How to White Water Raft Before Work

A few weeks ago Leif and I were talking about how we'll be able to snowboard again this winter since Peter is in daycare. We'll drop him off, then head up for an hour, then come home, and go to work. It got me thinking about other things we can do like that in the mornings since Peter is in daycare. As I was thinking about this, we drove by Clear Creek and saw people white water rafting on it. A few miles down the road, we drove by the Clear Creek Rafting Company. I pulled out my iphone, and saw they did couple hour trips. An idea was formed.

This morning, Leif, myself, and our friends Randy and Derek dropped Peter off at daycare really early, drove 30 minutes to the Clear Creek Rafting Company, did a 2 hour intermediate trip, and were back at our place well in time before the majority of Yahoo engineers were at work.

Although it was late in the season, and we thought the water would be low and lame, we were wrong. The water level was definitely low, but they ran the intermediate trip down the advanced course in smaller boats. As a result, the 4 of us had our own boat (with a guide, of course), and went through some nice class III and IV rapids. The water was cold, the weather was gorgeous, and we had a great time.

I love this state. You definitely couldn't do this in California!



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Loki Getting Sick and Us Trying to Prepare

A few weeks ago we came home from the Arvada West graduation, and noticed that Loki, our 9 year old lab, was acting really weird. He ate dinner, but wasn't into it like he normally is, and wouldn't eat any peanut butter (his favorite) when we offered it to him. After watching him for a couple of hours and noticing him getting worse, we took him to the Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital. They determined that he was bleeding into his abdomen from his spleen, and had to do emergency surgery to remove his spleen. That went off without a hitch with them finding a 2 inch tumor on his spleen. It took almost a week to get back the biopsy results, but the result was that it was hemangeosarcoma, which is malignant cancer, and by the time you actually catch it, there's a 99% chance that its spread already. Since it's in the bloodstream, and microscopic, it's impossible to tell. So we were faced with 2 options, either do chemotherapy, or don't do chemotherapy. It apparently works different in dogs than in people. They use a much lower dose of everything, so side effects are pretty rare, and it can't cure the cancer, just extend his life a little and give him a good quality of life.

Without chemo his average lifespan was told to be 2-3 months, with chemo it was 6-8, which obviously isn't a whole lot more, but our dogs are our boys so as long as it would not only do something, but give him a good quality of life, then there really wasn't a choice for us.

He finished his first round of chemo on Monday (has to go back every 3 weeks for a couple of months), and seems to be doing well. He's playing and active, and while he's not completely acting normal, he's pretty close.

This whole thing just really sucks though. It's hard for me to even think of him as being sick since he's acting like himself, but I guess that's just how cancer is. Hopefully we can give him a really good summer (take him swimming, hiking, etc...). I regret that Peter most likely won't be old enough to play with Loki before Loki dies, but we'll be able to tell him stories and show him photos and videos of our crazy black lab.

More fun with Flickr Toys


Funny Noise Boy

Peter figured out the other day he can make funny spitting noises with his mouth. At first he'd just do it once in awhile, but yesterday he started doing it in large sequences. Fortunately because of that, I was able to get decent video of him.

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Time to Dive Again!

Practicing the Front Two Knuckle PunchRight after we got back from the Bahamas last year, I found out I was pregnant. Immediately I checked to see if it was possible to go scuba diving while pregnant. DAN said since no studies had been done on it (since nobody would obviously volunteer), they didn't know the effects of decompression or anything on a fetus, so they recommended against it. So there went my diving.

Fast forward to mid-December 2008. Peter is about a month old, and I get a call from our friend Randy announcing that he's planned the Coral Reef Scuba spring dive trip to Cozumel. I wistfully think about how cool it would be for us to be able to go, and even briefly look into the 3 of us going before I realize it'd be a pain in the butt. I wish him a good trip, and to have fun for us.

A couple weeks later, Leif volunteers to watch Peter so I can go on the trip. I tell him I can't let him do that since I'm a mom now, and my priorities have to be different. As I have the absolute best husband in the world, he insisted I go saying that he got to go to Moab while I was pregnant, and now it was my turn. I realize a week would be just slightly too long at this point, but I'm able to go half the week, from Wednesday-Sunday.

