Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Coke Experiment of 2011

The tray for our toaster oven was a mess. We have no SOS pads or anything else that seemed like it might work. We agreed to try Coke. The video of the bubbling reaction that went on for at least several minutes and maybe hours, was cool. If it posts it is below, otherwise there is a before and an after 6 hours shot. Considering how hard-baked the grease and grime was, this is either impressive, or frightening!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Deals and Such

Did anyone else notice a lack of coupons for the things they really needed or wanted to buy this year?  Some years I have all sorts of promo codes or local store coupons that I can use, but not this year.  I admit I did not go out to the websites where you can search for such things either, prefering that they magically appear when I need them. Oh, wait - I did specifically seek out Round Table Pizza coupons. It is one of my favorite pizzas, and they often have a $3.00 off a large coupon available.  I also had codes for some photo books I wanted to put together for the kids, but just did not have the time.  That is on my list for the New Year - I want to make Disneyland photo books for the kids.  It would have been nice in time for Christmas, but I think they would like them just as much in January!

Transitioning from Christmas to New Year's

I am at work this week, as is Vicki.  It was a busy, but fun Christmas with the kids, then Monday was incredibly relaxing as we just lazied the day away playing with Christmas "toys" and watching movies.  It has been hard to get motivated to return to work, especially given that so many people have this week off.  At least it has made for a very easy-going work-week.  I've spent a bit of time browsing the internet, trying to decide how to spent an Amazon gift card, reading emails, deleting ones for such things as Technical Recruiter Jobs, and returning Christmas greetings from friends. Just a bit more and I can go spend my evening with Vicki. It has been raining all afternoon, and I am sleeping, so returning home to snuggle up with the woman I love sounds most excellent!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and that a joyful New Year is yours! We had a great Christmas spent playing with the kids and being with family. I must now go test out my new Belgian waffle maker! :)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Visiting the East Coast

Vicki and I are on a quick trip to pack up a few things from her old house in Virginia, visit her parents and then play tourist in DC and Baltimore. Meeting her Mom will be interesting since even after 18 years with her last partner, Vicki was only marginally out to her parents. Mom is way more comfortable with thinking of partners as "roommates," and frankly, so was her ex. Having a good time so far. This tree was in the lobby of the hotel we stayed in last night near the Baltimore airport.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

I Did It!

I completed a novel of 50,781 word in 30 days!

It has been quite a challenge, especially over the past week or so.  I am so grateful for Vicki's support. She kept me going and told me I could do it, even when I was several thousand words behind and the task was looking nearly insurmountable.  She was right by my side, doing her own work, or playing on her iPad (*grin*), the whole time.  I've had to put off all Christmas planning and shopping - so NOW we can proceed with the Holiday season!  I am also grateful for my writing buddy's support.  She and I both took on this challenge and every morning we'd compare our progress. About half-way through, or so, we started sharing story details, and the flow of creativity for both of us just soared. What was frightening is how many similarities our stories had even though up until that point, we'd not talked about any details. It was good to be able to go through this challenge together - and share our highs and lows. 

I have more to say, but I am so tired. There's only been about 5 hours of sleep for the last three nights, so the brain is not working quite as quickly as it might!  Maybe there will be blogging time this weekend....or next week.  Happy December!

Sunday, November 06, 2011


This is Day 6 of National Novel Writing Month. I am not quite at 5000 words. That is somewhat behind where I would like to be if I were writing exactly the same amount each night. Life being what it is though, that sort of consistency is not very practical.  Between being exhausted from battling a cold this week, not sleeping very well, and then being with the kids this weekend, it has been hard to write the last couple of nights. I will get a bit done tonight, strive for consistency throughout the week, and play catch-up between naps next weekend.

My novel is slowly presenting itself to me. I am hoping the story keeps flowing. For me, it is less a creative process than one of discovery and excavation. I think Stephen King once compared writing to being an archaeologist  - slowly uncovering what lies below.  It feels that way for me.  People ask what I am writing about and when I say that I am not quite sure, I am not really being evasive. I am still in discovery mode, and since it is very early in the story, it could go anywhere. Also, I am hesitant to talk to much about things I am writing while in the process. I don't want to dilute any of the energy behind it. Writing this way is fun though, and keeps my interest since I really don't know what is going to happen.

We are having a lazy weekend around here - lots of iPad games, some movies, Kaylen is playing school with a stuffed animal populated classroom. I got a Stitch at Disneyland and she got a kitty while there, so those are the newer students, sharing learning space with Eeyore, Sponge Bob, bunny and Mr. Berries. Yesterday around 3:00, or so, the kids decided they wanted to go on a hike, so we picked a random park with hiking trails and had a nice 2-3 hours getting some fresh air.

As the cool weather starts, Christmas toy catalogs are appearing in the mailbox, and wish lists are starting. Though, interestingly, my kids sometimes jump right past Christmas and aim for their February and April birthdays.  I don't think it is quite time to send a  ref="">birthday invitations , but I appreciate their planning for the future. :)  This year, I suspect there may be some Disney-themed gifts under the tree, though I am not sure if I can hold on to the planned-collages quite that long.  On the other hand, since most of my free time should be being spent writing, even making time to create and order the collages is going to be challenging!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

A Few More Disney Pics

I was messing around with a Disney app that Kelton found and here are the results. Fun - but the sharpness is not great. I will post more - but not sure when. NaNoWriMo has started- I have 30 days to write a 50,000 word novel!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Sneak Peak - Disneyland Trip 2011

Short post:
Trip was amazing! Disneyland done up for Halloween was beautiful. The kids had the time of their life! We created two roller coaster/thrill ride maniacs. We averaged walking 13 miles per day. A good time was had by all. 

