Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Today was a BIG day!

Today, we had our last sonogram. I was a bit nervous, but Emily, who knows the little dude is in there kicking all of the time, knew that everything was going to be okay. That's why she's got such a big smile on her face in the following picture!

And the little guy checked out fine. Our sonographer is super nice, so she spent a lot of time getting us good, recognizeable shots that we could take home with us. For example, check out how cute little Abercrombie is in the following shot. She was also nice enough to label the pictures for us so we wouldn't mistake the little guy's face for, say, well, you know...

So we did all of the major checks: spine (okay), head (about 1.5 weeks oversized -- Emily was not pleased), weight (3 lb. 13 oz, 51st percentile (our kid's above the median!)), kidneys (bean-shaped), heart (beating like a drum). And look, the little guy's got more hair than his pop! We watched his face for awhile, he yawned, and took a couple of drinks, and then when our sonographer got a bit more aggressive with the wand, little Otto raised one side of his lip and gave us his first (but I'm sure not his last) documented sneer. The little whippersnapper.

And look--the sonographer found a turtle in there for little Ignatz to play with! (Make of that what you will...) Who knew that kids came with their own stuffed animals?

Everything is on target for a February 17 delivery--we'll keep you posted!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Notable quotes from our childbirth education class

"Why do I need to go to class? I already know how to pace around the waiting room and hand out cigars. That's all I have to do, right?" -- Alan, on the way to the class*

"Men, I'd recommend you not say that 'we' are going to get through this. Your wives will be quick to tell you that there's no 'we' in labor." -- Laura, our lamaze instructor

"But if you use the British spelling of labour, it's got an 'our' in it. Can I say that 'our labor is going fine'?" -- Alan*

"During the first phase of labor, I was mostly just excited about what was coming down the pipe." -- Man in childbirth video [Note: He probably said "pike" instead of "pipe," but I certainly heard "pipe," which was pretty darn funny to those of us in the room from whose "pipe" something would be coming.]

"She'll be coming 'round the mountain when she comes..." -- Same man in childbirth video, now during the more intense stage of labor. I immediately vetoed the singing of campfire songs during the birth of our kid, despite Alan's insistence that he does a rousing version of "Coming 'Round the Mountain" and his offer to sing My Darling Clementine instead.

"That doesn't look like a baby." -- Woman in childbirth video, upon seeing her newborn on its way out. I felt a little sad for her, and I immediately prayed that I won't feel that way, and if I do, that I won't say it out loud on tape!

* Note: Smart ass comments from Alan were often followed by a threat of violence from me, usually predicting a carefully placed hit to a particularly sensitive area that might eliminate the need for any future childbirth classes.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Men don't have "showers" -- they have "parties."

I learned to play bridge when I was a teenager. My high school boyfriend's parents taught us to play, which was a stroke of parental genious, I think, because we spent most of our dates in their living room playing bridge. So even if it was midnight, they knew where we were and what we were doing. Brilliant.

Anyway, I didn't play much in college, but when I moved out here for law school, I signed up to take an adult education city recreation commission bridge class just for fun. At class, I met Mark and Wally, two friends who worked together here in Champaign. They played bridge with some coworkers everyday during lunch, and they invited me to join them whenever I could tear myself away from my studies.

And thus began a fun relationship with a group of guys at a publishing company in Champaign. (There was a woman who played back in the 1998 or 1999, but for the past 6 years or so, it's just been an assortment of 3-7 various menfolk.)

I've been joining them for bridge at least a day or two a week since February 1998, excluding the times when I left the area for various jobs. This group celebrated with me after Alan and I got married, made Clarice Starling/Silence of the Lambs jokes when I got the FBI job out in DC, applauded my law school graduation, emailed to keep in touch while I was living in Chicago, came to our going-away party before we left for Palau, and admired my tan when I returned.

In keeping with tradition, the guys threw me a baby shower yesterday, except they refused to call it a shower, adamently proclaiming that men have parties, not showers. Nomenclature aside, they ordered a cute baby cake (the wife of one of the guys is a professional cake-baker -- just my luck!!) and picked out a gift designated specifically for Alan -- diapers.

