Tree Sale + Pancake Breakfast

Last night was the start of the annual Stevens Tree Sale, this year run by Gay. This morning, we went to day 2 of the Tree Sale and Pancake Breakfast where Hudson and Eva performed.

Our tree and egg nog was delivered last night via “white glove” delivery by the elves who stayed and had cocktails with others from the The Tree Sale volunteers.

Lutron RadioRA 2 certified

I just became a Lutron-certified something-or-other! We had Lutron RadioRA2 dimmers installed in our house when it was renovated in 2010-2011 and we did some minimal programming but we were unable to make any changes to it without hiring someone who was certified to do it. So we lived with it as-is.

But these days, with Google Assistant and Google Home devices all over our house controlling and automating things, I want to control our lights too. Lutron recently, as in last year, came out with Connect Bridge that lets you use your phone as well as Google Assistant (or Alexa) to control a Lutron system. I bought one, opened it, read the instructions and realized that it also requires one of those Lutron installers to add it to the system. D’oh!

I am still not paying someone to click a few buttons on a computer so I decided to check into what it takes to be certified and get the software myself. I called Lutron. It turns out anyone can get the software by taking their online course and then passing a test. So I started the course thinking it’d just be a couple hours of my time.

Unfortunately, Lutron is deep into Windows. Not only is their software Windows-only, taking the online course requires Windows because it uses Windows Media. Double D’oh!

So I installed the 14-day free trial of Parallels Desktop on my Mac to run Windows 10 on my Mac. Then I watched 6+ hours of interactive videos and then took the online exam, which took me another 2 hours. (Windows is still painful to use and is awfully ugly too!)

I passed, downloaded the RadioRA2 software, configured all our Lutron equipment and can now control it all with my iPhone and my Apple Watch from everywhere I go! I haven’t been able to get Google Assistant to fully work with it yet, though.

Lutron is frustratingly closed (and requires Windows), their software feels like it’s from 1997 and is kinda quirky and prone to throwing up error messages, and a Lutron RadioRA2 (smart) dimmer is expensive. However, I came away from the certification process impressed by Lutron. They clearly value customer service highly, I didn’t know that they invented the light dimmer, about the dimming and radio technology that exists in their dimmers or how innovative and design-focused they’ve been over 50 years.

Shake Shack + Steelers

For the Steelers game, we got burgers from Shake Shack, our customer service idol Danny Meyer’s burger place that recently opened in Seattle. The burger had local favorite Beecher’s Cheese on it. The burger is really good, despite the hype — meat was well-cooked, had a salty flavor, bread was light but held up. It’s flavorful but not filling. If I could criticize it I would, but I I can’t. It wasn’t OMG level but it was fun to eat.

After this unbelievable flawless Steelers 52-21 win, I may have to make Shake Shack a Steelers tradition!

7 Steelers players scored TDs, 5 sacks, 2 forced turnovers, most points ever scored by the Steelers at Heinz Field, perfect QB rating for Ben, just 1 penalty (after being the most-penalized team in the league all season). That was the most lopsided NFL game I’ve seen in a long time. And I loved all but the first few minutes of it!

500

I rode my 500th Peloton ride this morning. It’s only been 101 days since my 400th because they’ve changed the schedules, at least at the 6:30am time slot, to have more shorter classes. So now I usually do two 20-minute or one 30-minute and one 10-minute instead of one 45-minute ride.

My 49th birthday

I’m 49 today. I did nothing today, which feels like what I should do but is difficult for me. I drank coffee, read news, listened to music, tried to read a book.

My traditional birthday steak dinner and German Chocolate cake:

I had an Optimism Forward with dinner which is soooo good.

I got beer-themed socks, a beer-themed t-shirt, my favorite Molton Brown soaps and shampoos, a cool framed custom map of Seattle and a Marshall amp so I can learn to play music with the kids.

It seems like my 40s flew by. When I started my 40s, Havana was 2.5 years old and a few months from potty-training, Hudson was 1 and just started walking, Eva was more than a year from being born, Illy was still alive, we still lived on Vashon Island and were designing a new house that was never built, my dad had a cancer scare, the world was a year into an economic recovery from the biggest worldwide economic collapse in history and Obama was in his first year of his Presidency.

Halloween 2018

Hudson and Bowie trick-or-treating:

Eva & Iris:

Once again, we served candy to kids and beer to adults. Jon & Megan and Emmarie came over, Maddie hung out and a bunch of neighbors made it a little party on the patio.

Havana went out with her friends. Jon, Megan and I took Hudson, Eva and Emmarie to the 16th/17th/18th Avenue houses before Hudson and Eva split because Eva and her friends didn’t like the scary houses.

Havana was a broken doll, Hudson was in a Chubb suit and Eva was a zombie. I dressed up as Brett “I like beer” Kavanaugh (suit, blue tie, calendar that somehow disproves my attempted rape) and Gay was Dr Christine Blasey Ford. My costume did not go over well, I encountered several angry people. It’s Halloween, it’s supposed to scare you! There is such a thing as being too liberal and Seattle is that.