Independence Day 2017

Tuesday – 04 July 2016
Today is Independence Day.

I hope that everyone had an enjoyable holiday.

Once again, Sara and I decided to go the “find a hotel overlooking a fireworks display” route. She tracked down a few potential locations last week and came up with a winner in North Salt Lake – which, for those of you not in Salt Lake City isn’t simply “the northern part of Salt Lake City;” it’s its own independent city. Go figure.

We picked up the ladies from summer daycare yesterday and we were off…

We went to Bountiful Greek Cafe for dinner (site of an EPIC meltdown on the part of one of the ladies) and then to Bahama Buck’s for sno cone desserts.

 

Then it was off to the hotel… which was just down the street. We got to the room and Sara surprised the girls by announcing that we were going swimming. (There were a couple of stunned little faces who thought the idea of swimming was good… but didn’t know what they would swim in, as they didn’t know that Sara had packed their swimsuits.) Off to the pool!

I’m sorry. That should have read “pool… and James Brown’s Celebrity Hot Tub.” From there, it was back to the room to get the girls cleaned up and mostly ready for bed. An hour or so later, the fireworks display started; this year’s fireworks were over a golf course in North Salt Lake and we had a great view. The show lasted about 30 minutes and was better than Sara and I had anticipated.

This morning, we got up – “a bit” earlier than Sara and I had hoped – got ready, checked out, and went breakfast at a nearby IHoP. After breakfast, we dropped in on Sara’s parents for a few, to say “Goodbye” to Sara’s sister, Melissa, who was in town for the weekend. We followed that up with a trip to a park near our house, so the girls could teach us how to play “Double Dots,” a game they’ve been raving about for the past week or so. They did. (Sara and I won. Surprise!) The girls played a bit more before it was time to come home and have lunch and some quiet time. We also celebrated our freedom to make a pilgrimage to The Garden of Sweden in the late afternoon. We wrapped up the day with some grilling, a DC Superhero Girls movie, and sparklers.

All told, it was a great way to spend a family holiday.

Sunday – 18 June 2017
Today has been a great day.

Sara and Team DiVa let me sleep in this morning. Since I was gone – and on the go – all last week, this was a boon. DiVa wanted to give me breakfast in bed, but Sara prepared French Toast and I’m not so sure that would have been such a great idea. So, we all ate at the table. The ladies presented me with cards and a gift bag. In the bag:

Superhero-themed Father’s Day swag: Superman t-shirt, Guardians of the Galaxy boxer-briefs, DC Super Hero LEGO, Reese’s Minis, and a hand-painted picture from Team DiVa

They know me so well.  🙂

After breakfast, Team DiVa came up with all sorts of suggestions… of things they wanted to do today. Sara reminded them that today was Father’s Day and that I got to choose what our adventure would be. To be honest, I didn’t really have an agenda for the day, so I was happy to do something they wanted. Thus, we wound up at Utah’s Hogle Zoo. On the way, we stopped off to wish Sara’s father a Happy Father’s Day and give him his gift and card. Then we were off.

The zoo has a new exhibit called “Bugzilla,” comprised of large – giant, really – animated insect statues.

There be bugs here…

 

 

Team DiVa and me… and an elephant statue.

 

On the Hogle Zoo Train… because TRAIN! 😀

 

Selfie with Sara!

 

After we returned home, the little ladies played Disney Infinity while I read last week’s comics. Then it was time for dinner – Butter Chicken Curry! – and baths for the little ones. They followed that up with an episode of Super Hero Squad and then they were off to bed. Sara asked what I was planning for the rest of the evening, before noting that I could wind up my day with a cigar and a cocktail… and that’s exactly what I did.

It was the perfect way to end an excellent day.

Selah.

Happy birthday, Kristen!

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Saturday – 10 June 2017
Today is my youngest sister’s birthday. She’s kind of a big deal, too.

