihilation with me, which was mutually entertaining. He and Emma went to their mom's after lunch, leaving me to work away and occasionally entertain the smaller kids.

Joanna's still getting over her cold, though not nearly as bad as Sam.  She's going out tonight for her music thing at church.  Tomorrow should be pretty quiet.  I'm working.  Joanna and the little kids are puttering about.  Happy Thanksgiving to all.


November 27, 2013 by Adam in Sam

Sam continues to be really sick, with a viral sore throat that we're treating with liquids, pain killers, and rest.  He's hardly eaten anything in days because it hurts so much.  His doctor made a face when she saw it, along with the comment that she hadn't seen anything that bad in a while.

He spent his birthday watching shows and reading Reddit.  He managed to eat some mashed potatoes and apple sauce for dinner, along with a custard dessert.  Poor kid.

November 26

November 27, 2013 by Danica in Danica Miller

Belated birthday greetings to Sam. 15 years - amazing! Just for the record - November 26, 2013 would have been Franklin Miller's 100th birthday.

Happy birthday Sam!!

November 26, 2013 by Seraph in Cortez

Like Yayoe said, we will all remember the day you were born. It was a true unifying moment for our family. Lots of love and laughs from all the NM family!


November 26, 2013 by Yayoe in Yayoe

Lazy Monday

November 25, 2013 by Adam in Family

Today is Joanna and I's "bonus" anniversary, not the date of our wedding, but the date we got together.  She's got her sexy voice today, a side effect of all the colds we've been passing around.

Sam continues to be pretty sick.  I think the virus is gone, but his poor throat got pretty destroyed over the last few days.  We took the other kids to get their flu vaccination, but he stayed home.  He's been mostly sitting around and managing his pain medicine.  Hopefully he can eat real food in a day or two, though his birthday pizza meal is uncertain.

Yesterday was mostly quiet.  At one point the three younger kids were running around in footy pajamas with the superpower of sleep.  It was quite amusing.

We're going off to Cosmic Pizza tonight.  We're promised drawing classes and music, which we decided sounded superfun.

Bioshock 2

November 25, 2013 by Adam in Adam's Games

Occasionally I go through my really old game collection.  It turns out Bioshock 2 had some free DLC, and I'd never finished it.  It turned out to be pretty good, returning to the underwater city of Rapture and going through some quirky storyline.  Playing as a "Big Daddy" who had to take care of "Little Sisters", it made for an unusual parenting experience.

I'll probably go back to my old game collection and see if I can finish up a few more things before the next batch of games arrive.  I still have Swapper, an unusual puzzle game, and one of the earlier Kickstarter games Sam and I backed has come out in beta.  The name is Planetary Annihilation, with the best part being that you can crash planets into each other.  I haven't quite managed to pull it off yet - most of my AI battles end with a final nuclear exchange.

Frosty Sunday

November 24, 2013 by Adam in Family

Sam continues to be pretty sick, but I hope he's finally on the mend.  He spent much of yesterday at his mom's house watching 80's movies and getting a painkiller schedule sorted out.  He's been eating a little today and seems more coherent.  After watching Guns, Germs, and Steel on Netflix for a couple hours, he went back to bed.

Emma and Berry have put in a lot of play time together, and the three of us went to the library yesterday.  Duncan stayed up until 1 a.m. while at his friends' house, returning wonky and being pretty weepy for the rest of the day.  We kept him home from a birthday party, which was disappointing to him, but seemed prudent.

I'm feeling a little tired and achy myself.  Hopefully I can get a little rest in today.

Sick Sam Mocha Friday

November 22, 2013 by Adam in Family

Sam has a 102.7 fever this morning - it's his third day, so I'm taking him in.  I'm thinking strep throat perhaps, though we'll see what the doctor says.  He's been so miserable and last night I finally decided that he wasn't going to get better on his own.  Poor guy.  I'm not sure when a mocha will occur - I'm sacrificing my caffeine for my son's happiness.

I worked from home yesterday, keeping an eye on him until Jamie picked him up late in the morning for a few hours.  Around one, Joanna and I went to Emma's school for her harvest lunch.  She seemed very enthusiastic to see us all.  It was cool seeing her in her own environment.

Duncan and Berry have been relatively cheerful.  Berry did some amazing anime style art yesterday, collecting everyone's comments and writing it next to the picture.  She was also working away on her dad's Christmas present, which turned out quite well.

It's also been crazy cold lately, frost on the cars and children bundled up.  I'll have to take Sam out into the cold this morning.  Unfortunately I can't carry him around, like I did on another cold winter day nearly 15 years ago to get his jaundice checked out.  Hopefully he'll be back to his usual cheerful self before Thanksgiving.

Whirlwind Weekend

November 18, 2013 by Adam in Family

It was a full weekend, with not too much scurrying about.  I fixed the plumbing issue our sink experienced, topped off the car's coolant in a vague attempt to deal with a non-starting issue.  Otherwise the kids were kept alive and entertained for three more days.

Friday was odd - my car wouldn't start.  I eventually tried again, gave it a bunch of gas, and it fired up.  The problem went away entirely.  I took it to the mechanic who read the diagnostic, which had a code not in the database.  I googled it and found it was an issue with the "swivel valve".  In any case, my coolant was a little low so I filled it up and hope to start the car again today.

I had both kids Friday night as Jamie was assisting her family in Portland.  Saturday morning made for a crepe filled breakfast, with lots of at-home play time.  I made a mask of Emma's face out of plaster bandages, which she was very patient for.  Joanna was under the weather, so I took everyone but Sam to the library.  Duncan had Rob and Nick over, and I took Sam and Emma to the basement to play until I was exhausted.  The day wrapped up with Bang Goes the Theory and pizza.

Sunday started with more tasty breakfast.  Sam and I worked on homework.  Emma played Minecraft with her friends.  Jamie returned to town to take them both to lunch.  In the afternoon we met with Yayoe to listen to a storyteller.  She was quite good, and the kids had lots of questions for her.  The day wound down with more play time and dinner.

I left out the boring parts, like the endless loads of laundry, dishes, and cleaning up.  That's a given when the horde is assembled.  Tonight should be quieter now that we're back into the school routine.

Mocha Friday

November 15, 2013 by Adam in Family

It's the usual noisy, happy Friday morning.  Emma and Joanna are discussing OBOB books.  Emma's burning through one about talking dogs.  She's got the obsessively reading gene for sure.

It's been a pleasant week in general.  Work has been low-key, busy without being overwhelming.  Joanna got her first real paycheck from her new business, along with a second contract.  She's busy networking away when she's not moving kids about, volunteering at school, or doing work. 

Thanksgiving and Christmas plans are slowly coming together.  I'm going to do my best to take off as much time as possible when my sisters are in town.  I'll probably take off a few days around Thanksgiving, though we're not having Thanksgiving dinner until Saturday.  Between ex-spouses and football games, that was the best time we could manage.

I'm looking forward to the weekend, which hopefully will be adequately lazy.  Emma wants to do a plaster mask, and we usually make a library run.  There's storytelling on Sunday and I suspect I'll need to do a little plumbing in there too.

Oh, and a mocha awaits me when I get to work.  That's always a treat.

Plaster Mask

November 15, 2013 by Adam in Ben

Berry, Duncan, and I dropped off Sam and Emma last Monday and returned home to do art projects.  I'd mentioned doing plaster masks, and Berry was quiet enthusiastic.  She patiently waited while I slathered Vasoline on her face and applied wet plaster bandages.  I read Sonic to her until they dried and then turned it into a mask that she brought to school.

Exploding Bathrooms

November 13, 2013 by Adam in Family

I was in the middle of making my lunch this morning when a panicked Joanna called out for me.  "The sink's gone crazy!"  Contemplating the mental health of our bathroom fixtures, I rushed upstairs to find the hose to the sink spraying everywhere.  I turned it off and we proceeded to throw towels everywhere and try to salvage what we could.

Duncan claims to be deathly ill this morning, an ever-shifting list of symptoms.  I fear I've grown somewhat heartless as the years have passed.  If blood isn't spraying, vomiting hasn't occurred recently, and there's no fever, I send them off to school.

Life is never boring.

Brutal Legend and Scribblenauts Unlimited

November 13, 2013 by Adam in Adam's Games

I've been hopping around different games these last few weeks.  Few have gotten my full attention as of late.  I finished Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, which was great.  I messed around for a long while with Terraria, building up my little base and acquiring even more awesome loot.  Duncan and Emma would occasionally join me, if only to ask for cool Halloween costumes.

This last weekend I played a little more Brutal Legend.  I'm not sure it's all that great, but I love the humor and style.  Any world based on 80's heavy metal starring Jack Black is unique.

I also had a good time playing Scribblenauts Unlimited.  Basically any word you type appears in the game - from Cthulu to a black hole to an invisibility cloak.  I had a hungry alligator and so I typed "baby" and dragged it on the alligator.  Unfortunately the baby started riding the alligator, so I clicked on the baby and chose "dismount".  The alligator promptly ate the baby and I scored a point.

The game suggests a hint for giving a person in the game something to make them happy or solve their problem.  A little girl was crying and wanted something to make her feel better.  I gave her morphine and scored another point.

Fun game.

Three Day Weekend

November 12, 2013 by Adam in Family

The three day weekends just keep coming.  More are appearing next month.  It's like the kids hardly work at all.

I went to Duncan and Berry's parent teacher conferences were Friday.  They're both doing quite well.  Friday night was pretty quiet, and Joanna and I went out to listen to music and eat pizza at the Granary.

Emma, Duncan, and I did a library run on Saturday, with our traditional pizza that night.  Sunday was really low-key, as was today.  We managed an adventure to Hendrick's park, followed by Humble Bagel.  Somewhere in there we melted gnome faces, played in the basement, and generally messed around.

Happy Birthday Seraph

November 10, 2013 by Lohring in Lohring

Have a great one!

Mocha Friday

November 08, 2013 by Adam in Family

It's the usual madhouse here, briefly quiet as everyone sleeps.  I got up early, stressing more than I should.  You'd think I would have figured out by now that things work themselves out.

The kids are doing well these days.  Sam declared once again that he likes his classes and actually wishes they were longer.  Emma got so excited by her oral report she was assigned yesterday that she immediately started putting together a presentation in PowerPoint.  I think it helped that she chose the Zelda video games for her topic.

Duncan and Berry have been out of school for a couple days.  Poor Duncan has been pretty wonky and seemingly under the weather.  Berry has been relatively cheerful and goofy.  Last night she was giving Sam and I pig noses while he did homework and I did dishes.

I may have to wait a while for my mocha, as Duncan and Berry both have parent teacher conferences this morning.  Maybe I can get Emma to make me one at home, as she's quite good.

Perking Up

November 06, 2013 by Adam in Family

I was pretty sick yesterday, returning from work after my usual mocha and painkillers did nothing.  Fortunately I perked right up and had a very accomplished day after a brief nap.

The kids are out of school for big chunks of the month.  Duncan and Berry have the next five days off.  Sam and Emma have Monday.  Thanksgiving week is all off for both of them - I think I'll try to work as little as possible that week.  Hopefully we can get them to do some vaguely educational things while they're out of school.

Daylight Wacky Time

November 04, 2013 by Adam in Family

It's 7:26 at the moment, but the kids seem to think it's crazy late.  They were up at the crack of dawn due to daylight savings time, though were relatively normal all day.  Only around dinner time did everyone get a little wonky.  Fortunately this only happens twice a year.

It was a relatively relaxing weekend.  We had Emma on Friday, and got the news that Sam's midterm grades are all A's except for a single B in math.  We were all impressed.  Since Emma had no school, Joanna picked up Emma to have lunch with the little kids.  At the book fair, Joanna got Emma the latest Adventure Time, which Emma has been cheerfully reading.  Friday night ended with Downton Abbey, always a nice little treat.

Saturday after crepes I took the kids to the library, somehow ordering way too many bagels.  Emma and I worked in the garden while Joanna took Berry to a birthday party at Skate World.  Apparently she did quite well and had a good time.  Joanna reported they removed much of the carpeting, which I think made it less horrible.  Sam appeared, everyone came home, and we did our traditional pizza and Bang Goes the Theory.

Sunday began crazy early.  I played some Terraria with the kids, cleaned a virus off of Duncan's computer, and worked on crepes and dutch babies for breakfast, along with bacon, sausages, and veggie sausages.  Joanna disappeared with the kids to church, leaving Sam, Emma, and I to play Creationary and charades.  Emma wanted to hang out with her mom, so she vanished for a couple hours.  Sam and I played GTA 4 and drove motorcycles through the subways.

Lunch came, Joanna dropped off kids, and returned to judge a talent contest.  I took the kids to the park where Sam and I timed runs on the snake.  Berry dug holes in the sand.  Emma played on the swing.  Duncan broke chestnuts.

We came back home to chocolate milk, snacks, and hanging out for the rest of the day.  There was drawing, reading, video games, and lots of dishes and laundry on my part.  Now it's bedtime, and I'm wrapping it up, pretty tuckered.

Dress Up Mocha Friday

November 01, 2013 by Adam in Family

We had a good time Trick or Treating last night.  Everyone but Sam wandered around a few blocks, dodging the huge hordes of children that were out.  We left a bowl of candy with a webcam and sign saying to take only one as the NSA was watching them.  Amazingly there was candy left when we returned.

Duncan, Berry, and Joanna went off to a friends' house and Emma and I returned home.  Emma did a great job answering the door, organizing her candy in between.  We had so many kids that we ran out of candy and had to break out the weird toys left over from Duncan's birthday party.  We handed out invisible ink and fortune telling fish.  The Pop Rocks were a huge hit and went quickly.

Eventually everyone returned and we had a handful of toys left. We turned off the lights and went to bed.


October 31, 2013 by Adam in Family

Emma got her elf ears and dressed up as Zelda.  I printed out some badges and am going as either a Providence integration agent (it'll play well at work) or an NSA community outreach person.  Joanna's going as a punk (not pictured).  Berry is Raven, a character from Teen Titans.  Duncan is going as Minecraft Steve.  Sam's a blueberry, I think, in his blue t-shirt.

Back to Work

October 29, 2013 by Adam in Family

Joanna and I just returned from a night out on the town.  We had sushi and headed to a quirky hipster bar/coffee house.  They had board night going on, so we tried one while Joanna sipped cider.  They sadly didn't have mochas, so I drank tea and ended up accidentally winning the game we played.

We had a good weekend.  Friday night Joanna and I went out, listening to music at Off the Waffle.  It was pretty good and I'm hoping Joanna can play at their open mic, perhaps with her Uke.

Saturday was spent with Emma, driving around various places to try and find elf ears and the rest of her costume.  I ended up finding a shirt on sale that worked, but the ears had to be ordered online.  We hung out at home, carving pumpkins until it was time to take her to a birthday party sleepover, pick up Sam, get pizza, and return to watch Bang Goes the Theory with the rest of the family.

Sunday morning Sam and I played video games after a big crepe breakfast.  Joanna took the kids to church, I picked up an exhausted Emma, tucked her into bed, and continued to play with Sam.  Eventually Joanna returned for a late lunch, hung out for a bit, took Duncan to a birthday party, and the two returned a couple hours later for dinner.  We had a few interesting moments in there - Berry helped make muffins, Sam, Emma, and I played Magic, and Duncan and Emma played Terraria with me.

All-in-all, it was a quiet and relaxing weekend.  Very nice for a change.

Mocha Friday

October 25, 2013 by Adam in Family

I feel like I dropped off the face of the world there for a few days.  Nothing too dramatic - work is busy, I felt a little under the weather, and just didn't get to posting anything.

Last weekend was pretty wonderful.  Friday afternoon I went to Emma's jog-a-thon.  We walked and occasionally ran around the track for the last time.  Next year she'll be next door at the middle school.

We had all the kids on Friday night and proceeded to hang out for the next few days.  There were library trips, outings to the park where Sam impressed me with his Frisbee skills, and our traditional pizza and science show.  Berry filled up her being awesome chart, and I took her, Emma, and Duncan to play video games at Level Up.  Despite the tears when losing, I think Berry had a good time.

The week was fairly uneventful.  Sam's homework has been light, so we managed to watch a new Tabletop and the latest Walking Dead.  Joanna took the little kids to a haunted hay ride, returning tired but happy.

Tonight Joanna and I are going out, likely to listen to music and eat waffles.  Tomorrow is a whirlwind day for Emma - a book report, getting her Halloween costume together, and a birthday sleepover that night. 

Soon I'll head into work and get my Friday mocha.  I already had a Tuesday and Wednesday mocha this week, but Friday's is still special.

Half Birthday

October 16, 2013 by Adam in Ben

Berry had her half birthday yesterday - halfway to being a teenager, she proudly exclaimed.  She ended up with a huge cake and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle pinball machine.  Apparently it was Duncan's idea.

Three Day Weekend

October 16, 2013 by Adam in Family

The kids had Friday off, so it was a fairly long and pleasant weekend. 

Friday during the day I hung out with the kids, made the breakfast, and generally had a good time.  I don't recall doing much during the day, so I clearly enjoyed myself.  Around four I took Sam and Emma to Jamie's house and met my mom for a pleasant coffee.  I ended up getting there fifteen minutes early and basked in the silence, reading Eugene Weekly and nibbling on a croissant.  After chatting with my mom I returned home for delicious soup.

Joanna and I went downtown to see Young Frankenstein the musical, which was precisely as silly and fun as I thought it would be.  I do appreciate Eugene's culture, not to mention it took all of five minutes to get there.

Saturday morning I collected Emma and the girls and I went to the library.  We found not one but two Teen Titans Go books, greatly treasured by Emma.  After a traditional bagel with cream cheese, we returned home.  Eventually we headed to Lonepine Farm to fetch pumpkins.  Duncan and Berry had a great time chasing the horse drawn carriage, survived the corn maze, and petted goats.  Emma was a little less adventurous and mostly hung out with me and chatted.

Returning home, we discovered Sam had been dropped off.  Pizza and Bang Goes the Theory was enjoyed that night.  Sam, Joanna, and I finished up Iron Man 3 after kids went to bed.  It was all quite nice.

Joanna and Duncan went to church after a big crepe breakfast.  The girls and I played in the basement, where they convinced me to play pretend.  Late morning we dropped the girls off and Sam and I met up with Jenny and dad to see Gravity.  It was pretty good, visually stunning and quite intense.  We returned to a quiet house.  Eventually Joanna fetched the girls, dropped Duncan off at a play date, and the day wound down to a close.

I've been feeling a little cruddy the last couple days, taking painkillers and the occasional mocha.  Duncan was out of school the last couple days.  Fortunately I'm feeling somewhat better.

A long meal

October 14, 2013 by Sue in Wielesek

As you can see, I didn't make it back to posting. It's continued to be a busy
time, taking down the crappy falling down fence along the back alley and trying to resurrect the laurel hedge. The real problem is that someone poured tons of small river rock and pea gravel there. Like rounded gravel has a wont to do, it worked its way down into the ground, so the poor old laurel hedges have a layer of stone to try to poke their little roots through.
 Had a great time "babysitting" Emma and Berry. Mostly it's like sitting around watching an improv comedy team.

