Photo updates

This is where I post updates on the photos I upload.

February Part III

The rest of our vacation, and the rest of February.

After Sea World, we went to dinner at Ballast Point (KrisDi spilled 7 out of 8 ounces of bourbon barrel aged stout on her mother) and then we checked into the Lego Land Hotel (after GPS + road closure routing excitement). The hotel was fine. It’s geared toward children (surprise!). We stayed in a castle themed room. There were big heavy sliding doors on the spaces in our room — except the kids’ room. And they didn’t close well, so there was a good one inch gap to peer into/out of the bathroom. Location was kind of out in the middle of nowhere. The breakfast was definitely better than your average hotel breakfast. There were lots of nice touches (for kids) — free (read “included”) small Lego set after a small scavenger hunt every day, gigantic tub-o-Legos to play with in the lobby, sensors in the bathrooms that trigger recordings that talk to you and tell you jokes, wacky elevators, a corner that acts as a whoopee cushion if you walk in it, etc.

Lego Land was Lego Land. Lots of Lego sculptures, some rides (mostly pretty tame). I was surprised how interested the kids were in the mini cities. I was surprised how much Lego Land expanded their Star Wars themed stuff. We went to a brewery/bar/restaurant name Urge that night for dinner. Their beer was decent. They had a good taplist. The had a White Russians menu — a whole page just of variations on the White Russian.

The next morning we ate at the hotel again, then went to the San Diego Zoo. It’s a super nice zoo. Several elephants, a really big aviary, pandas. It’s also a really big zoo. I think we walked over 7 miles inside the zoo. This is where I really exercised the MegaLens (it was still too powerful in many cases). But I had fun with it. Lunch at the zoo, then dinner at Stone in Escondido afterwards. We swam in the hotel pool. After the kids went to bed, KrisDi and I went beer shopping. We drank a Rodenbach Alexander in the room when we got back.

One of the two nights, I don’t remember which, our key cards to get into the room stopped working and the replacements they gave us at the front desk also didn’t work. So, they concluded the battery in the reader in the door was dead; they needed the “master key” — a facilities guy with a crowbar and a wire on a stick. Lift up the door with the crowbar, slide the wire under the door and along the jamb, and voila! Door open, guests’ sense of security obliterated.

The next day of course we checked out, returned the rental car, flew home, etc. On the flight home, Chilkat’s tray table latch thing was missing — the airline’s “fix” was to tape it shut and stick an authorization sticker of some sort to it. Chilkat was upset, Chilkoot was gloating.

Nearly 3,700 pictures taken (not all kept), over 20gb of pictures/videos.

The rest of the month was pretty tame. But KrisDi wore mismatched shoes to work one day, which was pretty amusing.

Posted by snaotheus in Family, Photo updates, 0 comments

February Part II

February Part II: Knott’s Berry Farm and Sea World

You shouldn’t be surprised that we took a lot of pictures in a small number of days. So, this is just for two days.

After Universal Studios, we moved to a hotel that was walking distance to Knott’s Berry Farm. Knott’s Berry Farm was the best place we visited for rides, and the crowds were non-existent. Chilkoot and I rode the same ride six times in a row. One time the operator let us stay on the ride, because there was no one waiting.

Chilkat discovered that she really likes the faster and more exciting rides, now that she’s over 48″ tall and she can ride more of them. She developed a disdain for the kid rides (which was something of an act because she still likes them, especially when she rides with Chilkoot). But, it did cause some strife, because Chilkoot couldn’t ride all the rides that she could, and we ended up splitting up rather than making Chilkoot wait outside a ride for Chilkat to finish.

We continued to struggle with practical application for the MegaLens.

After the park, we walked back to the hotel, and then drove to a small local Mexican restaurant, which was quite good. I bought a beer at the liquor store near the hotel to drink in the evening. In the morning we got up early and drove down to Sea World. The dolphin and orca shows were good opportunities for the MegaLens.

There were rides, and more animal displays, and whatnot. I don’t think anything particularly notable happened here. It rained a bit. It was very sunny during the aforementioned dolphin and orca shows. Crowds were small. The beer selection was surprisingly good (but I didn’t have any, because there definitely wasn’t anything worth theme park beer prices). “We saw a bunch of stuff” is probably the best summary of Sea World — so go look at the pictures.