We came back with colds - adults hit hardest - Ugh. 

So worth it.

One quick picture that I snagged from the Disney Photopass site:

There are about 700 photos on my computer I need to sort through, order, share...etc....

More to come!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Gearing Up to Go!

I got a text from Casey early this morning informing me that Kelton was awake at 4:30. Think he is excited? I had a mildly productive and short work day. Vicki is still scrambling to get all her work projects done, and could be working until late, which sucks. The kids do not know yet, but we are going to let them each pick out a new DS game tonight to help keep them entertained on the flight and during other non-Disney times. Almost time to go pick them up! California here we come!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ready and Set!

Wow! When we wake up tomorrow morning, Vicki and I can check us all in for our flight! The kids are nearly all packed. Vicki and I spent time with multiple suitcases tonight trying to figure out how to best pack it all into the least amount of suitcases. We finally ended up with our two biggest suitcases, both of which are large enough to put Kaylen in, maybe even Kelton!

Last time Kaylen went to Disneyland, she was still pretty much in the stage of us using a  baby monitor with displaynow she is 6 1/2, going on 16, and ready to take on both parks, determined to see and do it all!  Her priorities are with all things princess-related, while still being eager for the thrill rides, like Splash Mountain.  Kelton is also very eager to ride everything that he was too afraid to try when he was 4.  As for Vicki and I, bring it all on! We are ready!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bags are packed-ish

Kaylen is packed. Kelton, Vicki and I are not. However, the three of us are unlikely to need to be sure we have tights to go with the dresses, or a variety of outfits should we decide that one, or more, do not feel right that day.  Last weekened I got several small household chores done. The house is reasonably clean, though certainly does not appear that I hired durham house cleaning service to really make things sparkle.  Ah, for the days when Casey and I used to have a housekeeper come in once every two weeks to make things truly clean!  Don't worry, I am paying those fees back as part of my student loans every month! Ugh. 

So, where was I going with all this? Ah - yes - we are almost ready for our trip.  Packing is underway, tickets have arrived, house is clean, work is managed - and the timing is perfect as far as work deadlines and inspections, and we may even have time to sneak in a showing of The Little Mermaid. Vicki has never seen it, and I suspect neither kid remembers seeing it. Of course, Kelton doesn't want to, but will get into it once he stops complaining about watching a princess show....

Just two and a half more days! Yippeeee!!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Gearing up for the Trip

The kids are so excited about our upcoming Disneyland trip. They are already so wound up that I'm not sure they will have anything left by the time our flight leaves Saturday morning - at 6:40am! Yikes! It seemed like a good idea at the time. :)

Of course, the kids are not the only ones who are excited! I may not have any energy left by Saturday either!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Weekend Report

It has been a really good weekend. It did not start that way. On Friday I had to have one of the cats that Casey and I had for 11 years put down. She had been sick on and off for a couple years, but in the past two weeks her health seriously declined and we knew it was close to the end. It is so hard to say goodbye to a family member like that. She was the not-so-bright but sweetest cat of the bunch. I am sure she is in a better place now, but she will be missed here.

On Saturday I got a lot of paperwork and small household tasks done. They really did not take up much time and it feels so good to have them done! I found a tv show on Netflix that I am really enjoying - Parenthood. Lauren Graham from Gilmore Girls is in it, and I really enjoy her. Between reading the second of the Twilight series books and napping, I watched 5 or 6 episodes of this very real and heart-warming show.

Today Vicki came home. It was a long two weeks apart. She arrived mid-day and it was wonderful to be able to spend the afternoon catching up. I am very happy to have her home!

It seems to be bedtime. At this time next week, we will be in Disneyland! I am so excited!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


About a month ago a friend of mine informed me about her participation in nanowrimo.

"What?" Sounded like a medical trial.

Turns out it is short for National Novel Writing Month. Writers from all over the world take the month of November to pound out a 50,000 word novel. Last year there were over 200,000 participants.

This year, I will be one of them.

I have no idea how or when I will find the time, but I figure that once I put it out there, things will fall into place and it will happen. I have no real idea, no outline, no characters. So, guess I am all set! :)

Let the games begin!

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Kids are All Right - Rest of the Movie Not So Much

I always hope a good movie with lesbians as the main characters is going to hit the mainstream. I guess for now, just the fact there are sometimes any movies with lesbians characters out there will have to be enough. Asking for "good" is apparently too much. I just spent too much time watching "The Kids Are All Right," a movie about a two-mom family with teen-age kids, and what happens to them all when the kids decide they want to meet their donor. I understand now where the movie got its title. After thinking about all the main characters, about all you can really say is, the kids were all right. The moms were the most annoying lesbian couple ever. The donor was sort of interesting in a clueless sort of way. I will say that there are some truths sprinkled here and there. At the end, one of the moms in a pretty badly delivered speech says that marriage is hard and after a lot of years, you stop seeing each other. Yeah, that seemed about right. I don't think it has to be that way, but know the truth of how it can happen. The movie should have been slicker, faster, more elegant, but for all the flaws, especially the annoying stereo-typically over-processing lesbians, there are some things they got right. Silly family moments, sweet couple moments, accidentally slighted feelings. If this was ever a book, it was probably very good. Some things should remain only in print.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

BB Blues Haiku

Blackberry working
Won't have to smash it today
Can call loved ones - yeah!

