Josh Humphries + Malin Roghelia (and Family)


Sorry for the delays. The next photo backlog entry – about our October trip to LA – has been slightly delayed. I’ve got about a dozen more photos to prepare. There will be many pics. Please be patient.

Hopefully I can get that post out tomorrow. Hopefully I can also get the subsequent volume, the finale, out tomorrow, too.

In any event, happy holidays, merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, etc. And happy birthday, Cass! (Sorry we didn’t call on Saturday. We completely forgot about it, and now it’s too late – for us, not for the west coast… Yes, we are slackers.)

My Desk Today

Almost there. I just need to make some cookies and vacuum, and I will be set. Of course the elves still need to wrap gifts and assemble a few of Santa’s offerings, but that is the elves’ job.  Here is my desk today. Yes, the cards are going out later. Can you not just jump out of your pants!  Also do you see that Santa visited me early this year (notice two monitors side-by-side; left-most one is friggin’ huge)? I know – I live in a digital cave, and I love it here!

I made a gift for Will’s teachers last night. Today was his last day of school for three weeks. The good news is that I don’t have to wake up to an alarm for a few weeks. By week two I am sure I will be ready to trade the alarm for some peace and quiet. I took some pics of other gifts but cannot show them yet. Bummer…

Photo Backlog, Volume 3 – Remember September

So I wasn’t able to sneak in three posts in three subsequent days. I got busy last night and didn’t have time to finish this post. But a one day lapse is pretty good, right?

Malin’s birthday was in September. She turned 30. We had a small party. Unfortunately, I did not really get any pictures. Birthday girl wasn’t taking pictures that day either. We had food from Star Provisions (thin crust pizzas, focaccia pizzas, and soup) along with some usual party food (wings, chip, dips…).

The week before Malin’s birthday, Malin busied herself with a new crafty enterprise: canning.

First on the agenda was fig jam. Malin had a craving that week (early pregnancy does a number on women with respect to cravings – late pregnancy, too, sometimes – heck, maybe even mid-pregnancy).

The fridge was full of figs. Most of them were black mission figs, but I think we got some green kadota figs mixed in there, too. Our neighbors across the street, Joe and Frances, provided some of the green figs – fresh from the fig trees in their backyard.

Before we can can the figs, we must first turn them into jam. This is made easy with the help of sugar and heat. Apparently the first step is peel the little skins off of the figs. Then you toss them into a big pot (the figs, not the skins) with the aforementioned sugar and finally apply the aforementioned heat. It’s so simple, right?

A little stewing on the stovetop

After you have jam, you fill the mason jars. You then “process” the jars to seal them via partial vacuum. When you’re done, you have cute little jars of jam like in the picture (above right).

We still have some to this day. We eat it on toast with breakfast regularly.

Second on the agenda was everyone’s favorite: a piping peck of pickled peppers.

The peppers were courtesy of a friend and co-worker who grows peppers as a hobby – including some really nasty hot peppers like Habaneros.

And now, to break up the monotony, how about an oddball picture of yours truly:

I don’t know what I was doing. The face is unlikely authentic – probably hamming it up for the camera. I don’t know. Don’t ask.

And now on to the end of September. The last week I brewed a truly terrific double IPA:

Sack o’ grains, waiting to be turned into beer

That same day, before brewing began, Malin had a photo shoot: she was taking pictures of baby Nye, the young daughter of our friends Kevin and Patricia. Before the shoot, Malin showed Will how to take pictures using her old D50. He has been taking them ever since. Here are some of his first images:

Later that day, Malin got this picture of Will playing with baby Nye:

He’s already practicing to be a big brother. And look at those curls. Who the hell let him grow his hair out like that? Amusingly enough, he now prefers to keep his hair very short and occasionally even asks if he can shave it, “I want no hair! Like Randy!” (Randy is my mother-in-law’s boyfriend).

And thus concludes yet another chapter. The next chapter will be the longest and the most interesting: California! We’ll write all about what we did in LA in October. Lots of pictures, too. And I have a busy weekend coming up (plans for Friday and Saturday), so I won’t get a chance to post the next chapter until Sunday at the very earliest. I’m sure you will all be on the edge of your seats, losing sleep for days.

À bientôt!

Photo Backlog, Volume 2 – Independence Day

If there’s one thing that this lovely, wet, cold weather reminds me of, it probably isn’t the fourth of July. But I found these pictures while collecting up images from our trip to L.A. and from Halloween and figured I could post them here, regardless of the current season.

