Christmas Cards

I read with glee this reddit post: ..just received this letter…. What a great idea! I thought. And I started thinking about all the previous employers and friends I could randomly send unmarked cards to, with just that message on the inside. I was getting pretty dang excited about it. I could do him, and him, and definitly him…

But then I thought … why? Why would I do that? It would remind me of those times. And I’m sure the situation was completely the same on the other side- they must have thought I was an asshole too. What if, instead of that, I just sent a card, wished them a happy solstice / new year, and instead of leaving it anonymous, signed it, and made sure to put in a personal note so they knew it wasn’t a fluke. What would the result of that be?

It would be madness. Madness I say. And yet. How would it feel to no longer be carrying around the label of “asshole” for those guys? What an interesting experiment.

Chimney Park Dog Park

Took Mr Akamaru to the dog park tonight. It was our first time at the off-leash park, and this one’s practically within walking distance. He was running around the house driving everyone crazy. Sniffing the cats, barking at the door, just being underfoot and crazy. I was going to take him for a walk but decided to take him to the park instead.

I’m glad I did. He started off kind of reserved, and then stopped when he saw a loose dog. (Good Boy!). Then he checked with me and I told him to “go play.” Not that he’s a good listener or anything, but he took off like a shot. He spent the next forty five minutes or so running at top speed with a pack of other dogs that tolerated his craziness. It was terrific.

I hear that Chimney park’s slated for some upgrades! That’s exciting. We’ll be returning soon!

VW is Toast

Ms B ran over what she describes as an exhaust pipe along I-5 and cracked the transmission. State Farm has totaled the vehicle.

First, replacing the transmission is expensive! Luckily, since she hit the pipe, it’s covered under insurance. We took the car to Steve’s Imports to have the transmission repaired or replaced. They were awesome. We borrowed a loaner car which was not a beater; it was a nice 2006 Toyota. When we found out that State Farm was not going to repair the car, we borrowed their car for an extra two days. This was a big help, and I took them cookies because it was so awesome.

Second, I went back to First Tech credit union and asked for a new loan, and we went car shopping. We’re getting GAP insurance through First Tech this time. With the GAP insurance from Wentworth, I have to submit a big stack of paperwork; police report / insurance report / adjuster’s report / payment history / outstanding balance / copy of check from State Farm. It’s offensive. GAP insurance is for the “gap” between what we owe and what State Farm is giving us. None of the rest of that is actually germane to the discussion. At any rate, I have to submit all that paperwork. With the GAP insurance from First Tech, they’ll take care of that for us.

We found a couple of nice cars at Dick Hannah in Vancouver. One was sold before we got there, and we took a Honda for a test drive. It was spotless, and had a warranty. In fact, all of their cars had some kind of warranty; the newer used cars have a 3 month warranty. The salesman thought I was weird for making sure the Honda had windshield wiper fluid. And a jack, and a spare tire. You know why I checked that? Because the VW from Wentworth did not have those items. But Dick Hannah really stood by their cars. Part of that is the state-mandated testing, and part of that is because they want us to come back.

It’s been a real hassle replacing the VolksWagen. But I think we’re winding up with a better car, and there have been a lot of helps with the stress of the situation.

It’s Spring Soccer Time!

Miss K is delighted that it’s soccer time again! She says she prefers spring soccer because there’s less mud. I think she’ll be learning about spring mud :) On the plus side, there’s only games, no practices, and it’s a short season. So in a few months, we’ll have played about eight games, and we’ll be done. She really enjoys being out and active. Two twenty minute halves and a ten minute mid-game show, and I can go back inside where I feel safe again.

We took the dog to the last game and he wanted to know why all these kids were pelting around and he was stuck on the leash. And they got to play with a ball! I think he was slightly offended. But there were plenty of dogs who came by and visited for sniffing. So that wasn’t all bad.

She (Miss K, not the dog) is really getting great at riding her bike, too. I may have to do my running with her on her bike so she can go further than the two houses in front of us. We’ll have to see about that.

Spring escape!

Today is Saturday of Spring Break, the last weekend. And today, we escaped to Newport for the day. We got into town about noon and had lunch at Mo’s in the historic waterfront. Then, off to the aquarium. Yeah, kind of expensive this time of year, with taxes right here right now. But listening to the ooh and the aahs of the girls over everything from the turkey vulture to the sea lions, it was worth it.

We also walked along Beverly Beach with the dog. He loved it and kept trying to run in the sand. He didn’t like the waves much, they were large. It was windy, cold and wet, just like we expected.

We broke with our usual food and tried dinner at the buffet at chinook winds in Lincoln city. Never again. The smoke was too thick and we couldn’t taste the food. It was awful. Food selections were sub par.

A great day. We should do it again sometime.

