March 2023 Part I

Click here or on the photo above for more pictures from the first have of March 2023

KrisDi and I had a date night. A tiny local 21+ movie theater took over the space that used to be the Issaquah Brewhouse. They were showing the Big Lebowski, so of course we had to go. We drank White Russians and had a good time.

My birthday happened. Except that I worked on my birthday, and had a business dinner that night. HB dropped by and gave me a bottle of Scotch and some beer, KrisDi made me a birthday cake (caramel pecan apple cheesecake pie). On St. Patrick’s Day, we went out for a more birthday-like day, visiting breweries (including a brewery/pie place called Pies & Pints). KrisDi got a green beer at The Beer Junction. It was a good day.

I accidentally completed an online beer trade on BeerAdvocate. Someone in Ohio noticed me complaining about the dearth of hoppy red ales, and offered to send me some when his local version came out — it was really good. I sent him some stuff back.

Random stuff:

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February 2023 Part III

Click here or on the goofball above for more photos

We went to Florida after JTF. We flew home, stayed the night, and flew out again. This was mostly because the flight path from Sacramento to Florida included a really long layover in Seattle anyway, so we just stayed the night and only had to be packed for one trip at a time. It meant lots of travel, which is of course tiring.

This was the first time we’ve seen these grandparents since before the pandemic (right after my back surgery, actually).

We didn’t have much of an agenda. We wanted to relax and not have an agenda. So, we spent most of our time in the pool. We got some interesting beer to supplement Dad’s collection of Corona. I got to drink a lot of Two Hearted, a Bell’s beer that I really like but rarely get because it wasn’t distributed in Washington. That has changed since — I can now get the “bum IPA” version of it at the grocery store, which is pretty exciting.

We visited Busch Gardens. Last time I was there, Leedle Brudda and I got into a big fight and embarrassed Dad, but that was close to thirty years ago. I remember rides and general theme-parkiness, but I didn’t remember there were also zoo-like animal exhibits. I brought the camera and the big lens to play with while we were there. I think the kid in the green t-shirt that looks miserable in this photo stumbled off the ride and threw up in front of me.

Dad bought Chilkat a cake from a Publix baker for her birthday. We went out for lunch right by a “marina” (maybe “marine dump” is more accurate — lots of detritus from hurricane Ian have been left to rot.

I got to take some pictures of a bald eagle eating a rabbit it killed. Ahhh, nature!

Dad and I went out kayaking for a short period in his weird pedal-powered kayaks. We tried to go through channels in the mangroves, but the tide was low and there was still a bunch of chaos from the hurricanes. We were blocked and had to turn around. We saw lots of birds, no gators.

Stormy, the new dog, has a tongue that doesn’t fit in his mouth. It’s ridiculous. But, we never saw the tongue at rest any further into his mouth than what you see in this photo.

Peggy found a table she wanted on Craigslist; she and Dad and I drove to Fort Myers to check it out and pick it up. On our way back, we stopped at a weird little brewery named “Tubby Pig.” It was a memorable stop because:

  • It’s a tiny little brewpub. Looks like a standard dive bar type of place.
  • Menu is a confused combination of Thai and BBQ (including pulled pork wontons) (background info: I am a HUGE proponent of wacky, unexpected fusion food)
  • Owner/brewer is a decrepit old man who sounds hoarse like a retired navy Master Chief (I’ve known those guys). Top speed appears to be 1.5 miles per hour when in a rush. Not sure how, but he appears to have recently nearly lost an ear, based on the terrible, unbandaged wound
  • They seemed surprised when I actually ordered their beer (and he had to go back into the brewing area to pour it, it wasn’t on one of the taps at the bar)
  • I asked the dude how long he’s been brewing, and he started rambling about the civil war. Never got a straight answer.
  • I had the “helles bock” (maybe was a reasonable attempt at a weizenbock), the guy told me he brewed it last May.
  • He was the epitome of the “thinks he’s funny” old dude — acted like I was a sketchy underage youngster trying to scam a beer (I’m a 40+ bearded guy, with my dad and stepmom in their 70s), joked about buying my stepmom from my dad (“Do you have work for me?” “Oh honey, you wouldn’t have to work…oh, I’m glad she [Thai wife standing three feet away] didn’t hear that”) and about her being my sister
  • Thai wife/co-owner/chef(?) rambled on about her daughter in real estate and how she’s in a bad neighborhood where people were shot in a drive-by recently and how hard it was to find employees (and do we know anyone who wants to be a cook or a server or a bartender?), and how coconut milk has gone up to $3+ a can…
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February 2023 Part II

We made our Valentine lasagna and it was delicious. I don’t even remember now whether or not we succeeded in making the mozzarella or if we had to fall back to store-bought.

