Sunday, January 30, 2005


Up, Up & Away

While Sarah and I were being domestic (more on that later), Porter's grandparents took him for the ride of his life. They went to the Napa Airport where Porter went up in an open cockpit bi-plane! He apparently was thrilled and not scared at all. He did duck down out of the wind, but then popped his head up to see the sights throughout the twenty minutes they circled Napa. Our own little red baron.

Saturday, January 29, 2005


The Wine Train

Porter's Grandpa & Grandma took him on the Napa Valley Wine Train this afternoon. The Wine Train is a 3-hour train tour of Napa and this is Porter's second trip on it. He apparently had an outstanding time and even got a pin from the engineer after touring the engine. You ride the train, eat a meal, and look at the sights from Napa to St. Helena and back again. Below is what the train looks like.

Porter with his grandparents, Lyman and Ruthanne just before boarding time.

Thursday, January 27, 2005


Coastal Playtime

Porter's grandparents took him to a few places along the ocean in Marin and Sonoma counties. Ruthanne took these photos with her new digital camera.

Grandpa and Porter go three-wheelin' at Point Reyes where California meets the Pacific Ocean in Marin.

This was taken at Goat Rock, which is where the Russian River meets the Pacific Ocean in Sonoma County. Porter, whose motto is if it can be climbed, it will be climbed, ignores another beautiful sunset to play with his trains.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005


An Elevated Train Layout

Porter's been into bridges and elevated track lately, so we built a layout almost entirely up in the air, our own "el" train.

Monday, January 24, 2005


A New Triptych

Working in a new medium of water color paints, Porter's newest work is an abstract triptych in bold colors. Several techniques were employed including bold brush strokes, sponging, using his fingers and dripping drops of paint directly onto the canvas. Note the bright blue in the left panel contrasted with the morose dark greens and violent blood reds of the right panel. A strong yellow sun shines down from the top middle onto a chaotic third panel where the forces of dark and light mix uneasily symbolizing man's struggle to remain human amidst the opposing dualities of the optimism of man's potential for good against the practical violence (signified by the red) and greed (signified by the green) that forms the predominant state of our post-millennial society today. The goodness of humanity is symbolized by rounded peaceful blue shapes where reason prevails. The red of the right panel (note the positioning to the far right) denotes those pockets of our country where reason no longer prevails and has been overshadowed by money, greed and corruption as illustrated by the green's near covering of the red blood of a corrupted people so confused by their own greed and so naively accepting of the lies told to them that they would vote themselves out of existence. Certainly this is Porter's most mature work to date.

Saturday, January 22, 2005


Bed, Bath & Beyond

Porter takes one of the beds out for a spin during a trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond in Larkspur.


Son of Popovers

Sarah's third attempt at her beloved popovers. These were also yummy but very eggy.

Friday, January 21, 2005


Trains in Zooland

With hundreds of exotic animals in residence, what did our little engineer obsess about at the zoo? The train tracks, of course. Unfortunately, the train itself is off line, so to speak, and will be for months to come, but that didn't stop Porter from following the tracks where they led.


Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh Porter!

We borrowed Sarah's sister Margaret's zoo membership and took the kids to see a special members-only bear exhibit to highlight the two new juveniles the zoo recently acquired. They had a good time and Porter especially liked the tigers and lions.

Porter rides Kimba (not Simba, that Disney stole from Japan)

Alice joins the pride.

Thursday, January 20, 2005


Monkey Boy

Monkey Boy up another tree.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005


Mocha Dick

Apparently the name Moby Dick may have come from a real whale, famous in the early 19th Century as Mocha Dick. Don't believe me? Read all about it here. In this picture from his play date, Porter steers the brown whale.


Play Date

Porter and I met Ryan and his dad, my friend Shaun O'Sullivan, brewer at 21st Amendment Brewpub, at the Bay Area Discovery Museum. We were going to go to Habitot in Berkeley where Shaun lives but it closes early on Wednesdays. Ryan is 17 months old and is also a towhead. Here Shaun looks on as the two kids play in the carved whale boat.

Monday, January 17, 2005


Alice Crawls!

Over the past few days, Alice has started crawling backwards and is trying to move forward. It should be no time at all before she's crawling all over the place and we're spending all of our time running after her.

Here's a Quicktime movie of Alice crawling backwards on our bed, which Porter conveniently stripped. You can either download the movie to your desktop or just click on the link to play it in your web browser (assuming your web browser has the quicktime plug-in installed).

Sunday, January 16, 2005


Fun with Hippos

During our meeting with Porter's teacher last Friday, she suggested some creative toys they used at school such as Legos (the plain, old style ones - like when I was a kid), Lincoln Logs and the game, Hungry Hungry Hippos. The Hippo game was the only one I could find at the store so we tried it our during a visit to Porter's grandparents. Here he's playing the game with Grandma, Mom and his Aunt Margaret. It was a big hit and he loved playing the game, though rules were not something he showed much concern for following.


