Mid-Week Update

July 18, 2019 by Adam in Family

It's been a busy week.

Monday morning I woke up early and took Joanna in for a procedure.  It went well, and I ran off to mail mom's medication to Meg's house by Wednesday.  Then it was picking Joanna up and getting her settled into the couch for a day of recovery.

We've had a bunch of interviews and meetings this week, though I only sat in on a couple.  We're hiring a new person who is very new to coding, but I think she'll work out and Jacquie seems eager to mentor someone.

Joanna headed back up to Portland Tuesday afternoon to see Ben and attend a family meeting this afternoon.  I listened in - Joanna was her usual amazing self, going through the timeline of all the relevant Ben events and medication changes.  I think Ben's care team was suitably impressed.  The general plan at this point is to reduce and rearrange medication, possibly do some assessments, and get Ben ready for a release next week.  Because Ben was throwing up so much, it looks like it'll be a little later, though the good news is that Ben was feeling better and keeping food down.

The rest of the week isn't much calmer.  Joanna comes home shortly - I have takeout waiting.  Thursday Emma comes over.  Friday is my birthday - I'm hoping to sneak out of work early and maybe play some games with Sam over the Internet.  Hopefully somewhere in there is cake.  Saturday has a horde of teenage boys coming for Duncan's birthday.  Joanna plans on heading back to Portland sometime next week.

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Weekend Update

July 14, 2019 by Adam in Family

Ben was transferred up from RiverBend to Unity in Portland.  Apparently traffic was bad and the driver got lost, but they managed to make it there in 4-5 hours.  Joanna and I followed the next day, bringing Duncan, overnight bags, and some clothes and books for Ben.  They'd read through Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and were starting All Those Explosions Were Someone Else's Fault.  Without a cell phone, they apparently turn into an avid reader.

We worked our way through the elaborate security checkpoints with cheerful people, locked our cell phones in our cubby, and went to visit Ben.  They were generally cheerful and happy to see us.  We chatted about Star Trek and my new business idea selling lab grown burgers cloned from celebrities.  Unfortunately Ben started getting really nauseous and threw up a couple times.  Each time they'd start feeling better afterwards and perk up again.  We left them napping and went to send Duncan off to his friend Ash's house.

We checked into the Ronald McDonald house, which is a donor supported place for out-of-town families to stay when their family is staying at the hospital.  Since it's a children's hospital nearby, there are lots of kid murals on the walls and the building is surrounded by play structures.  Joanna was wiped out and lay down for a bit, then we walked over for dinner at a Japanese place, and visited Ben again.

Ben was still cheerful and happy to see us, though physically they looked pretty worn out.  They'd read the Boldly Go graphic novel I picked up for them and they showed off the cool art inside.  They threw up again, unfortunately, despite the anti-nausea meds.  Eventually visiting hours ran out and we had to say goodnight.

I mostly slept okay, despite the mural chicken watching me in our farm-themed room.  I found coffee in the communal kitchen and we'll head out to see Ben again after breakfast.  There's a family group late afternoon and we head home tonight, with Joanna returning Tuesday.

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Somber Mocha Friday

July 12, 2019 by Adam in Family

I heard news yesterday that there were layoffs at PeaceHealth's IT department - mostly the people not in Vancouver.  The Register Guard is saying 50 people, which is a big chunk of those that remained.  I'm glad I got out when I did, though I feel for all the people who are no longer there.

Eclipsing all that, Ben's mental health issues ended up escalating and we've checked them into a secure room at the ED based on their psychiatrist's recommendation.  We're not sure what's happening exactly - there was a medication change around this time, so we're hoping that's related.  Joanna spent a lot of time with Ben yesterday, delivering books and talking.  Ben seems pretty subdued and scared.  At this point they're waiting for a bed to open at an adolescent mental health facility - the closest of which is in Portland.  Depending on when that happens and Ben's further assessment, we'll see how things go.

I think Joanna and I are visiting Ben mid-morning.  Jonathan at work is being great and told me to take whatever time I needed.  I've been continuing to paint and rearrange the basement, as sometimes it feels that carving out a little bit of order and stability is all I can do.

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Tooth Lady

July 11, 2019 by Adam in Emma

I took Emma to the dentist yesterday to get her last baby tooth pulled.  It was quite stubborn and keeping her adult tooth from popping out.  My dad got her numb and after a quick yank it popped right out.  She was a little subdued afterwards, but the next day she was fine.  Now I have to work on my last tooth fairy note for Emma - I think I'll start with "You think you've finally escaped my grasp . . ."

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Board Game Weekend

July 08, 2019 by Adam in Family

It was a generally fully weekend.  Ben had a bunch of friends over.  Joanna drove up to the Black Sheep gathering and returned with wool for new projects.  Emma got a 4 on her AP US History test, so I sang her the "I'm proud of you" song.  Duncan continues to be all about playing Minecraft with friends - I'll often hear excited exclaimations from his room.

Joanna got a new Pixel 3a phone and started playing with it over the weekend, taking random pictures of me to try it out.  She's also been slowly planting her horde of plants in the garden, which is looking increasingly gorgeous.  The warm days require more watering, but the flowers and veggies are loving it.

I managed a little more time working on the basement, painting a little more and organizing things.  Emma and I played a Magic tournament along with a few other games, plus a trip to Metropol for more board games, so I feel pretty well gamed for the week ahead.  She's off in Portland next weekend, so it'll be a little quieter than usual the next few days.


July 06, 2019 by Adam in Family

Sam and Skye made it to their apartment in Austin.  Since the van's AC broke, they drove through the night, down long roads surrounded by oil wells belching fire and the occasional abandoned structure.  Sam said it felt very post-apocalyptic.  They unpacked half the van, slept, and finished the rest this morning.  He says it feels like an alien landscape, with hot humid air and strange wildlife outside.  I think they're excited and settling in, which makes me happy.

I took Emma kayaking at Fern Ridge Reservoir yesterday.  The weather was nice and the lake was big and mostly empty.  We chatted and navigated through the reeds by the shore.  Strange aquatic plants were blooming.

It's a pretty quiet weekend so far.  Ben has a friend over.  I pained a little in the bathroom yesterday, but slowed down my frantic cleaning quite a bit.  My aches and pains from all that manual labor have finally subsided.

Sir Dumpsalot

July 05, 2019 by Adam in Family

It's forth of July.  The kids were somewhat interested in sparklers, so Joanna picked up a few odds and ends, including one called Sir Dumpsalot.  I recorded the event, unaware that the cheeky dog also shot out sparks at the end, literally and figuratively.  Apparently a nearby moth we hadn't noticed was equally unaware of the situation.  The good news is that it survived the experience, perhaps a little shaken.

As for the rest of the day, I woke up and painted the basement bathroom.  Emma arrived and helped move over board games into the shelves.  We video chatted with Sam and Skye - they're doing well, though the cat is stressed.  The plan is to drive through Texas overnight when it's cool.

Tomorrow Emma and I go kayaking.  Hopefully I can get the basement a little better put back together.

Cathartic Cleaning

July 04, 2019 by Adam in Adam

After getting Sam and Skye off on their journey, I finally took a peek into the bedroom and bathroom that Sam had inhabited for the last ten years.  It wasn't exactly in the cleanest of states, so I started by moving everything out into the "play room" area and doing some serious cleaning.  The carpet was vacuumed, emptying the dust container five times, then treated and vacuumed again.  I washed the walls and surfaces.  It started looking pretty good, though I decided I wanted to touch up the paint and headed to True Value with fifteen year-old dry cans of paint.  They worked their archeological miracles and matched the color, so this morning I was ready to go.

I painted the walls of Sam's bedroom, then worked on the trim and doors.  I listened to a science fiction audiobook, so the time passed quickly.  I managed a run in the middle, which is weird considering how worn out I was, but I suppose staying tired helps me not miss Sam so much.  I finally got to the point where I could put some furniture back, though perhaps not in the final location.  Tomorrow I start in on the bathroom.

Sam's been good about keeping me updated.  The van's air conditioning died as they passed through Idaho, and they decided to change their plans and drive through Texas at night so the cat doesn't cook.  I just heard they were shopping in Espanola, taking a break for a couple nights before making the final push on their trip.  I'm glad they're doing okay.

Off to Texas

July 01, 2019 by Adam in Family

We bid farewell to Sam and Skye this morning.  There was the usual last minute running around, but they got the cat into their jam-packed van and hit the road, hoping to make it to Idaho by tonight.  We peeked at their house in VR before they left, discovering they've got a huge park in their backyard, complete with a pool, pond, skate park, and lots of green space.

The last few days have been good, hanging out with Sam and Skye and playing lots of board games.  Joanna bleached Skye's hair.  We watched the very first Mythbusters in honor of their departure.  Joanna organized a family dinner Sunday night where everyone got to bid a fond farewell.

I had a good little cry after they left, followed by mom coming over to check up on me and cry a little more.  Now I'm well  caffeinated and ready to start in on a week of house projects.  I'm going to head downstairs and peek in Sam's old bedroom, hopefully finishing up my to-do list and heading to the hardware store for supplies.

Mocha Friday

June 28, 2019 by Adam in Family

Wednesday morning we packed up the house and headed out.  Emma drew a picture of our drive through logging roads in their guest book.  We made it back home after a stop at Belknap hotsprings for lunch and a little stroll.  The drive back went smoothly and we returned to a clean house with a little flower arrangement on the table.  It was our house cleaner's last time cleaning - I'll miss those squeaky clean Thursday evenings.

