January 11, 2015

  • 5 Happy Boys

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    Quincy, Étienne, Carlton, Samuel, Finn.

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    Quincy has the greatest set of army men. Way too cool.

  • Our Varsity Freshman

    The Jacket Arrived!
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    I never got a letter jacket at Shawnee Mission East. I earned a letter, just never got the jacket. Veronica worked hard and earned this one. Those chilly walks to and from school will be a little more comfortable and very fashionable.

January 4, 2015

  • Katsu Don w/Carl

    Carl worked on his Japanese all winter break. For extra credit, Carl cooked an authentic Japanese dish. We went all out on this one and made our favorite Katsudon. Veronica stepped up to the challenge and documented the whole process. Enjoy.

December 28, 2014

  • Boeing 767-2C First Flight

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    Sunday began with a light rain and sunbreaks. Families of Boeing employees gathered atop the Museum of Flight for the 9 AM fight. We arrived at 8 when the gates opened so it took some constitution to brave the cold. This was Cousin Jane’s first viewing of a first flight. Some guests dressed up for the event.

    The 767-2C designation applies to this variant of the Boeing 767-200 used by the airlines. This particular plane is tail number 001. Right now it is going through FAA certification. It will become a KC-46 after military certification.

    Plane spotters lined the public road leading up to the airfield.

    Plane spotters lined the public road leading up to the airfield.


    The plane completed taxi tests the day before. Today was all about a VIP reception and first flight. The executives and military brass viewed the airplane before engine start. Then the plane taxied to the North end of the runway and afforded this great view.
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    A slow turn to the South got the plane into position for a take-off to the North. Boeing piped the tower radio so we could hear the pilots as they prepared for flight. The spotter planes get into position and all was ready. With a short fuel load and a light equipment, the roll was very short. Veronica made a fantastic video.

    I caught these images with my 600mm lens. The plane took off towards us and offered fantastic views for the public.
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    Here, the chase plane (Lockheed T-33A Shooting Star) joins up for an external inspection.
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    The plan flew down to Boeing Field where it will continue its testing and certification process. I hope to see it there on my next bike ride around the lake. If you drive I-5 South of Seattle, look for the plane on the West side of the freeway.

December 26, 2014

  • Carl rides to Alki Lighthouse

    Carl and I took another spin on the tandem with my cycling buddies last week. I track all our rides on Strava so you can get all the details.

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    Every time I ride the tandem I think I should ride it more. At the slightest clear streatch of road, Carl and I put the hammer down and took off. We hit 35 mph on one pull. The rain was light and I did not have a fender on the back. My friends are getting a little tired of fighting the spray off my wheel. Our wet weather gear worked great and we completed the two hour ride warm and dry. Go Carl!

November 29, 2014

  • Thanksgiving in the PNW

    This post starts with Veronica's new Macbook Pro. She worked hard babysitting for about one year saving her earnings. Several family members including Grandpa Frank helped some too.
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    Well done Veronica, you earned it.

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    Thanksgiving began with mussels topped with a roasted red pepper and saffron mayonnaise. With the great local Penn Cove mussels, we are trying new recipes. This is a keeper, next time we will get the kids to prep and debeard the mussels.

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    This is our mushroom bread pudding. Judy got this recipe from Shroom by Becky Selengut. This dish topped the favorite list for the day. The richness and earthiness are not shy in this dish. The dish is designed with exotic beech mushrooms but works equally well with fresh buttons.

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    Jane hosted Étienne for a sleepover earlier in the week and brought him home for our Thanksgiving dinner. They got in piano practice, hikes, and shopped for new shoes. Thank you Jane.

    We roasted a fresh free range bird and the brine worked perfect. The bird remained moist and was not overly salty. Unlike Wichita, my turkey roaster fits in the oven at this house. In fact, this was the first time I used both kitchen ovens and the gas oven in the basement kitchen. I was in cooking bliss.

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    Judy baked two beautiful pies for the occasion. Veronica made the lattice crust on the cherry but it was the Best Ever Pumpkin Pie from Classic Home Desserts that stole the show. We all ate our fill and will continue to enjoy the flavorful leftovers for days to come.

  • Snow!

    Our first snow of the season. Friday I rode my 130 km challenge. The ride started with 50 degree temperatures and ended at 34. I expected snowflakes that last 10 miles. Both gloves and booties sloshed with water. I estimate at least two cups of water hitched a ride with me. I finished with hands so cold I could not even remove my gear. You can see my ride on Strava. In the end, I met my goal. Thank you family for supporting me.