 

I’m very proud of the woman she’s grown to be. A great daughter, wife, and mother and an amazing sister. I hope that she has the most fantastic of birthdays and that her day is full of the people and things that make her smile.

 

Happy birthday, Mom!

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By nrobert | Filed in event, everyday glory, family and friends | No comments yet.

Wednesday – 07 June 2017
It’s my mother’s birthday.  She’s kind of a big deal.  🙂

I spoke with her this morning, but would like to wish her the best of all possible birthdays (again!) and hope that she takes advantage of the opportunity to do – or not do – whatever she wishes today!

Love you!

Love you!

Coffee! STAT!

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By nrobert | Filed in everyday glory, kids, quote of the day | No comments yet.

Wednesday – 31 May 2017
I’ve gone on the record – many times over – saying, “I love my kids.” And, it’s true. Parenthood has been… an interesting experience, but one that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

What I would like to trade, however, is the lack-of-sleep that Team DiVa occasionally affords me.

Case in point: Last night…

I got into bed about midnight (early night for me…).  I read and chatted for a little bit before I realized that I’d been doing a lot of extended inner-eyelid studies. So, I decided that it was time to call it a night and go explore The Dreaming.

And that’s just what I did.

Less than an hour into sleep, I woke up because I felt a weight on the bed, by my legs. I turned to find a kinder-form sitting on the bed. Staring at me. Too groggy to do much more than grunt, I motioned for her to come up and get under the covers. She did. A few minutes later, she was ready to head back to her room. She asked if I would carry her back to her bed; I told her that she could walk. (C’mon… I was all snug and comfy in bed.) She climbed down and ambled back to her room. I fell back asleep.

Some indeterminate amount of time later, weight on the bed. Again.

This time, there was a bad dream involved:

“Can your body parts fall off?  Like your crotch and your bum… can they fall off?”

“No.”

“Oh.” *crawls under the covers and falls asleep*

At this point, I was relegated from the comfort of half a queen bed… to approximately one-sixth. For the rest of the morning.

Let me clarify a few things: I love getting cuddles from my kids and welcome them whenever they are given… especially since I know that in a few years, there is a better than average chance that they won’t be nearly as freely given. On the flip side, I like my sleep. I don’t usually need a lot of it, but I do like it.

But, there I was: Doing the delicate balancing act of not falling off the bed and not squishing my kid.

Oh, and not sleeping well.

Thus, I’m here at my desk… mainlining my coffee, wishing that I could just configure it into an IV drip.

But, it was totally worth it for a kid who slept soundly and at peace.

Namaste.

Midweek: Mother's Day and Other Things

Wednesday – 17 May 2017
Stuff and Things.

This past weekend was… busy. But also awesome. Saturday saw the usual ballet and swim morning routine. I missed the swim portion, as I was judging a game tournament. Then there was a little break – filled by running a couple of errands. Next, early dinner and dropping Team DiVa off at their grandparents’ house, so that Sara and I could see Utah Opera’s Don Giovanni. Again. (We saw the final dress rehearsal, with the little ladies, but went back Saturday for opening night.) I enjoyed the production. They updated the sets and costumes to place it in a noir setting. This changed a couple of scenes, but worked for me on the whole.

Sunday, was Mother’s Day.  Sara had been wanting to go to Spiral Jetty for a while and Golden Spike National Historic Site is just a (long) hop, skip, and a jump from there. Thus, we were up early to pick up DiVa and meet friends at Golden Spike and Spiral Jetty. The first time we went to Golden Spike, the locomotives were in the Engine House for the season; that was not the case this time. We arrived just before the Jupiter made its appearance.

About half an hour later, No. 119 rolled up.

The presentation that the rangers provided also informed us that the engines were fired differently: Jupiter is wood-fired, while No. 119 is coal-fired. You could also tell this from the way they smelled as they approached – Jupiter smelled like a camp fire, No. 119 smelled like a coal-burning oven.

 

After a while, we made the drive to Spiral Jetty. Fifteen miles. Forty minutes. Over bumpy dirt road. The water level was a little higher this time – still not up to the jetty, but only 20 or so yards away to splash pools and just past that to deeper water.

