Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure

“But, oh it’s songs like these, played in minor keys, keep those memories holding on…”

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"But, oh it's songs like these, played in minor keys, keep those memories holding on..."

Wednesday – 24 August 2011
Two down, one in the chamber and two to go.  Must be Wednesday. I’m not sure if I’ll partake in “Sushi Wednesday,” but I do have a doctor’s appointment – check up for SaraRules! and the kids – and new comics to look forward to.

Today is the birthday of Utah Symphony‘s Principal Pops Conductor, Jerry Steichen.

Last night, after far too long, I mowed and edged the lawn. I’m not saying that it was a jungle, but I’m pretty sure that I saw a guy in a loincloth riding an elephant through the middle section of the yard. I had considered hitting the gym afterwards, but it was a good enough workout for the day.

Stray Toasters

UPDATE: Just got back from SaraRules!’ appointment a little while ago. Looks as though two weeks from today, we will have kids.

Two weeks.  Wow.

Namaste.

“The six o’clock alarm would never ring…”

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"The six o'clock alarm would never ring..."

Friday – 29 July 2011
It’s my 9/80 “on” Friday…

…and I am beat. Yesterday was a long day – work, doctor’s appointment and childbirth class – that stretched into the later early hours of this morning, because SaraRules! (and the kids) and I had an unexpected trip to the hospital in the wee hours of the morning. Both SaraRules! and the kids are fine.

I repeat: “SaraRules! and the kids are fine.”

It turned out that she had a few sporadic contractions after a particularly long and busy day. Rather than ignore them or “hope they’d settle down on their own,” we called her doctor, who suggested that we go in to make sure that everything was alright. Our nurse, Karren, was great; she was attentive, responsive and explained all of the things that she was checking for.  She also made sure that we were as comfortable and at ease as could be. It’s just that the process – monitoring and observation – took four hours…

*headdesk*

After getting the “All clear,” we headed home. Sleep was not hard to find. And understanding that “the annoying bell-sounding-thing” was actually this morning’s alarm was, at first, a “slightly” difficult concept to grasp. But, I grabbed a frozen mocha on the way into the office, so that I could be at least nominally awake and coherent. Fortunately, the day hasn’t been to bad/busy/hectic.  And, I even got to have lunch with Tyranist and Cade.

There is most definitely a nap in my post-work future. (Or at least some time in the train room…)

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

Hello, weekend, I’m glad you’re here.

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Hello, weekend, I'm glad you're here.

Friday – 22 July 2011
It’s my 9/80 day off. Hallelujah. Of course, I have The Leash this week, so I’m also hoping that nothing blows up over the weekend.

Last night, SaraRules! and I attended our third childbirth classes. During the second half of the class, we went on a tour of the Labor and Delivery Unit at Intermountain LDS Hospital. In addition to getting the lay of the land – and seeing a few newborns in the nursery – we also got to see a… I guess you’d call it “freshly-delivered”… placenta. Our instructor talked a bit about it and gave us a chance to look at – but not touch – it fairly closely. That freaked a few people out. (Neither SaraRules! nor I were among the squeamish.)

As a side note: While at the class, I checked in at the hospital on Foursquare…

…which crossposts to Facebook…

…which led to a series of comments on Facebook AND text messages, asking if either something was wrong or if the babies were coming early. So, I responded to those with “calm down, it’s just another class night” messages.

Then, this shows up in today’s Real Life Comics:

It made me laugh.

After sleeping in this morning, I managed to get myself out of the house and into the gym:

  • Elliptical: 15 min/1.5 miles
  • Bench Press: 3 sets/8 reps — 2 sets @ 155 lbs, 1 set @ 165 lbs
  • Curls (dumbbell, seated): 3 sets/10 reps, 25 lbs
  • Sit-ups (incline): 3 sets/15 reps
  • Flys (dumbbell, bench): 3 sets/10 reps, 25 lbs
  • Tricep extensions (dumbbell, standing): 3 sets/10 reps, 40 lbs
  • Leg Extensions: 3 sets/10 reps, 70 lbs
  • Leg Curls: 3 sets/10 reps, 70 lbs

Not a bad way to start the day.

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

“Save me from these evil deeds before I get them done…”

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"Save me from these evil deeds before I get them done..."

Friday – 15 July 2011
Another 9/80 “on” Friday in the valley. I’m in the office, with a frozen mocha, a couple of doughnuts and Weapon of Choice on iTunes. I’m at work, but it doesn’t totally suck… and I’m okay with that.

