Kauai, Maui, Sunny March Weather in Seattle! Oh My!

IMG_5778Yesterday, we had some beautiful sunny March weather here in Seattle. I was actually out on my back deck enjoying the sunshine and working on my suntan. It must have been about 65-70 degrees out. Even after we “sprung” ahead into Daylight Savings Time, I got some stuff around the house accomplished. So spending a few minutes on the back deck with my wife and daughter was a treat that was well deserved.

We usually, have pretty gray weather around here in March but not lately. Last week, we went hiking in the sun.   I have been able to preserve my Hawaii tan for a lot longer than I thought I would. Yes, dear readers, I was gone for two weeks to Hawaii in February. I spent a week on Kauai with my daughter visiting my parents and then we flew to Maui and join my wife and my son for another week. Life is rough.

My last trip to Hawaii was two years ago and that was to Kauai. I haven’t been to Maui in 15 years. To be honest, both are wonderful places but I prefer Kauai. I admit I lean towards Kauai (since I went to school there and lived on Kauai as a teenager). My wife likes Maui because she use to live there. As I always say, Hawaii is a great place to visit but not as fun to live there.

Koi Fish Pond
Koi Fish Pond

What? How can I say that? How can I say Hawaii isn’t an awesome place to live? When you take a vacation, everything is awesome. I’m relaxed, I don’t worry about money, and I’m living in a nice condo resort with hot tubs, swimming pools, and sunny beaches. I picture myself relaxing and drinking every day of my life if I lived in Hawaii. Heck, every time I’m on vacation I think how wonderful it would be to live in Washington, NYC, Eastern Washington, etc. Where ever I am at, I can picture me enjoying living there. My family and I would be hanging out at the pool every day. In reality, you have to work or you would be retired. Ah, retirement. But you would be doing the same thing as you would be doing now. Just in a warmer, humid climate.

Now, I’m not turning down the opportunity to move to Kauai or Hawaii in general if someone offered me a job there. Both my wife and I know what it is like to live there.   But rest assured dear readers, I’m still a few years away from retirement, I haven’t won the lottery, and my online business hasn’t taken off where I can retire from school photography just yet.

Do you have a place you wish you could move to? What is holding you back from moving or even taking a vacation?Kaua'i -  The Garden Isle

Hello Saturday! It’s a Volunteer Day!! Bring on the rain!

Today will be a nice stormy day in the Seattle area which should make my day interesting. This morning we are doing some volunteer clean up work with the Boy Scout Troop for the church that we meet at. Gusty winds with rain and temperatures in high 40s to high 50s. Doesn’t that sound like fun?

Luckily, the clean up is from 9 am to 12 noon. These are the times I honestly hate having to “set the example”. You read all the time all about leading by example. I would much rather be at home this morning, sitting by my wife’s gas fireplace, watching some college football. Or even reading F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel “The Beautiful and Damned” (it is my current book).

However, this is a good opportunity to give back to the church that allows us a place to meet and stow our Boy Scout gear. For a few hours of simple help, we can show others that we appreciate their sponsorship.

Being a leader is stepping up to the plate and setting the example even though you don’t feel like it. And being a sarcastic leader makes the leadership even more fun!

At least today will give me the opportunity to yell at Scouts and make them cry. Hopefully, it pours down rain and makes it a miserable experience. We wouldn’t want them to have fun, right? Giving back should be painful, right? Oh, I hope there are some blisters on their hands too!

Sorry, if my post today isn’t worthless advice to you. Have an awesome Saturday doing whatever you like!!


Girl Scout Day

It is Girl Scout Day!!

I almost totally forgot but it is National Girl Scout Day and it is always celebrated on March 12.

Girl Scout Day recognizes and celebrates the Girls Scouts of the USA(GSUSA). This date celebrates the creation of the first Girl Scout group (troop) on March 12, 1912.

