Flora, Our Chinese Exchange Student

At Safeco Field

At Safeco Field

Welcome Flora! 欢迎周灿!

欢迎周灿

欢迎周灿

Zhou Can:  In March we started the process to be a host family for an exchange student from China. We looked at applications, and felt comfortable with a girl from Chongquing, Zhou Can (周灿 – pronounced close to “Jo Tsan”). She had solid grades and eclectic tastes, including Kafka, dancing, and cats.

Zoo Can:  My wife, Terry, in her Terryesque way, insisted on calling her “Zoo Can” every time the topic came up. We had a lot of questions concerning having a stranger live with us for an entire year.

Safeco Field

Safeco Field

Cultural Homestay:  After a lot of back and forth and psychological preparation, including my eternal promise to be the best husband ever (a deal I make repeatedly with Terry), we agreed to give it a shot. Cultural Homestay International, the agency responsible for setting up host families with exchange students, did a great job of hooking us up and answering questions.

At EMP

At EMP

Flora and the Girls:  Flora arrived on August 19. So far so good, the girls like Flora, Flora has not tired of hanging out with them. She even chooses to sit in the back seat of our minivan, and when shopping or at parks the girls clamor to hold hands with Flora. For the first two days the girls didn’t fight with each other, little by little, though, they’re reverting, but we think Flora will be a good influence. The 2014-2015 school year promises to be a lot of fun.

Birthdays this month: Nephew Nikolai, Danny, Flora, and I.

Celebrating Danny's Birthday

Celebrating Danny’s Birthday

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Summer Photos 2014

Ava and her cousins at Diamond Head

Ava and her cousins at Diamond Head

Summer 2014:  This summer has been busy. Ava went to Hawaii to spend time with my sister and brother-in-law and their kids, Orion, Damien, and Satori. Another sister and nephew are in town, in-laws Danny and Melissa had a baby son, and half the fam seems to have birthdays, my sister-in-law, mother-in-law, father-in-law, my sister, her husband, and my wife. The weather has been nice…so I’m taking the easy way out this month and just uploading photos.

Hawaiian trees

Hawaiian trees

Goofy cousins

Goofy cousins

 

Happy 40th Tracy!

Happy 40th Tracy!

Gia at Safeco

Gia at Safeco

Lui Lui...we gotta go now and watch the Mariners

“Lui Lui…we gotta go now” and watch the Mariners

Kaya and baby cousin Silas

Kaya and baby cousin Silas

Hey kids, what's Quincy doing on the fan?

Hey kids, what’s Quincy doing on the fan?

Kaya with Jake Vader

Kaya with Jake Vader

Gia at Cornet Bay

Gia at Cornet Bay

Gia at Deception Pass

Gia at Deception Pass

Nikolai and his cousins at Deception Pass

Nikolai and his cousins at Deception Pass

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Family Movie Night: Parent Trap vs. The Corpse Exhibition

Wapato

Wapato

Jump!

Jump!

Father's Day

Father’s Day

Family Movie Night:  My wife often designates Friday or Saturday as “Family Movie Night.” She wants all five of us to watch, say, Frozen or Tangled or whatever, because this is a “family” activity. It’s too much. Five minutes of kid movie engagement and my cerebellum begins to rub and grind against the lower realms of my inner skull as the badness of movie inevitably chases me to another corner of the house.

Gia

Gia

then Kaya

Kaya

Parent Trap vs. The Corpse Exhibition:  Weekend comes again, Terry cues up  Parent Trap and says, “Just once, for us, sit for an entire movie.” I compromise, take The Corpse Exhibition, by Iraqi Hassan Blasim, and as the movie starts I begin the first story:  terrorists display corpses in artistically and macabre ways to provoke infidels. Good stuff, but before I can begin the next story I get involved in the story of these two girls, one from England, the other from California, they end up at the same camp, one girl has an only mom, the other… an only dad! Gee. So I spend the rest of the movie shouting out plot “twists” right to the end. My first complete “Family Movie Night.”