Archery and Pumpkins

October 14, 2013 by Adam in Emma

Fortunately Emma's waking life has been doing much better than her dream life.  This last weekend Emma brought her bow outside for some archery practice.  We also headed to the pumpkin patch and gathered up pumpkins in preparation for Halloween.  The rule was that she could only choose a pumpkin she could pick up.

The creeps

October 10, 2013 by Emma in Emma

Last night the weirdest thing happened. I woke up at 11:03, and I heard my mom talking on the phone. (This was at my mom's house) She was sick and telling her friend to come over. She had the flu and was  "losing her dinner". I got out of my room and called out to her. She later came out and told me every thing was alright and to go to sleep. In the morning, I got up and waited for mom to get up. Wen she did, I asked if she was alright and if she didn't feel sick any more. She asked what I was talking about. She had never been sick, and I imagined every word, not action. So creepy!

Ben and Emma's Wedding

October 09, 2013 by Danica in Danica Miller

The wedding was fabulous! I only wish that more of you could have come for it, but I know - far away, and Monday work obligations.

It was great to have Lohring and Ana, Sadie and Greg, Jed, Amara and Satchi with us.  Also here and practically like family were Nordie and Paul Sundberg, JD Sloan and Carly Wade. JD photographed the event and there will be many photos posted eventually. Meanwhile he sent me this one today - I love it! (reception was at Good Luck Restaurant where Emma has worked for three years and for whom she started this garden) I also updated the Wedding blog today to include the same photo along with the reading by Alex Degus, poet and good friend of Ben and Emma's throughout high school at SOTA and college at Bard.

The bride and groom were off today for their honeymoon - tonight overlooking the Hudson in Rhinecliff, and then on to NYC for several days of taking in everything from theater and dance performances to, of course, carefully selected restaurants.

So That Weekend . . .

October 09, 2013 by Adam in Family

Um, let's see.  I was trimming the hedge and got attacked by wasps.  One got stuck in my hair until Joanna squished it.  I slathered my noggin and neck with baking soda and feared the outdoors for a few days.

We hung out with kids - library trip, pizza and Bang Goes the Theory - and did some yard work.  Lots of good hang out time with everyone.

Mocha Friday

October 04, 2013 by Adam in Family

I've been battling my annoying headache again, the remnant of whatever Emma had earlier this week.  I came home after work and slept until dinner, with Joanna nicely taking care of everything.  I eventually perked up and helped Sam and Emma with homework.  I had to pry the girl off the computer, as she kept wanting to work on her book report.

Emma had a cold, but otherwise everyone seemed to be doing relatively well.  Joanna has the kids making Halloween decorations.  Yesterday afternoon it was gravestones, and spider webs cover our front garden.  Berry reports that school is actually pretty good now, after a couple weeks of it being terrible.  Now she's excited for an upcoming field trip and her half birthday party.

Sam and I occasionally play the WWII airplane game War Thunder.  He's far better than I am, and has become an expert in the various planes of the era.  I occasionally hold my own in the squad, and it's pretty fun being his wingman.

Joanna continues to work on getting work.  Her old job is somewhat schizophrenic these days, so I think she's arranging contracts with other organizations.  If she can pull in roughly half of what she was making before, I think we'll be able to maintain our savings as long as there are no big expenses.

My work continues to be crazy, but it's interesting and they absolutely need my services.  I think the new leadership is slowly figuring it out.  We did lose another person on the team, going somewhere else for a huge pay increase.  I fear that others may leave unless pay ranges change.

I'm looking forward to a relaxing weekend.  Maybe I can do some Halloween projects with the kids or play some games.  Fall is the time for cuddling up in front of a fire and staying cozy.

Sam Loves Babies

October 01, 2013 by Adam in Sam

I went to get Sam from his mom's house on Saturday.  He was keeping an eye on Kirsten's daughter Ellie.  Sam sat there for a long time with her while she cheerfully looked at everyone making faces at her.

I thought this picture gave a good perspective as to Sam's size these days.  His head is bigger than an entire baby's body.

Death in the Family

October 01, 2013 by Adam in Family

Strawberry was found dead this morning, her poor little gerbil life snuffed out too early.  It made for a somewhat sad departure to school.  Joanna, Berry, and Duncan lay her to rest in the pet cemetery in our back yard.  Duncan thought it was a good thing he found her, as otherwise the house would start smelling bad.

Emma was sick today, and Joanna and I started feeling cruddy ourselves.  I left late for work, stuck in endless meetings from home, but finally made it in where I worked like a maniac before returning home early.  Emma slept for a couple hours, and seemed slightly more cheerful, though her temperature was up even higher than this morning.

Fortunately we had a good weekend, despite the incessant rain.  I took Duncan and Emma to the library.  Sam and I watched the Two Towers, extended version.  I swapped my misbehaving video card with Joanna's computer.  So far both are much improved.

Life is never boring.

Mad Skillz

September 30, 2013 by Adam in Emma

Emma has developed all sorts of useful skills over the years.  She writes Teen Titan fan fiction, draws anime inspired art, and as of this weekend mastered one of the more important and difficult skills of all.

Yes, she made my mocha this morning, steaming the milk, making the espresso, and mixing it all up.  She was nervous, and Joanna supervised, but it turned out delicious and brought a smile to my face all day.


September 27, 2013 by Adam in Joanna

Joanna ran a 5K last weekend, and just found a photo today.  None of us managed to get out to cheer her on, but she powered through and made it to the end with only slightly sore legs for a couple days.

Now that school has started, she's managed to get back into the exercise routine, watching The Americans on the exerpod in the basement.

Good job, sweetie!

Mocha Friday

September 27, 2013 by Adam in Family

My mocha is long gone, but I'm cheerfully energetic still.  Work continues to be nutty, but I'm getting things done despite the vendor that never showed to the call he scheduled. 

The kids were all strangely funny and pleasant this morning.  Sam was briefly trapped in the basement with Emma and Berry playing with him while he held a single slice of bread.  I've learned not to ask.

Emma's school is launching a rocket today, and Joanna was going to take Berry and Duncan to watch.  I think tonight will be quiet, as Sam and Emma go to their mom's overnight.  I'll collect Emma in the morning and we'll get up to some sort of mischief.  That night Nick and Rob come over to spend time with Duncan.  Should be exciting.

C class sailing

September 27, 2013 by Lohring in Lohring

The C class has come a long way since I raced. All the boats have full wing sails and the fastest boats have hydrofoils as well. The Europeans have become the leaders in high tech sailing. A look at the two boats contesting for the trophy is at

It's also interesting to look at the fleet racing for the other boats that didn't make the final match race. Currently the older non foiled boats are winning. There's clearly a lot to be learned. As a side note, the skipper of the French Groupama boat, Franck Cammas, is expected to head a French Challenge for the America's Cup.

The second place skipper in the 2010 C class championships did a little better last week. Jimmy Spithill, Oracle Team USA's skipper, pulled off one of the biggest comebacks in the history of all sporting events. Below is a preview from the 2010 class C championships that includes Jimmy and crew Glen Ashby (crew on Emirates New Zealand in this year's big America's Cup) winning the first start in the 2010 C class race at the New York Yacht Club. There's also a brief comment by Dave Hubbard.

A longer interview with Dave in 2010 is below. He discusses the problems with foils and thoughts on the big America's Cup past and future.


September 27, 2013 by Seraph in Cortez

Somehow this has turned into a crazy week!  Last Sunday on my way home from work, another epic storm decided to hit our area.  I had to drive through very deep water to get home, and consequently my car wouldn't start Monday morning.  Monday was spent in a crazy fog (luckily I wasn't scheduled to work).  Between the cold/sore throat setting in and working to get a car loan, it was quite a day.  

On Wednesday, I dragged Hanni around to dealerships and the bank, finally driving home in a 2009 Toyota Yaris (yet to be named).  
Just when the week was looking up, Thursday afternoon happened.  While walking to the bus stop after school, Isabell tripped on a curb and broke her right wrist.  Oh, and scrapped her head, which was very small but bled like crazy.  I know, you're all thinking, wait!  we've read this post before.  Yes, this is the second time Isabell has broken a wrist (last time on her left hand), and the second break on her right arm (last time the shoulder).  I promise we feed her vitamins and make her drink her milk!
Finally the Tylenol kicked in and she's sleeping.  Now it's my turn...  

Edgewood Open House

September 27, 2013 by Adam in Emma

Emma took me to her school's open house.  It was cool, seeing where she spends most of her days. I think Sam had Emma's teacher back at Crest, at least occasionally.  She seemed quite nice.

Emma showed me her desk and the owl pellets they were looking at under a microscope.  We went through her various projects that were displayed on the wall.  Emma apparently has a job at morning meeting, and showed me the book she uses to explain tasks to the other kids.

We wandered out to the playground and through the gym.  Eventually we returned home.  It was all quite cool, especially with Emma being so enthusiastic about school.


September 26, 2013 by Lohring in Lohring

I've been wasting my time watching sailing. The America's Cup was the most exciting ever, even for non sailors. The reruns and highlights are on youtube. Feel free to skip the introductions.
Start with this:
Proceed to this:
And then look at the last races when Oracle dominated:

Then if you haven't completely OD'd on sailing look at the C class "Little America's Cup" racing going on now:

The coverage is a lot lower tech, but the boats are not.

Where Did the Week Go?

September 26, 2013 by Adam in Family

I was interviewed for some hospital journal today due to work stuff.  Basically I do some simple math on some complicated patient tracking systems and display the average wait time for the emergency department.  Everyone thinks it's amazing, even though it was surprisingly simple.

The weekend was good, if uneventful.  It seemed terribly short.

I'm a little frazzled with work.  Time to watch mindless t.v. with Sam and Joanna.

Mocha Friday

September 20, 2013 by Adam in Family

Emma has requested that I say, "I am a natural born wonder child."  Now she's doing a funny dance and smacking her butt.  Such is my life in the mornings before school.

It's been a fine week.  Homework is done.  Joanna went off to the kids' school for curriculum night.  They generally behaved, though it's always a mad house getting four kids through homework and bedtime.

All is well.

Quiet Weekend, Quiet Week

September 17, 2013 by Adam in Family

School continues and we all are getting into the groove of things.  Berry slept through the night last night, which was great.  She's been getting up at weird hours.  I think the start of school has been hardest for her.

Sam played Ultimate Frisbee yesterday, which he seemed to somewhat enjoy.  He likes his science teacher.  He's also quite driven in his computer class, deciding to use Unity to build a full game for his final project.  I was a little nervous until I saw the beautiful islands he was creating.

Date night was last night.  We walked over to Holy Cow and returned home a little early.  We snuck past the house and hung out in the shed to chat and wind down our babysitter time.  I keep wanting to do things with the shed, that childhood fort building impulse still strong.

Joanna got her blood drawn this morning by a guy who served in Vietnam, part of a life insurance plan thingie.  He had great banter, especially at seven in the morning.  Now I have to get Sam to put his lunch together and drive off to work.


September 15, 2013 by Seraph in Cortez

We've had crazy Oregon style rain for the last week.  Here that means a lot of flooding and water-logged roads.  We've been loving in, but my poor garden is drowning.  I'm not sure what this means our winter will be like, but we've got the first load of firewood stacked, and contractors bidding on the attic insulation.  At least we'll be warm and cozy whatever comes our way.

Mocha Friday

September 13, 2013 by Adam in Family

I'm getting ready to run to work, my sweet mocha awaiting my arrival.

It's been a good week all around.  Sam managed to find his way around the first week of school.  He seems to like his classes well enough, and he's looking into the game making option in his computer class.  I think he'll be fairly successful in the rest of his classes - this first term is relatively light.

Emma likes her teacher and enjoys being in class with Kate once again.  Duncan seems cheerful, and he's had his teacher once before.  Berry's a little iffy, reporting her days as being terrible.  I think the adjustment is a little harder for her.

We've got all the kids for the next few nights, so we may try pizza and Mythbusters tonight.  This weekend we've got to get Sam some appropriate Ultimate Frisbee clothes for his PE class, but otherwise we should be able to hang out a bit.

Gone Home

September 10, 2013 by Adam in Adam's Games

It's always a treat to veer away from the polished big-budget games towards an interesting indie game with a novel concept.  Gone Home starts with the player coming home to their family house, strangely empty, after a long trip to Europe.  It's up to the player to discover what happened, slowly unraveling the story as they look about.

I like how the storytelling is implied to a large degree.  There are the traditional notes and letters, but also receipts and book reviews and scribbled cheat codes for video games.  After awhile you get a sense of the people and the tensions in the house, and this forced voyeurism is somehow acceptable because of the situation.

It's also set in Portland in 1995, which has considerable nostalgia for me.  I wasn't quite so young at the time, but I wasn't quite as ancient as I am these days.

I bought it for Joanna as her first Steam game.  Hopefully she'll get around to playing it soon. 

Almost School

September 09, 2013 by Adam in Family

The kids start school tomorrow.  I think they're all pretty well settled, with new clothes and school supplies.  Sam technically has orientation tomorrow, with classes starting in earnest on Wednesday.  Joanna seems excited to have some time to herself and focusing on work again.

We made a big, hearty breakfast Sunday morning.  Once Joanna and Duncan went to church, the rest of us played goofy games in the basement.  Eventually Jamie came to get Sam and Emma, and Berry and I went to the library.  It was nice just hanging out with one kid for a change, and we returned with a huge pile of books for everyone.

I spent a couple hours outside working on yardwork - mowing, weed eating, fixing the hose, sweeping the driveway, and putting down a brick border.  It felt good to get to things that had been languishing for many weeks.  Eventually I got to play video games uninterrupted for an hour or so, which was a rare treat.

The kids returned for family dinner.  We called Duncan in from his lemonade stand.  Emma started reading a chapter book that she was excited about.  Mom, Jenny, and Jordan arrived for a tasty spread and good conversation.  Life's good.

San Diego

September 08, 2013 by Lohring in Lohring

We've been having fin in the Sun. The first day we walked around Balboa Park.

Ana in front of the "Lath Palace"

Ana discovers the art and crafts area.

The next day we went to the famous San Diego zoo.  It's one of the first zoos to display animals in their natural habitat. 

Notice the Jaguar observing the human.

The giraffe family is expecting a baby

Lemurs and koalas are cute, but mother and baby pandas are over the top.

Mocha . . . Saturday?

September 08, 2013 by Adam in Family

Okay, I forgot my typical Friday update.  I was actually working at home that day, as I took Sam to the doctor around nine.  As expected, Sam is really big - 6' 1¼" tall.  The appointment went well, with all the usual reminders about exercise and eating well.  I worked away for the rest of the day until my boss got online and told me to stop working. 

I woke up early and played on the computer for a bit, stopping when Emma awoke.  We made a diorama out of cardboard, paper, and clay.  I think it involved babies at the park.  Breakfast was the usual over-the-top affair with crepes, bacon, sausages, strawberries, and mocha.  It was good, despite all the dishes it created.

The three little kids all played cheerfully together.  Emma has gotten Duncan and Berry into Teen Titans, and Joanna finally gave the okay to watch it.  Eventually it was time for Emma to try on all her clothes to see what didn't fit.  After lunch I took Emma and Sam to Old Navy to load up on jeans.  We puttered around this afternoon.  I played War Thunder with Sam, flying WW II planes about fairly badly.  Emma and I went to Amazon park to release the fish we caught a couple weeks ago.  The evening wrapped itself up with Bang Goes the Theory and pizza.

High School

September 04, 2013 by Adam in Sam

Sam registered for classes yesterday, returning with a student body card sporting his usual quizzical expression.  I think all went well, walking down to school, passing out checks and forms, then returning home.  The only issue that needs to be sorted out is an online honors computer science class.  I think I've sorted it out, but as the class starts today, I'd like to get that finalized soon.

Back From the Beach

September 03, 2013 by Adam in Family

We had a great time at dad's house, hanging out at the beach and enjoying the amazing weather.

I eagerly got home from work and we had our traditional pizza and Bang Goes the Theory.  The next morning we loaded up kids and supplies, then headed up the road.  Since it was game day in Eugene and Corvallis, we passed trucks heading south with U of O flags and trucks with OSU flags passed us going north.  The entire town of Corvallis was wearing orange shirts, sadly not creating enough juju to make them win.  We found a good vegetarian breakfast place to eat lunch, and then continued on our journey.

The was a kerfuffle involving angry neighbors and newly sealed pavement, but otherwise the first day was calm and pleasant.  I took the kids for a swamp walk, with Sam stealing my phone to take pictures.  My dad arrived after dinner to chat, having just driven from Longview after winning second place in a model boat contest.

Sunday we broke out the board games in earnest, with multiple rounds of Cosmic Encounter.  Emma and I won the first game in tandem.  Duncan even got in on the action and played quite well.

There was also a beach trip in between, finding tiny crabs, making sand castles, and generally enjoying the amazingly warm weather.  That night Anna managed to come over for dinner.

Today was pretty busy, starting with Joanna making breakfast for everyone once again.  We hit the road, stopping in Newport at an Irish pub and getting stuffed with good food.  We made it home and spent an hour unpacking.  Joanna took Duncan for a sleepover and we threw together random food for dinner.

Emma's in the same class as Kate, her best friend.  Sam's going to be taking a Java programming class online.  He goes to registration tomorrow with assorted checks and forms.  I sewed up the rip in his backpack.  Hopefully it'll all work out.

Time to move on

September 01, 2013 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Tomorrow, we move to my twelfth apartment in the last ten years (South, Hoxsey, Spring, Linden, twice on Hall St, Dexter, Appleton, Oak, Daniel Shays, High, and finally Churchill). We're both looking forward to staying put for a bit. Greg's job is fantastic,  and I'm looking forward to spending more time in HQ. Here's to a new year!

Mocha Friday

August 30, 2013 by Adam in Family

I'm at work, frantically trying to get things done as usual.  It's been a pretty quiet second-to-last week of summer.  I've been a little stressed about the upcoming changes - getting Sam smoothly transitioned into high school, and Berry into first grade.  Joanna's severance is over at the end of the month, and she'll be redoubling her efforts on building up her business.  I'm sure it'll all work out.

We're heading to the coast tomorrow, hopefully seeing my dad and poking our toes in the sand.  Pizza and Mythbusters tonight.

Hoses and Fruit Pianos

August 25, 2013 by Adam in Family

We had a generally fun and silly day, as is the way of our people.

I was up with the three little kids at the crack of dawn, as usual.  I pried them briefly off computers to play card games before making crepes for breakfast.  Sam slept in really late and I fed him after I returned from the library, taking Emma and Berry who gathered up a huge number of books.

Duncan had two play dates today, the first focused on making a movie about Moshi Monsters, the second completely about Minecraft.  The rest of us puttered around, doing yard work, rediscovering Wii Sports, playing a bit of video games, and finishing things up with pizza and Mythbusters.  We created a piano out of fruit.  We carved secret compartments in old books.  It was a good day.

