Hackers Gotta Hack

December 31, 2014 by Adam in Adam

Apparently some annoying bot found an ancient page on this server and proceeded to exploit my ten year-old bug.  It strangely didn't hack it very well - basically just messing up the fonts.  I checked the logs, removed the culprit page, and restored from backups.  It's probably good that I run my own web server - it grows hair on my chest.

Still Alive

December 31, 2014 by Adam in Family

I'm feeling slightly more human - the cough remains, but I managed to make it to work yesterday.  Joanna seems to have more energy lately too, or at least she's working more.  The kids seem to be thoroughly enjoying Christmas break.  Berry continues to try to stay in her pajamas all day long.  Duncan is loving his new computer and the Minecraft modding course we got him.  I'm occasionally called upon to debug java, which makes me feel useful.

The rest of the crew is doing fine.  Sam and Emma are at their mom's.  Honoka walked down to the bowling alley to bowl with a friend and two boys from school.

Joanna and I went out on a date last night, which made us both feel more normal again.  We had decent Thai food and a delicious pie at Sweet Life.

All is well.

Post-Christmas Cleanup

December 26, 2014 by Adam in Family

Well, Christmas itself was a bit of a blur.  I was deathly ill, so all I remember is that we put all our guests to work setting the table and cleaning up afterward.  I think the dinner conversation was generally okay, despite the usual Christmas craziness.  Crackers were popped and paper crowns put on heads.

Before everyone left, I popped two cough suppressants and went to bed.  Around one I got up, took some more, and slept on the couch.  The kids woke up at six, so I went to Emma's bed and conked out again.  Eventually I woke up, spacy but much better.  The rest of the day has been pretty low-key, playing with kids and taking it easy.  I continue to feel better, though my annoying cough still pops up on occasion.

Merry Christmas

December 25, 2014 by Adam in Family

We somehow survived the first part of Christmas - I didn't get nearly enough sleep as my cough continues.  I was sleeping on the couch when the horde awoke and tore through their stockings in mere moments.  The rest of the activities were slightly more leisurely.  Everyone else woke up around seven.  Presents were handed out and opened.  There was huge amounts of loot, including a few things I want to play with.  Duncan was amazed with his new computer.  Honoka giggled when she saw her Japanese boy band poster.

Joanna made tasty cinnamon rolls for everyone.  We've slightly beat back the piles of wrapping paper.  I think everyone is wiped out and wanting to do their own thing for a little, and then it's off to brunch.

Twas the Night Before Christmas

December 25, 2014 by Adam in Family

And I'm revamping the whole freakin' network, it seems.  The outside world likely can't get to this site at the moment, as I've lost my last IP address from Comcast and it takes awhile for everything to update.

On the plus side, the new router arrived and is blazingly fast.  I also drilled holes in walls and got Berry's computer hardwired to the network.  Things were just way too slow.  I also spent a little time trying to salvage Duncan's computer and pull off all the spyware.  He gets a new one tomorrow (shh), but I'll probably use his old one for something useful.

Joanna and I continue to recover, however slowly.  My cough has gone from annoying to occasional.  Hopefully by Christmas it'll be fine.

We've been slowly getting ready for the big day.  I need some help from Honoka to wrap some presents, but she and Berry have been making a crazy elaborate cake all day. 

Sam and Emma are at their mom's - I'll go get them at seven and tuck them in to bed, hopefully with visions of sugarplums.

On the Mend

December 23, 2014 by Adam in Adam

I ended up getting whatever's been going around - exhaustion, fever, and goopy lungs.  I tried to work yesterday, made it until one, and then came home to sleep off and on for twelve or fourteen hours.  Fortunately I woke up mostly back to normal, other than a slightly nagging cough.

I'm working from home today, and then taking the next three days off.  My hope is to wrap the last of the presents and get everything ready for the big day.  I'm not sure I perfectly balanced everyone's gifts, but hopefully it's close enough.  Duncan's computer (my old computer) has the latest version of Minecraft and a couple fancy mods to show off the new video card's power.

Time for tea and work . . .

Winter vacation

December 22, 2014 by Seraph in Cortez

We just finished a tasty breakfast of oatmeal with cranberries and figs. Now we're off to he post office and mall to do some last minute gift shopping. We're missing you all so much this year! I still want a redo of last Christmas, one where I'm not sick. Hopefully the snow, hot toddies and cookies will help smooth the holiday. I'm attempting a tifel for Christmas dessert so I'll be with all of you in foodie spirit.

The Weekend Before Christmas

December 22, 2014 by Adam in Family

I'm the only one going to work or school today, though admittedly Joanna has work of her own to do.  We generally had a pleasant weekend - I took Emma and the little kids to the library Saturday morning.  We puttered around the house and mostly took it easy.  The day wrapped up with pizza and Mythbusters.

Sunday I started to get a weird cough along with being really tired - I ended up going to bed really early and sleeping for nine hours, which helped.  Otherwise it was pretty low-key.  Emma worked on her Rube Goldberg homework assignment.  Berry made a robot.  We went to the Nutcracker, which was pretty good.  I think the girls liked to dress up.  Sam and I played Crusader Kings 2, where I played a northern tribesman trying to unite Sweden.  Unfortunately he died early and the kingdom crumbled.  My son is slowly working to unite it again.

Only a few more days until Christmas.  I've got a few more presents to wrap, but am otherwise feeling generally good to go.

Wrestling Injury Mocha Friday

December 19, 2014 by Adam in Family

Sam hurt his knee last night, pretty badly.  He was at wrestling practice doing some warm up exercises and ended up having someone fall on him.  The staff at South was worried there might be an ACL tear or something more serious.  I have an appointment at 11:20 a.m. today to see a doctor.  Sam made it to school and is going around on crutches.  I think he'll end up reading during rock climbing first period.  Poor guy.

The rest of the family is doing relatively better.  Emma is her usual cheerful self.  Joanna still gets tired, but is on the mend.

Really looking forward to time off next week.

Emma's Teeth

December 17, 2014 by Adam in Emma

Here's Emma's awesome teeth. My dad says everything is just fine.

Christmas is Coming

December 14, 2014 by Adam in Family

We got the tree up yesterday.  Sam was at a wrestling meet where he lost quite a bit, but hopefully had an interesting experience.  Duncan had a sleepover, but returned late morning.  We headed to a nearby Christmas tree place and picked out a suitable tree.  I turned on Christmas music on Pandora and we cheerfully coated the thing with ornaments.  We all had a good time.

The rest of the day was fairly low-key.  We went to the pottery painting place, where they had a widespread power outage.  Fortunately the lights came on soon after we arrived.  Emma's turned out pretty amazing, and everyone had a good time.  Even I got in on the action, hopefully making something that will be cherished appropriately.

At the start of the day, Berry's computer's hard drive died.  I slowly brought it back to life, though I'm not sure I can recover the data from the old one.  I can't even format the thing.

We watched a quirky movie called The One I Love, which is best enjoyed without knowing anything about it.  Sam arrived around eleven, completely exhausted. 

This morning I whipped up my usual feast of sausages, eggs, omelet, bacon, waffles, and mocha.  Joanna and the little kids went to church.  Jamie came to pick up everyone else to decorate Christmas cookies.  I've been at home, enjoying the quiet.  Laundry is washing, dishes are being cleaned, and I occasionally leave my video game to do something useful.

Far Cry 4

December 14, 2014 by Adam in Adam's Games

I ended up with two copies of Far Cry 4 after my recent hardware purchase.  Sam and I have been playing on occasion, fighting with the rebels against the evil overlord of an imaginary India-like country.  The coop has been fairly entertaining.  In general, it's a lot like Far Cry 3, with some slightly different window dressing and generally smoother gameplay.  I do still run into the occasional bug, which is always amusing.  How he balances on that pointy post, I have no idea.

Mocha Friday

December 12, 2014 by Adam in Family

It was a typical fun morning. Sam woke up at the crack of dawn for his wrestling meet in Coos Bay. He's missing a full day of school and sleeping on mats in the gym tonight. Should be an interesting experience. Joanna continues to improve, perking up and starting to get all the Christmas stuff ready. Emma helped get Duncan out of bed this morning. Berry was drawing pictures of Raven from Teen Titans Go!, as she often does. Honoka was quiet and self-sufficient, as usual.

I'm slowly approaching the "shopped out" phase before Christmas. I don't think I can get any more stocking stuffers or quirky gifts. I have lots of things to wrap and prepare, but I think we'll manage. Tomorrow we get a Christmas tree and finalize the decorations.

I bought myself an early Christmas present - a new monitor with an HDMI port. The good news is that it fixed my weird red pixel issue with my new computer. I think that's the last of the weird problems and it's now functional and awesome. Sam and I have been playing Far Cry 4 together, which has been pretty entertaining. I'm sure the girls will want me to play Terraria this weekend.

Life is good.

Road To Recovery

December 09, 2014 by Adam in Family

A friend of Joanna's got her dinner last night.  It was incredibly convenient, as Joanna still isn't quite up for rushing about yet.  I asked if there was anyone else she could play the pneumonia card with to get free stuff.

Christmas is barreling down at us.  I feel a little prepared, though there are still all sorts of things that aren't figured out yet.  I have more presents to wrap, a tree to buy, Christmas lights to get, and so on.  I'm even behind on eating the chocolate covered espresso beans from my advent calendar.

My new computer is super awesome, except when it isn't.  Sometimes I get red sparkles on my monitor in the dark areas for no particular reason.  I ended up buying a new monitor (since it's time and Duncan has a tiny one).  If that doesn't work, I'll return my fancy video card and hope for the best.

At work they announced a cultural shift - every new job won't automatically be in Vancouver.  We'll see if that means I can hire back people we lost, or maybe I'll get the Functional Lead title after being functional lead for a few years now.

Getting Ready for Christmas

December 07, 2014 by Adam in Family

It's been an exciting last few days.  I decided to take Joanna to a doctor on Friday, so I spent the day interacting with our fine healthcare system.  First was Urgent Care, where we waited for a long while.  Eventually we got in where we did the usual tests, an inhaler, and eventually a chest x-ray.  Sure enough, she had pneumonia, so we were sent home with a prescription for antibiotics.  I dropped off Joanna at home where my mom and the little kids soon arrived.  I spent the next hour waiting for the prescription to be filled - shopping, visiting the bank, and filling up with gas in the meantime.   Once we got Joanna medicated, she started feeling better, though she's been coughing and tired ever since.  No fever, which is a good sign.

I'm in the process of moving things to my new computer.  Somewhere in the middle of it all, the hard drive started to fail.  I wasn't able to recover, so I'm currently typing on a fresh install of Windows.  It's still doing stuff, so the resolution is crazy lousy.  Hopefully that will get resolved soon.

We put up some Christmas decorations this morning, and I managed to get a couple kids upstairs to wrap presents.  Hopefully we can get a tree next weekend and finish the job.

Duncan is at a play date.  Honoka is doing homework.  Berry and Emma are playing.  Sam is watching a show.  Joanna is resting.  I'm flitting about, helping kids with homework, cleaning up, and getting my computer more functional.  Busy, busy.

Mocha Friday

December 05, 2014 by Adam in Family

I'm getting a little frayed around the edges, drinking my mocha a little later than usual.  Poor Joanna has been completely wiped out since she got back, running a fever for two days and generally staying in bed.  My mom has been great - helping pick up kids and buying pizza for dinner.  Honoka helped with dinner the night before.

Yesterday was pretty nutty as it was Sam's first wrestling match.  I managed to get four kids fed and out the door.  They watched the wrestling matches, Emma providing color commentary, and Berry holding up handmade signs.  Sam did pretty well, considering he's only been wrestling for a week.  There were a couple really intense matches, so I can see why people get into the sport.

This morning Emma complained about feeling unwell, but I managed to cajole her into going to school.  She and Sam are at their mom's tonight.  I think I'm going food shopping as we're running out.  Tomorrow I have a metric ton of laundry to do.  Busy, busy.

First Meet

December 05, 2014 by Adam in Sam

Sam had his first wrestling meet last night.  His was one of the first matches, and I thought he did pretty well considering this is his first week of actually wrestling.

Madness Returns

December 04, 2014 by Adam in Family

We're back to the usual levels of crazy.  Joanna's been deathly ill, living in bed since she returned from the trip.  It looks like she'll spend another day in bed today.  Yesterday when she heard my mom was coming over to help, she burst into tears.  I suspect we may ask my mom to help out again and pick the kids up from school.  We'll see how it goes.

Sam and Honoka have started their new classes.  Honoka is needing a fair amount of help with math, mostly translating math-specific phrases.  She seems to understand the underlying ideas pretty well.  Sam was looking up "Ye Olde" phrases for his English class - something about burning witches.

Duncan and Berry are back in the routine.  Berry's working on drawing her favorite characters, watching YouTube videos on how to do it.  This morning at the breakfast table she made a robot.

I talked to Emma briefly.  She got good news about her teeth - they appear to be coming out by themselves, so no surgery required.  I think she likes her one new class, and is cheerful as usual.

Sam has his first wrestling match at Springfield High School at six o'clock.  My plan is to come home early for an early dinner, and then head over with whoever wants to see it, then take him home.  He's much less sore today, and in good spirits despite thinking he'll lose horribly.

On Their Way

December 02, 2014 by Adam in Family

Joanna, Duncan, and Berry are slowly making their way home today.  Poor Joanna is sick, but hopefully she can survive the journey.  It'll be nice to have them home again.

Sam and Honoka start a new term today.  I think Honoka is a little nervous about her math.  Sam seems to think the term will be a little lighter.  He doesn't have a math class, which seems to constantly generate homework, and he has a free third period.  With wrestling practice every night, I'm hoping the lighter schedule maintains his sanity.

Emma is slowly working through her dental issues.  She has a couple sunken teeth that likely need to come out.  She had a Panorex yesterday and hopefully will get word of what to do soon.

I'm starting to get excited for the holidays.  There's a steady stream of packages arriving, and I've started slowly wrapping them.  The advent calendars are up, and I'm greeted by chocolate covered espresso beans each morning.  It's the little things that make me happy.


December 02, 2014 by Adam in Sam

Sam finally got to wrestle today after getting all his paperwork sorted out.  Since they missed practice over Thanksgiving, they made it up with double practices today - one in the morning and one at night.

When he returned to my house for dinner, he was completely exhausted, covered with scrapes and bruises.  Afterward he lay on the couch and talked about wrestling for an hour, barely able to function, and then went off to bed early.  I asked him if he liked it.  "It's the hardest thing I've ever done," he replied with a smile.

Wrapping Up the Weekend

December 01, 2014 by Adam in Family

The sun is setting and the last day of my five days off is waning.

Saturday morning I played with Sam and Emma until noon.  I finished my epic battle with Sam and took him to his mom's house.  From that point on, it was non-stop errands.  I took Honoka to get her flu shot, picked up her friend, took them bowling, and then drove around town.  I picked up hardware, went to the library, and got my passport photos taken.  Finally I returned to pick up the girls, dropped off the friend, went food shopping, and collapsed at home.  Honoka made a delicious Japanese meal for me, something she intends to continue doing for the next few days.  I very much appreciate it.

Today we stayed at home the whole day.  Honoka basically crashed on the couch with her smart phone.  I installed a shelf above the treadmill for a laptop.  Laundry by the basket was finished.  Leaves were raked, the driveway was swept, and the refrigerator cleaned.  I built a new computer and moved things over.  Somewhere in there I managed a few video games.

Time to finish up the laundry and thankfully not have to make dinner. 

Pink Screen

December 01, 2014 by Adam in Adam's Projects

I finally decided to buy myself a new computer after getting the green light from Joanna.  All the parts but the hard drive arrived.  After some missteps and issues running the system preparation software, I managed to pull the hard drive from my old computer and move it to the new computer. 

It seemed to work great, other than the screen being rather pink.  After updating all the drivers to no effect, I unplugged the monitor cable and plugged it in again.  Everything worked like a charm.

I'm running into a few issues, though I'm not sure if it's due to the new computer or my enthusiastic changing of game settings to max.  I may take things down a notch and try again.

Assorted Thanksgiving Break Games

December 01, 2014 by Adam in Adam's Games

I've been playing a ton of Terraria with Emma and Berry last last few weeks.  We're all pretty super powered at this point, easily flying around with nearly ultimate weapons and such.  A few days ago Emma and I defeated Duke Fisheron, apparently sending him to a watery grave.  The only thing remaining is the Frost Moon event, fighting evil Christmas themed monsters.  Should be entertaining.

Sam and I played a ton of Rome II yesterday and the day before.  I was Rome and he was Carthage.  Mostly we tiptoed around each other, until we clashed in an epic battle and I ran away with my tail between my legs.  Fortunately my ally took him down the following turn.  I'm sure he'll want to continue our epic campaign.

As for me, I've been taking advantage of the wife and kid free day to play some Shadow of Mordor.  Basically I've killed a lot of orcs.

Thanksgiving Break

November 29, 2014 by Adam in Family

There are still a few more days for Thanksgiving break.  Sam and Emma are going to their mom's house later today.  Joanna is returning with Berry and Duncan on Tuesday.  It'll just be Honoka and I at the house for the most part - she has bowling with friends this afternoon, and I'll be doing various errands.

I had Wednesday off, so I hung out with everyone and celebrated Sam's birthday.  The kids went to their mom's house in the afternoon while Joanna and I saw the latest Hunger Games while Honoka shopped.

Thursday was much of the same, but with Emma's half birthday in the morning.  Joanna packed.  There was lots of playing at the house.  Sam helped move the treadmill from upstairs to the basement, and the old dishwasher outside to be picked up.  Eventually we wandered over to mom's house for Thanksgiving preparations and eating.  We chatted and ate too many desserts.

Friday morning we bid farewell to Joanna.  Honoka stayed up all through the night to say farewell at 4 a.m.  I'm not sure how she managed that - I stumbled downstairs with Joanna to make her tea, chat a little, then fell back to bed.  Her trip was fine and she made it to Rochester, texting all the way.  I fed Emma and Honoka a first breakfast of waffles, and when Sam got up we had second breakfast at the Glenwood with my mom.  As for the rest of the day, I managed to accomplish various things from my massive list.  Emma had her friend Jade over.  Sam and I played a whole lot of Rome II, moving little armies around the battlefield.

Dinner was entertaining.  Somehow Sam and I managed to cook gnocchi, make a cheese sauce, and cook Brussels sprouts.  The latter turned out best, I think.  We played Telephone around the dinner table, much to Honoka's amusement.  Eventually we took Jade home, got Emma to bed, and Sam and I watched a scary movie.  I had to stay up a little late to shake it off.

It's first thing on Saturday morning, so I'm going to hang out with Emma now.  The teenagers are fast asleep.

Happy Birthday Sam & Happy Thanksgiving

November 27, 2014 by Lohring in Lohring

As well as Sam, yesterday would have been Franklin Miller's 101st birthday. Here are a couple of classic pictures in his memory.The first is with me when Franklin was in hes early thirties, the second and third are at the Beachcraft factory when Franklin was in his forties.


November 27, 2014 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! The pies are done, the turkey is in the oven and the bread is rising. I'm sure we'll get in a listening to Alice's Restaurant too. We all of you are warm and happy today!


November 27, 2014 by Adam in Sam

Somehow Sam managed to make it to sixteen.  He's currently 6' 2" and just joined South's wrestling team.  To top it off, he's got a 4.0, though he might get his first B this term.  He's far more gregarious than I was at that age, and he has a number of friends that he hangs out with.  Needless to say, I'm quite proud of the boy.

The birthday boy was up early and started with french toast, bacon, and a latte.  We unwrapped presents for him, most of them practical items of clothing.  He did appreciate the hat Joanna knitted for him, as well as the two old topographic maps I'd found at the library sale a few weeks back.  After playing with friends online for a bit, we headed downtown to Sizzle Pie for a short walk, pizza, and conversation.  We finished up the celebration with a trip to Voodoo Doughnuts, lighting a candle for his doughnut upon his return.

Happy birthday Sam!

November 26, 2014 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy birthday Sam!  Your birth day will always be a memorable one for all of us!


November 26, 2014 by Yayoe in Yayoe

Today's is Sam's birthday. How well we all remember waiting for him to arrive on Thanksgiving Day. Franklin Miller was also born on this date. This is your special day SAM. And here's to Franklin...too. Enjoy

It's a Long Way to the Top

November 24, 2014 by Adam in Family

". . . if you want to rock and roll." was the usual response from Emma every time I asked that on the way up Mt. Pisgah.  The last time we went to the Arboretum, Sam said he wanted to go to the top of the mountain.  Yesterday we started at the base on a cool, clear day, and made our way up the 1.4 mile trail to the summit.  It was a long haul, and Emma complained most of the way.  Sam occasionally went off-trail to explore.  I occasionally resorted to pushing children some of the way.

The top itself was beautiful, and we were all thankful for getting there.  Sam loved the relief map showing the local area.  We snacked, rested, enjoyed the view, and headed back down.  Joanna's knees started to fail, so she walked backwards with some assistance for the last bit.  We returned home and collapsed with exhaustion, Honoka going to sleep on the couch almost immediately.

The rest of the weekend wasn't quite as exhausting.  Friday night Duncan had a sleepover at Ash's house, while Joanna and I went out on a hot date.  Saturday morning Berry and I played Castle Panic and Terraria.  It was nice getting in some one-on-one time before her trip back east.  I picked up Emma, took her and Honoka to the library while Joanna took Berry and Duncan to a laser tag birthday.  Emma and I spent the afternoon installing our new dishwasher.  Emma was genuinely helpful, doing quite a bit of the work herself.  She later told me it was pretty fun, and I was happy to have clean dishes again.

Saturday night was the usual pizza and Mythbusters.  Sam played a lot of video games with his friends.  Both Honoka and Sam worked on US History assignments. 

Sunday morning we got up early and got Duncan and Berry ready for their trip back to Rochester.  Everyone has been a little off, as it's always weird for us.  Fortunately it's a short trip and I think they'll have some fun adventures playing in the snow and visiting with family.

Mocha Friday

November 21, 2014 by Adam in Family

Well, the dishwasher arrived.  It looks very pretty, still wrapped in plastic in the corner of the room.  Apparently installation wasn't included and so we get to figure out how to hook it up this weekend.  Sam offered to assist, which is nice.

The kids were all home last night.  Sam and Honoka worked late on homework, as the end of the term is coming up soon.  Sam and I had a somewhat heated discussion about taking only three classes next term.  I'd like him to take at least one more, as this is the last time education will be free.  He's talking to his counselor today.  The little kids where generally sweet and happy.  Berry is wearing half of the BFF necklace she shares with Honoka.  Emma was her usual funny self. 

Joanna and I have a hot date tonight - should be fun.  I'm getting excited for the holidays.  Berry and Duncan leave Sunday morning, which will leave the house strangely quiet.

Family Vacation Destination

November 20, 2014 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

In anticipation of the final family vacation survey results, which will be available this weekend: What I learned from designing a Family Vacation Destination survey:

1. Everyone is unique, but decision-making requires simplification.
I received as many direct email responses from my first survey as survey responses, detailing the financial and logistical nuances of family vacation planning. Closed-ended questions were left blank and open-ended questions were used to communicate preferences and expected issues in vacation destination selection.  This, along with repeat survey responses from single users, made the results of the first survey unreliable at best.

2. Desire can be simple, but motivation is complex.
Often, direct emails came with recommended destinations based not on preference, but on what appeared to be best for the group. Actual preference as determined by voting was not aligned with respondent's destination recommendations.

3. Question structure can facilitate or impede accurate information gathering.

Respondents were split on vacation dates. Those who had no preferences for time were unable to provide a first or second choice for a vacation week, because they didn't care. Those who had other summer plans were only able to only report on possible unavailability. If I could create the survey again, I would change vacation dates to be a single multi-select question with any blocker weeks, as respondents generally view dates as “available” and “not available.”

4. Stakeholders need to understand the process to trust the process.
Several respondents were dismayed by the results of the first survey because they had not selected the top vacation destination. A run-off survey was developed in order to:
1. Narrow and simplify destination decision-making
2. Add an "anytime" option for vacation week preferences
3. Create a respondent summary view after submission, so stakeholders could see survey progress.

5. The total of group preference can inform, not decide, the group's final choice.
Lots of people want to go to Hawaii, which is a great vacation destination. Unfortunately, it’s not a feasible destination for whose of us who would have to take a 15+-hour flight with a one-year old. Even if the popular majority decides on Hawaii, the family vacation won't be in Hawaii.