 

 

 

All in all, it was good weekend.

Stray Toasters

And that’s a wrap.

End-of-the-week musings

Friday – 21 April 2017
Another week comes to an end.
And, apparently, it’s been a month since I dusted off the trusty blog. I really need to get better about this…

In short: It’s been a good – and eventful – month. The highlights of the month include, but are not limited to:

  • Going on a business trip.
  • Surprising my parents by showing up on their doorstep on the first leg of the trip.
  • Meeting some new coworkers on the trip.
  • Getting to visit with my uncle towards the end of the trip.
  • Coming down with some travel-related bug that had me down for almost a week.
  • The start of baseball season and the O’s getting off to a great start. Hopefully, they’ll keep some of this momentum through the season.
  • Meeting a Twitter and Facebook friend.
  • TRAINS!  Well, getting to head up to the train.. museum(?)… and one of my favorite train shops.
  • Traveling to Boise to visit family and friends over Easter.

    Sara, Team DiVa, and Grandmother – Easter 2017

  • Watching Team DiVa hunt for Easter eggs while we were gone and seeing their surprise at discovering that the Easter Bunny had apparently left Easter baskets for them at our home while we were out of town.

I’m sure that I’m leaving more than “a couple” things out, but all-in-all, it really has been a good month.

Stray Toasters

And with that…

So Long, Farewell, Goodbye.
(Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, not “The Sound of Music”)

Test: 2017-03-22

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By nrobert | Filed in everyday glory | No comments yet.

Testing…

This is only a test

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By nrobert | Filed in computers, everyday glory | No comments yet.

Wednesday – 22 March 2017
Testing out connectivity between WordPress, JetPack, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+

Nothing to see here, Citizen. Move along.

This is me, (more than) slightly annoyed.

Tuesday – 21 March 2017
This entry can be filed under “Some People’s Children…”

While doing renovations last year, our company added a cafeteria to our facility. The company that ran it couldn’t always keep up with the demand, so they are no longer here. Yes, this means that we have a largely unused space, but that’s another story.

Our Facilities Manager has done an outstanding job of coordinating with a number of local food trucks to have them fill the void. Today, we had a new-to-our-location truck, Bandera Brisket. They had walk-ups not only from our company, but from some of the other firms in the building, as well.  They didn’t know what the turnout would be, so they didn’t come loaded for bear. And they got SLAMMED. They showed up a little before 11:00 AM and, by the time I went out (12:20 PM-ish), they were out of many meats and some sides; I was the 5th or 6th person in line when they announced this.

The guy in front of me turned to me started complaining about “I came out here for brisket, but if it’s all gone before I get there, I’m going to be upset.”

SIDEBAR:
I understand having your heart, mind and taste buds all set for “Food X.” Been there, done that. I also understand that if you wait too long to go and get something, you might find that it’s already gone.

After the people in front of us were gone, he went up to the window and asked whether there was brisket. There was about 1/3 lb, which he got…
AND THEN proceeded to go on a diatribe about “If there hadn’t been any left, and he’d wasted his lunch time waiting for nothing, that he’d be mad…” Blah. Blah. Blah.

Let’s set the record straight on a few things:

  1. There is no requirement for us to have food trucks here.
  2. There is no requirement stating that you have to eat at the food truck, if one is here.
  3. The vendors didn’t know what to expect and it would have been foolish for them to come out here – for their first time – with a truck full of meat that didn’t sell.
  4. Put on your big boy pants and be happy that you have SOMETHING/ANYTHING to eat. Find a meat, ask them to cook it, pay for it, move on.

To me, these things all seem like easy concepts to grasp.
Maybe it’s me.
Maybe it’s Maybelline.

Either way, this comes under #firstworldproblems and it annoyed annoys me.

 

And, in the interest of full disclosure: I wanted brisket. I wound up getting their ribs – with a savory dry rub – and they were delicious.