Last night, SaraRules! and I had another childbirth class. One of the things we learned about was breathing techniques. I was (somewhat) able to control my laughter when this came up, because I couldn’t get Bill Cosby’s routine about childbirth out of my head:

There was another part of the class where our instructor talked about methods to help induce labor. At one point she said “Jumping on a tramp.”  Logically, I know that she meant “jumping on a trampoline,” but in my head I got a F*ck Yeah Headlines-like image of a pregnant woman jumping up and down on the back of a vagrant. Again, I managed to stifle (most of) my laughter.

After we got home, SaraRules! and I also started filling out some sections of the babies’… er… baby books. We went with the Guess How Much I Love You: My Baby Book for both kids. We are jointly filling in pages, so there’s uniformity between the books.

Groove. Boogie. Sway.
This morning’s musical selections have been good:

Well done, iTunes. Well done indeed.

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

“Summer… turns me upside down…”

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"Summer... turns me upside down..."

Tuesday – 21 June 2011
Today is the Summer Solstice, marking both the longest day of the year and the first day of Summer.

Last night, SaraRules and I went for a post-dinner walk. We headed to the neighborhood 7-11 for Slurpees. Rather than double back, we took the long way home, making a rather large (1.5 mile) loop home. It was a good walk and the weather was perfect for an evening stroll. Back at home, we rounded out the evening with Top Gear… and a bedtime story for the proto-twins. Last night’s story: Seven Little Postmen

… which actually does a fair job of explaining how mail gets through the USPS mailstream.  (Of course, the book was written decades before REC sites came online, so there are a couple of differences, especially with reference to sorting technology.)

Stray Toasters

And that’s a wrap.

Namaste.

Saturday and whatnot…

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Saturday and whatnot...

Saturday – 11 June 2011
Yesterday was my youngest sister’s birthday:

Yesterday was also my 9/80 day off. And it was a good day. I started with a short trip to the gym. (This is almost getting to be a habit…)

  • Elliptical: 15 minutes, ~5.75 MPH pace
  • Bench press: 3 sets/8 reps — 2 sets @ 135, 1 set @ 155
  • Curls (dumbbells, seated): 3 sets/10 reps, 25 lbs
  • Shoulder Press (dumbbells, seated): 3 sets/10 reps, 35 lbs
  • Compound Row: 3 sets/10 reps, 125 lbs.

Back home to get cleaned up and then I was off to Porcupine Pub and Grille for lunch with my friend, Emily. We’d not seen each other in a couple of years, so there was a fair bit of catching up to do. Next I popped in to say “Hi” to and .

Then… it was off to meet SaraRules! for another appointment with her doctor. Only, the doctor was “out,” as she got called to the hospital to deliver a baby. So, we met with a nurse instead. She checked on the babies and gave us a thumbs-up on their progress.

I made it back home (by way of The Train Shoppe) and played a bit of Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters before we went out to meet the usual suspects for Clitorati.

This morning, following a series of disturbing dreams and fitful sleep, I found myself awake at 0630. Rather than toss and turn in bed, I made my way to the couch and watched TV. I actually got to see The Rifleman (1, 2) for the first time in ages. Then, the TV started watching me, as I nodded in and out of sleep for the next hour-and-a-half.

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

“We love to fly and it shows!”

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"We love to fly and it shows!"

Tuesday – 10 May 2011
Another grey day in the valley. The forecast says we have a 60% chance of rain. With as much rain as we’ve had lately, it’s hard to remember that we live on a high desert plain… where the streets have no name.  (No, the song wasn’t written about Salt Lake City, but it was a reference that I couldn’t pass up. And, besides, it has a fun video…)

Today is also my friend, Justin’s, birthday:

Yesterday afternoon, I received a message from my mother-in-law, inviting me over for homemade banana rum cake. Not being completely foolish, I told her that I’d be there. After work, I stopped at Pin-up Girl Espresso and chatted with Jim on the way home. I remembered that I needed to pick up a few track pieces for the new layout idea, so I jetted up to West Valley Hobbies before heading to the in-laws’.  When I got there, my MIL asked if I had eaten dinner – I hadn’t – so she fed me, as well: She’d made an amazing chicken curry dish whose exact name eludes me. After I’d finished, we – MIL, FIL and lj user=”djviking” – had cake and chatted the rest of the evening away. As if feeding me and giving me dessert wasn’t enough, I was even sent home with leftovers for lunch. Win! (In case I haven’t said it before/recently: I totally hit the jackpot in the In-Laws Lottery.