Up a Tree

On a quick trip the Bay Area Discovery Museum, Porter indugles his new passion for climbing trees.


A New Medium

Our little budding artiste decided to branch out and work with watercolors today. Here he is at work on his latest creations. Notice that he's wearning as much as is on the canvas. And no, his shirt was not white before he began.


The Return of the Popovers

Sarah tried a slightly different popover recipe this morning that was less bready than the last attempt. I think I liked the first ones slightly better, but these were still quite yumola.

Saturday, January 15, 2005


Muir Woods

The family took a trip to Muir Woods this morning. It's such a beautiful place, despite the tourists, and we feel fortunate to live so close to it.

The family in front of a giant redwood tree at Muir Woods.

Alice and her mom relax on a bench.


A New Shirt

Porter adamantly wanted me to remove my fleece sweatshirt this morning and then preceded to put it on himself. It may be a little while before it will fit.


Dutch Babies

This morning, Sarah made another attempt at her beloved dutch babies. While still not her mother's recipe, this version was closer to what she was going for. They, too, were quite good but not as bready as Friday's popovers.

Friday, January 14, 2005



Alice trys to win her big brother's attention by playing trains with him.


A Visit From Porter's Teacher

Porter's teacher, Micki, came by the house this afternoon to talk about Porter's progress and make suggestions for extracurricular activities that might be beneficial to his development. She gave us some things to work on with him and also gave us the names of some language and behavioral specialists who offer tutoring and/or other related services which may supplement his daytime schooling.

Overall, she seemed very pleased by his rapid progress in certain areas. Apparently he's ahead of his peers on knowing his color and shapes, for example. She hopes that by spring he may actually be able to move to a more advanced class, assuming his progress continues at its current pace. After having Porter in her class for about a month, she's beginning to believe that Porter may be closer to PDD-NOS, which is the mildest classification on the autistic spectrum disorders. This may or may not be good news since the important thing is that he catch up to his peers by the time kindergarten starts. As long as he keeps making progress, then it's a very good thing.

This week, he's started using yes appropriately and seems to be really enjoying getting what he wants by saying yes. It sure is a relief to not hear a constant stream of no's.

Porter and his teacher, Micki



Sarah made some popovers this morning, which are similar to something called dutch babies that Sarah's mom used to make. Sarah's been quite nostalgic for them lately. Apparently they're an old Johnston family recipe. But the popovers were quite yummy with butter and jam.

Thursday, January 13, 2005


Unavoidable Geekiness

Met some beer buds today at Thirsty Bear Brewing in San Francisco; Shaun O'Sullivan, brewer at 21st Amendment, and Dave McLean, brewer at Magnolia Brewery where we had a pint with brewer Brenden Dobel. I had his Bearly Legal barleywine since we didn't try that one for the Celebrator tastings last week. Our other common interest, apart from beer, was we're all Apple geeks and were on our way to Macworld at nearby Moscone Center. I got to try out the new iPod Shuffle and play around with the new miniMac. Much drooling was done over the new toys displayed there.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005



Alice spends some time trainspotting in the Christmas present her big brother got her. Notice how well she's sitting up on her own these days.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005


Chair Spelunking

Porter made a fort out of the chair cushions and took some trains, 'natch, along with a flashlight so he could see in the darkened cave under the cushions. My job was to rebuild it each time it was destroyed.

Monday, January 10, 2005


Birthday Practice

Tonight Porter climbed up the bar stool to continue his blowing out the birthday candles practice. Apparently, you can't grow too skilled at that.

Here's a Quicktime movie of Porter blowing out the candle. You can either download the movie to your desktop or just click on the link to play it in your web browser (assuming your web browser has the quicktime plug-in installed).

Sunday, January 09, 2005


Barleywine Redux

On Saturday, we continued our tasting of barleywines and also tasted a flight of smoked or rauchbiers. The cast was almost the same at Celebrator HQ. Top row, from left: Me, Pete Slosberg, and Tom Dalldorf. Bottom row, from left: Bob Coleman and Paul Marshall.

Saturday, January 08, 2005


A Little Off the Top, Please

Porter fidgets uncomfortably with an itchy shirt after his haircut today. Haircuts are still a traumatic affair for him and we're not sure what we can do to make them less so for him. Anybody have a suggestion?


Where's the Fire?

Porter is learning to share as he put his fire chief hat on his sister's head.

Friday, January 07, 2005


U is for Umbrella

After school today, Porter was thrilled to hold the umbrella himself.


Eat Tu, Alice

Alice has her second helping of applesauce. She's getting the idea but is still unsure what to make of this new taste sensation.

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