Okay, rant over. We now return you to your regularly-scheduled Tuesday.

Happy Green Lantern Day (or, that day about that one guy...)

Friday – 17 March 2017
There are a lot of good things about today:

  • It’s Friday. That, in and of itself, is a great thing.
  • Salt Lake Comic Con FanX kicks off today.
  • The sun is out (at least it is in SLC).

But, far more importantly, it’s the second most important day in March (third, depending on when Easter falls): Green Lantern Day!

On Greenest Day…

Of course, there are those (uncreative types, I’d say) who would say that it’s simply “St. Patrick’s Day.” And that’s fine; I’m alright with sharing the day.

Whatever you’re celebrating, I hope that your day is fantastic!

Namaste.

Politically incorrect... or terminally awesome?

Thursday – 16 March 2017
Another Thursday begins here in the Land Behind the Zion Curtain.

Don’t nobody bring me…

Let the word go forth.

A month or so ago, I was introduced to a lovely/horrible game (read: “time sink”) called GeoGuessr by my friend, Denise. (Not sure whether to give her credit or blame for this…) Do you like pictures? Do you like maps? Do you like figuring out where on a map a picture is from? This is the game for you.

Thanks to this game, I have now discovered a place, in The Phillipines, where I either want to be buried or have my ashes spread:

C’mon, with a name like this, who wouldn’t want to be buried/have their ashes spread here!? No one. Well, maybe not “alt-right” supremecists, but that’s a discussion for another time and forum.

I think that the only thing that could possibly be better would be to either be buried with these or figure out a way to make them work with cremation/ash spreading:

I found them in a grocery store in southern Utah many years ago. Apparently, they still make me laugh.

Namaste.

New Friday Thing

Friday – 10 March 2017
Another work week comes to an end.

 

It was a pretty good week, in all. Things happened. Stuff, too.

I neglected to post – or, rather, elaborate on – something from last week: Sara! and I went to dinner at Table X, as a belated Valentine’s Day outing without Team DiVa.

Table X describes itself as:

We’re a restaurant run by three chefs. We’re going to prepare you thoughtful, honest food without the fussiness of fine dining. In fact, we’re going to give you a new casual dining experience, altogether. Again and again.

We had encountered these chefs’ cuisine last year, at a pop-up dinner done in conjunction with Utah Opera’s production of Tosca. That – along with the idea of there being a new casual dining restaurant both outside of downtown Salt Lake City and not too far from our home – informed Sara’s choice on places to try. The restaurant seats about 230 people, has an open design, and has an air that combines a modern look with a touch of industrial design.

For dinner, we selected the Chef’s Tasting Menu, comprised of five (5) courses:

  • Red Beet Curry
  • Cabbage Toast
  • Scallops,
  • Christiansen Farm Berkshire Pork, and
  • Pecan Tart with homemade Pecan Ice Cream

Let me start by saying that I was leery of a couple items on the menu: the Beet Curry and the “Cabbage Toast.” I am not a fan of beets, nor have I been since I was very young. And the idea of a “cabbage toast” was… intriguing, but set me a little on edge. However, as the Prince song said:

…but it was Saturday night,
I guess that makes it alright.
I said, ‘What have I got to lose?’

The curry was served with cauliflower florets. It was flavorful and not at all what I expected. Sara! commented that it as most likely because they were not pickled beets (like from a can), which I abhor. I happily ate the entire course.

Next up: Cabbage Toast. This was a house-made sourdough, topped with a kelp cream/butter and a red cabbage jam. My first thought, upon hearing “jam” was of a pulped, processed spread. I was wrong. This was… simply… cabbage. And it was excellently prepared; I ate almost all of it.

The next course was scallops. I was all-in for this one, as I love scallops, yet never seem to order them when we’re out. (That, and the fact that I have some issues with getting seafood in a landlocked state.) The scallop – singular – was topped with a small portion of ham. Added bonus: Sara! isn’t a huge fan of scallops, so she gave me at least half of hers. (WIN!)