When I finally made it home, I decided to mess around with my train layout. This came under the heading of “Good Idea/Bad Idea,” as it was slightly more of an undertaking that I had planned on. I was up until [REDACTED] working on it. Yes, I know… I’m going to have to tear the whole thing down (again) when we start framing the room, but I was in the mood for something different. The trackwork is almost finished and I need to figure out where buildings will go and in which areas I’ll be able to add the SuperStreets track.

It probably goes without saying, but I made this morning’s coffee extra-strong. Thank God.

Today is also a suit day. (Added bonus: It was clean and required no prep work.) Today’s option: Navy suit, white spread-collar shirt, pink-and-blue tie, pink pocket square, maroon loafers.

Stray Toasters

And…. that’s a wrap.

Namaste.

Corner kick

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Corner kick

Thursday – 21 April 2011
It’s another NBN Thursday in the valley. It’s partly sunny, but at least it’s not raining. For the time being, anyway…

Last night was Game Night 2, with and the gang. Actually, it was an abbreviated gang, as a couple of our group weren’t able to make it. But, we persevered and adventured on without them. And we lived to tell the tale.

Back at home, I joined SaraRules! in watching Real Salt Lake take on Monterrey in the Concacaf Champions League Final match. RSL looked a bit tired by the time I started watching (second half), but they held their own against… and the refs. I – along with a couple of the announcers – thought that the refs yellow carded a couple of plays that shouldn’t have drawn penalties AND they completely missed/ignored a red card offense against Monterrey. *shrug* RSL came out of the game with a 2-2 tie and the second leg of the match will be held at Rio Tinto Stadium next Wednesday.

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

Ponderables for a Wednesday morning

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Ponderables for a Wednesday morning

Wednesday – 06 April 2011
It’s mid-week again, which also means that it’s new comics day and D&D 4.0 night. I’m good with all of those.

Yesterday’s Utah County excursion wasn’t too bad. The monkeys were fairly quiet; I did, however, get a little tired of people asking me when someone else was going to be in that office. After the third time, it got harder and harder to retort with a smart-assed answer. *sigh* On the plus side, I managed to squeeze in a trip to The Hobby Stop during lunch. Hey… it’s train stuff. Go figure.  🙂

I got home a little later than I had planned, had dinner and was back on the road again. Last night was D&D 3.5 night with and company. We accomplished a few things which were good/necessary and have nominal plans for the next part of our adventure.

Chew on This: Food for Thought – Personal Hygiene
When a person is getting ready for work in the morning – or even the night before – isn’t that the “ideal” time for them to take care of things like clipping their nails?

As opposed to, say, waiting until they get into the office…?!

There are a few possible exceptions to this:

  • Salon workers
  • Spa workers
  • Veterinarians

I’m not someone who gets squidgy at the sound of someone clipping their nails, but it just seems that it is something best done at home. With that in mind, there are times when I think a quick trim/cut are acceptable, the prime example being when someone chips, cracks or tears a nail and needs to trim it down. But that’s (usually) just one nail. Not all ten.

I suppose that I should just happy that I have neither seen nor heard (that I know 0f) anyone clipping their toe nails on the clock.

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

“Blame it all on yourself, cause she’s always a woman to me…”

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"Blame it all on yourself, cause she's always a woman to me..."

Tuesday – 01 March 2011
A new month begins.
Today also marks the beginning of Women’s History Month.

T minus three days to the train show.
T minus sixteen days until Green Lantern/St. Patrick’s Day.

Last night was very low-key around the house. SaraRules! fixed soft-shelled tacos and rice for dinner. While eating, we knocked out the last two episodes of NCIS: Los Angeles on the DVR and watched an episode of House Hunters about a couple in Texas. (They were almost as finicky as the couple I posted about a few days ago who were looking for the one-level home.) But, they found a spot they liked.

Tonight, SaraRules! and I are attending Utah Symphony‘s 2011-12 Season Announcement Reception at Abravanel Hall. (Yeah, I get some pretty swank fringe benefits of having a wife with a cool job.) After that, I’ll be dashing off to join ‘ D&D game. No rest for the wicked, I guess.

Stray Toasters

She would waste not, not in struggle
No other shall there ever be
And what she is to love, listen oh my brother
Is as the wind to Mercury

Namaste.

“I can see clearly now…”

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"I can see clearly now..."

Tuesday – 15 February 2011
Day Two of the work week is upon us… and it’s a bright, sunshiny day. It’s even supposed to be fairly warm, too. And tonight is D&D 3.5 night.

