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.