July 26, 2015

  • Kazuya Visit

    Last week we picked up Kazuya. He is a Dokkyo high school student from Japan and is here for two weeks. He attends school during the week for intensive English and gets evenings and weekends with us. We let him have the guest suite in the basement.

    Friday, I took an excursion to participate in the Cascade Night Ride through Seattle. Our tour left Gasworks and stopped on Elliot Bay for a night time fire juggling display. You can see my Strava entry here. I did not take a day of picture of my bike so here it is.
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    Our ride finished at Peddler Brewing where they stayed open just for our ride. The beer flowed till 1 PM. Try riding up Ballard (250 ft climb) in the dark with a light drizzle. It was very exciting.

    Today's excursion included a classmate (staying with another host family), Takayama. The seven of us saw the new 747 cargo plane dressed up in Seahawk colors.
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    Mr. Redpath, Takayama, Kazuya, Veronica, Carlton, Étienne, and Mrs Redpath

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    Here we see the new 747 with the Dreamlifter in the background. This picture was taken from atop the Future of Flight Museum. Inside we got up close and personal with the latest generation of high bypass turbofan. They are really big and use carbon fiber first stage fan blades.

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    Other exhibits included Étienne and Kazuya making a wind tunnel flight, a 747 passenger compartment mock-up, and a bernoulli air flow table. The balls are suspended in air with a small jet of air.

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    The boys are sitting in the cockpit you see on the left. This is an actual 727 cockpit saved from a retiring airplane.

    On the way home we stopped to pick blackberries. It is hard to miss them when they grow everywhere, even on some of the center dividers of major roads.
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    Takayama and Kazuya trying to avoid the many thorns. When we got home I washed the berries and had the boys pick the meat off some grilled chicken. I made chicken salad for lunch.

July 19, 2015

  • 93.2 degrees in Ballard

    We are on day two of warm weather. Today is topping out in the low 90's and the locals are calling it a heat wave. Go Figure. Our yard is in a very small minority with green grass.15July_49720!
    The way I see it, we get double benefits!

July 16, 2015

  • Ballard Seafood Fest

    On July 11th, we headed downtown for the Ballard Seafood Fest. Veronica was visiting Cousin Jane so Judy and three boys walked down for the festivities. Streets closed to traffic and venders set up stalls along Market all the way to Ballard Ave.

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    Carl found a pig roast!

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    Seattle PD displayed their Urban Assault Vehicle and several robots.

    Other activities included local businesses like Swedish Medical, Insurance companies, even a Metro Bus. Judy and the boys filled out a survey at the Geico booth and walked away with a key chain dongle. Later we happened upon a juggler about to start his act. This was the point where the juggler said he was going to attempt to jump into the lasso while twirling it, and an excellent child heckler yelled, "Light it on fire!"

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    Broccoli Man put on a good show. The finale involved juggling a small child. It was no coincidence he set up a block away from Swedish Hospital.

    After all that fun, we had to try the food vendors.
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    Carl chowed down on a sausage and kraut roll. Étienne chose the classic corn dog. I am always looking for great pickled herring in this Norwegian community and found this herring sandwich.

    A great day in Ballard. The City of Seattle is promoting more street closings to promote non-motor vehicle activities. Several streets in Downtown Seattle will become pedestrian walkways for a day this summer. My neighbor has a permit to close his residential street for three hours once a week allowing the kids to play in the street. Yesterday, his "Play Street" attracted kids from several blocks away. Just one more example of the Emerald City enjoying this great weather.

June 30, 2015

  • Basement Sill and Door Threshold Repair

    First of all, a big thank you to Brian Berryessa for the use of a saber saw and some technical muscle. After removing the trim around our basement door, I knew I was in this way over my head. The old sill had rotted to the point it was breeding worms that would crawl straight through and into the house every night. I end up vacuuming desiccated worms and trails each morning. YUCH!

    Brian came to the rescue with the saw. Rather than remove the whole door assembly, we cut the existing threshold in half to remove it. Now the exposed sill could be worried out. It was made of about four pieces of cedar.

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    The exposed foundation had a half inch concrete lip running parallel to the door. I was able to chisel it out clearing the way for a single 2x10 to fit in place.

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    I cut the 2x10 in half so it slipped under the existing jambs. After a dry fit, the foundation got a healthy dose of caulk. I calked the joint where I cut the 2x10 and hammered them into place. The second piece got a temporary 2x4 screwed onto it so I could hammer it in. Tight fit but I got it done.

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    This job tested the limits of my home repair abilities. I still need to hammer the trim back on and hit it with a coat of paint. So far, so good.

    A second thank you to Étienne.
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    Rexterton 2000 kept watch during my work.

