Saturday, December 31, 2005

On the Road

Here we are in Southern California. Not sunny all of the time. But close enough.

When I stepped off the plane on the 21st, at 9:30 or so at night, the temperature outside was 63 degrees. And it occurred to me that New Hampshire would not be seeing that temperature at any time of the day or night for over four months. I think I'm going to have trouble getting back on the plane on the 7th.

On the 23rd we went to Disneyland. Crowded, as we expected, but a fun, full day. What a joy it was to see Danny getting so much into the rides, though a couple of times he had a hissy fit when we had to take him off at the end. Especially at the Autopia (where, for those of you who don't know, tots get to drive cars--well, steer anyway, if they can't reach the pedal). Danny just couldn't accept that his turn was over. Even harder for Danny was leaving the giant animatronic figure of Buzz Lightyear, his favorite superhero, to actually go on the ride called "Buzz Lightyear Astro Blaster," though once he got on the ride he enjoyed shooting at the targets; Astro Blaster is like the world's largest video game, with a car that you can spin while shooting beams of light at a target for points. At the end you get to email a picture of yourself to your home email address, and when I get someplace that I can properly retrieve our pictures I will add them to a gallery.

On Christmas day we were at the Reisch Cottage with Marylou, Tony, Peyton, and Madison. The family had a big party, and we all had fun eating, talking, and singing karaoke. Karen sang, I sang until my voice gave out (and even a bit beyond that), but we couldn't get Tom anywhere near the karaoke. We did get Peyton to sing, and 4-year-old Madison sang a capella.

We also visited Aunt Flo on Christmas day, and she enjoyed the decorations we gave her to brighten up her room, including some pictures of her with the boys that we had taken a few days earlier. Ah, the magic of digital photography!

On the 26th we went to Legoland, where we would have been better off spending two days, but we very much enjoyed the rides and the massive Lego sculptures throughout the park. One new additions that we particularly liked was a Florida section with models of the Daytona speedway and the Kennedy Space Center. And all of the city models had little seasonal touches, including a scene of Santa getting rescued when his sleigh fell off the side of a building in San Francisco, complete with a hook and ladder crew and one of his reindeer peering over from the roof.

Now we are in Fresno, visiting family from the Central Valley and the Yosemite area for the next couple of days. Then it's off to Oregon for more family visiting.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

One Flu Over the Cuckoo's Nest

I'm in a house full of sick people!

As we came home Sunday from a fun but not entirely relaxing trip to see everyone in New Jersey (well, not everyone in New Jersey--just family), poor William got sick. Car sick, we thought, but today we know better. Last night around midnight Danny started in, followed by Karen in the morning, followed by Thomas in the evening. The only one to have escaped the nasty little bug is me. So far. But I wouldn't bet on it.

Actually, the part of the trip that wasn't entirely relaxing was the driving, on the return trip for the reason mentioned above, and on the outgoing journey because of snow. A blizzard, actually. By the time we had dropped Bonnie at the dog-sitter (yes, we have a dog-sitter), we encountered white-out conditions and had to stop in Rochester for a couple of hours to let the heavy snow blow over. After that it wasn't too bad, except for two things: five people packed into a little Subaru (my Astro van was in the shop, and the Subaru handles the snow better anyway), and all of the cars (and SUVs, and semis, and a snow plow!) that were stuck in the ditch by the side of the road.

But the actual visiting was fun and long overdue, and I'm looking forward to seeing the Garden State gang again soon. Although I hope this time both the weather and my van will cooperate.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Danny is Three!

Yesterday was Danny's third birthday. The celebration was unusual; Karen couldn't be there in the evening because of school, and I coudn't be there in the morning because of work, so Danny had two birthday parties, a breakfast party with Karen, and a dinner party with me.

Actually, those were two of the four birthday celebrations Danny had. The first was at Chuck E. Cheese's on Monday. We all crammed into Karen's Subaru, because my Astro Van was in the shop getting looked over for a new transfer case. The boys had a lot of fun, and I couldn't get Danny to leave until I chased him down and carried him out of the door. The party animal!

Temperatures are getting very low around here, well below freezing every night, never above freezing today, although we are expecting some milder weather, in the thirties, next week. We are also expecting snow, so it's a good thing my all-wheel drive is getting fixed at the end of this week. Lately I've been parking on the vacant lot next to our driveway at night when slick conditions are expected, so that I don't get stuck trying to get up our driveway, something I never had to worry about when the AWD was healthy.

I see that Southern California is expecting daytime highs in the sixties and seventies next week. I wish I could experience a little of that in the middle of the winter. Oh, wait, I will be!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Let It Snow. . .Oh, Wait, No. . .

Well, the Thanksgiving weekend has come to a close. The predictions of snowfall were amazingly accurate, the two-to-four-inch estimate preceding a difference-splitting three, enough to have me slipping and sliding all over the road on my errands Thursday, though my commute on Friday was along well-plowed roads.

On Saturday, Karen and I went down to Concord to do some early-morning shopping, missing the "Black Friday" crowds by a day. In the afternoon, Karen volunteered at the Wolfeboro Area Children's Center to help children do holiday crafts. William and Danny went, too, William doing several craft projects, and Danny doing almost none, being too interested in the toys at the center. But he did them later at our dining room table with Karen.

Today I went back to work in fog and feezing rain. Winter is still nearly a month away, but we can't tell from here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Frozen Turkey Day

A happy Thanksgiving holiday to all from the Brooks Bunch. The title of this entry refers not to our turkey, which is by now thawed, but to the weather, which most assuredly is not. The current temperature outside is 19 degrees Fahrenheit, and we are expecting as much as four inches of snow by the morning. Fortunately, the rest of the weekend is expected to bring milder temperatures and no precipitation.