Talking with them yesterday, it hit me that the "baby boy" gene is somewhere in the water at that office. The five guys who were there yesterday have a combined total of 15 boys and only 3 girls. And they quite enjoy tormenting me about baby boys -- things about throwing baseballs into ceiling fans and mixing bleach with brake fluid to make smoke. Yeesh... what am I getting myself into...

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Baby Moon

So it's no secret that Emily and I are expecting a kid come February (if you weren't aware of that yet, one look at the soccer ball Emily is carrying around in her midsection should be sufficient to dispel any doubt). Emily and I decided we should take one more vacation before 3 a.m. feedings and endless crying (I mean me, not the kid) begin. The parenting magazines call this a “babymoon” (instead of honeymoon), but mostly we're just anxious to get some sunshine in the middle of yet another gray Illinois winter.

So we're going to the Riviera Maya, Mexico during the first week in January, and we invited our friends Michael and Kristen along for extra fun. (Actually, I'm just worried that I'll need them to help get Emily out of her airplane seat upon our arrival...) We're going to stay for five nights at an all inclusive resort, where I'll test the theory that zero-marginal-cost food and drink results in stuffing oneself to the point of vomiting. And to pay for the whole thing, we're raiding our change jar.

You may have guessed that our change jar is bigger than the average Smuckers' container. It's a five-gallon water-cooler jug, and we just now finished filling it to the top.

A couple of years ago, when the jug was about 2/3 full, Emily's mom got me a change counter for my birthday, and one Sunday morning, Emily and I skipped church to count what we had so far. Special place in hell for people like us, I suppose.

Emily started the jug sometime back in high school, and we've been dutifully working on it since before we were married—and we continued saving change when we lived in Palau. Over the space of our year there, we managed to accumulate a couple of hundred bucks in change, all dutifully saved in a ½ gallon Red Rooster Ale jug. Emily wanted to ship all of it home via airmail, but I (designated packer/shipper) put my foot down. When I regained consciousness (having learned never to let one's wife within striking distance when she's holding a jar with 30 pounds of change in it), we compromised, deposited it in our Bank of Hawaii account, and then, yes, wrote ourselves a check and converted that exact amount back to change when we got back home. Into the jar with it!

Since we'd been through the counting before and kept track of what we added since then, we had a pretty good idea what was coming yesterday morning when we took it to the bank to cash it in. We emptied it into a half-dozen big Tupperware containers so we could actually carry it into the bank.

And when the countin' was done, we had $8.52 in Canadian dollars, one parking meter token, a Fijian tuppence, a 1 Mexican peso coin, nine mangled pennies that wouldn't pass through the change counter, and $1,599.98 extra in our bank account. If only Emily had let me get my two cents' worth in, it would have been an even sixteen hundred bucks.

Mexico, here we come!

Incidentally, our friend Michael tells me that he recently saw a CNN blurb about BabyMoons, that they're what all the hip and trendy yuppies are doing. Glad to know how up to date Emily and I are. Now that he's put that kind of pressure on, I'm going to have to dust off my macarena before we hit the dance floor in Cozumel.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

More fuzzy baby pictures

These are pictures from our last sonogram. They're fairly grainy, but you might as well get used to cooing over pictures of the baby now. Start practicing for when we drag out an album full of Baby's Sleeping Poses, Part II.

This is the baby's face (forehead toward the left side, eyes, nose, and mouth in the appropriate places), and the funny shaped thing below and to the right of his face is his arm.

I think it kind of looks like this guy:
Only sideways, like this:

This is the baby's butt (on the right side of the image) with his legs extended and crossed at the ankles. The white lines are bones.

And then this shot is of his feet, still crossed at the ankles. The sonogram lady counted and labeled the five toe bones in this foot.

Beautiful, eh?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Fire, again!

Last night I built a nice, hot fire to chase away the cold and dampness that have settled onto central Illinois. A few hours into it, I had a nice glowing bed of hot coals. I wanted to move some of them to the back of the fireplace, so I got out the little shovel that came with our fireplace tools (shovel, broom, poker, tongs) and started shifting things around.

It didn't take 5 seconds for the shovel to catch on fire. For pete's sake.

If you were the company that made fireplace shovels, wouldn't you think it smart to paint them with fireproof paint?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Grant Dynasty Continues...

Emily had her 22-odd week sonogram this past week. And the tentative verdict is...

It's a boy. A little mini-me. The world could do worse, right? Right? C'mon, give me some help here.