Sorry, kids.

That's because the missing assumption in the survey is that a family vacation includes as many members of the family as possible. In an environment where the most people have to be able to participate in order for something to occur, we are limited by the deviant cases as much as by the majority choice.

Great surveys can weigh many voices equally, provide a space for information collection, and hone in on key indicators to inform smarter decisions. However, good decision-making is still a required part of the picture. However exciting as it is to provide all members of the family with an avenue to share a “vote,” more complex financial and logistical dynamics are always at play in group choices (as the initial direct email respondents implicitly knew, using their voices to circumvent the survey, recognizing that would be a minimal part of the final decision-making process)

Should you still vote for Hawaii? Good question. It will certainly decide where the next family sub-group vacation goes. And like all election coverage, this information will likely influence voting behavior. But you still have a vote, and you should still use it, albeit within the realities of vacation destinations.

In short, the Democrats are NOT the same as the Republicans, no matter what Nader says.

Another Ordinary Week

November 19, 2014 by Adam in Family

The week has been surprisingly ordinary.  I get up before everyone, shower, start the tea kettle, do the dishes, make my lunch, make breakfast, eat, and head off to work.  After work I help get dinner ready, eat and chat, get Sam from his mom's house, help with homework, and play a little on my computer until we all sit down to watch a show. 

There have been a few quirky things.  When I picked up Sam last night, Emma declared she needed an old toy from the basement as a prop for a school commercial.  I dutifully found and delivered it.  Honoka has been slowly crocheting an American flag blanket.  She has 29 stars finished so far.  Sam's been playing Napoleonic era wargames with a friend online.  Berry made a robot out of cardboard and lots of paint.  Duncan has over 30 Minecraft mods.

Next week will likely be a little crazy with the holidays and all.  The little kids leave for Rochester next Sunday.  Sam needs to pick up a class or two for next term, with scheduling this Friday.  I continue to skim the various online sales for present ideas.  I look forward to the combination Thanksgiving, Sam birthday, and Emma half-birthday extravaganza coming up quickly.

Low Key Weekend

November 17, 2014 by Adam in Family

The weekend was relatively uneventful.  The kids and I hung around the house for the most part, playing games and crafting quirky artistic things.

Saturday morning Joanna took Duncan and Berry to a chess tournament.  I took Emma and Honoka to the library for the book sale and usual book borrowing.  Around lunch I took Honoka to a meeting with Megan to work on catering homework at Starbucks.  I snuck a coffee and dropped off snacks with Joanna.  The little kids had a good time, returning mid afternoon with medals.  Sam, Emma, and I played on the computer and later they played in the basement with Berry.  Emma ended up hurting her legs by doing the splits, but she seemed mostly recovered today.  The evening ended with pizza and Mythbusters, and Duncan going off to a musical with Flynn.

Today Emma, Berry, and I started the day with Terraria. I whipped up a breakfast of waffles, eggs, bacon, sausages, and mocha for everyone.  Joanna and Duncan went off.  Emma and I braved the cold to do a little archery and play with ice.  I chatted with my mom, now returned from visiting Sadie and crew, only slightly battered and bruised from the experience.  We made some little projects out of modeling clay, including a little box for Joanna.  Emma drew.  Berry roped us into weird things.  Eventually they returned with a couple of Duncan's friends.  The day wound down, Joanna went to a book store to listen to a writer.  Dinner was had.  All was well.

Mocha Friday

November 14, 2014 by Adam in Family

I had a house full of happy children last night.  We rolled the emotidice at dinner and talked about what happy, sad, silly, mad, ecstatic, or surprised happened to us that day.  Emma was cheerful and funny as always, sharing her latest drawing and the music she's learning for her flute.  Joanna started making an epic felt advent calendar, a giant tree with 25 little pockets.  Sam and I discussed the meaning of Fight Club.  Duncan played Minecraft.  Berry, Emma, and I talked about Terraria.  Honoka crocheted and listened to Japanese pop music.

The weather is cold and dreary.  I have a variety of house projects to work on to prepare for winter.  Hopefully I'll feel good this weekend and actually accomplish it all.  If not, there's always hanging out in front of the fireplace and playing video games.

Free Coffee

November 13, 2014 by Adam in Family

I'm soon going to go and enjoy some free coffee that our work recently started.  It's funny how the little things improve morale sometimes.

The week has generally been good.  Monday was no school for the little kids and Emma was sick.  I think they all hung out and took it easy most of the day.  Berry and Emma have this thing where they listen to Percy Jackson books on CD and draw.  Whatever it was only lasted a day.

No one had school on Tuesday.  I had coworkers coming in from out of town, but fortunately they left early and I went home to hang out with everyone.  Berry, Sam, and I played Legos in the basement.  The two of them later had an epic chess match, where it looked like Berry did relatively well (though ultimately lost).  I had a good time just hanging out with everyone - Berry and I continued to face terrible monsters in Terraria and overcome them.

Last night Joanna and I went out to a hipster diner downtown, chatting and nibbling our way through the evening.  She's slowly finishing her memoir, working on side projects, and keeping the house from falling down.

Another Exciting Weekend

November 10, 2014 by Adam in Family

We had a fairly eventful weekend.  Friday night Joanna and I were planning on going out, but the babysitter never showed and we decided to have a date inside.  After feeding children, and an amusing interaction with Duncan as our waiter, we had a rather pleasant meal and chat at the kitchen table by candle light. 

I woke up at two a.m. on Saturday with a headache, which continued off and on until Sunday morning.  I spent most of the day pretty low-key.  I picked up Emma from her mom's. Later that afternoon she had a play date with Kate.  I played video games with kids, did chores, and stayed around the house.  My only outing was to get pizza for Mythbusters.  Still, it wasn't a bad day - just quiet.  Joanna went to a baby shower and Duncan had Flynn over.  Sam conquered the world virtually.  Emma drew.

Sunday morning I felt better and I took Sam, Honoka, Emma, and Berry to Mount Pisgah.  It was beautiful, despite and because of the pouring rain.  The turning leaves were incredible and there seemed an adventure around every turn.  Sam was all ready to hike the mountain himself, occasionally updating over walkie talkie, but I called everyone back for a Humble Bagel lunch.

We crashed at home, but I gathered everyone up again to go out to Plank Town to hear Joanna play.  The place was a little noisy, but she was great.  Berry and Duncan went up to play with her at one point, to their great amusement.  Eventually we returned home for tasty dinner, homework, and collapsing in exhaustion.  Both Sam and Emma seem to have caught my headache.  Sam went to bed at eight and Emma woke up this morning to announce she needed more pain medicine.  I wish I could stay home with them, but I have work people coming in from out of town.

It's time for me to rally the troops, as I'm the only one awake at the moment.  I wish I could let them sleep for hours if they'd only awake refreshed and ready for the day.

On the Radio

November 10, 2014 by Adam in Joanna

Joanna was on the radio last weekend.  Here are the kids, listening intently.

Happy Birthday Seraph

November 10, 2014 by Yayoe in Yayoe

Monday is Seraph's birthday. I remember when I met her at age 10..Wow...where has the time gone...Hope you have a great day celebrating another new year of you dear heart.

Sue it was lovely to read about your visit with Sadie,Greg and Simon....and now you're visiting Anna and other family members. How fun is that!
Enjoy....see you when you return to the land of the gray and rainy.

In Washington, DC

November 09, 2014 by Sue in Wielesek

Greg took us to Springfield to catch the train south, so we got to play a bit more with Simon on the way. We had a seven hour trip to DC, but it was comfortable and fun to watch the scenery . It was also interesting to go by train through all the towns and cities. Many tracks go through old parts of town, so although those areas are run down, they show what the town was like in the past.

 It was lovely to have Anna waiting for us at the train. She has a small but very pretty apartment right across from Howard University, so it feels like the University district in Eugene. She also has a knack for interior decorating, and as they used to say, "She has the place fixed up real cute." I can tell how happy Bob is to see her. They are planning some curtain hanging and picture hanging projects.

Meg and Dick are visiting in Washington, and we all arranged to meet at the new apartment of Mekayla and her friend Stephanie, where much moving in, picture hanging, etc was ongoing. Callie and Will were there, and I got to see Baby Nat for the first time. He's nine months old, and except for the age difference, he and Simon are surprisingly alike. Mellow guys. Nat, like Simon, likes everyone he meets, and they both are relaxed and cheerful. Nat looks like Callie around his eyes, but both boys have open, attentive faces.

Leaving Dick and Mekayla to work on furniture repair, the rest of us headed for a walk in Rock Creek Park; this is a beautiful park, originally a big farm. Unfortunately, we just got started down the path, when I caught my foot on some crumbled asphalt and face planted. I got a nose bleed and a couple of scrapes, but doggone it, I was traveling with my family doctor. Meggie's medical skills are justly praised, and she very efficiently figured out that I didn't need to go to the ER. She took me, Bob and Anna to Anna's house and patched me all up. She then very sweetly sat and visited with me for a long time.  Tomorrow, If I'm feeling up to it, we'll go over to Callie and Will's house for breakfast. Missing you all, but having fun seeing all the East Coast fam.


November 09, 2014 by Sue in Wielesek

What a wonderful time we had in Massachusetts! Bob kept fantasizing how we could get Seraph and Robbie to move there and rent a room in their house. Or rent a pied a terre in Greenfield.
Obviously he was quite smitten with Simon, as am I. It made me wish I had been a stay at home Mom, or at least a stay at home Grandma.

It was really interesting to watch  him learn new stuff. At the beginning of the visit, he could reach for things by sort of flailing his arms in the general direction of the object, but by the end he had learned to co-ordinate both hands to grab something.  Also, when we got there, he had one noise, a lovely little "coo coo" but the day before we left, he began a new sentence. He repeated, for nearly an entire day, a sound which made him sound like a small engine with creaky gears. Best of all, the night before we left he only woke up once, around midnight, to eat.

So we really had fun, not just with Simon, but with Sadie and Greg. They are excellent parents, and Simon is the most good natured kid. I said I have only perfect  grandchildren, and it's true.

I'm going to post this, then post a follow up, since I'd lost a draft.

Mocha Friday

November 07, 2014 by Adam in Family

Friday already.  Man has this week zipped by.

The first part of the week was relatively uneventful.  Days were filled with work, getting dinner ready, helping kids with homework, doing laundry and dishes - the usual.  Thursday during the day Joanna and I snuck off to Hideaway Bakery for a coffee date in the morning.  That was fun, just to hang out without kids.  Tonight we're going downtown for dinner and the First Friday art walk.  As for the weekend, I've some things to do for my Canadian passport, but will otherwise be hanging out with kids doing cool things.

Halloween Aftermath

November 03, 2014 by Adam in Family

We survived Halloween.  I took everyone out for a few blocks - Emma, Honoka, Berry, Duncan, and his two friends.  Honoka peeled off first to go to a party at a friend's house.  Emma and I headed home and Joanna took the kids from that point on.  Sam escaped into the basement to watch horror movies.  Everyone returned home to eat their spoils and give up some money to the candy wizard in exchange for cash.

I fed the horde the next morning, then took Emma, Duncan, and Berry to the library after friends went home.  The afternoon was low key, with lots of Terraria with the girls.  Sam and I managed to play some more CKII, where I destroyed a couple empires through incompetence.  My insane son inherited the Byzantine empire and things didn't go well.  He went to his mom's to watch Godfather so the rest of us ordered Sizzle Pie pizza and watched Mythbusters.

Sunday was equally low-key.  Since it was Daylight Savings Time, I roped the up-early Emma and Berry into a board game.  We played Elder Sign and fought the lurking Lovecraftian horrors, with Berry playing the winning turn.  After a tasty waffle breakfast, Joanna went to church with the little kids.  Emma and I put on mud masks with Honoka's help.  After lunch Joanna and Honoka went to a knitting store.  The kids and I played games and wandered outside a bit.  Flynn came over to play with Duncan.  We had a good family dinner to wrap up the night.

All is well.

Happy Halloween

October 31, 2014 by Adam in Family

I woke up early and got my Dilbert outfit ready.  The girls got up soon afterward and ended up gearing up as well.  Berry is a character from Dragon Slayer's Academy and Emma is a Greek goddess.  Honoka put on her witch outfit and is planning on going to a party tonight.  I think everyone (but Sam) will go trick-or-treating tonight.  Should be fun.

I finished my mocha and am working away, feeling busy after a slow day yesterday.  I'm off to the gym in a little, and then hopefully getting out a little early in order to prepare for the evening's festivities.

Wonderful holiday!

October 31, 2014 by Sue in Wielesek

Bob and I are seeing the best of Simon and the best of New England. Like my other seven grandchildren, Simon has only a best side.

Greenfield is a small town, which may have had a growth spurt in 1902, when the Lunt silverware factory opened here. The town is full of fairly large houses which look like Sadie and Greg's, nearly all of which are well maintained - and white. Sort of like the Island of Santorini, without the bright blue roofs.

It's really fun to see Greg in the house husband role. Right now, he and Simon are sitting on the couch, as Greg sings early Motown to Simon, accompanying his IPOD.  Simon seems entranced!
Greg takes him for a long walk for his morning nap.

It's Hallowe'en today and I'm sending lots of good thoughts for great trick or treating. Sadie and Greg definitely have it all together.

Fun in Greenfield

October 29, 2014 by Sue in Wielesek

Hi, all.

We are just finishing a wonderful day with Sadie, Greg and Baby Simon. First of all, we had a fine trip back. No delays, no lost luggage, no plane repairs. Greg met us at the Hartford airport, which is about an hour from their house.

This morning we moved slowly - no surprise - but had a nice walk a few blocks to a coffee shop, looking at all the huge late 1800's and early 1900's houses. Greenfield has 1bout 17,000 people, apparently about the same number as it's had for the last 100 years. I bet it hasn't changed a whole lot during that time. Sadie and Greg's house was built about 1900, on a spacious lot with a huge oak tree. It has a basement 1st and 2nd floor, and a finished attic,  which Greg uses as an office.

We came back from our walk to find Greg raking leaves and Simon happily gurgling away on his blanket. We had a fine time playing with Simon while Greg raked. I am even more determined to smuggle funny boy back to Oregon; Adam suggests we try carry-on. We would all have lots of fun with the current model of The-Best-Toy-Ever line of gifts!

Halloween is Coming

October 27, 2014 by Adam in Family

Another busy weekend has come and gone.  Poor Joanna succumbed to the cold that's been going around.  Friday night we had a great night out at Ambrosia.  We returned to my mom reading Of Mice and Men to Honoka, to my great amusement.  When Joanna woke up the next day, she was sniffling and miserable.

Emma was off at the beach with her mom, though fortunately she returned Sunday night.  Saturday morning Berry and I woke up - we drew, played Terraria,  and she helped make crepes with me.  Eventually Sam and Joanna woke up for breakfast.  I took the kids to the library, returning with assorted piles of fresh books.  Joanna went off to play music on the radio, which we listened to with the kids.  Somewhere in there I did a ton of laundry.

That evening we went out to a Nearby Nature hike by the river.  It was focused towards small kids, with people dressed as animals imparting a little education about the creatures that live around Alton Baker Park.  Sam started making "I'm annoyed" noises, so he and I peeled off and walked around.  I think he ended up enjoying it - we saw two blue heron, and the lights across the river were pretty cool after the sun set.  We met up with the rest of the crew, picked up our pizza, and watched Mythbusters.

Sunday morning Joanna left early to go to church.  I took the little kids to a Halloween party and watched a scary movie with Sam and Honoka.  She kept hiding behind a pillow for the scary parts - I sometimes wished she'd share.  Eventually everyone returned, I pointed Sam to homework, then we played Crusader Kings II where I ran France into the ground.  Emma arrived, there was pumpkin carving, dinner, and more pumpkin carving.  Eventually we got all the kids in bed.

Now I'm at work, relaxing.

Key Re-do

October 26, 2014 by Seraph in Cortez

I had my key redone.


October 26, 2014 by Seraph in Cortez

Should we be worried about this kid? :)

Mocha Friday

October 24, 2014 by Adam in Family

I have the delicious beverage waiting for me here, so I'll be brief.

I got out of work a little early to get all the kids but Honoka vaccinated.  We returned home and I spent time hanging out with Emma as I won't see her all weekend.  We played Terraria and chatted about school and life - she's gotten quite funny lately.  Sam seemed tired - he'll probably sleep late this weekend.  Honoka showed us her school, as her mom sent pamphlets with lots of pictures.  Berry took inspiration from a story at Emma's school and put up kind notes everywhere. 

I have a hot date with Joanna tonight.  Over the weekend we have a haunted hike, various birthdays, Joanna's doing a radio spot with Girrlz Rock, and I'm sure we'll do some pizza and Mythbusters.

Can't wait.

Mid-Week Madness

October 22, 2014 by Adam in Family

It's actually not that mad, just the usual juggling of kids, laundry, dishes, and work. 

Honoka had some good hang out time with Berry and Duncan, playing Clue in the basement for a long while one evening.  Berry kept taking breaks to go to Google Translate, compose messages to Honoka, and then read them to her.  It was very sweet.  Honoka also seems glad her English class has moved from
Antigone to Of Mice and Men.  The latter is far easier to understand.

Duncan has been his usual goofy self.  I helped him out with Blender over the weekend - he's doing really challenging things that I vaguely understand.  It's all to make Minecraft videos, which is apparently a great motivator.

Sam's working away at homework endlessly.  We had a fun conversation about relationships as part of his health class assignment.  Joanna, Sam, and I were laughing in the kitchen, thankful the little kids were playing in the basement. 

Joanna and I are doing well, trying to arrange a date for this week.  I think we've got some last minute Halloween things to sort out, and next month the holidays start in earnest.

Getting Ready for Halloween

October 20, 2014 by Adam in Family

The weekend seemed quite full of both play and work.

Friday night Joanna and I went to see Singing in the Rain, which I thought was charming, with some pretty good dance numbers.  Joanna thought the scene changes could have been tighter, and it was admittedly a little long.  Still, it was fun to have a night on the town.

Saturday morning was breakfast, library, and then off to the farm to get pumpkins.  Everyone was in pretty good spirits, and I think Honoka was excited to ride the horse-drawn wagon and pick her pumpkin.  It was a little hot and muddy, but we survived the corn maze and fed the goats too.  The apples we got afterward were excellent.  The evening ended with Emma going to a sleepover and the rest of us enjoyed pizza and Mythbusters.

Sunday morning I picked up a relatively rested Emma, who told of silly string battles with her friends.  Duncan and Joanna went off to church, with Duncan going to a friend's house until dinner.  Joanna also had her Girrlz Rock photo shoot at three, plus assorted projects.  I ended up hanging out with the girls a bunch, first playing Terraria and then setting up decorations.  I also managed a ton of laundry and some planter box repair.  By the end of the day I was fairly worn out, but managed some graphic novel reading time.  Honoka and her friend Megan cooked up something for class and made Emma eat it for photographic proof, much to her delight.

It was the usual Monday madhouse this morning.  Everyone has scattered to their various daily activities.  All is well.

Mocha Friday

October 17, 2014 by Adam in Family

It was a bit of a madhouse this morning, getting everyone fed, clothed, packed with lunch, and so on.  Berry had a minor melt down during picture day, not wanting to wear a clean shirt and instead the one she wore the day before.  I eventually escaped the chaos to sip my sweet mocha.

Emma was over last night, which was a treat for me.  We played Terraria with Berry.  I taught her to swing dance in the kitchen.  She insisted on leading, which caused me to be flung about the room into Joanna and Honoka making sushi for dinner.  It was great fun, though.  Later that night she told me that she liked school and didn't mind going.  She has a sleepover at a friend's house this weekend and the next.  I think she's doing just fine.

I'm meeting with Glen, my old boss, for lunch today.  I miss the old crew and our sense of camaraderie. 

Tonight Joanna and I are being cultural and going to a play.  I do like hanging out with her, so I'm excited.

Crusader Kings II

October 14, 2014 by Adam in Adam's Games

Sam's gotten me into Crusader Kings II, which is a medieval dynasty simulator.  I'm playing the Kaiser of the Holy Roman Empire and Sam was playing a Countess in Italy.  He schemed and imprisoned his way to become Queen of Italy, while I slowly but nicely expanded my empire and birthed a couple heirs.  Eventually Sam turned against the Pope, got excommunicated, and lost a war because his character was old and infirm.  After complaining for awhile, I had his character imprisoned and executed, which cheered him up immensely as he could then play the son of the Queen, who people generally liked.

Santa Fe day two

October 13, 2014 by Lohring in Lohring

The Balloon festival was disappointing. Early in our visit the rain seemed to threaten the festival so we visited the Balloon Museum. On Sunday, the wind prevented launches. We watched a few brave balloonists inflate their balloons and Ana car shopped for the Elio Motors small car.  The dead creature balloon represents the last half of the day.  Ana got a urinary tract infection and we spent 4 hours at urgent care then another hour at Walgreens getting the prescriptions filled.  She feels much better today.

Santa Fe day one

October 13, 2014 by Lohring in Lohring

Well, the trip to Santa Fe had some good and bad points. The visit to Seraph and Robbie's was definitely the high point. We visited their house, used their internet connection to download things the censored Worldmark internet wouldn't, Visited the church in Chimayo, had a great lunch, then drove up to Los Alamos. Talk about different worlds. Chimayo reminded Ana of her home and Los Alamos is where the atomic bomb was developed and is still home to some of the most advanced labs.  Ana loves Robert Oppenhimer, but I'm more neutral.

Return of the Creature

October 13, 2014 by Adam in Family

Well, I feel vindicated.  Last night I was reading on the couch and heard something moving in the curtains.  Suddenly sure of what it was, I called Joanna over to film the reveal.

It was a tiny bat, the same one that woke me up several nights before.  Apparently it's been hanging out in the house and eating our fruit flies.

The rest of the weekend was less exciting, but fun.  Friday night Joanna and I went down to the Whit to hang out with the hipsters.  We ate pizza in a renovated shipping container and then wandered over to an outdoor shindig to eat ice cream and listen to music. 

I had a bit of a cold on Saturday, treated well with pain killers and caffeine.  It didn't stop me from whipping up Dutch Babies for the crew for breakfast.  We had a short webcam with Sadie, Greg, and an oh-so-cute Simon.  I took Emma and Honoka to the bookstore where Emma picked up the last book in her favorite series.  She's been savoring it all weekend, afraid to have it finally end.  I replaced the bathroom faucet and ran network cable to Duncan's computer that afternoon, which was satisfying.  I also played some Terraria with Berry and Emma, and some Crusader Kings II with Sam.  The evening was filled with pizza and Mythbusters, and sending Honoka off to a homecoming dance.  Joanna stayed up late to ensure she returned.

Sunday was pretty low-key.  There was a mixup with the light switches and I thought it was broken.  It turns out Honoka had just halfway flipped the secondary switch when coming home the night before.  I played more Terraria and helped kids with homework.  Emma and Berry made burnt offerings to the Greek gods.  Sam and I played more Crusader Kings where he cheerfully fought the Pope and I kept the Holy Roman Empire together.  Around mid-afternoon he suggested a hike.  We all headed to Hendrick's Park to appreciate nature and play assorted hide and tag games.  We came home scratched up but highly amused.

Everyone seems in good spirits.  Emma was telling me that school is so much cooler these days and that she's excited to go.

Grrlz Mocha Friday

October 10, 2014 by Adam in Family

Joanna's going to be gigging once again, playing at Cozmic Pizza and the Granary in November.  Next weekend she's got a photo shoot with the rest of the musicians.  Such is the life of a rock star husband.

I left the kids at home this morning, not having to go to school today.  Berry wrote me into a comic book titled "The Adventures of Suction Butt and Super Adam."  I was touched, I think.

Lots of house projects pending this weekend, from replacing the bathroom faucet to running network cable for Duncan.  We'll see how much I accomplish.  I also need to get Emma to the bookstore to pick up the last in the Heroes of Olympus series.  She's been dying to read it.

I was terrorized a couple nights ago, waking up to a fluttering on my chest and crying out "BAT!"  I went to investigate the sound of something hitting the venetian blinds, only to have something fly by.  I closed the bedroom door and lay down again, eventually realizing I'd sealed whatever it is downstairs with the children.  I grabbed my camera, turned on the light and started recording.  The rest played out like a horror movie, but I didn't find anything.  In the morning when Berry and I were reviewing the tape, she saw a brief flash as something flew by (15 seconds in).  The next evening we found a tiny moth in the bedroom.

