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A couple of pictures from our family reunion, recently uploaded by Dave’s brother and his wife:

Tara, David, Randy, originally uploaded by rauke1.

Jake and Tara, originally uploaded by rauke1.

I just enjoy the first picture – I love having a big brother!† And the second photo…† Imagine that dog trembling – he was TERRIFIED of the water.† See how taut his muscles are?† He was very, very tense, and†leaping about from rock to rock so he wouldn’t have to touch the water.† =)† We had a large audience up on the bank.



I have Skype installed on my computer.† It’s an online communication tool that allows you to either chat with (instant message) or talk to (online phone†call) people over the internet.†

I’ve mainly used it to talk with family (Melissa’s in Asia, and it’s free to talk to her this way), but I use it at work occasionally to talk to coworkers who are working offsite.† So I leave it up and running at work.

I had a meeting today in which my computer was going to be attached to a projector for a demonstration of some software.† I, thoughtfully, I thought, exited all my email and communication programs so we wouldn’t be interrupted by pop-ups in the meeting, then traipsed down the hall and hooked my computer up to the projector.

45 minutes of the meeting went by without event.† Then it happened.† A chat request from Skype popped up in the center of the screen and interrupted the presenter (turns out I’d forgotten to close Skype since I rarely use it).† This chat request had an avatar – a picture – in the window.† This picture was of a naked, spread-eagle woman.† And it seemed to fill the entire projector screen.

I cannot tell you how mortified I was – I quickly explained that my name must be listed in some public directory for the application.† The guy closed the window, but all the people just kinda… stared… at me.† Thankfully, in the end, they all laughed about it.† I could have gotten into quite a bit of trouble.

I got back to my desk and immediately found the privacy settings on the application.† If you’re running Skype, and you leave it on at work, I suggest you do the same.† =)

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Just got back from the Aukerman reunion.† It was fun – I love this group of people.† It’s a strange mix of generations – the family reunion involves the four Aukerman brothers and all their various offspring, so we’re up to three generations.††The brothers interact with†merciless heckling and the telling and retelling of Aukerman classic jokes (the punchline of the one of the goodies is “Leo needs†a new face!”, and a relatively†new one goes like this: “Hey, what was the score?” “3 to 2” “Who was winning?” “3, by 1!”).† There’s a point at which an awful joke really does become funny – and these guys keep me laughing.

One of the funniest moments of the reunion occurred while we were waiting at the lodge for the last set of us to arrive.† The kids had just finished a day full of swimming and running around outside, so they were tired and starting to get grouchy.† One of the cousins grabbed Chutes and Ladders and all 5 itty-bitties ran over to play.† After a while, they started fighting about the rules, so a mom brought out another game hoping to split them up.† Of course, when the kids saw Candyland, they all wanted to play the new game and the other was abandoned as boring.† The exasperated mom told them that half could play each game, and then they’d switch, but the kids weren’t having it.† They all sat down and grabbed pieces.† Mom looks at the oldest 2 kids and says, “One of you is going to have to go play Chutes and Ladders.”† When neither volunteered, she gave the oldest a meaningful look – whereupon the girl gets up, stomps about 5 feet away, then turns around and seethes.† She looks at the mom and says (amid breath-catches, as if she’d been sobbing), “If this is the manner in which I’m going to be treated, I’m never going to play again!”† This kid is 7.† It was hilarious!† The mom gave in and let the girl come back – immediately, the drama queen settled down and happily resumed bossing around the other kids.

Anyway, here are a few pictures of my family (I only pulled out the camera at the very end because my sister-in-law was snapping so many pictures).



I just watched, for 2 hours tonight (!), America’s Got Talent. It was awful. I couldn’t tear my eyes away. After all the grief I’ve given cousin Jen for watching American Idol, I am feeling rather guilty. =)

What hooked me was a commercial promo before the show even started. They showed a kid (with no audio – someone was doing a voiceover) doing a dance I immediately recognized, even without sound. This kid did some moves from a Bollywood film called Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai – a movie I watched in college. I know the moves because I had a roomie who frequently practiced them.

So I waited anxiously to see this.

(The movie version is here.)



So, we just spent 5 minutes laughing at a richy doctor.† (A coworker came in and took us to the window, laughing and saying, “It’s a guilty pleasure.”)

It’s raining†- a thunderstorm.† There’s a convertible out there.† The top’s down.† =>

I’m feeling pretty great, laughing at this guy aside.† I have a window again!† I was moved from a private office into what a friend refers to as a “bullpen” and what I thought of secretly as “the pit”.† 7 or 8 of us squished into a tiny walkway of a room…† No windows (no natural light) and no air circulation, so it was always 85+ degrees in there.† Now, I’m in a corner office again, and there are windows here!† It’s amazing what natural light and space does for my productivity.

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“The Office” in my office… You will get such a kick out of this if you watch that show, and may even find it funny if you don’t. Read the following, which – I kid you not – came straight from my office email Inbox.

A quick intro: I work in the clinical education department of a hospital group. Our department is made up of mostly instructors, instructional designers (like me), and developers (programmers). In an effort to promote departmental unity, a “Fun Committee” was developed. They’re doing a good job of springing random, mostly fun, events on us to break up the monotony of the work week, and they really are good people. But sometimes, they get intense. And funny. =) The latest fun event: an in-office bowling league. We bowl a hard foam ball into hard foam pins down our office hallways…


Hello Everyone,

Three pins have been damaged due to Horse play and one pin is still missing. Each pin has a replacement fee of $6. Please return the pin to a Fun Committee member today. I am here until 3:30pm and [another Fun Committee member] is here until 3:45pm. Please do not strike each other with the pins as they are made out of soft foam and not very sturdy. We have attached another set of rules for your review.

