Urban pirate

I felt like I should get some more mileage out of the sweet tri-corner pirate hat I bought for Halloween. I only had a chance to wear my costume twice. So tonight, we headed over to Red Robin for dinner and I wore the hat.

I called it the “urban pirate” look.


Senior pics

Our friend Rocio really wanted to take some senior pictures of Kyra. She’s not a professional photographer or anything, but she’s worked with a few of Kyra’s friends and their pictures turned out nice, so a few days ago they went out together and had a photo shoot.

I’m not really a huge fan of senior pictures, but of course when it’s my own daughter I’m probably a little biased. I think these are pretty great, and of course Kyra is beautiful. I love her long, flowing blond hair.




Elder Schroeder

This week Alex was able to send some photos to us. Here’s one of him looking all official: he’s wearing his missionary name tag (Elder Schroeder).


And of course he managed to sneak in a “frowney face” shot as well. Apparently the guy on the left end didn’t get the memo that it was a goofy picture.


Evil C

I saw this snippet of C code on Github:

#define if(x) if ((x) && (rand() < RAND_MAX * 0.99))

So evil! If you know C, or even a reasonably similar programming language, you’ll understand why this single cruel line, slipped into an include file somewhere, would drive code testers to the brink of murderous insanity.

Halloween part 1

Last night was our annual Halloween party, and it was fun as always to put together a costume.

Kyra and her friend Chaille decided to be Sponge Bob and Patrick, who are apparently a sentient kitchen sponge and his friend the starfish. The idea sounded a little shaky, mostly because I couldn’t figure out how Kyra would be a huge sponge or Chaille an enormous starfish. But their costumes actually turned out pretty sweet:


That’s (Girl) Alex in the middle, dressed as Bucky, the arch-enemy and ex-friend of Captain America. It took me a moment to figure out that costume.

I was a little short on ideas this year, and a few weeks ago I aborted my Zorro idea in favor of a generic pirate costume. I picked up a sweet tri-cornered hat and “pirate wig”, made a red sash, and reused some of my props from last year’s Dread Pirate Roberts outfit. I even grew out a bit of a beard.



I love my sword and it typically gets a lot of attention– particularly from kids– but I kept running into things at the party, or people would plow into it, so I eventually had to retire it.


The party was fun, of course, and I already have my idea for next year’s costume. I suppose I’ll need to start working on it in a few months…

Yep, that’s us

In our family photo shoot about a month ago, we ended up with some hilarious pictures of the kids and yesterday I decided to have them printed to replace the framed photos in our family room. Those pictures were about fourteen years old.

The result was awesome.


Yep, those are our kids.

What my kids do all day

In the latest installment of What My Kids Do All Day, I took a picture of Zack sitting on the couch playing with a Rubik’s Cube in between a few pages of his comic book.


Sometimes, that’s pretty much a summary of his day.

To his credit, he’s been working hard on learning how to solve the Cube, and he’s become pretty good at it.

Off to the races…




And he’s got it!

Meanwhile, Kyra was demonstrating what she does all day: reads young adult fiction novels on her tablet.


She’ll burn through a novel every few days. Laralee is much the same, and they’re always talking about “you should read this…” and “I didn’t really like how that happened…”

Dry erase art

Laralee has a huge dry-erase board on the side of the refrigerator, and it’s where she keeps her various shopping and to-do lists. Since the board is so big, there tends to be a bit of space on it. A few days ago I decided to add some artwork.

So I created three limited-edition pieces featuring various animals:


Breathtaking, I know.

Zack saw the snake and thought it looked like a dude with a long tongue, so he took the liberty of adding his own artwork to the board:


I think dry-erase art could be a new medium. Before you know it, the major galleries will feature some of this stuff.


Today there was a company-wide email exchange that ended up turning nasty.

Brent: I’m going out or ordering in lunch if anyone is game.  I’d like to eat an animal of some sort, grilled.

Me: Brian and I were bantering about the idea of Freddy’s…

Brent: I see your Freddy’s and raise you a Chuburger!​

Mike: I would be in for Freddy’s; Chuburger let me down last time.

Grant: I’m good for Freddy’s.

Ben: I’ll go.

Brent: Freddy’s is a great choice for kids and diarrhea. Bring me back a paper hat or something.

Ouch. Clearly Brent isn’t a fan of Freddy’s, although most of the team isn’t fond of Chuburger (home of unseasoned meat and soggy grease fries). Five of us headed over to Freddy’s without him, and when I came up to the register I asked the guy if I could get a paper hat for a friend. He told me they don’t have any paper hats, but he would look around to see if he could find a real hat.

