Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure

Monday, Monday…

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Monday, Monday...

Monday – 18 May 2015
Happy Miracle Monday (1, 2).


Today finds me back in the office. I enjoyed last week’s class, but it was a LOT of information crammed into five days. I appreciated the time away from “work,” but there’s something to be said for being back in the swing of things.

Of course, I would have preferred to have gotten back to it this morning, rather than last night…

I got a call, just as Team DiVa was going to bed, that a server was down. By the time I was able to log in and start looking, I got another call, from a different user, saying that another server was down.

::: braincramp :::

Once I started looking, I noted that it wasn’t so much a “server” issue as it was a “virtual host” issue. And it was one that didn’t want to let me fix it remotely. So, into work I went. At 9:30 at night.


After banging on things for a while, I resorted to the time-honored IT tradition of: “Turn it off and then turn it back on.” That worked, for the most part. There was still one issue that didn’t resolve. I tinkered with a few settings and got that issue fixed… at least for the time being. There’s a long-term solution in the works, it’s just a matter of timing.

This morning, I also woke up a little before 6:30, chock full of the good intention of going to the gym. I actually got up and out of bed and – albeit a little more slowly than I should have – got ready to go. I had to abbreviate this morning’s routine due to time constraints, but the bottom line is: I got in a workout.

  • Elliptical: 7 min, 0.75 mile
  • Lat Pulldown: 3 x 8 x 70 lbs
  • Short Grip Pulldowns: 3 x 8 x 70 lbs
  • Row: 3 x 8 x 70 lbs
  • Standing Rope Pulldown: 3 x 8 x 60 lbs
  • Standing Tricep Press: 3 x 8 x 60 lbs

Stray Toasters

  • Saturday night, Sara! and I watched Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back. It’s been a while since I’d seen it. I celebrated the occasion by live-tweeting it… which entertained me nearly as much as the movie itself. I think we’re going to watch Return of the Jedi tonight. I may live-tweet that, too. Because… I can.
  • Kronkiwongi
  • Who were the Forty Elephants?
  • I hope to be as understanding and willing/able to let the girls explore their choices as this mom was: Mom’s dilemma: Should I let my 6-year-old daughter shave her head?
  • As I mentioned above, today is “Miracle Monday.” The story was written by Eliot S. Maggin, who also wrote Luthor’s Gift, a short story I just discovered today. Enjoy.

Okay, back to the grind.


“Moving ahead so life won’t pass my by…”

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"Moving ahead so life won't pass my by..."

Friday – 15 May 2015
I should get around to writing this before it is no longer Friday.

Things have been good during my extended radio silence. What’s kept me from posting? Basically: Laziness. I’ll freely cop to that. That said, I had planned to write something this afternoon, but wound up getting wrapped up in a project and the next thing I knew,  it was time to get Team DiVa from daycare. Oh, well, better late than never. On the other hand, I got to have dinner with these two cuties, so it was worth it.

Dinner with Team DiVa

One of the good things of the past two-ish weeks has been that Sara and I have rejoined a gym. More specifically we joined Vasa Fitness, a rebranded gym that we used to go to before Team DiVa was born. We’ve been trying to figure out schedules that would allow us to both work out 2-3 times a week.

Another good thing from this week, was in a training class for work (at home!) which had an east coast-based schedule. That meant that I was up each morning for a 7:00 AM class. That also meant that my “lunch” time was around 10:30 each day. I used that time to go to the gym, instead. I actually like the idea of getting up a bit early and starting my day with a workout. My plan is to keep getting up around 6:30 and putting in forty-five minutes to an hour at the gym before getting on to the so-called “friction of the day.”

Sidenote (since I just made a Rush reference): I’ve been tracking my visits to the gym on Swarm/Foursquare with the tags #carveawaythestone. Why? Because it’s less typing than #OhDearLordHowAndWhyDidILetMyselfGetSoOutOfShape and a bit less embarrassing than #WhyDoesThisHurtSoMuch.