Lady Olave Baden-Powell, founded Girl Guides and was the wife of Lord Baden-Powell (who created the Boy Scouts in 1910), she was born on February 22 (1889).

On March 12, 1912 Juliette Gordon Low started the first Girl Scout group in Savannah, Georgia with 18 girls. The Girls Scouts became a national organization, and was chartered by the U.S. Congress on March 16, 1950. Today, there are millions of girls currently involved with Girl Scouts. Both Girl Scouts of the past are still involved with scouting and continue to be involved as adults. Heck, even a few dads like myself have been sucked into Girl Scouts!

Currently in the Seattle/Puget Sound Area it is Girl Scout cookie time. In our household Thin Mints are the most popular. The annual Girls Scout cookie drive helps to teach the girls valuable skills about selling, managing money, and how to be rejected by complete strangers and their own friends and family. However, the cookie sales do generate income to support girl scouting activities like camping, canoe trips, summer camp, and horse camp.

Our Troop 42301 has eight Girl Scouts plus adult leaders that keep our troop going. This coming Friday March 14, 2014 we will be headed to Seattle to visit the Smith Tower and the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI). In fact, we plan to use both the Sound Transit Light Rail trains and the Seattle Streetcar system (South Lake Union route SLU) to visit both the Smith Tower and MOHAI.

Sound Transit Light Rail Train
Sound Transit Light Rail Train

Sticks of Stupidity

Sticks of Stupidity

We recently returned from a week long summer camp with our Boy Scout Troop where I learned about the Stick of Stupidity. I went along with three other Scoutmasters to oversee our group of twenty-two scouts ranging in ages of 11 to about 16. Some of these scouts have been to summer camp 3 to 5 times, others are on their second tour, and a few are attending their first summer camp.

Some are homesick; others are having the time of their lives without a mother or father looking over their shoulder. With a fistful of dollars and a trading post willing to help part a scout from his parents’ money; some scouts have a wonderful experience at summer camp.

One thing in common all scouts (regardless of their age) have is the strong need and desire to sharpen a stick to a very sharp point and carelessly carry it around. These sticks come in various sizes ranging from the “Toothpick of Stupidity” to the “Log of Stupidity,”

To help you understand, I have created a few definitions to better illustrate brilliance in the making.

Toothpick of Stupidity: A stick slightly larger than a pencil in width and roughly 4-13 inches long, it is sharpen to a fine point, and then carried in the mouth. One might mistaken this as a useful instrument such as a spoon or fork when it is protruding from the Boy Scout’s mouth, yet upon closer inspection, it is indeed a sharpen stick being carried in the mouth. This is usually carried in the mouth to keep the hands free to slap another scout, pick up a rock, or find yet another stick.

Stick of Stupidity: This stick ranges in size from 13 inches to 34 inches. It is really useless for any given purpose because of its short size yet it remains the most popular of all Sticks of Stupidity. By far, it is the most common for a number of idiotic reasons: easy to find, can be sharpened quickly, is easy to replace with another scout’s stick in a pinch. Since many Sticks of Stupidity look exacting alike, they are a major reason for accusations of theft between scouts. Scouts forget that there are another 300,000 sticks all the same in the woods around them.

Sword of Stupidity: The sword is closely related in size to the Stick of Stupidity but as been made into the shape of a sword. The most common look is the Samurai swords of feudal Japan. The “blade” is careful craved out of the stick to resemble the shape of a samurai sword. The handle might be crave with a crisscross pattern or wrapped with twine. The Sword of Stupidity is made at the expense of one’s own personal hygiene (showers? I’m too busy making a sword!).

Walking Stick of Stupidity: While a walking stick is helpful to many people, the Walking Stick of Stupidity is not. A long stick, one would think a walking stick would be a wonderful thing to help on a hike for balance, extra support, etc. These are all great points except that this walking stick is sharpen to a fine point. With this fine point, it is jabbed into logs, dirt, in between rocks, a fellow scout’s legs, and gets stuck quite often. The owner often stops to sharpen the point, thus slowly down the whole hiking party making a five minute hike into a 55 minute ordeal.