June 28, 2015

  • BNAAN

    Ballard High School had their BNAAN on June 8th. (Beaver Nation Athletic Awards Night). It was a lot of fun and we all got to dress up.
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    At the event, My cross country team was presented a banner for making it to state. This is the first time Ballard Girls Cross Country has made it to state EVER.
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    I was nominated for the Female rookie of the year award. I did not win however it was great to be recognized.
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    Fellow track and Cross country runner Owen Buck did win male rookie of the year. This year he broke the school record in the 400 meter 5 times! Also he was presented his award by the previous record holder.
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    All in all this was a great night where everyone got to recognize other teams achievements this year and I got to see a lot of friends. We all dressed up and had dessert!
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June 14, 2015

  • Copper River Salmon

    Last week I broke down a whole copper river salmon. I grilled one fillet for dinner. The other is curing in salt, sugar, and dill to become Gravlax for our cocktail party.
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    Each year I get a little better breaking down the salmon. At $9/pound it is hard to pass up. These are fresh caught and treated with TLC on the way to market.

May 31, 2015

  • Ballard Fiddlers

    This weekend we are hosting two middle school girls from Japan, courtesy of Carlton's middle school Japanese class. Since they are young, they stay with their host families in pairs, and we only have them Friday night through Monday morning. Kanon (in blue) and Yuzuki (in pink) are in front on the far right.
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    As it turns out, Friday night was Veronica's Fiddle Showcase at the new performing arts venue in our neighborhood, Ballard Homestead.
    Fiddle Showcase

    Veronica is in the Ballard Fiddlers, and her orchestra teacher Ms Newell is the fiddler/singer for the Barn Owls. The evening started with Rachel Nesvig on the Hardanger fiddle, a traditional Norwegian folk instrument.
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    After that it was all American folk music. Brittany Newell is the orchestra teacher at Ballard High School, and also lead fiddler/singer for the Barn Owls.
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    After their set, Ms Newell introduced the Ballard HS Fiddlers.
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    Veronica had a solo on Low and Lonely!

    The evening ended with a square dance with music from the Ballard Fiddlers and the Barn Owls, hosted by the Seattle Subversive Squaredance Society.

    Saturday morning, we toured a bunch of Seattle sites but not before a visit from the Japanese teachers and chaperons. We gave them a tour of the house and room the girls are staying in. Then we posed for a quick picture before sending the group to a second home visit.
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    On our way to the first sightseeing stop, we experienced the Ballard Draw Bridge in action. I took a moment for another photo op.
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    After that I parked a block away from Kerry Park. I love all the Ahs and Ohs as we walk past the last hedge and get that first glimpse of the famous Seattle Skyline view from Kerry Park.
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    It was a short walk to Marshall Park for a view of the cruise ship terminal with the Crown Princess and Westerdam in port.

    Gasworks Park offered another classic view of Seattle and Lake Union.
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    We were treated to a beautiful wooden cabin cruiser, romantic rowboat, and kayak. What a beautiful day in Seattle.

    Our next stop showed the Ducks getting in and out of the waters of Lake Union. One broke down at the ramp but a quick fix put all the tourists back on for a lake adventure.
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    By now we walked off the breakfast of pancakes with blueberry compote so a stop at Ivars for fish, clam strips, and chowder fueled us for a few more sights.
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    The Chittenden Locks were very busy this sunny weekend. The blue heron chicks filled the trees and birders served birthday cake. This has been one of the largest hatches in recent years and indicate a clean healthy environment for the birds.
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    I can't believe I did not take a single picture of the lock operation. We did get to see the railroad bridge open for a sailboat. The jet skis and paddle board lined up for the lock to get from the Puget Sound to Lake Union. What fun!
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    We finished the day with an all American chicken dinner. I demonstrated the intricacies of fried chicken. Kanon and Yuzuki made a beautiful crust for the strawberry rhubarb pie. Look mom and dad back in Japan, your girls can bake! The rhubarb came from our garden and made a most delicious pie.
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    What is dinner without one more food picture.

May 25, 2015

  • Alki Beach Ride

    Memorial Day, we decided to ride the bikes to Alki Beach. Veronica stayed home to work on homework, but Steve and I and the boys joined our friends Ryan & Erin with their two boys. Malcolm rode in the trailer, but Gareth and Étienne rode the 32 miles round-trip on their singles.

