Wednesday, May 31, 2006

More from the rest area...

I had a chance to download the photos from the trip back and decided to revisit the stop at the rest area yesterday. Like I said before Denise brought bubble stuff to give the kids something to do at the rest area when we did stop. Both Devin and Desirae had a lot of fun playing with them. Deanna just tried to chew on the container.

Work today was a pain. I had to do more dungeon duty but it appears as thought it was only for today. More to come on this though...

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

We made it home...

It was a LONG trip but we finally made it home. The trip took longer than expected because we made multiple stops including a long one in Bakersfield. Our first stop was for lunch at Anderson's Pea Soup which was pretty good. The next stop was at a rest area because Deanna needed to nurse. Devin, Desirae, and I played in the park area and had the chance to use the bubbles that she brought for just such an occasion The last stop was in Bakersfield were we first went to CompUSA and B&N. I was wanting to check for some stuff that would clean iPods and MacBooks and get scuffs off. That didn't go so well, but I did finally find a SATA external drive housing.

Anyway it was a really long day!

Monday, May 29, 2006

He can walk!!!

We finally put Devin's braces back on him and he started walking around the house. Denise I and forgot about it and he hadn't worn his braces the entire time. Devin was really excited and kept walking down the hallway, across the dinning room, through the kitchen, and finally into the living room. Then he would turn around and head back the other way. Everyone was really excited to see him doing it and he was pretty happy with himself too! Still not quite ready for a walking party, but getting closer.

Nana and Max have been nice enough to let us sleep in their bed the entire time we were here. That has really made it nice for us and helped Denise out with taking care of the baby. The added benefit is that in the morning the kids crawl up into the bed with us. Kind of neat considering since we don't have a TV in our room the kids generally head into the living-room in the morning.

The big thing, as usual, has been the coloring of pictures. Devin has really been into that this weekend and has hoodwinked everyone else into joining him in his coloring. I even got into the act for a picture. It was kind of relaxing actually. I think Devin finished like three or four pictures while we were here. It has been a combination between coloring and playing video games!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Nice Dinner...

Max and Nana made a really nice dinner for everyone including tritip and portobello mushrooms. Kathy and Paul came over as well which made it a complete family affair. I also am envious that Max has family so close and that they are able to spend so much time together. Anyway the food was wonderful and it was great visiting with everyone.

Deanna has been dealing with all the attention very well and hasn't mind all the people and dogs around. As usual she has been pretty good and hasn't gotten to upset about much, except for the time that Nana tried to bite her finger off. All fingers are still accounted for and other than a bit of a cry spell no lasting damage occurred. It was just a bit of bad timing all around!

After dinner the plan was to head back into town and try to take some photographs of the fountains in the center of town. I didn't take too many but what I did take turned out pretty cool. When I get more time I will process the rest of them and get them online. I was able to accomplish what I had envisioned. I wanted to capture the water flowing and the night lights around the area. I was also really surprised at how well the D200 handled the scene.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Made it...

It wasn’t too bad of a trip and we made it okay. Denise had planned for us to stop along the way for a picnic which was pretty cool. It was nice to get out and just relax for a bit without having to go into a restaurant or anything like that. Desirae did take the opportunity to run around a bit too. I think that really helped to break up the trip.

The traffic and such wasn’t too bad either. That might have been because we left early and technically Friday wasn’t a holiday. I am not sure if we are heading back Monday or Tuesday – but I imagine if we do go back on Monday it will be a nightmare. I did get leave approved for Tuesday so I think we might just go then.

Today was spent just recovering from the trip and trying to do some running around. Anyway everyone made it safe and sound!

Friday, May 26, 2006

On the road...

So we are heading up to Nana & Max's house for the long weekend. Hopefully the traffic will not be too bad! If I can blog I will do it from there - otherwise we'll be back in a few days...

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Devin has been practicing his walking and standing. Not as much as we would have hoped but he is sticking with it. We do still have to get on him for crawling and we think he has all but stopped trying to walk at school. He had a pretty good fall a while back and we think that has scared him off from walking at school. Even still it is really great to see him walking around the house.

We have been reluctant to move forward with his walking party until he really starts walking on a more regular basis. I have been trying to talk him into walking with just one cane but that has gone nowhere. In the end we are just really proud of him for walking and continuing to do it!

Monday, May 22, 2006


The Verizon technician came by today. He was thoroughly impressed with my internal wiring (not). He did run a temporary line from the network interface box on the outside of the house into the back room to plug the modem directly into the computer. He didn't know how to work with Macs so I had to finish the configuration when I arrived home. He said to call him if the sync light dropped with the "new" temporary wiring. Shortly after I connected it up it dropped so I called back. He then asked I disconnect the entire house and see if that made any difference. In that mode it dropped again. So tomorrow he will swap cable pairs back to the central office and we will go from there.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

A little bit of hammering...

In a previous post I mentioned that we drove off with the step down and caught it on some rocks (or something) and bent it out of shape. Since I had not ordered a new one I figured I might as well see if I could fix it. So I took it off and took a hammer to it and to my amazement I was able to bang it back into some sense of shape. It still looks a little tweaked, but at least it works. I may need to buy a replacement in the future but for now I have a bit of "cost avoidance".

