November 29, 2009

Lots of Thanksgiving Visitors

Filed under: food,General — mmrobins @ 9:51 pm

From Nathan piles up the food

We hosted Thanksgiving again this year, with the difference from laster year being that more people came. Dinner ended up being an even dozen people, and most of them were staying with us too! It was really cool that we could fit so many people in our house and that everyone got along and had enough space to sleep. My grandma even made it down.

Kim did an amazing job planning all the food, and we spent a few days prepping food prior to the big day. We didn’t have any meat at dinner which was awesome. I was very happy that my family was so accepting of not having turkey. Instead we had seitan sausages as the ‘meat’ course. Kim made a few kinds of gravy too, including a wild mushroom gravy that had chanterelles that we picked a few weeks ago.

We even had Tofu Phil from Small Planet Tofu with us for dinner. He runs a tofu company in Newport, WA of all places, and happened to be in Portland for Thanksgiving so we invited him and his girlfriend to dine with us.

I think everyone had a good time the day of, and even over the next few days. We played card cames, Taboo and Rock Band in between neighborhood walks and plenty of leftovers. And after everyone left there wasn’t even much to clean up since everyone chipped in to help with everything. Thanks for coming!

November 22, 2009

Non-profit Websites I Help With

Filed under: General — mmrobins @ 2:37 pm

I’ve been helping with a couple non-profit websites for more than a few years now, and I’ve been bad in that I haven’t mentioned them or even linked to them. Oops. Perhaps part of why I haven’t done much with these sites is that I rarely have to do anything to them. That was my original goal in setting them up so that the people running the organization could modify the information on the sites however they wanted without having to wait for me. To do this I set the sites up running Drupal and WordPress, two great site management technologies both written in PHP.

The first is Espaanglisch, which is a great English teaching volunteer program near Trujillo, Peru for lower income students of all ages. I taught there for a month in 2007 when Kim and I lived in Huanchaco, and I helped the guy running the program, David, build a website so that he could attract more volunteers. Learning English really is a great way to open up a ton of employment opportunities for these children. I recently found out how important the website has been to helping David attract volunteers when it stopped functioning for a few weeks because of DNS issues. Fortunately the DNS issues resolved themselves. If you want to travel and volunteer in South America, this is a great place as you’ll feel immediately appreciated and you can even learn to surf in your off hours.

Some other friends of ours name Becka and Michael have been doing a lot of work in Uganda, Africa for years helping to protect the Kibale National Forest. Their most recent project, the New Nature Foundation, aims to help protect the forest by improving the lives of and educating the people who live around it. They’ve made great strides, as can be seen in their latest reports showing they’ve reduced the number of people gathering wood inside the national park from over 30% to around 10%. They done this in a number of interesting and innovative ways including teaching the locals to build more efficient stoves, and growing their own wood from fast growing trees that they plant themselves. The project is ongoing and always accepting donations.

I’m grateful to be able to help these dedicated people in some small way with what expertise I have, and I hope they continue to thrive.

November 21, 2009

Another Dodgeball Season Ends

Filed under: General — mmrobins @ 8:13 pm

From 06 – Dodgeball

This was my third dodgeball season, and I’ve definitely gotten better. Before starting I wouldn’t have thought there was much to the sport, but there are some serious dodgeballers out there – including some who seem to take it more serious than they should. I just go to have fun, and this season was that.

I played on a team named Wii Not Fit for the second time with Lucy, and we had a decent season. We won most of our games, but I don’t think we played some of the harder teams. Fine with me. We lost our first game in the tournament today. Actually our first game was against a team that forfeited so we didn’t get to play them.

Now that my marathon training is over, this is my main physical activity every week, and since I’ve started to fall out of marathon shape I’ve noticed that it’s more physical than I had thought since I’m actually sore after some recent games!