Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Pillar in The Community

Happy Tuesday readers.

Though I haven't heard from many of you in my previous Movember posts, I am refusing to give up on my participation in this worthy fundraiser for Men's Health issues including Prostate Cancer research funding.

In fact, I have finally decided that now is high time for me to get serious about the spirit of the project, by sculpting my previous facial hair effort (a fine goatee) down to a very questionable looking fuzzy caterpillar mustache.

 Cropped for effect

I breifly considered NOT chopping off my chin hair because well....let's be honest, this dazzling new resident of my upper lip makes me look Creepy at best.  To those of you who would point out that I only sported the stache a few days before then end of the month, yes you have a point. 

But, I will counter that with this fact.  I was brave enough display the caterpillar on my first day here in Las Vegas.  At a work related conference.  With nearly 8000 of my colleagues, many of whom I have worked with for years, attending along side of me!  That certainly has to make up somewhat for waiting this long to pare down.

One thing that surprised me here at my conference was the paltry number of other men who were brothers in the stache department.  Maybe not many guys in my line of work know about Movember.  Of course, this fact only made me more self conscious about walking amongst the throngs with my furry lip.  And I'll have to admit I was a bit preoccupied about who was looking at me, and what they were thinking. 

For instance, I was in one conference session which was packed to the brim with well over a thousand attendees.  There weren't many chairs available and fire code wouldn't allow us to start until everyone had a seat.  The speaker then announced "Anyone with a free chair next to them raise your hand" and as soon as a hand went up a couple of rows over, the woman next to me got up and moved there.  Coincidence?  Personally, I think she was frightened by my mustache.

Given my self consciousness, when I did see another guy sporting a Selleck, or some variation there of, I was eager to make a fraternal connection with him.  I envisioned the Brotherhood of the Stache to have some sort of secret code of acknowledgement where I could give them a nod and we would instantly understand each other.  Or I could point to my stache and smile.  Perhaps they were participating in Movember too? 

That didn't go so well.

Eventually I learned that we were sharing the facility with the participants in a rather large rodeo which was coming into town soon.  That may have very well explained why I wasn't getting nods of acknowledgement in return from many of these mustached guys. 

From that point on, I decided there were a few guys whose mustaches I definitely should ignore.  They included: Guys with ponytails, guys with cowboy hats, guys with t-shirts tucked into their belted jeans, and finally guys with large silver belt buckles.  I figured most of them probably have had the caterpillar for much more than a month. 

And, just when I was questioning wisdom and timing of my actions, I ran into a former colleague of mine who had moved on to position in another state.  I explained to him that I was looking creepy only because participating in Movember.  It turns out his father had passed recently from a bout with prostate cancer.  He appreciated what I was doing, and graciously donated $200 to my Movember page!

I have to say, that instantly made all of it worth while. 

Remember readers, if you haven't already you can still donate to me or my team.  Plus, there is an exciting possibility that Phillips Norelco will match the teams donation, up to $15,000, which would put us close to the $30,000 mark. 

How awesome it that?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

All The Leaves Are Brown. And Wet.

Happy Saturday Readers. 

Since it is nearly December already, and surprisingly it wasn't raining, I figured I had better tackle the ever increasing 'leaf carpet' that used to be my back yard. Of course it has been raining recently, quite a bit actually. This is Seattle after all.

Anyway, all that rain made for mostly soggy leaves not exactly ideal for working with. Thankfully, I had the best kind of help in Lukas.

And, because I'm the dad of a 4 year old, which honestly is probably the only thing which gives me license to, I got to do THIS with him:

I wonder if I can still convince him to do this when he is a teenager.

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Kinder Shade of Purple

Apparently, the 'Purple Card' rarely gets handed out at Pre-K. 

However, recently Lukas has brought home not one, but two of them. 


These make me both happy and proud all at once. 

On this holiday weekend, I am very thankful for having such a great son.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Much Mo Menacing

Some people think that my Movember facial hair makes me look more "Menacing". 


I have No idea where they get that notion.

You are unwise to lower your defenses!

Honestly though, you DON'T want to mess with my Dark Side. 

So go right now and read my Movember post, then click on this link to donate to a very worthy cause supporting Men's health issues.

That is all.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

One Car Family

Hopefully, I'll be spending more time like this guy.

We have had the idea ever since Mrs. LIAYF took a job here in Seattle this summer, after working for the previous year in a city an hour away from home.  I say an hour away, but when you factored in commute time she had spent nearly three long hours of every day during that year navigating traffic. It was a long year for all of us.

But now things are different.  In a good way.

Now when we are at our jobs, or school, only a few city blocks separate her from Lukas and myself.  And we have taken advantage of our new found proximity by riding into the city proper together, as a family.  It affords us a great opportunity to turn off the music or the radio, and to chat about our day - be it upcoming or having just ended.  In fact just last night, on the way home, Mrs. LIAYF and I were treated to an animated story about the Superheros of the alphabet.  We made it all the way to the letter G which, by the way, was Girl Man.  Nice.

