Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure

Miscellany for a Thursday

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Miscellany for a Thursday

Thursday – 18 June 2015
Today is #NBNThursday, but it is also my sister-in-law, Melissa’s, birthday!


And, I just found out that she’s coming to town and will be joining us for this year’s Run Through the Lavender 5k. Win-Win. She’s a bit of a runner, so she’s going to make the rest of us look bad not as good. I think I can live with that.

I really didn’t want to go to the gym this morning. Then I remembered that it was a leg day. #neverskipalegday. So, off I went. At first, I wasn’t going to do the elliptical, but decided to get five minutes on it, to get a little cardio. Then I found that the smith racks were all in use, so there went my squats – I would rather have a spotter if I was going to attempt squats with free weights. Today’s routine:

  • Leg Press: 3 x 8 x 120 lbs
  • Leg Press: 3 x 8 x 100 lbs
  • Leg Extensions: 3 x 8 x 80 lbs
  • Leg Curls: 3 x 8 x 80 lbs
  • Calf Raises: 3 x 8 x 120 lbs
  • Calf Raises: 3 x 8 x 100 lbs

Stray Toasters

  • I think that “threenager” is my favorite Sara-ism for describing Team DiVa.
  • If you have the opportunity to pick up a copy of Long Distance, by Thom Zahler, do it.
  • Tuesday night, I went to screenings of some of the short films made for this year’s 48 Hour Film Project, including the one I was in: Dr. Bill’s Discount Sychaiatry. (“Yes,” the misspelling is intentional.)

    Some members of the Cast and Crew of "Dr. Bill's Discount Sychaiatry" at the 48 Hour Film Project screening

    Some members of the cast and crew of Dr. Bill’s Discount Sychaiatry

  • By way of Coworker Brad: The History of the Carlton Dance As Told By The Legend Himself, Alfonso Ribeiro
  • I love the sheer joy of this little girl while flying with her father: First Aerobatic Flight Lea
  • I had an epiphany last night: I could move the girls’ videos off my iPad and onto theirs.
    Why it took me so long to realize that, I have no idea.



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Saturday – 28 June 2014
Just testing out a new cross-posting plugin.

Sara!, the girls, and I have a 5k in the morning… in a few hours. I really should be in bed. More to the point, I should have been in bed at least half-an-hour ago. And, it’s not like this isn’t going to be a long day:

  • Young Living Farms’ Run Through The Lavender 5k at 7:00 AM. This will be our fifth year (!) doing this event. It will also be our slowest time, as the girls will be walking with us, rather than being pushed in a stroller or carried.
  • War Of Light (Month 1) HeroClix Tournament at noon. I get to play in this one, rather than judging it.
  • A friend’s daughter’s birthday party.
  • Another friend’s cook-out.

I’d be amazed if I’m even nominally coherent by the time the girls go to bed. I wouldn’t be surprised if my field of vision was reduced to this:

Not surprised at all. *shrug* I might just go to bed at the same time they do.

Okay, bed.


The weekend

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The weekend

Sunday – 14 July 2013 Monday – 15 July 2013
This past weekend was eventful and mostly good.

Saturday, we got up at ridiculous o’clock to head down to the Young Living Lavender Farm for the Run Through the Lavender 5k – our fourth consecutive year doing the event. This year, like last year, we decided to strap Team DiVa into carriers and walk – yeah, there would be no running – the course with them on our backs. (Last year, we wore them on our chests.)


Sara! and Diana


Rob and Vanessa

We were just around the corner from the starting line when the gun went off, which is much better than last year when we didn’t even know where the starting line was. I knew that I wasn’t going to beat or match last year’s time, so I set a simple goal: Not to be the last person across the finish line.


We turned the corner and were on our way. The course was roughly the same as last year – uphill from the start, mostly flat while parallel to I-15, then winding back and forth on the way downhill to the finish line. And along the way, this was the view:


An hour later:


Vanessa and I finished in 1:00:51, Diana and Sara! finished in 1:00:53. Not bad for carrying “running buddies” along the course. It probably goes without saying that we we tired by time the race was done.

And, I met my goal.

We made it back home and spent the rest of the day in. I spent the better part of the morning trying (somewhat unsuccessfully) to stave off a nap. When the girls went down for their nap, I decided to give in…

…only to be awakened by the postman, just as I had started to nod off. I got the mail and went back inside for Nap: Round 2. I had a fitful nap, but I got some rest. The afternoon was mercifully uneventful.

In the evening, the in-laws came over to watch the girls so that Sara! and I could head up to the Deer Valley Music Festival and see Arturo Sandoval preform with the Utah Symphony:


Our enjoyment of the show was made even better by the fact that we sat in the reserved section. Eleventh row. Dead center stage.

Our enjoyment was somewhat diminished by the fact that it started raining. A little.

Then more steadily.

Then a lot. A whole lot. Enough that maybe 1/3 to 1/2 of the audience bailed before intermission.

