Phamily Foto Phriday 12-19-14

Yes, I know, it’s been a few weeks. Hopefully this will make up for that. I have quite a few pictures so let’s jump into it.

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Over the last couple of weeks we had (on separate nights) the Winter Concert for the school. One night Déla and August performed with their classes.

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Unfortunately August is mostly blocked so you can’t really see him playing the ukulele.

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After each grade that was performing that night did their individual stuff the whole gaggle of performers (grades 3, 4 and 5) got up together and performed.

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The following weekend we picked up our Christmas tree. Part of my own charity work is working the tree sale every year at the church. This is something that should be its own blog post but I can’t seem to find interest in telling that story. Anyway, as the supplier came to pick up the remaining trees Laura and the kids came by. Xavier got to get in the truck and check out the view.

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Then it was time to get our tree decorated.

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Then we get to the other school performances. First up was the preschool.

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Ciaran cracked up, a lot, because not only did he see us in the audience, he saw and heard Tevye squawking away.

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Finally there was a Cub Scout Pack meeting where August got the Engineering pin.

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What’s that? No pictures of baby Tevye? Don’t worry. They are coming.

 

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Music Monday: The Damned (Part 1)

I love The Damned. While they aren’t one of my all-time favorite bands, of the “classic” punk rock scene of the late 70s in England, they are my favorite (besting even The Clash and The Sex Pistols). Why? They weren’t afraid to mix it up and have fun. Stylistically they started out as straight on punk, but with a sens of humor. Then as time went on they changed style but always true to their roots.

“New Rose” (as covered by Hammerbox)

I don’t remember exactly what it was that got me into the band, but I do remember being interested in the band by the time 1987’s Light At The End Of The Tunnel came out. That compilation album, a double album gathering up singles, albums tracks, B-sides, and other tracks remains the definitive document of the band’s early career. It also showed just how wide of a variety of styles this punk band would cover not only in their first 10 years but throughout their entire career.

The group has gone through a number of lineup changes, but interestingly the group has been pretty stable for the last 10 years. After a brief time (or two) away Captain Sensible who started out on bass then switched to Guitar has been the primary mainstay with the band along with frontman Dave Vanian. These two were there are the beginning and are still there.

“Shut It”

Several years ago (1992 I think) several Seattle area bands got together and did a regional compilation album, which was all the rage back then. These things were cropping up all the time. The gimmick this time would be all the songs were covers of The Damned. Another Damned Seattle Compilation featured such acts as The Young Fresh Fellows, Love Battery, The Accused, The Posies and more. This is where the Hammerbox cover of “New Rose” came from (as featured above) and Flop’s version of “Disco Man”.

“Disco Man”

“Disco Man” (as covered by Flop)

I got to see The Damned once, but that is part of another story.

 

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The Stroller Condom

Tevye is our sixth child. That’s a lot of parenting experience so far.

Recently I purchased a rain cover for the stroller. Well, the replacement stroller. It was cheap enough and I figured I would be using it a lot this winter.

tevye stroller dec 2014The last time I was in this position of having to use the stroller every day to take kids to school and pick them up was three years ago when Ciaran was in preschool and Xavier was a small baby. The stroller we had during that time had a fantastic canopy and did a decent job of preventing the rain from getting a child wet.

Before that? Our lives were very different and Laura wasn’t gone during school pick-up and drop off.

But now I have a rain cover for the stroller. It only goes to show that even with as many kids as we have there is still something new and unexpected to look forward to.

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Marvel Aspirations

avengers ultron poster 1This morning while getting ready for school August (age 11) came up to me as said when he grows up he wants to be an extra in a Marvel movie. “Oh?” I said. I admired his realistic take on having a dream, but would have hoped for him to shoot for something a little bit grander.

“Yeah!” He was excited about this. “I could be in the background, or getting saved on the street in a crowd by Captain America.”

Enter Xavier (age 4). “I want to be Hulk Smash!” (He thinks Hulk Smash is the character’s full name – first name Hulk, last name Smash.)

“Oh, cool,” August replied. “Then you could save me.”

Xavier looked at him and said “Never mind. I don’t want to be anything when I grow up.”

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Music Monday: The Cure (Part 1)

Alright, so if you listened to the radio in the mid-80s to the 90s it was difficult to get away from The Cure. For a while they were one of the bigger bands on the scene, which felt… weird. Don’t get me wrong, I do not begrudge the band their success and even saw them on one of their larger tours, but in many ways The Cure seem like a band that is best seen live in a smaller venue, with a capacity in the single digit thousands. That said, one of the best concerts I have ever been to was in 1992 during the Wish tour when I saw them in an arena.

I didn’t start becoming aware of the band until 1986 when the singles compilation Standing On A Beach came out. While the previous year’s album Head On the Door was still going strong, the singles from that album were also on the compilation – and the radio station I was listening to at the time played what seemed like a different song from the compilation every hour and the more recent videos were on MTV.