Given all that, along with my recent foray into riding to work, our proximity to a city bus line (and in no small part that we could save several hundred Washington's a month) we made the conscious decision to reduce our carbon footprint by downsizing and eliminating one of our two vehicles. 

Honestly, it's been a few weeks now and there has been absolutely no sellers remorse here.  We haven't missed the second vehicle at all.  Sure, there were a couple of times where it would have been convenient to have another set of wheels, but certainly not a necessity. 

On a side note I never realized how technically difficult it would be to sell a car to a private party when there is still a loan balance owed.  PAINFUL. Thankfully we found the perfect buyer, a retired lawyer who gave us few hassles.

Yes, I can anticipate that there will be situations which will arise in the coming weeks and months where we absolutely need the 2nd car.  That's why we also signed up for a the car rental service ZipCar.  There are several pick up locations near our home and work and we can reserve online, which we have already done once since downsizing.

We'll have to see how things play out when our second child comes along.  But for now this seems like a logical choice given our current circumstances.  Certainly not as dire as some of the scenarios that ran through my mind before selling, for NOT downsizing. 

Hopefully, it will end up being similar to our decision to ditch cable and local television a few years ago.  At that time I was so sure that was only temporary, but I didn't end up missing it much and it afforded us a lot of extra time to focus on more important things.

Plus, having the extra cash on hand every month while knowing that we are consuming less has been good for our feelings of well being in a tight economy.  I guess the real test will be how we handle that first situation where we are truly disadvantaged by not having the back up vechicle.

How about you readers?  Could you imagine a scenario where you could do without a second car?  If that came into play, would you be able to bring yourself to do it?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Gaining Late 'Mo' Mentum

Happy Saturday Readers.  For various reasons (mainly timing) I didn't initially participate in Movember this year.  Movember is a fundraiser where men all over the world grow their mustaches and other facial hair to raise awareness and funds to support men's health issues, such as prostate cancer.

However, while I am nearly always clean shaven, I have been growing my own facial hair since the beginning of the month and have decided to lend my face to the Movember cause for the rest of the 11th month.

That being said, I have joined the Dad 2.0 / Man of the House / NYC Dads Group / DadCentric / DadLabs/ team (I wasn't invited, but just crashed the party) and even created my own Movember page to accept donations to this worthy cause.  

Heck, I don't care if you donate to the team directly, or to me specifically, but if any of you decide to spare even a few of your hard earned cash dollars to this cause because I put myself out here on display, then it will be well worth the effort.

So, without further adieu, here is what my face can accomplish in about 2 weeks time when it gets serious.

Soon, food will surely find a home in there.
 Like I said, I would greatly appreciate any support you can give.  Either in the way of donations to the Movember cause, or even comments letting me know that you are familiarizing yourself more with men's health issues and the programs Movember raised funds go to support.

Have a good weekend all.  I will post more Seattledad Movember updates later in the month.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Taking a Deep Breath

I'm not sure if you could chalk it up to daylight savings time or just an extra long day at Pre-K, but Lukas was very tired and cranky last night. And, when the time came for him to go upstairs to bed, he was extremely whiny too, not wanting to cooperate at all. 

About the same time, I had to leave the house for a few minutes to try to find a post office where I could mail our election ballots. 

Upon returning a few minutes later, I could hear Lukas yelling upstairs, and could tell he was very upset, which is fairly rare for him.  Apparently he didn't want to brush his teeth or perhaps go to the bathroom, I wasn't sure. But I could also hear that Mrs. LIAYF was standing firm in her request. 

Then, when I arrived at the top of the stairs, she was telling him that his time was up, and she was going to help him out.  Something he definitely did NOT want.  But as she approached, something interesting happened.

"Wait!" he yelled.  "Wait Mommy!  I have to do something!'

"What?" she asked, clearly not in the mood to put up with much more of his attitude.  Watching what had unfolded, I didn't blame her one bit.

"I have to sing something" he explained.  Then he broke into the following song:

"Once I knew a volcano
who almost blew his top
I grabbed him by the hand and said
'Here's how you can stop'

Take a deep breath,
Count to Five
Till you feel all calm inside

(then quieter he sang)-
Take a deep breath
Count to five,
Till you feel all calm inside"

After he was done he said "I feel better now" and let out a smile.  It was amazing to watch, and I just stood there for a couple of moments in the bathroom door beaming with pride at what I had witnessed. 

Then I joined his mother in giving him a big hug.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Fling That Ended Badly

It was the wailing scream which woke Mrs. LIAYF and I abruptly on Sunday morning. 

