20 December 2012 : Allow Me to Explain

A Fashion StatementSo we just finished up what we call “Mini-Term” at PSCS. Basically, it’s a special 2 weeks of school in December, the mornings of which provide some special classes that last over 5 or 10 days. Ella was excited to take a “The Great Gatsby” class. Truthfully, I got to join in, too, as I read the book aloud to her, a chapter each night.

Last Friday was the final class and to celebrate, Ella dressed up in her best 1920’s apparel. This, of course, included something on her head, what one might call a hat. Well, at the end of the day, after everyone else had left, Ella and I were waiting for Melinda. Ella popped the hat on my head and took the picture you see here. Pretty flattering, eh?

If you want, I can try to explain the stripes…

19 December 2012 : Slowing Down the Sports Fast

I admit it. I looked at a couple of sports articles on that nasty home invader, the Internet. I saw that the Mariners had made a trade and I couldn’t help myself.

Sports Are Driving Me CrazyBy the way, that expression, “I couldn’t help myself,” is a cop-out phrase if I ever heard one. Of course I could have stopped myself from clicking on the headline “Mariners trade Vargas to Angels, acquire Morales.” I just didn’t want to. I let my curiosity get away from me.

Ack, there’s another expression, “I let my curiosity get away from me,” that sounds like someone, me in this case, trying to not take responsibility for his actions.

Don’t let anyone get away with telling you they couldn’t stop themselves or that their curiosity got away from them.

And, oh, the Seahawks game on Sunday promises to be a really good one, the Sounders announced the date of their home opener, and the NHL dummies are still not playing.

18 December 2012 : Sixteen, Sweet!

Yeah, so 16 years ago today Ella was born. Of course, this means that Melinda’s and my youngest child is 16. I don’t know what else that means, but it is something significant, I’m sure.Happy Birthday, Sweet 16

For Ella’s present, Melinda & I managed to scare up an unlocked iPhone 4 via CraigsList. She is very pleased. Melinda pulled a fast one on her, too, wrapping it up inside the box of some kind of electronic skin care product that one could imagine Ella *might* like to have. But for her 16th birthday? That’s like a husband giving his wife a vacuum cleaner on their anniversary! Anyway, when Ella unwrapped the present and saw the skin care product box, she said something like, “Oh, that’s nice.” Melinda and I didn’t say anything. Then she opened up the box and out came the iPhone. Her face lit up and sounds of glee emitted from her lovely mouth.

The photo was taken just moments before she opened the box. The card she is holding has a photo of a very young Ella, one of my favorites of her. So there you can see our sweet little girl on her sweet 16th birthday.

17 December 2012 : She Passed!

Permitted to DriveThis is the 902nd consecutive day I’ve posted an entry here, and the first time I’ve purposely used a picture I’ve used before. It’s very likely I’ve used a picture more than once before, but not by design. Today it’s by design.

You see, back in March, Ella got her permit to drive a car in Washington State, an event significant enough to warrant a blog post. Today, a day before her 16th birthday, she took her road test and scored a 92%, easily good enough to pass. Considering she had already passed the written test, passing the road test and turning 16 means she will be a licensed driver tomorrow.

Another milestone, both for parent and child. Congratulations to Ella!

16 December 2012 : 12K’s of Christmas Holiday Run

12K's of Christmas Holiday RunThat’s my friend Duncan with me in today’s photo, taken at about 11am, soon after we had returned to Seattle from Kirkland, the two of us having finished running a 12k this morning. Duncan ran the Portland Marathon in October and I, of course, ran the Seattle Marathon 3 weeks ago. He suggested to me early in the week that we consider running this race, thinking we both needed the psychological boost to overcome the dark and dreariness that is a Seattle December.

I’ve only run a couple of times since the marathon, my right knee having been giving me trouble. But I decided the focus of an actual race would be good for me. And, boy, was it ever. I surprised myself by how good I felt and I blitzed through the 12k in just over an hour, running miles in about 8.5 minutes, almost a minute and a half faster than I ran miles in the marathon.

My knee is a touch tender tonight and I’ll know more about how I’ve come out of the race tomorrow. But psychologically I am very, very pleased.