And, being back in the gym means that I need to start tracking my workouts again. So, let’s get the past couple weeks out of the way:

  • Thursday- 23 April 2015
    • Elliptical: 15 minutes, 1.3 miles
    • Lower Back Extensions: 3 sets / 10 reps
    • Bench Press: 3 sets/8 reps, 90 lbs
    • Inclined Press: 3 sets/8 reps, 50 lbs
    • Fly: 3 sets/8 reps – 2 sets, 70 lbs; 1 set, 90 lbs
  • Monday – 27 April 2015
    • Elliptical: 10 minutes, ~1 mile
    • Leg Raises (Roman Chair): 3 sets/10 reps
    • Rotary Lat Pulldowns: 3 sets/10 reps, 60 lbs
    • T-Bar Pulls: 3 sets/8 reps, 45 lbs
    • Standing Tricep Press: 3 sets/8 reps, 50 lbs
    • Seated Tricep Press: 3 sets/8 reps, 45 lbs
  • Wednesday – 29 April 2015
    • Elliptical: 10 minutes, ~1 mile
    • Leg Press: 3 x 10 x 60 lbs
    • Leg Extensions: 3 x 10 x 50 lbs
    • Leg Curl: 3 x 10 x 50 lbs
    • Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 10 x 60
    • Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 8 x 40
    • Bench Press: 3 x 8 x 95 lbs
    • Reverse Punches: 3 x 10 x 10 lbs
    • Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 3 x 8 x 20 lbs
    • Dumbbell Curls: 3 x 8 x 20 lbs
    • Wrist Curls: 3 x 15 X 30 lbs (forward)
    • Wrist Curls: 3 x 15 x 30 lbs (reverse)
  • Tuesday – 05 May 2015
    • Elliptical: 10 minutes, 1 mile
    • Bench Press: 3 x 8 x 95 lbs
    • Shoulder Press: 3 x 8 x 50 lbs
    • Fly: 3 x 8 x 60
    • Vertical Press: 3 x 8 x 50 lbs
    • Dumbbell Fly: 3 x 8 x 20 lbs
    • Barbell Curl: 3 x 8 x 30 lbs
    • Dumbbell Curl: 3 x 8 x 20 lbs
    • Plank: 3 x 30 seconds
  • Saturday – 09 May 2015
    • Fitness Assessment
      • Walking High Kicks: 2 x 10 steps
      • Walking Quad Stretches: 2 x 10 steps (each leg)
      • Walking Butt Kicks: 2 x 10 steps (each leg)
      • Kettlebell Overhead Tricep Extensions: 3 x 10 x 15 lbs
      • Kettlebell Squats: 3 x 10 x 25 lbs
      • Lunges: 3 x 10 steps x 15 lbs (each hand)
      • Hollow-Body Hold: 3 x 30 seconds
      • Russian Twists: 3 x 10 x 20 lbs
  • Tuesday – 12 May 2015
    • Elliptical: 10 min, 1 mile
    • Smith Squats: 3 x 8 x 50 lbs
    • Leg Press: 3 x 10 x 60 lbs
    • Leg Extensions: 3 x 10 x 50 lbs
    • Leg Curls: 3 x 10 x 50 lbs
    • Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 10 x 60 lbs
    • Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 8 x 40 lbs
    • Seated Calf Raises: 3 x 8 x 25 lbs
  • Wednesday – 13 May 2015
    • Elliptical: 10 min, 1 mile
    • Lat Pulldown: 3 x 8 x 60 lbs
    • Short Grip Pulldowns: 3 x 8 x 60 lbs
    • T-Bar Pulls: 3 x 8 x 25 lbs
    • Row: 3 x 8 x 60 lbs
    • Standing Rope Pulldown: 3 x 8 x 50 lbs
    • Standing Tricep Press: 3 x 8 x 40 lbs
  • Thursday – 14 May 2015
    • Treadmill: 10 minutes, ~0.7 mile (betw. 0 and 2% incline)
    • Leg Press: 3 x 8 x 80 lbs
    • Leg Press: 3 x 8 x 60 lbs
    • Leg Extensions: 3 x 8 x 50 lbs
    • Leg Curls: 3 x 8 x 50 lbs
    • Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 10 x 60
    • Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 8 x 40
    • Seated Calf Raises: 3 x 8 x 25
  • Friday – 15 May 2015
    • Elliptical: 7 minutes, 0.75 mile
    • Bench Press: 3 x 8 x 115 lbs
    • Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 3 x 8 x 1 @ 20 lbs/2 @ 25 lbs
    • Dumbbell Fly: 3 x 8 x 20 lbs
    • Dumbbell Curls: 3 x 8 x 2 @ 20 lbs/1 @ 25 lbs
    • Wrist Curls: 3 x 15 x 2 @ 30 lbs/1 @ 40 lbs

And that was that. It’s going to take a while to get back to where I was when I stopped going to the gym, but I’m enjoying the journey so far.

