Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Break

Mom and dad traveled up from St. Louis on Friday. They spent the night somewhere in Iowa at a hotel. They said it was pretty bad visibility the entire trip up. Thank you, God, for traveling mercies. Mom and dad went directly to Greg and Mandy's house.

Saturday. We each had a list of chores to get done on Saturday. After Leesha was picked up by Jeremy, Cara and I went to the Saturday night service at church. We got home and watched some episodes of Jeremiah.

Sunday. Cara and Leesha left early. Mom and dad came to our house and we spent some time, just the four of us (mom, dad, Jack and me). Next we took off to David and Darlene's. There were a lot of people at this gathering, Kara and Jeff, Scott and Anna and Olie and Elsa, Dealane and Ron, Ruban and Donna and Paul, mom and dad, Cara, Jack and Leesha and I, and of course, David and Darlene. Melanie was meaning to come, but traffic was backed up with many accidents due to a lot of snow coming don. Deserts were served. The drive home was nice and slow. We dropped Leesha off at her dad's house on our way home.

Christmas Eve we spent evening at Cara's parents house. We had a fantastic dinner of Swedish Meatballs. Opened up a bunch of Leesha's gifts and played a game called In a Pickle. Jack was fed and Leesha took him and bounced him. Jack vomited a large amount on Leesha's black shirt. Perfect! The drive home was nice and slow. We dropped Leesha off at her dad's house on our way home.

Christmas morning. It was snowing. Leesha was dropped off late morning and we opened a bunch of our gifts, Cara, Leesha and I. For Christmas evening was over at Greg and Mandy's. It was a wonderful time. All the adults revealed who they had picked for our Secret Santas. Cara and I had each other. She got me a big gray sweatshirt! I've been missing my old one that I recently retired to the trash. Leesha was pretty good. Mom and dad were to come to our house for the night. Leesha was up too late and too tired. She absolutely melted down. The original plan was for her to sleep on one of the couches in the living room, but we changed it so that she would sleep on the twin sized mattress in Jack's room. She chose this point to just fall to pieces about. Just sitting in the room screaming her head off, crying, shouting that since she wasn't given any kleenex that she would have to wipe her nose on Jack's blankets. I wasn't handling her behavior very well, but then mom and dad arrived to witness her horrible behavior. This may have been the first time they've seen this, it wasn't the first time they've heard about it. It was good for them to witness it first hand. Leesha does have some behavioral issues.

Day after Christmas we went to IHOP for a fantastic breakfast with fantastic service. Mom, Leesha, Cara and Jack went home. Dad and I went to Menards (for some electrical stuff), to Target (for a humidifier), to the Library (to check out museum passes) and home. Dad and I installed a different light in our kitchen area, Cara and dad set up the humidifier and changed the locks on our side door. Mom and Leesha watched a bit of Totoro and I did some finishing up on my role-playing game (what does that mean, read on...) and showed my mom a bit of Porco Rosso.

I have been working on a short campaign idea for a game to be run for my family. It started at our Thanksgiving family get together when my dad commented on his lack of interest in my hobby of role-playing games. He later felt the need to apologize, because he felt he may have come off as too critical. I told him he was forgiven and if he was interested I'd put together a short game to demonstrate what an RPG is all about. He said OK.

So my game finally happened the day after Christmas. The game I ran was very different than the first few ideas that got this project going. First of all I was planning on running the game using the True20 system. I found that True20 is superior to d20 and easier for newbies to learn. In spite of True20 being a generic system, I felt confined to running a fantasy setting and that was my original intent. But as the plot developed, the setting started to change and evolve from a fantasy setting to a fantasy/sci-fi setting (Princess of Mars-like thing) to dialing it way down to a simple pulp action temple treasure hunt. I decided to use the Top Secret/S.I. system for this game because a). I've been longing to run a game in this system for years. b). Its an easy system to learn/explain. c). It is my favorite RPG system and game. So, TSSI it is.

I created the characters before hand- stated and named them and threw together a few skills. However, I had the players select the character's advantages/disadvantages to give my folks a feel for character creation. They got into that. My dad, for example, drastically changed the character's appearance by taking the obese disadvantage (and he took at a 2 point value). Fantastic! Totally changed how the character felt.