Time to finish up work and hopefully go home early.  Can't wait to hang out with everyone.

Things Fall Apart

October 09, 2014 by Adam in Family

Specifically the glass shade on one of the lights over the table.  It made a huge crash when it hit the table and shattered this morning.  I picked up chunks, swept, vacuumed, and mopped.  I thought we got everything, but apparently not.  Berry complained of a toe pain.  After I popped out my contact and looked at it with my super vision, I pulled out a tiny glass shared with tweezers.  Poor girl.

I'm hoping to make a dent in the long list of house issues.  I have a replacement faucet for the drippy one in the bathroom.  I've got 75' of network cable to take care of Duncan's flaky WiFi connection.

Sam's cold is getting better, but now Emma is sick.  At least her broken tablet was returned.  She seemed quite happy to see it again.

Seasons Changing

October 07, 2014 by Adam in Family

Fall is coming in fits and starts.  The weekend was beautiful and sunny.  We took the kids out Friday night to Off the Waffle, playing games and then hitting the Indie Game Con art show.  I wish I could just hang out and chat with people, though the sad reality is that the horde of children got antsy and wanted to head home.  I still felt very hip and cool.

The weekend was filled with the usual library trip and pizza and Mythbusters.  We had friends over, homework was done, and the pool was taken down.  I continue to do battle with the house and appliances within.  The fight is endless, though I take heart in the occasional victory.  Last night I fixed the refrigerator light switch by stabbing it repeatedly with a knife.  It worked briefly, but is back to it's normal dysfunctional self this morning.

We did play Flashpoint at expert difficulty Sunday afternoon.  I'm going to start calling it Arson Simulation, as things ended badly and we only rescued three people before the house collapsed on us.

Sunday night we had family dinner at the noodle place.  It was a good time and there were no dishes to deal with.  Good job to Joanna for winning it in a drawing.

Mocha Friday

October 03, 2014 by Adam in Family

I love my wife.

We had a great date Wednesday night, listening to live music at the Tap and Growler and chatting away.  This morning she dealt with a flooded toilet and got all the kids off to school.  She's a keeper.

It's been a productive work week and the family has been doing well.  Sam's been really tired lately, going to bed at 8:30 p.m. last night.  Emma was cheerfully showing off her musical skills, playing her flute for all of us.  Honoka joined the Origami club and will be going to that this afternoon.  Duncan and Berry continue to play Wizard 101 and talk about leveling up.  Joanna's been teaching fiber arts, trying out classes at the Y, and writing away for various projects.

Tonight I'm going to try to get everyone to the Indie Game Con art show.  Should be fun.


October 01, 2014 by Adam in Family

Just a quick update.

Joanna went off to a CASA breakfast event.  Duncan and Berry are chatting about YouTube videos as they get ready for school.  Honoka is feeding herself quietly.  Sam is at his computer.  I folded a bunch of laundry.

All is well.


September 29, 2014 by Adam in Family

One of my favorite weekend moments happened late on a Sunday, playing the new Mice and Mystics game with Berry, Emma, and Kate.  I'd just gotten the "Cheesemaster" achievement by rolling three cheeses and got a cool ability plus the cheese hat we'd brought up from the play room for such an occasion.  Yelling "Cheesemaster!" in front of a group of girls is somehow deeply rewarding.

The weekend was incredibly productive.  My lengthy project list had things crossed off left and right, several items taken care of by my lovely wife.  We managed to get Emma's tablet SIM card into Sam's phone and hack together a pseudo phone service that works pretty well.  We were going to get him a cheap cell phone otherwise - he was terribly excited to get his phone working as an actual phone.

Saturday morning Emma and I made gluten-free scones in honor of Colette's birthday.  They were quite the buttery hit among everyone.  Later I took everyone but Sam to the library to stock up.  Duncan went to a sleepover later that night, and Honoka went to a birthday party.  We had our usual pizza and Mythbusters that evening.

Sunday morning I got the kids doing homework, cleaned up the patio, and dd some car maintenance.  Berry, Emma, and I played Terraria for a bit.  Kate arrived at eleven.  Sam and I played musical instruments very badly in the basement and communicated via walkie-talkie with Berry doing art projects.  Eventually we had lunch and welcomed back a loopy Duncan who got very little sleep.  There were more chores, a trip to the Verizon store, mice-themed board games, delicious dinner, and winding down the day with Once Upon a Time.

Take Off, Hoser

September 26, 2014 by Adam in Family

I continue to work on getting a copy of my Canadian birth certificate, and eventually my passport.  I called their office and apparently I need a signed letter from an upstanding citizen, along with a letter as to why I can't have a Canadian guarantor.  I think it'll work out.

The week has been relatively uneventful.  The kids seem happy and cheerful.  Joanna and I had sushi and walked around 5th Street Market eating gelato for our hot date.  Sam wants to take a trip to Japan next summer, but wasn't enthusiastic about working to make it happen.  Joanna went to Duncan and Berry's open house at school - I think all is generally well.  We're trying hard to help Honoka with her English homework - interpreting Antigone is pretty tough for her.  Emma really likes middle school.  Sam and I had a long chat and he informed me that he's the happiest he's ever been at this point in his life.  All is well.

We have a few necessary but thankless projects for the weekend - leaky plumbing, a pool to drain, and patio furniture to put away.  Fall is here.  Hopefully we can do some fun things too.  Next weekend is an Indie Game Con and art show - I'd like to go to that, perhaps with kids.

Now it's time to stop typing and enjoy my mocha.


September 23, 2014 by Adam in Adam's Games

A few days ago, I forced the children to play a board game with us.  We picked Flashpoint, the firefighter rescue game.  Things went badly and the house collapsed and not enough people were rescued.

Apparently this made a big enough impression on Berry that she demanded we all play.  I went to fetch Sam from his mom's house, and found the board elaborately set up by Honoka, a cute altar of damage blocks neatly arranged.  All six of us played and somehow managed to save enough people to win.  It was quite satisfying.

It inspired me to order Mice and Mystics, another cooperative game.  At least Berry will play with me.


September 22, 2014 by Adam in Family

It's Monday - the kids are all off at school and I think all is well.  We took care of a lot of things things weekend.  Emma had homework from her two days out last week.  Honoka took her food handler's card test for her catering class.  I took all the kids to the mall to get birthday presents for friends and Sam clothes.  The wailing of children was strong on that last one.  I also woke up Saturday morning to a flat tire and ended up getting them all replaced.  That's never fun.

We all managed some good hang out time too.  Most of the kids managed to get into the pool, with Sam, Emma, and Berry being in there for a long while.  Joanna made her usual tasty dinners and I fed the horde at breakfast.  Sam and I played a little video games, including good ol' Space Engineers.  I forced a bunch of people to play a board game Sunday night - we lost, but I secretly had fun.

Now it's back to the day-to-day grind.  I'm writing code and trying to keep people from making crazy decisions.  Same ol', same ol'.

Talk Like A Pirate Mocha Friday

September 19, 2014 by Adam in Family

It's Talk Like a Pirate Day, much to the amusement of the children.  There's something special about calling the kids scurvy dogs and threatening to keel haul them.  Honoka was amused at our American antics.

It's been a long, hard week.  I was up again last night, putting Berry back to bed.  Fortunately she listened to reason and we chatted about how she was safe and fine and everyone has bad dreams sometimes.  She got back to sleep eventually.

There were two nights of open house events at South and Spencer Butte.  The first was very nostalgic, wandering the halls that I haven't been to for ages.  I ran into an old high school friend at Spencer Butte and we both commiserated at how old everyone was these days.  It sounds like Sam can get college credit for Japanese 2 through Linn-Benton college.  His US History teacher made a comment about how brilliant Sam was.  Sam's health teacher burst into tears, talking about her student who died last weekend.  It was a hard week.

Emma seems on the mend, going back to school today.  We both wore our "Stand Back, I'm going to try SCIENCE!" shirts.  Tomorrow is going to be busy with library trips, a visit to the mall, and likely pizza at the end.  Joanna and I have a much needed date tonight.


September 19, 2014 by Seraph in Cortez

I had hoped to post more during our trip but we were scheduled pretty tight. To make up for it I'll give you a nice picture.


September 17, 2014 by Adam in Family

The start of school is always hard.  For some reason, it's seemed more difficult than usual lately.

Honoka is getting over a lingering cold and Berry came home from school yesterday (thanks for watching her, mom).  A classmate of Sam was killed in an accident over the weekend.  He shared a class with him, and he said his friends were sad yesterday, so I think it's in the back of his mind.

Duncan and Berry were up all night.  Joanna was up a couple times and then I went down to put them to sleep around three.  They both seemed to be quiet in their beds when I left, but when I got up this morning they were yelling and playing and claimed to have been up all night.  Duncan declared he was tired before school started.  I think it's going to be a rough day for the two of them.

Sam's schedule is slightly cleaned up, but he only has three classes next term.  We've got to get that sorted out.

On the plus side, Honoka asked to buy a present for a friend's birthday.  I think we'll do a mall trip this Saturday.  Joanna and I have a date night on Friday. 

Life goes on.


September 17, 2014 by Seraph in Cortez

Mom and I made it in safe and sound last night. We are meeting Anne Pontius for a quick visit this morning and then will join the family for Anita's wake this afternoon. Sadie comes in this evening so Mom and I will be happy with hugs and baby kisses.

Another Fine Weekend

September 15, 2014 by Adam in Family

It's hard for me to say exactly what happened this weekend.  There were lots of kids and family - people running around, playing together, and having a good time.  Homework was done, as was laundry and some emergency plumbing.  Happy chaos, as usual.

Friday was fun.  We celebrated Honoka's half birthday with pastries and a candle, much to her surprise.  After she went to her first football game.  The rules were confusing and South lost, but I think the experience was still entertaining.

Saturday morning was full of dutch babies for breakfast, followed by a lengthy library run.  Kate came over to play with Emma all afternoon.  I hopped in the pool, as did Duncan and Sam.  The water was cold, but we still had a great time.  The evening wrapped up with pizza and Mythbusters.

Sunday morning I helped the older kids with homework after breakfast.  Berry, Emma, Sam, and I played "guess the song this heavy metal cover is for" game in the basement.  Jamie reported that she fell and broke her right wrist.  She texted me to tell Emma that they were broken bone buddies.  Sam, Emma, and I jumped in the pool again in the afternoon.  Joanna and I moved Duncan's computer into his room, Berry's computer into the hall, and set up Joanna's chromebook on her desk.

That afternoon Honoka worked hard on making a cake for Bob and Jordan, with Berry as the shy but attentive helper.  Joanna went with a "Yumm bowl" dinner, which ended up being an excellent, flexible choice.  It was great seeing everyone.  Jenny reports that dad's office is getting really busy these days. 

Work for Joanna continues to pour in.  She has two freelance offers of work that she's trying to get done now that the kids are in school.  Joanna also joined the YMCA and is trying to figure out clubs for the little kids.

Anita's Death

September 14, 2014 by Sue in Wielesek

Sweet Mocha Friday

September 12, 2014 by Adam in Family

My mocha is long-gone, a pleasant memory during the craziness of work.  It's almost gym time, and then meetings this afternoon.  Somewhere in there I hope to get some work done.

Emma survived her two and a half days of math tests.  I think she has another one coming up.  Still no word as to what her math placement will be yet.  Otherwise she seems quite cheerful about school and has made a new friend.

Honoka asked us if she can go to a South Eugene football game tonight with her friend Megan.  It was a happy surprise that she's made a friend - apparently she's in three of her classes.  Hopefully she has a good time at her first American football game.

Duncan and Berry continue to be their usual goofball selves.  Duncan is quite the funny character.  Berry is mischievous and bright.  I think school is going along quite well for the two of them.

Sam's trying to get his schedule fixed still - he has an appointment with a counselor this afternoon.  Hopefully he can get into all his classes and avoid dumb ones.  He's had a steady stream of homework at night, with Honoka occasionally helping with Japanese.

Joanna got an out-of-the-blue job offer, very flexible working for her doctor as a marketing person.  She's trying to figure out how much time she's willing to work there.  Already her schedule is filling up quite a bit.  She's also picking gym - I think the YMCA is winning out.  We'll see after she tries out each place.

As for me, I'm generally cheerful.  My life is full of children and dishes and laundry.  Joanna and I had a fun date night at Falling Sky with a stop at Sweet Life to wrap things up.  This weekend we might take in Star Trek in the park where they put on a play of a Next Generation episode.  I love this town.

I've been going through my old memory box, looking for information about my birth to send to Canada for my birth certificate.  I found all sorts of sweet things mom wrote about me when I was born, and some funny pictures of my dad and I when I was super small.  I'm man enough to admit that I teared up a little.

Happy birthday!

September 12, 2014 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy birthday Bob! I hope it's a beautiful, fun and relaxing day.


September 11, 2014 by Adam in Yayoe

Some of these photos are of Ben and Emma on their lovely organic farm. The farm is awesome and so are Ben, Emma and Danica.

Had a wonderful time with Danica, who was a fabulous host and tour guide of Rochester,  a lovely city that is well run and beautiful. There’s so much to see and do. The weather was perfect and sunny. See you on Sunday for the family dinner.


September 11, 2014 by Adam in Family

Honoka is helping Sam with Japanese.  Joanna is putting kids to bed.  We went out on a date night tonight, chatting away without kids.  Joanna is in demand these days, with our doctor wanting to hire her for marketing.  We hit up one of the seemingly endless pubs around town, then walked across the street to Sweet Life for Crème brûlée and peach pie.  I picked up Sam afterward and had a brief visit with Emma.  She's worked hard on this math placement test, finally finishing after three days of working at it.

The week has been relatively uneventful.  I drove up to Vancouver to have a meeting.  I was most excited to see all the people up there now, and shook hands with someone I've worked with for nearly a year now.  We heard about the possible Hepatitis C outbreak - apparently everything is fine.  It's cool that I made the system to organize everything and that the outcome was good.

Berry put on a performance for everyone before dinner.  It involved a song about UFOs and an elaborate light and water-spray show.  It was quite entertaining.

I'm trying hard to get a Canadian passport.  I found my old birth registration thing I've carried around forever.  I think I can get a formal birth certificate and then a passport.  Sam said he wanted to become a Canadian citizen too, which I think I can manage.

Sad news about Anita

September 09, 2014 by Sue in Wielesek

About four or five years ago, Anita had some problems with an "attack" of cancer. I say "attack" because they caught it very quickly, and she responded well to chemo. The chemo was successful,
and it seemed she was cured, or at least as much as anyone is cured with cancer.
When she mentioned last winter that she was taking chemo again, she was very upbeat about it, and implied it was just preventative. Even when John called while we were in Alaska and said she was in the hospital, he said she had just had a bad reaction to the chemo. But Johnnie called me on Saturday and said they had all misjudged the seriousness of the situation, and what they thought was just a bad reaction was really a rapid virulent spread of the cancer. The doctor said that the chemo had stopped working and there's not anything to be done. When I talked to Johnnie, they were in the process of setting up hospice and hoping to get her home from the hospital. The doctor gave her two to four weeks.

I would like to go back to see Anita, but I'm not going to make plans until it's clear that I won't be in the way.

I would be so grateful if any of you could send her a card. It's Anita Milosovic, 17533 Heather Lane, Tinley Park, Illinois, 60477.  She has always been so welcoming to me, and she and John have been really nice to Bob, as well.

Maybe I'll just look at pictures of Simon and the other grandkids.

Back to Work

September 08, 2014 by Adam in Family

It was a lovely, low-key weekend, full of all the usual traditions - library trip Saturday morning, pizza and Mythbusters Saturday night.  It was also the start of the homework season, with both Sam and Honoka having hours of the stuff.  Poor Honoka had a really hard time with her English assignment - hopefully she survives the experience.  We got her ready for her catering class, and she's doing fine as a TA in Japanese.

I managed to injure Berry in a novel and horrible way.  Emma and I were foot wrestling and Berry jumped into the middle with a little too much vigor.  My toe nail cut her throat, which ended up being pretty bad.  Somehow I managed to make things better by looking at her peeled-off skin under the microscope.  I think she'll live.

Emma convinced me to go into the pool on Sunday.  It was freezing cold, but fortunately I've forgotten the depths of my suffering.  Instead I just remember laughing with her as we did goofy things for an hour.  She has her math placement test today that determines whether or not she gets into advanced math.  I'm trying hard to be fine with whatever the outcome ends up being.

Other than that, there was the usual hanging out and playing.  I managed a bit of video gaming when kids were occupied.  Emma walked on the treadmill a bunch.  Duncan had several play dates.  Sam played online with friends and jumped in the pool with Emma for a while.  Emma told riddles at the breakfast table to everyone's great amusement.  Berry and Emma made tattoos.  Joanna and I kept everyone fed and amused.  All is well.

Mocha Friday

September 05, 2014 by Adam in Family

It was a busy morning.  I leaped out of bed and started the morning routine of dishes and packing lunches and making breakfast.  At some point Joanna asked me what the bowl of oatmeal was doing on the counter.  It was mine - I forgot to feed myself.

We're trying hard to sort out everyone's schedules.  We're figuring out if Emma belongs in an advanced class or not (Roosevelt wanted her in it, but Spencer Butte thinks she shouldn't be in it).  Honoka is getting more schedule changes with luck today - we're trying to get her in a slightly easier English class.  She's been falling asleep on the couch reading The Great Gatsby each night, which is both sweet and sad.

The kids generally seems to be enjoying school.  Emma is meeting a bunch of friends from Crest that she hasn't seen in years.  She's in band with Kate, which excites her.  She also met a new friend, which is neat.  Duncan and Berry report all is well.  Sam is Sam, as always.  I worry about Honoka still, and want her to be okay.  She says she ate in the garden at school, likely by herself.  Hopefully she makes friends too.

I'm going to try hard for a normal, low-key weekend.  It's been a challenging week.

ALS Challenge

September 04, 2014 by Seraph in Cortez

The teachers at Robbie's school were given the ALS ice bucket challenge.  Here's a shot of Robbie getting very wet!   

School Madness

September 04, 2014 by Adam in Family

Well, at least Duncan and Berry's schedules are fine.  Everyone else has issues.  Emma isn't in the advanced math class, as Roosevelt told us she should be when they thought she was going to Roosevelt.  Jamie's sorting that out today.  Sam is trying to get into a US History class - he just informed the teacher and sat in on the class yesterday.  Upcoming terms are worse, unfortunately.  Honoka's schedule is a total mess.  Joanna is going in today to help with her.

Still, we're slowly figuring out the school routine.  I've forgotten just how packed the mornings and evenings get on school days.  I leap out of bed, shower, and then start feeding the horde.  Somewhere I manage to start laundry going.  I'll get back into the swing of things eventually.

First Day Of School

September 03, 2014 by Adam in Family

It's the first day of school after a relaxing three day weekend.  Duncan and Berry are good to go.  Emma is walking to middle school by herself this morning.  Sam's schedule is slightly messed up and requires some changes.  Honoka doesn't have a schedule at all.  I think Joanna is leaping into action to fix things, which I greatly appreciate.

It was a nice weekend all around.  Saturday we went to the market where we watched the strange American belly dancing.  I took some of the kids to the library, with Honoka tentatively picking out some anime.  The afternoon wrapped up with pizza and Mythbusters, as is our way.

Sunday morning I took all the kids to the art and natural history museums at the U of O.  The natural history museum was great and the kids really enjoyed it.  The art museum was more of a project, as we marched across campus, found food, and then went in.  Fortunately Joanna saved us by walking over and moving the van to pick us up.

Monday was very low-key.  Sam and Emma went to their mom's house for a family lunch.  Sam and I hung out a bit and played Overgrowth, where he managed to defeat me with his eyes closed.  Honoka learned knitting and has since made half a scarf.  Berry worked on clay projects. 

Tuesday was semi-productive.  Sam and Honoka got registered, Duncan and Berry went to the open house and found their backpack hooks, and I worked away.  The funny story of the day was the badge system that died and they had no backups.  Apparently they needed my help to match the badge numbers with people's names.

Mocha Friday

August 30, 2014 by Adam in Family

It's the end of the day for this work-filled mocha Friday.  It was pretty much non-stop work for me, while Joanna stayed home with all the kids.  Jamie picked up Sam and Emma for a little while.  I think we get Sam later in the day.

Yesterday afternoon we managed to track down the new Japanese teacher at South.  It looks like Honoka will be a TA in one of the classes - possibly Sam's.  Sam's a little light on classes, so he might see if there's an interesting elective in one of his free periods.

The rest of the day was pretty quiet.  Emma and I went swimming while Honoka threw marbles for us to find and squirted Emma.  Eventually I whipped up dinner and Honoka and I picked up Joanna and the kids from the airport.  They were happy to be home, though very tired.

We somehow managed to feed crepes to all five kids this morning.  There was a study in contrasts, with Honoka neatly eating her food without a crumb.  Duncan was next to her, shoveling in his crepe with a smile on his face.  Ah, the joys of cultural differences.

Honoka, Emma, Duncan, and Berry all went swimming this morning.  Later Honoka accompanied Joanna and the little kids to cheese park. 

I'm glad it's a three day weekend.  Should be fun.

Getting Ready for School

August 28, 2014 by Adam in Family

It's been a very full couple days, getting Honoka slowly adjusted to life in the Miller-Bartlett-Gustina household.  After lunch we were all in the basement, Sam and Emma engaging in crazy swordfighting.  Soon enough Honoka's eyes began to close and I tucked her in Berry's bed before she completely collapsed.  Kate came and played with Emma for a few hours - I briefly joined them in the pool, which was quite warm.  I woke Honoka up in time for a typical meal of hamburgers, corn, and chips.  She seemed to enjoy it, despite the messiness.  Sam cooked the burgers on the grill, which was great.  Both kids have been very helpful lately.

After dinner my mom came to visit.  We puttered around until Honoka grew tired again and went off to bed early.  Emma went to bed too.  Sam played video games with friends.  I texted Joanna and played on the computer until it was time for bed as well.

This morning Honoka helped make crepes for everyone, which was great.  I made her a caffé latte for her troubles, which she seemed to enjoy.  Emma wanted to burn things after breakfast, so they broke out the magnifying glass and set things on fire while I watered plants.  Later we played Forbidden Island (and lost) and Lego Creationary (and had a great time).  Sam in particular really got into Legos again.  Eventually the rest of us got worn out.

We're off to school to drop off paperwork and talk to the new Japanese teacher.  Honoka may end up being a teacher's assistant, with the possibility of helping Sam in his Japanese class.  There's still a lot to do to get ready for school, but we're slowly getting there.

Joanna, Duncan, and Berry are busy flying across the country today.  They're seasoned travelers by now.  I can't wait to see them all, and they're excited to meet Honoka themselves.


August 28, 2014 by Sue in Wielesek

Wanted to say a bit more about  the trip. Jenny, Jeannie, and Jordan went on a bear watching tour, and a whale watching tour as well as an excursion to see sled dogs and play with puppies. Dez, Sam and I took a helicopter to the top of the Mendenhall Glacier and went on a high lakes canoe trip, took a trip to totem village and the boys visited a glassblowing studio and made ornaments.
Both boys had fun, I think. Every evening they joined a gang of kids and hung out 'til the wee hours, but got up cheerfully the next morning for the day's activities.
So it's home for me! Hugs from Mom

Honoka is Here

August 27, 2014 by Adam in Family

Sam, Emma, and I picked up Honoka at the airport yesterday.  She was very quiet and pretty overwhelmed by everything.  Fortunately Sam and Emma took her down to the basement and played games like "throw the baby in a circle", key to American culture.  Right now Sam and Emma are fencing for her amusement.

I'm feeling a little overwhelmed.  She's not registered for classes and there's a bunch of things to do yet.  Still, her room is set up and she seemed to sleep okay last night.

This morning we walked to South Eugene to try and get her registered for classes and such.  Sam also has a light schedule that I'd like to try and correct.  We went food shopping and ate lunch.  There's nothing we need to do for the rest of the day except hang out, maybe swim, and make burgers for dinner.  I think we might try swimming later too.  It's hot.

