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Thoughts on a grey day…

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Thoughts on a grey day...

Thursday – 19 January 2012
It’s another NBN Thursday in the valley… but it’s one without snow. Mother Nature appears to have overlooked us, at least for the moment.

Last night, the girls slept pretty well. Thankfully. Vanessa woke up for a bit at 10:30, but found her way back to sleep about 45 minutes later. Again, thankfully. Both girls were up for a 2:15-ish feeding, followed by another four hours of sleep. So, all things considered, I’d call it a “good” night.

After the girls went to sleep, SaraRules! and I watched Limitless. We had an inkling of what to expect, but I found they took a couple of turns that I didn’t see coming. I appreciated that. While it wasn’t a perfect movie, I thought that it was well-done and quite entertaining. I give it a definite “thumbs-up with an okay.”

Stray Toasters

And… done with meetings for the day. Finally.

Thursday things…

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Thursday things...

Thursday – 05 January 2012
Another NBN Thursday is upon us. And this one is sunny and bright… and lacking a fair bit of inversion. (Unless you look to the northwest. Let’s not do that, though — I rather like the clearer skies in the rest of the valley.)

And, speaking of “sunny and bright,” the girls were awake before I left for work this morning, allowing for a brief photo-op:



Yep, nothing like starting the day with this pair of cute faces staring up at you.

Stray Toasters


Midweek musings…

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Midweek musings...

Wednesday – 04 January 2012
Midweek is here already. Seems like the week just started. Oh, wait… it did.

Last night, I got home from work to discover that Vanessa had picked up a new trick from Diana: Blowing raspberries. Diana sussed out how to do it about a week ago — I first saw/heard her do it when getting ready to change her diaper.

If you’re not a parent, let me tell you that there’s almost nothing funnier than watching your infant daughters figure out “If I get lots of spit in my mouth and clench my lips and blow, it makes a funny sound!” I had a hard time changing the diaper because I was laughing so much. And the looks of concentration and determination on their faces when they are learning how to do this?  Priceless.

By now, Diana has raspberries down pat, so the “Okay, how do I do this again?” look has passed. Vanessa still makes the “thinking face,” though. SaraRules! has video of the girls doing this; I’ll see if I can get a copy posted in the next day or two.

Stray Toasters


The not-so-bad Monday

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The not-so-bad Monday

Monday – 02 January 2012
A new week begins… but the new work week doesn’t begin until tomorning. I’m good with that.

We had a good New Year’s Day, despite a rather curious start to the (wee hours of the) morning. Utah recently changed their statutes on fireworks, making it permissible to have – and detonate – fireworks on New Year’s Eve. (It had previously been permissible on the Fourth of July and Pioneer Day.) As someone who’s set off fireworks at midnight on NYE in other states, I had no problem with this.

In theory.

In reality, it’s something quite different when you have two infants who are trying to sleep and the neighbors are whooping it up in the street, setting off all manners of fireworks.


Even then, I don’t think that I would have had an issue with it had it not been for a few things:

  1. We had gone to bed, pre-midnight, in anticipation of getting up in the middle of the night for a feeding.
  2. I had actually fallen asleep a little before midnight
  3. One group of neighbors apparently missed “midnight,” and started setting off some rather loud fireworks at 12:10.

Yeah, the 12:10 fireworks were loud enough to immediately rouse me and set me dashing into the girls’ room to make sure that they were still sleeping. Or approximating some semblance of sleep. They were. And, I don’t think that I’ve ever appreciated their sound machine (think: “white noise generator”) so much.

Yesterday wound up being a fairly low-key day. We started the morning with breakfast at Millcreek Cafe. From there, we made the year’s first pilgrimage to The Garden of Sweden. Amen. Back home for a bit and then we did some errand-running, before calling it a day. SaraRules! and I wound down the day watching a movie called Tucker and Dale vs. Evil. SaraRules! had wanted to see it since missing it at last year’s Sundance Film Festival; it showed up in our Netflix Instant Queue, so we watched it. It was, quite possibly, one of the best comedy/horror movies that I’ve seen in some time… if not ever. Sure, there were ridiculously silly points in the movie, but it was a lot of fun. I recommend it.

And, if you should need another reason to view it: It has Alan Tudyk in it.  (Browncoats will remember him from a little show called Firefly.)

Stray Toasters

The girls have their 4-month check-up in a little bit. More immunizations. This could make for an interesting afternoon.


“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.


Happy Mon-Thurs-day!

