#93: Becky – Read War & Peace

I read a lot. But I don’t read many classics. For some reason, this year I got it into my head that I should read War & Peace. Although there are some 1300 pages, there’s only 361 short chapters. Perfect for one per day for a year!

This is part of our 100 Things in 2018 challenge.

Yeah. I can’t read like that. I ended up rushing through the last quarter in October, just to finally have it finished. Did I like it? Parts. Do I now know way more about Russia during Napoleon’s invasion? Yep. Would I recommend it to others? Hmm. Maybe.

#36: Attend a Musical

Our whole family loves live theater. This year we took them to the Oregon Children’s Theater production of Ella Enchanted, which was fantastic.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2018 challenge. Make sure to click on the photos!

Going to this show made us realize that they’re ready for some of our favorite Broadway shows, so we have some things to look forward to next year!

#74: Halloween Show

Every once in a while, we like to go to a kooky show at the Alberta Rose Theatre. A few years ago we did this for my surprise date, and we loved it so much we keep watching for things we can go to.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2018 challenge. Make sure to click on the photos!

Their 2018 show was The Nitemare B4 Xmas, a fan recreation of the music of the movie you probably already love. It was weird, magical, and an absolute joy. The opening act was Three for Silver, a lively sort-of-bluegrass band, and although that’s a little out of our usual wheelhouse, they were really good and we enjoyed them very much.

#58: Explore Vernon Neighborhood

Earlier this year, we did a true exploration of the Woodstock neighborhood. Well, when the kids had another weekend away at Trackers, we thought maybe we should check out the Vernon neighborhood.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2018 challenge. Make sure to click on the photos!

Vernon is really close to our old King neighborhood, which meant we had to tread carefully to (a) stay within the bounds of Vernon, and (b) avoid places we already knew well. This is a lively area of Portland, and we didn’t have any trouble finding new places to visit. Among our favorites: Hat Yai, Tea Bar, Proud MaryHandsome Pizza, Helser’s, and Boxer Ramen.

Our Airbnb was just perfect, and we’d recommend it to anyone visiting from out of town, especially since the neighborhood is interesting and walkable.

September Misc Round Up

Lucy did lots of cool stuff at school; she went to see the Swifts; she’s learning guitar thanks to Rocksmith; and she loves her crafting station in her room.

Will helped grandpa Ken stain his deck; he loves playing with his R/C crawler in the new backyard; he also enjoys reading magazines in the new backyard; and we accidentally ordered him a gigantic bowl of sugar water with candy floating in it.

Becky did a photo shoot and was bombed by squirrels; had a fun night out with her girls; I took a selfie for some reason? And Becky got a new chair which fits her and both dogs!



#89: Ben – Train to teach a technical course

I’ve been writing software professionally for almost 15 years now, but it’s just in the last few that people have started seeking me out for my knowledge. In 2015 I wrote a deep technical dive on a specific problem with Kubernetes (a software system that turns lots of small computers into one big one). This year I was asked to teach a course on Kubernetes.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2018 challenge. Make sure to click on the photos!

Kubernetes is a rapidly growing technology, and there’s a shortage of qualified instructors. An Irish company called Guru Team approached me to see if I’d be interested in teaching people about it. Would this involve travel to the UK and possibly beyond? Yes? Then yes!

Kubernetes is a pretty sophisticated system, and there’s a lot to know. A course that will prepare you for the Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) certificate takes 4 solid days of lecture and practice. The test itself takes 3 hours. I know this because I went through all the training materials, did a ton of research, and passed that exam. How can you teach this course without being certified yourself?


At this point, I’ve checked off all the boxes, and I’m ready to teach! Hopefully my first course will happen in early 2019, and I’m excited to get started.

#94: Becky – Do the Puyallup

I spent the first decade of my grown-up life living in the Seattle area, and I loved attending the Puyallup Fair. There is an international photography exhibit as well as the usual awesome state fair stuff. This year I convinced a beautiful friend of mine to drive up with me and do the Puyallup. (It’s possible I had to entice her with the promise of a quilting exhibit.) It was a great day trip all around, complete with tons of fried food and all the treasures in the Collections Hall.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2018 challenge. Make sure to click on the photos!


#54: Add two more monthly causes

Just like in 2016 and 2017, we wanted to continue expanding our contributions to causes we believe in. (Note: this post might be interpreted as political; whether you agree with our choices or not, we encourage you to contribute to those movements you believe in.)

This is part of our 100 Things in 2018 challenge. 

This year we added two causes to the monthly-donation list.

  1. The DCCC is a clearinghouse for funding Democratic election candidates across the USA. In lieu of donating to specific candidates, we decided to support a broad base of them in one fell swoop.
  2. Advance Peace “is dedicated to ending cyclical and retaliatory gun violence in American urban neighborhoods.” They work closely with those young people most at risk for gun crime, and help them break out of the cycle of violence. It’s a small program, but has seen some real success, and we want to see them try it in more cities.

We know our dollars are going towards promoting causes and outcomes we believe in, and we feel better knowing that our good fortune is spread out a little bit.

#10: Try the World Dinners

At some point, one of my Christmas gifts to Becky was a subscription to Try the World, a subscription service that sends you local foods that you can make into a meal. We didn’t have the emotional bandwidth to make them at the time, but this year we vowed to make it happen.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2018 challenge. Make sure to click on the photos!

Our first meal was from Morocco. We made two kinds of tea, and a lamb tagine with couscous. So good.

Another meal: Thailand! Thai iced tea and a curry, and mango sticky rice for dessert.

Meal 3 was from Sweden: several kinds of knäckebröd and a variety of other sides.

And a bonus (which didn’t come from Try the World): Italy! We brought back pasta and cheese from our Rome trip, and made mezze maniche carbonara and carciofi alla Giudia (Jewish artichokes), and it was delicious.