Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Home

We're back. I start work tomorrow with a planning retreat with the other RDs. On the way down we finished HP7. It was a great finish to the series. It really ended well. We had a great time with Anna & Caleb. Saw the Grand Canyon-it was bigger than I ever imagined. Really, it felt incomprehensibly large. Carolyn starts work again next week and we're just getting everything unpacked. The thing that stands out the most to me being back is that it's more humid than I remembered, if that is possible.

Wait, Wait

My favorite radio show is NPR's Wait, Wait.....Don't Tell Me. It's a weekly news game show that is very funny. They have a segment of the show that is called "Not My Job," where they bring on a famous person and ask them questions completely unrelated to their Job/life. There have been some great guests over the years ranging from an active Supreme Court Justice to little furry monsters. This week's guest was Jim Dale, who is known for reading the audio versions of all 7 Harry Potter books and giving each character a unique voice. If you've ever listened to HP you should listen to this interview, you may be surprised to hear his normal voice. The funniest guest for me was definitely Keving Clash, the voice of Elmo. To have a listen, follow the links above and on those pages click on the Not My Job link halfway down. I bet you'll laugh.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Day Two: 100° Dessert, Hail, and Cycling

Yesterday was much more adventuresome than anything so far. We continued to listen to HP7 and enjoyed the countryside as we drove around the side of LA and crossed into Arizona on our way to our good friends Caleb and Anna’s house. As we drove through the dessert we saw some small random dark clouds not far ahead with a bunch of lightening with it. We drove straight into a super heavy downpour that cut visibility down to about 50 feet and in the middle there was even hail. We drove through it in about two minutes and it was right back to super hot again. Then, about 7:00 that evening for the first time in over 4,000 miles of driving this summer we had a mechanical issue. It was entirely my fault too. We ran out of gas about 40 miles outside of Phoenix. I was driving and had in my head that we would stop for dinner and get gas at the same time. Since we were listening to Harry Potter I hadn’t paid much attention to how many miles it had been since the gas light came on. In my two previous cars, once it got to empty you still had a solid gallon left.

It turns out Japanese engineering designed E to mean absolutely empty. We passed a station with a Subway and Carolyn didn’t really want that again so I decided to keep going. I looked at the fuel gage and it was on E. I knew there was a town only 15 miles further so we pressed on.

When we got out of the car Carolyn said, “I wish you wouldn’t have pushed it.” She was so gracious, and she wasn’t mad for long at all. I just kept apologizing because I felt dumb and was very impressed by her good attitude. It’s just funny how you get in your head how it’s going to be and we were stopping for dinner so I waited. We were 7 miles past the last station and we weren’t sure how much further to the next. The dessert isn’t the best place to break down, but fortunately we had AAA. Membership expired, no go. Our bikes were in the racks on top of the car. So, we got them down and started riding to the next exit. It was 6 miles to the gas station and I made Carolyn wear the only helmet we had. I went inside the truck stop to buy a gas can and they were all out. There I stood at a gas station, really sweaty, and no way to bring gas back to the car.

I was determined not to have to ride to another gas station so I started looking for large containers. They had gallons of milk and I thought that might do the trick. Then I saw gallons of water for cheaper. So, I bought two gallons of water, dumped them out and filled them up with gas. The sun was setting as I left Carolyn at the gas station to ride back to the car alone. It was a gorgeous ride back with dark silhouettes of gigantic cacti framed by the pink sun set. It very beautiful and so different from any other ride I’ve taken before (also the most dangerous- I didn’t have any lights and I was riding on the side of the freeway).

I arrived at the car to realize I had no effective way to get the gas into the tank. The water jug spouts were just like milk jugs and I couldn’t get it close enough to the actual tank hole. Plus there was that flap in the way. The first ¼ gallon went straight down the side of the car into the dust of the dessert. It just wasn’t working. Thoughts started passing through my head of not getting enough into the tank for the car to start and having to repeat the entire dark road course again. So then I started rummaging through my tool box buried in the back of the car looking for a knife to cut a water bottle into a spout. Of course I couldn’t find it. So I ended up taking a long screw driver to push that little flap up, held the flash light in my mouth to see where I was pouring (it was totally dark now), and used the lid of a yogurt container folded in half as a funnel to get the gas in. It worked albeit very awkwardly and we got to our friends house only 1 ½ hours later than expected. Now I know my car so much better and realize that when the needle gets all the way down to E it means there isn’t anything left.

