Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Cupcake Calculus

Saturday, June 4th, 2011

When most families bring a few cupcakes home from the store, they just kinda divide them up and call it good enough. Not this family. No, this is just one of several matrices Kris worked out to divide our cupcake spoils among the four of us, taking into consideration such factors as which cupcakes were more or less desired by each person and, presumably, the volume of air in the room.


Topher Likes to Squeak

Monday, March 21st, 2011

We go through a new squeak toy approximately once per week. He squeaks it more or less nonstop for an hour or two, then he tears it to ribbons and leaves the empty skin lying around.

Does anyone know if they make a squeak toy out of Kevlar?

House Concert, New Puppy Enjoyed by All

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

terriThere are definitely times when I feel luckier than I have any right to be. Like last weekend, when Terri Moeller, Paul Austin, and Jon Hyde played a house show in our living room as Terri’s new project, Terri Tarrantula.

At one point, Terri described the show as “Transmantula,” since the set list was a blending of new Terri Tarrantula and older Transmissionary Six material. Indeed, the show was an awesome combination of old and new, and a great primer on Terri’s work for those folks who had never heard her before. Here’s the set list, with the studio albums they came from for your potential purchasing pleasure:

1. Broker (Radar)terri2

2. Top of Your Lungs (Radar)

3. Bum Leg (Joe Pernice cover)

4. Mulligan (Terri Tarantula)

5. Paper Party Hat (Transmissionary Six)

6. Upside Down (Terri Tarantula)

7. Your Small Hands (Terri Tarantula)

8. Transmission Line (Radar)

9. Clay Man Down (Transmissionary Six)

10. Circus School Class of ‘73 (New, unreleased)

11. Happy Place (Sparklehorse cover)

12. Holiday Park (Get Down)

13. The Daredevil Way (Terri Tarantula)

14. Always Crashing in the Same Car (David Bowie cover)

15. Infrared (Radar)

16. Happy Landings (Get Down)

While we’re on the subject: If you’re looking for a good album to start with, I’d suggest Get Down – Paul Austin recently mentioned to me that it’s his personal favorite, and I’m hard pressed to disagree. After all, it has Happy Landings.


Here’s the version of Happy Landings which Terri performed to close the show:



Also somewhat unexpected: Our new family member Topher was a hit with both guests and band. And how could he not be? Topher remains the cutest little puppy, like, ever.

Thanks to everyone who came to the show, and thanks to Terri, Paul, and Jon for playing (and for introducing me to Joe Pernice, who is awesome).

Don’t You Know Dignity When You See It?

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

Recently, I was headed to the grocery store and asked Marin if she needed anything. Here’s the shopping list she supplied:


It’s a chicken. Holding an ice cream cone.

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

chicken-logoThis post is long overdue. Earlier this summer, I took my family to Mount St Helens for the weekend, and along the way, we discovered what is almost certainly the most awesome thing in the universe. A restaurant  called The Chicken House and Ice Cream Store.

Why so awesome, you ask? I barely know where to begin. Let me try to cover the most salient points in a numbered list.


  1. The place is called The Chicken House and Ice Cream Store. Just let that name roll around in your head for a while. Honestly, can you think of a better name for anything?
  2. Look at the logo. It’s a chicken. Holding an ice cream cone. I love everything about this logo. The bright, brain-melting colors. The conceit of a chicken grasping an ice cream cone. The expression on the chicken’s face.  It’s graphic design perfection. (Perhaps The Gap could take a lesson from these folks.)
  3. The restaurant itself is apparently a converted Dairy Queen, and they sell all the usual trappings of a fast food joint, only they’ve renamed everything. They make DQ Blizzards, for example, but they’re called Hurricanes.

chicken-signHow does the food taste? I have no idea. We didn’t eat a meal there*. To wonder what the food tastes like is to miss the point. Please refer back to #1: It’s a chicken. Holding an ice cream cone.

*Actually, I am not being completely honest. We did get ice cream. And it was pretty darned good – they stuffed it with a lot more mix-in than I am used to getting at DQ, so I loved my snack.

