Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Yesterday, They Lost Their Leader…


Yesterday, we received an email from our dance studio that our littles had lost their leader. It was shocking to read, and even harder to comprehend. It’s especially difficult for us to deal with since Evie had developed such an amazing relationship with her. Her subtle change from drill sergeant to mom in 2.2 seconds was something that made her the perfect fit for our baby. Maybe the issue was she spent a bit too much time in mom-mode and not enough in military mode for some parents. Maybe there was a family  issue that wasn’t able to be worked out. Perhaps it was something all together different, but all I know is that I am devastated that Evie won’t get the chance to experience everything that this amazing woman had to teach her. 

From the few private lessons that we were able to sneak in this year, to the competition days where we lost our child for hours to the incredible person, we felt it was the absolute best place for Evie. Even though I have a feeling that she will never see this post, I just felt the need to say this. For what ever reason there is behind your departure, just know that you are loved, missed and we will always remember the lessons that you taught your littles! Thank you for being you and don’t ever change.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Back In The Swing Of Things

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you probably know me pretty well by now. Of course, since this started, the golf course hasn't exactly been a huge part of my life, in fact, after 2007, I haven't spent much time there at all. This year, I've decided to make a change and start going back to the game that I love and trying to get out once a month or so with my dad or some friends. So far, 2016 has been pretty good as we have played 4 rounds this year, two of them were even dry!

Getting out has led me to put my 2005 Ping S59's and break out my 1988 Wilson Staff irons, as well as helped me learn a bit more course management. Playing some of my old haunts, I've found I'm not long enough any more to get far enough into trouble to make an easy escape, but I'm not in control enough to stay completely out of trouble with longer clubs. This means more irons off the tee, especially my perfect draw 3 iron that moves about 230 yards down the fairway when I hit it. I can turn up the distance on holes that need it and keep up with the big boys with that unconventional thing in the video, called "my swing" but really the yardage only helps when I leave myself a solid 100 yards in. Anything shorter and I start guessing on half or three quarters swings and such.

My lesson for the day, don't be afraid to be different. Don't confine yourself to the "golf box" and have a picture perfect swing. Go with what makes you consistent. For me, it was setting my feet, then the club face, and then following through, or the triple F's... Feet, Face, Follow through. While I'm not back in the 70's yet, I have a feeling with a few closer approaches, and a few putts dropping, I will be very soon.

Here's to getting that single digit handicap back!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Remember When I Used To Be A Golfer?



A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I was a pretty good golfer. Heck, I’ll throw pride out the window here and say that I was a pretty terrific golfer. Someone that can go out and shoot in the upper 60’s on a regular basis deserves to gloat a bit about it, don’t they? Of course, that was a long time ago, like I said in the opening. Anyway, life certainly go in the way of my aspiring pro touring career, or at least my weekend tournament participant mode, but that was probably a good thing. This stuff gets expensive and we all know that, in golf, keeping up with the Jones’ is a serious issue.


When my Mom passed away 3 years ago, my Dad found golf again. It was something he had given up to enjoy more time with her. It was the same thing I did when we started our photography business and then continued through Evie’s early years. For some reason though, late last year, the bug bit me again and I found out that he started playing again too. I still had my old stuff in the garage, though I’m not sure how it made 2 moves over the last 5 years after never being used… I guess I know now…


To make a long story short, in December, I played my first round of golf since 2008. It was really 2007 when I stopped playing, but who’s counting. I packed up my 2005 era Ping S59 Tour Blades and some Nike One Gold balls and headed out to the course I played 1000 times in high school. The trees had grown up, but the course hadn’t changed too much. It was still Riverbend. Shockingly enough, I shot pretty decent until the last few holes. The weather moved in and we got drenched, but my game was still there.


We played a few more rounds, one at Maplewood in Renton and one at High Cedars in Orting. My game had the obvious rust on it, but overall, I was comfortably coasting in with mid to upper 80’s scores. It was then I had a crazy idea, so I dug something out of the corner of the garage where I had my 1988 Wilson Staff Tour Blades hiding. I mentioned it to dad and he said he would love to see them out on the course again, so I had to run with it.