I just got back from the trip a few days ago, and am so glad I went. It wasn't just being able to dive, or being with people I knew, it was the fact that I could just unwind and relax for the first time in probably about a year. Did I miss Peter a lot? Immensely. Did I almost not go because I'd miss him too much? Yes, but I'm extremely glad I did. Basically it was just the right group of people that I knew (and the ones that I got to meet) which worked perfectly.

Wednesday I arrived just in time to catch the group as they got off the dive boat, so I had lunch with everyone, then did a shore dive that afternoon. Dinner was at La Mission, and I had Surf and Turf (mmmmm....fresh lobster).

Thursday morning I did 1 dive and then had sinus problems on the second dive, but no matter - I got to sit on the boat in the sun, and even saw a bunch of dolphins off the side of the boat. In the afternoon I got to help someone with their Rescue Diver class, and then we all went to dinner at Pepes. Not only did I have fresh lobster, but I had fresh "made at the table" caesar salad, and not just that, but they made the dressing at the table as well.

Friday I did all 3 dives for the day, and we had dinner at Primas. Fresh lobster again for dinner!

Saturday was a free day, but in the morning I did a shore dive with Scott, read my book on the beach after lunch, had a big group dinner at Hotel Cozumel (food was edible I suppose), and then went to Senor Frogs and hung out there for awhile. I really had no plans to dance (some people were dancing, and some weren't), but first they played "You Shook Me (All Night Long)", and then "Pour Some Sugar on Me", so I was hooked after that.

And Sunday we left!

It was great to dive again, just like riding a bike, and it honestly felt like I hadn't been away. I'm really glad I was able to go on the trip.

Nurse Shark

Relaxing after a shore dive under a palm tree

Group photo

MacHeist Software Bundle Revealed - Cool Mac Software

About a month ago, I discovered (following someone's Tweet actually) the MacHeist site. Basically they have secret agent missions with puzzles you have to solve. At the end of each "mission" you get "loot" which is normally some piece of shareware Mac software, with a license code included. The coolest part isn't just getting the software, but discovering new software. For example, one of the "loots" was Fresh, which I'm using a bunch now. There's 2 types of missions - Nanomissions which are pretty quick puzzles, and full on Missions which take quite a bit longer (the last one included solving semaphores, and overlaying a map onto another map). One of the Nanomissions involved solving sentences that said things like "52 C in a D" (52 cards in a deck), and then finding the item in a messy garage (which was almost harder sometimes).

Once all the missions and such are over, they do a Bundle Reveal which is the ability to purchase a Mac shareware software bundle for extremely cheap. The bundle just revealed does contain some stuff I'm not interested in, but I ended up buying it anyways since the software I was interested in, was worth the $39 price ($31 for me with completed mission discounts). This bundle includes an Ebay auction writing/searching app, several graphic editors (one which is a smaller version of Photoshop), games, a video editor, several others, and some which have yet to be unlocked, such as a WYSIWYG HTML editor and a todo list app (for Getting Things Done).

The puzzles are just really sweet, and I wish I hadn't discovered the site so late. Hopefully there will be more missions and such.

More info on the bundle at the Macheist Home Page.

(edited to remove referral link, since I got my extra software)

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In Memory of Kelly Calabro

Collage photo from

Early this week, Leif and I were stunned to get an email from our old hockey team in San Jose, Team Beer mentioning that captain Kelly Calabro had died. Details were sparse (and still are), but he collapsed on the ice, and even after CPR and defibrillator attempts, he couldn't be revived. We weren't able to fly back to San Jose on such short notice with Peter, but we've been thinking a lot about this even this week, and were bummed to miss the memorial service last night. We were able to attend the Celebration of Life event tonight using a Skype video/audio link (thanks to Thad for setting that up for us). It was really cool to not only see all the old and new Beer members who attended, but also other hockey players who had never even met Kelly (other than running into him on the rink).

What was weird too was that the same night, at the same rink, just a few hours before, another guy, Brian Kobata, had died as well. :( Here's the Mercury News article:

Yesterday we went to Old Chicago for lunch, and while I don't drink Guinness, we both toasted a beer in his name (his team beer name was Guinness).