I post, therefore I am

August 24, 2013 by Sue in Wielesek

Hi, all. I'm sitting here with Bob as he watches Seattle and Green Bay play an exhibition game. I'm so content to sit.
We have had entirely too much time this last week cleaning up his rental house, which he kept when he moved in with me. His first tenants were fine, but the second batch were awful - a fat mother, a fat father, four fat teenage daughters, and a bunch of cats who never meet a carpet they didn't want to pee or poop on. Plus, the tenants perceived of themselves as artistic, so they painted everything but the two front rooms in garish colors - most rooms had two coats of thick latex paints.

On a brighter note, prior to rental cleaning, I spent much of the time working with the boys on landscaping here at McMillan. I have good competent worker guys and they've got most of the retaining walls in. I sometimes feel as though all of College Hill really just wants to slide into the Willamette River, preferably in the next three months.
More after I fix dinner.

Mocha Friday

August 23, 2013 by Adam in Family

It's still pretty darn early, with only Duncan tapping on his computer to keep me company.  I'm going to work from home and feed the rest of the crew breakfast, then head into work for my official mocha.

Yesterday was pretty busy.  Joanna took Duncan and Berry strawberry picking (and goat feeding).  Emma went to the doctor's for a checkup, mostly a conversation to emphasize healthy lifestyles.  She worked away diligently in the exerpod last night, and played some Wii tennis before dinner.

Duncan and Emma both discovered the programming courses on the Khan Academy last night, writing in a C-like language to put little images on the screen.  It's cool watching the kids learn a taste of what I do all day.

No big weekend plans.  We have some play dates lined up.  Summer is slowly wrapping up, so I'll enjoy the weather while I can.

Late Weekend Update

August 21, 2013 by Adam in Family

We had a good weekend.

It's hard to know how to expand beyond that.  Friday night Sam went out with mom, Bob, and Anna to Kabuki's for dinner.  The rest of the clan tried to get in to listen to Yayoe, but it was insanely crowded.

Saturday I took the kids hiking around Hendrick's Park, picking blackberries as they listened to my great adventures as a 15 year-old climbing Middle Sister.  We eventually returned home and had our first official pizza and Mythbusters for many weeks.

Sunday was equally low-key.  Emma and I worked on her room, installing an air conditioner and tidying up.  I spent some time putting down flooring in her "secret room".  I was eventually driven out by the dust and insulation, but perhaps it'll make a decent place for some storage.  Sam, Emma, and I played Dungeoneer at Sam's little bedroom table.  I think that was the first time we used the new Ikea chairs.  Sam won, just barely, and Emma played really well.

The afternoon was wonderfully lazy, wrapping up with ribs and Joanna's amazing corn bread muffins.  Life is good.


August 21, 2013 by Adam in Adam's Games

I finished Antichamber last night, one of the most maddening/rewarding puzzle game I've played in a long while.  I kept accidentally discovering the rules of the world, and towards the end felt like I was master of it all.

Sam and I have been occasionally playing a Shogun 2 game together, slowly conquering Japan together.  I can't tell if he's fascinated by the history and culture, or ordering massive armies to battle it out at his whim.  Probably both.

Uke Mocha Friday

August 17, 2013 by Adam in Family

We're off to Hodgepodge soon to listen to Yayoe play ukelele.  Sam's going next door with my mom and Bob to eat Japanese food.  That's about as exciting as it gets with us these days.

The horde has returned.  Last night we had all four kids under the roof for the first time in a month and a half.  Everyone was generally excited and well behaved.  Sam was ridiculously silly, doing weird things with a squishy eyeball toy that we got him in Vancouver.  Joanna has been a little more worn out than usual, taking everyone to the park or leading them in projects.  She seems cheerful to have everyone back and thankful she remembered how to be a mum again.

Work has been crazier than usual.  Fortunately I still like playing with computers all day long.

Mid-Week Update

August 14, 2013 by Adam in Family

It's the middle of the week, strangely enough.  Let me ponder what we've been up to . . .

We had a tiny door cut in the wall of our bedroom, giving access to the electrician to put in more outlets, as well as creating a little storage area.  It's dusty, hot, and small, but perhaps we could do something useful with it.

Joanna continues to make jam at a prodigious rate.  The kitchen is taken over with jars, fruit, and sacks of sugar.

We've been slowly cleaning up the house in preparation for Duncan and Berry's arrival.  They're actually in town at the moment - Joanna got to see them yesterday.  Tomorrow morning they'll arrive and our brief days of being childless will be over.

We went out to dinner at a sushi place last night, and returned to water the garden.  Joanna thought intercity bow hunting was a fine idea after discovering deer ate virtually everything tasty in our garden last night.  And pooped on our lawn to twist the knife.

Three Day Weekend

August 12, 2013 by Adam in Family

I do love my occasional three day weekend.  I'm sadly back to work today, having just finished my oatmeal and pondering the shower.  The last few days were productive, fun, and relaxing.

Saturday was a blur of activities and play.  Emma, Sam, and I walked to South Eugene in a thunderstorm.  Emma worked hard making little squid, octopus, and crab shapes out of cocktail weenies for the evening's event.  That night we all went to Jenny's for Jordan's birthday and Dorothy's memorial service.  The camera we were using to record died halfway through, but we got some recordings on our phones.  Hopefully we can put together a presentation sometime later.  My dad did a great job - it ended up being both informative and touching.

Sunday morning Joanna went to church and I took the kids to the ponds near the Science Factory.  Emma in particular excitedly caught fish and bugs.  We puttered around there for a long while, returning with a container full of what looks like fish eggs.  We'll see what hatches.

Jamie picked up Emma after lunch.  Sam and I played a bunch of Shogun 2, slowly conquering Japan together.  Joanna and I put up shelving in Duncan's closet as well as our own.  It's nice getting things organized.

Only a few more days until Duncan and Berry arrive.  It'll be nice to see those critters again.  The next few days should be pretty quiet, and I'm sure Joanna and I will find some time to appreciate the solitude.

Day with Daddy

August 09, 2013 by Adam in Family

While I did have a mocha today, the highlight was a Day with Daddy.  Emma filled up her chore chart and her prize of choice was to hang out with me all day.

We woke up and cuddled, then played Magicka together.  Eventually Joanna and Sam woke up.  Emma and I made crepes for everyone, and then headed out to the library.  That was the start of our literary journey, and we next went to Smith Family bookstore and then to the comic book store nearby.  The guy was the same one who was there when I was in college - it's nice how some things don't change much.  Emma's prize of the adventure was a Manga cook book.  Apparently it has a recipe for tentacle creatures made out of cocktail weenies.

The rest of the afternoon was fairly low-key.  Sam and I stormed the beaches of Normandy together for the millionth time.  We played on the swings in the backyard, tying swings together and throwing Frisbees.  Later we walked to South Eugene so that Sam would remember how to get there.

Joanna has filled the kitchen with canning supplies and endless fruit.  It's tied into her business - her plan is to give away jam with her company logo on the side.  I think it's some Pavlovian thing, associating her with delicious jam on a regular basis.  Her customers will probably drool every time they meet.

I've got to order pizza for Bang Goes the Theory tonight.  Tomorrow is Jordan's birthday and Dorothy's memorial service.  We have a ton of house projects as well.  The day off was quite nice. 

Dorothy's Memorial Service

August 07, 2013 by Lohring in Lohring

Yayoe suggested that Jordan's birthday this Saturday would be a good time for a memorial service, and I agree. After the party, Jenny promises to drown the small children in the pool while we have a brief presentation by me of my mom's life. Please bring any of your thoughts along or e-mail them to me for inclusion in the presentation. Also please feel free to speak up. I'm putting Adam in charge of recording everything so those of you who can't be here will get a copy.

Quiet Weekend

August 05, 2013 by Adam in Family

The weekend was mostly quiet.  We had pizza and Bang Goes the Theory Friday night.  Saturday morning Emma and I went to the library.  In the afternoon, we broke out the water balloons and got completely soaked.  That night Emma went to Kate's for a sleepover and Joanna went to a thing downtown, leaving Sam and I to watch Tabletop, anime, and play a lot of Dark Souls.

Sunday was similarly lazy, playing with the kids and hosting family dinner later that night.  Sam, Emma, and I performed experiments with vinegar and baking soda.  That afternoon we all walked over to Down to Earth and Tsunami books.

Berry and Duncan are slowly working their way back home.  I think they're somewhere in St. Louis.  Ten days until life returns to happy chaos.

The kids are headed to Jamie's this afternoon.  I sadly left everyone this morning to sip tea and write computer code.  I miss them all.


August 04, 2013 by Seraph in Cortez

We've been cleaning out our attic and I came across this picture.  It's nice to remember the good times.


August 02, 2013 by Lohring in Lohring

Thank you everyone for your cards, letters, e-mails, and CD. I'm still thinking about a memorial service. My mother hated funerals and wasn't particularly religious, but a small get together in her memory would be nice. Almost everyone who knew her in Meadville is either dead or gone. I think Eugene has the largest concentration of her remaining family in one place. She had several ceremonies recognizing her in Pennsylvania while she was alive. I'm open to all your ideas.

Vancouver Memories

August 01, 2013 by Adam in Family

Joanna and I have returned from Vancouver, leaving strip-malls, housing developments, and corporate headquarters at the Washington border.  We took a side trip to IKEA, wandering past inexpensive, stylish furniture probably named after bloodthirsty Norse gods.  We picked up some chairs and an ironing board.

Monday was pleasant.  Sam and Emma were left to their own devices.  We found a scarecrow-like dummy at the dining room table and Monopoly in the basement as our only evidence of their time here.  Joanna and I drove to Portland and wandered briefly around downtown, scavenging food among the steel drums at Pioneer square.  Eventually we found ourselves in Nordstrom's Rack and left empty handed.   We discovered the generosity of a coworker's parting gift to Joanna at Starbucks, as determined by dollars on a gift card.  They must have really liked her.  I finally brought Joanna to Powell's books and bought You for myself.  It's a wonderful book about game development and 80's nostalgia, and I've been reading it constantly.

We checked in to Heron Haus, a wonderfully quirky room in what must have once been the servant's quarters.  The Rose Gardens were relatively close, and we fortified ourselves with artisan ice cream at the Salt and Straw.  Joanna had pear and blue cheese ice cream, while I settled for coffee and bourbon.  Joanna cursed the Google Map the entire way, but we made it to the Rose Garden.  The roses were lovely and we lingered in the gift shop, thinking we could plant a rose at our house in honor of Colette.  As night fell, we returned to sushi and then home, Joanna's FitBit reading 78 flights of stairs for the day.

At breakfast we chatted with midwesterners on vacation, then began the long drive to Vancouver.  It seemed a vast, lifeless city of chain stores and wide highways.  Joanna found an organic coffee shop in the old downtown Vancouver, asking what they do around there.  Hop in a taxi and drive eight miles to Portland, they replied.

My coworkers were generally pleasant - I was surprised that I already knew a few people but didn't realize they were on my team.  Dinner was at Joe's Crab Shack by the river.  With no vegetarian options, I snuck in Mexican food from next door.  This morning I frantically worked fixing crises during the vendor presentation, thankful for the time.

As we drove into Eugene this afternoon, I felt an overwhelming giddiness.  Ah, home.

Lazy Weekend

July 29, 2013 by Adam in Family

It was an all-around pleasant weekend.  Friday night I picked up the kids and Joanna made a delicious meal of corn, potato salad, and burgers.  Saturday was pretty low-key, playing with kids and doing fairly routine things.  One highlight was hanging up my new hammock chair, which Emma immediately adopted as her reading nook.  That evening Jamie picked up the kids to go to Dave's for a BBQ.  Joanna and I walked down to the County Fair where she was performing with some friends on the community stage.  We managed to visit the farm animals before her gig started and were quite impressed with the agricultural oddities.

I returned to get kids to bed while Joanna stuck around to play bingo, watch pig races, and talk with friends.  The evening wrapped up with some Orphan Black for Joanna, Sam, and I.

Today was a little more exciting.  Emma and I had french toast, Sam had a bacon and egg sandwich, and Joanna went off to church and singing.  I took the kids to Hendrick's park where we walked around and talked about anime.  We eventually ended up at Humble Bagel, eating pain au chocolate and cafe au lait in honor of Paris.  Afterward we went to Evolution Gaming, where Sam worked furiously at some crazy logic puzzle and I picked up a card game called Dungeoneering.  We played upon our return home, which ended up being new and different and pretty fun, especially because I won.

Sam mowed the yard, as is usual, Emma read, and I watered.  Somehow it devolved into a hose spraying game, with Sam joining in on the fun.  Eventually we dried off, went inside, then ate a delicious meal of ribs and corn bread muffins that Joanna had prepared.

We're wrapping up the day.  Tomorrow Joanna and I are heading to Portland for a belated anniversary trip.  I have a work thing in Vancouver after that, but fortunately we won't be gone too long.

I have three mothers-in-law

July 27, 2013 by Joanna in Joanna

I am blessed by many things -- including having three lovely mothers-in-law. I went out today for a long, leisurely lunch with two of them: Sue and Yayoe (listed in chronological order of marriage to Lohring). This must be what it's like to be retired!

It was enjoyable to have lots of adult conversation about intelligent things and to talk about life and family. Then I did useful things like get the oil and transmission fluid changed in the minivan.

In other news, I successfully made jam with 6 lbs of figs (I counted how many ounces of jam that made, but now I've forgotten) and Adam came home with 8 lbs of plums from a coworker. Now you know what you're getting for Christmas.

Life after PeaceHealth is quite pleasant so far. I have long lists of things to do -- personally, for the house and garden, and to start a consulting business. My goal is to do at least one thing from each list every day, along with exercise and get 10,000 steps over the course of the day. So far, I've been completely successful. I figure as a self-motivated, highly-productive person I'll be fine getting things done and not falling into a vat of apathy.

Tonight is pizza and "science-show-of-the-week" night, with a hopefully delicious quiche for me and Adam. Being at home also allows my culinary skills to flourish as I have more than 30 minutes to make meals.

Mocha Friday

July 26, 2013 by Adam in Family

I'm still at home, finished with my usual morning chores while everyone still sleeps.  Whichever parent passed along the "doesn't need much sleep" gene, it certainly comes in handy.

I've been somber the last few days, thinking about Dorothy, the time I spent with her, and mortality in general.  Time keeps zipping along the older I get.  She will be missed.

Most of the week was without children, with Joanna and I doing assorted events throughout the week.  Monday night we learned West Coast Swing, Tuesday she had rehearsal and I Skyped with Sam, Wednesday we went shopping at the Oakway Center and listened to a steel drum band.

Joanna's also been great with assorted house projects.  She made fig jam, started cleaning out the garage, and has done a tremendous amount of laundry.  We've also got a trip to Portland/Vancouver coming together next week where she's potentially drumming up some consulting work. 

It was nice seeing Sam and Emma last night.  We chatted and laughed and I watched them do their assorted things.  Hopefully we can have some good hangout time this weekend too.  Joanna's performing at the Lane County Fair, and I think I'll manage to see her. 

Okay, time to shower and get a few minutes closer to that delicious mocha.


July 25, 2013 by Lohring in Lohring

My mother died today at about 1:00 Pacific Time. Danica reports that her passing was peaceful.

Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

July 23, 2013 by Adam in Family

It's nice to be home.

Friday night we had my mom and Bob over for a quick birthday dinner, along with Joanna showering me with gifts and a cake to boot.  The weekend was generally relaxing, with lots of time hanging out with Sam and Emma.  Joanna and I managed a few significant house projects, weeding, putting up a hose holder, and replacing the dryer vent.  The latter was a little much, and I declared myself done with work Sunday afternoon and played Magicka endlessly with Sam to our mutual amusement.  Emma finally got to hang out with Kate, whom she's been missing greatly.

Monday morning I worked from home until Emma arrived while Jamie went to work.  Joanna took her to the library and St. Vincent De Pauls, slowly cleaning out our garage.  Sam mowed the lawn, somewhat reluctantly.  I was swamped with work all day, coming to the realization that I couldn't do two weeks of work in two days.

As the evening rolled around, Joanna and I went to my mom's for dinner.  It was a little odd having no kids about, but we managed just fine.  After we went to a west coast swing class and then open dance.  I know maybe three moves, so I felt a little overwhelmed, but Joanna was cheerful and the music was good.

I'm trying to get Joanna to go to the movies with me tonight or tomorrow while we're pretending to have no children.  Perhaps there is some other mischief we can get up to.


July 21, 2013 by Danica in Danica Miller

Although I haven't read all the travelogues, a cursory glance gives me the impression that everyone had a wonderful journey. Merveilleux!

I too spent Bastille Day in a French mode celebrating with a few members of the Rochester-Rennes Sister Cities Committee at a cottage on Conesus Lake.

I wanted everyone to know that Dorothy seems to have started the end of her life's journey. She had a bad spell with breathing last night which was gotten under control with Atavin. We started morphine a couple hours later once the order had gone through. I've been playing a little music for her and reading some poetry. Actually started with that routine last week while she was still up, if not around. Then it was Frost. Last night I started on cummings and Dickenson (a sample below). 

The east coast heat wave has finally broken and today dawned sunny and cooler. Send a little breeze of a thought Dorothy's way to help speed her peacefully on to the next level.

Love to all-

photos of Dorothy at Thanksgiving 2012 and Easter 2011

any experience, your eyes have their silence;

in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,

or which I cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me

though I have closed myself as fingers,

you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens

(touching skillfully, mysteriously) her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, I and

my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,

as when the heart of this flower imagines

the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals

the power of your intense fragility: whose texture

compels me with the colour of its countries,

rendering death and forever with each breathing

(I do not know what it is about you that closes

and opens; only something in me understands

the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)

nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands

— e.e.cummings


July 20, 2013 by Seraph in Cortez

We're here safe and sound!  

Sadie and Greg were wonderful hosts and allowed for the perfect re acclamation point.  Robbie picked us up in Albuquerque last night and we stayed over before heading back to the house this morning.   

Mocha Birthday

July 19, 2013 by Adam in Family

The very nice barista gave me my mocha for free this morning, making it extra tasty.  I just finished the last sip, much needed for my jetlagged brain.

Emma and I made it across much of the world, three days of trains and planes.  It was pretty exhausting, though it generally went okay.  There was the brief crisis in Washington when we had to go to the other airport (Reagan, not Dulles), and later when the hotel shuttle didn't operate early enough for us to get to our flight.  Fortunately mom's magic credit card fixed both those issues and we finally made it home Wednesday afternoon.

I dropped Emma off at her mom's, who she missed very much.  I went home, said hello to Josh and Sam, took a quick shower, and picked up Joanna.  I think Sam and Josh spent a lot of time together, which is kinda cool.  Sam said he spent half the nights at my house.  They didn't quite run out of the frozen meals Joanna stocked the freezer with, but it was close.  I went to bed early, waking up the next day at a semi reasonable hour.

I worked from home Thursday, getting through over a thousand emails.  I spent my lunch hour fixing the sewage injection pump, which was exactly as much fun as it sounds.  Fortunately I understood the weird plumbing well enough to think it through and it ended up being a cleaning job.

