Sailing Season is Open

Lara and I opened the sailing season today off Shilshole. I don’t care what the Seattle Yacht Club has planned for May 2nd. We’re already on.

Karin and I moved the boat from Lake Union to our new slip on the “O” dock at Shilshole on Saturday. We weren’t supposed to come out until May 1st, but I couldn’t wait. And the slip was open so there was no reason not to bring it out.  The slip in Lake Union was cramped and hard to get in and out of. The power was spotty and there was little water pressure.  Shilshole last year did a complete overhaul, and the new slips are wide, have new shore power connections and plenty of water pressure. That matters when you are washing bird goo off your baby.  There’s also a  large dock box at the new slip, and a rack to put the dinghy on out of the water.  All in all, it’s going to be a better place to keep the boat. 

And the bonus is that you can be out sailing in only a few minutes.  In Lake Union you have to do two draw bridges and the locks to get out to sail. Lara and Dan

Today Lara and I decided that clear skies, temps in the upper 60’s and Northerly breeze meant just one thing. We’re going sailing. 

Since the better wind was forecast in the afternoon, we lazed around the morning with breakfast at Portage Bay Cafe and a little boat shopping at Dunatos.  But by noon it was time to cast off and head for the high seas.  OK, not that high. More like the beautiful calm Puget Sound.  It was one of those days that takes your breath away and reminds us all why it is we really like to live here.  




The wind was fair, but not so gusty that you had to work too hard. 

The views of the Olympics, Baker and of course Rainier were stunning.  All the other sailors who didn’t have to work today decided to come out too….so there were lots of pretty boats around to look at.  You know what you get when you have two sailboats?  mountain is outA race, of course.  So we did some of that too. We tweaked the sails to close the gap, and right when we were gaining….he tacked away.  Such is life.

Lara and I had a blast sailing back and forth, up and down, and when we had finally baked enough we headed back into our slip to try the new approaches and get used to coming in with bumpers on the dock not on the boat.  Seemed to work pretty well, and it’s nice not to have the bumpers cluttering up the boat when you’re underway. {I got some inflatable ones to use while we’re away from Shilshole.} 

Karin made the day by coming down to greet us dockside with food and fine drink to consume as the sun went down. Nice way you spend a day in Seattle.

Guarding Shilshole doesn't get you respect from the gulls

So the s/v Marie is ready to sail…only wondering when here friends will be stopping by for a visit.

Another fencing tournament; a medal; and another injury. Signs of aging.

Last Friday night, for the first time in years, I entered a fencing tournament to defend the honor of the Fleur de Lys Fencing Club. Well, maybe not the honor. There isn’t really much of that with a bunch of hackers like us. But to show the colors, at least. It’s been many, many, years since I last lifted the blade in competition. This fall, with us in Ballard and the club only 5 minutes away, I knew I’d never get away with not showing up. So I’ve been fencing again.

Most nights we do foil. That’s what all the beginners start with, and is the most popular blade in competition. I’ve been helping direct and giving pointers to young guys such as Nathan here.  Now I know he really just rolls his eyes when I’m not looking, but I really do want him to get better.  So I do my best to beat up on him when we do fence. Monday nights we toss in epee and on Wednesday we sometimes break out the sabers. All of which is to say, we don’t do sabre, my weapon, near enough to get the timing and skills back. But heck, it beats never doing it.

So when the club decided to host a spring tourney, and even include saber on Friday night, how could I not say, “Yes”? I took a medal for third place. Though honestly, I didn’t feel at all comfortable on the strip. No timing, no point control. I just felt off. To me it was clear that I’m going to need a lot more work to be as competitive as I once was.

But in the process of battling through to the semi finals…I aggravated my old rotator cuff injury in the left shoulder. Damn. I came back for more on Saturday, but with a hurting shoulder, I had no parry. As a result my foil stank up the gym. As I mentioned off the top, it’s a sure sign of aging. I feel fine, but my body is trying to tell me something else. 😉

So back to practice tonight, learning to fence left handed. Ugh. I tried it a little this past fall while I was rehabbing the right shoulder the first time. Let’s just say, my form was a little odd and I felt like a rookie all over again. God’s way of reminding us of the need for humility in all things.

Love to all. And as we say at the Fleur de Lys, Місце i битися! Which is Ukrainian for “Stand and Fight!”



This Week in Ballard


Well, apart from the snow in March….brrrrrr…Ballard is getting ready for spring.


Oh, who are we kidding here?  This is nuts.  It’s March, and we had snow on the ground over the last weekend. This is almost too much to bear!  How do we get along.   Basically, we drink…heavily.  OK, just kidding….about the heavy part.  But we do drink. Where you might ask. Well, it would be bad form to just sit at home in our skivvies drinking wine.

So we put clothes over our skivvies, walk about a block down to Ballard avenue to Portalis. 


Portalis Wine Shop & Wine Bar
5205 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA

This is a very cute little wine bar where they are very friendly, and where we’re getting entirely too friendly with the staff….like Gina here. A Terrace girl herself for those of you playing from home.


