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 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.

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