Not much going on…

Sorry I haven’t been writing. I’ve been very busy with work. It looks like I’ll be getting back to a more normal working schedule this week. I actually left work on time today, and had a few minutes to relax before Yoga tonight, which was pretty touch, so now I am sleepy. But of course, no matter how tired I am, I have to stay up for The Daily Show.

We got a couple of care packages last week – thanks everyone for the Skyline Chili. We already enjoyed some Cincinnati chili for lunch yesterday. Thank you!

That’s about all – we’re getting ready for a few end of the year trips back to the heartland, or “Real America.” We’re going to try and see as many people as we can each time, but time is always against us.

Since I’ve got nothing to write, I’ll leave you with a picture. Aren’t they cute?

A Visit with Joe the Senator

Cortny and I decided to take a trip down to Tacoma to go to the Joe Biden rally today. It was a a good time.

We left the house around 9am, since I had to swing by work and kick off some tests. Then we drove about 45 miles south to Tacoma. The really was held (at the ironically named) Cheney stadium, where the minor league Tacoma Rainiers play. We waited in line from about 11:20 until 1pm, when we made it through the metal detectors and into the stadium. We were luck enough to be down on the field, about 20 to 25 feet away from the stage, giving us a nice view of Joe the Senator and the other speakers (our governor, both of our senators, and a few congressmen from Washington).

Joe went on a little late, but he delivered a great speech. The day was very positive and everyone there is excited about the prospect of change. I’ve put some pictures below, and all of my pictures are available here:

Mid-week Blog

I made it to Wednesday! The last week and a half have been pretty dern busy at work. I put in a few 15 hour days and worked most of the weekend 2 weeks ago. I think I’m caught up on stuff as of today, but we all know how work goes.

The bus is getting more and more crowded these days – I usually don’t have to stand because I get on at the first stop (on the way home) usually get one of the last seats on the way downtown. But today – packed in like a Japanese subway train (well not really).

We’re gearing up for trick-or-treaters. We have never had trick or treaters, it just wasn’t going to happen at our condo in Cincinnati. We have some candy (from target), and if Cortny doesn’t eat it all (just kidding) we’ll have some to hand out to the kids. The plan is to sit on our 2nd floor balcony and lower candy to the kids in a basket of some sort (I need to get some rope).

Someone around here has a birthday coming up! Cortny is going to be 25 (I think) on Saturday, and she doesn’t look a day over 20 🙂 We’re going to see Spring Awakening on Saturday and then I’m going to attempt to make a French dinner for Cortny.

See — and you thought I was going to talk about the debate 🙂 It was too boring to talk about any further – I might have fallen asleep writing about…..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Christmas Time is Here!

So we went to Target the other night to pick up some Halloween candy and decorations (some cute pumpkin lights). And of course, the Christmas decorations are out in full force already. That’s right, I can put one hand on frosty and one hand on a screaming skull candy bowl. A little crazy?

Also this is one I can’t figure out… they have a light up Christmas yard cow (pictured below). Anyone care to explain?

Endorsement for President : Barack Obama

Some of you have received this letter in the mail – but in case we missed you…

In this pivotal Presidential election year, we find it hard to not be engaged in the political process, at least in our own way. Given this heated and often negative political climate, we felt compelled to reach out to some of our closest friends and family to share some pertinent information and some of our carefully formed opinions.

We have committed our votes to Senator Barack Obama, and wanted to share our reasons why. We realize that you may disagree — or even strongly disagree — with our viewpoints, but we are respectfully grateful that you take the time to read this letter.

We want to help the campaign, but we are not interested in calling strangers on the phone during their dinners. But this did seem like an appropriate time to talk to our friends and family in our own words. We feel that some parties and other groups have tried to distract the American people from the issues that affect all of us on a daily basis, and we feel this will lead voters to select other candidates for the wrong reasons. While we all wish we had candidates that could operate above the fray, it just isn’t possible in our scandal-loving country.

Instead we chose to share some our feelings with the people we know and care about most. We support Barack Obama because we believe he has presented a real plan for change in our country. While the opposing party has spent time promoting their new-found celebrity, criticizing
the media and their opponents, rereading their convention speeches and side-stepping difficult questions, Mr. Obama has rolled up his sleeves and repeatedly explained his plan for our country to groups of people and to the media.

He plans to suspend the tax-breaks to the richest 2% of Americans, which the McCain campaign wants to deepen. Instead, he plans to extend tax breaks to an overwhelming majority of Americans (see included chart). He plans to invest in green technologies and create jobs in these fields — this could put people like our American auto workers back to work as well as decrease our dependance on oil. Decreasing our dependence on fossil fuels will help us to counteract the greenhouse gasses that are damaging our delicate environment. At our age, we have very strong desires to protect this planet for our future children and children’s children, and help support a leadership that recognizes that we have a vast future in front of us and recognizes a need for a new national direction.