As I said, the verdict is tentative--pictures were tough to capture and we won't be able to confirm until sometime in December. We'll let you know if the situation changes. Until that point, boy names are being actively solicited. So far, we're leaning toward "Hurd." Schoolyard kids are going to have a ball with that: "Hurd the nerd," "Hurd the turd," and so on. Ought to toughen the kid up, having a name like that.

Everything I know about raising kids I learned from the Johnny Cash Big Book of Parenting.

Of course, the more important part of the sonogram was that we were able to verify that at least so far the kid appears healthy. Saw the heart beating, looked at the spine, counted the toes (yes, the sonogram is that good!), watched him kick. More disconcerting was the fact that he and a bunch of his fetal friends were in there smoking cigars and shooting dice. Had to put him in "time out" for that.

So now I can put a face to my imaginings and my mind is free to speculate about what we'll be doing together 9 or 10 years from now. At the moment, it's Andy and Opie Taylor, headed down to the fishin' hole with poles slung over their shoulders. Somewhere someone's whistling. Of course, it's more likely that it'll turn out to be Al and Bud Bundy stealing money out of each others' wallets, so I've got to enjoy this dreaming while I can.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

We have made fire!

As soon as the temperature neared 50 degrees, we started eyeing the new wood burning stove. Knowing that this weekend was supposed to be quite nice (75-80 degrees), we took advantage of a slightly-cooler Friday night to inaugurate the stove.

We read the instruction manual, and gather the necessary materials (newspaper, small sticks for kindling, slightly bigger sticks, and even bigger sticks), and started burning.

Alan and the cats monitored the fire to make sure everything burned that was supposed to. I sat on the couch with the camera and the fire extinguisher to make sure that nothing burned that wasn't supposed to.

It went ok. It was warm. It smelled nice and woodsy. But we didn't have very good air flow. I think it probably helps if it's colder outside.

Anyway, that was our excitement of the weekend.

And in other news... Mikey's on a diet, and he's not very happy about it.

We took the cats to their annual vet appointment last weekend, and the vet gave us a stern lecture about Mikey being overweight. He weighs 15.4 pounds. On a scale of 1-9 (with 5 being an ideal weight), Mikey is an 8. (Syndey is a 6, so she's a little heavy, but not as chunky as Mikey.)

Anyway, so now we have to limit the amount of food they get, and they only eat twice a day. Before now, we were really lazy pet owners. Isn't that why you get a cat in the first place? No walking, no bathing, no potty training? We used a free feeder that we'd fill with crunchies and put down in the basement. Whenever we walk by, we kick it a little bit to make sure some there were enough crunchies out the bottom of the feeder. But that was mostly the extent of our involvement in cat meal time.

No longer. We have to carefully measure out food (Mikey only gets 1/4 cup -- that's really small!), put the cats in different parts of the house (so Mikey doesn't eat Syndey's food), and give them 20 minutes or so to eat their tiny portions.

I think they're super cranky now. Alan chalks it up to "more energy now that they're slimming down." Hrmph.

Friday, September 22, 2006

At last!

After four months of construction dust and piles of furniture in rooms where they don't belong, our remodeling project is finished (for the most part -- one small thing left to wrap up).

A brief reminder of the "before" -- two rooms, covered in paneling and indoor/outdoor carpet, divided by a big awkward closet:

And here's the after shot (taken from the same viewpoint):

Nice wood-burning stove at the end of the room. We're anxious for colder weather so we can give it a try, but we're a little nervous. I bought a fire extinguisher this afternoon. (And yes, those are rabbit ears on our television -- we've decided we're too cheap to pay for cable anymore.)

New couches and rug:

Bookshelves at the north end of the room:

And we have plenty of room for our random antique office supplies and fans:

The cats seem to approve:

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

School Clothes Shopping

The weekend before school started (which is now about 3 1/2 weeks ago), I decided I better try on things in my closet to assess how my wardrobe was looking. At the time, I hadn't gained too much pregnancy weight (maybe only 5 pounds), but what weight I had certainly had shifted to new places. So nothing in my closet fit except two tank/tent dresses and some shirts (some of which I've had since high school -- who knows why I was buying clothes in high school that would still fit many, many pounds later). So I forced myself to go shopping.