One thing I immediately associate with the US holiday that is Independence Day is the lake – any large, calm body of water will do. Boats help. The second thing that comes to mind is crisp, summer brew. Perhaps one like this:

This past year we spent the summer holiday at Malin’s mother’s lake-front double-wide on Lake Sinclair. There is a jet-ski there, a pontoon boat, and a nice boat-house:

A view from the dock, looking down at the water:

My folks have a lake house, too, but the Georgia drought has been decidedly unfriendly to Lake Lanier. I hear that Sinclair levels stay high despite of the lack of precipitation because it is upstream of a nuclear facility. If something bad happens downstream, they’ll empty the reservoir to cool the reactors… That was actually a rumor I just heard this past weekend. A guy standing in line behind us, while waiting in a long line at Lennox Mall for Will to see Mr. Clause, told us that one. I don’t know if it’s complete BS or not. I’ve done no fact-checking. Leave a comment if you know one way or another. In any event, when the moisture returns to the Southeast, we’ll take pictures of Lake Lanier – perhaps of Will on his first sailing trip (or, failing that, of me miserably bungling an attempt to sail).

The dogs were with us, too, this past summer as you can plainly see:

Here’s another view of Marla, begging Malin for some treats while out for a ride on the boat:

And here’s the converse view – Marla looking up at Malin:

One of the nicest things about Ann’s lakehouse (Ann is my mother-in-law) is the view. It is right on a main causeway of the lake, with a beautiful view of the water and of the sky overhead (see picture at right).

This past fourth of July was like any other day at the lake. We woke up and cooked breakfast. Then we boated around. Will took turns on the jet-ski, first with his mom and then with me. We waded in the water by the house and let the dogs swim around. And then we went for a boat ride and took lunch with us. Lunch typically consists of simple sandwiches or food cooked on the charcoal grill on the back porch of the double-wide. When we returned, it was time for naps and then to venture forth to watch fireworks.

After the sun began to do down, we broke out the sparklers.

Malin was playing around with long-exposure shots, which made for some cool images:

We also had some firecrackers, which made for excellent subjects of the long-exposure images, too:

After a brief fireworks routine on the deck, we hopped on the boat to see the big show on the lake. You can kind of see in this dimly-lit picture that a lot of boats come out to watch. Sometimes it feels so crowded that you could almost walk from one shore to the other by simply hopping from boat to boat.

It was tough to get good shots of the fireworks, so here’s the best we captured. Forgive the blurriness and lack of vivid color…

And now we must end this second chapter of photo fun. Back-to-back days of blogging – can you believe it?! Sometimes I amaze even myself. We’ll see if I can keep it up. The next post will be a short one, so I should be able to continue the trend and have it up here tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Photo Backlog, Volume 1 – Odds and Ends

I am incredibly behind in my blogging. Most notably absent are write-ups of our family vacation to LA in October and of our Halloween experience this year.

But when I was collecting photos to post with those write-ups, I found some other stuff that could go on this blog. So this is part 1 of 5. These posts will be mostly in chronological order – so the oldest photos are found below. There will actually be a part 6, but I’m hoping that won’t be backlog. By that point in time, we’ll have finally found ourselves caught up and will be posting recent photos – like the adventures of Gimpy and Grumpy the elves.

This post really contains the miscellaneous photos that weren’t associated with any particular event – around the house, here and there, this and that… That means there aren’t as many words associated with these pictures. There isn’t really a story to tell or a trip or other tale to recount. So this might be the shortest in this series – which is probably good since it mainly consists of all of our funny-looking mugs, which some of you may be tired of looking at :)

This image is one that Malin took of herself over a year ago:

More recently, she needed a self-portrait to use with press releases. The two below weren’t actually used in print, but I thought they were good. I actually clicked the button on the camera. But aside from that most mundane of actions, I had nothing to do with the photography. Malin setup the lighting, the camera, and the idea in advance and just needed my help actually capturing it:

Speaking of Malin’s photography, this is a cool picture that she snapped from our front yard after a rainstorm – a wicked-looking double rainbow:

Here’s another photo that she took of Will last Fall. He helped her draw the angel wings on the pavement with sidewalk chalk – kind of like a “rock’n’roll” angel, eh?

What post of portraits would be complete without one of yours truly? I think we have lots of pictures like this since I am often the guinea pig for Malin’s test shots. If she’s playing around with some new setting on her camera, a new idea for lighting effects, or a new lens, I am usually the subject. I don’t know if there was actually any photographic experimentation going on for this pic though.

This recent one shows me beating Castlevania for Will. He occasionally likes to play the game, but he prefers to watch since he gets frustrated with his own still-developing levels of fine motor control. Having said that, he’s gotten pretty good at his latest video game acquisition (Lego Indiana Jones).

