Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure


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Monday – 30 April 2012
A new work week begins as April ends.

This morning, Diana decided to wake up around 5:30. I thought it somewhat odd, as she took fairly short naps yesterday and fell asleep fairly easily last night. While she’s been “inchworming” herself backwards for the past few weeks, she’s recently started rolling over in her sleep, from her back to her stomach. When she wakes, this distresses her for some reason. Usually, we can turn her back over and she’ll nod off again. But, sometimes – like this morning – the nodding off takes a while. (Fortunately, she’s pretty good about playing somewhat quietly in her crib.) Still… 5:30.

Meanwhile, Vanessa slept. Until a little after 7:00.

Vanessa (l) and Diana

That aside, this was a good – and busy – weekend. SaraRules’ sister, Meliko, came into town Thursday for Steve’s birthday.

Friday, we went to Pat’s Barbecue for lunch. It was quite good. (Typing that, I just realized that I have leftovers that would have been perfect for lunch today…) Then, it was home for the girls’ nap. Later in the day, we headed over to Steve and Bonne’s for dinner.

Friday evening, I swung by SteamHead Cafe for their grand opening. They had a great turnout. Some of the Clitorati group were there, so there were familiar faces, too.

Saturday was another busy day. I was set to judge the April “Infinity Gauntlet” ‘Clix tournament for Dr. Volt’s Comic Connection. Or most of it, anyway. It turned out that I was double-booked: Red Butte Garden was having a Beginners Bonsai class that coincided with their Bonsai Show and competition (pictures) and I had signed up for the class. It was instructional and informative, but there was not a hands-on component.

By the time I got back to Dr. Volt’s they’d already finished the tournament. So, I headed home… just in time to watch Team DiVa, while SaraRules! fixed dinner.

Sunday, we got up and met the Kelly clan at Millcreek Cafe and Eggworks for breakfast before Meliko had to leave. After breakfast, SaraRules! and I had planned a pilgrimage to The Garden of Sweden, but we forgot that it didn’t open until noon. We got there just after 11 AM.

*shakes fist*

So, we took a leisurely drive around the valley and wound up at Pin-up Girl Espresso. We did make it to IKEA, after the girls’ lunch and all-too-brief naps. And then, up to the in-laws’ for dinner. I wound up the evening with episodes of Firefly, Young Justice and The Legend of Korra.

|| PAUSE ||

He stared at the twin vases on his desk. They were, generally speaking, rather non-descript. Glass. Round. Six inches tall. The only difference between them was that one was filled with glass beads, the other only had one.

“Twenty-nine,” he said to the empty room.

He’d been pondering this idea for a while, almost a month. He leaned forward, grabbing the nearly-empty vase, and turned it upside-down. The lone glass bead dropped to his desk. He watched as it wobbled and finally came to a rest. He reached forward, returning the empty vase to its home. He sat back in his chair, staring at the bead. Not surprisingly, the bead didn’t have much to say.

A lopsided grin crossed his lips. He batted the bead across the desktop a few times before picking it up. He stood and walked around to the front side of the desk. He dropped the bead into the full vase.


He inhaled deeply, turned and walked out the door.

> PLAY >

Stray Toasters


“And now for something completely different.”

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"And now for something completely different."

Friday – 26 April 2012
It’s my “off” Friday. It’s also SaraRules’ “off” Friday. Mostly. She had to run to the office to take care of something, but she just called to say that she’s on her way home.

Today is also my father-in-law Steve Kelly’s birthday:

As part of the birthday celebration, we – Steve, Bonne, SaraRules!, Meliko, Team DiVa and I – went to Pat’s Barbecue for lunch. Burnt ends!  It was very good. Very good, indeed. This afternoon, we’re supposed to be visiting the new Natural History Museum; I’m looking forward to that.

On to the rest of today’s post!

I’m not sure if it’s readily apparent or if I mention it enough, but I have the coolest wife in the world. It’s true. I’m sure that there are some close runners-up, but I pretty much hit the jackpot in the “Choosing a Wife” lottery. She’s a great woman and an all-around great person.