I'm not a shopper. Sure, I can wander around Wal-Mart or a scrapbooking store for an hour or so, but I am just not interested in spending all day at the mall or (even worse) driving from store to store. And I really am not any good at clothes shopping. It's just such a hassle to try on clothes and get a different size and try it on again and find something that matches and then be willing to pay whatever new clothes cost these days. My sisters got the shopping genes, although both in different forms (one Gap, one Goodwill).

And to make matters worse, I knew that whatever I bought wouldn't fit in another month or so anyway. Phooey.

On my shopping list:
  • something to wear to work -- two pairs of pants, one black, one gray; two skirts
  • a tent dress if I can find one (what I really need/want is a mumu from Palau -- I could pick one out that would fit me for the next six months and beyond!)
  • clothes for lounging around the house in the evenings and on the weekends because my t-shirts and running shorts not longer fit -- All of the books say to "shop in your partner's closet" for shirts and sweatpants to hold you over. Ha. I can't wear Alan's clothes even when I'm not pregnant. I apparently lacked the foresight to marry someone bigger than me.

I did pretty well in my school clothes quest, though didn't find a mumu. My favorite purchases were XL t-shirts from the Goodwill store (for a mere $2 each). Now it looks like I ran a 5K race in 1999 (before I even thought about running), helped out at the 2003 John Mayer/Counting Crows concert, support the Urbana Middle School Robo Tigers (whoever they are), and played on a soccer team last year with the slogan "We scored, now give us some kisses." Awesome.

And I'm gearing up for another round of clothes shopping soon. Hopefully I'll be able to find a t-shirt that says "I'm pregnant, not just chunky."

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Proudly introducing...

Little Homer/Hester. Or maybe Ernest/Esmerelda. Or maybe Rufus/Rapunzel. Ok, I guess we've got time to think about that...

Anyway, this is the sonogram picture taken this past Tuesday at my 12-week appointment. I'm due February 17! Here's hoping the morning sickness abates a little bit now...

(And just in case you're having trouble seeing the image, like one of those annoying magic eye pictures that I can never figure out, the baby is on its back, with its head on the right side of the picture and its legs curled up on the left side. )

And here's a close up of Little Chester/Chanel sucking his/her thumb:

(Again, head is on the right side and a little hand is sticking out the mouth.)

Friday, July 21, 2006

My, how time flies...

So we've been a bit lax about updating the blog. Emily's been busier than a weasel in a henhouse teaching her summer class at UIUC, but she finished that this week and now assumes the life of a gentlewoman of leisure. Except that she'll also be teaching a "Legal English" class to incoming foreign students, and I'm afraid that starts next week.

Yes, I've pimped her out for two summer jobs. I need the money.

I've also been busy. I went back to KS to house-sit while my whippersnapper of a nephew and his grandparents were galivanting around Europe. I spent a couple of weeks with my mom's dog and 6 cats. They're not terrific conversationalists, but they left me alone to work on some math problems. I also got to visit with my sister, brother-in-law, and niece, who live just a few short blocks from my folks.

But I'm back, and I've spent the last few weeks revising the trashy mystery novel I drafted when we lived in Palau. I finished revisions today, and I suppose that means that I need to find a publisher. Wish me luck. For those of you who actually read this blog, I'll give you a small bonus: the butler did it.

I'm meeting up with high school friend John and his two boys for some camping this weekend. I can't wait to build a fire, roast some marshmallows, and tell some ghost stories. And we'll be camping at a lake with a beach, so I'm sure I'll manage to squeeze in a good sunburn, too.

That's all I've got at the moment. Emily would add something, but I won't spare her the time. She's got work to do.


Sunday, June 18, 2006

Where've we been lately?

Emily has just completed her 8th day of teaching summer school, and I've managed to complete my 8th day of being a gentleman of leisure. Another summer, right on track.

Before Summer school really got underway, Emily and I spent a couple of weeks traveling. You may have already noticed the entry from Atlanta--that was what I call my "relaxing" vacation. But before we went to Atlanta, we took a real, Griswold-Style vacation to South Dakota. It was an action-packed few days for us, culminating in that once-in-a-lifetime, "Make-a-Wish" type of day where everything magically clicks into place. I'm not really prepared to tell you about my "Make-a-Wish" day yet, but I'll take this chance to fill you in on the other things we did.

