Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My other car is a Zamboni.

Our neighbor Ian (#8) played his last game of summer league hockey last night in Kingsgate. Our friend Sarah learned this at Ken's party Saturday and enthusiastically signed up for the cheering section. As a former player and the fact that she and Mika live 5 minutes from the ice rink, was there any other place we would be going last night? Though we were the only spectators besides Ian's wife and the goalie's girlfriend, we sat blissfully under heat lamps, eating Fig Newtons and marveling at how those guys stay upright on skates. Afterwards we headed over to the Carribean Casino, where we had (very cheap) drinks and decided we must go back there again soon, if only for the atmosphere, the purple drinks and 80's-riffic music selection. My brother, Austin has been playing hockey for about 2 years up in Pullman and it's a very intense sport to be sure. Lots of stinky gear and padding. But I hope to see a game of his at some point.
Yah for Ian and his team of dark shirts!

Penalty Box Time for High Sticking

Sarah sez, that's hers. Picture slide show of the evening:

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ballard Basement Band

With Ken's new drum kit, Dave's "skillz" of quickly learning guitar tablatures and my having taken a handful of singing lessons last year---well it pretty much qualified us to spend an insane amount of time covering songs over the last few days. Here are the two best bits that came out of it. Being a rock star is hard work.

"Wave of Mutilation--Pixies cover"




"Pork and Beans--Weezer cover"

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Ken's Birthday Rocked

There are important moments in one's life which deserve, nay, demand observance and celebration. One of these precious moments is turning 40. So it should come to no surprise that we whooped it up on Saturday with many of our nearest and dearest to segue Mr. Ken from the thrilling thirties to the fabulous forties. We also recognized a few friends who also turned the big 4-0 this year. Amy, Tim, Dave...I'm looking at you.

But before the big blowout, we gave Ken his birthday present. Here's the story:

Over the years, Ken has expressed an interest in having a drum kit in the house but it just didn't make sense due to how much noise they make. That is, until I saw this in a magazine when I was flying down to see Heather in May. It seemed to be the perfect solution: he could get the drum set experience, use headphones when necessary, have a huge pool of different sounds and use a computer (MIDI) input/output with it. So I put it out to the families and there was an enthusiastic response since Ken is one of the hardest people to get gifts for, and especially on a significant milestone like this, we all wanted it to be special.

After talking to a few music stores about what set was most appropriate, I put his on layaway and made arrangements to have Dad & Austin help me pick it up the day before the party. We picked it up around 3:30p on Friday, knowing that Ken would be home around 5p. We rushed home so that Dad and Austin could put it together. Two weeks prior, I had separately ordered/received a monitor (speaker) for the drum set but it was so big, I couldn't hide it or keep it at work. I asked our neighbors across the street to harbor it for awhile and also the day before the party I fetched it. While Austin and Dad put it together, I watched the door since Ken wasn't answering his cell phone. They got it put together and working just in time. When Ken arrived home, we told him explicitly not to go down into the basement.

But I knew that keeping him out of the basement all night and the next day until the party was not going to be practical due to all the prep. So when Dave finally arrived in from the East Coast Friday night, I handed Ken a wrapped set of drumsticks and a card and this video takes it from there. Behold the raucous delight. (There is some use of exuberant strong language, be warned.)

The party could not have happened without the contributions of Dad, Austin and Dave. We had over 50 people here and with the added decorating touches for a birthday we were prepping up to an hour prior to the party. Despite that, I underestimated how much soda we'd need and had to make a run to the market midway through the party so now we have enough to hold us through the next BBQ season.

Scenes from the party: Dad, A.K.A. Iron Chef Sakai, prepares for grilling duty. A festively notable fruit side dish by Sarah & Mika among the potluck side dishes brought by our guests. Preparing to sing and eat cake. Rocking out in the basement. Birthday boy with his #1 fan. As the roving reporter and historian, I spoke with our guests and in the process unearthed some facts about barnacles: (You may recognize Sarah from her own amazing birthday celebration, documented HERE and HERE.) Slideshow of all the pictures from the day:

Thanks to everyone who came out and made it so memorable.

Happy Birthday to my sweet one!

My Family of Leo Birthdays

So also a shout out to my mother who turned 60 yesterday, the same day my husband turned 40. Heard she had a fabulous day/dinner celebration. We are sad that we were not able to be there but glad everyone had a great time.
And to my dad who turned--guess how old--today.