Home again, again

August 27, 2014 by Sue in Wielesek

It's been a busy happy summer. I'm home again from the Alaska cruise. I've just handed over the baby car to Dez to take his girlfriend Peighton to the Oregon State Fair. I think he and Peighton went to the State Fair with her family on their first "date" and he wanted to take her there while it's on this year.
We had a wonderful time on the cruise to Alaska. Somehow we avoided the rain on all our stops. All six of us went on the White Pass train ride in Skagway, which is really impressive. Alaska is a lot like Oregon but bigger, higher and colder. The train was built to carry would be gold miners to the Yukon Territory during the Gold Rush. I really enjoyed the Alaska history - from the First People totem poles and exhibits to the early boom towns. We visited Ketikan, Juneau, and Skagway in Alaska and Victoria on the way back.
Have to go to a meeting. Mo' later, Moe (an Aunt Barney humor)!

Back to School

August 27, 2014 by Seraph in Cortez

We've been back in school for two weeks now. Robbie's loving his new school and has a great group of kids. Isa is doing great, settling in to 8th grade, and enjoying seeing all her friends again.
I've been working to get the wine bar open. We finally got our permit and started construction on Monday. I've been designing menus, ordering glasses and making endless to do lists.
Life is is busy and good.

Work-filled Weekend

August 25, 2014 by Adam in Family

I'm about ready to head into work, which will probably be more relaxing in some ways compared to the last couple days.  I was completely family free starting Saturday morning, so I've been doing endless house projects and getting everything ready for the horde of children that will soon arrive.

Emma left with her mom to Portland after a tasty waffle breakfast.  I started painting the front porch - moving everything, power washing, and painting like a maniac.  Sam called in the middle, having just returned from his Alaska cruise.  I got the impression that he spent his days exploring the glaciers and towns of Alaska and Canada, and the nights hanging out with a pack of teenagers.  It sounds like quite the experience.

I made the porch beautiful, did a shopping/errand run, and then returned to work away at my long list of projects.  Joanna and I chatted over our phones, which was a nice treat.  I keep finding little notes from her hidden around the house.  The evening wrapped up with a little video games and television, coupled with cider and a rice and vegetable dish I whipped up.

Sunday was more of the same.  The big project of the day was getting Emma's room cleaned, with the aquarium being the bulk of the work.  I took out all the fish, plants, and water, cleaned the muck from the rocks, and put it back together.  I ended up replacing the light and upper part too, and moving it to the table Yayoe gave us.  It fits perfectly in the corner.

I get the kids either tonight or tomorrow.  Honoka arrives in the afternoon.  Life will get busy soon.  Can't wait.


August 25, 2014 by Adam in Adam

This is from a birthday party from long ago.  I think I was about 30 at the time.  It's a little long, but there are some funny parts sprinkled here and there.  It's funny how young I look.  I remember how awesome I thought those pants were.

Mocha Friday

August 22, 2014 by Adam in Family

My mocha is long gone, but the perkiness remains.  I took Emma to her annual checkup yesterday - she got shots and was generally poked and prodded. We've been watching her weight over the last few years - the numbers are improving, especially as she's taller than 95% of kids her age.  Her doctor encouraged her to continue the obsessive treadmilling.

She and I hung out after work, watching Sea of Monsters and making tofu rice.  I got to hear about all the differences between it and the book, and how far superior the book was.  Emma is coming back tonight for some more hang out time before she goes up to Portland with Jamie.

I keep hearing from Joanna, who does a great job keeping in touch despite the difference.  I keep finding little notes she's hidden for me to find, and get regular updates via text messages.  She got to see Duncan and Berry yesterday, which was great.  I miss those kiddos.

I've been getting ready for Honoka's arrival.  She'll be here in a few more days and we'll see her at the airport, sign in hand.  I did a little cleaning of her room and need to make keys for her.  Otherwise, all is well there.

Jamie and I have talked about some changes to Sam's schedule.  He'll be going to Jamie's after school Monday through Wednesday and coming home after dinner.  I think he'll generally be spending the night at my house too, unless there are weekend things they set up before hand.  Hopefully that works better for everyone.

I have a couple quiet days this weekend and have some big house plans.  I think I'll try to get a bunch of washing/painting done, which hasn't happened in many years.  It's a rare treat to have a brief opportunity to take care of things.

Back to work.  Trying to fix broken things yet again.

Best Crab

August 19, 2014 by Adam in Family

Okay, some news of Sam and the family is starting to sneak out.  It sounds like they're having a good time in Alaska, staying somewhat warm and eating great crab.

Joanna is getting ready for her trip to Rochester tomorrow at the crack of dawn.  The next couple days will be pretty quiet, though I'm taking Emma to her doctor appointment this Thursday.  Friday night Emma and might watch Sea of Monsters, though she's worried it might suck.  I have lots of things on my "to do" list, getting ready for the arrival of all the kids and start of school.

Off to Alaska

August 19, 2014 by Adam in Sam

Sam is on his trip to Alaska.  I haven't heard anything about how it's going at all.  Jenny sent a photo of Jordan hugging a totem pole in Ketchikan.  My mom sent this along.  I think this is from their stateroom.  Hard to say.

Quiet Weekend

August 18, 2014 by Adam in Family

It was a pleasant, quiet weekend with our only child Emma.  She was here Friday all day as Jamie was out of town.  She and Joanna visited me at work, with Emma somehow charming the woman at the front desk to the point where I was sent home with a mystery package.  It had all sorts of odds and ends from the office, including a bracelet made of rubber bands and paper clips.  Quite impressive.

Saturday we went to the library to load up on books while Joanna went to the market.  Emma convinced us all to get into the pool in the afternoon.  It was quite chilly, but warmed up after a little while.  We ended up playing "Piggie in the Middle," the English version of Monkey in the Middle.  It was surprisingly good fun.  For dinner we had Tasty Thai, which Emma managed to eat for every meal the following day.

Sunday morning Emma used her Awesome Points prize to go to the bookstore, get a book, and have hot chocolate.  She returned with another Rick Riordan book, though one she'd already read before.  Everyone came home for lunch and we had a low-key day of swimming, gardening, and puttering around.  Emma spent hours on the treadmill.  I made a picture frame out of my old tablet, which is now showing random pictures in the kitchen.  Joanna continued to knit awesome things.

It's a weird week.  Joanna leaves Wednesday.  I see Emma for a little on Thursday and Friday night.  Emma, Sam, and Jamie go to Portland on Saturday.  I've got a couple days to get ready for Honoka on Tuesday.  Everyone is at home on Thursday.  School is the following Wednesday.  Exciting times.

For ALS!

August 16, 2014 by Adam in Adam

Joanna informs me that all the hip people are dunking themselves in cold water for ALS awareness.  I'm not sure if this is really for a good cause, but Emma lured me into the pool and Joanna filmed me for her own amusement.

Yayoe's Visit

August 15, 2014 by Adam in Cortez

Yayoe asked me to post a couple pictures of her trip.  Here's a brief update:

This is the living room of the Cortez home in Chimayo. The house is
beautiful and reflects the Santa Fe style of architecture. Everyone is
thriving and looks great. Had a wonderful time staying with Hanni and
taking scenic tours with the family. Santa Fe is beautiful. I can see
why they live there and why they love their community.

Virtual Reality Mocha Friday

August 15, 2014 by Adam in Family

I ordered some pre-made Google Cardboard virtual reality goggle thing through a company called Dodo.  It arrived yesterday and immediately everyone wanted to play with it.  Basically you stick your phone in this thing and it provides a 3D view that moves when you move your head.  It's clunky in a lot of ways (I'm still waiting for the Oculus Rift), but it really shows the promise of VR.  The kids hogged it immediately, taking tours of strange locations and watching 3D, 360 degree movies.  Maybe I can play with it some this weekend.

Sam departs for Alaska today.  We have him packed with his passport and tons of permission papers.  Hopefully he has a great time.

Emma loves not having a cast and is excited to go swimming this weekend.  I think she's feeling a little lonely with everyone about to depart.  Soon she'll have more siblings than she knows what to do with.

I'm off to work shortly to enjoy my weekly mocha.  Work is interesting and fun, as always.  Looking forward to returning home, though.

Back to Work

August 14, 2014 by Adam in Family

Work has been non-stop email this morning, the usual consequences of a few days off work.  I think it's mostly under control.

Joanna and I had a great last day on the McKenzie.  We drove up to Sahalie Falls and hiked along the raging river.  It was a little chilly but generally dry.  After eating the last of the leftover pizza, we wistfully returned home.

We shopped at the pool supply store and garden store, then worked away in the backyard all afternoon.  Honoka's room is getting close to finished.  Joanna pH balanced the pool and amended all our garden beds.  I did battle with the morning glory, which always wants to take over our garden.  Eventually we gave up in exhaustion and ate dinner.

Tonight Sam and Emma arrive.  Sam needs to pack for his trip to Alaska - I won't see him for a week and a half, which is weird.  Emma, Joanna, and I will likely have a quiet weekend of library trips, swimming, and bike riding.  In just a couple weeks, we'll go from one kid up to five.  Should be exciting.


August 14, 2014 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy birthday Jordan! Welcome to the big time. Make sure you learn all the secret handshakes :)

McKenzie River Adventures

August 12, 2014 by Adam in Family

We drove to our cabin in McKenzie Bridge yesterday afternoon. It ended up being much cuter than I expected, with a great enclosed porch overlooking the river. Joanna whipped up a tasty dinner and we went for a walk along the highway to a little park at dusk. It's pretty quiet around here, maybe because it's the middle of the week.

In the morning I got up to make coffee and eat bagels, soon joined be Joanna who was chatting on the phone with Duncan. We told him stories about when he was younger, to his amusement. After breakfast we headed out on bikes to the McKenzie River trail. It was great fun, something we hadn't done in a long while. More importantly, we avoided falling off our bikes into the river, even after the thunderstorm started. Eventually we turned back and made it home, tired, wet, and happy.

We ate lunch at a nearby fine and bought weird things at the general store. Next was Belknap Hot Springs, where we soaked in the hot pool. After we achieved the desired amount of happy tiredness, we crossed a little bridge and discovered these amazing paths through the forest. Most amazing was this secret garden behind this wall, an incredible thing of pools, flowers, and columns.

We finally made it back to the cabin and have been suitably hanging out. The only noise is the river and occasional screams of rafters going down the rapids.

A Cast Removed

August 12, 2014 by Adam in Emma

Emma's cast came off today. Apparently the stench was horrible, but it felt so good to move her hand again. It's not totally healed yet so she has to wear a splint for three more weeks. Next weekend I'm hoping she can go swimming in our new pool and maybe ride her bike again.

Mocha Monday

August 11, 2014 by Adam in Family

I'm not working today, which is wonderfully lazy.  Since I got paged a couple times over the weekend, I feel like I deserve a little R&R. 

We've had a good weekend overall, hanging out with kids and getting things done.  Saturday we went with Emma to the library to stock up on books and hit Saturday Market.  We saw Guardians of the Galaxy in the afternoon and finished up with Pizza and Mythbusters.

Sunday we went our separate ways, with Joanna going to church and putting on a concert.  My mom took Emma to get school supplies and I went to the hardware store to get more things for Honoka's room.  The kids and I played D&D, building that special nerd comradery.  Eventually we came together to finish setting up the pool.  Emma really wanted to try it out, but she has to wait until her cast comes off tomorrow.

Joanna and I leave for our trip this afternoon, with the kids returning to Jamie's house.  I'm hoping the kids and I can hang out a little together.  Already Emma and I wrestled in the basement until I gave up in exhaustion.  She's getting really strong.


August 10, 2014 by Seraph in Cortez

We've really enjoyed having Yayoe here. we've dragged her all over Sante Fe and Chimayo, and tomorrow we're off to Los Alamos. Here's a picture of us at the Cathedral in Santa Fe.

Mocha Friday

August 08, 2014 by Adam in Family

I finally got my mocha after a morning of crises at work and my annual review (which went well).  The mocha was delicious, fortunately, just adding to the generally good day.  No idea if I'm going to end up with a pay raise this year, but at least my boss likes me.

The last few days have been pretty low-key.  Wednesday night Joanna and I went to a song circle, like we did in years past.  We sang a lot of songs from musicals, and classics from decades past.  Though work wore me out, eating Pegasus pizza, drinking cider, and then singing "16 Tons" was a great way to wrap up the day.

Sam and Emma were over last night.  Joanna made tasty curry.  Sam lured me into playing video games with him.  I read Emma books about castles.  Joanna entertained us all by setting non-dairy creamer on fire.  It was a good night.

We still have a bunch of things to do to prepare for Honoka's arrival.  Joanna bought a dresser, which we moved into her room.  There are curtains to hem, drawer liners to install, and other miscellaneous things to take care of.  It should be a cute little room where she can escape to if the rest of us get too loud.

Hopefully we can see Guardians of the Galaxy this weekend.  I have a couple computers to fix.  Maybe we can get some good hang-out time in there too.

Welcome Honoka

August 06, 2014 by Adam in Family

Well, it looks like we'll be having another kid in our big, extended family.  Honoka, a Japanese exchange student, is starting to get tickets and arrange travel plans.  Now that it's an increasing certainty, we have a backyard cottage to make beautiful, grandparents to enlist in help, and new schedules to make for the school year.  We sent her a link to this website, and she didn't run screaming, so that's a good sign.  It's all very exciting.

The week has been relatively quiet.  Sam and Emma went to their mom's house, though Sam is back for the day while Jamie works and Emma plays with Kate.  Joanna's friends left yesterday afternoon, with her singing group arriving for dinner that night.  I listened in to their occasionally amusing, racy conversations while taking care of dishes, laundry, and the boring parts of life.

I'm looking forward to hanging out with the kids this weekend.  I think it'll be the last quiet one before the excitement of the school year starts.

Level Zero Human

August 04, 2014 by Adam in Sadie & Greg

I was looking through the Curated Simon photostream and found a picture of the onsie I made for him last year.  Let's hope Sadie and Greg start getting that kid on adventures and leveling him up.


August 03, 2014 by Adam in Family

We survived our camping trip.

We left Saturday around noon, stopped in Florence for lunch, and found Rock Creek Campground.  The ranger hadn't heard of many people wandering off into the wilderness, so we rented a spot which we never used, and set off. 

The trail was pretty rough, though a few logs had been placed over muddy creeks by someone (probably not elk).  We went slow, but eventually made our way to a clearing.  Sam scouted ahead looking for something better, communicating over walkie-talkies.  He was gone a good long while, Emma and I snacking and exploring our little clearing.  He said he found a good spot, but after he returned by sliding down a hillside, we decided to stay where we were.  He was battered and exhausted, but it was the most fun he'd had all summer, according to him.

We set up camp, made dinner, watched a movie on our portable electronics, and went to sleep.  The ground was pretty rough, but we managed to get enough hours and woke up a bit after six in the morning.

There was tea and hot chocolate, and a little cereal for me.  We packed up, walked out, and had a real meal in Florence.  Sam was still pretty wiped out and napped in the car.  When we got home, I demanded baths or showers for everyone.  I eventually unpacked everything, and the kids helped me work on our back cottage for Honoka.  There were lots of things to rearrange and clean out.  Now I'm exhausted.

Tonight we have pizza and Mythbusters.  Joanna returns with her friends John and Regina.  We have a few exciting nights this week, a fairly normal weekend after that, and then it's Sam to Alaska, Joanna to Rochester, and hopefully a Japanese exchange student somewhere around there.

Never a dull moment.


August 02, 2014 by Adam in Adam's Games

I played Monaco with Sam, Josh, and Matt last night.  It was a zany good time.

Mocha Friday

August 01, 2014 by Adam in Family

I'm horribly excited about the weekend.  It hasn't been a bad week by any means - I just have a hard time working when everyone else is hanging out and having an enjoyable summer.  As a consolation prize, it's Mocha Friday, and I have some interesting code to write at work.

We might host a Japanese exchange student this year.  It's part of Joanna's plan to make us all live interesting lives.  At first I was pretty hesitant, but the idea grew on me.  Sam and Emma both seem somewhat enthusiastic as well.  I'm secretly happy that someone would occupy my little shed in the back, and feel the urge to pretty it up.  It's not final, but we're kicking off the process.  She's an 11th grader at South who enjoys doing hair and baking cakes.  Could be interesting.

Tomorrow Joanna and her out-of-town friend John head to the coast to a fair.  I'll be taking Sam and Emma camping in the woods.  I've been stuffing weird things in backpacks for days now.  Hopefully we have enough to eat and survive.

Sam's passport arrived, so he's increasingly ready for his Alaska cruise.  He's starting to get enthusiastic about adventures, including this one.  Now I just need to get some documentation for my mom to have showing he can take him into Canada and on some exciting excursions.

It was nice having Sam and Emma home after a few days away.  They jumped on me when I arrived from work, talking away about their week's excitement.  Joanna made us tasty food and researched Japanese exchange students.  Sam and Emma looked at the backpacks in the basement and got a little goofy.

Isabell's Arrival

July 31, 2014 by Adam in Cortez

I've been going through old video tapes, getting them all digitized for the future.  I have a few more to do, finally getting to things like the video of Sadie's friends hanging out and Isabell being born.  In any case, here's the greatly abridged version of Isabell's arrival:

Arma 3 and the Wolf Among Us

July 31, 2014 by Adam in Adam's Games

Sam sometimes whips up little scenarios for us in Arma 3, a military simulator.  Inevitably, things go badly, which I think is his favorite part.  We generally have a good time, and when he dies, he'll come over and watch me, a bit too eagerly in my opinion.

I finished The Wolf Among Us, which was a fun little game.  I guess I'd describe it as a detective novel in a world where fairy tales have come to life.  Anyway, time to pick a new game out of my vast library.

The Warm Lazy Days of Summer

July 28, 2014 by Adam in Family

It was another wonderful summer day today.  Emma and I were up first, chatting and hanging out.  I made waffles for Joanna, who played us a rendition of Fireworks as a reward.  She went off to church where she sung it again with the uke, to much fanfare.  I fed Sam, Emma picked figs for me from our tree, and we partially packed our bags for the hiking trip.  There were video games and D&D.  Eventually Joanna returned for lunch and we headed off on a hike at Ridgeline Trail.

It was pretty steep, but quite pretty.  The kids kept stopping to check out well-camouflaged spiders and little creeks.  We eventually made our way to the Cascade Raptor Center where Emma convinced us to go.  Joanna returned to get the minivan while the rest of us looked at the bald eagles, owls, crows, and a million other birds.  Eventually we returned home and vegged out.  I played a little Bookworm Adventures, got pizza, and we watched Bang Goes the Theory.

The kids are off tomorrow.  I have some yardwork and more camping preparations.   Hopefully Joanna and I will sneak in a date night in there too.

D&D and Asian Celebrations

July 27, 2014 by Adam in Family

Sam and Emma arrived Friday night.  We ate a tasty curry and had a generally quiet evening.  Both kids missed me, I think, and kept wanting to talk when I first appeared.

Saturday morning after a hearty breakfast Emma, Joanna, and I went off to the library and briefly to the Saturday Market.  After lunch Joanna went off to a painting session.  She kept sending us pictures of her progress, with the kids being increasingly impressed with the result.  Eventually Emma declared that Joanna better be proud of her work or she'll take the painting from her.  Meanwhile the kids and I played the next edition of D&D and generally had a good time.  I'm doing it a little differently - using the big computer in the living room and using Photoshop to uncover areas as they explore.  I think it's working out well.

Later that evening we went to Alton Baker Park for a Japanese festival after picking up sushi.  We met up with Yayoe and chatted away.  Sam defeated a yellow jacket that was terrorizing us.  Everyone enjoyed the Pokemon dance the performers put on, as well as the more traditional fare.  We returned home, tucked Emma in bed, Sam and I played a little Arma 3, and we finished up with one of my favorite Star Trek Next Generation episodes.

Mocha Friday

July 25, 2014 by Adam in Family

I'm cheerfully caffeinated today, looking forward to the weekend and hanging out with kids.

Duncan and Berry got off to the airport with their dad just fine.  It's been quiet without them, though Joanna and Emma were trying to make up for it by saying goofy and inappropriate things throughout dinner.  We had Sam and Emma briefly after work yesterday.  I signed Emma's cast, we ate delicious curry, and wrapped up with a rousing board game session.  After Jamie picked them up, Joanna and I did some gardening and listened to the heavy metal band at the Fairgrounds.  We didn't actually go anywhere - the sound just rolled up the hill into our front yard.

Work is going relatively well.  More departures soon - I keep amassing knowledge from each departed person, growing more powerful with each person leaving.  Soon I shall become invincible.

Looking forward to the weekend.  I've got to get ready for our great camping trip.  Otherwise I'm hoping to have some good hang out time with the kiddos.  Lots of games and haircuts and projects to do.

Rainy Day

July 23, 2014 by Adam in Family

It was raining this morning, a very odd experience after 90 degree weather for weeks on end.  It's been quiet at home.  Sam and Emma are at their mom's.  Duncan and Berry leave for Rochester tomorrow morning.  I can tell Joanna and the kids are all thinking about it, hoping for the best.

It's my mom's birthday - I think Joanna is cooking up a small surprise for her today. 

Lots of packing today, and getting up at the crack of dawn to send the kiddos off.

Happy birthday Mom!

July 23, 2014 by Seraph in Cortez

Have an amazing birthday Mom! I recommend sunshine and ice cream!

Cast Time

July 22, 2014 by Adam in Emma

Jamie took Emma to the sports medicine folks at Slocum and it looks like she's getting a cast for the next three weeks.  After that, she's getting a removable splint.  I just hope she's back to normal by the start of school.

I think we can still do our backpacking trip the weekend after next.  I'm bummed she can't go swimming and baths will be a pain.  Still, it's nice to know she won't be hideously deformed, her twisted pinkie striking fear into the hearts of other children.

Duncan Birthday #2

July 20, 2014 by Adam in Duncan

Duncan had his second birthday this morning.  He and Joanna ran off to Voodoo Doughnuts and returned to supplement breakfast with their ill gotten booty.  Duncan was extremely excited to blow out his birthday doughnut and open everyone's presents.

Later tonight he's having a friend over for pizza and science shows.  His final birthday event involves flying across the country to party with the east coast crowd.  What a lucky boy.

Birthday Boys and Girls

July 20, 2014 by Adam in Family

Yesterday was my birthday and today is Duncan's.  My mom got in on the action, as her's is just a few days away as well.

The day started with a hearty breakfast with everyone.  Joanna made pancakes, picking some blueberries from our bushes on the balcony.  Duncan was at a sleepover, so I took Berry and Emma to the library, returning to have all the kids read away.  I fed Sam, and then we spent forever making new D&D characters for each of the kids.  That was a fun process, using the new rules, though I'm not sure when I'll be able to put a campaign together.

I had a long day of hanging out with everyone, followed by a delicious meal where my mom, Bob, Jenny, and Jordan came over for dinner.  Joanna made my absolute favorite chocolate potato cake.  Presents were exchange.  It was all good.

Sam, Emma, and I played a little D&D after dinner, and Sam and I played a little Divinity: Original Sin after I got Emma to bed.

It was a perfect day, surrounding myself with the people I love and enjoying their company.  I thanked them all for helping make it happen.

Mocha Friday

July 18, 2014 by Adam in Family

It's been a quirky week.  I had a couple co-developers down for the last two days.  It was great - we hung out, took a tour of the hospital, brought in some guest speakers, and generally bonded.  I'm a little sad that I'm returning to my solitude of the gray cubicle, but I suppose I'll actually get some things done.

Emma and I are sporting pinkie injuries - me with a burn from a pancake griddle, her with a spiderweb-related sprain.  Fortunately it wasn't broken.  Duncan and Berry are off on their last day of camp, heading to the Enchanted Forest.  Sam was going to put in some work for my mom.

My mom and Yayoe came over to do art camp with the kids, which was cool.  It's a weekend of birthdays and hanging out.  I'm looking forward to spending some time with all the kids, the last until school starts again.  I'll plan extravagant breakfasts to tide Duncan and Berry over until then.

Bent But Not Broken

July 18, 2014 by Adam in Emma

Emma managed to hurt her pinkie finger pretty bad yesterday.  It was at her mom's house and the story involved running from a spider web or something.  When she showed up at our house, she was complaining about it hurting quite a bit.  Joanna improves a split and we had her sleep on it.

This morning the pain continued and the bruising and swelling were pretty bad.  Joanna took her into the doctor's to get x-rays.  Fortunately everything looks okay.  She got a hefty split to keep everything stationary.  It's nice to have the piece of mind that she's doing okay.

