Learn Your Manners

Seattle based restaurant El Gaucho will be hosting an etiquette course at each of its locations. Seattle (both locations), Bellevue, Tacoma and Portland will have noted etiquette expert Cortney Anderson-Sanford help recapture some of what is increasingly missing from today’s digitally connected world – real connections and manners.

These classes will come in two flavors, one geared towards teens and another towards adults. Of particular interest, at least in my eyes, is the one for teens because laying the groundwork for polite social interactions is important but increasingly less emphasized in today’s society.

The adult class will run $175 per person and include a five-course meal while the teen class will cost $150 a person and include a four-course meal. Both will run approximately two hours, and dates have not been finalized yet.

There is a bit more information that can be found on El Gaucho’s website. Dates for the classes should be available shortly.

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Music Monday: Picking A Favorite

introducing the beatles 2It is no secret The Beatles is my favorite band. If it is a surprise then you haven’t been reading this blog very long. Sometimes I am asked what my favorite Beatles song is. For the longest time it was “Rocky Raccoon” for reasons I don’t really quite understand to this day (and no, it isn’t because my name is in the song).”

“All My Loving” has always been one of the favorites. Something about the lyrics conveying the love and longing of a long distance relationship coupled with the jangly guitar gets to me. It is probably in the top 5.

Despite using it as a lullaby for years (going on decade 2 now) “I Saw Her Standing There” does not make the list.

beatles-abbey-road“All You Need Is Love” may be one of, if not the, best songs in the Beatles catalog, and I do like it a lot, does not make the cut.

There are a few from the last couple of years of the band’s career I rather enjoy. Just today I was singing along to “Octopus’s Garden” and most of the Abbey Road album. “Polythene Pam” is another off that album that comes to mind immediately.

But as for my absolute favorite?

For the last few years it has been “Baby You’re A Rich Man” which has always been high on the list, but as I get older seem to understand on a deeper level.

Is it their best song? No. But I like it. A lot.

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Phamily Foto Phriday 9-16-16

It has been a busy time over the last couple of weeks since posting one of these. Let’s take a look at what has been going on.

I went to the annual 2016 Penny Arcade Expo and was able to take the kids. I showed you a picture of Xavier last time, so here are pictures of the August, Dela and Ciaran. If you want to see more about this year’s PAX I have a video about the show.


Cross Country season has begun. Part of the practices, at least for the younger kids, involves running around in the Woodland Park Rose Garden.


And here is baby Grace.


Kindergarten soccer has started as well. It is chaotic at best.




Somebody is enamored with her baby sister.


The first Cub Scout pack meeting was held this week. Ciaran participated in the flag ceremony helping to start things off.


Remember when I told you he earned his shooting sports award at day and summer camp? Here he is having it awarded at the pack meeting.


Today was the Jog-A-Thon at the kids’ school. This year I managed to be there to help out. Here is Xavier’s Kindergarten class doing their laps. Their 7th grade buddies are cheering them on. Xavier was “too cool” for it all.


Then it was across the street for the older kids to run the much larger lap around the block. Here’s August with the 7th graders.


Followed by Dela and the 6th graders.


Then it was back across the street for the 3rd graders, where Ciaran ran and ran and ran.


The music was pumping at the Jog-A-Thon, and I think this video speaks for itself.



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Disposable Water

What a time to be living in.

Our refrigerator has an ice maker and dispenser. No need to open the refrigerator or freezer to get some ice or cold water.

Let’s just take a moment to appreciate this. Not only do we have hot and cold running water, we are at a point where we are finding ways to make what is essentially a requirement for life a convenience.

ice-in-handFor my morning coffee I get a couple of ice cubes from the dispenser to cool it down enough to drink without having to wait. Yet another convenience.

Sometimes the automatic dispenser spits out a couple more than I need. When this happens I place what I need in my coffee cup and toss the remaining cubes into the sink.

Rather than open the refrigerator, then open the ice dispenser and redeposit these unneeded ice cubes, I simply toss them into the sink.

And I know I’m not the only one who does this.

Think about how you turn on the tap and let it run for a moment before you place your cup under the faucet in order to get a cold drink. We turn on the shower and wait for the water to reach a desired temperature before stepping in.