The story took the characters to a cave in search of a small statue. Upon arrival they find another boat already docked at the site. They gather a bunch of gear from the boat and set off to the cave entrance. Following two sets of fresh footsteps, they make their way through the cave and find the body of an archaeologist long dead (Forrestal, tribute to Raiders of the Lost Ark). Next they find that the Eastern most wall of this cave is actually a steep cliff with a rope-bridge that looks as old as the dead body behind them. Here's where the party surprised me. I figured they'd all just cross, but they got all crafty and used all sorts of rope and crossed one at a time. My plan was for them to have the bridge break and they'd have to find an alternative way up to the other side (which was provided with a tunnel leading up, however, there was a leopard in that tunnel waiting as an encounter). So I was forced to improvise. I moved the events clock ahead and lead the party into an encounter... To make an already long story short, we concluded the story as every good pulp adventure should in time for dinner. If anyone reading this is interested in seeing the gaming notes, I could share them with you. They're not much.

We finally wrapped up the game. I felt so completely satisfied with how it went. It seemed my folks really got into the game and their characters to the point that I think they want to continue with these characters again at a later date. This experience was such a delight for me on all levels- creating the campaign, the characters, and running the game for my family. I'm just so satisfied with how it all went.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Long Busy Week

It has been a busy week. Started last weekend with the start of a cold. Had a good time gaming on Saturday in-spite of how I was feeling.

Took me over 60 days to finish A Storm of Swords. The next book I read was Edgar Rice Burroughs' 1912 Tarzan of the Apes. I finished Tarzan last week. This week I re-started a book called Double Agent: Web of Danger.

Leesha had her Christmas concert last night. Going to David and Darlene's immediately after work and then right to the church for the show was a bit rushed. The show was very cliche and cheesy. It seems to me these things are all for the benefit of the lady in charge of the deal. If it wasn't for her, no one would pick up this ball and go with it. All the work and all the parents showing up to watch it all go toward her feeling good is my guess. Leesha seemed 'whatever' about it and I'd guess she'd just as soon not be involved if given the choice.

I found out some frustratingly bad news today. Since I drive a school bus I need a DOT drivers license. In order to get that I need to pass a physical. No problem there except that I have sleep apnea. Last year all I had to do was get a letter from the sleep clinic stating that I was using my CPAP and that it was beneficial. That's all it took to get my DOT license. This year, however, the sleep clinic says that in order to get a letter this year, I have to go to the sleep study and they have to check me out. This is not going to be very cheap. On top of that, the first available appointment date is 1/31 and my license expires 1/23! The bit of hope I had is that Cara's dad is a doctor. He offered to write a letter for me! But tonight he talked with the clinic that gives out the license and they were listing all these technical terms that made him think that he wouldn't be able to write the letter. So now its back to the first expensive plan. This is just maddening.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

BUS

Two weeks ago my School Bus crapped out. Radiator was leaking and the transmission was failing. I wrote the problems up as I should, but the shop only focused on one of the two problems. The transmission failure basically made 3rd gear the same as Drive. Top speed was 31 mph. Not good.

I've been in several buses since then.

  • 253
  • 194
  • 253 again for Monday
  • back in 242 to discover it wasn't fixed and then into 360! in the AM and 315 for PM Tuesday.
  • 306 in the AM and 315 in the PM again on Wednesday
  • 308 on Thursday and Friday

360 is one of the brand new buses we drove up from Oklahoma this summer. Nicest bus we have.

It is Tuesday and I have my 242 back! The transmission is nice and tight.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

See Jack Jump

See Jack Jump


video
Today, I saw a blind man walk down the sidewalk and buy a newspaper and then walk back.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving

We had a very full house for Thanksgiving. This was the fourth year the Trelevens' came to celebrate with us (Terry, Teresa, Lucas and Merriam). That has become a comfortable tradition which I hope continues forever. Cara's folks came, David and Darlene. For some reason Hazel was very intimidated by David. As far as I could tell he didn't make any overt aggressive communications to her. She just didn't like him (I'm not sure he liked her either and I think she could tell). Darlene's sister and family came- Donna, Ruben and Paul. And Laura Beth from small group also came. Leesha was at her dads for some of the evening and joined us as we were eating. Lucas is smitten with her. I think she was getting irritated with him following her around. Jack was passed from lady to lady and was charming them all as he does so well. Even when Darlene doesn't host, she does. So Cara had plenty of help.