Another Weekend in Paradise

July 14, 2014 by Adam in Family

I had another really nice weekend, full of events, lots of play time with kids, and everyone generally in good spirits.

Friday was the Country Fair, with all that entails.  Even though it was a little exhausting wandering around the windy forest trails, we took in a hysterical vaudeville act which everyone really enjoyed. 

Saturday was Duncan's birthday party with friends.  Emma and I had a great time being ridiculously silly in the pool.  Berry and Flynn played together fabulously.  Duncan hung out with friends and got way too many Pokemon cards. That night was pizza and Mythbusters, the first in a long while.

Sunday I tried to get in some quality Sam time.  In the morning he and I played in the basement, occasionally with Emma - sword fights, dart guns, and yo-yos.  In the afternoon, there was D&D and Divinity: Original Sin.  Emma went off to a friend's birthday party.  Joanna fixed the pool.  Sam planned his Alaska cruise.  Laundry was done.  Tasty food was eaten.  Sadie sent cute baby pictures.  Life is good.

Beach Trip Video

July 13, 2014 by Adam in Family

I finally got around to posting a video from last weekend's beach trip.  There's rowing, climbing, and smore making.  It's all good.

Splash Birthday

July 13, 2014 by Adam in Duncan

Duncan had his first birthday party with his friends at Splash yesterday.  It was a pretty good crowd, with everyone swimming, chatting, and eating cake.  Joanna made an elaborate Pokemon cake, which everyone was impressed with.  Duncan ended up with a huge number of Pokemon cards, expanding his collection even more. 

Next weekend is his official birthday, where we'll have a party for him, my mom, and myself.  He's got another planned with his dad in Rochester when he arrives the weekend after that.  Birthdays tend to be long, drawn-out affairs, which I think the kids are completely okay with.  More presents.

Country Fair

July 12, 2014 by Adam in Family

We went to the Country Fair today.  That's pretty much the whole thing.  We rallied the troops after breakfast, made our way down to the downtown bus, and wandered around.  There were the expected wild costumes, interesting if expensive food, music everywhere, and quirky performances.

Though Joanna and the kids were worn out by the end, we hit all the things I wanted to see.  The best part was the vaudeville performance by avian clown acrobats.  Unfortunately one of Joanna's irrational fears is balloons, which played prominently in the show.

We wandered home where everyone collapsed.  I whipped up dinner, stuffed the kids with good food, played some Divinity with Sam, read to Emma, and am currently watching comedic police shows with Sam and Joanna.

So Many Games

July 11, 2014 by Adam in Adam's Games

Post Steam sale, we've been wading through games pretty endlessly.  I finished up the new Wolfenstein game, which was much better than expected.  I've been playing Bookworm Adventures 2, one of my favorite casual games.  I'm slowly going through the latest Splinter Cell game, though I'm pretty lousy at being sneaky and most of my missions end in a big shootout.

The real gem of recent games, in my opinion, is Divinity: Original Sin.  It's a classic RPG, with turn based combat and all sorts of interaction with the environment.  It's also coop focused, so Sam and I are wandering through the world, getting into fights and having strange conversations with people, ghosts, and beings from other dimensions.  Good stuff.

Mocha Thursday

July 10, 2014 by Adam in Family

It's been a pretty quiet week.  I code away at work, run at lunch, and return to whatever the evening has in store for me.  Monday night Joanna went off to her mediumship thing while I watched the kids and got them in bed.  Tuesday was quiet.  Wednesday we went out on a date to Off the Waffle and chatted about a little of everything.  It was all very nice.

Duncan and Berry are generally doing well.  Berry went in for a checkup and is a little more normal in the height/weight range - tall and thin, but we already knew that.  She's really gotten into math and learning lately.  I had to pry the pen and paper from her hands at bedtime when she was creating square root tables.  Duncan continues to learn about computers through Minecraft.  He was asking me about config files and showing off his server mods the other day.

I haven't heard much from Sam and Emma.  I occasionally see Sam pop up on Steam, and I've sent him a couple videos relevant to his interests.  Fortunately I get to see both of them after work.  Tomorrow should be a fun day of the Country Fair and hanging out.  Supposedly Sam has more D&D for Emma and I.

Beach Weekend

July 07, 2014 by Adam in Family

We had a wonderful weekend at the beach, so much so that it was difficult to return to work.

Friday morning we set off after breakfast, stopping in Corvallis to load up on lunch before pushing on to the coast.  There we met up with my dad and we settled in.  After unpacking we set up the raft and got the kids paddling around the little area off my dad's docks.  The day wound down and we broke out pizza and the last Cosmos to finish it up.  There was some excitement relighting the gas water heater, but with Sam's help I managed.  We all went to bed before the fireworks started going off, exhausted but happy.

Saturday was equally low-key.  We played Space Alert and Pandemic with my dad.  There was a long trip to the beach where I managed to get a sunburn on my knee.  The kids dug holes in the sand, ran across the bay during low-tide, and climbed up big rocks.  Joanna felt a little under the weather and mostly took it easy.  Ana came over and brought dinner, which was greatly appreciated.  The evening wrapped up with smores over the gas fire pit.

Sunday we packed up and left early after breakfast.  We stopped again in Corvallis for a snack, then collapsed at home when we arrived.  Sam, Emma, and I played D&D and had a good time.  Sam and I played Divinity together and had a great time.  Kids played.  Life is good.

Mocha Thursday

July 03, 2014 by Adam in Family

This week seems to have just barreled along.  Tomorrow is the 4th of July and we're heading to the coast for a little getaway.  I'm starting to realize we may not be able to bring everything I wanted - either we strap one of the kids to the roof or the raft stays behind.

Joanna and I had a nice date last night.  We drove downtown to drink cider and eat pizza at Sizzle Pie.  It's such a funky Eugene spot.  I think we had as much fun people watching as enjoying the meal.

I'm mostly on the mend.  My coworker Keith is coming down from Vancouver for the day.  I don't think he's ever been to the Eugene/Springfield area, so I'll show him around and spend some quality time with him.

Looking forward to seeing Sam and Emma tonight.

Happy Canada Day

July 02, 2014 by Adam in Family

As I newly rediscovered my Canadianism, a grand Happy Canada Day to all.  I should have spent the day eating maple syrup and playing hockey, but instead I got deathly ill at 4 a.m. and spent the day sleeping, throwing up, and staying in bed.

Joanna took the little kids to the coast and had a great time.  I slowly recovered and ate the most delicious burrito for dinner.  For dessert, it was cereal and fresh blueberries picked from our balcony.  I weighed myself right before and had lost almost ten pounds.  Hopefully it's back again.

I figure tomorrow I'll be back to normal tomorrow.

Another Lovely Weekend

June 30, 2014 by Adam in Family

It was hard coming to work today.  Kids were lounging about and the day promised to be sunny and warm.  Joanna sent pictures of the kids reading on the couch, or hanging out at a park.  Wish I were there.

It was a nice weekend, relaxing and pleasant.  Saturday morning we dropped Joanna off at Saturday Market and I took the three younger kids to the library.  Emma was whisked away by Jamie to go to a baseball game.  I took Duncan and Berry downtown to pick up Joanna and watch impromptu dancers.  We ate bagels and returned home with our library book loot.

Sam and I played assorted video games, as the Steam Summer Sale continued.  We now have far too many games to play.  There was a lot of playing outside and enjoying the weather in there too, followed by pizza and Cosmos.

Sunday morning I took Emma to practice bike riding.  She did really well, basically going all on her own.  It ended with a minor spill, which was mostly okay.  We fixed up the bike a bit more and hopefully it'll be better next time.

Sam wanted some money for video games, so he power washed the patio.  He did a great job, something I'd been wanting to get to for months.

The rest of the day was wonderfully low-key.  Sam and I played Pandemic and barely failed at saving the world from a horrible disease outbreak.  I read Greek mythology to Emma. 

All is well.

Mocha Friday

June 27, 2014 by Adam in Family

I've been somewhat negligent posting this week.  Sam and Emma went to their mom's house Monday afternoon, returning last night to hang out, visiting with their mom today, and then back tonight after work.  Joanna has been hanging out, posting updates on campmummy.com.  I'd sadly work away while hearing tales of bike rides and magic shows.  I'm glad they're all having a good time, though.

It's been the Steam Summer Sale, so I've been loading up on cheap games, occasionally playing some of them with Sam.  His grades finally arrived.  I gave him a hard time that he only got two As, paused a moment and then added that he had three A+s.  Sam's been hanging out with his friends online pretty regularly, though he took a break to watch the old Star Trek t.v. show with me.  I think he was flabbergasted at Captain Kirk and his crazy 60's sensibilities.

Emma has been reading fan fiction, drawing, and occasionally doing the treadmill.  When the little kids are around, they'll often play Pokemon things together, or I'll find them all watching it on Netflix at their computers.  Last night we hung out on the swings and giggled, which was fun.

Duncan has been his usual cheerful self.  Joanna went out Tuesday night and Duncan built an elaborate obstacle course in the basement. 

Berry is her usual passionate self, either extremely stubborn and expressive of her displeasure, or sweet and caring.  She's an amazing reader and curious about the world. 

I'm thankful for all the critters, as well as Joanna.  I missed her last night as she took the little kids camping.  No cell service, so I haven't heard a peep.  I look forward to a full house tonight.

One last picture

June 23, 2014 by Seraph in Cortez

Here's a last sweet photo of Simon before I head back to NM!

She's Crafty!

June 22, 2014 by Adam in Joanna

Joanna is an exceptionally crafty woman.  For Christmas I got her a spinning wheel, some raw roving, and dye.  Today was the Black Sheep gathering at the fairgrounds, so we left her there and I took the kids to the library.  Upon her return, she began dying the wool, pouring strange liquids on roving, then encasing them in plastic wrap and steaming them.  They turned out surprisingly well and are currently drying on our patio.  I imagine she'll start spinning it into yarn relatively soon.  Who knows what they'll eventually become.

Home Again

June 21, 2014 by Sue in Wielesek

I got in safe and sound, but then had a bout of either Airplane Throat or a delayed version of the Plague which visited Adam's household. Feeling much better now. Sooo hard to leave Simon. Joanna, I know how you felt about having only a fleeting few days with your nephew last summer. Yayoe, lunch seems like a lovely idea. Late this coming week? 

So Apparently It's My Anniversary

June 21, 2014 by Adam in Family

Joanna and I both completely blew it, thinking our anniversary was tomorrow.  The solstice is today, which is when we got married, but we set up a date night thinking it was the 21st.  Ah well, after two years of constant bliss, it all just blends together.

I've loved having the last couple days off work.  Yesterday we mostly stayed around the house.  Emma and I cleaned her room, including the strange things under the bed.  Sam and I played some video games.  Duncan managed a bunch of play time with Flynn across the street.  Joanna and Berry went shopping.  Sam, Emma, and I went to the park, giving out balloons to the horde of children at the play and spray.  With a bit of Emma's help, I managed to disassemble, clean, fix, and reassemble the dishwasher, which was driving me crazy with dirty dishes.

Today I got up early again, doing laundry, dishes, and baking three dutch babies for breakfast.  Sam picked the lock of the fire safe.  Emma and the little kids played and watched Pokemon, though not the actual card game.  Eventually I convinced everyone they had to play Space Alert, my birthday present board game.  Explaining the rules took way too long, to the point where Berry took elaborate notes.  Eventually we played, and it was a complete comedy of errors.  Sam was the captain, yelling at everyone and freaking out.  Enemy ships attacked from all directions.  Somehow after planning out all our actions, we barely kept from exploding before escaping to hyperspace.  And that was just the simulation round.

After taking Emma to play at Kate's house, we got ready to go on a rafting trip.  There was a brief kerfuffle to find Duncan's glasses, but we headed over and dropped Joanna and Duncan in the creek.  I put a heavy backpack on Sam, testing to see if we could hike into the wilderness later this summer.  He did great, everyone had a great time, Berry ran along with us.  The finale was Sam sliding down an exciting waterfall like thing, then I jogged back to the minivan to pick everyone up.

Soon we'll have pizza and Cosmos.  Can't wait.

Sam's Awesome

June 20, 2014 by Adam in Sam

This morning I told Sam he was totally bad-ass, and was immediately reprimanded by Emma who informed me children were present.  Joanna had lost the keys to the fire safe, so we stuck it in front of Sam and pleaded with him.  In a couple minutes he'd whipped out his lock pick set, opened it up, and informed us it was the easiest lock he'd ever picked.

The day before we managed to get a boomerang stuck in a tree at the park.  I acted as a ladder, Sam stepped on my leg, shoulder, and then scrambled up the tree.  A few shakes later and he'd gotten it down.  He had to climb another tree and take a selfie to celebrate.

He's also gotten straight A's this year and is generally funny and pleasant.  I wish he'd get off his computer a bit more, but I think I was exactly the same way at his age.

So sweet!

June 20, 2014 by Seraph in Cortez

I'm really excited to get back to Robbie and Isabell next week, but I think I'm now addicted to cute babies!


June 19, 2014 by Adam in Family

I have the next two days off work, excited to join the kids for some lounging about.  Never quite able to relax fully, I woke up at six and worked on laundry, dishes, gardening, and generally cleaning up before the first kid got out of bed.  I'm going to soon start on breakfast - crepes I think.

The weather is beautiful this morning.  I'm hoping to start getting ready for my camping trip with Sam.  I'd like to load him up with a backpack and see if he can hike a few miles carrying fifty pounds or so.  I'd also like to get Joanna and Duncan in the raft sometime, the only two people who have so far avoided it.  I also have a board game I'm itching to play.

Space Engineers

June 19, 2014 by Adam in Adam's Games

Sam and I have been playing Space Engineers occasionally.  Calling it Minecraft in space is simplistic, but generally describes it.  Last night we were creating little rocket cars to race around a track, run into each other, and generally cause trouble.  Later we built big ships and slowly maneuvered around each other until the automated turrets blew off all the armor and disabled the engines.  Good times.

Another Lovely Weekend

June 17, 2014 by Adam in Family

Another lovely weekend has come and gone.  Sunday morning Joanna and Duncan went off to church, leaving Berry and I to have some rare hang out time.  We played Castle Panic and then she read Garfield to me as I gardened.

Eventually everyone returned, including Sam and Emma from their Bend trip.  They told stories of the Sister's rodeo, including the clowns and the one girl who had a horse fall on her.  I was feeling a little under the weather, and lay down for a while.

We had a little Father's Day celebration, with sweet cards from the kids and all sorts of goodies.  There were some practical ones, such as a hand vacuum and pencil sharpener, and a cool Space Alert game that I can't wait to play with everyone later this week.  The evening wrapped up with pizza and Cosmos.  It was lovely.

Happy Father's Day!

June 15, 2014 by Seraph in Cortez

I hope you all have a beautiful Sunday!

Quiet Saturday

June 15, 2014 by Adam in Family

I had a lovely full night of sleep.  The whole day seemed bright and wonderful after a week of sleep deprivation.  I'm glad my cough is finally fading.

Joanna and I went out to a marketing association thingie, driving out in the countryside to eat and chat with folks that Joanna knows.  It was beautiful out, and a pleasant way to spend the evening.

This morning started with a rare bout of sleeping in.  I finally made dutch babies, bacon, sausages, and a mocha.  With Sam and Emma in Bend for the day, it was surprisingly quiet.  Emma said good morning to me via her new tablet, which was nice.  We went outside where the kids helped me clean the minivan.  Joanna modified one of the bikes for easier riding.  Eventually we ate a bite and headed to the library and Saturday Market, returning with books and fresh veggies.  Berry really wanted to have a henna tattoo, so I broke out some semi-permanent hair dye and painted her hands and toes.  She really enjoyed it, and it was strangely entertaining for me.

We've been puttering around this afternoon.  I watered the garden.  Joanna dyed her hair.  Flynn came over to play with Duncan.  Berry played with iron filings and magnets.  Life's good.

Good ole United

June 14, 2014 by Sue in Wielesek

Why oh why do I ever fly United. Instead  of getting home tonight at midnight, I'll be home tomorrow at 10:30 p.m.. All's well here.

Sleepy Mocha Friday

June 13, 2014 by Adam in Family

I continue to be sleep deprived - four days of coughing off and on. I'm apparently not alone - several of my coworkers have the annoying cough.  I keep thinking I'm at the end of the thing, and then I have another night of taking cough suppressants and waiting for exhaustion to take me.  Hopefully tonight is the first full night of sleep.

It's great hearing about Simon and how he's slowly transforming into a real human.  I wish I was out there with everyone.

Sam and Emma are off to Bend this afternoon, returning Sunday for father's day.  They were hanging out with me before breakfast, a little more chatty than usual - as if they already missed me.  Tomorrow I had great plans for projects, but perhaps I'll just catch up on sleep.

Joanna gave a presentation about job risk at Victoria Miller's work.  I think she secretly had a good time, and they gave her some wine as thanks.  Duncan got to wear pajamas to school yesterday.  Sam will likely get straight A's once again, which I'm quite proud of. 

Life's a Bit Calmer

June 12, 2014 by Sue in Wielesek

Since Simon got home, things are settling into a routine. Simon eats, pees,poops, and sleeps, pretty much in that order. Notice that I didn't put crying on that list, though that certainly occurs, but mostly just when he has a burp. Most of the time he's just a sweet little ball. Sadie takes to motherhood as though she were born to it.
Having told you how good Simon is, I guess I should add that there was an hour interlude after that first paragraph in which a very sleepy Sadie tried to catch up on lost sleep and Seraph and I entertained Simon, who was in fine spirits and tried out his bink, along with engaging in his new favorite hobby, looking at the curtains.
On the issue of Binks - I really do think they're fine in the first few months, when the sucking instinct is so ingrained with the sense of survival. Cultural trivia - back in Appalachia, when I was a kid, they'd soak a cloth in sugar water and give it to babies to suck - called it a Sugar Tit.
The Home Health Nurse came by on Monday and pronounced him healthy, and at his first pediatrician appointment was on Tuesday, he'd gained 3 ounces in a day.  I think if he keeps up at that rate he'll weigh 60 pounds when he's a year old.
This has been every grandmother's dream, not just having a new baby, but getting to spend real time with Seraph and Sadie. I wish you all could be here to enjoy this time. Love to all, Mom

Mid-Week Update

June 11, 2014 by Adam in Family

The week is stumbling along.  Monday morning Emma claimed illness, so we stayed home together.  She read and I worked, occasionally stopping to cough dramatically.  I've had a hard time sleeping the last couple nights and resorted to cough syrup, which I hate.

I stopped by dad's new office Tuesday.  It was really cool seeing him back in the place I remember him while growing up.  If only they were playing the Rumors album and having water fights with the hand pieces.  I had my teeth cleaned by a nice hygienist.  There were still a few setup bugs to work out, but they praised my awesome teeth, so all was forgiven.  My only recommendation is to stick a poster on the ceiling, as I spent the half hour staring at bare bulbs and ceiling tiles.

Busy Days

June 11, 2014 by Sue in Wielesek

I have no idea how I'm actually going to leave this beautiful little boy in three days. He is so sweet;
though it may seem so since it's 11 years since there was a teeny tiny person around the fam. Yesterday the Home Health Nurse came by, and today Simon had his first pediatrician appointment.
He gained three ounces between the two weigh-ins, which seemed generally satisfactory to everyone. Sadie and Greg were pretty darn amazing in the delivery room. Simon was born natural birth, with no drugs, and Sadie and Greg were so prepared that they just powered  right through.

The hospital was very good, and they checked out around noon on Sunday. And the only problem is that suddenly I can barely keep my eyes open. I'll post more tomorrow.

Life is But A Dream

June 09, 2014 by Adam in Family

We heard that Simon made it home and begun the eat/sleep/poop cycle.  Hopefully you'll all get some sleep in there.

The day started with Emma and I chatting while the house slept, then moving on to dutch babies, bacon, sausages, eggs, toast, and assorted fruit.  Joanna and the little kids went off to church and I somehow convinced Sam and Emma to go rafting.  While I got everything ready, Emma made Sam play assorted girl makeup games on the web.  He was both amused and terrified.

We eventually made it to the Science Factor where we put in.  I had a bike ready in case they took off, but it was completely unnecessary.  It took them ten minutes before they figured out how to go upstream, then they moved at a slow pace.  Eventually they got over a small spillway and the current slowed considerably.  I think they enjoyed that stretch of the creek, eventually turning back when they got tired. 

We collapsed at home, showered, ate a late lunch, and was singularly lazy for the rest of the afternoon.  Sam and I played some co-op computer games.  Emma traded Pokemon cards with Flynn and Duncan.  Berry and the littler kids played a bunch of Mario Kart.  We ate toad in the hole and the evening wrapped up.

Back to work tomorrow so I can get a little rest.

Maker Faire Weekend

June 08, 2014 by Adam in Family

Okay, the weekend is only half over, but it continues to be exciting.  Simon's appearance was the coolest event by far, but we managed a few entertaining bits on our side of the continent.

I scooped up Emma Friday night for an evening of stir fry and hanging out.  Connor spent the night, so he and Duncan played a bunch of Minecraft and watched some shows in the basement.  Fortunately everyone went to bed at a reasonable hour, leaving Joanna and I to watch the new season of Orange is the New Black.

In the morning I fed waffles, bacon, and sausage to everyone.  I took Duncan and Emma to the library while Berry and Joanna went to a birthday party.  Emma's latest obsession is Greek mythology and the Rick Riordan books.  After lunch, Flynn from across the street came over to play.  Eventually we gathered up the troops and went to the Science Factory where they were having an annual Maker Faire.

The kids had a great time, and the South Eugene High School robotics team tried to recruit Sam and I (despite his absence).  Duncan, Berry, and I made duct tape wallets.  Berry disassembled a computer, something she's an old hat at.  Berry and Joanna made some weaving project.  We saw cabbage being catapulted into the countryside.  It was quite entertaining.

We returned home to find Sam already there, playing online with friends.  Pizza and Mythbusters were ingested and watched.  The evening wound down with Sam, Joanna, and I watching the pilot to Eureka.  I think it'll make it into our normal rotation.

It's Sunday morning and I'm up with the girls.  I'd like to get kids running around outside, though I still have lingering sniffles.  Emma has expressed interesting in a board game with Sam.  I have an X-Men movie to watch.  We'll see how it goes.

More eye candy!

June 07, 2014 by Seraph in Cortez

A little closer.


June 07, 2014 by Seraph in Cortez

Aren't they grand!

Hi Simon!

June 06, 2014 by Adam in Sadie & Greg

Sadie and Greg gave birth to Simon Miller Caswell at 11:31 a.m.  He's 8 lbs, 1oz.  Everyone is happy, healthy, and tired.

Pre-Baby Mocha Friday

June 06, 2014 by Adam in Family

We're all rooting away for dear Sadie this Friday.  Joanna continues her knitting project.  Emma declares, "Come out cute baby so I can see cute baby pictures!"  I'm just thinking of dear little Sadie when she was little, and now she's poppin' out offspring.  Time flies.

Life's doing pretty well.  Joanna and I are still in the final grips of an annoying cold.  Work is generally good, and I really like the new guy.  I'm enjoying the work when I'm able to do it.  I spent too long yesterday trying to market how awesome we were to leadership.  I suppose it's a necessary evil so we can have enough people to do our jobs.

Summer is right around the corner, and today is a no school day for everyone but Sam.  Joanna is taking the opportunity to sleep in.

As for the weekend, there's a Maker Fair tomorrow, and Emma and I will wear our "Stand Back!  I'm going to try science!" t-shirts.  I'm sure pizza and science are in there too.  I bought a container of iron filings and we had a good time playing with that last night.

Poor Sadie

June 05, 2014 by Sue in Wielesek

Though Sadie scorns pity, it's hard not to feel bad for her. Simon is really a pretty big bump by now, though no one is worried or talking about inducing the baby's birth. He is just going to show up when he shows up. In the meantime, Greg is doing an amazing job of organizing the details of the hospital logistics, as well as organizing their moving plans. Sadie  had an appointment at the hospital this morning and Seraph and I walked down to Harvard Square. We all met for lunch, and hanging out. Jenny, thanks for calling. We promise to keep everyone posted.

No baby at this house!

