Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure

“Ninety-nine and a half won’t do…”

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"Ninety-nine and a half won't do..."

Thursday – 29 December 2011
Another NBN Thursday is under way and I have already been to – and returned from – the airport. My uncle came to town Tuesday night for a post-Christmas visit and to meet the new additions to the family:

It was a short visit, but a very full one. The girls, who’ve been a bit fussy with new people lately, took to him fairly quickly; he took to them immediately. It was fun watching the three of them interact.

We also managed to squeeze in a trip to see the Lights on Temple Square last night. We bundled the girls into their bear suits and car seats and set off for downtown. We got there around the time that the girls are usually beginning to wind down before bed. But, with so many things to see – and all of the sounds – they were awake and staring at all the sights. About two-thirds of the way through our stroll, Diana started to fade; Vanessa was still going strong… until we got to the car. Then they traded: Diana woke up and Vanessa napped. We got home, changed and fed them and put them to bed. Diana faded out somewhat quickly; Vanessa, however, got a second wind and decided that bedtime was the perfect time to tell SaraRules! all about the adventures she had during the day. It took her almost an hour to wind down and fall asleep. On the “plus” side: They slept until almost 5 AM.

After the girls went to bed, my uncle and I went to Pawit’s to pick up dinner. He, SaraRules! and I ate and we introduced him to TopGear (UK). It was a good way to wind down the day and his visit.

Stray Toasters

I just put the girls down for a nap. Let’s see how this goes.


Post-Christmas wrap-up (or would that be “unwrapping?”)

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Post-Christmas wrap-up (or would that be "unwrapping?")

Tuesday – 27 December 2011
Our first Christmas as parents has come and gone. And it was a good one. We spent the holiday with Sara’s family and, as usual, it was a lot of fun. Added bonuses: I was able to video chat not only with my mom and uncle, but also with Rana, John and the girls, as well. Win-Win.

Because I didn’t consider what scheduling a post for midnight on Christmas might mean for “getting it lost on Facebook,” here’s this year’s Christmas card:

The picture was taken by Jenny Porter of Serendipity Photography.

And pictures of Christmas day can be found here.

Diana and Vanessa made out like little bandits. Lots of clothes, a few books, and even some toys. Granted, they’re not really “up” on the whole idea of Christmas, so it was just another day for them… aside from the fact that we hung out with their grandparents and aunts and uncles for the better part of the day.

I was able to surprise SaraRules! with a couple of gifts this year. (Go, me!) She had asked for one thing – which I got – but I had remembered that she had shown a particular interest in a letterpress kit we saw a few weeks ago. I found the kit and got it for her. What I didn’t know was that she had gone looking for that same kit elsewhere… just before Christmas. (That would have been awkward.) Fortunately for me, she didn’t find it. Again: Win.

I also was very fortunate in the gifts that I received. As I noted a couple of weeks ago, I got myself the 12-pack of Legion action figures for Christmas. It showed up on… Thursday, I think. I didn’t even bother wrapping the shipping box; I just wrapped a ribbon around it and called it good. SaraRules! got me a bike trainer, which is great — I’ll be able to actually get some cardio conditioning in while I’d otherwise be sitting on my butt, watching TV or playing video games.  (Oh, yeah, we bought a new 360 to replace “old and busted.” I didn’t realize how much smaller and more quiet the new models are.) Among the other things I got were:

  • The MTH DCS Remote Set for my model train layout
  • A couple of calendars — one Green Lantern calendar and one of train paintings
  • The Anniversary Edition of Roots
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
  • A nice cologne set
  • A set of Lord of the Rings ‘Clix, and
  • A GL action figure (Hal Jordan: Test Pilot)

Like I said: It was a good Christmas.

Another “gift” that SaraRules! and I got (from her sister and mom) was the ability to go out for a movie date on Saturday. We saw Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. It was a good bit of fun. Lots of action. Decent enough plot. Although, we both agreed that the female lead seemed kind of “just there to be there.”  If there’s an M:I 5 and she’s in it, hopefully, she’ll be fleshed out a bit more.

We also finally got around to seeing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 last night. Long movie. But, it was good. Of course, knowing how it turns out didn’t hurt.

Sounds like little ones are safely abed, so I should head on to Guys’ Night Out!

I hope that everyone had a safe and merry Christmas.

Happy Kwanzaa for those who celebrate it.


Merry Christmas!

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Merry Christmas!

Sunday – 25 December 2011

(Photograph by Jenny Porter of Serendipity Photography)

Sharing a little Christmas Eve cheer…

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Sharing a little Christmas Eve cheer...

Saturday – 24 December 2011
It’s Christmas Eve. Over the past few days, I’ve taken some pictures of the way that our Christmas decorating has shaped up… and I thought I’d share:

Click here to see the rest of the pictures.