OK, brilliant it is not, but it is 11:46 at night. How about this:

Cell phone miracle
BB is working fine now
Jealous of iPad?

I should get some sleep. :)

Friday, October 07, 2011

I Hate My BlackBerry

I have had my BlackBerry for a bit over a year. I used to love it. Well, I liked it a lot anyway. I LOVE my iPad - I love my iPad more than I EVER loved my BB.  What was my point?

Oh, right. I hate my BlackBerry. It is currently not working. I believe I can send and receive texts and calls. That is it. I cannot get into options to remove what I believe it causing the problem - their own friggin' bb messenger software - I cannot receive mail - I cannot look at Facebook - and I certainly cannot download the one simple ringtone I wanted, which caused all this mess in the first place.

This problem happened about a month back, too. Girlfriend was around and able to fix it - over the course of an hour or two.  She is out of town now....for another week.  Sprint basically will wipe my system, take at least three hours to do so, and probably charge me a lot for it.

As long as it still functions as a phone, I guess I can wait until Vicki returns to see if she can resolve the problem.  I have been told by a friend that my solution, which is throwing it out the window, is not a good one. Fine.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Passing along my Childhood

It is late now and I should get to sleep, however, I slept much of the day away in response to Day 3 of a bad headache. It is finally almost gone and I am feeling pretty good.

Tonight the kids and I went through boxes of things I had saved from my childhood and college years. We found old puppets I had made, my old ventriloquist friends, jokes, scripts, even a log of performances, some toys, books, jewelry... Tons of memories and the kids thoroughly enjoyed hearing about when I was a kid and trying out the toys and clothes. A bit of it made it's way into the house for future enjoyment, and most went back into the closet where it had been since before Casey and I bought the house from my mom. :). Once Vicki and I buy a house, all that old that old stuff can have a new home - but I suspect in the mean time, the kids will enjoy pulling me out to the garage to check out my boxes again. It was fun to share with them, especially since some of it I had saved for the "someday" when I had kids of my own. :)

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Brotherly Love

Kelton was utilizing his creativity on my iPad last night. The picture below is his finished product. I will say neither Casey nor I allows use of the word hate - but to see them together, his love for her is clear - so guess I just chalk this up to sibling rivalry and I will pretend I did not see it ( sitting in my photo album....).

Still - he figured out the app and it is a cute picture. :)

Living for the Now

I was thinking a bit more about yesterday's post on regret. I have noticed that for me, the things I maybe could regret or do regret are not things I actually would have done differently. I did what I thought was right at the time. With the benefits of hindsight and time there are things I might change.... But at those moments - I was doing what I thought must be done. Can we truly regret those actions or just wish circumstances would have been different?

This goes with the previous post about "what ifs. " I do not want to live always wondering what another path might have been like - would it have been better for the kids, or Casey, or me?

Without going into personal details that are not mine alone to share, we both did the best we could, and often, that was not enough. That was no way to live, or to be a partner, or to raise children. I hope we are doing it better now. Now is all we really have. To waste that would truly be something to regret.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Contemplations on Regret

I seem to be on a bit of a blogging roll, so feel compelled to stay with it, at least for a bit. Tonight I have been contemplating regret. I try to live a life without regret, but let's face it, we all do things we wish we had not done, or had done differently. I am no exception. I am thankful that there are very few things I truly wish I could go back and undo.

I am divorced, but I would not go back and not marry Casey. We had a good marriage for a long time. Maybe I would do things differently so they did not fall apart - but maybe it would not have mattered. Maybe our time together was destined to end so we could move on and experience other things in life. I regret how things ended, but not that they ever began.

I have lost years to complacency in jobs - before law school. Regret? Maybe a bit, but not much. I was living life and was satisfied. Could I have done more, been more career -oriented, sure. Would there have been value in that? Tough to say.

I could have made more of an effort to know my dad better. I did the best I knew how at the time but in hindsight, could have tried harder. I guess those parent- child relationships can be tricky to navigate no matter your age.

I lost a good friend to poor judgment in a time of turmoil. That's a big one. Short-sighted mistake with long- term consequences. On the other hand, maybe there are no mistakes. That path put me in direct alignment with so much that is good and beautiful in my life right now. Maybe there is a balance there. Without pain can we recognize pleasure? Without ugliness can we appreciate beauty?

I cannot undo the few regrets I have, but I can strive to live each day as true to my own ethics, ideals and passions as possible so that even when things don't turn out as I hope, I will know I did my best.

Monday, October 03, 2011

A Life Of Passion

Tonight a friend wrote about taking risks, creating the life she wants for herself and not coming to the end of her life only to see a long list of "what-ifs." I think many of us reach that point in their 40's, some later, maybe some can never face it. Maybe the challenge is too scary or the pain of not moving into dreams is not outweighed by the safety of their current lives.

As many of you know, the past several years for me were definitely not about staying stagnant. Was law school a midlife crisis of sorts? It was certainly not about becoming a lawyer. It was about bettering myself, moving forward, and breaking a career barrier that I kept bumping against. The other changes? Well, again, they were about moving forward in the best way I knew how at the time. I do not want to live a life of "what-ifs." I accept more challenges now than perhaps ever before - not crazy dares, but things that help me grow, learn, and might change my perspective.