Road trip Day One: In-N-Out

Well on the first day of our road trip (Wednesday) we drove from Columbia City, OR to Merced, CA. About an 11 ½ drive. It went well and was relatively uneventful. It’s amazing how it feels once you enter California. You just know you’re in a different state from Oregon. Everything feels different and a little funny. It’s different than any other state I’ve driven through lately. The best part though was stopping for dinner at In-N-Out. Good burger and great fries, just an all around classic restaurant.

The time flew buy surprisingly fast because we started listening to the Deadly Hallows. I’m enjoying the story, but my anticipation and nervousness about the ending is almost impeding my attention to the story as it goes.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

It has begun

We started listening to HP7 this afternoon. Got it on CD for the road trip home. We're starting the drive early tomorrow morning. Sad leaving Portland (family/friends that it represents), but glad we can listen to a good story on the way.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Bob Stroller


We bought our stroller last week. We went with the best deal we could find, a BOB Revolution. They run for $359 on Amazon, but we got ours at Costco for $150. After I realized what a good deal it was we went back and bought two more. They sold out super quick in Oregon and we bought the last ones in Tacoma. So, I'm selling the extra two on Ebay and hopefully that profit will pay for ours. We knew we wanted a stroller that could fit the car seat and a jogging stroller. With an attachment this one'll do both and we won't lose so much space in our apartment by having to store two strollers.

Real

I just felt the baby move. I had my head on Carolyn's stomach and our baby girl kicked me. It seems like everyday having a baby gets more and more real. This was definitely a tangible step in that direction.

Monday, July 16, 2007

It's a Girl!

Here is our daughter (with her arm covering her face).



Carolyn's parents came down to Portland to join my Mom, Gramma, Carolyn, and I for the sex discovery ultrasound. It was really sweet. We are having a baby girl. She was very active during the ultrasound. She crossed her legs, waved, and it was just great to see how big she is. We're half way there and after today I feel like I know our child so much better now.

Friday, July 13, 2007

STP

Tomorrow morning Carolyn & I are heading up to Tacoma in preparation for the Seattle to Portland this weekend. I won't lie, I'm a little nervous. I'm riding with Carolyn's brother John and his friend Kristine. Carolyn is going to be the support driver and take us somewhere to sleep on Saturday night. I'm most scared about getting on the bike Sunday morning, realizing that I have to ride another hundred miles and I'm already sore. I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

HP Movie

It was disappointing. We were in a theater with a really large group of people who were fans of the musical group Harry and the Potters. They were very enthusiastic and when Hagrid first came on screen they all stood up and sang a song about him. It was amusing before the movie started to hear them singing their Harry Potter songs, but during the movie it got annoying. My biggest dissapointment was that during the final fight in the Ministry between Dumbledore & Voldemort the statues didn't protect Harry like in the book. The last two movies have shown Dumbledore to be weak and just getting by. They did however nail the Dolores Umbridge character.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

HP Ending

Saw an article on msnbc by Keith Olbermann about how Deathly Hallows will end the series. He makes a very convincing argument and draws a very interesting conclusion about Harry's scar, that it is actually one of Voldemort's horcruxes. Olbermann's hypothesis would explain a lot about Harry and Voldy being so connected to each other. I also can't wait to see what happens to Snape and the role Neville will play in the end. What is your theory?

Movies

I saw Tranformers last weekend and found it very enjoyable. Loved the cartoon as a kid and they were always one of my favorite toys next to Micro Machines. They did a lot of things well to keep the spirit of Tranformers. They nailed Optimus Prime's voice and persona. Tonight we're off to the HP Order of the Pheonix opening. I'll post later on how that goes.