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Happy Mon-Thurs-day!

Monday – 21 November 2011
A new (and greatly abbreviated) work week is upon us. Today is my “Technical Thursday.” Which, I do believe, technically makes it a No Bad News Technical Thursday. So, it is written; so shall it be!

This was a good weekend, all around. Saturday, the girls and I had a few hours’ of Daddy-Daughter time, while SaraRules! went to lunch with a friend. While we didn’t get to as many places as we (okay, okay… as “I”) would have liked, we did manage to put in an appearance at RubySnap. (Natch!)

Yesterday, I was on the fence about sleeping in. At first, I decided to stay up (around 7 AM), about an hour later, I decided that it wasn’t worth it an crawled back into bed. And the girls woke up 20 minutes later. Thus, did the day begin. We had a good day. There was some errand-running. And football-watching. And, after the girls were asleep, TV-watching.

Speaking of the little ladies, here’s a dose of cuteness:

Vanessa (left) and Diana

Added bonus: The girls slept through the night. ALL THE WAY through the night. After we got them up and fed them, I decided to head into the office a little early, so that I can work a little extra time and not have to burn any leave for the Thanksgiving weekend.

Instant Replay: Football
Not only did the Ravens play yesterday, but it was televised here! So, Vanessa and I watched most of the game; SaraRules! and Diana came down to watch the second half with us.

Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens
24 – 31
The Ravens hosted the 0-5 Bengals……and, without Ray Lewis, came away with a win. It wasn’t necessarily pretty, but it still goes in the “W” column.Former Ravens K Matt Stover was inducted into the Ring of Honor.

And, with this win, the Ravens are (once again) #1 in the AFC North.

Sorry, and .


Oakland Raiders at Minnesota Vikings
27 – 21
The Raiders traveled to Minnesota and beat up on the (already downtrodden) Vikes.Congratulations, SaraRules! and .


Stray Toasters


“This moment may be brief, but it can be so bright…”

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"This moment may be brief, but it can be so bright..."

Friday – 04 November 2011
It’s my “on” Friday… and I have The Leash this weekend. But, it’s still Friday. And that’s almost never a bad thing.

Last night was fairly low-key. I think that the highlight was a trip to the store for grocery. Well, that… and hanging out with the girls.

Stray Toasters

Quote of the Day
Today’s gem comes from my friend Melissa S.:

I love that everyone thinks the Buffy would have slayed Edward. Did we watch the same show? She would have dated Edward, and Spike would have killed him.

And that’s a wrap.


Sunday dose of cuteness…

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Sunday dose of cuteness...

Sunday – 23 October 2011
Vanessa woke up at 0700 this morning…

…which means that I woke up at 0701. Hey, I’ll admit it: I was hoping that she’d sleep until 0830 or so, when she was next “scheduled” to be fed. Yeah, yeah, I know that the word “schedule” isn’t in her – or her sister’s – vocabulary. A guy can hope, though, can’t he?

I fed her, put her back in her bassinet and made coffee. More or less in that order.

And, as if on cue, Diana woke up at 0800. SaraRules! got up with her. After both girls were fed and back in bed bassinets, I availed myself of the opportunity for a hot soak. And it was good. Now that SaraRules! is up, we’re going to take the girls for a stroll over to Rich’s Bagels for breakfast goodness. The rest of the day…? That’s a bit up-in-the-air. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Speaking of which, here is your aforementioned dose of cuteness:

Diana on the left; Vanessa on the right.

The rest weekend has been good, as well. Friday, came over to visit and cuddle babies. (Have I mentioned that it’s nice to have adult interaction around here, since our social availability has dropped considerably?) The girls went to bed at a decent hour, which would have normally allowed us to watch Fringe… but Fox aired a repeat episode. So, we knocked out a couple hours’ worth of recorded shows from the DVR.

Saturday, the girls were up early, so we fed and dressed them and headed to the last Downtown Farmers Market for the season. There were “a few” more people there than we expected. But, the girls handled the outing well. And… we.. may have even stopped at the RubySnap booth for a cookie or three. Maybe. Kind of. Sort of. We also picked up a couple of [REDACTED] with [REDACTED] for the girls. We came home and were visited by SaraRules!’ mom and her cousins, Royce and Naomi – who were out for a Daddy-Daughter Date Weekend. To round out the day, I went down to play a little DCUO… but didn’t count on having to download a 1.2 GB update. (I still logged into the game for a bit, though.)