Toasting to Kelly

Thad wanted us to say a few words tonight, and while I did try to write something this afternoon, I ended up not really using it and just speaking from the heart. This is what I was going to say:

"Kelly always said "once a Beer, always a Beer", and anybody who's ever spent anytime on the Beer team can attest to how true that statement is. Leif and I have played on a bunch of hockey teams, but Beer is the one that we not only remember the most, but remember the most fondly. Kelly embodied the Beer spirit - loyalty, friendship, a sense of humor, and fun. It didn't matter if we won all of the games, or none of the games - he'd shrug and say "anybody for a beer after the game?" and it was all good. He was the biggest on the team, and I was the smallest, and you bet I was happy he was on my side. I loved being out with him because he was like a wall - easily moving the other team out of the crease - you felt a certain level of comfort having him around. Although he was quiet, he welcomed anybody and everybody into the Beer family with open arms. Once after we won the season at Rollin Ice, we all went out for pizza and beer. Leif's family from Sweden was in town, and Kelly not only insisted they come along, but also attempted to make conversation with them (even though they didn't speak English very well). That was the kind of person he was.

From Denver, Colorado, we raise a Guinness in honor of Kelly, wherever he may be now."

Team Beer photo circa 2000
In the team photo, he's the furthest to the left in the back row.

Guinness, we'll miss you.

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Initial Take on the Kindle 2

Leif and I have had our Kindle 2s for all of 24 hours, so this is my initial take on it.

1) The "screen" is much better than you'd think. It literally looks like a piece of paper (the best piece of paper you've ever seen). I'm not sure how they do it, but it's amazing looking. The fact that you can change font sizes easily is great, and the "look this word up if you don't know it instantly" is really good as well.

2) It's very very comfy to lay in bed and read it, especially with the "next page" buttons on either side. You can have 1 hand petting the dog, and read with the other without worrying about losing your place.

3) Downloading books is extremely fast.

4) I tried the 14 day trial of Newsweek since I get a paper subscription. It's ok, I'm not sure if I'm going to cancel my print subscription though since there are some articles missing. Basically anything with big charts or something instead of just pulling out the charts, they pull out the article.

5) If you and your spouse each get one, you both can read the same books, but not the same magazine or newspaper subscriptions. So it's good and bad. The latter is annoying though since if I'm done reading a magazine I can just hand it over to Leif, but in bizarro-DRM world, you can't do that on the Kindle. But there is some measure of comfort that if I buy a book for $9.99 we both can read it.

6) It's very responsive to changing pages. The screen flashes when it turns a page which is a little annoying, but you get used to it. It's kind of nice to have some sort of feedback.

7) Getting book samples is very nice - I downloaded a few last night.

8) There are a TON of sites with free ebooks (like stuff in the public domain) that easily convert to Kindle format. Random House also just did a promo where they released 8 books free (I guess those authors had new books coming out). I downloaded all of them (all were in Kindle format), and the majority of reviews on Amazon were 4 or 5 stars.

9) It will be much nicer to take this on vacation instead of carrying several books with me. I'm going to Cozumel at the end of March and I'm most likely going to buy a few books I've been wanting to read and just take the Kindle instead of loading up my carryon. Depending on the trip, I can go through 2 books at least (last year in Bahamas when I was sick, I read 3 since I couldn't dive, and ended up switching books towards the end with someone else on the trip).

10) Well that would be a downside I guess, what I just said - you can't just switch books with someone if you want to unless they're also on your Kindle account.

I'm actually much much more impressed with it than I thought I'd be. The absolute biggest downside for me right now is that I have a few print books at home that I want to read, and I don't want to re-buy them in Kindle format. I wish Amazon would have some sort of discount, like if you bought the print book from them, you get the digital version either free or at a reduced price. Kind of like what Disney is doing now with DVDs - I've noticed that if you buy a Disney DVD now (maybe not on all of them, but on a bunch), you automatically get the digital version.

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How Many Books Have I Read?

Copied from Facebook, but it's interesting regardless.

The BBC believes most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here. How do your reading habits stack up?...

Let's see, I've read 36 on the list below. Not bad!