Just don’t expect Karin to share those profiteroles dipped in chocolate.  Sure we’ll be heading home to the Terrace house at the end of July. But one of the things we’ll miss…a lot…is the wine bar on the corner….and the coffee shop across the street….the dry cleaner out the back door….Ballard Blossom….Ship and Sip…and about 50 great restaurants all in walking distance.   We’re going to miss this all…a lot.  But we have learned a lot about city living…and one thing that is very clear is that you need to live right in the middle of all this for it to pay off.   I don’t mean up the hill 8 blocks.  If we sold in Terrace and bought in Loyal Heights we’d get higher mortgage, smaller house, smaller yard, higher taxes, and we’d lose all the great remodeling that we did.  What’s more…..even just 8 blocks up hill is too far to walk, so you’re going to have to drive down into this parking mess for pizza or the Sunday market.  You don’t win unless you really are in walking distance.

So good to know.  But we’re not ready to sell the Terrace House and move here yet.  Jared and Lynn might want to come back and rent the house again.  We’d do it all over.  Christian might fall in love, get married, have babies, and need a place for a family.  Again, I sense a switch.  So it’s too soon to downsize just yet….but it is lingering out there.

clip_image006But in the mean time we live in the condo….cooking up a storm when we get the chance.  (Though I hate the glass electric cook top).

Karin has some of her jewelry tools down from the house for a visit.  There’s one sure sign we’re starting to age, we need more magnification.


And I’m not picking on Karin for needing magnification (ok, I’m picking on her a little…I mean really look at that one big eye) as I need my glasses to read and cook these days.  Otherwise I can’t read the recipes.

What else, Oh yes, I’ve had my grandfather’s old southern gentleman’s hat cleaned, blocked, and rebuilt to fit me.  I found the only real working men’s hatmaker in Seattle, and he did the job for my on this hat and on another old one of mine that had a dried and shrunken sweat band.  Both are now back in action and looking fine.  Of course, even in Ballard….I have lots of hat choices.  You all know me.  I just don’t feel dressed without the right hat.


And when you have a classy hat where should you go?  Well, how about Jazz Alley in Seattle.  If you imagine what a real “night club” looks like, with food, a bar, and a small stage where classy little combos play….that’s just about it.   Karin and I went to see Manhattan Transfer last Friday night.

Dimitriou's Jazz Alley  I’ve been a fan of this group since I was a teenager in the 70’s and they had a summer replacement series on CBS.  They are about the best vocalise group in the business, and I can highly recommend you see them any time you get the chance.   The food was great, the wine was delicious, and the jazz was pure gold. 

More from Ballard later in the spring.  When it finally does warm up, we’re going sailing!

DanPac 2009

OK, today was interesting. I did something I’ve never done before. I lobbied members of the Washington State Legislature on behalf of the YMCA of Greater Seattle.  What did that look like?

Sort of like this


Now if I could just get a few earmarks or “special appropriations”…if you know what I mean. 

For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been a volunteer at the YMCA for about 5 years now.  I serve on the marketing committee for the YMCA administration, advising them on marketing for events, programs, fundraising, etc.  Since I have a little time on my hands I’m also rewriting their emergency communications plan from top to bottom.  It’s a great organization.  Support the “Y” in your area.

Where they make the laws

They asked me to go to Olympia with them today because they suspected I would have no problem glad handing lawmakers and chatting them up about the Y and its  issues.  They know I love to chat. 😉

And yes, we’ve had a bit more snow here in Western Washington…but it’s going to melt tonight.

What is Jamie up to there at the cheese store?


So there was a story today on MSNBC about cheese…(see below)….and it got me to thinking.  Just what is Jamie doing there at Murray’s Cheese on Bleecker street in NYC?  We thought it was just Jamie finding her way. But there may be something more sinister. Sure she looks like a nice friendly cheese-monger.




But didn’t we learn in “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid” that some cheeses can be used to create weapons of mass destruction? Sure, you laugh, but that’s what the people living on the island of Carlotta did before their homes were melted by a particularly nasty strain of Limburger.

See further down for photographic evidence that Jamie sometimes gets a little crazy. Something to think about when you buy your next wheel of Brie or Camembert

All we can hope is that she has this out of her system by the time we get to Camp in the high Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho this summer.



Cheese — it’s grosser than you thought

Behind the taste lie bacteria, stomach lining, pesticides and pure fat

updated 12:07 p.m. PT, Tues., Jan. 13, 2009

Cheese makes some foodies jump up and down like little kids, but behind that heavenly taste and texture lie bacteria, mammal stomach lining, pesticides and pure fat.

To ripen cheese and add flavor, bacterial strains are freely injected and smeared into the substance. But not all have been accounted for, a new study finds.

Researchers at Newcastle University in England have now identified eight previously undiscovered microbes on the French, brie-like cheese called Reblochon. The potential benefits of these new microbes are still unknown.

The study is detailed in the December issue of the journal International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology.

Flourishing microbes are consumed with every bite of cheese (though the cooling temperatures in refrigerators do slow down bacterial growth, they do not kill them in cheese or in any other food). Bacteria (either naturally swimming around the milk or manually injected) and enzymes derived from the inner stomach linings of any slaughtered milk-producing mammal (called rennet) are added to coagulate the milk into curds.