At the intermission, we went into the lodge to get some coffee and warm up a little. Both of these were good things. By the time that intermission was over, the rain had passed. The second half of the concert was great, as well. And much drier.

Sunday was a relatively quiet day around the house. I took care of Team DiVa, as Sara!’s back was bothering her. It wound up bothering her enough for her to visit the InstaCare. She came back home and rested; the girls and I just hung out and played. Sara!’s back got bad enough later in the day that we wound up going to the ER. Five hours – and two prescriptions – later, we were back at home. (With HUGE thanks to the in-laws for coming over to watch the little ladies and get them to bed.) After a quick bite to eat and doing the dishes, it was time to collapse into bed.



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Wednesday – 10 July 2013
Welcome to the middle of the week.

After a less-than-stellar start to the work week, things seem to be picking up steam. I’m good with that.

Today is also Movie Date Night… and it’s my turn to pick a movie. I should probably try to come up with an idea of what we’re going to watch.

This weekend, Sara!, Team DiVa and I are running participating in the Young Living Farms Run Through the Lavender 5k on Saturday. This year will be our fourth time doing it. (“It’s tradition!”) My time was better last year than  in 2011 – even with my running buddy strapped to my chest…


…but I am fairly certain that I’m going to lose a few minutes this year, as my running buddy has gotten a little bigger. Not big enough to walk it herself, though – she’ll be on my back. Still, it should be fun. Aside from waking up at O’dark-thirty to be at the starting line on time. My goal: To not be the last person across the finish line. I’m Ivory Soap sure that I can accomplish this goal.

Speaking of “kids in backpacks,” we figured that we should test drive walking around with Team DiVa in their carriers as backpacks, rather than chest packs. It’s been… six months, at least, since they’ve been in the carriers. So, we expected some reluctance.

Vanessa made it immediately known that she was having none of this foolishness, with immediate cries of “Get down! Get down!”


Diana was a little more accommodating. A little. She made it about thirty seconds before she decided that she wasn’t going to put up with being in a carrier, either.

Round 1 –  Carriers: 0, Team DiVa 1

We were eventually able to convince Diana to try again. And she stayed put. Not surprisingly, Vanessa was more willing to get in her carrier after seeing that it wasn’t as doom-laden as she had made it out to be.

And with that, we set off for a lap around the block. It went pretty well. By the time we completed our circuit, we decided to walk a little further, so we walked over to the cul-de-sac a block over. Still no problems. In fact, the girls seemed to have a decent time of it.

After getting the girls to bed, I watched another episode of David Tennant’s Doctor Who and stayed up later than I should have watching Leon: The Professional. Good movie.

 Stray Toasters

  • Some days, you need a good laugh. I thank my friend, Jeremiah, for providing one this morning.
  • While looking for a post I did about concerts I’ve attended, I came across this post. It brought a smile to my face, not just because it ragged on the Steelers, but because it reminded me of my late friend, Dave.
  • I’ve finally gotten around to creating a music playlist based on The Endless (from Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman):
    • Dream: Dreams (Van Halen)
    • Death: She Talks to Angels (The Black Crowes)
    • Delirium: Purple Haze (The Jimi Hendrix Experience)
    • Desire: The Principles of Lust (Enigma)
    • Despair: Sorrow (David Bowie)
    • Destiny: Tomorrow Never Dies (Sheryl Crow)
    • Destruction: War (Edwin Starr)
  • I’m craving doughnuts now that a Dunkin’ Donuts franchise has opened locally. Go figure.
  • From Chucks to Dunks: 100 Years of Sneaker Design Visualized


Quick Hit: Stuff and Things

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Quick Hit: Stuff and Things

Wednesday – 18 July 2012
It’s midweek, which means that it must be “New Comics Day,” as well as “Movie Date Night.” Win-Win.

It’s apparently also been a week since I posted here. (Although, I did do a quick post on Four-Color Coverage last Friday…)

This post is really just a quick hit of a couple of highlights from the past week. So…

  1. Sara!, Team DiVa, and I participated in the 2012 “Run Through the Lavender” 5k on Saturday:
    Sara and Diana (pre-race)

    Vanessa and me (pre-race)Post-race

    And, yes, we did make mini-race bibs for the girls this time. (It may become a new tradition.) Considering that Sara! did the race last year when she was seven-months pregnant, our overall paces were faster than our 2011 times. We still walked the course, but beat my time by almost 15 minutes… even with a co-runner -walker strapped to my chest.)

  2. My favorite picture from the weekend:

    Diana, mugging for the camera…

  3. We have confirmation that three-of-six grandparents will be here for the girls’ first birthday!
  4. The girls are starting to let go of things after they stand. We’ve seen them stand, unsupported, for upwards of ten seconds. I fear that walking isn’t too far away…
  5. There has been a good deal of progress made in the train room. Drywall is up, and it’s been taped and mudded. We need to go over things with topping compound and then it’s on to painting!

I’m Ivory Soap-sure that there was at least one other thing that I wanted to mention, but it eludes me. So… I’ll wrap up here.


