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.

  • Latter that Day...

    After a hot shower and change of clothes, Veronica was off to her second function of the day, Orchestra. She had double billing with both Orchestra and the Fiddle Group.

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    The fiddle group plays without music and is encouraged to improvise. Ask Veronica about it, she can describe it in much more detail. In February they have a square dance gig. Perhaps grandmother Nancy will come give it a twirl!

    What do you think? Veronica is dusting off the banjo and may be picking at the next performance.

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    They played to a big house, the Whitman Middle School orchestra is sitting on the right of the picture. Veronica remembered most of the students and was sure to say hi after the concert.

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    It was a great performance and perfect finish to what started as a mud run.

October 21, 2014

  • All Hallows' Eve Decoration

    Each year we hang a few decorations to celebrate the season. This week Judy got busy after work and got The Burrow PNW in the mood.

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    Our front door stoop greets you with a few haunts. We will carve the pumpkins soon.

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    Here is the close up. Watch Out!

October 11, 2014

  • Cross Country Étienne

    Today Étienne ran his third cross country meet:

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    Flying Feet Cross Country Invitational

    Each meet he is more determined and setting personal records. Todays meet was through the beautiful grounds of Wilburton Hill Park, Bellevue, WA. This setting reminds us all that the Seattle metropolitan area is labeled The Emerald City. The lush green grassy fields framed deep woods and manicured sports fields. A true delight for all the runners and spectators.

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    Étienne cheers on the 6 and under race before his.

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    The start and climb located at about 1k into the race. The runners make a loop and climb this hill twice.

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    These three are to be read right to left. Étienne approaches the final turn, runs the home stretch, and crosses the finish line.

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    Étienne place in the final points position, we are all very proud of his achievement.

  • Carl Goes Sailing

    We have a three day weekend and Carl got an invite to sail with our good friends the Weinerts. Dylan is a classmate from last year but attends a different middle school this year. During this three day cruise, the father sent me a few posts:
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    The adventure began with a proper barefoot cruise. A romp through the forest soon followed.

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    The left picture is my clear favorite. That must be the sailboat in the background. That picture says to me, "Fun with My Friend". Thank you Weinert family, I cant believe Dylan's mom took on a three day cruise with five boys.

August 24, 2014

  • Mudatation

    Carl explains what is really going on in the picture below. The counselor, Gabe, saw the photo lady approaching and gathered up Carl and Jack (Jack is on the left in the picture) for this quick pose. "Carl, Jack, quick, lets muditate!!" As it turns out, Carl was not thinking of a perfectly cooked bone in rib eye. He tells me that giant lollipops were on his mind.

    After the mud-fest, the campers normally jump into the Sound to wash off. On this day, the kids were about to hit the showers instead. The counselors said, "No way, you will clog the drain with mud!" So the staff set to washing the group with a hose. After much complaining and bitter cold, the group finally hit the showers and clogged the drains with mud.

    Today I must have cleaned a teaspoon of soil from each ear of the boys. I felt bad digging out dirt and rocks with a cotton swab but there was just so much! Perhaps after a week of tub soaks and showers we will get the dirt out. At least the odor does not make my eyes water anymore.

    We love having the boys home again.