The rest of the day involved doing stuff around the house and yard work. I have a bunch of weeds that have grown up around the house and I have started breaking it into sections and scraping the ground to get rid of them. It is a major pain but at least I am making progress on it.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Campground search...

Today we decided to head toward Lake Isabella to see if we could find some good campgrounds for a future trip. Our initial journey into and around Lake Isabella wasn't very positive and neither of us felt like that would be a place we would like to go. However we did decided to drive a bit farther and checkout of Kernville and that worked out MUCH better. The Kern River area was a lot nicer and the campgrounds looked like they would be nice. We even found an RV park right on the river that has some pretty nice spots. The price is a bit higher than the state park campgrounds, but they have full hookups and better facilities. We both think that will be a nice place to go and will probably try to do something there in the next few weeks.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Made it back...

Well it was a LONG couple of days and it is good to be back! It was a pretty long day on Tuesday and we didn't get into the hotel until around 0130 with a 0800 meeting in the morning. I was fairly beat during that day of meetings! We headed back on Thursday, but again we didn't get in until VERY late and I didn't make it home until 0145. I did sleep in on Friday morning and I am starting to feel better. As work goes it appears to have been a productive trip.

I didn't think I would have enough time to do anything photographically so I did not even bring a camera. It turned out to be a good thing as I was traveling VERY light with a small carry on bag and would not have had any room for a camera and I would have never had a chance to really use it anyway. I would have just been worried about something happening to it.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Todd at work...

Today was the start of an exercise on the base. This week we will be playing "games" with different scenarios to test aspects of our "readiness". Anyway I met Todd, one of my photo buddies and someone I work with, at one of our sites while he was helping to get our video broadcast link working. I happen to have my camera with me today so I decided to work on a "Todd at work" series, much to his dismay. Anyway it was a pain to have the problem but he got it working. Oh, and the red hat, he is an Exercise Evaluation Team (EET) member and gets to wear that cool hate to tell everyone that he is an inspector for the exercise.

Anyway, I am off TDY (temporary duty) to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio for a couple of days. I fly out tomorrow and come back late Thursday night. Now this is the way to spend an exercise! As it turns out it was a VERY short notice tasking and I found out about it on Friday. I think it will be interesting and though I am not looking forward to the trip - I am looking forward to the experience. I am traveling pretty light so I don't think I am going to take a camera (though I might borrow Denise's).

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Camping Trip

Well, we decided to take an extended camping trip back to Red Rock Canyon. We figured since we didn't stay that long when we went last time, and that since this would be the last time we could with the weather heating up, that we would make a complete weekend out of it. All in all it was a pretty good trip and we had a nice time. The weather was pretty darn hot but the awning worked REALLY well (until the wind started blowing) and the generator ran the A/C very nicely too. As soon as the sun started going down it cooled off and we just slept with the windows open. We did manage to fill up our grey tank and use all of our fresh water - but there is more to that story...

The funny part about this is that I experienced a few things that Pat (a buddy from work - project from hell) had told me about. The first one was I forgot to prime the water lines before we left. So when we got there and setup the water pump was just running like there was no tomorrow. Fortunately I remembered what he said about cracking open one of the drain lines. That did the trick and got everything working pretty good. The other thing - which really sucked - was driving off with the step down. Well we hit something and it really messed up the step. We were able to kick it back together to store it but under closer inspection back at home it is completely tweaked. Now when you step on the bottom step it gives way and drops another inch. I will probably just buy a replacement step and hope that I can get it installed in the same place. I could take it off and try to beat it back into shape but I don't have the sledge hammer to make the "fine adjustments".

Okay, back to the water... Devin really wanted to light a fire and on Saturday after we came back from our trip into Ridgecrest we went to work lighting up a fire. Devin and I got a really good fire going rather quickly and after about an hour the wind really started to pick up. At one point when we saw burning embers all over the place we decided it was time to kill the fire. I ran the outside faucet and drenched the fire with water (our fresh water). I soaked it pretty good and we were fireless... At least until the middle of the night when the wind kicked back up, dried off the wood, and start it burning again. At one point I woke up thinking someone was outside with a flashlight. It was the fire burning pretty darn good and by morning about 90% of the wood was gone. Denise decided to try and start it back up and within a few minutes we had a good fire going again. Since the weather wasn't too bad (windy) we went ahead and made breakfast over the fire.

I didn't take too many pictures but I did have in mind to try and capture some different scenes from the canyon. On Saturday just after the sun crested the cliffs and went out to try to get some neat shots and good angles. I am TRYING to post the pictures to smugmug but for some reason most of them won't load. I will try to fix that but for now here is what I have. If there are only 2 photos then I haven't fixed it.

All in all it was a good trip and we had fun. I am not really happy about the step, but it could have been a lot worse and we could have caused structural damage to the trailer so we got off lucky on that one.