I was reminded of how much I enjoy her company last night while we were eating dinner: We were watching some of the amassed DVR fare while we ate. We started with TopGear. We both like it. Go figure. After that, I wanted to – and did – watch the third episode of The Legend of Korra (which, by the way, is a fantastic successor to Avatar: The Last Airbender). After that, I cued up the most recent episode of Young Justice. And here’s where it got amusing…

I’m a long-time comics and cartoon fan; SaraRules, not so much, but she humors me a lot. I’ve been a fan of YJ since it first aired; I think that SaraRules! was turned off by one of the characters and her oft-used/overused catchphrase – I will agree that it did get annoying – but, she’d still watch it from time to time. She’s watched the last two episodes, wherein the Justice League and the junior team are [REDACTED] and seemed to enjoy them somewhat. In fact, after the episode from two weeks ago, she commented:

I always thought that Robin was a little bitch, but he’s not so bad.

That made me laugh. Last night, however, was one of the crown jewel moments:  On the cartoon, the League discovered that a villain was using a mind-control agent on heroes. They referred to it as “Starro tech.” At that, SaraRules! sat forward and got her “I’ve heard that somewhere before…” look. She worked through it enough to ask the question:

“Starro…? Isn’t that the giant…?”

“Starfish alien,” I completed. “The one I have a ‘Clix of.  Yes.”

At that, she sat back on the couch and shook her head, laughing and rolling her eyes. I knew exactly what was going through her head: “I remember comic book/cartoon stuff!  GAH!” (Ask her about the Superboy/Karate Kid fight sometime. It’s hilarious.) I could only chuckle.


She’s a loving wife and mother.
She’s intelligent and smart… and, “yes,” there is a difference.
She’s fun and funny.
And she’s not afraid to laugh at herself.

Like I said earlier: Jackpot.

And I couldn’t be happier.


“Nothing to see here. Move along.”

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"Nothing to see here. Move along."

Thursday – 26 April 2012
It’s another NBN Thursday Technical Friday.

It is also, apparently, National Pretzel Day.

After Tuesday night’s basketball-a-gogo, last night was a much lower-key Pasta and Movie Date Night. SaraRules! chose Midnight in Paris.

I didn’t know what to expect, as I’d only heard “It’s a good movie” from people, but not much else about the movie. It was, in fact, a good movie. It took a number of turns that I didn’t fully expect. Of an even greater surprise: I really enjoyed Owen Wilson’s performance. (He’s usually VERY hit-or-miss for me, much like Will Ferrell.)

I also commented to SaraRules! that this was not only our second consecutive movie that was set in Paris, but it was also a movie that captured two different qualities of the “magic” of Paris as envisioned by their protagonists. And both movies did it well.

Stray Toasters


“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called ‘Life.'”

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"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called 'Life.'"

Wednesday – 25 April 2012
It’s the middle of the week… which means that it’s new comics day as well as Movie Date Night.

Last night, Matt, Dave, and I missed our usual Guys’ Night Out activities and, instead, went to see the Utah Jazz take on the Phoenix Suns in a game with major playoff implications: If the Jazz won, they would be in the playoffs. If they lost, Phoenix would have to lose their next game and the Jazz would have to win their next game.

Needless to say, there was a lot of anticipation about this game. What we didn’t know until we got to the Energy Solutions Arena was: Tip-off had been delayed from 7:00 to 8:30, for TNT’s broadcast coverage. On the other hand, this gave us plenty of time to get something to eat. We opted for Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana. And we finished it off with gelato from Capo Gelateria.

Meanwhile, back at the arena, we got to our seats and got ready for the game.

This was my first Jazz game in over 14 years; I haven’t been to one since before I moved out here. Seriously. And it was a great game to attend. The Jazz played well, except for late in the 3rd and early in the 4th quarters. But, they pulled it off with a 100-88 win, clinching a playoff berth.

It was a fun way to spend the evening and a great change of pace for Guys’ Night Out.

Stray Toasters


“Monday, Monday…”

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"Monday, Monday..."

Monday – 23 April 2012
Another weekend has come and gone. In its wake, a new work week begins.

While “too short,” as most weekends are, this was a good weekend. It wasn’t overly eventful, but there was just enough to keep it interesting and exciting. And, of course, I got to spend most of it with SaraRules! and Team DiVa:

The arm block comes after Vanessa tried to make Zombie Chow of Diana’s shoulder. Go figure.