We went and had dinner at Ballast Point (KrisDi spilled an entire barrel aged stout of some sort on Big D). We bought a few bottles to take home. Then we went home for the night.

Posted by snaotheus in Family, Photo updates, 1 comment

February Part I

February, Part I

February…feels like a long time ago, but it’s really just barely less than a month ago, I guess (I’m writing this on the evening of March 31st).

The month started off pretty slow. We hosted a Super Bowl party. Chilkoot had his kindergarten tour (he decided he needed to wear a tie). We had a Daddy Daughter Day + Valentine’s Dance and a Mommy Son Day. Chilkat seems to have decided she likes root beer floats. For the 100th day of school, Chilkat’s school dressed up as 100 year old people (we went so far as to buy a real wooden cane and cut it down to Chilkat’s size). We had Valentine’s day and the associated lasagna (home made noodles, ricotta, mozzarella, sausage, and sauce). Chilkoot gave me stroopwafels.

Things of course started getting truly busy in preparation for Chilkat’s birthday party. She wanted a Magic School Bus themed party, so she got it to the nines, naturally. Lots of people, lots of food (I think 73 individual dishes), lots of drinks, lots of presents. Incidentally, we are now hitting the age of drop-off parties — at least one kid was dropped off by parents who left. One of them thought to leave a cell phone number. Frightening times. It’s enough to make you think that some parents think these kids should be allowed outside of the house without constant supervision at some point in their lives.

I can’t believe Chilkat is 7 now.

The day after the party, we flew to California for our string of high-end kid activities for Chilkat’s “mid-winter break” (for those of us my age and older, interpret this as “we invented an excuse to dismiss school for an extra week in February and we call it mid-winter break”). We hopped through San Francisco (picking up Nana and Papa on the way). Rented a mini van (with some drama, since our rental company didn’t actually have the van we reserved). Went to an AirBnB place that was big and empty (it’s strange to see full sized domiciles that are fully furnished and so clearly not lived in). We went to a nearby In-n-Out for take-out dinner. While KrisDi and Big D waited in the surprisingly long line, I walked until I found a random liquor store and (1) Was too stupid to read the year in the date on bottles of beer and consequently bought 1+ year old IPAs, and (2) stumbled across Founders CBS, a beer I have been half-assed looking for/whole-assed hoping for since roughly six years ago (in a random liquor store walking distance from a random In-n-Out…life is weird).

The next day, we started our “mid-winter break” activities in earnest by going to Universal Studios. The crowds were medium sized (compared to Disney Land last year). Chilkat and Chilkoot both got magic wands in Harry Potter World. We spent a little time in The Simpsons world (and I got a beer at a Duff-themed bar). The studio tour was cheesy but neat.

KrisDi and I had previously decided that the MegaLens is useless if I don’t actually take it with us when we leave the house, despite the ass pain caused by taking it out of the house. So we brought it along. And I was amused in my fruitless attempts to take pictures of my family on roller coasters — even from afar, it’s too zoomful (I just made that word up and I like it). I’m very sure the lens is more capable than the photographer in this case. My highlight of the day I think was when we were waiting for the Waterworld show, and music was playing, and Chilkat noticed his shadow, and started to dance with it.

Edit: I forgot to mention that it was relatively cold. It rained on us a little, and it was chilly and quite breezy. Les, despite his Chicago conditioning, found himself shivering. Also, KrisDi got stung by a bee in Simpsons land.


In other news — I updated the tool that I use to create the photo albums (jAlbum) and the “skin” that I use (previous Turtle, now Tiger) in the hopes of being able to make albums that look better on mobile devices. After enough fiddling around, I’m somewhat satisfied with the results. Plus now I can upload videos without external hosting. I’m not sure that I couldn’t do that before, but I’m sure I didn’t know how to do that before.

Posted by snaotheus in Family, Photo updates, 1 comment

January!

