Saturday, November 25, 2006

Let the Christmas season begin!

Now that Thanksgiving has past, the Christmas season has begun. We participated in some of the "Black Friday" festivities, helping Michael's and Fred Meyer to have a profitable quarter. I starved myself for most of the day in order to ready myself for the meal I've waited all year for--a home made Club Sandwich. Four slices a of bacon, three slices of sourdough bread, leftover turkey, and what seemed to be at least a quarter cup of mayo. I ... felt ... sleepy ... in ... 5-4-3-2-1 minutes.

The evening was finished off with a beautiful fire and a family viewing of Wizard of Oz.

Today, the tacky inflatable Santa's are going up ...

Season's Greetings!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Can you hear me now?

Last night, as I was listening to late night radio on KEX 1190, the reception started to fade. I did my usual tricks--move the radio, touch the radios, stick the antenna in my ear--but the reception kept fading. Among the crackling, I heard the announcer state the station number as 1180. So adjusted the station from 1190 to 1180 and it came in clear except the news and weather seemed different. After about 30 minutes, the announcer provided the weather for Kalispell, Montana ... 500 miles away.

So, if you're ever in Kallispell, tune in to KOFI 1180, for the latest news, talk, and oldies.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Robot birthday cake

Max loves his Light Bright.

From far away the picture looks like a robot.

Up close, it's a birthday cake.

Reading with Grandma

Zöe loves to read with Grandma Barbara. She won't still still for more than 10 seconds with us. But she'll put in marathon session of sitting and reading with Grandma Barbara.

As a result, Zöe is now doing some full-blown talking with words like sunshine, Cookie Monster, money, and I want this.

Our special visitors

We had special visitors last week: Grandma Barbara and Grandpa Canon.

They arrived into one of the first sunny days in a long, long time. The rather brisk winds blew away the clouds to reveal a bright blue sky. With temps in 50s, I was tempted to wear shorts.

Soon after their champagne greeting at our house, our guests were Laurelhurst Schools' guests. It was, coincidentally, "Grandparents and Special Friends Day" at the school. Grandma Barbara was bursting with excitement, "I hope they ask who came the farthest."

After the greetings, the principal stood up and asked, "Who came from out of town?"



"Ohio," my mom shouted with a volume I last heard when the gerbils escaped from their cage when I was 12.

The gasps were audible. Especially from the grandparents from Eugene who thought a two hour drive had cinched their special place in history.

From there we were treated to a presentation of "The First Snow," performed by Jack's first grade class. Jack's performance was Oscar worthy for supporting actor in his portrayal of a bird. He informed me later that he even said a line that all the other birds forgot.

After that we returned home for a little relaxation before the next event. Dinner at Poor Richards.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Justice prevails!

As I noted in my last post, I had a date with the traffic court today. It began with a little hiccup this morning. Power was out in parts of downtown, including the courthouse. Only after waiting 30 minute to get hand-scanned for metal (I had hidden my little Leatherman at City Coffee) waiting for 30 in line for the clerk was I informed that the power failure halted the wheels of justice until after lunch.

Upon returning to court in the afternoon, I waited in line get assigned a courtroom and then waited some more for the judge. He seemed like a good egg, so I figured that I wouldn't have lay it on too thick. There were two charges: driving without insurance and improper display of tags. I got out of the first charge by showing him my proof of insurance. I was ready to cop to the second one because my tags had been expired for about 8 months. Rather than hear my story, he asked if I had registered the vehicle. "Yes, sir."

"Well today is you lucky day. I enter a plea of guilty, but I'll waive the fine."

"So I guess you don't want to hear my sob story?"

"Not unless you want to pay the fine ..."

I said my thanks and beat a hasty retreat.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Max's birthday and more

Meegan covered much of Max's birthday already. The day was eventful for me, too.

I finally got the the Pathfinder registered. It took only nine months and one ticket sufficiently motivate me to get the air quality testing station, pay the required $75, and put the stickers on. Now I'm ready for my date with the traffic court judge. I took care of the car registration on the way to talk to Dr. Hoang Le about my herniated disk.

From there, I went to work. I'm working on several projects currently. One involves wage negotiations between a labor union and the contracts who hire them. The other project is for an investor who is trying to change zoning to allow him to construct a luxury hotel in Oregon's wine country. I also have some construction-related litigation work in the pipeline, but that work seems to be wrapping up.

For his birthday, Max requested spaghetti. That is easy. When I was growing up, one of my birthday requests was fondue. Ahh, fondue. We'd have both steak and chicken, fried in peanut oil, and served with a variety of dipping sauces. Great for an kid, work for parents. In contrast, spaghetti is a godsend: cheap and easy.