Stray Toasters

  • Since cutting the cord, nearly two months ago now, I haven’t missed cable.
  • I’ve been quite pleased with and a occasionally surprised by my Comics-On-TV shows of late: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Flash, and iZombie.
  • By way of Mike B.: Space X gets certified to launch NASA science missions
  • I’ve seen Avengers: Age of Ultron twice now. I’ll see if I can’t type up a two-part review in the next day or two.
  • Team DiVa asked me to play Candy Land with them last weekend. It was, not surprisingly, the first time I’d played the game in many, many years. And, it was fun, too.
  • Check out this Flash Gordon animated short, by Rob Pratt
  • Confederates in the Jungle
  • I don’t recall how I stumbled across this item, On Being a Cripple, by Nancy Mairs, but it is a fantastic and fascinating read. It is long and, for some, might not be necessarily “easy” to read, but I think that it’s very much worth the time to read.

And, it’s well into Saturday morning, now. I guess I’ll just schedule this to post sometime after the sun is up.


Day Thirteen

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Day Thirteen

Tuesday (with a little Wednesday thrown in…) – 13 January 2014
Day 13: Perform a mind dump of everything you’re worried about. From the leaky dishwasher to your family member’s poor health — get it all out. Dwight D. Eisenhower did it, and it significantly helped him manage his stress. Just as your body needs to…cleanse itself of waste, so does your mind every once in a while. Getting all your stressors on paper may alleviate some of that pressure. Use David Allen’s GTD trigger list to help you out.

With apologies to Monty Python, “I’m so worried about…”

  • Being a good husband and dad.
  • Keeping in touch with my family – here and “back home.”
  • Making time for friends.
  • Making time for me.
  • Staying on top of my health.
  • Whether or not I’ll be able to fit some travel in this year.
  • Projects around the house, now that I don’t have the Train Room as an excuse.
  • Becoming more aware of and informed about issues in the community.
  • What the Hell is still “not as right as it could be” with my car?!
  • Keeping all of the balls that I’m juggling for work in the air.
    • This one isn’t horrible, but there’s just been a lot going on over the past two weeks.
  • A proposed project (that’s actually kind of up my alley) – I just want it to go well.
  • Cleaning up my queue of work requests.
  • Managing to get – and do well in – upcoming training.
  • “…the baggage retrieval system they’ve got at Heathrow.”


Day Three

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Day Three

Saturday – 03 January 2015
Keeping up with the challenge…

Day 3: Decide on one positive habit you’d like to implement in your life. Whether seemingly mundane (like flossing) or perhaps life-altering (exercising every day), think of something you’d like to add to your life that will be beneficial. Then, think about the steps you’ll take to get there, and how you’ll keep yourself accountable.

The habit I want to implement – actually re-implement – is working out again. Sara and I have bandied this about for a while and we think that we’re at a point where our schedules should allow for us to get back to the gym.

We’re starting next month and, from there, getting back in to the routine of getting into shape. We’ve been out of the game for too long. Aside from that, it will be good for our overall health and well-being. As to accountability? I can’t speak for Sara, but I’m trying to get into shape to hopefully pull off a new Luke Cage cosplay by the time Comic Con rolls around. That’s going to take some work.

Here’s to a fitter us in 2015!

Welcome to Level Seven… I mean “Phase Three.”

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Welcome to Level Seven... I mean "Phase Three."

Tuesday – 12 August 2014
We’ve done it.

We’ve already started on the next two phases of the #CrashingOurYard project. You’d think that after busting our butts for a week and a half, we’d want to sit back and enjoy the fruits of our labors from the first two phases of yardwork.

Yes and no.

Sara! and I were talking about how much we’d done and how nice it was to be done… and what we wanted to do with Phase Three and Phase Four. Eventually. Last week was relaxing, given that we didn’t have to rush to get things done after work – and after dinner… after the girls were fed… and in bed. In fact, we had talked about leaving any other work until next spring.

Then, we took a trip to our local Home Depot and looked at some of the things we’d need to make the next parts of the project happen. We realized that what we wanted to do wasn’t terribly difficult, it would just take a bit of time and some work. We started looking at timetables for getting things done.

Over the weekend, we talked with Sara!’s dad about the flagstone from his patio, that he was getting rid of; he said that we were welcome to it. Sunday morning, I picked up the first load and picked up the second load after dinner. It’s currently in an impromptu staging area.

Last night, after work, I headed to Home-Away-From-Home Depot – twice – to pick up twenty pieces of sod. My sister-in-law commented on my second check-in at the ‘Depot:

Melissa: Wait, you finished the back yard. Why do you keep returning to the hardware store?

Me: No, we didn’t finish the back yard. If you go back and read carefully, you’ll see that we just finished the first two phases of the back yard.

