School was delayed 2 hours both Monday and yesterday and today it was canceled completely. We took the kids and Barley sledding at Volunteer Park.
Neil Peart, Rush’s great drummer and even better lyricist, died today at just 67. I discovered Rush when I was 11 and I played Moving Pictures over and over on my turntable while playing Atari. These lyrics he wrote resonated with me as a kid and I’d like to believe they describe me today — individualistic, optimistic, and willing to change:
No, his mind is not for rentNeil Peart, “Tom Sawyer”
To any god or government
Always hopeful, yet discontent
He knows changes aren’t permanent
But change is
Gay was talking to Edie, Fiona’s mom, in early November, about going to Mexico after Christmas during the kids’ break from school. They go almost every year since getting engaged in Sayulita in the 2000s. A couple weeks later we had a plan to get an Airbnb in Punta Mita together. Eli and Hudson are close in age and Eva and Fiona have long been great friends, but Havana had no one so we invited her friend Hannah to come with us.
Hannah’s dad, Dan, brought Hannah over at 7:30am Friday and gave us all a ride to the airport to fly to Puerto Vallarta. Edie & Zach + Eli and Fiona had flown in the day before, stayed a night in Puerto Vallarta and met us at the house in Punta Mita on Saturday.
We watched the Steelers lose to the Ravens and fall out of the playoffs, then we went to the beach and pool at the W Hotel and then we watched the Seahawks lose to the 49ers and drop to the 5-seed in the playoffs.
Beach and pool at the W Hotel for boogie-boarding on the boards that Edie & Zach brought from their previous trip here. Havana and Hannah baby-sat the kids and the adults went to the town of Punta Mita to Hector’s Kitchen, a modern Mexican restaurant which was very good.
New Year’s Eve! We all went to Sayulita. This was our 3rd time in Sayulita. The first was in 2008, then 2012 and now in 2019. Great beach surf town, ever more touristed but still very small. Edie & Zach got engaged in Sayulita and have been there almost every other year since. We all had dinner at Sayulita Cafe.
We met Edie & Zach’s friend, Georgia, who moved there in 2009 and runs a local ex-pat baby-sitting empire. Dinner at Sayulita Cafe. [Show photo of Havana’s re-enactment]. Got champagne and groceries and went home to play Exit game and wait until midnight to see fireworks in the bay.
Rain all day. Stayed home. Reading. Zach & I watched Oregon v Wisconsin. Adult dinner at Los Agaves in Punta Mita (where we ran into more friends of Edie & Zach).
We spent the morning and early afternoon at the beach, including lunch at the W’s Wet Deck beach restaurant again. Edie & Zach and the kids left soon after to catch their flight home. We stayed a while longer at the beach before going home to get ready and then go out for our last dinner at Venazú, another of the W’s restaurants, which was very good – Gay, Hudson and Hannah we adventurous enough to eat crickets! All the kids got to try their hand at driving the golf cart to and from the W and our house.
We got a driver to take us to Puerto Vallarta (and hold our luggage) before our flight. Due to an accident on the highway, it took an hour-and-a-half to get there. We had a good lunch at The River Cafe, walked around the old town and on the Mercado a little before taking the car to the airport for our flight home.
This was our 7th visit to Mexico including our 3rd to the Puerto Vallarta area: Cancun (for a day our two on our way back from Cuba) in 1998, Zihuatanejo in 1999 and again in 2000 for Eric & Steve’s wedding, Cabo San Lucas in 2009, Puerto Vallarta in 2008, 2012 and 2019. Mexico is my most-traveled-to country by a long margin.
February: After a snow-free Fall and Winter and after the last scheduled snow makeup day, 13 inches of snow began falling causing several days of school closings and, as a result, the school year was extended several days.
July: We continued our vacation in Italy and days after getting back all the kids went away to camp for a week so Gay and I were child-less for the first time in over 12 years.
September: First day of 6th grade for Hudson and 3rd grade for Eva and first day of 7th grade for Havana. We sold our Jeep Commander that we’d had since 2007 and was the first car Gay and I bought together.
I feel like this was one of our most eventful years with more traveling — 5 trips for Gay & I, 4 with the kids — than we’ve done in a long long time, if ever.
My real 50th birthday present from Gay arrived today. It took 6 weeks from when I ordered them because they are made to order and then shipped from Denmark.
They have 7 separate amplifiers in each speaker, one for each driver: 3 mid-range drivers, 3 woofers and 1 tweeter. Each amplifier can be controlled independently and the tweeter has an acoustic lens to change the focal point of the sound to the room and listening position. It’s impressive technology that B&O developed first for the Beolab 90s.
Because they arrived minutes before our Boxing Day get-together, I couldn’t set them up until Friday. They are very heavy, about 140lbs, so they’re hard to move. I had to use furniture moving pads and slide them to where I wanted them. And it took me several hours to get them and the Beosound Core working after doing the B&O iOS app configuration. It’s a long story but I eventually figured that I could reset them — by holding both buttons (Network and WPL) for 15 seconds or so — and they started working. The default volume is 42, that can’t be a coincidence.
They sound fantastic. I only got an hour or so to listen to them before having to pack for Mexico tomorrow.
Steve & Renuka and kids Owen and Claire, sister Julie & David and Steve‘s dad, Jim, came over for Christmas dinner. Steve made practically everything, including the prime rib that was amazing.
Eva turned 9 today. She’s been counting down the days for weeks and her shark-themed birthday finally arrived.
Gay and I took 8 of her friends – Iris, Ohana, Nevaeh, Sadi, Sofia, Coco, Poppy and Leona – directly from school to Defy Seattle in Tukwila, during the 5th rainiest day in Seattle history, had pizza at home and 4 of her friends spent the night.
Eva got her braces off today, less than 4 months after getting her lower braces on and 19 months after getting her upper braces.
Gay is running the Stevens Christmas Tree Sale this year after being a volunteer and learning the ropes last year. It’s a surprisingly difficult task to put up an online order system, processing paper checks, managing the orders for all the different types of trees, ordering the trees, getting other volunteers together to work the tree sale, plus the bake sale that goes on at the same time, doing the marketing to make sure people know about it, begging for volunteers to help out with customer service, tree-cutting, tree tying to cars and the deliveries to homes.
Jon (whose kid doesn’t even go to Stevens) and I were one team of delivery drivers. He brought his pickup truck and we delivered trees, including ours, all over Capitol Hill for a few hours tonight. As I thanked the tree buyers for supporting the school, most of which were repeat customers for years, it was nice to hear how much they appreciated the school, sent their kids to the school, etc.