Whidbey Island

Whidbey Island

Train to the game

Train to the game

Bossy Girls: In our house politically correct fluff is not banned but ridiculed. The girls revisited “Ban Bossy” when Ava to Gia discussed one of their school mates, Gia said, “I told you Girl X was bossy.” And Ava gave the perfect response, “You’re right, she is bossy!” Go girls! You’re learning.

Hating the haircut

Hating the haircut

Father's Day

Father’s Day

Baseball Hating Wife:  Terry either finds baseball triple B (BBB = boring beyond belief), she flat out hates it, and always expresses the same annoyances every baseball season, stuff like, “You’re watching again? Wasn’t there just a game on yesterday?” Every year her company’s San Francisco office takes them to a Giants baseball game, so guess what happens the one game a year she watches? Tim Lincecum throw a no-hitter. Grr.

Happy Eighth, Gia!

Happy Eighth, Gia!

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The F-Bomb Song

Meadowdale County Park

Meadowdale County Park

Gia at the Science Center

Gia at the Science Center

Forget You:  My wife turned our girls onto Cee Lo Green’s “Forget You,” a song that tells “this girl” to bugger off. There’s also the original, titled “F*** You” (see Profanity Policy). Our daughters loved the song and so my wife downloaded it onto her I-Pad.  However, she did not know about the two versions, and you can guess what happened. After listening to Cee Lo chant “F*** You,” rather than erase the song and download the other, the girls kept wanting to listen. So we used this as an opportunity to teach about profanity. Good idea?

Kaya Learns the Alphabet

Kaya Learns the Alphabet

Why the “F” Is “F” Wrong?  Soon Ava’s walking around the house, humming the song, and then she drops the F-Bomb. Now I’ve been known to play ICP, Geto Boys, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Richard Cheese doing Nine Inch Nails, and Kid Rock, but I avoid planting F-Bombs amidst kids, though I’m guilty of lapsing. It’s tough to explain the ethical implications of “F***” to a nine, seven, and five year old. At least the girls haven’t let the word slip at school…so far.

Chope-Dog

Chope-Dog

Kaya’s Nasty Tooth:  Recently Kaya had a wiggly tooth, her first, and she heard about this fairy that drops a dollar underneath her pillow. We told her to be sure and save the tooth. That afternoon we took her to Time 4 Kids, and when we picked her up she said she lost her tooth. Where was it? She swallowed it. Swallowed? Yes. Kaya explained, “Later it come out my poo!”

Wet Gia

Wet Gia

Playing the Gay Game of Life:  Gia, Ava, & Elliot are playing Life, and Elliot reaches the point where he gets a spouse, namely, a pink peg to sit next to his blue one. Gia tells Elliot he can choose a boy or girl, a pink or blue, for a spouse, and that it’s okay if he wants to marry a boy. Elliot screams, “That’s gross!” Wow, kids acting lack the old generation, what a switch.

Photo of the Month:

Summer Comes Soon

Summer Comes Soon

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The Sexist Father vs. The Bossy Mom

The Living Desert

The Living Desert

Go Kaya!

Go…

...Kaya!

…Kaya!

Bossy Ban?  In the “Not Onion headline” category, from NPR we have:

Sheryl Sandberg: The Word ‘Bossy’ Should Be Banned.

Sanity prevails:  Sheryl Sandberg wrong on ‘bossy’ ban, Ban Bossy Campaign Misfires, and this: New Iraqi Law Legalizes Child Marriage, Feminists too Busy Banning Words. 

Camel Riders

Camel Riders

Bossy Parents: My wife and I disagree on many issues, but agree on the important ones. We are open to new parenting ideas, but resist nosy know-it-all parents, those who think your business is his/her business. These people are “bossy,” a gender neutral word that fits. Sorry, Ms. Bossypants Sandberg, you are ridiculous. And speaking of bossy, let’s visit social media…

Ava Catching Shrimp

Ava Catching Shrimp

Facebook:  Facebook allows for observing humanity. The user checks old acquaintances, stays in contact with friends, and participates in the larger community. Use Facebook, don’t let Facebook use you. Facebook also is a source of silly arguments, as happened when a Bossy Mom posted:

“A woman at this social gathering is letting her one-year-old baby cram handfuls of popcorn into her mouth, and she’s annoyed with me for politely telling her that’s not a good idea.”