I was so incredibly wacky last night from jetlag, getting to sleep around nine and waking up at three.  I've had a headache off and on for a few days, so I took more painkillers, ate cereal, and went back to sleep until six.  At the moment, I feel pretty good.

I'll collect the kids from their mom's when I get off work and have Tasty Thai for my birthday dinner.  One of the two birthday cards I received was from my insurance agent, which was actually kinda funny.

Farewell to England

July 16, 2013 by Sue in Wielesek

I'm sitting here in a lovely hotel about two block from the Natural History Museum, hoping Adam and Emma are safe in Chicago, a halfway stop for them, that Seraph, Isa, Sadie and Greg are having a lovely time together, and that Joanna and the kids are on their way to Rochester. I leave about 2:00 tomorrow afternoon. I hope the cousins bonded, and Emma and Isa had fun together. Hugs  to all, Mom/Sue

New Shore Yard

July 15, 2013 by Lohring in Lohring

As some of you know, we have been working on the outside of our house. The deck has been finished for a while, but we are adding a small yard with a fire pit, flower beds, and a storage shed. When we get finished we can sit around the fire pit and roast marshmallows or sit on the deck and watch the sunset. Next will be a floating dock for the boat and some landscaping on the road side.

Bastille Day

July 14, 2013 by Adam in Family

It's Bastille Day here in France, with everything closed.  Tomorrow we begin our long trip back home, three days of travel across nine time zones.

We've had three relaxing days here in Besle, with very little to do except eat, play, and chat.  Emma has watched so much Teen Titans that she's able to think in the voices of the characters.  Duncan has been playing non-stop with Arthur, occasionally including Berry in their boyish ways.  Berry set up a little shop in the old, roofless house, selling shells and rocks that she found around the yard.  We all went out for a little walk in the countryside, finding frogs near the ponds.  Dinners are late, and we all sleep in.  It's such a contrast from my usual running about.

Tomorrow we start at 8:30, take a couple trains for 6 or 7 hours until we reach London.  Then we collapse, wake up early to get to the airport, and Emma and I make our way to Chicago.  A brief sleep later and we make our way to Portland, then drive home.  Somewhere in there Joanna takes Berry and Duncan to their dad's house and arrives in Eugene later that night.  The next day it's back to work for me, along with probably a million emails.


July 14, 2013 by Sue in Wielesek

I'm sitting here on Bastille Day on the bed in our room. I'm so tired I intend to spend the day googling pictures of the things we haven't seen yet, as opposed to actually going to see them.
We had a lovely lunch with the Albertellis, the family who adopted Anna while she was in France. They thought Isa should come to France for college and stay with them.Marie-Eve, the mom,  was injured in a bad car accident, and is still recurperating.
We also went up to Mont Marte? and rode on the 19th century merry-go-round yesterday.
Seraph and Isa took me to a restaurant across from an old old church in the Latin Quarter on Friday evening. I had beef, not something I eat alot. It was in a light cream sauce, and definitely worth coming to Paris for.
Our hotel is interesting. In a lot a ways it's a standard slightly funky place, and in some ways it's slightly funkier. The place goes slightly nuts at dusk, when all the Muslims here and in the neighborhood start to party. (As you all know, it's the first or second week of Ramadan.)
But on the non-funky side, all 10 or twelve first floor rooms open onto a hugh courtyard, so the place is like a compound in a Mediterranean or mid-east country. I have my underwear draped over the chairs drying, while we have breakfast at the table outside our room.                                                 
Now, I better double check transportation arrangements. Adam, I have to forward you a meal voucher to print off on Christopher's computer. Hug baby Finn and Arthur for us. Love to all.

Relaxing in the French Countryside

July 13, 2013 by Adam in Family

Yesterday was somewhat exciting, taking two sets of trains to get to Besle (pronounced Bele).  Fortunately Joanna had taken the trip a couple days earlier, and so she warned us of the abandoned train station at the end of our journey.  Emma and I unloaded into a desolate little area just as Christopher and Joanna arrived.

It's been wonderful to see Christopher and his son Arthur again, and meeting Imi and the new baby Finn has been great.  We seem to be on French time, with everyone staying up, eating, and chatting.  We had a few interesting guests last night - Christopher's old girlfriend, her husband, and their new daughter.  We had a massive meal with four or five kinds of meat cooked for everyone.  Berry and Emma enjoyed puttering around the farm and the old out buildings.  Berry set up a shop where she can sell the things she finds.  I've been trying to help with dishes and such, play with kids, and take it easy.  I continue to borrow Christopher's new laptop and just installed Steam so I can play a couple of the new games I bought.

Joanna may be heading out to a bakery this morning, if she can find the way.  We've become accustomed to pain au chocolate.

Steam Summer Sale

July 12, 2013 by Adam in Adam's Games

It's the start of the Steam Summer Sale and I'm thousands of miles away from my computer.  Fortunately we just arrived at Christopher's house and he has a decent Internet connection and a newly purchased laptop that will work in a pinch.  I'm not sure how much gaming I'll manage over the next few days, but it does seem to be a time for hanging out and doing very little.


July 12, 2013 by Adam in Family

We had a rather exciting day yesterday.  It started with Seraph fixing us a fine breakfast with plenty of pain au chocolate.  My mom went to do other tasks that day, so she offered to finish my still-wet laundry.  Seraph, Isa, Emma, and I made our way out to Versailles with minor difficulties.  Upon our arrival we had lunch and settled into the long line to the castle.

It was pretty crazy opulent, and we only managed to get through a small fraction of the grounds.  By the time we got to the park section, the entire French Revolution started to make perfect sense. 

Everyone had been standing for a long while, but we fortunately found a little cafe tucked into the shrubbery.  We plopped down, Emma fed me ice cream, Seraph got me coffee, and all was well.  We wandered the grounds for a while, then headed back to the hotel.

That was when the excitement began.  My key didn't work, so I went to the front desk and tried to explain the problem in French.  "That's normal," he replied, and showed how I was supposed to have checked out that day, pointing to everything they'd taken from my room and stuck in the lobby.  Slowly it dawned on me that there'd been a miscommunication on dates and I hadn't checked closely enough.  They made a quick call to a hotel down the road and told us there was room.  After looking for my mother and not finding her, I checked out and hauled everything down the road.

Fortunately all went well and we got a lovely room with relatively speedy WiFi.  We fetched the girls and Seraph made a nice dinner, complete with birthday cake.  Eventually she returned and found my mom, safe and sound.  Emma and I had a great little video chat with Sam, who had to look up our direction on Google Maps so he could accurately blow kisses at us.

We've now slept and are planning on heading up the hill to get my clean clothes before leaving on the train later this morning.  Joanna, who's already there, promises relaxation in the countryside.  Paris has been lovely and exciting, though I must admit that a few days of doing little sound quite appealing.

Two Days in Paris

July 11, 2013 by Adam in Family

It's been so busy that I haven't had a chance to post.  Emma is sleeping still and I figure I have a half hour to try to put together a movie before showers and breakfast and such.  We've all been going to bed really late, in part due to the heat.  I haven't touched the jeans I brought and wish I had a couple more pairs of shorts.

Tuesday morning we all woke up with a general plan to get to the Eiffel Tower.  We went down to the wine cellar where they served us coffee and pastries, which was wonderful.  Eventually we made it to the Metro and worked our way to the train station to pick up tickets for upcoming trips. While my mom did that, we tried to find our way to a gluten free bakery, but failed and returned.  Once more we went down into the hot Metro.  After some time we emerged, turned the corner, and found ourselves across the river from the monument, a horde of tourists taking pictures.

We were all pretty beat at that point, so we crossed a busy street to a park in the middle of a roundabout and ate our picnic lunch.  There were a bunch of African men selling Eiffel Tower models, along with souvenir shops by the plaza.  The little kids all managed to get trinkets - earrings that Berry loved, and a pocket watch for Emma.

The day was fading fast, and everyone was pretty beat.  Mom called about boat tours of the Siene, and we once again braved the Metro to get to the Eiffel Tower and hop on a boat.  I thought it was a pretty good journey.  The little kids were exhausted and cranky, though.  After seeing the 22 bridges and cheering on the people making out at the river bank, it was time to go home.

Joanna whipped up another inspired dinner for all, and we got kids through their evening routine.  We collapsed, exhausted but happy.

Wednesday morning we woke up early and got Joanna packed for her train trip.  We had time for coffee and pastries, and then I helped rush Joanna and the kids off to their train station.  It was hard work, lugging the big cases up the stairs, but we managed and got them off in time.  I was proud of myself for navigating the Metro without assistance.  I think I've got the hang of the twisty underground tunnels at this point.

The rest of the crew had been sitting around all morning.  I begged a few moments to rest, and then once again headed into the Metro.  This time we came out at the Arc de Triumph and worked our way down the Champs Elysee.  It's a very high-class part of town and shops were everywhere.  Isa's eyes lit up and we'd go fifty feet before she pulled us into another clothing store.  I was very patient and they all took pity on me by stopping at a cafe after the fourth one.  Emma had a vanilla coffee milkshake, I had a cafe au lait, and drank Isa's vanilla coffee milkshake when she didn't want hers.

Eventually the girls were satisfied and we headed to the Musee d'Orsey, which was the impressionist museum.  I thought it was pretty amazing, from the building - an old train station - to the art - countless pieces that I've seen reproduced all my life.  They kicked us out and we invaded the gift shop. 

I consulted my tourist guide on good places to eat nearby and there was a highly recommended one called Le Bon Excuse (the good excuse).  We walked over, only to find the maitre de with a bloody face and police arriving in droves.  After a few moments, we realized dinner was unlikely and we went up the street to another corner restaurant which was quite good.

We hopped on the Metro to get home, with Emma expressing more confidence in how it all works.  We collapsed at our hotel and hung out.  My phone had died, but I got some mail indicating that Joanna had made it safely to her brother's house, immediately put to work watching her new baby nephew.

As for today, we're off to Varsaille.  Let me see if I can put together some video and slowly upload it over the hotel''s incredibly slow Internet connection.

Made it to Paris

July 08, 2013 by Adam in Family

It was a somewhat exciting day, but I'm writing this in the courtyard of our lovely hotel.  It's reminiscent of a villa from southern France, with stucco roof tiles and everyone eating outside until past ten o clock.  Joanna went to a nearby shop and made dinner for everyone - pasta, salad, bread, wine, and plenty of cheese and nutella for all.  Kids are getting to bed and the rest of us are huddled around our laptops and e-readers.  It's quite nice.

This morning Joanna, I, and the kids headed out to the shops near our hotel.  It quickly became apparent that patience was low with the younger kids so we split up and I took the kids to feed them and head back to the hotel.  Joanna returned with her dress from Fat Face, and we worked our way to the Eurostar train station.  It took more effort than expected and we arrived at the gate for final boarding.  The train itself was quite nice once we loaded on our luggage and we had a fairly relaxing trip under the ocean.

The kids were disappointed that there were no shark attacks or any visible ocean at all.  Emma had fun going through the French/English/German train magazine and finding the inappropriate ads.  She ended up writing "Inappropriate"and drawing black circles over the relevant bits.

We arrived at the Paris train station, unable to find my mom.  Joanna went through a complicated process of getting Euros so she could pay money to go to the bathroom, and during this time my mom arrived.  We set off again through the Metro and I injured myself once again.  The first time was the escalator in the tube, bruising my arm as I tipped over.  This time it was breaking my toe nail while hauling massive luggage through the Metro turnstile.  Fortunately Joanna had Mr. Tickle bandages, which I thought was rather sporting.  On the plus side, a nice American woman gave me all sorts of tips while staying in Paris, from always saying hello before any transaction to the free cafe at the top of the shopping center where you can see the city all around.

After walking uphill near a somewhat hot and dirty city street, the arrival at the hotel was a special occasion.  There was air conditioning, an open courtyard, and neat little rooms with small but functional kitchens.  We arranged the outdoor tables into a long seating arrangement for dinner, Joanna made a great meal, and we had a wonderful dinner before the night set.

Bonjour Paris.

Off to Paris

July 08, 2013 by Adam in Family

Other than an outing for dinner at a Mexican restaurant, we didn't do much last night.  We ended up sleeping Emma and I in one bedroom, and Joanna and the little kids in the next.  I slept like a log, but got up close to six, a first for me.  Apparently I'm returning to a more normal sleep schedule in this time zone.

I added a picture on the London Bridge and a panorama of the Tower of London to yesterday's post. I managed some frivolous web surfing while everyone continues to snooze.  I think we'll try a little shopping this morning and then head out to Paris after lunch.

Tower of London

July 07, 2013 by Adam in Family

It was a bit of a rough night, with musical beds and kids waking up repeatedly.  Somehow we got enough sleep to function and wandered down to breakfast.  I had a bit of eggs and hash browns, but mostly devoured crepes and espresso.  I figure we have to prepare our stomachs for Paris tomorrow.

With everyone fresh, we jumped on a bus and watched the sights until we unloaded down by London Bridge.  There was a pretty walk along the shore until we made it to the Tower of London.  Emma and I braved the queue for tickets while Joanna and the little kids had iced lollies.  The latter made Joanna quite cheery and we marched into the Tower and enjoyed the beefeater's tour until breaking off and exploring the various towers.  We ate, picked up trinkets at the shop, and headed out once again.

We passed by a model posing for a photo shoot in the park, among all the Londoners sunbathing in this uncommonly warm weather.  Buckingham Palace was adequately opulent.  The kids liked the soldiers in their funny hats (Berry thought they were afros).  Everyone was pretty beat, though, so we took the bus back to the hotel.

We've been watching Mythbusters with a British narrator, but I think it's time for me to sign off and find somewhere to eat dinner.  Tomorrow we're off to Paris.

Natural History Museum Day

July 06, 2013 by Adam in Family

It was a pretty good day in London.  We slowly roused ourselves and checked out of the airport hotel.  We picked up our sim cards, got our tube passes, and worked our way into the heart of the city.  We bid farewell to Seraph, Isa, and my mom, then headed to Angel station to find our hotel.

We settled in and then headed off to lunch.  It turns out there was a little Asian food place called Wagamama with adequate noodles and goodies for all.  Next was a tube to the Natural History Museum, where tired kids perked up and got excited once we saw the massive building.  Inside was the giant dinosaur and they excitedly moved into the dinosaur exhibit.  We had a good time exploring the various rooms and ended up in a giant building called the Cocoon where they housed the insect exhibits.  That was fairly empty and cool, though we had to leave early as the museum was closing and we had to make a shopping run at the gift shop.

We had dinner at a nearby little restaurant where Berry assembled her anatomical model of the human body.  We chatted and caught tiny plastic lungs and other organs when they fell to the floor.  Eventually Emma put it together, to Berry's great joy.

All the kids were pretty wiped out and we put them to bed.  Tomorrow I think we'll make our way to the Tower of London and perhaps Buckingham Palace if we can make our way there. 


July 06, 2013 by Seraph in Cortez

Quiet moments at our hotel in Paris. There's time to explore later.

Finally Leaving the Airport Hotel

July 06, 2013 by Adam in Family

We just woke up, a full night's sleep under our belts.  I think we're adjusted after a day of jetlag.  We basically hung out at the hotel recovering yesterday.

Joanna's dad and stepmom came to dinner with us last night.  It was an interesting experience, and as I joked with Joanna "it all makes sense now."  Isa and Emma spent the day hanging out and chatting.  Seraph and I picked up where we left off, as always.  Berry and Duncan were pretty wonky yesterday night, but slept really well (and are still sleeping).

We've got to figure out what we're doing with our luggage as we get to our next hotel.  I think we'll see Buckingham Palace today and wave to the queen.

In England

July 05, 2013 by Adam in Family

We're at the Jury's Inn, waiting for mom, Seraph, and Isa.  Joanna collapsed with a pillow over her head.  The kids are watching some crazy English kid show about pirates and veggies.  I'm wrestling with Internet connectivity - I got it working on the laptop, but it doesn't appear to be working with anything else. 

It was quite the journey.  We drove to Portland, parked in the blue P2 lot, and jumped on a plane to Texas.  The first flight was relatively uneventful, everyone playing on their personal digital devices.  We got off, ate a quick meal, and jumped on another plane to London.  This one was longer, but everyone managed to get to sleep.  Emma had a rough time of it, but was quite happy that she got a few hours of sleep before landing.  We stumbled through customs and worked our way via bus to the hotel.  Now we're hoping to connect with the rest of the group, though we're currently failing.

Time to be responsible . . .

Leaving on a jet plane...

July 04, 2013 by Seraph in Cortez

We're all packed and ready to go!  We're heading out to Santa Fe in an hour or so to catch the first leg of the trip.  I'm actually looking forward to the plan ride so that I can unwind and let it all sink in.

Here I am in England

July 04, 2013 by Sue in Wielesek

Home of crumpets and tea,
I am ready for England.
Is England ready for me?

Sadie and Seraph, do you remember this traveling poem from our 1990 trip to England?

I've promised myself to post more frequently, easier to do when you're sitting here in a hotel room with no responsibilities. This town, surprisingly secluded, is called Stanwell, and I'm staying at a place called Stanwell House. I thought it was a boring name for a pretty little village until I found a tiny rusty sign at the edge of the green noting the long since covered site of St. Anne's well, which supplied water for
the village, and was thought to have healing powers. Honestly, once they started to let the Pagans in, the whole country went to wrack and ruin. Here's to the healing powers of the McKenzie River and EWEB. Love you all, Mom/Sue

Preparations for the Journey

July 03, 2013 by Adam in Family

Emma arrived from her Bend trip.  We're slowly packing up and getting ready to go, trying not to get too frantic.  I figure as long as we have passports, money, and underwear, we'll be okay.

Summer Playing

June 29, 2013 by Adam in Family

We've only got a few more days until we leave the country.  I'm feeling vaguely prepared, gathering up the assorted electronics and other goodies.  It seems there's a tremendous number of things to get ready.

Sam and I have been hanging out with Emma in Bend.  We played Rome: Total War (my ballistas and cavalry saved the day), Overgrowth (my ninja bunny moves are almost as good as his), and Arma 3 (where war tends to end horribly for us).  Jessica was praising Sam's maturity the other day - he seems more apt to join in with the other kids and is generally more social than in years past.

Joanna has song practice today.  I think I'll briefly be inundated by children when Duncan's two friends come over.  Other than packing and food shopping, I'm not sure there's anything critical happening today.

The kids have all been enjoying summer immensely, finding odd little projects in the backyard.  Messy, but fun.

Birthday Party

June 29, 2013 by Adam in Duncan

Duncan had his 8th birthday party last weekend, and I finally got around to assembling the video.  We rented the little house at Washington park and all his friends came to enjoy the playground, eat cake, and participate in an made-up-on-the-spot Wizard 101 game.

The next morning we had a family present opening, which was somewhat more subdued.