I bought twenty pieces, but it turned out that I could only get ten or so pieces in the truck. Thus, two trips. I brought the first ten pieces home; Sara and I started arranging them. I took a quick break to watch a couple Schoolhouse Rock cartoons with Team DiVa, before they went to bed. Then, I went back to Home Depot for the second set of ten pieces; we laid those out in the dark.

I went out this morning to get a few pictures of our progress:

photo 2

Wait… is that… grass?!

photo 3

By Jove! That is, indeed, grass!

As a frame of reference, here’s what that section looked like before Sunday evening:

It's the section between the fence post and the tree.

It’s the section between the fence post on the left and the tree.

Depending on the weather (and little girls’ temperaments), I’ll be picking up the last eight (give or take) pieces of sod, to finish off Phase Three.

To quote Cyborg: Booyah!


“Crashing My Yard” or “How I Spent the Past Week-and-a-Half After Work”

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"Crashing My Yard" or "How I Spent the Past Week-and-a-Half After Work"

Monday – 04 August 2014
Over the past week and a half, Sara! and I undertook steps to transform our yard from “Wow, you actually call that a yard” to something that would be functional as the setting for the wedding of a couple of our friends.We had to make at least half of our yard – nearly 800 square feet of space – which we had effectively let go into something that was both not an eyesore, but was also usable.

How would we make this happen?

  • By getting truckloads of dirt from the construction site around the corner from our house to fill in the depression that was left under the spot where the gazebo we tore down in 2012 formerly stood.
  • By getting a LOT – nearly four (4) cubic yards – of mulch.
  • By putting in a lot of hard work.

In a move that may have been inspired by my affinity for DIY Network, I started referring to this as #CrashingMyYard. I even tagged my favorite Yard Crasher, Ahmed Hassan, in a couple of Tweets. (He even responded to a couple of them!) Unlike the Yard Crashers show, we had neither a TV host/professional landscaping contractor nor a motley crew of people helping on this; it was just Sara! and me – with occasional help from Team DiVa – doing the work.

We borrowed a friend’s pick-up truck, so that we could haul dirt and mulch. We felt that would be much easier – and potentially less back-breaking – than trying to do it all in wheelbarrows and/or Sara’s car. And, far less messy, too. Friday (25 July 2014) after work, I headed to the construction site around the corner from our house to get fill dirt; Sara had secured permission from the site foreman earlier in the week. After spending what felt like an eternity filling the bed of the truck, I drove it around the corner and backed into the yard to unload it and start filling the pit left from The Great Gazebo Demolition of 2012.

Saturday morning, I woke up, had a bite to eat and headed to the site for more dirt. I unloaded about half of it before I needed to leave for a prior engagement; Sara unloaded the rest. Saturday night, more of the same. By the time it was all said and done, we’d filled, compacted and leveled the hole.

Sunday saw the first of far too many trips to Home Depot for mulch. I brought home twenty-one (21) bags that night. By the way, one bag of mulch, not so heavy. Twenty-one? Heavy. And, to make things even better: After I’d loaded the last bag into the truck, about ten bags on the display decided that they didn’t want to be part of the display anymore. *sigh* So, I had to pick them up and put them back in some semblance of order.

By Monday night, following another Home Depot run, the first third of the yard was mulched. Tuesday, about two-fifths. Wednesday, we changed things up a bit, installing a new fence post, with the kind assistance of my father-in-law. (We had a double-door gate that never seemed “just right,” so we took it down to one door and a gate-turned-fence section.) Thursday, after another trip to the ‘Depot, we enlisted the “help” of the girls to put down more landscaping fabric and mulch. Friday, I made the last trip for mulch and by nightfall, there was just one small section left to mulch on Saturday.

Saturday brought lawn mowing, some general clean-up, spreading the last bits of mulch and securing the fence section to the new post.

Sunday, we were ready for a wedding. And it was good.


The Yard.

Click here to see pictures of the overall process, from start to finish.

Last night, after the festivities were done and the girls were down for the night, Sara! and I sat outside in our newly landscaped yard and enjoyed the evening air. With cocktails, of course.

This was a lot of work, but was very much worth it. And gave us a massive boost in the direction that we want to take the yard, which includes, but isn’t necessarily limited to:

  • Grinding down three stumps (there was just no time for it with this go-round),
  • Creating a flagstone patio in one third,
  • Sodding the middle third of the mulched area, and
  • Creating a playspace for the girls in the last (not-quite) third.

Some of that might have to wait until next Spring, but, we are very happy with where the yard is at this point.


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.


And then, it was Friday…

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And then, it was Friday...

Friday – 27 July 2012
It’s almost the weekend once more!

That’s right: High-five to everyone for the weekend! You made it through the week; you’ve earned one.