Our house was very very cozy.

After everyone left I took a short nap and then got up to go meet Robert outside the Egan Best Buy at 2 AM to see if I could score a new computer for $200 (a $650 or so value). We got in line, chatted for about an hour and discovered shortly after 3 AM that we were out of luck. There were a lot of people there before us and after us. Rob was there pretty much to keep my company. He didn't even really want anything. What a nice guy. Rob was also how I found out about the deal. Perhaps he felt bad about getting me into it. I've never gotten involved with the day-after-Thanksgiving-sale frenzy. I always thought it was silly for people to do what I did. I guess I was right all along.

I got home and realized I was completely jacked up on coffee. D'oh. Went to sleep around 7 and got up around 10:30 AM.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

We are dog sitting for a couple who has just joined our small group. Hazelnut is with us for a week and a half. She is a very good dog. At two and a half years old her behavior is incredible. She seems to have a strong understanding of pack order and is a very good listener.

Not sure what breed mix she is. There seems to be some yellow labrador and what I suspect is some collie. She is real lean, but has a thick coat. Her ears don't stick up like they are in the pictures. She is a very good dog.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Its been a busy week. My folks were up last weekend which means there will be hundreds of new photos to look at. We had a great time and spent every moment at Willis West (Greg and Mandy's in Maple Grove). Mom got a good chunk of baby time which should tide her over till Christmas. It was fun to have Jack and Simon interact with each other. They're both more aware of their world and of each other now. We celebrated Thanksgiving on Saturday night which works out well considering we get two Thanksgivings this year! I love food.

Dad and Greg got to watch their Packer Game. Leesha did relatively well considering she was in competition with the babies for attention and had no one else her age to play with. She enjoyed seeing Cogswell and Eddie.

We skipped church on Sunday morning for a Bible study lead by dad. It was fun and full of discussion (as well as baby and dog distraction). I would love to do more of that.

I had a gaming book with for when conversation got stale. It lead into gaming as a topic of discussion resulting in dad kind of dissing the hobby (which he knows little about). He later called to say he felt bad about that so I offered to run a game for he and mom (and Cara and Leesha) over their stay for Christmas so he could get a feel for what it actually is about. So I've been starting to gather ideas for a miniature campaign to run for my family. I'm excited about this.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Cara's grandmother died today. Her dad, David, and his sister were with her grandmother when she passed. It was said to be very peaceful.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

I am Where I Was a Year Ago

I think it was more than a year ago that I finished a huge book called Clash of Kings and swept right into the next huge book of the series called Storm of Swords. It proved to be too much and I got bogged down about 1/6th of the way into Storm of Swords. Well, about 2 weeks ago I picked up the book again and tried to read from where I left off. I was so lost. Starting from the beginning again, this morning I reached that 2nd bookmark that held my place for over a year. What a fantastic book, too. If you haven't read the Song if Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin, you should. Best fantasy series of our day, perhaps.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Good Movies at Home

Friday night, Cara and I went to the McDonald's Red Box to see if we could rent Transformers. It was not in, but Casino Royal was!

Casino Royal was a fantastic film. I already knew it was going to be. This is such a fresh way to portray James Bond. Maybe the best since the whole franchise began.

We've had Elizabethtown on our shelf for probably 2 years. I got it from Rusty Gatenby when I was working at KSTP. I think he got a bunch of copies as screeners or something so he just gave me one. Had no interest in seeing this chick flick.

We watched it last night. It started off very good. Not too far into the film, I was hooked. There were many things about the film that had an extremely familiar feel to them. One thing was the soundtrack was extraordinary. Films usually don't have such a strong selection of popular music. It wasn't music that was big at the time of the release. Another familiarity was the realness the film had. Characters were more ordinary and quirky than most chickflicks or dramas. I felt very at home in this movie. Something else that was comfortable was the narration. Some of my favorite movies also used a very similar technique. One odd thing was that there was no opening title or credits. The movie just starts.