We flew into Rapid City and rented a car, and for the rest of the day we drove from tourist site to tourist site, soaking it all in. We started at Bear Country, a drive-through park where you'll

see hundreds of bears, as well as elk, reindeer, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and mountain lions. The best part of the experience was watching a mountain lion play with her new cubs, who couldn't have been any bigger than my hand. Much more entertaining, might I say, than watching my two grown cats lay around the house holding the carpeting down. We also saw quite a few bear cubs.

Then we headed to the Cosmos mystery area. It's basically a cabin that has been jacked up so that it rests on one corner. Here's a picture:

The weird thing is that when you're inside, the forces of gravity fight with the visual experience of being in a room that's slanted. Here, I get angular inside the cabin:

Even if you know the "secret" of the mystery area, seeing things that should be straight up and down but aren't can upset your equilibrium; I felt a bit queasy, and other people in our group were on the verge of vomiting. And all that for the low, low price of 7 bucks.

We finished our day with a trip to Reptile Gardens, a fabulous reptile park where we got to see dozens of the world's deadliest snakes, like the pair of green mambas pictured here:

We also watched trainers put on a reptile show with crocs and caimans, and gators, and finished the day by hanging out with some giant tortoises from the Galapagos.

I'm planning a trip to Africa for next summer, so it was fun to point out all of the snakes I'll be seeing when I'm there: "Hey look, Emily, it's the black mamba, one of the world's deadliest snakes! I'll see him in Africa!" "Hey look, Emily, it's the puff adder, one of the world's deadliest snakes! I'll see him in Africa!" "Hey look, Emily, it's the boomslang, one of the world's deadliest snakes! I'll see him in Africa!" "Hey look, Alan, it's the double indemnity rider for your life insurance policy. Sign here, initial here, and I'll get it mailed in before you go to Africa!"

Saturday, June 10, 2006


So Emily has a legal writing conference, and I'm honing my "gentleman of leisure" act, and together those two pursuits lead us to Atlanta in summertime. Emily's been conferring up a storm, and I've been catching up on some leisure pursuits. More on that later (and more on our South Dakota adventure), but I wanted to share this evening's dinner with you.

When in the South, for pete's sake, get some Southern food. Emily and I hopped a cab to Gladys and Ron's Chicken and Waffles. By the way, the Gladys is Gladys Knight, and I don't know who Ron is; maybe he's a Pip. Their establishment isn't in the best neighborhood (the abandoned building next to it had potential, but it was still abandoned, as were several others within eyeshot), but the menu looked good.

I know what you're thinking: who on earth puts chicken and waffles together? The answer? Who cares!? The food at this joint was fantastic. I loaded up on catfish fingers (juicy, with delightful breading), cornbread muffins (the tenderest, flakiest, most delicious corn muffins I've ever eaten) and homemade macaroni and cheese that takes a close second to the M&C my very own mother makes. I know, everyone says their mom's *insert mother's signature dish here* is great, but my mom's mac and cheese is truly terrific. And Gladys wasn't far off the mark.

Emily had an apple-cinnamon waffle, and a buckwheat waffle. I helped her down them, and they were worth the eatin'. We finished up with sweet potato cheesecake. I pride myself on knowing a decent cheesecake. This was awesome. Terrific graham cracker crust, drizzled with caramel and pecan, with whipped cream on the side. And not the crap out of a can--they actually took cream and, well, whipped it. Holy cow.

The best part was the bill. The two of us ate to bloatedness for twenty six bucks, total. It was worth double that, because I won't have to eat for another week. If you're in Atlanta, or any of the other cities with a franchise, it's definitely worth trying.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Happy Anniversary Cecil and Joan!

Today is my parents' 25th wedding anniversary! YAY! Congrats, and here's wishing you many more!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Going Batty

They're back. The bats, I mean.

We've always had a few in this house; they've generally made their home in the garage rafters safely tucked away from view. Every now and then we'd see one, bouncing up against the window into the garage in pursuit of insects. (Really, don't ask--I know it's not normal to have a window looking out into one's parking structure, but that decision was made long before we moved in.)

It's not a huge deal to me that we have bats in the garage, though it does get annoying to find bat poop and pee all over everything that lives out there. The bad part is that somehow they seem to occasionally find their way into the house, and once they're in, they can be a bear to ferret out.