I love telling people about this place – the logo is my iPhone’s lock screen, and I have whipped it out to emphasize that it’s a chicken holding an  ice cream cone to virtually everyone I’ve met in the last 3 months, from my boss to my various editors to friends, family, and even Kristin Hersh when she was in town for a book signing the other night. The world must know.

Welcome, Topher

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

Meet Topher, our newest family member.

IMG_0195 RAW_0006

IMG_0191 IMG_0372

The other day at work, I mentioned I had a new dog. At least three different people independently asked me, “What Firefly character did you name him after?” The conversation went almost identically in each case:

“He’s not named after anyone from Firefly.”

“What Buffy character?”

“Not Buffy either. I mean, sheesh!”

“Okay, what’s his name?”


“That’s an unusual name. Where did you get it from?”

”We named him after a character from Dollhouse.”

I’ve Got a Tree

Friday, January 1st, 2010

A few weeks ago, I said, “Hey Marin, you know what would be funny? A version of Lonely Island’s I’m on a Boat, only ours would be about a Christmas tree. We could call it, “I’ve Got a Tree.”

As usual, I considered my contribution to the project complete; I had the brilliant, million-dollar idea, and now it was up to Marin to write and sing the song. Well, that’s exactly what she did – she gave me a piece of paper for Christmas with the lyrics to I’ve Got a Tree on it – and she sang it for me on Christmas morning. Isn’t she awesome?

So this week, we created the video for I’ve Got a Tree, which you can see here. Now that it’s on YouTube, I suppose there’s nothing left to do but wait for the money to roll in. Andy Samberg: Call me. 

The Only Good Use For Snow

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

Like much of the US, we got hit with a massive winter storm here in the Pacific Northwest. It put our plans to visit Portland “on ice,” as it were, and made the whole Christmas vacation somewhat unusual. Keep in mind that in the five years we’ve lived here, we’ve gotten a total accumulation of perhaps 3 inches of snow, in total. Here are some stats that describe our storm experience this year:

  • 9 continuous days of snow
  • 2 feet of total accumulation
  • 5 hours without power on Christmas day
  • 9 days without Internet access
  • 1 broken snow shovel

I posted a few photos of the snowpocalypse on my Flickr page.

Evan and Marin made good use of the snow. Just a few days into the storm, when we only had a few inches of snow, they piled the snow from shoveling the driveway into a makeshift sledding hill. The pile got about 4 feet high, which they carefully contoured and buttressed. They even created snow steps to climb up to the top.

It’s Days Like These

Thursday, December 18th, 2008


…that Muff probably regrets peeing all over our floor.

As an aside, I’m pretty sure this is the most snow I’ve ever seen here in the five years we’ve lived near Seattle. Reminds me of Colorado, almost.

Another Dog-Dangling Saturday Afternoon

Saturday, October 25th, 2008

I’m not sure why, but our dogs have never felt they should be bounded by human conventions like yards and fences. So a few years ago, we added an invisible fence to keep the dogs back from the actual fence, and that generally works pretty well.

There are some caveats, though. Our late Husky, Tumanna, tested the perimeter like a canine velociraptor, constantly pinging her collar to get a sense of when the batteries were dying. That way she’d know the fence was “down” before her human counterparts, and she could dash off for a neighborhood jaunt before we could refresh her collar.

These days, we have a different problem. Wash, who was recently voted the most adorable doggie of all time, has decided that the somewhat bulbous electric fence collars are awesome chew toys. So while Trance sits nonchalantly in the middle of the yard, Wash stands nearby, grinding away on the collar. He’s completely destroyed more than one of these $75 gadgets this way.

After the first time Wash tried this—and popped the battery out in the process, I thought that encasing the collar in duct tape might help protect it. Well, not exactly. That was like dousing it in kitten sauce. He didn’t stop until you could see what looks like a Heathkit Crystal Radio Kit inside the ruptured shell.


This is what the collar looked like before Wash decided it was yummy.



And this is what the duct-tape encased collar looked like after we rescued it from Wash’s teeth.


The current collar is wound in electrical tape. Maybe that’s less delicious than duct tape. All I know is that cats are not this troublesome.