Last Day in Santa Cruz

December 30, 2015 by Adam in Family

We spent yesterday mostly walking, to the point where Joanna became completely worn out. We left our B&B and headed to the beach, walking along the coast and watching the surfers. After a long walk we staggered back and rested up. Later we returned to the beach to watch the sunset and headed downtown for dinner. I picked up a great book called Annihilation, which I'm voraciously reading. 

This morning we ate breakfast at a little counterculture place, checked out of our hotel, and headed down to the boardwalk. From there we explored the beach all the way to a little lighthouse. Now we're back in town, finishing our lunch at a quirky panino place with Star Wars decorations.

The plan is to visit The Mystery Spot and return to the airport. Home soon.

Sea Life in Chilly California

December 29, 2015 by Adam in Family

We headed down the coast to Monterey Bay, visiting the aquarium and walking along Cannery Row. Steinbeck would be shocked by the transformation into a tourist destination from the original fishery.

The displays were pretty cool wry the aquarium, especially the task tanks full of kelp and the jellyfish displays. We survived the crowds and made our way home, resting a bit before walking to the boardwalk to see the sea lions and watch the sunset. Eventually we made our way to a vegetarian space themed restaurant, which hit the spot. The night was capped off with silly television and a movie. Fun times.

Do You Know the Way to San Jose?

December 27, 2015 by Adam in Family

We're in San Jose, having just finished breakfast while chatting with interesting fellow travelers. The flight down was uneventful. Dinner was a little late, eating sushi at a local restaurant. We braved the unusually chilly weather for a walk, having back to our quirky room to watch a show and turn in.

The plan is to visit the local Center for Spiritual Living and head to Santa Cruz, visiting the redwoods along the way.

Update: We made it to Santa Cruz and checked into our B&B. Along the way we stopped in a forest to hike through the redwoods. Now we're going to a space themed vegetarian diner. Very exciting!

And sadly the space diner was closed. At the pizza place now, slightly disappointed.

Leaving on a Jet Plane

December 26, 2015 by Adam in Family

We wrapped up the last of the Christmas festivities.  We headed over to my mom's for brunch - it was great seeing Aric and Anna and catching up on their exciting lives.  The food and conversation was good and we eventually returned home to hang out, play with presents, and prepare for Christmas dinner. 

Most of the brunch crowd was there, minus Bob, Aric, and Anna, and Dez brought his girlfriend Emily along.  We ate good food, wore paper crowns, and read the awful puns hidden away in the Christmas crackers.  Afterward I took Sam and Emma up the road to meet Jamie halfway to Corvallis.  They're staying a couple days with Judy and then heading to the beach house afterward for a few days, with Isa joining them.

Joanna and I saw the final Hunger Games movie this morning, donated our leftovers to the Eugene Mission, and are slowly getting ready for our plane ride.  I hope everyone had a good Christmas - we miss you all.

Merry Christmas

December 25, 2015 by Seraph in Cortez

Merry Christmas family! We've been having a fun but quiet Christmas here in Chimayo. Yesterday we had Christmas Eve lunch with Hanni and then went to some friends for their annual Christmas Eve bonfire. This morning we got up and drank coffee until Isabell got up for stockings and presents. Poor Isa has had a small cold, so we drugged her up and plied her with presents and cookies. We're off to take a small holiday drive and then relax some more.  Hugs to everyone! We miss you all!

Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2015 by Adam in Family

Merry Christmas all.  Christmas has been a typical drawn-out affair.  Right now Joanna is in a video chat with Duncan and Berry, watching them open presents in Rochester.  Emma and I have been good and waited for Joanna to get up before opening our stockings.  Emma is learning German using Duolingo while I've been wandering the wasteland in Fallout 4.

The last few days have been relatively fun.  We sadly missed chatting with Sadie and the gang while we went to the new Star Wars movie.  Afterwards we went to Jenny's.  Emma had fun watching Grease and singing along to the songs with Jenny.  Sam, Isa, my dad, and I played King of Tokyo, with Isa ending up the Queen of Tokyo.  It was great seeing everyone - a typical low-key, chaotic and happy family gathering.

Yesterday was pretty quiet.  I wrapped the last of the presents.  Sam, Emma, and I played and loved Betrayal at House on the Hill.  It's a board game with the feel of a grade B horror movie.  Once I was infected by spider eggs and another time I wandered the basement while Emma's character fought off Frankenstein's Monster herself.  Good times.

Sam and Emma hung out with their mom for a few hours.  Joanna and I went for a long walk through the neighborhood.  Later that night we watched Antman, ate apple pie, and drank egg nog with a dash of Barbados rum.  We're well fortified for the day ahead.

Snow Day

December 23, 2015 by Adam in Family

I took Emma, Kate, Sam, and Isa up into the mountains yesterday.  It was somewhat exciting, with lots of snow and chains at the end.  I was a little stressed, but it turned out well.  We sled down the hill a few times and then tromped around in the snow until we were tired and ready to go home.

Soccer Time

December 22, 2015 by Adam in Joanna

We watched Joanna play soccer last night.  She scored a goal and was generally enthusiastic.  Unfortunately the only time I remembered to take a video was when she fell over.  She's been limping around this morning.  Hopefully it'll clear up soon.

And They're Off

December 21, 2015 by Adam in Family

The last few days have been a little exciting, with lots of things going on.  Friday night Joanna and I went out to eat, ending up at The Board.  It's a new place in the building that used to be Tiny's Tavern.  I figured out why it was called The Board when my food was served on a cutting board.  It was good and different, and I think Joanna liked her scallops with octopus ink.

Saturday we spent packing up the little kids and Cecilia for their trip.  It was pretty low-key, though Sam and I spent the entire Shawn the Sheep movie downstairs talking.  Isa's having some rough emotional times and Sam wanted to have someone to talk with.  While I'm not sure I have any answers, hopefully I was appropriately calm and reassuring.  We had pizza and science to wrap up the evening, one last tradition before the kids headed off.

Sunday morning we got up early and hugged the travelers before heading to Portland, Kevin taking them all to the airport.  I went back to bed for a couple hours, which I very much needed.  We didn't do very much that day.  Isa came over and played board games with us, in between some emotional conversations.  Emma and I went to the library.  My mom came over for dinner.

Now I'm at work, trying not to move anything to live before I leave for a couple weeks.  I'm hoping to take the kids up into the mountains to play in the snow, a little nervous about the weather but hopeful I can manage.  Emma's hanging out with my mom this morning and playing with Kate in the afternoon.  Wednesday I'm finally seeing Star Wars and hanging out with a bunch of family.  Fun, fun.

Mocha Friday

December 18, 2015 by Adam in Family

Friday is here and a delicious mocha awaits me.  

The week has been relatively uneventful.  Joanna continues to make presents for neighbors, teachers, and friends.  This morning she was writing cards to Duncan and Berry's teachers, along with jam and cider.  She also ended up doing most of the work on a scarf that Berry was knitting for a friend, but I suppose Berry just outsourced the labor after doing the design work.

Sam went to Isa's choir concert last night.  Emma was feeling under the weather, but decided to stoically go to school anyway.  Hopefully the tea and painkillers I gave her will help.

Joanna and I are going out tonight and then tomorrow is a hang out and prepare for trips day.  The house will get pretty quiet soon.

King of Tokyo

December 16, 2015 by Adam in Family

The week is moving along, with the usual madness sprinkled around to make life interesting.

Of the three developers at work, one has decided to quit.  He's the new guy, relatively speaking, though it's going to put more pressure than usual on us to try and keep things together.  Hopefully we can hire a replacement.

This is the last week of school before Christmas break.  Duncan and Berry are wearing pajamas as much as possible this week.  Duncan was also explaining how he's making a Minecraft mod with Santa, and how he drops presents if you kill him.  I told him I was horrified.

I moved kids around last night, returning Isa home and taking Sam and Emma to get their flu vaccinations.  They were hysterical, talking in pigeon German and Japanese all the way to the clinic.

Joanna continues to work away at her hotel descriptions and keeping everyone fed.  We're slowly getting organized for our Santa Cruz trip.  Sam and I have been playing King of Tokyo non-stop.  Can't wait to play it with the rest of the crew. 

Christmas, Phase One Complete

December 14, 2015 by Adam in Family

Friday night was Emma's concert at South Eugene.  She played well and seems to enjoy the flute.  It was fun taking my mom along, as she dressed up and looked super fancy.

Saturday morning the little kids woke up early to open stockings, along with Cecilia, who was up early.  Joanna made her a knitted stocking with Cecilia's name on it, and she was quite impressed.  Eventually my mom and Sam arrived and we began the present opening in earnest.  I ended up with a nice big hard drive, some NFC tags to play with, and a funny book of French cartoons from Cecilia (fortunately translated into English).  Everyone else got some fun loot as well and we spent the afternoon playing with them.

The rest of the weekend had people running to and fro.  Joanna took the little kids to a movie and then off to a Christmas party.  Sam went off with Isa.  I took Emma and Cecilia to Sizzle Pie and Sweet Life, playing board games as we went.  Sunday we puttered around - I got a lot of chores down and managed some video game playing time.  Emma and I watched Inside Out.  Eventually the day wound down with a tasty lasagna dinner from Joanna.  Sam and I played King of Tokyo until we ran out of time and had to be responsible.

This is another busy week - we've got things happening just about every evening.  Next Saturday we're packing up Cecilia and the little kids and preparing them for their flight. Sunday should be pretty quiet.

20 Years

December 11, 2015 by Adam in Family

It's been a pleasant week, if perhaps a little hectic.  Wednesday night Joanna and I went to Tacovore, followed by Sweet Life.  Last night we had Isa and her mom Signe over for dinner.  Joanna slaved away making sushi, which was quite tasty.  Tonight we have Emma's concert.  Tomorrow morning is Christmas - Phase I.

I did wake up this morning, convinced it was Saturday instead of Friday.  It took Emma's convincing to make me realize I needed to take a shower and get ready to get kids to school.  

Today is also my 20 year anniversary at PeaceHealth.  I think I get a pin or something whenever Karl returns from Vancouver.

New Term Wednesday

December 09, 2015 by Adam in Family

The kids finished up their terms last week and their grades have come in.  Sam pulled off a B in his Pre-Calculus class and A's in everything else. Since he did both a Linux class and web design, Sam ended up with two credits.  He was also surprised he pulled off an A in his AP European History class.  I suggested it was his Twine game about the Philosophes that pushed him over the edge.

Emma also got good grades, with her only B in her science class.  Her art teacher loves her.  I'm going to a parent-teacher conference tonight and Friday night she has her winter concert.

Duncan and Berry are their usual selves.  I think they're getting excited for their first Christmas this weekend.  Joanna and Berry made a fancy advent calendar for Joanna, filled with sweet notes from the children.  Duncan is increasingly goofy and silly.  Cecilia took a day off yesterday - she apparently couldn't bring herself to tromp through the rain to Roosevelt.  She spent the day relaxing in a quiet house and trying to get the airline to fix the accent in her name.

We're slowly getting ready for our California trip later this month.  Even though we're flying into San Jose, I think we'll spend most of our time around Santa Cruz.  I haven't been there since visiting BJ back in the 80's, so I barely remember it.  Presumably the hair styles have changed since then.

It's a busy week ahead of us - first going to Emma's parent-teacher conference, then getting Joanna for a dinner date, and finally picking up Sam at Isa's house.  Tomorrow Joanna is making sushi for Isa and her mom.  Friday is Emma's concert.  Saturday we have Christmas with Berry, Duncan, and Cecilia.  'Tis the season.

Christmas is Coming

December 08, 2015 by Adam in Family

It was a long, three-day weekend of Christmas preparations.  I'm sitting next to a row of stockings and looking past shiny things hanging from the ceiling to a glittering Christmas tree at the end of the room.  Presents were wrapped by the dozen.  Trees were purchased and decorated.  Lights were hung outside.  I look forward to a three week respite until we do it all again in reverse.

Sam and Emma had Friday off - Jamie picked them up around noon.  Joanna and I went out to eat at a new Latin American place on Willamette and then walked downtown to visit one of the stores on the First Friday art walk. 

Saturday I struggled with headaches, but managed to help get a tree.  I mostly hung out with everyone that day, playing games and puttering.  Cecilia has a hidden enthusiasm for wrapping presents, which I put to good use.  Eventually we watched a science show and ate pizza.

Sunday began with Isa arriving in the morning and hanging out with us all day.  I made everyone play Dixit, which they seemed to enjoy.  Off and on we played more Drawful and similar games.  I managed a bit more Christmas decorations.  My mom came for dinner.  Eventually Isa returned home, only to show up on our doorstep the following morning.

Monday was pretty low-key.  We took Emma to the orthodontist - she got a six month reprieve on doing anything to her teeth.  Emma and I watched High Society.  My mom picked up Sam, Isa, and Emma in the afternoon and put them to work.  I picked up my car from the shop, with news that I should replace the battery.  Joanna left to play soccer after dinner.  I chatted with Cecilia about the future and watched Sam play Isaac.  The weekend wrapped up with sitcoms and sleep.

Mocha Friday

December 04, 2015 by Adam in Family

I'm heading into work in an hour or so, the last day before a three day weekend.  I'll try hard not to move anything into live, though I've got a ton of things going on.  The crises are coming fast and furious these days.

Sam, Emma, and Cecilia are out of school today and Monday.  I'm taking Monday off, which is probably a good thing.  I seem to have a lot of Christmas-related preparations ahead of me.  Since Duncan, Berry, and Cecilia are away over the holidays, we're doing an early Christmas in a couple weeks.  This weekend is also Father Christmas something - all I know is that presents filled with shoes are involved.

As for the rest of the crew, the week has been relatively uneventful.  Joanna got her hair dyed purple.  Cecilia taught a lesson on voodoo.  Sam had Isa over for dinner last night.  Duncan is making a Santa-themed Minecraft mod.  Sam had his last final yesterday.  All is well.

We did have a rousing game of Fibbage last night, another game like Drawful where we enter things into our phones and watch the computer screen for the questions.  In this case, it was all about who was the best liar.  Remind me not to trust anything Joanna or Cecilia say, as they are both quite devious.

Wednesday Update

December 02, 2015 by Adam in Family

We're halfway through the week.  Duncan and Berry were home from school yesterday, theoretically sick, though Joanna is gleeful they're returning to school today.  Sam and Isa continue to hang out whenever possible - they're very cute together.  I finally got a ton of projects assigned to me at work and I've been frantically getting things done.  We had a minor crisis when the consultants deleted 1,500 users in an attempt to fix a problem, but I think it's fixed now.

Tromping Through the Wasteland

December 02, 2015 by Adam in Adam's Games

I'm continuing to enjoy Fallout 4, despite the occasional "RPG lite" aspects.  Bethesda games tend to be a little low on meaningful choices and full of the Disneyland joy of exploration and meeting interesting characters in the wasteland. 

I'm busy building up my settlements and getting into trouble with the high-tech remnants of civilization.  No idea how far along into the game I am exactly, but it feels like I've done quite a bit.  Occasionally I have to stop and take in the ambiance, though.  This view of a post-apocalyptic Boston sure was pretty.

Lazy Thanksgiving Weekend

November 30, 2015 by Adam in Family

We had four days off, mostly spent hanging out with kids and occasionally going outside for a walk.  Sam had a birthday thing at home on Friday, nibbling on brain-shaped cheesecake that Joanna made for him.  Emma was a little under the weather, but otherwise we were in pretty good spirits.

Isa came over to hang out with Sam on Saturday, from after breakfast until after dinner.  I really like her - she's funny, bright, nerdy, and Sam is completely smitten.  She didn't run screaming from our family, so that's a good sign.

We played 7 Wonders, a fun little civilization-like board game, and Drawful, which is played with tablets while everyone watches my computer screen.  The latter was lots of fun, and Duncan was especially enthusiastic about playing.  

Eventually we got around to the practical things.  Sam worked on final projects, including studying for his math final.  His retake score came in and he's back to a high B.  Emma worked on a project, and Duncan and Berry had miscellaneous homework at the end of the day yesterday.

My mom came over for dinner and I showed off a tablet in case she wants to get one.  Eventually we all collapsed in bed.

Today is a little frantic with getting ready for Christmas.  The little kids and Cecilia are leaving to visit family, so we'll do a mini-Christmas in a couple weeks.  Berry is also sick today, which makes life a little challenging for Joanna.  Hopefully we can find a little Christmas cheer in the next week or two.


November 28, 2015 by Adam in Family

It's late on a Friday after we finally finished cleaning up after dinner.  It was simple - eggs and potatoes and veggies - after stuffing ourselves at Thanksgiving.  The best part was going around the table thinking of a word we'd say in some language or another.  We gave up after we got to Swahili.

Thanksgiving was generally good.  We got Sam and Emma early in the day and all headed to Wayne Morris park to hang out.  There was soccer, football with Duncan and Berry's friends, hot chocolate, and walking through the woods.  Berry's favorite part was burning things in the fire pit.  I guess we all commune with nature in different ways.

Joanna cooked up a storm and we headed to my mom's for Thanksgiving.  I stuffed myself and had pleasant conversations throughout the night.  Eventually we returned home, our minivan laden with leftovers. 

Today has been pretty low-key.  The kids did a little homework.  We threw a little birthday party for Sam.  There was lots of puttering around, playing games, and chatting.

Tomorrow Sam's friend Isa is coming over to hang out.  This is the first time I've met her, so that'll be nice.  He's been texting her fairly furiously throughout the day.


November 28, 2015 by Adam in Sam

Sam is officially 17.  He's been surprisingly cheerful as of late and occasionally providing wise advice to his siblings.  Sam keeps getting better with age it seems.

Joanna found a brain mold and made peanut butter cheesecake for him.  It was appreciated.


November 26, 2015 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy Thanksgiving and happy birthday Sam!

National Espresso Day

November 23, 2015 by Adam in Family

Happy National Espresso Day!  I'm having my second mocha of the day and made a mocha for everyone in the house.  The kids were quite enthusiastic.

It was a good, quiet weekend.  Friday night my mom watched the kids while Joanna and I went out for dinner.  We're a little closer to coming up with a plan for the holiday - California somewhere I think.  

Saturday morning was spent puttering about - I took Duncan on a fun little library excursion to pick up some French comic books.  I also paid off some fines and apparently have checked out 8,750 items since I first got my card as a kid.  Thanks, library!

Eventually Sam and Emma arrived and the afternoon was spent puttering about.  Joanna went off to sing and play the ukulele.  The rest of us watched Jurassic World and tried to estimate the lifespan of certain characters.  I think it was a little scary for Duncan, who left towards the beginning - I had to assure him that mostly it was bad dinosaurs being eaten by good dinosaurs.  

Sunday started with a hearty breakfast.  I took Emma and Berry to get my haircut with a Metropol stop as a reward.  Later Duncan and Berry went to Flynn's for a birthday party.  Sam and I walked to his friend Isa's house, turned around and headed back (she was apparently busy).  Later he walked over to Humble Bagel to chat with her.  Berry dropped a battery down the sink, so Sam and I fished it out - he seems to strangely enjoy plumbing.  My mom came over for dinner and I enjoyed the latest batch of Joanna's cider.  Sam and I studied more math - he did well on his latest test.  I'm hoping he'll work his way back to a B after this retake.

Looking forward to the short work week and long Thanksgiving vacation.

Gold And Sulfur

November 22, 2015 by Adam in Emma

Emma has been learning about the elements and did this nice watercolor of Gold and Sulfur.  She's done 24 others, each with their own personality that reflects the properties of the particular element.

Mocha Friday

November 20, 2015 by Adam in Family

The week has been slowly moving along, with small bumps along the way.  Berry is sick again this morning, dooming poor Joanna to another day at home.  Hopefully she finds a clever way to get food into our house as we're on our last gallon of milk.

We had a full house last night.  Emma was drawing caricatures of elements and minerals, almost twenty anime style girls with styles that represented the qualities of the mineral.  I suggested she polish it up and make a book about it - they were great.  Duncan completed his elaborate Minecraft animation - it was really well done, with sound effects, music, camera work, and various special effects.  Sam and I worked on math and I remarked on someone called Isa who drew all over his hands.  I attempted to assure Cecilia that feeling lost in your twenties was pretty normal.  She has a couple visits with librarians that hopefully will be interesting.  Berry's been reading in her room quite a bit, still not feeling great.  Joanna continues her usual awesome activities, spinning yarn, brewing cider, and keeping us well fed.

My lovely wife and I head out to dinner tonight where we'll hopefully manage to make some vacation plans.  Jenny suggested I take off the 23rd to hang out with dad.  I've done so - maybe we can watch Star Wars or something and get some quality hang out time together.  I'm also taking some assorted time off and the whole week between Christmas and New Year's.  It'll be nice to have a little break.

Driving Through The Week

November 19, 2015 by Adam in Family

I headed up to Vancouver again yesterday, leaving the house before sunrise and coming home after sunset.  Hopefully this is the last one for a while.  It was vaguely useful, I suppose, though I had a headache that likely signals the start of the cold that's been going around.  I'm medicating with cafe mocha and Advil, which has me perky and pain-free.

I continue to fret about most everyone.  Joanna's had a cold for a few days.  Berry's been cranky and is staying home sick today too.  Sam and I studied math for two hours last night, hoping to perk up his grades.  Cecilia continues to be uncertain of her life goals and doesn't seem to be enjoying her internship.  Duncan is struggling a little with his French.  Emma . . . well, Emma's generally cheerful and doing well in school, so I suppose there's that.

Still, we're all alive and generally fumbling forward in life.  They do all entertain me in various ways.  Last night Joanna was planning to build her next business venture based on handmade dice.  Dad - we may need to pick your brain on manufacturing techniques.

I left Sam a couple chocolate covered espresso beans when I left work today, along with a note wishing him luck on his test.

Brief Stop in Normalville, PA

November 19, 2015 by Danica in Danica Miller

A couple of weeks ago when I traveled through PA on my way to visit Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater and Kentuck Nob, I couldn't resist a stop in Normalville. We really were hoping for one of those fancy, big signs announcing the small town, but had to make do with this instead. The PA countryside is truly beautiful! Loved visiting the Wright houses, and of course took lots of photos.

Tuckered out

November 17, 2015 by Sue in Wielesek

For the last couple of weeks, I've skittered around among the raindrops trying to get all the fall gardening finished before it really starts to pour. The hard work has been a mixed blessing.In some ways I feel good, getting back some muscles. On the other hand, I'm sometimes so tired at night that I just sort of melt into a blob and watch old X Files. Looking forward to having everyone for Thanksgiving!

Cosplay and Chess

November 16, 2015 by Adam in Family

The weekend is over, odd and quirky as usual.  We had everyone for all three nights, so it was a full house.  Saturday morning Joanna took Duncan and Berry off to a chess tournament.  The kids didn't do as well as they'd like, but I think they had an okay time.  Emma helped me replace the basement heater, and later the storm door.  Sam had a really lousy math score, so we spent a long time going over a retake review sheet.  Eventually we took a break to play Space Engineers.

I was getting stir crazy late afternoon, so I hauled Sam and Emma down to the river for a walk.  They had a surprisingly good time, wandering around at dusk and climbing around under the bridge.  Joanna took Berry for more bike riding - she's still working on it, but she's got the basics down.  The evening wrapped up with pizza and science, as always.

Sunday morning was pretty low-key.  Other than the usual house chores, I managed a bit of Fallout playing.  Sam and Emma didn't want to go to the Eugene Comic Con, so we ended up taking Duncan, Berry, and Cecilia.  It was surprisingly fun, though Joanna was feeling pretty sniffly.  The little kids drew for a long while.  I had a good time wandering the booths, people watching, and making snarky comments about American culture to Cecilia.  I picked up a few Christmas presents, took a few pictures of cool cosplayers, and we headed home.  The day wrapped up with more math studying, a little Binding of Isaac with Emma.  

We had a small catastrophe with the basement flooding.  Once again the sewage injection pump became clogged.  Sam volunteered to help and soon he was scooping out weird stuff and getting things working again.  I was very proud of him.

Fallout and Planets

November 15, 2015 by Adam in Adam's Games

Fallout 4 arrived last week.  I took the day off to celebrate.  While it's a very familiar experience, it's been compelling.  There are some new pieces that work really well, though they took some getting used to.  Building settlements is new - making farms and running power lines around.  Apparently you can make some elaborate machines with a bit of work. 

It's full of rewarding set pieces - emerging from the Vault to hear The Wanderer broadcast over the radio, getting your PIPBoy 3000, and battling a Deathclaw in power armor.  Good times.

Sam and I have been also playing Space Engineers lately, as they just added planets to the game.  I spent twenty minutes yesterday trying to find his crashed lander in my still operating one, then we set up an arctic base and began drilling for ore.  Eventually we built a little buggy, which Sam immediately flipped after putting a couple wheels on backwards.  We rigged up a piston system to tilt it up and then a thruster to flip it completely over.  He had a great time.

Mocha Friday

November 13, 2015 by Adam in Family

It's been a nutty week, remarkably busy and sprinkled with illness.

Monday I went up to Vancouver for an all-day meeting, returning late and worn out.  Tuesday was my "Play Fallout 4" day, where I returned to the wasteland and had a great time, occasionally helping with the kids.  Wednesday was off work as well, taking care of things as best I could with a sick Joanna.  Sadly our date night was cancelled.  Thursday had the full crew and I spent the day trying to dig myself out of the pile of work.  Today Emma's home sick and Joanna is mostly on the mend.

