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 Ben

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.

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