Yes, we're late! Please save the date!

Kris and I would like to invite you to our anniversary celebration!

We're heading back to the Valley of the Moon Campground in Glen Ellen, California, for a weekend with friends and family. We'll be in beautiful Sonoma Valley, surrounded by rolling hills, tall trees and wine country. We invite you to join us, play games for the weekend, sleep in the campsite's cabins, hike the nearby trails, swim in the pool, and celebrate with us.

Once again, just like summer camp, minus the annoying counselors!

Date: Friday, May 15th - Sunday, May 17th, 2009

More information, including directions and travel suggestions, will be posted on our site soon:

Although we'll be sending out "official" invitations, if you know you'd like to come (or know that you can't), and want to RSVP now, you can! Just leave a comment here, or send us an email with your name and number of guests.

We hope you can join us!

Lawn mower


My dad doesn't mow his lawn as much as the neighbors would probably like him to mow it. It's a big yard. It's a big yard on the corner, and a lower priority in life than other things.

It's a skill I, too, have mastered.

Over the last seven years, we've stripped out most of the concrete in the back yard, thanks to Doyle and Kevin. We've also removed a lot of the plants, which may or may not have been a good thing.


Unfortunately, the removal of the concrete and its placement with compost and good soil was an invitation for whatever seeds were blowing in the wind to start in our yard. Each year its something different, this year it was grass.

Kris wanted to dig up all of the grass, rototill it under, or rip it out and throw it away. The grass was growing too tall for him to be able to find the dog poop in the yard to clean it up. Somehow, I managed to convince him to wait a week, for me to order a lawn mower and mow the grass. I don't know just how I managed, but I did.

The mower arrived this week, but it sat there until this weekend. After I opened the box, Kris assembled the mower. He handed it to me and said "Have at it."

The grass was so tall, I had to get a running start on most of it. The backyard is mowed now, but I can't say it looks good.

At least Kris can find the dog poop now.



My drinking buddy


Also known as my BevMo angel.


And the battle begins!


Last night, after we finished the lights installation, we were greeted by a knock on the front door. When I opened the door, two of my favorite people tumbled into the living room, giggling and calling "Kiiii-itttt!" followed quickly by another favorite person.

Mike, Liza, and Maeryn were on their way some, but stopped by to drop off the truck and some other items, including a pile of books. I handed Mike back two of the three books in the Old Man's War series, having devoured them rather quickly. I received a slew of Percy Jackson and Grimm Sister books in return.

While Mike and I were chatting, Liza and Maeryn wandered around the room looking for something to entertain themselves, with Kris hovering somewhere close. At one point, Liza picked up my foam rollers and asked, what are these for?

Kris picked up the other foam roller and the foam roller sword fight began.


After a few swings, Maeryn tackled Kris to save Liza. She managed to wrestle the foam roller out of his hands, and started swinging it in his direction. She was successful in her subsequent beatings of Kris with the roller, until Liza took a swing and accidently hit Maeryn. That changed Kris' fortune, as the two girls entered a fierce battle for supremacy.

Not to be outdone, Kris retaliated with the Big Red Ball™ move, conquering one of his foes.


There are some peple who are slow to anger but fierce when provoked. When Kris had captured of of his girls, Mike, one of these slow to anger types, couldn't resist any longer. He came in with pillows flying, and balls bouncing off heads, including the basketball which had until this point been a quiet observer of the war raging around it.


The hilarity of the battle scene soon became overwhelming for me. I doubled over with laughter, my stomach cramping so hard it hurt. The battle continued until, well, someone poked her eye out with a stategically thrown pillow, and we all had to calm down while the medic checked out the injury.

After a few moments, said medic asked, "Are we done yet?" To which the injured party said yes and stopped crying. We were all subdued enough that the war was clearly over.

I can only hope the forces battle again some time soon.