The result:


Free hat, ohhh yeah. Brent’s jealous now.

Congrats Thom and Katie, part 2

As a follow-up to my post a few days ago about Thom and Katie’s wedding, I wanted to add a few photos from the official wedding photographer. I didn’t take any of the ceremony or the stuff afterward, since he was hopping all over the place like a squirrel on meth and had a much more impressive camera than I did.

Here’s the nice “you may kiss the bride” moment:


Then we started taking various combo shots, and apparently I’m the only one who didn’t get the memo that we were not doing a “goofy shot” here.



Then we decided to actually do a goofy shot, and suddenly everyone started laughing and pointing. I figured that was the theme of the shot, so I pointed as well. What they all saw– and I didn’t– was a little chipmunk that had popped up on a nearby rock next to the wedding certificate. I suppose that’s a sign of some kind, although I have no idea what it might mean…


We were eventually able to get things together and do a proper goofy shot.


Here’s a nice one of me and my favorite bro.


And finally, the happy couple surveying their domain.


“Everywhere the light touches, Simba…”

New dishwasher

A couple of weeks ago our dishwasher started to smell funny. Then it started to smoke. I figured that was probably a sign. We’ve never really liked it– when we bought it, we were lured by the promise that it was “virtually silent”. It turned out that meant “you can’t really hear it if you’re in a neighboring state”. It was crazy loud, although at least it had a delayed-start feature we used to fire it up a few hours after we’d cleared out of the downstairs.

Anyway, smell, smoke, and noise was enough to force us to buy a new dishwasher. After some internet research I picked one, we ordered it, and despite a few hiccups in the installation process, it’s in place and we used it for the first time last night.


This one really is virtually silent. I didn’t even know it was running, and I was standing right in front of it. Pretty awesome. The online reviews were very positive, so hopefully it lasts a long time…

Congrats Thom and Katie

Last week I was up in the North Cascades of Washington for Thom and Katie’s wedding. It was an amazing trip. The ceremony took place beside Perfection Lake (aptly named), which was about twelve miles into the backcountry, in an area called the Enchantments. Thom and I had been to the Enchantments many years before, although via a different route.

The weather was absolutely stunning– every day was clear and sunny, not at all what you’d expect from late September and early October in Washington! The larch trees were turning color, peppering the landscape with their yellow needles.

I managed to take a few good shots on the way up the trail:



Here’s some detail of a larch. The needles are surprisingly soft, not at all like pine needles.


And here are the views from our camp site, looking first to the north and then the south:



Yes, the water was really that calm and the sky was really that blue.

Here’s a fun shot of an old tree:


The new bride and groom enjoyed their stay in a lovely honeymoon suite, which I decorated with the help of the maid of honor:


The day after the wedding, we hiked around an area called the Upper Basin, which was much more rocky and sparse. Even though it was the first of October, the weather continued to be amazing– we were hiking in shorts and t-shirts. I took the opportunity to wander barefoot a little during our lunch break.


Finally, here’s a shot of dusk over Perfection Lake as we were returning from our “play day”:


Unfortunately I messed up some setting on my camera, so about 200 of my photos from the last few days of the trip ended up being grainy and blurry. It’s a shame, because after this trip I’ve decided the Enchantments are definitely one of the top ten most beautiful places I’ve visited. They were truly stunning.

According to my math, we covered about thirty-two miles in four days, crisscrossing the wilderness. Because camping permits are very restricted in the area, there were hardly any other people around at all. It felt like we had the run of the place.

I’m so happy for Thom and Katie, and wish them the very best as they begin their life together.

Off to Peru

Today was the Big Day: Alex left for his mission in Peru. It’s one of those things that we’ve known was coming for a while… eighteen years or so, in fact, so it wasn’t really a surprise but it was still strange when the day finally arrived.

Last night we celebrated with a family dinner. Alex picked the location, and to no one’s surprise he requested Benihana.


This morning he said his good-byes to Kyra and Zack, a couple of friends, and we drove to the airport. We posed for a moment before he went through the security line:



Of course we had to take a couple of goofy shots as well.



I have no idea what Laralee is doing in that picture.

Delta agreed to give Laralee a “gate pass” so she could accompany Alex through security to the gate, but told us they’re only allowed to give one. TSA rules and all that. Yay, security! She was glad she could join him, and managed to get a quick picture as he boarded the plane to Atlanta.


As I write this, he’s sitting in the Atlanta airport on a layover as he waits for the flight to Lima, Peru. There will probably be a dozen or so other missionaries from all over the country who are gathered there for the flight, so at least he’ll have some company as all of them nervously embark on this next step in their lives.

Godspeed, Alex. We’ll see you in two years.