JTF was the big thing. JTF, as I’m sure the entire world recalls, is the Junior Theater Festival, which we attend in Sacramento. For us, it involves a subset of the normal theater group, designated as the “travel team,” working on 15 minute version of whatever the fall play was, to be done without costumes and with only one prop in front of “adjudicators,” who are actual theater professionals, who evaluate and provide feedback. I didn’t get to see Seussical in the fall because I was in Japan, but the JTF performance was amazing.

Chilkoot ran around getting random (and some actual Broadway famous) autographs, and we learned an interesting thing about him: People of all ages like hanging out with him. He spent most of his time with the 14-16 year old girls. I think he’s been the background on all their phones for a while now.

On the last day, we had another Chilkat birthday party with the travel team in a hotel room. I walked to a local baker and bought a chocolate cake that we shared with everyone.

We had dinner at a couple local breweries and beer places (KrisDi got to organize a lot of the dinners, which I think is luckier for her than for me). In at least one case, we went to Sacrament Brewing for lunch (I think it was our second visit of the trip), almost out of desperation. The first couple places we tried were packed with other JTF people, and apparently not everyone is as comfortable taking their kids to breweries as we are, so this place wasn’t super crowded. Despite our chaos (a dozen kids and eight-ish parents spread across four or five tables, mixing checks between the tables, the servers got our orders right and our checks right. I was impressed.

At the end of JTF, we flew home, only to fly out again the next day, which will be covered in the next belated post.

Random stuff

  • Kids did the “two short people in a trenchcoat equals an adult” thing which was pretty hilarious
  • Chilkat drew a cat based on a “how to draw cats” book from Ma
  • The three dads on the JTF trip were walking back to the group from somewhere, and the director or some of the other moms thought we looked like the “slow motion serious group walk” movie trope (see this example from The Hangover), and made us reenact it for a photo and a video.
  • This “lost dog” sign was EVERYWHERE in Sacramento, like literally hundreds of these signs for this hideous, tubby, lumpy little dog that someone clearly loves. We heard that Tatty was found by the end of the weekend.
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February 2023 Part I

February was a busy month. Figures, right? I didn’t find (or make) the time to post.

Chilkat had the first of her 12th birthday parties — the one with family members. KrisDi made a cat-themed cake, KrisDi’s side of the family visited, Chilkat felt upset that baby cousin D Dubs stole a lot of attention because he’s a baby and people inexplicably like babies. But I also think she was just looking for reasons to feel victimized, as she is wont to do.

I was given a new role in my company that I expect to mean more international travel. So, I decided to get one of the “trusted traveler” programs to make customs / integration easier. Global Entry requires an in-person interview, and they don’t have many locations. There was a six month lead time for SEATAC, which would have been the most convenient location, so I set up an appointment in Blaine, WA. Which gave me a chance to meet a BeerAdvocate guy for lunch and a beer, which was really nice. We ate at a Polish-themed brewery named Otherlands.

Chilkat also had her “friend” birthday party — all she wanted to do was go to paint ceramics and have dinner with her mom and her best friend. Which gave me and Chilkoot a chance to spend some time together — we went to an arcade and ate at a pizza place. And we saw a super classy 4×4.

Other stuff:

Edit: Forgot to complain about the dishwasher.

I don’t remember the exact timing, but our dishwasher stopped working. I think we might have had the power go out when it was in the middle of a cycle, and then it wouldn’t turn back on again. I decided to try and repair (it’s a nice dishwasher and only three-ish years old). I bought a circuit board for the front panel, which didn’t help. Then I got the control module…which ended up being for the wrong model. So I ordered the right one…which didn’t help. So I bought a new dishwasher — this worked.

It ended up being a stupid junction box that sparked out and burned its contacts. If I had started there, I would have fixed it in days for $20. Instead, I washed dishes by hand for at least six weeks and spent close to $1500. But P-Dubs got our old dishwasher, and we got a new one that has a single feature that I like more than the old one!

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January 2023 Part II

Click here or on the drawings above for more photos

Chilkoot got a really cool NES Lego set for Christmas, which features insertable/extractable game cartridges and a CRT TV that simulates gameplay. He finished it in January.

Chilkat is getting more sophisticated in her attempts to drag out her murder of houseplants. She now has IR lights to supplant sunlight.

We actually had Japanese business people visit us this January for our “kickoff week” this year — of course this hasn’t happened the last few years for some reason. My former boss, a Chinese guy who has spent a lot of time in Japan and USA, often organizes big dinners at local Chinese restaurants, and he did so for our guests this time. I thought this sign on their window was amusing.

Chilkoot’s Scouts troop had their Pinewood Derby. He didn’t win, but he did pretty well.

Chilkoot now has a relatively large collection of Funko Pops. He and Chilkat also have red and green varieties of Banana Man.

It snowed again.

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