Tracking the Treks

I love my smartphone.  I rarely use it for actual voice-to-voice communication, but it sure comes in handy for all kinds of other things.

I have an application on my phone called MyTracks.  When I walk, I can record my route and all kinds of other information about my trek.  When I finish up, I can send myself (or friends) the details of the journey.  Below is the walk route that my friend, Robin, and I took today:MyTracks Walk Route

Created by Google My Tracks on Android.

Name: Walk 3 – Feb 18
Activity type: –
Description: –
Total distance: 5.56 km (3.5 mi)
Total time: 58:58
Moving time: 58:52
Average speed: 5.66 km/h (3.5 mi/h)
Average moving speed: 5.67 km/h (3.5 mi/h)
Max speed: 7.65 km/h (4.8 mi/h)
Average pace: 10.61 min/km (17.1 min/mi)
Average moving pace: 10.59 min/km (17.0 min/mi)
Fastest pace: 7.84 min/km (12.6 min/mi)
Max elevation: 74 m (244 ft)
Min elevation: 45 m (146 ft)
Elevation gain: 154 m (505 ft)
Max grade: 0 %
Min grade: -12 %
Recorded: 2/18/2013 8:22am

Pretty cool, huh?

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Vesper’s Valentine Gift Idea

For Valentine’s Day, Vesper made her sweetheart a Sculpey Clay Hershey’s Kiss.

Vesper's Sculpey Clay Kiss

She bought a bag of Hershey’s Kisses and unwrapped all of them, removing the regular paper tags.  She had typed, printed up and cut out what she called “cheesy pick-up lines”.  These she used to replace the tags that she had removed.

Vesper Making Her Gift

She did make sure to tell her Valentine to watch for the “special” Sculpey Clay one.  She wouldn’t want him to break a tooth on it.

Are you Google?  Because you have everything I'm searching for.

It was a really fun idea!

Cheesy Pick Up Lines In Hershey's Kisses



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Happy VD

Last night I was climbing into bed and realized I hadn’t finished filling out my Valentine’s Day card for Michael due to the hectic pace of the day.Valentine's Day Card

Me: “Oh no!  I forgot to finish writing in your Valentine’s Day card!”

Michael: “That’s okay.  You can just give it to me tomorrow.  I am chronologically challenged.  I won’t even notice that it’s late.”

Me: “Oh, good!  I’ll just tell you that it’s early.”

Michael: “Oh no.  Don’t do that because then I will be stressed out that I didn’t get you one too.”

Gifts From Michael

Michael got me red roses, black Nike socks, Moonstruck chocolates, a nice card and tickets to a Portland Trail Blazers’ Game!

Then, as we were unwinding in bed before going to sleep –

Michael: “Did you eat your little Moonstruck chocolate bunny?”

Me: “Yes.  I bit off its head, and then I felt kind of bad about that.”

Michael: “Aw.”

Me: “I should have eaten its butt first.”

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Anna’s Hummingbird

Anna's Hummingbird at the Feeder

Female Anna’s Hummingbird at the feeder

Anna's Hummingbird on her nest - February 12, 2013

A female Anna’s Hummingbird has built a nest over our driveway.  This is the second year in a row that I have had an opportunity to watch her steal cattail tufts from the cattails at the edge of the koi pond to use for lining the nest.

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Sofa Box Derby

Me: “It would be cool to someday have a dance floor in the middle of the house.”

Michael: “Yeah!”

Me: “The sofas should have wheels so we could just wheel them off of the dance floor when we want to use it.”

Michael: “Yeah, and the sofas need to be motorized so we can race them!”

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Arrival of the “Cards Against Humanity”

They are here!  It is wrong of me to be excited to play…  but… but…


Cards Against Humanity – A party game for horrible people. And now I have my very own copy!

Want your own set?  This is where I got mine:

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Texts From Last Month

Michael has fallen victim to the allure of smartphones.  This has led to his discovery of text messaging.  Below are a couple of text exchanges between us from January of 2013:


The building in which Michael works in downtown Portland also houses the University of Oregon “Duck” Store. Michael and I are “Beavers”, having met at rival university, Oregon State.

We also had the following text conversation recently:


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I Totally Walk!

A friend of mine told me at lunch yesterday that she is accepting applications for a Walking Partner.  I think I am a perfect fit for her open position.  I updated my resume and sent it to her this morning:

Deena D. Stevens


Deena is a highly mobile ambulator capable of traversing various terrains while being subjected to multiple weather conditions.


To move along on foot without falling over


Walking – World-Wide:

Walking – 1968 to Present:

Duties included brief travel on foot often seguing into treks of longer duration. Parents were surprised by the quick progression from toddling to climbing up to high places. Areas of ambulatory expertise include wandering, sauntering, skipping, hiking, strolling, jogging, plodding, dancing and prancing. Obtained ability to walk and talk at the same time early on, perfecting this skill throughout life. Candidate is able to walk proficiently in bare feet, tennis shoes, boots, snowshoes, rubber garden clogs, sandals, flip-flops and all thicknesses of socks. Some experience walking in high heels.