I'm going to spend today trying to get slightly less crazy at work.  I've got another Vancouver trip next week.  This weekend I need to help Sam study for a math test retake.  There's a heater to install.  Theoretically ComicCon is going on, though we'll see if we can manage to go.

I did have fun with the kids on their day off on Wednesday.  Nearly everyone made little clay things.  Berry and Emma made cute elves to hide in the garden.  Sam made a disemboweled elf with a monster eating it.  Ah, children.

Happy Birthday Seraph

November 11, 2015 by Lohring in Lohring

I can't believe it's been 39 years. You're allowed to stay this age forever.

Mocha Friday

November 06, 2015 by Adam in Family

It's been a crazy work day, starting with crises and continuing from one to the next.  I'm ready to go home and collapse, but I've got a late afternoon go-live.  Plus next Monday I'm going to Vancouver for the day, returning late and hopefully not too grumpy.  At least I'm taking Tuesday and Wednesday off, hopefully enjoying some quality time playing Fallout 4.

It's been the usual busy home life as well.  Wednesday night Joanna and I listened to music at the Ciderworks and chatted about possible vacation destinations over winter break.  Thursday night I helped Sam with homework, chatted with Emma, and made pancakes and sausages while Joanna took Berry to her soccer game party.  Poor Berry hurt her pinkie finger yesterday at the end of school - we don't think it's broken, but it seems uncomfortable.

This weekend Joanna has a full schedule of haircuts and birthday parties.  I need to go to the library tomorrow morning.  I'd love to get outside or visit the art museum or something.  We'll see how much excitement I can manage.

Mid Week Update

November 04, 2015 by Adam in Family

The week is moving along.  My days are spent working away at the usual craziness that is my job.  At night I go home to help Sam with homework.  Last night it was long division with complex polynomials and the philosophers of the French Renaissance.  Then we chatted about politics until it was time for our evening show.  

I took Sam to the dentist this morning and chatted with Jenny about life and next year's family reunion.  Joanna has been moving kids to and from school, doing her quirky hotel job, and sneaking in a little time here and there for personal writing.  

Joanna and I are headed out for a hot date tonight.  Life moves on.

Rainy Halloween

November 02, 2015 by Adam in Family

It was a pretty quiet Halloween weekend.  Friday night Joanna and I went out to Ambrosia for a fancy dinner where I ate way too much.  I still had my suit and tie from my Halloween costume, so at least I was fancy.

Saturday morning Joanna took Berry to her last soccer game.  They won and ended up in 3rd place in their league.  Cecilia continued her binge Downton Abbey watching.  I did a little laundry, but generally was lazy and getting over my cold.  Eventually everyone returned and Sam and Emma appeared.  We prepared for Halloween.  I watched Sam play his new Binding of Issac game.  

Eventually I braved the horde of zombies and cowboys at 5th street to pick up pizza.  Our usual science show was cut short by trick-or-treaters and the desire for Berry to get out the door to collect candy.  I walked with Duncan and Berry for a little, and then returned home to sit by the door reading and handing out candy.  It was pretty light with the rainy weather.  Eventually they returned with tons of candy for the winter.  Unwanted candy was given to the Candy Wizard, who passes along the candy to the homeless in exchange for cash.  Duncan went off to a friend's house for the night.

Emma and Berry were up at the crack of dawn due to the time change, so we played Castle Panic until seven o'clock.  I made dutch babies for everyone in the morning and cleaned up most of the Halloween detritus.  The really gross pumpkins went into the compost, but the weird synthetic webs are still up.  The rest of the day was spent inside being lazy again.  Sam and I made cookies.  Kids played video games.  Berry and Joanna watched a U of O women's soccer game and returned with a signed shirt.  Sam made up a weird sport involving exercise balls.  Joanna made a delicious dinner and served home brewed cider.

Life's good.


October 31, 2015 by Lohring in Lohring

My costume. Expect protesters from the American Dental Association.

New phones

October 31, 2015 by Seraph in Cortez

Hello all! We all have joined the 21st century and got cell phones. My new number is 505-901-8609. Let me know if you want Robbie or Isa's

Mocha Halloween Friday

October 30, 2015 by Adam in Family

The kids all dressed up for Halloween this morning.  Joanna was rocking a sexy Minion costume.  Berry was a banana.  Emma was a spellslinger.  Duncan was some Minecraft character, I think.  As for me, I'm going as a Providence Rebranding Specialist.  I've been handing out Providence logos to tape over the PeaceHealth logo.  It's funny because our new CEO is from Providence and her first announcement was a new co-owned clinic with Providence.  Or maybe it's terrifying and sad.  There's a fine line.

The week has been busy.  I drove up to Vancouver for meetings that were more stressful than useful.  The rest of the week I've been trying to deal with the crushing amount of work that's been put on my lap.  Evenings are spent on housework or helping Sam with homework.  At least I know a lot more about Greek philosophers than I did last week.  

Joanna and the kids have been generally doing well.  She and I have both had a touch of the cold, which I've managed to beat back with painkillers and mochas.  Tonight we've got a hot date somewhere.  I'm dressed in a suit and tie, so maybe we'll go somewhere nice. 

Busy Weekend

October 26, 2015 by Adam in Family

We all had an exciting weekend.

I spent a good chunk of time driving Emma around.  Friday night was activity night at her school - she played Magic with friends and cleaned their clock with some of my old decks.  Saturday I left her at Saturday Market with her out-of-town friend, picking her up at their hotel room which was filled with pre-teen girls.  Sunday was similar, off to a birthday party at eleven and returning home late afternoon.  Emma had a great time being social, though it was a little quiet without her around so much.

As for the rest of us, Friday night Joanna and I took Duncan, Berry, and our neighbor Flynn to the YMCA Halloween party.  It was completely insane with children.  I followed Berry around - she got her face painted yellow with sparkles.  Eventually we escaped home to the relative quiet.

Saturday morning I took Cecilia, Berry, and Duncan around Saturday Market for a little while, bringing home goodies for lunch.  Berry really wanted a knitted octopus, which led to tears when it wasn't made possible.  Ironically the glass sphere that Duncan absolutely had to have a month ago was far less interesting once he had all his cash with them.  Cecilia went along for the ride, unsuccessfully looking for a present for her cousin.  Joanna ran errands, kindly mailing the updated Canadian citizenship forms, this time with two forms of identification.

Sam arrived and we hung out - he invented a new sport that involves complicated balance moves on exercise balls.  I was exhausted that night, as the whole thing was surprisingly strenuous.  He moved on to showing Berry after she came back from her soccer game.  That night we watched a new BBC science show that was actually pretty good, along with tasty pizza and Joanna made for us.

Sunday morning I helped Emma and Berry carve pumpkins while watching Vin Diesel play D&D.  Emma thought it was pretty awesome.  Later Cecilia joined in the festivities, making a Cheshire Cat pumpkin.  I got Duncan and Joanna's pumpkin's ready to go, and roasted a ton of pumpkin seeds.  We should be relatively ready for Halloween.

As for the rest of the day, it was pretty low-key.  I worked on the endless laundry and dishes and played some computer games.  The piles of kitchen compost got wheelbarrowed out to the compost pile.  Joanna brewed more cider and a tasty stuffed pasta dish for dinner.

Sam got a 96% on his last pre-calculus test, bringing his C up to a B.  Tomorrow I'm off to Vancouver, which is always a long drive.  Life moves on.

Love from Greenfield

October 26, 2015 by Sue in Wielesek

If any of you ever believed Sadie when she said she didn't want to have children, she was lying! Last Wednesday at 6:00 pm, Simon took a tumble from his climbing structure right onto his head. Sadie scooped him up, saw a big goose egg bump, grabbed Greg, and they checked into the ER at the nearby hospital at 6:04! Sadie was still wearing her apron, for which she got a certain amount of the kidding from the staff. Simon wasn't really the worse for the experience, though he's more cautious about scaling heights. What they did have was a really perspective doctor who reassured them kids fall all the time.

It's nice to be reminded once again that you kids and your spouses are good parents and that my grandkids are flourishing for all of that good care. I don't really give you guys much advice, not because I'm some New Age grandma, but because you don't need it.

Anyhow, I have to tell you that Simon is cute as a bug's ear. and I wish all you other Grandmas,
Yayoe and Anna and Hanni, could come back to visit with him. He is learning so much so fast!

We've been talking about next summer's vacation. Sadie and Greg are fine with a National Park -
I will at least check on whether there is any availability in the lodge or the hotel at Yellowstone. Or we might look north to one of the Canadian parks. Thoughts?

Mocha Friday

October 23, 2015 by Adam in Family

We have a busy weekend ahead.  Sam is hosting a D&D session for eight of his friends.  Emma is playing Magic with her friends at her school's activity night.  Duncan and Berry are planning on going to the YMCA tonight for a Halloween thing.  That's just tonight - tomorrow things get even more exciting, with one of Emma's friends coming in from Florida, Berry's soccer games, and so on.

The last few days have been pretty routine.  Joanna and I went out on a date night Wednesday, ending up at a vegetarian Chinese food place after discovering Off the Waffle is closed at nights now.  Duncan and Berry have been a little under the weather, though I think they're off to school today.  Sam and I have been studying for his math test - I gave him a "good luck" note and chocolate covered espresso beans this morning.

As for me, I just keep working away - at home and at work.  All is well.

Halfway to the Weekend

October 21, 2015 by Adam in Family

It's been a typical quiet start to the week.  I've been working away during the day and spending my evenings helping Sam with philosophy papers, doing dishes, and folding laundry.

Berry and Joanna had a bit of a bug, keeping Berry home and out of soccer for a day, though she seems to have mostly recovered.  Joanna informs me that I've received both a new Loot Crate as well as Sam and Emma's ID cards.  Theoretically that's the missing piece for getting their Canadian citizenship papers.  Hopefully that can get sorted out soon.

Sam has a math test this Friday, so we'll be studying the practice test the next couple days.  He pours a ton of effort into his European Literature class (where he's getting 110%), though we need to make sure he doesn't neglect the other subjects too badly.  He's also been going gangbusters with his computer class - he's currently designing websites.  I think the magic of how the internet works has faded now that he knows about the man behind the curtain.

I was also saddened to hear that Mythbusters' next season will be their last. Maybe we'll have to watch D&D with Vin Diesel instead.

Joanna and I are going out for dinner tonight, so that will have to be enough for now.

Monday Again

October 19, 2015 by Adam in Family

We've all gone off to our various places of work or school, leaving the weekend behind us.

Sunday was relatively entertaining.  I took Emma and Berry to the park to ride bikes.  After some resistance they went along and had a pretty good time.  Later we fed everyone lunch and I took everyone but Sam and Joanna to the library for a lengthy trip.  Cecilia got a library card and a volunteer form, just in case.

Joanna took Berry to her soccer game where they lost to the best team in the league.  Cecilia, Sam, Emma, and I watched Mad Max: Fury Road to make our afternoon as exciting and intense as possible.  The day wrapped up with family dinner with my mom, delicious as always.

Midway Through the Weekend

October 18, 2015 by Adam in Family

It's a quiet Sunday morning.  Emma's on the couch with a tablet, but otherwise the only sound is me rushing about cleaning and doing laundry. 

Friday night we took Berry and Duncan to Old School Eugene, despite Berry's complaints, and went to dinner at Cornucopia.  Dinner was tasty, followed by a stroll over to 5th Street Market, and when we returned to get the kids it turns out they had a great time.  Berry was hastily assembling her hamster art project and Duncan had made an emoji out of Lego bricks.

Saturday morning we picked up Emma on our way to Lone Pine farms.  We did our usual horse-drawn trailer ride to the pumpkin patch where we ran around finding the weirdest pumpkins possible.  This was followed by a trip through the corn maze where Berry and Duncan took turns directing us through.  We returned home and I fetched Sam for the rest of the weekend.

The afternoon was pretty low-key, with everyone doing their own thing.  We played video games, threw the ball around in the basement, and chatted.  Cecilia read her book on beheading Mary, Queen of Scots.  Joanna took Duncan to a sleepover and Berry to a soccer game.  I got really tired and achy at the end of the day, but feel much better today.

I'm not quite sure what we're up to today.  I'd like to take the girls to the park to practice their bike riding.  We'll see how it goes.

Berry's Half Birthday

October 15, 2015 by Adam in Ben

Berry had her half birthday yesterday.  Joanna made pumpkin pie and got her an artist's hand.  Berry hasn't quite used it for anything artistic yet, unless you count pointing it at everyone and yelling "J'accuse!"

Helping Hands

October 13, 2015 by Adam in Ben

I'm not quite sure how this came about, but over the weekend Berry and her friend Audrey decided to sell food to raise money for FOOD for Lane County.  Joanna made a bunch of tasty muffins and they did pretty well.  Someone wrote up their activities, which you can read all about.

Busy Monday

October 12, 2015 by Adam in Family

I somehow stumbled my way through the day.  Joanna's been reporting on her busy schedule as well.  By the time I get home, she'll have left to take Berry to a soccer game.  Theoretically I'll be putting together a soup and cheese sandwiches for the little kids.  Joanna's such a good cook that it's hard to follow her.

Sunday was pretty low-key.  After getting Berry bike riding a bit by herself, I took Cecilia and Berry to a walk by the river and past the secret hobo camp.  Sadly Sam bailed on us to work on an essay, though we still had a pretty good time.  There were a couple guys working on a dirt bike path in the "gray area" of land management.  They were pretty funny and warned us of some homeless campers down the way.  We instead walked onward and enjoyed the warm fall day.

Upon returning home we ate lunch and I coaxed a couple board games out of the kids.  Endless laundry was done.  Joanna worked in the garden some.  I helped Sam with his essay.  My mom came over for dinner.  Emma arrived and told us all about her trip with Kate.

Life is busy but good.

Sunriver Trip

October 12, 2015 by Adam in Emma

Emma returned from her weekend getaway with Kate and her family.  They went to their cabin near Sunriver where they hung out, played games, watched movies, and went for a six mile hike along the river.  She had a great time and took a bunch of pictures.

Bike Riding

October 12, 2015 by Adam in Ben

Berry decided she wanted to practice riding down at the park today.  She's getting pretty good and can ride without help for short distances.  I think with a few more times she'll be able to generally stay upright and can do longer trips by herself.


October 11, 2015 by Adam in Family

Where to start?

Thursday evening the kids all descended upon the house.  With Friday off, it's been a weekend full of activities though we still have today to round out the weekend.

Friday I hauled Sam and Emma to the DMV to get ID cards.  I need their second piece of identification for their Canadian citizenship.  They dutifully sat through two hours of waiting, hopefully preparing them for future visits in the future. After lunch we went to Hendrick's Park and ran around.

 Emma was picked up that night by Kate's family to take her to a cabin.  While I miss her, I know she's always wanted to go.  Sam headed to his mom's after a slightly destructive play session with the little kids in the basement.  Duncan went to a friends.  The three girls and I had a pleasant little dinner, watched the sunset, and headed for bed.

Saturday was fairly exciting.  I ran around doing chores in the morning, putting away the air conditioners and putting up cloches over the garden beds.  Berry had a soccer game, so I drove over and watched the last half.  It was pretty amazingly good - two undefeated teams playing - and of course they ended in a tie.

I worked on Sam's old laptop, which seems to be on its last legs, and picked him up from his mom's house.  We all puttered about for a few hours, with Joanna running a few errands.  I convinced everyone but Duncan to see the Martian.  He went across the street to Flynn's house while the rest of us marveled at Matt Damon's space hijinks.  This was all followed up by a hasty pizza and Mythbusters. 

Cecilia got a call from her intern friends to go out to Taylor's for a drink last night.  I think she eventually returned.  She's been feeling a little lonely, so I'm glad she got to go out with more exciting people than us lot.

Today I awoke to a dysfunctional computer.  After unplugging a faulty USB port it at least turned on.  I've got a ton of laundry to do and I need to push Sam towards finishing an essay, but I'm hoping we can all get outside for a hike today.

Wednesday Update

October 07, 2015 by Adam in Family

The week has moved along relatively uneventfully.  I had fun chatting with my mom and Ilona about trusts Monday night.  Sam and I worked more on his Linux box - he's learning website administration these days.  Emma had a cold on Monday.  

Cecilia continues to fret about her life.  Her parents are suggesting she stay in the US and go to school.  We'll see how it turns out.

Joanna has been doing her usual rushing around, taking Berry to practice and keeping an eye on the little kids when they're out of school tomorrow.  Joanna and Emma are both reading House of the Scorpion, chatting about the plot.

Berry is sick and a little grumpy, though has generally been cheerful.  Duncan was the only kid at dinner last night, so he endeavored to make up for the absence of the other kids.  He's generally pretty funny and politely laughs at my apocalypse jokes about alpaca lips. 

Indie Weekend

October 05, 2015 by Adam in Family

It was a generally pleasant weekend, the usual mix of insanity and joy, coupled with a zesty dash of frustration.

Friday night Joanna went off to be formally thanked as part of a church thing.  I took the little kids and dropped Cecilia off at a restaurant to meet up with  some of the other interns.  They had a great time, headed over to the arcade, and came back late.  The rest of us met up with Joanna at Dickie Jo's.  Berry and I watched the baseball game and I enjoyed my cider.

Saturday morning I had a touch of the cold that's been going around, successfully beaten back with Advil and espresso.  I fed waffles to all and Sam and Emma arrived late in the morning.  Emma was whisked away to Kate's house.  Sam and I walked down the hill to go to the Eugene Indie Game Con for a couple hours.

We had a great time and I got to see a couple interesting talks.  The first was by Chris Avellone, one of the writers for Fallout 2, Neverwinter Nights 2, and a bunch of other games.  The second talk was on virtual reality, which fascinated Sam.  We also wandered around the booths, checking out the semi-local indie game scene.  I'm glad I had the chance to take Sam, as I think exposing him to different industries is a good way for him to start thinking about long-term jobs.

I returned home to Joanna working in the garden, planting bulbs.  I made a store run for family dinner, picked up Emma, picked up pizza, and we wrapped up the day with an old Mythbuster episode.  Cecilia headed out with her friends to the haunted corn maze.  Apparently she likes scary things, and was suitably frightened.

Sunday was pretty crazy.  I made Dutch babies for breakfast.  Emma, Berry, and I went to the art supply store in the morning, picking up assorted goodies.  Later we did art and watched more Titan's Grave.  I was working on alchemy jars, putting shrunken heads in jars and the like.

I promised Sam some quality video game time, so we played Blood Bowl together.  I somehow managed to win.  Joanna dyed the hair of the little kids, with Duncan's hair turning an amazing shade of red.  Eventually I realized I had to get ready for guests, so I folded clothes and cleaned up the living room.

We had a good crew for dinner, with John, Yayoe, Jenny, and mom.  We ate great food that Joanna made, chatting away.  

Emma was sick this morning and is staying home from school.  I have a bunch of things going on, from getting together documentation for the kids to working on my mom's will.  It's certainly never boring around here.

Somber Mocha Friday

October 02, 2015 by Adam in Family

Yesterday was pretty rough with the shootings in Roseburg.  It brought back memories of the Thurston shooting as they starting bringing people into Riverbend.  This morning the office seems pretty empty - I think people mostly decided to stay home today.

Fortunately all the kids where home last night and it's hard to stay down with their crazy energy and general enthusiasm.  I arrived to Sam doing somersaults over an exercise ball in the basement (from experience, it's harder than it looks).  Joanna went to a writer's meeting after dinner, so I cycled kids through bedtime and chatted with Cecilia on trying to figure out what she wanted to do with her life.  We wrapped up the evening with a superhero show, which was perfect.

Life is full of little tidbits.  Joanna's weird job may continue for years to come.  Sam and Emma's citizenship paperwork was rejected because I needed another form of identification.  I probably need to call Canada.  In a pinch I can get them Oregon ID cards, though I'd like to save the $100 if I can.  I pulled a splinter from Duncan's foot after we recommended it's time to stop wearing sandals.

Hopefully we have a relatively quiet weekend. I'd like to go see the Martian.  There are endless house projects and chores.  Family dinner should be fun.  Life goes on.

Wednesday Already

September 30, 2015 by Adam in Family

It all seems a little frantic these days, helping kids through the challenges of school, soccer practices, and house maintenance.  There's a lot of things going on and a bunch of people to coordinate.

I'm trying to get Sam back on track with his math class, as he's not doing particularly well and doesn't seem motivated.  I emailed the teacher and hopefully sorted things out.  Of course, last night after I picked him up from his mom's we spent the evening working on a Raspberry Pi and reinstalling a fresh install of Linux Debian on it.  It looks like he and his friends are trying to put together a Maker club, mostly working on digital things.  

Berry's soccer practice continues to generally be positive, though apparently they were playing a game she strongly disagreed with.  Our little girl is occasionally mercurial.  Duncan is feeling a little behind with his French vocabulary, so we might start speaking French at the dinner table some evenings.  I suspect we'll amuse Cecilia tremendously.  

Emma is doing well in school and I thanked her for basically staying on top of things without any intervention.  I do appreciate her cheerfulness.

Joanna's cold seems to be lingering still, as is Sam's.  Despite the madness she managed to buy me some chocolate covered espresso beans as a treat.  I do love that woman.

Lost Tooth!

September 28, 2015 by Adam in Emma

Emma lost a tooth yesterday.  It was one of her weird sunken ones that had been bothering her for a while.  I enjoyed writing a letter from the Tooth Fairy, demanding she keep the production up - no matter whose teeth they are - or the consequences would be dire.

Monday Morning, No Apocalypse

September 28, 2015 by Adam in Family

We were all vaguely disappointed there wasn't an apocalypse after the blood moon last night.  We were all down at Vanilla Jill's getting ice cream in honor of Colette's birthday when the eclipse started.  We rushed home, couldn't find the moon, and Joanna took the little kids up the hill to the reservoir where there was a big astronomy party.  Unfortunately parking was insane and I found the moon, so they drove back and spent a few minutes looking at it's fading red glory.  I think they were all a little disappointed that it wasn't huge and dramatic.

We did get some good pictures from the night before when we confusingly thought the eclipse was going to happen.  I managed to get some decent shots through the telescope with my cell phone.

The weekend was pleasant and uneventful.  Joanna and I went out to dinner at the Pizza Research Institute, listening to jazz and enjoying our time away from kids.  Saturday started with waffles and continued with a library trip that afternoon.  I managed to take down the pool with Emma and Cecilia's help, otherwise the day was all very low-key.

That night Joanna went off to an "OBOB for adults" trivia night at Tsunami, coming in second place and returning with wine and tea cups.  First place was a beach weekend with her team, which was all strangers, so I wonder a little if she threw the lightening round question after being tied.  The kids and I enjoyed pizza and Mythbusters.

Sunday was much of the same.  Sam worked on his Iliad essay.  Emma and I watched another Titan's Grave episode.  Cecilia went mushroom picking with strangers in the woods.  Berry played soccer against the toughest team in their league and won.  Duncan made videos of Sam jumping over him in slow motion.  

These are the days I shall remember fondly in my dotage.

Mocha Friday

September 25, 2015 by Adam in Family

I still have a few drops of mocha awaiting me, though it's sadly almost all gone.

Yesterday was exhausting, starting at 5 o'clock and going non-stop until past 10 that night.  I spent 5 or 6 hours on the road, listening to Neuromancer and trying to survive the crazy Portland traffic.  I was headed to Vancouver for meetings, which were somewhat intense and non-stop.  When I arrived we had a quick meal and then Joanna went off to Emma's school's open house.  I picked up Berry from soccer practice and got all the kids through the bedtime routine.  Somewhere in there were two dishwasher loads and three loads of laundry, though I was stumbling around towards the end of the night.

Sam and Joanna have both been fighting mild colds.  I think they're doing okay other than the occasional pain killers.  Joanna did have one really bad day, but I hope she's mostly feeling better.  We have a hot date tonight, which I look forward to.

We have all the kids tonight and through the weekend.  Hopefully we can finish taking down the pool and do some vaguely enriching events.  I realized this morning I was slowly turning into my mother when I felt the need to get the kids doing something to expand their horizons while I had them.

Soccer Girl

September 21, 2015 by Adam in Ben

Berry's been really enjoying soccer.  She decided to do it all on her own (Duncan sadly wasn't able to play on the girl's team).  Joanna has been dutifully taking her out to practice twice a week and the weekend games since school began.

I think she's really enjoying the game itself and it lets her show off a bit of her fierceness in a relatively safe environment.  Her team has been consistently winning, sometimes by quite a bit. Yesterday she brought back the game ball for her exceptional playing.

She came home after a game, ate dinner, and wanted to practice some more.  Sam volunteered, so the two of them went down to the park to kick around the ball, returning at sunset and chatting away.

Sunny Weekend

September 21, 2015 by Adam in Family

It was a quirky weekend, generally good, though with a few unexpected twists.

Friday night Emma decided to spend the night at Jamie's house, which wasn't quite planned, though it turned out okay.  Saturday was Jamie's birthday (and Talk Like a Pirate Day). Sam and Emma went out to brunch and returned around noon on Saturday.

The rest of the crew ate dinner and went to Yogurt Extreme.  Cecelia was amused by all the weird toppings, which apparently are unusual in France. The next morning was Talk Like a Pirate Day, which gave me the perfect excuse to amuse everyone with pirate talk.  I managed to mow the lawn and injure myself with the weed whacker.  The rest of the kids arrived around lunch.

Sam played video games.  Joanna took Duncan and Cecelia to Target.  Emma had Kate over that afternoon and they made D&D characters.  The day wrapped up with pizza and Mythbusters, complete with delicious pizza that Joanna made for us, along with home brewed pear cider.