Then the movie ended. It was a wonderful tale. And the credits rolled. And it was a Cameron Crowe film! This answered all of the hints and feelings I was recognizing all throughout the film. I had no idea it was a Crowe movie going into it. But it sure felt like one. A great movie and the best way to discover it. I'm glad I have this movie for I WILL be watching it again.

Its interesting to note that both Elizabethtown and Casino Royal had a lot of plot development involving cellphones.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mr Mom

Cara worked at Linens and Things today so I was the stay at home dad. There is no school today or tomorrow so I can catch up on things.
WRONG! I have a new respect for Cara. Pretty much if Jack was sleeping all my attention was on Leesha. The only moments I had to myself were when Leesha was entertaining Jack and when I was on the can.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Its a Jeep Thing

Yesterday I was trying to work on our cars with little luck. Seems I actually made the Jeep worse. Trying to open the hood, I broke the hood latch cable. I've been trying to figure out a way to close it safely so the hood doesn't fly up when driving. Here's what Cara suggested:


I think its going to work.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Interesting Evening

I spoke with my grandmother on my commute home, today. We discussed Edgar Rice Burroughs, Arthur Conan Doyle, Sweeney Todd and Jack Elliot.

Cara went to work this evening, leaving Leesha and Jack in my care. As Leesha finished her dinner, which always takes her too much time, I fed Jack a bottle. As I'm feeding Jack, Leesha cleans up and hops in the shower. Still feeding Jack and I hear Leesha finish her shower, but then I hear a familiar sound... she comes out and confirms my suspicion. She puked in the toilet. So I had her lay down and take it easy. I figured it must be the large bottle of water I had her finish before she left the table (she's been coughing and we figure water would help with that), but it could be bad food. So now my stomach feels uneasy. I hate that. Jack falls asleep. Cara returns from work- they didn't need her, I guess. As she's taking care of Jack, I go to dump a bucket of mop water outside. That was enough to send me over the edge and I let my stomach go. I figured it was get it over with now or fight it all night. I don't think there was anything wrong with the food. It was just in my mind, but oh well. I felt fine after anyways.

At the convention, last Sunday, I picked up some Tom Strong trades. Man, these are good. Alan Moore is a genius.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Monday Monday

After school activity routes started today. Mine is very long. Longer than all of my other routes! However, the first half of stops were dead.

Craig and Tracy came over for dinner tonight. Adults with no kids running around. The kids were the topic of most conversation. We managed to keep environment and politics out of any conversation.

It became a late night.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Fallcon 2007

Greg, Jessie, and I all met up at Fallcon again this year. The convention was how we celebrated Greg's 31st birthday. This has become our affordable, miniature Wizard World comic convention tradition (Jessie did have Keep Coming to America in his head the whole time!). Really, its just as good. Probably better. The difference is there is no hotel or very late night drinking. Better. However, there also isn't a Sean McKeever.

The regular costumes were walking around, but this year we got footage of them. You will be seeing that soon. I didn't buy as many comics this year. One reason was I am not looking for as many comics these days and another reason is the list of comics I'm searching for was lost early on my hunt.

One of the coolest things about this one was that they held a chapel before hand which I attended. Hans from the Source mentioned it (and gave me a ticket for the con, which was incredibly nice of him. Thank you, Hans) so I asked some questions and, boom, there I was. It was ok, not real heavy, but just the fact that they do this is cool.

After the convention I met my family at a model train shop on Marshal ave for Nathan and Aaron's birthday. That was kind of neat. Miniatures are always cool and so are shops dedicated to them.

Lots of birthday stuff today.

Friday, October 05, 2007

I'm trying to get a feed all the way from Google Documents to Blogspot and then to Conk.com

Lets see if this post worked.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I have a decision to make.

I currently and happily drive school bus routes for St. Paul for my main income, these days. This is the 2nd year I'm doing so. Last year was great. I made friends with the people I work with and the kids I transported. Last year one of the routes I drove had a bus aid that rode along with the kids. We became friends and quickly discovered that we went to the same church. This year I got the same route, but she was assigned a different bus to aid. The guy that is the aid for this route, this year, also happens to be from my church!