Yesterday morning, we went to Millcreek Cafe for breakfast. We decided to try something new-ish: We left the girls’ car seats in the car and let them sit in the “big kids'” high chairs. And they did just fine.  They slumped a little, as the chairs didn’t have any cushions, but otherwise, they were great. We also discovered just how far Diana’s reach is. Our waitress set my toast on the table, at what I thought was a safe place. Next thing I know, Diana had reached over, grabbed the plate, pulled it to her and knocked a slice of toast off the plate. I had to recover it quickly. (I did.) Kids. Who knew?!

Later in the afternoon, we took the little ladies to Liberty Park for a stroll:

Then, it was back home for a little play time, dinner and bedtime for little girls.

Later in the evening, I checked out the Diablo III open beta. It was my first-ever foray into the world Diablo. I can see what people enjoy about it. I will have to consider picking this up when the full version releases.

Stray Toasters
I’m going to pass on these until tomorrow.


Almost done…

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Almost done...

Friday – 20 April 2012
It’s my “on” Friday. And, it’s also “4/20.” (Insert your own jokes here.)

Last night was my night to fix dinner. After wracking my brain over what to fix, I decided to head up to the local Whole Foods and see what they had in their meat counter. I returned home with four good-sized Parmesan Chicken breasts. While they were in the oven, I prepared some rice in chicken broth (and a little lemon pepper, for flavor). I added a salad for our vegetables and we called it a meal.

We watched Castle while we ate; it was a fun episode, with Nathan Fillion’s Firefly costar, Adam Baldwin, as a guest star. After dinner, I joined a couple of coworkers online and played a little MW3. And had my virtual ass handed to me. Repeatedly. But, it was still fun… despite the ego-bruising.

Stray Toasters


Making a splash…

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Making a splash...

Thursday – 19 April 2012
It’s a grey and intermittently drizzly NBN Thursday in the valley. Looking into the distance, it looks as though we’ll have clear(er) skies a little later.

Last night was my turn to give the girls their baths. Given how well they did in the hotel tub, we decided to remove the chair from the girls’ baby tub. Diana had a ball, discovering that she could splash in new ways:

Vanessa was more apprehensive at first, but warmed up to the concept after a few minutes:

The next few bath times should be interesting, to say the least.

After Team DiVa was abed, SaraRules! and I watched Hugo for our date night movie. We both knew next to nothing about the film, other than it won awards and that people we knew said that it was good. So, we took a chance…

…and it was totally worth it. It was a fantastic film. I’d heard it described it as “Scorsese’s love story about movies.” And, I’d have to agree – it was definitely a movie about a man’s love and passion for movies. And it was very well done.

Stray Toasters

And, it looks as though the sun has finally put in an appearance.

“Things That Make You Go ‘Hmm…'”

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"Things That Make You Go 'Hmm...'"

Wednesday – 18 April 2012
It’s midweek. Which means new comics and Pasta and Movie Date Night. (I should really figure out what we’re watching, as it’s my night to choose a movie.)

Last night, Team Diva (and SaraRules! and I) had a visit from SaraRules!’ Justice League Junior League co-members, Brittany and Jana. The girls were fairly social, although Diana once (re-)discovered the knocker on the front door, she found it nearly impossible ignore. (She also makes the cutest flinching face just before she lets it go.) After Brittany and Jana left, we fed the girls and put them to bed — they fell asleep quickly. I think they might have still been a little worn out from the trip.

SaraRules! and I watched NCIS over dinner and followed that up with the tail end of Top Shot. The part we caught was an elimination challenge: The competitors had to run an obstacle course in which they had to breach three doors and shoot nine targets, against each other’s time. After the elimination, SaraRules! proclaimed:

I don’t know what this is, but I think it might just be the greatest show ever!

We’ll have to see another episode before I can make that claim, though.

Stray Toasters

That’s good for now.


…and back again.

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Tuesday – 17 April 2012
Day One of the work week. It started off rainy, but skies have cleared a bit.

TeamDiVa’s first road trip was a success.  The basic breakdowns were:

  • Five days.
  • Four states.
  • Three hotel rooms.
  • Two little ladies who traveled incredibly well, all things considered.
  • One honest-to-goodness zebra.