These little beauties, while not the exact set, are the same irons that Dad bought me for Christmas back in 1991. I had drooled over them at Christy’s driving range in Federal Way for almost a year before they disappeared from the shelf. The owner told me some guy had come in and bought them. Everyone was pretty sneaky about the whole thing. That set was stolen from my car in Canada, but I found this set at Puetz a few months later and instantly grabbed them. Of course, they had been sitting wrapped with a velcro tie for the last 11 years, not hit, not used, just sitting, so they needed a bit of cleanup and a set of grips thrown on them.


After a bit of de-rusting with a high grade sanding block (the foam blocks with a very high grit work great for this) and about $6 in paint pens, I had them cleaned up and ready for the course. If you’ve never given your irons a paint job, it really makes them look new, even if they are beat to death. All that needs to be done is to scrap out the stampings, clean them well, let them dry and then fill them with paint. Paint pens work the best for this, but you can use a brush if you would rather.


The end results were quite stunning and I couldn’t wait to get these beauties out on the course. Riverbend was just two days away and I was ready to go.


The weather we encountered was perfect. Sunny, warm and not much of a breeze. They course was playing more like July than April, but I was not about to complain. I found that the lost distance that I was suffering from was quickly made up with control over the forged blades. My draw had returned in a consistent fashion and hole by hole, my distances got stronger and stronger. As the round progressed, I worried that this would be the first round I had ever shot with a set of Wilson Staff’s in the 90’s. Fortunately, that didn’t happen and I carded an 84 for the day.

Round two the next week was exactly the same, but the 84 I carded in that round was in far less optimal conditions and included 3 double bogies that didn’t need to be there at all. I’m fully expecting to return to the 70’s by June, even without practicing much. I can only imagine what I could do with enough time and a decent driving range to practice at. Scary stuff there! But for now, I’m having a blast spending a few hours with Dad and just getting back out there.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Starquest 2016 And A Weekend In Portland

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As we ventured off for the first out of state competition of the season, we had a list of amazing things to do in Portland and the outlying areas. From our usual hangouts of Peet’s Coffee and Powell’s Books, to our new found cool places like the Portland Saturday Market and Pine State Biscuits, our trip itinerary was filling out very quickly.

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Our trip down was very uneventful. We arrived at the hotel well before we intended to, checked in and were ready to go check out the dance venue. After spending a bit of time there, we decided to hit Pine State Biscuits for our first night’s dinner. After a careful perusing of the menu and a few questions to guy behind the counter, the Reggie Deluxe was on my plate and a side of sausage gravy fries was along side it. I finished off the meal by adding a gorgeous IPA to it. It was perfect. We ventured back to the hotel for the evening and settled in.

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On Saturday, we had the entire day to check out things around town. We started downtown in the Pearl District with Peet’s and Powell’s. Peet’s always delivers a decent cup of coffee, and Powell’s Books is one of the best places to go to find something to read. We grabbed a cup of coffee and a few books.

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Powell’s also had an amazing story time setup for Saturday morning. There’s a Giraffe in my Soup was the title of the first book. We didn’t have time to stay for the second, but the reader did a wonderful job of presenting the story to everyone, even in a noisy bookstore.

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From there, we moved on to the farmers market and a beautiful day at the Riverfront Park. The trees were blooming, the sun was out and the temperatures were in the 70’s. It was a perfect day to be outside. It was so nice out, we even took a bit of a detour to the Splash Zone of the park.

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Evie decided to get seriously drenched at the park, so before we had lunch, Ara snuck off to grab her a new outfit. Once we got dried off, we grabbed some lunch from one of the on-site trucks and ate. After that, we headed back to the hotel to change before going to catch some of the performances and awards for the girls that evening.

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Evie ran into a teammate and took some time to get a few selfies before we went in to watch some of the performances. After seeing how far ahead of schedule they were, we decided we better get dinner and get back before all the acts we wanted to see went on.

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Bistro 23 was where we ended up for dinner. Their burgers, pizzas and sandwiches all looked incredible. For the second night in a row, We had nailed our dinner choice. Even their Brussel Sprouts were great. If you’re even in the Parkrose area of Portland, you need to hit Bistro 23 for one of your meals. You won’t be sorry on that one. After we finished up dinner, we went back to see a bit more dancing.