Sunday was another mix of hanging out and work.  The pool was halfway taken down.  I fixed a chair and broke the downstairs sink.  We all played Dixit, which was heated but generally fun.  

Later I took most everyone to the park, which spawned its own adventure.  Duncan threw a frisbee in a tree.  Sam threw the water bottle up in the tree to try and knock it down, but only succeeded in completely denting the water bottle.  Then a guy came by and tossed his shoe into the tree, which promptly got it stuck.  I ran home, returning with a ladder and fruit picker.  At that point a second shoe was in the tree and Sam had cut his hand on something.  Eventually Sam climbed up and got everything down.  We returned home, a weird mix of elation and defeat.

Mocha Friday

September 18, 2015 by Adam in Family

The week is nicely winding down.  I think the kids continue to settle into school and I'm sleeping a little better in the mornings.  My mocha is newly finished and a day of coding awaits me.

Wednesday night Joanna gracefully went to the South curriculum night with me, a quick dinner at Cafe Yumm and then running around the halls of South Eugene High School.  We only managed to get to Sam's first three classes, but we managed to collect an adjective from each teacher along the way - quiet, brilliant, prince.  His classes are covering quite a bit of material, but he seems enthusiastic about it.  Last night when Joanna went to Charlemagne's curriculum night, Sam read the Iliad to the kids for bedtime.

We had everyone for dinner last night, chatting away about all manner of things.  Afterward Sam and I worked on the linux setup of his Raspberry Pi machine.  We got the GUI issue sorted out and setup remote access.  Sam was excited that he could apply what he's learned in his self-taught class.  Maybe we'll make a server administrator out of that boy.

Berry continues to enjoy school and exhaust herself at soccer.  Her team keeps winning, which probably helps with the enthusiasm.  Duncan is his usual easy-going self.  Emma is getting a pre-teen nihilistic streak and wants to gather her friends together for a D&D session.  Cecelia spent last night strangely grading English papers for the French immersion program.  Joanna works way too hard and is challenged by finding time to do everything. 

I'm hoping the weekend is relatively low-key.  Duncan has a birthday party.  Emma has some school shopping.  Hopefully we can get out and enjoy the weather while it lasts.

Mid-Week Update

September 16, 2015 by Adam in Family

The transition to school is always a little rough, strangely even for me.  I've been getting up at four o'clock, fretting about things for a while before I get back to sleep.

I think all the kids are settling into school.  Sam has quite the homework load - every night this week he's been reading the Iliad and doing Japanese homework.  He strangely has an A+ in the gradebook, as his only assignment was scored 155 out of 100.  Emma has a similar A, this one for bringing in a signed curriculum paper.  Berry continues her soccer practices.  Duncan is figuring out where everything is in his new school.  Cecelia is making an audiobook for her class.  Joanna does her usual mix of ferrying kids about, writing hotel descriptions, going to yoga, and making sure we're all fed.  I'm doing my usual stirring up of trouble at work.

I'm sure we'll all figure it out.

Last Hot Summer Weekend

September 14, 2015 by Adam in Family

We're back to work and school after what's likely the last hot summer weekend.  

Friday night Joanna and I went out to Friendly Street Market to eat quiche and listen to Ukulele music.   My mom took Cecelia and a somewhat grumpy Berry to dinner at Tasty Thai.  We appreciate the sacrifice mom.

Saturday I took Berry, Emma, and Cecelia to the library, with Joanna picking up Berry to take to a series of soccer games while I picked up Sam on the way home.  The afternoon was relatively low-key, as it was too hot to go outside.  I played with kids, did laundry, and fixed the bike rack in the basement.  Eventually the day wound down with pizza and Mythbusters and Duncan getting picked up later that night.

Sunday morning started with dutch babies and a mocha.  While Joanna took Duncan to church, I packed a picnic lunch and took everyone else to hike around Mount Pisgah.  It was surprisingly dry, but we managed to have fun tromping around.  I fortunately brought a first aid kit, and had to use it twice for minor scrapes and splinters.  They ran around with walkie talkies and ended with an epic hide-and-seek session.  

Once returning home, we all crashed out and relaxed for the rest of the day.  I spent a bunch of time with Sam trying to get the Raspberry Pi configured for his linux administration lessons for his computer class.  He had a hard time stopping, especially when we managed to screw up the configuration right before bedtime.

Joanna took Berry to more soccer games, taking Duncan along as well.  They went to listen to Amy Steinberg later in the day, with Berry singing a song alongside her.  I enlisted the remaining crew to help make dinner.  I put off dishes and chatted with Cecelia about teaching and adjusting to life in our quirky family.  Hopefully she settles in okay.

We somehow all got ready for school and work this morning.  Hopefully the week will be a good one.

Back to School

September 14, 2015 by Adam in Duncan

Duncan has finally started his first day of actual school, returning late Saturday from his camping trip.  I think he had a really good time based on the stories he's told so far.  His favorite activities were archery and axe throwing.  They also put on skits for the other groups.  Hopefully his adjustment to the real world goes well.

Mocha Friday

September 11, 2015 by Adam in Family

Oh man do I need this coffee today.  Emma and I were joking at breakfast and made up Mochia, goddess of caffeine.  On the end of this first school week, I give tribute to the divinity that is cafe mocha.

We're still adjusting to the start of school.  Everything feels busier, from getting lunches made in the morning to doing homework every night.  Sam has a fairly significant workload schedule with his AP European History and Precalculus.  I think he's going to try and do something with the Raspberry Pi and Linux for his computer class.  Emma is taking the usual required classes, plus band and art.  This weekend she has a project involving fingerprinting - hopefully she doesn't blackmail us by threatening to send our prints to the FBI.

Berry had a hard time getting to school yesterday, but seems a little more enthusiastic today.  She misses Duncan, who is off having adventures.  Berry's also been off at soccer practice, returning home last night completely exhausted.  This weekend she has her first games in a non-stop jamboree.

Cecelia's first day with kids went relatively well.  She's been increasingly chatty the last few days.  Last night Emma and I had a long talk with her about school in our various countries.  I've also tried to explain my big family and how everyone is related, though it seems an impossible task at times.

I haven't gotten to see Joanna as much as during the luxurious summer months.  Last night she made us all "start of school cheesecake."  She's working away writing hotel descriptions for her search engine company.  She also finished up a story on some local musicians for the Register Guard that I really liked.  Tonight we have a hot date, which I look forward to.

It's also 9/11.  I have some vivid memories from 14 years ago, our family going out to pizza after the terrorist attacks.  Life is strange.

Canoe Island Adventures

September 10, 2015 by Adam in Duncan

Duncan continues his Canoe Island adventures.  They're sleeping in tipis and apparently sailing around the islands as well.  I can't wait to hear about his adventures when he gets home.

Off to school

September 09, 2015 by Adam in Family

And they're all off to school.  Sam and Berry have classes today.  Cecelia continues to help set up the classroom at Roosevelt.  Duncan is off at Canoe Island.  Emma has a last day of freedom and starts classes tomorrow.

Canoe Island

September 08, 2015 by Adam in Duncan

Duncan headed off to Canoe Island for his 5th grade trip.  He's been doing fundraisers every year until today, and now it's finally time for him to go.  They're driving up to Washington and taking a ferry over to a tiny island in the San Juans.  Somehow he managed to carry two backpacks full of stuff.  Hopefully he has a great time.

Quick update - they made it to the ferry in time and are on their way to Orca Island. The bus had issues and they ended up leaving late, but apparently made good time on the way up to Washington and didn't miss the 3:30 p.m. ferry.

Planetary Annihilation

September 08, 2015 by Adam in Adam's Games

Long ago I kickstarted a game that was loosely planned as a fairly standard RTS, but based on several planets in a solar system.  It was okay when I played it a year or two ago.  Sam and I played for a little and then put it away for a long while.  Lately they came out with a new version that has twice as much content and is considerably well polished.  I played a couple games with Sam, losing the first and winning due to an AI killing him early in the game.

Single player is actually not too bad either, though the AI I've been fighting isn't particularly aggressive.  Mostly I enjoy playing with the really big things you can build.  I'm a fan of nuclear missiles, though I've yet to work up to building the asteroid-moving rockets that let you completely obliterate a planet by smashing it to pieces.

Labor Day

September 07, 2015 by Adam in Family

It's been a whirlwind last few days, hanging out with all the returning kids and showing Cecelia a bit of Eugene.  Joanna worked away writing hotel descriptions for a search engine, but somehow managed to make her quote late yesterday.

Saturday morning I took everyone but Sam and Joanna to Saturday market.  Berry bought herself a ring and I picked up some fresh bread, beets, and lettuce.  Eventually we wandered home to hang out.  Sam and I played Planetary Annihilation and later I played Metal Gear Solid 3.  Somewhere in there Berry and Sam built a fort in the basement.  Duncan went swimming with friends.  The day wrapped up with pizza and Mythbusters as usual.

Yesterday morning Joanna took Duncan to go sand boarding with some friends, returning home with stories of getting sand up his nose.  While she went to church, the rest of us rented canoes and kayaks to paddle around the Mill Race by the stadium.  We stayed out for two and a half hours, having quite a bit of fun.  We explored a weird industrial slough for a while, before returning to the main waterway.  The big open pond was my favorite, and we nibbled away at our picnic lunch before returning.  Somewhere in there Berry was transferred to Sam's kayak and we all made it home to collapse.

I want to make sure the kids are generally ready for school.  Other than that, I'm hoping for a day of drones and Frisbee at the park and playing board games.  Here's hoping for the best.

Mocha Friday

September 04, 2015 by Adam in Family

Friday is winding down.  It was a lazy day of hanging out - I never left our property once.

Last night I scooped up Sam and Emma from Jamie's house, along with a couple laptops with problems.  Returning home, we said hello to Cecelia, who seems like a nice young French woman with very good English.  She seems to have settled into her room fairly well and is generally doing her own thing.  She's an avid reader and doesn't like museums much, but that's about all I know.  Most of the afternoon she's been at Roosevelt, getting ready for the coming of the students.

I made everyone a breakfast of dutch babies and then took Emma, Duncan, and Berry to the library.  We discovered this wonderful horror spoof on Calvin and Hobbes titled "There's Corpses Everywhere."  Emma loves it.  The supposedly dead laptop that Emma brought over was resurrected by installing Linux Mint.  Sam also assembled the Raspberry Pi I bought for either his upcoming computer class or my own entertainment - likely both.  At the moment it's waiting for an operating system to be installed.

We generally hung out, playing video games or running around in the back yard.  We didn't do much all that productive, other than the usual endless dishes that I'd almost forgotten after my week of bachelorhood.

Returning Home

September 02, 2015 by Adam in Family

Joanna, Duncan, and Berry are heading home today.  They just left for San Francisco and should be ready for me to pick them up at the airport after dinner.  I'm excited to see them all.

While I didn't finish all the house projects I was hoping to get to, I'm pretty happy with what I've managed.  Berry's computer desk went from mounds of weird toys, art work, and garbage to a neat and tidy area.  All the laundry is done.  I cleaned the guest house.  Duncan and Berry's computers were upgraded to Windows 10.  I think we're generally ready.

We heard that Honoka decided to go to junior collage to become a nutritionist.  She seemed hesitant about college when she was staying with us.  I'd like to think that all our talk of higher education and her great experience in catering may have helped influence her.

Tomorrow Sam, Emma, and Cecelia arrive.  I'm taking Friday off to help with any school preparations and getting kids settled.  Hopefully we can show Cecelia the town a little and introduce her to pizza and Mythbusters.

Project Day Part 2

August 31, 2015 by Adam in Adam

Sunday was a slightly subdued version of Saturday, accomplishing all manner of tasks while Joanna and the kids were away.  First off I had a nice visit with my mom at the Glenwood, stocking up on pancakes for the day's efforts.

Laundry was a steady constant, taking care of things that were rarely washed such as Sam's comforter and clothes stuffed at the bottom of his piles.  I spent much of the morning cleaning his room and putting things away, something I do on an annual basis when I can't stand it anymore.  You can actually sit on the nice couch that Yayoe kindly gave us - all the piles of clothes are now put away or hanging up.

After lunch I headed outside to clean the back porch and spray paint the railings.  There was compost to toss, containers to tidy up, and miscellaneous junk to toss.  Eventually I got to power washing the patio, though I eventually stopped when the downpour hit.

I retreated inside to fold clothes and watch 1920's Australian Lady Detective shows on Netflix, along with drinking a little too much cider and munching on nachos.

Today I'm off to work, though likely getting to more cleaning tasks tonight.  I need to sweep and tidy our guest room before our French intern arrives.  And there's always more laundry.

Project Day

August 30, 2015 by Adam in Adam

It's been a long day and I'm absolutely beat.  I took Joanna to the airport, waking up at 4:30.  She's been giving me updates as she flies across the country and I've been sending her pictures of my assorted efforts.

Today is one of those rare days with no one in the house, and I started in on my absolutely massive list of projects.  Mostly I did just one - cleaning up the front yard.  I pruned and dug up sod and put up the new trellis.  It was exhausting work and I spent hours doing it.  Eventually I stopped to go to the grocery store and pick up more bark o mulch.  It all looks pretty good now.

As for tomorrow, I'm having breakfast with mom and then working away at the rest of the things on my list.  I suspect it'll rain, so my outside painting projects will have to wait until next time.

New Orleans

August 29, 2015 by Lohring in Lohring

We've been having a great time in New Orleans. It's the 10th anniversary of Katrina, so everyone is remembering that including presidents. The weather has been perfect, unlike 10 years ago. We took tours, visited the WW II Museum, took a steam boat ride, listened to Dixieland jazz, and wondered through the French Quarter. What a fascinating place.

Mocha Friday

August 28, 2015 by Adam in Family

The week has been generally pleasant and low-key.  Joanna and I worked all day yesterday.  Sam and Emma were excited to see me, so I played and chatted all night.  Sam reassembled the video card we cooked in the oven, which miraculously fixed the problem of lines on the screen.  Emma showed off her new glasses, reporting that she could see detail at distance that she couldn't see before.  Joanna made us a tasty dinner and bottled a new round of cider.  Later she walked down to the Vet's Club to listen to a band she's writing about for the Register Guard.

Sam, Emma, and I ended up sword fighting in the basement for a while, and then migrated to Creationary.  Even though it was Emma's idea, Sam got really into it.  I could see his childhood love of Lego building spring up once again - we used to spend hours with Legos when he was little.  I got Emma got to bed, Joanna made delicious custard, and we settled in to a little 30 Rock on Netflix.

Sam and Emma go off to their mom's for a six day trip to Bend, Sunriver, and Corvallis.  Joanna leaves tomorrow morning to get Duncan and Berry.  Tonight we're going to a winery for a friend's going away party.  I'm having breakfast with mom sometime over the weekend.  The plan is to cram in as many house projects as I can manage while everyone is away, though the first rains of fall may thwart me.

Beach Adventure

August 26, 2015 by Adam in Family

Monday morning rolled around and Joanna discovered that she got the job doing "travel and leisure writing for a tech giant," which is apparently all she can say while under a non-disclosure agreement.  It's part time, and hopefully it supplements our income nicely without driving her too crazy.  It's all new, so we'll see if it works out.

We left Eugene early afternoon and headed to Florence, checking in at The Edwin K Bed and Breakfast.  It was a neat old house that was ordered from a Sears catalog a century ago.  As it was right next to Old Town Florence, we wandered around and ate at the Bridgewater Fish House and Zebra Bar.  Sadly we didn't see any zebras, though on our stroll back we spotted a Blue Heron and three otters playing in the river. 

This morning we were fed a massive breakfast, stuffed to the gills, and listened to tales of the house and Old Town Florence by the man who owned the B&B.  Eventually we bid farewell to our fellow guests and headed to Silcoos Lake to meet our river guide.

The trip down the river was amazing, with lots of wildlife and a generally tranquil journey.  The river was still and full of herons, Canada Geese, a Bald Eagle, and countless other birds.  There was a fantastic quality to the river, with sandy slopes and mossy logs poking up from the murky depths.  We carried our kayak over a small dam and down through the Plover nesting grounds to the ocean.  Unfortunately the tide was so low that the river turned into a thin sheen of water on the sand and you couldn't actually reach the ocean itself.

We turned around and returned to the boat ramp, sore and tired after our seven mile journey.  Both of us are wiped out, despite our stop for espresso and steamed Chai.  I'm not sure we'll make it to dance class tonight.  Hopefully we'll recover for a final day of vacation tomorrow, perhaps riding bikes down to the river for a picnic.

Vacation Time

August 24, 2015 by Adam in Family

We had a fun, low-key weekend with lots of Sam and Emma play time.  They arrived home Friday afternoon and we celebrated with an early pizza and Mythbusters.  I played a little too much Metal Gear Solid under Sam's supervision.  Saturday we woke up and went to the library, with Joanna picking up goodies at Saturday Market.  We headed over to Jenny's for Jordan's birthday party.  It seemed like everyone was there, and the kids and I swam and chatted.  Sunday we mostly hung out at home, with Emma helping with house maintenance projects.  Emma and I watched more RPGs with Wil Wheaton - it's inspiring her to get into board games. 

Sam and I worked on getting Linux installed on his machine as a dual-boot device.  His school elective is computers, and he's thinking about taking an online Linux class.  We've been both watching Mr. Robot and I think he's inspired.  I ended up purchasing a Raspberry Pi for him to use, though I may steal it away when he's done.  In a pinch, I can configure it to run a Minecraft server that Duncan can play with.

I'm also doing computer rearranging, trying to get a computer for Sam's use at Jamie's house as his laptop is crumbling a bit.  I came across an old video of a race I did - the little kids were super cute.

The kids are both off at Jamie's.  Joanna and I are spending the night at the coast.  Next weekend Joanna flies off to fetch the kids and I've got a weekend of house projects waiting for me.

Jordan's Birthday

August 24, 2015 by Adam in Jenny

We had a great time at Jordan's birthday party.  Water balloons were thrown.  Cake was eaten.  We all had a good time.

Mocha Friday

August 21, 2015 by Adam in Family

It's Friday.  A sleepy Emma is up, listening to music, but otherwise everyone is fast asleep.  It was nice having the kids around and we spent a bunch of time chatting and laughing through an amazing dinner that Joanna put together.  I might have spent a little too much time playing Metal Gear Solid under Sam's supervision.  Eventually Emma came down to look at me with puppy-dog eyes until I tucked her into bed.

We have an exciting weekend ahead of us.  Tonight the thermal paste should arrive, so I can reassemble the old video card I cooked in the oven.  Theoretically it fixes the issue with red lines on the screen, due to cracked solder.  We'll see if it worked tonight.

I think Sam is going to my mom's to work, and tonight is pizza and Mythubsters.  Tomorrow is a library run and Jordan's birthday.  I may have also ordered a couple foam swords for an occasional duel with the kids.

Off to work soon, then my delicious mocha.

Mid-Week Update

August 19, 2015 by Adam in Family

It's been a relatively low-key week so far. 

Monday my mom came over to do some DNA analysis and chat.  She has both recessive genes for a particular metabolic disease that makes it hard for her to exert herself.  Sam has one of the genes, and it's likely I have one as well.  It's hard to say what the issue is if we just have one - it's likely neither of us will be super athletes, though one of the best long-distance runners has the same one-off mutation.  Genes are tricky things.

Yesterday some of my old coworkers came over for lunch - Darin, Glen, and Mike - and we chatted about family and work and such.  It was nice to see the old crew - fewer and fewer are around these days.

Last night Joanna and I put on our dancing shoes and went to our Lindy Hop dance class.  I'm slowly getting the hang of things, but stumble on my footwork more than I'd like.  With more practice, I'm hoping I can figure it out.  Hopefully Joanna and I can cut a rug on future date nights.

There's an old computer that I'm slowly trying to resurrect, but it has weird lines on the screen.  Though I have a backup video card, it's weak and flabby compared to my old, more powerful one.  The apparent solution is to cook it in the oven for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees, which apparently fixes issues with soldered connections.  I'm going to buy some replacement thermal paste and give it a try.

Sam and Emma arrive tomorrow.  It'll be nice to see them again.  We got our first letter from South Eugene High School, listing all the expenses Sam has to pay for school.  It's hard to believe it's just around the corner.

Farewell Weekend

August 17, 2015 by Adam in Family

I'm sadly heading into work shortly.  It was a good weekend, all around - over far too quickly.  Saturday afternoon we wandered down to the park to play frisbee and fly drones.  That night was the usual pizza and Mythbusters.  Over night I analyzed her DNA, with somewhat interesting results when I woke up in the morning.

Sunday morning I scooped up Emma and we went to the hardware store to pick up a new light fixture for the shed and a dimmer switch for the dining room.  We replaced both - hopefully some of the electrical work will rub off on her for future projects.

The afternoon was pretty low-key.  Emma worked on a drawing of a house and watched Pitch Perfect.  Joanna had various computer projects she worked on.  I tried to resurrect the black computer, but it's still having issues.  We had delicious lasagna for dinner and the kids and I walked around the neighborhood afterward, stopping to gaze at the rubble of civic stadium.  The evening wrapped up with D&D Clue, as is the way of our people.

Saturday Already

August 16, 2015 by Adam in Family

It's been a pretty low-key week, accomplishing assorted tasks such as getting the air bag replaced and taking everyone to the eye doctor.  Emma's getting slightly nearsighted in one eye and getting glasses just in case.  Friday night Joanna and I walked down to eat at La Oficina, which was tasty.  This morning I slept in until almost seven and ran around mowing the lawn and fixing things.

Sam and Emma arrived around eleven and we went down to the park to have Sam fly the drone.  He did pretty well for his first time.  Later we played Frisbee until exhausted and hung out for the rest of the day.  Emma and I did art and watched Wil Wheaton playing RPG with funny attractive people, much to Joanna's amusement.  The day wrapped up with a visit from my mom and pizza and Mythbusters for all.

Mid-Week Update

August 12, 2015 by Adam in Family

The week is moving along, with the usual excitement.  Joanna's work is picking up again.  I'm in the post go-live lull at work, which means I can put some effort into back-burner efforts.  Joanna and I have been enjoying our quiet evenings - last night was dance class where we learned the basics of lindy hop.  Somewhere in there we also managed to fix the dilapidated Target shelves that have been slowly falling apart.

We heard a little from Duncan and Berry this week, and on Monday Berry and Emma got to chat for a long while.  Berry twisted her ankle, but it seems to be slowly getting better.  They're both having adventures and visiting east coast family - it reminds me a little of my childhood summers.

This week I'm replacing the passenger airbag due to the big recall, getting a pesky mole removed, and going to the optometrist. Busy, busy.

The only troublesome thing is that Sam apparently had a funny dizzy spell where he was sitting on the couch with Emma, and fell over into her lap after fading out for a moment.  He thinks he may have stretched strangely or something, but we're keeping an eye on it.


August 12, 2015 by Lohring in Lohring

We had some renters staying at the Siletz house this summer. They were very cute, but messy. Ana says they left yesterday, I'll miss them.

Into The Woods

August 10, 2015 by Adam in Family

While Joanna went up to Portland to attend her writer's conference, the kids and I drove out to Sister's Wilderness.  The day was hot and dry, and Emma was dragging a bit, but after a couple hours we got to the end of the forest and beginning of the lava fields.  We set up camp and checked out the amazing view from a nearby outcropping.  Dinner consisted of bagels and mac and cheese, which the kids claimed was excellent, though I was somewhat skeptical.  After setting up camp, we watched a couple TableTop episodes with Wil Wheaton, all huddled in one tent.

Sam went to bed early in his hammock, while Emma watched a little Into The Woods.  I watched the sunset for a while and returned to my tent to bed.  Emma and I were pretty cold and miserable, with the inflatable pillow giving me a pain in my neck all night long.  Sam slept the best of us, other than being a little cool.  We all woke up at five, watched more TableTop, and made breakfast.

We explored a little, broke camp and headed back down the hill.  The journey home was quick and cheerful.  I cleaned up and tool a nap, then played video games with Sam a bit.  We welcomed Joanna from her conference, coming in a little late to my dinner of burgers and fries.  Her conference was pretty good, and she has a few agents interested in her memoir.

It was a good weekend adventure.  I think I'm ready for a few quiet days at work to recover.

Genetic Mocha Friday

August 07, 2015 by Adam in Family

Sam and my mom arrived from Istanbul yesterday afternoon, safe and sound.  It was a bit of a madhouse, as Emma and Kate were dropped off at the same time, and Joanna was heading out the door to her writer's conference.  Fortunately my meeting was canceled as my boss didn't show and the rest of the afternoon was relatively calm.

I still haven't gone through Sam's pictures and stories yet.  Last night we did pizza and Mythbusters and then looked through Sam's genetic profile.  Basically he's western European with traces from other parts of the world (including Senegal, strangely enough) and  related to some Mellor Mormons who uploaded their genetic data to  Sam was increasingly exhausted and barely made it to 9 p.m. last night.

I uploaded the raw data to Promethease and it spend the night grinding through all the different variations.  This morning the children leaped out of bed, demanding pancakes and data analysis. There weren't any huge surprises - some genetic tendencies to hypertension and obesity, some mixed positive and negative genes associated with schizophrenia, plus he almost certainly has blue eyes, blond hair, and can digest milk.  Some of the more interesting ones were specific to certain drugs or diseases.  If he got HIV, he'd have 60% viral load.  Methamphetamine is more effective while his risk of becoming addicted to cocaine is reduced.  Basically science studies weird things.