Bossy Mom supporters bashed “other” mom, but no one called out Bossy Mom.

Girls w/Flamingoes

Girls w/Flamingoes

Gia at Edmonds Beach

Gia at Edmonds Beach

I responded:  “This is a case of ‘you should MYOB.’ If the mother left her kid w/popcorn and went to the bathroom to bang a dude, that’s one thing, but geeeez. The mom was there, the kid was safe, the end. Carelessness is one thing, and kids can suffer, but you were out of line. Stay on the sidelines.”

Cousins

Cousins

Bossy Rage:  Let the fun begin. Bossy Mom went F-bomb on me (we’re still Facebook “friends”), her supporters told horror stories of popcorn genocide.

Blog Topic!  When things like this happen, I take notes and prepare to blog. I wasn’t at the social gathering, and maybe Bossy Mom acted “politely.” Thing is, in Bossy Mom’s story, she gave Popcorn Mom no voice.

Happy Birthday to Aunt Melissa and Cousin Elliott

Happy Birthday to Aunt Melissa and Cousin Elliott

The Greater Good:  There are cases where third party intervention is appropriate, however, unless a parent lets his/her kid run amok, puts him/herself or others in danger, the best policy is MYOB. Don’t be bossy. As for the “Bossy” argument, geez, Ms. Sandberg, if you don’t want to be called bossy, don’t be bossy.

Picture of the Month:  “Boob Job Gone Wrong?”

Boob Job Gone Wrong or Breastfeeding?

Boob Job Gone Wrong or Breastfeeding?

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Coach Marx vs. Coach Smith

2nd Place, Good Job Girls!

2nd Place, Good Job Girls!

The Economic Philosophy of Basketball: What’s more important? Letting everyone play or winning? Capitalism encourages competition and promotes the good of the individual over the good of the whole. Socialism values the good of the whole over the good of the individual. But often what’s best for the whole and the individual are the same.

Coach Hollow laying down the law

Coach Hollow laying down the law

Sportsmanship: Last November Ava wanted to play basketball, but Sno-King Sports had no coach. I put my name in, and Grace’s friend’s dad (coach Hollow) also volunteered. Ava and others had never played and lacked Basketball IQ. No surprise. Thus three goals: 1) fun 2) learn the game 3) sportsmanship. Winning did not seem as important. We first battled the Purple Flames, went down 14-2 at half (See Female Superiority, Girls Basketball Style) on the way to a loss. We then beat the hapless Fireworks, and preceded to get clobbered, 29-6, by the Killers.

Hornets 10-24 Purple Flames  Loss
Hornets 22-10 Fireworks  Win
Hornets 6-29 Killers 29  Loss
Hornets 26-10 Purple Flames  Win
Hornets 22-8 Fireworks  Win
Hornets 17-15 Killers  Win
Hornets 24-10 Purple Flames  Win
Hornets 16-9 Fireworks  Win
Playoffs
Hornets 20-18 Purple Flames  Win
Hornets 20-25 Killers  Loss
Final: 7-3 2nd Place

Ferry to Whidbey

Ferry to Whidbey

Coach Marx:  How can every girl have equal fun? Sitting on the bench is not fun. Neither is losing.

“From each according to her ability, to each according to her need.” – Karl Marx:  The rules state every girl must play one full quarter and sit one full quarter. To play the stronger girls three quarters and weaker girls one would increase chances of winning. But this Catch-22 would hurt the weaker girls, who need playing time to improve. In the same vein, girls with poor ball handling skills need to handle the ball to improve.

Happy Birthday Kaya!

Happy Birthday Kaya!

Coach Smith:  Losing to the Killers, down 22-2 going into the fourth quarter, was not so fun. The Killers had not lost in three years, and their girls had mostly played together. On our team, we had a few “walking turnovers,” and went long stretches without a shot. This had to change. As fun as socialism might be, it was no fun losing 29-6, especially when our girls could compete. The good of the whole had been compromised.

