Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas!

It was a Wii Christmas around the family: not just Mom and Dad, but Greg and a cousin all got systems! We spent the afternoon setting it up and helping Mom and Dad learn how to use the controllers. They enjoyed bowling, and Mom was the champ! We're giving them a day to practice, then we'll get them started on the WiiFit (the main purpose of our gift!).

Jon-Erik is home and has gone through most of the activities on my WiiFit, setting high scores that will take me awhile to reach. We've also played a lot of Animal Crossing, although it's more fun when we can be playing together online - at home we can only be in our town, one at a time.

The big news: he will actually graduate! He passed his final class at Portland State, and we were concerned UW (Wyoming) wouldn't give him the credits he needed, since there is a difference between trimesters and semesters. But it's all good now, and he should receive his diploma in February. I know he's relieved; 8 years and 4 schools is a long time. He found out he can take the GRE anytime at a convenient location near Beaverton, so he will do that when he returns home. We're not placing bets on how long a graduate degree will take, or what his major will actually be. But at least he will be starting something new!

James-Philip expects to be out of work when the current project ends, but I'm hoping we'll be able to use him as a volunteer at the library. We're getting ready to upgrade to RFID - placing radio-frequency tags on all items (over 100,000!). That could be a fun activity for him and a big help to us.

Tom is freezing in Gainesville - they had a big snowstorm just before Christmas. Montana isn't looking so bad now!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Yes It's Fall

Today was the typical Montana weather experience people usually talk about: 55 degrees at 6 a.m., beautiful sunny morning, clouds rolling in around noon and rain for a few hours. But sunny again later, although a bit cooler. Good thing I went with shoes today instead of the sandals I've been wearing all week!

Tom's Habitat for Humanity project was quite an adventure. We realized a few days before he was due to fly out that Manila was having the worst flooding in 40 years, from a typhoon. Typhoons aren't unusual, so it was surprising to have it cause such a disaster. Things were somewhat improved by the time his flight left, and he was able to stay in the hotel he'd planned on, but had hoped to take a few days for sight-seeing, and that wasn't possible. He spent the time helping out with disaster relief until the Habitat project was ready. Luckily that was in an area farther south, so it wasn't as affected.

He was heading to Texas when he returned to the States, so I'd booked his flight, and arranged a flight for James-Philip too that would have them arriving in Dallas at almost the same time. JP was laid off for October, so we thought this would be a good time for him to take a vacation too! Tom didn't have the flight info, but I figured he'd have internet access once he got to his friend in California. He did find an internet cafe in Manila, and I kept getting emails from - even after he was supposed to be flying! He said the airline just canceled the flight, and put him on the next one (24 hours later!). I was concerned he'd miss his flight to Texas, but in the end it all worked out.

He and James-Philip had a great visit, JP is back to work now, and I'll be heading there for my birthday and Thanksgiving. Then Tom goes to Mexico in January to work on that house and hopefully get it ready to sell.

Jon-Erik will be visiting for Christmas, after his class at Portland State U. finishes and before he takes the GRE next year. We visit often on Skype and using the Wii Speak as part of Animal Crossing, but it will be fun to have him around for a bit.

Monday, August 17, 2009

August Already

The weather seems to be saying it's fall, and we're just not ready! Tom had a camping trip to Big Fork in July, but I had a meeting in Denver and couldn't join him. Hopefully we can find a few days next month, before he leaves for the Philippines and the Habitat for Humanity project.

He's in Houston now, for the wedding of a close friend who was recently diagnosed with oral cancer. That was a shock to everyone - no history of tobacco use at all. But it makes me grateful for all the examination my dental hygienist does when I get a cleaning - I'd like to think we would catch anything unusual early.

Mom and Dad are preparing to move to the condo below their present location. The idea first came up last fall when Dad had his aneurysm surgery and climbing stairs became a bit difficult. Not such a problem now, but the opportunity came up and seems like a good idea.

We had friends from Texas visit. Christi was a trooper, joining the Library Drill Team in the Sweet Pea parade as banner carrier. We had fun and heard from lots of people, glad to see us back in the parade after a few years absent. So it may have to continue...

Friday, July 3, 2009

We must have been really busy!

Once Tom comes home, I don't have nearly the spare time for posting as I do in the winter months! I don't know why things would be any different, but we end up watching movies, playing Wii Golf or Animal Crossing:City Folk in our free time, or I'm knitting or reading. Pretty much the same things I do when he's away. Now that it seems to be almost summer, we really want to plan some camping trips too.

We took a quick trip to Las Vegas right after Memorial Day (guess that's why there were good deals - it was pretty hot!). We stayed at the Wynn Resort, which was nice but for a luxury place seemed to do a lot of nickel-diming. The snack tray and bar are weighted so removing anything for more than 10 seconds automatically charges your room (or perhaps adding things - they specify asking Housekeeping for a refrigerator for personal items you want to keep cold, and I suspect there would be a charge for that too). We decided not to touch anything! The wi-fi was an additional charge ($15/day, more or less). The brunch was good but the most expensive we saw. The slot machines didn't even pay off that well! And, it was quite a hike to the monorail station (their website was a little annoying too). But now we've been there and can cross it off our list. Next time: Venetian or Bellagio. Mandalay Bay is still my favorite so far.