Sam and Skye have been packing away.  The van's window is fixed.  It's been great just hanging out with the two of them - we played a bunch of board games the last couple nights and really enjoyed ourselves.  I picked up Tabletop Simulator and gave it to Sam in hopes we can play long distance on occasion.

The younger kids are doing well, settling back into their summer routine.  Duncan played with friends on Minecraft.  Ben had a sleepover.  As for Joanna, she's managing a bit of work in between taking kids to various appointments.  Duncan is officially 6' 1", taller than me.  I pointed out that I still outweighed him, to which he responded that he'd like to start overeating every night.

I've got another work day today, then all of next week off.  My general plan is to help Sam and Skye off on their trip, then work through a massive house project list.  We'll see how far my enthusiasm gets me.

Cavern Explorations

June 25, 2019 by Adam in Family

The cave trip was pretty exciting, with everyone returning exhausted afterwards.  Hopefully our cars aren't too scratched up, the one thing that may end up in lasting damage.  I called around and found a place that will replace Sam's van's broken window.  He's annoyed his tools were taken.  Joanna managed a tasty dinner of burgers and corn.  We wrapped up the night with a long game of Dixit.  Sam and Skye went for a bike ride.  The rest of us stumbled off to bed.

Our last full day is starting with people slowly waking up.  Breakfast making awaits us.  I managed to put together a video of yesterday's spelunking, which I kept mostly unedited as I liked the banter everyone had as we took our lives into our own hands.


June 24, 2019 by Adam in Family

I tell the kids that adventures aren't fun, but rather an experience that has the right mix of fascination and terror.  If you're not a little bit afraid of death, you're not actually having an adventure.

We hit the road yesterday after a hearty breakfast, driving an hour to McKenzie bridge.  Sam was driving my car and I was driving the Subaru.  We ate at the general store, playing cornhole and listening to country versions of Pink Floyd songs.  We'd been warned that we'd be going on the trip with a bunch of soccer players and they weren't initially sure they could fit us in.  Fortunately all the soccer players turned out to be ten year-old girls and a handful of parents.

The river trip was good, with even Ben smiling.  Every raft got stuck on a rock at one point, one of which required rescue rope deployment after stranding an adult and teen on a rock in the middle of the river.  Our raft fared somewhat better - we were pretty good at swaying back and forth and hopping up and down until we got free.  Sam "rode the bull" on the front for awhile.  Our toes lost their feeling, but eventually we made it off the river and headed to Black Butte Ranch.

We made it late, unloading the car as Joanna cooked burritos an impressively short period of time.  Everyone ran around, amazed at the size of the house and picking out bedrooms.  We scarfed down dinner and then collapsed to bed.

This morning started with everyone waking up with the bright lights and we put together a tasty breakfast of waffles, eggs, bacon, and sausages.  We looked at the various adventure literature and picked out the Skylight Caverns which seemed close by.  As we got ready, we got the news that someone broke into Sam's van and after looking at the photos our neighbors took, stole some of Sam's tools as well.  That put a cloud over things as we headed out on back roads to get to the caves.

We followed the directions, taking increasingly rough roads as we got closer.  We passed through some narrow roads which scraped up our cars and eventually realized we couldn't go any further, backing up to park in a turn off.  The kids were skeptical, but we hiked another mile until we got to the cave entrance, carefully going down a metal ladder into the hole below.

We first took one path, going down until the cavern grew hard to navigate.  It was cool, but there was no skylight to be seen.  Eventually it got too narrow and far and we turned back, ready to leave.  Sam and Joanna suggested taking the other path and after a short distance we found this amazing beam of light from the ceiling.  It was awe inspiring, just like the movies, and we all took turns basking in the beam of light from the heavens.

We made it back, carefully avoiding the rough spots, and washed off our now scratched-up cars to little avail.  After changing clothes and a bit of pizza, we decided it was time to take it easy for awhile.  Kids are on the computers.  Emma wants to learn to code more.

And such goes the adventure.

Bloody Mocha Friday

June 22, 2019 by Adam in Family

It was a busy morning of features and bugs and meetings, sipping my mocha and chatting with Emma before she headed to her mom's for the day.  Late morning I headed to donate blood with local coworkers, chatting at lunch before returning to wrap things up before my little vacation.  I event went for a leisurely run on the treadmill, which was fine though I'm feeling a little worn out now.

The kids are easing into Summer, hanging out with friends, occasionally doing useful work, and learning how to feed themselves.  Ben had a friend over today.  Duncan played a lot of Minecraft.  Theoretically Sam is packing, though I haven't seen him lately.

We're off to Sisters in a couple days to hike, play board games, and probably some other summertime things.  After that Sam heads to Texas, I have a week off work for house projects, and summer begins in earnest.


June 19, 2019 by Adam in Adam

I stepped off the treadmill at lunch and found Sam packing up his room into cardboard boxes.  He seemed a little quiet, understanding the scope of the changes ahead.  There were some things that had been in his room for a decade or so that belonged to me - books, maps, and old RPG manuals.  I told him he could take what he wanted.

He handed me a map he'd found from a D&D game I used to play with Sam and Emma.  It was a town that they saved and built up, working together to drive out assorted evils and help the villagers.  I remember Emma was never quite sure what to do and would sometimes leave Sam behind in some spooky mine to get advice from the town elder.  Things didn't go well for Sam and they eventually learned not to split the party.

Another time Sam and Emma and I went camping out in the woods and I handed Sam a walkie talkie to go explore while Emma and I followed the stream.  Sam headed through the deep brush, returning scratched up and cheerful.  He loves maps, but has never been afraid to head off towards the edges where things aren't as well defined.

It's strange having the first of the kids to head out.  It feels like the end of an era and I'm not quite sure how to read the map ahead.  Though I worry, I hope all the adventures, real and imagined, have prepared them to journey out into the world.  I wish them well.

Last Day of School

June 18, 2019 by Adam in Emma

It's Emma's last day as an underclassman today.  She's down to a Chemistry final and that's about it.  I was helping her study last night and I was really impressed at the things she could do - calculate the age of objects based on their Carbon 14 content, name organic molecules, and other things I didn't learn until college.  She's managed an A in the class with some effort.  It's like Emma has been hiding her intelligence from us the entire time.

In theory this summer she's working for my mom and dad's dental clinic, though we've yet to sort out the details.  Next week we're doing a final vacation before Sam goes, so there might be a delay in getting that started.

Graduated from Middle School

June 18, 2019 by Adam in Duncan

Duncan had his Roosevelt promotion ceremony tonight.  Joanna, Emma, and I went down with all the kids looking sharp.  We happened to sit behind Jason and Bridget, along with BJ and her mom.  It was cool seeing familiar faces.

As for our goofy boy, he was easy to spot with his rainbow hair and wore an Infinity Gauntlet oven mitt, getting a handshake from the principal who probably shouldn't have encouraged him.

Father's Day

June 17, 2019 by Adam in Family

Today was a great day.

The day started with some slow waking up, a cup of tea, and playing a little Darkest Dungeon.  Emma woke up and offered to help make breakfast, joined by Joanna a bit later.  We ended up with a good spread of crepes and assorted goodies, including some raspberries freshly picked from our garden.  Presents and cards were open, much appreciated.  We got the kids together for a late morning expedition to Hendrick's Park where we looked at flowers and threw a frisbee around. 

We heated up some pizza for lunch and I helped Joanna do some gardening.  Duncan got me a VR game called Vacation Simulator which I played until Emma couldn't contain herself and she had a turn while I read The Player of Games which I'd picked up at the library the day before.  Sam returned from Portland and we watched They Shall Not Grow Old.  Mom came for dinner, which was delicious and included fava beans that Joanna worked on harvesting, preparing, and cooking for an hour today. 

After dinner Sam and I finished the movie, Joanna went shopping, Emma helped Duncan with vision therapy, and then Sam, Emma, and I played some Coup where I managed to win twice.

All of this was after another great day.  Saturday Joanna took Ben and their friend Jaiden to a play.   Emma and I practiced driving and watched yet more of The Dragon Prince.  I spent a fair amount of time doing some outdoor projects, including painting various worn spots on railings and doorframes, and stained the roof of our little free library.  The day wrapped up with pizza and a science show.

This was one of those weekends that made me feel like maybe I've done something worthwile with my life.

Vacation Simulator

June 16, 2019 by Adam in Adam's Games

Duncan wanted to get me a VR game for Father's Day and settled on Vacation Simulator (after a secret query from Joanna).  I fired it up today and it ended up being a pretty fun little game.  Essentially it's a collection on mini-games based around the idea that you're a future human and the robots are trying to give you an experience about what it was like to "vacation" in the old days.

I headed to the beach and after various little minigames ended up finding treasure in a sunken pirate ship.  The game has lots of little entertaining extras, like wearing hats and a camera that lets you take selfies.  Emma was excited to try after me and played for a good long while.

Too Darn Hot Mocha Friday

June 14, 2019 by Adam in Family

It's been a hot week, hitting 100 degrees in our car's thermometer when we went out to eat on Wednesday night.  It's cooled down a little, but I very much appreciate our heat pump.

The week has generally been okay.  Joanna's working through some health issues that are frustratingly slow sorting out.  The kids are excited and nervous about the end of school - only a couple days more to go.  We need to start getting the summer routine sorted out.

Work continues to be good.  I had fun wrapping up my last feature and have been working on bug fixing the last couple days.

