Sunday, August 30, 2009

Last weekend of Summer

This was the last weekend of our 'summer vacation' spent with Karrissa, Joe and the girls visiting. They came during Joe's 'time off' from Dental School and we spent a week in Seattle, then time since being shared with Joe's family in northern Utah.

We went to the Timpanogos High School football game Friday night. Cousin Michael was playing Wide Receiver, and Alysha's dance team did a number during half-time.
I really enjoy the nice fall evenings outside with the crowd at the High School. The mountains made a beautiful backdrop to the night out.I'm looking forward to many more High School and BYU Football games this fall! Saturday we spent the morning getting errands and the like completed, then I took the kids to the movie Julie & Julia. (Grandma was nice enough to watch the grand-daughters so we could go - I'm going to have to take Jill to the movie next week!) I really enjoyed the movie a lot. I enjoyed the story-line of Julia Child, and wished they went more into the rest of her life. Meryl Streep again did a fantastic job! Amy Adams made a much better 'Princess' than whiny New Yorker...

Now I just have to wait for Ryan to make us the Beouf Bourguingnon
dish they mentioned a couple of times in the movie...

After the movie, we went home to hand-made custom little pizza's cooked on the BBQ. All freshly prepared ingredients, and home-made pizza dough. Though not quite the 'wood-fired' flavor, cooked this way on the BBQ they turned out way, way good! Thanks to all who helped in the process!

Dallas - CCNA WIreless

This week was spent in Dallas, doing a CCNA Wireless class.
The hotel was an amazing place - called 'NYLO' - kind of after a New York City Loft-Style place. Exposed concrete everywhere, 'green' furnishing made from bamboo wood and hemp fibers, and a bit 'edgy'. But I liked it. It had a unique feel, and the staff was amazingly helpful and courteous. My son Ryan would have just loved it.I went down knowing I had a cold, or as my Brother-in-law Rich calls it a 'Man-Cold'. I thought I was getting better, but on Tuesday I was stuck in my room most of the day. I was a sick as I've ever been in a hotel, next to the time in San Juan Puerto Rico when I had to have a Doctor come to the hotel room... but that's a different story.

But I did recover and enjoyed the class the rest of the week, getting better than 90% on the exam Friday before coming home. The instructor, Todd Lammle, and I have worked together for many years on different projects - and he had me teach a couple of the sections of the course.

So another certification to go into the 'collection'...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

New Garage Floor thanks to Joe!

I got home last night from Newark to find I wasn't able to park in the garage for seven days... What's that all about? I opened the garage door to find this!I guess my son-in-law Joe worked for three days this past week prepping and painting the garage floor.

Thanks Joe! It looks great.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Trying to get home

Finished a week of AirMagnet product training (along with an Intro to Wireless LANs) in Newark this week.

Now I'm at the airport trying to get out before the Hurricane gets any closer and grounds me here in New Jersey.

I went over to the local shopping mall by the hotel (actually had to take a shuttle bus from the hotel to the airport, then another shuttle bus over to the mall...) to get some walking in (the heat and humidity here preclude outside walking)

In two nights at the mall I counted on one hand the total number of other white males in the mall. Wow - I'm a minority!

My sister Janet is up babysitting her grand-kids north of Manhattan in Tuckahoe... but without a car it would be a 3-hour trek to go and see her and the kids. So here's a shout out to Sis instead!

They completely shut the airport down for a couple of hours this afternoon - but it's now open, and the plane I'm supposed to fly home on is on the ground... hopefully I'll be home in 6 hours or so.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Moses Lake then on to Newark

Friday we woke up in Moses Lake Washington - staying at Jill's Brother Ken's lake house. (We like going back there every year for a bit of a vacation - and Jill's family mostly live around there)

A little fishing, boating, jetskis, playing in the water, reading, visiting, etc. Basic vacation stuff when you are by a lake.

We went out and helped Jill's Mom Bev pick and weed her garden (huge gardens by her house - kind of re-claiming the sagebrush by adding some water and chicken-wire to keep the rabbits out)

Dinner at the 'famous' Chico's pizza place, loud - but everyone loves their pizza. Scary how much stuff they can actually load on one pizza.

More of the same on Saturday - and had more cousins and their friends over as well. Plus a big dinner for the entire family at night.

Karrissa and Joe have been reading the first two books in the 'Fablehaven' series - so I confiscated them for awhile and finished them both. I was hoping to get the others in the series at a bookstore, or at the airport, or better yet on the Kindle. But no luck. I like the storyline, and the way the author tells a good tale.
Sunday we cleaned up and headed to the Spokane airport for the flights home and the end of a great week 'vacating'. I however took a flight from Spokane, to Chicago, then on to Newark. Of course, Chicago in the late summer, storms, delays, etc. I did *finally* get to the Newark Airport where I'll be staying teaching AirMagnet all this week at about 2:30am... whew!

