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December 30, 2005

Backyard Swamp

What do you get when you mix clay soil with 21 hours of heavy rain?

Swamp.jpg
A swamp... anyone know how to grow rice?

In the words of Led Zeppelin, If it keeps on rainin', the levees gonna break...

December 28, 2005

A gift for me? Or for Steph?

As some of you know, I am what some would consider an 'audiofile', or some would consider me to be an 'audio geek'. Not only do I like to listen to music as it was meant to be heard, but I also enjoy playing around with audio equipment (measuring, tweaking, listening, etc).

Well, for the last year, our family room has been home to a monstrosity of a subwoofer. It follows the form follows function philosophy, and it works just fine for me... but it doesn't score very well when it comes to WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor). So, I spent several hours over the weekend putting my subwoofer in its new home... and I got it done just in time for our Roth Christmas gathering. So the question still remains, is it a gift for me? Or a gift for Steph? Since I could have lived with the old setup indefinitely, I would have to say that it was a gift for Steph...

Here are some before and after photos:

FamilyRoomCornerII.jpg
The yellow arrow points to the old subwoofer cabinet, with the amplifier on top.

FamilyRoomNew.jpg
The new, all black subwoofer cabinet with the speaker hidden behind a grill and the amp mounted to the back of the cabinet.

Here are a few other photos for those who might be interested in more than just the black box:

SubFront1.jpg
Front of the sub with grill removed.
BackofSub.jpg
The amplifier mounted to the back of the sub enclosure.

What have we been up to?

Well, right after my last entry, Stephanie and I headed up to downtown Portland to celebrate our 12th anniversery. I surprised Steph by booking a room at the new Hilton Executive Tower, right next to Pioneer Courthouse Square and Pioneer Place (not real big attractions for me, but I figured Steph would like it). I did like the valet parking at the Hilton, as well as all the little details -- chocolate covered strawberries and champagne (sparking cider for us) in our room, soft terry cloth robes, and breakfast in bed Sunday morning... very nice.

Our view from the 16th floor of the Hilton:

PortlandSkyline1.jpg

PortlandSkyline2.jpg

Dinner on Saturday night was at Caprial's Bistro. We had wonderful 4-course dinner, and we got to meet Caprial (she was helping out because they were so busy).

We started out with a slightly garlicky spinach appetizer (I can't remember the name of the dish) which was served with fresh bread... if spinach always tasted that good, I would eat it like Popeye does! Next was the Smoked Salmon Salad for me, and the Soup for Steph (I can't rememer what the soup was). The salad was incredible... the tangy horseradish-buttermilk dressing was a perfect match for the smoked salmon. The salad was enormous, too... if I hadn't starved myself all day, I would have been full after the salad course. For the main course, I got the Flat Iron Steak and a glass of the Ravenswood Cabernet Sauvignon, the two were an excellent match. Steph had the fresh Salmon, which was my other choice... it was delicious as well. Dessert really topped off the evening. We split a slice of the Chocolate Turtle Torte... and oh, was it ever fabulous... rich yet smooth as silk... the perfect compliment for a cup of coffee.

We made it back downtown in time to do a little shopping, mainly just some decent gloves and hat for me so I didn't freeze. We returned to Pioneer Place after breakfast the next morning, and were actually able to get some Christmas shopping done. Then we headed home in attempt to beat the approaching WINTER BLAST... which arrived ahead of schedule. By the time we made it to Canby to pick up Noah, we were driving on a thin layer of ice... but we made it home safely.

Since then it has been a flurry of Christmas shopping, wrapping presents, and celebrating with friends and family.

We had a good Christmas, but Noah still wants to open more presents and he seems quite sad that Christmas is over. We still have Steph's cousin Christmas gathering to attend this weekend, so he will get one more present to open... after that, he's just going to have to wait until his birthday... and he's going to have to endure new baby sister getting lots of presents... I don't think he knows what's going to hit him!

December 17, 2005

Frosty and Coldy

Noah got up this morning, looked out the front windows, and proclaimed that it was frosty and coldy. :-)

FrostyShed.jpg
The 'frosty and coldy' garden shed.

It has been downright cold the last few mornings. At one point yesterday morning, we were at -7C and Grande Prairie, Alberta was at -8C (see the new 'Weather' tickers on my sidebar). The Peace Country of Alberta is usually much, much colder than we are this time of year. Of course, by midday, we were up to +3C and GP was still at -7C... and right now things are back to normal... Canby is at -1C and GP is at -17C.