Please see a Fun Committee member to pay for the damaged pins. The League will resume, after we have received payment for the damaged pins.

[A member of the “Fun Committee”]

Good morning,

I am sorry to report that no one has stepped forward and paid the outstanding money for the damaged pins. The Fun Committee paid a total of $60.00 each, for two bowling sets. Even with payment for the damaged pins, we do not have the funding to purchase another bowling set, but we had hoped to recuperate some of the the funds we spent for a bowling set that we are now unable to sell.

Several people have stepped forward and volunteered to pay for another bowling set, but we do not feel it would be fair to ask this of those that were not responsible for causing the damage in the first place.

We are sorry to announce that bowling has been discontinued pending payment for the damaged pins.


[The Fun Committee Head Honcho]

Seriously, itís okay to admit to juvenile acts caused damage to the pins. We ALL get overzealous and carried away at times. I am sure we can all agree there will be no social scorning of the responsible party!! Just speak up and letís continue with the league. Otherwise we need to have the office exterminated for the large rats that ate the pins!!

[An instructor]

It is sad to know that in our department of adults, no one could respect the materials that were purchased for us for enjoyment. This was a creative idea that the Fun Committee came up with so we could have fun together outside work and someone had to abuse that. Our team was enjoying our Friday morning bowling times and it is sad to know that it is being discontinued.

I hope those responsible decide to step forward and take account for their actions.

This doesnít help encourage our Fun Committee to create any more fun ideas for us if we canít even handle this one.


[Another instructor, after having read the previous instructor’s email… so much for no social scorning. =)]

Ummm, I admittedly have not seen the injured pins, so please forgive me if Iím just uninformed, but is it possible that some of the pins became damaged (or at least began to be damaged) during normal play? Or during storing them into the box? Iíve definitely seen some laser-rocket bowling, and I canít be alone in my lack of thorough examination before storage.

Iím just simply wondering if a slight tear could go unnoticed and become worse during storage, transportation, etc.?

[A developer]

No. The first week of bowling the pins were fine. I stored the pins and the pins were not cracked. I have also checked for damage and I can tell you that the only damage that had occurred, was a slight tear inside the finger hole of one of the bowling balls.

[Head Honcho, responding to the developer]

That was not the case. Prior to storing the equipment we went through the boxes. That doesnít mean it didnít happen during normal play, but it didnít happen during transportation or storage. We would just like for someone to come forward, even if it means putting the money in an envelope and sliding it under a door.

[Another Fun Committee Member, responding to the developer]

I havenít run this idea past the Fun Committee, but think we could solve this problem for a small additional cost to each of us. There are about 30 participants in the hallway bowling and $120 has been spent for the equipment. That works out to $4 each to cover the entire cost. I know we have already paid $1 each leaving $90 outstanding. I suggest we each kick in an additional dollar for this round and plan on paying $2 for the next round?

[A designer]

[A round of people, at this point send emails to the tune of “I’m in” or “Let’s just do this so we can get back to bowling”…]

Hello Everyone,

This is the final email about Bowling. It is absolutely canceled for this week. If you would like bowling to resume, anyone who would like to VOLUNTEER funds towards a replacement set, is free to do so. The cost of the replacement set is $60.00. We will not be splitting up the cost of a replacement set amongst the bowling league. There is a deadline for volunteer donations towards the replacement. The deadline is Monday, April 23, 2007 by 3pm. Turn in your donations to a member of the Fun Committee.


The Fun Committee!

Isn’t that hilarious? We’re back to bowling, so I guess the volunteers shelled out the cash. =)



My dog – my normally beautiful dog – transformed into a hideous beast for a few seconds. I thought you’d enjoy this photo as much as we do. =)

mid-shake =), originally uploaded by tara.aukerman.

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… are amazing.† =)† I had my first pedicure today with my almost-sister-in-law (less than 24 hours, now).† She needed a break, and I was more than up for trying something new.† My feet are so soft, my back and my legs have been massaged, and I have these great little foam flip-flop souveneirs.† Must do this more often.† Next time, we’re taking our Auker-men.

Carrie seems to be doing well – just a little stressed.† And no wonder!† As soon as she got back into the car and checked her messages (she wisely left the phone in the car during the pedicure), she got a frantic call that started with “Oh my God.† Something’s horribly wrong” (or something equally alarming – I can’t remember exactly anymore)…† Turns out, someone had ordered blue shirts for something and received lime green shirts instead – but it wasn’t even an emergency.† C’mon, guys – rule number two (after “Happy wife, happy life”) is “NEVER alarm a bride!”† Sheesh.

I’m taking a quick break from work to post – I’ve been hanging at the local Panera (free wireless internet) and working remotely today while David runs with the rest of them trying to get the various wedding places decorated.

I wanted to post because I wanted to show these pictures:

My office mate.† With a paper umbrella barette.

My boss (a la the FrenchWoman from the End of the Word flash movie).


Can I just tell you how much I love the people I work with?!† Sedona rocks.† Literally, actually – the guy who hired us, Kerry, is a [fabulous] guitar player/singer who makes rounds at a local restaurant/bar chain called “Cheeseburger in Paradise.”† We had planned, for MONTHS, to show up and surprise him some night while he played – we bought KerryLand t-shirts and everything – and the DAY OF our surprise drop-in (which, by the way, we planned for months), he invited us all out to see him play.† Dinner and drinks on him.

Meredith, Angela (another coworker) and†I decided that the least we could do was have blue hair, too (like his logo).† Every one of us wore one of those three wigs by the end of the night.† =)

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Check this out. =)

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Happy Valentine’s Day!
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