    Watching the weather Friday, we expected snow in the forcast. Sure enough, we awoke to about an inch.
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    It does not happen often but always proves to be beautiful. We love the sense of silence and serenity the snow brings...until the boys get at it.
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    They eagerly built a snowman and enjoyed the fluffy blanket of peace. We were also treated to a young hummer sampling the nectar I refreshed yesterday.
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    This was a tricky picture, every time I approached the kitchen window to snap a pic, the bird flew away. I finally set the Nikon on a tripod and got out my wireless remote. Judy snapped this picture. As the bird was sitting on the feeder, the wind picked up and twirled the whole feeder, with bird, around. Another beautiful day in the Pacific Northwest.

November 19, 2014

  • Junior Olympics

    Last Saturday, Veronica ran in the USATF Pacific Northwest Association Junior Olympic championships. This race is always held at the Rain City Flyer's home course at Woodland Park, and for the past two years Veronica has qualified to advance to the Regional championships.

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    There were 60 girls in her category, and the top 35 advance to the Regionals, this year also at Woodland Park. Veronica came in 19th, and both the Rain City A & B teams qualified as well. So this Saturday Veronica will be running the Regional XIII championships for the 3rd year in a row. Her friend Emma qualified with the RCF team. Go Roni and Emma!

    Coach Bob from Ballard HS came out last Saturday to cheer her on, so in honor of the Beaver's record-setting 2014 season, here are some great videos a XC parent made and aired at the end-of-season banquet.

    BHS XC 2014 Season

    The Road to State

November 9, 2014

  • State XC Meet

    Yesterday was the Washington State High School cross-country meet. Both the boy's and girl's teams from Ballard HS qualified for state, the girl's team for the first time ever in BHS's 100+ year history. Veronica is the only freshman on the Varsity girl's team, and she is one of the seven runners (there are also two alternates.)

    This year's meet was in Pasco, at the Sun Willows golf course. The teams left early Friday morning from BHS, since it is a four-hour drive and they needed to walk the course.
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    (Top Right) Note to Elliot's parents and teacher: That is his Chemistry book in the background. Good job Elliot.

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    Steve drove up Saturday morning to take pictures.

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    The BHS Girls Varsity squad is looking good. My favorite part is when they run between all the team tents during their warm-up. With their sharp black uniforms, I think they are intimidating all the other squads.

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    The girls ran at 12:30, and Veronica had a new PR of 20:16! She was the 4th finisher of the Ballard HS team (she has consistently been 6th finisher in previous meets) and the 12th finisher of all freshman 3A girls. Here is a complete list of all the pictures from the meet.

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    BHS girls took 4th place on their first trip to state! Everyone is very proud of them, including Principal Wynkoop (he is a 3rd-generation BHS alum as well!)

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    The BHS boys were also successful, taking 10th place in the state. Go Beavers!

November 4, 2014

  • Qualifying for State

    Thursday proved to be very wet and rainy. Runners ran with the longest spikes to gain any traction possible on this treacherous course.
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    The Sea-King District 3A Championship Cross Country Meet would decide which schools would go on to compete in State. Our girl, Veronica, ran in the sixth slot of seven on the Ballard High School Varsity Cross Country team.

    The Varsity Men ran first.
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    The first turn is not only muddy but the field of about 90 runners choke down to an eight foot wide path. I learned from previous races on this course to stand well back and off the race course or risk getting run over.

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    The men's team finished 5th, qualifying them for state. Go Ballard! His shirt shows how hard they worked along the course.

    For the girls race, I positioned myself to get a few shots near the middle of the run.
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    This is the first short hill the runners encounter. I like this sequence because it shows Veronica stealing a glimpse of her father in the last shot! (enlarge the picture and you can see her eyes darting to her right)

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    On this downhill section one runner fails to negotiate the turn. Veronica makes it through without incident.

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    This final picture summarizes the whole day. My Nikon D90 was not quite as quick as I needed it to be. Too many shots either did not actuate the shutter or focus where I wanted them to. Today was wet, muddy, and difficult to get the action shots I wanted. The story here is the clock on the right. Veronica's personal record for 5k is 20 minutes and 25 seconds. Today she crossed the line (that is her blonde hair in the center) at 20:52. Although this was her slowest time of the season, all her times fell within 25 seconds of each other. The back story is that she finished 6th on her team of 7. The coach pulled me aside after the race to explain that Ballard High and Garfield High actually tied for second place. After scoring the top five finishers on each team they both had a score of 113. That means the officials look at the finishing place of the 6th place runner (Veronica). That was enough to put Ballard ahead. Follow this link to see the complete results. Here is an article in the local paper mentioning Veronica.