Web Services Reunion

December 29, 2020 by Adam in Adam

My old friend and coworker Dave organized a Zoom call with much of the old Web Services Team from my PeaceHealth days.  It was great to catch up with everyone, though vaguely terrifying how much older everyone's kids are now.  Time passes quickly.  I also heard through Kate that Kai is moving back to Eugene with her family.  I still remember Kate and Kai hanging out around the house with Seraph when I was twelve.

Back to Work

December 29, 2020 by Adam in Family

We had a pretty low-key Christmas weekend, slowly going through the tasty leftovers and playing with our assorted gifts.  Emma played way too much Ooblets, a cute game with little creatures you grow and engage in dance battles to build your menagerie.  The other big outing was going to visit Seraph and Robbie at my mom's farm.  Ben and Emma had a great time collecting things, returning with various water, plant, and mushroom samples and testing for pH, potassium, and so on.  Joanna really wants to have a little writer's cabin in the woods, so we started talking about it more earnestly.

I'm back to work, slowly remembering how to write code and interact with teammates.  It's another short week, so we'll see how much we actually get done in the next few days.

Honorable Emma

December 29, 2020 by Adam in Emma

Emma was accepted to Clark Honors College at the U of O.  She was excited to be accepted and we looked over the curriculum to see what the required classes were and what the program entails.  Between that and her merit scholarship, I think she's feeling pretty good about all her hard work.  Hopefully it's a clear indication that not only do her parents think she's awesome, but others do as well.

Cyberpunk 2077

December 27, 2020 by Adam in Adam's Games

Back in the 80s, Colin, Jason and I would play Cyberpunk 2020, which seemed like an impossibly far away future.  It was a pencil and paper RPG inspired by the early cyberpunk writers like William Gibson.  The RPG was updated, along with one of my favorite game studios coming out with a computer game.  Preorders were incredibly high, followed by backlash due to bugs.  Still, I've been really enjoying the world, the look of things, and the roleplaying through the stories.

Merry Christmas

December 25, 2020 by Adam in Family

It's the end of a fine Christmas. Everyone was up early and presents were opened by eight. We had lots of good loot, food, and playing games all day. There's a sadness in not being able to see everyone, but we're hanging in there.

Drunk Santa Monday

December 21, 2020 by Adam in Family

Mom gave us an inflatable Santa a few years back, which we setup outside the window.  When it rains, he starts to lean forward, getting more rain on him and ends up at the bottom of the stairs.  We've started calling him Drunk Santa, though with Joanna having tied him up with Christmas lights, I suspect he'll get a new nickname soon.

Friday night we finally watched Galaxy Quest, eating Pirate's Booty and treating it like a special movie night.  Ben and Emma loved it, as we were all Star Trek fans, and it felt like an homage more than a parody.

Saturday was full of counseling sessions for Duncan, which made for a busy morning, though they were all positive.  It was nice to talk with Duncan for awhile in the afternoon - he likes the staff and his roommates and I'm hoping his stay is productive and relatively short.  

We finished up most of our Christmas presents and projects, though a few stray presents are coming in.  The evening was full of science videos and Deep Space Nine.  Sunday we had more work on the garden beds, going for a walk with Emma at Hendrick's Park, cleaning out the rain gutter near the driveway, and watching way too much DS9 again after dinner.

Work Christmas Parties

December 18, 2020 by Adam in Adam

We had a Zoom Christmas Party at work today where we shared pictures of things we appreciated, followed by Jackbox games.  I posted a picture of Data being washed and looking resigned, which nicely summed up the year.  Jackbox was great fun and I enjoyed the creativity of my teammates.  Tim and I apparently think alike.

Birthday Kitty Mocha Friday

December 18, 2020 by Adam in Family

We're having a Christmas party at work, playing Jackbox games over Zoom, dressing up, and bringing a picture of something we appreciate.  I'm ignoring Joanna and the kids in favor of a picture of data, especially as it happens to be his one year birthday today.  I was pretty hesitant about getting another cat, but he's clawed his way into my heart with his mischief and cuteness.

We talked to Duncan yesterday over Zoom yesterday, which was reassuring to us all.  He seems to be in a pretty good place and understands why he's there.  I'm hopeful this is a good and positive experience for him and he returns with a new set of skills and understanding to help deal with the stresses of life.

Last night Ben and I made dinner together, followed up by video games and the three of us watching The Good Place.  I'll get Emma sometime today for a weekend of hopefully low-key hanging out and some final Christmas preparations.

I hear news of vaccines and start to let myself ache a little for the normalcy of going to a play, dinner and music, taking trips, or just going somewhere to people watch.  Just gotta hold on a few more months.

Family Update

December 16, 2020 by Adam in Family

Things have moved pretty quickly the last few days.  A bed opened up at the Newport Academy, so we sat down with Duncan and told him we were sending him there.  It didn't go well, but he eventually calmed down and Joanna took him up yesterday morning.  The hope is that he learns better coping skills and finds ways to better manage stress and anxiety.  It's been a terrible year and Duncan has gone from an easy-going happy kid last year to seriously depressed this one.  I'm holding out hope that vaccinations and returning to school will help immensely, though I fear we still have to wait until late spring or summer before things start feeling more normal.

Joanna's going to drive halfway back from northern Washington and stay the night, as yesterday's long drive was somewhat grueling.  It's just Ben and I hanging out in the house with the kitties today.  Last night we ate weird food and binged watched The Good Place.  Tonight I'll probably do takeout sushi and we'll watch more of the same.

It's been a hard, weird year and I predict a hard, weird winter to come.  Hopefully we all survive until spring.

One Good Day

December 13, 2020 by Adam in Family

We all had a good day today.  Duncan hung out with his friend Connor and they played the Untitled Goose Game together after a walk and bubble tea.  It was good to see him hanging out and laughing with a friend.

Ben, Emma, and I worked on secret art presents, doing mysterious things in the basement and keeping entertained.  We listened to lo-fi Christmas songs and played with the cats.

Joanna got some gardening done and I helped move concrete blocks for the new garden beds.  Emma and Joanna played Christmas songs on the ukelele.

Data kept us all well entertained, which was much appreciated.

Mocha Friday

December 11, 2020 by Adam in Family

We're moving into the longest nights of winter, though the longer days are just around the corner.  It's a little too obvious as a metaphor for the current state of things, but here we are.

Joanna's working on getting the younger kids more care.  We've been in a relatively calm spot the last 24 hours, which is a welcome break.  We rebranded date night as "bro night" where Duncan and Ben watch anime and YouTube and eat whatever takeout we ordered.  Our usual Wednesday was spent taking care of Ben issues, so we delayed it a night and snuck downstairs to puzzle away for awhile.

As for me, we're working on a release at work, with the usual last-minute scrambling.  I'm also trying to get Christmas happening as best I can.  We may have disruptions as to the timing of things, but maybe the power of Christmas can help with something.

Still Alive

December 08, 2020 by Adam in Family

Duncan had another bad day yesterday and we called CAHOOTS out again.  We're still not sure how to get Duncan what he needs, but it feels clear we need to do more.  It's all very sad and hard and we're trying to figure out next steps.

On the up side, Ben and I sat down and we got him through his math quiz, so he'll at least pass math.  He also made a Bûche de Noël on a whim.  Other than a brief catastrophe with folding the roll part, the end result was extremely tasty.

Finally, my COVID-19 PCR test result came back negative.  So just a winter cold.

Christmas, Cats, and waiting for COVID Tests

December 07, 2020 by Adam in Family

I'm still waiting for the PCR test, which is more reliable than the rapid test I had last Friday.  I'm still not feeling super, though I'm far better than that first day.  I woke up with a headache at four this morning and I'm a little short of breath.  No headaches, my blood oxygen level is fine, and I can still smell things.

I stayed at home this weekend, other than a brief interaction in a parking lot, fully masked, to pick up a Christmas tree.  Mostly I worry about other people - Emma's been over for the weekend and Ben had a friend over.  I still think I probably don't have COVID, but it's hard to know for sure.  Hopefully I'll get the test results by the end of the day, but it could be awhile.  Peace of mind would be nice.

Data has been having some grooming issues, so he got to have a bath, which he wasn't enthusiastic about.  Everyone still had a good time with the kitties, with Joanna dressing Data up in a little kitty hat - another thing he wasn't thrilled about.

I also tried very hard to break out all the Christmas cheer as we move into a hard winter.  Sunday morning was St. Nick's Day, where we put shoes out and presents appeared in the middle of the night.  We put up the lights and decorated a tree.  Christmas shopping began, though there's more to be done.  Hopefully between all the things we'll manage to celebrate our way through winter.

Possible COVID Mocha Friday

December 04, 2020 by Adam in Family

I was completely down for the count yesterday, sick in bed all day and all last night, occasionally emerging to eat some food.  The headache was the worst, though with some added nausea and stomach issues just to add to the zest.  No fever and my blood oxygen levels look okay.  This morning I woke up feeling much better, though I've got a cough and my lower back hurts.

Yesterday Joanna started the process for getting me tested yesterday, but nothing really happened until this morning.  Theoretically I'll get a text today to do an in-person screening which hopefully will result in a test later today.  Ideally it's a rapid test, as theoretically Emma's coming over today, Duncan has counseling, and Joanna has an MRI.  I guess if I test positive that'll all need to change.

I'm thankful I'm feeling pretty good so far.  It'll be good to find out whether or not I actually have COVID.  Even if I do have it, it's likely I'll be fine.  Not sure what else to say other than I love you all.

Standing Down to Yellow Alert

December 03, 2020 by Adam in Family

It's always exciting in Star Trek shows when they go to different alerts.  I'm never quite sure what the rules are, other than for dramatic tension as sirens go off and lights flash.

Duncan was evaluated yesterday and talked to counselors.  He's been given the okay to be at home, had some positive conversations with counselors, and we're mostly keeping an eye on him for now.  Seraph was amazing and hung out watching anime with Duncan all afternoon as the rest of us went to appointments and work and such.  It was much appreciated.

Of course, I woke up this morning feeling a little under the weather - mild headache and cough.  Nothing bad so far, but in the middle of a pandemic every sniffle makes me wonder if I should get my affairs in order.

Hard Days Again

December 02, 2020 by Adam in Family

We're all weary this morning after a long night.  CAHOOTS was here until after midnight with Duncan, trying to evaluate whether or not he'd be safe for the night.  The kids are both still asleep and Joanna is making phone calls while we evaluate next steps.

This is been such a hard year.

Beard Removal

November 30, 2020 by Adam in Adam

The cat woke me up Sunday morning, followed by my week-old facial hair keeping me from getting back to sleep.   That was the last straw and I promised Emma she could shave off my beard in ever-amusing shapes.  First was goatee and chops, then a simple goatee, then a series of moustaches.  Joanna thought the goatee was acceptable, but promised she'd shave off any moustache in my sleep.  Based on my inability to sleep, I'm not sure I'll have facial hair returning any time soon.

Thanksgiving Weekend

November 28, 2020 by Adam in Family

Thanksgiving has come and gone, with various distant get togethers with family.  I picked up Emma Thursday in exchange for sweet potato casserole.  Joanna and I dropped more off to John and Yayoe that afternoon.  I dropped off the same to my mom and Seraph yesterday, along with pumpkin tarts Ben made and chocolate candies Emma and Jamie made.

Thanksgiving itself was pretty quiet - Joanna and I made a tofu based thing filled with stuffing.  Ben made pumpkin pie, which was delicious.  Emma and I chatted with the birthday boy, which was deeply satisfying.

Since then has been a mix of hanging out and doing chores.  Garden beds were put in place.  We've all been enjoing being annoying geese with the Untitled Goose Game.  I finished another book - This Is How You Lose the Time War - and have another waiting for me at the library.

Today was an informal family reunion of the Miller side of the family - my dad, his cousins, and their kids.  It was nice to catch up with people I see every few decades, along with people like dad, Ana, and Danica that I hadn't said hello to yet for Thanksgiving.

Hopefully the weekend has more of the same.  I'm weirdly growing out a beard - we'll see how long it lasts.

No Work Monday

November 23, 2020 by Adam in Family

While it's technically the first day of vacation, part of a mandated no work week, I managed to wear myself out to the point where I want to take painkillers and have a nice nap.  Joanna picked up some new garden beds to replace our rotting old ones, so she and I have been working on that.  The hard part for me was moving wheelbarrows full of concrete blocks.  They're to raise the beds up above the tangle of roots that took over our beds from nearby trees.  Unfortunately moving them has been one of those epic workouts I don't get very often.

Seraph is coming over in an hour to help move the beds, though I think I'll get as far as getting them into place and hold off on the rest until tomorrow.  I've got weed blocker to put inside, along with lots of dirt to move.  Hopefully the veggies we get next year are worth all this effort.

Otherwise we've been hanging out, watching shows, playing games, and generally taking it easy.  That's the mantra for this dark pandemic winter, which otherwise has been pretty isolated and rough on all the kids.  The cute kitties do help.

Hunkering Down Again

November 20, 2020 by Adam in Family

It feels like it's time to hunker down again, as the virus rates increase and the presidential term draws to an end.  None of the kids are doing well at the moment - I keep holding up spring as the time when things will start returning to normal.  With the vaccine news lately, I think there's a good chance it's true.  Still, we're all looking for stopgap ways to keep our spirits up until then.  Joanna confessed that she bought herself two advent calendars - one with tea and another with jam.

As for me, I keep up my routines of work, running, and shows in the evening, with weekends filled with hanging out with kids.  In between I have chores and occasional video games.  For date night, Joanna and I did a fun video game puzzle game for two, feeling very satisfied that we figured it out by the end of the date.  These small things keep me going.

Still Alive

November 15, 2020 by Adam in Family

The weekend is over. I'm watching the Great British Baking Show with the family. I'm a little frazzled, ready to return to the routine of work.

Saturday was full of errands. Emma and I went to the library. I returned some phenomenally late books and picked up some on hold. One was so good I read it in one sitting, very proud of myself afterwards. It was nice being back in the library. Even the little brass statues had masks.

I made pizza dough in the afternoon, a little extra going into a couple calzone. The evening ended with pizza and science.

Today began with waffles, bacon, veggie sausages, fruit, and mocha. Next up was replacing smoke alarms. Joanna got some fancy ones that speak the room name. They were neat but took awhile to set up. The afternoon was helping with homework, helping Emma cook dinner, and finally having a quiet moment.

Mocha Friday

November 13, 2020 by Adam in Family

It's starting to feel like this pandemic has an end date, though it's months away and we have a hard winter to get through first.  Hardships with a clear ending are easier to endure.

We continue to hunker down as the winter rains come.  Yesterday Ben and Duncan tromped down to Safeway to buy a goodie for themselves.  Joanna made the mistake of giving them a twenty, so they came bag with a box of brownies, doughnut holes, and a bag of apples.  I suspect everyone learned a lesson in there.

Everyone in the world seems frayed around the edges these days.  I try hard to be kind to the people around me and I hope I express how much I appreciate everyone in my life.

My mocha is finished and I've got a fun work project to wrap up.  Apparently in a recent earnings call our product was named as something that saved people twenty million dollars, so that's always nice to hear.  

This weekend looks like a repeat of hanging out with kids and doing a few small projects.  I'd like to get ready for the upcoming holidays.  Emma and I have a bunch of soap to cut into pieces.  Making soap was strangely satisfying and I'm excited to finish it up.

Veteran's Day

November 11, 2020 by Adam in Family

Emma and I were chatting last night and she requested a picture of Data to tide her over.  Ben had wrapped him up like a burrito, so I took the shot and sent it along.  The kitties sure have kept us company during this pandemic, mischevious but full of cuteness.

Work was fun yesterday, my health check project coming together relatively well.  It's a little light on details, so I'm making up the specifications as I go.

Seraph came over to help Duncan with homework, which was great.  It also happened to be her birthday, so I snuck in some soap we made into the gift bag Joanna had already organized.  It was great chatting with her over the weekend - having family around sure is a treat.

As for today, Emma's coming over to hang out for the day.  My prediction is plenty of video games and maybe a little work on my space game.  I suppose I should ponder breakfast soon.  We're all hanging in there.

A Happy Family

November 11, 2020 by Adam in Adam's Games

I've been playing Hades more than I'd like to admit lately.  I was doing a usual run, getting ready to fight the final boss, my father, for the countless time.  Weirdly he says his heart isn't into it and steps aside.  Soon afterward, I'm reuniting the family and the ending credits roll.

I think there are plenty of things to do after this, and I'll likely play a little more, but it was satisfying and I suspect I may start winding down my play time.  Maybe tomorrow.

Chilly Days

November 09, 2020 by Adam in Family

There was some good vacciene news today, which gave me a little hope that things would start returning to normal next year.  Joanna invited Seraph over for tea, which was a rare social event in an otherwise insular life of zoom calls and masked interactions with grocery store workers.

We had a generally pleasant weekend of shows, video games, and hanging out.  Emma and I did a fair bit of gardening, trimming back roses and other plans in preparation for the cold, wet days of winter.  I pointed Emma in the direction of a high-fantasy nautical game, which she's enjoying greatly.  Ben had a friend over, which I think was good for both of them.  I heard Duncan playing games with friends and laughing, which is always nice to hear.  Hopefully we all survive until spring.

Mocha Friday

November 06, 2020 by Adam in Family

Well, it looks like we have a likely president, which helps reduce my overall stress levels.  The week has been relatively uneventful other than checking the news every ten minutes.  Joanna took Ben to Portland after a funny test result - it turns out all was fine.  Work has been fine - lots of security related work at the moment.  Joanna and I had a nice takeout and puzzle date.  I keep playing Hades in my spare time, which I've gotten surprisingly good at and enjoy the Greek mythology setting.

All the holidays are up in the air, with lots of uncertainty as to what everyone's plans are as the COVID-19 rates keep going up.  I have a funny feeling that we'll just hang out at home and video chat with people.

As always, I'm looking forward to the weekend, hanging out with kids, playing video games, watching shows, and generally taking it easy.

Election Day

November 03, 2020 by Adam in Family

The governor put the national guard on standby, and it sounds like the Red Cross is preparing of civil unrest.  We voted weeks ago, so there's nothing much for us to do anymore except watch and try to remain calm.  At least the outside world is beautiful these days, warm with a range of colors in the trees.