Now, both of them are telling me about a job opportunity at the school (Murray Jr. High). Laura (from last year's route) has said all along that I'd do well in this position. David is encouraging me daily. He says the chances are very good that I'd get the job if I tried for it.

The job would be a teacher's aid with the special education department of Murray. The pay is greater than what I'm doing now and there are benefits. It seems like a very good deal. I figure I could apply and if, for some reason, I don't get the job then nothing was lost. But, if I go for it and end up not liking it... then what? I suppose I could drive a bus again, but I'd lose this route.

I am going to submit my resume. See what happens. Usually, when I'm indifferent about a job is when I'm sure to get it. Its when I really want the job that I don't. So, if that's true, this job will be mine.

I guess I'm writing this for some feedback and just to get it out on 'paper'. Please share your thoughts on the matter.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

We celebrated Craig's 40th birthday last night by going to Fasika's Ethiopian food for dinner (which is right next to Big V's which I popped in to say hi to BJ but he wasn't working yet). One of the dishes they served was goat meat. This was the best I've ever had at Fasika's.

After that we had ice cream cake at Cara's folk's house. Craig, Tracey, Nathan and Aaron are staying there while they are here in the US (they live in Kenya while Craig works his ministry working with the environment).

Today is a rare time of getting things caught up. I've been looking at different ways to promote my business and at the same time save money on the cars. Both of our cars have the engine light on. For the Honda its been determined that there is a misfire going on. Jeremy and I spent Tuesday morning replacing the plugs and the wires with no progress. I'm wondering if the same thing is going on with the Jeep. We're going to get auto repair manuals from eBay today so they can be worked on soon (by me!).

Wednesday, I spent my birthday money on the new Battlestar Galactica RPG book. I wave my geekflag high. This is a very well made game. Margaret Weis Productions improved their production since they released the Serenity RPG. This book seems more conceived and clean. The rule system has been refined as well. Great product. Its been a fun read and has gotten me back into the franchise. Too bad there won't be a DVD for season 3 until Spring next year.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Seems like its been a three day full moon.

Monday
Train parked across Como Ave.- The train was dead and there was no going around. An engineer helped me back the bus up. I was 10 minutes late for all the stops after that.
Puker on the bus from Wellstone- There was a bad smell right after picking up students at one of the stops. We dismissed it as another funky odor from the Somalian kids. After we got to the school a boy was complaining about someone puking on his backpack. Apparently a Somalian girl puked, but no one said anything to me (which was fine, because we were already late). Not much we could've done anyways. I drove the bus home and hosed it out and sprinkled baking soda all over. Smell lingered for another day, but not nearly as bad.
Released with not all the kids in PM- Loaded at Wellstone after school and all was fine, routine. The kids were a little crazy so as soon as I cleared downtown St. Paul I pulled over (into the parking lot of Sears right by the state capitol). I called into the base to let them know I was stopping. Got the kid moved to the front (I bet it was the same Somalian girl who puked) and called into base that we were moving again. They said OK, but that I had to go back to the school to pick up more students that were left behind. WHAT!? Its the teachers that clear us to depart. So we went back. It was only Dah and another girl, Wendy, that heard dispatch tell us to go back. So we decided to not tell anyone else and see how long it would take for them to figure out we were going back to the school. We were by 6th street before someone piped up!

Tuesday
worked on cars- fixed nothing! Jeremy is Leesha's bio-father and he is a bit car-savy. It could be a lot more awkward hanging around with my wife's ex-boyfriend/step-daughter's father, but its not too bad. He has changed his attitude about Cara and Leesha and we've found common ground to actually be friends. Jeremy had some nice things to say to me about who I am and who Cara ended up with. As for the car work. I think he messed up the spark-plug wires and tried to hide it from me and to make up for it he put 110% effort into the work that morning. We also topped off the transmission fluid, which he purchased for me. It wasn't bad hanging with him. The only bad part was it took up the time I usually spend chilling. So I lost some 'me' time.