And last, but certainly not least, are some images of Will’s toys. My brother-in-law Cass got him a Super Grover construction set when we were in Los Angeles this year. The set comes with extra pieces, and you can assemble everything to look like Super Grover or in crazy ways to look something else.

This was Will’s favorite creation: Darth Grover.

This might be his second-favorite: R2-Grover.

More recently, I bought him a Snap-Tite model of a Star Wars spaceship. As it turns out, he isn’t quite ready to build these. I didn’t realize just how small some of the pieces were and how much manual dexterity in your hands was needed to snap all of the pieces together. I knew he wouldn’t have the patience or reading ability to follow the instructions, so I was prepared to help out a lot. I think the age recommendation of 8 years old is a bit old, however. He’ll probably be putting these together himself by age 6. So he helped me sort out the pieces, and I let him help with some of the snap-together assembly where I thought he could. He mostly played with the plastic Jedi figure that came with it while I assembled.

The finished product, sitting on our space-age carpet – designed to resemble the lunar surface of Kashyyyk:

That wraps up this episode of the photo backlog.

Please stay tuned for the next episode: Independence Day 2008.

And now, you’re moment of zen:

More Stuff

I thought I would wait to post again until after Josh posted, but he has been dragging his feet. So here is what I did this week:

Winterizing the men – scarves for both and mittens for Will.  The mittens are made from a felted wool sweater I got from the salvation army for $5. I have been collecting them for some time. We have decided to cloth diaper the new little dude, and the felted wool is being made into diaper covers. On a side note, does anyone know how amazing the properties of wool are? It is right up there with baking soda, in my humble opinion.

And speaking of natural things, I am still on my all natural beauty regime for the exception of the hair. I do use natural shampoo because the baking soda quit working a bit after I got pregnant. I will be giving it a go again once all the crazy hormones have left my body – which will not be for a long time.

Back to why I have been making scarves, other than it is cold: I became very tired this week and had brushed it off as being pregnant. On Wednesday I got a call from my doctor to tell me they were putting me on a new medication because my hemoglobin was low, meaning I was anemic. Then another call from another one of my army of Dr.’s to tell me I needed more blood thinner, so they upped that dose too.  Now it makes since as to my I have only been able to sit and crochet because all I could think was, “man, cooking dinner sounds like climbing Mt. Everest, and screw that Christmas party – I can’t imagine how bad my legs will hurt if I try and pull that off.”  I am feeling 100% better now, which is great because I have to go to work in an hour.

More things I have been making:

Love this deerbit with the crazy huge antlers. My sewing machine keeps gumming up the thread, but this project went somewhat smoothly – right up until the end when I had a few choice words for the hunk of plastic.  I am in the middle of making a bird. Hopefully I can bore you with pictures of it later.


Oh well, it has been a while. I am sure Josh has told you if you do not already know that we are going to have another baby – another boy baby that is.  The first trimester did a number on me this time, and, with all the doctor visits and tests they feel the need to run on me, I have been busy.  Also I have been wrapping up a lot of HiF Photo work as the holiday season is here, the year will be over soon, and I will be taking a break from photography until this baby comes in April.  I just realized I have not taken a picture of my growing belly yet. I must get to that before I turn into a whale – or a barn or a cruise ship.

I have been feeling very nesty, so I have been crafting a lot. I made Will these little Elves.

Full body:

Her arm is wonky as she is the first one I made. Just don’t look.

Santa will be sending magic dust in the next few days and a letter as to how to make them wake up in the night.  I think the story goes something like this: the elves wake up at night and get into mischief but they are always watching and reporting back to Santa if you are naughty or nice. It should be interesting.  I got the idea here, but I thought the elves looked lame so I made my own and painted the faces on. The boy looks a bit grim, but we will just say he’s mysterious.

We got a tree this past weekend though it has only lights on it so far. Maybe it will get ornaments this afternoon. Almost all the Christmas shopping is done and hidden or in the mail on its way. I would show more craft stuff, but a lot of it is going as gifts so secrets must be kept.  Oh, I do have a birthday gift I made that was delivered last week.  A crown for the birthday girl (a girl in Will’s class and whose mom is a friend):


We had an uneventful but fun Thanksgiving weekend.

My brother flew in from Boston for the long weekend, and my parents came, too. My mother-in-law was also in attendance. We ate Cornish Hens instead of Turkey – because Malin was our chef du jour and she would rather both cook and eat the wee chicks vs. a large turkey. All of the other fair was fairly standard Turkey-day fare: ham, macaroni & cheese, stuffing, deviled eggs, biscuits, and sweet potato casserole. We had some other less traditional menu items as well: broccoli & craisin salad and brussel sprouts.