The Thespinator

Miss B is enjoying the Pirates of Penzance. That is to say, with her foray into High School, she’s taken the stage with their production team and she’s playing in the theater.

I’m beside myself with glee, and pride. But mostly, happy she’s doing something she enjoys. I figure that the more extracurricular activities she gets, the more involved she gets, the more she’ll get out of High School. Also, the more she does stuff “outside her head,” maybe the more she’ll feel like doing that when she’s an adult too.

It’s hard though, not seeing so much of her. She’s gone in the mornings to go to school, and now that we’re in the final week before performances, she’s at school until 9pm. When she comes home and does her homework and goes to bed (because she’s just a little worn out.) So, happy and also sad.

Just like the theater masks!

High school open mic

So, I’m standing here, at Bipartisan Cafe at SE 79th and Stark. Miss B is reading from her comic book here; it’s an open mike with a program called “writers in the schools.” there are a lot of people to read here and a lot of supporters.

At Cleveland High, I was a writer, I ran the literary magazine my senior year (with Terri Hughes). I took an extra class after school across town at Benson. Both years, I went to the U of O for a writing symposium. I wrote lots, both prose and poetry. But I never got a chance to read my writings out loud like she is tonight.

I’ve been worried about how supportive this school will be, of her confidence in her art. We talked at the teacher conference about her talent and how the teacher is so impressed with her. But watching this and seeing this, I’m finding myself jealous of this experience and happy with our choices.

Puppy Love

Well, you knew it was going to have to happen; we got a puppy. About three weeks ago, in fact. The Humane Society got several shipments at once of what they thought were Border Collie (mix) puppies, so we went over to take a look. We brought home “Thurston,” who they figured was a border collie mixed with some sort of hound. The vet says more “pointer” than hound, especially since he doesn’t bay like hounds do, and the way he stands. He’s smart like Perrin was, kind of sneaky like Honor was, and a ball of wild energy like a puppy is. He’s a lot of fun, and I’m sure I’ll post pictures. We’ve renamed him to “Akamaru” (Aka for short), who is some mangy manga dog.

Miss B is surprising us all with trying out for her high school’s performance of Pirates of Penzance. Don’t know how she did, but the tryouts were this week. Also this week, she brought home the “Battle of the Books” team permission form. Sounds great! She’ll have to read some non-fantasy stuff too. :)

Miss K had a special reading at her school yesterday. She read a story she wrote about growing and harvesting tomatoes and how proud she was of herself for tending them. I didn’t make it- I was buried at work. Had a client whose website was going live and it needed too much TLC for me to go running off. But I’m going to try to make it to her Winter performance; the classes are all singing rather than doing a play. Once during the day and then again in the evening.

And we bought a new car. A used car. Ms B’s car died on Thanksgiving, on her way home from work. It just stopped working. We found out later that it was the timing belt, a normal maintenance item that when it breaks, it breaks the whole engine. We bought a 2003 VW Jetta Stationwagon from Wentworth Chevy. I’m pretty happy. I’m very happy with the loan from First Tech CU- it’s 3.74%! (with a 1% discount for paying via automatic withdrawal). I took extra joy from that with the advertisement today of car loans “at less than 13 percent interest). Well, that’s something else.

Anyway, hope all is well in your lives.

Anything New?

So, anything new this week?

I’m still running. About 3.5 miles three times a week. Right now, I’ve changed from doing one monolithic run for 36 minutes to four ten minute runs. That’s helping me stay mostly on track and keep my speed up. I think I wasn’t pushing myself hard enough for the leisurely pace of 3.5 miles in 36 minutes. (and when I did, I burned myself out too quickly). In fact, my most recent runs were 4 miles long. A little secret is that these 4 10s are the same as the first week of the “Bridge to 10K” — which I’m not super interested in (because it’s running for an hour) but if it gets my speed on the 5K down, that’s good. I’m going to do these 10s for at least this week and maybe next week do 3×15 minutes.

Miss K’s done with fall soccer. We’re talking about indoor soccer through the winter but we need to look at our schedule. It’s only one day a week, but the schedule we’ve been on has slowed us down on other fronts. But she really enjoys running around kicking the ball- and last game, she quite nearly ran the entire field and scored (but was blocked at the last moment).

Miss B’s grades continue to improve and her studies at the high school are interesting her; in particular German and Fine Arts. I’m hoping Biology and Geometry start engaging her soon. She’s not finding the English as challenging as she would like.

Ms B and I decided to skip the gym membership as we head into winter, and plan to get our Weight Watchers memberships back. The weight loss requires more focus and feedback than the continuing running (both are about equally as important overall).

We had a scare with my father in law, but he’s out of the cardiac-care unit and is recovering in a hospital room. He should be moving home this week.