The rest of the weekend had its ups and downs.  Duncan had a rough time getting homework accomplished.  Hopefully my boring parent powers helped get things back on course.  Ben, Emma, and I had a great walk around Hendrick's park, which was lovely.  I could use more nature in my life.

Halloween in the time of Pandemic

November 01, 2020 by Adam in Family

With the kids' help, we threw together a last minute Halloween of sorts.  The kids all requested their favorite candies and we got some for the neighborhood.  Pumpkins were carved and a bowl of candy was set out for trick or treaters.  We ended up getting just a couple, along with a cat that came by.  Joanna set up one of our cameras so she could look at the costumes.

Mocha Friday

October 30, 2020 by Adam in Family

I'm slowly finishing up my morning mocha as I settle into a half day of work.  The kids don't have school, much like last Friday, so I decided to mix up work and play a little today.  

Work was deeply satisfying yesterday, finishing up a really complicated change that I didn't understand going into it.  After a day or two of flailing around and thinking about it while going to bed and waking up, I hammered out a relatively elegant solution in a day.  I think it's going to be the last big feature before release, so it's mostly bug fixing for the next couple weeks.  I do like tidying things up.

Emma's over a little early.  She has Joanna and I watching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in the evenings.  When I announced I was going to fetch Emma last night, Joanna exclaimed, "Oh good, now I don't have to cook dinner."  Of course, we like her around for other reasons too.  This weekend she's filling out her early application to the U of O and Clark's Honors College.  I think she's a little excited about the prospect of college and has been looking through all the programs and classes.

Duncan and Ben continue to slog through school, with Joanna making lists of all the assignments that slip through the cracks.  Online learning certainly seems to be lacking many things - I'm glad it's all temporary.  Ben continues to wear his Nasa outfit whenever possible and has been knitting a giant "cat sock" for the kitties to crawl into.  Last night I came home to pieces of paper labeled things like "chicken belly" - something about a giant stuffed chicken project.

I think we'll have a very low-key Halloween, maybe carving pumpkins and putting out a "sorry - see you next year" sign.  Joanna's making some tofu based Thanksgiving dinner.  I seem to have infected everyone and turned them mostly vegetarian.

Cold Monday

October 26, 2020 by Adam in Family

It's Monday again, the start of school and work and waking up early again.  Joanna harvested the last of our produce, making apples into applesauce and getting ready to make pesto out of basil.  I do appreciate how well fed I am, though I have mixed feelings about the delicious apple fritters that made me surprisingly lethargic.

It was a good weekend overall, hanging out with the kids and having a good time.  Emma's gotten into Deep Space Nine, so I'm rewatching that for the third time.  Fortunately my memory is fuzzy so I can't quite rememeber the twist at the end.  Duncan and Ben watched a lot of anime.  Joanna went through old clothes and made preserves.  I spent a couple frustrating hours trying to figure out why my browser game's performance suddely sucked, only to discover Chrome decided to not use my video card anymore.  Switching to Microsoft Edge fixed the problem well enough.  

Work is going along nicely, moving towards a release before Thanksgiving.  Hopefully we can get the bugs sorted out by then.

Gaming with the Family

October 24, 2020 by Adam in Family

We managed to get all the kids together and played the latest Jackbox Party Pack. We had a blast.

Last Harvest

October 23, 2020 by Adam in Family

It's a mocha Friday and the kids are out of school for the day.  I'm slowly sipping the last of the chocolatey goodness and getting in some work before taking the afternoon off.  It was a pretty rough week with various kid issues, but as things progressed, it felt like things were looking up more.  I helped all three kids with their math, which has been a great refresher for me.  After thirty some years, I'm pretty good at algebraic equations again.

I started reading a book again, The Name of the Wind.  It's a Fantasy novel which I discovered after watching the author play tabletop games with Wil Wheaton.  There's something about wrapping yourself in a good yarn that's deeply comforting.

Work has generally been good, though sometimes both myself and my coworkers are a little grumpy.  It's funny the ways the pandemic slips into everything, making things a little harder than they usually are.  I managed to get some interesting, complicated things accomplished, so that was nice.

I picked the last of the semi-ripe tomatoes and whatever raspberries were still on the bush.  We're starting to get frost on the cars for the first time this year.  Late October for the first bite of winter seems late, but I suppose our climate is slowly turning into that of California.  I guess I should start working on my bikini bod.

Useful Children

October 20, 2020 by Adam in Family

Duncan's taking a cooking class - International Foods.  Each of the kids has taken it and they've emerged with semi-functional cooking skills.  Tonight Duncan cooked us stir fry, though with considerable assistance and encouragement from Ben.  It was lovely, though Duncan let us know we shouldn't start expecting it as a regular occurence.

Easing into Fall

October 19, 2020 by Adam in Family

I'm optimistically wearing shorts today, though admittedly the weather has gotten chilly as the months move on.  We had a generally pleasant weekend, full of helping kids with homework along with the usual shows and games.  We didn't quite manage to get around to a science project, in part because it turned out far more complicated than I thought.  Distilling oil of wintermint from an incomplete solution of methanol and acid probably isn't something to do with kids.

Joanna and I filled out our ballots after Sunday breakfast.  We played with the kitties a lot.  I worked on my little browser game and got my robot to move around - still a long ways to go before it's anything vaguely fun.  Emma and I drove around on Sunday, dropping off our ballots and going to Barnes and Noble to buy a book.  Doing semi-normal things is suprisingly entertaining considering how much I stay at home these days.

Mocha Friday

October 16, 2020 by Adam in Family

It's admittedly late in the day on a Friday, my morning mocha a distant memory.  Work has gone well today, cleaning up a ton of bugs that have been building up after awhile.  It feels good to get things nice and tidy.

We've survived another week, keeping everyone alive and somewhat educated.  Joanna's getting a little worn out coordinating everyone's assignments, but I think things are getting a little smoother.  

We discovered Ben has some nut allergies after doing some bloodwork.  He also had a half birthday this week - Joanna got him a Nasa space suit outfit that he's worn the last few days.  

Joanna and I managed to sneak in a little date time, picking up vegan food and doing puzzles.  It's deeply satisfying to work side-by-side in silence as we slowly, visibly accomplish a task.  If only all our problems had such clear solutions.

Fortunately it's the weekend, with Emma, pizza, games, shows, and science projects.  Joanna got some taste strips to test genetic variation in taste.  I got the ingredients for making oil of wintermint.  Should be entertaining.

Back to Work

October 13, 2020 by Adam in Family

I back to work after a four day weekend.  I'm glad I had yesterday off as I was feeling particularly sore and achy after getting a flu shot on Sunday.  I mostly puttered around on the computer, though managed to do enough in the way of food shopping, cleaning, and making dinner that I didn't feel entirely useless.

Joanna wore herself out trying to get kids caught up on school.  I think her new role as an educational assistant is pretty time consuming.

Soggy Sunday

October 11, 2020 by Adam in Family

Somehow the week turned into the weekend and the weather has turned soggy and Fall-like.  We all got better from whatever illnesses we had, which never seemed particularly horrible.  Friday was a no school day, though all of the kids had a lot of work to catch up on.  Joanna and I have been educational assistants, occasionally taking breaks for the usual YouTube and Netflix shows.  Emma's had a good time hanging out with us all and playing with the kitties.  We've continued our various games in between exercising for her Cardio class and keeping her company while she works on math and chemistry.

Tomorrow is a no-work day for me, though the kids are back at school.  Hopefully I can get some good play time in there.

Weekend of Lethargy

October 05, 2020 by Adam in Family

I think we're all a little sick.  All the kids reported some sort of blah - sore throat, mild headaches, and fatigue.  Ben in particular slept for huge parts of the weekend, which is pretty unusual.  Joanna got a rapid COVID-19 test on Sunday, which was negative.  Ben took a typical nasal swab test on Sunday and we're waiting for the results.  My guess is that we have some other virus, but we're all being diligent and staying home.

I did manage to mow the lawn and power wash the patio and patio furniture over the weekend, which was a long time coming.  I helped Duncan catch up on math and bake cookies for his cooking class.  It's funny how incompetent in the kitchen he is, not knowing where anything is or how to operate the mixer.  We need to get him cooking things more.

The kitties entertained us.  Emma called from the beach.  I played more video games and incrementally worked on my little game.  I was very excited to get my robot moving around, though now they need a place to move in.

Mocha Friday

October 02, 2020 by Adam in Family

I went down to our local Mexican food place to pick up food for our weekly date night.  They were really late and threw in a flan with a "Sorry! :(" message on the box.  Afterward, we hung out on the couch, talking about the ever expanding list of disasters.  I had this insurance discount thing through work if I signed up for this telemedicine app, so we spent our hot date signing me up and getting me in touch with a counselor.  

It's strange being personally okay through this pandemic/social turmoil/raging fires that we call 2020.  Mostly I worry about all the people around me, some of which aren't doing very well.  Duncan's having a tough time with the start of school.  I sometimes think about how I was feeling at fifteen and how it would be if all these catastrophes were happening at the same time.  I'm hoping we all learn good coping skills.  I sure appreciate having a good job, regular exercise, and good relationships with others.

As for work this week, I feel I've come out the other side triumphant.  The end result turned out really well and everyone's excited about the feature.  I think I'm ready to work on something entirely different for awhile soon too.

I spent some time yesterday working on a personal project.  It's one of those game ideas that I dust off occasionally and play around with.  I feel I got incrementally closer to something that might one day become a game.  For some reason I found myself listening to live Russian air traffic control, looking for fun sound clips for radio chatter.  We'll see if it ends up in the game.

The air quality is poor again, making hikes unlikely this weekend.  Emma's off with Jamie at the beach.  She came to hang out with us on Wednesday and play with the cats, which was fun.  They sure like the attention.


September 30, 2020 by Adam in Adam's Games

I've been playing quite a bit of Hades, which is a rogue-lite game where you battle through the same levels over and over again.  It's weird that I'd like a game like that, but it's surprisingly good and rich with dialog and intrigue set in the Greek pantheon.  It's also one of those games that suits my lifestyle where I can pick it up for a little and put it down the next time I have to be responsible.

Plus the dialog resonates with me for some reason.


September 27, 2020 by Adam in Family

We launched rockets this weekend.  Ben, Emma, Joanna, and I stopped by mom's house to visit and pet the bunny.  The dogs got in on the action, but eventually we snuck away and went to the field behind Roosevelt.  It's where I'd been going for nearly four decades, and it worked out wonderful just as it had in the past.  Ben launched his newly constructed rocket, along with last year's rocket.

The first week of school generally went well.  I helped Emma with a bit of homework.  We ate pizza and watched How to Make Everything.  Ben's friend Morgan came over, which was good for both of them.  Humble Bundle had some new video games, which Emma and I joyously dug into.

Rainy Days, Early Nightfall

September 25, 2020 by Adam in Family

It feels more and more like fall is here - kids in school, cloudy days, and nightfall coming early.  I feel a little sad that summer is gone already - I never managed to take Emma camping, and Joanna and I had only the briefest of getaways.  Still, we kept the kids all alive another season, which is how I seem to measure my life these days.

I'm working on the most maddening of work problems at the moment.  A previous developer, who I really like, managed to create this extremely complicated system.  I've spent hours trying to understand it and have resorted to documenting it all out as best I can.  I've asked Jacquie for help, which hopefully comes before I go completely mad.

I think the kids have generally survived their first week in school so far.  I'm excited to see Emma later today.  I spent a fair amount of time reaching out to everyone I haven't talked to in awhile, which was a treat.  Socializing in a pandemic is hard, so it's nice to even say hello to someone outside the household.

First Week of School

September 24, 2020 by Adam in Family

The first week of school continues.  It's gone generally okay.  Joanna looks worn out from kid wrangling, but the three kids seem to mostly be figuring things out.  Ben has great teachers that he really likes and seems to be enjoying getting back into the swing of things.  Duncan is less enthusiastic, but getting things done.  Emma has a funny schedule with a really hard day, followed by a day with a single in-person class.  She also has a fair amount of homework and has called a couple times for help on math.

Joanna and I had a date night last night, which involved getting takeout and sitting on the couch downstairs.  Our puzzle table was taken over by schoolwork, so we just chatted until it was time to go upstairs, eat custard, and watch Enola Holmes with Ben.

First Day of School

September 21, 2020 by Adam in Family

It's the first day of school today.  Joanna spent the weekend getting the basement room ready for Duncan and Ben.  Since high school has in-person classes in the morning and middle school does it in the afternoon, the hope is the kids don't overlap too much.  I think this will be far more like "real" school.  None of the kids seemed especially enthusiastic about getting up and having Zoom meetings this morning.

The weather was greatly improved this weekend, with blue skies and only Moderate air quality issues.  I managed a little pruning and yardwork, but mostly stayed inside with kids.  Ben and Emma worked on a giant cardboard fortress for Data.  Ben's rocket was painted and decals applied - maybe we'll launch next weekend.  Joanna and Ben made delicious coffee cake.  Emma cooked her usual great dinners.  At least we'll be well fed through this pandemic.

Gaming Through the Pandemic

September 18, 2020 by Adam in Adam's Games

I've been playing a wide variety of games over the last few months, ranging from cheerful nothing-can-go-wrong games like Littlewood to endless doom games like Call of Cthulu. 

Littlewood is a town management game where you play as the hero who saved the world, but now have to run errands to build up your little town.  It's all very cheerful and there are endless things to do.  Emma played a ton, and I'd fall back to it as stress relief, but it felt a little grindy at the end.

Emma and I have been playing Spiritfarer, where you're the replacement for Chiron, ferrying souls to the afterlife.  It's a great couch co-op game and occasionally very sweet, though I have a harder time getting attached to the jerk souls.

I played through Call of Cthulu, which wasn't exactly great - I saved the world but went mad in the process.  I tried out Vampyr, which had a nice early 19th Century London look, but the story and gameplay were fairly lousy.

I picked up Hades last night, which is a rogue-lite action game, playing as the son of Hades, trying to get to the surface world.  Your dad is Hades, who is particularly funny, and all the Greek gods seem to make an appearance.  I only played a little, but I'm loving it.

Big games like Cyberpunk 2077 are on the horizon, and there's a new VR Star Wars game coming out next month.  As always, I feel like I'm deluged with games.  I guess the weird scifi future we're living in isn't all bad.

Blue Sky

September 18, 2020 by Adam in Family

The rains came last night, along with lightning and thunder.  Ben and I went outside to experience the heavy drops of water after so many dry, smoky weeks.  This morning I'm back out in my shed, appreciating the clean smelling air.  The air quality index is down to a 71 Moderate - I think it was nearly ten times worse at one point.  More than that, everything feels alive and fresh again.

School feels like it's right around the corner.  Joanna's setting up technology and places for them to attend classes.  This feels closer to real school than in the spring, with half the day being in-person Zoom meetings.  I think everyone is a little nervous, but I hope we'll settle in after a few weeks.

Ben's excited for Emma to come over.  He was building a massive cardboard structure for Data to play in.  I look forward to games and shows and our usual time together.  Tomorrow is Talk Like a Pirate Day, which excites me greatly.

Still Smoky

September 16, 2020 by Adam in Family

The air quality index is 312, which is off-the-charts in the Hazardous zone.  It means I'm still working down in the basement instead of in the garden shed.  Whenever we go outside, we wear masks, usually even in the car.  The pandemic has so far been during relatively nice weather, allowing for long, outdoor walks.  I fear this is a glimpse of winter with everyone inside and going slightly stir crazy.  Mom's idea of a self sufficient bunker at the farm seems less of a crazy idea with each passing day.

Since school was delayed, the kids are in a holding pattern a little longer.  Emma went back to her mom's house.  Ben had his friend Morgan over for anime and dinner.  Duncan continues to Minecraft his way through the apocalypse.  Joanna made us delicious bread and soup last night.  The kitties keep us entertained.

We're all hoping that the promised rains come tomorrow and wash away the ash.  I'd love to go outside again.

The Mist

September 14, 2020 by Adam in Family

Our little town looks like something out of a horror movie, the smoky skies replaced by a mist that blocks sight more than a block or two.  The air quality index is off the charts and we wear masks constantly whenever we leave the house, which is rarely.  Joanna had Ben clean the air purifiers and she taped up the windows, both of which has made the inside of the house relatively livable.  The only real change is that I'm working off my laptop instead of the nice dual monitors inside the shed.

I roped in Emma and Ben to do some science over the weekend.  We tested the soil using a testing kit that had been sitting on our shelf for a few years.  I threw in some ash to make the tests a little more interesting.  Sure enough, the ash was extremely alkaline when compared to the normal soil.  I also lent a hand to Ben to work on the rocket some more.  I think we're at the painting stage, though any launch will have to wait until the fire danger passes.

Otherwise, it's been a weekend of the usual chores to keep the house running, playing games, and doing art projects.   Ben and Joanna made some tasty desserts for us, perhaps inspired by the Great British Baking Show.  I played around more with making a new game, though I'm not sure I'll ever make it past the playing around with things stage.

Hope everyone is well and breathing easy.

Nine Eleven

September 11, 2020 by Adam in Family

It's seems somehow appropriate that today is 9/11.  I still remember going out to pizza with baby Sam and Isabell to get together as a family.

We're attending a virtual memorial service for Joanna's dad in a few minutes.  I've got a mocha ready and Duncan has been asked to attend in his pajamas.  What a strange future we live in.

Dad made it to Eugene to work as a dentist for a day, heading back to Lincoln City last night.  Fortunately he got power back in time to charge his Tesla, also managing to avoid the long lines at gas stations as everyone fled Lincoln City due to the fires.

The smoke here in Eugene continues to be bad.  I've been working inside as the garden shed is too smokey.  Yesterday I drove Emma over to help her water her mom's garden, wearing two masks to keep out the ash.  The skies are still orange and the sun barely visible through the sky.  We're all hoping for a little rain next Tuesday.  At least the winds have died down.

The kids got their schedule.  Emma only has one class in the spring - AP Chem.  School has also been delayed another week due to the fires.

Strange days.

Labor Day Weekend

September 08, 2020 by Adam in Family

The sky glows orange and the air is full of smoke.  We've apparently moved to our next catastrophe, which is extreme fire danger across the state.  The smoke was preceeded by strong wind gusts which threw around welcome mats, plastic planters, and other odds and ends.  The lights flickered a little last night.  Ash covers the ground like a light snow.  Our neighbor sent a picture of our house with a tiny red sun in the sky.  So goes 2020.