Pre-Vacation Mocha Friday

June 28, 2013 by Adam in Family

I finished up with that fine beverage a few hours ago, but the caffeine continues to bubble away.  It's Joanna's last day at work, but she's surprisingly busy and has been called out by multiple people for being so useful.  Since it's unclear who will be doing her work, I think there's an excellent chance that she ends up with consulting work in the future.

I got some leadership kudos for the provider compensation application I've been working on.  It's weird moving huge sums of money around, but kinda interesting.

Emma was over last night, briefly visiting before going off to Bend until next Wednesday.  Sam's staying at home - he'll spend a couple days with Josh at the house before Jamie returns.  I think Sam's looking for some time with his cousin, hanging out and playing video games.

Joanna dug up vast quantities of garlic this morning, nicely braiding them and hanging them up around the kitchen door.  I think she's vampire-proofing the house, but I'm too afraid to ask.

We've got a couple of Duncan's friends coming over tomorrow.  I'm hoping to hang out with Sam before the trip.  Joanna's got some music things going on.  We've all got to get ready to pack everything.

Exciting times.

Where Did the Week Go?

June 26, 2013 by Adam in Family

I can't believe it's Wednesday already and a week from now we'll be flying out of the country.  This morning we started frantically getting ready for the trip, sorting through electronics and making needed purchases.  I think we'll be ready in time.

The weekend was good.  Duncan had a great party - renting out the little building at Washington Park.  There were a ton of kids who ran about, and an impromptu Wizard 101 game that Duncan made up the rules on the spot.  Cake was eaten.  Presents were unwrapped.

Emma had a play date with Kate.  Sam and I played a ton of a certain bunny fighting game.  Berry assembled complicated Lego sets for Duncan.  It was a good weekend.

Last night Joanna and I went to Off the Waffle and had a rousing game of Trivial Pursuit.  The best part was the not-so-subtle hints we dropped as clues to the answer.  Plus the tables were cool at their new downtown location.

Anniversary Mocha Friday

June 21, 2013 by Adam in Family

Joanna and I celebrated our one year anniversary last night, going out to Belly's for dinner and exchanging cards and gifts.  Joanna made her own, with her face "oldified".  I think she was preparing me for the many years ahead.  Fortunately she'll have lovely eyes and a brilliant smile when the rest of her goes all wrinkly.

We had to chase deer out of our yard last night, much to the amusement of the kids.  We have a pretty huge bounty in the backyard these days.

Tomorrow we celebrate Duncan's birthday.  Sam and Emma arrive from their Portland adventure.  I'll be getting a mocha soon, and then diving into the piles of work that await me.

Work, work, work

June 20, 2013 by Seraph in Cortez

We finished the new backyard fence today.  The (very) old one blew over this winter.  On Friday we're putting in another fence in the front.  It will include a gate, but that will probably come later in the summer.  

Isabell and I took a few minutes to plant the squash, pumpkin, and green bean starts before heading in to clean up.  She and Robbie are now playing games on the Wii, while I pretend that to stay awake for a few more hours.  The summer projects are coming along, but after 9 months of exercising our brains more than our bodies, we're worn out!  
I need to learn how to convert our camera pics to a lower resolution so I can post them! 

Oldified Children

June 20, 2013 by Adam in Family

Jessica took pictures of all the kids today and then "oldified" them with some app or another.  They all thought it was great, and Sam evidently couldn't stop laughing.

It's been a weird and wacky week, with the kids sticking around longer than usual as they left for Portland with Jamie until Saturday.  I tried to spend a little extra time with them on Monday, and then inadvertently spent the day with them as I became deathly ill for about 12 hours starting at 3 a.m.  Fortunately I was mostly recovered by the afternoon and spent time working and watching Sam play Scrolls.  I'm a sucker for collectable card games, and Sam seemed to be enjoying it.  Jessica took the other kids to the farm, and Emma dutifully said hello to the goats for me.

This morning Berry went to the doctor, so Jessica took Emma and Duncan to my cubicle.  They had a great time playing with all my weird stuff, and then left me after rearranging the Avenging Unicorn and all my coworkers' trading cards.

It's quiet tonight, with only two kids.  I think I'll start in on the laundry and maybe try to fix the tablet's power jack if I can muster the energy.

Happy Father's Day!

June 16, 2013 by Seraph in Cortez

I'll be of to work in the morning, so I wanted to wish all the amazing men in our family a happy Father's Day!  You all do so much, please take a little time out for yourselves.

Mocha Friday

June 14, 2013 by Adam in Family

It's a lovely Mocha Friday.  I just finished my beverage of choice.  Work is nutty, but interesting.  It was a soon-to-be rare treat to drive in with Joanna, where we chatted about her final couple weeks at work and the latest people to leave the organization.

Sam and Emma arrived last night, with much excitement on my part.  Emma showed off her new Magic deck that she bought herself, and I played it against Sam (we both won a game).  Sam's thinking of making a D&D campaign for Emma and I.  He's also been playing a lot of games with Matt and Josh, just like the last couple summers.

Summer schedule continues.  Jessica has arrived, with cute baby in tow.  There's a chore sheet for the smaller kids, along with computer sign in and out sheets.  This morning Emma discovered Khan Academy and took her first lesson on evolution.

We're trying very hard to get the Europe trip planned out.  Train tickets are going to end up being pretty significant.  Hopefully all these miscellaneous costs don't deplete our savings too much.  Fortunately mom is paying for most of the big ticket items (thanks, mom!).

Next week is likely quirky.  I think Jamie is taking the kids to Portland Wednesday through Saturday.  We'll have them a couple days extra to make up for it.  Joanna and I have an anniversary coming up next Thursday.  We don't have any particularly big plans for the weekend other than going to Saturday Market.

Life's weird, uncertain, and pretty darn good.

Graduation Day

June 13, 2013 by Adam in Ben

We went to Berry's graduation event at the Little French School.  She cheerfully accepted her pin and diploma, then ran off to play on the swing set.  I generally followed the kids around while Joanna networked, trying to drum up business for a possible future career as a freelancer.  I think she got hooked up with some upcoming library fundraising campaign.

It's strange having the last kid go through graduation there.  It's been four years for Emma and two years for Duncan.  Sierra, Emma's old teacher and sometimes babysitter, was leaving the school, headed for California with her family.  Life seems a series of hellos and goodbyes.

Summer is Here

June 12, 2013 by Adam in Family

Summer has arrived.  The kids had their last day of school on Monday, though Berry is going to the Little French School for one more day.  Sam was sick this last weekend, so I excused him from his last day.  Joanna spent time with the kids at school.  I think they had a good time.

We had a good weekend.  I set up the pool, and after a frustrating hour of gluing and duct taping holes in the top, it finally held enough water for most everyone to pile in.  Sam passed on his usual leap from the swing, fully clothed, mostly because he wasn't feeling great.

Sam, Emma, and I played D&D together, with the whole story ending up being slapstick comedy.  Later there was playing Magic together.  Sam made a bunch of decks and practiced on Emma, then later turned to me.  Jamie texted me telling me than Emma bought her first Magic starter deck.  My little nerdlings are growing up.

Sam and I also managed to play the Company of Heroes beta.  We slowly figured out the strategies, and ended up beating the AI soundly at one point.

There are certainly stresses and quirky things in our lives at this moment, but then I think back to my family and everything else pales in comparison.

Duncan wiggle bottom

June 10, 2013 by Joanna in Duncan

Lest Duncan discover this blog and count the number of videos of Berry and find his video highlights lacking, here are a couple of videos of him from the assembly today.

This first is his second grade class performance. I'm not really sure what they're saying. It's a bunch of classes performing a medley of songs in French that somehow relate to Charlemagne, their school. That's his teacher on electric guitar.

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Hanging out in Kindergarten

June 10, 2013 by Joanna in Ben

One upside of being laid off is that I no longer feel guilty volunteering at the kids' school. I've tried to make up for my lack of involvement this school year in the last two weeks.

I volunteered for a while last Thursday morning, and captured Berry signing and singing an ABC song with her class.


And then we enjoyed Field Day with lots of jumping, tugging, hopping and generally having fun, followed by lunch and a popsicle.

Dungeon Master

June 09, 2013 by Adam in Emma

Emma led her first D&D session with Berry and Duncan. They had a great time.

Vermin in the Garden

June 09, 2013 by Adam in Duncan

One of the great things about having a garden is that the kids feel free to pick goodies and gobble up fresh food.  Yesterday Duncan discovered that the raspberries were finally ripe.

Yesterday he also played D&D with Emma, I taught him to play Magic the Gathering, and he asked me to set up a public Minecraft server.  The nerd is strong with this one.

Happy Birthday, Dear Sister

June 09, 2013 by Adam in Family

I wanted to join in with the rest of the crew wishing you a happy birthday.

Happy Birthday!

June 09, 2013 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy birthday Sadie!!!  I'm sending mental hugs your way.  I can't wait to give you the real ones in a month!

Sadie is 31 today

June 09, 2013 by Yayoe in Yayoe

SADIE is 31 today

June 09, 2013 by Yayoe in Yayoe

The last hundred years

June 08, 2013 by Sue in Wielesek

My mom used to say  that the last hundred years of pregnancy were the worst, and I think that goes for house building too. I made four trips to Willamette Graystone today. No wonder they gave me a cap with their logo a couple of years ago. The house is really lovely, and I may put an ad on Craig's list this weekend. I will turn into a real Mom soon, hopefully in time to call Miss Sadie on her birthday. Much love, Mom

Mocha Friday

June 06, 2013 by Adam in Family

I've yet to drink my mocha this morning.  I'll be meeting Jamie shortly at Metropol to talk about some challenging topics.  At least the espresso will be an consolation.

Summer is right around the corner.  Sam and I worked late on his final project for US history - he was printing, scanning, and Photoshopping away until 9:30.  Emma seems to have recovered from her cold, though both she and Berry seem to have a lingering cough.  Duncan is his usual cheerful self, a little sad about not seeing his friends all summer.

Joanna and I went out to dinner last night, walking over to Cornucopia on 17th and Lincoln.  We haven't been at the gym together lately due to scheduling issues, so it was good to visit for a while.  No word yet on a second interview at the U of O, so it may be that freelancing is in her future.  It'll be nice when this gets resolved one way or the other and we can start planning the future a bit more.

As for me, all is well.  Work is fun, despite the typical organizational madness.  I'm still amazed that I get paid to play with computers all day long.

Summer Vacation

June 04, 2013 by Seraph in Cortez

So, Isabell has decided to move outside for the first part of the summer.  I'll post some pictures of her glamping soon!

Monday Madness

June 03, 2013 by Adam in Family

As usual, it's a crazy Monday.  Emma is sick, so I'm staying home with her.  Joanna is taking Duncan and Berry to school, then volunteering in Berry's classroom.  Sam's first words were asking for painkillers, but I think he's going to school.

It was a generally good weekend, despite the fact that three out of four kids were coughing and sniffling.  Eugene had the highest pollen count of US cities, but I think they had a cold too.  I got the kids outside on Sunday to play "basegolfo," an imaginary game Sam made up.  As he pointed out, it was only practice, as real basegolfo requires rain.  Later in the day we all played board games, including a couple that was cracking everyone up.  Berry is getting to the point where she can read the cards and play, though she's a bit slow.

Saturday was a little weird.  Emma went to a birthday party with Kate and had a great time making a glass suncatcher.  I went shopping and did plumbing while she was away.  Sam returned from a sushi and Miyazaki movie at the new downtown Bijoux.  As Joanna went to the coast for work, I had a somewhat crazy evening of pizza and Mythbusters, then getting three kids to bed.  Sam and I watched anime, in part because he wants to take Japanese next year.

I'm feeling a little stressed and unsettled.  The kids' summer schedule isn't quite worked out and I've got to figure out issues with our Europe trip and such.  Joanna hopefully has a second interview next week.  Life just isn't quite as settled as I'd like it to be.  

We Have a Winner!

June 02, 2013 by Adam in Joanna

Joanna spent last night at a casino, part of a work event in Florence.  Admittedly it's a little weird that she went, considering she's going to be let go at the end of the month, but it's been planned for a long while.  In any case, I understand she took pictures and will write it up for a presumed future article to donors.

She did bid on one of the silent auction gift packages, presumably because she couldn't resist the lure of yarn.  She ended up with a whole bunch of yarn related things that she wants to play with.  I think the chair is going to Craigslist, though.

Bubble Tea

June 02, 2013 by Adam in Sam

Sam's friend Evan has been singing the praises of bubble tea for some time now.  Joanna got Sam some last week, but I think the flavor was a little too daring for him (some kind of melon).  Yesterday at the store I picked up tapioca and this morning Sam made himself bubble tea.  He loved it and was quite proud of his accomplishment.

Generic Heading

June 02, 2013 by Emma in Emma

Mocha Friday

May 31, 2013 by Adam in Family

It's another Mocha Friday, that delicious mixture of inspiration, focus, and chocolate.  As usual, it's been a weird week.  As I told Sadie a few days ago "It's all life and death from this point on."  I still have to make decisions on which t-shirt to wear on casual Friday, but I've got the biggies too.

For the most part, life is good.  Summer is around the corner, with the kids counting down the days until school is out.  I'm not feeling particularly well prepared for the big Europe trip, but I have faith that it'll come together.  I've yet to figure out our budget with Joanna not working - it's practically impossible with so many unknowns.  She has a phone interview at the U of O today, and she might get that job.  If not, she'll probably start freelancing again and it will likely take a while for her business to grow.

I've been having fun with the kids.  Duncan always wants help installing a new Minecraft mod.  Berry and I do our various acrobatic tricks when she declares she's bored.  I've been giving Emma pointers as she plays Fable 3.  Last night Sam and I worked on his poetry anthology until ten o'clock at night.  Whew.

Joanna has been really busy this week and sadly all our babysitters are busy.  No date night this week, though it'll be nice to just have some time to hang out with her.  Mom - if you read this today and have an hour or so to play with kids, it would be great if we could just go for a walk for a little while.

Looking forward to the weekend.  I predict Mythbusters, pizza, and D&D in my future.

Final Choir Concert

May 30, 2013 by Adam in Sam

I went to Sam's last choir concert last night.  He was the tallest of all the kids there, well over 6' 2" in his dress shoes.  It was interesting watching him joke with friends and sing with some enthusiasm, quite the contrast to the relatively shy sixth grader. 

I think I managed to go to every one of his concerts over the years.  The sixth graders in last night's presentation sang the same songs Sam did three years before.

They Keep Growing Up

May 29, 2013 by Adam in Sam

Sam is now 6' 1" and perhaps halfway to 6' 2".  It's strange walking alongside this massive young man who I once carried around in one hand.

He's in his last days at Roosevelt, crazy busy with final projects.  Tonight I'm taking him to his final choir concert and helping him with his poetry assignment.  I think he's starting to really look forward to summer.

Last night we walked down to South Eugene High School for the 9th grader introductions.  The school seemed massive to Sam, and to be honest it appeared pretty big to me as well.  Somehow we crammed the cafeteria full of new students and their families, many of whom were familiar to me.  The nostalgia was intense as I pointed out the murals in the hallways, which were new and which had been there over 25 years ago.

I'm proud of Sam.  He's grown into an interesting, funny person that I love hanging out with.

Extended Families

May 29, 2013 by Sue in Wielesek

Hi, all, is mushy and sentimental for all sorts of reasons. One is that I just took a Vicodan, another is that I had a lovely cheery breakfast with Adam - that and dinner with Jenny on her birthday a few days ago just perked me right up. Finally, I looked as some old movies I had put on disc.

Anyhow, I want to do a bit of a report on Yayoe's surgery. I stopped to see her yesterday. It was a big concern to learn that the recupereration part did not go well. One of the meds, apparently a pretty standard one, nonetheless made Yayoe really really sick. It was so bad that she finally told the doc she couldn't take it any more. She says she's doing better, but her new hip seems to be reluctant to join the family. Sadie, give it a better name.

 John was there, as was a friend, someone she knew in Hawaii. Yayoe and I fumbled around just a bit, as we always do, explaining how we're related. (Note: I adopt the Russian method. Everyone older is either Aunt or Uncle, and everyone about my age is a cousin.) I refer to Margie, Anita, Yayoe, Anna, Hanni, and Sheryl (Bob's sister in Seattle) as my sisters-in-law.
Anyhow, Yayoe and I were chatting and I suddenly thought, "I like this woman sooo much. How could the Fates have sent such a good person in my kids' lives?" I often feel as though Lohring and I did you kids wrong by moving you so far away from those great Pennsylvania Dutch farmers who would have been available to you as extended family, and then am reassured by the extended family which you have here in Eugene.

Second First Anniversary

May 27, 2013 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Today is the second anniversary of our civil marriage. We ate a huge, beautiful meal at Hope & Olive last night, drank too much, and walked home in our fancy clothes. This morning, Greg made dutch babies and brandied fruit. 

After a long winter, we're looking forward to the return of our farm share, summer weddings and one long weekend on the San Juan islands in August. Greg is student teaching until late June, but gets to bike across Iowa in July!

Birthdays! Birthdays!

May 27, 2013 by Seraph in Cortez

happy birthday Jennifer and Emma! There are huge hugs flying all the way from NM to you.

Lovely Beach Trip

May 27, 2013 by Adam in Family

We had a fun beach trip, getting better weather than expected and spending some good time with my dad.  Saturday morning we had a leisurely breakfast of crepes, pancakes, eggs, and bacon, along with my usual mocha.  Next was packing up the car, plugging the children into shows, and heading to the coast.  It was a pretty drive, and Joanna and I chatted about future possibilities along the way.  My dad was waiting for us at his house and he showed us the tour of the new back balcony and rain-filled fire pit.

Joanna whipped up crab and salmon for everyone (except me), and I took the kids to the beach.  Sam flew a kite and named it Jeremy.  Emma found a tiny dead crab she took everywhere.  Duncan and Berry dug a massive series of rivers in the sand.  Eventually we returned to eat and get kids to bed.  Emma and I read her new Avatar book that Sam got her.  It's pretty cool, a massive tome with good artwork.  The evening wrapped up with Sam, Joanna, and I watching old Star Trek TNG and heading to bed ourselves.

Sunday was game day, with my dad coming for breakfast.  We then broke out all these old games, like Twixt and Win, Place, and Show.  Anna came over for lunch and conversation.  In an odd twist, Jamie called, asking for a ride home.  We met up at a Newport Starbucks and dropped her off on the corner of 18th and Jefferson.  It was a little quirky, but she helped entertain kids on the way home.

Tomorrow is Emma's birthday.  The plan is to stick a candle in a lemon poppy seed scone for breakfast.  Later in the day Jamie will pick her up to celebrate Emma's birthday for the fourth and final time.

Mocha Friday

May 24, 2013 by Adam in Family

It's been a weird week.

Joanna and I have been going through the normal, healthy steps around her impending departure from PeaceHealth.  She's been especially cheerful today.  The thought of having some time off this summer is appealing.  Her coworkers have been giving her lots of support.  The are likely plenty of opportunities for consulting in the future.  We'll see how it all turns out.

