Phamily Foto Phriday 5-26-17 (Catching Up Edition Part 1)

I mentioned there haven’t been any posts because I’ve been busy, right? Let’s take a look at what has been going on.

We start off with a couple shots of what my day typically consist of – such as Tevye doing some “work” in the mornings.

Later he takes an order of what people want for dinner.

August let him get into his clothes (the jacket is part of his 9th Doctor outfit).

While getting ready for bath time I walked into our bedroom to see Xavier attempting to entertain grace by rhythmically slapping his belly.

August participated in a robotics afterschool program which culminated in a sort of exposition of several school showing off their projects.

Oh that horse in front of Fred Meyer is fun.

Not just by the youngest.

No, really, it’s fun.

T-ball is almost over, but here is Xavier at bat in one of the final games.

Tevye has been trying to help wash his little sister lately.

And he loves going through the car wash.

Ciaran went through his belt test and has advanced to yellow belt. And yes, that’s a sai.

Here is August at the state capitol on the 7th grade trip.

I went up to get Tevye up from nap a couple of days ago and found him like this.

Finally, while walking around and doing some errands I ran into Xavier playing kickball during recess. The kid has a leg on him.

I have plenty of other posts I need to get up, such as the various activities of Cub/Boy Scouts, birthdays, the Mariners and that 7th grade Washington state trip.

 

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I’ve Been Where?

I am sure the 12 regular readers of my blog have been wondering where I’ve been and why there hasn’t been any posts in over two weeks.

There was a full week I was completely offline, which was nice, but that’s not even half of the story – especially considering the amount of time since this blog has been updated. Let me start at the (relative) beginning.

For the first few days since my previous post I was attempting to get some writing done but preparations and general life got in the way. Preparations? Oh yes. But I’ll get to those in a moment. First, let’s talk about some of that “life” stuff.

There was August’s robotics demonstration, a Mariners game, the Cub Scout pack meeting which was a carnival we hosted, the Spring Concert, a trip to Northwest Trek, two birthdays, and that was all before the packing.

Packing?

Yes, the packing, because that relates to the preparations. 6th grade goes to a science environmental camp for a few days, and the 7th grade goes on a trip around the state of Washington. Then almost immediately upon returning from that there is Camporee.

Not only was Camporee coming on the heels of the state trip with less than 12 hours in between, August was not the only one going as Ciaran and I were attending as well in a Cub Scout capacity.

This meant I had to have packed Dela for her environmental camp, myself and August for the state trip, and then myself, August and Ciaran for Camporee all at the same time.

Then I went, as I have already alluded to, on the 7th grade state trip as a chaperone.

It has taken a couple of days to catch up on stuff around the house and get back into the routine of things upon returning home, but now we are all back and… what? Ciaran’s belt test for karate? District pinewood derby finals?

It never ends.

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Phamily Foto Phriday 5-4-17 (Emerald City Feis Edition)

Last weekend Dela competed in the 2017 Emerald City Feis, the local Irish dance competition that is coincidentally hosted by the school she attends. The call goes out every year for volunteers and every year I never find the time. This year, however, I managed to help set up the stages, which is a lot more involved that I had thought it would be.

Helping set up I was there when all the trophies were unpacked without anybody else crowding around them.

Her first dance of the day was a Reel, and it started early. Because of her age as well as the number of dances she was entered in and the range of her qualifications (some beginner, some novice) it was going to be a long day.

She got first place in her Reel and so moves up to Novice now for that dance.

Here she is lining up for the Hornpipe in the same competition level as the Reel. She did not place in this one and does not move up, unfortunately. She still has a couple of dances to advance out of the Beginner 2 level. According to her score it would appear she placed about 6th or 7th in this dance.

Before the Novice level dances there were a couple of trophy special dances. Here she is in the Mask/Hat Light Jig.

Yes, that’s a real construction hard hat and she danced in it.