Wednesday
actual full moon.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Today was all about the Zoo. We were a large clan: David, Darlene, Craig, Tracy, Nathan, Aaron, Cara, Leesha, Jack and me. We met our cousin, Melanie who works at the zoo. She let us in for free!
We saw all the standard stuff plus a 3D movie about dinosaurs which was really good. The gibbons were disappointingly mellow. Watched the dolphin show from the underwater window. I think that may be the best way to see it, actually. Also saw the bird show. Jack stayed awake the whole time. Thank you, Melanie.

Last night, just as I turned out the light in our room I heard the chain-link fence between our yard and the neighbor's. So I went to the window. Our room was completely dark. I watched three guys moving through our yard right by the window that I was looking out. I waited for the first guy to get right next to me and then I yelled "Hey! Get out of our yard!" Ho ho, how that guy jumped! He kind of said something like "Eh!, Sorry, sorry." and they RAN. I couldn't stop laughing.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Cara and I have been watching the 3rd season of MillenniuM. This has always been one of my favorite shows (even before it aired). One major reason is Lance Henriksen. He is amazing in anything he is in. Another reason is this series deals with spiritual warfare. There is a lot of dark truth through-out the show around that aspect. And the secret society/conspiracy always is a winner if done well- which this is.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Since Leesha and I finished ROBOTECH, we started a new series called LAST EXILE. I've seen this show in its entirety and its pretty good. This may be pushing her to try to understand some more mature sci-fi concepts for this show is a bit intellectual. I think she's up to it. Of the shows I've shared with here I think she'll identify with similarities I saw in NADIA
- Secret of Blue Water, which was the very first show we shared.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Leesha and I finished ROBOTECH. This is interesting timing since there has been notable ROBOTECH news lately.

Could the following news mean the end of Tobey Maguire in the role of Peter Parker? The Hollywood Reporter is (fittingly) reporting that Maguire has acquired the rights to ROBOTECH, a classic anime series from the eighties. Toby will be producing and is looking to star in the film that takes place in an alternate universe where "Earth has developed giant robots from the technology on an alien spacecraft that crashed on a South Pacific isle." They then use this technology to fend of a bunch of alien invasions. Basically Toby will be strapping into giant robots and blowing up a smorgasboard of shit.

After the success of TRANSFORMERS, I'm sure most studios are looking to get into the giant robot business (in this film they're called mechas) and Warner Bros. is thinking franchise with this one, which like I said, could spell the end of Tobey as Spidey. Too bad Topher Grace was wasted on Venom, because he easily could have been the next to suit up.

Extra Tidbit: Tobey's production company is called Maguire Entertainment. How modest/creative of him.


Link

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Last night Leesha and I watched the 2nd to last episode of ROBOTECH. One more to go. Probably finish off the series tomorrow.

I started tracking the LCTs Leather Clad Trucks today. Here is more information on what that's all about.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

First day of school - went very well. Its good to see many of the same kids from last year. Seems most of the trouble makers on the Elementary route graduated last year. Yay!

Really good bible study

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Best birthday since #9.

T's, Willis West, Capital Ws, CaraJoy's folks. Greg made me two t-shirts- one of Dr. Midnight and the other was Snake-Eyes vs Storm Shadow. Very good Birthday

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Jack is a month and a day old.

Took him to the MN State Fair, we did. Eric, Cara and I. Saw the old KSTP crew: Zack, Swifty, Schmitty, Char, Katie, DT, Glen, Becky, Amanda, Dave Dahl, John Mason, Leah McClain and Tommy. Felt strange not helping them do the news.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Mowed the lawn today for the first time in a very long time. Not that the yard needed it. Its been very dry all summer until this last week. Nothing but rain, almost.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

It has been many weeks since our road had pavement on it. Jack and I watched them finish the job this morning. Well... I watched. Jack watched me.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

We had our 2007/2008-School-Year-Is-About-To-Begin-meeting today.

The company is expanding so much that they didn't have room to hold the meeting at the base. So it was held at the owner's other business (or one of the other businesses), the top floor/meeting room of Premiere Bank. Everyone hopped on a bus and was shuttled there. I took my own bus because I had a YMCA charter after. As soon as I parked the bus near the bank and walked in, I was informed that my charter was canceled. Oh well.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Lastnight Jon and I played HALO till the wee hours of the morning. What a fantastic game.