I'm working in the office for only a couple hours this morning and then finishing the day up at home to keep an eye on the kids.  We've got to pack for our hiking trip - I know we're missing a bunch of things, from clothes to matches to a full propane tank.  Water is also going to be critical, as I think all the creeks and lakes are dry. 

Mid Week Update

August 05, 2015 by Adam in Family

It's been a quiet week with the kids all away.  I think they're all well, scattered to the various parts of the world.  Sam returns from Istanbul tomorrow.  Emma arrives about the same time from Jamie's house.  I've seen pictures of Duncan and Berry, but sadly haven't managed to chat over video yet.  

Monday night Joanna and I ended up having a quiet dinner and watching Mansfield Park, which I somehow missed.  I read a graphic novel - Saga - in preparation for reading the new William Gibson novel.  I rarely get dedicated time to read, so it's been a treat.

Last night we went to our first Lindy Hop lesson.  I think my previous swing dance lessons got me in trouble, as I stumbled more than I'd like to admit.  Still it was fun and our instructors are generally amusing and enthusiastic.  Tonight we're taking Joanna's friend Jennifer to a song circle.  Hopefully we can sing a few sea shanties.  Tomorrow Joanna is off to her writer's conference.

Farewell Istanbul

August 05, 2015 by Adam in Sam

I Skyped with Sam this morning, late in the day Istanbul time.  He and my mom and returning home tomorrow, waking up at 3 a.m. and arriving in Portland around noon.

It sounds like they finally got the hang of Turkey over the last few days.  After seeing the sights of Istanbul, they flew to a coastal town to visit an old Roman city and swim in the Aegean sea.  Sam reports that he swam with fish and found a sealed package of cookies in the ocean, which was exceedingly tasty.  I think the two of them had a great time.

Hello from Selcuc

August 04, 2015 by Sue in Wielesek

It's about 8 in the morning. Sam is checking in with his phone, a system which has worked really well for him. I'm looking out the window of our lovely little hotel, at the very edge of the town, over fields of fruit trees. I'm also about ten feet away from a marble statue of a young Roman man, which, along with eight or nine similar statues, adorn the exterior of the hotel. Almost anywhere else in the world, I'd say these were very carefully done reproductions. Here, I think they have been taken over the last fifteen centuries from the amazing ruins of the Roman city of Ephesus, about two miles from here. Ephesus is definitely worth a Google, and we spent three times as long as we expected yesterday walking around. It is so complete that it's easy to imagine what the town must have been like. Actually, city - there were about 250,000 inhabitants at its peak. Sam and I have a "free day" and I think we'll go down to the beach. Our room has a sauna, and Sam and I tried it yesterday.  Tomorrow we fly back to Istanbul and stay near the airport tomorrow night. I think Sam has been having a good time, and we've had good conversations. He has been regularly complimented for taking care of his Grandmother, and he's been managing money, holding tickets, etc. Sorry not to have posted more.

Sam In Istanbul

August 03, 2015 by Adam in Sam

I haven't heard much from Sam and mom in Turkey the last couple days.  I presume all is generally well.  They were talking about taking a flight to a nearby town for a few days.  Either way, they should be flying back Thursday assuming all goes well.

Weekend With An Only Child

August 03, 2015 by Adam in Family

Emma has enjoyed being our only child this weekend.  It was crazy hot Friday night - we went out to Tasty Thai for dinner, keeping the outdoor visits to a minimum.  The three of us enjoyed chatting away in between the Pad Thai.

Saturday morning was a leisurely breakfast and then off to various errands.  The first was the music store where Emma returned with a ukulele.  Next was REI, with Joanna bringing home new hiking boots and walking sticks.  Finally we headed to Saturday Market for lunch and fresh vegetables, then returned home to collapse.  Emma practiced her ukulele, I played Life is Strange on the computer, and Joanna worked on brewing projects.  I gathered up the camping supplies and am mostly packed for next weekend's hike.  Eventually we ate pizza and watched science shows, as is the way of our people even with fewer kids.

This morning was dutch babies and a tasty mocha.  Joanna went off to church while Emma and I got an old rotary phone working in her room.  I had to fiddle with the wiring to the phone jack in weird ways, but it worked like a charm and Emma was very excited to have a phone in her room.  Later we did art while watching Wil Wheaton play role playing games with attractive funny people.  It was highly entertaining.

The weather had turned cool and cloudy for a change and Joanna wanted to try out her new boots.  We hit the Ridgeline Trail at Hendrick's Park and chatted away, snacking on blackberries along the way.  Eventually we turned around and returned home.  I puttered more on the computer and played with walkie talkies with Emma.  Emma continued her Supernatural binge watching.  Joanna made cute labels for her cider.  Now she's working on a delicious pasta sauce made entirely of local vegetables.

I haven't had any calls from work, so presumably the go-live went well.  We'll see what tomorrow brings.


August 02, 2015 by Adam in Emma

Joanna showed Emma her ukulele the other day and she was so taken with the instrument that we went to the music store and she bought one. We happened to shore up right before a free ukulele lesson, which we all enjoyed.

Since then, she's been practicing different songs and chords. My favorite so far is a song from Adventure Time which was both cheerful and funny.

Hello From Istanbul

July 31, 2015 by Adam in Wielesek

This came in via email from mom, but I wanted to post it here:

Hi, everybody,

We had a good day today, It's still hot, but we can find our way around better, and have finally figured out that walking around between 2 and 5 in the afternoon is a terrible idea. We got up early and walked to Topkapi Palace. The building itself is beautiful, and the jewels and weaponry amazing.

Tonight, the night of the Blue Moon, we took an evening cruise through the straits of Bosphorus, and watched the moon rise. But the heat during the day is pretty exhausting.

I saw the emergency fire restrictions, Hope you all well. We'll write more tomorrow.

Mocha Friday

July 31, 2015 by Adam in Family

The last few days have been pretty quiet, full of watering the plants in 100+ degree weather and catching up on house work.  Last night Emma came over and reveled in being our temporary only child.  I hopped in the pool with her and enjoyed the bathtub temperature water.  After a delicious curry meal Joanna made we watched Mean Girls and I got her off to bed.

It's the day before the big go-live at work, so everyone is a little tense, a weird mix between quiet and odd help desk calls.   Hopefully the weekend is quiet.

Duncan and Berry Head To New York

July 29, 2015 by Adam in Family

Duncan and Berry are off to New York today, heading out the door momentarily.  I gave them hugs and farewells before I left for work.  They were both pretty wonky and on edge yesterday, with Joanna going a little crazy from the bickering.  They were super excited to see Kevin, who stopped by last night.  This is all very typical of transitions in the past.  They usually settle down in a few days after they get to Rochester.

Joanna's doing a church service tonight, leaving me in a quiet house alone.  I figure I'll do some laundry and water the gardens as it's going to be a hundred degrees today.  It might be nice to have a little time to myself, though I miss all my wayward children.


July 29, 2015 by Adam in Sam

I Skyped with Sam and my mom in Istanbul last night.  They were all adjusting to the time change, despite some calls coming into my mom's phone the night before.  They had a full day in Amsterdam, visiting a couple museums and seeing some of the more famous paintings.  For their first day in Istanbul they spent it at the Mall of Istanbul, which has cyclopes and apparently a cartoon explaining the roller coaster in the middle.

It was nice to see them and chat away, reassuring my parental worry.  Sam's learned the Turkish word for SALE so far.  They were up and drinking coffee as I got ready for bed.  The air is warm and humid, though it'll be hotter in Eugene today.

Today they head into the old city, staying somewhere that hopefully has WiFi.  After a few days of seeing the sights, I think the plan is to fly over to a coastal city, making the jump from Europe to Asia.  I hope they have a great time.

Is Istanbul ready for us

July 28, 2015 by Sue in Wielesek

Here we are in Istanbul
Home of strong coffee and tea
We are ready for Istanbul
Is Istanbul ready for me

We had a no-glitch trip to Amsterdam, but while changing money in the Amsterdam airport a drunk guy tripped. He fell, hit his head, and peed his pants. We took a train into Amsterdam, where it was pouring rain. Intrigued by the canal system, and the beautiful old houses, we booked a hop-on hop-off canal ride. The ride took us past some of the 2500 houseboats which line the canal system. We hopped off at the Rijksmuseum where we saw artwork from 1100 to 2000 including Vermeer, Rembrant, and Van Gough. We also saw modern art, of which Sam was critical. On the boat ride back to the train station I was falling over asleep.  We caught the plane to Istanbul, and when we arrived, we learned that the hotel shuttle was no longer running(I'm convinced hotel shuttles don't really exist.) However, we made the trip thanks to a taxi. The hotel is lovely. We've had a good night's sleep, and a good breakfast.
Sam alternates between being hysterically funny and maddening. He has edited this post heavily, and it has taken approximately two hours and twenty-five minutes to write it. Additionally, he has explained his freshman and sophomore year grammar course to me in brief but firm tones.
Love you all,
As dictated to and edited by Mister Snarky Butt.

And They're Off

July 27, 2015 by Adam in Family

Mom and Sam are on the way to Amsterdam at the moment, arriving in Istanbul in some complicated amount of hours with all the time changes.  They have a full day in Amsterdam - hopefully they take lots of pictures.

The weekend has generally been good.  Sam watched me play Metal Gear Solid Friday night, taking absolutely forever to get past the first fight.  I got Emma in the morning while getting ready for Duncan's birthday party at the park.  Hordes of children ran about.  I broke out the drone.  Everyone had a good time.  I returned home, hauling all the birthday stuff, and helped Sam pack for the trip.  The day wrapped up with pizza and Mythbusters.

We did have the bat return again last night, swooping around the living room in circles until it grew tired and hung from the ceiling.  Eventually it figured out how to escape through the double doors.  Berry was excited to finally see it.

Today I got everyone up early and out the door, picking up my mom on the way to the Portland airport.  Sam entertained me with tales of his made-up zombie driving movie, called Dead Driver.  There was a trilogy with a prequel - I don't remember much, but it made the drive go quickly.

After dropping them off and bidding them a safe voyage, I took Emma and Berry to OMSI.  The Ripley's Believe It Or Not exhibit was pretty good, and I was strangely enthralled with the shrunken heads.  We ate at the cafeteria, which had been transformed into a trendy place with tasty local food, and returned to science exhibits.  The drive back was long and traffic was bad, but we finally made it home.

We're crashing out and taking it easy for the rest of the day.  I think Emma is on the treadmill, watching Wil Wheaton DMing some gaming session with attractive funny poeple.  Berry and Joanna are playing Carcasonne.  Duncan is doing Minecraft legos.  I'm cleaning up and getting ready for work tomorrow.

Birthday #2

July 27, 2015 by Adam in Duncan

Duncan had a good time at his birthday party with his friends.  We headed down to Washington Park and I brought the drone for some aerial shots.  Joanna made a YouTube themed cake at Duncan's request, which was both tasty and hip.

I Am Batman

July 24, 2015 by Adam in Family

My mocha is slowly percolating away in my belly on this last work day of the week.  Things are quieting down somewhat in the week before the big Epic go-live.  I'm enjoying working on some of my back burner projects.

An interest in getting Emma and Summer together turned into a bunch of the old Web Services team coming over for dinner.  Summer and Debbie came from out of town, along with Glen, Dave, and his wife Lorraine.  It was a fun get together and we chatted until late that night.

Later on while Sam, Joanna, and I were watching 30 Rock, a bat emerged into the living room, apparently having snuck in while chatting with my coworkers and leaving the patio door open.  It flew around in circles, but brave Sam drove it out.  Joanna hid under a blanket and I filmed the whole thing.

We have a busy weekend ahead.  Duncan has a couple friends coming for a sleepover and then is throwing a birthday party at cheese park tomorrow morning.  Sunday I'm taking mom and Sam to the Portland airport so they can go off to Istanbul.  I'm also bringing the girls so we can visit OMSI while we're there.

My life is a constant adventure.

Danica Visits Greenfield

July 23, 2015 by Danica in Danica Miller

I spent a lovely weekend with Sadie, Greg and Simon last Fri.-Sun. It was wonderful to see them all and finally meet Simon. After seeing the photos from the family gathering I was feeling very left out, so decided not to wait any longer to get to Greenfield. We had good food, good conversations and fun at the Greenfield Street Fair. Sadie caught me up on everyone's news. Simon was wonderful of course - the perfect baby! He indulged my need for cuddles and pointed out everything important so I didn't miss a thing. On top of that he impressed us all by taking several *long* walks! (6 feet at least) I have to say he's the first baby I've ever seen walking on his knees as well as his feet! I'm looking forward to seeing Joanna in Rochester at the end of the summer, and maybe Duncan and Berry too. I guess I'll have to be content to see everyone else at another time. Here are a few photos from Greenfield. NB: Simon was fascinated with my camera - Sooooo many buttons! He took several great photos! (two included - one of me, one of his mom). Love to all --

Birthday Boy

July 21, 2015 by Adam in Adam

Here's a slightly belated video from my birthday celebrations.  The cake Joanna threw together was incredible.

10 Years Old

July 21, 2015 by Adam in Duncan

Duncan is ten - it's official.

We put together a little birthday celebration for Duncan yesterday, one in the morning with Emma and then later that evening with my mom around.  He got a good haul of books, Mad Libs, pool toys, and online classes in graphics development.  He was very excited about the latter - he's very much a computer boy.

Happy Birthday Me

July 19, 2015 by Adam in Family

It's my birthday, which has so far been celebrated by packing up from our Crater Lake trip and driving back to town.  I still have things to unload and clean, but I've taken a shower and things are somewhat organized.

The Crater Lake trip continued to be an adventure.  Saturday morning we tried to visit the nearby Agency Lake, to no avail, so we returned to our rental to wake up Sam and head to the park.  We stopped by several great views on the way to the boat ramp, then hiked down the long and steep path.  Poor Emma twisted her ankle as soon as we set off, but stoically limped down. 

The bottom was cool and the lake was pleasant.  Quite a few people were swimming, despite the chilly water.  We hopped on the boat tour around Crater Lake, which ended up being rather pleasant.  The ranger was chatty and funny, Emma got off her hurt ankle, and the little kids each had a chance to ride in front.  The lake was actually quite interesting, and I'm glad we took the trip rather than getting dropped off on Wizard Island.

The hike back up was exhausting, and the nearest restaurant was busy until nine.  Fortunately they made us a couple pizzas to go, Joanna fetched drinks from the nearby store, and we fed our exhausted bodies with seemingly delicious pizza. 

This morning we packed up, cleaned up, and headed out of town, stopping by a little wetlands preserve on the way out.  The drive was mostly uneventful, with a stop for lunch at a quirky restaurant up in the mountains.

Joanna is preparing presents and cake for the birthday boy (that's me!).

Crater Lake

July 18, 2015 by Adam in Family

We made it. Joanna is whipping up bread pudding and the kids found a treasure trove of vhs tapes in the place we're staying. The drive was long but not too bad. Crater Lake is amazing to see. We spotted as soon as we saw it and hiked around, later going to the lodge. Now we're taking it easy.

Mocha Friday

July 17, 2015 by Adam in Family

Emma helped make me a mocha this morning.  I made a hearty breakfast for all and we're about to hit the road to Crater Lake.

It's been a pleasant week.  Joanna and I went out Wednesday night, going for a short walk from the cider place down to the river and back.  Sam and Emma arrived last night.  Emma and I hung out together, chatting away, and then Sam watched as I started the next Metal Gear Solid game on his PS3.

Hopefully the next few days will be a fun adventure.

First Drone Flight

July 15, 2015 by Adam in Joanna

We went down to the park for a potluck with the other families of kids doing track.  I brought the drone and Joanna gave it a try.

Fun-Filled Weekend

July 13, 2015 by Adam in Family

It was a great weekend, and I played until I was exhausted.

Friday after work I picked up Emma and we got together for a typical tasty dinner that Joanna put together.  The evening wound down with 30 Rock on Netflix and laughter.

Saturday morning I whipped up french toast from Metropol french bread, then took Duncan and Emma for a quick library run.  Emma went off for the afternoon to Hailee's birthday party.  I hung out with Sam, playing through seemingly impossible fights in Metal Gear Solid 2.  I finally had to show him how impossible it was, and of course that was the one time I beat the boss fight.  The day wrapped up with pizza and Mythbusters and the usual bedtime routine.

Sunday was non-stop excitement.  I took Berry and Emma to the park to fly drones and read books.  After our return, I took a spare treadmill to Jamie's so Emma could get some exercise in while she was there.  Once Sam was up, we met up with Joanna and Duncan and I took all the kids to Humble Bagel and Hendrick's Park.  We played hide-and-seek tag, hiked 2 miles, and returned home exhausted.  I finished Metal Gear Solid under Sam's watchful eyes, hopped in the pool with Emma and Duncan, and played some game with Berry called "sexy potato", which was basically catch with better marketing.

As for today, Joanna is taking the smaller kids to see the Minion movie, and later Sam and Emma return to Jamie's.  This week I want to get everything ready for our Crater Lake trip.  Joanna and I are trying to line up a date night this week.

The rest of the summer seems impossibly busy.  The little kids go to Rochester and Sam goes to Istanbul in a couple weeks.  Emma was secretly excited to briefly be an only child.  In a month or so I'm hiking in the Sister's wilderness with Sam and Emma.  The two bigger kids have a road trip with their mom late in the summer, and Joanna and I are planning a getaway in there too.  Then we get a French student intern and school starts up again.

A quick but sincere thanks

July 12, 2015 by Sue in Wielesek

Thank you all for putting so much time and energy into making the FamVac fun. First of all, thank you to Anna and Lohring for getting the whole process underway. The house you found was great. We couldn't have asked for a better place as an auxiliary to your house. I suspect that both of you put in lots of time and energy which no one realized. Joanna, thank you for all your hard work in planning, arranging, and rearranging food and sleeping arrangements. It really helped to have someone get things down on paper and keep us moving in a straight line. Adam, you are one of those wonderful folks who does so much by just being unruffled all the time. Sometime you will become hysterically furious and the earth will open and swallow us all. 'Till then, keep doing what you're doing! Jenny, thanks for making such a conscientious effort to juggle your family obligations and still spend time at the Coast. It was really fun to have Dez, even for a short time, and I know Sam always has a good time with Da Boys. Yayoe and John, thank you so much for making the effort to come over; it is always fun to have you around, and I think Yayoe should get the Plumber of the Year Award.

And a special thank you to Seraph, Robbie, Isa, Sadie, Greg, and Simon for the huge effort you all made to get here from your homes far away. Your Dad and I remember the struggle to haul kids and stuff long distances, and for you, Sadie and Greg, the effort of working around jobs obligations, and for Seraph, going to school at the same time you're "on vacation".  We Left Coast hold-outs really miss you all. And Simon - so huggable!

Sadie, Simon and I skyped this morning, and he has definitely started to talk - says "Hi" clearly (and waves), and loves playing Peek-a-Boo. So you all can be proud of your Linguistic Education Team

Anyhow, I had a wonderful time, and I'm looking forward to finding a good place for next summer. Yayoe, we'll try out the plumbing first.
So much love to all, Mom/Sue


July 12, 2015 by Adam in Adam's Projects

One of my Father's Day presents was a low-cost drone with a little camera.  It's actually quite a bit of fun to fly around and I've gotten to the point where I don't crash instantly.  The range of the remote is decent, but I find that after I reach a certain height the drone gets confused and falls.  Still, you can get some good aerial footage and it's fun to chase the kids around.

Mocha Friday

July 10, 2015 by Adam in Family

I'm sipping my mocha at work, looking forward to coming home and hanging out with everyone.

It's been a fairly quiet few days.  Sam and Emma came over last night and I had a good time hanging out with them.  Emma and I sat on swings and chatted about music and life.  Joanna went to a low-key bachelorette party.  Sam and I played frisbee in the basement, then he made fun of me while I played Metal Gear Solid.  I read bedtime stories of Archie using silly voices.  Good times all around.

Mid Week Update

July 08, 2015 by Adam in Family

Honoka made it safe and sound to Japan.  She's having to get used to low countertops and trying to find a place for all the stuff she accumulated in America.

I stopped by to visit the kids Monday night and say hello, returning with Emma for the night.  We sat in the hammock and chatted away, swapping stories from our various adventures.  It was nice.

Joanna and I had date night with the kids yesterday, going downtown to Off the Waffle.  We played goofy games and generally enjoyed ourselves, despite the occasional playful insanity from the children.

Duncan and Berry have been enjoying their camps this week.  Today they're off to Wildlife Safari.  Joanna is working on drumming up business for herself during the summer lull.  I'm bug fixing Provider Compensation, making sure the doctors get paid right.

Never a dull moment.

I Am Batman

July 07, 2015 by Adam in Adam's Games

I've been playing the latest batman game, Arkham Knight.  There were some serious performance issues, to the point where they stopped selling the PC version after a couple days.  Fortunately it plays fine for me on my super-speedy computer.  It's actually quite fun, like the previous games, and I'm busy flying, fighting, and puzzle solving my way around the city.

I had a slightly amusing situation last night where I ran into a guy at the police station, glowing green like the Riddler's henchmen.  Though the GUI didn't say anything, I used my Interrogate move and ended up throwing him into jail.  I guess it's not easy being green.

Back to Work

July 06, 2015 by Adam in Family

It's Monday again.  I got kids up and fed at their usual early time, as they're off to camp this morning.  I've got three go-lives waiting for me, none of them particularly big - I just didn't want to do anything on a Friday afternoon.

Sunday was luxuriously lazy and productive.  I power washed the front porch and got it shiny clean.  Emma's bedroom was picked up.  All the plants were watered.  The kids puttered about, making weird plastic bead things and rubber band bracelets, along with the usual Minecraft animations and strange contraptions.

Sam and Emma returned from their trip to Seattle.  I think we'd normally have them Thursday, though I'm hoping I can stop by to say hello sometime.

Fourth of July

July 05, 2015 by Adam in Family

We had a pretty good Fourth of July, a nice mix of productive and relaxing.  The night before Joanna and I had our date night, going to see our neighbor Jim and his band play bluegrass at the library.  I was especially impressed with their rendition of Parting Glass.

Sam and Emma are still in Seattle with Jamie and Meg.  Yesterday they traveled to Whitby island and saw the fort there.  I think they're having a generally good time, returning in a few days after getting Meg settled in her new house.

I made a hearty breakfast for the fourth, dutch babies with lots of fresh fruit.  Eventually I took Duncan and Berry to the park to visit the Play and Spray and fly drones.  Duncan took some shaky but good video.  The kids had a good time learning to fly, and a little boy followed us around in awe.

I managed some good house projects, getting a computer setup in the guest house and setting up a wireless router so it has connection.  The yards were mowed and watered.  I pruned a little.  Loads of laundry were done.  Joanna made blueberry jam.

Duncan's friend Sam came over for a couple hours.  Joanna made the required grilled meal which we ate outside in the manageable heat.  The kids wanted to set off fireworks, so we wandered down a few blocks past the no-firework zone.  I think they had a good time, though Joanna seemed skeptical about it all.  I asked if her country was still holding a grudge.

Hot Mocha Friday

July 03, 2015 by Adam in Family

I think Joanna is trying to ease the various farewells with food - she made an amazing custard to go over the blueberry pie that was amazing.  Honoka is slowly making her way home.  We keep finding little things of hers that she didn't take back - a pink laundry basket and the Adventure Time mug she used for her toothbrush.  This weekend I'll take a look at our little guest cottage and try to get it ready for our next visitor.  Late August our French intern should arrive, for at least three months, but I'm not sure of the details.

We're braving the heat wave.  The pool is a balmy 80 degrees while the outside temperature hit 100.  This weekend I'm going to try to do the necessary yardwork early and then stay indoors except for pool time.  I should keep working on the kids' Canadian citizenship papers in case it gets too much.

I'm off to work shortly.  Hopefully it'll be quiet with most people taking the day off.

Dorothy's Days at Mary Lyon School

July 02, 2015 by Danica in Danica Miller

I'm still sorry that I wasn't able to join all of you for the fun week at the coast. ;-(  While you were there, I was in Philadelphia at a wedding. On my way back to Rochester I stopped at Swarthmore College to look at the Mary Lyon School archives in the Friends Historical Library there. For those of you interested in family history – here's a link to the web page I just posted that includes notes and some photos of materials I found, including photos of Dorothy from the two years she attended the school - 1925-1927. Can you find her in this class photo from the 1927 yearbook?

More Farewells

July 02, 2015 by Adam in Family

Honoka left for the airport this morning.  Duncan and Berry woke up early with Joanna and I.  Honoka gave us all cards and a beautiful picture frame full of photos and a big "Thank You" in the middle.  We all cried and hugged and waved as Joanna drove her off.

Last night John and Yayoe came by to say farewell to Honoka, and later Seraph, Robbie, Isa, and my mom came by for dinner.  Joanna made her usual wonderful meal, along with this amazing blueberry pie.  I think we've reached the point where I can't ever leave her because my family likes her too darn much.

Joanna let me know she's got a writing gig with the Register Guard.  I guess that means we'll have to get the paper again.

As for me, I survived my first day back at work and all the doctors managed to get paid.  Hopefully today's insanity will be minimal.

Back Home, With Goodbyes

July 01, 2015 by Adam in Family

We made it back home and our house was still intact, despite Civic Stadium burning down the day before.  It's quiet today - Sam and Emma went to their mom's house and will be away for a week to Seattle to move Meg.  Honoka has a final sleepover tonight, and is leaving the day after tomorrow.  We said farewell to everyone at the beach house this morning, so I'm kicking around the house feeling a little wistful.  Tomorrow I return to work, which is hopefully not too overwhelming.