Course Four was the pork loin. Again, I was happy to try this. And I wasn’t disappointed. It was served with celeriac and red cabbage. It was tender and juicy and just seasoned enough to extract and enhance the flavor of the meat. NOTE: At the beginning of dinner, Sara! asked if she could make a couple of substitutions, because she doesn’t eat pork. For this course, they brought her the Winter Vegetable Stew. It was presented with the vegetables in a bowl and the broth in a separate ramekin, poured at the table.

For the final course: Dessert! This was a slice of pecan tart, presented with house-made pecan ice cream. It was the perfect finish to the meal. Sweet. Sticky, yet somehow slightly crumbly. Just right.

In all, I was quite happy with the meal, the atmosphere, and the service. Our waitresses, Rikki and Haleigh (“HAY-lee”), were attentive and responsive to our requests. While not on the “let’s do this every week” I would gladly recommend dining there.

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

I don't have enough expletives for this day...

Friday – 03 March 2017
I will preface this with a deep cleansing breath and by repeating “I love my job…”

Current mood:

I’m going slightly mad…

I received an email from a co-worker this morning that the thermostat in our server room was beeping. That’s our warning that there’s something “not so right” with the cooling in there. Oddly, we didn’t hear anything from our monitoring company – granted, we might not have hit the temperature threshold for them to start freaking out and calling us.

I called our HVAC maintenance company, informed them what was going on and asked to have someone dispatched. The two usual technicians were already out on calls, but there was another tech who was available and would head out. He got to the office before I arrived. He has (theoretically) been working on the system for the better part of the day.

I went looking for him about 30 minutes ago, to get an idea of an ETA for completion.  He was coming down the hall, another tech with him. His response:

“Four to five hours. I haven’t even [taken] that part out yet.”

My jaw almost hit the floor. Four to five HOURS.

I know that he needed to flush some gases from the system before he could get that part out and possibly even get the replacement part(s), but I don’t know that it takes almost EIGHT HOURS to do that.

So, I guess I’ll just… be here… on a Friday night… working… while he gets this completed.

Yay.

Catching up.

Monday – 20 February 2017
Today is President’s Day in the U.S.

For my President’s Day #morningcoffee picture, I used Lex Luthor. Because I could.

Today was a slightly busier-than-planned day, but still very good. Team DiVa, after sleeping in until after 9:30 on Sunday morning, were up at 7:30 this morning – Diana decided to play with the Kindle, while Vanessa decided that crawling into our bed was her best option. (To be honest, I still appreciate getting kid cuddles when I can, as I know that they won’t last forever.)

After breakfast (cinnamon rolls!), it was a kind of lazy morning… until 10:30, when I got an email from work.

<sarcasm>
Yay.
</sarcasm>

So, I did what any diligent IT guy would do: I made like Kool Moe Dee and I went to work. I got there and looked at the system in question, only to find that there was nothing wrong. At. All.

*grblsnrkx*

Back home in time to surprise Team DiVa with a trip to the theatre to see The LEGO Batman Movie. It was a big hit. (Sara and I enjoyed it, too.) Back home again before heading up to Park City for…

…dinner with Liz, a high school classmate:

With Liz (photobomb by Maya)

We met at the Wasatch Brew Pub in Park City, where Liz and her family are staying this week. It’s the first time we’ve seen each other since high school graduation. We had a nice dinner and caught up a little bit on the last three decades. (Man, it really seems like a long time when you put it that way…)

Diana, Liz, and Vanessa

 

Liz, Maya, and Michael

 

Diana, Maya, and Vanessa

After dinner, said our goodbyes and headed back to Salt Lake City. We got little ladies ready for bed, took care of a couple of chores, I caught up on a couple episodes of The Flash, including one that I somehow missed about three weeks ago.

And that brings us to now.

Stray Toasters

Tomorrow comes soon, I should probably start considering hitting the rack.

Namaste.