And that “up-in-the-air” part of the day? So far, we have:

  1. …run a few errands.
  2. …gone to the mall.
  3. …had a Skype conversation with the Baltimore contingent…

…and we’re soon heading to the in-laws’ for dinner and football.

Quote of the Day
As I mentioned above, SaraRules! and I took the girls to the local mall. While there, we stopped in one of the anchor stores. We were looking for a couple of outfits for the girls; we didn’t see anything, so we stopped to ask a couple of associates. THEN… they realized we had a stroller with twins.

First Associate: They’re so cute!   (SaraRules! and I hear this often; it never gets old.)

Second Associate: “Are they yours?”

|| PAUSE ||

Okay, let’s examine this:

  1. The girls are a few shades lighter than me.
  2. The girls are a few shades darker than Sara.
  3. We’re pushing them in a two-seat stroller.
  4. SaraRules! was carrying a diaper bag.

> PLAY >

Without missing a beat, I said – in a very deadpan tone: “No, we found them by the side of the road.”

It took Associate #2 a moment to process this in the manner that I intended it: “Yes, dumbass… they’re ours.”  But, after the gerbil got up to speed, you could see the light of recognition in her eyes.  Genius, she was not.

All in all, I call that a good weekend.


“A Lerxst in Wonderland”

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"A Lerxst in Wonderland"

Wednesday – 19 October 2011
Midweek. New comics day. Possibly even Sushi Wednesday.

And, it’s SaraRules!’ first day back at work since the twins were born.

The twins were up this morning for a feeding before I left for work, so I was able to steal a couple hugs from them before setting off. I have to admit: It’s a great way to start your day.

Stray Toasters


T-minus 8…

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T-minus 8...

Monday – 29 August 2011
It’s Monday. So far, it hasn’t been bad,  although my morning commute was somewhat eventful. I had just left home, made it to the first traffic light – which was green when I got to it – and proceeded across the intersection. I was about 2/3 of the way across the intersection when I happened to look to my right. And then I saw it: A sedan, barreling down the street. Coming right at me.

Well, damn…

Fortunately, I was far enough across the intersection – and just far enough ahead of that car – that it wasn’t a problem. (Well, aside from the obligatory Intestinal Fortitude Test.) I don’t know what they were/weren’t thinking, but it made for an interesting start to the day. The rest of the commute was pretty mundane, by comparison.

Yesterday, SaraRules!, and I went to breakfast at Ruth’s Diner. After breakfast, the three of us went to Utah’s Hogle Zoo to experience “Zoorassic Park.” (Pictures here) I wasn’t expecting SaraRules! to make the trip through the entire zoo — 9 months pregnant and late-August heat — but she did.

Yesterday was also Read Comics in Public Day. I went to Wheeler Farms and (briefly) read comics. I even have pictures to prove it. Thanks to SaraRules! for indulging me.

Stray Toasters


“Now is the little boy a bridegroom, now is the little girl a bride…”

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"Now is the little boy a bridegroom, now is the little girl a bride..."

Monday – 22 August 2011
It’s an odd kind of feeling to be “glad” that it’s Monday, but that’s about where I am right now. It was a long weekend. This is not to say that it was a “bad” weekend. Far from it. It was a great weekend, but it was also a very busy weekend. It was the kind of weekend from which I need downtime to recover.

Long story, short version: My brother-in-law (well, one of them) got married this past Saturday:

It was a very nice ceremony, held at Millcreek Inn. The weather was lovely… at least for the ceremony. Just after it finished, we were treated to a rain shower.  (Ah, Thor looked down upon us and showered his blessings on us…) Fortunately, it was relatively brief and cleared the air for the reception — complete with a rainbow!

Good luck and best wishes for a happy and prosperous marriage to the happy couple!

The weekend was a bit of a whirlwind, as lots of family – on both sides of the wedding party – came to town. There was a lot of catching up to do. And much eating. And storytelling. And… and…. *whew* Yeah, it was like that.

Sunday, SaraRules!, Melissa, Jesse and I went to see Rage Monkeys of Doom… um, I mean Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Andy Serkis, once again, did an amazing motion-capture job as Caesar. I had a hard time buying James Franco as the Dorian Grey-like  (he never aged over the course of ten years, even/especially while dealing with a father with Alzheimer’s Disease!) research scientist… much in the same way that had a hard time buying Denise Richards as a nuclear physicist in The World Is Not Enough. That’s not to say that he wasn’t likeable it was just a little far to stretch. John Lithgow, on the other hand, portrayed his role as a man with (and without) Alzheimer’s incredibly well. All-in-all, it was a nice afternoon escape.

