Sara is home for the Holidays

Sara left the nest in August of this year for college in Arizona. Today she is back home after completing her first quarter. Hopefully, she left all the COVID-19 germs back at school and she can enjoy the 6-8 weeks back in the cloudy/rainy gray skies of Oregon.

We picked her up at the airport and it was raining pretty hard. As she and I waited outside baggage claim, she wandered from the cover directly in to the rain and soaked it all up. "I'm Home" she says.

We are going to enjoy the next few weeks hearing about her adventures, trials and tribulations of college in the Covid ERA. 

Tags: Family  |  Feature

Diary of a Delightful Introvert

This blog is written by Mark, now a 50+ married father of two kids and two dogs. I'm a Software Product Manager for a technology company here in Beaverton, Oregon. I say "Manager" because I'm doing all the planning for the products - but I also do the work. So I'm a developer at heart. I focus on applications for the web, mostly on making people more productive. 

I am a technologist, but hope to write on a variety of subjects. Things that make me laugh, and I hope will make you laugh too. I'll write on current events that strike a chord in me to comment. I won't write about work much - people get fired for that - but some things will need to be noted.

I actually started blogging in about 2002. The Internet Wayback machine shows me some of the stuff from back then. At that time I was coming up on my 40th birthday, with two kids under three years of age, one just recently diagnosed on the Autism Specturm.

I know when the site went quiet - my last post was late in 2009 after Obama first took office. Not sure why I stopped doing it regularly - part of it was that blogging had fallen out of favor in lieu of the the new kid on the block "Twitter" and "Facebook" - the era of Social Media killed the blog. Today I find Social Media to be a cesspool of hate. Going back to blogging for my own pleasure feels right to me.

A lot of the sharing I did back then was about funny stories about being a "big-dumb-dad", posting pictures of the kids, and just regular internet stuff of the pre-bubble. On occasion there will be stuff about local news stories of the times.

I'm in the process of retrieving all that content, and will be reposting that here. The only copy of that is in the aforementioned Wayback machine, so it's cut/paste-a-pallooza. That's going to take some time.

I'm ok with that. In fact a lot of it will be fun to go back and re-live some of those moments. I'll fiter some of the content - some of it has not aged well - not in context of the current trends of politically correct and "woke-ness" of the world these days,.

Tags: Family  |  Feature

I think she's on to me

I think Sara is starting to adapt to my tricks.

Eggo waffles are one of the few things the kids agree on for breakfast. But recently Sara has come to the conclusion that the edges of the waffle are not edible.

"Just f'n great" I say to myself. Like we needed *another* food aversion from my kids.

So to combat this, I slice the waffle up in smaller pieces and mix them up. Now the edges are nearly indistinguishable from the normal pieces. WIN DAD!

But today she asks for her waffle to remain in a circle.

I'm going to need a bigger boat.

Tags: Family

My Message Is Not Getting Through

Sometimes I get upset with the kids for things they do. Because it really doesn't happen very often, they often don't react immediately. In my parental myopic belief that my kids are basically good and not manipulative, my opinion is that I don't think they immediately recognize when I'm being serious.

Today Sara was working on a project coloring with felt-tip markers on the floor. Our floor is wood. I was not in the room watching.

Later I returned to the room to find markings on the floor. The hair started to stand up on my neck as neatness (actually lack of neatness) with markers has in the past been a source of disciplinary action. So when I saw markings on the floor I thought that "bad daddy" would need to make an appearance.

Me: "Sara! There are green markings on the floor. What did we tell you about using markers?"

Sara: "That's not green Daddy, it's blue."

Tags: Family  |  Funny

Smackdown by an 8 year old

I've got an "itchy" spot on my upper back right between my shoulder blades. For some time now I've been apply some steroid cream to it to quell the itchiness.

My employer does not test for steroids, so I'm ok on that front.

This morning, Garrett was in the bathroom with me while I bent my arm to apply the cream my back.

He looked at me and said "What's that Daddy, hair care product?".

Tags: Funny  |  Family

Meet Frisco

Here are a few photos of the newest addition to the family.. Frisco.