At 7:00 the family party started. I was exhausted and in pain, so I spent much of the time sitting in a chair taking it all in. The cake selected by Max was a chocolate lover's fantasy--chocalate cake, chocolate filling, chocolate icing, topped with chocolate grenache. I loved it. I finally checked out at 10:15, leaving everyone else downstairs. Jack and Max fell asleep around 11:00 in Meegan's lap.

Friday was Part II. Max's friend's party was at Rainbow Park & Playground. It's a warehouse-showroom for outdoor play equipment--very nice outdoor play equipment. The marketing geniuses there also rent out the warehouse full of demo equipment for parties. The kids love it. Max had 16 friends and their siblings from preschool and elsewhere. Despite the range in ages (from 4 to 11), everyone got along and seemed to have a blast.

Almost immediately after that, Jack had "hit the pin" night at his school. Hit the Pin is a modern version of dodgeball where teams throw balls aimed at knocking over two bowling pins on their opponent's side. Teams are supposed to protect their own pins. However, if a player is hit by an opponent's thrown ball, he or she is "out." Jack's P.E. teacher ran the tournament which was divided into grade level groups as well as moms group and a dads group. Turnout was huge, there must have been 30 moms and 50 dads playing in their respective groups. Jack had fun while he was playing, but the late night before and the afternoon activity at Rainbow wiped him out. We left after about an hour.

Monday, January 23, 2006

In praise of Chuck E. Cheese

For the boys, Sunday was a bit of an emotional roller coaster. The night before Jack arranged a play date with his best friend, Isaac and his sister, Max's friend Eden. When we went to bed that night, he informed me that it was only 12 hours and 20 minute until Isaac would come over. First thing Sunday morning, I informed them that it was only two and a half hours until the playdate. Only Christmas morning elicits such as quick shift from sleep to action. As I made the cinnamon rolls, I was asked alternately, "How long until the cinnamon rolls are ready?" and "How long until Isaac and Eden come?"

Halfway through the pan of cinnamon rolls, the phone rang. Daddy intuition knew it couldn't be good. And it wasn't. Isaac and Eden were queasy and would not be coming over. Jack was speechless. Max was befuddled.

One solution quickly popped in to Meegan's mind: a trip to Target Chuck E. Cheese.

While Jack slowly warmed up to the idea, Max lept with glee, "We're going to Chuck E. Cheese! We're going to Chuck E. Cheese!"

The place was packed. I counted no fewer than six birthday parties. (I later learned that they even turn people away on some weekends.) No matter, the kids didn't care. They played a few video games, had a slice of pizza, and ran around 'til they were drenched in sweat. Despite the crowds, the kids were safe and the only tears were when we had to leave.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Random niceties

As I was standing on the side porch listening to the local jazz station, a random walker stopped to thank me for always playing such nice music all time. I sheepishly admitted that the reason is that I usually forget to turn the radio off when I go inside. She implored me to keep it up regardless: "I walk by at night when its raining and I hear the music and it just makes me happy."

Blowing the stink off

Our family has a saying: "Go outside and blow the stink off."

As a kid after hours of watching Kids Are People Too, Bugs & Daffy, Scooby Doo, and Thundar the Barbarian, I'd roll around on the floor and moan about how bored I was. "Why don't you go outside and blow the stink off, then?" My mom would say. Although it started with a "why" and ended with a question mark, it really was more of a gentle command than a question.

Last week, we went outside to blow the stink off. Now, this is no mean feat. Portland has seen steady rain for something like 30 of the past 33 days. We had just a narrow window in which to operate.

I don't mind going to see what we can see. Meegan, on the other hand, needs an objective. Our objective this time: a printer/scanner.

As we were walking out the door, Max ran over to one of the rhododendrons and starting climbing it. This is remarkable because this is not the sort of physical activity I would expect from Max. A few branches up the tree, he yelled, "Hey Daddy! Look at me. Take a picture."

So we hopped on the MAX train and went downtown to Office Depot, where we bought our brand new HP printer/scanner. As we were walking past Pioneer Square, Max climbed on top of a beaver and shouted, "Hey Daddy! Take my picture." Jack climbed on and shouted, "Me too!"

From there we stopped at Rock Bottom for a snack. As we left, it started raining sprinkling again. In my meteorological wisdom I prophecied that the MAX train would beat the rain to our house. Just as we walked up the sidewalk to home, it began sprinkling again. Within minutes of hunkering down at home, the house was bombarded first with hail then torrential rain. It was almost poetic. In fact it was poetic:

The sun is shining,
The sky is blue.
But I can't write that
Because it's not true.

Not only did we blow the stink off, we nearly washed the stink off, too.