Saturday, December 26, 2015


Wow, there has been a startling lack of adventure this December.  Too few nickels too, I suppose. 

That's the way it goes when there is only sixteen minutes or so of daylight each day. 

But now we are past the solstice and the days grow long again.  I think we had eighteen minutes today.  We decided to use all that extra time to go out and find some snow.  We had heard there was lots of it nearby, but couldn't see more than a mile or so out, due to the rain.  We pointed the car toward Rainier and started driving.  Sarah found a webcam up at Longmire that showed several feet of snow on the ground, so we went for it.

Then traffic happened. 

After the two hour drive, there was a line heading into Rainier National Park that wasn't moving very fast.  I guess going up there over the Christmas holiday, on a Saturday no less, is a thing up here.  The daylight was trickling away and we made a desperate decision.  We would turn around and go back toward a city park we passed earlier and just let the kids have at it.  It's important to be flexible. 

We weren't the only people that had that idea.

Ready for snow, what should we do first?

Belly flop.  Always a strong choice.

I love how it looks like it's snowing, but it isn't.  It's just snow in the trees.

Maxie being cute.

Now going in to eat some snow or something.  Both of them...

I don't know what it is, like they lost a contact lens or something

Of course it was only a matter of time.

The first casualty

Even Mommy got into the fight.

Max found an ally.  He could donate ammunition.

Maybe hiding is a better bet.

Or you could feign peace by making some gesture.

"You wouldn't hit a guy with glasses, would ya...Mom?  Mom?!"


Somebody found a happy place.

I don't think they're looking.  Get 'em.
I think it was a good idea to turn around.  We had a pretty good snowball fight with some of the other kids there.  The boys built snow forts and snow angels and nobody ate any of the yellow stuff.  Maybe we can hit Rainier on some other, non holiday, non weekend day. 

Until then...

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Yes shave December

This year I decided to play along with the No Shave November thing. 

For those of you who don't know, this is when guys (and gals sometimes) grow facial hair in November to raise awareness of men's health issues, primarily prostate cancer. 

I decided to play along because when you see my face, I want you thinking prostate!, fresh, prostate.

One of the fun things about No Shave November is Yes Shave December.  This is the thing I just totally made up where, on the first day of December, you have fun shaving off all that beard!

I mean, with such a fun palette, why not play?

Shall we?

Let's start with a little something I call the Metal Man.

James Hetfield, eat your heart out.

By request, Ruthie, here you go.  The standard.

By request of the children: The Tony Stark.

The Southern Squire, now with Max!

The Doc Holliday, Val Kilmer version.

The Ned Flanders AKA Sarah Hates It
And finally...

The bare faced, please don't think of my prostate.
Happy December everybody. 

Winter is coming!

This is our first time wintering over in a place that actually has winter in a looooong time.

Let's see.  We lived in Houston for 10 years. winter there really.  If it gets below fifty degrees everyone puts on a parka with a fur lined hood and refuses to go outside.

Then we went traveling and spent that first winter uhhhhh...back in Houston.

The next winter was in Del Rio, TX. winter there.

Then we split the winter between Tyler, TX, OKC and a cruise ship in the Caribbean.  Oklahoma gets pretty cold, but I don't think that really counts.

The one after that might sorta count.  We spent the first half of the winter in Virginia.  That is pretty much the archetype for American Winter.  It has a Norman Rockwell-esque look and feel to it that comes straight out of the imagination of what winter and Christmas is supposed to look like.

But we barely made it to the New Year.  Then we hightailed it out of there with the first real winter storm on our heels. We spent the second half in...uhhh, Houston.

Last year was in the San Francisco bay area.  Yeah, it rained!

So, this is a new experience for us.  We are planning on staying planted in a cold(ish) weather state over an entire winter. (Yeah...ish.  It's not like we are in Montana or Minnesota or some other M state where the winter turns your porch into a better freezer than your freezer.

Rainy and cold, that's what we get.