We generally had a good, long weekend full of science, games, and shows.  We had one outing to Jenny's house to hang out in her backyard in masks to visit with everyone.  It was the first time many people had seen each other in years.  With fall coming and the lousy weather, I'm not sure how often we'll be able to do outdoor events, so it felt like a rare treat all around.

Ben, Emma, and I did quite a bit of science.  Saturday morning we made various things out of clay which we then made silicone molds from.  Sunday after they'd dried, we melted pewter ingots and poured them in.  All the memories of my time working for Deb and Jim in my teens came back to me.  We tried out various acids to darken the pewter, showing off the subtle differences between HCl, citric acid, and the oxalic acid in Bartender's Helper.  This week we'll probably drill and polish and get them ready to go.

Ben and Emma did a great job with cooking over the weekend, perhaps inspired by watching The Great British Baking Show.  They made a tasty cherry pie for Monday night, which was delicious.  Joanna and I aren't cooking as much as we used to, which is a trend we both enjoy.

As for games, we lost our weekly Pandemic Legacy game.  South Africa kept triggering outbreaks that we couldn't stop.  Sometimes things cascade faster than you can control.  Hopefully next month goes better.  We've also still been playing Littlewood and Spiritfarer, which are great low-key pandemic games.  I started Call of Cthulu, which is the opposite.  I had low expectations, but it seems to be checking all the boxes and I'm enjoying the detective aspects.  

Now it's back to work.  I'm a little curious what we'll be working on after the most recent release.  It's always nice to have a few weeks to work on more disruptive things.  Usually we can work out the bugs before the next release.

Mocha Friday

September 04, 2020 by Adam in Family

I've finished my mocha and am feeling quite chipper this Friday morning.  The week of meetings and conferences is over.  I got my care package at the end of the last day, complete with meeting agendas, melted chocolate bar, and conference-branded socks.  Fortunately I'm back to writing code again as listening to people talk for days starts getting to me after awhile.

Looking forward to the three day weekend, hanging out with family, and taking it a little easier for a few days.

Mad Science

September 03, 2020 by Adam in Ben

Ben's really been into science lately. He had a great time mixing oil and lye to make soap. Today he's working on making a model rocket. Fortunately he picked up a lab coat work his own money, which he's been earning doing chores around the house.

Busy, Busy

September 03, 2020 by Adam in Family

It's been a busy week.

We had release at work, so there was the usual last-minute sramble to fix the last of the bugs.  I've also been attending a big healthcare conference that our work puts on.  It's been interesting, with some good keynote speakers.  Virtually everyone was talking about COVID-19 and racial equality.  

Home has felt very full of late, with lots of dishes and laundry and general cleanup.  Yesterday I got of work, visited mom, went grocery shopping, picked up takeout, did the dishes, ate and puzzled with Joanna for our in-home date, watered the yard, and collapsed on the couch to watch a show.  Fortunately that was a bit of an exception, but I was out as soon as my head hit the pillow.

Our soap project is coming along nicely, with everything hardening properly.  Now it all needs to be wrapped up and made pretty.  I ordered some mold making stuff, along with more pewter, in hopes of doing more science and art projects with Ben and Emma this weekend.  I saw a model rocket kit on the dining room table yesterday, so I think Ben's hoping to start making and launching rockets soon.

I look forward to the three day weekend looming on the horizon.  I suspect I can sneak in a fair amount of downtime.

Board Games and Making Soap

August 31, 2020 by Adam in Family

It was a pretty fun weekend, full of activities with kids, playing games, and doing practical things.  Joanna is off camping overnight for a little escape, so I wrangled kids yesterday afternoon and this morning.  I left them with a chemistry kit and told them I didn't want to come back to find the cat in a box, half dead and half alive.

Saturday morning Ben and Emma played their car racing game while Joanna and I worked on puzzles and listened to the second to the last week of our DBT training through Casa Pacifica.  Emma, Ben, and I picked up soap making supplies at True Value and Sundance, returning with lye and oils and such.  The evening wrapped up with pizza and science, watching Destin from Smarter Every Day crawl down a torpedo tube of a nuclear submarine.  

Sunday morning with the usual huge breakfast.  Afterward we broke out Pandemic, which we agreed had lost a bit of the humor over the four months since we last played it.  Fortunately Joanna did a great job and won us the game for the in-game month of May.  Ben discovered a line on our player cards for their name, so we named Joanna's person Dr. Fauci.

Joanna packed for her camping trip and the rest of us got soap making equipment ready.  The soap making took all afternoon and we ended up with huge volumes of soap.  My hands were a little raw from all the oil being washed away, but the end result turned out well.

Emma and I played Spiritfarer in the afternoon, which involved ferrying souls to the afterlife, but mostly saying goodbye to all the spirits that became our friends as we travel from island to island.  I admit to tearing up a little when we brought the nice little hedgehog to her final destination.

Mocha Friday

August 28, 2020 by Adam in Family

The day is already winding down.  Ben and Duncan are back home, and I'll pick up Emma in a little.  Joanna's got a lot going on and seems a little frazzled, so I'm trying to help where I can.  No big news, other than starting to get ready for school.  Ben got his iPad and Duncan and Emma got their Apple laptops.  It's pretty amazing they're handing them out to every kid.  This pandemic is really pushing things into the future of education.

I'm hoping we have a relatively quiet weekend - hanging out, playing games, and playing with kittens.  I'll cross my fingers.

I'm Old

August 26, 2020 by Adam in Adam

I got my AARP card in the mail the other day.  I guess that means I'm now a stodgy old man who needs to hike up his pants and yell at kids to get off my lawn.  I haven't even picked out suspenders yet.

2020 Continues

August 25, 2020 by Adam in Family

Our dystopian future chugs along. 

Joanna's driving up to get Duncan in Portland tonight.  I think he misses the kitties and a stable Internet connection, though presumably we're somewhere in that list too.  Ben's been settling in, visiting with friends - masked teens in the house are a regular occurence these days. Last night I got him playing a VR game, which had him enthralled  for hours.  Otherwise he and and Joanna have been going to various appointments and cooking up a storm.  I'm going to get plump on bananna bread at this rate.

School is around the corner.  We have until tomorrow to decide between remote-only and hybrid, though we don't know what that means and don't know if we can change our mind later.  This is the week to pick up iPads and Chromebooks for the kids.

As for me, I'm feeling a little worn out.  The change from summer to school is always a little tumultuous - it feels like things have started earlier than normal this year.  I'm hoping this is the last of the trips for awhile, as Joanna's been driving and flying around the west coast since April.

That being said, the weekend had many highlights.  Ben and Emma had fun playing their card game together and hanging out with kitties.  Emma and I discovered another game perfect for the pandemic - quiet and thoughtful and low-stress.  We all need more serenity in our lives.

Joanna's Dad Passed Away

August 23, 2020 by Adam in Joanna

Joanna's dad passed away yesterday.  He'd fallen several weeks ago and had gotten surgery for a broken hip, with lung issues and infections making things difficult.  It wasn't entirely a surprise for Joanna as his health had been bad for some time, but she's been introspective and quiet since she got the news.  Today she's going through old photos, discovering treasures like a muddy little Joanna, cheerfully smiling in the dirt.

The New Normal

August 21, 2020 by Adam in Family

This morning I woke up to find Ben on the couch and the kitten in the sink.  That nicely sums up the week, everyone trying to figure out their new place in the household.  Apparently Data was running around like a crazy cat last night and Ben felt obligated to keep him out of trouble, finally getting him to fall asleep next to him on the couch.

I picked up Joanna and Ben at the airport late Wednesday night, with Ben very excited to come home.  The kitties were both pretty wonky, Leiah finding something good smelling in the luggage and rolling around on the floor with an apparently good-scented bag.

Yesterday was a bit of the new normal routine, Ben doing some online counseling, a good friend coming over to visit him and hang out at the park, along with watching a little Star Trek and Avatar to wind down the day.  Joanna seems a little tired from coordinating all the things.  I tried to do my bit with making dinner and watering the garden, though I suspect I got the easier tasks.

It's nice having Ben around again.  He's grown quite a bit and his voice is deeper.  He's still enthusiastic about the cats and Star Trek.  Some things never change.

Rattling Around the House

August 19, 2020 by Adam in Family

I wish I could say that I spent my evenings with everyone gone powerwashing the patio or reroofing the house, but the reality is that I'll get off work, eat something quick for dinner, water plants, wrangle cats, and play video games or catch something on Netflix.  I have a deeper sympathy for anyone living alone during the pandemic.  I often turn on NPR for the company, even if I've heard the news headlines multiple times already.

Joanna's trip seems to be going well.  She's staying at a quirky little house in the hills near Los Angeles.  The report from a trip Venice Beach was that it was weird and surreal.  Today she's picking up Ben and then the two of them are starting their journey home.  I'll pick them up at the airport later tonight.

Busy Weekend

August 17, 2020 by Adam in Family

I took Joanna to the airport this morning, who's heading down to California to retrieve Ben.  The main house projects are ready to go.  I've got a few more tasks to accomplish tonight, but I think we're generally okay.  When Ben returns, we have doctor appointments, daily therapy, and getting ready for school.  Hopefully we pick some fun things to do in between the responsibilities too.

Saturday was full of classes, driving about, house projects, and processing the last of the plums into jam.  The temperature was crazy, so we tried to stay inside.  Sunday had funny things like delivering booze to Robbie and pills to the sherrif's office, food shopping, and fixing tents, among countless other little things.  Emma tagged along for my errands, playing music and chatting.  We had some good kitty play time in there too - one of the more torn up tents was semi-transformed into a kitty fort for everyone's amusement.

I think we're all envious of the kitties' ability to flop down and sleep, oblivious to the worries of the world.  Clearly we can learn something from those critters.

Mocha Friday

August 14, 2020 by Adam in Family

It's going to be over a hundred degrees tomorrow.  Those are the days that make me thankful for the invention of air conditioning.  A week of comings and goings is happening soon.  Joanna leaves Monday to get Ben, returning Wednesday.  Seraph hopefully arrives soon too.  Duncan comes home a week or so after that.

As for us, we've been wrapping up house projects and getting ready for Ben to come home.  Joanna and I are anxious, hopeful, and all the feelings in between.  Fortunately we have kitties to keep us company, demanding our attention at all times.  We've also been cranking out jam in industrial quantities the last week or so, which is probably theraputic in some way too.

It'll be a last weekend with just Emma around.  She makes dinner for us Friday nights, which is a treat.  I just keep her company and clean up afterwards.  Such a deal.

Tent testing

August 11, 2020 by Adam in Family

Joanna had some excitement on her camping trip a couple days ago. Last night she decided to go through all the tents and it turns out this weird one was the best. We set it up in our driveway and waved at people walking by.

Kayaking and Cat Wrangling

August 10, 2020 by Adam in Family

I snuck out of work Friday afternoon and Joanna and I went on kayaking adventures on the millrace behind Autzen stadium.  It was a little hot and sunny, but it was a beautiful day and Joanna was in good spirits, chasing Canada geese and generally being amused.  I scooped up Emma after our return, who promptly made dinner for us.

I managed to chat with all our scattered children in some fashion, though with Duncan it was text messages about our cats.  Joanna and I managed some pruning, and everyone helped contribute towards putting up a stairwell railing.  Emma built a little kitty house for Data out of cardboard boxes, which was well received.  Joanna cut my hair, having become quite the expert at this point.  Emma and I watched all the Firefly shows and movies.  Joanna made lots of jam and entertained the neighborhood cat.  It was a pretty good weekend, all-in-all.

Mocha Friday

August 07, 2020 by Adam in Family

Life is always this zesty blend of good and bad.  I was tossing and turning last night, thinking about a mysterious work problem.  Why my brain can't schedule thinking times at a reasonable hour, I have no idea.  Joanna and I had a pleasant evening of eating Cornbread Cafe takeout on the patio, finishing our puzzle, playing with kitties, chatting with Ben, and watching Netflix until bedtime.

It was nice seeing Robbie and Hanni this week - I stopped by mom's on Wednesday to visit.  The main floor bathroom is wrapping up nicely, with Joanna ordering some new mats and shower curtain stuff.  Hopefully Joanna and I can sneak away this afternoon to do a little kayaking.  Emma comes over this afternoon and we'll finish up watching Firefly this weekend.

And my mocha is sitting next to me, waiting for me to drink it.  So that's a plus.

Belated Birthday Goodies

August 04, 2020 by Adam in Family

Dad came over for dinner last night, bringing belated presents along with him.  I now have a little 3D printed baby Yoda and a set of power armor from Fallout.  It makes for some interesting conversation pieces.

Joanna and I have been working really hard on painting the main floor.  I think we'll have most of it done tonight.  It's exciting to see everything come together.

Quiet Weekend

August 03, 2020 by Adam in Family

After endless painting, Emma came over for a fun hangout weekend.  We watched Community and Firefly, played the Arkham Horror card game and successfully defeated the monster, and played assorted video games and chatted.  Joanna was pretty amazing continuing the painting of the main floor.  I think we'll finish it up this week.  We're down to the walls, which should go fast, and putting back all the hardware we unscrewed.

Dad came over for dinner tonight, which hasn't happened in a long while.  It was a treat to talk about SpaceX, the pandemic, and all sorts of other topics.  We ate out on the patio until the sun set.  Joanna got to make grown-up food that the kids don't like - scallops, beans, salmon, and tofu for me.

Work's coming along well, though I keep getting work assigned to me.  Such is the price of being productive.

Oh, poopity poop

August 02, 2020 by Sue in Wielesek

Oh, poopity poop. I wrote a long blog post and couldn't post it.

Painted Mocha Friday

July 31, 2020 by Adam in Family

I'm sore and covered with spatters of primer after painting every evening since we returned home.  Joanna's been my partner in home improvement.  Apparently when the kids are away our default state is to tackle all the house projects we've let pile up.

Our upstairs bathroom is looking new and shiny, from the new walls, new door stops, and new toilet seats.  Yesterday we started on the main floor bathroom, scrubbing mold off the walls, taking out all the kids' stuff, and removing hardware.  Last night I listened to Isaac Arthur talk about cool space stuff on YouTube while covering myself and occasionally the ceiling and walls with primer.

Joanna's been working hard too, cleaning up the garage, taking in things to donate, replacing various broken things, and so on.  We're both sore in funny places, and our house is a half-finished mess, but it feels good to finally get around to these things.

Washington Adventures

July 28, 2020 by Adam in Family

We're wrapping up our brief visit to Washington, soon packing the car and going to a park for a picnic. Yesterday was very low-key and pleasant. We hiked around a lake and hung out at Pothole Falls. When the day grew too hot, we played Codenames Duet, a cooperative card game for two, read, napped, made dinner, and wrapped up the day with a weird Netflix movie about generically engineered pigs.

We'll be home soon, where house projects and work await. Duncan had settled into his dad's house in New York. We chatted with the other kids via phone and text. They don't feel too far away.

Cabin in the Woods

July 27, 2020 by Adam in Family

We're in our little log cabin, having a short break after getting Duncan to the airport last night. It was pretty empty and he got the entire row of seats to himself on the plane to JFK. Last we checked her was over halfway to Rochester after Kevin picked him up. It's strange to think that our children are scattered across Oregon, California, Texas and New York whole we're in Washington.

We're off to a hike before temperatures get in the upper nineties. Fortunately our cabin's air conditioning is great.

Drive In Theater

July 25, 2020 by Adam in Family

Emma and I went to the fairgrounds last night to watch School of Rock. We opened the back of the Subaru where we'd put down sleeping bags, blankets, and pillows. After watching the sponsor's soundless wastewater treatment video ten times, we watched the movie along with the hundreds of others in the fairground parking lot.

Another Birthday Boy

July 21, 2020 by Adam in Duncan

Duncan had his friends over for a socially distant, mask-wearing birthday party.  At times it looked more like a gathering of revolutionaries than a birthday party, but I suppose this is the future we live in now.

It's strange seeing fifteen year-old Duncan with all his proto-manly friends, all much more grown up than my memories of them as little kids running around.  Ah how time passes.

Joanna did a great job with the cheesecake and modifying all the birthday traditions for pandemic times.  Duncan appreciated all the banners we hung up - my favorite was the unicorn banner, though the Minecraft one was pretty cool too.

Birthday Boy

July 20, 2020 by Adam in Family

We had a joint birthday for mom, Duncan, and myself this weekend.  Emma made the cake - an evolution of the potato cake Seraph made for me many years ago and has transformed into a delicious medly of coffee, rum, chocolate, and chocolate covered espresso beans.  I'm sure there are other things in there to keep these key ingredients stuck together, but the main thing is those four.

Joanna's procedure on Friday went well.  I took most of the day off and kept an eye on her as she progressively got less loopy.  Emma and I hung out as usual, though I snuck in a few minor house projects.  Power washing is so satisfying.  My actual birthday was pretty busy, though I managed to play a few minutes of a new VR space game that was very pretty.  I somehow managed to run out of fuel in the tutorial and get stuck forever, though.

Lots of little things going on this week.  I may try to go to a drive-in this Friday with Emma.  Duncan has his birthday party tonight with some of his friends, socially distanced in the backyard.  It's crazy that he's turning 15.  Next Sunday we take him to Portland and put him on a plane to New York.  If we're lucky, Joanna and I may have a little time to ourselves, the first time in ages.


July 17, 2020 by Adam in Family

Jamie's  been keeping our household regularly supplied with produce, a few of which have been unusual and amusing.  I decided to do a little Elder God cosplay, a carrot-themed Lovecraftian Cthulu.

Joanna's off at the hospital today, doing a hopefully minor surgery before returning in a couple hours.  I'm theoretically taking the day off, but also getting a little work done while I wait.  After spending a couple days writing tests, I'm enjoying doing something a little more interesting.

As for the weekend, there's a slew of birthdays coming up, mine included.  I think Emma's going to hang out a little with Izzie/Frankie - pizza and Avatar: The Last Airbender seems like a cool activity.  I'm hoping to get around to the endless house projects - maybe I could power wash a little today.

Hot Days of Summer

July 16, 2020 by Adam in Family

It feels like summer has started in earnest these days.  Our garden is full of fresh veggies and fruit.  My shed's air conditioner is running non-stop.  Mornings are lovely, though.

