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?