The trip itself was generally pretty good.  We did many beach things, from running in the waves to exploring tide pools.  The most fun was just seeing everyone, playing board games with Greg, nibbling on baby Simon, and chatting away with everyone.  Hopefully it'll sustain me until the next family trip.

Drone II

June 24, 2015 by Adam in Adam

In which I almost land on the neighbor's roof.

Hi, guys

June 23, 2015 by Sue in Wielesek

Thanks to all the wonderful planners in the family.

I'm using  this vacation to get rid of all the leftover bits of food in my house. Anything which hasn't been eaten is going home with someone other than me. Sadie and Seraph, think: big bag of pancake mix in your luggage. Yayoe, fattening sausage. Lohring and Anna, shredded coconut. So all should eat accordingly.

Jenny says that I can come over with her. (Seraph and Robbie have the Honda, and will go straight from Ashland to the coast on Wednesday.)

 I'm hoping Honoka will help me bake a nice gluten free cake on Thursday and we can have a little birthday party for Simon on Thursday evening, which will be the only evening other than Wednesday when all of us will be there.

Des can get Wednesday and Thursday night off, but will come back to Eugene with Jenny and Jordan on Friday. Jenny and Jordan will come back to the coast on Sunday, but Des will need to stay in Eugene and work. (Adulthood; it sneaks right up on you, doesn't it?!)

 Lohring, I'll bring a casserole of dressing to have with the turkey on Wednesday. Joanna and Adam, if you want to leave Eugene earlier but leave stuff at my house to take in Jenny's car, she thinks she won't leave until noonish on Wednesday since Des will have to work until 1:00 am Tuesday night and will probably need to sleep late on Wednesday morning.

I sent some breakfast and lunch stuff (potato soup with a side of sausage and biscuits) with Seraph and Robbie so Joanna and Seraph don't have to get organized with shopping right away.

 I can't remember who cooks Thursday evening. It's probably the best photo op time. Are the only people in the Fam who are missing Hanni and Danica? Or am I forgetting someone? Maybe next year?

Friday night and Saturday night I'll be rattling around in Lohring and Anna's house by myself, but Jenny and Jordan will be back on Sunday. Bob will come over on Thursday and stay through Friday. He's excited to see you all and especially Jethro.

Only specific goal I have is to decide on a where and when for next year. Hawaii is a priority for Adam and his family, and I agree that would be a good adventure, particularly if we can find a way to include Simon in a way that's easy for him and his parental unit.

I love you all, and am so grateful for the effort y'all have made to put this together. Special thanks to Anna and Lohring.


June 21, 2015 by Adam in Adam

Joanna organized some great presents for me.  I got all manner of nifty ceramic goodies, hand painted by assorted family members.  Chocolate covered espresso beans were tucked away inside of one.  Sam and Emma picked out a drone for me, which has the capacity of recording video.  It's somewhat tricky to fly, but I'm getting the hang of it.  Eventually I'll get some additional batteries as well so I can get some good practice time in.

Happy Father's Day!

June 21, 2015 by Adam in Family

Happy Father's Day dad and all you other dad-like people out there.  Joanna woke up early and made pancakes, filled with blueberries from our balcony that Berry picked.  It was delicious.

Yesterday was pretty entertaining - we took kids to the Black Sheep gathering at the fairgrounds.  Joanna returned with alpaca fiber and Berry with an alpaca stuffie.  Honoka enjoyed herself, as did Emma.  We swung by the library where Honoka got her free book and I loaded up for the beach trip. 

In the afternoon Sam and I played Goat Simulator, which is ridiculous fun.  I turned into a demon goat with telekinetic powers.  At one point we had turned into giraffes and got to space.  It's crazy.

Eventually we piled into the pool and hung out there for an hour or two.  We need to get some more pool toys, I think.  Joanna worked away in the garden, getting a nasty blackberry scrape in the process.

As the evening rolled around, I got pizza for the kids and Joanna and I went off to dinner at Belly's.  The dessert was absolutely delicious and Joanna got me a great wedding book for our anniversary.  We finally have the vows written down somewhere, so I can refer to it and see if letting Joanna eat the last bite of ice cream was really in the vows somewhere.  We returned home to find Emma putting the kids through the evening routine nicely.  Honoka had made us a beautiful 3rd anniversary cake, which was much appreciated.

Life is good.

Mocha Friday

June 19, 2015 by Adam in Family

Joanna cooked up a storm last night - lasagna and a tasty apple tart for dessert.  Mom, Seraph, Robbie, and Isa all arrived for dinner, bringing bread and a salad, and we added Joanna's pomegranate cider for a delicious meal.

Isa and Emma discovered a shared love of Supernatural, and chatted away with a steady stream of "shipping" this and "cosplay" that.  When it came time to go, Emma begged me to go stay with Isa, which was very sweet.  I think she'll end up following her around all day.

It was great to see Seraph and Robbie.  The great thing about family is just starting up where you last left off.  We chatted about raising chickens and the womenfolk got together with Jenny about vacation plans.  I've decided I'm going to just go with the flow.  We'll see which door at the rental has my name sticky-noted on it.

I'm heading into work shortly.  I'm trying really hard not to make any dramatic changes before I go, but we keep having crises pop up.  Hopefully the doctors will get paid right while I'm away.

More Reunion Thoughts

June 18, 2015 by Lohring in Lohring

I am thinking that I will cook a turkey dinner on Wednesday.  I'll be mostly hanging around waiting for everyone to arrive, so watching the turkey cook will give me something to do.  I'll also cook the standard mashed potatoes and vegetables.  Yayoe volunteered to bring tofu as well.  I'll be sure there are eggs and pancake mix for breakfast on Thursday.  After that you are on your own for organizing shopping and meals.

I'm excited to see everyone.

Vancouver Run

June 17, 2015 by Adam in Adam

It was an exhausting day yesterday.  I drove up to the system office in Vancouver for a three hour meeting.  I'm glad I was there - a consulting group was brought in to replace something I've spent the last 18 years making.  Of course, they didn't really know what it does, and at this point I hope I've struck the fear of god into them.  We'll see what happens.

Joanna is awesome, as always, greeting my late return with hugs and dinner.

I'm missing Sam and Emma a bit more than usual this week.  Sam's been in Summer mode, and I haven't hung out with him as much as I'd like. Emma's been generally entertaining over the summer - we'll play Superfight or do art projects together.  Duncan and Berry have been plenty entertaining while the bigger kids are away - I've had fun telling them about Microsoft's Hololens and showing  them the latest E3 videos.

The transition to summer is always a little bumpy, and I miss the certainty of the school schedule.  Still, I really look forward to seeing everyone soon.  Rumor has it that Seraph, Robbie, and Isa are in town already.  Can't wait to see everyone.

Some initial organizing details:I think we sh...

June 17, 2015 by Lohring in Lohring

Some initial organizing details:

I think we should all plan to meet at the Bella Beach house on
Wednesday.  We can have dinner there and sort out who will be staying
where.  The addresses are:

Bella Beach house - Spy Hopper (house name)
Bella Beach Drive, the first left off Ocean Drive
Drive straight - the house is on the corner where the road turns toward the beach

To get there from the north on 101:

  • Continue through Lincoln City and, two miles past Salishan
    Lodge the one lane road turns into two.

  • Keep your eyes open for Oceanview on the right hand.

  • Turn right onto Oceanview and left on Bella Beach Dr.

From the South on 101:
  • App 2 miles north of Depoe Bay, look for the Thriftway grocery
    store on the right.

  • One (1) mile past the Thriftway grocery store is a turn-around
    to go back south.

  • Use the turn-around and make your first right onto Oceanview
    and left on Bella Beach Dr.

Our Seletz
Keys house - 9123 Keys Place, Gleneden Beach

Made it!

June 16, 2015 by Seraph in Cortez

We made it in to Portland last night. Our trip was surprisingly smooth and hassle free. Anymore, we just let Is take the lead in airports, while we tag along like lost puppies.
I'm getting some school work done this morning, sipping on so-so hotel coffee. Mom will. E picking us up later and spending the day puttering around The Pearl checking out our old haunts. Our schedule is pretty booked up this first week, but hopefully we can tuck in a little pre-coast visit with everyone.

First Weekend of Summer

June 15, 2015 by Adam in Family

It was a warm, quiet weekend.  Friday night Sam and Emma came over and we proceeded to do much of our usual routine.  Emma was happy to get a free book from the library - she chose Lord of the Flies.

Saturday we went to a picnic at Armitage Park.  Theoretically we were meeting with Honoka's exchange student comrades, but the event was canceled.  Fortunately I ended up buying way too much food on a Humble Bagel run, so we ate well.   We threw around the frisbee and I made two short trips down the river in a slowly deflating raft.  Eventually we packed it in and headed home.

I didn't see much of Sam over the weekend.  He was either playing with friends online or working for my mom.  We did manage to play a little Nidhogg together - a crazy pixelated sword dueling game.  I was happy that I managed to beat him twice after much effort.

Emma broke out the watercolors and did a bunch of art.  She also gleefully finished Broken Age, a point-and-click adventure like those of my childhood.  I left her playing Sam and Max as I left to work.

I spent much of Sunday afternoon DMing a D&D game with Emma, Duncan, and Berry.  Unfortunately they were all knocked out - I'm going to have to find a way to get them back into the action, as I don't really want to kill them off.  It might stunt their development as nerdlings.

As for the upcoming week, my mom is putting Emma, Sam, and Honoka to work today.  Duncan and Berry are going off to camp.  Joanna is working away.  I've got a work trip to Vancouver tomorrow where I'm going to try and reign in crazy management decisions.  Should be entertaining.

I was quoted in an article about workplace monitoring recently.  I posted a comment in a Reddit thread and got a call from a nice English journalist.   Since my Fitbit died for a week, I don't feel particularly guilty when Emma wants to shake it about for a while.

The gadgets are also easy to game. Adam Miller’s employer gives him cash rewards if his Fitbit shows he has taken a certain number of steps a day. But it registers “steps” when jolted, so if he has not met his daily target, “I might watch TV and wave my arm around or my kids will grab it and start shaking it to see what the numbers get to.”

Mocha Friday

June 12, 2015 by Adam in Family

The transition to summer has gone relatively well.  Sam's school had a lockdown triggered by a SWAT guy in camo dropping his kid off at the YMCA and a 4J staff person reporting an armed man at the school.  It disrupted finals, but otherwise was uneventful.

Joanna took Duncan, Berry, and Honoka camping at the beach.  I think they've generally enjoyed themselves and will return home at noon today.

I had Sam and Emma last night, which was a fun and low-key experience.  Sam wants to just veg out for a week, while his friends want to play games and mom wants to put him to work.  Emma is happy doing art and playing games.  Last night we played Superfight together, making up crazy rules.  I left her at home this morning, engrossed in Broken Age.  Presumably Jamie will pick her up one day.

As for this weekend, I'm hoping to take everyone hiking as the weather will be great.  Emma really wants to go to the library for her free book.  Otherwise it's more of the usual.  

Last Day of School

June 10, 2015 by Adam in Family

It's the last day of school today.  Duncan was going to take a camera to document the day.  I helped Sam put together a little Japanese book for his class.  I think everyone is ready for the start of summer.  Duncan and Berry have several camps.  Emma has her list of daily goals.  Sam just wants to do nothing for a week.

The last couple days have been crazy hot, well into the 90's.  Berry even lured Honoka into the pool on Monday.  The little kids have spent a lot of time swimming and have been skipping track due to the heat.  

Joanna and I have a date tonight, with Brenna babysitting one last time before she leaves forever for California.  The plan is to take a picnic to Hendrick's park and enjoy the weather while it lasts.

I'm excited to see everyone in just a couple weeks.  Can't wait.

Witcher 3 & Babies

June 10, 2015 by Adam in Adam's Games

Fortunately Sam never reads my blog, as there are definitely spoilers below.  I continue to have fun playing Witcher 3.  In my latest adventures I defeat a couple monsters, toss an (illusory) baby in an oven to break a curse, and dispel a wish made by a djinn.  The last one made a somewhat devious sorceress sad, but that's what happens when you mess with dark magic.


Happy Birthday

June 09, 2015 by Adam in Sadie & Greg

My computer informs me that it's your birthday today, and I've yet to automate personalized birthday greetings to my family members.  My plan is to get all of that set up before I slip into senility so that no one notices.  Anyway, I'll have to go with a handcrafted, free-range, birthday greeting:

Happy birthday, Sadie.  I see so much of you in Emma, compulsively drawing on every scrap of paper that crosses her path.  Thanks for being awesome.

Solo Parent Weekend

June 08, 2015 by Adam in Family

Joanna left Friday afternoon for a women's retreat at McKenzie Bridge.  She did art, workshops, and hiked in the hot sun.  Berry was fairly grumpy before her departure, but ended up being just fine.  I took Berry to a birthday party in between working help desk incidents.

Saturday morning I made dutch babies for Duncan and Berry, fetched Emma, and then got her to an art supply shopping spree with Yayoe.  The little kids and I made a library run, where they were pleasantly surprised by free books at the summer reading program.  Emma returned with fancy watercolor art supplies.  Everyone hung out in the pool and took it easy for the rest of the day.  Sam returned.  Pizza and science videos were watched.  It was all good.

Sunday morning was equally low-key.  I made a hearty breakfast for all the kids, even Sam, and we migrated to the pool to cool off from the heat.  Somewhere in there we played Dixit and Emma and I worked on art.  Flynn came over at some point, and Joanna returned for a little to then go off to a music performance.

All-in-all, it was a very pleasant weekend.  I want to have more of them.

Mocha Friday

June 05, 2015 by Adam in Family

I'm heading into work soon.  Duncan and Berry have no school, Sam and Honoka have a half day, and poor Emma goes all day.  It's been a generally good week, with a bump here and there.

Wednesday night was a combination date night and listening to Emma's concert.  We ordered pizza, which we had to take in a "to go" box, arriving at Emma's concert just in time to hear her.  After she was done we ran off and hid on the patio to eat dinner, slinking in when our babysitter was done.

I've been fretting a little over finances after learning of yet another car repair expense ($1K for a broken A/C).  I think it's all okay, but we've managed to spend $4K in car repairs over the last few months.  The bills for Sam's knee continue to trickle in too.

Still, we have a pleasant weekend ahead.  Joanna is going to a women's retreat.  I've made a list of all the things I want to do, from playing board games to building weird things in the garage to finally trying out the pool.  Fun times.

My mocha awaits.  Time to get ready to go.

Mid-Week Update

June 03, 2015 by Adam in Family

The school year is drawing to a close, with drizzly weather all week.  Honoka made incredible cookies for her senior friends in her catering class.  I think that one ended up being her favorite.

Joanna and I are off to a date night and then listening to Emma's last concert of the year.  It feels like everything is wrapping up and getting ready for summer.

I'm also pondering things to do while we're at the beach in a few weeks.  Here are some highlights:
Can't wait to see everyone there!

Still Witchy

June 03, 2015 by Adam in Adam's Games

I continue to play Witcher 3 somewhat obsessively.  Yesterday I romanced a sorceress, went to a masquerade ball, won a card game, killed a vampire, escaped through the sewers, and confessed my undying love.

There were a few amusing bugs, such as when my NPC companion got stuck in a doorway, or when she perpetually got attacked by rats.  Still, it's one of my favorite games in a long while.


June 03, 2015 by Lohring in Lohring

The vacation rental is ready.  Start thinking about who is staying in each location.  The last thought I heard was the old people could stay in our Siletz Keys house and the children could stay in the Bella Beach house.  The parents of the children need to decide if they want to chaperone children or vacation from them.  Maybe the grandparents would be willing to take over chaperoning.  Main meals (dinner) probably should be in the Bella Beach house.  A sandwich buffet could be setup in both houses for in between.  We still need to decide on side trips.  I'll research suggestions.  Driving directions are:

If you are visiting Bella Beach from out of state, Portland's PDX airport is the best to fly into when visiting us.

We recommend the following path to the beach!

  • From PDX, follow hwy 205 to I-5 (app 25 miles) and head South towards Salem (app 30 miles).

  • Take the Salem Parkway exit just past the baseball field and follow it into Salem

  • Turn right onto the Marion St bridge towards West Salem and Ocean Beaches, staying in the left lane.

  • It is app 60 miles to Lincoln City

  • Continue through Lincoln City and, two miles past Salishan Lodge the one lane road turns into two.

  • Keep your eyes open for Oceanview on the right hand.

  • Turn right onto Oceanview and left on Bella Beach Dr.

  • The office is on the left hand side.

Arriving from the South:

  • Follow Highway 101 through Newport and through Depoe Bay.

  • App 2 miles north of Depoe Bay, look for the Thriftway grocery store on the right.

  • One (1) mile past the Thriftway grocery store is a turn-around to go back south.

  • Use the turn-around and make your first right onto Oceanview and left on Bella Beach Dr.

  • The office is on the left hand side.

Now With More Witchiness

June 02, 2015 by Adam in Adam's Games

Sam and I both continue to play Witcher 3, and it continues to be excellent.  The depth of the game and the choices you have to make are fairly incredible.  In this particular instance, I was supposed to have my ally get tortured while I bartered with the villain.  I decided I was having none of that and we torched the place.

Birthday Weekend

June 01, 2015 by Adam in Family

It seemed to be a weekend of perpetual birthday, with Emma getting some sort of cake or treat every day.  Friday night she had friends over, she went over to a friend's house Saturday night, and hung out with us in between.

As for the rest of the crew, it was generally a pleasant weekend.  Joanna and I finished Wild on Friday, which made me want to get out hiking more.  Saturday after the birthday party I took Emma and Duncan to the library.  Sam and I continued to play Witcher 3 and compare notes.    Honoka went out with some friends to hang out at the mall. 

Sunday morning I prepared for summer while everyone was off or in their rooms.  I set up the air conditioners, took down the storm cover from the side door, and started setting up the pool.  Eventually Joanna returned to help finish the assembly, and we began the slow filling of the pool.  Sam joined Emma and I, splashing our toes in the filling pool.  Duncan and Berry both had friends over - Duncan and Flynn played on the slip and slide in front and Berry and Daisy played in the shallow pool.  Honoka spent the afternoon making cookies for departing seniors.

It's the last full week of school.  Joanna leaves on a women's retreat next weekend - not sure what I'm going to do with all the kids.  I'm sure I'll think of something.

Emma Birthday #3

May 31, 2015 by Adam in Emma

Emma had a big group of friends over this morning.  They mostly hung out in the basement, playing Rock Band.  Berry and I worked on a treasure hunt earlier - the grand finale was the cake itself.

Now Emma's having a sleepover at a friend's house.  She's apparently crazy popular.

Emma Birthday #2

May 30, 2015 by Adam in Emma

At the moment, we have a basement full of pre-teen girls.  Last night we had a smaller number that helped celebrate her birthday.  Hopefully they got a little sleep last night.

Mocha Friday

May 29, 2015 by Adam in Family

I've yet to make it to work, but a mocha awaits my arrival.

It's been a generally good week, if busy.  Sam and I went to see the new Mad Max movie on Wednesday and found it to be the best in the series.  I think we both want to play flamethrowing guitars now.  Joanna took Duncan and Berry to a talent show at their school, where they did a magic trick for their school.

Last night Emma arrived and my mom came over for a family birthday celebration.  Emma enjoyed her books and goodies, but especially got into the Wacom tablet.  She's been using it to practice her Photoshop drawing skills, and making some pretty awesome art.

Tonight a small horde of pre-teen girls descend on the house for a sleepover, and tomorrow a bigger horde arrives for Emma's birthday.  Good times.

Happy days!

May 29, 2015 by Seraph in Cortez

It was a good day for the Cortez family.  

Today was Isabell's last day of middle school.  Next year she's off to high school! Robbie and I still have work tomorrow, and we'll probably be around the school next week because Robbie is moving rooms. 
I also got offered a new position at the school! In NM you can apply for an internship license once you've taken your initial set of exams, are enrolled in a certification program and already have your bachelors degree. So, with this provisional license in hand I will be the new special ed teacher for the upper grades (5th & 6th, maybe 4th depending on the case load).  
We're all excited to see everyone in a few weeks!  I think 1 large cake will be required to celebrate all the birthdays going on.

Emma's 12

May 27, 2015 by Adam in Emma

Emma turns 12 today.  I called her on Google Hangouts and Berry, Duncan, and I sung her happy birthday.  Tomorrow she opens her family presents and we eat some cake.  Friday she has some friends stay the night.  Saturday mid-morning a bunch of girls descend on the house for cake, treasure hunts, and running about.

Happy Birthday Jenny

May 26, 2015 by Lohring in Lohring

It's the start of the family birthday season.  Happy birthday Jenny

Memorial Day Weekend

May 26, 2015 by Adam in Family

It was a pleasant, low-key weekend, full of hanging out, frisbee in the park, and board games.

Friday night Joanna and I went out to a little brewery, enjoying our crepes and cider.  Afterward we listened to some music and wandered home to our reduced horde of children.  Honoka was out at a catering event, dressing like an alien with her "catering Olympics" team.  I hear she won 2nd place for her dessert.

We released the science project frogs Saturday afternoon.  Emma went to Kate's for a birthday sleepover.  Sam returned home.  We both kept playing Witcher 3 and comparing how we played different quests.

The next couple days were generally relaxing.  Emma and I played a bunch of Munchkin.  I took the kids out to the park.  Duncan and Berry helped at a car wash.  Joanna went shopping, despite her gimpy ankle.  I mowed the lawn and did endless laundry.

Life's okay.

Archeology Film Festival

May 23, 2015 by Sue in Wielesek

Last weekend was the Archeology Film Festival, followed by a conference on Archeology and the Media. I was a host to one of the presenters, a young (38) man from Pakistan. It was really interesting, and I couldn't help but appreciate, after a lunch with him and another film maker, from Iran, the freedom we have. His wife will be submitting her thesis to Cambridge University, and I agreed to proofread it for her. There must be a grammar and style handbook for Britain which is the equivalent of the one put out by the Modern Language Association. I'm looking forward to proofreading Joanna's memoir, and maybe she can take a look at Sarwat's thesis. Oh, how international we are. But I got to see a film of Pakistan, and it looks like an amazingly beautiful place.  Civilization started there in 7,000 BC. Then we went to the Museum of Natural History on campus and  saw the sandals from the "sandal factory" in Paisley Cave from 15,000 years ago. The guys in Pakistand had a better PR team!

Mocha Friday

May 22, 2015 by Adam in Family

My mocha is gone and I'm settling into the work day.  It's been fairly uneventful this week.  Joanna's ankle continues to heal.  Sam and Honoka have been a little sniffly, but nothing too bad.  Emma's toenail fell off, the long-term consequence of her toe injury from a few weeks back.

Sam and I have both been obsessively playing The Witcher.  Joanna sent off an essay to The Sun and has been getting her book ready for publishers. She sent a couple more stories to Lane Monthly and wrangled a raise.  I've really enjoyed some of her recent biographical articles - this one in particular.

Berry and Emma were fighting over who was cooking what at breakfast this morning, a conflict I can get behind.  Hopefully they'll do the same over laundry and cleaning up after dinner.  Duncan was having some computer woes, but maybe it got resolved.  The life of an aspiring YouTuber is full of technical challenges.

Honoka is off on a catering trip for the next couple days.  Emma has a sleepover with Kate on Saturday.  I'm off next Monday, so hopefully we can all get some good hang out time over the weekend, maybe enjoy some sunshine for a while.  I need to do a library run tomorrow, and we've promised to release the frogs from Berry's science experiment.  The fun never stops.

Wednesday Update

May 20, 2015 by Adam in Family

All is well.

I got a new hard drive at work, so I've been cracking open my computer and moving parts around.  It's a little weird, as I'm never sure what I'm allowed to do, but I knew how to do it and it all worked out fine.

Joanna's ankle continues to heal.  The crutches are long gone.  She's managed to limp around and do all the typical things, just slower than normal.

Duncan and Berry continue to go to track a couple nights a week.  I think they enjoy it still.

Sam's grades are slowly improving as he makes up work assignments.  We're back to two A's and a B for the things I can see grades for.

Joanna is slowly working on the various summer plans.  We have our Crater Lake trip booked, which should be an adventure.  My plan for the beach trip with everyone is to load up my mom's car with board games, clothes, and beach supplies.  I'll take people over in the minivan.  Can't wait to see everyone.

Witcher 3

May 20, 2015 by Adam in Adam's Games

Both Sam and I picked up Witcher 3 on the release date.  So far, it's a pretty great game, with murky morality and interesting story lines.  I've been riding my trusty horse around, getting into trouble. 

Sam is far past me, of course.  He'll ask what quest I'm on, and we speak in vague terms so as not to spoil the other.

Exciting Weekend

May 18, 2015 by Adam in Family

The weekend started with a bang, in this case Joanna twisting her ankle while playing with Duncan.  She managed to drive the kids home, then I arrived early to take her to urgent care.  It was the usual weird experience where no one could say how much anything costs, or even if they were definitively in network or not.  My mom swooped in to care and feed for the children, who enjoyed their outing to Tasty Thai.  Eventually Joanna and I made it home.  Sam went to see the latest Avengers movie with his friends and I stayed up late until he returned.

I was a little wonky Saturday morning due to fatigue and running around filling in for Joanna.  I played Castle Panic with Berry first thing, and then Superfight with Emma.  I took kids to chess and Emma and I went to the library.  Somewhere in there I got a haircut.  Sam went to work for my mom.  Pizza was purchased.  Honoka got ready for the prom and I took her and her friend to the Ford Alumni Center.  Honoka told stories of a little toddler one of the Prom Patrol people had taken with her, so I think Honoka mostly played with babies.   It made for another late night for me, though - Sam entertained me with more Metal Gear Solid and throwing things at me in the basement.

