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A Saturday at home – firewood and brisket – 07-Dec-2019


Saturday, 07-Dec-2019


Today, we stayed home and puttered around.

Not really the normal theme to one of my blog posts, huh?  Yeah… well, you know what?  Sometimes, it’s important to celebrate the little things in life, like cleaning up the bedroom and cooking a nice meal.


So I cleaned up the bedroom and cooked a nice meal.  I also cleaned, stacked, and split a ton of firewood!

First things first, cleaning the house.  Pretty boring, but I did enjoy the chance to go through some of our closets and clear out the various odds and ends that’ve accumulated over the years… I even found the old Kayak ornament that Daniel and Erin had given me years back!

The most energetic item on the list was firewood – We accepted delivery of half a cord of firewood in the morning, which unfortunately included about two yard-waste bins full of detrius… but before I could get to cleaning that out, the first order of business was prepping the garage to store that much wood.

It didn’t take long, thankfully, and after a quick re-arrangement of the storage area I was able to put down a few rails to stack the wood onto.  Then the process of cleaning out the bark and detrius, and selecting the “Happy Logs” to form the end towers… it was fun.  It was really fun – it was raining out, I was kind of tired, but I felt amazing.  I’ve missed the simple joy of stacking firewood, and the feeling of accomplishment I got by looking at the nicely stacked and organized wood was a huge boost to the day.  I even sequestered the larger logs out, so that they’d be easily accessable to split and add on top of the rest!


Between cleaning, stacking, splitting, and selecting, I was cooking.  Brisket is a beautiful recipe, because its enjoyably complex but not hugely time consuming… it just needs good timing and a bit of effort.  I had my alarms, and every time I stepped back into the house it smelled more and more like that perfect smoked meat scent.  And when all the chores were done, and everything was cleaned up and put away?  Sarah and I had an amazing meal together.


It was an excellent weekend.


Link to Brisket Recipe, for those who may be curious…

Exploring Newbury volcanic monument, in Bend! 13-Oct-2019


Sunday, 13-October-2019


We visited Bend again!

Sarah’s friends were in town, and were interested in checking out Bend – they’ve been living in the Southern East Coast for a while, and are starting to get a little tired of the long driving and sticky weather… and since they both went to school in Oregon, Bend is one of the spots they’re looking at.  Since we’d been pretty hectic and crazy, Sarah went down with them to explore and wander the city.

I was able to make it down on Saturday evening, and then on Sunday Sarah and I got to do some exploring while they checked out houses – Instead of going North of Bend like we normally do, we headed South, to Newbury Volcanic Monument!

Yep, that’s pretty much in.  Enjoy the pictures, because they’re awesome!

The beginning of 2019 – Visiting Seattle with my Mom and Steve!


Sunday and Monday, 03-Feb and 04-Feb-2019


Well, 2019 is turning out to be a pretty family-centric year, isn’t it?  We started out with Sarah’s family in Australia, and now my Mom and Steve are coming to visit!  Out plan was pretty ambitious, I’ll be the first to admit… but ambitious plans are the most exciting, right?

Our plan was to rest in Portland for a day, and then take the car up to Seattle for a few days, before heading back in Portland for a bit of rest and downtime before they had to fly back home.  Busy, but it’d be a chance for my Mom to finally see Seattle, and was a good way to make sure that we didn’t stagnate in one place too long.  And I’m happy to report that it went quite well!


Episode 1: Portlandian Adventures

Sunday and Monday, 03-Feb & 04-Feb-2019


The adventure began, as if often does, in the airport with a furry Wonder Woman walking at our heels.

Ollie doesn’t know that the airport is where people get on metal machines to thunder through the sky – all she knows is that the airport is a friend store.  We go there, and either pick up a friend who we haven’t seen in a while, or return a friend who’s been staying with us.  Either way, it’s a trip in the magic adventure box (the car), so she’s excited.  She’s less excited about the Wonder Woman costume that she has to wear… but I think she’s become accustomed to it by now.


My Mom and Steve landed in the evening on Sunday, so there honestly wasn’t that much for us to do that evening – aside from picking them up from the airport, the biggest excitement was making a quick dinner… which wasn’t that huge of an excitement, since they’d already had a snack before getting on the plane in San Francisco, but still.  Home cooked meals by Ben and Sarah!


The main game plan for the week was to relax, unwind, and go to Seattle!  My Mom and Steve hadn’t ever been there, so we were all super excited to spend some time exploring and seeing the sights.  Unfortunately Sarah had to stay home, in order to catch up on some work projects, but we still found a way to enjoy Seattle while staying out of too much trouble…


What’d we do in Seattle, you may ask?

  • Chihuly Museum!  This was our main target for the trip – The famous Chihuly museum!  I’ll be honest and admit that I hadn’t heard of Chihuly before planning the trip, but once I looked into him I realized that I’ve seen his work everywhere!  Getting to see a full museum dedicated to his work, and specifically designed to showcase it, was an amazing experience.
  • Space Needle!  We didn’t go up it, thanks to a slightly-ridiculous ticket price, but we wandered around the gardens at the base of the needle, and enjoyed the views that we got.
  • The Seattle underground tour!  Bill Speidel, the probably-famous tour owner, puts on a great tour.  Or, I should say, his tour guides put on a great tour.  Our tour guide was amazing, is what I’m getting at.  The underground tour goes over Seattle’s history, including how the ground level was raised after a huge fire, and a tour of the secret tunnels underneath the city!  Though, there wasn’t a single necromancer, Chaos cult, or rum-running operation, so it was a bit of a bummer.
    Our tour guide rapped for us though, so that makes up for the lack of treasure I’ll say.
  • Pike Place!  We explored Pike Place, and I learned that I was DECEIVED!  When Sarah, David and I went there I was lead to believe that it was only one level… conveniently the level with the flower vendors that Sarah wanted to see.  What I didn’t know was that there’s multiple levels underground!  With a comic book shop!
  • So much food!  We ate a lot, and we ate well.  From diners to German breakfasts, from fancy coffee to awesome fancy dinners, we ate good food.
  • I also got to play on the playground that Sarah and I played on when we were there – it was excellent, and I loved swinging around and climbing all over everything.  Obviously.  Because I’m me, and I have an inescapable need to climb everything all the time forever.