Well, that was quite the year

So I’m not the best blogger….only updating on an annual basis….but this has been a year of changes.  So at least the entries carry a lot of action, twists and turns, and character development.  And I’m going back 1.5 year to cover all the news.  Sorry, it’s long…but that’s what we’ve got to bring everyone up to the start of 2017.

One fun development is that in September of 2015, Jen Izaguirre, our late and beloved daughter Ashley’s best friend from the Culinary Institute of America finally decided it was time to move to Seattle to take up residence near her spare parents.  We got the thrill of eating some of Jen’s cooking while she stayed with us, but she soon found her restaurant home at Bell & Whete in Seattle’s Belltown where she was just filling in…until they made her head chef.  And, as if that wasn’t enough, when the owner of B&W bought another restaurant two doors away (Seattle’s beloved Mama’s Mexican Kitchen) they made Jen chef at that one too.

Our vineyard at Terrace House finally produced a bumper crop in 2015.  Last year only produced 3 bunches of grapes. This year we had an abundance.   OK, still not enough to make any wine…but we could thrill to the harvest season…a long family tradition in our vineyard. We at least got a video out of it.

As usual there was biking, drinking, gathering around the fire with friends and family.  And, of course, sailing.  Much more on that later.

There were babies, of course. Stew and Connie brought young Thomas to the party. Rilla made her appearance in the home of Lisa and Ryan.  Syd and Josh an young master Remi joined the fun. Anton and Katie have Norah.   Nate and Kate Jackson had so much fun with….that they added .    For us….it’s just more opportunity to babysit and hug babies.

With the hope of more babies to come, we jetted to California for a wedding too darn long in coming. We’re looking at you Erik Valedeo. We were just honored to be invited when you married Breanna. It was a warm hug of a wedding from massive Portuguese and Irish families that are now joined.  I know I’m going to like how this story is going to continue for years to come.

That trip also gave us all the chance to hang with Erin and Jeff down in San Diego.  For anyone needing the best wedding photographers….see this link.   We had a warm evening under the stars on their back terrace.  It reminds you why all those folks are willing to put up with the crowding and headaches that can come with SoCal.

Next up was the famous Post Thanksgivings Day Party at Terrace House.  So, Jen is back in town.  Hmmm. Last time she was here for this we did that Turducken thing.  It was gone in 30 minutes and a huge hit.  So what else, encore.   But Jen is now a fancy chef who doesn’t want to repeat herself.  So this year it was Turducken Aliovo.  Yep, that’s a Turkey…stuffed with a duck….stuffed with a chicken…stuffed with and egg.  Not to mention three different stuffing; one layered between each bird.  Again, a mess to put together but oh, so, delicious.

After cleaning up the dishes and taking maybe a week to come down from the protein and pumpkin high…it was time to get ready for Christmas.  This was a year for going to Idaho, but before we left town we had some very special visitors.  Amanda, Brandon, Eleanor and Hendrik were moving home from The Netherlands and stopped in Seattle to stay with us before heading Southwest for the holiday.

Now if you were watching closely from the harvest, through fall, to now you would have noticed that Dan has been working on his beard.  It’s all for one reason….so make sure Mr. and Mrs. Claus could stop by to say hello, and give a little girl her special Christmas gift.  

Now when the big guy shows up before the big day…you need a reason…right?   Well, no problem. They were out early on cookie and decoration inspection tour.  You have to make sure things are going to be ready for the big day.  That going down every chimney in the world on one night doesn’t happen without massive preparation.  They were even credentialed for the inspection.  You’re not going to let strangers in if they don’t have ID, right?

Thanks to Lara and Keith for loaning their home for us to set up, do the visit, then come clean up. When Dan and Karin arrived later in the evening.  All the gray hair and beard were gone and we were the way Eleanor last saw us in Den Haag.  😉

On to Idaho.   It was small Christmas this year. For us that means only tons of relatives and friends, massive dinners, Mass, fun on snow machines and skiing.   You should see Big Christmas.  Oh Right…most of you have.  That will be 2016 in Idaho.  We’ve rented a house already for that.

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Back to Seattle for New Years Eve with the fencing team.  Karin and I are losers who don’t swing the blades much anymore.  But our Fleur de Lys friends kindly ignore that and still invite us.  How do we celebrate….by opening bottles with sabres.  Leonid would be so proud of us.


Before you know it we were swinging into the new year riding bikes, sailing even in the colder months. We’re looking at you Poulsbo with the Winter Rendezvous. Where else can you sail in February, have a big firepit with Vikings, and still hang with the Huntsmans.

I was in Florida in March for work, then back to Terrace House for a spring visit from Amanda, Brandon, Eleanor and Henk.  It’s turning out to be very nice to have Brandon working for Amazon.  He keeps coming back to Seattle to talk to HQ. For us that means Amanda and the kids can come and stay at the house while he takes Sound Transit to work.  Sweet.  We even fit in a group sail.  Last one for them on s/v Marie.  Oops, I’m getting ahead of the story.