Jon-Erik is still job-hunting. I'm not sure how long we wait until he comes up with a new plan. He's talked about returning to school (to finish the undergraduate degree, which might be helpful in finding work!) and starting some kind of Master's program. He's pretty sure he won't be returning to Bozeman, regardless of his future plans.

James-Philip is surviving well without a driver's license (an unfortunate incident last August resulted in that being taken away) He's just now working through the punishment-consequences phase: 2 days' jail time, work-release, fines, classes, etc. Last summer he blamed the girl he was with (and said he was giving up women) but now admits he probably should take some responsibility. So far he hasn't seen any lost work due to the economy.

Tom has plans to do a Habitat for Humanity project in the Philippines in September. If it's a wonderful trip, we hope to continue once I retire. He's the advance scouting party!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

We Must Be Busy

Since I haven't posted anything all month, I think that means we've been really busy! I spent the end of March in Gainesville (they didn't really have spring yet either) then on to a library conference in Wichita early in April (Mountain Plains Library Association jointly with the Kansas Library Association). Tom drove on home, with blizzards all the way, and I flew.

We had our annual winter getaway at Chico Hot Springs - an anniversary celebration (31 years!). When I find the photos, I'll post some!

Montana also had a library conference this month, in Kalispell - still no spring weather! But May is coming, and I think the snow will end soon. Tom vows to not return so early next year...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

March - ready or not

March is the month I dread the most: I'm ready for spring, and sometimes there is a hint that it will arrive, but then things turn and we're back to winter. Today is gorgeous and the snow is melting. Tomorrow? We could have snow again. But I keep reminding myself it won't last...

We had a blizzard March 5 - if I could have found a reason to take the day off, I would have. Instead, I braved the highway at 7:30 in the morning (not as treacherous as I'd feared - people have perfected their winter driving at last!). I had the thought that we should consider a weather delay for library hours on days like this - 2 hours later to arrive at work, and open 2 hours later (noon instead of 10 a.m.). The weather turned out to be a good thing: at 8:12 downtown Bozeman had an incredible explosion. (the link is to the TV station story - I don't know how long it will be good). The library shook and rattled, and power went off. We finally learned what it was: Boodles, a favorite restaurant, had blown up. There is a gaping hole in that block now, and 5 businesses are gone. The weather kept most people away - one fatality, unfortunately, but much less than what could have happened if it had been a normal day. James-Philip has a close friend who works as the pastry chef there - she is usually in by that time.

A gas leak was the cause. After the fact lots of people claim to have smelled gas but no one reported it. That's disturbing: do people think leaks report themselves? I thought that was something everyone knew, like don't touch downed power lines - call the gas company if you smell gas!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Facebook and more

I've been on Facebook for about a year; I joined as part of a Web 2.0 course from the State Library, designed to teach lots of the new technologies out there. So it's been fun, mostly because many of my library friends are there. But sometimes long-lost people show up - that's what makes it interesting. An old high school friend found me, along with my brother, of all people! Not like we had to find each other, but we seldom visit. On Facebook we can keep in contact a lot more. His wife is also on, so I get to hear more about what she's doing than I would otherwise. We've even gotten Mom interested, although she's still trying to figure it all out. Now we need to get our other brother (the younger one - you'd think he'd be the one trying to get us on!). 

It's easy to get carried away, of course. I'm also on Twitter (what are you doing in 140 characters or less). A cousin is also on there, although most of his posts are work-related. You can  follow anyone, unlike Facebook where you need to "confirm" the friendship connection. In this way, Twitter has a higher creepiness factor - I'm following people I've never met but only know from their professional work. You can block people, though, so it's not quite the stalking network you might think. The professional folk usually want a high number of followers, and tend to invite everyone. I'm even following the Library of Congress! Pres. Obama used it very effectively during his campaign to keep people informed of events.

Not all the younger generation is as excited: Jon-Erik is mortified that I'm using some of these social networking sites (he only made a Facebook page to humor me) and James-Philip didn't know what Facebook was until Sunday. So I guess I still know a little more than my kids.

Monday, February 9, 2009

February already

I finally put away the Christmas CDs although it was snowing nicely this morning. Is it too early for Backburner's Might As Well Be Spring? I still have a yard that is mostly white, but enough areas around the house have melted off that I'm afraid the peony bushes we planted last fall might start sprouting. That could be bad.

I've finally gotten a Ravelry invite and have joined. Now I have to get going on posting photos of completed projects and my yarn stash (which is a scary thought - that means I have to admit I have one!). There is a Bozeman group on there, which was nice to discover. A high school friend was the one who suggested I join, and she has a nice collection of completed projects - impressive since she hasn't been knitting that long.

Tom is having lots of work done on the Mexico house - he promises pictures when he returns to Texas. We had a great chat on Skype today. Technology is wonderful! We often talk about the years when he was stationed somewhere remotely, and all we had was mail that seemed to go by slow boat. When he and the boys went to Alaska (1998) we thought it was great to have email! And now we can IM, and chat on Skype with video.