The on to the Novice level dances where she performed respectably, gaining a first place in her Single Jig and then “placing” in a few others.

In all, out of nine dances in Beginner 2 and Novice level she got medals in eight.

And those trophy specials? She earned 3rd place for her Reel Special.

And 2nd place for the Mask/Hat Light Jig.

She competed in three different dances in the afternoon, none of which she placed in – but I want to show just how many competitors where were at that level so she really shouldn’t feel bad about her performance.

Eight medals, two trophies, some advancement, all in all not a bad day.

 

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Spinning In Place

There are two things you should know and keep in mind while reading this post.

The first is that I’m not really a morning person. I get up early because I have to, not because I want to. People who can wake up and immediately jump out of bed with full energy irritate me, and I try not to let it, but mornings were meant for easing into the day with maybe some music, or not, and coffee (a routine that I have had to change because of my ulcer, so I’m already grumpy about how my day starts).

Secondly, and, for this post, more importantly, I hate exercising.

HATE

While I know I need to do it, I have never enjoyed it and have difficulties understand how people somehow feel energized by working out. The only thing working out and exercising does for me is make me tired. And hungry.

Part of the reason I liked the treadmill was being able to watch a program while walking or lightly jogging (but let’s be honest, mostly walking briskly) during naptime. By watching television it made the process feel a lot less like exercise.

But that’s in the past now.

Now what?

My schedule as a stay-at-home parent should be more open and flexible than it is. The reality is I wind up having little time to myself. Without getting too much into what my daily schedule is, it consists of helping Laura get out the door, the kids up and going to school, and while everybody is at school taking care of the two youngest, then after school making dinner, helping with homework, and getting everybody to bed. Really, the earliest I can even think of doing much of anything is 7pm simply because I am not free.

And even then there are meetings, Cub/Boy Scouts, karate, gymnastics and whatever else is taking place to eat up my time in the evening.

Knowing that I need to get my body moving, needing to lose weight and get in better shape, something needs to happen.

City Cycle Seattle just opened up a few blocks away, and while this seems convenient, my schedule at first seems prohibitive. But there are a couple of classes during the week that start at 5:30 a.m. While mornings, especially early mornings, fill me with emotions that are best left unsaid, the 5:30 a.m. spin class fits in my schedule. I can get up at 5, make it to class and be home in time for Laura to go to work then start getting the kids up for school.

When I say “just opened” I mean it. As I type this (Thursday afternoon) the studio has been open less than a week and their actual grand opening celebration is going to take place on Saturday. As a way to let people know it is open City Cycle has offered free classes this week. I signed up for the 5:30 a.m. spin class that took place on Tuesday and noticed that morning despite being marked online as full there were a number of open bikes. Thursday’s 5:30 a.m. class was marked as full but there was a waiting list. Remembering the empty bikes on Tuesday I emailed asking if it would be alright if I  showed up to see if there would again be empty bikes and fortunately there were empty bikes so I was able to move off the wait list and onto a bike.

Unfortunately there were even fewer people at Thursday’s 5:30 a.m. class – I think it was less than half full. Next week is the first week of paid classes at City Cycle, and there again are Tuesday and Thursday 5:30 a.m. classes.

For next week, the first full week of classes, there are in addition to the 5:30 a.m. classes but also a few 6:30 a.m classes (which I would be unable to attend because of my schedule). I am hoping when people actually have to play for the class they will show up and there won’t be a bunch of empty bikes. I would hate for there to be not enough people showing up to make the 5:30 a.m. class viable because I would like to continue to take those classes.

And I say this as somebody who hates both mornings and exercise.

Alright, so maybe this is the grumpiness talking but there are a few issues I have with the classes I have taken at City Cycle Seattle. And no, it’s not the high energy of the trainers. There are hand weights for a smallish arm workout during the ride. It is irritating but I’m sure that has more to do with my general disposition. Perhaps the bigger issue is the cost. At $25 a class the price seems a bit steep. I looked around and the single drop-in price is a little higher than most going rates. Then there are the packages of multiple classes and this is where City Cycle is certainly above the norm ($225 for 10 classes as opposed to $180 for the same thing at another studio). I am hoping the cost is not prohibitive to more people joining up.