As I read my friend's post, I thought, of course! I study the topic of consciously creating our lives all the time. There are a lot of people putting out great material about living a life of passion. Everyone has the right, and maybe even the obligation, to live as the best Self - the authentic Self - they can be. Anything else is to live a lie - at everyone's
expense. Would you rather know a shadow of a person, living a life she thinks she should, or feels she must because of X (fill in the blank), or someone filled with passion, taking risks, and living life to the fullest?

Yeah, me too.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Weekend Report - First Weekend in October

Peace is both the means and the end. "To what?" you might ask. If you have to ask, maybe you are not ready for the answer.

I am feeling good about this weekend! Vicki is away for two weeks at Tracker School, learning survival skills, Native American philosophies - physical and spiritual growth kinds of work.  I am engaging in my own forms of development, doing yoga, committing to finally moving forward with the mediation course I received as a gift (because there could not be any more signs appearing to me in my life telling me I need to start meditating), and working on my art and writing - or at least, taking steps in those directions.

I also went to a movie and had lunch with my Mom. Always good to spend time with Mom. Being an independent person, and very happy in my partner-relationship,  it can be easy to forget to spend time with family and friends, so I make conscious efforts to reach out to those I love. It is always worthwhile.

I am getting excited about our upcoming trip to Disneyland! At the Disney Store last weekend, Kaylen found a rolling carry-on with Disney princesses that she fell in love with and insists is exactly what she needs for the trip. I told her "no" on that one but that we would find something before our trip. As a surprise, I went back and got it today. It will be waiting for her in her room when she is over next weekend.  For Kelton, I got the monster-print backpack he had really wanted but had already bought a new one for school by the time we saw it.  This will be the first airplane ride either one of them really remembers, and I get that having a special bag is a part of the experience.  Part of the success of this 6-day adventure will be both Vicki and I remembering that this is all about the journey and not getting hung up on expecting specific experiences. Fortunately, we are both "journey" kinds of people, so I think this will not be too challenging. Oh, the point - the point is that the airport, and the airplane, and the bus to our hotel are all part of the fun.  It's not just about how quickly we can get into the park and how many times we can ride on Splash Mountain.

Tonight I will draw, eat ice cream, and finish watching Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.  Sounds like a good night to me!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mornings without alarms

Jump out of bed, get in the shower, make a green smoothie to share with Vicki, brush teeth, head to work...that is what most work mornings look like. I would prefer something more leisurely that does not involve my alarm going off, and maybe not even the heading to work part. Don't get me wrong - I appreciate and enjoy my job, but I don't so much embrace the mandatory nature of it, you know?

I write this under the influence of app world. It is 10:30 at night, I would love to stay up playing some more, but know the sound of the alarm will come all to soon. Maybe just a short entry into my journal, check out the piano app Vicki just found, and look up one item on the Internet....

Monday, September 26, 2011

Caught by my own challenge

Diem, as in carpe diem, is not an easy word to start a post with, and I am pretty sure that by pointing out that I am starting this post with the notation of what I am doing somehow breaks the rules of the very challenge I threw down. On the other hand, I didn't really include many rules, so maybe I am OK here.  I see that my blogging friend has accepted the challenge and is rising to the occasion, if writing a blog entry can be an occasion.  (Am I the only person who always wants to put a double "s" in "occasion"?)

The rain seems to have begun. Is this the beginning of what could be a nine-month season of rain, clouds and darkness?  Sometimes, living in Portland (or Seattle, Olympia, Everett Salem.....) feels like one big rainy season. In all fairness, our summer was quite decent, it just did not really start in July. It started in August and is ending about now. So, six weeks-ish of the season, plus some teaser days prior to that in June and July.  I actually kind of welcome the first few days of cooler weather and rain.  It feels refreshing, and the sounds of the rain outside the still-open window are nice. It makes me want to curl up with a good book and laze around in front of the fireplace, dozing on and off all day. Oh, who are we kidding....Vicki and I would be sitting with our iPads in front of the fire, looking at free apps, maybe reading online news or a magazine, or maybe simply checking up on our dragons. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Pocket Frogs

Tonight Vicki and I got the kids involved in two of our favorite iPad games - Pocket Frogs and DragonVale. They were so excited about hatching eggs, racing frogs and raising new dragons. It was very cute.

OK, I confess, I am trying out the Blogger app. It is very simple and think I am better off going through a web browser. No way either place, that I have found, to add photos and cannot even preview from this app. It is basically like sending a text.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Writing Motivation

Game on - a little challenge was sent out to a specific blogging friend in my last post, but I would welcome anyone else who wants to join in.  Simple, but maybe a little nudge for those of us who've not been blogging but want to get back into the writing habit.  At this point, I need to get into ANY writing habit.  I can use excuses of  being busy with work, kids, reading emails selling the  cheapest term life insuranceand  becoming very familiar with the app section of iTunes =, but when it really comes down to it, it is more about procrastination than anything. Sometimes I feel like I am waiting for the perfect idea to come along to write about - but I know that unless I am writing, the ideas will not flow. Maybe there is a chicken and egg thing happening there, and I am not sure which I am, but I am sure that writing in some form needs to start happening. It is a creative outlet I need.


OK lurking blogger friend who recently confessed using me as an excuse for your own lack of commitment to blogging regularly. You know who you are.

Here is a challenge for us both, and for anyone else who wishes to play:

Write a minimum of three blog posts in the next seven days.  Your blog posts must start with the last word of my most recent blog post, and I will use your last words to start my posts.