As for the weekend, I think we'll try to stay inside where it's cool, though I'd love to do some gardening.  Father's Day is coming up, so I'm hoping I can leverage that for some board games and a hike in the woods.

Beautiful Weekend

June 11, 2019 by Adam in Family

The days were as beautiful as the allergies were terrible.  We spent a fair amount of time outside doing gardening projects, though I'd have to scurry inside to let my allergies settle down again.  Joanna, Ben, and I picked up quite a few new plants at Down to Earth Saturday morning.  I put a little mint in the planter boxes near my office - they always remind me of making mint tea with my grandmother.  Ben and Joanna put in the front yard flowers.  I put in the peppers, tomato, and edamame in the back with Emma's help.

We all went to Ben's play on Saturday, picking up mom along the way.  Emma and I got into a new cartoon series called The Dragon Prince - it was strangely fun to hang out and watch cartoons on a lazy afternoon.  Sam was around some, and brought Sky over on Sunday where we all ate outside on the patio.  It was quite lovely.


June 11, 2019 by Adam in Benny

Ben's been practicing for their role as Puck in Midsummer Night's Dream for the last few months.  I went along to the play, with relatively low expectations for a sixth grade play.  It was actually pretty amazing.  Sure, some kids needed to have lines fed to them, but they really got into it after awhile and the sets and costumes were great.  I think Ben was pretty nervous getting up there, but it turned out really well and I think they want to try out for the local group of Star Trek theater performances.

Rainy Friday

June 07, 2019 by Adam in Family

The week moves along, a little cool and rainy today.  

I had some moles removed on Wednesday and made the dermatologist laugh talking about my previously removed "kill dad button" mole that Emma liked to push.  Emma wasn't very happy with my mole removal in general and asked how she was supposed to identify me at a swimming pool . . . or in a morgue, she quietly added.

Ben had their hair colored bright green, which I think she likes.  Duncan is running off to his last band concert at his old elementary school today.  Sam, Emma, and I played board games last night and had a great time.  Joanna took the cat to the vet and hopefully we'll address some of her health issues.

I interviewed mom during our usual tea time, which was somewhat fascinating.  There's so much about my early childhood that was vague.  Eventually I want to turn it all into a biography of sorts, though we'll see when I have time.

I had a great time doing some map visualizations as a semi-work related thing.  You can see my work here (for now at least).  There's been some loose talk about a contest and I'm tempted to throw my hat in the ring, though my coworkers and I all agree that contests are a bad way to extract work from employees.

It's date night tonight and Ben has their play this weekend.  

Single Parent Weekend

June 04, 2019 by Adam in Family

Joanna was off at her retreat all weekend, returning Sunday afternoon.  I had the kids Friday night onward.  They were all well behaved, and Sam was around to boot, so it made for a pretty good weekend.

Friday night was just Duncan and I for dinner.  He started up a Minecraft server, so he spent every moment with his friends playing on it.  There was a short break when he ran around University park to play capture the flag with friends.  Saturday morning Ben and I spread mulch over the garden, making it look much prettier. Later they worked on various projects and had their friend Jaiden over on Sunday.  

Saturday night we watched a new show about the planets and ate pizza. Sam and Emma chatted quite a bit and in the morning I fed everyone a hearty breakfast followed by a couple rounds of One Night Ultimate Werewolf.  I hung out with Emma and went for a walk around the neighborhood.  Joanna returned exhausted from her trip and napped on the couch.  I somehow managed to mostly make dinner, though Joanna had to intervene with my chicken cooking and turn it upside down.

After dinner Sam, Emma, and I played Rise of Augustus and Carcasonne, both great board games.  It was cool to hang out with them, especially as I know it won't be for a lot longer.

Throughout the weekend I worked on a new version of this blog using the latest cutting edge technologies.  It basically looks and works the same, though it's prettier under the hood.

Impending Summer

May 31, 2019 by Adam in Family

June is right around the corner and summer plans are slowly coming together.  It looks like Seraph and Robbie will briefly come out in a few weeks to look at the farm and have a quick visit.  Late June we're going with Sam and Skye for a farewell vacation near Sisters.  Duncan heads to Rochester late July.  I've got a work trip at the end of July.  Towards the end of August Joanna and I are taking Ben to Rochester to visit family, have a quick vacation with the two of us, and return with Duncan to Eugene.  Whew.

Joanna's away the next few days on a retreat, so it'll probably be a mellow weekend.  I've got some bark-o-mulch to spread, but I expect to mostly be managing kids and keeping the house from falling down.  I'm hoping we finally found the cause of the basement leak - a stopped up pipe that was causing water to flow from the washing machine drain to the floor.  Unfortunately there's a fair amount of water damage and dealing with it will likely be expensive and/or a hassle.

The weather is lovely.  Our garden is growing.  Work is good.  The kids are all generally okay.  All-in-all, I can't complain much.


May 30, 2019 by Adam in Adam's Projects

I'm working on putting together an autobiography of sorts.  It started with just wanting to mess around with html and css and turned into the start of a collection of stories from my childhood.  Part of it is that Sam's been digitizing a bunch of things for mom and it ends up making for good material.  This is a work in progress of the sort of clips I'd like to sprinkle throughout the thing.

Mid Week Update

May 29, 2019 by Adam in Family

The plumber is here, which makes me quite happy.  It's Snyder Plumbing, who have been my favorite people since forever.  We've got warped floors in the basement that we finally tracked down to a plugged pipe and not the sewage ejector pump which is the typical culprit.  Hopefully the ongoing damage will stop and we can decide if and how we want to fix the basement floor.

Work's been going well.  Clients like the kiosk mode thingie I built.  Now we're doing upgrades, which are always a little bumpy.

Last night we headed down to Roosevelt for Duncan's last concert.  He's not doing band in high school, though I think he learned quite a bit over the last few years.  He was moving from drum set to drum set as they did different pieces and he seemed surprisingly competent.  Mom came to watch too, along with Ben, so it was a good final send-off.

It's date night tonight, as Joanna is out of town this Friday through Sunday.  The kids are typically pretty easy these days, so hopefully it all goes smoothly.

Sweet Sixteen

May 28, 2019 by Adam in Emma

Emma's birthday was today - I gave her a hug at 11:55 a.m. as we walked to 16 Tons Cafe to play board games and drink coffee.  That was apparently the moment she was born, though she assured me she was still fifteen in quite a few more time zones.

I think she enjoyed the birthday events, eating and partying her way through the three day weekend.  Saturday she drove part of the way to Corvallis for a steak lunch with her grandparents.  I spent the day getting everyone to wrap presents and sign cards so we'd be ready in time.  Emma returned for pizza and Mythbusters so that our traditions would be maintained.

Sunday was Jenny's birthday, so we all drove to Thurston trail to hike with her through the woods.  We didn't quite make it as far as Jenny usually goes, but we chatted and hid pained rocks for others to find along the way.

That night we gathered our presents, I dressed up in fancy clothes, and we took the birthday girl to meet up with Jenny, mom, and Bob at Ambrosia's for dinner.  Emma got a ton of books and some art related things, which I think made her happy.  She was both sleep and appreciative afterward, as she kept saying how much she loved and appreciated me.  It was sweet.

Fava Beans

May 28, 2019 by Adam in Adam's Projects

Towards the end of last year we planted a couple beds full of fava beans.  They're good for the soil, enriching with nitrogen, and keep the weeds down over winter.  Now that we're nearly to summer, they've become huge and it became apparent it was time to harvest.  I pulled out the stalks and plucked the beans into a barrel while Joanna chopped up the stalks and tossed them in the compost.  We then spent a half hour getting the beans out, blanched them in boiling water, then peeled off the skin from each bean.  Joanna sauted them with butter and garlic to serve with the rest of our Memorial Day dinner.

It was a huge amount of work, but it sure was tasty.

Prerelease Mocha Friday

May 24, 2019 by Adam in Family

We're scrambling to fix bugs before our go/no-go decision this afternoon.  I was feeling pretty pessimistic this morning after I ended up rewriting big chunks of code yesterday.  Jacquie and Nick lept in to help and I'm feeling more confident that we can actually pull it off.  I still need to work on the installer, but I can hopefully find some time later todya.

As for my non-work life, things move along.  We're throwing a birthday party this Sunday for Jenny and Emma, which should be fun.  I've got some presents to wrap tomorrow.  Sam's looking for boxes, making his impending move all the more real.  Ben asked me for some gold foil to make steampunk goggles - fortunately I had quite a bit from my steampunk phase many years ago.  I helped Emma study for a Chemistry test and we launched a couple more kerbals into space.  Duncan wants some help setting up a Minecraft server this weekend.  I walked through all of mom's house projects - hopefully they're not too daunting.

Joanna and I had a lovely date night this week, walking down to 1960 Cocina.  It serves great authentic Mexican food and is apparently owned by the family of one of Emma's friends.

I started looking through all of mom's digitized stuff that Sam worked on, making backups and seeing what's there - so far it's mostly weddings and documents and such.  I'm sure I'll find a few gems.

As for the summer, it's looking like the general plan is a trip to Black Butte Ranch in late June.  Everyone wants Emma to work for them.  Duncan is getting picked up by Kevin mid-July.  In late August, Joanna and I will take Ben to Rochester to hang out with their dad while Joanna and I have a little vacation together.

Storms and Sunshine

May 20, 2019 by Adam in Family

It was a quirky weekend, weather-wise.  We had storms which apparently involved lightning setting a tree on fire in town, along with some pretty sunny days.  Joanna and I managed a couple walks and some gardening, in between staying inside.