Tonight I watched Leesha and Jack all by myself. Let Leesha watch a movie (Spirited Away) and gave all my efforts to Jack to keep him satisfied.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Oklahoma

Sunday evening my work called me to see if I was able to go down to Oklahoma on Monday and drive a bus up with a few other guys, just like I did last week from IL. I was able. So I was at work at 3AM Monday and we piled into a cha
rter van like this one, but ours had an AC unit on the top back-->
A lot of reading and sleeping. Somewhere around Iowa and Missouri we entered triple digit temperatures. The van was our inverted oven. The windows were very hot to the touch from the outside temperatures.
We arrived in Oklahoma at around 4PM. The bus manufacturing facility was huge. It was an old military bomber factory in its history, I guess. Paperwork was processed and we ran down a checklist on our brand new buses. If it was over 100 degrees outside, imagine what it was inside the buses!
We were on the road at about 5pm, but then it took over an hour to fill all 7 buses at the very first diesel station. Eventually we got going. Drove for about an hour and a half to Joplin, MO to a hotel our leader was familiar with. Got in at about 7 and finished paperwork and logbooks at around 8PM.

Comfortable Hotel. I roomed with 3 other guys while another room held 3 more. 7 in total. Mark, Marty, Josh and I in one room. Dave, Steve and Kirk in the other.

We had a very good breakfast at about 6 and headed North just after 7. Somewhere in Iowa three of the fellas kind of took off ahead lead by the grumpy Mark. He wasn't excited about following anyone else's bus- even when I was leading most of the way. Someone passing him lead to him trying to one-up them and they went on ahead.

When the van needed to refuel, Dave just had us remaining three fill up our tanks which made us good for the rest of the trip. He drove off to go find the other jokers so they could have means to refuel- I believe they would be waiting for him in Albert Lea, MN. That left Marty, Josh and I to make our way by ourselves.

We decided to stop at the last rest stop in Iowa- a two level barn which was very nice. Once we had our rest we got back onto 35. As I passed the exit for Albert Lea, Mark fell in right behind my bus. He stayed there all the way back to base. The other two jokers were about 5 minutes ahead of us.

With a few stops for stretching and one for fuel we made it back to the Twin Cites at about 6:30 to 7pm.

It was a good trip. And a good bus.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Willis weekend

Mom and Dad came up to see Jack Elliot (like they did when Simon was born). They stayed at David and Darlene's house. The plan was to have everyone (including Greg and Mandy and Simon) come to our house on today, but...

We lost power last night storm.

So we met for a short time at David and Darlene's house and then continued on to Greg and Mandy's and spent the day/evening there. Very good time. Cogs and Eddie are great and adjusting to Simon very well (except for Cog's need to dominate Eddie occasionally).

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Went to Illinois for work

7 of us rode a bus to Hastings, got on a different bus to Sycamore IL to pick up newer buses for Monarch. 4:30 AM to 9:00 PM. I lead the convoy.

The one we rode from Hastings to Sycamore had seats in the front half. The rear was nothing but mattresses. Strange.

The buses we took up to MN are not brand new, but they are very nice. AM/FM radios, tinted windows. Nice ride.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

We were nearly at the end of Small Group and our power went out.

Jack is doing great.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Bopper has become Jack Elliot Willis

He was born at 3:00 AM this morning with a very quick delivery. 22.5 inches and 8lbs 15 oz. Big boy. Momma and baby are doing great.

Cara had some contractions last night at about 11:15 or so. She went for a walk and took a shower. Around 1:45 AM her contractions were strong enough for her to say "Lets go!". Woke up Leesha and went to the hospital. We arrived and got set up in a room for the delivery. Leesha called both sets of grandparents to let everyone know. At about 2:45 the contractions were regular and strong and Cara said she felt the need to push. Everything seemed accelerated from here until the end. Leesha was sent out to the hallway to wait. 15 minutes later a boy came out. Cara needed very little assistance- no painkillers (not that there was time for them).

See the Jack Elliot show here.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Bopper is 1 week overdue, but they say we can induce tomorrow.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

No Bopper, but Barriss


Still no Bopper.