You game?

I will start my next post with the word "game" so that I can start tonight.

The iPad Addiction Continues

Vicki and I just had a whole weekend dedicated to lazying the days away lost in App World, playing games, researching, learning new apps and the like. We did manage sleeping in late, eating good food, napping, and even watching a Netflix DVD.  I've recently discovered the ABC app so I can catch up on missed episodes of ABC shows - most of which I don't watch anymore, but confess that I do love CougarTown.  I also found out the iPads work like portable radios - tune in to local or distant radio stations. Fun!

We did make an unexpected road trip to a town about an hour away to pick up a pair of special shoes Vicki needs for Tracker School - the Vibram Five Fingers shoes.  That was our big outing for the weekend. What a nice, relaxing way to spend two days. I could go for another two - paid, of course!

Friday, September 02, 2011

Sucked into App World

As those of you on my FB friends list know, Vicki and I both got iPads so that we could easily communicate while she was in she needed one for work.  Oh my goodness! I do not have an iPhone or a htc incredible s phone, so I never knew how amazing all the apps could be! I have a Blackberry and there are apps, but without the touch screen, it is just not as engaging.  Also, let's face it - big iPad screen - way friendlier on over-40-year-old eyes than a tiny phone screen. 

I never imagined how easy it would be to get sucked into App world and spend hours browsing from one app to another, and barely even check out the actual game/tool themselves.  I am enthralled with the games, the productivity tools, educational programs, art much more!  Last weekend the kids and I downloaded kid books, watched penguins from a live cam, checked to see what time it was in Mongolia where Vicki was, and then they started getting sucked into all the free stuff, too!  They each found games, music, videos and more.  SO MUCH FUN!

By the way, using FaceTime to video-chat with each other worked like a charm!  Vicki and I were 15 hours apart, but still got to "see" each other every morning and every night. It was so much better than even our regular phone calls when she is just traveling to the East Coast.  I am a huge fan of the iPad. I have even created a few templates for work forms I use, particularly when I am on-call during personal hours.  The iPads are already getting more and more integrated into our daily lives and we are both on the search for accessories to protect and expand the capabilities of our new favorite obsession. 

A Week of Ups and Downs

Just when we thought it was time to go out an celebrate the sale of Vicki's VA house with a box of fuente cigars, the buyer backed out.  She is claiming there were too many problems with the inspection, but will not let us see a copy of the report, or negotiate to fix anything, and her real estate agent admitted that the inspector was the potential buyer's relative, who may or may not be licensed.  It is disappointing to come this close to feeling like Vicki and I were getting free of her Virginia obligations, including her ex, and to have it snatched away.  I guess things happen for a reason.

On the bright side, the kids  have successfully started school, and Kaylen has entered first grade with smiles and laughter - leaving behind the anxiety of much of last year. Yeah, Kaylen!  Kelton is missing his lazy days of summer, but I think will get back into the swing of things with time. His teacher seems like he is very dedicated to getting the kids excited about math, which is Kelton's favorite subject, so hopefully that will engage him. 

Work is busy and often challenging, mostly because of the learning curve rather than true challenges, but that is OK. It is a good job and I am grateful to be at such a wonderful company with good people who mostly actually enjoy what they are doing.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Here are a couple of the pictures I wanted to share last night:

I have loved my time here, but it is almost time to head home. Tonight I get to be with the kids, and I have some special surprises to give them. It has become a tradition, started with my Dad, that when I go out of town on business, I bring the kids back something. It is something fun we can all look forward to while we are apart.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I am still here

Just a quick post to say that I am still here - just terribly blogging-negligent. Since last night I have been in Newport, Oregon for an inspection (work). Days like this I feel very lucky-good job, good people, good pay, and I get to travel now and then. Not bad!

I will admit that it is strange and kind of sad being in places that the kids, Casey and I last visited together. No one ever goes into a marriage thinking it will end. Even though there was pain that we both experienced, there were many, many good times. For me, there have been a lot of whys and hows and how do I make sure to never repeat the mistakes I made? Nearly two years out, I think I have more clarity now that I just couldn't have back then. I hope we are all moving forward in ways healthy for the adults - and the kids. I hope I learned the lessons I was meant to learn.

Guess being at the ocean alone has made me contemplative. It is good to be in that space sometimes. Vicki is in Mongolia on business. I am hanging out, walking on the beach, enjoying the view and the sound of the ocean from my room. I wanted to post a picture but am having difficulty with that tonight.

Well, I am going to finish watching Interview with a Vampire on Netflix. Maybe I will get some pictures up soon!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Day 7 - Favorite Movies

Hmmm....tough topic, because in some ways, it depends on my mood. I like lots of different kinds of movies, so I will just mention a few of my favorites.

I will say, it is almost certain my favorite movies do not involve underground shelters or much in the way of death and destruction....although, if you add in some of the Harry Potter movies, I guess there is a good bit of that.  Vicki and I just went to see the last installment of HP last night, and I was not disappointed. I have been impressed with how each movie was really able to stay true to the tone and feel of the book.  I had forgotten how dark this last book was - but oh so good.

Other favorites - Grease, yes, the musical.  Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  Silence of the Lambs - yes, dark and creepy, but so well done.  Oh - Avatar! I LOVED that movie. I think I saw it in the theater 3 or 4 times - and I am not the type that will usually do that. The Indiana Jones series.  The more recent Disney and Pixar movies rank pretty high - especially the Stitch ones, Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc. and Enchanted. 