No terribly exciting news - the usual pizza and Mythbusters and mom over for Sunday dinner.  Joanna took a bunch of kids to see the new Detective Pikachu movie, a burden she bore relatively well.  Emma and I played some Kerbal Space Program.  She managed to launch a bunch of kerbals into space with her various rockets, including one that safely returned to the surface after a harrowing parachute jump from a descending capsule.  All good fun.

Minecraft - Ten Years Old

May 20, 2019 by Adam in Adam's Games

Back when Minecraft wasa new indie game, we all started playing on a shared family server.  Sam was the old pro at that point, convincing the little kids to help mine and build a massive wall around our settlement.  I built infrastructure such as the railroad.  Joanna grew and cooked food.  We all spent quite a bit of time there.

A couple days ago I gave the old world to Duncan, who made a fly through video.  It was quite nostalgic.

Mocha Friday

May 17, 2019 by Adam in Family

Though it's already at the end of the day, I thoroughly enjoyed my mocha and talked way too much through my morning meetings.  The day has been generally pretty good and it felt good to finally wrap up my kiosk feature.  It's been a productive couple weeks, and I'm hoping next week I can work on some "nice to have" things I've kept putting off.

Other than helping Sam install mom's new washing machine, I think it's a quiet weekend ahead of us.  It's date night tonight, which is always fun.  Looking forward to Sam being around a fair amount this weekend.

The Week Is Moving Along

May 16, 2019 by Adam in Family

It's been a relatively uneventful week, which is nice for a change.  Dad came over for dinner on Monday, his back seeming much improved.  Joanna taught a class Tuesday night.  Last night Ben had a friend over and they watched Star Trek before and after dinner.  I saw Sam in passing briefly.  Had tea with mom yesterday.  Emma comes over tonight.  Tomorrow night is date night.

Work continues to be fun, though as our sprint wraps up I'm trying to get my features to a place where I can call them done.  I'm doing an unattended kiosk thing - yesterday I made the navigation slide away and back as you pause/play the kiosk control thingie.  It's a fun little nerd thing, but I'm pretty happy with it.

Mother's Day

May 13, 2019 by Adam in Family

Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there.  It was a generally good weekend, pleasant and productive.  I picked up Emma Friday night, who survived her very long AP test.  Saturday I made everyone dutch babies and we headed to Down to Earth and a thrift store to load up on Mother Day's supplies.  Emma and I went shopping to both give Joanna a break and get supplies for Emma making a picinic for her mom.  The evening wrapped up with pizza and Mythbusters Junior, which everyone seemed to enjoy.

As for Mother's Day itself, I made crepes, whip cream, bacon, sausages, and assorted fruit for everyone.  There's a running joke where I made Joanna crepes, strawberries, and whip cream once and she said she'd love me forever.  I periodically renew just in case forever isn't quite as long as I thought it was.

I visited mom and dropped off a couple Ursula LeGuin books, returning with fresh cut roses for Joanna and Jamie. I helped Joanna prune our garden a bit, and swept up so we could eat on the patio.  Jamie returned from the beach, picked up Emma, and after a brief respite I visited Yayoe with a new plant and card for a birthday/mother's day combo.  Joanna and Ben watched the first Star Trek movie.  Mom came over for dinner.  I urgently requested that Duncan and Ben create a card for Joanna, and Duncan and Joanna went for a long walk.

Lots of work today, but it was all very satisfying and I feel strangely cheerful having managed to pull off another Mother's Day.

Too Darn Hot

May 11, 2019 by Adam in Family

It's barely May and I spent this afternoon taking down the air conditioner from my shed's loft and getting it installed.  I suspect we'll have more cool days ahead, but it was so hot this afternoon that it was distracting.

We're all muddling along this week.  Emma took her AP test, which went on far longer than expected.  It's also midterms, and grades arrived this afternoon.  I suspect we'll need to express expectations a little more clearly in some cases.  I love them all.

Sam's been digitizing old reel-to-reel tapes.  Apparently there's one of me at age ten or so, putting on my own radio show.  I'm excited to hear the end result.

I was overly cheerful this morning, likely mocha related.  I spent some time improving our installer - it's hard to believe how big a hassle it used to be versus what it looks like now.  I have a bit more polish I'd like to apply, but things are coming along nicely.

Other than Mother's Day, I think this weekend looks somewhat low-key.  A pizza and Mythbusters Saturday sounds like just what I need.

Another Beautiful Day in Paradise

May 08, 2019 by Adam in Family

It's been beautiful all week, sunny weather with flowers blooming all around.  No real exciting news.  Dad came over late on Monday to eat dinner and chat about Teslas.  Joanna taught a class last night, with me leading Duncan through his nightly vision therapy.

I did manage to book a place at Black Butte Ranch towards the end of June.  It'll be the last vacation before Sam and Skye head out on their adventure.  Hopefully we can make some memories before getting everyone together becomes more challenging.

Cinque de Mayo

May 06, 2019 by Adam in Family

We had family dinner tonight, serving a Yumm bowl like dinner of beans and rice and vegetables, with two types of pie and ice cream for dessert.  Everyone was there - John, Yayoe, mom, dad, Jenny, Jordan, Sam, and Skye.  We spreak out to the patio for those who could brave the allergens in the air.  Dad talked about his Tesla, giving John a ride back home.  Jenny and Jordan hung out afterwards to play Beat Saber.  It was a good time.

It was generally a good weekend.  Friday had Avengers, which was great, followed by a date night with Joanna, which was also great.  Saturday I picked up Emma and she drove me back.  We studied AP US History, as her test is this Friday.  Somewhere in there we managed to go to 16 Tons for coffee and games, along with playing a bunch of the new Humble Monthly games.

Meme Friday

May 03, 2019 by Adam in Family

Emma and Duncan are laughing at the breakfast table, watching April's Meme Review.  Duncan is trying to explain to Emma what the hippest memes are.  Ah, the joys of parenting in the modern age.

It's been a generally good week.  Joanna's had something going on every night, so it'll be a treat to do our date night tonight.  Emma and I cooked dinner last night for everyone, with Sam as a surprise guest.  The three of us played various video games while Ben went to a movie at Roosevelt and Joanna led Duncan through vision therapy.  There's no school today, so there was a Friday night vibe going on last night.

Life is generally going well, despite my various worries.  It's hard to be sad when both the cherry and dogwood trees are blooming, showering the yard in pink snow.

Midweek Update

May 01, 2019 by Adam in Family

The week is moving along at a steady clip, with beautiful weather and blooming flowers.  The bat hasn't returned, though Joanna and I are still fretting over the cost of repairing the chimney and getting more quotes.

Duncan's French grade wasn't quite up to par, so I helped him with his essay last night.  I think it's mostly an issue of enthusiasm rather than ability.  The end result was pretty good after investing an hour or so.  Since Joanna was out last night teaching her grief recovery class, he and I did vision therapy too.  Rolling marbles and popping bubbles seems fun the first few times, though I suspect it gets a little old after the twentieth time.

Work's been a little frantic.  I've been reviewing the work of a coworker who left and it looks like I've got a fair amount of work to get things up to par.  I've been sitting in on installs and it turns out that they all have issues and quirks.  Hopefully I can invest some time to improve that process soon.

Hopefully I can have tea with mom today.  We're thinking about seeing the new Avengers movie on Friday.  Life keeps moving along.

Allergy Weekend

April 29, 2019 by Adam in Family

We mostly stayed inside the weekend.  The weather was beautiful, the flowers in bloom, and every time I went outside my allergies kicked into high gear.  I did manage to mow the yard and do some gardening with Joanna.  Sam, Emma, and I went for a walk on Sunday.

As for the rest of the weekend, it was pretty low-key.  Sam and Emma hung out with Jamie while Joanna and I went to Costco.  The sheer mass of the cart by the end of the shopping trip was a demonstration of the physics of momentum.  I continued to play Sunless Skies off and on, which has a good Victorian era captain vibe with a Lovecraft twist.  I also finally finished the PIPBoy3000 software, which I'm hoping to show dad tonight.

Work has been full of installs, which have assorted issues that I managed to MacGyver my way through.  I didn't get to work on my cool UI component I've been itching to get to.  Maybe tomorrow.


April 29, 2019 by Adam in Adam's Projects

Over the last few months, dad decided to make a PIPBoy3000.  It's a key piece of equipment in the Fallout games, a little computer you wear on your wrist to interact with various systems - your inventory, a map, the radio, healing yourself, and so on.  With his new 3D printer, dad made an amazing piece of kit, with various parts that light up, dials that turn, a holotape you can insert and eject.  It was incredible.

After he handed it over to me a few weeks ago, I felt obligated to do something meaningful with it.  There's an official PIPBoy3000 app, but it's stuck in demo mode if you don't have the game running and it doesn't do much other than look pretty.

I broke out my web development skills and made my first Ionic app, which can easily be published to a phone.  It's running a little constantly-updating app with a news feed, current weather, and clock.  Of course, it also looks cool with a flickering green screen.  Anything else wouldn't do the hardware justice.

The Bat is Back

April 27, 2019 by Adam in Family

The bat returned last night.  Emma and I were watching the Fifth Element and heard some scratching.  There was a quirky sense of fun as Sam, Joanna, and I ran around the house holding blankets, eventually shepherding the bat out the kitchen door.  I suspect it would grow old fast, though I'm hoping that the masonry people coming shortly will take care of the cracks in the chimney.  Theoretically they can put in a one-way exit and we'll put up a bat box next to it.