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With Sunday morning now upon us, we were up early and in makeup and hair for the big day. Show time was 11:00 ish and awards were scheduled for about an hour after it. The girls did great earning a High Gold and nailing their performance. They were quite amazing! We then had the afternoon to watch a bit more dancing and finally shuffle off to Target so Evie could find her toy for the trip.

The evening ended with a trip to a sushi belt place, which isn’t even worthy of mentioning. It was back to the hotel for another night before we headed back on Monday. The trip was a huge success and we had a blast. We’ll be back on the road in a few weeks taking our Spring Break trip to Cama Beach again this year. Can’t wait to settle in and disconnect from things for a few days, but that won’t stop my blogging!

Friday, March 11, 2016

So, We Got A Second Vehicle…


Yes, it’s not glamorous or vintage, but this “manivan” as it has been dubbed is truly a blessing. First off, it’s in amazing shape, especially for being 13 years old. Second, it was dead in our price range thanks to an extremely wonderful seller. Third, we got in house financing on it from said seller that makes it perfect for our budget. It couldn’t get much better than that for our little family.


Now for the good part… I did some checking on this one, and the towing capacity on this model is 3800 pounds. That means that it should work for pulling a little trailer like an Rpod or something similar. Of course, we may not need that trailer since it’s been pointed out by so many that we can just sleep in the van.


To say am excited about having a car again would be an understatement. It’s not what I expected us to get by any means, but as I said earlier, this just worked out to being a great fit for us, both financially and comfort level. Now, Evie’s biggest problem is figuring out what seat she is going to be sitting in.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

What’s Wrong With America: My Own Version


I cannot wait for the election to be over... I am so tired of people thinking that "free college" or "companies paying more taxes" or "closing the borders" will help this country. The facts are, we are no longer making our own stuff, buying our own stuff or taking care of our own stuff.

Most American's feel entitled to a better life without thinking they have to work for it. What made this country great was people that worked hard to build something that someone else needed. People that broke their own backs so their children could have it just a little bit better than they did, and that their parents did before them. It was a generation of people that worked to earn what they needed, not a group that does it on credit to pay it back later.

The problem with our country today is that everyone is looking to politicians for answers when they should be looking at themselves. What are YOU doing with yourself? How are YOU making this country better? What are YOU going to do to make today better than yesterday?

Sure, you might be struggling under college debt, but how nice is that car you drive? Sure, you might be having trouble finding a job, but how hard is searching for one from your iPhone at Starbucks? Sure, you might even be having trouble putting food on your table, but then why are you reading this on Facebook instead of spending this 20 minutes flipping burgers at McDonalds? Stop thinking life is unfair and tragic and start doing something about it.

We've become a generation of lethargic, self entitled, former Americans that are just out for our own good. The only problem with our country is that we think someone else has all the answers to fix what's broken, when all along, we are the ones that are broken. Free college won't fix us. Raising taxes on businesses won't fix us either. Heck, giving every American a million dollars won't even fix us. The only thing that will fix us is making the decision that we will work harder than ever to make today a better day than yesterday.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Dance, Dance, Dance...

Well, today was the big day. Evie's first dance competition, or at least the first one that she was able to participate in. The Energy National Dance Competition started bright and early with us arriving at 7:30 AM all made up and ready to go. Showtime was due to be 9:30. I wasn't able to snag a photo of their performance due to the 'no photography' rules, but they did very well and ended up placing 5th in their category.

As the day went on, we were basically talked in to letting Evie perform during the open dance improv, which is where about 60 petite and junior dancers joined about the same number of senior members to dance it out on stage. Evie not only did us proud, but she was the only petite to advance to the second round. She was amazing.

The day was just about perfect. Awards were fun to watch, and seeing them take 5th place was great. After a few quick shots in front of the Energy banner in the lobby and we were off for the day. Of course, we didn't just have to end the day there. It wouldn't have been fun if we didn't somehow make the birthday party that we didn't think we could becuase we thought we would be at the competition too late. We did make it though, and it was the perfect way to end the day.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

A Dinner At Big Daddy John’s


About a month ago, we heard from a friend that a new burger place had opened up in town. Being a big fan of a good burger, we ventured out one cold evening to give the place a try. First off, finding the place was a bit of an adventure in itself. Big Daddy John’s isn’t in a typical location where you’d expect to find a burger joint – in fact, it’s almost impossible to find. Buried between a home brewery supply shop and an office, BDJ’s didn’t exactly stand out.