Monday, May 08, 2006


It is hard to believe, but I FINALLY have broadband internet access again!!! Did Charter finally figure out their problem? NOPE!!! But Verizon did! It took about two hours on the telephone with Verizon and I finally have everything working correctly. There was a modem configuration issue and they had to change something in the back end. The end result is that I have my internet back and actually upload something. Unfortunately I spent so much time on the phone when I finally got home I didn't get a chance to take any photographs!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

End of the weekend...

It is hard to believe that this weekend is over. It isn’t like we really did much, but a lot sure has happened since last week. We have Devin walking and my trying to break my toe. Deanna is getting really mobile by rolling around all over the place. The one who had the biggest problem with everything was Desirae with all the attention being focused on others. I am almost looking forward to going back to work tomorrow, almost...

I am not sure if it will change anything but tomorrow Verizon is coming out to test the telephone lines for the DSL. My confidence level is not high and I don't think they are going to get it working, but I do have a glimmer of hope that when I get home I will have high speed yet once again. I know that neither company is that great, especially considering my past problems with Verizon and present problems with Charter. Right now I don't really care anymore and if I can get a reliable upload speed then I can start doing some of the things I have had on hold for over a month now.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Walkin' around...

We ventured out to the Tortoise Days festival at the park. Generally it isn't that great but there were a lot of people there today. We talked Devin into walking around for a bit. It was really great to see him cruising around. It wasn't a lot and he used his canes most of the time but it sure was a great feeling to see him doing it outside the house. A few people who had heard about it from school came by to say hello and how great it was that he was walking without his canes. As a pre-celebration Devin wanted to go to Chuck-E-Cheese so we headed back into town today for that. As one would expect on a Saturday it was a zoo, but the kids had fun!

Deanna just kind of hung out the entire day and stayed pretty happy in her stroller. Toward the end of trip around the park she did finally start to get a bit upset but that was after being there for a while and dealing with it fairly well.

Network update

Well, all I can say is that my Charter Cable continues to not work correctly. The ONLY good news now is when I call they say, "Hey you have a problem out there!" Wow, imagine that. I mean I have been only talking to them about this for over a month now. But since they didn't have a bunch of people complaining before it wasn't a real problem and now that more people are complaining NOW they realize, "Hey maybe we have a problem!".

I really wish I could say that my Verizon DSL was working but so far that hasn't lit up either. Personally I don't think they are going to be able to make it work but I may be wrong on that one. All I know is IF it does start working I am canceling my Charter service.

I decided to put something up on ebay and it took over 2 hours to get three 230k images to load. I mean give me a break! And it wasn't a start and come back later, I had to keep restarting it and only after individually adding the pictures to the auction did they ever load... What a pain...

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Another day...

Deanna is really developing her own personality and it is fun to watch. She is really starting to move around much more and will roll to whatever it is that she wants to "play" with.

Devin continued to walk today and spent about an hour after school walking through various parts of the house. Denise took some video today but with my current internet problems I won't be able to do anything with the video for a while. I met him when he got off the van today and he walked in the house with a single cane. So he is really committed to walking now and is focused on trying to get to the point he can have his walking party. In that vein we also played a bit of XBOX, which we haven't done for a while, and I basically made myself sick. I haven't played in a while and I am not used to all the motion.

Oh I processed the image above a bit differently and tried to give it a painted look. Not sure if I like it, but it was something different....

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I know - let's walk...

So here's the deal. I came home today a bit early and Denise and I were talking in the bedroom when Devin just decided that it was time to start walking. He walked from the couch, down the hallway (without touching the wall) and into our room. He continued to do that for about a hour and through the remained of the evening. I think he has finally decided in his own mind that it is time to start walking. So we just might have to plan his walking party soon!

I know some folks reading this might not remember or know that Devin has CP and is physically disabled. His problem is mainly in his legs and as such he walks with canes and braces. So this is a HUGE step. I only say this because I know I have mentioned it at work before and people are like "big deal" and they don't realize just how big a deal this really is. Denise and I are VERY proud of him and excited that he is doing it. Hopefully he will keep it up and get better. He really did it for a long time tonight and was doing pretty darn good!

OBTW - I am pretty sure I broke my little toe yesterday. I have a doctor appointment on Friday and though I know he isn't going to be able to do anything I figure it is a good idea to get checked out and I need to talk to him about a couple other things so it is finally the excuse to get off my duff and make the appointment. Oh - and in case your wondering - it really hurts...

I think this says it all - this is how my Charter Cable modem has been for over a month now. And you are reading that correctly - it says 1 kbps upload rate... This is just horrible...

Monday, May 01, 2006

Good news...

My mom received the telephone call with the results from her surgery with everything coming back good! They got the rest of the cancer and the lymph nodes they grabbed didn't have any problems either. I know this must have been a week of hell for her but it was really wonderful to get this bit of good news. She still has to go through the other treatments (can't remember what exactly it is) which will start in the beginning of June. So at least the waiting for results part of this game is now over and everyone can move forward.

I took both of these pictures last week when I was up there before we went to dinner on one of the nights. I figured they would work well with this posting...