The week has been pretty typical.  Spring is in the air, with pink blossoms on the dogwood and cherry trees, along with allergies that come with it.  Ben had a rough first part of the week, though they've been better since then.  I had dinner with dad and coffee with mom.  I helped with the first install of our latest release, which after some excitement got installed okay.

Joanna took Duncan and Ben to Showcase Roosevelt last night.  Sam and Emma are going to hang out with Jamie a little today.  Joanna has bravely offered to go to Costco.  I think I'll hold down the fort and maybe mow the lawn.

Easter Weekend

April 22, 2019 by Adam in Family

I had a long, three day weekend, which was very much needed.  I perked right up after returning to the valley, with symptoms of high altitude sickness fading by the day after my return.  I went to have breakfast with Dave and Glen, my old coworkers from the PeaceHealth days.  It was a treat catching up and listening to their lives.  I always think of those two as my view of the future - they kept talking about their kids and grandkids, so presumably that's what I'll be doing for the next couple decades.

The rest of the weekend was generally pleasant.  I picked Emma up after cleaning my car Saturday morning.  Joanna and Benny worked on pruning trees after our winter storm.  Emma was in a cleaning mood, so we cleaned out the refrigerator.  The day wrapped up with Mythbusters Jr. and pizza, followed by a quick Jackbox game.

Sunday had Joanna and the little kids going to church in the morning while Emma swept me up in a spring cleaning frenzy.  We cleaned the fireplace mantle, boiling away wax from the candle sticks and using tarnish remover on the silver bases.  Later we moved to the mold on the bathroom ceiling, the side table in the dining room, and eventually wore ourselves out.

Joanna did a great easter egg hunt for the kids.  My favorite part was the jokes she'd put inside in addition to the usual candy.  We sat around the front yard, eating candy, reading jokes, and generally enjoying our company.  It was a highlight of the weekend.

We ended up having all the kids, Skye, and my mom for Easter dinner.  It's starting to feel like the end of an era is upon us and these moments will become increasingly rare.  We chatted and laughed and I hope those memories last a long while.


Home Again

April 19, 2019 by Adam in Family

I'm back home, which is a lovely place to be.

This trip was physically rough on me - I suffered through headaches and threw up, though mostly recovering through the days.  The work events themselves were fine, a mix of bug fixing for a release, talking about team changes, saying farewell to Chris and Wade, and the occasional team bonding exercise.

We all went to a painting place, making mountains and happy trees on canvas.  Emma excitedly took it off my hands when I arrived home and proudly hung it in her room.  Afterwards we went to a place called Prohibition, which is modeled after a speak easy with the main room behind a secret door in a bookcase and the staff dressed in period costumes.  It was a good time.

I also got to see my old friends Maggie and Cory, chatting about their lives and work and technology.  I think Health Catalyst wants to lure Cory back as he's so darn talented.  It was also a little sad saying farewell to Chris, who was my one gaming buddy at Health Catalyst.  He was my kind of nerd.

As for today, I'm having breakfast with Glen and Dave - it's apparently keep-in-touch-with-ex-coworkers week.  Joanna and I are doing some sort of date night tonight.  Since I have the day off work, I'm hoping the two of us can go for a walk together sometime.   I also started playing Sunless Skies, realizing it's essentially the game that I was wanting to make myself.

We'll see if the weather holds this weekend.  My only real plans are to unpack after the trip and hang out with family.  Maybe we can have some outdoor expeditions too.


April 16, 2019 by Adam in Benny

Ben turned twelve. They had a bunch of friends over for a Star Trek themed sleepover. It was a mix of watching the show, playing pretend, and playing board games. I brought croissants down in the morning and they seemed well behaved.

They had a good selection of crafty and dressy presents. I'm glad they liked the uv resin I got them - they were making jewelry all Sunday.

Salt Lake City

April 16, 2019 by Adam in Family

Just landed. Up at 3:45, driving to work now. Other than spilling my tea, all went well.

It was a good weekend. Ben's birthday was a success. Emma and I went with Mom to the ballet. I must be getting older as I genuinely enjoyed it. Sam and Skye came for sushi dinner, which was a good time.

Weekend Already

April 13, 2019 by Adam in Family

Benny's birthday is tomorrow and Joanna is working hard to get the Star Trek themed event ready to go.  The weekend already feels pretty busy, with lots of little projects on my to do list.  The worst I finished yesterday, cleaning out the sewage ejector pump.  It was exactly as horrible as you might imagine, and I've set a recurring calendar item to do it every quarter.  I think the clay comes in through the back drain and gums everything up, causing various small floods.  It's super annoying.

Work moved along at a fratic pace towards the end of the week.  We were getting everything ready for a possible release next week.  I'm also heading back to Salt Lake City, hopefully seeing my ex-coworkers Cory and Maggie for dinner one night.  Wade also gave his notice, so we're getting down to a small crew until we get some new hires.

I also discovered a newfound talent on Thursday.  Emma and I were cooking and Emma kept challenging me to make jokes on a particular topic.  So Emma would say "Peanut" for a topic.  I'd respond "What do you call a urology enthusiast?"  It was a good time.

Rainy Monday

April 08, 2019 by Adam in Family

The dreary weather continues. The flowers all seem to like it, but it makes going outside a little challenging.

Emma and I played through most of the Humble Monthly games, though nothing jumped out at us as things we'll play long-term.  I finished the Uncharted PS4 games, the last of which was excellent. 

Saturday was pretty low-key, with pizza and Our Planet rounding out the day.  Sunday started with a hearty breakfast.  Duncan and Ben had haircuts.  I walked down to 16 Tons through the rain with the older kids and we had a good time playing games. 

Eventually everyone arrived for family dinner, which I somehow managed to mostly cook while Joanna went food shopping.  Later I stuck Jenny in VR and made her play Beat Saber.  It was great fun.

Mocha Friday

April 05, 2019 by Adam in Family

I had a dream last night where I told a joke and it was so funny that I woke up.  The punchline was something like "the kids are so hungry they're drawing pictures of fruits and vegetables!"  I think you had to be there, as the kids didn't find it so funny at the breakfast table this morning.

It's been a generally okay week, if a little wet and stormy.  Joanna's had headaches quite a bit, which is a little worrisome.  At the same time, the kids have been generally doing well.  Emma's grades came in with all A's and two A+'s.  Sam's been having fun helping mom digitize old media.  I had a nice cup of tea with mom on Wednesday. 

Last night I hung out with Sam and Emma a fair amount.  Emma and I cooked a tasty tostada dinner.  Sam advised me as I played Victoria II and took parts of Africa while battling the Ottomans.  It was all very exciting.

As for this weekend, I'm not sure there's anything too exciting going on.  My enthusiasm to clean the basement is waning with this dreary weather.

Fake Night

April 03, 2019 by Adam in Family

Ben's been having a hard time with us going off for our usual date night, so Joanna's been calling our outings "Fake Night" instead.  I'll get take out and we'll go hide out in the shed and chat, after putting on the mood lighting Christmas lights of course.  

In general, though, life is doing okay.  The kids seem okay in their new classes.  Ben likes drama and was practicing their Puck lines.  Duncan ran into a wall in PE, but otherwise is intact.  Emma's new classes seem okay so far - I'll grill her in more detail tomorrow.

It was nice seeing dad Monday.  He seems a little better, mostly due to getting better medication for his leg.  We chatted about all our usual topics until he had to return home.

It's been a little wet this week, but the spring weather still makes me cheerful.  Work's going well, trying to get ready for a release.  Mostly I'm finding bugs in other people's code today after fixing a bunch of bugs yesterday.  I'm just excited that I get to wake up each morning and write a bunch of code.

End of Spring Break

April 01, 2019 by Adam in Family

It's the end of spring break.  Kids go to school tomorrow.  The coast was fun - hanging out with dad, boating around the bay, and wandering around the beach.  This weekend we had pizza and Mythbusters with Sam and Skye, Joanna and I gardened, and Emma and I walked to 16 Tons for coffee and card games.

Hopefully all the kids do okay at school tomorrow.

Back from the River

March 27, 2019 by Adam in Family

Joanna and I just got back from the McKenzie where we snuck away for a night.  We left Ben with Maddie overnight - they had a great time doing art together.  Joanna and I hiked and soaked in a hot tub and watched Netflix shows in a quiet cabin.  We were the only people staying there that night - I thanked Joanna for booking the entire place.

Hiking around the area was interesting.  There was still snow on the ground in a few places and quite a few trees down.  We passed several teams of people still working on trimming broken branches.  Still, the weather was good and getting away with Joanna was lovely.

Spring is Here

March 25, 2019 by Adam in Family

I love these three day weekends.  I suppose with unlimited PTO I could take them from time to time.  Friday I mostly hung out with Emma - I watched her play Cultist Simulator, we went for a long drive, and walked around Hendrick's Park.  It was nice to spend time with her before she went to the coast with Jamie Saturday morning.

Saturday Joanna went to a class for the spinning wheel I got her over Christmas, returning with small bits of yarn she spun from different fibers she gave her.  I worked on assembling Duncan's new desk, which took awhile but was strangely satisfying.  Ben had their friend Chloe over - at one point they were looking bored, so I broke out the card games and we played Exploding Kittens and Pirate Fluxx.  Eventually I left them with Mastermind and slowly worked on the game I'm kinda sorta making.  Kevin arrived that evening and took Duncan and Ben off for dinner.  We were joined by Sam and Skye, who were cheerful and entertaining.