The bad part, once you actually go inside, it didn’t get much better. The strange room that houses BDJ’s is more fitting for a wedding reception hall than a greasy burger house, but who am I to judge. Walking in, I got the feeling it was a sit down restaurant, until I saw the hand written “order here” sign above the counter. We were then greeted with a paper menu that highlighted a few burger options, a few main dishes and a few other eating options.

Let’s just get this out of the way right here, I love the people at BDJ’s. I love the food at BDJ’s. I don’t like the fact that while my family was trying to enjoy a nice dinner out, we had to put up with an episode of CHiPs, playing on a 20 foot projector on to the wall right in front of us. I think that’s where my issue is with BDJ’s. The food is pretty good, though at $15 a plate, some may question the value, but the atmosphere just kills it quickly.

From the nice tables with centerpieces worthy of much higher class foods, we move directly to the plastic wrapped to-go plastic utensils sitting in front of the patrons. The self-serve drink options are also a bit weird as the 6 ounce plastic water cups barely hold enough for a real drink. The canned soda also doesn’t quite fit the room as well as a nice pint glass filled with ice and soda would either. Overall, it’s just a bit of a mess of good food and weird locale.

That said, the actual food is good. I had the amazing Blue Cheese Burger (just add the bacon and don’t argue) and waffle fries on the first visit. For our second go round, I jumped on the Chicken Fried Steak Sandwich and the waffle fries again. The first meal was about the most perfect thing I had ever had. Burger was perfectly cooked with just the right amount of tangy blue cheese and the fries were crisped to being spot on.

The second visit didn’t go quite so well. We were brought a sampler plate with a few appetizers to much on while we waited for our entrees. The bummer deal was the onion rings were overly crisped to the point of being inedible and the waffle fries were soggy to the point of feeling undercooked. The Mac N Cheese bites that were in the tray were very good, but that was the highlight of the appetizer plate. Of course, it was free, so the only thing they made sure of was that after two not so impressive onion rings they won’t be finding their way back to our plates.

The lowlight of the night for me had to be the sandwich. After the raging success of the Blue Cheese Burger the first time through, I was pretty disappointed in the soggy-fied experience of the Chicken Fried Steak Sandwich. It wasn’t that it was a terrible taste, in fact the flavor was pretty spot on, but it was just too soggy and had no crisp.

Big Daddy John’s will certainly remain on the radar for quite some time as the people more than make up for the atmosphere, but they need to make the food worthy of the price if they are going to hang around as a long term dinner hotspot for us. Otherwise, we will just go for the burgers once in a while and continue to visit our regular hangouts instead.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

This Girl…


10 years ago, this girl emailed me about an advertisement for a singer that I ran on MySpace – bonus points for anyone who remembers MySpace… Well, unfortunately, the ad was from 2002 and this was 2006. Bummer, the band had brokent up years before, but that didn’t stop this completely crazy girl from asking. So, she emailed me, I emailed back. We messaged, we then got brave enough to swap phone numbers to text. Finally, we started talking. This whole process took like two long weeks to get going.

We then proceeded to share our evenings together on the phone. I was at home, usually doing nothing and she was either on a commute or sitting around her place. It was a strangely comfortable place. There were a few offers of going out passed around by her casually, but nothing that really seemed like this would be a ‘relationship’ since I wasn’t looking for one. Ha, what did I know though…

Finally after about 3 months of this craziness, she finally started to actually ask about when we would really meet. Like face to face, on a date, together meet, not just, talking and stuff on the phone. Her birthday was right around the corner in July and she asked me one last time if I could come out with her for her birthday, and I actually had something planned so I couldn’t. She got a bit frustrated and was about to cancel everything until I mentioned I could the following weekend. And we set the date.

I still have a firm belief that the world had no idea what was instore for itself from there. We met in July and instantly clicked. I still wasn’t looking for ‘the one’ but if there was going to be ‘one’ this was going to be her. So, after a month, I made the decision to put a ring on her and hang on for the ride. In September, at our favorite date night hangout, we became engaged. Not the way it was planned at all mind you, but that was about perfect for how this crazy romance came together.