My mom brought Wall-E on DVD for Will. He has now watched the movie three times already since Thanksgiving.

On Friday, all the men (including Will) went out to shop for Black Friday deals. We had four places to visit. None of the things on our lists were critical, so we let ourselves sleep in. Due to our late departure, we struck out on all but the last.

  • Staples did not have the 24″ widescreen LCD monitor on sale in Peachtree City (it was ~$100 off in Greenville, SC per an ad that my dad brought with him).
  • Wolf Camera had long since run out of the free 4GB x 3 memory cards. Yes, that’s right – buy three 4GB memory cards (SD or CompactFlash – and good memory, too: SanDisk Extreme III) for $20 each and get $60 back via mail-in rebate. No wonder they went quickly.
  • K-Mart had run out of $179 Sony Blu-Ray players ($120 off) by the time we arrived.

The one deal we were able to take advantage of: $7.99 for a 50-pack of DVD-Rs at Best Buy. Only three packs were left; I bought two of them. I also snagged a copy of Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels on DVD as it was on sale for only $3.

While at Best Buy, Will and I introduced my brother Jake to Rock Band. Will and I had first played this at my friend Desmond’s in North Carolina last month. They had the full ensemble set up on their demo Xbox 360 system. We let Jake warm up with a simple tune first: Eye of the Tiger. We then decided to play one last one before heading out: Peace Sells But Who’s Buying. It was an entertaining moment at the PTC Best Buy…

Luckily, online stores were participating in Black Friday sales this year which means I got nearly of the deals I originally was hoping to score – just not from a retail, brick’n’mortar store. Gotta love and!

On Saturday, out in the soaking rain, I again attempted to brew a batch of holiday beer (I tried cooking up a batch last weekend but failed miserably). The weather was less than stellar. I will not be brewing beer in the rain again anytime soon. Despite the foul precipitation and several aggravating missteps (including the depressing breakage of my thermometer calibrator), brew day went admittedly more smoothly than last week’s attempt.

Tonight, I’ve finally removed some nasty spyware from my computer. One of the guests here for Thanksgiving was browsing/surfing and apparently inadvertently installed a nasty one onto my machine: redirects, security sites blocked, and Windows Firewall automatically disabling itself. And the whole canniving thing secured itself from removal via a TDSS rootkit. I may have to create a Virtual Machine specifically for guest internet browsing to prevent this sort of “innocent” infestation again…

I’m still compiling some photos from our trip to LA. I know, I know – it’s been nearly two months since we got back, and nary an image or paragraph detailing the trip on this blog. I’m also working on pictures from Halloween (the whole family dressed up to go trick-or-treating!). Stay tuned…

Midweek Madness

On Tuesday, Malin and I got a chance to go see the sold out Coldplay show here in Atlanta. We saw them during the X&Y tour a couple of years ago, too. The production quality was even better this year with lots of lighting effects. They put on a very good live performance. The opening band was decent, too – but I can’t recall their name. They were five guys from Texas whose musical style was not far from Coldplay’s.

Before the show, we went to eat dinner at Holeman & Finch  Public House – a gastro-pub that cures their own meats. It was a good dinner, but a bit pricey:

  • The cheese plate was good and reasonably priced. We had the plate offering five cheeses – a really nice blue, a somewhat-interesting cheddar, a mellow and very creamy goat cheese, Humboldt Fog (sorry, I only remembered the name of this one), and another creamy and soft cow’s milk cheese.
  • The house-cured meat was very tasty – but incredibly over-priced. Before ordering, we asked how much would come, and the server said that it was a pretty good amount. I don’t know what he was talking about. There was very little meat. And for $15, I definitely won’t be ordering it again if I ever return to the place.
  • We also had fried sweetbreads served over grits. This was a delicious dish – the highlight of the evening. The grits were very creamy, and the sweetbreads were good. We’d never had sweetbreads served this way: all in a big, fried hunk. Usually they are broken into morsels and then cooked, but this was a big ol’ hunk of ’em. Yummy.
  • The fried oysters weren’t bad. The fried pickle chips that came with them were probably the best part. They were very soft and gelatinous which I did not particularly like. I’ve had raw oysters and fried oysters in the past that were much more firm and think the texture is much more pleasant when it’s less mucilaginous.
  • Another pleasant dish was the hen of the wood mushrooms with polenta. I don’t know if I’ve ever had this type of mushroom before, but they were good. The only regret: not enough polenta.