    We crossed the Ship Canal at the Ballard Locks. Crazy amount of boat traffic for the holiday weekend, they were filling the large lock. These boats are coming from the Sound into Lake Union.
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    Riding along the train tracks at Interbay, look what we saw waiting on a siding! These 737 fuselages were built at Spirit (previously Boeing Commercial) in Wichita and shipped by train to Seattle. I often saw these trains awaiting shipment behind the buildings in Wichita.
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    Riding along the Elliot Bay waterfront, we could see the Space Needle with the flag at half-mast for Memorial Day. Pier 86 grain terminal is in the foreground, we rode past it.
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    We made it to Alki Beach and had lunch at the hamburger place Carl has been telling me about for the past two months. He had "the most awesome" Hangover Burger, which features French fries and a fried egg.
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    We let the boys enjoy some time digging in the sand of Alki Beach, then rode back north home to Ballard. We stopped & took a photo with Gareth, Carl, Étienne and Steve once the Space Needle came in view.
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    Riding back north along Elliot Bay, we could see the Polar Pioneer which is the controversial drilling rig, and ferries crossing.
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    Living at the top of Ballard we have an uphill climb home, but it was a great ride!

April 14, 2015

  • Star Wars Costumes

    Second day of Spring Break and I took the day off from work. We opted to go to the EMP museum to see the Star Wars costume exhibit. I had been wanting to go to the EMP for awhile, and was waiting for a great exhibit. When the signs went up for the Star Wars exhibit last fall, I knew we had to see it.

    The EMP is at the Seattle Center (also home of the Space Needle), and this morning was a beautiful sunny blue sky day as the kids and I crossed the street from the parking lot.
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    I bought tickets, and Steve stuck his admission ticket sticker on his nose.
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    Redpath children... I am your father.
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    I loved Han Solo's costume, and had Steve take a photo if we want to build one for Étienne one day (Carl is much more of a Jedi.) There was a note from Harrison Ford noting that the original costume approved by George Lucas had a huge "Peter Pan" style collar on it. Harrison ix-nayed the collar and George never noticed.

    Veronica wants Padmé's Chancellor's office gown.
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    There are many other exhibits at EMP. I particularly liked the Fantasy exhibit, which included Princess Buttercup's wedding gown from The Princess Bride. The kids insisted on going through the horror movie exhibit, then complained that it was too scary. They did enjoy the Scary Shadows.
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    We also went through the Science Fiction, Nirvana, and Indie Video Games exhibits and enjoyed touring the museum on an uncrowded day. Great second day of Spring Break!

April 13, 2015

  • Seattle Aquarium

    Today is the first day of Spring Break for Seattle Public Schools. Past experience tells me I must make an effort to get out and do things or else I sit around like a couch potato. Last week I announced to my friends that I plan to ride our bicycles to the Aquarium this Monday and finally use one of my discount coupons. I watched the weather closely and sure enough it rained. We set out at 9:30 for the 8 mile trek to the aquarium.

    https://www.strava.com/activities/284854430

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    Veronica rode my Cannondale, Étienne rode the Trek mountain bike with slicks, Carl and I rode the tandem. The ride down was slow but uneventful.

    It really is a great aquarium. The first exhibit, as you enter, is a floor to ceiling tank with local sea life.

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    The tide pool interactive exhibits offer hands on examination of several species. The kids could have spent the whole day here.

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    Étienne loved the jellies. Aquariums figured out how to display these creatures that live in the dark, must continuously move, and will congregate in in any corners. I have seen several exhibits and the Seattle Aquarium has the best with this walk through tunnel.

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    I am loving my 10-20 mm lens. The kids could get up close and personal, in the dark, and I get the photo!

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    The aquatic mammals stole the show. These otters and harbor seals entertained us with jumps and curious looks through the glass. The staff feed the seals and had them trained to allow the brushing of teeth, inspections of flippers, and full body examinations for cuts, scrapes, and injuries. My kudos go out to the Seattle aquarium.

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    Cari gave a great narrative during Ink's feeding. Ink is famous on YouTube when he crawled up this tank and made an escape attempt. Try the following key words on a YouTube search to see the action: "ink seattle aquarium". Enjoy.

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    While Cari narrated, Peg stuck shrimp "restaurant quality" on the end of a long stick to feed Ink. The kids enjoyed the show. It turns out that Ink was very hungry today. He made a quick snatch of the stick, flaring his body to envelope the shrimp and work it to his beak. The shrimp "restaurant quality" residue on the stick excited Ink and he would not let go. It took two more shrimp "restaurant quality" and of course sustainability fished, to distract Ink and retrieve the sticks. Good job Peg!

    This was a great adventure. I knew we had a Personal Record riding the bikes "down" from Ballard. Now, with a 2:30 deadline to get Veronica to track practice, we had to avoid another PR for the return. I coached Étienne into my draft to keep warm in the light rain, and use his gears to maintain speed. We made it home much faster and got Veronica to track on time. Thank you family for a most terrific first day of Spring Break!