Still, to this day, as she sleeps, passed out on the couch from a long weekend of fun, this girl is the one that captures my heart and soul. They say show the ones you love a special day on Valentine’s Day, but I’m more hopeful that the amount of love I try and show her every day is more than any Valentine’s Day has given her before.

I love you sweetie! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Welcome To Willawong Station!

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One of our favorite spots to travel through at Woodland Park Zoo is Willawong Station. It’s basically a tropical bird exhibit with a pretty cool twist. During the weekends, you are able to take advanatage of a program that allows you to feed the birds for a very small $1 donation.

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For that $1, you get a popsicle stick that has bird seed attached to it. The birds fly around the room before landing on you or a neighbor to visit and have a treat.

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The colors in Willawong are well worth the trip in, but there’s not much more exciting than having a bird come to visit and stay for a bit on your shoulder or arm. Not only is it fun for the kids, but there is hardly a time where the adults don’t have a giant smile on their faces as well.

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Willawong Station, is a 1200 square foot enclosure that contains more than 150 birds. Most of them are budgies or parakeets, thought there are some cockatiels in the mix as well. Willawong Station celebrated it’s 10th birthday last May. For more information or for seasonal hours visit the Zoo’s website at the link below.


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Dealing With Dance Disappointment…


There’s been one day on the calendar since Evie was invited to be a member of the PDC Mini Elite Dance Team. February 6, 2016. It was the date that marked her first competition performance with her team. Last night, the bags were all packed to go, costume was secured in her bag, the time line for the day was set up and we were ready for anything that the day would bring. But, after months of work, hours of practice and mastering of skills, none of it mattered, at least not for this day. Last night, the one thing that could stop our baby from dancing happened – she got sick.

It wasn’t one of those “I have a cold” sickness things, this one was actually bad enough to prompt a trip to the doctor this afternoon. Anything less and I would habve been blogging this from the competition today. There was no stuffy nose, no hacking cough that the kiddo could fight through and perform. This was one of those scary, pukey, upset stomach deals that pushes things just far enough to start a mild panic at 4 AM. Hopefully the doc can fix her right up this afternoon and she will back to normal soon enough, but for now, I’m glad she is taking missing today’s compeition like a champ and hope the rest of the team has a great performance.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Making The Right Choice Even When It’s The Wrong Decision


When you look back on life, do you ever have those, “What if?” moments that you ponder about? Was there a time where you think you made the wrong choice and took a path that changed everything? There was that one girl that you dated that kept you from dating the one you wanted. There was a huge paper due when you wanted to be trying out for the football team. There was a career opportunity, but the risks didn’t outweigh the potential money. We all have them, but fortunately, sometimes, even when we make the right choice, it’s still the wrong decision.

As many of you know, I am a tech junkie. I was basically offered my dream job last year, but with the salary cuts and the underwhelming performance of the company over the last few years, I choose to pass on the offer and continue where I was very happy with my sales and marketing position. I wasn’t sure I had made the right choice as I had climbed the totem pole as far as I could where I was at, and breaking into the tech field is where I felt at home more than anywhere else on the planet.

What I never saw coming was what happened next. First off, the company that had offered to hire me ended up laying off close to 90% of the people in the department that I would have gone into – including the person that took the position that I was offered. I also didn’t see the fact that the company was going to make such a disaster of 2015, with nothing really inspiring coming to market. It would have been a tough year to survive.

That said, that wrong decision, not to join them and take my dream job led me down the path to the right choice of staying where I am at. Not only am I surrounded by a great group of friends at work, but we are also just about as close as any family could be. No, we don’t hang out and have dinner, or even hit the bar after work, but we have each other’s backs at the shop and if anyone of them ever needed anything, I know I’d do my best to help them out, just like they have done for me in the past.

That wrong decision, would have been right for so many reasons. The move to an industry that I love, An exciting new company with new products to learn and sell to others. A new group of people to inspire and mold. Most of all, a chance to travel and grow in a new company would have been amazing to experience one more time.Tthat right choice, though, the one not to leave where I am, well, let me just say, I’m feeling pretty good about it right now. My family is in a place that we love, we are still able to make some weekend road trips, we have a core group of friends that are amazing and we have each other. How much greener could the grass get somewhere else?