June 03, 2014 by Sue in Wielesek

Seraph and Sadie are chatting about rehabbing old house and Greg is home from school and working outside.  The weather is spectacular and the neighborhood is nice. But Simon is nowhere to be seen. Sadie has another OB-Gyn appointment tomorrow, but I think that the baby is illusory. I think it will be like one of those tabloid stories like, WOMAN GIVES BIRTH TO 49 POUND GROWTH. Please think positive thoughts!

Emma's Second Birthday

June 03, 2014 by Adam in Emma

Emma had a second birthday party on Saturday.  This one was with her school friends.  They were mostly well behaved, strangely enjoying the shed and backyard quite a bit.  After cake and presents all but two left.  Kate and Hallie hung out for pizza and Mythbusters and then spent the night.  I only had to remind them to quiet down twice, which is a sure sign of well behaved children.

Balloon Launches, Birthdays and Lingering Colds

June 02, 2014 by Adam in Family

Joanna and I continue to sniffle and cough our way through the day.  My only consolation is that I'll allow myself a mocha this morning, for medicinal purposes.

The weekend was somewhat exciting.  Friday night Joanna and I went out for sushi downtown, chatting and eating our way through the pleasant almost-summer evening.  Saturday we took Duncan and Berry to the balloon launch of their science project, and then they roped me into playing tag until I was exhausted.  I dropped off a sick Joanna at home and then took the little kids to the library to load up on goodies.

Emma arrived after lunch and we got ready for the grand birthday event.  Joanna made cheesecake, the five eleven year old girls arrived, and they ran around doing assorted weird things until all but Hallie and Kate left at five.  Sam arrived and I got pizza for pizza and Mythbusters.  The girls mostly went to bed at a reasonable hour.  I played a little Space Engineers with Sam but otherwise cleaned, did laundry, and kept things from falling apart.

Sunday morning was a hearty crepe, bacon, hash brown, egg, and mocha breakfast for all.  Emma played with her friends until they left around ten.  The day was pretty low-key otherwise.  Duncan, Berry, and I all played Castle Panic and won.  I helped the girls do painting projects in the garage.  Sam and I played Space Engineers.  Three loads of laundry were successfully processed.  Yayoe, Jenny, and Jordan came over for dinner.

Summer is right around the corner.  I think the kids only have two weeks and a little left to go.

Where's that baby?

June 02, 2014 by Sue in Wielesek

Well, it can't be too many more days, as it"s 6:40 a.m. and Sadie is mopping the kitchen floor. Actually, the real challenge at this household is that June 25th is the day they move to the new house, baby and all. Adam, wasn't one of your postings when Emma was born about Sam's commentary on her birth, "Pushing the baby out"? I think Sadie's ready for "pushing the baby out." As an after thought, I should add that Greg is a very nice guy.

Old Time Sailing

June 01, 2014 by Lohring in Lohring

I've nearly finished sorting through the old family pictures. Some day I'll pick another topic, but I only looked for sailing pictures. Here are a few of my only father-in-law (your grandfather, Bill Steane) and his boats.  Notice some very young aunts, Meg and Betsy in 1968.

Lohring, what was .... ?

June 01, 2014 by Sue in Wielesek

the period of time called before the sailboat races started, when we jockeyed for the best starting position but the starting gun hadn't gone off yet?
Sadie and Greg are in that "run-up" phase. Everything is done. Bags are packed and there's an air of happy expectancy in the house. It's clear and sunny but not too hot.
I've enjoyed a couple of nice long walks; Friday evening we all walked down to the Square for dinner. It was cool and misty, and the square was crammed with college kids, cheerfully celebrating the tail end of the school year. Imagine First Friday Art Walk, with ten times the people squeezed into the same area.
Last night we went to a small gathering of folks celebrating the household joining of one of Sadie's friends from Brandeis and her girlfriend (also a Math teacher.)
Simon was pretty bouncy on Friday, but a little quieter yesterday and today. I'll keep you posted. Love, Mom/Sue

To Boston, to Boston!

June 01, 2014 by Seraph in Cortez

I head out to Boston early tomorrow morning! If anyone needs to reach me I'll have a cell 505-423-0241.

Counting the time.

May 31, 2014 by Sue in Wielesek

I'm here in Sadie and Greg's sunny living room with her friend Carly Bruder, who is Seraph's stand in if Simon arrives before Seraph does. Except for the fact that Sadie looks as though she's hiding an exercise ball underneath her smock, she seems cheerful and not in pain. (Okay, maybe not comfortable, exactly, but not "in pain." ) She really does look lovely, with no large patches of weirdly colored skin, or bizarre puffiness. Carly seems very good at keeping her distracted, and they are discussing the backgrounds of the various X Men characters and their many powers. June picked us up at the Washington airport and drove us to her home in Maryland. We left the next morning at 5:30 a.m. and they dropped me off at the Pittsburgh airport and continued on to the Allegheny College 50th class reunion in Meadville. It was such a treat to talk with them.

Mocha Friday

May 30, 2014 by Adam in Family

I'm off to work momentarily, hoping to enjoy another delicious mocha.  It's a busy day of go-lives and meetings, but I think I get to do some actual work too, which is a treat.

Emma has her birthday party with friends this weekend, including a sleepover.  Joanna and I are going out tonight to wander around downtown.  Should be fun.

Berry's Performance

May 29, 2014 by Adam in Ben

Berry put on a play with her school last night.  She was pretty nervous, but ended up being very excited.  Her mouse outfit was very cute.

Emma's Birthday

May 29, 2014 by Adam in Emma

Emma turned 11 yesterday.  She's unfortunately been sick the last few days and stayed home from school for the happy day.  We threw a little celebration for her over the weekend.  She got art supplies from Duncan, a Raven action figure from Berry, and a tablet and related protective supplies from the rest of us. 

It's hard to believe she's getting so mature these days.  I think she's past 5' at this point.  I went to the parent night at her middle school where she'll go next year.  My little girl is growing up.

Happy birthday!

May 27, 2014 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy birthday Emma and Jenny! We're sending lots of birthday love and hugs your way!

Memorial Day Weekend

May 27, 2014 by Adam in Family

It's Emma's birthday today.  We celebrated the heck out of it yesterday, and will be doing it again this weekend.  Unfortunately she's under the weather and staying home from school - the annoying cough that's been going around.  We got a semi-free tablet with our phone upgrade, which made for a good gift for her.  She was extremely excited and video chatting with her friend and downloading free books.  Sam got my old phone, which seemed to make him happy too.

The other thing Emma got was a game called Card Wars, which is based on a game in the an Adventure Time cartoon.  There's apparently a weird drink that the loser has to drink.  In any case, Emma barely won and Sam drank the weird mixture to uphold his honor.  It was funny and weird and fortunately he didn't throw up.

The rest of the weekend was busy and low-key at the same time.  Friday night had Duncan at a friend's house.  Saturday morning I took the girls to the library to load up on books.  Both kids voraciously read for the rest of the day - it was quite impressive.  I played computer games with Sam for a while and then hauled him outside to do weird things with an hold hammock and the swings on the patio.  Eventually we went inside for pizza and an actual Mythbusters.

There was an odd science experiment we tried out here.  Apparently you can use a strong magnet in a plastic bag to "harvest" iron filings from dirt.  All but Duncan spent a good deal of time collecting and playing with little bits of iron, which are pretty cool in a strong magnetic field.

Sunday morning we split up and I took Sam and Emma to see the new X-Men movie.  It was pretty great, and Emma loved it.  She already wants to see it again.  We played and gardened a bit the rest of the day, but otherwise took it easy.  The best part about Sunday was having another day after that.

Monday had more puttering, though Joanna and I were both getting a little worn out.  We had a little celebration and birthday cake for Emma.  Joanna grilled up a bunch of things.  Sam decided he was going on an Alaskan cruise with my mom and company.

Sweet Mocha Friday

May 23, 2014 by Adam in Family

I'm cheerfully riding the wave of my morning mocha, about ready to head out to lunch.  I really like our new developer Keith - he seems both competent and enthusiastic.  The work load is slowly declining and current projects are going well.  It's nice to feel things are getting brighter.

I think the kids are all doing well.  Duncan was up bright and early today with the excitement of a sleepover tonight, stuffing his backpack with books and stuffed animals.  Emma was showing us photos from her Outdoor School trip, showing us the ghost shrimp and teaching everyone the singalong songs.  Sam continues to speak Japanese at random times and has an ever-growing group of friends.  Everyone is growing crazy tall.  Emma is now 5' 1".

On The Road

May 22, 2014 by Adam in Family

I spent five hours on the road yesterday, driving up and back to Vancouver.  That sort of travel is fortunately rare, as I end up wiped out and lose a bunch of work time.  My big work project is going well, tracking patients that call in and scheduling labs.  I've got to find some time today to finish reports.  I'm continuing to onboard our new developer, so I'm not sure when I'll find the time.

Joanna and I went out to dinner last night, walking down to a nearby beer pub and enjoying the evening weather.  The roses have gone crazy, so we sat in the hammock and chatted about life.

I'm really looking forward to the three-day weekend.  I've got to get ready for Emma's upcoming birthday party.  I also want to start some projects with the kids - get them working on some vaguely educational things they could continue into the summer.


May 22, 2014 by Seraph in Cortez

Well, I was offered, and accepted a new job!  I'll be the manager at the new wine bar up in Los Alamos (Vivac and 2 other wineries are opening it).  It's not slated to open until July, so I'll have some flexibility until then.  It will be nice to only work 5 days a week again (though that may not mean it's Sat/Sun off). The pay is better (though no benefits), and I'll be able to drive Isa up to school.  

Robbie is applying for a 1st grade position up there as well, so keep crossing your fingers for us!

TV Stars

May 21, 2014 by Lohring in Lohring

Yesterday was the big TV commercial shoot at the office. Emma, Berry, and Duncan joined the cast of thousands (dozens?) for the filming. Watch for us on Fox daytime shows in a week or so. Out of towners can look at millerdentalcare.com for pictures of the shoot as well as the video as soon as Joanna can post them.

Send your good thoughts this way!

May 19, 2014 by Seraph in Cortez

I'm off to a job interview in a few hours. I'm loading up on lattes, hoping it will make the twitch in my eye go away! Wish me luck!

Soggy Weekend

May 19, 2014 by Adam in Family

It was the usual kid-filled weekend, though Duncan had a fair amount of extramural activities.  Friday night we picked up Emma, who went on and on about outdoor school.  She was really tired and conked right out.  She had a great time, though.

Saturday morning was relatively low-key.  I fed everyone crepes and waffles and hash browns.  Afterward we went to the library, Joanna visiting the market for fresh veggies.  We returned with our horde and enjoyed the gorgeous weather, gardening away.  I ended up with a few blackberry scrapes, but we weeded, planted, and tidied up.  Eventually Sam asked for pick-up.  Duncan went to a birthday party and the rest of us watched Bang Goes the Theory and ate pizza.

Sunday Emma was feeling a little under the weather, so she took it generally easy.  The younger kids and Joanna went to church.  Sam worked on making a 2D game in Unity.  Emma watched Young Justice and drew.  I played a little Dark Souls 2 and continued the endless laundry and dishes.  Eventually everyone showed up for lunch, the girls played, we ate lunch, Duncan had a play date, and the girls really wanted to raft.  The weather was iffy, with occasional hail, but we decided to go for it.  Within fifteen minutes of getting in the water, it started pouring, much to everyone's amusement.

Return from Outdoor School

May 17, 2014 by Adam in Emma

Emma came back from outdoor school today.  She was camping near the beach for three days.  When I picked her up, she talked non-stop about her cabins, her counselors, her friends, and made me sing all sorts of camp songs with her.  She ate wild berries and rutabaga, caught ghost shrimp, and played in tide pools.  She cleaned up after ever meal, that being her camp duty, and ate sandwiches for every lunch.  She learned the real names of her counselors only on the last day, and the last campfire session was sad as everyone was leaving.  She made new friends with classmates she'd known all year.  There was a 15 minute walk to the bathrooms.  She only took one shower the whole time, for 2 minutes long.

In a nutshell, she had a great time.  I'm really happy for her.

Mocha Friday

May 16, 2014 by Adam in Family

Emma is still away at Outdoor School.  I haven't heard a peep, so presumably all is well.  I'll pick her up after school today and hear all about it.

The week has been relatively uneventful.  Wednesday night Joanna and I went out for sushi and pie, enjoying the warm spring air.  Sam's done with midterms, though we've yet to hear how it went.  Duncan and Berry are their usual selves.  Emma's birthday and Sam's half birthday loom on the horizon.

I did get paged from work yesterday at 4:30 a.m. or something crazy.  I staggered through the day after much espresso, returning home early to rest in the hammock for a while.  I perked up and Sam watched me play Dark Souls 2, where I only died a half dozen times.

Soon I'll head into work and get a mocha.  I was given a ton of espresso credit by some thankful leadership people, which is nice.  Though work occasionally gets crazy, there are bright spots like this that I do appreciate.

Dark Souls 2

May 13, 2014 by Adam in Adam's Games

So I've been playing a lot of Dark Souls 2.  It's an unforgiving game - small mistakes are quickly punished by your enemies.  On the plus side, when you accomplish something, the sense of accomplishment is palpable.  I spent the first part of the game dying a lot. 

After getting into the game ten or twenty hours, I started to feel competent.  Of course, now I'm lost and unsure of where to go next.  Sam, who's finished the game, refuses to tell me.  I don't mind running about and finding little secrets I missed the first time through.  Eventually I'll win the game, but I'm in no hurry.

Outdoor School

May 13, 2014 by Adam in Emma

Emma is off to her 5th grade Outdoor School, heading to the coast to spend three days packed in cabins with her classmates and tromping around in the mud and water.  She's been nervous and excited, but I think she'll have a good time.  I think she's really looking forward to spending so much time with Kate and her other friends.  We packed up her yellow bag and got it to her school on Monday.  This morning we sent off a letter to her, in hopes she'll get it before she leaves.  It'll be nice to see her back on Friday.

Mother's Day Weekend

May 12, 2014 by Adam in Family

It was a somewhat exciting weekend, full of Mother's Day related activities.  It kicked off Friday night with a dinner and play at the Actor's Cabaret.  They forgot our salad, comped us our drinks, and got us dinner a little late.  Still, the food was good and the play, Into the Woods, was really good.  Some of the actors had great voices and were quite enthusiastic.  Between that, Once Upon a Time, and Fables, there seem to be a lot of re-imagining of fairy tales these days.

Saturday morning Emma arrived and I took her and the little kids to a grand Mother's Day shopping spree.  One is still secret, as I've yet to get the end result to Joanna.  The others involved picking out pots and plants, and finally ending up at the Verizon store to buy new phones.  The kids were really patient, mostly because they played with phones for hours.  I picked up Sam on the way home and he showed me a weird game that involved tiny people grabbing each other and tossing each other into incinerators or oceans.  I picked up the usual pizza and we watched Cosmos once again.

Sunday morning we made cards for Joanna before she woke up, showed her 50% of her presents, and ate waffles, sausages, and potato pancakes.  Sam, Emma, and I hung out while the rest of the crew went off to church.  We were pretty lazy, though Emma and I did a small leather bracelet making project in the basement.  Emma (who is reading this next to me) wants to remind me that Sam and I did sword fighting and Emma and I played sleeping bag gladiatorial combat. 

We also packed up Emma for her epic journey this week.  The entire 5th grade class is going to the coast for three days to have Outdoor School.  She's quite excited, and a little nervous.  I think she'll be fine with her best friend Kate and other buddies.

After lunch we walked over to my mom's for a visit and to deliver flowers.  There was a lengthy visit where we returned with an ancient rotary phone somehow.  We stopped by home to get a blanket, Frisbees, and Sam, then went down to the park to enjoy the beautiful weather.  Sam kept making up weird Frisbee games, culminating in demolition Frisbee which resulted in the flimsy things turning to dust.  Tasty Thai wrapped up our non-Joanna-cooking day.

Life is good.

Happy Mother's Day!

May 11, 2014 by Seraph in Cortez

Sending huge hugs to all of you!


May 09, 2014 by Adam in Family

I've actually had a mocha a few times this week.  The first was on Tuesday for medicinal purposes - I woke up with a nasty headache.  Yesterday I wanted a little extra "oomph" when writing some code.  I think I've wrapped up the bulk of the work for my not-secret-anymore project.

Despite the rainy weather, I'm in a cheerful mood.  Joanna and I are going out to dinner and a play tonight, Into the Woods at the Actor's Cabaret.  My endless Dark Souls 2 game is progressing nicely, despite the occasionally brutally difficult fights.  Work is interesting, and we're hiring a new person up in Vancouver.  Soon we'll begin the long training process to get them competent with our assorted stuff.

The next big thing is getting the summer schedule sorted out.  We've got a potential Sam trip to Alaska, Emma going to Bend, Duncan and Berry going to New York.  I'd like to see if we can take all the kids to an adventure or two, and get to the coast to see my dad.

Joanna is busy setting up my dad's web site, and he's apparently busy putting his office together.  It's kinda cool that I get to have him as a dentist again.

I'm going to try to assemble the kids to start the mother's day process tomorrow, and I need to start getting ready for Emma's birthday.  Berry wants to get the rest of the Dragon Slayer's Academy books.  She went to the library and spent a very focused hour in the hammock reading the latest book until she finished.


May 08, 2014 by Adam in Adam

As I reconfigure computers in the house, it's harder to find something to hook my old hardware to.  I have a nice Sony digital camcorder with an 1394 connector.  I threw the really old PCI card with a 1394 connector into my somewhat old computer.  Getting Windows 7 to recognize it was a semi-arcane process, but I got it working.

This first selection is from a previous video camera I rented when I was about 22.  I later recorded it to my camcorder in an attempt to preserve the tape.  It's now on YouTube, in all its funky glory.  I have more footage of me shirtless and another one with a beard teaching high school.  I'll see what I can manage to post.

In this fine video we see my friend Colin, my sister Seraph, her ferrets, and the dog Sabaka.

Another Fine Weekend

May 05, 2014 by Adam in Family

Another fine weekend has come and gone.  Friday night we took all the kids to Off the Waffle.  We listened to music, played Apples to Apples, and ate fancy waffles.  Everyone had a good time, something I'll tuck away for a future treat for us all.

Saturday was free comic book day, so we headed to Emerald City Comics to load up on goodies.  Joanna popped in to Smith Family Bookstore to assemble our OBOB library for the kids' summer reading.  Before heading home we went to Down to Earth so Joanna could get some veggies for our garden.  After lunch we walked over to my mom's to prepare for Easter for an hour or so.  The day wrapped up with pizza and Cosmos.

Sunday had Kate coming over, as Emma firmly explained that I'd be DMing a D&D session with the two of them.  I scrambled to put something together, but apparently they had a good time.  They took a break after lunch and played in Emma's room.  Eventually Joanna and the little kids returned from church.  I did some long overdue yard work.  Emma went early to my mom's to help arrange flowers.  The rest of us went over the hill for an evening of conversation and somewhat Russian food.

We're slowly trying to figure out everyone's summer plans and summer schedule.  I think my mom is scheming to take Sam on a cruise to Alaska for a week.  The little kids visit their dad for a month in August.  Emma wants to go to Bend with her mom.  I'm just hoping we can organize all the puzzle pieces.

Mocha Friday

May 02, 2014 by Adam in Family

It's a pleasant Friday, my mocha gone but not forgotten.  It's been crazy hot the last couple days.  With global warming, Oregon is slowly turning into California.

We had all the kids last night, and tonight we have them all again.  The plan is to all go to Off the Waffle to listen to music and play boardgames.  I like to think of it as a date night activity, but this time with all the kids.  If people are up for it, we might go star watching on the reservoir.  When I told them eight o'clock, everyone complained about it being past their bedtime.  We'll see how it goes.

I'm slowly getting myself ready for summer, coming up with long lists of things to do.  If anyone can think of useful things for Sam and Emma in particular to do, that would be great.  I'm sure they could be put to work in some form or another.

There's evidently a new fad at the high school that involves suspending a narrow band of fabric between two trees and balancing across it.  Sam's been spending his lunch time doing that, apparently.  He also showed me his preferred classes for next term: Honors English, biology, Algebra II, US History, Japanese II, and a variety of electives.  I was only involved with the signing, but I'm generally happy with his choices.

Emma is no longer far sighted, but has a touch of astigmatism, inherited from her father.  She thanked me for my sharing.

Duncan and Berry whipped up their science projects, and drove Joanna only slightly mad putting together the posters.  Berry's involves the uptake of colored water into flowers.  Duncan's is on how the eye works.  They're pretty cool.

Mid-Week Updatin'

April 30, 2014 by Adam in Family

Duncan and Berry got glasses this week, which has been fairly exciting.  Berry seems most enthusiastic about her new glasses, constantly wearing hers.  Duncan seems to wear his less.  Both have the same correction.

Joanna and I went out last night.  We ended up at 5th street market where we strolled around in the warm spring weather.  Our exciting financial decision was to pay off Joanna's student loans.  Our bank balance drops, but at least it reflects the reality of our worth a little more closely.

Emma's getting ready to go to middle school.  The plan is that she goes with all her classmates to Spencer's Butte, which is next door to Edgewood.  In three years after that, she'll be at South just as Sam starts college.

Sam and I continue to play Dark Souls 2, occasionally providing color commentary as we repeatedly die. 

All is well.

Baby Shower

April 29, 2014 by Danica in Danica Miller

I was so glad I was able to be in Holden for Sadie and Greg's baby shower.  Great fun! Good to see them and catch up a bit. Nice to have a chance to catch up with the Casewell clan too along with some of Greg and Sadie's friends that I 'sort of' remembered from their wedding.

Here are the pix.

Monday Again

April 28, 2014 by Adam in Family

Another weekend, come and gone.  It was just what I needed, a lovely respite from the insanity of work.  Emma was here Friday night, Joanna made Thai food, and we generally hung out.  Saturday morning I made dutch babies and my usual mocha, then we headed on assorted errands.  First was the bank, where Emma got some money for a birthday present, then Oregon Art supply to buy gifts, and finally the library to load up on books.  We returned home for lunch, Joanna and the little kids went to a birthday party.  Emma and I hung out until she was off to Kate's birthday party.  That night Sam arrived, Joanna went to a concert, and the rest of the crew watched Cosmos and ate pizza.  Sam and I continued to play a lot of Dark Souls 2.

Sunday morning I picked up Emma and the girls and I did assorted science experiments to pass the time.  Eventually Joanna and Duncan arrived, lunch was eaten, and we went off to Hendrick's park for hiking, hide-and-go-seek, and getting somewhat soggy.  We stopped by Humble Bagel and headed home.

I'm going through some ancient videos and found one of my 22 year-old self.  Emma and Joanna thought I was the cutest thing ever.  There's footage of Seraph with her ferrets.  I'm working hard to get some of it digitized and put on the Internet for your entertainment.

Mocha Friday

April 25, 2014 by Adam in Family

I'm working away on my secret project.  It was cool for a day and now it's just a little emotionally exhausting.  I wasn't sleeping particularly well last night.  Too many chocolate covered espresso beans.

Emma was over last night and was fun to hang out with.  She's on to the last Gregor the Overlander book, the most excited I've seen her in a series for a long while.  She's gearing up for outdoor school, a three night coast trip with her class.

Duncan and Berry get their glasses today.  They're terribly excited, in part because they look forward to seeing again.

Sam and I have been playing Dark Souls 2, which was released early yesterday.  I should put together a video of me dying repeatedly, which is the core of the gameplay.

The kids have been having squirt gun fights with Flynn across the street.  I was checking my email this morning, reviewing the security footage that gets passed along.  Clearly I missed an epic battle.

Hot Dates and Secret Projects

April 24, 2014 by Adam in Family

Joanna and I had a nice date last night, wandering downtown for Mediterranean food and conversation.  Life does seem to whirl by sometimes, so just taking a moment to chat is luxurious.

The week has been generally uneventful.  We had a promising interview earlier this week.  Hopefully this person will work out and we'll staff the team up again.  I also got assigned a secret project, which is fun, but kinda odd.  I'm not really sure how to track my time.  On the plus side, whenever someone asks about it, I can just say "It's a secret!"  The conversation pretty much stops at that point.

A Little Scribblenauts

April 22, 2014 by Adam in Adam's Games

I played a little Scribblenauts Unlimited.  I always try to do accomplish the task laid out for me using the most weird objects possible.

If you're curious about my conversation with Sam, it's because he's playing a pirate game and prostitutes can be hired to distract guards.