Movies: I had to buy Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa yesterday. Those are some clever movies. I also watched Transsiberian - slow to start but very tense by the end. Married Life was interesting, with some twists. I'm not sure the setting of the late 40's was critical, but the costumes and props were fun. The story could probably be set in any time and still work. I'm still working through the first season of Lost - the treadmill broke this week, so I'm stuck with the exercise bike, and not sure Lost is compelling enough to make me want to pedal that long! I may switch to Dexter for my TV episode exercise workouts.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Another Leftie!

Lucky me - I had to take a day off to make up the Martin Luther King holiday (which fell on a regular day off for me) so chose Inauguration Day. It's been wonderful to watch all the events from my warm house. Washington DC is a fabulous place, but today, with all the crowds and chilly temperatures, I'm glad to be home. Just like with a football game, I think the view on TV is much better!

One of my favorite moments from the oath of office ceremony: the Chief Justice improvising just a bit, rearranging the words at the start, which caused some hesitation on the part of President Obama (and he was already President - the ceremony was after the official noon transfer of power specified in the Constitution). This link will change, but it immediately became updated. Someone was prepared.

Another interesting item: he's left-handed too!

Almost time for the parade. The luncheon is running late, Sen. Kennedy had a medical emergency, Dick Cheney was in a wheelchair from an injury from moving boxes yesterday, former President Bush 41 had hip trouble and could have used a wheelchair - it all makes the entire event seem more normal and human.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Movies and other thoughts

Made it through Momma Mia - Pierce Brosnan singing ABBA was quite the experience! Cute movie, but not one I'll need to revisit, I'm pretty sure. Son of Rambow was cute, too; sweet in a Napoleon Dynamite sort of way. Next up: Get Smart, Burn After Reading and some Batman - Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. I'm not usually a Batman fan, but I've heard good things about these. James-Philip will probably come over to watch them with me.

Although the NYGiants have finished their season, we'll still be watching the playoffs, cheering on the Eagles. Philly and Pittsburg would be an interesting Super Bowl - we'll see what happens this Sunday.

My 3-day weekend begins Sunday - I took Tuesday for my MLK holiday, so I can watch all the inaugural events. The library will have a big screen TV on in a meeting room, too; this is the first big event since the TV was installed. It's a little early for Montana - we don't open until 10 a.m. which is right when the ceremony takes place in D.C. but I'm sure there will be lots of news coverage before and after. As with football, I think this is an event where it's much better NOT to be there!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Things to do

When there's not much on TV that interests me (and that happens a lot in winter!) I'm glad to have the option of movies. Netflix is a lifesaver in that respect, even though the bookcases here hold quite a collection already. This weekend James-Philip and I watched Kung Fu Panda - so cute! The artwork alone was worth watching. He also has enjoyed Hancock, and was willing to watch again with me (he even took it home to watch one more time - good thing, because he woke up Monday with a 24-hour stomach flu so had some entertainment). I'd heard Tropic Thunder was good, and in many ways it was, but it also came close to my limit for grossness! Still waiting: Son of Rambow and Mamma Mia! Tom's watch that a few times, so it must be good. I'm not sure I want to hear the much Abba music again, though.

I've started watching the first season of Lost, since I missed it the first time around. TV episodes are the perfect incentive for treadmill time, as I discovered when Katie loaned me the first season of Chuck. That's about all there is on that one so far (on DVD, anyway - I am catching season 2 online), so I had to find another series with more potential. I'm only 3 episodes in, and it's slow developing, but seems to be coming along.

I'm open to more movie and TV suggestions!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

January Plans

Only a few more weeks left in football season - the last college game was Thursday, when Oklahoma played (not very well, I'm afraid!). But tomorrow is the big one: Giants v Eagles. James-Philip will go to his Eagles' friend's house to watch; I will enjoy the big screen at home. If the Giants win, there will another big game or two, of course. Last year I was headed to Texas on Super Bowl Sunday - Tom and I had to eat at Chili's so I could watch the game! We couldn't stay for the entire thing, but I did get a few great phone calls with the good news of the Giants' win. So we're hoping for another good year around here.

After the game, JP and I hope to get together and watch some of my Netfix queue. Now that Tom has gone to Mexico, I'll be getting all the movies here. I've got Kung-Fu Panda, Hancock, Son of Rambow, and Tropic Thunder to choose from. Tough choice! And, I have the first season of Lost on DVD, borrowed from my co-worker Katie. But that's reserved for treadmill time. Not to mention the second season of Chuck, now that I've discovered it's available online. That contributes to knitting time - my sock is almost done, and then I will start a sweater (and probably more socks!).

Then there is the WiiFit - the yoga mat JP gave me for Christmas is still waiting to be tried. I've kept up with the body test, but haven't done as many of the exercises lately. I keep thinking I'll have time...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A New Beginning

TeamHenley is joining the blog-o-sphere! I tried a WordPress blog but it turned out to be too diffuclt to allow people to add comments. So I went back to what what's worked - I've had a similar blog at work for almost a year now, and it's very easy for everyone to use.

So, try adding a comment here to see how it works.