The kids have had a generally good week.  Sam decided to set his alarm in the morning at wake up at 6:30 before taking a shower.  Years of nagging have finally paid off.  He's also been exercising in the evenings - he had especially positive things to say about the Silver Linings Playbook.

Berry went as a witch to school this morning, as W was the letter for sharing this week.  Emma was super excited yesterday, especially about her upcoming birthday.  Duncan was his usual funny self.

Looking forward to the beach trip tomorrow.

Change is the Only Constant

May 21, 2013 by Adam in Family

Joanna got word that she's being let go this morning.  The alternative is that she move to Vancouver with a demotion, which didn't excite her.  I'm not thinking particularly happy thoughts about our leadership at the moment.

I had a good long run at lunch, which wore me out enough for me to think straight.  Things will change, though I'm not sure how.  Hopefully Joanna gets a fairly pleasant and relaxing summer.  There are job opportunities, freelancing, and school options.  We haven't really sat down to ponder them all in great detail yet.

I think we'll be okay financially, at least in the short run.  We've got some savings, and Joanna could take over some child care duties.  Longer term has questions, but we're fortunately bright and capable people.

Easter Sunday was pleasant and fun.  We stuffed ourselves with strange and exotic food.  Berry and Duncan entertained themselves throwing dirt clods in the back yard.  Sam supervised.  Emma tiredly drew, still tuckered out from her sleepover.

Last night Joanna and I had a pleasant stroll over the hill to eat at the Glenwood.  The neighborhood is beautiful this time of the year.

(Nearly) Ten Years Old

May 19, 2013 by Adam in Emma

Emma had a birthday party with her friends today.  Jade, Kate, and Daniel all arrived this afternoon to hang out, eat good food, and have an adventure.  Joanna outdid herself with a delicious lemon cake and treasure hunt.  A horde of kids ran up and down the stairs, then in circles around the house, only to finally find their treasure.  They had a great time.

Sam and I picked up PF Changs, as requested.  Emma taught Jade how to use chopsticks.  Daniel got picked up just as Mythbusters was winding down.  The girls are now very slowly going to bed, all three sleeping bags next to each other.  Hopefully they actually go to sleep before we do.

I'm really appreciating this age of Emma.  She's sweet and helpful, and quite loveable by everyone around her.  It's cool how she's become an avid reader.  Last night we hung out on the couch as she showed me her favorite Avatar episodes.

Mocha Friday

May 17, 2013 by Adam in Family

The week keeps zipping along.  I had a pleasant mocha this morning, now long gone.  Work is interesting and somewhat less frantic than usual.  I'm actually getting around to cleaning up some old stuff this morning.

The kids are all doing well.  Duncan had a bloody nose this morning, which we all handled like troopers.  Berry went around giving everyone tattoos with eyeliner.  Emma got sick last night, but hopefully will perk up for tomorrow's birthday party and sleepover.  Sam has been thinking about high school more and more, signing up for classes.  I convinced him that he should try honors English, which his teacher recommended him for.

Joanna and I didn't manage to have a hot date this week.  She had a work event on Wednesday, and our babysitter canceled last night.  We were forced to play with children.  Berry taught kindergarten classes to Joanna.  Duncan played with the Razor Hydra in the Tuscany Demo, while Sam played with them in Portal 2.

I think we're all slowly getting ready for summer.  It should be more relaxed in some ways, and more frantic in others.  We haven't yet nailed down the trip entirely.  There are some small things we need to sort out with the kids' schedules, but it's generally coming together.  I'm hoping to have some quality hang out time, a weekend for Joanna and I to celebrate our anniversary, and of course a fun Europe trip.

Emma's birthday party with friends is tomorrow, with two kids sleeping over.  Sunday is Easter at my mom's.  Life's never boring.

Mother's Day

May 13, 2013 by Adam in Family

It was quite the Mother's Day, full of work and hugs and playtime.  I woke up at 5 a.m., getting in a little play time before the first kid was up.  Pretty soon I was helping them pick roses while working on crepes and sausage for breakfast, and getting out Joanna's gifts for the ready.  She appreciated all the pottery I took the kids to make last weekend.  We now have plenty of serving bowls, lovingly bespeckled with hearts.

Emma wanted her room cleaned suddenly, followed by Berry wanting the same.  Both rooms ended up looking quite nice, though the effort was considerable.  Joanna and Duncan went off to church, leaving me to clean up breakfast and prepare for lunch.  I took the kids to my mom's to give her my very special mug I made.  Sam now towers over my mom, made more obvious by the hug.  I had to pry Berry away from the toys, as she was having a great time there.

Emma's been really wanting to play D&D, so I managed to throw together a game for her and Sam.  It was pretty time consuming, but fun and they both enjoyed it.  Duncan and Berry wanted in on the action, so I'm going to try one for them next Saturday if I can somehow fit it in.

The afternoon wrapped up with yardwork and a trip to Tasty Thai for dinner.  Sam's on the treadmill.  Time to get Emma in the bath.  Busy, busy.

Happy Mother's Day!

May 12, 2013 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy Mother's Day everyone!  We miss and love you all!

Shiny hip

May 10, 2013 by Yayoe in Yayoe

Hi family. It's a done. My My new hip has joined my other hip in keeping me up right and supported. I'm feeling very well and looking forward to starting PT tomorrow. Thanks for your support and caring. If all goes well I'll be home on Sunday afternoon.

Beautiful Mocha Friday

May 10, 2013 by Adam in Family

It's such a gorgeous day, reminding me once again why Eugene is such a great place to live.  The week has been generally good, with only a few more weeks before the start of summer.  Joanna took the day off work to go to the kids' jog-a-thon, and will be going to see the Dali Lama later this afternoon.  Tonight we only have Duncan and his friend Ash, far less than the usual crew.

Sam got his midterm grades, all A's and B's.  He also excitedly showed me his packet for South Eugene High School.  This weekend we'll go through and pick his classes.  As expected, he's interested in the computer electives.  Less expected, he wants to take Japanese as his foreign language choice.

Coming home from work yesterday was pretty amusing.  Sam and Duncan were on the computer.  Berry was trying to get everyone to play Mastermind with her.  Emma was working hard on some math related website, doing complicated things for fun.  Sam's been using his tablet to draw world maps, using geology as the basis for mountains and rivers and such.  I caught him trying to figure out if the plate tectonics lined up in some logical way.

I'm strangely excited for mother's day.  I have the perfect gift for mom, which she'll be required to love and cherish always.  I think I've lined up the appropriate gifts for Joanna, and got Emma to make something for her mom.

Otherwise, the weekend promises to be fairly laid back and pleasant.  I'm hoping to spend some quality time in the hammock.

Emma Reads

May 10, 2013 by Adam in Emma

Emma has become an avid reader in the last year.  If she wakes up early in the morning, she'll read until it's time to wake up.  When she takes a bath, she'll always bring a book.  I can't count how many times I've read the Adventure Time graphic novels to her before bedtime.

Rochester News

May 06, 2013 by Lohring in Lohring

Dorothy couldn't be awakened on her birthday, so Ben, Emma, and I went out to dinner after I visited their farm. The next morning, though, she was wide awake and sitting up when I got there. We opened the cards and presents, ate some chocolate, and looked at pictures both in an album I made and on my phone.

We ate lunch at the home then went to visit Ben and Emma's farm.

Below are pictures of both Dorothy and the farm. I was expecting some old, run down place, but the house and buildings are very new. They have a pond and 5 acres of good land. This year they are only planting part of one field.  The hill behind the house is rumored to have walnut trees growing on it. 

I'm flying out tomorrow morning, so I'll see everyone soon.

Dorothy's 95th

May 05, 2013 by Lohring in Lohring

I'm in Rochester for my mom's 95th birthday. I'll try to arrange a call of some kind tomorrow evening. Below are some pictures from when she was your age and younger.  A certain small boy is included, sometimes with his sister.

May the Forth Be With You

May 05, 2013 by Adam in Family

It's been a beautiful day today, feeling more like summer than spring.  We broke out the slip-and-slide, as well as the kiddie pool.  Everyone but Sam ended up playing in the water.

The week has been a little more exciting than usual.  I ended up getting pretty sick on Friday, and Emma had stomach aches too.  Sam had the day off of school, so the three of us hung out.  We played Elder Signs, defeating the forces of evil together once again.  Sam and I played some Arma before I took them over to Jamie's house.

I ended up going grocery shopping, fixing the front door latch, and cleaning up.  Every time I ran around my stomach grumbled, so I spent some time laying in the hammock.  I also got my Woot! toy, a Razer Hydra controller that accurately tracks your hand movements.  I can't really describe it, but I had the kids giggling and waving their virtual hands around on the computer.

Joanna and I went out on a hot date, eating at Sweet Basil and walking around downtown on the First Friday Art Walk.  It's amazing how built up it seems these days, with all sorts of interesting restaurants and shops.  We ended up listening to live music and did a bit of dancing, much to the amusement of my coworker who stopped by.

Today was a mix of relaxing and productive.  I rearranged the shed interior, using space more efficiently.  I'm a sucker for tiny living spaces, and Emma declared that's where she's going to live when she's going to college.  Joanna and Berry went to get manicures and pedicures, leaving Emma, Duncan, and I to play on the slip-and-slide.  My mom stopped by to visit and declare she had abdicated her League duties, to her great relief.  Duncan headed off to a sleepover.  Sam arrived about an hour ago in preparation for tonight's pizza and Mythbusters, with the actual premiere of Mythbusters.  It's going to be awesome.

Wonderful Weekend

April 30, 2013 by Adam in Family

It was one of the better weekends in memory, beautiful and warm, with lots of great kid time.  We accomplished much, but didn't feel tremendous pressure to get anything done.

Friday night we had Emma, with a Saturday morning full of quality hanging out time.  I played Minecraft with the kids, something we haven't done in a long time.  After breakfast, Joanna took Berry and Duncan to a garden party at their school.  Emma and I went food shopping.

In the afternoon, I took Emma to Kate's house so she could perform some experiments on Kate's cat.  It involved shining light in the cat's eyes, somehow collecting data points and learning something about reflection.  Mostly the two girls hung out while I chatted with Kate's dad.

I picked up Sam early, who was starting to show symptoms of a cold.  He's been wanting to play Dark Souls again, and sucked me into it.  The evening wrapped up with pizza and Bang Goes the Theory.  Next weekend Mythbusters returns, which excites me greatly.

Sunday was spent playing once again with kids.  Sam, Emma, and I managed an hour long game of Elder Sign, defeating the Lovecraftian foes together.  The only casualty was one of Emma's characters, who went insane.  I told her a long rest and some prozac made her better after the game.

We spent a long while outside in the afternoon.  Joanna went crazy with pruning, opening up the front patio tremendously.  Sam eagerly mowed while listening to H.P. Lovecraft.  I broke out the second hammock, spread mulch, and pondered reconfiguring the shed furniture.

The day wound down with tie dye efforts.  Emma's turned out really well, and everyone was excited to wash them this morning to fix the colors.  Good times.

Mocha Friday

April 27, 2013 by Adam in Family

It's the end of the day, the kids are (mostly) in bed, and silence has engulfed the house.  It was amazingly beautiful, warm and sunny.  Eugene days don't get much better than this.  When we went for a walk around the neighborhood, the number of flowers and trees in bloom was amazing.

The week has been pretty uneventful, the usual mix of homework, and kid projects.  Sam has been teaching himself a new computer language and tool - C# and Unity to be specific.  Emma is working on a science project for school that involves shining lights in cat eyes.  My mom gave us her old slide projector.  I found one of my old slides and soon we were projecting a giant baby Adam on the stove.

It's nice to have things quiet for a change.

Mad Men

April 24, 2013 by Sue in Wielesek

For those of you who follow "Mad Men" you will remember his sales pitch about the Kodak Carasoul -oh, poop, I've lost the ability to spell. Anyhow, I have a Carousel which was Dick's, preserved perfectly in its vinyl case, with an extra projector bulb, two extra slide racks, and some instrument called a "slide duplicator". I have no idea who reads the family blog, but I will cheerfully send it free to anyone who will pay the postage. I think I looked on ebay and they were selling for something north of $100-$150.
I'm just trying to clear junk out. If I don't have any takers by Emma's birthday, I'll try to foist it off on a Facebook friend. You can offer it to anybody you like who will just come pick it up. I think I have all the tickets in place for the trip except my return. I'm going a day or two early, as it always takes me a long time to adjust.
Remember that Yayoe is coming up on her surgery on the 10th. We're not going to give her a bunch of flowers starts to plant for her birthday...

Science fair

April 22, 2013 by Joanna in Family

I snuck into the Science Fair on Friday morning, prowling around the gym peering at the project by the light of my Droid flashlight on my phone. And then another parent came in to do the same thing and just turned all the light son.

There were tons of cool projects. I told Berry my favorite was by a little girl in Kindergarten who tested gravity by trying to walk up the walls and repeatedly jump off the back of the couch. (Yes, that would be hers.) But the one I truly liked the best involved taking cut white flowers--roses or carnations--and putting them in vases of water dyed different colors. You could see how the water traveled up the stem of the flower into the petals and dyed the petals. Adam liked the one that involved somehow turning lemons into electricity. [EDIT: Apparently I had that conversation with someone other than Adam, or dreamed that I did, as he pointed out he didn't go to the science fair.]

There were a lot of great projects and it was a good reason to be later for work that usual. :)

Another Weekend Draws to a Close

April 22, 2013 by Adam in Family

It was an odd weekend, a mix of frantic work and relaxed playtime.  Friday night Joanna hosted a charity dinner for a group of women from her church.  The average age was probably around sixty, but they were a lively group and a little risque.  I kept a straight face and helped in the kitchen.  Berry and Duncan sat with us for much of the time, though I retreated occasionally to watch a little She-Ra in the basement.

Afterward I started in our our new "exercise chamber," taking the rather nice treadmill and stuffing it into a corner of the room, along with mounting a computer monitor to the wall.  You can now browse YouTube, watch Netflix, or other downloaded movies while running away.  All four kids have tried it out, and I think it'll work much better than the clunky thing upstairs.

In the morning I finished up the basement, doing a massive cleaning job with Berry as we listened to music.  The complete wreck turned into a somewhat organized room, which I was quite proud of.  Emma returned home after lunch, along with Sam.  We hung out and played and then had our usual pizza and Bang Goes the Theory.  Berry went shopping with my mom, wearing the dress she got all night and all day today.

Sunday started with a groggy Joanna going off to choir at church, where they got a standing ovation.  Emma and Berry played for a long while in the basement and made things out of clay.  Sam and I played a bit of Arma 2 and worked on his endless homework.  After lunch we swapped kids around, with Joanna taking Berry to Toys-R-Us and Jerry's.  The rest of the crew went hiking at Ridgeline Trail for an hour or so.  The evening wrapped up with stir fry and nonsensical laughter, as is often the case.

Funny for Yayoe

April 21, 2013 by Seraph in Cortez

today we were volunteering at the Santa Fe Japanese Festival and I saw a lovely little Japanese girl with a shirt that said "Everybody loves Jewish girls!" Made me laugh and think of you :)

Crazy Mocha Friday

April 19, 2013 by Adam in Family

It's been a wild week and I've been glued to the news trying to figure out if there are Chechen terrorists anywhere near Sadie.  I e-mailed her the other day and she reported everyone she knew was fine.  Craziness.

It's looking like we might be moving Emma's birthday party up to the weekend before Memorial Day, as her best friend will be out of town otherwise.  We may try to go to my dad's house that weekend instead.

Duncan and Berry had their science projects for school this week.  Berry did one on gravity, with many photos of her jumping off of things and trying to climb the walls.  Duncan's was on taste, complete with mystery substances to sample.  Emma went to see them after getting picked up from school yesterday and was quite impressed.

Jessica came by to watch kids on Wednesday for our date night, bringing along baby Avery.  She's evidently a great baby who sleeps all the time.  Jessica seems terribly perky and ready to go back to watching everyone this summer.

Joanna's stomach is bothering her again, which is super annoying for her.  She's hosting a dinner for her fellow churchgoers.  She spent last night after dinner making all sorts of French-themed dishes and desserts.  I hope she can enjoy the meal.

No exciting weekend plans.  We might do some gardening if the weather improves.  The plan is to get passport photos Saturday.  Sam is learning quantum physics at school and needs some practice.  Busy, busy.


April 14, 2013 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy birthday Berry!! Have a magical day.

Spoiler Alert: We Set Her Hair On Fire

April 14, 2013 by Adam in Ben

It was quite the birthday party for Berry yesterday.  We've all been sick, but we managed to go all-out on the Wizard 101 themed decorations.  There were Harry Potter glasses, a Wizard 101 cake, and a Unicorn-themed Happy Birthday sign.  The horde of children arrived, along with a few adults who stayed.  We gave the adults wine, chocolate covered strawberries, and board game recommendations.  The kids got pinata bashing, playing in the backyard, and lots of cake and ice cream.

Berry had a good time overall, despite the fact that the relighting candles ended up being a fire hazard that set her hair briefly ablaze.  Fortunately no one had time to be terrified, as one of the dads had lighting-like reflexes and put it out immediately.

It's her actual birthday today, and we'll have a smaller gift exchange with just the family.  I think Berry is happy to finally be six, as she's seemed like a big kid for some time now.

Generic Heading

April 14, 2013 by Emma in Emma

(Mostly) Back from the Dead

April 13, 2013 by Adam in Family

Yesterday was full of throwing up, moaning, and generally feeling lousy.  I woke up with stomach pain and was soon cleaning up after Duncan, who joined me in horrible illness.  Berry soon followed.  The rest of the day is a blur of pain medicine and sleeping.  Sam and I played a fair amount of Civilization, successfully defeating England on our little continent.  Emma went over to her friend Miawako's house where they made sushi and origami.  I managed to watch a couple shows with Sam and Joanna and eat some oatmeal before collapsing in bed.

This morning I feel so much better, as do Duncan and Berry.  I think Sam and Emma are doing just fine today too.  I think Berry's birthday party is still on today.  I've been cleaning up in preparation.

Sick Friday

April 12, 2013 by Adam in Family

I woke up feeling queasy this morning, followed by Duncan waking up feeling the same.  He's been throwing up off and on and it's not even seven this morning.  Lots of laundry, cleaning the tub, and so on.

Fortunately Sam and Emma seem lots better.  Emma is cheerful about going to her friend Miwako's for origami and lunch.  I really hope Berry continues to remain free of illness, as her birthday is tomorrow.

School Photo

April 12, 2013 by Adam in Emma

I finally got around to scanning in Emma's 4th grade school photo.  Some notable friends are Jade, Jamie, and Trinity.  Absent is Kate, who has been Emma's best friend since 1st grade - she's in another class.

Sneaking up on the Weekend

April 11, 2013 by Adam in Family

It's another odd day, working from home while Sam and Emma moan and groan about.  Emma is complaining of stomach aches, while Sam has a sore throat and headaches.  Next week is going to be spent catching up with homework, which is always fun.  On the plus side, I'm taking tomorrow off, so it's effectively my Friday.  I'm also getting a ton of stuff done at work, despite the crushing level of things to be done.