It would be something of an understatement to say we’re “a little” tired. That was a lot of driving. But, it was a good trip. And, I wasn’t kidding about the zebra:

“Sure, there’s a zebra and some llama, Daddy… but there are cars and trucks right over there!”

There’s a petting zoo at the Flying J Truck Stop in Scipio, UT. We’d heard – and forgotten – about it, since we don’t go through there much anymore. But, we needed to stop so that the girls could have lunch. Thus, zebra.

And, while I don’t say this very often: I’d like to commend UDoT for the five (5) 80 MPH zones between Provo and the Arizona state line. They made a few of the long, boring stretches much more tolerable.

Stray Toasters


Adventure Babies: Team DiVa’s first road trip!

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Adventure Babies: Team DiVa's first road trip!

Friday – 13 April 2012
Yes, it’s Friday the 13th… or what’s left of it. I hope that everyone fared well and avoided whatever evils confronted them.  (Or, if you were the evil, that your will was done.)

SaraRules!, Team DiVa and I spent the better part of the day on the road. We’re in Yuma, Arizona. We’re here because SaraRules!’ grandfather passed away last week:

He had been ill and we were hoping to make it here before that happened – so that he could meet the girls – but he went very quickly. So, we’re here visiting her grandmother for a few days.

I have to say that for being barely over 7 months old, the girls were FANTASTIC on the trip.

So far this trip, milestones include (but aren’t limited to):

  • The girls visiting three new states
  • Their first time in a casino
  • Their first visit to Las Vegas
  • Their first time meeting their Great-Grammy Dee.

They got a little irritable for the last few hours, alternating between joy and whining (not quite full-on crying); we attribute a good portion of that to altering their sleep schedules and trying to nap in their car seats. But, all-in-all, they’re good travelers.  (Of course, we’ll see how they fare on the return trip… just to make sure.)

It’s been a long day and the girls are (finally) asleep. And I’m looking forward to some not-still-in-the-car rest this evening.


Something… Something… Something…

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Something... Something... Something...

Wednesday – 11 April 2012
Midweek, once more, is upon us.

Last night, because of their Uncle Logan’s birthday, Team DiVa stayed up a little past their normal dinner and bedtimes.

Vanessa (l) and Diana

They did nap a little on the way home; after a bite to eat, bottles and pre-bed wash-ups, they were still calm enough for a quick bedtime story. (Or, maybe they were just punchy.) But, they were out pretty quickly once they were in bed.

After they were down, SaraRules! and I split a piece of birthday cake (Raspberry Marzipan) and watched a little NCIS before calling it a night.

Stray Toasters


“Tuesday afternoon…”

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"Tuesday afternoon..."

Tuesday – 10 April 2012
Another day in the valley. And it’s a rather nice day, at that. A bit breezy and few high clouds, but nothing horrible.

And, today is also my brother-in-law, Logan’s birthday:

Last night, SaraRules! had a Justice League meeting. My father-in-law came over to help me get Team DiVa ready for bed and to do some duct work in the basement. Both jobs were successful. When SaraRules! got home, we relaxed and watched a bit of House Crashers and Yard Crashers to wind out the evening.

Stray Toasters


Easter Dresses

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Easter Dresses

Sunday – 2012-04-08
Diana and Vanessa in their new Easter dresses, just back from their first Mass:

Diana (l) and Vanessa

Happy Easter!

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Happy Easter!

Sunday – 08 April 2012
We hope that everyone has a safe, happy and peaceful Easter!

“It’s all been done before…”

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

Friday – 06 April 2012
It’s not only my “on” Friday, but today is also Good Friday and, as of sunset, the beginning of Passover.

I also awoke to this:

Very funny, Mother Nature.  Ha. Ha.

Last night, I got home and received confirmation on something that I thought I noticed Wednesday night: Vanessa is cutting a tooth. The most unusual part of this: She’s made no overtures of being in pain or irritable. I can only hope that Diana will be as even-tempered about teething.

After the little ladies were down for the night, SaraRules! and I had dinner and finished off Season Three of Mad Men. I was surprised by a lot of the things that happened over the last few episodes, especially when  [REDACTED]. After Mad Men, I played a little Call of Duty with friends. I had a couple of mediocre games and one great game. I should have logged off after the great game, but wound up getting talked into staying for “just one more.” And it was not a good game. Feh.

Stray Toasters

That’s good for now.