Bioengineered for this


This morning's velocity had all of the characters from Monday with one switch, we swapped out Jennifer for a quick Asian dude I've seen at various classes. Oh, and I learned the name of the guy whose name I couldn't remember on Monday. It's Greg, not David. I have no idea where David came from. Maybe Pickett.

As we were all rolling away on the foam rollers or with the roller sticks, a beefy guy I'd never seen before came up in full Velocity gear. "Are you here to workout?" Sandie asked him. "No," he replied, "I'm here to watch." Huh?

Turns out, he was the sports something or other director, and at class today to watch Breanne. Presumably to watch us, too. When I know someone is around to watch, I know my behaviour alters. I tried to detect changes in Breanne's behavious, since this was the first time this director person was around to watch.

Lockwood hike and home


Kris and I managed to sleep most of the night through last night, with Kris' waking to the smell of Andy's coffee and my waking to the thud of an excited Blue landing on top of me, bringing the tent down in the process.

Nothing like using a sixty pound dog as wake up call.

That same dog makes a great escort in the middle of the night when there might be coyotes and other large animals roaming around, and you're not sure if it's safe to walk around the small building, across a small open space to the other side of the hilltop, in order to pee.

Andy thinks that Blue didn't actually sleep last night, that he maintained watch the whole night. I know that Annie wriggled her way out of the tent in order to sit watch for a while. She did, however, recognize the warmth of the tent, and wormed her way back into the tent, sitting on Kris' head in the process.

This morning, I was, unsurprisingly, the last person up, with Bella being the last of the seven of us actually getting up.

After breakfast, a meal that Bella thought meant, "We're going home!" but really meant, we're heading off for another hike. Having climbed to the top of the hill he'd been wanting to climb, and discovering another hill beyond it, he decided he wanted to climb THAT hill to see if there was another hill beyond it.

Interestingly enough, I think all of the dogs have decided that I am the source of all that is good. That is to say, food.

So, off we went on our hike, pretty much following the same trail that Kris and Andy (and Blue and Shadow and Annie and mostly Bella) took yesterday. The six of us (where the six of us were the seven of us minus Bella, who was, once again, on her own hike again) went out the back way, down the hill, up the next one, and along the ridge. Up and over a couple hills, to the top of one hill, to discover the next range of hills after that range.

For the way back, we decided not to go back the same way we came up, and opted instead to hike back "towards the water tower." We found a copse of pine trees, though how they survived, much less grew so big, on the top of the hill with little water, I have no idea.

Bella kept up with us, following her own path, sometimes being ahead of us, sometimes being behind us, but always walk walk walking at her own pace.

At one point, I stopped to squat, and Bella passed me, to catch up with Kris and Andy. Kris decided to wait for me, Andy decided to continue. At that point, we lost Andy. He went off either down toward a large ravine or down towards a dropoff of unknown height. We decided to try to the left, towards the large ravine.

After a few hundred meters, Kris was less confident about the direction we were going, so decided to turn around. Bella was in front of us when we made this decision, being the only dog with us. I hurried up to her, turned her around, and hustled her back the way we had come.

We had walked just far enough for Bella to disappear over the hill we were scrambling up when we heard Andy call out to us, why were we walking back the wrong way? Eh?

We called for Bella to come back, but, being on her own hike, she just kept going. We turned back back around, headed back to the ravine, scrambled up and around around the ravine, and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Must to my pleasant surprise, Bella figured out our mistake, had turned around, and was coming back our way. She didn't seem too pleased about our mistake, deciding not to greet us when she caught up to use, and just walked right by.

Much like yesterday, according to Kris.

We wandered down to the bottom of Crews Hill, walked up Crews Road to the top of the hill, and gathered up our stuff. The dogs were sufficiently tired out to sleep all the way back home.

I'm happy to say when we made it home, I was able to stop by a Starbucks and buy a hot chocolate. A premium hot chocolate.

One I'd been talking about for the previous day, to Andy's consternation, I think.