Before taking Melissa and Jesse back to the airport, we had dinner at MacCool’s. That’s right, Finn Skins and Guinness! And it wasn’t even my idea! That just proves, once again, that I chose well in asking SaraRules! to marry me.

And, so, here we are: Monday. At least it hasn’t been a bad day. Let’s see if it can keep up the good work.


“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


“Show love to the black suit…”

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"Show love to the black suit..."

Thursday – 12 May 2011
It’s NBN Technical Friday again. Amen.

Today is also marks two years since my friend, Jessica Porter, passed away from pulmonary hypertension. In some regards, it seems like it’s been shorter than that; other days, it seems like it’s been forever since we’ve talked. I miss her being around. She was a fantastic friend and an all-around great person.

Last night, SaraRules! came home from Boston. Hallelujah! She said that it was a good – though busy – trip. As a souvenir, she brought me a new pint glass from the Samuel Adams Brewery… where she took the tour yesterday morning. (Yeah, I was a little jealous of that.)

Today has been busy. Busier than expected. An employee from another division come in – for the second time in two days – to deal with a problem on his laptop. We got his problem sorted out. Then there was a meeting… that I had spaced off… on top of my usual Thursday meeting, plus the meeting that I had to schedule. Did I mention that I’m glad I’m off tomorrow?

Stray Toasters


Midweek musings…

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Midweek musings...

Wednesday – 27 April 2011
New comics day.
D&D game night. Father-in-law’s birthday dinner.

And, it’s a bright, sunshiny day.

I’d call that an all-around good day.

Now that (most of) the shock of the whole “You’re having twins” surprise has worn off, we’re looking at the things we’re going to need two of. (I’m also trying NOT to think of things like “two cars… two college funds… two of everything…”) This is going to be something of an adventure.  And, of course, this twins-related story showed up on Big Shiny Robot yesterday.  (Although, it does make me wonder whether the twins will have superpowers and what powers they might wind up with…)

Last night, I had to go to the local Home Depot and Lowe’s. (Yeah, I know… rough life…) A couple of sections of our back fence blew over on Monday night, so they need to get replaced. I don’t know if this fence was the handiwork of the house’s previous owners or the ones before them, but the back fence has always looked kind of sad and we had talked about replacing it. This just advances the time table a bit. It turns out that the replacement fencing we’re looking at doesn’t all that expensive. (Fortunately.)

Other than that, it was a rather uneventful night, as I called it an early evening on account of being completely tuckered out.

Stray Toasters



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Tuesday – 26 April 2011
Day Two of the work week finds me in the south office again. In the words of Lita Ford, “It ain’t no big thing.” So far, it’s been fairly quiet, which has been something of a boon.

Yesterday, I left work early for a doctor’s appointment. More specifically, I left for an appointment that SaraRules! had. For those who don’t know: She’s expecting. (Which I guess really could be said: “We’re expecting.”) A couple of weeks ago, she had a check-up, which included taking blood for a few tests. She got a call from her doctor, this past Thursday, saying that one of tests came back with “abnormal” results and that they wanted her to come in for an ultrasound.

NOTE: The test that came back abnormal was a test that checks the protein levels in the womb. This protein – when registered in elevated levels – is an indicator of a neural tube defect, which can be a sign of spina bifida (1, 2) or other spinal cord diseases/defects. SaraRules!’ protein levels were high enough to merit further study. The ultrasound was needed to check the spine’s development and see if there was, in fact, a problem.

As you can imagine, our weekend had “a few” moments of preoccupation.

Yesterday, we went to the hospital to get the ultrasound. We were met by the ultrasound tech and a genetics specialist. They gave us a brief overview of what they would be looking for and went to work. A few moments later, the genetics doctor looked at the screen and then looked at us and said that her work was done…

…and that the baby was fine:







…and so was the OTHER baby.



That’s right: We’re having twins.

Oh, boy…

The elevated protein levels that were noted in the blood test were due to the fact that the test was looking for a certain range/level – the amount which one baby would produce. Since there are two babies in there, the test was thrown off, because they are both producing the protein. And, when that’s factored in, both babies – and SaraRules! – are fine.

So, I guess this means that I should get ALL the sleep I can in the next four-and-a-half months, because after that, I doubt that I’m going to get a full night’s sleep for a L-O-N-G time… if ever again.

Stray Toasters

Yeah… twins.  Wow.