“Boys Don’t Cry”

My best friend at the time had Head On The Door and Standing On A Beach and that was how I got into the band. I did, however, get really tired of hearing everything from Standing On A Beach, but would pick up the cassette a few years later because it featured the B-sides as well as the singles.

“Close To Me”

“Why Can’t I Be You” came out as a single in 1987 and that seemed to really propel the band to the next level. The album was Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, but it would be the single “Just Like Heaven” that simply wouldn’t go away.

By the time the next album (Disintegration) came out 2 years later I had begun fully exploring The Cure’s back catalog and considered myself a fan. The more recent (being a relative term) albums have not been as good (in my opinion) as the stuff up to and including 1992’s Wish. Still I picked up every album. And almost every single I could.

“Friday I’m In Love (Strangelove Mix)”

The Cure is a band where there are nearly three times as many songs as there are released on albums. The singles regularly feature additional songs not available on the album. As a sort of B-side junkie it drives me nuts trying to gather up all the additional songs the band has released.

“Breath” (B-side to “Catch”)

I still very much like The Cure. It would be nice if they would stop touring behind old albums (performing three albums in their entirety) and instead put some of that effort to releasing new music. Then again, a tour where they performed nothing but B-sides would be interesting.

“Harold And Joe” (B-side to “Never Enough”)

While The Cure doesn’t rank as one of my all-time favorite bands, I still have a great deal of affection for the group. During my sort of formative years when I was in my late teens and early 20s when I was fully exploring music and finding what I really liked and being comfortable with it the band was getting its biggest chart success.

 

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Dammed Up

The way we watch television has changed. Not only is watching live television becoming a thing of the past, but watching television itself is as well. I’m not fighting it so much, but do still prefer to sit down in front of my television and watch whatever it is that I’m choosing to… er, watch.

These days I not only watch stuff that is recorded on my DVR but also on Netflix as well as online via a network’s website. When I’m watching something through a network’s website I don’t mind when commercials are inserted and I can’t skip them.

Usually I prefer to watch my television programs on television, but sometimes logistics dictate I watch online. Sometimes when I’m watching a show online there’s a bit of lag where the audio and video stops or doesn’t synch up. That can be problematic, but it’s not so much of a deal breaker. What I do mind, however, is when the show’s stream has a lot of lag and there is none during the commercials.

It doesn’t happen a lot, but when it does, it is really noticeable and makes me want to stop watching that program altogether, regardless of doing do online or on the television.

 

 

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Put It In The Bottle

tevye dec 2014Tevye is teething. Yesterday I felt his third tooth breaking through the gumline. Along with being a few days shy of 7 months old, his sleeping has not been the most solid.

This isn’t the first time I have tried to give him infant pain reliever. He hates it. It doesn’t seem to matter much how tricky we are with giving it to him, he spits it out. I’m not sure if it is the flavor or the consistency, but giving him anything in a dropper or a syringe just doesn’t work.

This morning I decided to give it to him in a bottle. Not his full, regular bottle, but one that had a couple of ounces of water and just enough formula to make it palatable.

At first he scrunched up his face but he sucked down that bottle. He didn’t have a good night’s sleep last night, and this morning he slept about 30 or 40 minutes before waking up. This afternoon? He’s been asleep for about an hour.

Here’s hoping it keeps up.

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Music Monday: The Music Man

music man posterI don’t remember a time in my life with The Music Man. This is one of those musicals I grew up with. I admit to being more familiar with the film version which I have watched on television many times – the latest being just yesterday. While it isn’t one of my earliest television memories, watching The Music Man is one of those experiences so ingrained in my DNA it’s more like I am remembering that I remember I have watched it for as long as I can remember. If that makes sense.

Whatever. I love it. The Music Man is one of my favorite musicals. I have mentioned before having it introduced to my kids. Well, two of them anyway. And it wasn’t that long ago even.

I had a hankering to see the film again the last few weeks. I don’t know why. My Blu-ray version is packed up and in storage while the house is being remodeled. Fortunately I saw that it was to be broadcast so I recorded it. Yesterday morning just after I put Tevye down for nap, I started watching The Music Man with August, Déla, Ciárán and Xavier.

“Rock Island”

Ciárán and Xavier made it about halfway through the film before they went downstairs to play something. August wasn’t as into it as before, but he stuck through the whole thing. Déla and I were singing along to most of the songs.

“You Got Trouble/76 Trombones”

Three highlights, for myself anyway, include (but are in no way limited to) the opening song “Rock Island” along with “You Got Trouble” and “Marian The Librarian”. Of course “Till There Was You” is the only song from the musical that would be covered by The Beatles. While the band did a number of covers in the first half of their career this is the only cover from a film or stage production.