Crawling/Pre-Walking – Salem, Oregon:

Pulling Up On Things – Mid-1968: Promoted from sitting position into stand-while-holding-on position. Stand position lead to experience in Wobbling, “Look-at-me” happy bouncing, Let-go-step-and-fall-over routine and Concentrated Forward Movement. The position of Walker was achieved in the first year on the job.

Crawling – Early 1968 to mid-1968: Duties included pulling oneself around by arms, rocking back-and-forth in arched position and ultimately, Crawling. Achieved Crawling ahead of schedule. Quick, efficient movement was always a priority. Mom was only going to be in that bathroom for a few minutes, and there was a whole house to destroy.

Other Walking Activities –
Walking To and From School
Jaycee Relays
Middle School and High School Track Team
MS Walk-A-Thon
Walk To Defeat ALS
Being A Mom


Alberston’s Customer – “I saw Deena walk down that aisle twice today while pushing a grocery cart. I think she came back because she forgot something.”
Ex-Husband – “Deena walked out on me.”
Deena’s Doctor – “I like to hear that Deena walks. She should do it three or four times a week for at least a half an hour at a time.”
Deena’s Dogs – “Walk?!? We get to go on a walk?!? We love walking with Deena!”
Garden Slug – “Deena makes walking look easy.”


I got an interview!  I received the following letter in response to my resume submission:

Dear Deena,

Thank you for your spoof-ume.  It appears that you are well qualified for the position.

I will need to check with my scheduling administrator, but I believe you are the most qualified candidate for our “Monday” opening.

Please check your schedule to see if you are available to interview Monday morning after 8:15 am.

This will give us both an opportunity to determine whether your job search and our employment needs match.  It will also give you the opportunity to experience our corporate culture. We are a moderate paced, yet thorough company that values multi-tasking: walking and talking. (Plus, my boss wants to know if you can walk, talk and chew gum at the same time.)

Here are some tips for your interview next week.

1. Demonstrate that you are committed and reliable.

We’ve interviewed walkers who just didn’t seem committed to the task at hand.  They pretended to be interested in walking, but then they spent all their time on the job “stretching.” The job will include some stretching, but it is primarily a walking position.  And no wandering into streets.  We’ve had some walkers that just walk off sidewalks into the middle of the road.  This is very distracting.  The other walkers are rarely able to continue their walking when they must offer first aid.  Some people believe that first aid is an ethical issue, but we believe that staying out of road is the real ethical issue.  Serious walkers must demonstrate their solidarity to the corporate mission and project objectives.

2. Whatever happens, keep talking.

Some walkers just don’t talk enough.  Or they don’t respond quickly enough because they get confused about walking and breathing at the same time.  I don’t think this will be a problem for you, but you should be aware that this has been a problem in the past.

3. Please don’t wear heels.

Due to the economic downturn, we were forced to modify our corporate dress policy: Too many of our employees made disability and workman’s comp claims due to sprained ankles.  So, now we operate a strictly heel-free workplace.  The AFL/CIO filed a discrimination suit, but that won’t go to the supreme court until next fall. Whatever you do, don’t mention this controversy in your interview.  And just to be safe, don’t wear those thick heeled tennis shoes either.  You might think this is related to the heel policy, but you would be wrong: our fashion VP vetoed them because they just look silly.  Please don’t bring up this controversy either.  And no roller skates.

In addition, please consider that our business is exercise, not punctuality at the end of your contracted hours. You will be expected to stay after your regular working hours to complete all conversations.  This is non-negotiable.  Principal Walkers who do not understand the importance of this requirement need not interview.


Robin Carr

Hiring Manager

Walking Project

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Welcome Potluck Dinner

Welcome Potluck Dinner

Welcome Potluck Dinner at Aloha High School

Last night, there was a potluck dinner held at the high school for the host families and German students.  The principal of the school spoke for a few moments as did the AHS German teacher, Frau Freeborn.  Frau Freeborn gave the visiting teachers some Oregon themed gifts.

Sina and Friends

Sina is the second from left, turned looking toward me.

The students and parents mingled before, during and after dinner.  I snapped a photo of our student while she was chatting with a group of her friends.  Pretty, isn’t she?

We sat with the Krautscheids and visited with others who stopped by.  It was good to see everyone.Vesper and her little friendSina and her friends in conversation

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What Does It Mean?

The cats in my house are not allowed “up” on things (like desks and counters).  For the most part, they follow the rules… when I am watching.  Earlier today, I came out from the back of the house and found a new Word document open with this message:



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