Walk back


Trip to Lockwood


Andy, Kris and I went off to Andy's place in Lockwood today. Well, no, no, that's not quite correct. Andy, Blue, Shadow, Kris, Bella, Annie and I all dogpiled into Andy's truck and drove down to Lockwood today for an overnight campout at Andy's place. I think Andy mentioned that he hasn't camped at his place before, and has been wanting to do so for a long while now. Kris and I were up for the adventure, so over-packed for a night of camping (eh, it's not like we were going to be carrying the stuff), and headed off with the girls, the boys and Andy.

The two hour drive wasn't too bad. We zipped down, parked the truck at the bottom of the hill, grabbed some snacks and started up the hill. We didn't make it more than about 30 yards before I was grossed out.

Nothing like a dead deer leg to remind me that we're in nature. Like real nature.

Of course, the electrical wire connector right next to it puts a modern twist on the nature thing, eh?

So, off on our hike we go to the top of the hill. Andy's been meaning to go to the top of another hill, one or two over from his hill, for a while now, and wanted to conquer that hill today. After the two hour drive, the movement/hike/walk felt good.

As we were walking up to the top of the hill, Blue was chasing his disc, Shadow was trailing us, Annie was dashing off the road and back on, and Bella was doing her own thing. As we were summitting the hill, Bella caught a scent and turned away, to head down the hill following Annie who had just run down the hill herself.

As Bella turned to head off, I thought to myself, "Hey, maybe I should stop her." I didn't, because, hey, we're off in the wilderness camping, right? Except that Bella doesn't seem to listen to us when we go off in a specific direction. Annie stays with the pack: she'll run ahead, but always stop to and return to check in with the Alpha (aka Kris). Bella just puts her nose down and goes. We lose her for hours on end when we go to Water Dog Lake.

So, Bella turned right when we all wanted to go left. Andy commented, "Bella. Yeah, that one is going to cause problems."

Of course, he was right. None of us could find the dog after that. We walked up to the top of the hill. We walked half way back down the hill. We walked in the direction Bella went. We followed her path. We followed all of the dogs' paths. We couldn't find her.

After about a half an hour of not being able to find her, I offered that Andy and Kris should just go ahead and head up the mountain. We were losing daylight, with Andy not knowing how long the hike to the top of the other mountain they needed to get going.

"You sure?" both Andy and Kris asked. Yes, yes, sure. I mean, stay back and take macro pictures of rocks while looking for the dog?

Sign me up!

So, Kris, Andy, Annie, Blue and Shadow went off to the top of the hill, while I continued to look for the little dog. I started by walking down the hill she disappeared on. I walked down the hill, around the corner, back up the hill on the other side. I walked down the drive Andy had cut into the side of the hill, calling for the dog. I walked back up to the top of the hill, calling for the dog. I walked to the edge of various dropoffs and called and called and called. I walked through bushes where a little dog could go, but a woman probably shouldn't have gone. I eventually scrambled back down the hill to the truck, in case she decided to just head back to the starting point, which is what she had done when Bella had wandered off last time we were at Lockwood. She wasn't there.

I decided to walk down the road leading out of the property, still calling for the dog. I began having images of the dog actually being lost, unable to find our scents, and being alone at night, maybe eaten by a mountain lion or some other wild animal. Hearing a gunshot around 4 in the afternoon (4:09 to be exact) didn't exactly help me feel better about losing the dog, images of her thinking someone's chickens would be easy prey, and getting shot by a neighbor.

I started progressing through the seven stages of loss. I was well past the disbelieve and denial stages, and skipped straight through the bargaining phase since there really wasn't anyone to bargain with. The guilt phase was easy to zoom through, too, as I was the one who was thinking hey, maybe I shouldn't let her walk away right now. She's dead because I didn't stop her from turning to the right. Great.

So, completely in the anger phase of loss, I stomped down the dirt road to the main road, calling the stupid dog's name, and stomped back up to the truck. I was at a loss. I had walked the areas the dog had been. I had branched out in the likely directly she would have gone. I had called her name for the last two hours can couldn't find that thriced damned dog. Hell, I had even stopped taking pictures.