Monday, February 1, 2016

A Much Better Round Of Golf…


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Yesterday morning I continued my ‘golfing comeback’ with a day out with Dad at Maplewood Golf Course in Renton. The weather was supposed to be a bit better than our Riverbend excursion last month, so we were hopeful that we would miss out on the rain all together, but we were prepared either way. Fortunately, when we arrived at the course, we found a pretty solid group of people there and just overcast, cold weather.

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With my newly gripped Ping S59’s in tow, we hit the first tee ready to roll. I won’t give the play by play, or hole by hole recap here, but let me just say that I was very happy overall with my play. I spent way too much time struggling with my driver and my irons tended to drift a bit right of target, but I’ll attribute that to me adjusting to the new grips. I seem to remember this same issue the last time I went to oversized grips on my Wilson Staff irons, which I quickly worked around in a range session or two, but that’s another conversation to be had later.

The one strange thing that I did on this particular round was putt far more off the green that I ever have before. For the most part, I was pretty successful with my short game as I was draining 10 foot puts like it was the normal thing to do on the front side. By the back side, my putter had cooled a bit, but it was still very sharp.

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Dad continued to play his newfound consistent game. Shooting on an unfamiliar course is always hard, but with the exception of a few wild drives, he played a nice steady game. It’s pretty easy to tell he’s been working hard on his game. I never have expected to score well in winter rounds, as I always just used them as a way to shake the rust off before the ‘real season’ began, but if he is able to hit the ball this well now, I would be we will see some upper 70’s from him this year.

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All in all, I am really enjoying getting back on the course. It was really the last thing I ‘gave up’ from my pre-married life and I didn’t realize how much I missed it until the last two trips out. I tried to fill the void with a few other things over the past few years, cycling, disc golf, tech stuff, but nothing seemed right until the last month. About my only bummer deal thing is that I don’t have a good range within driving distance (or even better, walking distance) to go practice at. Maybe I’ll check the web for Blue Boy and see what’s up there. The other part that stinks is not having a carpeted area large enough to practice putting. I’m not buying another one of those astroturf greens ever again, but it would be nice to work on that putting stroke at home. Oh well, baby steps right?

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Making Memories… Video Style?


So Evie’s latest and greatest past time is watching YouTube videos from people like CookieSwirlC and ToyGenie online. She loves to watch their unboxing videos of the latest toy she is interested in. Today though, I came downstairs to see her watching American Girl craft videos. She was inspired.

So, with the help of her trusty “eye therapy phablet”, a slightly dismantled tripod and the cell phone holder that made my STP training a bit easier, we setup a mini video studio in her room. There’s no fancy lighting, nor is there any crazy backdrops (yet) but she is a totally happy camper shooting her own American Girl fashion movies in her room now.

I love that she is so creative and love it even more that she is so adventurous in getting new things underway. There’s no fear, no hesitation and no reason why she wants to or has to do something. It’s just who she is and I love it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Evie’s Big Elite Team Debut



Saturday night was a big night for Evie and her Mini-Elite teammates from Platinum. For many of them, it was the first night that they were able to participate in a PDC winter tradtion known as, The Reveal. The Reveal is a chance for everyone from the Company Dancers down to the Minis to show off their championship dances that will be making their way to the big stage later this spring.


Some of the dances had already debuted a few weeks back at the Rainbow event in Seattle, but most of them hit the stage for the first time that evening. The sold out show lasted almost three and a half hours and was filled with non-stop action and amazing moves from the girls.


Evie was pretty much a rockstar the entire night, nailing her moves in her performance, hanging back stage with the other girls and just plain being amazing. In her finale, she even nailed the cartwheel that she has been working so hard on since summertime. It was one of those amazing moments that I am glad everyone made it to see.


I do have to admit though, the most amazing thing about the performances that night wasn’t the incredible moves or the perfectly executed choreography, but it was something that was happening back stage with the dancers. When you looked off in the wings, you could see friends rooting on friends, older dancers cheering on the next generation and even competitors pushing each other to do that last move just a bit better than they ever had before. The team attitude was in the house and it was awesome to see it.