I found out that the girl who played the Jedi Padawan, Barriss Offee, in STAR WARS Episodes II and III is a Christian according to this interview with her at STAR WARS celebration IV. I found her email address from her website and sent her a note. She wrote me back today:

Hello Nalini,

I am a STAR WARS fan and I really like the character you portrayed in the prequels. What I'm writing about is- I just saw the interview you did with Kelly from Weekendgamer.com on youtube and I wanted to say... You are great for being so bold with your faith. Praise GOD! I am also a Christian and I was so excited to hear your testimony. Thank you for your strength and God bless.

Jeffry


------------------------

Jeffry,
Thanks so much for the email, it can be so hard to remain faithful at time to Jesus, the world gets in the way, but if it weren't for emails like this reminding me then it would be so much harder.
Thanks and God Bless.
Regards
Nalini


She seems very cool.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Bopper is due today. Still waiting...

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Mom and Dad are in MN
Mom and dad were in town to see Simon. We went out to breakfast with them today before they took off for home.

Spud started his own forum and I closed mine down. Spud also allegedly is opening a coffee shop in Eagle River.

I am fully into STAR WARS lately. I think I've forgiven Lucas for the quality of the new trilogy.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Goodbye Goldie

Leesha's goldfish died today.

Mom and Dad are in town to see Simon

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Simon
Simon Lee Willis was born today. Mandy went through over 40 hours of labor with him.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Saturday, June 23, 2007

I am a certified RTA with YTB!

Today I attended a class to get my certification with Your Travel Business. It was highly informative and I feel motivated. This company is remarkable. Starting my own business for $500. Best system out there by far.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Last Day of School. Kind of sad.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

I got new glasses today. It was also Leesha's last day of school.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Sadie





I am surprised at my level of mourning for Sadie. Her health has been dropping fast and today she couldn't get out of her bed. So Matt and Krystin are taking her to the vet to put her down. She is gone.

Mourning is an interesting thing. I feel that I gave her the love a dog is due. I adored that little girl. I pray that the dogs I own in the future will be as good hearted as she was.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Dispatch called select drivers to see Don after routes. I was not one of the names called. Worried. After the day Don signed my time sheet and told me about a meeting on Thursday morning (even though I wasn't called). Not about Summer routes. Worried.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Full Full Weekend

Friday, Eric brought a lot of stuff for another garage sale. Put up signs after dark

Saturday, set up for garage sale. Went to get eye exam and new glasses. Came home to help with garage sale. Our neighbors, Mike and Amy, hung out with us. Sky got dark. Hustled everything into the garage. Eric and I sat down and listened to Leesha's and Dah's new mix CD. Then we hung lights in bedroom. Cara was gone. Worried. Called. She came home mad. She went to church with out a word. Had a talk.

Sunday Went to church. Hung out with media crew- Fritz and Rob. Greg Boyd's 50th birthday skit. Eric came to pick up garage things. Helped get grand table into basement and get air conditioner in window. Packed up his truck. He got called into work.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Weekend

Friday night we went to Willis West (Greg and Mandy's house) where we grilled out and ate in. It was a very good time visiting and playing with the dogs.

Saturday we slept in. Cara and Leesha went down to Ikea with Darlene to shop. Called me and I went to down to transport a cabinate. Pre assembled. Door open so took my time going home. Stopped at Hot Comics and found Uncle Sven's which the Source recently purchased. Hans was working there. We dug out Identity Crisis and marveled at how well it portrayed Deathstroke the Terminator. Found a bunch of Challengers of the Unknown comics for $.50!

Cara and I watched the first episode of the current season of Doctor Who before she went to be and I watched SNL.

Sunday we met at Uptown Bar and Grill for gyro omelets. We picked up Darlene at her church and went to Uptown to meet Greg and Mandy and Mom and Dad.

After that Mom and Dad followed us to our house and we all went to work on Bopper's room. Had sandwiches. Leesha slept in the living room while mom and dad had her bed. We went for a walk and sat outside and talked.

Memorial Monday we had some breakfast and shortly after that, Greg and Mandy came over as well as Trelevens. We spent most of the day in our back yard.

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