June Misc Round-Up

Lucy rounded out her CLASS Academy experience with the Spring Performance. She got to wear a cape!

She wore her special Rainbow Dash T-shirt — which was designed by her art teacher, and was signed by her entire class — for her last day as a CLASS Academy student (she’ll be starting at Summa in September).

Here she is the morning of her 7th birthday! (Portraits and interview to follow.)

Otter Rock Girl’s Weekend

The opportunity came up for the girls to go on a retreat to the coast. So they took it! They got a little A-frame overlooking the sea, and had themselves a blast.

They explored the beach and the town, and just had a relaxing and fun time together. Lucy discovered a nascent love for browsing gift shops, made two little craft kits, and they visited the new exhibits at the Oregon Coast Aquarium, where we’re members.

They had a great time, and Lucy is already asking when she can do it again.

#32: Tour a Mine

This is part of our 100 Things in 2015 challenge. Here’s the full list.

After Gridium Camp, Becky and I found ourselves in the Reno area with about 4 hours to kill until our flight home. Neither of us was interested in gambling, really, so we drove out to Virginia City, the quintessential 1800’s mining town and modern-day tourist trap. They even do tours of the old gold mines! This is the Ponderosa Mine, whose entrance is through a back door in the Ponderosa Saloon.

Becky spent an hour here back in 2001, and surprisingly the jail-cell prop was a huge memory trigger for her. So we re-created the photo as best we could without having it with us. (It’s a print. Remember those?) There’s a 14-year spread between these two shots:

Gridium Camp: Tahoe

I work for Gridium, and since we’re a distributed company with no central office, we choose interesting and fun places to hold all-hands retreats four times a year. This summer, our chosen locale was Incline Village, on the shore of Lake Tahoe.

Becky came with us, as the official Gridium photographer (her photos are fantastic!). Tom, our CEO, had some ideas about a new “about us” page on our website, and as we start thinking about hiring, some good material for recruiting purposes. That, and a good amount of general fun and productivity, resulted in all of this:

As always, we had a great time, made some really big decisions, and reinforced the bonds that make us a team. I’m looking forward to October!

Black Butte

The kids went to a cabin in Black Butte with the Swank side of the family! They apparently spent an impossible amount of the time in the water, went on hikes and bike rides, and met a horse!

You might be wondering where Becky and I were during this time. We spent part of it at home, catching up on work, and the other part on the shore of Lake Tahoe, at another Gridium Camp.

#35: Get New Bikes for the Adults

This is part of our 100 Things in 2015 challenge. Here’s the full list.

It was way back in 2013 when the kids got their new bikes, and we grownups had been limping along on hand-me-downs and borrowed bikes ever since. It was high time we got our own.

We (well, I) did a ton of research, and turned up this little gem of a company: Brilliant. They make a great bike, without requiring that you become a certified bike repairperson to decide which one to get. Seriously, try out their ordering process: it’s four steps, and the hardest thing to choose is the color.

We pulled the trigger, and waited with baited breath for our boxes to arrive. It’s a big box:


And some assembly is required.

They’re beautiful. And we love them.

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If you’re looking for a bike, think about Brilliant. There’s a bit of work involved, but the price is reasonable, and you’ll have a much more personal relationship with your conveyance than if you bought it from Costco.

#20: Surprise Date Planned by Ben

This is part of our 100 Things in 2015 challenge. Here’s the full list.

Because Becky is a planner, most of our date planning falls on her, so we specifically set aside time for me to surprise her every year. Last year we went big, with (what turned out to be mediocre) Egyptian food and John Oliver tickets.

This year I went a bit smaller. We walked down Alberta to Aviary, which had been on Becky’s list for a while, and its place was well deserved. The food and drinks were delicious, including tender charred octopus.

For the second part of our date, I had secretly acquired tickets to JAWZ The Musical In 3D, a show that could really only have happened in Portland. It’s a live stage production, with amazing costumes, singing, flying body parts, innuendo, and lots of laughs.

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Becky was very happy with how it turned out, and we had a great time. We should do this more often!

#11: Adopt a Dog(s)

This is part of our 100 Things in 2015 challenge. Here’s the full list.

With the loss of Jackson, Scout was left completely alone. Pugs are social creatures (and so are we), so the house felt a little empty. We talked about it for a couple of weeks, and decided we needed another pug.

Our first stop was Pacific Pug Rescue, which is where Scout came from, and is a fantastic cause. But their waiting list was 80 deep, and it would be months of loneliness for Scout (and Becky) before we could bring one home.

So Becky did some research. A lot of research. We definitely wanted a boy, and didn’t want one that was too young (brand new puppies are hard). She found a fantastic breeder down in the Medford area, made contact, discovered a 5-month-old young man, and we made our decision.

Becky used miles to fly down to Medford, and rented a car to bring the puppy home. When she arrived at the breeder and met the puppy (and immediately named him Hank), she was also crawled on by a lovely 2½-year-old girl named Sutton. Sutton had just been diagnosed with an eye problem, which wasn’t very serious, but she could no longer be shown, and needed a forever home. So Becky drove home with twice the dogs she went down there for!

Fast-forward a couple of weeks, and Sutton (whom we re-named Stella) isn’t really working out. She’s overly attached to me, and cries and whines when I so much as close a door between us. When I leave the house, she’s inconsolable, even with other humans and dogs around. However, when we leave her at our beloved dog-sitter’s house, she’s totally happy and content and settled.

Right around this time, unbeknownst to us, the sitters were starting to think about getting another pug! So it was with a bit of relief and a palpable sense of serendipity that we drove Stella (now Sabin) the one mile to her new home, where she is as happy as happy can be, and we get to see her a couple times every month!

So now we have two pugs again. Scout’s still getting used to Hank’s puppiness, but they’re already buddies, and we catch them secretly snuggling and napping together.

This feels right. Hank is exactly the dog we needed right now, and Sabin is in a perfect home for her. Perfect.

#86: Community Education – Oregon Wine & Cheese (Becky)

This is part of our 100 Things in 2015 challenge. Here’s the full list.

My educational experience for this year was a wine-and-cheese-pairing class, which I took through PCC Community Education. Contrary to what you might think, I actually took this class for the cheese.

The class was held at Pairings, and reinforced that wine is an ingredient. It’s meant to be drunk as part of a meal, to compliment all the other things that are going into your mouth.

I had a really good time, and tried tons of amazing Oregon cheeses, along with some really amazing biodynamic wines!