President’s Day/Mid-Winter Break in Chelan

In the greater Puget Sound area, a fair number of the private and public schools have the President’s Day week off. No one knows for sure why we take a whole week off (considering we just had two weeks off around Christmas and New Year’s Day).   I use to hate having another week off so soon after Christmas, but I have grown to love it over the years.  The hustle and bustle of Christmas is over, which makes this week a good break for vacation trips.  Airfare prices arent too bad and it seems only our local schools do the “Mid-Winter” Break.

The past few years, we have gone to Hawaii (Kauai, Maui, and the Big Island), California.  This year, my daughter is doing club volleyball and my son is doing a college program during his senior year so a family trip wasn’t going to happen. My son still has classes this week, while my daughter doesn’t.  So no out of town, flyaway trips for us.

This year, we did manage to get away to Lake Chelan.  We traded overcast, rainy skies for snow and gray skies.  The drive over was decent; roads and highways were wet and snow free.

As you can see from the photos, the lake appeared, disappeared, and then reappeared.

Then on a drive up to look at a piece of property, the clouds rolled in and went from blue skies to thick clouds (or fog) conditions.

Uh, the road is somewhere out there.

During the winter, the towns of Chelan and Manson slow down. Some of the businesses are mostly the summer type, catering to the tourist families from the west side of the Cascade mountains and stay open during summer months only.  In the winter, the local wineries and their tasting rooms switch to the Friday-Saturday-Sunday limited hours schedule due to the slowdown in suburban mom traffic.  As an example, a few weeks back when my wife and I came to Chelan, we were the only ones at the Benson Vibeyard/Winery’s tasting room.  A nice quiet afternoon to enjoy the view and a bottle of red wine.

Overall, Chelan and Manson are both great getaway locations.  Lots of wineries, a bowling alley, a few pizza and burger joints await the hardy visitor.  Snowshoe or cross country ski in the morning, do a few wine tastings in the afternoon, head out to dinner, and cap it all off with a night of bowling.  What could be more fun?

Curriculum Night: How my Child will learn to Become a Mid-Level Management Suck Up

This evening I went to my daughter‘s “curriculum” night at her school. This just happens to be my last one for elementary school. Have you forgotten about curriculum night? Or maybe you are a bad parent and have never attended one before? Basically, the teacher tells you what your child will be learning over the course of the year. In the great State of Washington, goals have changed and the names of the goals have changed. We’ve had WASL goals, we’ve had Iowa tests, we’ve had critical thinking goals, MAPSAT, BS Goals, etc. The acronyms keep rolling out and the goals keep changing but it all comes down to this: we want our kids grow up with a decent brain inside their heads.

I’m all for progress and helping my child become a world thinker who is compassionate and uses critical thinking in their ever changing world of shifting paradigms while at the same time becoming a global citizen that needs to manage her own future. How about that? Is that a “mission statement” or what?

One of the new math concepts is for our students to work on the computer solving problems. Really? The teacher had a sample problem involving pizza and two kids. One kid was named Lucas. All I was thinking while she was showing us the math word problem was that Lucas was a fat pig who shouldn’t be eating 3/8 of the cheese pizza, 4/8 of the pepperoni, and ¼ of another one. That Lucas kid is going to be one fat ass kid with weight and self-esteem issues if he keeps pigging out. Poor Lucas.  Did Lucas think he found the best Seattle pizza?

Welcome back to School!
Welcome back to School!

My other concern was that it was fairly stupid to being solving this math problem on a computer. A good old pencil and paper would be a lot quicker and easier to use. How are they going to do the math on the fly if the computer isn’t there? Hmm? Are the children of today (and tomorrow) going to be able to do math without the use of a pull down menu? Could they mix art and math together and sketch out the problem on paper with a pencil and still figure it out?

Really, all I saw was that our schools were teaching our kids to rely on a computer to create a whole bunch of extra work to solve a simple math word problem. They can make pie graphs, charts, etc. That’s great but it is a simple problem. They don’t need to make a ten page report on it that is a waste of everyone’s time. Are we creating a society of mid-level managers that make reports for the heck of it and to justify their jobs?

“I have that twenty page report on why we shouldn’t eating Twinkles!” Conclusion: Uh, because they are bad for us? Or maybe we should eat them because it helps the fitness industry keep fitness instructors employed?

Over the years, I’ve learned that you need to watch less TV, get off the worthless texting and Instagram, Facebook, social media sites, and read more nonfiction (that was a big one tonight) and classic novels. I would also add you need to get out and experience life. Take the kids to museums, road trips, ferry boat rides, hikes, walks, boat rides, and feel the wind in your face.

Don’t get me wrong; I love the internet as much as you do. All the information at your fingertips, merely a click away…it’s wonderful.

Yet, I’m just as guilty as other parents and their children in letting social media run our lives. I have a hard time disconnecting from my iPhone. I have slowed down my use of social media. I have tried to make a deliberate effort not to check my phone when I’m doing activities with the family. I try to ignore that email buzz on my phone. It is hard. Sometimes I’m good and other times I’m not.

What are your thoughts about using only computers for school work these days? Will it work?


Don’t you dare call me “Brown Bag” (and other offensive terms)!

If you haven’t heard….Seattle is political correct to the extreme.  In the City of Seattle, government we have the Office for Civil Rights which has recently issued a memo to city employees in regards to some terms that could be offensive.  Include in this list is the terms “brown bag” and “citizens”.

Don’t you dare call me a brown bag…I’m clearly a taupe bag!


 Yes, I’d like to talk to you today about your offensive use of the term “brown bag” at lunch today.  Um, I understand you were talking with Sarah from accounting and mentioned the words “brown bag” to her?

 You do know that the City of Seattle has banned this offensive word and others like them, from every city employee’s vocabulary?  She also mentioned that you liked her red apple, the white milk, and her yummy leftover pizza.  Again, where you aware that these terms clearly violate the new City of Seattle’s updated offensive word policy?

 We at the City of Seattle want to make sure that the city’s workplace environment is friendly and hassle free.  You pushing your political views when you mentioned the red apple and thus referring to communists is strictly forbidden. I was appalled when you followed it with the derogatory term “white milk” comment.  Which is very offensive to Dutch people, and the pizza reference will likely alienate Italians you come in contact with.

I have also heard that you offered to share your Twinkies with some of your coworkers if they would share their Ding Dongs at a later time.  I really can’t let you mention Twinkies while you are on a site visit at the Farmer’s Market in Ballard with your fellow inspectors.  It could be offensive to the farmers in our fair city.

And since we are on the subject of fresh fruit, I should probably warn you that you can not mention Linda’s melons anymore when you see her at breakfast.  I know she is a prize winning gardener with national awards but you have to stop talking about her melons.

And please, please lay off on how extremely good the oatmeal tastes or how you like chocolate milk around our co-workers in the Sewer Treatment Plant.

For God’s Sake, stay away from asking Jose in the real estate department when you offer your nacho flavor chips to anyone as a snack.

And Carol was very shaken when she told me the story of how you ask if she liked sushi while in Chinatown outside that Japanese restaurant. What where you thinking?

 I really have to wonder if you at all a human sometimes.  When you are at the Pike Place Market, don’t wonder out loud what it would be like to have tuna instead of salmon flying through the air.  What kind of sicko are you?

 I’m rather disappointed that you didn’t take my new memo seriously.  I’m putting you on a 90 day probation period.  I strongly suggest you take this time to reflect on your recent behavior and read the updated offensive word policy.  If your behavior doesn’t change, we have to arrange for your sensitivity training in the next 30 days.

 Remember, I’m watching you.