The even better news, performances are just two weeks away! I can’t wait to see how they do in their first competition!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

10 Years Later: My Pings Got New Grips


To say that I have neglected my golf clubs in since 2007 would be a complete and total understatement. I haven’t just neglected them, I have completely ignored them. After playing about 25 rounds in 2005 on my Ping S59’s, then tripling that in 2006, my little irons were due for some new handles. I put it off then thinking that it would be nice to get through our wedding and then deal with clubs after my 2007 season. Little did I know that after 2007, these guys would find a nice corner of the storage closet to sit in for quite some time.

Anyways, to make a long story short, last year, my Dad took up golf seriously again and it was time for me to think about dusting off the old set for a round or two with him. Again, for some reason, it just didn’t happen in 2015, or at least it almost didn’t happen. We managed to sneak in a rain soaked round at Riverbend Golf Course in Kent right before the end of the year. Unfortunately, my grips were no where near ready to roll, and I probably wasn’t either, but that’s a story for another day.

After playing that round, Dad and I decided we were going to make a monthly thing out of playing, so I had to do something with the slickery, worn out things that some would refer to as “grips” on my clubs. So, I shopped around and found a pretty good deal on a nice setup and started the process at work last night. Now, I had regripped about 100 sets of clubs when I worked at a golf store in high school, but that was 25 years ago, so I wasn’t expecting much in the way of a speedy process. Unbelievably, I was able to remove, clean and regrip all 14 clubs in about 30 minutes.

I chose the Royal 1/8” oversized over a few options that I looked at due to the fact that I like to play without a glove and the slightly oversized grips work a bit better for my hands when I do. I can say that even 10 minutes after finishing them, my clubs felt more solid than ever and I can’t wait for our round at Maple Wood Golf Course next weekend – weather permitting…

Anyways, if it’s been too long since you regripped those clubs in the garage, hit up my links and check out the options for getting it done before the season starts. It could save you as much as 10 shots a round if your grips are old and slick. Remember, 50 rounds or two years is the best time to regrip.

Link: New Grip Choices

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Saying Goodbye Is Never Easy


jI’m going to start this off with the fact that this post did not go in the direction that I originally started it in. It started out as a simple, “We went to a memorial for a wonderful woman that had been an apoted Grandma for Evie and Mom for Ara,” to my feelings about life AFTER the memorial. So, don’t judge this one on style, but more on the message – especially towards the end.

I have never liked funeral-style gatherings. Call them what you will, a celebration of life, a wake, a funeral, a memorial or just a service, they all mean the same thing, someone that affected a very large number of people on this planet is no longer here. As I was sitting with Evie and Ara at a very good friend’s mother’s memorial today, I realized why I disliked them so much. It wasn’t the fact that we lost someone special, but it was more that there was a room full of people that were hurting when that person’s sole goal in life was to make sure that nobody was hurt.

You see, I didn’t ‘feel’ the effects of my mother’s passing as badly as some others did. I knew she was in a place where her damaged body was no longer causing her pain and she was safe. I knew that she had left us all in good hands with our new families and that we were all going to be ok. There were very few tears that were shed for her and that’s exactly how she would want it to be. She would not want us moping around desparately clinging to the past and memories that will never be repeated. She would want us to live and celebrate every day, before our turn comes. She would want us to, as it was so perfectly put at this memorial, carry her torch and teach others what she taught us.

It’s really pretty simple. I’ve never hated funerals because of who was lost, but the fact that they seem compltely counter to everything that people believe while they are here. I’ve seen the happiest, joy-filled people remembered in the most depressing ways. I’ve seen someone with no friends have hundreds of people show up because they ‘had to’ and someone with a thousand friends have nobody come, because they “just couldn’t do it.”

I want to drop a challenge to everyone out there. I want you to make everyday your friend’s funerals. Wait, I know that sounds crazy, but hear me out here. At that funeral, when you get up and speak about them, you tell a wonderful story about that one time that… You talk about the great times, and sometimes the painful ones… You enjoy time together with friends you haven’t seen in forever and you talk about things that some have forgotten… You live life with the others that are still here, and that’s what I mean by making it youf friend’s funeral.

