Finn the Climber


It’s no great secret.

Finn loves climbing.

He had his seventh birthday at Vertical World.  We’ve spent more than a few evenings at the Seattle Bouldering Project.  And if I had a dime for every time he asked me when we’re going to go climbing next I’d be a very rich man.

His latest escapade — the climbing wall at the downtown REI.  Yesterday afternoon Finn and I hit it for his good buddy Carter Ellis’ 7th birthday party, and let’s just say he had a great time.


And it wasn’t because of the pizza.

Four trips to the top of the 65-foot ball, the first few of which prompted chants of “Finn!  Finn! Finn!” from his classmates below.




And I dare say I was more frightened watching him than he was climbing.

Next up: weekly lessons.





This year, perhaps because last year’s all-but-snow-free winter was such a bust, the kids and I have been spending a fair bit of time at the mountain.  The “mountain” I refer to is Snoqualmie Pass — not technically a mountain, I know, but a nice place to enjoy them.

Two weeks ago Reese and I joined a few friends for some night skiing.   On Tuesday she played hooky so we could go skiing.  The day out lasted one run at Alpental — hard rain, icy slops and soup-thick fog will do that.

Yesterday Finn came with us.  We started things off with Reese’s Y-Guides group at the Snoqualmie Tubing Center.  Actually we weren’t really with the Pink Pandas — everyone else was as late as we were early (thirty minutes on both ends); we barely interacted with anyone; and we were done with our ’til-11 outing by 10:15.


I think we can all safely put tubing in our lifetime rear windows — at least until Reese and Finn take their own kids there.

From there we headed west to Alpental for some skiing.  The three of us were together ’til 1 pm when Reese took off for private lessons with Dino.


I’m told they hit a few double black diamonds.   All I got were these photos:

Reese before

Reese after

I wasn’t there, but Finn and Reese were — along with Cybele/Davis Walsh and Shelly/John Miksis.  And they caught a few decent pics:




Thanks mostly to his A+++ effort and hustle, Finn is a pretty good soccer player.

Yesterday he was great.

He’s had a handful of five-goal games in his life, but yesterday he scored seven in his team’s second game of the day.  In the first game he had a hat trick.

That’s ten goals in two games!

Finn's 2015 Scorpions team.

Finn’s 2015 Scorpions team. Note the very unfortunate team jerseys.

Unfortunately, neither were enough.  His Scorpions team lost both games to finish the season with two wins against six or seven losses.

From the look on his face, I’m pretty sure Finn would trade all of those goals in for a few more wins.

Well, maybe not all of them.


Night Skiing

Last night Reese and I joined our father/daughter friends Rob/Sammy W. and Matt/Lola P. up at Snoqualmie Central.  The reason: Pink Pandas night skiing.

To my delight, it went quite well.

Night Skiing

Reese is not the skiier that fellow Pandas Sammy or Lola are, but she improved dramatically and, with her friends cheering her on, kept up reasonably well.  Perhaps most importantly she (and everyone else) had a great time.  No sooner had we decided to head home than we were negotiating on our next night skiing outing.

No Picaboo Street, but she enjoyed herself immensely, and that’s what’s most important.

Howard marg bar

This morning the Jenkins fam ventured to Bryant.  Our destination: the home of Billy Howard and Mimi Sternberg.  The occasion: the end-of-the-year celebration of the Laurelhurst Fantasy Football League, a 12-person league I started before the 2015 NFL season began.

As it happens it was also a football party.  The Seahawks beat the Vikings 10-9 in one of the coldest games in NFL history. The “highlight”: Vikings kicker Blair Walsh missed a 27-yard field goal with seconds remaining that would have sent the purples to Carolina for the Division Championship round.

My performance as a photographer was about what it was during the ffl season: mediocre.  Actually it may have been worse: I finished 13-13 in our inaugural campaign but managed to snap only two photos at the party — the one of the margarita bar above and a league photo (below):

The 2015 Laurelhurst Fantasy Football League (from left): George Brumder, Travis Bagley, league champion Michael Grundmeyer, Jen Gouk, Julie Smith, me, Tim Smith, George Swapp and Billy Howard. (Not pictured: HT Lee, Ethan Gustav and Stephanie Gustav.)

The 2015 Laurelhurst Fantasy Football League (from left): George Brumder, Travis Bagley, league champion Michael Grundmeyer, Jen Gouk, Julie Smith, me, Tim Smith, George Swapp and Billy Howard. (Not pictured: HT Lee, Ethan Gustav and Stephanie Gustav.)

Next up for the Seahawks: the Carolina Panthers on Sunday morning.

And for me?  I’ll wait ’til next year.

Burger Boys I

About fifteen years ago, I came up with a group dining idea called The Seattle Steak Club.  The idea: guys would meet every quarter or so in search of Seattle’s best steak.

All went fine for the first two meetings.  Then we went to El Gaucho.  A disaster happened — total strangers showed up, we were $400 short on the bill, and guys ended up spending $70 for a rum & coke.

I let it die there.

Fifteen years later, Norman Cheuk and I came up with a new idea.  Burger Boys — every quarter we’d meet at a Seattle-area establishment in quest of Seattle’s best burger.  Last night was our inaugural gathering.  The location: Quinn’s Pub on Capitol Hill.  In attendance: me, Norman, Todd Johnston, Aaron Joffe and Nathan Alexander.  Good times were had by all. The scene was hip (and mostly straight), the burgers very good to excellent.  I rated mine a 7/10: very good, but not outstanding or particularly memorable.  (The $30 off-menu burger was particularly memorable, but we were all too chicken to try a burger the waitress told us the chef made up on spot.)

Our next meeting will be in April.  There are no $70 rum & cokes on the horizon.


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