Back at the truck, I thought, okay, maybe she's wandered well off Andy's land. I can't do much for the land to the east, but I can check the land to the west, maybe see a small tan spot moving in a large field of tan. Crap, I'm not going to find her, I thought, depression at having lost the dog settling in as the sixth phase of loss. Damn it, dog.

So, I hopped into Andy's truck, and drove back down the dirt trail, and back onto the main road, driving slowly and trying to look for a tan beagle on the mountain sides. I pulled over for other trucks (and they were all trucks) to pass me, as I moved into accepting that we had lost the dog. Stupid annoying little dog, going off on her own and f---ing dying on us. It was SUPPOSED to be a good trip, not a sad trip. Fine, I'd stay the night, but only because I had small bit of hope, possibly we'd hear the calls of the coyotes and be able to find the dog. Dumb dog.

I turned around, and drove the truck back to the Crews' base camp, just as Kris and Andy were walking down Crews Road within shouting distance. On a lark, I called out, "Did you find the dog? Because I didn't!"

"Yes! We did!"

Turns out, Bella decided to hike her own hike. Kris and Andy had walked to the top of the hill that Andy wanted to hike, and turned around. About 200 yards from the peak, Bella popped out of the brush to Andy's and Kris' joyful calls. Instead of turning around with the two of them (five of them?), she kept walking up the hill that Andy and Kris had just summitted. When she reached the top, she turned around, and followed the same path back down the hill that Andy and Kris had taken. She was on her own hike, walking her own pace.

Oddly enough, her own hike didn't involve lots of nose-following, off-the-path directions.

The prodigal doggie returns!


Yeah, let Kris name the team


Kris leaned over to me the other day and let me know he was going bowling. My reaction could be summed up in one word.


Turns out, Kris' work now has a "Fun Officer" who organizes fun events for the company to build morale. The latest morale building event was a bowling party for teams in the company. My reaction was something like "Well, if they'd just let you play poker for 10 minutes during the day, they wouldn't NEED a 'Fun Officer' scheduling bowling 'parties' for the company, because you'd ENJOY your work environment."

Yeah, well, sure, yes. At this moment, however, they were having a bowling party. He wasn't originally signed up, but his department was a player short of a full team, and wouldn't he come bowl with his coworkers?

"Sure," Kris had said, "if you let me name the team."

So, Kris went bowling the other day. While he was bowling, he looked at the team names. They were nice descriptive names like:

Team HR
Team S7

And Kris' team:

ROFL Cake Pwnage

Terrorists win


Kris comes home from work each day with a different story to tell from lunch or some adventure during the day, whether dodgeball, ultimate, cards, games or management related. For the longest time, I was mildly envious of his stories. He'd come home and talk about the energy of his work group and all these great conversations and his day. I'd tell him about my day, which usually consisted of conversations what went something like "No, Bella, no. No. No! NO!" or maybe "Annie! No lick. No! No lick!"

Intellectually fascinating, eh?

Fortunately, working in the office three days a week has helped my evening story telling abilities immensely by providing good material (think "Project Strap-On"). Kris' stories are still better, though. I need to either take these guys out to lunch, head out drinking with them, or go mountain bike riding with them. Of course, the latter would provide THEM with more material that me.

Last night, Kris observed that the Republican agenda of instilling fear and cowardice in the American public has succeeded in permeating everyone's unconscious thoughts. His work group was at lunch at a good, local Chinese restaurant. The restaurant is known for a tasty fish dish, of which everyone (but Kris, who knew better) wanted to have.

So, one of Kris' coworkers, the Chinese guy, orders for the group when the waiter comes around. He has a hard time ordering four of the same dish, one for each guy but Kris, as the Chinese culture is one of community dinner: each person orders a separate dish and everyone shares the dishes, family style.

When the coworker ordered four orders of the same dish sheepishly, another coworker piped up, "This is America, man. We have to have our own dishes. If we don't, terrorists win."