I enjoy romantic comedies, some action - but not the really violent, military stuff, kid movies, mild sci-fi or mild horror - Poltergeist springs to mind, and musicals.  I love a happy ending and a tragic, or even sad, ending will pretty much guarantee I will pan the movie and not want to see it again. 

Remember 30 Days of Blogging

OK, so back in about May I started a blogging challenge to write about the listed topics for 30 days. I did not commmit to doing it in 30 days, but didn't really anticipate it would take 3 or 4 months!

To make it easier to get back on track, here were the topics:

Day 1-Introduce, recent picture, 15 interesting facts

Day 2-Meaning behind your blog name

Day 3-Your first love

Day 4-Your parents

Day 5-Your siblings

Day 6-A picture of something that makes you happy

Day 7-Favorite movies

Day 8-A place you’ve traveled to

Day 9-A picture of your friends

Day 10-Something you’re afraid of

Day 11-Favorite TV shows

Day 12-What you believe

Day 13-Goals

Day 14-A picture you love

Day 15-Bible verse

Day 16-Dream house

Day 17-Something you’re looking forward to

Day 18-Something you regret

Day 19-Something you miss

Day 20-Nicknames

Day 21-Picture of yourself

Day 22-Favorite city

Day 23-Favorite vacation

Day 24-Something you’ve learned

Day 25-Favorite memory

Day 26-Picture of your family

Day 27-Pets

Day 28-Something that stresses you out

Day 29-3 Wishes

Day 30-a picture
That is a lot of topics.  No mention of megameeting web conferencing software, but lots of other good topics! I got through Day 5. 
So Day 6 - A Picture of Something that Makes me Happy.
Just scroll down (to "Finally - Some Pictures!") and look at the first picture of Kaylen below.  That picture makes me smile every time I see it. It is just so cute and so Kaylen.  She bounces from joyful to angry to heart-broken and back many times in any given day, it sometimes seems (Ah, life with a Drama Queen!), but her silly self is so much fun it is easy to soon forget the less happy times. Of course, ALL of those pictures make me happy. Fun times with my family!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Finally - Some Pictures!

I finally made the time to upload some photos from the fun we've had this summer so far.  Here are a few choice shots.

An evening campfire trip at a local lake near the start of summer. It rained - but we still roasted hot dogs and had s'mores!

Some Sponge Bob Art by Kaylen:

Camping in the Olympic National Rainforest - in a platform tent - kind of like a yurt or cabin:

Vicki and I took at trip on our own to The Dalles - beautiful scenery and we even checked out a local winery:

Baby Grapes!

Mt. Hood and the Columbia River

This dandelion (?) was huge - maybe 4 inches across.  Minutes after I took the pictures, a boy came along and brushed it all away with his hands, scattering the seeds to the winds. I felt lucky to have captured it in its full glory.  (Besides, everyone knows this is a "wish flower" and the proper way to scatter the seeds is to make a wish and blow them into the air!) 

Vicki and I also did some tent-camping in The Gorge - but I decided to be camera-free, and yesterday work had our company picnic at Oaks Amusement Park. I again decided to be camera-free, other than posting a few shots to Facebook from my Blackberry. 

Here is Kaylen, winning the Hoola Hoop contest....those two girls would not stop....I think they went through about 6 songs:

Riding rides:


and here are my munchkins looking happy at the end of our day:

More fun to come!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Where Have I Been?

I see it has been a month since I posted! Wow! I have been busy with life and kids and work.  I have what I hope will be some great pictures of the last couple of weekends to post.  Two weekends ago Vicki and I took the kids camping up at the edge of the Olympic National Forest. Amazing!  We took a couple beautiful hikes, had campfires, ate s'mores and generally had a blast!  This past weekend Vicki and I were on our own and went to The Dalles, which is about an hour and a half east of Portland, and in an entirely different climate zone because it is on the other side of the mountains, and thus dessert-like. Amazingly beautiful scenery on the Columbia River Gorge - and I took lots of pictures.  On Saturday we saw petroglyphs, birds, a wonderful lake and ended the day with wine-tasting at a local winery, and some good food. 

I am about to leave on an overnight pre-inspection trip for work, so have to run. Hope to post some pictures soon.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Walking Field Trips

I do not remember ever taking a walking field trip when I was in school. No, wait, yes I do.  We used to sometimes get to walk to the ice-skating rink when I lived in Canada. (They take ice-skating very seriously up there!) That would have been 4th and 5th grades.  Anyway, the kids both had walking field trips to the library this month.  I imagine much of this is due to budget cuts. Also, considering the number of kids in each of their classes who had either not been to the library or did not have their own library card, it is really good the school steps in to help out.

I volunteered to chaperone each of their trips, and am really glad I did. It was a chance to see them with their school friends, and see what other children their age are like.  I hate to perpetuate stereotypes - but they are stereotypes for a reason. Lots of boys are really just weird - and lots of little girls are drama queens.  Not all - but enough I can see my wonder kids are quite normal. 

We had fun - yesterday with Kelton's class, the rain poured and we all got soaking wet - but still fun.  I know it meant a lot to both of them to have me involved. They are used to Casey doing school things because she runs the PTO, but they are never sure what I can attend.  This was important and I was happy work provides the flexibility for me to do such things. 