The location and timing of the Tuesday and Thursday classes works out for me, and I really need get my fat ass moving on a regular basis.

No, this isn’t a sponsored post. City Cycle doesn’t know I am doing this.

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Want To Get Your Kids In The Kitchen?

Are you looking for a way to get your kids started with cooking their own meals or simply being comfortable in the kitchen? Kitchen Bunnies is looking to help kids build skills that will help them later in life and gain the confidence to try new things. Three separate classes will take place in the Ballard neighborhood, and the address will be provided upon the purchase of a ticket ($45).

May 7th – Baking Bunnies                                               11 – 12.30 p.m. OR 2.30 – 4 p.m.

May 28th – Sushi Bunnies                                               11 – 12.30 p.m. OR 2.30 – 4 p.m.

June 4th – Taco Bunnies                                                 11 – 12.30 p.m. OR 2.30 – 4 p.m.

To purchase tickets and register for a class, please visit Event Brite. Tickets are $45 per child. For more information on upcoming dates, follow @KitchenBunnies on Instagram.

 

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Fair Entertainment Expands

 

Even more entertainment options for the Washington State Fair have recently been announced. For those not aware for some reason, the Washington State Fair, the state’s largest, and one of the bigger ones in the country, runs from September 1 – 24 (closed Tuesdays) in Puyallup.

First, on September 13, the Masters of Illusion brings the touring show to the stage. Viewers might be familiar with the television program where a variety of magicians performing tricks and illusions for a studio audience. No specific magicians have been announced to appear but you might be able to figure it out if you have watched a few episodes. No word on whether or not the show’s television host Dean Cain will be there.

Then on September 15 the package tour I Love The 90s arrives bringing  rap and hip-hop acts Salt-N-Pepa, Vanilla Ice, Tone Loc and pop vocal group Color Me Badd. There really isn’t much more that can be said about a concert that combines as many hits as this does. I’m not going to list any of them, but chances are you already know the songs.

Finally, Marlon Wayans will bring his comedic presence to bear on September 23. Yes, this is the youngest of the Wayans brothers, an actor, writer, and producer as well as being a comedian. He has a television program, “Marlon” debuting on NBC August 16 which might provide some interesting fodder for his stand-up routine.

More information for these and all the other events taking place during the Washington State Fair can be found at thefair.com – including tickets.

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NW Kids Fair Coming

May 20 will see the inaugural Springfree Trampoline Northwest Kids Fair. The event is being organized and hosted by Hubbard Radio, the corporate parent of local FM radio stations KRWM “Warm” 106.9, KQMV “Movin'” 92.5, KVRQ “Rock” 98.9, and AM 880 Kixi.

What is the Springfree Trampoline Northwest Kids Fair? Held at the Agriplex building at the Washington State Fairgrounds in Puyallup. The doors will be open from 10am to 6pm, with a variety of vendors and entertainment.

Perhaps the biggest name headliner would be the Not-Its, local “kindie” band that has a dedicated following since 2009 with music billed as being best under supervision of children. They are not the only entertainers taking the stage at the NW Kids Fair. There will be a magician, the Crescendo Dance Academy, appearances by Curious George and Clifford the Big Red Dog, and more.

Tickets are $5 for those 13 and older, with kids 3 – 12 years of age costing $3 and a lot more information can be found at nwkidsfair.com. Text “KIDS” to 37667 and be entered to win tickets.

 

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Defeat

This picture is of my treadmill, and it is broken.

No, it wasn’t a recent thing, either, but it has been broken for well over a year.

And yet I still could not part with it.

The belt tread is frayed and splitting. It needs to be replaced. The amount of money I would spend on repairing the treadmill would be more than I spent on it.