“Till There Was You”

What is it about this musical I like so much? Not only is it a snapshot of Americana but the story captivates me every Gregory, or Professor Harold Hill, or whatever his real name may be, you get clues about his real personality the more you watch The Music Man. There’s a great line he says towards the end, “I always believe there’s a band.” That sums up what I think is the crux of his entire scam. He has been chasing a dream he wanted for so long, something he genuinely wanted, but because he hasn’t been able to fulfill his dream he falls back on a flim-flam routine and skips town.

“Marian The Librarian”

There are plenty of other great musicals out there, but The Music Man is one I keep coming back to time and time again. I just never gets old for me.

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NaBloPoMo Victory Lap

Well, I did it. A blog post a day for a whole month. I wonder what the percentage is of those who start the project and successfully complete it.

There are only three blog posts that I can think of that could be filed under “questionable” which is pretty good. And I’m including that Crock Pot Ramen post. Not bad. Especially when compared to previous years.

I did learn to make good use of my drafts folder this year. Planning a little ahead really helped a lot. Even having half a post sketched out saved a lot of time – those times I could just sit and write it made the process easier. When I didn’t have a lot of time to write I could dip into my drafts and find one that was more or less complete and use it.

Also this year I wasn’t afraid of writing a post ahead of time and scheduling it to be posted. One example of this was my Thanksgiving post as well as the one I had set up for the day after. When I have time to write, I just needed to sit down and write. At times this would give me a couple of posts that were in my drafts folder ready to go for those times I didn’t have time to write. This was another use of my drafts folder.

That drafts folder really worked. WordPress has a back-end that allows me to log into my blog and without even calling up the section to type up a blog post just plug in a title and sentence or two right from the full page of the pack end. This was very handy when I had nothing more than a title or an idea. I could log in and without any further clicks or navigation have it recorded for future use.

Well, I did it. Another successful NaBloPoMo behind me and I feel pretty good about it. Actually, I think it was my best yet. Yay me.

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Arrival In Salem

Here is another post about our trip to Massachusetts last summer. We took the overnight plane from Seattle to Boston hoping the kids would sleep on the way there (and yes, Laura and I hoped we would get a couple of hours as well). August just didn’t sleep. I think he was too excited. Tevye did alright, but the other three had varying degrees of sleep off an on throughout the flight. At least they were well behaved.

We landed at something like 7 in the morning, got our bags got our rental car and hit the road. We weren’t in any hurry, so we took our time. Since we were staying in Salem we knew there was going to be a bit of a drive, and having arrived on a weekday there would be rush hour traffic to contend with.

Of course we stopped along the way at a Dunkin Donuts to get a dozen.

Each of the kids fell asleep in the car at various points along the way. We didn’t worry about getting there quickly as we had some time before we were supposed to arrive, and since it was our first day there Laura and I had scheduled it to be one of adjustment and getting our bearings. While we knew people would be tired and had prepared for that, it was the heat that sort of took everybody by surprise.

When we got to the house in Salem and unpacked we just sort of hung out for a while. At one point August was sitting outside on the porch in the shade (because it was cooler there with the breeze) complaining about how hot it was. Poor kid. Laura and I have lived in areas where there is real heat, so we weren’t as shocked as the kids. They can be told but it is still something you have to experience. “It’s just so HOT!” “I know August.” “No, you don’t understand. It’s HOT!”

Finally we gathered up enough strength to check out our surroundings. Well, we did need to find some food. We ventured forth into Salem and got an idea of what was in the immediate vicinity. One of the things we did find that first day was a shop that sold fruit smoothies (a shop we visited almost every other day). That’s about it for the first day. Everybody went to bed early that night. That was exciting, because everybody had their own bedroom.

There were three floors and more than enough room for everybody. The very top floor had just two bedrooms, and as soon as he saw the bedding Ciaran claimed the “Red Sox” room. Across the short hall was another room that Xavier took. Dela took the room which had a bathroom attached to it. August took a room that was decked out all in blue. It was a little disconcerting at first just how blue it was.

Interestingly nobody really argued over which bedroom to have. There were three floors and more than enough room for everybody. The very top floor had just two bedrooms, and as soon as he saw the bedding Ciaran claimed the “Red Sox” room. Across the short hall was another room that Xavier took. Dela took the room which had a bathroom attached to it. August took a room that was decked out all in blue. It was a little disconcerting at first just how blue it was.

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I couldn’t get a picture of August that first morning because the light was not cooperating.

That second day was spent exploring more of Salem. We didn’t get a lot accomplished, necessarily, but did get to see quite a bit. It was still tough going with the sleep schedule changes. And the heat. But by the second day we started actively exploring Salem, but that will be for another blog post.

mass 2014 10 salem sleep deprived

 

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