April brought my first old guy medical issue. Spinal fusion surgery to help a pinched nerve in the neck.  Poop. What you don’t see in all the pics since the Santa visit is that I was having back and right arm pain and weakness. Nasty.  It put a real damper on life.   I tried shots, massage (like that), PT and chiropractic. Nothing worked and the MRI showed why.  Pinch in the nerve at C6,C7 vertebrae. Only real option, fusion.   Surgery and recovery was very fast.  In by 7am, home by 3:30.  And, surprise, they prescribed Beer!  The good news is that it worked.  I’m back to 100% (with just the occasional reminder neck stiffness that says, hey, you’re not immortal here)

During recovery, we got to host Leah, Phil, Michael and new Miss Emily.  Love family, and loving hosting them.

OK, now the real news of the year.  I got a new job with West Marine.  After two years in the Seattle store, they asked…hey…you want to move to Anacortes and run the biggest store we have in Washington state.  Hmm…you mean I could move there…live on my boat…and bike 5 minutes to work.  Let me think….YES.

So in late June I started commuting to Anacortes, and on the last weekend in June we sailed s/v Marie there to begin living aboard.   We spent a small town 4th of July in our new home.

Now, Karin and I have talked about moving aboard for some time as we prepare for more adventure, and one thing we knew was that as nice as Marie is as a sailboat….she’s too small for living on…and hosting guest on.

So the search was on for a new, bigger, boat.   We knew what we wanted….and looked at a lot of them.  We finally found what we were looking for on Bainbridge Island. She’s a very lightly sailed Passport 40.  This design is a well known world cruiser, but this one has only been lightly used in the Pacific Northwest. We aim to change that.


So in the middle of getting used to the new job, and new city, we also become owners of a new boat.  Sarah, Brooklyn and Jaxon…along with Ryan safe from his aborted hike…helped us bring the new boat home to Seattle where she could have a few improvements made.  The very next week Josh, Chanda, Levi and Ivy came to see us for a little Seattle vacation.  We all took s/v Marie out for one last family outing before we put her on the market. Ivy took to steering her like a boss.  Levi also seemed to be interested in the fun you can have on a boat.  I think they’ll be back.

Once they were safely out of town it was time to sail Marie down to Seattle where she’s going to be sold and to pick up the new boat. Her name originally was Second Wind….but Karin and I have changed her name to “Endless Song”.  That’s from a hymn we sing in the choir at Mass. “My life goes on in endless song above earth lamentations. I hear the real though far off song. How can I keep from singing.” 

Endless Song Flag.PNG


We thought it was the perfect name for us, and for adventures to come.   So Karin and I sailed her home to Anacortes. 


Amanda, Brandon, Eleanor and Henk came back in August to help us test the new boat.  And it works just fine.   One other reason they were back in town was so Hendrik could be baptized at Blessed Sacrament Church, just like his sister.  And while last time I had the honor…this time it was Karin who was deputized as the Godmother.  Keep his little light shining.  Not hard.


So on we go into fall in Anacortes.  We even went to a high school football game for the first time in ages.



Oh yes, there was one scare.   Christian!!!   Pericarditis!  We know this heart virus and we don’t like it.  Thanks, and many prayers answered, when you started recovering.  Thanks to Amanda (your BFF, not Darby-Smith for those not paying attention) for being with you like a champ the whole way through this.  Follow doctor’s orders for full recovery!


After that, we just want to continue settling into our new home in Anacortes, which is turning out to be pretty easy.  It doesn’t hurt that Fidalgo Island is such a lovely place.

Ok, so we’re up here….what about the traditional Post Thanksgiving day Party at Terrace House? Well, that torch has been passed. Christian hosted the big event this year and, surprise, it was a big hit. And yes, we did grill oysters on the grill.  Mmmm.

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As the weather turned colder in December we were snug in our boat, but we just couldn’t keep away from all our friends and the normal round of holiday parties.  Thanks Mary, Bob, Roxy, David, Gyung, Donna, Keith, Shirley, Jim, David, Kathy, Matt, Diane. You guys get us through it all.

For Christmas….it was off to Idaho.  What can we say?  We’re drawn to the Gem State.  Might be my sister, three nephews and all their wives and families who live in or near the Camas Prairie.

Follow this link: Road Trip Idaho

Niece Sarah, who lived with us in Seattle while she was in college, was up from New Mexico with Ryan, Miss B and Jaxon. That made it the perfect time for Aunt Karin to finally deliver the custom stocking that “formally” confirms approval to date Sarah.  Better late than never.


Idaho was, as always, a whirl of kids, fun, snow, snow machines, snow shoes, skiing, cold toes and warm drinks. (Karin brought the glasses and booze for every warm drink you’ve heard of).  Lowest temp was -18….but it was a “dry” cold….so no problems. 😉

Home for New Year’s brought the year to a close at the home of Stew and Connie Navarre. They are more than worth the drive through a snow storm from the boat…especially since Christian lets us borrow the guest room at Terrace House.   

There….that’s a blog post for you. On to 2017.



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