Oh yeah, I got that treadmill used. Not about to spend several thousands of dollars on something like that.

I was reluctant to let go because I know I need to work out more, get in better shape, lose weight. Having the treadmill here makes it convenient. I would walk for a while during Tevye’s nap time and watch something on the television or catch up on some reading.

Having it in our bedroom meant I might use it, hopefully soon. The reality was I wasn’t going to be using it at all because it needed repair, only I was too stubborn to let go.

Kyle came over for a few hours the other day. Naturally it was time to move the treadmill.

The two of us grunted and groaned our way down the hall with the machine, then Laura and Kyle held the top part while I held the bottom as we navigated it down the stairs. Then it was getting it through the rest of the house and into the backyard.

I am sad to see it go. I want to have a treadmill so I can … actually what I want is one of those desks with a treadmill, but even more than that is I want the time to use one.

Alright, letting this one go.

The good news is there is a spin cycle studio opening up next week a couple of blocks from our house. I’ll let you know how that goes.

 

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Spring Broken

I know it’s been a while since I posted an original post.

Spring Break has not been kind to me.

I should note I have two “vacation” weeks to endure where most people only have one.

How did I get so lucky?

The week before Easter is Spring Break for Seattle Public Schools, which is where Laura is employed. She has that week off – but still worked because she is a teacher.

After Easter? Our children, who go to Catholic school, had the week off while Laura was back at the normal grind.

Where does that leave me?

With as little time as possible. Do you know how long it has taken me to get to *THIS* point in this particular blog post?

Two days.

With Laura home you might think we were having a great time, but really it mostly consisted of her sleeping in which is essentially just her getting up after the kids, maybe walking them to school or staying home with Grace and Tevye while I walked them to school. She would then go in to work and be home in time to pick them up.

This week with her gone and the kids sleeping in it’s been a madhouse.

And I still have two young creatures that are in need of maintaining their nap schedule.

We have not had a trip to the zoo or anything fun during break but there have been some sleepovers and playdates.

Making matters worse for the second week of my Spring Break festival is the fact I have a head cold. Since Monday night I have not been able to sleep well.

Is it terrible that I am looking forward to next week when everybody’s schedule is back to normal? Yes? Too bad.

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Sally Can’t Dance (Lou Reed – Artist Of The Year Part 6)

Lou Reed’s 4th solo studio album built on the success of Transformer, his second album, as well as his first solo live album. Sally Can’t Dance sees the same storytelling narratives getting a more rocking arrangement, with plenty of “punch” to them. And horns. Sally Can’t Dance is full of production.

The album seems to capture the essence of what Lou Reed was doing live with the direction he was trying to go with his studio work, which might explain why it was a success upon its release in 1974. As for the songs presented here, they are all original with not one carried over from his Velvet Underground days. This was Lou Reed finding his voice, metaphorically.

Reportedly Reed was disappointed in the finished product, not having taken an active role in the production. He found it too “slick” and while it seems like a decent representation of his sound, it is not what we think of initially when we describe Lou Reed’s approach to music, which is usually pretty stripped down to two guitars, bass and drums.

“Sally Can’t Dance”

These songs are all identifiable “Lou Reed” in that they are about characters that he could easily have known. The titular Sally could be a friend who overdosed. There are the biographical songs such as “Billy” about a childhood friend and “Kill Your Sons” which is reportedly about his stay in a mental institution as well as being an indictment about the conflict in Vietnam.

And then there are the nonsense songs like “Animal Language” which is… weird.

“Animal Language”

Apparently there is a 30th anniversary reissue of this album which includes two bonus tracks – a b-side and a different version of “Sally Can’t Dance” and I am disappointed they did not make an appearance here.

Oh well.

So, Sally Can’t Dance is a decent Lou Reed album, but certainly not one to start your collection with. It’s a good representation of mid-70s Lour Reed, but perhaps not his most accessible work for modern audiences.

 

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