Staff of Stupidity: The Staff of Stupidity and the Walking Stick of Stupidity are often mistaken for each other due to their same length. Yet, the Staff of Stupidity is really too thick and heavy to be an easy to use item. The owner can barely get his hand around it but will insist that they can. The Staff of Stupidity is dropped on a regular basis because of the poor grip the owner has. Sharpening the Staff is very hard and is more of a rounded point than any other stick in the Sticks of Stupidity family.

Log of Stupidity: While most logs can be used as a bench, a bridge, or support beam, the Log of Stupidity gets its name most from the use of it as a play toy, not as a useful device. It is any unstable log that rolls back and forth and you can stand on. The user of the Log of Stupidity should stand on the log with untied shoes (or hiking boots), hands deep in one’s pocket, and rock back and forth in a matter that will make the log move. You are usually done with the Log of Stupidity will you fall flat on your face and almost knocking out all of your front teeth.

I hope these definitions are helpful in identifying the various Sticks of Stupidity when you see your scout with them. Please keep in mind that all Sticks of Stupidity are called out by the Scoutmaster and the scout is told to take the stick out of his mouth or thrown into the bushes or told to get off of it. While we are tempted to see the concept of Darwin’s survival of the fittest in actions; all Sticks of Stupidity have a short life span. I have personally sent many to the campfire for their conversion to ashes. Yet, they seem to come back again regardless of how many times Scoutmaster, parents, and other concerned adults tell them to get rid of them.

As Yoda would say “Made by Boy Scouts, Sticks of Stupidity are.”

As always your comments are always welcome!

Brownie Troop Update: May

Brownie Update: End of the Year!

Our Brownie Meetings for the year are winding down to a close with only one more meeting in June coming up. After my continued behavior at the Brownie Meetings, my daughter’s “wild behavior” hasn’t been an issue. Hmmm. I’ve been helping out the current leaders as have some other parents. My daughter and I even got to bring the snacks for the last meeting. She asked for nice yummy, sugar filled, high calorie, frosting covered doughnuts. Oh yum!

On the day of the Brownie Meeting, I stopped by Happy Donuts (located here in Kent, WA) for two dozen donuts. I love to support small, locally owned businesses and this one fits the bill. Plus the doughnuts are really good.

I did think about bringing some carrots, apple slices, and nuts for a healthy snack choice. But then I thought, why bother? The kids aren’t going to pick that over donuts so I axed that idea.

During our current Brownie Meetings, snack time is near the beginning of the meeting. In hindsight, donuts probably aren’t the best snack for 8 year old girls before they sit down to do a sock puppet craft project. They were a little squirreling listen to Leader J talk about the Girl Scout history and the sock puppet project. She does do a good job on crafts. I’m not a craft person (unless it involves power tools) and I don’t sing either (unless it is an Irish drinking song) so it is nice to have a leader that likes that stuff.

Do to my friction with the current leader administration, I chatted with my daughter about joining another troop (one of the girls that left has joined a troop and her Dad told me about it) or starting our own troop. We have enough girls to start one and I have the training. I also signed up a few other parents to be registered in a pre-emptive preparedness move in the event that I did want to start another splinter cell Brownie troop.

Of course, she wants me to start a new troop. So I did the unthinkable and started my own troop! I called up the Girl Scout office, chatted with my friend about it and she had seen it coming. We can start anytime she said. We haven’t told the current troop leaders we are leaving…yet. I want my daughter to go to the End of the Year Meeting and enjoy the pizza and finish up the last of the craft projects.

Then we might even have our own Brownie Troop meeting before school gets out. I wouldn’t mind a field trip or two during the summer if time permits.

Looking forward to more Girl Scout adventures with my daughter’s new Brownie troop!