Last night, SaraRules! and I had a quiet evening in. That was one of the benefits of having celebrated Valentine’s Day last week. We had a quick dinner and then settled in for a movie. As I had mentioned wanting to watch Star Trek (2009) on Saturday after watching The Hurt Locker, SaraRules! was gracious enough to agree to watch it last night. It was fun — we MSTK3-ed parts of the movie. All-in-all, it was a very good evening with the coolest wife ever.

Chew on This: Food for Thought – Black History Month
Today’s personality is: President Barack Obama (1, 2):

Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned after his election to the presidency in November 2008.

A native of Honolulu, Hawaii, Obama is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he was the president of the Harvard Law Review. He was a community organizer in Chicago before earning his law degree. He worked as a civil rights attorney in Chicago and taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004.

Obama served three terms in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004. Following an unsuccessful bid against a Democratic incumbent for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000, he ran for United States Senate in 2004. His presidential campaign began in February 2007, and after a close campaign in the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primaries against Hillary Rodham Clinton, he won his party’s nomination. In the 2008 general election, he defeated Republican nominee John McCain and was inaugurated as president on January 20, 2009.

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

Ahh, vacation…

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Ahh, vacation...

Monday – 20 December 2010
The song says, “Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.”  Today is Monday. It is also… snowy, although there may be some rain falling somewhere in the valley. However, this combination is far from getting me down. Why?

  1. I’m on vacation.
  2. It’s only three more sleeps till my parents get here!
  3. It’s only four more sleeps till my uncle gets here!
  4. It’s only five more sleeps until Christmas!
  5. Did I mention that whole “vacation” thing? I did?  Okay, good. Just making sure.

Yesterday, SaraRules! and I knocked out a little more eleventh-hour Christmas shopping. That was good. After that, we came home for a bit. During the down time, I fired up the 360. I was planning on playing a little bit of LEGO Batman, but Fate had other plans in store: messaged me and invited me to play HALO: Reach online with him and . As I hadn’t played Reach online (heresy, I know…) and as I was going to be able to play with a couple of friends, I pulled Batman out, put Reach in and played for a bit.

A short while later, SaraRules! and I headed over to Sanaz and Logan’s. On the docket: Dinner and making/decorating a gingerbread Christmas tree:

All-in-all, it turned out well.  Steve brought the video camera, to record the event, so I’m Ivory Soap sure that there will be a trailer – if not a full-on movie – showing our exploits. Dinner was very good; we had turkey legs, homemade mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, asparagus and cranberry sauce.

After we returned home, SaraRules! watched The Godfather, which I recently realized that I had never seen in its entirety. It was good. Very good. My only complaint was the pacing — there were places in the film where you couldn’t get a firm grasp on just how much time had elapsed. Other than that, I can easily see why it’s on so many people’s favorite movie list.

Instant Replay: Football

New Orleans Saints at Baltimore Ravens
24 – 30
Drew Brees and the Saints came marchin’ into M&T Bank Stadium…

…and the Ravens sent ’em marchin’ back home with a loss.

Joe Cool and the boys started out strongly, but let the lead slip away in the second half. The game ended with another Ravens interception, this time delivered by DE Cory Redding.

With this win, the Ravens go to 10-4 and are still very much in the hunt for the AFC Playoffs Wild Card, as the #5 seed.

Coach Harbaugh! Hey, Coach!  Hey… your team just beat last year’s Super Bowl champions and are currently the #5 seed in the AFC Playoff picture!  How does that make you feel?

.

Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders
23 – 39
The Raiders busted the Broncs in this division win.

Congrats, SaraRules! and [info]1silver_seraph.

.

Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers
12 – 19
The Panthers hosted the Cards…

…and found a way to come up with a win.

Sorry, Marr.

.

Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals
17 – 19
The Bengals came away with the win in this “Battle of Ohio”

Congrats, [info]carefreespirit and [info]janietrain!

.

Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins
17 – 14
The ‘Fins dropped this one to the Bills, making them 0-3 against division rivals this season.

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

“O, Tannenbaum…”

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"O, Tannenbaum..."

Wednesday – 01 December 2010
It’s mid-week… however, it is not Comics and Sushi Wednesday: This week’s shipment is delayed, due to last week’s holiday and I won’t be able to make it to sushi this afternoon.

On the other hand, Hanukkah starts today.  (Okay, technically, it starts at sundown, but why quibble?)