It felt odd coming home Tuesday night knowing that we had to return to normal life the next day. Midweek events feel kind of strange that way.

And then yesterday, Hump Day, was another highlight of the week. Will was well-behaved all day, so he got to take advantage of a special privilege reserved for well-behaved boys: video games.

A couple of weeks ago, he bought Lego Indiana Jones for the Wii using his allowance. He’d been saving up for a few months. We went to GameStop to look at used video games, and they were a complete rip-off: a new copy was $50, a used copy was $45. Will was very upset that he didn’t have enough money to buy the game, but we found a copy on eBay for a reasonable price that he could afford: $29. And for some reason eBay gave us a 10% coupon that brought the total down to around $26. Will had only saved up $22, but we gave him an advance on his allowance.

So yesterday while I was at work, Malin and Will finished the second of the three parts of the game: The Temple of Doom. After dinner last night, Will and I played a couple of levels of part three: The Last Crusade. For any that might be interested in the game, I highly recommend it. It is very fun, and knowledge of the movies can help you beat some of the tricky parts – which makes it feel authentic.


Nice Hair

On Tuesday Will told us that he wanted John McCain to win the election. We asked him why that was (“did someone at school tell you that?”). He replied, “I like his hair.”

He was devastated on Wednesday to hear his favorite head of hair had not won over more voters. We tried explaining that there are other factors that people consider when casting their ballot (some people anyway…).

Speaking of casting ballots, the Libertarian ticket, headlined by Georgia’s own Bob Barr, appeared on the ballot in Georgia on Tuesday, but neither the Green Party nor independent tickets appeared there. It struck me as a little odd considering the Green Party’s candidate was Georgia’s own Cynthia McKinney. Apparently the Green Party primary was a landslide with Ralph Nader (famous – or perhaps infamous – for being the Green Party’s candidate in 2000 among other things) placing a distant second. The results of their presidential convention can be seen here. I’ve never heard of any of the possible candidates in the list other than Ms. McKinney and Mr. Nader.

As I mentioned above, Mr. Nader, running as an independent this year, was missing from the ballot. A friend and coworker informed me that Nader was an “official write-in” in Georgia. I’m still not sure what the heck that means. What distinguishes an “official” write-in candidate from an unofficial one? My coworker and I mused about this: do they discard write-in votes that aren’t cast for “official” write-in candidates? Hopefully (dare I say “probably”) not. I couldn’t find any online source that described an “official” write-in in Georgia nor could I find any online source that confirmed Nader’s status as “official write-in”. The closest thing I found was this. Read a certain way, it could seem to imply that Georgia voters can write in Nader’s name but not necessarily anyone else’s.

The Taste of Taste

Lately, Will has come to really enjoy a couple of TV commercials. One is a Campbell’s soup commercial.

Man Eating Soup: What is that taste?

Man in Chef Hat: Taste.

Man Eating Soup: Hmmmm. I like the taste of taste.

Man in Chef Hat: It’s very tasty.

It is a surreal and mildly amusing commercial. Every time it comes on, Will can be heard repeating “I like the taste of taste” afterwards.

Unfortunately, I haven’t yet found the commercial online. The closest thing I can find on YouTube also features the Man in Chef Hat and is titled “Mike Huckabee Soup Chef” due to the character’s resemblance to the former Republican presidential candidate. You can see it here.

His other favorite commercial features a talking baby espousing the wonders of E*TRADE. If you haven’t seen it, take a look here. His favorite part is the hurling at the end.

Today he and Malin engaged in a rather disgusting conversation. He saw the other talking baby E*TRADE commercial (featuring creepy clown instead of spit up), but he thought it was the other one. Mystified at the absence of puke after the commercial ended, I explained to him that there are two different but similar commercials. Somehow the conversation turned to Will’s baby brother (not due until April) and how Will will get more than his share of spit up after he arrives.

Will then joked, “I’m going to eat the puke.” At mom’s horrified expression and dad’s abrupt and incessant giggling, Will continued, “I’m going to swallow it! Ewww!”

During this rather repulsive interchange I could only laugh to myself thinking “at least he got the Humphries sense of humor!”

This anecdote won’t likely surprise my sister or brother-in-law in LA who got earfuls from Will about the “puke robot” when we were there last month.

Era of Change?

And to think, we have another one on the way. How will we handle two insane, hyper boys, running around, pretending to be Darth Maul, talking about retching automata?

We do have a few ideas of where we’ll be next year. It’s a cozy place in which we’ve become quite comfortable thanks to our precious little monstrosity of a mini-man :)

Wit's End

Come and join us sometime, won’t you?

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