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!

April 6, 2015

  • Easter

    We have been so busy, it's been awhile since the last blog post! Holy Week was also very busy, we had a visit from SIL Erin and nieces Charlotte & Meghan. That afternoon was a Kansas-like storm, with thunder, lightning, and pea-sized hail... we must have had half an inch!
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    Veronica was acolyte on Good Friday, then Saturday was very busy. Étienne had his musical practice in the morning, so he was not able to go to the Loyal Heights egg hunt. :-( I did manage to finish the Easter garland I have been working on, and we dyed eggs that afternoon.
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    Ballard First Lutheran has an Easter Vigil, which I always enjoy, complete with the new Easter bonfire in the courtyard and candlelight processional into the dark church. I had volunteered our family to do a skit for the lessons part of the service, and we did the story of Jonah with Carl playing Jonah and Étienne playing God. There was strawberry shortcake, sparkling juice & champagne after the service!

    Since Carl is in middle school now, he gets to help with the Easter breakfast Sunday morning. The service started with the Sunday School children singing. Veronica declined to acolyte because she did not want to wear a robe over her new dress!
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    Happy Easter!
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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