Today was pretty low-key.  We set up Duncan's desk in his room and took Ben to hang out with their dad and play DnD.  Joanna and I picked up seeds at Down to Earth, visited a yarn store, and went for a hike - the view was amazing.  Eventually we went food shopping, picked up Ben, and returned home to collapse.

This upcoming week is a mix of trips and work.  Hopefully both are enjoyable.

Mocha Friday

March 22, 2019 by Adam in Family

I finished my mocha a couple hours ago - I'm taking the day off to hang out with kids.  Emma is going to the coast with Jamie tomorrow.  Duncan and Ben are going to hang out with their dad while he's here. Joanna and I are sneaking away for a night on the McKenzie river next week.  We're also planning to sneak away with the kids to the coast for a couple days too.

Ben's back in school.  They had an assessment done by an outside person to assure that all is well.  I think Ben didn't like being not allowed to go to school for a couple days, and their day back yesterday went well.  We had one of their friends drop off a vanilla candle and some honey sticks while they were home, wishing them well.  It was sweet.

We bought a car, a 2013 Subaru Outback from a private seller for a pretty good price.  It was fast and painless and hopefully ends up being a good fit for our family. We could almost get by with a single car, but it ended up being a coordinating challenge at times and taking the family on trips in my tiny car isn't the most comfortable thing.

Work's getting a little busy, the familiar tension between releasing code on a certain schedule and the developers' desires to have our code be high quality and well tested.  Hopefully those battles help us all do a better job.

All-in-all, life seems pretty good.  We've sorted out some of our bigger worries and I've got some cool things to look forward to next week.

Car Shopping

March 21, 2019 by Adam in Family

Things feel a little better midway through this week.  I've seemingly checked in with everyone with phone calls and emails and visits.  I still worry, though not as much as I was before.  Ben had their assessment today, which was the most informative document about their overall mental health that I've seen so far.  Hopefully that means they'll be returning to school tomorrow or shortly after spring break.

I had coffe with mom and Bob today, sneaking it in between meetings.  It was nice to see Bob, who seemed to be his normal snarky self.  Later in the afternoon Joanna and I started shopping for Subaru Outbacks.  I think we found one from a personal seller - the car itself looks okay other than a ding.  I think I'm going to stand clear of the haggling, as I'm not very good at it.  Mostly I'm hoping we get to drive a bigger car for our upcoming trips.

We continue to have amazing spring weather.  I might go back to shorts tomorrow, as the weather has been so nice.

Everyone Is On My Worry List

March 18, 2019 by Adam in Family

Life is far too exciting these days.  I sent a long email to my sisters, documenting all the things that are going on that I tend not to post here - health scares, school trouble, moves, and impending marriages, among other things.  It feels like it's one of those times where I hold my breath, hold on tight, and hope we make it through.  I'm trying hard to take care of myself through it all - I keep running each day, strength training in my little back office, and get out into the sunshine now that it's here.

There were some highlights over the weekend.  Sam and Skye came over for pizza and Mythbusters.  Emma and I walked over to get my hair cut and played games at Metropol.  Later we sat outside in the sun and she made a daisy catapillar.  Joanna keeps working on her quirky knitted blanket - she took it to a Dar Williams concert with me last night.  The concert was great and it felt good to get out with Joanna for a little while.  It was a good suggestion from mom.

Spring break plans are falling into place.  I think Joanna and I will try to get away for a night, having a babysitter watch Benny overnight.  It's been a long while since the two of us escaped anywhere.  Later in the week I think we'll try to take Emma, Duncan, and Ben with us to the coast for a few days, assuming it's still okay with dad for us to hang around.

There are still a lot of bright points along the journey.  I'm trying hard to focus on them through the bumpy parts.

Hints of Spring

March 15, 2019 by Adam in Family

It was warm enough to eat lunch on my front steps with just a t-shirt on, basking in the sun.  My tomato starts are popping up enthusiastically beside me in my office.  It looks like more blue skies today.  I'm really ready for spring.

Emma and Duncan were amusing me at the breakfast table, talking about starting a heavy metal milk band with Emma doing sign language interpretation.  I think it was mostly because "milk" was one of the few words they knew in sign language.  I told them these were the moments that made parenting worthwhile.

Ben's had a hard week with school and friends, with Joanna feeling stressed out.  Sam's off doing his own thing more and more.  I'm feeling much better from my Wednesday illness.

As for the impending weekend, we'll see how it goes.  Emma expressed a desire to drive to Silver Screen and rent a video, just like we used to do in ages past.  Maybe we can visit the last Blockbuster in the world the next time we're in Bend.  Duncan likely wants to work on his Geometry Dash level.  Emma's been having fun playing Cultist Simulator.  Ben has endless craft projects.  Joanna probably just wants some sleep.

Back From the Dead

March 13, 2019 by Adam in Family

I had a horrible headache this morning. Joanna would call it a migraine and I'm not sure I'd disagree. I was basically non-functional from 3 a.m. until noon, writhing and moaning in pain. Fortunately I feel much better now, a mild ache that I'm treating with tea and rest.

Duncan apparently woke up, waited a little, and then woke up Ben to tell them we'd slept in due to Daylight Savings Time. The two of them managed to feed themselves, Ben fed the cat and started a pot of tea for Joanna. When Joanna told me this as I was deathly ill, I replied "I guess I'm done now." She replied "no, don't leave us" which I thought was a fine example of gallows humor.

I may check in briefly with work and I managed to do some dishes, but otherwise I'm taking it really easy today.


March 11, 2019 by Adam in Family

It feels like we're at the tail end of winter, with snow still on the ground, hiding in the shadows, along with flowers ready to bloom.  I cleaned out my office and made room for tomato seedlings.  Shoving seeds in the wet dirt seems like a little ritual to bring the sun back.  Joanna's knitting a temperature blanket, representing the high and lows of each day, spiraling out from the center.  We've had a lot of dark purples lately - looking forward to the yellows appearing.

It was a pretty quiet weekend.  Chloe came over to hang out with Ben, who worked on various projects over the weekend.  Duncan was his usual avoid-wearing-pants self, playing Minecraft with his dad and working on his Geometry Dash levels.  Joanna was feeling pretty worn out and read a lot, at one point supervising Ben on a paid cleaning spree.  Emma played a bunch of Cultist Simulator, going on Lovecraftian voyages beyond the walls of sleep while building up her followers.  Sam was around and we had some good hang out times, building Magic decks and playing together like old times.  And of course the whole crew got together for pizza, Mythbusters, and Jackbox games.  It sometimes seems like it's the pillars that holds up our family.

We're slowly looking for a car, settling on a Subaru Outback.  Now we actually have to find one in our price/year/odometer range.  We can borderline get away with just one car, though it ends up making life a little stressful having to coordinate schedules.

I have a day of bug fixing ahead of me.  The one I spend Friday researching was really quirky but I think it's mostly resolved and doesn't actually impact clients.

Road to Recovery

March 08, 2019 by Adam in Family

We're all still slowly recovering from last week's snow.  Mom has power again.  The roads are clear.  Kids are getting back into the school routine.  The term was pushed out a week, ending right before spring break.

Tuesday was pancake day in England, so we celebrated by having Joanna pick up crepes at 16 Tons.  She and I hid in the shed and chatted for a little date night while the kids ate in the house.  I made the shed fancy by plugging in the christmas lights.

Emma and Duncan are picking their classes at South for next year.  There's a tiny chance they have some classes together.  Emma's still got a touch of a cold.

We're still looking for a Subaru Outback, though I fear most of them were snatched up during the snowy season.  Spring break is also a little up in the air, though we're hoping to get away for a little and later take kids to the beach.  Coordinating everyone's schedules is a bit of a challenge.

I'm working on my mocha, settling into bug fixing and adding features.  The weekend will likely be pretty quiet.

Still Surviving

March 04, 2019 by Adam in Family

The weekend was mostly low-key.  Duncan hung out with Rio.  Ben's Spark Academy was canceled due to network outages.  Joanna and I walked down to her work to water plants - it's quite the cozy little office.  I made various tasty breakfasts, including crepes with strawberries to ensure Joanna continues to love me forever.  Emma's snowman melted.  Humble Monthly games arrived - Emma liked the old school racing game.  Sam and I enjoyed Cultist Simulator.  Emma was pretty sick and mostly hung out in bed, though we managed a fair number of board games.

As for the rest of the crew, mom is still without power last I checked.  She might stay over here tonight in order not to wear out Bob's welcome.  

We're still a little worn out.  Life is never boring.  Tomorrow is pancake day, an English tradition where you make crepes.  We might head over to 16 Tons as they apparently have gluten-free versions we can make.

Snowy Mocha Friday

March 01, 2019 by Adam in Family

It's a school day!  The roads are generally clear, though the sidewalks still have a foot of snow.  Still, I'm hoping that this marks a general return to normalcy.  I got mom to Bob's house last night.  I'll probably pick her up to get her back to her car this afternoon.  I've got an all day security meeting today - hopefully it's interesting.  All-in-all work is coming along nicely, despite the wackiness of the work week.

Day 4 - We Have Begun Forming Tribes

March 01, 2019 by Adam in Family

The town isn't entirely feral, but some of the roads are iffy and everyone is still being a little wonky.  No school for the fourth day in a row - I can't remember the last time Duncan wore pants.  Yesterday afternoon I took Emma to her mom's house, loaded with DVDs to entertain them while their cable and Internet were out.  Driving back was a little exciting, getting briefly stuck on one of the side streets.