Lots of things going on.  Joanna got a negative COVID-19 test in preparation for her procedure tomorrow.  I saw Jenny for the first time in ages when I got my teeth cleaned today.  The house refinance finally went through.  Lots of activity around Seraph, Robbie, and Hanni coming to Oregon.  Mom warned me that she may crash on our basement couch in a pinch.  It sounds like plans keep getting dashed and recreated, but we're all stoically forging ahead.

Data got his testicles removed yesterday in exchange for a certificate of castration.  Not sure we have any documents like that in our fire safe.  Hopefully the kitty gets slightly less mischevious, but I'm not sure it's happened yet.

Duncan heads to New York in a week and a half.  We're trying to do some birthdays for everyone this weekend. 

Work is going along well.  It's nice to be back with the team.

Back to Work

July 13, 2020 by Adam in Family

I picked up Joanna at the airport last night.  For some reason her texts weren't getting to me as I waited in the parking area, so I drove over to the terminal.  Sure enough, the phone mapper thingie showed her hanging out in the bathroom area and a few minutes later a miserable looking Joanna climbed into the car.  I grabbed some ginger ale before I left, which was much appreciated, and brought her home.  Emma had made dinner for us, apologizing for minor culinary mistakes, but it was quite welcome by all.

The weekend was relatively busy with minor chores, house projects, going to a two hour class put on by Ben's in patient facility, and trying to hang out with all the kids.  We played a couple hours of Stardew Valley with the larger crew, which was quite fun.  Emma also got into watching Firefly, so we burned through a couple more episodes.  I warned her that there were only 13 ever made, so hopefully her heart doesn't break too badly.  It was a treat to have her for a whole week, which almost never happens.

Duncan, mom, and I all have birthdays coming up in a week.  I feel like I've done virtually nothing to get ready for them, so it'll probably be scrambling this week a bit.  I think Duncan is shooting for a socially distant birthday event like one of his friends had.  State of emergency rules and all that.

Busy Vacation

July 10, 2020 by Adam in Family

It's been a whirlwind of activity the last few days.  We hung the bat box, hopefully in time for the bats to return after we sealed up the chimney last year.  Joanna bought more plants and we've been planting them.  We harvested our fava bean crop, which is delicious but time consuming to peel, blanch, and remove the outer layer of the seeds.  After our Black Lives Matter sign was stolen, Joanna bought a banner and hung it up.

We managed to do a few outings into nature as well.  Yesterday we headed to the south meadow where Emma took some samples to add to her illustrated field guide she decided to make this summer. Today I loaded up the car with kayaks and all the gear, then Emma and I went out near Alton Baker Park to explore the waterways.  We returned wet, slightly battered, but cheerful.

I've managed a little downtime here and there, mostly before everyone wakes up in the morning.  I got to the bitter end of The Last of Us 2, which I suspect will be my final PS4 game.  Emma watched as I finished The Room VR, which was spooky and fun.  Earlier in the week I picked up some library books and started one.  Who knows if I'll ever manage to get through them all.

Joanna's in California again.  I took her to the airport at four this morning and she's been making her way to where Ben is staying.  Tomorrow she visits for an hour and then she heads back, returning Sunday night.  Life seems very busy these days, and I've got a few more house projects I'm trying to sneak in, but we'll see how far I'll actually get over the weekend.

Midway through Vacation

July 08, 2020 by Adam in Family

I'm halfway through my week off work.  We've all been mostly just puttering around the house and occasionally indulging in house projects.  Emma decided to hang out with me while I was free, so we've been watching Community and playing Plants versus Zombies along with just chatting away.

Last weekend Emma and I worked on the cars, washing, applying scratch remover, waxing, and cleaning the interiors.  Both cars had pretty bad scratches from driving down narrow logging roads last summer on our way to a cave in eastern Oregon.  Amazingly, the scratch remover stuff worked and both cars shine like almost new again.

I picked up Joanna at the airport last Sunday.  Ben had a hard first night, but settled down and seems to like his roommate.  He caught a frog, saw a bunny, and they filled a bouncy house with water and played on it.  Joanna plans on going back this weekend, which is a lot of travel, but it's much appreciated by Ben and assuages Joanna's parental pangs.

I think we'll try to do a few more house projects this week.  I'd love to go kayaking or spend some time in the woods, but we'll see what everyone is up for.  I was under the weather yesterday but seem much improved today.

Mocha Friday

July 03, 2020 by Adam in Family

I had to break into my little back shed this morning.  The key just spun the lock without anything unlocking.  Fortunately I've played enough puzzle games to put together a sequence of events that led to me getting inside.  It took all of ten minutes, though maybe I'll fix the lock and prevent myself from doing the same thing again.

I'm feeling frayed around the edges today.  I'm glad I have a week of no work ahead of me, though we'll see how much of my endless project list I'll actually get done.  Joanna will be in California through Sunday.  Initial reports are that Ben isn't really happy with the new place, but we're hoping things settle down.  Joanna went out on the beach last night as they were going to close it today due to COVID-19.  With the way things are going, I worry the next in-person visit with Ben may be at discharge.

There and Back Again

July 02, 2020 by Adam in Family

It was a busy day yesterday.  Joanna drove to Portland, loaded up Ben and all his stuff, then arrived home around four in the afternoon.  Ben was in good spirits, excited to spend time with all the cats and people.  A lot of people dropped off cards and gifts, including the fun little figure that Yayoe left for him - it's in Ben's luggage to take to California.  I helped Ben pack up for his upcoming stay and generally chatted while Joanna booked a hotel for the next few days.

I picked up Emma and stopped by to get some Tasty Thai.  Duncan had an endless playlist of YouTube videos for Ben.  Ben and Emma played with cats.  Eventually Emma made up songs on the ukelele until it was time to take her home.

This morning we arose at four, I fed everyone, got the caffienated, and took them to the airport.  Last I heard they were in Salt Lake City on the way to California.  Hopefully the rest of their travels go okay.

Whirlwind Day

July 01, 2020 by Adam in Family

My fun procedure is over and done with.  The prep was annoying, but getting it done was fine and I appreciated the rest after restless night.  All seems well and hopefully I don't have to do it again for a decade.  Hopefully I'll forget what it was like by then.

The big news is that Ben is moving to a residental care facility in California today.  Joanna's a little stressed and Ben seems a touch anxious, but it feels good to finally move forward.  The plan is for Joanna to drive up today, returning home with Ben for a visit with everyone and night at home before going to the airport tomorrow early.  Ideally Ben would have gone nearby, but the wait list was over a month and the California place had a bed open this week.  Hopefully it all goes smoothly.

I heard from Sam that his lease is up and they're moving to another house.  Otherwise he's doing okay - stuck at home until things get resolved.

Joanna and I are both a little worn around the edges these days.  We had a quiet date night last night, doing puzzles and bringing some small amount order to the world.  At least today the year is halfway over.


June 29, 2020 by Adam in Family

I have one of those fun procedures you get after you turn fifty coming up tomorrow.  I've been eating a modified no-fiber diet for the last couple days and my stomach isn't liking it much.  Plus I got a COVID-19 test, which made me squirm, clutch the steering wheel, and make loud uncomfortable noises for twenty seconds.  The next day my sinuses really hurt and I was pretty useless all day.  I'll be glad when this is over.

Emma made dinner for Duncan and I Friday night, the last meal with seeds for a few days.  We've been alternating between watching Community and me watching her play My Time At Portia, which is a not-quite-as-good Stardew Valley game.  I think it's the sense of low risk and making a difference in the world that's appealing to her.  Emma also went and had ice cream with Isa, which she enjoyed, though being around people at St. Vinne's kinda grossed her out.  

Sam got the computer and laptop I sent him, which is the only Windows machine in the house at the moment.  He and Skye picked up Outward in the Steam Summer Sale and have been playing quite a bit since they're basically stuck at home for months.  I played more The Last of Us 2, which alternates between sadly sweet and intensely terrifying.  Clearly I don't have enough of that in my life.

Joanna returned from Portland on Saturday night in time for pizza. She was riled up by the stolen signs and ended up ordering new security cameras and more and bigger signs.  Joanna's also setup multiple places for Ben to go next, both in Oregon and California.  Ideally Ben would be nearby, but some of the California places seem pretty good and may have a bed sooner.

As for me, I keep slogging through 2020, glad we're halfway to the end.  I'm taking tomorrow off for my procedure and looking forward to a week off for July 4th.  Today's my last day working with the Care Management team.  It'll be nice to get back to my usual team, though I'll miss the well-defined and straightforward work of the last few months.  In times of crisis, boring is a welcome change.

Stolen Lawn Signs

June 26, 2020 by Adam in Family

I awoke this morning to find our Black Lives Matter and all people welcome signs stolen from our yard this morning.  It didn't help with my slowly eroding faith in humanity.

The week has been relatively uneventful.  Isabell is settling in at mom's house - I chatted with her on Wednesday for my weekly visit.  Emma was at the beach all week, coming over a little early to hang out.  I'm hoping I Isabell and Emma can hang out some this weekend.  Duncan continues his Minecraft playing routine.  Sam and Skye hopefully get the computers I sent them today.

Joanna's up in Portland, likely for two days this time.  She's working very hard to line up next steps for Ben, making some progress.  Nothing is ever definitive, but we're looking at either a place in California near LA or the state hospital part of the Children's Farm in Corvalls.  The latter seems better in that the program seems good and the closeness means we can visit more frequently.  The great irony would be that if the Children's Farm and Aetna contracted with each other, Ben would have been there over a month ago.

As for me, I'm wrapping up with with my temporary team.  There are people I'll miss working with and some things I'll miss doing.  I also like my Leading Wisely team and feel a little more freedom to make my own solutions, despite the occasional chaos.

The Last of Us 2

June 23, 2020 by Adam in Adam's Games

I'm playing another of those games where a disaster has swept the world and wiped out most of humanity.  There's a beautiful catastrophe with such things - wandering freely in the ruins, the simplicity of surviving until the next day.  Real life seems so complicated, despite our own global pandemic and economic recession.

The game itself is excellent and occasionally soul crushing.  The writing, voice acting, visual storytelling, and gameplay have been coming together to make for a gripping game.

Once I'm done, the plan is box up my PS4 and send it off to Sam as he waits for his life to sort itself out.  Hopefully it will contain useful distractions.

Father's Day Weekend

June 22, 2020 by Adam in Family

It was another full weekend.  Joanna had a migrane on Friday and was pretty miserable all day.  Emma made dinner and then we went over to visit mom, Isabell, and Robbie for a little before coming home.  

Saturday was our anniversary, though it was pretty low-key.  I made gluten free crepes with strawberry and whip cream, which Joanna said she'd love me forever if I made it long ago, but I redo it annually just in case. 

Emma and I went on a morning errand run.  I reset and packed up an old computer and laptop and shipped it to Sam and Skye.  We picked up a long list of prescriptions at RiteAid and did a quick shopping trip at Market of Choice.  It was the first time since the pandemic started that Emma had been in a grocery store.  It's probably good that she got to experience a group of masked people wandering six feet apart in a store at least once.

Sunday was Father's Day.  Joanna got me a nice card and Emma declared that she was doing all my chores for me - breakfast, cleanup, and all the rest.  Towards the afternoon she decided she wasn't quite up for mowing the lawn.  At the end of the day there was a bit of incredulity that I did so much work every day.  It was very sweet.

Joanna headed up to Portland to visit Ben.  Duncan, Emma, Sam, and I all played Jackbox games in the morning.  I chatted with dad briefly.  The afternoon was pretty lazy, full of video games, board games with Emma, and resting on the couch.

As for today, I'm hoping to do my first curb side pickup at the library this afternoon.  Emma's going to the beach with Jamie.  Joanna returns.  Duncan continues his non-stop Minecraft play run.  I'm down to my last week before switching to my old team.

Mocha Friday

June 19, 2020 by Adam in Family

I'm hoping to get insurance to start covering my Friday mocha as a medically necessary mood enhancer.  It's been a hell of a week and I'll take whatever I can to feel slightly less overwhelmed by everything.

Things with Ben have gone downhill.  I'm not sure we can say that issues with insurance and delays in getting him into the next step in care were the cause, but I can't see how they helped.  At this point we're looking at a referral to a state institution, which ironically may be the Children's Farm Home in Corvallis or possibly a similar Trillium run facility in Portland.  Joanna has some meetings with state officials to try to get Ben on the Oregon Health Plan.  The referrals to the next place may take a month or more, so Ben may be stuck where he is for quite some time.  

I spoke a little with Sam, who is essentially stuck at home until things get resolved.  I'm trying to do what I can to help him keep his spirits up - I sent him a couple books and am working on getting him a working computer.  It's another case where it feels like my kids are caught up in broken systems and the outcome is more a roll of the dice than something thoughtful and fair.

Duncan is in good spirits, his teeth recovering nicely.  With Joanna away for much of the week I've felt a little like a single parent, cooking him soft food and making sure he gets his pain killers and antibiotics on the right schedule.  Last night he went to a socially distant birthday party for a friend, hanging out six feet apart in the front yard.

Emma comes over tonight and I'm excited to see Isabell and Robbie this weekend, who just made it to town.  Tomorrow Joanna and I have our eight year anniversary, though with everything going on it'll likely be low-key.  Sunday is Father's Day, where I'll be thinking about my kids that are far away.

Rainy Days

June 16, 2020 by Adam in Family

It's been wet these last few days, the rain strangely comforting.  We went off on a few walks into the outdoors.  Skye called, which was nice as well, and I heard on Monday that they were back in the same house again.  At this point neither of them are working, but they're in good spirits and plan on watching Netflix and playing video games until everything gets sorted out.  I sent Sam a couple books and hope to ship an old computer their way soon.

The latest Ben plan is to try and get him into an in patient facility in southern California, possibly as soon as this Friday.  I may need to drop everything to head up with a car full of people and cats to visit with Ben.  It'll be nice to see him.

Joanna heads up to Portland again today while I manage the care and feeding of Duncan and the cats.  Duncan is a little more complicated than usual, requiring painkillers and the occasional bag of ice tied to his head.

Slightly Less Wise

June 16, 2020 by Adam in Duncan

Duncan got his wisdom teeth out yesterday.  All went well, though he emerged quite loopy and wanted to record the experience.  We checked and he was fine sharing his hijinks with the world.

Mocha Friday

June 12, 2020 by Adam in Family

Life seems a little more cheerful today.  Joanna made it to Portland and had a long visit with Ben.  We're starting to explore other residential facilities - there's one near San Francisco that might work.  Hopefully we'll get some clarity before the end of the day.

I chatted with Emma about her first day of summer - I think it's gone quite well so far.  She chatted with Sam for a long while, which I think was good for both of them.  Duncan spent the day playing Minecraft with friends, dutifully going for a walk after dinner.  Work was somewhat busy yesterday, troubleshooting some weird problems.  I'm excited to be returning to my normal team in a couple more weeks.

I feel kinda lame not being involved in any of the protests - I dutifully put up a Black Lives Matter sign that Joanna ordered.  I suppose we have a few other things going on these days and just keeping everyone safe and alive to the best of my abilities is okay for now.

Things Fall Apart, The Center Cannot Hold

June 11, 2020 by Adam in Family

We're all feeling despondent again.  Ben was all set to move to a residential care facility tomorrow but at the last minute we got the news Aetna doesn't actually contract with Trillium and they weren't going to take him.  Ben's already stayed where he is for longer than usual because we were waiting for a bed.  Now that's all upended and we're feeling lost.

Joanna's been reaching out for help to everyone she can find.  There's a place in Port Townsend Washington that might be a possibility.  Ben's regular counselor doesn't like the idea of having him so far away.  We're not even sure we can get Ben in there anyway.  Then there's the issue of traveling in the time of a pandemic.

Joanna's headed to Portland in a couple hours.  I'm hoping she comes home with at least the outline of a plan.

No news about Sam.  Talked to my mom yesterday, who was somewhat reassuring.  I sure feel surrounded by broken systems these days.

Slept All Night

June 10, 2020 by Adam in Family

I went to bed at a reasonable hour and woke up at a normal time.  The day before they ran a story on NPR about getting enough sleep in times of anxiety and one trick they had was to start counting and breathe.  Somehow I thought of it each time I'd wake up and distract my worries on this boring task.  I don't think I ever got past ten.

Sam's back home and worked yesterday.  I talked to a bunch of people in the family to give updates and I appreciated all the support they gave.  I think we're in this weird, long period of time where nothing happens for awhile.  My brain keeps whirring away, trying to figure out what it can do to help, but I'm not sure I have enough information to make good decisions yet.

Joanna and I had a nice walk through the woods yesterday, warm and wet with rain.  I did a little meditation and went for a run.  We watched a bunch of late night comedians on YouTube, talking about the current events.  All of that plus a full night's sleep has made a huge difference.

It's the last day of school for Emma and Duncan, though I'm not sure there's been much to do for a few days.  No idea what those kids are going to do over the summer.  Joanna and I were talking about how as parents our expectations keep lowering.  If we can keep them all alive, we'll declare it a rousing success.

Hard Times

June 08, 2020 by Adam in Family

Things with Sam are apparently worse than I thought and after talking to him yesterday and looking things up on the Internet, I didn't sleep much last night.  Jamie, mom, and I are hoping to get together to talk about things and try to come up with a plan.  There was some poll where 80% of Americans felt like the country was spiraling out of control and I certainly understand the feeling.

Emma and I had a nice walk up on Moon Mountain yesterday - I used to wander up there during the summers when I was a kid, roaming free.  There were a few sprinkles but overall it was nice to get out into nature a little after so much time stuck at home.

Hoping to keep it together today.  Joanna offered to find a counselor for me awhile back and after yesterday I asked her to try and find someone.  I'm thankful that my marriage, home, and job are good.  It's everything else that keeps feeling more and more overwhelming.

The neighbors took a picture of a double rainbow over our house.  Hopefully it's a positive sign.

Lazy Weekend, Playing With Kitties

June 07, 2020 by Adam in Family

It's been another lazy weekend so far.  Joanna headed to Portland after a hearty breakfast Saturday morning, hanging out with Ben for a couple days.  Apparently the hotel doesn't normally supply comforters anymore due to COVID-19 stuff, so after being cold last weekend she asked for a comforter this weekend and it was a greatly improved experience.