Job Update

After close to 5 months on the new job, I am finally feeling like I know enough about things to do some tasks on my own, and am not totally lost when people speak! Hurray for progress!  The last couple weeks have been filled with rich learning experiences that have been very worthwhile, which feels really good considering I have had several weeks of mostly boredom.

Also, I have been trying to learn some basics about Access databases on my own to complete a project I was given.  I have done OK-ish, with help from my geeky girlfriend, although I have suddenly experienced a set-back and have examined everything I can think of to fix it. No success.  Guess I could try interet searches and wade past advertisements for diet supplement, muscletech hydroxycut, and who knows what else, in hopes of reading someone else's problem and answer that might shed light on my situation. 

Or not.

Maybe I should just try to look busy and chat with my co-worker/trainer and while away the hours until I can go home.  Less than 2 1/2 hours to go! 

Three-Day Weekend!

Interesting how dissatisfied most of us are with our jobs that we are so excited about a three-day weekend.  I supposed for some it is not dissatisfaction, but simply a change in routine, or a chance to do something fun with family or friends.  Vicki and I have been looking forward to three days together with no have-tos.  We did not make plans, so won't need any payday loans to cover our fun. We figured we'd wing it. Good thing. She now has a bad cold plus her job is making our weekend look very uncertain. Maybe I will be attending some movies alone, or napping the days away. Don't know, yet, but either way, the three days spread out ahead are quite inviting.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Warmer Weather Has Arrived!

Looking outside at the gorgeous day, I am having a hard time believing that this weekend is not going to be just as warm and beautiful.  I have the urge to pick up and go to the beach or camping or Seattle, or anywhere because it feels like summer!  Time to look into rv financing and hit the road!  OK, maybe with today's gas prices, not so much, but still, that drive to go out and enjoy the good weather while it is here is strong. 

HOWEVER (note that it is a big HOWEVER), the weather folks say clouds and rain in store for the weekend, though temps still in the 60's, so not too cold.  Maybe I am jumping the summer gun a bit...but that is what spring is for right?  Probably we will stick close to home, maybe rent some Wii games and a movie, maybe buy a veggie plant or two, take some nice walks with the kids, and not get too far from home.  Besides, with Kelton and my allergies, maybe a big outdoor adventure is not what we need. 

Oh, well, a good weekend is still in store - and I don't need to know what it looks like - just that it is almost here!  Have fun!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Military Honors

I have missed a number of blogging opportunities lately. There have been interesting events going on, but frankly, I have been too busy, or too tired, to take the time to post about them. One of the most significant of these was the memorial service for my step-dad. It was held last Sunday, which was more than a month following his passing. In some ways, this was a nice timeframe. It allowed friends and family who are not in the area to make travel plans, plus allowed us all some time to get over the initial shock and really be able to enjoy reminiscing about his life and enjoying each other’s company.

One of the most touching parts of the service was the military honors. Dwile had served in the Navy on a destroyer in WWII. After a few short words at the beginning of the service, which was officiated by a very close friend of Dwile’s (who also married him and my mom, and two other couples in my family) the military piece started. A naval officer walked silently up the aisle, stopped in front of the large picture of Dwile and saluted for probably 30 seconds. As if that didn’t have us all on the verge of tears, then Taps started playing. It was heartbreaking. Another officer joined the first for the presentation of the flag. In a very well-orchestrated process, the two unfolded and refolded the flag in front of Dwile’s photo. The second officer then left, and the first carried the folded flag and presented it to my mom. “On behalf of a grateful nation, our Commander in Chief wishes to thank you for your husband’s years of service….” His words were beautiful and familiar, but for me, thank God, only from the movies. I was sitting right next to my mom as the officer looked her straight in the eyes, full of sincerity and respect. Again, heartbreaking.

The rest of the ceremony was filled with songs and stories from Dwile’s loved ones. I am sorry I did not have the chance to know him better, but am so happy he was in my mom’s life, and in mine. I found out from his best friend how proud he was of me for going to law school and how they used to do affirmations for my success. He was a very special man, and he is missed.

Friday, May 06, 2011

The Price of Art

I love to encourage creativity in the kids, so most of the time when they want to print something out from the computer, I let them.  It is usually coloring pages, or something they want to cut out to make a picture of, or maybe something that they have created that they wish to print.  I recently did something really fun in what I call "the middle room." It would be a dining room, but I see no reason to take up space on a room that would rarely be used as such and instead want to keep it more open, creative space, which will soon include an office area for Vicki.  Anyway, what I did was put up what is basically white board wallpaper. It comes on a roll that is 2'x20', it is self-adhesive and removable/repositionable.  So fun!  Kaylen drew pictures, then wanted me to take photographs of them, put on the computer, and then print out. Clever, right?

(This gives an idea of how the white board looks in the room. The long stretches are about 7 feet long each, and the short ones almost 3 feet long.)

The problem with all the printing is how fast printers burn through the ink!  Now we'll be needing more canon ink cartridges far sooner than anticipated. Those things are not cheap, either.  We have not tried refillables on the new printer. I was mixed on some that I have tried before. The color was OK for most of the kids' needs, but not great for things where color quality might really matter. At least, that was my experience. 