This afternoon I went over to Bob's to fetch mom.  We got her phone, which FedEx delivered to her doorstep.  EWEB left a note that the power line to her house was turned off.  Hopefully mom can line up an electrician to get power hooked up again, though I imagine those folks are really busy.  While she was gathering clothes, I shoveled the back driveway and got the Prius out to the front of the house.  It was a little exciting, and the ABS is pretty solid on that car.  I ended up sweaty but satisfied.

Joanna made bananna bread.  Mom's showering and charging all her devices.  I think I'll get her back to Bob's house before it gets too dark and cold.

No idea if kids will go back to school tomorrow, but we're surviving.  I think it'll be okay.

Too Damn Much Snow

February 27, 2019 by Adam in Family

It's getting annoying. I spent an hour this morning clearing snow and making it possible to get out of the driveway. I took mom over to Bob's house yesterday, but they lost power last night. I offered to bring things over if necessary.

Jamie's power was restored, but no cable or Internet yet. I may drive Emma over there as she misses her mom. We're in our third day of no school.

Snowpocalypse Now

February 25, 2019 by Adam in Family

It happened. No school. Kids rejoicing.

Okay - further update towards the end of the day.  I'm beat.  Between making Fort Awesome, shoveling the driveway, and rescuing mom from her powerless house, it was a pretty wearying day.  I managed a bit of work, though only a few hours.  Too many responsibilities.

Duncan and Ben wandered out into the world after Joanna pried them from their computers.  They went over to a friend's house and hung out there for hours, eventually returning after Joanna found them.  They sledded and made syrup snowcones.  A good time was had by all.

Jamie's out of power, as is mom.  Dad's car got stuck at work.  Some big tree branches fell at mom's house and damaged the electrical box and power line.  I set up a cot in the basement for mom.  We'll all survive.  Likely no school tomorrow.

Mocha Friday

February 23, 2019 by Adam in Family

Man, the week has just zipped by.  Work's good - fixing bugs and adding new security features.  Joanna and Ben both have colds.  Emma is forecasting for next year's classes and getting ready for her AP classes.  I got to see mom and dad this week, at coffee and dinner respectively.  No new crises - just the usual slow moving ones.

Long Weekend

February 20, 2019 by Adam in Family

It was a pleasant three day weekend, full of games and hanging out and teaching Emma to drive.  

I had a nice note from someone who played my old Neverwinter Night games so long ago, a belated thank you from a nostalgic time.  I do sometimes miss those days.  Maybe eventually I'll manage to make games again.  I enjoyed telling stories, hopefully provoking a bit of thought while entertaining along the way.

We're still a little worn out.  Joanna's cold continues - she watched five movies over the weekend.  I had a coffee and Advil day, but soon recovered.

Mocha Friday

February 15, 2019 by Adam in Family

It's late Friday afternoon before a long weekend.  The week slowly improved - we were all a little sick and my mood improved with my health.  Yesterday we passed around Valentine's goodies.  I got flowers for Joanna.  She got cards and candy for the kids and I.  I think we also sorted out some insurance issues, Joanna doing battle to figure out if they'd cover something.  I think the end result is we probably can afford buying a second car - I suspect a Subaru Outback is in our future, but we'll see.

Kate Weaver was let go from Health Catalyst today, which is sad.  I've known her since middle school, working together at PeaceHealth for a long while too.

Last night I was so sleepy.  Emma was playing an old Lucasarts point-and-click adventure next to me and I closed my eyes and conked out.  Eventually she sent me to bed, where I napped, woke up to watch a show with Joanna, and conked out again.

My work projects are coming along nicely.  From time to time I feel like I might be a comptent developer.

Worn Out

February 12, 2019 by Adam in Family

Joanna and I are both a little worn out.  Ben hasn't been in school for the last couple days, reporting that their legs are hurting.  They hung out in my office for most of yesterday, drawing and listening to music as I went through my day's meetings.  I've also had headaches the last couple of days, though I'm not sure it's stress or a cold.  Plus the cat woke me up at four this morning.

That being said, we're all alive and well.  I managed some good hang out time with the kids over the weekend.  Emma and I played through a couple artsy games - Doughnut County and one that was hand drawn that I can't pronounce.  Mom came over Sunday and my dad came over last night.  Joanna was teaching a class last night, so I appreciated Sam stepping up and helping Duncan with his vision therapy.  I spent the time chatting with my dad about replacement vehicles for the minivan.  I suspect an Outback may be in our future.

Work is moving at a steady pace.  I break things.  I fix things.  The cycle of life continues.

Hoping for Springtime

February 08, 2019 by Adam in Family

I have some bulbs popping up next my office - I secretly root for them every time I walk by.

It's been an occasionally exhausing week.  Things with Ben have been a bit rough.  Joanna and I went on a date and I noticed the tire was flat on our way out.  Sam continues to be swollen and achy from his wisdom teeth removal.  I've had a few headaches.

That being said, we're all alive and generally hanging in there.  My latest complicated work project is getting in front of people to start poking at.  Health Catalyst is officially a "unicorn" company, valued at more than a billion dollars.  Hopefully that means things will continue to go well.

Tomorrow is mocha Friday and I'm hoping to have coffee with mom to boot.  Hopefully we have a quiet weekend after that.

Not So Wise

February 06, 2019 by Adam in Sam

Sam had his wisdom teeth taken out today.  We took him to the oral surgeon first thing in the morning.  He remembers getting a shot of medication in his IV and then nothing until I met him in the recovery room.  He was pretty groggy and I had to help him put his shirt on like when he was little.  I got him settled down watching Netflix, sipping water and taking it easy.

Jamie came over, bringing a basket of assorted foods, Emma's favorite stuffed animal, and a get well card that Emma made.  I think Sam appreciated the company, as he was feeling pretty lousy.

He moved from Austin Powers to World War 2 documentaries.  Towards the evening Skye came over to keep him company.  I made him a peanut butter milkshake and applesauce for dinner.  We asserted that our good smelling solid food was actually terrible and chastised Joanna for her terrible cooking.

He's working to stay on top of his pain meds.  Tomorrow is warm soup and scrambled eggs.  Hopefully he can work back to normal food soon enough.

Snowy Monday

February 04, 2019 by Adam in Family

It snowed last night, blanketing our little town in white.  We still have school, to the kids' dismay - the roads are fine and nothing is sticking to the concrete.  Sure looks pretty, though.

We had a generally good weekend.  Sam was around, which was a treat.  Emma is still recovering from being sick, so Saturday was low-key with the usual Mythbusters and Adam Ruins Everything.  Joanna went to talk at a service, getting all gussied up in a dress and makeup, which she seemed vaguely resigned to do in order to be presentable.

Sunday was the usual big breakfast, followed by a trip to get a battery for Sam's van.  He put it on Craigslist for sale, a mixture of not needing a vehicle and the cost of fueling up the van.  We went to Lowe's to get a new kitchen sink faucet, which Sam mostly installed for me while I offered advice and handed him parts.  For our reward, Sam, Emma, and I walked over to 16 Tons for coffee and lunch, playing Magic the Gathering, Give me the Brain, and Coop.  I really enjoyed it.

The day wound down with laundry, video games, and Joanna going off to get her office put together.  Emma broke her phone screen, which made her feel sad and guilty.  We'll fix it next weekend.  Skye returned from their mom's house, so Sam wandered over.

I've got some interesting work queued up for me at work - it'll probably take most of the week to truly finish up my big security switchover, but it's getting closer.

Mochaless Friday

February 01, 2019 by Adam in Family

I didn't manage a mocha today.  I couldn't eat or drink before a blood test - the usual work-recommended one that gives me an insurance break.  Afterward I got together with coworkers for breakfast and scarfed down an omelette and coffee.

It's a no-school day.  Joanna's been running Benny around to appointments and Duncan has a friend over.  Emma's been sick the last couple days, which makes her a little anxious as she missed midterms.  Hopefully she feels better by Monday.

Not much excitement these days.  Work is going along nicely.  I'm playing and really enjoying God of War.  The usual dishes, laundry, and feeding children keep me busy.  Joanna and Benny are going to a concert tonight.  Emma might come over.  Hopefully I see Sam a bit over the weekend - he's off and about more and more.

Mid-winter updates

January 31, 2019 by Seraph in Cortez


Just a couple of updates on the Cortez household. Isabell has enrolled at Fort Lewis College in Colorado next fall. A friend of hers is also going and they are hoping to be dorm mates. Her senior year is dwindling away, and she's added a job with the school's history department a few days each week.

Robbie's year has been busy. His class has finished their winter testing and he's getting a new student tomorrow. He's been having fun reading a lot of books about Alaska and wants to add a trip to his bucket list.

I head back to work on Friday, and I'm already dreading the endless paperwork to catch up on. I am looking forward to hugs from all my students. I also had the first of two basal cell carcinomas removed today. The other surgery will be next week. This first one is at my hairline and I'm not allowed to wash my hair for a 2 days. I hope the world is ready for crazy hair days! The second one is right under my eye. I think I'll wear a pirate eye patch for a few days so my students chalk it up to the usual Mrs. Cortez looney behavior, instead of my slow morph into Frankinstein.

We've had a real winter this year and stay warm under the piles of our furry animals (cats, dogs, and now a rabbit). I'm definitely looking forward to spring!

Midweek Update

January 30, 2019 by Adam in Family

The week has been somewhat uneventful.  Duncan's started working with robots in his Bits, Beats, and Bots class.  Hopefully they don't become self-aware and take over the world.  Ben has been sick and watching a lot of Star Trek, occasionally doing homework.  Joanna looks a little worn out between getting her office ready and taking care of Ben.  