It was 7:00AM which, when adjusting for the fact that daylight saving time had us turning back the clock on Saturday night, wasn't all that bad, time wise.  But upon hearing that plaintive scream, Mrs. LIAYF and I each sprung off the mattress instantly as if we had just hit the deck of a trampoline and were being catapulted by uncontrolled inertia towards the ceiling.

Instantly, we hit the bedroom floor and sprinted to Lukas' room.  Upon arriving we threw open the door, turned on the lights, and stared for a few moments mouths agape at the carnage that was spread out before us.

Apparently Lukas who (although he has been in underwear for over two years now) is still in overnight pull ups was a slight bit too *enthusiastic* when pulling them off after waking up.  As he described it through his sobs he "Gave them a fling". 

Well, I'm not sure what that heavily soaked pull up struck as it was flung across the room, but the result was something akin to an explosion, with various sized chunks of gooey gel balls being splattered far and wide throughout his room.

"What in the world were you thinking?!" one of us scolded him after he had been calmed and directed to sit in the cleanest corner of his room.  "I don't know" was his sullen reply.

Still groggy and in need of a cup of coffee, I found my keys and ventured out into the frosty morning to the garage to gather the shop-vac to suck up the majority of the sticky mess. During that process, Lukas couldn't maintain the frown on his face and even once pointed past Mrs. LIAYF smiling to tell her that she had "missed a spot".  But she only gave him the Mom look, the one that says this is definitely NOT funny at 7:10AM on a Sunday morning and he once again became contrite.

After I had gathered up the blankets and sheets for washing, we took him down for breakfast and had a serious talk with him about the gravity of throwing his clothes, much less his dirty pull-ups in the house. 

Then, after some hugs and a nice breakfast consisting of pancakes and scrambled eggs, which made us all feel much better, we forgot all about it. 

That is until later on that morning when Lukas had gone up to change into clothes for going out of the house.  Downstairs at the time, Mrs. LIAYF and I again heard a loud thud which sounded like something had fallen.  And, again we hurried up to his room to find out what had happened.

This time our son had fallen when climbing on a stack of books he had set on his step stool.  He was trying to reach his pajama shirt which, incidental, was way up on top of his wardrobe. It had gotten stuck up there we he flung off his shirt while getting undressed. 

After seeing that he was alright, we both had to laugh.  Oh yeah, there's never a dull moment when you're a parent.  But dull would be okay every once in a while.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Monthly 5: What I'm Enjoying in November

Drinking: Manny's Pale Ale from Georgetown Brewing, Seattle Washington.  Manny's is easily my favorite beer. You can't get it in bottles, but it's ubiquitous in Seattle area restaurants and bars for a reason.  Poured into a pint glass it's the perfect mix of smooth and refreshing.  Next time you're in Seattle grab yourself a pint or two.

Watching: Friday Night Lights Season 4Don't let anyone tell you there are no good father figures in today's media.  Coach Eric Taylor as well as his wife Tammy are two of the most compelling, and well developed, parent figures I have watched on screen in quite some time.  This show, which we started watching only because we were running out of good dramas to stream on Netflix, is so good Mrs. LIAYF and I find ourselves staying up way to late on many more work nights than we should.  Yeah, highly recommended.

Reading: The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon  I have to admit that I have been reading this book for a long time.  Like a couple of months long time.  That's because the only time I give myself to read novels anymore is when I crawl into bed and usually it's *Boom Boom, out go the Lights!*  To the books credit I have stuck with it because, like most of Chabon's work, it really is an interesting, well written read.  Check back with me in a few more weeks, I may be a few pages and a few nights from the end!

Listening to: Black Whales Shangri-la Indeed  Ever since I subscribed to Spotify a few weeks back I have been on a quest to listen to many of those bands who sounded intriguing, but I could never hear enough of to get a feel for their music.  With the Black Whales, I listened because I was trying to sort out all those bands with 'Black' in their band name.  What I found with this Seattle! based quartet was an instantly addictive mix of Americana, Alternative, and Rock which, despite those 15 million other choices on Spotify, has me listening over and over again.

Visiting:  Theo Chocolate Factory, Seattle Washington  As part of her 40th (I know, she doesn't look even close to 40 right?) birthday on Halloween, I took Mrs. LIAYF to Theo Chocolates in Seattle for their factory tour.  Housed in Redhook's original micro-brewing facility, Theo is darn tasty chocolate. But better yet it is Organic and fair trade as well. 

With the factory tour you get to learn all about how Theo buys, roasts, and grinds Cacao beans into perhaps the best chocolate in the states, all while sampling bucket loads of exotic flavored bars.  Definitely worth a visit if you have a couple hours to kill in the city.

So tell me readers, what are you enjoying this November?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Taking Candy By (The) Force

I wasn't Lord Vader because he wanted me to be a 'Good Guy'