Friday, April 29, 2011

Day 5 - My Siblings

I have two sisters, both older than me, one by 13 years and the other by 17 years.  I do not ever remember living with the oldest one, and my family moved to a different state when I was 5 and the youngest one did not move with us. That means, most of my life, I was raised as an only child.  I am sure both sisters would agree I was spoiled rotten. They are probably right. :)

My oldest sister, Linda, had a baby when I was two. She made me an aunt at 2 years old (and our mom a grandma at 37!).  We never lived in the same state, but we did see Linda and her family at least a couple times a year, during long summer breaks and over Christmas.  Her son and I fought like brother and sister, until I realized if I stopped arguing he would not have anyone to fight with. I was about 11 when that happened. Most of my growing up time, she was more like a mom to me because she had to discipline the two of us. 

The sister closer in age, Donna, wanted a baby brother or sister, so was thrilled when I came along.  What I remember most strongly growing up was one summer when I spent some time at both sister's houses, she taught me how to make pies. I would get to pick out the recipes and we would make them. She taught me about making a good crust, patching up the parts that needed it - all of that. 

When I came out, at 22 to my family but a year earlier to myself, it was my sisters I first told - Linda first, then Donna, prepping for how and when I would tell Mom.  Even then I was good at building a case - I figured if I had lived an "out" lifestyle where I lived (3 hours away from the family) for the past year, when I told them I was gay, I could say that my life was good and I was happy and there was nothing to worry about. 

Over the past several years we've been though a lot with my father breaking his neck and having a very long recovery, him getting diagnosed and dying of lung cancer, and most recently, helping my mom through the death of her second husband. It is those times especially I am thankful to have sisters. 

In some ways, I have had the best of both worlds - raised as an only child, getting all of my parent's attention with the benefit of them already having been through having other kids, and also having sisters to provide a big family for get-togethers, holidays, and just knowing there are people in the world who will always support me. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

It is my Birthday!  I am at work - on lunch - the possibilities of the evening stretched out enticingly in front of me. My mom wants to take me out to dinner, but I decided Friday was better than today. So tonight, I am on my own! Will I go to a movie? My favorite pizza place?  Maybe cook up some seafood and rent a Redbox movie?  I could go wander around Fred Meyer, looking at the spring plants, metal step stools and assorted other things displayed for my retail pleasure.  Not sure, but it is has been a good day so far! 


This seems like it has been a long week. Casey and I are dealing with how to treat Kelton's in-grown toe nail. We have been fighting an infection for about three weeks.  First we treated it on our own, but finally it became apparent we needed to seek medical attention. So, a round of antibiotics and a nasty-colored antiseptic treatment twice a day, and it looks really good, but if we don't actually solve the problem, it will get infected again. Ugh.  So, Friday we meet with a doctor, wonder about the scary instruments on the point of care carts, and inquire exactly which torture devices they recommend using on our baby. 

Vicki has been crazy-busy working on sorting and packing to get her house that is 3000 miles away on the market, bringing her closer to being able to truly move out here.  We just hope it hits the market at the right time, and the perfect buyer comes along quickly! In the mean time, we are spending lots of time on the phone. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Eggs!

Two posts below I mentioned pictures of the Easter Egg dyeing event. Here are a couple that I had on my phone. The others were taken on the good camera, though truthfully, not sure they turned out that good. I will have to look at them on the computer and see.

Anyway, this is the first year I let the kids color a dozen eggs each. I got them two kinds of dye - the regular Paas stuff, and then some called Candy Apply coloring, or something like that. The latter you actually paint on and it comes out shiny, sort of like a candy apple. It was fun, and the colors nice and bright, but even the next day, some were not completely dry...which made hiding them inside the house interesting. Fortunately, no permanent damage to anything - and I think it has even washed off the little fingers by now. (I now wonder if there were drying instructions that I did not read.....)

Anyway - we all had fun - and that's what counts the most!

Art Stuff

My kids love art. So do I.
Seems like they are always putting together something artistic. This weekend Kaylen was making photo frames for the white board pictures she drew that we took photos of and then printed out.  Clever, right? Her idea!  While scissors work fine for such a project, some other cutting tools might work better. Sometimes scissors are a bit awkward, and I can't really let the kids use knives.  They did get some kind of Crayola cutter one time, and it works OK, but its use is very limited.  Not sure what kid-friendly, effective cutting tools might look like....but there is a need!

Easter Bunny Fun!

These were taken Saturday on our walk home from going to see the movie, Hop. We also walked through the mall, got bunny ears, and then the kids had their picture taken with the Easter Bunny. Big fun all around!

Earlier in the day, we dyed Easter eggs (pictures to follow), so we had a whole Easter prep day.  Sunday morning, after having trouble sleeping because of all the excitement, Boy Wonder woke up at about 4:00am. I kept trying to get him to go back to sleep. Soon both kids were in bed with me, while I tried to get more sleep. When Kelton got up to go to the bathroom around 4:45 and found an Easter egg that had been hidden in the bathroom, it was all over. :) Let's go find your baskets and start the hunt!

We all loaded up on sugar. I really should not have started my day with the Reese's bunny Kelton gave me.  I let them share quite a bit of sugar with me before saying "no."  Too many days like that and I would be surfing the net for deals on adapexin-p.   After a nice morning that included several Easter egg hunts, playing with new toys, eating candy, and watching tv, we joined the rest of my family at one of my sister's houses for an Easter meal and birthday party for my great nephew.  It was nice to see everyone and the chaos was minimal.

The kids and I had a low key evening watching a video Kelton got for his birthday (new present from someone that we had not seen during his party) and bedtime was definitly on-time after all of us being up for so long. It was a really nice day for us all. Hope yours was equally pleasant!