Take the time to reach out to old friends. Make the effort to them down and grab a drink or a coffee together. Play a round of golf with your dad or shoot hoops with your brother. Get a pickup softball game going on Saturday mornings or meet at the old football statdium on Friday nights. Do what you did before life got in the way. Don’t wait until someone is gone to say, we should have hung out more and remembered all the good times. It’s amazing how fast time goes when life gets in the way, but it’s up to us to slow it down and enjoy it. If we don’t, we will just have that big group of people we hardly knew talking about us to each other when we are gone instead of an amazing group of people that are sad to see us go, but have had richer lives because they knew us.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

A Day At The Zoo… In The Snow?


We’ve been having a bit of our “Seattle” winter weather this week. No, it’s not the fun stuff that everyone imagines when you think of winter, but rather, a nice cold snap that puts down a nice layer of frost each morning. By 11:00 in the morning, the sun is up and the frost is disappearing and everything just starts to look wet again. Even when temperatures stay below freezing, that pesky sun still melts off all the frost and we are stuck with just a nice day outside.

So, to end our Winter Break, we decided to go hit the zoo and renew our yearly membership. I’m pretty sure that since Evie was born, we’ve only missed a year of having a zoo membership, and if I could encourage you to do one thing for your family this year, getting a zoo membership is a great one to consider. The Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle (about 45 minutes from us) offers adult flex passes that allows the primary account holder to take anyone with them they choose and the membership gives us discounts on taking additional kids with us as well. It’s a great deal and something we use quite often throughout the year.

Anyways, commercial over, and back to the story. We decided to hit the zoo instead of the beach – even though it’s cold, the beach is great for flying kites and such – and we set off about 10:30. We swung into our local coffee shop to grab some breakfast on the road and a cup of coffee. From there, it was a pretty quick drive south. The weather was cold, but clear and beautiful when we left Monroe. As we approached Seattle, it was getting cloudier and cloudier and I joked about snow.


Evie decided that it would be a great opportunity to use her new camera and capture some of the animals at the zoo with it. She had a great time lining up shots and taking photos of the animals. This was her perfect shot of the hippos, that also introduced her to the “zoom” function that she became so enthralled with the rest of the day. After clearing the African Savannah, we moved onward to the rest of the zoo.


The bears were in great form in the cold weather. Ok, honestly, both of them were just lounging around enjoying the colder weather I’m sure. Normally during the summer months, the bears are playing in their pool and walking around. Today, hibernation mode must have started as they were just laying around a bit.


The river otters were no where to be found, but the bear enclosure was pretty warm so we hung out for a bit and enjoyed the heat more than anything. After a quick snack for the kiddo, we moved onward… and then we saw it… snow. So, it was only a flake or two on the way up to the birds at Willawong Statiotion, but it was till a snow.


Ara and Evie had a great time feeding the birds. I had one that was so friendly he just hung out on my shoulder for a selfie. I’ll get that one posted to my Instagram account later for sure. I mean, how often do you get a chance to post a selfie with a bird on it?  After feeding the birds, which if you are even at Woodland Park Zoo, it is a must do, we continued on to see the Snow Leopards.


That would be about the time the snow really started to come down. It started coming down at a pretty good pace, but it wasn’t sticking anywhere. It was just a nice alternative to what could have been falling if it was about 5 degrees warmer.


Evie finished up documenting our visit to the zoo at the Penguins. Using her trusty camera, she captured a few images of the penguins doing their thing underwater. She really had fun with the camera and couldn’t wait to write a story about it.


So, rather than lose that momentum, we swung into the cafe for lunch and let her get down to business about writing her hippo observations down before she forgot them. I see a future in journalism or blogging for this kid, I tell ya! Of course, while we ate, the snow slowly stopped before it had really started. Nothing really stuck to the ground and the pavement just got wet. It made for a good drive home, but didn’t make things look pretty either.

By the end of the day, we didn’t get the couple of inches of snow that I had hoped for when I saw the first flake fall. We also didn’t get stuck in Seattle or Woodinville due to terrible weather. I guess overall, it was a pretty spectacular day at the zoo with the family, even if we did get teased with the “Big Snow of 2016” that didn’t quite happen.