Sunday morning was pretty relaxing.  Kids were fed.  All but Duncan and Honoka went to see the Avengers movie.  Homework was done.  Emma and I puttered around outside.  Joanna slowly began limping around instead of using crutches.  I played more with Sam.  Everyone is getting excited for summer.

Life is never boring.

Flights Booked

May 18, 2015 by Seraph in Cortez

We booked our flight to Oregon last night!  We will fly in late on 6/15 (Monday) and stay over in Portland before heading to Eugene on 6/16.  We fly back to New Mexico on 7/2 (in the evening). 
We have a wedding to go to on 6/21, and we're starting to put together plans to see some old friends in the days leading up to the beach trip. We'll keep you all updated as plans develop!

Mocha Friday

May 15, 2015 by Adam in Family

It's been a fun last few days, going on dates and hanging out with kids.  Joanna and I went to a simple sushi place, followed up by a Fred Meyer run to purchase Pokemon cards for an upcoming friend's birthday.  Joanna entertained me with stories of interviewing chainsaw artists.  Apparently bears and eagles are the most popular.

The kids have continued to entertain.  We had food from Honoka's catering program last night - the soup was really good.  Emma was working on a mandala and trying to write about her perfect Utopian society (I suggested a billion helpful robots with my brain uploaded into them).  Duncan continues to be all about Minecraft.  Berry helps me cook breakfast if she wakes up early enough.  Sam had me play more Metal Gear Solid while we worked on Biology last night.  All is well.

We're starting to nail down summer plans for the curious:
  • I'm taking Memorial Day off (May 25th)
  • June 23rd - 30th we're going to the beach for the big family reunion.
  • July 17th - 19th the plan is to go to Crater Lake.
  • August 8th & 9th I'd like to take the kids camping in the Sister's wilderness.
  • Probably between August 24th and 26th Joanna and I will try to get away for a few days.

I think tonight we're going to attempt to go to the Avengers movie.  The rest of the weekend is pretty low-key - library, chess club, and hopefully getting outside.  Should be fun.


May 13, 2015 by Adam in Family

The week is moving along, and it's date night tonight, which is always nice.

Sam got some C's on his midterm grades, and sure enough it's due to missed assignments when he was sick last month.  He's started to take care of things, though I need to make sure he talks to his teachers to get things accomplished.

Berry was back at school today after being sick a couple days.  Thanks to mom and Bob for keeping an eye on her yesterday.  Duncan dutifully went off to track by himself, which he seems to enjoy.

As for me, my evenings have been pretty quiet.  I've had a couple fun nights of hanging out with Sam and playing Metal Gear Solid.  I think he enjoys making fun of my lack of skills.

Mothers Day

May 11, 2015 by Sue in Wielesek

In spite of a cheery dinner with Jenny, Jeanie, and the boys, and equally cheery phone calls with Sadie, Adam surely won the Perfect Kid award this year. The hot water pressure in the kitchen sink has been diminishing over the last year or so. Finally I asked Sam to take a look at it, and so when Adam, Sam, Duncan and Emma came over bearing a lovely bouquet of fat roses, Adam said they'd  work on it. Then followed two hours of grunting, snarky comments by Sam interspersed with his commands to his Dad, "Let me do it", the destruction of yards of duct tape, and the use of the power washer. Finally the obstruction in the pipe was blown clean to Hell, and the guys staggered home. 

Happy Mother's Day

May 11, 2015 by Adam in Family

Happy Mother's Day to everyone, including all the related mother support staff.  I think we mostly hit up all the mothers and grandmothers in the immediate chain of command, though we still have a few gifts to send out.  

Friday night was pretty quiet.  I picked up Emma around bedtime and we all arose Saturday morning to dutch babies and bacon.  Emma and I went to the library and made our peace with the library mafia.  We may still have a few books out, but I think my balance is zero.  There were a few good books we returned with.  Meanwhile, Duncan and Berry went off to chess and then after to their track meet.  They had a good time and brought home some ribbons, which Berry in particular was quite proud of.  As the day rolled on, I picked up Sam and we had the usual pizza and science.

Sunday was the Mother's Day extravaganza.  I arranged for cards to be made and flowers bouquets to be assembled.  Crepes, strawberries, and whip cream were served and the hand-painted pottery was handed over. 
 I think Joanna had a good time and went off to church with Duncan while the rest of us puttered around.  I mowed the lawn and took out the compost, but otherwise enjoyed the weather and lazy morning.  After lunch I took Sam, Emma, and Duncan to my mom's to deliver flowers and a card.  While we were there, we ended up doing a bunch of plumbing - fixing one thing and breaking another.  Fortunately it's practice for me, as we have the same clogged tube issue in one of our faucets.

Yayoe took Berry shopping for her birthday.  She returned home with a stuffed seal that she carries everywhere with her.  Apparently Berry was very well behaved with Yayoe.  

We attempted to take Joanna to dinner at Off the Waffle, but it was annoyingly closed.  Instead we headed to Sizzle Pie, which was pretty good after a fairly long wait.  At least we got to see the entertaining people wander around downtown.

Now it's back to work, where I can hopefully relax a little.

Mocha Friday

May 08, 2015 by Adam in Family

My mocha is slowly running dry.  I needed to take a break from my annual self-assessments as tooting my own horn was being a little much.  Supposedly performance isn't tied to pay increases for yet another year, so this all seems a little pointless.

It's been a generally positive last few days.  The kids are all finally well again, with Berry making it to track and enjoying herself, despite complaints on the way there.  Emma is still having issues with her toe, but I think she'll keep the nail and it hurts less.  Joanna got some work done, ordering books for her client and getting writing projects wrapped up.

This weekend we need to settle more accounts with the Library mafia.  My $77 in overdue fines last weekend was just the beginning.  We have some books we can't find and more fines.  We'll see what the total damage will be.

I need to start getting things ready for Emma's birthday.  The general plan is a Friday night sleepover on the 29th and a birthday shindig the next day around 10 or 11.

I'm also hoping to finalize my time off for the summer as best I can.  

Back to work!

Emma's Concert

May 07, 2015 by Adam in Emma

Joanna and I cut our date night short and went to see Emma's concert at her school.  If you look at the edge of the piano, you can see her blond head in the sea of children.

The Sickness Continues

May 05, 2015 by Adam in Family

Emma's illness apparently passed its way to Joanna, Berry, and I.  We're all a little under the weather, though I managed to make it to work and mostly function after a mocha and Advil combination.  Though the emails that had piled up were initially overwhelming, I managed to make a serious dent in all my work and I think things are mostly under control again.

The three day weekend was quite pleasant.  Saturday morning Emma magically appeared and we went to the library where I paid a $77 late fee (note to self, don't let a couple dozen books accumulate four days of $.50 fees).  It was also free comic day, so we went to Emerald City Comics where we experienced relatively well managed chaos.  Emma bought a new Magic deck, which she played against her brother later that day.  We had hoped to make it to Yayoe's concert, but my cold hit me hard and we decided to take it easy.  Sam eventually appeared too and we did our usual Mythbusters substitute watching with pizza.

Sunday had BJ, Marty, and Jason come over after breakfast and Emma and I played D&D with them all day long.  It was quite fun and nostalgic, and Jason is always amusing.  Emma had a good time hanging out with the grownups.  Joanna brought us all oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, as I have the best wife ever.

That night we went over to my mom's for Easter dinner.  The whole crew was there and we chatted and ate the evening away.  Upon our return I tucked Emma and her gimpy toe to bed.  I went downstairs where Sam has me going through the next Metal Gear Solid game.  It's a terrible burden for me, of course.

Honoka is helping with dinner tonight.  I'm starving, so I best go make sure things are on track.

Grand Theft Auto

May 03, 2015 by Adam in Adam's Games

The latest Grand Theft Auto game came out for PC recently.  It has the highest Metacritic score of any PC game at the moment, and I understand why.  The virtual world is full of interesting places and things to do - I've played golf, gone hunting, ridden a Ferris wheel, bought property, played the stock market, and so much more.  Then there's the actual storyline, which is pretty good, despite the fact that all the main characters are pretty bad people.

Occasionally I lose myself, driving on the rainy roads listening to the radio, content to just take in the ambiance of the faux-California streets.

Of course, then there's the fun in doing incredibly ridiculous things.  I decided to find some jumps and give it a try.  I don't think this is one of the 50 official jumps in the game, but that didn't stop me trying to make one of those cool jump videos.

Mocha Friday

May 02, 2015 by Adam in Family

Well, I took the day off today.  My boss told me to, right before leaving work yesterday.  I have a ton of things to do, but it seemed fairly sensible.  After waking up early, fretting about work, I managed to get back to sleep for a little and hung out with Berry and Emma.  After that was Dutch Babies for breakfast, feeding Honoka on her way off to school. 

The morning was pretty low-key.  Duncan, Berry, and Joanna went off to their t.v. interview, which you can watch here.  Emma and I did art and watched an old X-Men movie.  She hurt her toe pretty badly on Thursday, missing school for the day.  It involves moving a chair and squishing her little toe, which was both embarrassing and painful.  Around noon I fed Emma and her mom picked her up after that.

This afternoon has been fairly low-key.  I mowed the lawn and cleaned up the garage.  Laundry was folded.  Dishes were done.  I managed to play more Grand Theft Auto, which continues to amuse and entertain.

Tonight Joanna and I are going to a celebration thingie at her church.  Tomorrow morning I get Emma.  It's free comic day, plus I've got to get to the library to return a bunch of overdue books.  Busy, busy.

Coming soon to a TV/screen near you!

May 01, 2015 by Joanna in Joanna

Duncan and Berry are participating in Eugene Lemonade Day on Sunday (it's part of a thing by Columbia Bank and Corban University) and, as part of promoting it, will be on KEZI news Friday, May 1 at 11:45 am.

If you're in Eugene - watch it on TV! If not, you can watch it on their livestream:

If someone could record it for us, that would be super. Hopefully we don't all embarrass ourselves horribly.

Oh, and come by on Sunday afternoon -- and any day after school that it's sunny -- and get your lemonade.

Sick days

April 27, 2015 by Seraph in Cortez

Robbie and Isabell have both been battling bouts of the stomach flu. Robbie is mostly recovered, but Isa is home for another day. She recovered enough yesterday to request some nostalgic Monkey Island game time. With five weeks of school to go, I hope she's up and moving soon.

Quiet Rainy Weekend

April 27, 2015 by Adam in Family

It was a pleasant, low-key weekend.  I fetched Emma after school Friday night and we hung out until bedtime, wrapping up the night with Call the Midwife with Joanna.

Saturday morning we invited mom over for breakfast, who entertained and chatted with us all.  She also dropped off some DVDs of old movies which I want to upload to YouTube (after some editing out of naked me in the pool).  Joanna, Duncan, and Berry put in a bunch of work into a lemonade stand while Emma and I went to the library.  It was nice getting some quiet time with Emma and we returned with a bunch of watercolor books.

Both girls worked on watercolor paintings that afternoon.  I'd picked up Grand Theft Auto 5, so I managed to play some of that, careening around the city in stolen vehicles.  Joanna and I both worked on the garden, which is coming together nicely.  Eventually Sam arrived and we watched more Tested, giving food tips to astronauts and flying drones with first person view cameras.

Sunday was also quiet.  The girls kept painting.  Honoka made cheesecake.  I stole them all in the afternoon to do secret Mother's Day activities.  In the afternoon I finally finished the end of Metal Gear Solid after considerable suffering.  Emma made Sam watch High School Musical and Sam had Emma play Demon Souls.  Berry downloaded a Minecraft animation program and started making videos.  Sam has been making an island in the latest Unreal SDK.


April 25, 2015 by Adam in Family

My mom came over for breakfast and dropped off a couple DVDs of old movies.  I decided to edit it into a shorter video and added some music.  I ended up making myself cry, so hopefully that means it turned out well.

Toothless Mocha Friday

April 24, 2015 by Adam in Family

Emma lost two teeth last night.  She's been sick all week, and apparently she's literally falling apart as well.  I wrote her a sweet, threatening letter from the tooth fairy demanding increases in production.  Hopefully we can get her back to school soon too.

Sam and Honoka have enjoyed a week of sleeping in due to late starts due to testing.  Sam's signing up for classes next year: PreCalc, European Lit, Chemistry, Japanese 3, and hopefully AP European History.  He might also get some electives in jogging, computers, and international foods.

Joanna's been busy, helping at Charlemagne and working on assorted writing projects.  Duncan and Berry had their science fair yesterday, with the tadpoles dutifully transported to the gym for a couple days.  They've also enjoyed track and field this week - I think it's good for them to run around.

Berry was really funny this morning.  She's been helping make breakfast since she turned eight.  This morning she was complaining about how she wish she could stay in bed and have breakfast make itself.  "Now I know why grownups are grumpy all the time."  It cracked me up.

My mocha is gone and I have a ton of work to do, so I'm signing off for now.

Wednesday Update

April 22, 2015 by Adam in Family

The week is moving along at a surprisingly fast clip.

Emma reports being sick and has been out of school for a couple days.  Honoka slept in yesterday and missed a couple class periods.  Today she's off to LCC for a catering event.  Duncan and Berry are getting ready for their science projects on dreams and the life-cycle of frogs, respectively.  Tonight they're off to their track and field practice.

Last night Joanna and I went out to dinner and wandered around downtown, chatting all the way.  We ended up having great tea before returning home.  Sam continues to push me to play Metal Gear Solid, which I keep failing at.  It's hard being an over-the-top action hero.

Hopefully this weekend mom will join us for dutch babies.  I'm supposed to remind her to bring a checkbook, as Sam is apparently owed money.

Sunny Weekend

April 20, 2015 by Adam in Family

The weather was incredible this weekend.  Friday night Joanna and I walked over to Friendly Street Market and enjoyed the warm spring evening air.  It was nostalgic for me, as I used to take Sam there when he was little.  We ate quiche and listened to a band of 60 year-olds playing music from the 60's, a little hippie enclave in the modern world.

Saturday morning I picked up Emma and we went to the library together while Duncan, Berry, and Joanna went off to chess and birthdays.  I picked up a book - The Girl with All the Gifts - and read it incessantly all day until I finished.  I haven't done that in a long while, and it was a rare treat.   Eventually Emma was picked up to go kayaking with her mom and Sam.   

Berry had her birthday party at Putters, with everyone playing laser tag except Honoka and I.  I think Joanna had a really good time, as did the little kids.  Everyone returned home for more Mythbuster substitute videos and pizza.
Sunday was very much a hang out at home day for me.  I played Elder Sign with Emma and Berry after breakfast, saving the world once again.  Sam woke up and I played with them after lunch, while Berry was swept away to the next birthday.  I did some yardwork.  Joanna grilled dinner.  We enjoyed the warm evening weather once again.

Berry's Many Birthdays

April 20, 2015 by Adam in Ben

Berry had a series of birthday events over the last week.  The first was one at home, which involved a wild singing spinning candle device:

Over the weekend we went out to laser tag, which was wild and crazy and full of children:

Berry has been adjusting to her eight year-old self.  She had a few moments over the weekend that involved excessive screaming.  Over the same few days she's been very sweet, helping make breakfast and assisting with chores.  Growing up is hard work sometimes.

Mocha Friday

April 17, 2015 by Adam in Family

It's a crazy mocha Friday at work today - the help desk calls are pouring in and Jonathan and Keith are around to visit.  I think I'm approaching the point of getting things under control.  Lots of multitasking.

Last night we went out to dinner with my coworkers and Emma came along.  Joanna got her all dressed nicely and she was quite polite and entertaining.  We've come a long way from the little kids who would eat pats of butter any time we went out.

Poor Joanna has had migraines the last few days, so she's been pretty miserable.  I keep hoping that we'll all be illness-free one day.  Maybe it's related to allergies, as the weather has suddenly become warm and spring-like.

The kids are all doing just fine.  Duncan and Berry seem to be enjoying their track and field practice - last night was Capture the Flag among other things.  Berry came back with pink cheeks and ready for bed.  I think Emma may secretly like her PE class too - she was excited to have open gym today.  She also let me know that she was taking 8 days of tests and her teacher disliked them so much that everyone wrote a poem about it.

Honoka has been staying up late working on homework.  I think her English assignments are especially challenging.  She's really putting in the work, though, and her grades are quite good.

Sam's his usual self.  We play video games together on occasion.  Last night he watched a scary movie on his own.  He plays D&D with friends after school a couple days a week. 

Tonight Joanna and I are going out on our date night, probably a low-key visit to Friendly Street Market to eat deli food and listen to music.

All-in-all, life is doing okay.


April 15, 2015 by Seraph in Cortez

I just finished my Basic Skills tests for the special Ed certification program. There will be more tests throughout the program, be these covered basic reading, writing and math. It's been a great reminder of how much I've always hated test taking!

Mid-Week Update

April 15, 2015 by Adam in Family

We had a pleasant birthday for Berry last night, who seems a very big eight years old.  She and Duncan went to their first track and field practice, which tuckered them out.  I picked up Tasty Thai for dinner and got Berry's new computer set up.  They all arrived and we fed them and sang Happy Birthday to a funny spinning candle thingie that Yayoe found for Berry.

Berry has been quiet cheerful and helpful lately.  This morning I got up late and Berry helped cook breakfast for everyone.  She can be surprisingly sweet at times.

Sam and I have been playing video games on occasion in the evening, either fighting together as bunnies in Overgrowth or Sam making me play Metal Gear Solid on his PS3.  I think he feels I missed out on my console video game experience and I require some cultural education.

Joanna went off to yoga this morning.  She's keeping the household together and working away at her stories for Lane County Monthly.  All is well.

Happy in Mass

April 14, 2015 by Sue in Wielesek

This has been such a nice vacation. Simon is cute as a bug's ear, and it was wonderful to see Isa.
It still amazes me that my grandkids are all so nice. It just seems statistically unlikely.

When I got here, both Sadie and Simon had bad colds. Sadie said that Isa had been a real help, and I think that Isa really enjoyed her time with Simon. She had taught him Hi-Fives, which he has continued to practice ever since. I got to go see Cinderella with Isa, all of which made me wish that she lived five blocks away.

Sadie made a nice Orthodox Easter dinner - borchst, salmon kuliebaka, challah bread, and almond cake.  Some friends from Babies and Board Games came, and the couple who farm brought wonderful greens which they grow in a greenhouse year round. I also got to meet a couple of the Babies (cute kids, both, but not  nearly so cute as Simon, of course.) It's very fun to watch the things he can do. He's really mobile now, whipping around in Speed-Crawl mode. Just over the time I've been here he's gone from pretty shaky pulling himself up to only needing to steady himself with one hand. He is just never still. Greg is so patient with him.

Having to leave the day after tomorrow. Woe.

Back to Work

April 13, 2015 by Adam in Family

Sam was musing that another day of the weekend would have been perfect - I tend to agree.  

Saturday we bid farewell to Joanna and the little kids as they went off to a chess competition.  Duncan returned with a trophy, though I'm a little unclear on the specific criteria.  Emma and I went to the library and then later to the U of O bookstore, returning with books and presents.

The afternoon was pretty low-key, playing and doing art, or assorted clean-up tasks for myself.    With no new Mythbusters episodes, we watched some videos from Tested, which is affiliated with the two Mythbusters folks.  There are some good ones in there - the kids liked the space burrito.

Sunday had a breakfast of waffles, followed by Joanna and Duncan going to church while Berry, Emma, and I worked away in the garage.  I tried to repair an old cabinet with Emma's help.  Berry destroyed a microwave.  We eventually wore ourselves out, not quite finished with anything.

Sam went hiking with his mom that afternoon and the rest of the crew went for a long visit to Amazon Creek.  It was a gorgeous day.  Joanna brought home swamp water and sticks for the tadpoles.  The kids ran around on the playground.  Eventually I coaxed them away for a walk along the creek, coming back home a little pink with sunburn.  Cubicle life hasn't prepared me for the outside world.

The day wrapped up with kids finishing homework.  Sam and Emma played a game involving wrestling in sleeping bags, followed by Overgrowth video game bunny fighting.  Berry won a game of Sorry with Joanna.  I played the laundry folding game and mostly succeeded.

Egg Drop

April 12, 2015 by Adam in Family

The Easter eggs were getting pretty gross, so we put together assorted weird contraptions to keep our eggs intact and then we dropped them off the balcony.

Mocha Friday

April 10, 2015 by Adam in Family

It's a fairly pleasant Mocha Friday - spring seems to be coming in full force with all the flowers blooming.  It's crazy talking to my mom and hearing about snow still on the ground.

Emma got her hair cut yesterday.  It's short and cute and sassy, which fits her nicely.  She's going to a school dance tonight, which means that she's really going to play Magic with her friends until she calls me and I pick her up.  

Duncan and Berry are pondering track and field classes after school.  Hopefully they stick with it.  Duncan got a glowing review of his mod made in his online class he's been taking - I suspect he'll take more computer classes in the future.

Even though Sam moved his computer downstairs, we still manage to play quite a bit together.  Last night he got Demon Souls and I watched him play for a while, along with some bunny-on-bunny fighting action with Overgrowth.  Other than sleeping in and missing first period on Wednesday, I think all is well with school.  He's having fun playing D&D after school a couple days a week.

Honoka is her usual quiet, well-behaved self.  Joanna has been rushing about interviewing people and working on assorted novels.  The little kids have a chess competition tomorrow.  Emma and I will likely hang out and go to the library.  Life's good.

Pillars of Eternity & Metal Gear Solid

April 08, 2015 by Adam in Adam's Games

I'm very slowly working through a glut of games.  I go through them slowly these days, but they continue to be a fun bright point in my array of hobbies.

I'm towards the end of a Portal-like puzzler called The Talos Principle.  It's fun, and has an interesting story, but I put it on hold to play Pillars of Eternity.  It's an homage to the old Baldur's Gate games of 16 years ago, done with all the modern bells and whistles and a great non-D&D world to learn about and explore.  I've sunk in a ton of hours and continue to have fun with it.

Sam's been working on his PS3 games he recently picked up, including having me go through Metal Gear Solid.  I'm slowly getting okay at it, but am only halfway through.  I may have to go bug him to let me play more tonight, as I'm curious as to how it turns out.

Mid-Week Update

April 08, 2015 by Adam in Family

The week continues to move along, mostly uneventfully.

I've been driving mom's car around this week, mostly used to driving a stick shift again.  I think I'm getting my car back from the shop today, minus a very large check.  It's amazing how much we spend on transportation.

Joanna and the little kids collected tadpoles for a science presentation yesterday afternoon.  There's a little aquarium set up for observations.  I've heard frogs return back to the site they're born, so I keep imagining a horde of frogs coming to the door a year from now.

Sam and I saw It Follows last night.  I'm not normally into horror movies, but I heard good things about it and it seemed a fun thing to do with Sam.  It was pretty good, as horror films go, and I was more intrigued by the monster than terrified by it.  Sam and I discussed various defenses all the way home.

Joanna and I are going out on a date night tonight.  Emma got a hair cut and will surprise us with it tomorrow.  Life's doing okay.

Easter Weekend

April 06, 2015 by Adam in Family

It was a fairly exciting weekend, all around.  Friday night Joanna and I went out to a new Japanese restaurant and then made a brief foray downtown to look at art.  As always, it's a pleasure to hang out with Joanna and chat.  It turns out we really like each other.

Saturday morning the little kids went to chess.  I worked on cleaning the garage a little more, then Honoka and I went down to Saturday Market to pick up veggies and meet up with Emma, Jamie, and Meg.  We eventually returned home and spent the afternoon hanging out and dying Easter eggs.  Duncan and Berry spent much of the afternoon playing with Flynn and his friend, but eventually returned to partake of the egg art.  Emma was delivered to Jade's birthday sleepover.  As the day wound down, I fetched Sam from Jamie's and picked up pizza.  

Easter Sunday started with lots of chocolate and Joanna and the little kids going to church.  I picked up Emma, who had learned to put on makeup during her evening out.  Later Sam and Honoka awoke and we ended up playing assorted games like "Secret Assassin" and Superfight.  

The whole crew arrived for Easter dinner.  We chatted and ate our way through the evening.  Eventually kids were put to bed and I helped Sam with logarithms, barely remembering them myself.  He still has a lot of homework to catch up on.

This morning I drove my mom's car to work since mine is still in the shop.  I managed to remember how to drive a stick successfully.  It'll be nice to get my real car later this week.

Spring break

April 05, 2015 by Seraph in Cortez

Isa got into Greenfield safe and sound. She said Simon was taking a bath then they were all going to bed. Considering she was up at 3:30 am I'm sure she was pooped!
Robbie (who finished his sixth pilgrimage yesterday) and I went out hiking today and found a beautiful canyon and river near our house. I think more summertime exploring will be required!

Mocha Friday

April 03, 2015 by Adam in Family

I'm working at home today.  The black car is in the shop with a blown head gasket.  I diagnosed it myself after some Google searches and the price to repair was just as expensive as I thought it would be.  There goes a chunk of our tax return.  Hopefully I get it back next week.

Sam dragged himself to school this morning.  He's been home all week with stomach issues, which is his Achilles's heel.  Honoka just rushed out the door - hopefully she makes it to class on time.

Emma was her usual cheerful self last night.  She made me do exercises in the basement to show me what she's been doing in PE.  Though she says she hates PE, she seemed rather excited.  She claims floor hockey is the sport of her people (she enjoys being Canadian too).

