This evening, we went to Dairy Queen (tradition!) and enjoyed some hot fudge sundaes. Thom ordered a regular one, Julian followed suit, and then I ordered one with chocolate ice cream. Julian looked up in surprise. “You can get chocolate?” Of course! He quickly changed his order.

The woman at the counter turned to the other woman working there and asked, “Do we have enough chocolate ice cream?” The answer: “Yeah there’s, like, a bag and a half in the back.”

Whoa. If there’s one thing I won’t want to hear in the same sentence as any kind of food, it’s how many bags of it there are in the back. Julian and I decided we’re pretty much scarred from this incident, and not sure if we can eat at Dairy Queen again knowing there are bags of… something… that becomes the delicious concoction that oozes out of the machinery.

Still, you can’t argue with hot fudge…


Day Three of my trip to visit Thom was spent in the Snoqualmie National Forest up near the pass. We went snowshoeing. It was a little nippy when we started out, but the sun managed to peek through the clouds and warm things up by mid-afternoon. It was a beautiful day and we had a great hike.

Everything was buried under a lot of snow, making the entire area seem like some kind of winter wonderland. With nothing but white snow, dark trees, and black rocks, the world was monochromatic.

I loved the deep mounds of pristine snow.

We spent a while wandering around. There weren’t any clear trails, so we followed some ski tracks and other snowshoeing paths, occasionally trailblazing a bit through the powder. The scenery was amazing.

So much snow! I loved it.


Thom and Julian learned how to ski this winter, so I came up to Washington for a nice weekend with them. We headed up to Crystal Mountain resort and had a great time skiing.

The only problem with skiing photos is unless you’re mid-air or making a crazy turn throwing snow everywhere, you look like you’re standing still. Here’s Thom:

And Julian:

Here they are on the lift:

Julian has a GoPro camera and used it all day. Pretty much every time we got off the lift to start a new run, he was fiddling with it and mounting it somewhere else on his body or pole.

We watched the videos that night– fun stuff.

On the way home, Julian was beat. He crashed in the back seat.

We stopped for dinner at– where else?– the Hut.

It was a great time, and for once I didn’t feel like I had to struggle to keep up with my little brother. Of course, within a year or two he’ll be a much better skiier than me…


Last weekend I helped our friend Kathryn move out of her house into some storage pods. She couldn’t move immediately into her new house because she was waiting to close on it, so she had to store all of her stuff in two huge metal pods on the street. She didn’t want the piano outside, so we agreed to keep it in our house for a few days until the second move.

So it’s sitting in our kitchen now (for lack of a better place) and Laralee and Kyra have really enjoyed banging on it. Every few years Laralee tells me she’d like to get a piano, and now she’s back on that bandwagon. I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to resist. After all, I gave in on the rats…


Last week Kyra was performing in a concert at Skyline High School, and the band director announced that a group called Face would be performing tonight as a fundraiser for the music department. All ticket proceeds would be donated to the school. Face is an acapella group of six men; it sounded interesting so Laralee and I bought tickets. Kyra brought three of her friends.

It was really pretty cool. They performed maybe fifteen songs, ranging from a Gregorian chant of “Let It Be” to songs by Aerosmith and Linkin Park. One of them, Mark, was amazing because he provided most of the percussion. He did a solo and if I’d had my eyes closed I would’ve sworn it was a full percussion ensemble on stage.

I saw my friend Paul there; he said he and his wife first saw Face six years ago and have been groupies ever since. They go to as many of the shows as they can. Since Face is a local group from Boulder, they play mostly in the Denver area.

Now I’m a fan, and I suspect we’ll be going to their next concert in or around Longmont.


Zack got glasses today.

We’ve known for a while his vision was a little blurry, but he was able to get by. Laralee took him in for an eye exam a couple of weeks ago, and he’s roughly 20/40 (compared to my 20/500 or whatever). So he picked out some glasses, and they were finished today.

Strangely, he’s really excited about them. I remember when I first got glasses that I was mortally embarrassed about them. I refused to wear them in public, even though my vision was atrocious. I’d squint and use all sorts of tricks to avoid wearing them, but in the end there’s something about being able to see clearly.

I suppose it’s good that he likes them, because with his stubborn streak it would be a constant battle to get him to wear them if he wasn’t interested. I just hope he doesn’t get grief from his friends, since peer pressure holds a lot of sway at his age.


In 1989 my high school sponsored a math contest. It was called “Three Threes” and the rules were quite simple: write down mathematic expressions using three– and only three– number 3’s to derive all whole numbers from 1 to 100. Any math operators could be used in any combination, but no other numbers were allowed. For example, the number 6 could be represented with three 3’s as

3 x 3 – 3 = 6

It seems simple at first blush, and in fact the first few numbers end up being a breeze. But what about 47? Or 82? It gets tricky very quickly.

Being the math nerds we were, Bech and I both entered the contest. I don’t know if anyone else in the entire school entered, but it didn’t really matter. We were only interested in beating each other. We had several weeks to come up with our solutions, and I remember sitting in various classes puzzling through different combinations to come up with representations for stuff like 55 and 94 and whatever. It was hard. But both of us were very competitive and very determined.

In the end, I was crowned the victor. Bech actually would have beat me, but on his final answer sheet he’d mis-copied one of his answers and I ended up winning by one. I don’t remember the final tally exactly, but I think I was able to solve around 85 of the 100 numbers. He had 84.

I won a $50 U.S. government savings bond, which I think is still tucked away somewhere in the basement. Hey, that was big money in 1989!

Anyway, a few weeks ago I challenged Bech to a rematch. Once again, we’d write down as many expressions with three 3’s as we could, and on March 30 we’ll compare answers to see who’s the biggest math nerd. I’ve been working sort of on and off on this, but time is marching on and I need to get cracking. My pride is at stake here…