I hope that everyone has a safe and merry Christmas!

Test 2

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Test 2

We interrupt your usually scheduled social media to bring you another test of the WordPress Scheduling Feature.

This is only a test.

This concludes this test of the WordPress Scheduling Feature.

We now return you to your regularly-scheduled social media.


everyday glory 6 Comments »

We interrupt your usually scheduled social media to bring you this test of the WordPress Scheduling Feature.

This is only a test.

This has been a test of the WordPress Scheduling Feature. In the event that this had been an actual post, the pattern above would have been preceded (or followed) by actual content.

This concludes this test of the WordPress Scheduling Feature.

We now return you to your regularly-scheduled social media.

Around the World in a Daze

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Around the World in a Daze

Thursday – 22 December 2011
It’s another great NBN Thursday in the valley… and it’s made even better by the following: 1) It’s SaraRules!’ first day of vacation; 2) Hanging out with the girls; 3) A smattering of snow fell over the valley, clearing out the inversion. Individually, any of those is a good thing. Together, they’re a trifecta of awesome.

Speaking of the girls, here’s today’s dose of cuteness:

Last night, the girls spent their first night in their cribs. In their room. All night. It’s nice to be able to say that the girls – as well as SaraRules! and I – survived the experience just fine. The girls slept well, aside from Vanessa deciding that she didn’t want to go back to sleep after her 2:30 feeding. An hour later, she finally drifted off. They woke up again about 8:00. Hey, that counts as sleeping in.

Today, SaraRules!’ parents offered to watch the girls while we finished the last bits of Christmas shopping. We managed to squeeze in lunch (at Pawit’s Royale Thai) and a quick visit to Corey and Jessica before running all over Hell and half of Georgia. But, in the end: We finished.

Stray Toasters

Okay, that’s good for now.


The weather’s here, wish you were beautiful.

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The weather's here, wish you were beautiful.

Monday – 19 December 2011
It’s a week before Christmas and I’m on vacation. I’m also hanging out with the girls today… which was a very poignant reminder that “sleeping in on vacation” is a thing of the past (and possibly distant future). But, that’s okay: They’re totally worth the lack of sleep.

It’s still grey and smoggy, thanks to the inversion. It… looks… like it might be flurrying, but it could just be particulates in the air. Who knows?

This weekend was a good one. Saturday, I judged a HeroClix tournament for Dr. Volt’s Comic Connection. After the event, I also got a chance to play-test a ‘Clix scenario that I want to run in a few weeks: “Dungeons & Dragons.” Basically, players have to choose a team of four characters – either an “adventuring party” or a group of monsters – and put them on a map that simulates a dungeon/maze. For the test, we used a map that (almost) no one likes: Anti-Monitor’s Fortress.  Additionally, I decided to have four players on the same map. Because I could. One player’s team demonstrated a couple of things that could be used to break the concept, but all told, it was a good test.

Sunday, SaraRules!, the girls and I headed up to Millcreek Cafe for breakfast. SaraRules!’ parents met us there. The girls, once again, were very quiet and cooperative, while we ate breakfast. Later in the day, Logan, Swiz, Dave and Angy came over for the Ravens-Chargers football game drubbing. The Chargers worked the Ravens over eight ways from Sunday. On one hand, it was painful to watch. On the other hand, no… still painful. But, the loss won’t keep the Ravens out of the playoffs — that’s right: The Ravens have made the playoffs all four years under Coach John Harbaugh’s leadership. (That’s gotta be good for his tenure.) Although, the loss does mean that if Pittsburgh wins tonight, the Ravens go from #1 in the AFC North to #2 AND… fall to the #5 spot in the playoff picture. Oh, yeah… there are now reports that Ravens’ K “Billy Cundiff officially an issue.” Really? I would have thought that he was “an issue” about two weeks ago. But that’s just me and might be (one of the) reason(s) that I’m not an NFL coach.

Today, I’m not sure what the girls and I are going to be up to. They’re napping at the moment and I don’t foresee going out before noon or one, but I think that someone (ME) might want to get out of the house at some point today. Call it a hunch.

Stray Toasters

And… the girls are up from their naps. Round Two: START!


“It’s all been done before…”

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"It's all been done before..."

Friday – 16 December 2011
It’s my “on” Friday, but it’s my last “on” Friday – and last day of work, for that matter – for the year. I’m looking forward to a couple of weeks off.

Last night was a relatively quiet night around the household. The girls were in bed (more or less) on-time and didn’t put up “too much” of a fuss about going to sleep. (Although, Vanessa decided that staying up and hanging out after her 2:30 feeding was a fine thing. I think we finally got back to bed about 3:40 or so.) After the girls were asleep, SaraRules! and I had dinner, watched a little TV… and I put a train trolley around the downstairs Christmas tree, complete with a few Department 56 buildings for effect. WHAT?!  It’s Christmastime. That’s just about the ideal time to have/play with a train set. And having it around the Christmas tree?  That’s just icing on the cake.