Frisco was adopted from the Oregon Humane Society on September 21, 2008, about three hours after I left for San Francisco (hence the name).

Frisco is a year and six months old, and appears to be an Alaskan Eskimo breed. There isn't any firm assurance that the dog is a pure Eskimo, but if not, he's very close. His fur is white, and he has a very sweet demeanor.

I was initially very against a dog - mostly due to puppy behavior issues and our general lack of follow-through on things we promise to do. Our last dog, Cairo, was a dominant puppy and was next to impossible to train. We gave him up to Basenji rescue soon after Garrett was born.

Honestly, I'm not really sure what changed my mindset. I guess most of the issues I had with a dog were eliminated with him. His age, his size, the characteristics of the breed, maybe the picture on the Humane Society web page. All those facts made me suggest to Marie that she should check him out. It was sort of like when Marie suggested "you should build a layout", and $4000 later I had a train layout. When I got to my hotel there was a message on my cell phone regarding the "new addition", my reaction was "oh boy, what have I done?"

Frisco has lots of good characteristics. He is only 19 months old, 15 1/2 pounds, neutered, and is past most of the puppy stage. He is already showing signs of understanding some basic commands. He is house-trained (at least so far), sleeps in a crate at night, is very comfortable in the car (he stays in the back seat), and has shown a nice calm submissive behavior. He doesn't bark much (except when playing or somebody comes to the front door), and doesn't seem to shed much. We do have his hair cut quite short, a status we will probably maintain.

He does also bear a real similarity in physical appearance with Cairo. Almost the same size, similar curled up tail, long nose and runs really fast.

The adoption papers do not indicate any behavioral issues. If we can believe what we read, he was a great dog, the owners for whatever reason did not have the space to keep him.

Even though I was not here for the acquisition, the dog has showed no issues towards me, and is acclimating himself into the family very well. The dog has not quite bonded totally with the kids yet, and seems almost a little afraid of me. He is certainly friendly with them, but hasn't really become snuggly with them. I'm sure it will come because he certainly likes the attention.

Tags: Family

Self-Inflicted Punishment

Sara was dying to have a pre-school year sleepover, just to celebrate the end of summer.

We went along with it.

Everybody who was invited made it, and we ended up with 11 kids ranging from 6 to 8 years old - 8 girls, 3 boys.

They made some crafty thing, decorated cupcakes, and then made chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast.

Honestly, it was great fun.

Tags: Family

New Bike

I ordered a new bike with some birthday money I got a couple of weeks ago. It's a Big Easy Deuce made by K2.

I rode the three speed version model a couple of weeks ago and liked it. I've been wanting a new bike with a little more of an "adult" (translated: old guy) profile. Then a week or so ago I was riding with Garrett at an offroad bike park and took a fall when my chain broke - the "last straw".

The industry calls bikes of this type a "comfort" bike, which means that it has a big seat and more upright posture when riding. Not quite a "granny" bike, but more a "Cruiser" but with 21 speeds. It is a wild departure from my mid-aggressive mountain bike I've had since my mid-20's, but I'm not in my 20's anymore and am a long way from climbing those mountain bike trails I did back in the day. These days, I'm much more apt to hit a paved bike trail on the riverbank or a quick trip to the park through suburbia. The days of bumps, jumps, boulders and creek crossings will be shared only vicariously through the kids.

FedEx reports that it was just delivered to my local bike shop. I sure hope they call soon - the weather for this weekend is predicted to be awesome for an inaugural ride.

Tags: Family

Our Nightmare - On the News

Newschannel 8 ran with yesterday's Landlord Nightmare story with their dramatic "Only on 8" tag line.

It's good to know that the local news organizations have my blog on their list of news sources. (Actually, it's probably, an aggregator of Oregon themed blogs where they probably first picked up the story).

Sara saw the story this morning called Marie a "movie star".

Tags: Family


I got mad at the oldest child the other day for opening a package I specifically told him not to open. Normally that wouldn't be a big deal - because it really wasn't. But what set me off was that a key component was now missing. By opening it, he had lost a critical piece.

Except, I found the piece at work this morning. Because I had opened it at work.

I think I owe my son an apology.

Tags: Funny  |  Family