As for me, I've been hanging out with Duncan and Emma.  We played a bunch of Minecraft Dungeons yesterday.  Emma came to the realization that she'd played too many video games, somewhere around dinner when she hadn't gotten out of her PJs yet.  Duncan went for a brief walk after the usual "stay clear of protests" advice we've been giving him lately.

As for me, I've been mostly holding down the fort and trying to finish up my latest interation of my blog.  It's crazy how complicated modern software has become.  I think after a couple years of fiddling around I finally have it ready to go.  Give it a try if you have a chance.  I'll eventually bite the bullet and have it open up by default.

Mocha Friday

June 05, 2020 by Adam in Family

I'm glad the week is winding up.  Joanna and I had a lovely date night, buying plants, eating takeout on the patio, and putting flowers in hanging baskets and planter boxes.  It somehow makes everything more cheery.

Work's been fine.  I may get pulled back to my normal team due to new, unexpected work that needs to be done.  Until then, I keep cranking out my admin screens, which is strangely calming.

I need to make my mocha and get ready for the day.  Hope all is well.

The Best of Times, the Worst of Times

June 03, 2020 by Adam in Family

It's been a hard week.

I've been worrying about Sam quite a bit.  I heard his voice a couple days ago, reassuring me that he was okay.  News from Austin isn't always great, but then again news from everywhere is pretty bad.  I sent Duncan out for a walk before bed, as usual, and had to check the every-changing curfews to see if he'll be in trouble.

Jenny and Dez both called to ask about Sam, which I appreciated.  Dez told me Sam was a good kid, which was strangely nice to hear.

Joanna's up in Portland, trying to take care of Ben.  I think she's one of the few parents that show up regularly.  Ben seems to understand this, and appreciates the effort, even if sometimes they have difficult conversations.  I'm hopeful that Ben is getting benefit from counseling and we'll eventually get him into an in patient facility.  The mental health system is a difficult, stressful process to navigate.

School is winding down.  It felt pretty ineffective, though I think the kids learned a little bit.  Emma showed off her OnShape models - a lamp, mechanical pencil, and part of a music box.  SATs are probably going to be ignored, so that's one less thing for Emma to do.  Hopefully she gets decent scores on the weird one-quest AP tests.

Dad came over Monday, which was nice.  We're still trying to figure out the social distancing rules, especially with his high-risk job.  Fortunately it was a nice night and we ate outside, with him at a seperate table.  "The little kids' table!" I told him, "it's payback time, dad!"

The big news is that Seraph, Robbie, Isa, and Hanni are planning more seriously to move to Oregon.  Isa may magically appear in a few weeks, staying with mom for the time being.  Emma likes the idea of having family around - I think she misses that older sibling feel since Sam is gone.  Joanna likes the idea of having someone at the farm and hanging out in the trees.

Handsome AF

May 29, 2020 by Adam in Family

Joanna posted this picture of me modeling a sweater she made for her brother.  Being an internet savvy person, it was posted to Reddit where a random person stated that the sweater was great and I was "Handsome AF."  I'm presuming this means "Hansome As a Friend," so as not to cross any social boundaries, but the thought was certainly appreciated.

Joanna's heading to Portland this morning to hang out with Ben and do battle with our dysfunctional healthcare system.  There have been delays getting Ben into residential care due to lack of beds.  Unfortunately no one seems to be coming up with a good transition plan, which is causing stress for everyone involved.

School is winding down, just a couple more weeks to go.  Joanna's decided Duncan has to go for a walk and read for an hour a day as he'd cheerfully play on his computer all day.  No idea what's happening this summer and his usual trip to New York.  Life seems uncertain in so many small ways.

Work is going well for me.  Joanna and I planted tomatoes and weeded our little garden.  The weather has been warm and lovely - I finally setup an air conditioner in my little garden shed.  Excited for the rocket launch this Saturday.

Treasure Hunt

May 27, 2020 by Adam in Family

The week is moving along nicely.  It's Emma's official birthday today, though we celebrated early as she's at Jamie's house today.

The three day weekend was pleasant and lazy, with one of the highlights being Emma's treasure hunt.

Tuesday was quiet.  Joanna and I ate out on the patio and later finished a puzzle while Duncan had a socially distanced birthday for a friend.  They stayed up really late and played Minecraft, so presumably they had a good time.

Joanna and I are off to her office this morning to start cleaning things out.  After a couple months she came to the conclusion that she probably won't start things up any time soon, so she talked to the landlord and we're removing the furniture we want and selling the rest back to him.

I'm crossing my fingers for the SpaceX launch today, warning my coworkers I may stop in the middle of the meeting to watch it.  Fortunately we're all nerds, so it was well understood.

Edge of Seventeen

May 26, 2020 by Adam in Emma

Emma and I were driving and she turned on the radio to hear the Jack and Diane line "Hold on to sixteen as long as you can."  She's been pretty ambivalent about getting older, so the line's been stuck in her head since then.  I keep telling her that she's got a long time to go until she has to be grown up and responsible.

In any case, we put together a birthday extravaganza while she was with us over the weekend, though her actual birthday is tomorrow.  Emma made an offhand comment about a treasure hunt, which she had fond memories of as a kid.  Joanna went all out and put together an amazing 36 clue treasure hunt, complete with word puzzles and a puzzle box at the end.  We were exhausted but satisified at the end.

Emma was inundated with presents, cheesecake, and Tasty Thai.  Hopefully it's memorable.

Old Familiar Friends

May 25, 2020 by Adam in Adam's Games

Joanna was up in Portland for the first part of the weekend.  Emma's been slowly wearing herself out playing Stardew Valley, so she suggested to Duncan to play some Minecraft.  He cheerfully agreed and we found ourselves playing for a long while on Saturday and Sunday.

We made a nice little house by the ocean, mining, building, fishing, and exploring our way through the new features that have emerged in the years since I last played.  Duncan and Emma went on a turtle protecting stint, keeping the eggs safe from assorted monsters.  It was lots of fun.

The Cats Are Taking Over

May 21, 2020 by Adam in Family

Joanna's back from Portland after a visit from Ben.  The plans are still in flux, but he'll be there through next Friday and hopefully get into a free bed at the Farm Home in Corvallis soon after.  It was mostly a very good visit, so we're hopeful things are going well.

Emma finished both her AP tests, doing the weird single-question thing they're doing this year.  The rest of the year is pretty low-key.  She's also turning seventeen in less than a week - yet another thing to get organized and celebrate.

Joanna ordered some cat toys with catnip inside.  The usually well behaved Leia snuck up on the table, grabbed the plastic bag, clawed it open and spent the rest of the night rolling around looking goofy.

Weekend of Adulting

May 18, 2020 by Adam in Family

Joanna and I both were very grown up this weekend.  Joanna did taxes, I finished the paperwork for the house refinance, both of us voted, and we filled in the gaps with cleaning, yardwork, and so on.  Fortunately it wasn't all work and no play - we also took time for games, shows, and playing with cats.

Emma and I finished the last story in the Arkham Horror card game, defeating those pesky cultists and only going slightly insane.  The three of us played Carcasonne and Patchwork.  Duncan played Terraria, Emma Stardew Valley, and I played a bit of Control.  We also stumbled across the Drunk History videos on YouTube, which may become our new pizza eating show as it's at least a little educational.

Going the Distance

May 15, 2020 by Adam in Family

Oregon seems to be opening up today, at least somewhat.  I'm not sure we'll be leaping to go eat in a restaurant any time soon.  It would be nice to start doing more family get togethers, even if we eat apart from each other on the patio.

Ben's situation continues to get more clear after Joanna's recent visit.  He has a room available at least until next Friday and a bed in a place near Corvallis at the end of the month.  There might be a gap where we have to sort things out, but it feels like there's at least the outline of a plan coming together.

I think we're all feeling pretty frayed at the edges these days.  I've been thinking about Jenny this week, trying to do dentistry while following all the new rules.  My mom is wearing a mask in her house as her upstairs boarder is back for a few weeks.  Emma has her bizarre single-question AP tests coming up in the next couple weeks.  We're all doing weird things and it feels like the weird things will continue for the months to come.

The good news is that all the science keeps looking like a vaccine is possible, preliminary primate studies show it prevents the disease, and mutation rates are low.  It still may be another year or two until things go back to normal entirely, but I have a lot of faith that it will.

In the meantime, I'll enjoy my mocha, playing with the kitties, and playing games in between the usual exercise, sleep, and other things to keep my mental health up.  We've got a long ways to go.

The Cats Are In Charge Now

May 13, 2020 by Adam in Family

Joanna hinted that the cat tree that arrived today was likely due to the new kitten making some unauthorized online purchases, but in any case we set it up last night and the cats seemed quite happy with the way it turned out.  This morning I came downstairs to find Leia at the top, sleeping away from her perch.

Life's been fairly uneventful the last few days.  Joanna and I had a date night last night, playing Patchwork and Potion Explosion after a walk to pick up takeout from Laughing Planet.  Duncan's in perpetual PJ mode - hopefully he remembers how to put clothes on when the pandemic is over.  Joanna's going up to Portland today for a meeting and visit with Ben.  We're still trying to figure out next steps, but I'm hoping that gets sorted out fairly soon.

As for me, work's been full of meetings.  They're not so bad, especially considering this one would typically require flying to Salt Lake City.  I'm slowly working through my work on the new team.  After a couple weeks, my list of things you can add, edit, and delete from will be completed.  It's interesting comparing the level of time and attention given to features on the two teams - I think I tend to be more "get 'er done" than "make it perfect."

Mother's Day

May 11, 2020 by Adam in Family

Mother's Day is winding up - it's always a little bit of a whirlwind for me as I rush to do nice things for all the mothers in my life.  I started with a semi-successful attempt to make gluten-free crumpets for Joanna.  Next was getting breakfast ready - I'd swept and cleaned the patio the day before, so it was a couple hours of making crepe batter, cutting roses, beating whip cream, and Emma cooked up perogies.  Mom came over, the first time in many weeks, sitting at a little table on one end while the rest of us ate at the big table.  Oh how the tables have turned, mother.

Emma, Joanna, and I played a lot of new games I'd gotten the day before - Mysterium and Patchwork being favorites.  They started life as board games, but made fairly good computer game adaptations.  The rest of the day was fairly quiet - going for a walk, keeping mischevious kitties out of trouble, and making a hearty dinner for all.  I'm a little sad to return to work tomorrow.

The End of the Beginning

May 08, 2020 by Adam in Family

Life seems to be full of these long, drawn-out disasters.  Eugene is opening up a tiny bit after being essentially closed for weeks.  Emma went in and had her braces adjusted.  Jenny's helping open dad's dental office.  Next week I think they'll start opening up other businesses, though I suspect it'll all still be weird for months.

Joanna's up visiting Ben again.  I think the place at Providence is going well and he's engaged with activities there.  The plan is for Ben to stay through Thursday and find a residental facility where he can stay for several more weeks, though there are challenges around availability and what insurance people will take.  I think we have some bumpy years ahead of us, but I'm hopeful we're on the right track again.

As for me, my life is generally doing okay.  I try to call or visit mom and dad weekly and Marco Polo my siblings.  Work is fine - meticulous and a little boring, but I'm thankful I have a job.  Joanna and I had a nice date night, finishing our space puzzle after sushi, then moving on to some card games.  I can tell she really loves me when she's willing to play Pirate Fluxx and Cat Lady for entertainment.  We both obsessively finished the first season of Broadchurch.  Emma just came by, bringing huge amounts of food - bellinis, perogies, homemade cheese, and chocolate cake.  We're going to all end up quite plump when this pandemic is over.

Sunday Update

May 03, 2020 by Adam in Family

Joanna drove up to Portland Friday night to check Ben in and get him settled.  He seems to like the new place better than Unity and seems to be doing okay and engaged in the activities they have there.  Joanna's been staying at a nearby hotel, knitting and watching shows in between visits.  She'll do one more today around noon then drive back to Eugene.  Joanna reports the local psychiatrist seems competent and some medication tweaks are planned.  Still not sure about next steps, but it feels like things are moving in the right direction.

I've mostly been hanging out with Emma and Duncan.  Yesterday Emma made cheese, Duncan worked on video editing, Emma and I played a board game together, lots of Stardew Valley was played, and the day wrapped up with pizza and science, followed by everyone playing Trine until bedtime.

Joanna got the results of her COVID-19 antibody test - it was negative.  I think we all have to assume we didn't get it earlier this year and it was just another annoying virus.  Yesterday I went to the local ED to pick things of Ben's that were accidentally left behind.  It was strange moving masked through this test outside the ED to pick things up from a gloved and masked nurse stationed at the booth.

What a strange future we live in now.

May Mocha Friday

May 01, 2020 by Adam in Family

When the disasters start layering on top of each other, I start appreciating the little things that make life good.  My mocha beside me is full and frothy.  I had a lovely walk with Emma yesterday.  The new kitten is mischevious but full of cuddles.  The weather is beautiful and the world is erupting in green and color.

Joanna's been going to the ED pretty regularly the last couple days, bringing non-hospital food and books as I don't think there's much to eat or do, though there's apparently a tv in there.  Ben's been relatively calm and likes having Joanna around, much in contrast to a few days ago.  We're still trying to sort out where Ben goes after this, leaning heavily on the opinion of experts.

Joanna asked her doctor for a COVID-19 antibody test which should be done today.  Hopefully we'll get results in a day or two.  If it ends up positive, I might try to get one too in hopes of minimizing the false positive risk.

I went to Market of Choice for the first time yesterday.  The world seems more cyberpunk every day with the masks and backpack full of cleaning fluid, spraying off carts.  What a strange future we live in.

As for what happens next, we keep playing things by ear.  I'd like to mow the lawn and weed a bit as things feel a little overgrown.  Otherwise it'll be the usual hanging out at home and doing very little.

Hard Week

April 30, 2020 by Adam in Family

It's been a rough week.

Things with Ben escalated to the point where Joanna took him to the ED last night and he'll likely be sent to Portland once a bed opens up in a juvenile mental health facility.  Joanna came home briefly for dinner, then returned to bring sushi and some books for Ben.  I think the pandemic has been especially hard on Ben as he hasn't had much peer interaction, counseling is done remotely, and his DBT classes were canceled.  

Interacting with the healthcare system is equally weird.  Joanna had to get her temperature checked before going into the hospital and Ben got a COVID-19 test, which I'm guessing they do for anyone being admitted these days.  Joanna said the hospital was pretty empty - I think most everyone is just staying away.

It's hard to know what else to talk about - sort of an "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?" sort of thing.  I'm trudging through work.  Emma and Duncan are getting good grades at school.  Sam is back at work.  I saw mom and she had me plant a couple roses, take out her garbage, and replace her water filter.  I'm trying to encourage her to hire a landscaper as weeds have turned her yard into a jungle.

After dinner last night I watched some Saturday Night Live clips on YouTube - watching a comedian doing skits with their cat at home was weirdly helpful.

Board Games and Hiking In the Woods

April 27, 2020 by Adam in Family

Life continues to be somewhat rough, a weird mix of ordinary and stressful.  We played a board game each day, winning with Pandemic and starting in on Aeon's End: Legacy.  The latter took a lot of time to setup, but Joanna waded through the rules and was fairly optimistic at the end.

We also went out to Mount Pisgah and roamed around, finding a big frog hiding in the reeds near the pond. There's something about being in nature to raise the spirits.

Emma's trying to walk 100 miles by the end of her PE class, so we were exercising in the basement and going for walks.  I secretly enjoy the extra activity as I was spending too much time at home even before the pandemic.

Our new kitten is doing his best raising our spirits.  He seems to like me most of all, much to Emma and Joanna's disappointment, and he'll climb on to my lap whenever I'm sitting down and has a nice little nap.

Mocha Friday

April 24, 2020 by Adam in Family

It sure felt like a global pandemic and world-wide economic collapse was going on this week.  I decided it's probably okay if I occasionally felt stressed out about it.  Fortunately somewhere in the middle my brain took a turn and I'm feeling fairly cheeful again today.  We have food and shelter and lots of good things going on in our lives.

I heard briefly from Sam that he continues to improve, his cough getting better every day.  It sounds like the governor is going to open up hospitals and dentist offices for non-emergency procedures.  Hopefully that means Emma's braces can get adjusted in a few weeks, though I imagine they'll be swamped for awhile.  The kids are struggling through school, Ben especially.  Joanna talked to the teachers and I think there's an understanding that essentially everyone will pass if they show up and give it a shot.

Joanna's been going out shopping regularly, stripping off clothes and showering each time she comes home.  Her mask making continues, delivering them to people and organizations as she finishes them off.  I think it helps to have something to do.

I'm slowly getting more comfortable with my new team, at least enough to point out problems and offer solutions.  I'm still going slow, but I think they're just appreciative for the help.

Looking forward to the weekend and hanging out with Emma.  Hopefully we'll have better luck at Pandemic: Legacy this weekend.

Giant Robots

April 24, 2020 by Adam in Adam's Games

It's been a bit of a hard week on everyone.  Starting school has been hard on the kids and my adjustment to the new team has been occasionally rough.  My allergies have flared up a few times, which Joanna has kindly wiped down and vaccuumed everything in hopes it's not kitty related.

The last few nights I've been playing an old game I got involving giant robots - Titanfall 2.  There's apparently a whole multiplayer thing, but the single player game was short and satisfying.  Driving giant robots around to blow things up is quite cathartic.


April 21, 2020 by Adam in Family

Joanna and the kids drove to Washington last Saturday, returning with a very cute kitty named Data that theoretically I'm less alergic to.  I still get a little wheasy, but I'm hoping my immune system settles down - something similar happened with Leia, our first cat.  Leia isn't especially happy having a little kitty around, but Data seems pretty cheerful and is only slightly mischevious.  Hopefully everything settles down soon.

It was a pretty quiet weekend.  Emma and I hung out quite a bit.  She'd play Stardew Valley and make domino models with Onshape, a CAD program she's using for her computer class.  

Sunday we played Pandemic again and lost fairly decisively.  Monday I got my new 2K monitor, which seems a little brighter than I'm used to.  I loaded the new raytracing version of Minecraft and let Duncan ooh and aah over how it looks.

The kids are doing their best during the lockdown, though some better than others.  I think everyone hopes that school returns again in the fall.