We will be having what I might call a half-traditional meal. Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce as usual. But the pie will be Key Lime (though we will be having pumpkin custard, without crust). And among the treats will be turkeys made from cookies and candy pieces, by William. We'll take some pictures of those.

Speaking of pictures, I know I've been remiss in posting new ones, but I have had to struggle with my slow Internet connection, not to mention the moving of my computer because of the leak in our roof. But I will take advantage of this long weekend, perhaps transferring image files to a flash drive and taking them over to the local Internet Cafe for uploading (if they have the right kind of software). So, check in again at the end of the weekend.

For all of our friends and family on the Left Coast, we will be coming out for a visit during the last week of Decmeber and the first week of January. More information to follow.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Rain, rain. . .GO AWAY!

We continue to be plagued by water. Not only by the most recent storm, but apparently by several storms before it. We have a leak in our roof, which leaked into the dormer, which is right next to our storage area, which is normally closed. So we didn't, for some time, notice that our wood floor was being destroyed from underneath.

Photos to come. Not much in the way of blogging or email from me for a few days, as we are going to move my computer system downstairs this weekend as part of preparing to have the floor rebuilt.

I'm really starting to hate rain.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Can I Stand the Strain?

Karen and I have actually been able to get out and about and do a few things lately.

On Friday, when I had the day off for Veteran's Day, we went with Thomas to see the excellent movie "Good Night and Good Luck," the story of Edward R. Murrow's battle with Joe McCarthy. On Saturday we went to see the local theater group's production of "The Sound of Music." It was fun! This could start a trend. Might even get to be a habit!

Driving Force

Today was a day of driving, but then what's new for New Hampshire?

I only worked a half day, thanks to the generousity of our facility director, who let us each have four hours off to use at our discretion. I chose today because Thomas had an orthodontist appointment in Laconia. So after a nice lunch at Taco Bell (a rare treat), I went off towards home. Now, follow me if you dare. I drove the usual commute home, and then a bit more to Kingswood High to pick up Tom. That took about an hour. Then to Laconia, on the other side of the lake, for the appointment, a 45-minute drive. The appointment took about twnety minutes, after which we drove home to leave Tom off, stopping for a snack and gasoline on the way, making the trip about 55 minutes. I crossed paths with Karenm, who was on the way to class, for all of five minutes, and then I went off to a dental appointment of my own. That, at least, was only ten minutes away.

I picked up Danny and Will on the way home. Whew! And now, having fed the young ones and put them in pajamas (actually sweatsuits made to look like Superman's clothing, complete with cape), I need to brush teeth and read tonight's story. Hmm. Better find my reading glasses.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Trying to Keep Up

I'm still not getting the hang of doing regular updates, although I have some pictures to put up and there is a lot going on. And therein lies the problem. This weekend, for example, we have someone coming to look at the house. Unexpectedly. And since we are just in the process of moving back in, after having moved almost everything out, we have to scramble to make the house look half decent. I hope it's all worth it!

Karen has just finished two more classes at Hesser College: Textiles and Architectural CAD. Grades aren't in yet, but I am comfident that she did very well. She's also midway through Materials, an architectural engineering course, which is something of a stretch for her, with no construction experience (although the experience of building one-and-a-half houses has helped).

I'm trying to get all of my gear together to make it easier to put together a reel, andperhaps find a job closer to my own field. Not that there is anything wrong with my redundant, boring, far-away job. . .well, you get the picture. But aside from that, having my gear together will also make it easier to work on the Web sites, so you and those I direct to will actually see changes on a regular basis. I hope.

Winter is on its way, although we've had a mild week. What we don't know yet is if we'll be spending the winter in a cozy little rented house with low heating bills and no long driveway to plow, or spending another winter here in this big drafty summer camp. I'll keep you up to date!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Happy Birthday William!

Yesterday William turned five! Wow, when Thomas and I first moved here, ahead of Karen and William, Will hadn't even learned to walk yet. And now here he is at five, ready to take on the world.

William's birthday party is next week, but we had a nice family party last night with decorations and balloons and cake and ice cream. William got some very cool wooden toys from his Nana, which animate when you pull on the ends or twirl a ball suspended underneath from a string. He also got a couple of games for his Leap Pad and Leapster, and a video camera toy that hooks up to the TV and transmits picture and sound, and even had little Karaoke cartridges to sing along to.

Pictures should be added to the gallery this weekend, and perhaps some video from that new toy, if I can digitize it reliably.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

A Rocky Start

A new blog, and a new site design, which I am long overdue in posting. The last time the site was updated was for Mother's Day. Horrible, huh?

Now I am supposed to be moving. I don't know where. I don't know when. And, as of Friday, I don't even know if. But I have taken a week off to make the move, and I'm going to at least make the most of the time I won't spend processing passports and commuting to Portsmouth. Some of that time I will spend getting this site ready for more frequent updates. You can already see four picture galleries, and more will come as fast as I can create them, a much easier task using iPhoto's Web Export feature. And I hope to get Thomas and Karen in the land of blog before the end of October.

And I'm also going to get rid of a lot of old stuff I no longer use, and begin a daily habit of archiving things I do want to keep, but not in their current form. Like old records that would be fine as MP3 files, or my aritst's/filmmaker's morgue which would be better as an electronic database system. And even digital photos of some of the things I like to have around to look at, but don't want to move from place to place.

And I'm going to try to find a job closer to home. Maybe even one that pays better.