1) Look at the list and put an '#' after those you have read.
2) Add a '+' to the ones you LOVE.
3) Star (*) those you plan on reading.
4) Tally your total at the bottom.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien #+
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling #+
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee #+
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell #
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman #
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens #

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott #
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller #
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien #
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger #
19 The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger #
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell #
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald #
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams #
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck #
29 Alice in Wonderland - Louis Carroll #
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame #

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis #
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis #
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini *
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden #
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne #

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown #
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez *
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery #
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood #
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding #+
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert #
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley #
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck #
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold *
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding #
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens #
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker *
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett #+
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens #
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White #+
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom *
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle *
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery #
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas *
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare #
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl #
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo #

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Time Flies When You Have a Baby!

Leif mentioned to me last night how long it's been since I blogged anything, and when I looked, it's definitely been awhile. I honestly have to look at my calendar every morning to remember the date, let alone the day. It's ok though, I'm enjoying myself. :) Peter is starting little by little to get a bit more interactive, but he still doesn't do that much. He likes when we sing (Five For Fighting, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, and oh yeah, kid's songs like "The Wheels on the Bus" and "Five Little Monkeys" to name a couple). He's playing more in his Baby Einstein activity gym. He enjoys looking at himself in the mirror, and he definitely enjoys his swing. The funniest part for us is when we're carrying him, and he tilts his whole head and neck backward so he can look at something on the ceiling. I'm guessing he's just looking at light/shadows, since there's nothing else up there that's interesting!

The last few nights he's been sleeping real well too - last night was 10:30-4:45!! If we can reach at least 6am, then that'll make us even happier. :)

We went over to Kiddie Kandids today for his 10 week photos (I can't believe he's 10 weeks already). I would've done it sooner, but he's so floppy in the beginning it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Leif and I were laughing pretty hard at how they managed to get him in the different poses, but they came out pretty well I think. They have really good packages deals, especially with all the extra stuff they throw in. Here's a few of my favorites.

Kiddie Kandids photo

Kiddie Kandids photo

Kiddie Kandids photo

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It's the Concept, Not the Packaging

I had an epiphany today.

Last week, Creating Keepsakes released a Kit of the Month entitled Project 365.  Now that concept isn't new at all, but they thought to capitalize on it but offering an all-inclusive scrapbook kit which would enable you to basically just take photos, slip them into page protectors, do minimal journaling, and you're done. I've never done the 365 thing, but thought "wow, with the kit that'd make this super easy, and look really nice". I was going to order 2 kits, 1 for me, and 1 for Linnea and we were going to do it together, however with our own photos.

They severely underestimated the demand for this kit, and the website couldn't handle the load when they released them for sale.  Not only that, but people with order numbers and confirmation emails were told they didn't actually have orders in the system, it was taking an hour or more to reach customer service by phone, and they weren't answering emails.  Basically, it was a giant mess with nobody sure of what was going on, lots of people upset over not being able to order, etc...  It reminded me of the Rockies World Series ticket fiasco (which wasn't hackers btw, it was that their site couldn't handle the demand) a couple of years ago.

I got an order number, received 2 confirmation emails, but have no idea if I'm getting the 2 kits I ordered or not since my credit card hasn't been charged (like others have), and I have no shipping info with a tracking number (like others have).

Am I disappointed? Yes. Am I upset? Yes.  Since I don't have a whole lot of time now with Peter, and Linnea has no scrapbooking experience, this was going to be perfect for us.

But then I had an epiphany today.

The whole and entire purpose of scrapbooking is not to have pretty albums, and pretty embellishments, and pretty whatever, it's to tell a story.  It's to tell the story of you, of your family, or of anything you want that story to be.  If all you have are photos slapped on a piece of paper listing the names of the people in the photos, the date, the place, and maybe why you took the photo, that's enough.

It's the concept that matters, not the packaging.  Just the fact that, if I stick with this, at the end of 2009 I'll have basically told the story of my year is enough.  If all I do is print out the photos, put them on a piece of cardstock, with 1 sentence per photo, and the date, and shove the whole thing in some album, that's honestly enough. I don't need all the extras. Granted, they look nice, but there's no point in worrying about that when it's still the concept that's important.

I feel better now.

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