The New Normal Mocha

April 17, 2020 by Adam in Family

We're all well-fed and generally functional.  The kids have had a sometimes-okay and sometimes-rough first week of real school.  Duncan is going with the flow, comfortable doing online classes and hanging out with friends over the Internet as he always does.  Emma's been a little more nervous, but is getting into the swing of things.  Mostly I want to make sure she does okay on her AP tests and it looks like the SATs may become irrelevant faster than it otherwise would.  Ben's been having a harder time getting used to the change and Joanna's parked a chair next to Ben's computer desk so she can monitor work is actually being accomplished.

As for me, I started in on a new project and I'm getting used to their way of doing things.  Some of it is pretty cool and some of it seems more tedious than I want it to be.  I'm sure I'll get through the next three months just fine before returning to Leading Wisely world.

I also finished the new VR-only Half Life game last night.  It was pretty darn good, with lots of great world interaction, amazing sights, and a satisfying ending that reversed eight years between the last Half-Life game.  Not sure what I'll end up playing next.

Joanna and I had a nice date night on Friday, doing our usual takeout and puzzles.  She's made at least 32 masks for various organizations and people at this point.  I think it helps to feel that she's contributing rather than sitting around watching Netflix.

The weather continues to be amazing and beautiful, with the cherry tree blooming and birds and wildlife roaming about.  It helps to know that the world continues even if people aren't always around to enjoy it.

Ben's Birthday

April 15, 2020 by Adam in Ben

With Ben's birthday yesterday, we have reached peak teenagers and begun the downhill 15 year-long slide of the number of teenagers we'll have in the house.  Six more years to go.

Ben had a good time yesterday - I picked up Emma and the two of them played with his new manual typewriter, whacking on the keys and composing funny business memos.

Dinner was sushi takeout followed by a vast amount of presents and a hearty cake.  It was a fine celebration.


April 13, 2020 by Adam in Family

I had a lovely three day weekend, starting with a lazy Friday morning hearty breakfast, followed by a gardening effort of planting seedlings and repotting tomatoes.  Emma magically appeared and we had a lazy afternoon of video games and hanging out.

Saturday we spent checking things off our fun list, starting with a hearty breakfast of dutch babies, followed by rewatching Master and Commander with Emma.  After a quick lunch, Joanna, Ben, Emma, and I sat down to try our hand at Pandemic: Legacy.  Fortunately we beat back the diseases another month and hope to play again next weekend.  The day wrapped up with pizza and science YouTube videos, the end to a perfect day.

Joanna had organized Easter goodies weeks ago and the kids were met with chocolate bunnies at breakfast.  Later Joanna and I began the assembling of plastic eggs, putting in chocolate, money, and puns on little slips of paper we printed out.  The kids were all very excited, despite being teens or nearly teens.  They were also remarkably polite, leaving eggs for their siblings to find.  Joanna recorded the whole thing for posterity.

Pandemic Pal

April 10, 2020 by Adam in Joanna

Joanna has consistently been great in disasters.

A couple years ago when the fires were raging and smoke filled the air, she got the kids masks and improvised extra filtration with box fans and air filters for ducts.  For the pandemic she bought masks and stocked necessities well before the hording hit.

For the last couple days she's been working with locals to make masks and mask protectors that extend the lifespan of existing masks.  They're all quite colorful and she's been playing around with different designs.

One of the cool things she got in her scavanging was a 3d printed "bias maker."  Apparently it's used to take a relatively thin bit of cloth into a four-ply bit of bias tape that you can iron and sew.  That's what she's using to make the straps and reinforcement on the masks, which turn out pretty professional looking.

Escaping to the Apocalypse

April 10, 2020 by Adam in Adam's Games

I continue to enjoy Half-Life: Alyx.  My favorite parts are when things are going badly, I'm scrounging for ammunition, and alien creatures are closing in from all sides.  The puzzles are generally interesting and do a good job requiring you to use your hands and think in three dimensions.  The writing, voice acting, and visuals are the best I've seen in a VR game.  Getting the time to play is occasionally a challenge as it requires clearing the living room and standing on tired legs, but the results are usually worth it.

Odds and Ends

April 08, 2020 by Adam in Family

Life in the End Times continues.  My sinuses have been bugging me lately, I think due to allergies getting pretty bad.  The weather has been warm and lovely, but with it comes the inevitable annoying pollen.

Sam's been sporting a fever again, though his thermometer just broke.  Whatever he's got is certainly annoying.  Not sure if he'll try and get retested.

The kids are all slowly figuring out how to do school remotely.  Emma and I went for a walk yesterday and she says it's good to get her brain doing something meaningful again.  I think she's been watching a little too much television, even for her.

My old friend Jason Kronholm texted me out of the blue.  We're on for playing Magic online tomorrow night.

Tonight Joanna and I are going out on a date, likely takeout and puzzles in the basement.  I've got Friday off as an official work holiday, so hopefully I can turn that into some quality hangout time with the fam.

Lurching Towards the New Normal

April 06, 2020 by Adam in Family

It was generally a pretty good weekend for all.  I picked up a nervous Emma Friday afternoon, worried about the upcoming school term and just the general weirdness of life.  When I took her back to her mom's house, she'd settled down considerably.  She had a Chromebook to do schoolwork on and a plan for the upcoming week.  Plus we played lots of video games and board games, went for walks, and hung out as a family.  Emma and Ben hung out quite a bit, playing "Corona Cars," a car racing game, and watching Polygon YouTube videos.  Joanna, Ben, Emma, and I all played Pandemic: Legacy together, losing for the first time but learning from the experience.

I checked in with the family in various ways.  Jenny's ankle is still sprained and Jordan is playing chauffeur.  Mom's illness continues to linger, though she's always cheerful.  Sam is itching to get back to work, on antibiotics for pneumonia, and feeling much better.  Supposedly his work is finally requiring everyone wear masks and they're giving everyone a $2 per hour raise for the duration.

As for Joanna and I, we're hanging in there.  I still have the tail end of this annoying cough.  Joanna's been worn out all weekend, with three Zoom meetings on Sunday.  Hopefully I can get my old car today.

We did have someone break into our unlocked car, though nothing too important seemed to have been stolen.  Joanna did notice her snacks were taken, which made her sad.

Mocha Friday

April 03, 2020 by Adam in Family

I'm taking the day off today, delayed twice since my original plan to take the day off to hang out with kids over spring break.  In about an hour I'll go get Emma, who I've been trying to stay away from as I recover from whatever I've got right now.

On a somewhat related note, Sam's COVID-19 test came back negative.  He thinks he got pneumonia somehow and I think is heading back to work on Monday.  It makes me wonder if maybe I have something entirely unrelated.  I guess I need to assume the worst when it comes to protecting myself and others.

The Nissan dealership called and said they found a replacement part and that my car is running.  I responded asking them to call me to coordinate the transfer as I'm trying to keep everyone safe.  Maybe on Monday I can call the dealership and drop off the loaner vehicle and just wear masks.  It'll be nice to have at least one of the hassles in my life resolved.

My new computer is doing its job well and I've been greatly enjoying my foray into the VR world that is Half Life: Alyx.  I swapped out my old computer with Duncan's and am working on turning Duncan's computer into Emma's new computer at Jamie's house so she can do distance learning there.

As for us and our health, I think all is generally well.  Joanna is feeling mostly better.  I have a lingering occasional cough, but it doesn't bother me much.  I'm itching to putter in the garden and get outside.  Work is going well and I finally made circles appear on a map before handing the secret project over to Jacquie to hopefully make it slightly prettier.

Joanna's KLCC Interview

April 01, 2020 by Adam in Joanna

Joanna was interviewed by KLCC about self-quarantining.

Bartlett:  “So before we got sick, I would fall asleep at night, coming up with all of these elaborate plans of how we could isolate different members of our household, depending on who got sick first. Because the advice is that the infected person has their own bedroom and bathroom, and is isolated from the rest of the house, and I was like, “Oh we have that  plastic sheeting, and we could put it up in the hallway, kids rooms, or we could…”…and none of that happened because by the time my husband and I realized we were getting sick, we had been contagious for I don’t know how long, and both the kids have shown some symptoms, my 14-year-old has just had a little bit of a cough, but not too bad. And so I went, “Ah….well, too late for that.”

So I would say, I suppose, don’t torture yourself about…I suppose if somebody gets like, suddenly ill with a high fever, and it’s really obvious, sure, totally isolate that person if you can. But you know, you do the best that you can.

And take care of yourself and your family members, treat yourself and others kindly, do as much self-care whatever that happens to mean to you.  And call your doctor, call the Lane County Public Health hotline and talk to a nurse, and stay home.  If you think you’re ill at all, just stay home, it’s not worth it to be going out and potentially spreading the virus.

Bull: You’re not tested, how come?

Bartlett:   It wasn’t given to me as an option, there aren’t enough tests available, my understanding is that they’re only testing people who’ve been admitted to the hospital.  Both of my friends who went to the ER, neither of them were tested.

Bull: Would it be helpful were it possible to be tested at this point?

Bartlett:  It’d be incredibly helpful. Because right now we are assuming that we do have COVID-19, and so we’re quarantining our whole family.  And one of our kids is with her mom, with her other parent, at the moment.  And she would usually be coming over to our house, and she’s not right now until we’re better. So we’re not getting to see one of our kids because we don’t know. And we want everyone to be safe and healthy.  And also while right now we’re assuming do have COVID-19 and acting as if we do, once we feel better, we can’t necessarily assume that we have had it. So it’s a bit of a weird place to be.

This is not a fun illness to have.  We’ve been very fortunate in that we have a mild case, we don’t need medical care, we don’t need hospitalization.  And it’s still been hard and kinda scary, not being able to breathe easily, getting out of breath like walking the stairs or having a conversation or singing a song, does not feel good. Having that chest tightness, and pain, along with the fatigue and the nausea and the headaches. And my sense of smell is apparently broken.  I can still smell things, they just smell wrong. This is not something I’d would want anybody else to have. And so we need to take it seriously, and stay home and not spread it.

Bull:  You’re a grief recovery specialist, Joanna.  How has that helped you in adapting to your current situation?

Bartlett:  Well, what we’re all experiencing right now is grief.  The definition of grief that I work with, that the Grief Recovery Institute works with, is that grief is the normal and natural reaction to loss.  And grief are the conflicting feelings that we feel when a familiar pattern of behavior changes or ends.  And we are all in an unfamiliar pattern of behavior right now, a lot of things have changed or ended for pretty much all of us. Whether that is…that we have lost our jobs, or we have financial losses, or we have a loss of health, we have a loss of sense of safety, and for some of us that will also be the traditional losses that we think of, such as loss of life, of our loved ones…perhaps dying from this. And that’s loss and that’s grief. And that’s what we’re experiencing right now.

And so what’s helpful for me, is that I know this, that I can name it. When you can name what you’re experiencing, it can be very helpful in understanding what’s happening and moving through it. And for me, it allows me to be kinder to myself, it allows me to be more compassionate with myself.  And when you’re kinder and more compassionate with yourself, then you can be kinder and compassionate with other people around you. Because you understand that they’re going through grief as well. And this is a hard time for all of us.

Bull: You’ve also used music to reach out to people.  Is it therapeutic to play music during this uncertain time?

Bartlett:  Definitely.  I used to play music, I had aspirations of being a folk rock star when I was in my 20s that didn’t quite work out.  And so I love playing music, and it’s a helpful thing for me emotionally. And so I decided to just start doing little Facebook Live (streaming videos), you know, me and my bedroom, or on the front porch, or where ever, just to share music.  Because it is really helpful for me, and I got some really nice feedback from a few friends of mine, saying “Oh, I love it when you do this.” 

So I’ve been doing it as much as I can. And also because this illness has been affecting my lungs, it’s leaving me short of breath.  I’ve been…it seems a little counterintuitive, I’ve been wanting to do things using my lungs.  But when I’ve been up for it, it to me feels like a good exercise for my lungs.  And it’s a bit of that, “Oh, I’m just going to keep on going anyway.”


Bull: When this pandemic finally ends, what’s the first thing you’d like to do?

Bartlett: I think I want to hug all the people who have been helping me. Like my neighbor across the street, I want to give her a big hug.  I want to be able to see the people I haven’t been able to see, I want to be able to on walks with my friends in the neighborhoods, or go for hikes.  That kind of thing, when the physical distancing things have been lifted, when the pandemic is over.

And I suppose the last thing I‘d say is that let other people help you, ask for help when you need help.  Get grocery delivery, get meal delivery, whether you are getting it from a company…we had Friendly Street Market deliver our groceries yesterday.  Or whether it’s…if you’re reaching out to friends and asking for help…I do not like asking people for help. I’m very independent, stubbornly independent. And it’s hard for me to ask for help.  And yet it’s been necessary and it’s actually been really heartwarming and healing, to know that people care about me and want to help. 

BB:  Joanna Bartlett, thank you very much for your time and I wish the best for you and your family in recovering from this pandemic.

Bartlett:  Thank you.

Half-Life: Alyx

April 01, 2020 by Adam in Adam's Games

Last night I left our battered world, torn apart by disease and chaos to step into a virtual world, torn apart by alien invasions and chaos.  The first Half-Life game in nearly a decade came out, exclusively for VR.  I donned my headset and immersed myself back into that world.

Though I limited myself to an hour or two of play, it's fairly amazing so far.  The physics are spot-on - I pushed a bike around and the wheels spun as expected before wobbling over.  My one great moment was when I dropped something important under some shelves and used a broom handle to flick it out.

Assorted Updates

March 31, 2020 by Adam in Family

Just a quick update for all.

I chatted with Sam yesterday, who ended up getting tested for COVID-19.  He described driving up to a series of temporary tents, being met by people in masks and gloves, then getting a large swab stuck way up his nasal cavity.

Both my mom and Joanna seem to be improving considerably.  I feel pretty awesome and all but the slighist hint of lung tightness remains.  I've been running again and generally doing all the things I normally do.  I really look forward to seeing Emma next weekend as we've only gone on social distancing walks together.

My coworker Jacquie and I caused a bit of a kerfuffle around mapping visualizations that we'd been working on after hours.  I think there's a bit of territorial feelings with some other teams.  Hopefully that'll all get sorted out, though I may spend my free time playing video games on my new computer instead.

Joanna also got interviewed by KLCC yesterday.  She's been doing a great job organizing the neighbors, live streaming playing music, and generally being a great Pandemic Pal.  I'm lucky to have her.

Fully Operational

March 31, 2020 by Adam in Adam's Projects

I took some of the money I got selling stocks in the brief window before everything fell apart and used it to buy a bunch of computer parts for myself.  Yesterday the last thing appeared, a massive CPU fan, and I finished the assembly that I'd started a few days ago.

As is often the case, things didn't go smoothly at first. The fans turned on, but there was no video or sound (since my motherboard didn't have a speaker).  After a tense few minutes, I figured out that the memory sticks weren't properly seated.  Finally I got video out and pretty soon I was tossing in the hard drive from my old computer and things were booting up magically.

I did a little testing with the VR game The Lab and it was amazingly smooth.  Hopefully it helps with some of the nausea I'd get when VR games would get choppy.  I've got Half Life: Alyx all ready to go, which has been getting amazing reviews.

I also copied my hard drive over to the new and faster M.2 drive.  The only annoying thing was that my Windows Activation decided my license was invalid, but fortunately I have tons through my job's subscription.  I've got a bit of cleanup yet, but it actually all went pretty well and I overclocked the cpu a touch to get a little performance boost.

The next step is to put Duncan's old hard drive in my old computer, then take Duncan's old computer, slap in some old hard drives, and get that to Jamie's house for Emma's distance learning computer.

Stumbling Towards Recovery

March 29, 2020 by Adam in Family

Every time I say it I knock on wood, but I think I'm finally starting to get better.  Yesterday I felt great and spent three hours cleaning the house, followed by a four mile run in the afternoon.  This morning, though, I woke up with a headache and have taken it much easier.  Now that the day is fading, I'm actually feeling relatively good, though I think I'll pass on running today.

Emma hung out with her mom at the coast this weekend, returning home tonight.  We miss each other and are also trying to be careful not to pass anything around.  I think we'll have a nice social distancing walk tomorrow afternoon.

Sam's the sickest of us all, sporting a 101 degree fever and coughing quite a bit.  He hasn't been able to get through to talk to anyone about testing, as I suspect Texas is in the same boat as everyone else.  A friend of Joanna's went to the ER this morning and they sent her back with a vague diagnosis despite having the usual set of COVID-19 symptoms.  

As for the four of us, we're doing our usual hunkering down.  Joanna's done a great job getting food flowing onto our doorstep.  She's on a call with our neighbors about emergency preparedness right now.  I sure picked a great Pandemic Pal in that one.  I managed a little bit of work, unfortunately deleting and quickly restoring a somewhat important database.  There's a moral in there somewhere.

My new computer is almost completely assembled, the parts trickling in.  As it's been five years since my last one, it should be quite a bit faster and I'm excited to play the new Half Life VR game.

Joanna and I managed an outing into the neighborhood, despite going fairly slowly.  The flowers are beautiful and it's reassuring that nature will go on just fine without us.

Zooming with Family

March 27, 2020 by Adam in Family

It's a Mocha Friday, my mocha long gone.  I'm Zooming away with my family, catching up on everyone and how they're doing.  I think everyone is doing okay and it was nice to hear their voices.

I'm finally starting to feel better.  Yesterday I ran my full four miles and later went for a walk with Emma.  I was pretty worn out by the end of the day.  My new computer parts have been coming in and I was too tuckered out to try and assemble anything.

Emma's off with her mom this weekend. I'm hoping to get my new computer assembled and play the new Half Life game.  Somewhere in there I'd like to tidy up the house.

Sam likely has COVID-19 with a bad cough and brief fever.  Dad's manufacturing personal protective equipment.  Mom's still sick but feeling better.  John and Yayoe seem okay.  Hopefully we all pull through this.

The Spread Continues

March 26, 2020 by Adam in Family

Joanna and I continue to be sick, though I think we might be getting a little bit better.  I talked to Sam today, who had a horrible cough and just started a low grade fever.  Ben's stomach hurt today, but not too bad.  Mom says she's doing better.

I drove over to see Emma and we had a pleasant walk while social distancing, blowing kisses at the end.  Joanna and I had a nice date with takeout and puzzles in the basement.  I chatted with dad, who's manufacturing masks and face shields in his garage.  Work was good, with Jackbox games with my coworkers.  I'll be working on another project for a few months, though fortunately with a couple developers I like working with.