Emma at School

April 21, 2014 by Adam in Emma

Emma's teacher occasionally puts together pictures and videos.  Here's one of Emma at school, showing off her music and PE skills.  She's harder to spot in the gym - just remember she has a white t-shirt on.

Monday Already

April 21, 2014 by Adam in Family

Joanna and I had a fun time out Friday night.  We had dinner at Agate Alley Laboratory, drinking frothy beverages from beakers.  Later we walked over to Tsunami books to listen to poetry reading.  Such interesting adventures.

It was a fairly exciting weekend, with Berry's birthday party Saturday and Easter Sunday.  I've provided video footage of the former in Berry's section of the site.  The horde of children were relatively well behaved and Joanna pulled out all the birthday stops, as usual.  We still have a large skeleton cake in our refrigerator.

I took Berry to the library before the party, where we had a great time getting books and then wandered over to meet Jamie to pick up Emma.  The girls were very cute together, chatting away about Gregor the Overlander.  Eventually we got home, survived the Minecraft rave, treasure hunt, and pinata bash, then I picked up Sam from Jamie's.  Pizza and Cosmos wrapped up the day.

Sunday morning had Easter baskets and massive breakfasts.  Joanna and Duncan went off to church.  The girls and I built weird things in the garage.  Emma cut some wood and painted it, along with sanding a dowel for mysterious purposes.  I helped Berry get hinges off an old wine refrigerator, and then put them into a chest she was building.  Later that day I caught her painting it without supervision.  Perhaps we can finish next weekend.

Sam and I played Cortex Command and Space Engineers.  In the latter, our two space guys are having a hard time salvaging ships and keeping our new ships intact against the meteor storms.  Life in space is hard.

Later in the afternoon Joanna took the kids to a mysterious errand, returning to hide chocolate covered espresso bean filled eggs around the house.  It was surprisingly fun, though resisting an entire pound of espresso beans is difficult.  I'll have to limit the number I take to work.

Birthday #2

April 20, 2014 by Adam in Ben

Birthday #1

April 20, 2014 by Adam in Ben

Here's the video from Berry's first birthday.  She exchanged the Minecraft Papercraft for spy glasses.

New Threads

April 20, 2014 by Adam in Sam

A couple months ago, Sam updated his wardrobe.  Getting a picture of Sam is nearly impossible, but somehow he was okay if a pig mask was worn.  There are occasionally long sleeve button-down shirts too, though the weather is getting warm.  He's especially fond of the boots.

Getting Ink Done

April 20, 2014 by Adam in Joanna

When I first met Joanna, she got a small tattoo to cover up a mole she had removed.  While she was okay with it, she always wanted to spruce it up a bit.  I'm not sure if it was my piratey influence or more likely a deeper meaning, but she went with a compass rose.  I think it turned out quite well.

Mocha Friday

April 18, 2014 by Adam in Family

It was a full day yesterday.  Jonathan was down to visit us at work, and a bunch of the old web services people got together for lunch.  Darin leaves today, so we're officially down to two developers.

I also had my physical, the first in many years.  All was well, though I think my three consecutive breakfast meals contributed to a few extra pounds.  Time to run a little harder and reduce the number of blueberry pancakes.

Joanna and I are off on a hot date tonight.  Berry has her birthday party tomorrow.  Sunday I'm picking up an old desk of John's, which I'm excited to put into the shed.

Emma's reading Gregor the Overlander obsessively.  Berry is reading Dragon Slayer's Academy.  Sam's playing a pirate in Black Flag.  Duncan is Minecraft, all the time.

Life's good.

Old School

April 18, 2014 by Adam in Adam's Games

Sam's making me play Shadow of the Colossus.  It's supposedly one of the best games from the PS2 era.  So far so good.  It took me a while to figure out what I was supposed to do, though getting dropped in a world without much of a clue should prepare me well for Dark Souls 2.  The latter comes out next week, and will likely be as exhilarating and frustrating as the original.

Lunar Eclipse

April 15, 2014 by Adam in Sam

Sam stayed up until midnight last night to watch the lunar eclipse.  Joanna and I had staggered off to bed long ago, but he played his new pirate game and kept running outside to take a look.  In the morning I asked him how it was, and he seemed noncommittal.  Apparently it was like something passed over the moon and that's about it.

Sam continues to do well at school, though his classes are somewhat less exciting than last term.  He still enjoys Japanese and English.  Health, science, and global studies continue to be just okay.  I think he's looking forward to summer. 

Birthday Girl

April 14, 2014 by Adam in Ben

Berry turned seven today.  She's been excited and worried the last few days.  Usually she's bouncing off the walls, but she was strangely worried about not being little any more.  I didn't have the heart to tell her she's already pretty big.

Last night Joanna and I hung the Minecraft-themed Happy Birthday sign.  This morning she awoke to presents, which she cheerfully opened.  We'll have a bigger birthday party this Saturday, but it was nice to do something simple with just the family.  Immediately afterward, Berry and Emma ran downstairs to try out her new Nerf bow.

Good times.

Swimming Saturday

April 13, 2014 by Adam in Family

It was a beautiful day yesterday.  Emma and I were up at the crack of dawn, making a list and crossing things off.  We oiled the creaky doors in the house, soldiered the new Roomba battery, and started laundry.  I threw together a breakfast of dutch babies, pancakes, bacon, sausage, and espresso for the crew (plus eggs for Sam).  After lunch we went swimming and had a great time.

I put together an impromptu monitor stand for Joanna's office, made from a microwave and a flat board.  Scooping out microwave guts was kinda fun, mostly to lighten it up.  I also started cleaning up the garage, which has been a chaotic mess for nearly a year.  Sam, Emma, and I played some D&D.

The evening wrapped up with pizza and Cosmos.  Joanna was feeling a little under the weather, probably because of the chlorine.

As for today, Duncan has a play date.  Joanna's going to church.  We need to do a library run in there sometime.  Otherwise it's another warm, beautiful spring day.  Life is good.

Mocha Friday

April 11, 2014 by Adam in Family

I'm surprisingly happy today.  Perhaps it's that all the kids will be come tonight.  Maybe it's the beautiful spring weather.  Then there's the mocha that awaits me at work in just a few minutes.

Joanna has been teaching the girls to knit.  Berry has been doing it for a while, and this is a second knitting attempt for Emma.  Joanna's doing a good job, in part because she's teaching a horde of children after school at Charlemagne.

Sam and I broke out Unity again and have been working on procedurally generated terrain.  It's pretty cool - maybe we can do something about it.

It's sushi dinner tonight.  That's always fun for all.

Springtime Indeed

April 09, 2014 by Adam in Family

Life continues to whirlwind away.  We had a lovely night out last Friday night, heading to the now-vibrant Eugene downtown for dinner and the First Friday art walk.  We ended up spending a bunch of time watching ballet dancers put together a dance number based on audience feedback.  My suggested dance move was "take a selfie" which was well received.

Saturday morning I picked up Emma and we hung out until it was time for her birthday party with her friend Jade at Skateworld.  She survived mostly unharmed.  I picked up Sam after a quick library trip and we saw Yayoe and John's new digs.  It was quite cute, though I had to leave early to get Emma.  Apparently Duncan and Yayoe loved it so much they had to be dragged home to an evening of pizza and Cosmos.

Sunday was fairly low key.  Sam led Emma and I through further D&D adventures.  The lawn was mowed.  Emma drew.  Lots of puttering occurred.

As for this week, it's been pretty typical.  Work is crazy, as usual.  I wish there was more time writing code and less managing a shrinking team and trying to hire staff.  I'm relearning SharePoint after several years of barely touching it.  I'll be the only one who supports it now.

After coming home, I put up the new hammock and reveled in the outdoors for a few minutes.  It was wonderful, though I paid for it in allergy sniffles afterward.


April 07, 2014 by Sue in Wielesek

We all had a delightful Sunday afternoon soiree at Yayoe and John's new house! As always, Yayoe's good taste (and John's, too) is obvious, with light wood, simple lines, and lovely lighting throughout. They think the house is small, but good planning has provided three bedrooms, a wonderful loft office, and still leaves a spacious feeling.

It's Baby Year - Callie and Will's baby is due in the next couple of weeks, and of course Sadie and Greg's baby has an ETA of less than two months.  I don't know if anyone remembers Dick's and my goddaughter Naomi, but she and her husband are expecting as well.

All is well here.

Battle of the Books

April 05, 2014 by Seraph in Cortez

We headed down to Silver City yesterday. We're staying in a remodeled 1930's Art Deco hotel in the old downtown. Last night Isa picked out a great little restaurant. It ends up that it's owned by a couple from OR, the wife of whom graduated with Sadie. Crazy!
This morning we were up early to register for BoB. Isa's team won 3 out of fur rounds,and had a great time. We walked around around this afternoon before heading back to the room to relax before dinner.


April 05, 2014 by Adam in Adam's Games

I've been playing the Bioshock and System Shock games for a couple decades now.  I'd describe them as a thinking person's shooter.  Yes, there are monsters and aliens and lots of guns, but there's also Objectivism and the nature of games.  The characters are compelling and the endings are somewhat emotional. 

The studio that made them has closed down and they wrapped up the last of their stories.  It's possible the series may come back in some form, but it sure felt like the end of a story.  It was a strange tale, full of tragedy, but with elements of hope.

There are some other games I've tinkered with - Metro: Last Light, the Far Cry 3 coop multiplayer with Sam, and a little more Space Engineers.  Nothing is too compelling.  Dark Souls 2 comes out in a few weeks, and I suspect that will consume me for a good long while.  I expect tears and cries of exultation. 

Mocha Friday

April 04, 2014 by Adam in Family

Life continues.  I had a minor freak out for the couple days after my friend and coworker gave notice.  I think I've calmed down and have a more optimistic view of the future.  Or maybe it's the espresso, which is good enough for me.

It's been a bit of a crazy week.  I tried but failed to get Sam into a more advanced science class.  Joanna's been scurrying about getting marketing stuff set up for my dad and his new dental clinic.  The kids all got used to school again after their week away.  Berry and Emma are adjusting to life with a few less baby teeth.

Tonight Joanna and I are going out on the town.  There's a ton of good free music downtown, so we'll likely eat and dance our way until we return to put kids to bed.  Tomorrow Emma has a birthday party.  Yayoe is trying to get us over for dessert at her new house.  Life is busy but good.

Another Weekend

April 01, 2014 by Adam in Family

It was another fine weekend.  I worked from home Friday and the kids arrived early that day.  Eventually I was able to stop working, later than desired, and had a pleasant hang out day with everyone.  Duncan and Berry returned late from visiting with their dad, and spent Saturday and Sunday during the day with him.

As for the other days, we worked on projects, like modifying an old magic 8 ball and Emma produced yet more awesome art work.  Sam made up a D&D game for Emma and I, which turned out rather good.  It was pirate themed, with treasure maps and high seas adventure.  After almost being eaten by cannibals and sharks, we barely returned to our ship triumphant.  I think I fell out of my chair in surprise.

Joanna wrote away on her memoir.  We had pizza and Cosmos Saturday night.  Sunday afternoon I took her, Sam, and Emma for a walk.  Emma memorized more of O Captain, My Captain.  Laundry was done.  Things were cleaned.  Sam and I played a little Space Engineers.  All-in-all, it was a fine ending to spring break.  I can't wait to ask Sam about his new classes.

At work, we had another developer resign.  We're down to 2 from a high of 8, myself included.  Crazy.

Back Home

March 28, 2014 by Adam in Family

We've returned home - a long drive back, punctuated by short stops for food and espresso.  Duncan and Berry return late tonight, and Sam and Emma tomorrow.  For the moment the house is quiet and strangely tidy.

The last few days have been pretty entertaining.  We drove with the little kids to Portland, stopping at a park to meet up with Kevin and Rachel to pass them over.  We all went to Seattle, in different vehicles and heading to different places.  Joanna and I checked into the Bacon Mansion and got ready for a dinner with my coworker Summer and her husband Chris at Cafe Flora.  Dinner was great and the two of them were highly entertaining.  We closed the place down, finally leaving as they cleaned up around us.  Joanna and I watched weird t.v. shows until collapsing for the night.

The next day was our grand Seattle adventure, starting at Pike Place Market to watch the fish tossing and pet the brass pig.  My favorite part was wandering into a comic book store, complete with life sized cutouts of nerd heroes and assorted board games.  There was a long walk over to the Space Needle and museums.  After a quick Greek lunch we ended up at the EMP, where they had cool science fiction props from my childhood, great Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana exhibits, and a section on fantasy movies, books, and games.  I was also partial to the giant musical fountain which kept freaking out Joanna with a giant boom.  Eventually we walked home, relaxed, went out for sushi, and retired for the night.

This morning we went out for a big breakfast at some place that had burlesque shows, which seemed to be par for the course in Seattle.  After that we wandered to the conservatory at Volunteer Park and warmed ourselves in the tropical sections.  I loved the smell of the place, and their fascinating collection of carnivorous plants.  Eventually we checked out, drove out of Seattle, ate pizza in Olympia, and then made the rest of the journey home.

Coming home

March 27, 2014 by Adam in Family

We're on our way home, slowly heading down the freeway. Seattle was great, and seeing Summer and her husband was fun. More later.

Lost Another One

March 24, 2014 by Adam in Ben

Berry lost another tooth.  Everyone was huddled around her Sunday morning, trying to get it out.  Later she and Emma were chatting and it popped out all by itself.  Now she has two gaps in her smile, which is super cute.

Back to Monday

March 24, 2014 by Adam in Family

We had a lovely weekend, sunny and warm in the afternoons.  I broke out the shorts and t-shirts, which made me happy.  Friday night we ate pizza and watched Cosmos, which all the kids seemed to enjoy.  I remember the original with Carl Sagan fondly.

I took the kids to the library in the morning after a hearty breakfast of dutch babies, sausages, crepes, bacon, and espresso.  Since we were playing D&D later that day, I helped the kids whip up characters.  Sam got excited and decided to come along at the last minute.  We walked up the hill to Peter's house where I met Marty and Jason.  There was a really long delay due to technical difficulties, but soon we got down to business and slayed the undead horde quite cheerfully.  Eventually Emma got really tired, so Jason declared the zombies hugged each other and we all left the ancient temple.

Apparently the event had quite the impact on Emma, as she drew everyone's characters, told the story to Berry, and then had Berry do an impromptu D&D session based on the adventure.  Later Berry made miniatures out of cardboard for herself.  Such cute little nerdlings.

Joanna went to church and then Avery's birthday party.  I did house maintenance, fixing the mower and taking care of the lawn.  Emma sang to me the entire time, which was nice.  Sam and I got in some crazy Far Cry 3 coop time, which was difficult and occasionally comical.  As the day wrapped up, I worked on my old tablet, getting it ready for Sam and Emma's beach trip.

Crepe Mocha Friday

March 21, 2014 by Adam in Family

Emma made crepes this morning while I did dishes and got my lunch ready.  It's a no-school day, an early start to spring break.  Sadly I'm the only one who has to go to work and be a real person.  I'm going to do my best to sneak out early if at all possible.

The week has been generally good.  Duncan's book battlin' team got 2nd place at his school.  We were all quite impressed with the effort he put into things.  Emma has a wiggly tooth.  I haven't written a tooth fairy note in a long while, so I'm already composing my ironic missive.  Sam ran out of time on one of his finals, which may bring his grade down a little.  I think he's shooting for straight A's again.  Berry is Berry, making us laugh at her hysterical instructions on how we could become better people.

Joanna and I managed to get out Wednesday night, my mom watching kids for the evening.  We chatted about our upcoming Seattle trip, life, the kids, and her slowly forming memoirs.

I'm excited about the weekend with the kids.  We should have plenty of hang out time.  I want to work more on the weird magic 8 ball project.  Hopefully we can putter in the garden some more.  It was officially the start of spring yesterday and I'm excited to see green things leap from the dirt.

. . . And All I Got Was This Stupid T-Shirt

March 18, 2014 by Adam in Duncan

Actually the t-shirts were awesome.  Duncan's team thought it up, Emma drew it, the team colored them, and Joanna turned them into t-shirts.  Monday morning Duncan and his fellow book battlers boarded a bus to Lebanon.  They answered questions about their books, ate weird food out of vending machines, and nearly went to the next level of competition.  Apparently they won 2/3rds of their battles, which wasn't quite enough.

It was a great experience, Duncan expanded his reading repertoire, and they got cool shirts at the end.

I Forgot About Monday

March 18, 2014 by Adam in Family

The weekend was super.  I read a thick science fiction book, a luxury I can rarely afford.  I dutifully installed Windows 7 on the family computer and ordered a bit more memory.  I cut open a Magic 8 Ball in preparation for a weird project.  The usual traditions occurred.  I played on my computer.  Life is good.

Sam jumped into my car when I went to get Emma, complaining about Internet speed at his mom's house.  She and I exchanged some knowing looks about teenagers and I brought him home with me.  He did go to the library with Emma, Berry, and I, only slightly complaining about his lack of reading time.  The girls loaded up on books and seemed happy.

We had a lot of puttering around time.  Emma had a bit of a cold and took it easy.  I took Sam and Emma to the park where we played with track balls and timed ourselves doing assorted playground feats.  Instead of Mythbusters there was Cosmos, which was nostalgic for me.  The special effects improved over the last three decades.

The week so far is okay.  Duncan went to Lebanon for his book battle.  Berry got her sleep study results - no sleep apnea.  People went to the dentist.  I took Berry to school today, complete with the wacky hat she made.  Sam's had a lot of homework as finals approach.

Mocha Friday

March 14, 2014 by Adam in Family

Oh, Friday.  Why must you wait a week to return to me?  My mocha is gone and complicated technology awaits my attention.  This is but a brief missive.

Emma's got a bit of a cold.  At breakfast this morning, I told her there was a surprise under her waffle.  When she discovered the Acetaminophen hiding there, she let out an excited hooray.

Sam and I had a somewhat heated conversation about moving his computer to his room.  I think we're going to try a test after spring break.  Mostly I'm sad that he won't be around as much to randomly chat with.  I'm not looking forward to that stage of teenage development, as necessary as it seems to be.

Joanna and I are going out tonight.  I think the plan is to go to a tattoo parlor, where Joanna wants one of her tattoos "touched up".  I think I get to hold her hand and hope she doesn't crush the life out of it.

Looking forward to the weekend and hanging out with kids.

To Battle!

March 13, 2014 by Adam in Duncan

Duncan has been doing Battle of the Books at his school this week.  He's an avid reader, often burning through several books each week.  In years past, he's enjoyed Garfield, Calvin and Hobbes, and Pokemon.  Lately he's gotten into chapter books, and this latest challenge has really motivated him to expand his horizons.

Apparently Duncan's team is now in second place in the school.  I think that means he goes to the state competition.  Joanna has promised t-shirts for the team, and Emma might be doing the art for it.  It's pokemon/reptile/reading themed, so her artistic skills will certainly be challenged.

We're all very proud of him.

What? Thursday?

March 13, 2014 by Adam in Family

So there was a weekend apparently - a good one, if I remember things correctly.  I hung out with kids, playing games and hanging out.  Sam had a bunch of homework, which has continued nightly as the end of the term approaches.  I built a keyboard tray for a treadmill desk for Joanna.  Sam helped me move it upstairs, with cursing and bleeding on my part.  It's nice to have a strapping young lad.  The weekend wrapped up with family dinner, which was quite nice.

The week has been fairly uneventful.  Duncan has been doing quite well with his school's Battle of the Books.  At the moment he's in the top 8 teams.  If he gets to the top 4, Joanna will end up taking him to the state championships.  Sam's homework has been incessant, often waking up to do reading for his Honors English class, going to school, and then working on homework until late.  He's really looking forward to the end of his math class in a week, and the switch to science next term.

Spring break plans are firming up.  I think the plan is to spend a day or two in Seattle.  Hopefully we can meet up with my coworker Summer and her husband.  I think we'll do the standard touristy things as well.  Should be an adventure.

Mocha Friday

March 07, 2014 by Adam in Family

I somehow made it to Friday, navigating through another crazy busy week.  Work is pretty non-stop, home is endless laundry, dishes, and helping with homework, and we have the upcoming spring break to sort out.  I think we can make it to Seattle.

The week had a few quirky stories.  Some random people at work handed me a box of Voodoo Doughnuts, which the kids greatly enjoyed.  Joanna made a huge spread of Japanese food last night, complete with weird Asian snacks.  Emma is cutting her hair short today, so we'll see how that goes.  Berry had her sleep study.  Sam wore his new clothes.

I'm really looking forward to my mocha at work, and later having some down time this weekend.  My head is a little achy and some of my coworkers are out sick.  Crossing my fingers . . .


March 06, 2014 by Adam in Sadie & Greg

Sleep Study

March 05, 2014 by Adam in Ben

Berry went off to her sleep study last night, Joanna dutifully sleeping in a recliner.  It went well, apparently - Berry was super excited to go.  Removing some of the sensors was a little painful, but she got a bubble making thingie as a prize, which she cheerfully tried out upon returning home.

Hopefully we'll be able to figure out if she really has sleep apnea and whether or not her tonsils need to go.

The Weekend, Like All Good Things, Comes to an End

March 03, 2014 by Adam in Family

It was a lousy Friday at work, full of stressed out people and flared tempers.  As usual, I was asked to call in to save the day.  As usual, I managed to do it and everyone calmed down.

Immediately after work, I had a quick bowl of cereal and we took Berry and Duncan to their school's Mardi Gras.  It was the usual insanity - I followed Duncan around, handing him tickets and holding on to his prizes.  Eventually we reconnected with the girls, fed them some pizza, and headed home.

Joanna and I snuck away to Cosmic for pizza and stand up comedy.  It was a perfect end to a stressful day - a pint of espresso stout, a lovely woman beside me, and a host of people retelling horror stories from dating.

In the morning I stuffed everyone with dutch babies, and took Berry and Emma to the library.  There was another perfect moment when they nibbled on their bagels, glued to their books, and I sipped espresso and watched them.  We headed home, met up with Joanna and Duncan, and had lunch.  Berry and I played the "clean the basement game", and had a fabulous time.  Later Emma and I cleaned her room and listened to music.  I picked up Sam, got pizza, and the evening ended with Mythbusters.  Absolutely perfect.

Sunday was equally awesome.  We had crepes and a mocha for me, and then Sam, Emma, and I went on a "Sam makeover" shopping spree.  I got him jeans that actually fit, a bunch of button-down shirts, and a belt.  Later we hit up Nordstrom's Rack and found some great deals on two jackets and leather boots.  One jacket in particular is vastly cool - he debated whether or not he was worthy, but eventually we forced him into wearing it.  It was quite the stunning moment - he looked like someone out of a movie.

Mocha Friday

February 28, 2014 by Adam in Family

I do love my delicious Friday treat.  It's Mardi Gras at Charlemagne, so Berry wore her masks and crazy hair thing.  We'll be going there after school today for the annual madness of screaming children and party games.  Hopefully we'll survive.

The week has been largely uneventful - the usual non-stop family life.  I've slowly been catching up with my sleep.  Sam was mocking me mercilessly from my incoherent ramblings after 9 p.m. yesterday.  Apparently I was ready for bed well before my usual time.

Emma wore the sweater Joanna made for her today.  I can't remember if it was the first time she's done it.  She sure looks cute, though.

Going Northward

February 26, 2014 by Adam in Family

I'm headed to Vancouver tomorrow, a last minute request by my manager.  I'll be hanging out with a VP and director all day, so it's probably good for my career.  Unfortunately it involves staring at a spreadsheet all day, so I'll probably go mad.  Or the 5 hours on the road will do me in.  We'll see.

I came home a little early and took a small nap.  Joanna is making burgers and being charming.  Duncan is scripting anti-gravity machines in Minecraft.  Sam is reading reddit.  Life's good.

Tiny Weekend

February 24, 2014 by Adam in Family

The weekend felt a little short after the luxurious three day weekend of the previous one, but it was still fun and pleasant.  Friday night Joanna and I went out to the Pizza Research Institute and enjoyed our hipster artisan pizza.  We had a little time and shopped at the Red Barn for a few necessities, which is a little nostalgic.  Returning home, we found Emma drawing and Jessica and baby Avery entertaining Berry and Duncan.

