Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Family, Friends, Fish

Lots of good times this past week. Matt and Lupita and Ricky visited, and we got to hang out with the 'Beek kids for the weekend.

It's beginning to look a little like Christmas. We had enough snow one morning for a miniature snowman.

A trip to the aquarium and botanic gardens was a hit with kids and adults alike.

Abigail was off building her gingerbread house, so she didn't get in any pictures. Sorry, Abigail! To make up for it, here's a picture of your hat -- I finished it today.

Ricky wasn't sure about tio Chad at first (tio Chad does have some scary facial hair right now), but soon they were fist-bumping like old pals. We found it amusing that Ricky's fist-bump could be interpreted as an insult:

Merry Christmas to all!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I've been into stripes lately.

In the living room:

In the dining room:

On Chad's face:

Streaky bleached stripes in my hair:

with blue stripes underneath:

Well, we were going for blue, but it turned out a sort of blueish-green. And I only got to enjoy my mod fairy-princess look for a few days before it faded to a barely noticeable greenish blonde. Pink next time?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Merry Baking

We had a merry bakefest last weekend. 3 kitchens, 7 bakers, 6 kinds of Christmas cookies, and hot cocoa with marshmallows! Thanks so much to Susie, Katie and Kristin for opening their kitchens.

That was Saturday. It's Wednesday now, and Chad and I have already eaten all our cookies!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

ufo sighting

I saw a ufo above ABQ tonight at 5:45 pm (Dec 4). It was a pretty bright light that flew northwards very fast (if a plane travels at 1 velocity unit, it was probably 10 velocity units). Before it reached the horizon, the light vanished. I heard no sounds associated with it, and it seemed to be flying at about the same height as airplanes do in the area. At the time a large helicopter was hovering near the Sandia mountains. At 8:20 pm, a helicopter was flying in the area again.

Three other people have confirmed what I saw.

Sorry, no pictures as I was on my commute home.

That is all.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

enjoying cyclocross racing

Did my second cyclocross race yesterday. It was much more successful than my first of one week ago. Last week's race was at night in the cold on the snow. Here's a photo from my buddy Moscaline. See his blog from Nov 25th for a nice report and pictures from his race.
I'm running on the wrong side of the bike, but at least I'm staying warm enough.

Yesterday, Jill had errands to run, so she wasn't there to photograph me. I stayed for the first lap of the A race. Here's how it's supposed to be done.

On the first short hill of my first race, my chain got jammed on my frame. It took a minute or two to get it fixed, at which time my fellow racers were nowhere to be seen. I had hoped to learn a few tricks from them by watching them go first, but didn't get this chance until after a few laps.

In the second race, I had no bike troubles and slightly better skills. Also there was daylight and warmth. As a result, I did much better. Results are found here:

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving festivities for us included a big, delicious dinner at the Polkadot house. I made pie.

And on the day after Thanksgiving I got to hang out more with the Polkadot extended family, while Chad had to work. Poor Chad. We went to see "Enchanted" (looks like if your biking in NYC, it's best to keep an eye out for rogue fairy tale characters), and the Polkadot kids and cousins came over to play racquetball and pool at our place.

This reminded me so much of fun times with my cousins when I was a kid. Amy, Beth, Paul, John, Tim, Christina, Kath, Matt and me -- playing tag on top of the hay bales, or getting pulled by Uncle Mike on a long line of sleds behind the tractor. I miss you guys!

As you can see, there's fun to be done at our new crib. Do stop by!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Mrs. Polkadot tagged me for a song, so I give her two that I can never quite get out of my head.

If you click on the links, I recommend just listening and not watching the videos (even Steve Taylor himself would probably recommend this for his song).

Blessed Be Your Name
by Matt Redman
- - -
Blessed Be Your Name In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow. Blessed be Your name

Blessed Be Your name When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness Blessed Be Your name

Every blessing You pour out I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be' Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord Blessed be Your glorious name

You give and take away, You give and take away
My heart will choose to say Lord, blessed be Your name

Jesus Is For Losers
Steve Taylor

If I was driven, Driven ahead by some noble ideal
Who took the wheel?
If I was given, Given a glimpse of some glorious road
When was it sold?

So caught up in the chase, I keep forgetting my place

Just as I am. I am stiff-necked and proud
Jesus is for losers. Why do I still play to the crowd?
Just as I am. Pass the compass, please
Jesus is for losers. I'm off about a hundred degrees

If I was groping, Groping around for some ladder to fame
I am ashamed
If I was hoping, Hoping respect would make a sturdy footstool
I am a fool

Bone-weary every climb. Blindsided every time

Just as I am. I am needy and dry
Jesus is for losers. The self-made need not apply
Just as I am. In a desert crawl
Lord, I'm so thirsty. Take me to the waterfall

And if you're certain, Certain your life is some cosmic mistake
Why do you shake?
And if you're certain, Certain that faith is some know-nothing mask
Why do you still ask?

They don't grade here on the curve
We both know what we deserve

Just as you are. Just a wretch like me
Jesus is for losers. Grace from the blood of a tree

Just as we are. At a total loss
Jesus is for losers, Broken at the foot of the cross

Monday, November 19, 2007

Silver City

For our very late anniversary celebration, we took a trip to Silver City. Jill's parents give us an anniversary gift every year of two nights stay any place we choose. This was a very good one.

I had meant to learn more about the town while we were there, but it didn't happen. What I do know is that (1) it was the boyhood home of Billy the Kid, (2) there's a really huge mine and it's vast piles of tailings are visible from miles away, and (3) it's the home of Western New Mexico U. It's also the gateway to the Gila Wilderness.