Mr. Obama has presented a completely integrated proposal for our future: it includes an emphasis on math and science education, which will help drive innovation in technologies for the green economy. Growing the green economy will help eliminate our dependence on oil which has the benefits of improving the environment, stemming global climate change, and greatly increasing our national security by removing any leverage that countries like Iran, Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia may have over us. If the United States establishes a leadership in green technologies, the rest of the world will be coming to us for solutions, further boosting our economy and regaining America’s position of respect in the world.

Mr. Obama also plans to renovate our health care system, allowing employers to still provide healthcare to their employees, but also using the billions of dollars from suspended tax breaks to help provide healthcare to the many people in our country who cannot afford it. With all of our American privilege, no one should have to go without. That, in combination with trying to create new jobs and end tax breaks to companies that send our jobs overseas, are real plans to get our struggling economy growing again.

We believe that Senator Obama has continually proven his patriotism and love for our country, has also proven his Faith, character, and intelligence. He seeks to unify our country and help American families. We believe he has been proving his care for average Americans since the time he worked on the front-lines in inner-city Chicago helping bring to light the issues of the poor; and since the time he passed up fancy jobs at law firms to instead work as a public servant in the Illinois legislature and US Senate. We see him and his wife Michelle as true Midwesterners — like us. We believe that we are united as a country, and no person should be left behind.

We feel that we are still waiting for Senator Obama’s opponent to lay out a clear plan for the country or answer specific questions about those plans. We will not attempt to use this letter to attack Senator Obama’s opponent as we don’t find that to be helpful. We pray that Americans like you are ready now to look at and discuss real issues that affect all of us in this country. Personally, we believe we are fighting for our children and their future. One that is peaceful, ecologically sound and full of opportunities.

We would greatly welcome any time you wish to spend reading about the issues we’ve included in this letter. If you find them helpful, please pass them on to others you know. Senator Obama has many more plans outlined on his website, We simply hope that, no matter who you choose to vote for in this election, that you spend time reading about the issues you find important and taking time to seriously consider what these plans mean for our country. For us, this is the most important election in our lives thus far. We do not want to let it pass without working hard for change.

Cortny and Mike Helmick

Download PDF version of this letter, with additional information.

To the Olympics?

Since the Winter Olympics are going to be just over the border, we decided to try and get tickets. It seems that the ticket allocation is some sort of hybrid fairness/lottery/based sort of thing. So you have to pick some number of events to request, but if you get selected, you have to pay. Therefore I didn’t want to request too many tickets, but hopefully we requested enough to get to go to something!

We put in for Mens Curling (my favorite), Womens 1500m speed skating finals, Ice Dancing, and Womens Short Program (Cortny’s favorite – Figure Skating). So keep your fingers crossed that we get tickets – we really want to go to the Olympics 🙂

To the Alderwood Mall!

We started today off with Saturday morning, 8am Yoga class. 8am is manageable, but I’m not sure if I could ever make it to the 6:15 am weekday classes, it would be hard to be awake enough that early in the morning. So, having an 8am class, we had to park at like 7:55. One problem there, the stupid electronic parking meters won’t let you pay until 8am. So of course, we got a parking ticket for not paying for parking. Normally we get there early enough to park a few blocks away (where free) and walk, but we were running late. Oh well, our second Seattle parking ticket.

This afternoon we headed north to the Suburbs. Wow that seems really far away 🙂 In Cincinnati, our house was 10 miles from downtown (we are now 5 miles from downtown), moving closer to the city center, makes everything else seem farther away.

Anyways, we headed to Alderwood Mall in Lynwood. The point of our trip was to see the new Bill Maher documentary, Religulous. It was very well done. I will say that the people who look best in the movie – the Catholics. The Vatican astronomer appears in the film and he had some great things to say, including “There is no science in the Bible.” If you do see the movie: during the scene where he’s interviewing the senator from Araknsas, our theatre erupted with applause and laughter. Living in a the most educated city in the US is nice 🙂 Not that there is anything wrong with other places, but there are some places in the country where cheering would have erupted instead.

After the movie – we walked through the mall. For all my Cincinnati readers. Imagine Northgate mall, immediately joined with Rookwood. It was a huge indoor mall (with normal mall stores) connected to a huge outdoor mall with upscale type stores. We did go to REI, which is always a good time. Every time I go there, it makes me want to be outdoorsy.

And after the mall – we wend to Red Robin. Nothing like a giant cheeseburger to brighten your day!

We are now back home (having survived our trip). I think tomorrow we will probably do a whole lot of nothing.