Saturday morning we went to the bank to collect money the kids owed us, and then the library to load up on books.  The weather was great, so I went outside with the kids to put up a tarp over the yard and make a little fort.  While they worked away, I weeded in the garden beds and got things ready for spring.  After the snows, spring sounds lovely.

Eventually Sam pinged me on my phone and I picked him up.  We played Space Engineers, hung out, and watched Mythbusters and ate pizza.  Emma's been trying to stay up a little late, so we got her in bed at a stunning 8:30 p.m.

Sunday morning Joanna went to church with Duncan.  Sam and Berry played Space Engineers together, which was pretty funny.  I kept hearing Berry ask things like, "Which number is the gyros?"  Emma and I whittled a wand for her, wrapping the handle in leather.  I managed to do endless laundry and dishes and get the house slightly more in order.

Eventually I forced them outside after much complaining and took them to campus to run around.  They enjoyed the graveyard and Emu, though eventually tired and we returned to Humble Bagel for lunch.  The day wrapped up with Joanna taking the little kids swimming and my crew made sushi.  Sam had never tried it before, and really enjoyed it.

Space Engineers

February 23, 2014 by Adam in Adam's Games

Sam and I have been playing a game called Space Engineers.  It's in alpha, one of the many early release games out there.  You can build your ship and fly it about.  Eventually they plan on adding mining and other features.  For now, it's entertaining making weird designs and seeing what happens.  We had a great time playing yesterday.

Lockdown Mocha Friday

February 21, 2014 by Adam in Family

It's mocha Friday. Work strangely allows me to get to this site now. Maybe the number of F-words Sadie uses dropped below some threshold.

Work has been full on bonkers busy lately. It's the last day of our departing developer and I've discovered a fair number of pending things that need to be taken care of. I think I can manage, but I likely won't be able to work on my projects for a while until I clean things up.

We had a bit of a scare with Emma yesterday. Apparently there was a mentally ill person behaving strangely outside of her school. Emma was at recess, so they had a lockdown and she had to sit on the floor in the cafeteria. She thought it was a drill, and so wasn't nervous, but it's the sort of thing that makes parents thankful that all is well. I don't remember doing that sort of thing as a kid, but I guess my parents had nuclear war drills, so this is relatively benign in comparison.

The kids are all well. Berry has become a reading fanatic, forgoing computer time this morning to read full chapter books. Duncan calls up his friend Ash and plays Minecraft as much as he's able. Sam's been teaching Emma Japanese, which she makes me practice with her at bath time. Sam and I have been playing Space Engineers, having a wonderful time constructing ships and blasting them to smithereens.

Joanna and I are going out to dinner tonight, as Emma's going to Dave's birthday party and returning late. We're trying to figure out Spring Break plans, juggling children, ex-spouses, and friends. Hopefully we can have a bit of an adventure.

Lazy Three Day Weekend

February 18, 2014 by Adam in Family

It was a very pleasant three day weekend.  We took everyone but Sam to the Asian Celebration, which was generally a hit.  The kids picked up all sorts of goodies in the booths and Emma enjoyed her noodles.  I just like looking at everyone and everything, from people dressed as anime characters to the more traditional costumes.

We had a normal pizza this week after the snowstorm.  There was lots of playing - D&D, Apples to Apples, and the assorted video games.  Emma and Berry disassembled old hard drives to get to the super powerful magnets.  I crafted fake arrows for Duncan and Berry's fake bows.  Sam worked on his Romeo and Juliet homework.

Monday evening my old boss Glen and Seattle-based coworker Summer came over for dinner.  Emma really wanted to see Summer for the past couple years.  They hit it off once again after a brief shy moment from Emma.  There was nail painting, tours of the house, and general chatting.

Now I'm off to work and the kids are off to school.  Hopefully I survive the pile of work I know awaits me.

New Website for Pachamama Farm

February 15, 2014 by Danica in Danica Miller

Check out the new website for Pachamama Farm. Just went live today!
New season begins: http://www.pachamamafarmny.com/farm-blog/
Wish everyone were closer so you could see this beautiful place!

Valentine's Day Mocha

February 14, 2014 by Adam in Family

Happy Valentine's Day, oh family and friends.  As is the way of her people, Joanna arranged a wide spread of goodies for everyone this morning.  To add to the fun, Berry lost another tooth last night, so I expect more fairies to come bearing goodies (the tooth fairy was overly tired at 3 a.m.).  Everyone was quite happy, and Duncan wrote the most outrageously funny cards that even Sam kept his.  I have dutifully attached my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle tattoo that Berry got me.  The girls are reading their new books.  Sam ate all the chocolate covered almonds.  I'm working on my bag of chocolate covered espresso beans.  It's a special day.

Work has been crazy, as I'm taking help desk calls and trying to handle the departure of one of the developers.  I can't believe we're down to three.  I'm just glad I'm relatively mellow about the madness.  I can thank my three younger sisters for that.

We have twin friends of Duncan sleeping over tonight.  Tomorrow is the Asian celebration.  Sam really wants a normal pizza and Mythbusters after the power outages of last week.  Should be a fun weekend.

Mid-Week Update

February 13, 2014 by Adam in Family

Nothing too exciting to report.  Emma was sick yesterday so I worked from home to keep an eye on her.  Valentine's Day cards cover the table as Berry and Duncan make dozens for their classmates.  Joanna and I went out last night for a lovely pre-Valentine's Day dinner.  The snow has melted and everyone's colds and coughs have subsided.  It's nice to have things return to relative normalcy.


February 09, 2014 by Adam in Family

We have power again, after a somewhat exciting evening yesterday.  Everything is covered with ice, and trees kept crashing down.  At one
point one of the neighbor's big trees had a branch fall down and the
neighbor boy Ben and I helped drag it to the side. My dad came over in the morning and played Castle Panic with Emma and I.  Somehow he got hooked on Europa Universalis IV and Sam, Emma, and I went for a walk outside.  Cheese park was a weird winter wonderland, and we enjoyed breaking ice of the surface of various objects.  Eventually we returned home and my dad returned home.

Soon after he left, the power went out.  We broke out candles and lamps in our last hour of light.  Duncan was going to have a sleepover, which we delayed, though he walked over to their house to have dinner and hang out.  The rest of us made the best of the situation.  Joanna cooked pizza on the grill, which Sam declared as good as normal pizza (high praise for him).  Emma and Berry assembled a light source from the Snap Circuits kit.  Sam told stories from Greek mythology.  Joanna played music.  It was actually kinda fun.

Eventually Joanna went to fetch Duncan and the kids got put to bed.  Without any show, the rest of us went to bed early.  Sometime around three the power returned, thanks to EWEB and its hard working employees.  The kids were all ecstatic to have computers and light again.  I made a massive breakfast of sausages, bacon ends, pancakes, dutch babies, and cafe mocha.  They wouldn't stop eating.

Joanna and Duncan went to church.  The girls went outside this morning, reporting that it's wet and cold.  Berry set up a science experiment involving ice and show and the taste difference.  I think she plans on experimenting on us after it melts.  The dishes have piled up, but the lamps and flashlights have been put away.  I think we're mostly ready for family dinner tonight, assuming people can actually get here.


February 08, 2014 by Adam in Family

We had a good time playing in the snow today.  I worked from home, but managed to sneak away after lunch to take the kids to the park.  Joanna managed a great shot of Duncan sledding on a previous park run.

Snowy Mocha Friday

February 07, 2014 by Adam in Family

I'm done with winter.

Joanna and I continue to be pretty sniffly, and spent the first night in the same bed last night.  Usually we're hacking away in another room, trying to get some sleep.  The kids are mostly healthy and Emma went to school yesterday after a week away.  This cold seems to be lingering, but I'm hoping to be mostly improved by next week.

I had a lovely breakfast with mom on Wednesday morning.  I drank too much coffee and we caught up on the latest news.  I had to zip back home and juggle Emma for the day, as she was out again.

The snow hit yesterday.  The kids went to school and I drove to work.  I ended up coming home early - the roads were pretty empty and fortunately not too bad.  Joanna put chains on the van, informing me that she managed to get hit in the head with a hoe in the process.  There were too many possible jokes to respond with, so I smirked and remained silent.

School is canceled, though only Sam had a half day.  I'm working from home.  At some point I'm supposed to get kids to Jamie's house, and then pick them up tomorrow.  Fortunately the kids are genuinely excited about the snow, playing for a long while yesterday afternoon.  I was working, but caught some of it on the security camera.

Mostly Better Monday

February 04, 2014 by Adam in Family

Emma was out of school today, but otherwise everyone returned to normal.  I was coughing quite a bit, and opted to go sleep in the shed.  The bed was comfortable, despite the lack of heat.  What was amazing is the utter silence.  I'm so used to a house filled with noises.  Somehow I woke up roughly on time and braved the chilly morning air to come inside and begin the day.

Work was somewhat busy, with the big news that one of our developers quit.  From a peak of 8, we're down to 3.  I've got the routine down at this point, but all the change and turnover continues to be challenging.  Job security, I suppose.

Knocking on Heaven's Door

February 02, 2014 by Adam in Adam

Okay, I wasn't quite that sick yesterday, but it sure felt like it.  I'd been feeling cruddy since Wednesday, and hoped that after a good night's sleep Friday night I'd be finally better.  Unfortunately I took a turn for the worst at breakfast.  Joanna made this great breakfast when she saw I wasn't up for it.   I managed a few bites of dutch baby and a few sips of mocha, before I excused myself to lie down.

What followed was thankfully lost to my fevered memory.  There was vomiting and writhing in pain, followed by sleep.  Joanna kept checking up on me and taking good care of me.  Emma, who has a sore throat herself, was extra sweet, as was Berry.  I stumbled downstairs for dinner.  Joanna made some great soup that I managed to eat and have seconds of.  I got Emma to bed and watched a show with Sam and Joanna.

I was only up a couple times with a cough and managed to get a full night's sleep.  I cleaned the kitchen and made breakfast.  Joanna and the little kids went to church.  I played D&D with Sam and Emma.  My ears finally popped and I haven't had painkillers for almost five hours.  Feeling normal feels so good.

Mucousy Mocha Friday

January 31, 2014 by Adam in Family

Emma and I are staying home today.  She showed up with a fever yesterday and mostly slept until this morning.  She's much improved, but still clearly sick.  As for me, this is my third day working at home.  I've been strangely productive, perhaps because there's no one to chat with.  I'm stuck with computers to keep me company.

Sam's stoically going to school again.  I gave him two tissue packets so he can dual-wield them against his sniffly nose.  Duncan improved yesterday afternoon and was only up once last night.  Joanna just took them both to school.

As for me, my cough seems better, but my nose is really runny.  I took a cough suppressant last night, which made me really spacey first thing in the morning.  I think I'm okay operating heavy machinery now.  I'll be whipping up my own delicious mocha after I get Sam to school and dial into work.

We're All Kinda Sick

January 30, 2014 by Adam in Family

Duncan, Emma, and I are staying home today.  Duncan and I stayed home yesterday.  Sam is sniffly, but toughing it out.  Berry seems pretty over it, having stayed home last week.  Joanna is mostly recovered, but still tired.  Such is the joy of the winter illness months.

It's been a fairly typical week otherwise.  The only great excitement was a clogged sewage injection pump.  Fixing it was exactly as gross as it sounds.

Looking forward to the weekend and hopefully coughing-free nights.

Monday Already?

January 27, 2014 by Adam in Family

Mocha Friday came and went.  I felt pretty lousy in the morning, a continuation of the cold that everyone seemed to get.  Post-mocha, though, I was perky and excited.  I got a ton of work done, something that should make life much easier for one of my coworkers.

Friday night Joanna and I went out to Off the Waffle and listened to music.  I was a little sad when it ended as we were having a great time and I was well caffeinated. 

Saturday morning I fetched Emma and we hung about until a late library run.  Sam was collected and we indulged in the usual pizza and Mythbusters.  It was a pleasant day.

Sunday morning Sam, Emma, and I started a game of D&D that went on throughout the day.  Sam was the DM, and occasionally sent one of us out of the room while the other had adventures.  Only after dinner did we finally reconnect.  Emma informed me that prison changed her.  It was comical.

Mom came by to deliver clothes, which the girls loved.  They've both dressed up in their new outfits for the day.


January 22, 2014 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy birthday to the amazing Isabell and Joanna! Isa is groaning if I post anything to sweet, so just know that I'm really happy to have a teenage daughter!!

Half Birthdays

January 21, 2014 by Adam in Family

The last few days are a whirlwind.  Emma stayed over Friday night and we awoke to crepes and playing until it was time for a grand library trip.  Joanna came with us, and we loaded up on massive quantities of books, stopping for bagels and mocha before returning home.  I ran to the hardware store and returned to fix the kitchen sink.  Saturday night I picked up Sam and pizza, and had another official pizza and Mythbusters evening.

Sunday morning was more crepes.  Sam gifted me the game Scrolls, so I played a bit of that, as well as showing Emma how it works.  Joanna went off to church, and I pried everyone off screens to go to the backyard to play with fireworks.  Things were burned and melted.  Berry's friend came over for a sleepover and Duncan and I celebrated a combined half-birthday with half a cake.

Monday was a bit of a madhouse.  I fed five children pancakes with chocolate chip faces.  It was more crowd control than playing.  I worked throughout the day too, troubleshooting broken interfaces and attending meetings.  Kids slowly wandered off, Duncan's play date was canceled due to illness.  Sam, Emma, and I played a little D&D before she got picked up by Jamie.  Homework was finished.  The microwave, which had a small explosion, was replaced with achy muscles and minor swearing on my part.

Berry is sick today with a slight temperature.  I'm going into work after dropping Duncan off.  Life goes on.

condo update

January 18, 2014 by Yayoe in Yayoe

Happy New YEAR!!!It was so nice seeing the gang at Christmas..We're still on Hilyard Street until the end of February because we're doing some remodeling in the condo. So far the new faux wooden floors are being installed. After that we wait for the new cabinets for the kitchen and bathrooms. When that is done we'll spiff up the place and hope for a quick sale. The house doesn't feel like home anymore..boxes stacked up in the living room, furniture scattered around...it's a general mess. Remind me never to move again for 50 more years. It does feel good to get rid of stuffffff. Thanks Adam for your help with taking some of the stufffff. Very much appreciated.

Everything is Breaking

January 16, 2014 by Adam in Family

It does seem like there were more mechanical failures than usual the last couple days.  My car has a slow coolant leak, which typically manifests as the heater no longer working before the engine overheats.  I picked up some antifreeze at Target and hopefully fixed that problem.  Then there was the cracked joint on the kitchen sink.  With Berry's help, we patched it with some dryer vent tape until we can replace it. 

Sam and I worked on his Greek mythology detective story for Honors English.  Emma's been sending her fan fic at work, some of which is quite good.  Duncan got his portal gun with his Christmas money from Grandpa Lohring.  Joanna played music at church last night, which went over well.

I've been playing Broken Age, which started the Kickstarter revolution for game development and was on NPR yesterday.  It's a throwback to the old point-and-click adventures of my youth and is fun if occasionally brain-bogglingly difficult.  It oozes charm and style, and has some big name actors doing the voices.

Work's been busy if quirky.  As always, it's a mix of odd things.  I deployed an Internet application, loaded a 5 GB government file, and led a couple developer meetings.  Never a dull moment.

Far far away

January 14, 2014 by Sue in Wielesek

This is a cheerful winter, getting to think about a new baby in the family, though Berry and Duncan were pretty close to babies when we met.

It's not been so cheerful to think about Aric being in Thailand with all the political unrest there. He says he's not in any danger, and I'm sure the school where he teaches in Bankok, which is attended by kids whose parents are wealthy, is more or less safe.

Here in Oregon, we're fairly respectful of Mom Nature and the occasional volcano, sneaker wave, or sudden mountain snowstorm. To the same extent, there are probably countries where people learn to take palace coups, student revolts, and random army takeovers in stride.

The weekend at the Coast was fun!

Back to Normal

January 13, 2014 by Adam in Family

Well, it's back to normal, or as normal as it gets around here.  We're about ready to run off to school and work, with Joanna planning on going for a jog after she drops off the kids.

The weekend was pleasant, and I got a fair amount of work done in a mocha-fueled haze.  Saturday morning I was awoken by children still adjusting to the new time zone.  After feeding them crepes, I picked up Emma and there was a cheerful reunion of children.  Eventually we all went to the library to stock up on books and graphic novels.  Sam was dropped off for dinner and we had our first official pizza and Mythbusters of the year.

Sunday involved puttering around the house in the morning while Joanna and Duncan went to church.  I took down the Christmas lights, including poor Drunk Santa who has adorned our porch for weeks now.  The minivan was vacuumed and washed.  I stumbled inside to make tofu pockets for everyone, despite Emma and Berry leaving notes demanding food in exchange for my daughters' safety.  Sam and I played a bit.  There was a nap on my part. 

Emma and I played in the front yard late afternoon while Joanna took Berry on a tandem bike ride.  Emma and I made weird things in the shop and she rode the Razor around for a while.  The evening wrapped up with delicious corn muffins.

Good times . . .

Reuniting Mocha Friday

January 10, 2014 by Adam in Family

Joanna's in the air, on the way to Chicago.  There was a slight delay, but hopefully they can make all their connecting flights.  If luck holds, she'll be in Eugene tonight with Berry and Duncan.  I'll pick them up on my way home from work.

Yesterday was a little busy.  Jamie picked up Emma from school and took her to work, then Sam picked Emma up and walked her to my house.  I arrived to two video game playing children.  I pressed Emma into service making stir fry, which was a hit with everyone.

Emma did her math and went downstairs to treadmill.  I helped Sam with assorted projects and he showed off his family tree made in his Japanese class.  Eventually I got Emma to bed and we watched some anime together.  We stayed up a little late chatting and I stumbled off to bed.

I'll take Emma to school shortly and then it's mocha time.  I'm hoping the day goes quickly, as I can't wait to see Joanna in a few hours.

Midweek update

January 09, 2014 by Sue in Wielesek

Enjoying all my Christmas gifts enormously this year. Adam and Joanna, I really like the navy blue scarf. I went shopping at Loft and found a great navy blue long sleeved t-shirt and a smashing chartreuse cardigan. "Very St. Tropez" as the fat lady said to Sadie while Sadie tried on sunglasses.
I'm trying the third recipe from the new cookbook. Good old Martha...the recipes are easy and tasty.

We went over to see Yayoe and John's condo. It is very very nice, and doesn't need much more than a bit of Yayoe's good taste to be quite homey.

I'm going to the Sylvia Beach Hotel with my book club this weekend. It will be rainy but fun. I'm taking the Men of Salt book, which I have been reading in spare moments. Your friend is a good writer, and I've found it engaging and informative without being pedantic. Much love from mom

Mid-Week Update

January 08, 2014 by Adam in Family

The week has been uneventful so far.  Joanna returns Friday evening.  Sam and Emma returned to school.  I'm working away, as usual.

Sam and I are trying to figure out what to do with ourselves.  Last night we played Blood Bowl, which is a computer version of a board game about football with a fantasy twist.  After that we watched anime and went to bed.  It was quite the boyish evening.

A mysterious package arrived.  It was a mirror on a stand, which apparently neither Joanna nor I ordered.  I assembled it and put it in our room.  The current theory is that it was Joanna's brother's Christmas present.

Stuck in New York

January 06, 2014 by Adam in Family

Joanna texted last night, letting me know that once again flights had been cancelled.  After sleeping on it, she got through to United and she called me to discuss options.  It sounds like there are some fairly adventurous trip choices involving train rides to New York City.  After talking it through, it sounds like waiting until Friday is probably the most reasonable choice when hauling three bags and two children.

At this point Joanna is washing the handful of clothes she brought, picking up vitamin supplies, and thanking Danica profusely for her hospitality.  I'll fend of my loneliness with kid time and espresso.

Sam, Emma, and I had assorted adventures yesterday.  Emma and I went to the library, returning with assorted goodies.  We returned to a still-sleeping Sam, who woke up in time for a lunch/shopping combination earned by Emma's accumulation of 100 "Awesome points" over the last few months.  The kids were funny at lunch and Sam spent his gift card at Barnes and Noble.  Surprisingly he chose three classics: The Arabian Nights: A Thousand and One Nights, Dante's Inferno, and Sun Tzu's The Art of War.  I got a couple 2014 calendars from the on sale dregs, including Hot Guys with Baby Animals - the kids demanded it.

The rest of the day was fairly uneventful.  I had kids work on homework, and made mini pizzas for everyone (Sam wanted a Pulled Pork Pizza - it was apparently good).  Somewhere in there we got Yayoe's old couch in Sam's room and the dresser set up for Joanna.  I got Emma to bed and Sam and I played video games, engrossed in our new purchases.

Today the plan is for haircuts, taking down more Christmas decorations, finishing homework, and getting in some good hang out time. 

I also finished up editing the Christmas video.  It's pretty long, as I couldn't cut out everyone's witty banter.

Busy Weekend

January 05, 2014 by Adam in Family

My carefree bachelor days of Thursday and Friday are over now.  I went to work, did laundry, cleaned the house, and put away some Christmas decorations.  I picked up the kids this morning and it's been non-stop activity.  I only have a few minutes until we get pizza for our traditional Saturday meal.

We set off fireworks, had enchiladas for lunch, moved furniture, played video games, and rearranged the kids' rooms.  Getting the furniture from Yayoe's house was most exciting.  I took out all unnecessary seats, took two trips, and we managed to move a dresser, couch, and treadmill.  Emma was partially squished both times.  Sam's strength was fairly helpful, and John assisted as well.  The couch is now in his room, which looks like a bachelor pad more each day.


January 02, 2014 by Adam in Sam

Sam got a lock pick set for Christmas and has been showing off his skills.  He managed to go through a couple padlocks with relative ease, getting the feel of things.  A couple days ago he tried to open a safe in his mom's house, there when she bought it, but without a key.  His first attempt failed, but he tried again the next day and it worked.

Sadly it was completely empty.

Happy New Year

January 02, 2014 by Adam in Family

It somehow became 2014 when I wasn't looking.  I worked from home
on the 31st as I was still feeling a little sick.  I picked up the kids
early afternoon, along with Kate for a play date with Emma.  Sam flitted from game to game in the midst of the Steam winter sale.  I think he spent most of his time building space ships of different types.  Joanna made a tasty dinner and cheesecake ice cream with her new ice cream maker.  We watched the ball drop on the Internet, random people kissing and proposing in New York city.

Joanna got ready for her trip to Rochester to fetch Duncan and Berry yesterday.  She was off to Yoga class after breakfast waffles.  Emma and I made papercraft Adventure Time figures and I set up the painting stand Yayoe gave us.  Emma painted something abstract that we decided was either the back of two girls with long hair, or octopi hanging out.  Joanna returned to pack and get dinner ready.  Sam and I played board games, never quite getting the rules right.  Emma shot her bow a little. 

Joanna made sticky rice for tofu pockets and went off to a church event.  I threw together a Japanese meal with edamame and miso soup.  It was generally well received.

This morning Joanna woke up before 4 a.m. to take her cab to the airport.  Unfortunately the flight from Eugene was cancelled, throwing everything into disarray.  She couldn't get through to the airline, so she drove to the airport, sorted out flights, and came home to go back to bed.  I'll drop her off later this morning.

The next couple nights are theoretically quiet ones, with no one else in the house.  I've got some shopping to do, and that's about it.  I'll get Sam and Emma Saturday morning and the fun begins again.

Happy New Years

January 02, 2014 by Sue in Wielesek

Kitty sitting Peija is easing the sadness of sending Sadie, Greg, Seraph, Robbie and Isa far far away. And Anna is sitting here tending to Peija's every whim, of which he has many, while Bob and I watch Stanford implode at the Rose Bowl.

Christmas was so great for us, and I really appreciated both the effort that our out-of-town folks made to come so far, and the effort that the
Oregon residents, including Bob and his fab crab dinner, made as hosts and hostesses. Thank you, too, Anna and Lohring, for getting the food for the elegant spread at Jenny's house.

It was really fun to see Sadie's little Sputnik. For those who are fans of the space exploration programs, Sputnik is Russian for "fellow traveler", the name of the first satellite  ever launched from Earth, in 1956  or 57 I think.

I tried to send your packages to Chimayo and Cambridge yesterday afternoon, only to find the Post Office closed. It's just as well, since this morning I found a white, size small, sweater in Anna's room. Whose? Let me know, and I'll tuck it in.

Many hugs to all, Mom and Bob

Older Posts