The last several months of last year, I started having increasing shoulder pain and neck pain and had to stop doing the pushups I’ve been doing for years to maintain my lower back. I finally went to neck/orthopedic doctor about it (my primary care doctor retired which complicated things). He sent me for another neck MRI (last one was two years ago, yes neck is worse now) and had me come back later for an ultrasound on my shoulder (no tears or anything, but thickening/stiffening of some tissues, noticeable ‘wear and tear’ on others, etc). He said, “Well, I’d recommend physical therapy, or a shot in the shoulder and then physical therapy.” I opted for the shot, and Dr’s eyes lit up and he called the assistant with the ultrasound back in. Three soap scrubs on the shoulder, two alcohol, one local anesthetic shot, and then an ultrasound-guided horse needle into the core of my shoulder — a bit more involved than your standard immunization.

I was slightly discomfited by the nonchalance (and/or the apparent glee) with which this preparation and execution occurred. I was more discomfited by having a large tube of metal jabbed into my shoulder socket.

My shoulder felt uncomfortable and touchy for about 24 hours, and since then has felt noticeably better. I’ve been to PT three times and have been doing my exercises at home pretty responsibly. Neck started flaring up again this week. Stay tuned for the next installment in the ongoing saga of snaotheus’ skeletal system’s attempts to wrest control of his body from his brain.

Chilkat’s school held a math and science open house. They had stations of various activities spread throughout a couple of rooms. Chilkat spent a bunch of time on the “build a bridge out of straws and tape” activity, and “build a tower out of blocks” activity, and sort of skipped around to the other ones. Chilkoot tagged along. I think they had a good time.

Kids have been playing pretend more, and often with more detailed and involved stories:

  • There’s a picture in there of Chilkat with a Captain America shield and a witch hat. She tells me she was pretending she was a super hero with a costume on so that her enemies wouldn’t kill her.
  • They were pretending to run a store (again). Cookie Monster was their customer. He seemed to need a lot of things and have a lot of money.
  • Chilkoot wanted to be an astronaut knight. We dressed him up. He refused to allow me to call him astroknight. I was disappointed.

I had a very hectic pair of weeks with guests from Japan. At least one of the groups of them had a rough trip out here. They had 20cm of snow drop on Narita (roughly the same or greater level of panic than would be introduced by 9-10″ dropping on SEATAC).

During their visit, we went for a big dinner at a local Chinese seafood restaurant. We ordered a lobster (we were introduced to the lobster before he was boiled). Not much of the lobster got eaten, and most of the leftovers ended up getting sent home with me. I didn’t know what the hell to do with it, so I had a giant lobster scramble for breakfast the next day. It was pretty good.

We took the kids ice skating. Chilkat’s second time, Chilkoot’s first. Chilkat was dramatically afraid, as she is wont to be, and Chilkat was falling down constantly. KrisDi hit on some key advice — just crouch. It keeps the kids from leaning back, and when a kid on ice skates leans back, it’s all over. But, it doesn’t solve the motion problem. I was able to address that with “Just sneak, Chilkoot.” With enough tiny little steps, he could get a little momentum going. But, the boy in particular loved skating, and wanted (at least for a day afterwards) to do nothing but skate some more.

False Alarm M (the older daughter) had her birthday party. She wanted to have a princess tea party, which led to the discovery of what appears to be a small local niche business: Princess day care. You can send your kids to a day care centered entirely around princesses. I winced when I entered the building. Anyway, they do hosted tea parties on the weekend. Chilkoot was the only boy, and he was pointedly ignored by the staff. To the point of serving all the little girls tea and cupcakes with gaudy ceramic dishes, while Chilkoot sat blithely on the other end of the table with nothing. I captured the employee who seemed to be running things to ask, “Are you going to serve my son?”

“Well, the reservation was only for nine.”

Well, the reservation was actually for seven, and they had no problem accommodating the addition of two girls to the party (at a likely materials cost of 75 cents total). But a boy? Nopers. I didn’t blow up. Maybe I should have. The depth of poorness of customer service is breathtaking.

False Alarm Mom harangued them into giving him a cupcake on a paper plate with a beverage in a paper cup. Later, she called to talk to the owner/manager, who had shitty excuses and I think gave her some money back or something.

They will receive none of my business (not that it was likely), and certainly no recommendations from me.