We heard of this wonderful sounding little event called the Olylightstravaganza.  Yeah, I know..right.  How awesome does that sound.  Apparently there was this walk through light display and on the occasion of the first lighting they were having free cookies and cupcakes (sponsored by local business) and cider if you brought a donation to the local food bank.  Man, that sounds right up our alley.  Locally oriented, Christmas lights, cookies, how does it get better.

So we packed the kids up in near freezing temperatures and off we went.

We were a little surprised when we got there though.

It was just this one house.
I mean, don't get me wrong, it was a nice house.  It was really heavily lit. And they provided a neat little path for your passage through the display.  Heck, the cupcakes and cookies were pretty delicious.

It's just when you hear, lightstravaganza, you develop certain expectations. I mean, maybe a neighborhood or a business district or something.  Nope.  One house.

Then they turned on the lights.

So, I backed away to a nearby hill to attempt to catch the grandeur and majesty of the whole thing.

Light-a-palooza maybe.  Not sure it is a stravaganza.
But hey, we brought a donation.  They did have cookies and little mini cupcakes along with hot cider.

Might as well walk around.  There were only a hundred or so other people on this guy's lawn. 

And there were lights. 

It was cold.  That is the universal, "My face is going numb" look/

It didn't take too long to see it all.  We headed back to the car, cranked the heater and left.  Since I brought the big camera and tripod and all I figured we could stop and take a few pictures of the state capital on the way home.  It is pretty when it is all lit up at night.

Glad I did.

I love that cloud.

Then we packed it in and went home.  Such are the pleasures you find in a smaller city.  It's neat.  Olympia has this weird blend of large and small that makes it very interesting.  Someday it will grow large and homogenized, but until then, I think we will enjoy it.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Washington State

Over the past year or so, I have posted a lot about the state of Washington. If you read all the posts and look at all the pictures, you might get a sense that it is beautiful and fun, full of nature and wonder. 

Not pictured: The blood sweat and tears required to make this look good.

Not pictured: The 235,854 other photographers trying to capture that one moment of pretty

This one is probably a whole other state or something, like Florida.

Well, you would be wrong.

It is hard work, and a testament to my own personal literary and photographic genius, making this place look good. The truth is, it usually looks like this.

See anything? Nope. Because it is foggy and rainy and miserable for all but a few days each year. This is why there is a coffee stand every fifty feet or so and a micro brewery serving up craft beer every other fifty. This is the only true way to combat the Seasonal Affective Disorder that comes with the winter and the general depression that comes from knowing you have made a poor life decision and ended up in Washington.

Totally stole this from Pintrest

So, now you have everyone wandering around hyper caffeinated and inebriated and probably lost in the dense fog. Oh yeah, and did I mention armed? They have to be armed because of the bears. There are bears in Washington...real live bears. That's not something you have to worry about in Texas. And somebody must have misread the Constitution (probably that craft beer) and decided they had a right to arm bears. So, those mothers are packing. I think they're drunk too. I'm telling you...this place is downright nasty.

Artist's representation.

Of course there aren't any pictures, would you point a shiny object at an armed drunken bear?

And did I mention the volcanoes? Yeah, those things'll kill ya. It may be the craft beer or legal weed talking, but some days it rains shards of volcanic glass and venomous snakes.

See!  A volcano sitting there looking all ominous and deadly and stuff.

Another artist's rendering.  Who would go outside in such conditions!?!

Seriously, stay away. There's nothing good here.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

This is Max

This is Max.

Max is tough.

He plays football and does parkour.

He hikes miles and miles and climbs mountains. 

He is strong and fast and smart.

Max studies hard, eats right, and exercises.

Max also has Type 1 diabetes. 

but he doesn't let it stop him.

He checks his blood sugar all the time and gives himself shots several times every day. 

Even with excellent management, he has lots of challenges to fight.

As smart and as tough as he is, he can't beat diabetes on his own. And he doesn't just want to beat it for himself, but the millions of other people who fight it as well.

So, if you are going to donate money somewhere this year, please consider JDRF.

Help Max fight. Help Max win.