Friday, July 18, 2008

More about the Coast Trip

The trip to the coast was a blend of the old and new. Since our grandparents used to make an annual event of going to Seaside when we where young, being there with my cousin, brother & mom seemed quite familiar. But as I've gotten older, trips to the beach are now about getting away from things and relaxing as opposed to trips in my youth which were about thrill-seeking and keeping busy at all times. Mom and Cindy rented a good sized house with an amazing view of the Manzanita Beach. It was situated on top of a cliff that afforded spectacular views but more difficult beach access. Also in Manzanita there is a homemade pie shop. Have you ever seen such a thing? It's right off 101 as you come into Manzanita. Unbelievable homemade pies with the fresh fruits of the area and season. We had 2 nights of it. So good. There was no shortage of food and each person, or couple set, took turns cooking the major meals. In the evenings we played games or watched a DVD. The weather was incredible--especially for the Oregon Coast with 4 days of sustained sun and higher temps. But poor Austin did not have his own bedroom. He had to sleep in the living room area on his choice of a sofa or a hide-a-bed. Next time, and Mom's made it clear that the success of this trip signals a new annual tradition, they'll shoot for enough bedrooms for everyone. I notice as I get older, my tolerance for "foreign" beds is getting smaller and smaller. This trip was no exception. As we read the notes left by other visitors, bed quality was the number one complaint. I remember when all I needed was a blanket & pillow and I could set up camp on a floor anywhere. Long gone are those days. Good food, great company, awesome memories. Until next year... Cindy took many good shots during our stay at the beach. (In fact, she has a photo exhibition about Myanmar Burma starting on August 1st through 31st at Winestock, a Wine bar in Oregon City.) But here is my most favorite of her pics from the Coast trip: Does it make you laugh as it makes me laugh? Austin clearly has a new take on those picture-opp head cut-outs. Muy bueno. Some others of Cindy's...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sweet Escape

Upon seeing this, I immediate thought of this. Anybody else feeling it? Just checking.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Family Vacations Rule

These are my favorites out of my pictures from a 4-day family trip at the Oregon Coast last week. The weather was warm and the company was great. I'll write more about the trip when I get Cindy's pics up, because she got some good ones. In the meantime, I need to go to bed.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Summertime Home Improvement

Inside and out we are making changes! Back when we remodeled the kitchen, we had our designer imagine some updates to our living and dining room. Mostly that was paint color recommendations and moving some stuff around. These colors, the adobe red called "Carrot Cake" and muted yellow called "Coin Purse" (who names these things?), are in the palettes of what she suggested but not the exact colors. The original "red" was a bit too orangy and since our bedroom is already orange, we wanted to get a bit farther away from it. But back in early April we were thoroughly spent by the kitchen activities so we waited a few months to take up the project again. Invigorated by use of a much more efficient kitchen and missing chaotic piles o' sh*t stacked in the living room, we decided to delve back in. Prior to leaving for the East Coast we called our favorite painters C&C Painting Company and scheduled them to come over when we returned. What a wonderful job they did! I think we'll be spend our 4th of July moving things around and figuring out the new arrangement. Which is totally fine with me because it's supposed to rain. And because we like to "multi-task" so much, on the outside we are finishing what we started. Two years ago we had two sides of our house and our chimney tuckpointed. It was a dirty endeavor but very important. All I have to say is that this needs to be finished in time for our BBQ at the end of the month.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Week in the East

Lest we forget that prior to the weddings, Ken and I were on the East Coast seeing family and friends. Ken was over initally for a conference in Baltimore, MD then I joined him at the end of the week. Below you will see parts of our whirlwind visit. Ken's young nephews, Sam & Ryan were staying with Ken's folks since their parents were on a cruise. We had a great time with them and were delighted at how smart and good natured they were. We played board games, went tubing out on the boat, played video games, watched Sponge Bob Square Pants, caught fireflies and ate things we shouldn't have. Dave came and visited us in Onancock too. The morning we left to go back to Baltimore, Ken created a game for the boys that involved written clues and hidden "treasure." It was very much like what my parents used to do for us on Easter. They would create a series of clues that lead to one another, with the ultimate clue leading to a basket of goodies. In this case, the boys went from clue to clue solving word or visual puzzles that Ken had made and the ultimate prize was something any kid can use: $4 each. But they seemed to really get into it and the clues were designed so that the brothers ages 8 & 10 had to work together to solve the problems. It was fun watching them figuring things out. We were told by Ken's mom that the morning after, the boys woke up and asked her if she had another treasure hunt for them planned. Sorry guys. Dan-o and Baby Hannah Also during our visit we saw our good friends the Vaslows, who recently moved from here to Maryland to be closer to their families now that they have Hannah. It was great to see them since the last time was in April. We also had lunch and hung out in Baltimore's Fells Point with Krim, Ken's artist friend. Krim is such a character as you can probably tell from the photos. He had great stories and a unique perspective that is honest and refreshing. As blogged earlier, we celebrated our 3rd anniversary over there. Ken picked out this very picturesque B&B for us to stay at in the Greenspring Valley of Maryland, near Baltimore. This house has a great deal of history in terms of the various owners and refurbishments that have been done to it. It was a lovely overnight and the swing was so picture perfect. Our 3rd Anniversary @ Gramercy Mansion Ken rocks the swing @ Gramercy Mansion In addition to all this, we saw Ken's Uncle Jack & Aunt Chris, spent quality time with Ken's Mom & Step-dad, had lunch with Aunt Mary in Washington DC, saw his brother's new house and most importantly Ken managed to keep up on his running schedule despite the constant temptation of ice cream and dounuts. I am always delighted to see the people, eat pulled pork BBQ and marvel at fireflies. Despite the fact, I lament about the mosquitos & humidity. Ah, summer on the East Coast.