I had fun chatting with my dad, though it was a little shorter than usual as I helped Duncan with his vision exercises.  We were both a little bored, so I had him balance on the exercise ball while reading letters from a piece of paper I whirled about.  I should make an 80's training montage out of it.

I finished my Spiderman game and started God of War.  It's a story about fathers and sons, with fighting monsters.  I keep thinking of Sam when we would go to Spencer's Butte and I'd pretend there were orcs hiding in the bushes to try to get him to hike along with me.

Monday, Monday

January 28, 2019 by Adam in Family

It was a generally good weekend.  Sam and Skye hung out with us for a couple dinners.  Emma played way too much Spiderman on the PS4.  Duncan played a ton of Minecraft and hung out with his friend.  Ben went to a Spark academy thing and later worked on building some machine using their hand-held 3D printer.  Joanna dutifully went food shopping and cleaned her office.

There were some fun highlights this weekend.  I got everyone to play One Night Ultimate Alien, which ended up being lots of fun.  Emma and I went down into the basement and played some of our classic games we played as kids - radioactive ball, obstacle course, jumping on the foof, and she even gave me a brief airplane ride.  Later on Sunday Emma drove around, still remembering her driving skills.  My mom came over for dinner and we chatted about her parents while studying for Emma's AP US History class.

Mocha Friday

January 25, 2019 by Adam in Family

It's the end of the work week.  Somehow I managed to scoop out our old security system and mostly replace it with a new one that's a lot more complicated.  Hopefully it'll be worth it.  My mocha waits patiently beside me, ready to be imbibed.

It's been a generally okay week.  Sam and Skye came over for dinner a couple nights, which was nice.  Ben had some anxiety issues and was picked up from school early.  Duncan is his usual funny, cheerful self.  He's been dutifully doing his eye exercises in hopes of fixing some focus issues that were pointed out by Dr. Arbow.  Emma arrived in the afternoon, declaring that she'll walk home from school despite the hill - she'd been calling and asking for a ride most weeks.  Joanna was asked to speak at a service the Saturday after next, which she looks forward to. 

We're still using the one car, generally pretty well.  Between taxes and some of our medical expenses, we're not quite sure how much cash we have on hand.  Our neighborhood is filled with Priuses and Outbacks and we might just get one to blend in properly.

Joanna Birthday

January 23, 2019 by Adam in Joanna

Joanna made herself a delicious low-carb cheesecake.  Everyone had seconds.  It's been a pretty hard week, but between the cake and kids being generally funny and pleasant her mood picked up.  We led Duncan through his first eye exercises, some of which involving an eye patch.  The pirate jokes flowed like rum.

Half Birthdays

January 23, 2019 by Adam in Family

It was a long, quiet weekend with Sam and Emma at the beach with Jamie.  I power washed and listened to audiobooks, in between playing Spiderman on the PS4.  Joanna and I hauled Duncan and Ben for a hike.  Occasionally the rain would drown out the complaining, leaving me to contemplate a beautiful, soggy landscape.

It was also my half-birthday on the 19th and Duncan's on the 20th.  We celebrated with some cake and song.

Mocha Friday

January 18, 2019 by Adam in Family

It's the end of a week, slogging through work and life and such.  My mocha is a memory as I get through my morning work meetings.  I've been given a hard security problem at work, and it's that fun mix of frustrating followed by deep satisfaction when I finally get things working.  Sam would be proud to hear that Dark Souls prepared me for moments like this.

We continue to work through the things going on with Ben.  Joanna reminded me that every kid had middle school challenges.  Joanna continues to sort out the minivan issues.  She bid a final farewell to Fleur at the towing lot.  The insurance should cut us a $3K check relatively soon.  The debates about what car we should get to replace it continue.

Emma got contacts this week and generally likes them.  She's enjoying all the contact benefits - peripheral vision, no rain on lenses, and being able to watch tv while laying down.

Sam and Skye came over for lunch and dinner yesterday.  It was fun chatting with those two - they seem happy.  Sam's still jumping through hoops trying to get the job building server farms in Pendleton.

It's a three day weekend, with Sam and Emma off to the coast.  I have a long list of house projects I want to think about tackling.  Maybe I can sneak in some downtime too.

Pleasant Weekend

January 14, 2019 by Adam in Family

We generally had a good weekend, still getting used to being a one car family until we sort out what's going on with the car accident.  We still haven't heard from the insurance company about our minivan yet.  Emma and I went for a walk both days, going down to Woodfield Station on 29th to visit the bank, drop off prescriptions, and stop by 16 Tons to drink coffee and hot chocolate and play games.  Since Emma is off to the coast next weekend, we tried to get some quality kid time in.

Joanna braved Costco and took Ben to Oregon Art Supply.  We did our usual pizza and Mythbusters on Saturday, with Sam and Skye coming along.  Duncan managed to avoid getting dressed both days, recording gameplay videos for YouTube.

I managed to do a few small house projects like replacing our magnetic knife rack with something more significant.  I continued playing PS4 games, slowly approaching the end of Horizon Zero Dawn.  But most of all I enjoyed hanging out with all the kids, chatting with everyone over breakfast, watching Sam guide Emma in her continued conquest of Europe, and discussing the effectiveness of cannons after watching Mythbusters.

Mocha Friday

January 11, 2019 by Adam in Family

The week is wrapping up and my Friday mocha is down to a few last gulps.  Joanna and I have been juggling having a single vehicle, which is a little challenging on occasion.  I think we're both getting back into the swing of things after the start of the week.

Last night Emma went over to her friend Tevi's house for the first time - making cookies, holding her snake and listening to One Direction.  She went out to dinner with Tevi's family and had a good time.  Joanna took Duncan to his band concert, reporting they were much improved from sixth grade.  Sam, Benny, and I made dinner together and chatted.  Sam and I then played Europa Universalis IV a little, getting into a couple wars and generally consolidating power in Europe.

I think we have a pretty quiet weekend planned.  We've got a few lingering things from Christmas to put away and the usual house projects to juggle.  Still, there should be time for some R&R in there too.


January 11, 2019 by Adam in Adam's Games

I bought myself a PlayStation 4 for Christmas and have been cheerfully going through the "best of" backlog for the last couple weeks.  I picked up the exclusives that I'd been wanting to play, but couldn't get on PC.

The Last of Us is a gritty post-apocalyptic game with fungal-induced zombies roaming the countryside.  It's also a game about fathers and daughters, and surprisingly touching.

I'm getting towards the end of Horizon Zero Dawn, which is also post-apocalyptic, but set hundreds of years after the fall of civilization.  I play as a semi-primitive person who explores the ruins, fighting giant robotic dinosaurs along the way.

I also picked up Peggle 2 in hopes that Emma would enjoy it, but sadly it's not as cool to her as the original.

I still have a pretty huge backlog to go through, not to mention my other PC games, and VR games I've yet to finish.  Such is the life of a grown-up gamer.


January 10, 2019 by Adam in Family

Life continues.  Sam and I went to the oral surgeon to to prep for his wisdom teeth removal.  They took x-rays when we went for our checkup on Monday and clearly were tilted 90 degrees.  Hopefully we can get that resolved relatively soon.

Mom headed to the coast, so no coffee date today.  Joanna continues to recover, seeing her doctor and getting a massage yesterday.  She seems more chipper today than she has in awhile.  Emma lost her wallet, which isn't immediately necessary but is starting to have important things and significant cash in there.  Hopefully it turns up soon.

As for me, I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things at work.  I felt relatively productive today, fixing bugs and adding a few small features.

Back Into the Fray

January 08, 2019 by Adam in Family

Joanna got hit by a car today - a woman just back from maternity leave drove through a stop sign and hit the side of the minivan.  She got checked out by the paramedics, exchanged information with the other driver, and had the police guide traffic until tow trucks arrived.  I showed up to help move the minivan's contents into the car and drove Joanna home.  We then sat down and went through the insurance claim process as we unfortunately have gotten pretty good at the drill at this point.

Dad came over for dinner and we chatted about cars and such.  Between Joanna really not wanting a minivan and the kids getting older, I think we'll end up buying something newer and smaller. We don't have a ton in savings, but should be able to afford something more recent.  Lots of unexpected expenses these days.

It was also my first day back at work, mostly filled with meetings and interruptions, and trying to get properly setup in the new payroll system.  I didn't really accomplish all that much today, though I suspect most everyone else is in the same boat.

The kids have school tomorrow - hopefully they remember how to dress and can function at a reasonable hour.  Sam and Emma hung out and continued their global conquest.

As for me, I miss vacation already.

Off to the Snow

January 02, 2019 by Adam in Family

I worked for a couple hours yesterday, getting my timesheet and expense report in, along with finishing up a pull request.  I sorta remembered how all this work thing works - hopefully next Monday isn't too overwhelming a change.  I'm not sure I've had two full weeks off of work without it being part of a vacation in decades.

We're heading off to Hoodoo with Jenny and Jordan, sadly without Sam.  The plan is to go tubing, or at least see what it's like and play in the snow.  None of us have gone before, so it'll be an adventure.

New Year's Eve

January 01, 2019 by Adam in Family

It's the day before 2019. Time for watching Japanese boy bands as is our way.

We've been having a lovely vacation. Lots of video games, hanging out, and generally having a good time. We all went to an escape room nearby, getting through in forty minutes and a couple clues. It's was surprisingly fun.

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