Joe, Grandpa, cousin Michael and his friend Pat going fishing

Joe, the mighty fisherman, returns with his catch!

Helping Grandma Bev with her garden

The little lizard - McKinley liked this little guy

Karrissa and her girls, Kylie (1) and McKinley (3)

The Family scarfing down pizza at Chico's

Joe & McKinley on the Wave Runner

McKinley playing with an oar off the dock

McKinley on the Jetski (she wishes she could drive it alone)

Grandpa, Ken and Joe fishing

Friday, August 14, 2009

Drive to Moses Lake - via Mt. Rainier

Rather than just take the 'normal' way over to Moses Lake - via I-90 - we instead went for the scenic route south around Mt. Rainier. I had to go to the Internet to get a picture of it - since it was shrouded in clouds the entire time!

We drove down through Puyallup, up South Hill where we used to live 30 years ago, and down to the south entrance of the Mt. Rainier park.
A couple of years ago Jill's nephew was married near this area and we had breakfast at a nice little place right outside the park entrance called Copper Creek Cafe. So we stopped there for a nice lunch before driving into the park. We saw lots of big big trees, ravines, wide river beds, and climbed thousands of feet as we drove up to 'Paradise' on the side of the mountain. All the while, not seeing even an outline of the mountain. About a thousand feet below Paradise we entered into the cloud bank - and from there up to Paradise it was just a 'white out'. Bummer.

We stopped a couple of places along the way to let the girls play and run around - and check out the Mt. Rainier environment.

We took the 'White Pass' road over toward Yakima - and along the way passed by Clear Lake (where we had an Uptain Family Reunion 15 years ago or so)

Coming from the lush verdant rain forest surrounding Mt. Rainier, down through an alpine forest, then out unto the desert around Yakima was quite an outstanding change in just 15 miles or so.

Then the drive from Yakima to Moses Lake - and arrived about 2-3 hours later than if we'd just driven straight here.

Today is going to be fishing for Joe and Grandpa Uptain and then out to the Uptain's house over on Potholes Reservoir.

McKinley's latest 'funny face'

McKinley's "Leap of Faith"

She has no fear - just jumps without hesitation

This is where the mountain should have been...

A 'box canyon' carved out of solid rock

OK, that's a big tree

Karrissa is on "Team Edward"

Winwards and a big tree

McKinley waiting to surprise her dad

The mountain we didn't get to see

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Downtown Seattle - Pike Place, Aquarium, Seattle Center

We stopped by the Alderwood Mall this morning to pick up my Mom's sister Marsha - she was nice to spend the day with us.

We first went to the Pike's Place Market - and enjoyed all the activity, color, and items for sale there. I'm sure the women could have spent many more hours of shopping there, but with a double-wide stroller and two small children... well...

Then off to lunch at The Crab Pot - for a very nice seafood lunch right on the pier.

Finally... in McKinley's eyes... we arrived at the Seattle Aquarium to see all the FISHES! OK, compared to the Monterrey Bay Aquarium we went to a couple of years ago... but it was still a a lot of fun for McKinley. She liked all the fish, but especially liked going back again and again to touch the starfish. She even liked having Aunt Marsha hold her and talk with the docent about a starfish he had in a bowl.

Then off to Seattle Center - Karrissa wanted to return to the Pacific Science Center from her youth. McKinley was still sleeping so Marsha and I waited in the car while the others went into the center and space needle.

Finally dinner at Olive Garden in Lynnwood where Jill's brother Ken joined us for another good meal.


See, Kylie *can* be happy!

Karrissa returning to Pacific Science Center

Winwards at the Seattle Center

Space Needle

Marsha helping McKinley with the Starfish

McKinley and a Seal

Family at the Seattle Aquarium

McKinley and Kylie playing with an 'Orca' fin

Karrissa and Kylie happy at the aquarium

Kylie not happy at the aquarium

Karrissa, Joe and McKinley at Aquarium

Marsha waiting and watching sleeping Kylie

Touching a starfish

Washington State Ferry coming in to dock

The Crab Pot for Lunch

Kylie just loved having someone walk her around - thanks Jill

Karrissa striking an 'Alysha' vacation pose

McKinley didn't want to 'kiss the pig'

But she was fine riding the pig.

Grandma Jill bought her this 'Princess Stuff'

Pike Place had loads of flowers for sale pretty cheap

This reminded me of markets all over the world

Winwards at Pike Place Market

Marsha and tasting Pepper Jelly

A view down Pike Place Market