Mom has been heroically booking tickets for the trip to France and England this summer.  It looks like we're leaving on July 4th.  The last time I flew on the 4th of July was when I was a kid, and the fireworks were awesome.  Hopefully we can get some window seats.

We're getting ready for Berry's impending birthday party this Saturday.  Joanna has amassed all manner of Wizard 101 themed items, from pinatas to wizard hats.  It's hard to believe she's turning six.

Sam and I played a little Civilization 5 last night, as that's all he was up for.  We've yet to meet up.

Time to make myself a mocha and delve into the madness of the workday.


April 10, 2013 by Adam in Family

I'm not quite sure how it became Tuesday already.  The weekend came and went, wet but generally pleasant.  As Jamie is on vacation, we've had all the kids, all the time.  It's generally worked out really well, and it's cool to see the kids play together and laugh even more than usual.

Emma and Berry found pet snails and made up a song for them.  Sam stuck a sleeping bag on his body and became Worm Sam, attacking Duncan who crept around him.  Later we all went to the park and mixed up track ball, Frisbee, and playing in the sand.  Sam and Duncan had so much fun that they came up later.  Joanna puttered in the garden, putting in even more plants and getting things ready for the patch where the chicken coop used to be.

Yesterday we bought a new (used) treadmill to replace our $50 Craigslist one.  I certainly got my exercise putting it into the van and getting it out again.  I think it weighs 300+ lbs.

Both Emma and Sam are sick today.  They mostly made it through school, but are sitting around moaning a bit.  I may be working from home tomorrow.

Spam Call

April 06, 2013 by Adam in Joanna

Joanna got a call from an Indian fellow claiming we had computer problems.  She played along.

Mocha Friday

April 05, 2013 by Adam in Family

I woke up crazy early this morning, dreaming of taking tests that I was ill prepared for.  Life does seem that way on occasion.

The week has moved along without too much excitement.  Duncan and Berry went to the eye doctor, with Berry crying because she didn't need glasses.  It was great seeing Emma last night, as it had been awhile since we spent time together.  I look forward to being able to hang out with her more this weekend.

Joanna and I had a good date night, checking out the new restaurant where the Zenon used to be.  Their moussaka wasn't as good as mom's, though it was decent.  I did love their Turkish coffee and baklava, though.

Sam had his big concert choir last night, perhaps the last one we'll go to at Roosevelt for a long while.  He was looking incredibly huge in his black dress shoes, and was only vaguely embarrassed to see all our enthusiasm at his singing.

It's a mocha day for me.  I've been doing pretty well at work.  Doctors are getting paid, and SouthWest Hospital users are getting migrated.  I work on weird, complicated things.

Sweet Spring

April 04, 2013 by Sue in Wielesek

is my time, is your time, is our time. So viva, sweet love!

I'm sitting here, grooving on the fact that I have virtually no paperwork on my desk. I'm in much better spirits, though I'm so unsure how to work around the anti-Semitism I was so floored by. Maybe I could put on a
"Meet an Actual Jewish Person" event. Anyhow, I think I can bail after the September Luncheon. Does anyone know Hilary Clinton, Bill Clinton, or any of their staff? Maybe one of them would be a speaker. If you have any pull, contact Adam.

This is one of those wonderful "misty, moisty" days. I've been rereading TS Eliot. Amazing poet.

Back Home, Safe and Sound

April 01, 2013 by Adam in Family

Saturday night in Bend continued with a return to downtown.  We ate sushi in a very hip bar.  I kept feeling we should be discussing international intrigue under the water-covered lighting things.  After that we drove to the old ironworks where hipster artisans did a once-a-month sale and music fest.  It was pretty cool and I almost got a "Die at the Helm" shirt from these guys

The musicians started late, and they were pretty loud.  The night was cold and the big fire was smokey.  The music itself was pretty good, though we eventually decided we were old people and went home.

This morning we had another amazing breakfast and I took Joanna to the lava fields.  I think she was being somewhat polite in my wishes, but I think ended up a bit in awe of the devastation volcanoes produce.  We headed back to the B&B, packed up, and headed home.

Joanna found alpaca yarn in Sister's and we managed to find a place to eat.  Eventually we returned home to unpack, garden, grocery shop, and settle down.  Duncan and Berry should return from their adventures with their dad soon.  Sam arrives tomorrow.  I'll probably see Emma on Wednesday.  It'll be nice to have all the kids together in a few days. 

Bend Adventures

March 30, 2013 by Adam in Family

We're taking a little rest at our B&B after running around all day.  I've had fun playing with the new panorama photo features of my phone, which appeared with the latest software upgrade.  Hopefully this turns out okay.  A hiker was walking by, so he ended up getting cloned during the process:

Thursday night we had Sam and Emma over for dinner.  I played Civilization 5 with Sam and then we all ran around the backyard, enjoying the sun.  Joanna arrived to whip up a tasty dinner.  We played more in the evening and then I ran them home to Jamie's before their beach trip.

Friday morning was spent getting Duncan and Berry ready to go to Portland with their dad.  While Joanna went to the chiropractor, I got the webcams working and replaced the batteries on the motion sensor.  No intruders so far.

The drive to Bend was uneventful.  Joanna read her mom's diaries for entertainment purposes (mom - burn yours unless you want your children alternately amused, horrified, and intrigued).  We stopped by Sister's to go into a yarn store (I'm a good husband) and mochas (Joanna is a good wife).  We rolled into our quirky B&B before dinner and then walked to the shops at the Old Mill for pasta.

After dinner we found a place that teaches west coast swing and we had a fabulous time.  I learned enough moves to be dangerous.  Joanna and I wildly cavorted among the retired couples and the sixteenish boys and girls learning to flirt on the dance floor.  It made me want to take classes again when we get back to town.

This morning we had a fabulous breakfast of quiche and plenty of coffee.  After a stroll by the river we decided to take the advice of one of the elderly locals from the dance lesson and go hiking by the falls.  The weather has been amazing and we ended up in short sleeve shirts by ten.  Eventually we wore ourselves out and hung out in downtown Bend.

We found a toy store for souvenirs and a great comic book shop that Joanna actually seemed to enjoy almost as much as I.  The kids should be properly spoiled upon our arrival.  After finally finding a lunch place that was open, we retreated to our room for a short rest before striking out again on more adventures.

For amusement purposes, here's one more panorama of our morning hike.  Joanna ended up a floating head:

Quiet House

March 29, 2013 by Seraph in Cortez

Robbie and Isabell headed out early this morning for their adventure in San Diego with Robbie's family.  I think I'll putter around some today, cleaning house and running errands.  I'm trying to avoid driving too much because of all the Good Friday pilgrims in the valley. Maybe I'll even make it out to a non-animated movie :)   

New joint coming to town!

March 29, 2013 by Yayoe in Yayoe

HI There,

I'm getting a new left hip joint on May 10th! It will be shiny and new and then I can run, jump, climb K-2 without using a cane and look forward to another 75,000 miles on my bionic parts. The last time I did this was almost 3 years ago in October. 

Belated Update

March 27, 2013 by Adam in Family

It's been a while.  Life has calmed down to some degree.  Joanna's feeling much better after a mostly relaxing weekend.  Sam and Emma are at their mom's, and Duncan and Berry have been spending the day with their dad, who flew in for Spring Break.  Joanna and I have arranged a weekend getaway to Bend without children, something that hasn't happened in nearly a year.

The weekend was generally pretty fun, if slightly chaotic.  We opted to celebrate Easter a week early, breaking out the egg dye and stuffing the kids with chocolate.  They all seemed to enjoy the books we got them as well.  Emma spent a good long while in the hammock on Sunday, reading her Adventure Time book.

Sam and I played a WWI flight simulator together for awhile, then wandered over into Civilization 5.  We never did find each others cities, so it wasn't as exciting as I'd hoped.

Joanna and I went out to dinner last night.  Looking forward to seeing Sam and Emma tomorrow for dinner.

Saturday Morning

March 23, 2013 by Adam in Family

Well, we didn't make it to the coast as planned today.  Joanna's still getting over strep throat.  The kids have been running around all morning - forts in the basement, board games, stuffing a pinata, and several breakfasts.  It's not even noon.

I've got a ton of things on my "things to do" list.  We're going to celebrate Easter a week early as we won't have any kids next Sunday.  Now that the chickens have been given away, it's time to clean the coop and get it ready for craigslist.  I managed to unclog a drain already.

Some downtime this weekend would be nice.  It's been a stressful week.


March 21, 2013 by Sue in Wielesek

Hi, all you guys. I just want  you to know I love you all so much. I appreciate that you aren't prejudiced or crappy, sneaky people. All this is because, as part of my gradual escape from the clutches of the League of Women Voters, I'm now both the Membership Committee chair and the Fall Recruitment Luncheon chair. If this sounds counterintuitive, I can end my five year membership term at the end of June,'13. The Luncheon Chair doesn't have a term attached, and a couple of the members I have to deal with are such nasty unpleasant people that I'm going to quit the Luncheon Committee as soon as the Luncheon is over in September.

But whether or not I think two of the Board Members are nasty, what really bothers me is what I perceive as deep rooted, almost unconscious anti-Semitism. The most logical venue for this luncheon is Temple Beth Israel, which is amazingly beautiful and well suited for a lunch. The only dietary requirement which affects us at all is that we have to serve fish rather than meat. So the League pres gave me a week to put together a complete presentation for the Board today, which involved making many phone calls, asking a member of Temple Beth Israel to help with the food and menu planning, etc.. So I put that together, but then spent a frustrating hour at the Board meeting fending off incredibly stupid objections. Earlier in the meeting they hastily decided to spend $500 on something nobody had thought of before today's meeting. Then they nattered over $174 of my paltry budget endlessly. By the next Board meeting I have to have three catering proposals for $12 a lunch. I finally told them that the Recruitment Luncheon was the biggest event of the year (we had 20 new members from the lunch last year, the most of any of the local Leagues in the state.) , that they had just ponied up $500 without a faretheewell, but getting money for the lunch was like pulling teeth.

Thanks, everyone, for letting me complain. I think that the problem is that I move among such kind people that I haven't really had to develop a hard skin, so Racism and Anti-Semitism hurt my feelings so much. Many hugs, Mom/Sue


Sneaking into the Week

March 20, 2013 by Adam in Family

It's Wednesday already.  Joanna's sick.  I'm hassling with child support, realizing that I've significantly overpaid these last three years.  Visiting a lawyer tomorrow.  It seems the giddiness of knowing my job is secure quickly fades.

Ah, well.  Spring is coming.  Joanna planted a bunch of bulbs this weekend.  Sam and I watched Pan's Labyrinth last night, wonderful but sad.


March 17, 2013 by Adam in Emma

Emma went along with Berry and Duncan to Build-a-Bear yesterday.  She seemed a little hesitant, but picked out a bear of her own, paid with her own money, and has been cheerfully carrying it around the last few days.  After getting it, she declared that she was going to stay a kid for a couple more years, which is fine with me.

This morning she and I sewed a beret for her bear.  She's ready for her trip to France this summer.

Emma's a Merry Man

March 16, 2013 by Adam in Emma

Emma did great in her play last night.  We all went over, met up with mom, Yayoe, Jamie, Sam, Jim, and Judy, and thoroughly enjoyed the play. 

I did the same thing four times in a row.  It was settled with a coin toss, making it the first time I've ever won a girl in a game of chance.

I Have A Job

March 15, 2013 by Adam in Family

It's a wonderful Mocha Friday, with only a few more minutes in the work day before I wander home for a quick dinner, and then off to see Emma in her play.  She's nervous, but I'm excited to see her as one of Robin Hood's merry men.

I also got news that I officially have my job.  No reduction in pay or anything weird.  After two years of uncertainty, I'm almost giddy knowing everything is relatively stable.  We're celebrating by buying a new dishwasher.

I am having some coworkers move to other places as jobs shift around.  Mike Oswald, whom I've sat next to for years, is about to head to the SSB in Eugene where I used to work.  He's returning in six months, so it wasn't too sad (for me anyway).

It's been a relatively uneventful week.  Sam and I went to the eye doctor and he got new contacts.  He said it was like anti-aliasing was turned on (a computer graphics reference for you non-gamers).  Sam also got his grades from last term - all A's and B's.  His standardized tests were also really good - over 90th percentile for everything but math (there he was merely good).  Reading was in the 98 percentile, which was cool to see.

Joanna and I went out Wednesday night, going to a Thai place for dinner, and then off to Market of Choice to continue our hot date night.  We're hoping to have a short vacation over Spring Break, though it's tricky coordinating the kids with their various other parents.  Hopefully we can sneak away to Bend for a couple days.

I'm looking forward to the weekend, spending time with kids and getting a little downtime.  I can tell I'm getting old, as the prospect of a new dishwasher is very exciting.

Happy Pi Day

March 14, 2013 by Lohring in Lohring

Just think; in three years it will be 3.1416

Last Team Meeting

March 11, 2013 by Adam in Family

We just had our last team meeting as the Web Services team.  Glen has been my manager for over 15 years.  We've had two people die, many leave, and a number of babies brought into this world (though Dave's daughter was put to work on the team).  It's strange to see such a big part of my life come to an end.  I'll miss it, and especially the people.

I broke out the piratey root beer that Emma gave me for my birthday and drank it down.  It's the last.

Beautiful Weekend

March 11, 2013 by Adam in Family

Berry's teeth are just crazy these days.  We took Sam, Duncan, and Berry to the dentist Wednesday morning.  One of Berry's teeth got yanked, and the other is tilting over and making her look like she lives in the woods harassing cityfolk that come by.  She was quite happy about the card and cash the next morning, though she asked for Wizard 101 toys.

The weekend was sunny and relaxing, with a fair amount of play time with the kids.  We spent a bunch of time playing in the garden.  I put down bark-o-mulch, Joanna pruned some more, and the kids put up the hammock.  We worked on science and art projects.  Sam and I played Arma 3.  Sam power washed the driveway for cash.  Pizza and Bang Goes the Theory was enjoyed.

Life's okay.


March 05, 2013 by Lohring in Lohring

Thanks everyone for your cards and texts. Am I old enough to be considered a dirty old man yet?

Monday Already

March 05, 2013 by Adam in Family

It was a pleasant, relatively uneventful weekend - at least compared to our wild downtown adventure of Friday.  We took the little kids swimming, with both Berry and Duncan improving immensely.  Emma enjoyed carrying me around in the pool.  Berry had a sleepover, packing all sorts of interesting things in her suitcase.  I especially liked the fake money.

Sunday was sunny, if not warm.  Joanna exclaimed her love of power tools and let rip on the shrubbery with the hedge trimmer.  Emma hung outside with us, mowing and picking up.  Sam worked away at his homework.  He's been playing Super Meat Boy, which is incredibly difficult.  "What do I do now, pappy?"  he asked.  "Be awesome," was my reply.  Sure enough, he beat the level and we exchanged high fives.

Sunday night was family dinner.  Even Jenny and her boys showed up.  It's nice to see everyone is well and happy.

March Mocha Friday

March 02, 2013 by Adam in Family

We just got back from the First Friday Art Walk.  There were inflatodomes that people would crawl into, street performers playing saws and accordions, galleries with steampunk musical devices, and all manner of oddities.  Joanna is great to have adventures with, and we explored all manner of nook and cranny downtown.

The week has been pretty uneventful.  Homework was done, kids were fed, and clothing was washed.  Joanna has been becoming more and more of a runner, picking up speed each day at the gym.  She's also been dairy free for a few months now, which seems to have cleared up her stomach issues entirely.

I checked with Sam's teachers and he seems to be getting A's and B's all around.  Berry is doing well at piano.  Duncan has mastered the art of floating at swimming and wants to show off his assorted nautical skills at the pool this weekend.  Emma is hoping to go to the Mythbusters live show a couple Fridays from now, even if it means staying up until ten.

All-in-all, life is good.

3D Tech

February 25, 2013 by Lohring in Lohring

I decided to waste the day looking at the Daytona 500 and the Oscars. To keep it from being a total loss I researched 3D printing and scanning. I was astonished at the low cost equipment now available. The Kinect can be used with (free) to scan bigger things and even clothing (this is for you Seraph)is being printed. I was looking for ways to create wax patterns that can be burned out for lost wax casting. The good machines for this are still pretty expensive. PLA used by inexpensive machines may burn out but it expands and can break the investment.

Sunday Fort

February 25, 2013 by Adam in Family

It's been a beautiful, sunny day.  The girls spent virtually all day outside - I helped them put up a tarp in the backyard with rope and posts, which they decorated with tables, a recliner, and assorted natural accouterments.  It was quite the contrast from yesterday when I took the younger kids out to Hendrick's park in the rain.  Fortunately they played the "let's use bushes as homes" game until they were wet and tired and we headed to the library for books.

Sam's been sick since Thursday afternoon, but I think he's doing well enough to return to school tomorrow.  His cough is abating, and he did a bunch of homework today.

I expanded the home network yesterday, running cable from the basement hub, out through the garage, past the front door, and through the side of the house into the living room.  There I stuck another hub (I have four now) to supply a wired connection to Emma and Joanna's computers.  Fancy.

It's pizza and Bang Goes the Theory tonight, then work tomorrow.  I think next week they'll announce who's officially here or gone.  It's to the point where I just want to get on with things, despite good people having to leave.

Kerbal Space Program

February 21, 2013 by Adam in Adam's Games

This isn't actually my game - Sam had me buy it for him with his game money bank.  Still, I spent the first day he got it looking over his shoulder as he assembled rockets and tried to launch the little Kerbals into space.  It's essentially a sandbox space simulator, which lets you create rockets, space stations, and landers.  Each part you add to your rocket has drag, weight, and various functions. 

It took us a good hour to get into orbit, and we've crash landed on the moon a couple times after great effort.  At this point we're attempting to get an actual lander on the surface of the moon, though already our solar system is scattered with aborted attempts, flung off to orbit the sun.

Some of the failures are wonderfully spectacular, exploding dramatically or spinning out of control.  The game nicely displays the faces of the Kerbal astronauts, either cheerfully smiling as they successfully get into space or going wide-eyed as their spacecraft flies out of control into the ocean.

Sam's also learning orbital dynamics, getting a feel for increasing his orbit by doing burns at the right moment in the right direction.  I love it when games accidentally teach him things.

Dad - this is one I'd highly recommend for you.  You'd enjoy it immensely.

Late Mid-Week Update

February 21, 2013 by Adam in Family

This is a pretty late mid-week update.  It's been a pretty typical week - kids are doing homework, laundry is getting done, life goes on.  I think work is going to get exciting pretty soon.  Already we're seeing people let go from other teams, a few of which are very sad to me.  I wrote a letter of recommendation for Glen yesterday, as I fear he'll be one of those before the month is out.

I continue to work on our vast computer network at home.  The plan is to lay more network cable this weekend in order to get Joanna and the girl's computers wired.  The wireless network is a bit too flaky and low-bandwidth, so the plan is to run cable through floors, walls, and outdoors this weekend.