Stray Toasters

Have a great weekend!


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.


“Style, it’s like a second cousin to class…”

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"Style, it's like a second cousin to class..."

Wednesday – 20 June 2012
The summer solstice has arrived.
And it’s new comics Wednesday.
And it’s Pasta and Movie Date Night.

Quite frankly, I think that sounds like “Win” all the way around.

Yesterday was a good day. With the able assistance of Dave and Steve, I was able to pick up some drywall – twelve sheets of it – get it home, bring it in (through a basement window that Steve removed) and put it in place for hanging. All told, it took a little over an hour-and-a-half, including the time it took to attach and detach Dave’s trailer to his Jeep. I offer up a huge “Thank you” to Steve and Dave for their time and effort.  And, I’m counting drywall-schlepping as yesterday’s workout, to boot!

Chew on This: Food for Thought
This is a series of blog posts from a local woman (with Retinitis Pigmentosa, which is important to the story), who encountered less-than-stellar – and more importantly, less-than-decent – treatment when she attempted to go shopping with her guide dog this past week:

  1. Disappointed in Ann Taylor
  2. Sharing
  3. Finding Lemonade

Stray Toasters


Two things

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Two things

Monday – 18 June 2012
This will be a brief post, but there are two important things that bear noting:

  1. Today is my sister-in-law, Melissa’s, birthday.

    (c) 2011 – Amanda Nelson Photography

    This is particularly important because for the past two years, I neglected to mention it… leading to two instances of “Melissa Kelly Week.”

  2. The debris from the gazebo tear-down has been removed, courtesy of the SL County dumpster that was placed just across the street from the house… and some very welcome help from my father-in-law. I’m qualifying it as today’s workout.

Stray Toasters
Okay, okay… we’ll throw a couple of these in, too:

And done.


“Carve away the stone…”

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"Carve away the stone..."

Wednesday – 13 June 2012
Middle of the week means new comics and Pasta and Movie Date Night. I’m good with both of those.

Last night, I went to the gym with special guest star, Dave. He wanted to check out one of my upper body workouts, so we went through my chest and biceps workout. The full one:

  • Elliptical: 10 minutes/1.05 miles
  • Bench Press: 3 sets/8 reps, 135 lbs
  • Incline Chest Press: 3 sets/8 reps, 120 lbs
  • Shoulder Press: 3 sets/8 reps, 60 lbs
  • Fly (machine): 3 sets/8 reps, 100 lbs
  • Fly (dumbbell): 3 sets/8 reps, 20 lbs
  • Curls (barbell): 3 sets/8 reps, 40 lbs
  • Curls (dumbbell): 3 sets/8 reps, 25 lbs
  • Wrist Curls (barbell): 40 lbs (approx)
    • Reverse: 3 sets/15 reps
    • Forward: 3 sets/15 reps
  • Plank: 3 sets, 30 seconds

It was a good – and tiring – workout. But, it was also nice to have company while working out.

Stray Toasters


1 – The live-action parts of the first season of The Banana Splits Adventure Hour were directed by Richard Donner.  (Yes, that Richard Donner.)

“Carve away the stone…”

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"Carve away the stone..."

Wednesday – 23 May 2012
Midweek is upon us again. That means new comics and Movie Date Night.

It rained this morning. I’m sure that my lawn appreciates that, especially since I’m having… issues… with the two zones in my back yard. Nothing insurmountable (I hope), but a little annoying nevertheless.

Last night, for the first time in five months (according to Foursquare), I went to the gym. Yeah, I know: Five months. This morning I was a little sore. But it was good and it was worth it:

  • Elliptical: 15 minutes, 1.5 miles
  • Lower Back Extensions: 3 sets/12 reps
  • Bench Press: 3 sets/8 reps, 135 lbs
  • Curls (dumbbell, seated): 3 sets/10 reps, 20 lbs
  • Flys (dumbbell, bench): 3 sets/8 reps, 20 lbs
  • Compound Row: 3 sets/10 reps, 100 lbs

Not surprisingly, my muscles were “a little” tired by the time I was done. But, I was glad that I went. And glad for a couple of ibuprofen this morning, too.

Stray Toasters


“Long live the…” Oh, I totally misread that.

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"Long live the..." Oh, I totally misread that.

Tuesday – 22 May 2012
Today’s another sunny day in the valley.
Tomorrow, however, there’s rain in the forecast, long with a nearly 15 degree drop in temperature. Yay.

There will (hopefully) be a new Adventure Babies: Team DiVa video short in the next few days… if I can catch them doing one of their new cute habits.

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.