And, I did get quick Diana and Vanessa cuddles before heading to work this morning. Those make even the shortest of nights totally worthwhile.

Chew on This: Food for Thought
Nerds and Male Privilege

Stray Toasters


“When the moon is in the Seventh House…”

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"When the moon is in the Seventh House..."

Thursday – 15 December 2011
It’s a grey and foggy NBN Thursday in the valley. (Thanks, inversion!)

Last night, the girls were winding down by the time I got home.  Actually, they had pretty much wound down… just in time to be awakened to eat. They ate and returned to sleepy mode, by way of “I can’t get comfortable” mode. They finally settled down and dozed for a bit before it was time to get them all set for bed. That went fairly painlessly. The “going to sleep” part was a little more difficult, at least for Vanessa — she had gone past “sleepy” and straight into “too tired to do anything but cry A LOT.” Not fun. SaraRules! sat with her and got her calmed down enough to nod off. She still took a while to fully go to sleep, but she did. Eventually.

Chris came over just after Vanessa started her meltdown. We were, ostensibly, going to play dolls. Neither of us had assembled teams for the scenario that I’d come up with, so we wound up sitting around and hashing out more details for the scenario. We may give it a go Saturday afternoon, if time permits.

Stray Toasters

And now, to the office holiday lunch/party/extravaganza/thingamabob…


Wednesday: Better Late Than Never

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Wednesday: Better Late Than Never

Wednesday – 14 December 2011
Let’s just cut to the chase: Despite the inversion-induced drabness, today has been a good day so far. ‘Nuff said.

Last night, SaraRules! and I had a quiet night with the girls… even though it was a bath night. Both girls were fanstastically well-behaved and cooperative for bath time. It was quite the treat. And, they went to bed without too much ado. We also had a visit from Logan and Sanaz, which was nice for two reasons:

  1. We hadn’t seen them in a couple of weeks, as they’d been on a trip
  2. They brought SaraRules! a tasty dish that she’d been craving… which made for a very happy SaraRules!

All-in-all, it was a good night.

Stray Toasters


“…on this mountain of new-fallen snow.”

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"...on this mountain of new-fallen snow."

Tuesday – 13 December 2011
Yep, it’s snowing. Well, perhaps it would be more apt to say that it’s flurrying. Either way, Mother Nature’s frozen, mocking laughter is blanketing the valley. There hasn’t been a lot of accumulation, but it’s still snow. (And, I’m okay with calling it “snow” and not “fluffy rain,” as we are now roughly halfway through December.)

And, as it is snowing, the Council for Better Driving: Utah would like to remind motorists to take care when navigating the roads today.

I would like to thank for coming over last night to help me wrangle the twins while SaraRules was attending a Justice Junior League meeting. The girls were pretty well-behaved, though tired and a little restless. All things being equal, it wasn’t nearly as difficult to get them ready for bed as it could have been, but getting them to acknowledge “We’re in our bassinets, we should sleep” was another issue… at least for Diana. Vanessa knocked out fairly quickly. Diana..? Well, let’s just say that she took the long way ’round to getting to sleep. Oh, well. They’re still cute.

Vanessa (l) and Diana

And, they’re good kids. That helps, too.

 Stray Toasters


“Here we are now going to the south side…”

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"Here we are now going to the south side..."

Monday – 12 December 2011
A new work week begins. My day started with a couple of smiley-faced little girls waking up to face the day before I left for work. Yeah, that’s the way to kick off an otherwise grey and drab Monday morning.

Friday was Diana-Vanessa-Daddy Day.

Diana (left) and Vanessa

We stayed at home for the early part of the day, but ventured out in the afternoon. We stopped in to see SaraRules! at her office… where the girls were fawned over by some of the staff. We also popped in to say “Hi” to and before heading home. As an added bonus: I got to pop in and visit the Clitorati crew Friday night.

Saturday, we started the day with family pictures.  Jenny and Julie came over and took our photos. The girls were actually quite cooperative, even through their dress changes. After pictures (and feeding the girls), we headed to Downtown Philly Cheesesteaks for lunch.

Yesterday was fairly low-key. We slept in a little. There was breakfast. Even though we didn’t get to see it, the Ravens whooped up on the Indianapolis Professional Football Club. We also took the girls for a stroll around Liberty Park. (And… I’m counting that as a workout!) The park was far more empty than I would have suspected for a Sunday afternoon, but that just meant fewer pedestrians to avoid along the way. We ran a couple of errands and then had dinner with the in-laws.

All-in-all, it was a very good weekend.

Stray Toasters


“Shadows across your window- Was it only trees in the wind?”

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"Shadows across your window- Was it only trees in the wind?"