15 December 2012 : Stop the Calvalry

Stop the CavalryTwo nights ago I referenced a singer named Jona Lewie. It’s unlikely many of you have heard of him, but I became a big fan of his right around 1980. It was his song “(You’ll Always Find Me in the) Kitchen at Parties” that got me hooked, but I found I liked most everything he released. In 1982, when I was a deejay, in Alaska, he released an album called “Heart Skips Beat” that I still play to this day.

There is one song on the album you might have heard. It gets a lot of airplay around the holidays because it has a Christmas reference. As you might have guessed by now, it’s called “Stop the Cavalry.” The version most commonly heard isn’t Jona’s original, but of a chorus singing it. Today’s photo is of me holding a 45 (remember those?) of Jona’s version. And embedded below is the music video, again Jona’s version.

Let me know if you are familiar with this song.

14 December 2012 : When Things Don’t Make Sense

This is one of those days that don’t make sense. I had fabulous interactions with students and some not so great interactions with adults. CheersOvershadowing everything is the horrific acts of violence at an elementary school in Connecticut. Horrific acts don’t make sense. As such, I can’t make sense of them.

What I can make sense of is that I have a wonderful family. We are all safe and secure. Chloe is having a great experience in college and will be home for the holidays in less than a week. Ella turns 16 on Tuesday and on Monday takes her driver’s test, a rite of passage for American youth. Melinda spent today, what was intended to be a day off for her, working hard on upgrading a database for PSCS. I had some meaningful and important interactions with some PSCS students, the kind of thing that invigorates me and helps me know why I exist. I had a lovely phone call with my parents.

Focus on the positive, on what makes you feel connected to whatever is sacred to you. On that note, Melinda and I raised a glass tonight in acknowledgement of our friends and family. We gave an extra thought to Christine and Bernard, people we met in Nantes on our sabbatical and who will be traveling next summer to be with us in Seattle.


13 December 2012 : Totem Talk & Stephen Rabow

Totem Talk 1981I don’t really recall how this worked but I wrote for my high school newspaper without being in the journalism class. I think it had to do with me knowing most of the people on staff really well and having had a class conflict. Whatever, occasionally I got a byline.

I got to thinking about this because one byline I did get had to do with an interview I conducted with a local deejay at the time, an eccentric by the name of Stephen Rabow. He was on my favorite radio station, the vastly alternative KZAM-AM, the only station in 1980 that played Elvis Costello. Rabow had a program on Saturday nights that was pretty slick. When he played Jona Lewie’s “(You’ll Always Find Me in the) Kitchen at Parties,” I was hooked as a fan.

This became all the more relevant because I recently found a Stephen Rabow page on Facebook and have been having fun getting his messages.

What a surprise it was last night when I found a copy of that issue of the high school paper.

12 December 2012 : 1728

Solo Piano on 12 to the ThirdThat’s today’s number puzzle. It’s your job to figure it out.

Meanwhile, let me point out that it’s pretty cool being me. Really. People think of me when they see cool videos or read touching stories on the Internet. Then they send them to me with statements like, “I was reading the New York Times and found a video that made me think of you right away.”

See? That’s cool. And it’s what one of my students wrote (and sent) to me tonight.

Today’s photo is a screenshot of that New York Times link. Here it is for you – Solo Piano. Warning: It’s touching and sad.

11 December 2012 : ‘Tis the Season

I found this picture scrolling through the family archives. That’s me in the center in my Santa outfit A 1970's Christmas(I was Santa Claus for Halloween that year – Holiday Confusion Disorder, or something). On the left is my brother Steve, looking good at being good-looking. I’m trying to figure out what he’s holding. A pack of baseball cards maybe? On the right is my brother Scott, looking as fashionable as ever. Dig those glasses, for sure, AND a ukelele in his lap. But the gem is his T-shirt. If I recall correctly it says, “National Insect Week — Bug Somebody.”


The picture was taken at the home of our maternal grandparents in Denver. Quite often we drove from Omaha to Denver to be with them for the holiday. I remember one Christmas Eve driving in a blizzard and having to pull off the road…

But that’s another story.