Looking forward to mocha Friday tomorrow.

Presidents' Day

February 18, 2013 by Adam in Family

It's still pretty darn early, with Emma and I the only people up.  I'll be dialing into work and starting in on the madness soon.

The weekend was pretty fun.  Saturday was the Asian Celebration - we left right after breakfast and met up with Jenny, Destin, and Jordan.  Emma, Berry, and Duncan made kitty ears and immediately made Joanna and I wear them.  The girls went on a shopping spree, getting clothes, fans, and other goodies.  It seemed a reasonable investment, as they wore their outfits for most of the weekend.

I picked up Sam in the afternoon and we worked on homework a bit.  Pizza and Bang Goes the Theory followed. 

Sunday morning had Duncan and Joanna going to church while the girls and I did science and crafts.  I had fun aging paper with tea.  Eventually Sam woke up and asked that I get him Kerbal Space Program.  It ended up being all sorts of crazy fun, and we built endless rockets, celebrating when we finally got one of our little Kerbals into orbit.

Good times.

Valentine's Day

February 14, 2013 by Adam in Family

I woke up this morning to a sea of Valentine's Day cards.  Joanna got chocolate for everyone, so Sam ate his waffles with big globs of chocolate on it.  He saved a few for his friend Evan, which was very sweet.  Duncan, Berry, Emma, and Joanna all got me Valentine's cards, which I cheerfully brought to work.

It does seem that this is the season for sad news.  Two of my coworkers have parents with terminal cancers.  I think we're going to start figuring out who gets to keep their jobs very soon. 

On the up side, we're all generally happy and healthy.  We're going to meet up with Jenny and Jordan at the Asian Celebration this Saturday.  I'm getting things done at work and helping make the world a slightly better place.

Sorry to add to the sadness

February 14, 2013 by Seraph in Cortez

Things have been a little sad down here.  A school friend of Isabell's lost his mother, and Robbie and Isabell went to the funeral last weekend.  And, today we got news about a friend at work whose husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer today.  It feels like it will be a sad spring.

Hugs to everyone.  We miss and love you all. 

More bad news

February 12, 2013 by Sue in Wielesek

This has been a bad day for the family. I talked to my cousin Ann this afternoon to tell her about Bob's death. In turn, she said she had just talked with her brother, Alan. Alan said that his wife Jeannie died today of cancer.
She had seen a doctor in mid-December and was diagnosed then. Apparently she didn't want anyone other than Alan and their twins Andrew and Jessica to know, and not even her close friends knew she was ill.  She had radiation treatment, but it wasn't very helpful. Just a bad day all around.

Sad news from Ohio

February 12, 2013 by Sue in Wielesek

I wanted to let you all know that Betsy's partner, Bob, who has been fighting lung cancer for several years, died earlier this afternoon. He actually was doing pretty well though last Wednesday, when he drove himself from the farm, northeast of Columbus, into Columbus for lunch with his friends. His health failed rapidly after the trip, and when I spoke with Betsy yesterday evening, she was feeling as though he was close to the end. I gather that Patrick  has been a rock, but that Will has been very stressed by Bob's illness. Our condolences to Betsy and the boys.

Piratey Weekend

February 11, 2013 by Adam in Family

Emma and Berry put on several elaborate pirate-themed plays this weekend.  It was pretty cool seeing them play so well together.

In general, it was a low-key, kid-filled weekend.  Joanna and I watched Pitch Perfect Friday night, which was greatly amusing.  Saturday we did crafts at Ben Franklin and then got Emma some new shoes.  Sam appeared and we did our usual pizza and Bang Goes the Theory.

Emma, Duncan, and Berry all started playing Wizard 101, so we monitored computer time diligently.  The girls played outside after their time ran out, taking me with them.  Henny laid three eggs, perhaps picking up on our subtle body language that both chickens were on notice.  I think we may go chicken-free for awhile, as the hassle factor is fairly great.

Grandma sue called and invited kids to pick up nails for ten cents a pop.  She ended up passing out quite a bit of money, and the kids' eyes glowed with eager anticipation as they carefully counted them all out.  Her little back house is slowly approaching something that looks livable.  I suspect interior walls may happen soon.

Makeup Mocha Friday

February 08, 2013 by Adam in Family

Brenna picked up Emma from school successfully yesterday.  When they got home, Brenna, Berry, and Emma all did their hair and put on makeup.  Emma washed most of it off before dinner, but she kept the braids in her hair.  The two girls were pretty sweet together last night, with Emma helping Berry with her bath.

Sam and I started working on his science review.  It's pretty complicated stuff - high school level at a minimum.  We went over chemical reactions, different types of bonds, balancing reactants, endothermic and exothermic, and so on.  Hopefully he'll get ready for his test next week.

Berry evidently did so good at Math Madness that she's one of the chosen few who will be taken out to lunch by the principal.  Duncan was not happy with this turn of events, and spent some time sobbing about it this morning.  Ah, sibling rivalry.

I look forward to hanging out with everyone this weekend.  I think we'll do a shoe shopping and craft supply trip tomorrow.  Joanna has asked me to unstick the windows in the house.  I think we're pretty good with house projects, including taxes.  We're also getting data back from the car monitors our insurance company sent us.  As suspected, we're incredibly boring drivers who never speed, drive late at night, or brake uncontrollably.  I think that translates to a 17% discount.  Woo hoo.

Mid-Week Update

February 07, 2013 by Adam in Family

We went out on a date night last night to the fancy restaurant Marche for Joanna's belated birthday dinner.  It was pretty good, if spendy.  Ironically we ran into a bunch of PeaceHealth IST people, including some new managers and directors from Vancouver.  I promised Joanna I wouldn't talk shop, but I did introduce myself.

Work in general continues to be grim.  We lost more people yesterday and are still trying to figure out Tom's departure.  My workload is pretty daunting and it's clear some things are going to fall through the cracks.  I'm trying hard not to feel too personally responsible for everything, but I haven't been sleeping well this week.

Sam's been catching up in school, turning the Cs and one D into Bs.  Actually getting the work done makes a huge difference.

It's an Emma night tonight, and I'm excited to see her.  My favorite crazy show, Community, is starting tonight.  I missed those zany students.

squishy circuits

February 04, 2013 by Adam in Family

It was the usual zany weekend - productive, pleasant, and odd.  We had a hearty breakfast and then started in on the day.  Joanna went to church early for choir, taking Duncan with her.  I helped Sam with his Advanced Topics class, putting together a presentation on energy.  We eventually descended into the basement and ran around.  Sam dressed like a crazy person at one point.  We broke out Rock Band and played some Beatles.

After lunch Emma broke out Squishy Circuits.  We made conductive and non-conductive dough, attached batteries and hooked up lights and buzzers.  Joanna went shopping.  I unclogged a sink.  We had pizza and Bang Goes the Theory.  Joanna did our taxes, which looks like it's coming out slightly in the black.

Work is slowly getting resolved, one way or another.  I'm a bit stressed due to another developer leaving.  On the plus side, maybe we're going to be able to keep another person employed.  Hopefully by the end of the month I'll get that uncertainty sorted out.

Life is good.

Project Saturday

February 03, 2013 by Adam in Family

Friday night was pretty fun, especially watching Joanna play blackjack at our charity dinner thing.  She won over $200 in play money, which turned into raffle tickets.  Still, it was pretty entertaining overall and the dealer kept dropping hints as to the next card.

I was a bit of a maniac on Saturday, accomplishing projects and hanging out with kids.  I did my usual cleaning of the kitchen and dining room, folded laundry, fixed the dryer vent, cleaned the gunk out of the dishwasher nozzles, put air in the minivan's tires, turned in my rebates from the recent computer purchases, and so much more. 

It was also a beautiful day, and Emma and I spent much of it outside.  The chickens were fed and given some time out of their cage.  Emma rode the Razor "Big Wheel" tricycle thing around the block, though I helped push on the hill.

Emma joined in on the fun - she and I puttered in the garage for a bit and she discovered the old bike trailer.  She decided to put it together and clean it up, then she anxiously waited for Berry to return from Jessica's baby shower.  Duncan really wanted to join in, but it was a bit much.  Once we got to the park, I let him climb in and then he got a couple crazy rides down the hill.

The evening was fairly low-key.  Emma typed up her homework.  Berry wrote love letters to everyone and played the role of mail carrier.  It was very sweet.

Joanna's off to choir this morning, so I'll be kid wrangling.  I've got to get Sam working on his science presentation.  Monday he has another catch-up task.  Hopefully we'll get him back into A and B territory soon.

Mocha Friday

February 02, 2013 by Adam in Family

It was a pretty crazy day today.  We had one of our key developers give his notice today, so I was running around like a crazy person trying to figure out what to do.  The one good thing about this is that it may save someone else's job.  If I get my way, we'll take a technically minded person to get trained up, hopefully leaving room for someone else.

In any case, I worked from home until well past five, taking care of most of the technical issues I left dangling today.  I'm somewhat terrified that I'll end up supporting even more than I already do.

Life at home has been generally pretty good.  Sam got his midterm grades, which included a D.  That didn't make me happy and we're starting to take the steps to correct that.  It's made for some tense moments, but I think it'll all work out.

Berry got some flubber from school, which Emma and I had a great time playing with last night.  Berry's started piano lessons.  Joanna hit the gym every day this week and has been doing a surprising amount of running.  She's starting to push me these days, especially with her post-treadmill workout.

It's a hot date night today.  We're dressing up and going to some fake gambling fundraiser thing that's vaguely related to work.  I'm looking forward to hanging out with kids this weekend and hopefully getting some downtime.

Rainy Weekend

January 28, 2013 by Adam in Family

We had a very wet weekend, which didn't stop me from dragging the kids outside.  Joanna was feeling cruddy on Friday, so we canceled our date night and just hung out at home.

Saturday morning I picked up Emma.  She and I got her new computer set up - she spent a good long while picking the right background wallpaper.  It runs games nice and smooth, which was my overall goal.  We played Sims Medieval and built up Queen Emma's kingdom.  Fortunately Emma's a fairly benevolent leader.

I took all the younger kids out to Hendrick's Park for a picnic.  It started raining and we ended up eating under the covered tables and then briefly swinging in the rain.  We quickly rushed off to the library to pick up books.  Upon our return, everyone had a long quiet reading time.

Sam arrived later that night and we did our usual pizza and Bang Goes the Theory.  Sam and I played a bit of the free-to-play Diablo-like game Path of Exile together.  It's pretty amazing, especially for free.  We also made Joanna watch Primer with us, one of my favorite time travel movies.

Sunday at noon I took Sam, Emma and Berry for a long walk down to get our hair cut.  We ate lunch at the Glenwood, with Sam eating massive quantities of food.  He's nearly six feet tall at this point, and I think he's got some more growing to do.  They kids all played well together, and were very patient waiting for things.  Joanna returned with Duncan after church and a birthday party, and we settled down for a quiet evening.

Mocha Friday

January 26, 2013 by Adam in Family

Okay, it was really Mocha Friday today.  I worked from home, which was strangely productive as always.  I got my big provider compensation project ready to go live, as well as lots of little things that had been sitting around waiting for my attention.

I managed to get out to have coffee with mom.  She gave me a tour of the house that she's building in her back yard.  It looks pretty amazing so far, though there's lots of detail work to do.  There's a cool room at the top with a balcony that has a gorgeous view.

Joanna has the cold now, so we canceled our date night and stayed at home.  The kids watched the second Harry Potter movie, as they finished the book.  I tidied up and worked on getting Emma and Berry's new computer ready to go.

Mocha Thursday

January 24, 2013 by Adam in Family

I think the barista put in a double shot in my Thursday mocha.  I haven't quite thrown of my clothes and run screaming through the cubicle farm, claiming to see god, but it seems like an increasingly good idea.  I had a mocha today as I'm working from home tomorrow, as it's a no school day.  It's only fair.

Life's doing okay.  Jamie reported that Emma is still sick.  I'm finally feeling pretty normal.  Sam's mostly caught up with homework, though I think he has some papers due on Monday.

I'm putting together a new computer for Berry and Emma.  Evidently my six year-old computer isn't even powerful enough to play Moshi Monsters effectively.  Sadly both it and Joanna's computer are more powerful than mine.

I'm loving the new counter space in our bedroom.  I sprawled out all the computer parts and threw it together quickly.  It's nice having a place I can mess up and leave it as-is for a few days.  Other than the cold and dusty garage, I haven't had a good craft table for a long while.

Birthday Girl

January 23, 2013 by Adam in Family

Joanna had her birthday yesterday, an event that started on Sunday when we had all the kids.  I was pretty sick all weekend, so she ended up making herself a cake.  We sang the songs and showered her with presents.  The cards that all the kids made were dutifully read and cherished.

Monday was pretty low-key, with Sam and Emma going to Jamie's in the afternoon.  Sam and I worked on programming, getting pathfinding working for his Java game.  All the kids spent a bunch of time playing Wii Fit, in our attempt to get them more active.

I started working on a crazy virtual reality thingie, tying the forward key in games to the treadmill speed slider.  The programming is good to go, including the signal to the Lego Mindstorms robot, but I'm running into hardware issues with pistons.

My annoying cold is finally getting better.  I think everyone else is doing well.  Sam had a ton of homework last night from his day he missed school.  After two and a half hours of math and writing, we called it quits.  Today is the rest of the math and a bunch of Spanish.  Ah, midterms.

Sniffly Sunday

January 20, 2013 by Adam in Family

Everyone's been sick off and on this last week.  It finally became my turn to get the full-blown cold yesterday, and I'm slowly on the mend.  I worked from home Wednesday through Friday to keep an eye on kids.  I'm usually strangely productive when I work from home, but the volume of work was so huge that I had a hard time keeping up.

I finished the upstairs counter top, and enlisted Sam and Joanna's help to put it into place.  I really like having a work area up there, which I immediately put to use assembling Joanna's new computer.  She got fed up with her six year-old laptop, so I got her a hefty desktop computer that's better than mine.  Sniff.  More parts arrive to replace the one Emma and Berry use later this week, which is equally ancient.

Despite my sniffles, I managed to take the kids on a walk down to Euphoria chocolate to pick up some chocolate covered espresso beans.  Sam was funny goofy and kept Berry and Duncan laughing.  Emma and I just pretended we weren't with him as he did his funny cat dance.  Later we played worm in the basement, with Sam chasing and devouring everyone while wearing the blue tube.

I'm hoping to take it easy today and tomorrow, though life with six people in the house is always a little frantic.  Joanna and Berry folded laundry yesterday and I couldn't stop thanking them.


January 15, 2013 by Adam in Family

The weekend has faded, and we just got home after a fairly lengthy day at work.

I was pretty stressed out Saturday morning due to all the crazy work stuff, but fortunately Emma and Berry decided to play pretend with me.  I was evidently their ailing father and I got to play with a cool light-up toy while they stuffed me in a tent and brought me random imaginary food.  Eventually I perked up enough to redecorate Emma's room with her.

It turned out really well.  We got all the junk off the floor, moved a bookcase, and put her bow and Adventure Time sword on the wall.  She spent a long time arranging her book case, and we were both happy with the result.

The rest of the weekend was fairly routine.  Sam came over and we had pizza and Bang Goes the Theory (Mythbusters isn't playing at the moment).  Sam and I did a bunch of homework and I helped him with his persuasive essay.  The topic he came up with was "would you rather fight a horse sized duck, or a hundred duck sized horses."  After careful analysis, we went with the horse sized duck.

I took Sam, Emma, and Duncan down to the park on a cold Sunday afternoon.  We ran about, trying to stay warm, then returned home for cocoa.  I worked on the counter I'm building for the upstairs office area, which is slowly coming along.

Mustache Time

January 12, 2013 by Adam in Family

Last weekend Sam cut a snip of Emma's hair for some reason.  Fortunately she made the best of things, and gave herself a mustache.

I'll be picking her up soon on this frosty winter morning.  I've been fiddling with the the web site, trying to get an editor that'll work with my phone.  I think I also fixed a quirky IP address issue, which theoretically means there will be less downtime.

Mocha Friday

January 11, 2013 by Adam in Family

My stress levels are a little high this week.  Both vehicles had their "check engine soon" lights blink on a couple days ago.  Child support calculation discussions start soon with Jamie.  Next week I get to apply for my job again.

On the plus side, it's Friday, the kids are generally doing okay, and it's date night tonight.  Of course, there's a chance we spend it at Urgent Care, getting Joanna some antibiotics for a sinus infection, but I'm sure we can break out the candlelight and champagne in the waiting room.

It snowed a little yesterday, which was charming.  Nothing stuck, unfortunately.  I had this dream of getting snowed in with the kids, staying warm by the fire and playing board games.  Maybe in a parallel universe.

Back to Work

January 08, 2013 by Adam in Family

We're about ready to head out the door to work after a three day weekend.  We're all a bit groggy, especially the kids who haven't been to school for a couple weeks.

The weekend was generally pleasant.  I accomplished a bunch of things on our project list.  The Christmas tree and decorations are packed away.  We had some good hang out time with the kids.  Sam played the latest Zelda game until his legs were tired.  Life's okay.

Project Maniac

January 06, 2013 by Adam in Adam's Projects

I was insanely productive yesterday, with Emma assisting and puttering in the workshop herself.

I unclogged two sinks, cut 1/4 inch off the top of the bathroom door so it wouldn't stick, and changed the tail light in the minivan.  I also started assembling the countertop for our bedroom office area, gluing and clamping the boards together.  Emma handed me parts and tools, and did her own little project.

She started with a board and hammered in nails to make table legs.  Then she carved out a little vase.  Eventually she added a table cloth and napkin holder.  It turned out pretty cute.

Mocha Friday

January 04, 2013 by Adam in Family

I'm slowly working on my Friday mocha.  It's been relatively quiet the last few days, other than poor Joanna who finally got the cold that Berry, Emma, and I had.  She's been smelling of Vick's vapor rub for a few days now.

Work has been up and down, with rumors flying everywhere.  I think I get to apply for my job in a week or two - we'll see how that goes.  I've gotten reassurances from everyone that my position is safe and secure, but nothing is a sure thing.  Keep calm and carry on.

Berry continues to impress me with her intellect.  She was talking about a sarcophagous, learned from watching Garfield.  The two of us had dinner last night, and she ate her egg sandwich with a drink umbrella stuck in it.  It was difficult, but apparently fancy.

Jessica's last day watching the kids is today, and then it's back to the normal grind next week.  We're taking Monday off to hang out with kids.  I think we're meeting the new babysitter Brenna then as well.  We Skype interviewed her, which went well.  Sadly our previous sitter, Haylee, has gone off to sea, presumably to become a pirate.

I look forward to seeing Sam and Emma tonight after work.  The weekend should be relatively low-key.  I have a long list of house projects, from unclogging drains to building a counter.  We'll see how much enthusiasm I have.

Eugene Toy & Hobby

January 01, 2013 by Lohring in Lohring

For those of you who wonder why I spent so much time in the hobby shop carefully examining the merchandise check out the second picture here:

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