Friday – 09 December 2011
It’s my “off” Friday, which means that it’s also “Diana-Vanessa-Daddy Day.”

So far, the day’s been fairly uneventful. Diana woke up; I changed and fed her. Then, Vanessa woke up. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. I put the girls in Diana’s crib and played with them for a bit. Next, into the living room for time in the swing and bouncy chair. Now (at least for the time being), they are taking a nap.

Diana (left) and Vanessa, in blankets made by my friend, Don’s mother

We’ll see how long it lasts. (Not long.) Diana just woke up. On to the next phase, I guess.

Last night was also uneventful… for the most part. SaraRules! and I got the girls bathed, fed and to bed before having some dinner and then watching some TV.  About 10:30, we came upstairs. About 10:40, things got a little more exciting. I was sitting at the dining room table, messing around on my laptop. I thought I heard something, but dismissed it…

…until I saw someone reaching for the screen door, outside the sliding glass door. I got up, turned on the porch light and, lo and behold, there was a guy there! He mumbled something about looking for his place and about having a fight with someone (sounded like his girlfriend/wife). And then said something about wanting to come in.

Sidebar: Okay… if he’d come to the front door and knocked, maybe. Come to the back door – through our yard, which is surrounded by a six-foot-high fence – in the middle of the night? No chance in Hell.

I shouted through the glass door for him to leave. He seemed… reluctant. I repeated myself. He shrugged and shuffled off. Or so I thought. I looked out about 30 seconds later, he was still there. I shouted through the door again. He seemed confused that I wasn’t kidding about him being gone. Then he asked if I had a coat. (Sure, I had coats, but see the above sidebar if you’ve forgotten the reasons that I was still reluctant to open the sliding glass door.) And I noticed something else: He wasn’t wearing any shoes, either. But, he wandered off the deck and stairs.

At this point, I had SaraRules! call the police. The guy didn’t seem imminently dangerous, but I didn’t want him lingering around, either. She called. They came. FOUR CARS.  (Must have been a slow night for the Murray Police Department.) An officer found the guy, trying to climb over the fence out of the side yard. They got him out of the yard and took him in front of our garage to have a chat.

A few minutes later, an officer came in and explained that the guy was drunk. Very drunk. He allegedly lives a couple of streets over from us. There was some speculation as to whether or not he had gotten drunk at one of the local bars and wandered into our yard or if he’d been drinking at home and – encouraged to leave by a fight with his significant other – wandered through the neighborhood. He also noted that the gate was still closed when they found him, which meant that he had to scale the fence to get into the yard. (What the Hell…?!) The officer asked if I wanted to go outside and verify that nothing was damaged or missing. (Nothing was.) He said that they’d get the guy sorted out and then bid us good evening. (We still had patrol cars outside about twenty to thirty minutes after this; I assume that they were working on reports.)

And, throughout all of this: The twins slept. Thankfully.

And that’s how we spent our Thursday evening.

Stray Toasters
Really?!  After a story like that, how could Stray Toasters even compete? Maybe there will be some tomorrow.

Now it’s time to find some Daddy-Daughter Out-of-the-House Adventure!


“I don’t know what to say, the monkeys won’t do…”

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"I don't know what to say, the monkeys won't do..."

Thursday – 08 December 2011
Not only is today “NBN” Thursday, nor is it just my “Technical Friday”…

But today is Vanessa’s 1/4-birthday!

And, I got to start the morning with cuddles from both “Baby Dynamo” (as SaraRules! calls her) and Little Miss Diana. AND… I made all seven of the lights on the way to work this morning. (It was a close call at Light #4, but I made it.) I take these things as omens that today is going to be a good day.

Chew on This: Food for Thought
I made the following post on Twitter a little while ago:

Civility, logic, reason and common sense all seem to go out the window when people see/hear the words “sale” or “free.” #monkeys

I predicated this statement based on the observation of peoples’ reactions to a recycling/giveaway that was being done in our office. People were complaining about “This [item] doesn’t have [component]…” or “This isn’t as good as that one…” or, and this is my favorite: “Can I go through X and Y and Z and scavenge pieces for this…?”



The equipment is being given away.


ALL you had to do was put your name in a bag to be drawn to be eligible to TAKE an item.


If it’s too much hassle to be happy with what you’re getting – again: FOR FREE! – then maybe (just maybe) you shouldn’t have put your name in the bag in the first place.

Stray Toasters

Quote of the Day
I have a dead-blow hammer – bequeathed to me by – at my desk at work. I have been known to refer to it as Mjolnir, on occasion. Today, Julie borrowed it, to crush peppermint. (Don’t know why; didn’t ask.) She brought it back and said:

“Thor’s hammer smells a bit like peppermint…”

I retorted:

“Now dispensing minty-fresh justice!”

We both laughed.