Stay warm out there!

December 15, 2005

Isabel Pilar Arredondo

We just got home from visiting the Arredondo family in the hospital. Little Isabel was the perfect angel while we were there, sleeping peacefully the entire time. What a wonderful Christmas present for Sabino & Kim and the boys. Congratulations guys!


Kim, Sabino, and baby Isabel.

You can see more photos and leave a comment for the Arredondo family on JD's weblog: Isabel Pilar.

December 10, 2005

Quilted Advent Calendar

Noah received a quilted Advent calendar that his Grandma Sandy made for him. We didn't actually pick it up from the post office until December 8th, so he got a whole pile of gifts on the first day.

NoahAdvent.jpg
Noah standing in front of the quilted Advent calendar.

So far, Noah's favorite gift is Jack, a tractor with a loader bucket (a Thomas the Tank Engine character, of course :-). He has had fun picking a new gift each day, and he is really having fun with Christmas-time this year.

I just wonder if Grandma Sandy is going to fill up the calendar every year... ;-)

[Edit: Steph tells me that the Advent calendar is actually not quilted, but 'machine embroidered'... whatever. I say if it looks like a quilt and feels like a quilt, it's a quilt. Besides, this is my weblog, not hers... so I'll call it whatever I want! :-]

December 9, 2005

Noah's Playhouse Archives

For old entries of Noah's Playhouse, go to: www.foldedspace.org/noah

December 2, 2005

Winter Holiday Image Recognition Quiz

#1 Identify the following image:


A: Winter Solstice Tree
B: Nondescript Winter Holiday Symbol
C: Christmas Tree
D: Holiday Tree
E: Festivus Tree

#2 Identify the following image:


A: Winter Solstice Candelabra
B: Nondescript Winter Holiday Symbol
C: Chanukah Menorah
D: Holiday Candelabra
E: Festivus Pole

#3 Identify the following image:


A: Winter Solstice Symbol of Greed (imaginary, a character for children)
B: Emotionally Exuberant, Winter Holiday Person of Elevated Mass
C: Santa Claus (NOT real, and NOT the reason for the season)
D: Santa Claus, bringer of Holiday Cheer (aka Jolly Old St. Nicholas)
E: Festivus "Feats of Strength" Competitor

#4 Identify the following image:


A: Representation of the First Winter Solstice Celebration
B: Nodescript Winter Holiday Gathering
C: Nativity Scene featuring Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, etc.
D: Holiday Barn
E: The First Festivus Celebration

#5 Identify the following image:


A: Jesus Christ, Christian religious guru (born around Winter Solstice)
B: Nodescript Winter Holiday Person of the Past
C: Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior (his birth celebrated at Christmas)
D: Holiday Celebrity of the Past
E: Cosmo Kramer during the 1970's

#6 Identify the following image:


A: Winter Solstice Wreath
B: Nondescript, Circular, Winter Holiday Door Decoration
C: Christmas Wreath
D: Holiday Wreath
E: Festivus Donut

#7 Identify the following image:


A: Christian Religion Holiday Greeting
B: Specific, Potentially Offensive, Politically Incorrect Holiday Greeting
C: Friendly Christmas Greeting
D: Another way of saying, "Happy Holidays!"
E: Another way of saying, "Happy Festivus!"

#8 Identify the following image:


A: Poinsettia (aka Euphorbia pulcherrima)
B: Festively Colored Winter Holiday Plant
C: Christmas Poinsettia
D: Holiday Poinsettia
E: Festivus Flower

#9 Identify the following image:


A: Mmmm.... Eggnog... I love Winter Solstice!
B: Festively Flavored Alcoholic Winter Holiday Drink
C: Christmas Eggnog (That better be Non-Alcoholic!)
D: Holiday Eggnog (Hey, this needs more Rum!)
E: Festivus Eggnog (Mazel Tov!)

#10 Identify the following image:


A: Hey, that's my nephew! (Isn't he cute?)
B: A child celebrating the Earth's new revolution around the Sun
C: Little Noah! (Isn't he cute?)
D: Cute little boy celebrating The Holidays
E: Cute little boy celebrating Festivus
F: Hey, that's my Grandson, isn't he cute?

So, how did you do? ;-)