March 21, 2015

  • Happy Birthday Bach

    Written by Veronica:

    After a cloudy and rainy morning at track practice it finally cleared up around noon and Dad and I rode our bikes over to Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church. Today is Bach's 330th birthday and in honor of it the Seattle Violoncello Society hosted the Bach Suite Marathon at Phinney Ridge. One by one, cellists went up and played a movement from Bach's Six Suites for Solo Violoncello. Dad and I stayed for Suite #2 in D minor and Suite #5 in C minor.

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    All of the cellists have hard cases for their cellos in a variety of colors. I told Dad that all of the REAL cellists have one so I need to get one too.

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    My cello teacher, Chuck Jacot, performed the Sarabande and the Gavottes from Suite #5 in C minor.

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    Good job to all the cellists who performed!

  • HIMS Band Concert

    Thursday was the second band concert at HIMS. Carl practiced hard and made first chair!

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    The evening program.

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    There were four groups and each played two pieces.

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    Carl looks sharp in his tux shirt and bow tie. That is a genuine smile from our musician.

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    Tonight, Étienne and cousin Jane joined us. Veronica was off at her first track meet. It is nice to hear the hours of practice pay off with a beautiful concert.

    The following night, Friday, Carl attended his first school dance. We have not taken any dance lessons but I do try to listen to great dance music. Sure enough, Carl said they played a particular song I have been talking about. At my first middle school dance, the band played a little Bachman-Turner Overdrive (BTO) "Takin' Care Of Business"! Glad to hear today's kids are well versed in good music.

March 1, 2015

  • Master Piano Class: Happy Birthday Chopin

    Today was Étienne's big day. That is a 9 foot Steinway & Sons Concert Piano day. His piano teacher Angelo Rondello, invited Étienne to a master class with Jonathan Levin. What a treat. At 11 AM we entered Steinway & Sons new showroom right across the street from Benaroya Hall. What magnificant instruments.

    Hay grandparents! I talked to the manager Gary Finkelstein. He has realtors on standby if one of your grandchildren suddenly comes into ownership of one of these instruments. We really like the 7 foot size!!!

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    Here are Angelo's students with Jonathan

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    Angelo getting Étienne set up to play, Jonathan instructing Étienne.

    What a fun and exciting day. Each student worked through their nerves and put on a great performance. My favorite moment was this very proud father making a video and cracking up as his pianist "discuses" the meaning of the dynamic marks on the page with Jonathan.
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    Every parent there made this a special hour. Each student got a chance to show their love of music and get heartfelt feedback from Jonathan. I hope you follow the links to both Jonathan's and Angelo's web pages. Both of them have fanned the flame of music in these students.

    For the record, here is Étienne's performance and evaluation:

February 28, 2015

  • Carl's 12th Birthday

    Yesterday was Carlton's 12th birthday. Carl's birthday has the most baggage around it, since we moved from Huntington Beach to Wichita six weeks after he was born, then two days before his 2nd birthday the BTK serial killer was arrested. This person was the presidnet of our church, so on Carl's 2nd birthday (Sunday) was a huge media storm. Yesterday was much, much, much better.

    Veronica's fiddle group had booked a gig to play for the Hamilton Middle School orchestra retreat on Vashon Island. (This is the middle school that Carl attends, but he is in band, not orchestra.) Steve volunteered to drive and he left early to catch the Friday evening ferry, so I stayed home with the boys. Carl wanted a sleepover.

    First, we took the traditional mother-child birthday picture.
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    Carl and his friends ate pizza, watched movies, and opened presents. Carl requested a black-and-blue berry cobbler rather than a cake.
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    Meanwhile, Veronica was playing with her fiddle group.
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    Steve enjoyed watching the middle schoolers learn to square dance!

    Veronica and Steve were back home by 10 PM, we let the boys watch movies and made them blueberry pancakes for breakfast. Happy 12th birthday, Carl!

February 23, 2015

  • Chilly Hilly 2015

    https://www.strava.com/activities/258705132

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    Sunday, Kevin, Erin and I rode the 32 miles and 2,400 feet of elevation gain that defines the Chilly Hilly on Bainbridge Island. We rode to the ride. The Seattle ferry terminal is seven miles from our homes. We bundled up and enjoyed calm roads to the ferry.

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    The 8:45 AM ferry was dedicated to bikes. We rode onto the ferry and laid them flat for the short trip. Here we warmed up, checked our number bibs and used the restroom before docking where the actual ride started. The atmosphere aboard the ferry was very light, fun, and party like. I did not see any of my Crush Kids Cancer group but the passenger deck was packed.

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    Erin and Steve climbing one of the hills. Steve Showing Off.

    The ride was very crowded for the first ten miles. Riders were very courteous throughout the route. We often occupied the full width of the lane or road. Locals cheered us on and set up cookie stands at their driveways. I stopped for one and was not allowed to pay. The homemade chocolate chip macadamia nut cookie really hit the spot. We rode without a single mechanical or incident. In fact, the only injury I know of involved a tree trimmer and his chain saw thirty feet up a tree. He was calm enough to alert his coworkers of an injury, and he did not fall out of the tree. I hope he is ok.

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    After the ride we enjoyed a brew before heading down to the return ferry. There were so many bikes we did not fit on the first one. After a forty minute wait, we made the second. Our total ride was 48 miles and over 3,000 feet of climbing. This was Kevin's second Chilly Hilly and he really shined on the ascents. Erin, riding her first organized ride can proudly say she did not drive to the ride and never walked her bike up any of the cat 5 hills. What a great ride, thanks friends.

February 16, 2015

  • Busking at the Ballard Farmer Market

    I am out riding a very windy 60 mile ride around Lake Washington and I get this text from Judy:
    Veronica busking at farmer's market.
    Being the bad speller I am, I did not even try to decipher the msg. I came home to this picture.
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    Sure enough, Veronica played for two and a half hours with classmates in her fiddle group. After splitting the donations, she came home with $47. Good busking.

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 take-off. 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.