On the bright side — the young lady I talked to could have been a perfect young Angela — looks, manner, and attitude were all in perfect alignment. It was recognizable before the little conversation about my son.

 

Posted by snaotheus in Family, Photo updates, 1 comment

December Part II

We went up to Bellingham on the 23rd for Grandma Christmas. The kids were not happy with Mom’s regular Christmas tree, they wanted the foamboard tree they made together a couple years ago. The kids got delightful presents. Chilkoot would only let Mom look at the pictures on the outside of his Play Do Ice Cream set — what kind of a weird four year old doesn’t want to immediately rip open presents?¬†We busted out Mom’s old flute (which apparently is now harder for Mom to toot) — but the kids didn’t particularly care about it.

As I mentioned in the previous post, KrisDi had already let me open my Christmas present, so that I could take it to Mom’s and take pictures of the wilderness behind her house. Chilkoot also got it into his head that we needed to walk to the park again, just like our last visit — even though it was like 30 degrees and he didn’t have gloves. It’s roughly 1.1 miles from Mom’ to the park — we made it, despite numerous prompts, “If you’re getting cold now, we should go back.” He’s very stubborn. But, he made it.

Christmas Eve was the big family thing at E Dubs’ house. It was what you would expect — a ton of food (a significant amount of it Polish), a ton of presents for the kids, a non-trivial quantity of beer, and lots of noise. KrisDi also invited her co-worker to come, since she didn’t have anyone to spend the holiday with this year.

Christmas Day was the small family thing at our house. KrisDi and the kids left cookies and milk and a note for Santa (and carrots for the reindeer) by the fireplace. Kids got a ton more presents. Les and D joined us a little later in the day. We actually got snow — maybe 3-4 inches or so — so the kids got to go outside and make snow blocks and tiny snow men and throw snow balls (they assaulted the truck when Les and D arrived from Gig Harbor).

I don’t remember which day this was — but KrisDi actually got rid of a truckload of things. Mostly toys, but also some luggage and and other random stuff. Not packing densely or anything, it was pretty much one whole truck bed. And still not enough — probably a nearly equivalent amount of stuff entered our household as the result of Christmas. My dream is to someday not have things “organized” in piles — to be able to get to any given thing without having to dig more than one thing out of the way. Some day…

Most people are aware that I like beer. Fewer people are aware that I’m moderately active on BeerAdvocate.com — mostly I review beers that I drink when I’m in a situation where I can sit down and pay attention to it. But, sometimes I look at the forums. As it turns out, someone was organizing a bottle share for Seattle area BAs, and Les was available to watch the kids for us. So we met up with a group of strangers and shared beer with them. It was fun — most of the beers were very good (a very few of them were bad). We went to Pam’s Kitchen and had Trinidadian for dinner. We also went to Bottleworks and looked at beer. It was a fun night.

The next day, Mr. JJ and his son came down to our house for a bourbon barrel beer tasting. With just the four of us drinking, we went through two rounds of five beers. The kids decided that all of the beers I had staged for this event were theirs — and that they were going to sell them to us. They built a little store around my cooler, and Chilkat initially set the price at $1 per bottle, which is grossly undervalued. She eventually jacked it up to $20 (on average, probably a decent profit margin), and made an adorable sign illustrating the concept of paying $20 for a bottle of beer. It was a good time.

The next day, our friends from Oregon came up to stay for the weekend. Their daughter is older than Chilkoot and younger than Chilkat. It’s fun to hang out with them.

The next day was New Year’s Eve. We hosted a party, with the Popes (4), Chilkat’s friend’s family (4), our Oregon friends (3), the False Alarms (4), and us (4). It was a lot of fun. The Popes and Chilkat’s friend’s family left ~10pm, after the kids did their toast. Then we put the kids to bed, and the remainder of the adults stayed up until 3 joking and talking and drinking and playing Monikers. At some point, someone proposed a Long Island Iced Tea, with a recipe similar to the following: About six different liquors and some Coke. I made something that met that description, and we dubbed it the North Dakota Iced Tea. G False Alarm drank it very slowly.

Posted by snaotheus in Family, Photo updates, 1 comment