Last night, SaraRules! and I attended The 2010 Festival of Trees. It was opening night, which included the auctions for trees.  We put in a bid on a tree that we both liked… and won:

We’ll pick it up this weekend. Click here to see pics of other trees and interesting items from the show. The people-watching was pretty good, too. After the Festival, we headed to the local Olive Garden for a late dinner. On the whole, it made for a rather nice date night.

Stray Toasters

Right on to the friction of the day…

Namaste.

“Six-thirty-two in the morning on Thanksgiving Day…”

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"Six-thirty-two in the morning on Thanksgiving Day..."

Thursday – 25 November 2010
It’s Thanksgiving Day here in the States.

Yesterday wound up being relatively low-key. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. In the afternoon, I made stops at Dr. Volt’s and The Train Shoppe. On the trip between the two stores, I saw an accident happen, about 25 yards ahead of me: I was heading north along 7th East when a southbound car decided to turn left… in front of the car that I was behind. I don’t know exactly “how” it happened, but the result was that the south-to-eastbound car t-boned the northbound car. The northbound car spun 180 degrees and wound up sitting at the northeast corner; the south-to-eastbound car just kind of… stopped in the middle of the intersection. (Thirty minutes later, as I was heading home, both cars and drivers were still sitting at the intersection, waiting on the police, though the offender had moved her car to the southeast corner.)

After I got home, SaraRules! and I headed to The Garden of Sweden. We needed some additional chairs, as we’re having the SaraRules!’ family over for dinner today. We opted to have dinner out, stopping at Outback Steakhouse. Hello, Prime Rib… When we returned to the house, I started making a sweet potato pie for (one of) tonight’s desserts.

I woke up early this morning and discovered something that no home owner ever wants to find: Our pipes had frozen. It’s been about… 20 years… since I’ve dealt with that – and the last time, the pipes just burst – so my first reaction was more “inaction,” while trying to suss out what to do. (Hey, it was 6:15 AM. My brain was still on “Standby.”)  Fortunately, I married someone who not only has a high INT, but a pretty high WIS, too. She called the water department, to make sure that there wasn’t a problem with the main. (There wasn’t.) Next step: Heating the pipes. Carefully. SaraRules! started with a hair dryer at the main. A little while later, I remembered that we have a pipe in the ceiling of the family room that could have been part of the problem. Sure enough, that seemed like it might have been the culprit (or at least a co-conspirator).  After a little heat application, we had running water again. Amen. This gave us yet another thing for we could not only be thankful, but also it also offers us a great “Remember that first Thanksgiving in the house…?” story.)

Stray Toasters

And with that… it’s about time to start on the Cornish Hens.

Namaste.

“Workin’ 9 to 5, what a way to make a living…”

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"Workin' 9 to 5, what a way to make a living..."

Monday – 18 October 2010
A new work week begins.

This past weekend was, quite possibly, one of the most relaxing weekends I’ve had in a while.  That is FAR from a “bad” thing.  I think that it was also quite beneficial, given how crappy I felt Wednesday through Friday.

Saturday afternoon, SaraRules! and I went on a mid-afternoon date to the movies. We saw Red. It was fun. Kind of like The Losers: Senior Class, but with a bit more wit.

Later in the evening, we got gussied-up and had an evening on the town: Dinner out and the opening night of

It was a great performance.  There were four set changes – one set was used in Acts I and IV – and each of them truly transformed the look of the stage into a different place.  The casting was also something that I’ve not seen in a Utah Opera production before: 1/3 of the main cast was African-American. That was a refreshing change of pace (or, as I told SaraRules! after the show: “That’s the Blackest opera cast I’ve seen here yet!”).  I do not know if Utah Opera is trying to expand its productions to include more multicultural casts, but if so, I commend them on their effort. It’s refreshing to see more people of color in the arts… and especially in opera.

Today, we slept in; it was a treat in which I indulge far too infrequently. After we got up, we went out for breakfast and ran a couple of errands. We came back home where I did some cleaning… while watching the NFL.com Game Center of the Ravens giving away the game to the Patriots. *ARGH* A little later, we went for a drive up Big Cottonwood Canyon, to see the fall colors. (Pictures can be seen here.) I still want to see more fiery reds, but the foliage was very nice despite its absence.

After our excursion, we came home, changed and then met SaraRules!’ family and Swiz’ family for a lovely dinner, in honor of Swiz and Logan’s engagement. The food was simply exquisite and was matched by the company.  It was the perfect way to wrap up the weekend.

Stray Toasters

Hi-ho, hi-ho…

Namaste.