It's not so bad if you catch them when they're flying; Emily's broom handling makes Barry Bonds look like a sissy. But they only fly late, late at night, and hole up during the day. If you're lucky, you can find a concentration of droppings and locate their hidey-hole that way. Or you can make a bunch of noise and if you're lucky they'll hiss at you in return. But mostly, you just have to resign yourself to the fact that while you're snoozing, they're running around your house, dancing techno or hunting insects or whatever they do. But mostly pooping and peeing.

So they're back, as witnessed by the spoor left in our under-construction family room. And I feel like Jack Lemmon did in Grumpy Old Men, that these Walter Matthau-esque bats are the bane of my existence, that no matter what I do, no matter how many I catch (and I do catch them--in fact, I've got one in a jar in my freezer as I type), they'll always return to laugh at me.

At least I haven't gone so far as to do what some friends of ours have done. After finding bats in their house, and after learning that they can carry rabies, they went through the entire sequence of rabies shots. Yikes.

Headed for South Dakota

Tomorrow, Emily and I leave for the great state of South Dakota. We're headed to the Black Hills, where we'll participate in the Deadwood-Mickelson Trail Marathon. It's a marathon run on a rails-to-trails gravel path, that finishes in downtown Deadwood. Here's a photo from last year's marathon:

As you can guess, it's more scenic in SD than it is here in central Illinois. I'm really looking forward to running through the trees, alongside swiftly flowing water, through cool mountain air.

One of the advantages of the rails-to-trails route is that when the path was laid out some hundred-odd years ago, avoiding hills was the primary motivation. It's just too hard to get a train to climb steep or rolling hills. But hills are hills, and you can't wish them away, so the compromise that was reached for the 26 miles I'll be running on looks like this:

It's going to be a rough first thirteen miles, but hopefully the last half will make up for it.

Emily and I will also be doing some sightseeing while we're there, including visits to Mt. Rushmore and the Crazy Horse monument, as well as a full day of looking at other attractions. We'll update you once we return.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Construction Project

We recently decided to remodel the rooms in the back part of the house. The previous owner used these two rooms for his State Farm Insurance offices, and when we moved in, they were decorated with indoor/outdoor carpeting and brown paneling. We painted the paneling as a temporary measure, and are now finally getting around to tackling the rooms head-on.

Currently (or at least as of three weeks ago) the two small rooms are separated by a big closet that hides an old brick chimney. (The sticky-outy corner along the left edge of the photo is the closet.)

We decided to take out that closet and chimney, and make one large room with built-in bookshelves at one end and a woodburning stove at the other (right in between the two windows). And while we're at it, we're reroofing this section of the house.

Don't get me wrong -- when I say "we," I mean the guys we've hired to do all the work.

So things are moving along fairly well. All the walls, flooring, and ceiling are off. The electrician has wired in new lights. And part of the bookshelf is framed.

We've ordered the stove, picked out paint colors (goldstone and lucy, if that means anything to you!), and looked at wood floor samples. And, of course, you can't have a lovely new room with college furniture (which we're still using how-ever-many years later). So we picked out a new couch and love seat.

The construction mess is fairly well contained, though dust manages to filter under doors and seep through plastic sheeting. And everything from those back two rooms is now sitting in our living and dining room, including a couch, two desks, two filing cabinets, and about 700 books. And the cat food, water, and litterbox are now in the kitchen until the basement is accessible again. Yick.

It'll be nice when this project is over...

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Emily's New Wheels

Well, it was time...

Emily's little red Honda had 160,000 miles on the ticker, and though we'd still been repair-free, it was becoming obvious that another winter or two would be hard for it to bear. And we were looking for a car with four doors, just in case a "little Grant" happened to come along. So here she is, Emily's new, 2006 Toyota Corolla, affectionately dubbed Yoko:

We got it with two (count 'em, two!) miles on the odometer. And, though we still seem to be unable to spend more than $20k on a car (and believe me, there aren't many cars you can get into for less than that these days), we managed to convince ourselves that power door locks and cruise control were worth the price.

We turned down power windows, though. Didn't want to feel pampered.

We're back!

After a long haitus following the hacking of our beloved, we've decided to resurrect our blog. No particular reason. We don't have anything especially brilliant to share. We're not going away for another amazing year in paradise. We just like the idea of a regular venue for communications.

So here we go.