Other than worrying about Sam, all is mostly okay.

Just Another Pandemic Monday

March 24, 2020 by Adam in Family

Joanna and I have come to the conclusion that we probably have COVID-19.  We've had the occasional stomach issues, I've had a regular cough, and we've both had reduced lung function.  It hasn't been too bad - more annoying that truly debilitating.  Of course, we can't confirm that's what we have as no one is doing testing except for the most severe cases.  In any case, we're hunkering down still.  Joanna asked her friend Jen to go food shopping for us, which she very nicely agreed to.

We had a fairly pleasant weekend otherwise.  The day of sun and walking through the meadow was wonderful.  Sunday afternoon I mowed the lawn and put in some work outside.  Allergies were quite high, managing to get me sniffling. 

Today was another hearty breakfast of poached eggs, hash browns, bacon, sausages, grits, and of course a cafe mocha.  I wore myself out and Joanna kindly cleaned up the dishes.  Late morning we started up another Pandemic: Legacy game, with Joanna helping with the rules I forgot.  New York is rioting too now and things looked pretty bleak for a few turns there.  Fortunately we turned it around and the end and won our second game, moving the timeline into March.  The game plays through December and is over one way or another.  Hopefully we'll finish before the real pandemic is over.

Hat Time!

March 24, 2020 by Adam in Emma

Joanna taught Emma and I to knit.  I managed a small rectangle, but Emma went on to make a square and over the weekend finished her first piece of actual attire - a hat.  She worked hard on it, listening to audio books or watching Star Trek and knitting away.  With a bit of help from Joanna she finished it off and showed it off.

State of Emergency, Bro!

March 22, 2020 by Adam in Adam's Games

We've been playing quite a few games with the kids, with Ben and Emma being the most enthusiastic about such things.  We dusted off TKO, a t-shirt making game where you have to make drawings and logos and then other players put them together.  This was the winner of our most recent game.

Clinging to Normality

March 22, 2020 by Adam in Family

These are indeed strange times.

Joanna and I have been sick off and on this weekend, though I'm actually feeling relatively chipper today.  Neither of us have had a fever - it's hard to tell if this is a lingering cough or the Coronavirus.  Testing continues to be generally unavailable.

In the meantime, we've been hanging out with kids and took advantage of the nice weather.  Ben and Emma have been playing video games and watching Star Trek.  We did our usual pizza and science related shows.  Saturday morning Emma decided to schedule a school for herself, breaking out the grid paper and setting up days and activities.

One of the more wonderful activities was heading out to the South Eugene Meadow park to wander the rough paths and collect flower samples and pond water as part of Emma's self-created science curriculum.  It was so warm that I took my shirt off at one point - I think I ended up with a touch too much sun and lay down for a nap afterward.  Emma broke out the microscope and I helped her identify plants as she scribbled things down in her new notebook.

We're still figuring out quite a bit.  SATs have been canceled and the AP tests are online only.  Distance learning for the kids starts April 1st.  Duncan has been forced to go for walks each day, but otherwise is making videos and playing on his computer.  Ben occasionally works on clothing projects.  Emma is knitting a hat.  Joanna's giving live concerts on Facebook.  I bought myself a bunch of new computer parts from the small profits I made selling stock a couple weeks back on the perfect day.  

It's hard to know what comes next.  I'm thankful my job seems relatively stable so far.  I'm excited to keep working on things that actually help hospitals cope with what's coming.  Hello to everyone out there - hope you're all okay.

Holding My Breath

March 20, 2020 by Adam in Family

I'm feeling pretty good today, having just finished my tasty mocha and my long-running cough seems pretty much gone.  

Mom reported she was feeling sick yesterday with a headache, cough, and upset stomach.  I'm going to check in later this morning and see if we need to escalate anything.  I think it's still hard to get tested, but maybe things are improving.  Joanna was also feeling bad yesterday with an upset stomach and occasional cough, though fortunately no fever.  It turns out Joanna knew the woman who died of a heart attack last week and later tested positive for the Coronavirus.

Other than the pandemic and stock market crash, life's doing okay.  I hear that at least high school will try to reopen using distance learning.  We may need to scrounge around to get Emma a computer for her mom's house.  Kevin opted not to come to Oregon, poor guy.  Duncan arranged a get-together in Minecraft.  I've been putting in some extra time after work to do things that might be helpful.  Our entire company is shifting to try and find ways to help.

If there's any bright spot in this mess, the late night comedians have put out some great shows at home, complete with interrupting kids and improvised laugh tracks.

Life Goes On

March 19, 2020 by Adam in Family

We continue to ride the churn that's our day-to-day life.  Last night was the first I got a good night's sleep in quite awhile.  Joanna and I had a date night last night, walking down to get takeout from one of our favorite local restaurants, then retiring to the basement to eat, chat, and puzzle.  Ben walked down to South during their free lunch, saying hi to friends while practicing social distancing.  Jamie's cut back work, so she and Emma have been hanging out - Emma's honing her cooking skills.  Duncan is in 24x7 vacation mode, making videos, playing video games, and hanging out with friends online.

The manager for the local Nissan dealership called, asking if I needed anything and apologizing for the situation.  I appreciated the gesture and I said I was fine with the loaner and hoping to eventually get my car back.

Hopefully everyone is at home and settling in.  My cousin Ben was apparently in Italy but made it back in time.  Bob's son is stuck in Washington DC and can't return to China.  Even if he could go back, I think he'd be quarantined there for a couple weeks.

What strange times we live in.

Tales from the Hot Zone

March 17, 2020 by Adam in Family

The first confirmed COVID-19 case in Eugene/Springfield was announced today - a 69 year old man.  They're apparently notifying people he came into contact with.  They think it was community spread - symptoms started March 1st, so it's been around for awhile.

The car saga continues.  It looks like they were acting on a recall service I didn't know about or approve when the ECM died.  I think "shorted out" isn't as accurate as a plain old software update failure.  The letter I sent got everyone's attention - Nissan and the local deal both called back.  It feels like they both feel the other is responsible and are duking it out.  On the plus side, I finally got a loaner car, a very nice 2020 sedan that's in the driveway.  No idea if I'll actually drive it much or how long I'll have it.

Everyone is generally doing okay.  Joanna cleared out the tea and biscuits from the store today, proving that she's the lovely English person I married.  Still no word about Kevin and if he's coming to visit.  I keep checking in with various family members.  Jenny probably has the most challenging job, figuring out which patients to see each day.  Dad's staying at home for the foreseeable future.

I keep trying to balance keeping my spirits up while frantically searching for the latest updates and making plans to shelter in place.  Hope you're all doing the same.  Be safe.

Pandemic Outbreak

March 16, 2020 by Adam in Family

The world seemed to lock itself down over the weekend, with the stock market crashing even further this morning.  I had a brief moment of panic when I took my temperature after having a headache this morning along with my ongoing cough.  It was over 100 degrees, which put Joanna in "calm but firm" mode, checking my vitals and telling me to test myself again in ten minutes.  I waited, thinking about where in the house to self-quarantine, then tested again only to have it be normal.  I sheepishly admitted to Joanna that I'd just had a cup of tea, who chastised me slightly as I slunk off to my shed.

I played video games with the kids, in between working on a GIS skunkworks project at work.  Jacquie and I decided to make a map chart type on our own, in part to have something useful to do that we're both passionate about.  She made way more progress than I did, but I did manage to write a script that downloads the daily Coronavirus stats as test data.  Grim, but real data is always more useful.

Joanna, Emma, Ben, and I also all played Pandemic Legacy in the afternoon.  It's weird in that you draw on the board, change rules permanently, rip up character cards when they die, and every game changes how the game is played. Johannesburg is rioting and Ben's character was scarred for life, but we did get cures for them all.  I suspect the strains mutate and we play again - every game takes a month to play.  We'll see if we finish before the current pandemic ends.

Pandemic Pie Day

March 15, 2020 by Adam in Family

It's March 14th, or 3.14 in math nerd speak, so Joanna made us a delicious pumpkin pie to go with our pizza tonight.  I think we're all finally starting to feel somewhat settled after an off-the-rails crazy week.

I spent this morning writing a long, detailed letter to the Nissan people and late today I got a call from John at Lithia Nissan letting me know that the car wasn't totaled and they'd try to fix it.  This is a different story from what I was told earlier in the week, so we'll see if they actually manage to get the part and repair it.

Joanna braved the store while Ben, Emma, and I played board games, video games, and generally hung out.  It was actually quite nice, though we'll see if we all feel the same after several weeks of the same.  I have my work to keep me busy, but we may need to find things for the kids to do.

I've talked to nearly everyone - I think they're all doing okay.  Jenny let me know that she's forbid my dad from working at the office for a month.  It's probably a reasonable precaution, especially as Ana works with so many sick people.

I heard through Emma that Sam has a cough and is staying home.  I worry about him and hope he's okay, though I know the young and healthy generally do just fine.

Mocha Pandemic Friday

March 13, 2020 by Adam in Family

We're all hunkering down.

Oregon schools closed until April 1st, Isa postponed her trip next week, Ben's office visits are going remote where possible, and we're all making plans to stay home and generally take it easy.  I've been sleeping very poorly, in part because Nissan apparently isn't going to do anything about my broken car and the local dealership isn't returning my calls.  I think I get to write them both an email explaining the legal action I plan on taking and see if that generates any movement.

I think we have all the medication, food, and entertainment we need to get through weeks of being at home.  Working from home is my normal thing anyway, so there's no risk to my income.  Joanna and I are still getting over a cold, so I've got a bit of a cough and Joanna has some sinus pain.  Weirdly we're happy our noses are running, as that indicates it probably isn't the Coronavirus.

Joanna is an awesome Pandemic Pal, getting everything ready for a potentially long stay at home.  She's cancelling all her one-on-one meetings with clients.  Duncan was pretty happy about no school, and hanging out with friends online is how they usually interact.  Ben seems okay with things, though he's more social than the rest of us.  Emma is okay, glad there's not a week of next trimester followed by a week off for spring break.  She's been positive and cheerful, which is wonderful.

So, we're keeping our spirits up.  I'm taking the day off work to get to all the things that are making me anxious that I can do something about.  Joanna's got a follow up procedure from her last one today.  Hopefully we can have a quiet, hang-out weekend which is fortunately pretty close to self-quarantining anyway.

NM Updates

March 13, 2020 by Seraph in Cortez

I'm sitting in bed wide awake at 3:45am, so I thought I should post an update and say hello. We have been on our spring break this week with lots of yard work, paperwork, and errands. Alex and Anne flew in last night, and we'll get to visit with them today and tomorrow.

New Mexico has been very proactive on the COVID19 front. There have been 6 positive cases in the state state (please remember we have a very small state population), and the governor declared a state of emergency on Wednesday. Shortly after that events around the state started to be canceled, including the high school basketball championships (which trumps all in NM). Yesterday the public education secretary had a conference call with all the school superintendents and told them schools would be closed for three weeks starting next Monday. The extra days will be added to the end of the school year.

That announcement really brought it home for Robbie and I. I'm not yet sure how my feelings are about it. Part of me is happy to have more time in the garden, and part of me is worried sick for my students, many of whom rely on free breakfast, and lunch, and the safety and love from school. Our district will be sending us more information today, so I'm hoping that will settle my mind.

Isa has decided to postpone her trip to Eugene for now. She's sad not to get to see everyone, but it didn't feel like the responsible thing to do right now. Alex and Anne have also canceled their international business travel for next week, which makes us happy.

I recommend lots of reading, puzzles, and spring gardening to get us all through. Help your neighbors when possible and don't hoard toilet paper.

Pandemic Time

March 12, 2020 by Adam in Family

Well, a pandemic was declared today, Nissan still hasn't replaced my car, and the cat has started licking the butter.  Truly these are the end times.

I declared at work that I hit my stress point, in between team rearranging, car issues, and the impending apocalpyse.  I think they believed me as several team members recommended I take some time off soon.  I've got a Print to PDF demo for some clients, but I may take it easy after that.

Joanna and I continue to make plans, picking out our favorite places in the house to self-quarantine.  The basement has a nice TV, spare bathroom, lots of food, and all the puzzles.  We'll probably be fighting over it before too long.  Tonight we opted to get takeout instead of going to a restaurant.  I had tea with mom today too.  Both seemed to be thinning out like most public gatherings.

I texted Sam today, who passed along some reassuring words.  He and Skye are young, healthy, and have a good friend group.  It was nice to hear from him, even in text form.

As for me, I'm stressed out, have a touch of a cough and an occasional headache.  I suspect it's mostly just residiual fury towards Nissan, but it's hard to be sure.

A Time of Small Disasters

March 10, 2020 by Adam in Family

My cold continues, more annoying than anything else.  I think I'm on the final legs where my sinuses are goopy but otherwise I'm fine.  The kids are somehow just fine, though Joanna has a touch of the sniffles as well.

I had Joanna take me into the local Nissan dealer to do some "final remedy" for my airbag.  They'd replaced it once already, but I guess this time it'll be even less explody than ever.  Unfortunately they texted to say they fried something while upgrading the onboard computer, so it seems I'm out of a car for awhile.  I guess it's a good week to self-quarantine anyway.

Catastrophe of the Week

March 09, 2020 by Adam in Family

Well, I'm glad I sold stocks when I did as the stock market seems to be crashing this morning.  We're staying home more than usual, with this last Sunday being the second that I shooed mom away as we had a cold going around.  I feel much better today, but I was pretty sniffly over the weekend.

The kids generally seemed to entertain themselves, between VR and dissassembling hard drives to get to the juicy magnets inside.  Emma studied for finals this week.  We all watched science shows, including Adam Savage and his one day builds, while eating pizza.  Things are okay.

The New VR Gods

March 09, 2020 by Adam in Adam's Games

One of the games Duncan and Ben play all the time is Roblox, which apparently just got improved VR support.  It's more of a game ecosystem where people can make their own games.  In this case, the game was really a series of geometric platforms where players could spawn in and move around, but the game play was completely different depending on whether or not you had a VR headset.

Normal players could walk around, talk with little speech bubbles, perform a few animations, jump between places, and that's about it.  VR players could make themselves giant, fly around the map, and pick up other non-VR players and move them around.

This led to an immediate divinity imparted on VR players.  They were either benevolent or vengeful gods, able to move people to isolated platforms which Ben called his "colony" where only the chosen people would live.  Other VR players would fling the little people far into the sky or push them into the raging sea below to certain death.

Both Ben and Duncan played for a surprising amount of time over the weekend.  There wasn't really any rules to this game, but different behaviors popped up and quickly Ben developed favorites for the little people.  It was fascinating.

Tales from the Plague Lands

March 06, 2020 by Adam in Family

Everyone's been a little wonky this week.  We wash our hands and sing happy birthday.  Emma's recovered from her cold.  Every time I get a little cough, I wonder if this is it.  Various tech conferences have canceled. The kids report Coronavirus posters all over school.

On the up side, mortgage rates have gone down, so I'm thinking about doing some adulting today and see if I can refinance.  Weird days.

Tea at the Bank

March 04, 2020 by Adam in Family

It's been an odd week.

Politics switched last night, which meant that healthcare stocks went up this morning, so I went ahead and sold some of the stocks I'd purchased with my salary last year.  I made enough money to buy a new computer for myself, but the real lesson is that watching stocks go up and down makes me an emotional train wreck when I have to do something about it.

I went to the doctor today for my annual checkup.  I'm getting the fun tests that come with turning fifty, but it generally went well.  I got some sudafed to try on my next Salt Lake City trip, after they filled out paperwork to ensure I'm not trying to make meth with it.  I've got some bloodwork to do soon too - those results are always entertaining.

Work is doing well - I'm on the last of the PDF features (hopefully).  Emma's back in school, though maybe still feeling a little iffy.  Mom wants to take me to a bank to talk about construction loans instead of having tea today.  Maybe I'll bring a thermos of tea so I don't miss out.

Tuesday Already

March 03, 2020 by Adam in Family

We're all muddling through - Emma was sick all weekend with a sore throat and Joanna and I had a touch of something.  I managed to make an outing with Emma to the library, Duncan had some wacky designer shoe-buying scheme with a group of friends, Ben had Isabell over on Friday, and we did our usual pizza and science on Saturday night.

Joanna's been  playing lots of Stardew Valley.  I started a Baldur's Gate like game called Pathfinder: Kingmaker.  The most productive thing beyond the usual was assembling a new tv stand from pieces.  It took the entire duration of the Clue movie.  When it was done, Emma helped me put the tv on top of it.

We're all a little worried about the Coronavirus, though trying to be only the appropriate amount of worried.  Joanna stocked up on drugs to help with cold and sore throat symptoms.  We're making kids wash their hands while singing happy birthday.  I stocked up on a little extra food at the store this week.  I've been watching our stock price go up and down during our two weeks of being able to sell it.  Hopefully we survive all the excitement.

Mocha Friday Outbreak

February 28, 2020 by Adam in Family

It's been quite a week - between layoffs at work and Coronavirus fears, I think everyone is a little on edge.  The window where we can sell stocks opens up next month - weirdly our stock is up after going down for awhile.  My theory is that people are shifting money into healthcare related industries due to the virus outbreak.  We've talked to the kids about post-school handwashing protocol.  I suspect we'll double-check to make sure we have enough medication and cereal to survive any disruptions, but otherwise I think all is well.

I'm finally getting towards the end of the magic PDF features.  I'm working on some performance improvements, but I'm hoping this ends up being well received.  It's always a treat to see things I worked on in action at a client location, which I got to do today.  Real data is always so cool looking.

The kids are generally all okay.  Spring is on the way and flowers are popping up.  Something is making nests in our compost pile - I think I get to do some repair this weekend if the weather's nice.  How I long for spring.

Pancake Day

February 26, 2020 by Adam in Family

It was the day before Lent yesterday, and my English coworker reminded me that that means it was pancake day.  One of the traditions Joanna brought with her is to make crepes for dinner once a year.  We made a huge batch of whip cream, assorted berries, and the kids devoured them in vast quantities.  It was quite the spectacle.

Work had some layoffs on Monday, including my friend Andy that started the same day at Health Catalyst almost three years ago.  There are certainly some upset people and a realization that the company isn't the tech utopia some thought it might be.  For me personally, all is well and I still enjoy my job and the people I work with.  I guess I've been around the block enough times to realize that these things happen.