It struck me recently as I was tossing these errant ice cubes into the sink just how privileged a life we lead. Being in a position to essentially throw away water when so much of the world struggles to get enough to survive is almost incomprehensible.

How fortunate are we?

Little things like ice makers, a convenience, something so many of us don’t even think about, they can show us just how privileged a life we lead.

Throwing away water.

Very fortunate.

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Music Monday: Letters To Cleo

letters to cleo promoPeople are often surprised at some of the bands I like.

This one is probably one of them.

And I don’t care.

I became aware of Letters To Cleo through the song “Here And Now” like pretty much everybody else did, though not necessarily through the Melrose Place soundtrack single and video that most people seem to remember.

I had heard the song on radio at some point earlier, just a couple of times a year or so before, so when the video hit I wasn’t surprised, but did get annoyed that it seemed to be everywhere. I had picked up their album and enjoyed it.

Kay Hanley’s voice seemed perfect for this alt-pop-rock outfit. There were only three albums officially released, with their demo E.P. (Sister) getting expanded to a full length version with a couple of bonus tracks after they broke up. Or maybe they didn’t break up but were dropped by the record label. Whatever the case one of those bonus tracks was a Scruffy The Cat cover.

“You Dirty Rat”

After the band broke up singer Kay Hanley (and I think the guitarist Greg McKenna) provided songs to the Saturday morning cartoon Generation O! which was half the reason I watched. I’m still waiting on a soundtrack. Letters To Cleo provided songs for a couple of soundtracks, most notably a cover of Cheap Trick’s “I Want You To Want Me” from 10 Things I Hate About You.

But it is the original material by the band that hooked me and keeps me coming back to the band. They were active from about 1993 to 2000. Kay Hanley went on to have a solo career with a couple of albums, and plenty of other singing and songwriting work (I could make a lengthy blog post regarding the 2001 film Josie And The Pussycats soundtrack) even going on to work as a backup singer for Miley Cyrus.

I bring up Miley Cyrus because drummer Stacey Jones wound up being her longtime drummer and musical director. Before that, however he started his own band, American Hi-Fi, which I like. I met Stacy once, but that will be another post.


Now Letters To Cleo have reformed and working on some new music. Of course I plunked down some money for the project. Hopefully this won’t be a one-time thing and the band will actually be back.

letters to cleo promo 2

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Phamily Foto Phriday 9-2-16

School is back in session which means the routine is back and it is easier for me to keep with a weekly posting schedule for these things.

Starting with the first day of school, here is Tevye who wanted his picture taken, but he wasn’t included in the previous post because he isn’t going to school (yet).

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And because I have been admonished for not having enough pictures of Grace.

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This week Kindergarten gets out at noon. That time coincides with middle school lunch. This means I get to see August and Dela.  Look at her, she is looking so much like a middle-schooler. Right after I took this picture she said “Are you going to put this up on your blog?” I wasn’t, I was just going to show this picture to Laura, but since she brought it up….

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And here she is with Xavier as we made our way across the playground to leave.

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One day after school Dela was telling me something and August wouldn’t stop interrupting. He had to make and wear this for the rest of the afternoon.

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Today as I picked up Xavier I ran into both August and Dela.

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Of course they hammed it up.

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I was able to take Xavier to this year’s Penny Arcade Expo for a couple of hours.

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He was able to get hold of some classic arcade stuff, some new stuff. I will be talking about the specific games we saw at a later time, probably on my new YouTube series Dad At Play.

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Just before we went back home we got hold of a giant Jenga game.

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It was fun, if a little overwhelming.

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August 2016 Geek Fuel

This month’s Geek Fuel box arrived later than usual. It did come with a few things  August rather liked though, so let’s jump into it.

Here is this month’s shirt. Turns out it is the 30th anniversary of the original Transformers animated movie this year.

2016 aug 06

Then perhaps his favorite item in the box, a Pokemon Go Travel Pouch. He keeps insisting it is a phone carrier while I keep trying to tell him it is a badge holder for conventions.

2016 aug 05

A Geek Fuel pin.

2016 aug 04

This month’s game is Dungeon Rift.

2016 aug 03

A variant cover of the new DC Rebirth Suicide Squad comic.