Duncan and Berry have been their usual selves.  Berry's been working on her comic writing empire, charging her family members for her creative output.  Duncan continues to accumulate Minecraft mods.  Emma helped put them both to bed last night, reading Archie comics given to us by Uncle Dave long ago.

Date night tonight.  Quiet weekend ahead.  Life's okay.

Vaguely Productive Weekend

March 30, 2015 by Adam in Family

Both our teenagers are sick this morning.  Hopefully they keep it to themselves, but I'm bracing for everyone to be sick.  Honoka spent Sunday throwing up and laying on the couch, which is never a good sign.  Sam texted me, saying he was super sick.  I asked Joanna to check up on them later this morning.  Poor kids.

Friday night was spent collecting all the children.  I picked up Sam and Emma and we hung out together.  Duncan and Berry came back that night as well, and Joanna fetched Honoka from the airport. 

Saturday morning Duncan and Berry left with their dad, though Emma and I ran into them later at the library.  We returned home with a pile of books and eventually woke up Sam.  We went shopping at Target and walked around the river nearby.  The weather has been so nice lately.  Eventually we returned home to pizza and Mythbusters.

Sunday was pretty low-key.  I managed to play a little of my new nostalgic video game and Sam hooked me up with the first Metal Gear Solid game, watching intently at my various mistakes.  Emma, Sam, and I, along with occasionally Joanna and Berry, played a weird game involving assassins, guards, citizens, and thieves.  Basically we all got random roles, though it usually devolved into stabbing everyone else with foam swords and laughing hysterically.

I did manage to clean up the garage somewhat and take a bunch of stuff to St. Vincent de Paul's.  I saw this cool hanging bike organizer online and successfully made it myself.  It's now possible to walk into the garage and move around.  Next step is to clean out the dissolving particle board cabinet and put everything where it's supposed to belong.

Quiet Mocha Friday

March 27, 2015 by Adam in Family

It's been pretty quiet the last few days.  Wednesday night we got a tired Duncan overnight - I installed some mods for him and sent him to bed.  Last night Joanna and I had a quiet dinner together and walked around the block.  The weather has been so beautiful - it feels like spring is here in force.  On the downside, my allergies have started and I ended up mowing the lawn last night.  Everything is growing so quickly now.

Our horde of children arrive tonight.  I'm picking up Sam, Emma, and her friend Ella after work.  After dinner we get Honoka.  Eventually we'll get Duncan and Berry.  I look forward to our happy chaos.

Back from Portland

March 26, 2015 by Adam in Family

We had two luxurious days away from work, home, and children.  It was quite pleasant - it turns out Joanna and I really like each other when we're by ourselves.  We got Duncan and Berry off and then hit the road to Portland.  We hit the gluten free bakery for sustenance and then drove over to McMenamins at Edgefield to check in. 

The place was funky but fun, with far too many bars and pubs scattered around the grounds.  We ended up soaking in the spa pool and then catching a dinner and a movie at the Power Station pub.  It was Jupiter Rising, which was flashy and dumb - Joanna kept peppering me with logical flaws afterward.  I just pointed out how pretty it was.

The next morning we had breakfast, went for a hike, and shopped at an outlet mall and Ikea.  We didn't find quite what we wanted, but our marriage survived and we came home with a few home improvement projects to add to the list.  The rest of the evening was uneventful - we got a tired Duncan at the end of the day, laundry was done, I played some video games, and we wrapped up the evening with Call the Midwife.

Tonight should be equally quiet, with Berry overnight instead.  Friday marks the return of everyone including Honoka.  Should be the usual happy chaos.

Beach Trip

March 24, 2015 by Adam in Family

We had a great trip to the beach.  I was a little nervous with seven people in tow, but the kids were good natured and we all somehow fit in the minivan with all our clothes.  We left Friday after work, stopped in Corvallis at Nearly Normal's Gonzo Cuisine, and made our way to dad's house to crash for the night.

Saturday was beautiful, defying the weather report.  Dad showed up for breakfast, we woke Sam up early, and then we went to Lincoln City to hang out at the beach.  The kids roamed around and played in the sand.  Honoka was impressed by the horde of harbor seals camped out across the water.  Eventually we returned home for lunch and then headed out for an afternoon hike at Cascade Head.  It was gorgeous dense rainforest, if a bit steep.  Joanna turned back with the kids and Sam and I ran up the mountain until we got to a good stopping point.  I was a little worried about Sam's knee, but it seemed in good shape.

Eventually we wrapped up the evening with pizza and Mythbusters.  Ana came with tasty food for Joanna and I.  Eventually we bid Ana and my dad farewell and we wound down for the night.

Sunday we tried to get to the tide pools in Newport at Heceta Head light house, but we missed them and it was pouring rain.  Sam and Joanna walked to the light house, which we couldn't get into, but the little kids and I drove up the road, walked briefly through the torrent, saw the view, and turned back.  We then hung out at the interpretive center and dried off, which was actually kinda fun.  We drove back and hung out for the rest of the day - I was exhausted from the drive and unpacking.

Today Joanna took Honoka to the airport where she went to visit her host family in Canada.  Joanna worked and Sam went to work for my mom.  I took the rest of the crew to the library and we played around in the afternoon.  Eventually Jamie came for Emma and Kevin and his mom came for Duncan and Berry.  For a brief moment, all the children were off.  We made mushroom soup and bottled cider.

The little kids are back and Joanna and I are off for a couple days on an adventure.  Life is never dull.

Mocha Friday

March 20, 2015 by Adam in Family

It's a low-key Friday.  Since I'm off work for the next five days, I'm trying hard not to move anything to live.  Those always end up being a little more relaxing as moving things to production is always a little nail-biting.

It's the usual madhouse at home with all the kids running around.  I arrived last night to find Sam sticking Berry in the "foof" and pretending she was a giant taco.  Emma was drawing her latest crazy cartoon character (Oil Baron Whale?).   Berry has been complaining of jaw pain - I'm not quite sure how serious it is, as it seems to pop up at convenient times.

Duncan had a guilty conscience a couple days ago and confessed to assorted sins (including forging times on his computer chart).  I was actually fairly impressed that he fessed up, and he apologized to his friends that he was pranking on his Minecraft server.  We have implemented hopefully appropriate punishments.

Joanna's had a busy week.  She went hiking with the Obsidian club as part of an article.  Wednesday night we had a date consisting of Mexican food and a Wordcrafters speaker.  She also took care of a bunch of minivan repairs - it's nice to have a window that rolls both down and up consistently.

We're off to the coast this weekend, somehow stuffing seven people in the car for over two hours.  It'll probably be cold and wet, but such is the way of Oregon weather in the spring.

Knee Updates

March 19, 2015 by Adam in Sam

I took Sam into Slocum this morning where he was generally given a clean bill of health.  It sounds like his knee continues to be sore in some situations.  The doctor was a little worried about the knee cap slipping again, but thought that continued exercise was a good idea.  I suspect carefully pushing himself for the next six months or so will take care of most of the issues.

He did drop his team sports class for this term and expressed an interest in running.  Maybe I can convince him to go jogging with me on occasion.

Mid-Week Update

March 18, 2015 by Adam in Family

It's been a busy week, zipping along.

The high school kids started their new term on Monday.  Sam dropped his PE class due to his knee issues.  He has an appointment with Slocum this Thursday - hopefully he can be more active in the fall. 

Last night we went to Honoka's band concert.  She was hiding in the back corner, but seemed to do okay.

I'm adjusting to Sam having his computer in his room - I tend to not see him as much, but occasionally her emerges to hang out.  Monday night we watched Table Top and practiced our kung fu rag-cutting skills.

Tonight Joanna and I are off on a hot date night.  Busy, busy.

Long Rainy Weekend

March 16, 2015 by Adam in Family

It was a pleasant, long weekend, full of kids and assorted activities.  Our warm winter turned wet in the week before spring.

Sam setup his PS3 in his room and then played his new PS3 game, but popped out fairly regularly to hang out with the rest of us.  We managed some board game action, and lots of bouncing the exercise ball around in the basement - Sam and the little kids managed to do weird things with bubble wrap for a long time as well.

Joanna brewed up a new batch of cider and kept relatively busy.  Emma expanded her online language classes to Swedish.  I wore myself out taking the girls bike riding - eventually I collapsed and had to go home to play video games.

There was a library trip, art projects, and Honoka recovering from her birthday sleepover.  Today is a new term, and I suspect Sam will have quite a bit more homework with math starting up.  He's got to figure out his PE class as well since his knee isn't quite up for team sports.

Metal Gear Solid: Revengeance

March 14, 2015 by Adam in Adam's Games

Sam talked me into buying Metal Gear Solid: Revengeance.  It's a fairly standard fighting game, with an over-the-top story.  At the moment, I'm trying to retrieve the brains of children being turned into cyborg soldiers.  Every time they say "brains", I want to rub my hands together and cackle.

I felt completely incompetent playing at the beginning, but Sam gave me pointers and it's become pretty fun.  Weirdly, a key gameplay element is cutting your enemies in half and ripping out their cyborg spines for energy.  I've gotten rather good at it.

Happy Pi Day

March 14, 2015 by Adam in Family

It's been a lovely weekend so far.  I had Friday off and the weather was nice.  Joanna had a headache and worked, so I hauled Emma, Duncan, and Berry off to the reservoir at the top of the hill to practice bike riding.  Emma was nervous, but picked it up where she left off a year ago.  Soon enough she was zipping around without too much trouble.  Berry and Duncan kept the training wheels on despite my protests, but still had a good time.  Eventually Joanna joined us and we returned home for lunch.

After lunch Sam and I moved his computer downstairs after having it in the living room for the last five years.  He actually had permission to move it into his room some time ago, but only got around to it now.  I'll miss hanging out with him, playing computer games together, but threatened to come visit regularly.  Rearranging everything was fairly exhausting, but I think everything is set up and working.  He also got his used PS3 shipped last night - he'll be sure to set it up when he returns from Jamie's house.

Sam coached me as I played Metal Gear Solid: Revengeance - I was completely incompetent until he gave me a few pointers.  Honoka's friends started to arrive and Joanna took them to the movie.  The rest of us retreated to the basement to play weird games involving giant inflatable balls and punching.  Everyone had a great time.

Sam and Emma went to dinner with Jamie.  Joanna returned, ate, and went to get the girls.  Eventually Emma returned and we hung out, reading Adventure Time and watching The Bravest Warriors.  The evening wrapped up with a little Call the Midwife on the newly arranged living room entertainment setup, which worked pretty well.

This morning we made circular breakfast items (even the bacon) and ate at precisely 9:26:53 to commemorate Pi day.  It was fun.

Honoka's Birthday

March 14, 2015 by Adam in Family


had her birthday this Thursday.  Her friends threw her a surprise birthday party Friday at the park, and last night she took a couple friends out to the movie and they slept over last night.  I think she had a really good time.


March 11, 2015 by Adam in Family

Sam and Honoka have been taking finals the last couple days.  With Sam being gone for a week of illness, he's been feeling a little overwhelmed by it all.  Jamie and I both gave him the "you have to make up the work" speech - hopefully it sunk in.  In any case, he's confident of A's and B's in his classes.  I think Honoka will be equally fine, based on the amount of studying she's been doing and the detail she put into her "Jenny the Giraffe" children's book.

The week has been fairly uneventful.  Sam handed over his hard earned cash and told me to buy him a used PS3.  There are some old games he plans on playing.  Duncan is playing Minecraft as usual, asking me to install mods - hopefully this will prevent issues with malware that he's had lately.

I'm taking Friday off to hang out with the kids, who are all out of school.  Honoka has her birthday this Thursday.  Joanna and I are going out on a hot date tonight.  Good times.

Slowly Getting Better

March 09, 2015 by Adam in Family

All the kids went to school today, a first in a long while.  Both Sam and Emma seemed to improve over the weekend, though they still weren't leaping about.  I'll be glad to see the last of the winter illnesses.

Friday night was a fun outing.  We took Duncan, Berry, and the new sitter downtown for an event.  Joanna is an ongoing writer for Lane Monthly, and they were celebrating their first edition with free ice cream.  The little kids liked their time on the town, returning with a balloon dog and sword from a street performer.  We returned home and then Joanna and I went out to Off the Waffle to wrap up a pleasant date night.  Honoka came over later with two friends, who all slept in the basement and vanished in the morning.

Saturday morning I picked up Sam and Emma and then ran Emma to the library to get her school book.  I worry both kids are behind from being sick for a week, especially with finals this week for Sam.  They assure me it's taken care of, but I guess we'll see.  The day was relatively uneventful - I got a lot of laundry done, played Magicka with Sam and Emma, and picked up pizza for our usual Mythbusters.  Joanna's apparently writing a monthly gardening column, so she was out taking pictures of blooming fruit trees and getting the beds ready to plant.

Sunday was daylight savings, so dinners and bedtimes all seemed a little off.  Emma hit the treadmill a little and Sam played a bunch of his latest Metal Gear Solid game.  Duncan went off to church with Joanna.  I set up Berry to disassemble a broken Wii drive, which was both entertaining and maddening for her.  More children arrived, Honoka went out with friends to work on school projects, and Sam and Emma went to the Wizard of Oz with their mom.  As for me, my big accomplishment was to finally get rid of the old dishwasher that was cluttering our driveway.  Time to make things pretty for springtime.

Mocha Friday

March 06, 2015 by Adam in Family

Sam and Emma continue to be sick.  Emma came over last night, and has spent the whole time complaining of stomach pain and nausea.  She really wanted to go to school to pick up homework, and was last seen this morning doing her online vocabulary studies.

It's been a generally uneventful week.  I've been working away at Provider Compensation non-stop at work.  Joanna went to a writer's meet last night.  Sam and I watched a couple movies, as that was all he was up for.  Tonight Joanna and I are going out, though we might be taking the little kids due to lack of a sitter.

Hopefully everyone will feel better by Monday.

Happy Birthday, Dad

March 06, 2015 by Adam in Lohring

Happy birthday, dad. 

Thanks for entertaining me over the years with talk of science, computers, and board games.  You've helped turned me into the manly nerd I am today.

Disease-Filled Weekend

March 03, 2015 by Adam in Family

Friday night I was so wiped out that I was incapable of going on my hot date with Joanna.  Brenna took the little kids to Mardi Gras while I languished, eventually coming downstairs for dinner.  Joanna made soup and cookies.  I managed to eat some toast, we watched the finale of Agent Carter, and my appetite returned as I nibbled on cookies.  Eventually I got to bed, though I didn't sleep particularly well.

As the weekend progressed, Sam and Emma returned to us on Saturday.  Sam spent the weekend moping around, but Emma was fine until Sunday night.  I managed a fairly quick recovery, though I'm still not quite perfect.

Saturday morning Joanna and I dropped off the little kids at chess club, went to the library, and picked up Honoka from a sleepover, Emma from her mom's house, and Duncan and Berry from chess.  That afternoon Emma and I put out the hammock, took apart the broken Wii, and generally played around.  Eventually I got Sam and we wrapped up the evening with our usual pizza and Mythbusters.

Sunday was fairly quiet.  Emma and I played and finished Trine 2.  She invited a friend over, and Emma and Ella played non-stop.  Duncan had a friend over too, and Flynn repeatedly stopped by to hang out with everyone.

Sam and I played Europa Universalis 4 while we recovered.  It was a fun distraction, though not particularly practical.  I carefully avoided cleaning the sewage injection pump for obvious reasons.

Joanna also celebrated national peanut butter lover's day by inundating Sam with peanut butter infused products.  For breakfast it was peanut butter pancakes with peanut M&Ms.  For dinner it was peanut butter and peanut sauce.  Dessert was peanut butter cheesecake.  It was absolutely delicious.

The evening wrapped up with Sam, Emma, and I playing Augustus, which is a Roman-themed strategic bingo of sorts.  Sam barely won.

Basement Entertainment

February 27, 2015 by Adam in Adam's Projects

I continue to fiddle with the basement setup, trying to move it from a "little kids run around and play with toys" place into a "bigger kids hang out and interact".  I rearranged the couches and moved our old big t.v. downstairs.  The picture quality isn't the best, but apparently it works for watching Batman and Barbie, which the little kids did all day long when they were sick.  I've got the Wii hooked up to it - it's not reading disks, but it can stream Netflix just fine.

Emma is a regular user of the treadmill, which used to have an old laptop for entertainment.  Netflix was too choppy and driving me a little crazy.  I mounted a small but decent t.v. to the wall and hooked up Duncan's old computer to both that screen and the big t.v. It's complicated, but seems to work pretty well.

Next up is an attempt to fix one of our two broken Wiis.  I bought a special screwdriver to open it.  Hopefully I can clean it out and make it work.  If not, I can try replacing and CD player and getting it to read disks again.

Mocha Friday

February 27, 2015 by Adam in Family

I'm back at work, and Duncan, Berry, and Emma went off to school.  Sam, however, reported he was worse, so I gave him some painkillers and told him to stay in bed.  Hopefully this is the last of the winter illnesses. 

I worked from home for the last couple days, mostly to spare my coworkers from my sniffling.  Duncan stayed home from school with me, the first day watching endless Mad tv, and the second was spent writing a lengthy story on the chromebook.

I took Emma to get the last of her HPV shots.  I told her we were going to get "candy," but somehow she didn't believe me.  She was happy to hear that she's done with shots for the next five years.

Sam's been playing Pathfinder with friends a couple afternoons after school, and he was going to hang out at a friend's house after school today.  The latter may be postponed since he's sick, but it's nice to see him doing normal teenager things.  So much is done online these days.

Duncan and Berry have their Mardi Gras party tonight.  We decided to send them there with a babysitter, and Joanna and I will go off on a hot date.   Should be fun.

Mask of the Red Death

February 26, 2015 by Adam in Family

Okay, it's not quite so bad, but an awful lot of us seem to be sick today.  Berry's mostly better after a night of throwing up and a couple days of rest.  Duncan threw up last night and has been draggy today.  I've been sniffling and told to work from home by Joanna.  Joanna's been getting migraines.  Sam's been a little tired and sniffly.  The weather may be warm and sunny, but I think we've got one more wave of winter illness to get through.

Otherwise, life seems to generally be doing okay.  Berry made me a "Love you" popup card with a frog.  Duncan and Berry watched alternating Batman and Barbie on the downstairs t.v.  Joanna's almost done editing her book for the first time, which will be followed by a second editing pass.  Sam's making a video game in Excel. 

I played a nifty choose-your-own-adventure-with-time-rewind game called Life is Strange last night, which was entertaining.  It's set in an imaginary Oregon town, with occasional Twin Peaks references.  Good times.

Back to Work

February 23, 2015 by Adam in Family

Poor Berry spent the night throwing up, with poor Joanna taking care of her.  Berry doesn't have a fever, but she's generated a lot of laundry.  We even tossed in her bear this morning.

Otherwise, the weekend was generally good.  Joanna was off and about much of the weekend - Friday night she came back from her writer's conference, Saturday she and the little kids went to a chess competition, and Sunday she did a bunch of music stuff at church.  The kids and I had pizza and Mythbuster's Friday night, after I'd scooped them up from school.  Saturday morning Emma and I hung out together, and later I went for a walk with Sam and Cody before dropping him off for a dog watching evening at his mom's.  Duncan had a sleepover Saturday night.  Honoka made cookies all day Sunday.  Berry and Flynn played a bunch throughout the day.  Emma had her friend Ella over Sunday and had a good time.

Here and there I did little projects with the kids.  Sunday morning the girls played with magnets and iron filings.  Later Berry geared up and melted pewter, pouring it into skeleton molds she later painted.

Now I'm back to work, doing weird salary calculations.  Never a dull moment.

Mocha Friday

February 20, 2015 by Adam in Family

I got the kids off to school this morning, as Joanna headed to Portland for a writer's conference.  It's been a pretty typical week.  Honoka played at a pep rally. Sam went to PT and his knee keeps improving.  Emma is chatty and funny and hopes to have a friend over this weekend.  I think we'll do pizza and Mythbusters tonight as Duncan and Sam are off Saturday night.

Spring Comes Early

February 17, 2015 by Adam in Family

I don't know what crazy thing was happening this weekend, but we were running around in the middle of the day with t-shirts, basking in the sun.  Flowers are blooming and I think I need to mow the lawn soon.  Winter seems a distant memory.

Sunday started with waffles and a mocha, as any good day should.  I rearranged the basement maniacally. Honoka finally came down with a sore throat and slept most of the day.  Joanna and Duncan went off doing assorted things.  I took Sam, Emma, and Berry out to the path near the river next to my old house.  I had envisioned going on a nice long walk, but instead Sam and Berry vanished into the shrubbery and found an abandoned homeless camp they thought was awesome.  We explored the strange dirt mounds, wandering further across graffiti covered concrete slabs.  It was like some sort of urban enchanted forest. 

After our return, Sam and I played more EU4 - France and Scotland teaming up to take over the world.  Berry and Emma broke out the Littlest Pet Shop figures, with Emma making some sort of weird scene involving protest signs and castles. 

I had Monday off as well, which was yet another lovely warm day.  Joanna did taxes non-stop, which paid off with a nice little return.  I took Sam and Emma into the newly rearranged basement to play Space Team on our phones and tablets.  Mostly it involved a lot of amused yelling.  I took Sam, Emma, and Berry again, this time to the park to play Frisbee and run around.

Now I'm back at work, writing code and taking care of unruly computers.  At least the week will be short.

Valentine's Day

February 15, 2015 by Adam in Family

It's only Sunday morning, yet it feels like we've had a weekend full of activities.

Friday night I dropped Honoka off at a sleepover and Sam was staying at his mom's, so it was a little quieter than usual.

Valentine's Day began with a little visit with Emma, followed by getting all my presents and breakfast ready.  Joanna had prepped some monkey bread and scones, so I added eggs, bacon, veggie sausage, and a mocha to that.  The horde descended on the table and gobbled it up.  Next up was the little kids going to chess while I took Emma to the library.  We returned with our fines paid off and a load of treasured books for our perusal.  After a brief lull for lunch, Honoka returned and we all got ready for the Asian Celebration.

The little kids dragged Joanna between the art room and the Pokemon-themed booths.  We watched the Taiko drums, visited with Yayoe, and wandered the shops.  Honoka was wearing a traditional summer kimono, so she got quite a few complements.  I think the grownups and older kids were getting worn out, so after getting our photos taken with the snake, we headed home.

Sam was there when we returned.  We all ate pizza and watched Mythbusters, as is our way.  I took Honoka to her next event - a school dance held on the U of O campus.  Sam roped me into playing EU4 some more, me as France and Sam as Scotland. Joanna seemed perturbed that we teamed up to invade England.  We stopped at eleven so I could fetch Honoka, and then I collapsed from exhaustion.

Birth Plan [Updated]

February 13, 2015 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

One thing I realized after agonizing over my birth plan was what I missed entirely because I'd never been in labor before. Often birth plans are templates on the internet, and thus so bland or broad that a medical team wouldn't be able to remember or identify a woman's unique desires for labor. 

These are mine, updated after the fact to reflect what I should have handed to the midwives and nurses.

Sadie Miller and Gregory Caswell’s Birth Plan

First, thank you so much for being a part of what will certainly be a life-changing experience for us! We chose the Midwives at Mount Auburn because we don't have to ask you to change routines to get infrequent vaginal exams, skin-to-skin contact after delivery, delayed cord-clamping, and all of that good evidence-based stuff.

We think you're pros, and we're going to do our best to do you proud.

Pain Relief and Induction

  • We've prepared guided relaxation scripts, practiced massage, and learned alternative laboring positions. That's because, despite problems with an old tailbone injury and pubic symphysis pain, Sadie would like to do this without medication. Please don’t offer unless Sadie asks.
  • Don’t worry, the labor support team is ready to apply fierce amounts of pressure and count out every contraction for twelve hours. You basically get a night off.
  • If things are taking longer than expected, we're happy to go home before moving on to the hard stuff.
  • Sadie can get easily overwhelmed, so we’ll try a darkened, quiet space first if labor is stalled.
  • Thanks for offering an alternative to an IV for fluids and anti-nausea medication, even if trying to drink two quarts of liquid in ice chip form sounds ridiculous. It makes getting an IV feel like a choice.

Second Stage Labor

  • If a room with a birthing tub is available, we'll take it!
  • We're also excited to try the birthing ball, squatting bar, and stool to coax this baby into position.
  • Sadie can't see a damn thing and would like to keep her contacts or glasses on unless she’s unconscious.


  • In addition to her desire to have an unmedicated birth, Sadie would like her perineum treated like a prize race horse - hot compresses, massage, oil, and guided gentle pushing are all welcome.
  • We'll try any position that feels right, and have practiced squatting, hands-and-knees, and side lying positions.
  • Although my mother will be desperate to hear about your extended family in Oregon, please look at the woman who is literally pooping from exertion on the bed in front of you and take the chit-chat outside.
  • If, during the final push, you notice that Sadie’s labor support team is staring silently at her body as it turns intermittently beet red and a clammy yellow, please ask Sadie to nod when a contraction is coming on. Then unleash the varsity cheerleader.
  • If a cesarean is necessary, please make it as much like a regular birth as you can with your hands inside Sadie's abdomen. Sadie would like to hold and nurse the baby and have that miserable catheter and IV removed as quickly as possible.

Newborn Procedures

  • Please take care of routine drops and pokes after Sadie and baby have some bonding time.
  • Sadie plans to breastfeed exclusively, and is looking forward to meeting the lactation consultants four times a day.
  • Please do not circumcise the baby until he's 14 and ready to part with his foreskin on his own terms.
  • If the baby needs special attention away from Sadie, please let Greg stay with him.
  • We welcome all other routine tests and immunizations.
  • Sadie would like to pre-order the mac and cheese for after delivery.