Emma had her day of tests, orthodontist visit, and wellness check.  I think it all went really well and was a relief after being nervous about it.  She decribed her doctor as "super fun," which seemed a good sign.  I imagine party hats and confetti were employed.

Ben, Joanna, and I piled on the couch last night to watch Doctor Who.  Ben and I have been comparing Slay the Spire notes, as I got him into playing it endlessly.  Sorry but not sorry.

Pleasant Weekend

February 24, 2020 by Adam in Family

It was generally a good weekend.  The antibiotics kept my face from being eaten from the inside,  the kids were generally entertaining, and I accomplished a few things along the way.

Emma and I had some father-daughter bonding Saturday, going to the library, off to get my haircut, and finally some coffee and board games at Metropol.  Ben had Isabel over and they watched anime in the basement.  Duncan had his friend Ash who moved to Portland stop by for a few hours - it's funny watching all these kids grow up and turn into almost adult looking like people.  Joanna and I managed some weeding and gardening.  I planted peas, which made me happy.

Emma also picked up a book on knitting and Joanna supervised the two of us to put together a few rows.  Emma took it from there and actually finished a square and started what I think will be a hat.  I decided I probably don't have hours of free time, or at least I prioritize things over knitting.  It was fun to learn a new thing, though.

Antibiotic Friday Mocha

February 21, 2020 by Adam in Family

I've been having stuffed up ears and nasal pain the last few days.  After a couple days of non-stop painkillers I decided to bite the bullet and see a doctor.  Sure enough, I had a nasal infection and was prescribed antibiotics.  This morning I'm feeling much improved now that my face isn't being eaten from the inside.  

It's been a generally good week other than that.  Kids have been pretty good.  Joanna and I had a nice date night on Wednesday, followed by puzzle time.  Emma was here last night to play a little Stardew Valley with everyone and then we worked on circuit design for her physics homework.  Had a nice tea with mom yesterday morning, who suggested a doctor visit was something to consider.

As for me, I'm finally making PDFs at work, though they still need a bit of work.  Now that this blog is mostly functional, I started tiptoeing into making a game for fun.  We'll see if it turns into anything or is just an educational thing.

I heard about Isa and college and wish her the best.  That's such a hard time for everyone and I fret about all our generation of kids making their way into the wide world.  I shall endeavor to be a place of solace for all that need one.

New Blog

February 19, 2020 by Adam in Adam's Projects

The previous version of this blog was written about three years ago, which is ancient in dog and Internet years.  While I'm still somewhat embarrassed by this new version (my first post failed horribly), I think it's ready enough to see the light of day.

If you're feeling brave, take a look here.

Three Day Weekend

February 17, 2020 by Adam in Family

It's been a lovely, three day weekend.  We've all been hanging out in earnest.  Joanna took Ben, his friend Isabell, and Duncan to see the new Sonic movie.  I raise the parenting glass to Joanna for doing that.  Emma and I went to the library and returned with assorted treasures.  I got a couple books on game design, the Stumptown graphic novel, a book about explorers for Emma and a knitting book for Joanna.

We've also all really gotten into playing Stardew Valley and so we spent a few hours today tending farm, exploring the mines, and hanging out with the townsfolk.  I did make a short break to fix mom's oven, which had a melty bit I had to run to the hardware store to replace.

I've also been working hard at replacing this blog with a new one which generally looks the same.  It's all new under the hood, but it uses the same stuff I use at work.  Let's see what happens when I click the Save button . . . 

Sadly not much.  I had to switch back to the old blog software.  Back to the drawing board.

Happy Valentine's Day!

February 14, 2020 by Adam in Family

Happy Valentine's Day!  It's been a slow, low-key week, with Joanna playing lots of Stardew Valley and recovering from the cold.  The kids have all been doing well.  Ben and I have been playing lots of Slay the Spire and praising its awesomeness.  Emma was over last night and we started looking at college stuff and volunteer opportunities.  Occasionally she gets a little excited, which gives me hope that the transition to college will go okay.

Otherwise life is generally doing okay.  I'm cranking out PDFs at work after quite a bit of effort.  It's funny how I keep working on printing stuff, over a quarter of a century since my first web application.

Healthy Monday

February 10, 2020 by Adam in Family

I started to feel better late on Saturday and by Sunday I was feeling like a million bucks.  Going from miserable to normal was really uplifting and I spent the day doing little projects that I'd neglected for a long while.  The new version of this blog is getting nearly ready to go, though there are still a few little tweaks I want to make.  My reward for getting it done is to start a game project, though we'll see if that ever becomes more than a thing to mess around with.

Emma and Joanna got the Stardew Valley bug, with Emma playing every possible moment and then Joanna picking it up for mobile.  Emma was having fun taking care of her chickens and puppy in between fishing.  She did manage to get her homework done and went off to see a play with Jordan one day and shopping with her mom the next.

Unfortunately Joanna got the cold and has been sniffling and taking it easy the last couple days.  Hopefully it doesn't last long.

Sick Mocha Friday

February 07, 2020 by Adam in Family

Ben's been sick off and on this week and last night it made its way to me.  I was pretty low-key last night and generally useless today.  I worked a little this morning, slept and took it easy for a few hours, and went back to work in the afternoon.  I did manage to setup the new t.v. that arrived today, under the less-than-approving eyes of Joanna.

I'll work on my work printing thing for a couple hours and ease into the weekend.

Snowing in Texas

February 06, 2020 by Adam in Family

Sam texted this morning, reporting that it snowed last night.  I think it was just a dusting, but it's such an unusual event that I think everyone got pretty excited.

The week has been pretty quiet.  Emma's been taking junior tests in English and keeping her phone off.  Somehow mom and I missed each other yesterday for our usual tea date.  Joanna and I did manage toget out last night, though our neighborhood Mexican food place is getting too popular so we were bumped over to Cafe Yumm.  There was this guy leading a table full of little girls on a mini-RPG adventure.  He'd have them pick a number between one and ten, and played a Lord of the Rings song on his ocorina.  I told Joanna it was a gateway adventure for more hard-core fare such as Dungeons and Dragons, but I secretly wanted to sign up and join them next week.

As for work, I live and breathe printing to PDF.  One of these days I'll hopefully get to do something different.  I managed to read a little more of Winter Tide, which is a surprisingly good mashup of the cold war and Lovecraftian mythos.  And then there's Slay the Spire, which I can't stop playing.  I'm in the middle of a run where I can occasionally pull off infinite damage if I'm lucky, followed by a rush of seratonin in my brain.  Baby needs a new pair of shoes!

Another Hanging Out Weekend

February 03, 2020 by Adam in Family

It snowed the tiniest amount last night.  I managed to scrape a little snowball together and flick it at Emma, though I think it turned to water before actually hitting her body.

It was a pretty low-key weekend.  Ben had has friend Isabell over.  Emma went to lunch with Yayoe.  Duncan played video games and made videos of it, though I can't exactly complain as I did the same.  We chatted with Sam which was a treat, followed by playing various video games.

Soon I'm heading out to the shed to work on printing some more, this time with a plan that's crazy enough it just might work.

Slaying It

February 03, 2020 by Adam in Adam's Games

I continue to play Slay the Spire a little obsessively.  Yesterday I had the perfect run, generating infinite energy and damage with a relic that let me draw a card if my hand was empty.  I managed to get a hand full of zero cost cards and a card that gave me energy, meaning I could kill anything before my opponent took a turn.  I managed to unlock three different achievements that run.  It was a thing of beauty.

Seeing Visions

February 01, 2020 by Adam in Family

I saw Dr. Arbow last week, who as always enjoys experimenting on his patients.  I had mentioned my challenges seeing things up close and he lept into action, giving me one contact for distance and a bifocal one for close up.  It's led to a weird week of having great up close vision but somewhat lousy mid range vision.  Essentially it felt like I was wearing an eye patch, though made from some sort of gauzy film.  We'll see if I last the three weeks until my next appointment.

Otherwise life has been the usual mix of tricky, weird, and wonderful.  I spent way too much time dealing with printing over the last week at work.  It turns out making PDFs look nice is an impossible task.  Joanna was feeling kinda lousy this week, but hopefully is a little better today.  The kids are all their usual quirky selves.

Rainy Weekend

January 27, 2020 by Adam in Family

It was a lazy, quiet weekend.  Joanna was feeling under the weather, so there was quite a bit of time spent knitting, reading, and taking it easy.  I managed to drag Joanna along to Down to Earth, getting dirt and seeds and preparing for springtime.

Jamie returned from Hawaii, much to Emma's excitement.  They hung out on Sunday for a little, otherwise Emma spent her time split between cooking videos and homework.  I did convince her to play the Arkham Horror card game with me - both our investigators survived, though I was mentally scarred at the end.

Duncan played endless video games.  Ben had Morgan over to hang out.  I did quite a bit of laundry, dishes, and cooking, though managed to play video games a fair amount and did a little yardwork.  I finally finished Outer Wilds, which was oddly sad and philosophical.  I also can't stop playing Slay the Spire, which haunts my dreams.

Mom came over for dinner last night and I grilled her about the farm plans.  It sounds like they're getting firmer and Seraph is thinking about coming next year.  Building a house is quite a bit of work and I think mom would appreciate the assistance.

Now it's work time - lots of little things to cleanup before our next release, but I think we're on the right track.

Mocha Friday

January 24, 2020 by Adam in Family

It's been mostly quiet this week - kids going to school, celebrating Joanna's birthday, and the usual endless dishes and laundry.  Emma's been here all week, so my nights are filled with homework and the occasional video game.  I think work is stressing me out a little as I've woken up in the middle of the night the last couple nights, thinking about problems I need to solve.  Hopefully that sense of responsibility will fade after we get this next release out the door.

Joanna Birthday

January 24, 2020 by Adam in Joanna

Joanna celebrated her birthday this week, treating herself to some time in a sensory deprivation tank.  I think she was less than impressed, mostly finding she focused on the small aches and pains in her body instead of having a trancendental experience.  Still, the cake she made for herself turned out well and I think she enjoyed her birthday presents.  This year she told the kids to be more lively, which they may have taken the wrong way.

Half Birthdays

January 21, 2020 by Adam in Family

Duncan and I both had half birthdays over the weekend, a tradition invented entirely by Joanna.  She has a birthday coming up in a few days too, so the celebrations continue.

Emma's around this week as Jamie and Meg are in Hawaii for their honeymoon.  Emma and Ben have been hanging out quite a bit, watching weird anime about blood cells.  I took the two of them to Oregon Art Supply to continue spending their Christmas gift certificates.  Otherwise it was a pretty low-key weekend.  Mom came for dinner Sunday and dad last night. 

Slaying the Spire Again

January 18, 2020 by Adam in Adam's Games

Slay the Spire is one of my favorite games - a well-crafted deck building roguelike game where you take one of four characters and build a deck as you slowly climb this spire until you reach the final boss.  They added a new character last week and I've been trying to beat the boss with it.  This morning I succeeded with the Watcher with a slow burn deck that had to hold on long enough to deal massive damage in a couple turns.  It was pretty fun, though I think I need a little Spire break.

The good news is that I have two other excellent games I'm slowly wrapping up.  I think we're approaching the end of Outer Wilds, down to one or two more mysteries to resolve.  Emma and I are also playing Return of the Obra Dinn, which we refer to as the murder scrapbook game.  Basically you revisit various scenes on a ship and try to piece together who died in what way.  With Emma's knowledge of shipboard life, it feels like I have an unfair advantage.  She knows all about where midshipmen would be bunked, the parts of the ship and all the titles of the crewmembers.  It's cool seeing her quirky nautical trivia become relevant.

Mocha Friday

January 17, 2020 by Adam in Family

We just shipped a release at work, so we have a brief lull where we can work more experimental features for a little, assuming Chris doesn't discover more bugs for us to fix.  I'm working on a slightly crazy thing that theoretically works, but I guess we won't find out until we do it.

Everyone is generally doing well.  Emma was over last night and we played a lot of Outer Wilds, flying around our little solar system. With Jamie on vacation, she'll be around for the upcoming week.

I spent some time yesterday getting the new version of this website ready to go.  It should generally work the same, though it's using newer technology under the hood.  Hopefully I can bring it up in parallel for everyone to try out.  I also fixed some old embedded videos that weren't always working, as YouTube used to use Shockwave Flash to embed things.  I'm now using a more modern way of linking videos in.

It looks like another low-key weekend for us all.  I'd love to get some starter seeds going, sort of a promise that spring is coming.

Rainy Wednesday

January 16, 2020 by Adam in Family

Joanna and I went through the cold rainy night to have our date night at the Springfield Cornbread Cafe, which had just opened up.  It was a similar menu to the Eugene location, though with quirky kitch decor.  We read each other questions from the Trivia Pursuit cards left on the table and chatted about life.

Work's been good - I'm in the final stretch of a two month project I've been working on.  The kids all seem to be doing okay.  I had my teeth cleaned and Jenny showed me her new car.  Sadie sent me a link to a bad pun t-shirt.  I chatted with mom in New Mexico.  I read a little more of my Autonomous book.  Life's good.

Another Fine Weekend

January 14, 2020 by Adam in Family

It's Monday already - work was generally satisfying and I think I'm nearly done with a somewhat complicated feature I've been fiddling with for a couple months now.  Now that Christmas break is done, it's gotten pretty quiet.  Mom's still away in New Mexico.  Dad's not working this week and is at the coast.  I spent the weekend hanging out with the kids, playing video games, and doing a bit of yardwork so I didn't consider myself incredibly lazy.

No big news - just the little things of life.  Ben and Emma watched a lot of Star Trek when I was away.  Joanna's been fermenting apples and cauliflower with her Christmas presents.  Sam, Emma, and I played some video games over the Internet over the weekend - he had the flu but is on the mend.  Sadie sent me a bunch of pictures she dug up from her middle school years.  All is well.

Outer Wilds

January 14, 2020 by Adam in Adam's Games

I'm working my way through the award-winning games of 2019 - Disco Elysium was a quirky dialog-heavy detective game.  Now I'm playing through Outer Wilds, which is an exploration game where you explore the mysteries of your solar system and try to piece together another mystery.  They're both excellent and I find I'm becoming jaded and unwilling to play less engaging games.

Emma's been playing with me on occasion, taking the controls and flying our little spaceship through weird and bizarre worlds.

There and Back Again

January 10, 2020 by Adam in Family

After a lovely weekend with the kids, I headed to the airport Monday morning and started my quarterly trip to Salt Lake City.  All went generally okay, with my usual routine being wake up, run four miles, eat oatmeal in the hotel, walk across the parking lot for meetings, have dinner with coworkers, and play Slay the Spire until bedtime.  There were some variations - one day we went to a stained glass place and made little stained glass things.  They did real work there, elaborate stained glass windows for churches, and we admired the cool machinery.

Yesterday Tim and I left around noon to wade through the long security line and make our way home.  I ran into an old PeaceHealth friend, Steve Long, on the flight to Eugene.  It was great being home again and sleeping well last night.

I still struggled with the altitude and dry air.  A nettie pot, nasal spray, and Advil generally helped, and I felt pretty normal the last day.  It always feels good to return home to the valley.

Joanna managed the kids generally okay.  Apparently the routine was to watch Star Trek after dinner every night.  Hopefully I can wrest my computer back again now that I've returned.

I'm working today, back to my routine.  Tonight Joanna and I are going to hang out and play games with other grown ups, which is a treat.

Cocaine Fueled Karaoke

January 04, 2020 by Adam in Family

We're slowly walking up in Portland, looking out over the city from our hotel room.

It's our second stay in the Hotel deLuxe as years ago we also saw a play nearby. Yesterday morning we packed for our journey, waited for Mattie to come and watch Ben, and took Emma to her mom's. Then it was driving through country roads to reach Silver Falls. For some reason I'd never gone there. It was lovely, trails through tall trees and wet cool air. We hiked behind two falls, tons of water crashing over basaltic lava flows. We took our tired bodies back to the cabins, admiring their depression era construction. After some coffee and lentil soup we continued on to Portland.

After settling into our rooms we changed into city clothes, which were only slightly more formal versions of our normal attire. Powell's books was nearby, so we picked up a few treasures and ate veggie pot pie and a cherry peach pie for dinner at a vegan, gluten free place. The play was held in a conference room in the Tiffany building, decked out to look like a Scottish pub. The play happened all around us, a bizarre and hysterical modern day retelling of a Scottish ballad involving a love story with the devil and cocaine fueled karaoke. It was quite memorable, especially the actors in their underwear jumping on tables.

Soon we're off to Fuel for breakfast, then fetching Duncan from the airport. It's been a lovely getaway.

Disco Elysium

January 02, 2020 by Adam in Adam's Games

I've always been a fan of the text-heavy philosophical games like Planescape: Torment.  Disco Elysium is a weird game where you play a detective in a worn-down world similar to ours, solving small mysteries in the most bizarre way possible.  I had fun playing as an occasionally psychic, slightly communist detective.  Many of the main quests were bumbled through, though I did manage to make it to the end and generally solve the case.  The end was sad and whistful in a way, the end of some great writing and storytelling.  While I'm not sure I'll ever manage myself, I'd love to play around with making a similarly thoughtful game.

I did manage to sing a really sad karaoke song before solving the case with my trusty sidekick Kim, so that's a plus.


January 02, 2020 by Adam in Family

I got a little mixed up with my various vacations and it turns out I had New Year's Day through the end of the week off.  In our traditional fashion, Ben, Joanna, and I drank virgin pina coladas and watched the Japanese Jonny's Countdown, followed by a quick switch over to watch the Times Square ball drop.  We watched random Japanese commercials until it was time for bed - a fine way to ring in the new year.

Today was pretty low-key.  I finished Disco Elysium, which was a great detective game.  Ben played assorted video games.  Joanna and I went for a long hike.  I ran and watched The Witcher on Netflix.  It was all quite lovely.

It's been a bit of a whirlwind week.  I worked a couple days, had dinner at Jenny's, and managed to go have tea with Seraph and Robbie before they left.  Mom's in New Mexico for a couple weeks.  Jamie took Emma to the beach.  Joanna and I will be having a night in Portland this weekend, catching a play, and then getting Duncan from the airport.  Next Monday I'm off to Salt Lake City.  Hopefully life quiets down a bit after that.

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