2016 aug 02

My personal favorite is the Foghorn Leghorn Looney Tunes mini. I say, I say, he’s my favorite, son, are you paying attention? These jokes aren’t free…. get it? “Paying” attention, jokes for “free” – nevermind.

2016 aug 01

Here’s the video of August opening it up.

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The Baby Fest Approaches

evenbabyfest nw logoSaturday September 24 will see BabyFest arrive in Seattle. Portland is getting the same event in May of next year. This event will be held from 11:00 to 5:00 at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, but there are some ticket packages that will get you in earlier, along with a few extra perks.

What is BabyFest? Well, to be honest I have not been to one of the previous events. Actually, I kind of wish I had as we have a new addition to our household. Alright, so our 7th child doesn’t hold the same allure as the first or even second baby, but I am sure there are resources there we might find of interest as well as products that we could use – you might be surprised as what all we have given away over the years.

Besides a number of exhibitors there will be speakers and demonstrations. Attendees will be able to hear and talk with various people on such topics ranging from breastfeeding and potty training to car seat installation and much more. And giveaways seem to scattered throughout the entire show with a massive one happening towards the end of the show being referred to as “Seattle’s Biggest Baby Shower” with more big ticket prizes than you can (legally) shake a baby at.

babyfest nw 01Three tiers of tickets are available, standard, super and premium. The standard ticket runs $20 a person or $3o a couple and gets you in the door. The next tier up will set you back $50 a person or $60 a couple and comes with a slightly earlier admission time, a gift bag and “preferred” seating access. The most expensive ticket costs $80 a person or $90 a couple and comes with an even earlier admission time and a gift bag with additional value.

Additionally you can get a package with a night at a local hotel as well.

Children 12 and under are free. Presumably because by the time kids are 13 they don’t want to be seen with you or you’re done having babies.

Use the code “babyfestnw2016” to get $5 any pass.

This may seem like a sponsored post but it isn’t. I got a flier in my diaper service bag last week and thought I would pass on the information. I don’t know how many years this even has been going on but either I miss it completely or learn about it after the fact. 

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School Supplies

Last week Xavier was able to take his school supplies into his classroom and check it out. Monday, the day before the first day of school, the other grades were allowed to bring in their supplies.

2016 1st day 12

The first stop was Ciaran’s 3rd grade classroom. Yes, each kid had their own box.

2016 1st day 13

With four different supply lists it was a challenge to figure out how much of each item we needed. Instead of juggling four separate lists while shopping for school supplies I compiled the fours lists into a single spreadsheet so as to know how many composition books total to buy, how many fine tip permanent markers to pick up and so on.

2016 1st day 14

Then a few days before school we took the one big bin of school supplies and took out from that communal receptacle what each individual student needed as per their individual list.

2016 1st day 15


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First Day Of School 2016

Today was the kids’ first day of school. Kindergarten, 3rd, 6th and 7th grades.

This meant Xavier was getting into a uniform.

2016 1st day 01

And since I was taking a picture of Xavier, Dela wanted in on the action.

2016 1st day 02

Looking around for the other two school children I found them in the halllway. Ciaran began to scoot out of frame immediately as the camera became visible.

2016 1st day 03

So I kept trying to get a better picture of him.

2016 1st day 04

And when he noticed I was taking his picture he made sure to get very close up.

2016 1st day 05

Finally, it was time to get out of the house and walk to school. But not before I made everybody stay still enough for a group picture.

I never was able to get all four smiling at the same time.

2016 1st day 06

I was swarmed with people as I had Grace, less than two weeks old, strapped to me. This made it difficult to move around from place to place. Everybody wanted to see the new baby. I wanted to get over and see my kids.

Fortunately, Xavier’s seat is right next to the door to the classroom.

2016 1st day 07

By the time I made it to the main building which houses grades 3-8, everybody was well underway. This meant I was not able to peek on at all on August or Dela. Fortunately Ciaran’s classroom afforded me a view from the open door. He is in the back corner.

2016 1st day 08

Here is Xavier at the end of the day, lined up for Kindergarten pick-up.

2016 1st day 09

Dela with some of her friends.

2016 1st day 10

August had volunteered to be end of school crossing guard this first week of school.

2016 1st day 11

And that is the first day of the 2016 school year done. 179 more to go.

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