Valentine's Day Eve

February 13, 2015 by Adam in Family

The children assured me that it was Valentine's Day Eve today.  Duncan and Berry were wearing fancy dresses in preparation for various parties.  Honoka was working hard on making cookies, and has a party tonight and a formal dance this weekend too.  Joanna has her little Valentine's Day things ready to go, though I have some presents to wrap still.

The end of the week has generally gone well.  Honoka was sick one night, but otherwise okay.  Joanna and I went out for a date night on Wednesday, eating at a Taste of India and stopping at the game store afterward.  Emma arrived last night, immediately snatched up by Sam for playing educational Russian roulette.  The loser had to name fifty countries, which ended up being so challenging that even Joanna had to give it a try.  Sam roped me into playing EU4, with me as Muscovy and Sam as Lithuania.  After dinner the two of us made an ice cream run to Safeway for ice cream.  It was a good day.

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day and the Asian Celebration.  Duncan and Berry have chess class too.  Somewhere in there we'll do pizza and Mythbusters and sip on Joanna's home brewed cider.

I'll spend the rest of today writing code and trying to figure out how to pay the doctors.  Despite how much I enjoy my nerdy job, I do look forward to the three day weekend.

Wednesday Update

February 11, 2015 by Adam in Family

It's been an up-and-down week.  I got pretty sick Monday afternoon and went home to sleep.  Joanna was very nice to me and took care of the critters while I stumbled about.  Tuesday I mostly improved, but stayed home from work to spare my coworkers.

I took Sam to the physical therapist and set up some future appointments for him.  His knee is improving, but still painful.  I think it'll take several months of physical therapy to build things back up.  He needs some more knee strength to prevent it in the future.

Joanna submitted some greeting card copy and got a response, which was fairly amusing.  They're doing some kind of market review and potentially could result in a few hundred dollars for her efforts.  It would be funny if she ended up supplementing her incoming via greeting cards.

We have a hot date tonight.  Not sure where we're going.

Another Lovely Weekend

February 09, 2015 by Adam in Family

I had a great weekend, full of hanging out with kids, playing games, and a few practical measures thrown in for good measure.

Friday night Joanna and I went out, unfortunately discovering that Cosmic Pizza dropped their gluten free crusts.  We ended up going to a vegetarian place instead where I was overcome by my possible food choices.  Instead of going to a stand up comedy show about bad dates, Joanna relayed some of hers from times gone by.

Saturday morning started with a mixup where Honoka texted me after a night spent at South for a catering class.  I thought it was Emma, and ended up picking her up and waking up people at her house.  Eventually I figured it all out and took everyone home. 

There was a mix of practical things - I took out the compost containers that had been piling up, and drilled holes in the floor to run HDMI cables.  Emma and I played some Trine 2, and I played my new sea faring game Sunless Sea.  The little kids went to chess class.  We broke out the paints and painted away.  The evening wrapped up with pizza and Mythbusters, with a delicious quiche for Joanna and I.

Sunday morning Emma was really wanting to play D&D.  We worked on characters and then played with Duncan and Berry in the afternoon.  I think everyone enjoyed it and I suspect we'll play more later.  Unsurprisingly, Berry is quite enthusiastic and a little vicious to boot.

We had family dinner, and Joanna went all out.  There was pumpkin pie and galette de rois.  It was great to see everyone and chat.  Sam dragged Emma and I out early for a walk around the neighborhood through the dark and lightning, followed by a contest to see how many curls we could do.  His knee still hurts, but it's slowly improving, and hopefully we can line up physical therapy this week.

Old Photos

February 06, 2015 by Adam in Lohring

I was digging through old CDs at work and found one full of all these scanned photos from your childhood, dad.  There's some super cute ones of you as a squishy baby on there too.

Mocha Friday

February 06, 2015 by Adam in Family

I just had the last gulp of mocha in between my first email pass and heading to a meeting.  The delicious elixir is bubbling through my veins.

It's been another exciting week.  We got good news about Sam's knee - no surgery, though plenty of physical therapy.  I think he'll keep going to wrestling practice, though he won't be able to wrestle this season.  Emma's been sick all week, though she's going to school today.  Duncan and Berry are their usual Minecraft and Pirate 101 playing selves, with chess club and fiber arts sprinkled in between.  Honoka has a catering sleepover tonight, with midnight volleyball promised.  Joanna joined a writer's group last night, giving it high praise.

As for me, I've been trying to figure out how to pay the doctors and working to keep our Internet site secure.  At home I keep everyone in clean clothes and dishes, while occasionally playing video games.  I had a good time with Sam and Emma, messing around in the basement.  Sam and I had pushup and situp contests - he's getting pretty darn' strong.  I was the only one sore this morning.

We had my dad over for dinner this week - he and Joanna chatted about work things.  It was nice to see him and we chatted away about space and science.

Tonight is a hot date listening to stand up comedy at Cosmic Pizza.  Duncan and Berry are excited to have Brenna babysit.  Sam is at Jamie's tonight, bringing a friend for a sleepover, the first in years.

I bought myself a new television which should arrive next week.  The current one is a seven year-old refurb with fading colors that I will likely banish to the basement. 

And that's about all the excitement I've got for the moment.

Knee Updates

February 06, 2015 by Adam in Sam

We had some mostly good news about Sam's knee today.  The MRI results came back - he dislocated his knee cap, bruised his knee bone, tore some tissue, and damaged the cartilage a little.  Despite all that, the meniscus is fine and he won't need any surgery.  Next step is physical therapy once a week for a couple weeks and then every other week, returning to the doctor in six weeks.

Sam is thinking about dropping rock climbing, as he's not supposed to twist his knee.  He's also not going to be able to wrestle this season, so I'm not sure if he'll keep going to practice.  It might still be a good time to hang out with his friends, watch them wrestle, and do some upper body workouts and physical therapy.

Wednesday Already?

February 04, 2015 by Adam in Family

I'm not quite sure how that happened. 

Jamie reports that she and Emma are both sick.  Sam has been moving around without crutches, though slowly. Duncan and Berry continue their chess homework, and Minecraft in the evenings.  Honoka has been playing pep rallies and occasionally staying up late to do homework.  Sam and I had a boy's movie night and watched Black Hawk Down together.  Joanna taught Fiber Arts and bought herself a couple fiber-combing devices to make a thing out of the wool that sounds like a barbarian name.

And that's what we've been up to.

Lovely Lazy Weekend

February 02, 2015 by Adam in Family

I had a really good weekend.  I'm not sure there was any particular thing that made it great, just lots of little moments that contributed to an overall sense of well-being.  True, Emma was sick, and I had a touch of a headache on Sunday, but they were minor things.

Saturday morning we had all the kids.  I played Trine 2 some more with Emma, making sure we waited until everyone was awake, as we kept cracking each other up.  Eventually we fed people dutch babies and Joanna took the little kids to chess class.  Berry beat another student, so I think she decided it was a good class.  I went over to help my mom with her Internet - basically Comcast's replacement router had a weaker signal than the old one.

Duncan played Minecraft and Sam and I played Europa Universalis IV and conquered the new world.  Joanna, Honoka, and the little kids watched the last Harry Potter movie.  Sam, Emma, and I played Magic in Sam's room.  Berry did science experiments, Emma took it easy, and the day wrapped up with pizza and Mythbusters.  Emma made me watch the Bravest Warriors on YouTube - I'll never be able
to think of the phrase "9000% sexier!" without smiling. 

Sunday was equally pleasant.  My mom took Honoka dress shopping for the spring dance.  Sam, Emma, and I hooked up the big monitor to my computer and played Trine 2.  Later on Sam and Berry played, much to their amusement.  Sam and I played more EU4.  Dinner was tasty.  Emma was feverish and continued to take it easy.

Now I'm back at work, and Emma is staying home, though much improved.  Sam's MRI is tonight, though we won't be able to get the diagnosis until later this week.

Summer Vacation Musings

February 01, 2015 by Adam in Family

Joanna and I have started talking about the beach trip this summer, trying to find the best way to fit everyone into two houses.  I found the rental house on Street View - it looks very nice.  There's a park across the street, it's five blocks from the beach, and eight minutes to dad's house.  I also noticed the Wii, hot tub, and BBQ, all of which will likely be used.

The trick is that it's impossible to fit all the kids (Jenny, Seraph, Sadie, I, and our respective families) all in the same house.  We'll likely have seven people with Honoka.

Dad's House
Honoka, Emma, Berry, Isa - big upstairs room
Seraph and Robbie - bedroom
Joanna and Adam - bedroom
Sam and Duncan - bedroom (or Sam in office)

Mom - bedroom
Yayoe and John - bedroom
Sadie, Greg, and Simon - bedroom
Jenny - bedroom
Dez and Jordan - bunk beds


Honoka, Emma, Berry, Isa - bunk beds
Adam and Joanna - bedroom
Sam and Duncan - bedroom (or Sam on couch)
Robbie and Seraph - bedroom
Jenny and Jordan or Sadie and Greg - bedroom

Dad's house
Everyone else

I suppose we could bring tents and have people sleep outside on the patio, or if they're very adventurous, they could sleep on the beach (which is legal outside of city limits).  That may get old after a night or two, though.

My assumption is that we'll gather at one house or another.  The rental is next to the beach, so it may end up being the best place to hang out.  We could alternate to keep things fresh and lively.

Anyway, just some pre-coffee musings.  I'm certainly open to options.  Regardless, I'm excited to see you all.

Vacation revisions

January 31, 2015 by Lohring in Lohring

We were a little late getting our reservations in. I reserved the house for June 24 through June 30. I hope this will still work. Here are some pictures.

Our house has three bedrooms with double beds and a large room that currently has a double bed and futon.  I can add a blow up bed and even a bunk bed if needed. 

My thought is that Adam's family and some kids can stay in our house with one or two other couples.  The kids can sort themselves into our big room or the room with two bunks and a twin bed.

Upper Floor

January 31, 2015 by Lohring in Lohring

Main Floor

January 31, 2015 by Lohring in Lohring

Bottom Floor

January 31, 2015 by Lohring in Lohring


Emma Plays the Flute

January 30, 2015 by Adam in Emma

Emma had her first flute concert with her beginning band class.  She was nervous, but did great.

Mocha Friday

January 30, 2015 by Adam in Family

I'm heading into work momentarily, sipping a cup of tea in preparation for an actual mocha.  The week has been going by quickly - my days spent pondering the intricacies of paying doctors.

Wednesday night Honoka played her sax with the band at a basketball game.  Last night Emma played her flute with her orchestra.  We piled everyone into the van, Joanna ran the little kids to exhaustion in the hallways, and then we sat on bleachers and enjoyed the show.  There were some fun highlights, like the chicken dance solo.  Emma was a little nervous going into it, but she was great.

Joanna and I went out to dinner Wednesday night, ending up at Falling Skies for burgers and cider.  Next was Macy's and bra shopping, which ended up being more practical than expected.

Sam and Emma went to their mom's last night.  We get the tonight for a long weekend of the full horde.  I imagine we'll do the usual pizza and Mythbusters.  I'd love to get outside for a hike, though Sam continues to move around on crutches.  Hopefully we'll get more news next week.

Mid-Week Update

January 28, 2015 by Adam in Family

It's the usual craziness at the Miller-Bartlett-Gustina-Sako household.

Sam hasn't had wrestling practice for the last couple nights, so he's been coming up the hill in crutches after school.  His knee is making popping noises, and he's strangely enthusiastic about the possibility of surgery.  We have the MRI next Monday, so we'll see how that goes.  The two of us have been playing a video game as Portugal and Castille in the 15th century, working together to expand our empires.  We also fixed his overheating computer by pulling a ton of dust out of his video card. 

Berry was under the weather yesterday, but I think she's better today.  Duncan told me stories about looking at his hair and tongue under the microscope in school.

Honoka has a few busy days ahead.  We're ordering food from her catering class for tomorrow, and she's playing her saxophone at a basketball game Friday night with the rest of her band class.

Emma has her concert tomorrow.  I'm excited to hear her flute along with all the other kids.

Joanna is doing her usual running around, taking care of things.  This morning she had her "I'm going to go work out at the YMCA" outfit on.  She got a contract job writing a story on generational gardening for a local magazine.  She seemed enthusiastic.  We have a hot date tonight, though we don't have a destination in mind yet.

As for me, I'm knee deep in complicated calculations to pay the doctors during the day, and knee deep in laundry when I come home.  I still enjoy my crazy busy life - wouldn't trade it for anything.

Winding Down the Weekend

January 26, 2015 by Adam in Family

I'm not quite sure where the weekend went.  Friday night Joanna and I went out to dinner, landing and Sizzle Pie and enjoying the company of a gaggle of teenagers as we ate our pizza. 

Monday morning Joanna took the little kids to chess club.  I finally got around to replacing the oven light, did some laundry, and went to the library.  Late morning the children all arrived and we had a long hangout session until pizza and Mythbusters that night.

Sunday was equally low-key.  I played Trine 2 with Emma again, laughing hysterically at our hijinx.  I took the kids outside to plant bulbs and do a little gardening.  Sam and I tried to take over the world in one of our games, only slightly failing.

Sadly we're back to work and school tomorrow.  I do enjoy these quiet weekends.

Take Off Hosers!

January 24, 2015 by Adam in Adam

My Canadian passport arrived today.  Sam and Emma are interested in getting their official Canadian citizenship, so I guess I get to work on that now. 

I should celebrate tonight with the traditional foods of my people, though I'm not sure where I can get vegetarian poutine.

Family Vacation Housing

January 23, 2015 by Lohring in Lohring

We've been working on the housing for the family vacation. All the kids except for Simon can stay with Adam and Joanna in our Siletz house. The other adults can stay in either the Worldmark if we can get a room or a vacation rental. We're on the waiting list for the Worldmark. A rental house will cost about $2500 for June 27 through July 3.

The Worldmark is at
We would get a 3 bedroom suite. See the description for the sleeping arrangements.

The vacation rental is at
It has 4 bedrooms with two bunks in one bedroom.

If we want the rental we need to put down a deposit now. Comments?

Mocha Friday

January 23, 2015 by Adam in Family

Joanna informed me that the kids have moved to the listless and catatonic stage of their illness to the annoying and whiney stage.  That's a sign of progress, right?  I stayed at home yesterday to help with things and give Joanna a chance to get a pedicure during the day for her birthday.  All the kids have been sick and missing school, and a sick Emma was dropped off around three yesterday.  Fortunately Honoka has been completely well and going to school.

Joanna's birthday party was the usual mix of fun and crazy, with Duncan's nose bleeding profusely right before our sushi dinner. 

Joanna and I have a hot date tonight.  Should be fun.

Birthday Girl

January 23, 2015 by Adam in Joanna

Joanna celebrated her birthday yesterday.  All the kids were sick except for Honoka.  We weren't even close to singing on key.

More Knee Woes

January 21, 2015 by Adam in Sam

Sam's home sick for the second day today.  He has the sniffles and a headache.  I also took him to a specialist to look at his knee.  The ACL is likely good, but they're worrying about a torn meniscus.  We're going in for an MRI, and then back to the doctor's.  Swell.

Half Birthdays

January 21, 2015 by Adam in Family

Duncan and I shared a half birthday yesterday.  Berry made Duncan a crown and staff.  Honoka made a Minecraft-themed cake.  He was super excited.  The cake was tasty and we both enjoyed our amusing t-shirts Joanna got for us.

Sam came down with a cold over the weekend and has been sniffling in front of his computer all day.  His knee continues to annoy him - we're seeing a specialist tomorrow morning.  Duncan reports that he's feeling pukey this afternoon.  Hopefully they're not both coming down with something.

Joanna continues to help keep the household from falling apart - managing kids, doctor appointments, and resupplying our vast larder with food.  Somewhere in there she manages to work at various tasks, volunteer at the kids' school, and make it to the YMCA to exercise.

Honoka is quiet and helpful.  Emma is funny and effusive.

Life goes on.


January 19, 2015 by Adam in Family

It's been a fairly quiet weekend.  Friday was our big pizza and Mythbusters extravaganza, complete with new Mythbusters.  We had Sam and Emma, so it was a full house.  Joanna made delicious calzone and I had a manly portion of cider.

Emma and I played Trine 2 while Berry, Duncan, and Joanna went off to a chess competition.  Duncan and Berry both scored two points, which was an improvement over their first one.  Emma and I had way too much fun playing Trine, especially as my wizard kept dropping boxes on Emma's head.

Eventually Sam woke up and the three of us hung out.  Sam and Emma are really getting along these days, and were excited to hang out in a cabin together without the usual distractions.  It's nice seeing them getting along so well.  Jamie picked them up around one and whisked them away.

The afternoon was pretty low key - I didn't actually accomplish everything on my massive list.  I did some laundry, gluing a broken cup, and re-caulking the upstairs tub which was leaking down in Duncan's room.    I managed to convince everyone to play a highly abbreviated version of Ghost Stories, which I still think has potential to be fun.

This morning I woke up, cooking breakfast quickly and helping Duncan with his Minecraft modding.  I worked on my house project list again, finally repairing the refrigerator light.  Unfortunately now I can see how messy it is.  Mom came over and we chatted for a long while.  It's nice to simply hang out and visit over tea.

The afternoon rolled along.  I finished my Dragon Age game, with mixed feelings about the ending.  I took the little kids to the library, and after that Berry and I built her rocket.  We had a good time firing it off - neither Honoka nor Joanna had done it before.  I thought it a normal part of any upbringing, but apparently I was raised abnormally.

Tomorrow I'm headed back to work.  It's my half birthday (which I'm celebrating with Duncan - a day early for him).  I'm also mostly ready for Joanna's birthday later in the week.  Should be fun.

Sewage Injector Friday

January 16, 2015 by Adam in Family

I had to clean out the sewage injector pump this morning, right as I was leaving for work.  It doesn't take long, but it's messy and unpleasant.  I think I need to set up a recurring maintenance task every couple months to clean it out.  Blah.

Yesterday was the Day of Respect at South Eugene yesterday.  Honoka attended sessions on AIDS and the lyrics of pop music.  Sam watched a movie on impoverished girls being saved by education.  After school Sam kept track of time for a wrestling meet, so I picked him up a little late.  It was a treat to have Emma around, who couldn't stop talking about all the horrible things that happened to the WWII book she's reading for school.

It promises to be a weekend full of house projects.  I'm going to keep working on my lengthy lists and see how much I can accomplish.

Mid-Week Update

January 15, 2015 by Adam in Family

The week has been zipping along, relatively uneventfully.  The biggest crisis at work is that the coffee machine broke, so we've been improvising various ways to make our coffee.  Otherwise the mood is generally positive despite the normal Dilbert-like dysfunctions of any big organization.

Joanna's been working away on her various projects.  She's getting good feedback on her book, and was an Editor's Pick on a writer's web site run by Penguin Books.  My favorite of her latest writing effort was the dental phone apps she did for my dad.  Pirate tooth brushing apps sound awesome!

Sam continues to hobble about on crutches - we have a specialist visit next week.  South has a Day of Respect today, which sounds like he's getting out of school early.  He's really getting into the Metal Gear Solid games, which have over-the-top Japanese action hero storylines.  It's fun to watch over his shoulder.

I've been making Duncan and Berry breakfast and then physically transporting them to the table.  I usually go with the "welcome to Air Poppy, please return your boy to their full upright position" theme.  I'm going to have to lift more weights if I'm going to transport Duncan much longer.

Honoka is her usual quiet, self-maintaining self.  The excitement of her week is that they're doing cake decorating in her catering class.  That's her field of expertise, so she was up late designing and planning it out earlier this week.

I saw Emma for a few moments last night when I picked up Sam.  She's funny and cheerful.  I'm excited to hang out with her more tonight.

Joanna and I had a hot date last night.  We ate at 5th Street and then went to the Onsen hot tub place.  All the time she asked me questions from a science experiment that tried to get two people to fall in love.  It was entertaining, and I learned a few tidbits about her.  Apparently Joanna's chosen superpowers would be flight or invisibility.  She could get up to a lot of mischief with those two.

A Day of Mourning

January 13, 2015 by Adam in Family

Despite not being a football fan, we're all a little bummed about the game last night.  Admittedly I spent most of the time helping kids with homework and playing video games, which was probably a better use of my time.  I decided to wear gray to work today in any case.

The weekend was generally pleasant and lazy.  I had a good time hanging out with the kids, and we didn't do all that much.  I played a rousing game of Star Munchkin with Berry and Emma, which Berry really enjoyed.  I managed a little yardwork as well, trimming bushes in preparation for the inevitable spring. 

We continue to improve our general health.  My lingering cough is trailing off and Sam made it back and forth to school without crutches.  Joanna had an upset stomach last night, but hopefully it goes away quickly.

Honoka was working on a cake for catering until late last night.  Cake making is her specialty, so she was very excited that they were doing that in class today.  Sam was working on a Scarlett Letter essay, bemoaning the density of the language.  Duncan and Berry got into a kerfuffle playing Minecraft last night, so we had to separate them both physically and virtually.

It looks like Berry and Duncan are going to a chess tournament this Saturday, and Sam and Emma are going off with their mom and Meg (and Cody) to a cabin in the woods.  I think it'll end up being house project weekend for me.  Better make a list.

Mocha Friday

January 09, 2015 by Adam in Family

I've finished my weekly allotment of that delicious beverage and watching assorted computers do my bidding.  It's been a quirky week at work.  I think I was a bit firm with a coworker on why their idea to change everything was bad.  Hopefully I'm not too much of a curmudgeon these days.

Emma was over last night, entertaining us with her flute and general charm.  Duncan grabbed me immediately upon my arrival to help debug Java code.  Sam's playing old Playstation games.  Honoka asked me for help with math.  Berry showed off her latest drawings.  As for Joanna, I rubbed her feet while watching Agent Carter. 

Life's generally doing well.  My cough is lingering a little, but continues to slowly improve.  Joanna took Sam into the doctor's to get his knee looked at, as he's still on crutches.  He has an appointment with a specialist later this month - I think it's just going to take a while to heal.  Duncan was sick for a few days earlier this week, but managed to get through school yesterday.  Christmas decorations are down.  Spring will come again one day.

School for (Almost) Everyone

January 06, 2015 by Adam in Family

When I left the house this morning, Duncan was sick and staying home, though he didn't have a fever.  Berry was getting dressed.  Sam and Honoka were still in their rooms.  The start of school after a long vacation is somewhat jarring for everyone. 

Sam's still limping around in crutches.  The plan is to set up another doctor appointment to make sure things are doing okay.  I suspect it's just that these sort of injuries take a long time to heal.

I think Joanna is hoping to get some work done soon and is eagerly awaiting everyone returning to school.  Yesterday the little kids watched endless My Little Pony, in part to keep Duncan still and distracted from feeling lousy.  We'll see what happens today.

Vacation's Over

January 05, 2015 by Adam in Family

My incredibly lazy vacation is finally coming to an end.  I did very little, other than the usual housework.  Some of the Christmas decorations are down.  I did a little yardwork.  Broken computers were repaired.  Hacked web sites were (hopefully) secured.  Otherwise it was five days of hanging out with kids, playing games, and relaxing.  My horrible illness is generally better.  Sam's knee is still hurt, but he can mostly hobble around without crutches.  Duncan came down with something last night - hopefully it's not the flu.

Emma's been reading Russian fairy tales, a gift from Dick to my mom years ago.  They're completely crazy, with wife beating and drinking vodka.  She's mesmerized. 

Sam house sat at his mom's house with Josh, and did some work for my mom.  He also caught up on the first season of Arrow, so we started watching that together.

Duncan's nearly done with his Minecraft online course on mod making.  He'd occasionally grab me to ask questions, which I somehow managed to help with.  It's quite impressive, and he's had a great time making mods for all his friends.

Berry continues to be Berry.  Kate slept over to hang out with Emma, and we played Mice and Mystics Sunday morning.  Both Kate and Berry had a great time defeating rats and bugs, and I helped move everything along.

Joanna is home with the little kids today, as they don't have school.  I think she's looking forward to a quiet day of work soon.  She's been doing end-of-year responsible things, like paying bills and getting organized.

As for me, I'm off to work.  Hopefully I remember how to write code again.

Dragon Age: Inquisition

January 02, 2015 by Adam in Adam's Games

I've been playing the latest Dragon Age game from Bioware.  They're known for epic RPGs, and this is certainly one of them.  There are flaws, sure - lots of "collect x" quests that are a kind of silly.  Where it excels is the scope of the thing - huge, sweeping landscapes to wander around and explore.  There's just so much to do in it that I can't stop playing.

Pewter Skeletons

January 01, 2015 by Adam in Emma

Emma and I made pewter skeletons this morning.  It was fun playing with stuff that I used to do for a living.

Happy New Year

January 01, 2015 by Adam in Family

Happy New Year, everyone.  We had lunch with dad yesterday at PF Chang's, along with Jenny and Jordan.  It was the usual chatty affair, punctuated by stuffing ourselves.

I was feeling much better, running around the house taking care of chores.  Somehow I managed ten thousand steps on my FitBit, though it required some creative jogging before bedtime.

Honoka was swept away by friends to go roller skating.  We thought she'd be out until midnight, but she returned early.  I put on Japanese boy bands in her honor.  After that we drank piña coladas and watched the ball drop in Times Square.

Today is a hang out with kids day.  I have board games to play and pewter figures to make from raw metal.  Should be fun.

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