Aunt Min and cousins arrive

Aunt Min and cousins arrive

“No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.” – Adam Smith:  Letting everyone play and handle the ball equally led to the suffering of the team. No more Mr. Nice Coach. Coach Hollow and I changed tactics. All girls had great attitudes, but some had more aggressiveness and skills. They would get more responsibility. We beat the Purple Hornets, beat the Fireworks, and every girl played at least two quarters, a happy marriage of capitalism and socialism.

Then we played the Killers. Team defense and stronger girls handling and shooting the ball gave us a chance to win in the fourth quarter. With three minutes to go in a close game, though, for the first time, we substituted girls who had not played two complete quarters. And we won, 17-15.

Cousins Orion, Damien, Satori

Cousins Orion, Damien, Satori

Socialism for practice. Capitalism for the game:  We continued our philosophy, adding winning as a goal. If you try your best and lose, this cannot be helped, and you can still learn. But losing without maximum effort is neither fun nor productive. In practice all girls got equal attention, not only that, but the weaker girls got extra attention.

The Championship:  In the final game the Killers did not underestimate us, and won, 25-20. But our girls did their best. The lessons:  Sports combines fairness, competition, and character; looking out for teammates, effort, improvement, and trying to win. Socialism and capitalism do not have to be at antipodes, for the good of the whole and the individual combines sharing and competition.

Sister/Aunt Min Cousins/Nephews/Niece arrive for a week before returning to Hawaii:

Orion & Ava - 9, Damien & Gia - 7, Kaya & Satori - 5

Cousins:  Orion & Ava – 9, Damien & Gia – 7, Kaya & Satori – 5

 

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The Sexist Seahawk Fan Celebrates

Little Hawk Fans

Little Hawk Fans

Pre-Game

Pre-Game

My wife even becomes fan for a day

My wife even becomes fan for a day

Seahawks vs. Broncos:  The Powell family hosted the Superbowl party. Friends Mark & Kim, Marc Lui, and Ben & Amy brought their kids, and the game was on, even fair weather fans like my wife got the fever. But the most exciting thing for our girls was halftime, they kept saying, “When are we going to see the Hot Peppers?”

Gia on Pop

Gia on Pop

Tracy Poses - Game Over

Tracy Poses – Game Over

The Vegas Line:  At kickoff Vegas had the Broncos winning by 2 1/2. That changed on the first snap of the game, and by the end of the first quarter I was trying to get $10 at 10-1 odds, $100 if the Seahawaks lost. No takers. I kept raising the odds. Percy Harvin’s touchdown made it 100-1, $1,000 if the Broncos won. Later the odds rose to $10 for our house.

GAME OVER!

GAME OVER!

My Unfriend:  In the Seahawks precursor, the real Superbowl, the Hawks beat the San Francisco 49ers, 23-17. Local writer Robert Dugoni posted disgust on Facebook, saying that Seahawk fans should “be embarrassed.” Sore winner that I am, I posted “ha ha ha” and he unfriended me: Robert “49er” Dugoni vs. Caleb “Seahawk” Powell. Double Ha! Seahawks 43 Broncos 8. Triple Ha! Harbaugh’s self-imploding in San Fran:  Tension between Harbaugh and front office .

February Snow

February Snow

Fans are nuts:  Now, I like the Hawks, but it’s a game. I’d never whine and then unfriend a guy who calls out my whining. What makes fans go nuts, as they did in Vancouver after the Canuck Choke, or in Honduras and El Salvador’s Soccer War, is beyond me. The Seahawks Parade didn’t interest me, but my daughters, oddly, wanted to brave 20 degree weather. Ugh. I think they thought they’d get out of school, which they did as Aunt Tracy and Uncle Sanjay took them. Gia and Ava froze their little hineys off.

Kaya attacking Ben

Kaya attacking Ben

Dad & Daughters

Dad & Daughters

Daddy/Daughter Dancing:  What could be better than a Daddy Daughter Dance? Especially when my man Ben “How you Been Ben?” Yenter joined.

Dad & Daughters

Dad & Daughters

Happy 9th! 爱花!祝你生日快乐!

Happy 9th! 爱花!祝你生日快乐!

Finally, Happy 9th to Ava:  What a month. Ava turned nine, now if we could just get her to stop sucking her hair all the time…grrr.

Funny Picture of the Month:

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