Tuesday stuff and things

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Tuesday stuff and things

Tuesday – 08 May 2012
It’s Tuesday.

Yesterday was Diana’s 8-month-birthday; today is Vanessa’s:

Vanessa (l) and Diana

Today is also my stepmother and brother’s birthday:

And, it’s also Teacher Appreciation Week.

This past weekend was a busy one. This isn’t to say that it wasn’t also fun, but it was definitely busy. I could have used another day to recuperate. Or something like that.

Friday, I had hoped to get a chance to nap while the girls were having their post-lunch siesta, but that didn’t come to pass… mostly because they didn’t take naps. So, when I went back to work, I was tired. After returning home from work, I was still tired. The evening was rather low-key, spent mostly Fringe and helping SaraRules! make superhero onesies for the twins:

She had already made the GL one, but has asked my help in getting the emblems for Batman, Wonder Woman and The Flash. I thought – briefly – about trying to hand-draw them. Then I had a minor epiphany: I could use my Silhouette to cut the shapes. I downloaded images of each emblem, imported them into Silhouette Studio and did a test cut. They came out better than I had expected. So, we were ready to do the cuts on the masking paper. The picture above shows how they turned out.

Saturday, SaraRules! had brunch with her friend, Sara(NotSaraRules!), so I got to spend a couple of solo hours with Team DiVa. After SaraRules! and Sara(NotSaraRules!) returned, I got ready to head to Dr. Volt’s for Free Comic Book Day. At The Avengers premiere, I made an agreement with Dave (the owner of Dr. Volt’s) that if he came to FCBD as Dr. Who – Matt Smith version, with fez! – that I would come as Green Lantern. So, when I showed up at the store like this:

Dave gave me a bit of flak. Until I turned down the collar of my shirt to reveal the GL costume underneath:

It was the first time that I’d gone to an FCBD event dressed in a costume… let alone two costumes… but it was made even more fun and worth it, because a few kids came up to me and asked if they could have pictures with me.

And remember those superhero onesies I mentioned? Well, the twins wore them to their first Free Comic Book Day:

Sunday, we met up with the Kelly clan for a picnic at Liberty Park.

The reason: Celebrating Logan’s graduation with his Doctorate in Pharmacy.  It was a little brisk if you weren’t in the sun, but it was an otherwise excellent day. And fun.

Monday was… Monday. (As Mondays are wont to be). It included quality time with SaraRules! and Team DiVa, which is never a bad thing. It also included a couple of changes to the status quo which should yield good things.  After the girls were asleep, SaraRules! and I wound down the evening with burgers that I cooked on the grill,  TopGear and Castle.

Stray Toasters


Weekend..? You mean we just had one?!

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Weekend..? You mean we just had one?!

Sunday – 25 March 2012
This has been a very busy – and productive – weekend. So much so that I could use another weekend to recover from it.

Saturday, SaraRules!, Team DiVa and I did the Running of the Leopards 5k:

(Though you can’t tell through their jackets and blankets, the twins wore leopard print, to commemorate the occasion.) Pre-race, we met up with some of my coworkers and took group shots and general chat. Before the gun, we moved to the rear of the pack — no need to obstruct the faster racers with the stroller, after all.

We finished the race at:

 594    Robert Neal  11756  48:15.9 
 595    Sara Neal    11755  48:16.7

…so, all in all, not bad for a moderate stroll.


Saturday afternoon, we treated ourselves to lunch at Pawit’s Royale Thai. As usual, it was quite good. After getting the girls home and down for naps, SaraRules! took off for some well-deserved kid-free time.

Today, we got up and strolled over to Rich’s Bagels for breakfast. Next came some errand-running and then: fence-building. Okay, more accurately, “gate-building,” but you get the gist. Steve, my father-in-law, came over to help us replace our old (and not really “there”) gate:

Old and busted:

Post-wind damage (looking into the back yard)

View from the back yard, looking towards the front yard

What was left of the gate after I took it down

New hotness:

Steve (with miter saw), getting ready to cut like a D.J.

The new gate!

I had never been really happy with the old gate. It was 8-feet wide and not well supported. And, as I discovered today: It wasn’t really a gate, per se. The previous owners had simply taken a pre-fab 8′ section of fencing, put some hinges on it and let it fly. How do I know this? Because I saw the exact same fencing at Home Depot during a trip there this afternoon.


The new gate has two 4-foot wide doors and is MUCH more stable than its predecessor. I’d like to thank Steve for coming out and helping with the planning and construction. (And for NOT putting a nail through his thumb this time!)

After the gate construction was done, it was time to think about getting dinner ready. We were having SaraRules!’ parents over for dinner this week. At their request, we grilled burgers. (Hey, it’s not like it takes a lot of arm-twisting to get me to fire up the grill…) We also had grilled vegetables and chips to round out the meal. And it was good. Steve and Bonne also helped get the little ladies ready for bed before they headed home for the evening.

And now, all I want to do is crash on the couch and veg for a couple of hours.

In fact, I think I’m going to do that… right… now.