Is there good biking? You bet! There's a loop that's about 80 miles or so long with almost no traffic and very smooth roads. We rode out about 22-24 miles and then turned around. Why so short? Well, there's lots of climbing and less daylight hours, and well, we were a little lazy. But why get super tired on an anniversary trip?

We did cross the continental divide. The green sign in the background is the divide -- 7080 feet above sea level.

Riding a bunch makes us hungry! Fun ice cream shop in Pinos Altos.

Meat sticks on sourdough. Yummy (only on a bike ride).

look what followed me home

I really sort of am kinda trying to decrease the number of bikes that I have. But I didn't have a supercool cyclocross bike. Now I do.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Setting our minds on things above

Inspired by The Wrestling Mat, we're memorizing Colossians 3. Below is my illustrated pantry-door memorization aide for the first four verses. I typed them perfectly from memory today -- on my fourth try.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Middle of Crochet Season

Football and crochet go well together. They're both colorful. They're both creative. One is entirely out of my control, and the other makes me feel better by being almost entirely within my control.

Here I crochet in great distress as Peyton Manning throws 6 interceptions and Vinatieri (a.k.a. "clutch kicker," not "idiot kicker") misses two field goal attempts. Arrgh! I hate when the good guys lose while evil goes undefeated.

I'm almost done with that hat, though.

A few weeks ago I heard an interview with artist Chuck Close. He makes huge portraits using a grid and working from photographs, one tiny square at a time. When asked how this type of work was particularly suited to his personality, he called himself impatient and lazy. "Me too," I said to the radio. Then he compared his work to crochet or knitting -- processes that are satisfying in themselves, interruptable, and contain lots of little victories.

I can pick up my crochet for a few minutes and put it back down when I get distracted. Finishing a row is like gaining 5 yards. Finishing a stripe is like getting a first down. And, as I told my friend B the other day, two football games and you've got a hat!

A few products of this season and last. Mostly hats, but the occasional scarf, and a pair of fingerless mittens. Generally, my favorite project is the one I'm working on at the moment -- just now the mint-oreo hat at top left. But an all time favorite is Chad's hat-of-several-colors at bottom right.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

a few days later in the new pad

Here are some after photos of our new place. Compare to the last photo from last Saturday's post. Much better.

Look how happy the newly cleaned up room makes Jill!

4 bikes parked outside. We're not allowed to use personal gas grills at these apartments, so ours is now a bike rack.

Hopefully, next weekend we'll have some biking action photos. We had planned to do some riding today, but I'm feeling the beginnings of a cold and Jill felt tired. So we organized our place.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

oooo, ahhh, yum

Recipe for Sweet Potato Fries, from The Gourmet Cookbook (Reichl, 2004):

Peel sweet potatoes, cut into strips, toss in the following mixture, and roast at 425 for around 25 min, turning over once.

1 t coriander seeds
1/2 t fennel seeds
1/2 t oregano
1/2 t red pepper flakes
(grind all of the above together, or crush w/ mortar and pestle)
1 t salt
3 T vegetable oil

This recipe not only allows me to use my mortar and pestle, it also produces the following "oooo, ahhh" effect.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

We moved

Tonight is our first night in our new apartment. We think that we'll like it a lot, but for now there's lots of unpacking and putting away to do.

A bunch of friends from church helped with the move. Huge thanks to Oliver, Cody and Erica and Lily, Gus, Greg, and Mike and Susan. Bonus thanks to Gus for driving me to the big store to pick up the new washer. We capped off the moving time with some yummy pizza from Dion's.
Here's the lovely Jill vacuuming already in our living/dining room. This apartment is a tad bit smaller on the inside than the duplex we just left. Also, we only have one bathroom instead of two. In case of emergency, the clubhouse also has a bathroom.
The biggest change is that we no longer have a garage. This poses some challenge for placing a large number of bikes, such as we have. You can see at least a small part of all but one of our bikes in this photo. How many bikes can you find?
The Polkadots stopped by for a short visit also. Since we had so much pizza left over, we gave some to the kids. They had just seen the Bee Movie and said, "It was funny." We're quite excited to live so close to them.

To cap the day, we went to Josh's 5th birthday party. There were a few short of a gazillion kids there. Much fun! Back to unpacking now.

Monday, October 15, 2007

A few days with a few kids

We spent 5 days taking care of Bob and Susie's 4 kids last week. Quite a change from our quiet routine taking care of just ourselves to taking care of kids aged 6,4,3, and 1.

Furniture is not just for sitting!
Much silliness!
Future artists learning the trade. Fingerpainting at first, then feet painting. Followed by baths for everyone!

Tower construction and jumping ants.

Still fun to put things in one's mouth.

Quite a full 5 days, and we really enjoyed it. The kids are remarkably well-behaved. They played with each other very well, helped cook, and laughed and laughed. And we didn't have any injuries!
Uncle Don and Aunt Barb stopped by on Saturday night. We had a nice time eating pizza, watching a show put on by the kids, and then watching Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang. Following the movie, the kids had a great number of questions (e.g., why did the lady keep driving her car into the pond? Why were the kids hiding under the castle? Do you think the mean guy with the funny nose is real?) Thankfully both Jill and I watched carefully.
By the way, the Balloon Fiesta just happened. Pretty cool to see so many balloons on my way to work in the morning. Of course, they were much further away than this picture (not taken by us).