Two proteins arise from curdled milk and manufacturers capitalize on them: The first is whey, which is essentially leftover liquid from curdled milk (and is increasingly being used as an ingredient in producing other foods). The second is casein, which makes up the bulk of the solid part of cheese, along with fat.

Fat is what gives cheese its taste, and 70 to 80 percent of the calories in cheese come from pure fat.

Factories are adding more bacterial groups into cheese to achieve enhanced flavors, meanwhile disinfecting their products at the same time with high levels of pesticides while remaining under government standards.

"Virtually 100 percent of the cheese products produced and sold in the U.S. has detectable pesticide residues," according to the Food and Drug Administration.

Cheese might be a hot commodity, but like other dairy products, it can have some unhealthy aspects. Other ways to get your calcium fix include eating the following foods: fortified grains, kale, collard greens, mustard greens, cabbage, kelp, seaweed, watercress, chickpeas, broccoli, red beans, soybeans, tofu, seeds and raw nuts. With all that variety, there’s hope for any cheese addict. Only it won’t taste, or smell, the same.

More on Bacteria Food safety

© 2009 All rights reserved.



 Image: brie cheese

Alex, are you really 21

Alex Sweeza is 21 001Hard as it might be to believe, Alex Sweeza is now 21 years old. Little Alex, who used to just be Christian’s buddy Brandon’s little sister, is now a full fledged member of “The Adults”.  She decided to prove that the weekend of January 10th by stepping out and partying in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood. That’s where all of Seattle’s uber-hip and chic kids go to live and play. If you had the tight jean franchise here, you would not be experiencing any “economic difficulties.”




But what’s the fun of going if there’s no one to witness it.  So Alex dragged along big bro Brandon  and his wife Shealla, Shealla’s sister and friend, Mom Donna, Dad Keith (someone had to pay the bills), and Karin and I as well. We started the night at the Frontier Room down on First Ave, right in the middle of all the trendy hubbub that is Belltown.  And Christian even showed up later at the night club where they all went dancing at Twilight.




Alex Sweeza is 21 006  Alex Sweeza is 21 009

Alex Sweeza is 21 004

Now having already proved that she can drink, and feel the effects of it (Sarah Ashmead will remember that party), Alex started out slow…doing Cosmo’s with Karin.  But then her Dad decided the time had come for her to learn…and they went off to the bar to do tequila shots together.  I don’t know what the theory is there…”the family that drinks together…?” 


but when she came back with something called a “surfer on acid.” It tasted kind of like Jägermeister and soda (bleech!) I knew it was time for me to hang up my drinking spurs.  There’s a new potential Sheriff in down ladies and gentlemen…and she’s willing to drink just about anything. But she was also eating lots of carbs and drinking water between drinks…so that’s good.

In truth, a good time was had by all, and there was no excessive consumption.  That’s what we like to see. Kids who grow up and learn…it’s not about drinking to excess. It’s about drinking something good, in a way that makes you feel good, dance well, and does NOT leave you with a screaming hangover the next day.  That would ruin the effect.





Alex, we love the young lady you’ve become. And we look forward to your next adventure. Thanks for sharing with us.

Karin learns to Shop Victoriously


Karin Shops VictoriouslyWell, the Ebay marketing team should be proud of themselves.  They have managed to find Karin’s sweet spot. She’s always been a fan of online shopping; Amazon, Zappos,, etc.  She valued the convenience, the liberal return policies, etc.  But in the last few weeks Karin has learned to embrace her inner Ebayer. 

She has her own PayPal account, is trolling eBay for deals on her favorite products (mostly antique silver stuff that’s very art deco).  And you can tell she’s getting bad because now all she does at dinner is crow about all the great stuff she’s winning (…can you beleive it. This is selling for $175 on some antique sites, and I got it for only $22) in her crafty bidding.

Of course, there is the downside.  Now when we go out for coffee she says things such as, “…ok, I’ll go. But I have to be at a computer at 2:25pm. I have an auction closing and I’m NOT going to get aced out at the last minute again!”   You think I’m exagerating don’t you.  Well you see the smile on her face here. This is Karin on Monday January 12th carrying up 5 of the 8(!) boxes she got today from USPS, FedEX and UPS.

As I said, Ebay folks know what’s going on here. Lets go to the video…

Next week…12 little steps.   “Hi, my name is Karin…and I have a problem…”

Erik fights for the right to date Lara


From: Rebecca Ashmead []
Sent: Saturday, January 10, 2009 9:30 PM
To: Daniel Leach; Suzy Work Ross; Judy Koler; Tom Ross
Cc: LARA KOLER; Teri – Danger Den; Karin Leach; DENNIS LEACH; Erik Hurley;; Ryan Winger; Emily Carol Ann Fischer
Subject: RE: Paperwork

Has anyone seen the keys to the chastity belts????  Did we forget to mention those???  Sorry, guys.  They seem to have been misplaced… still looking!!!! 

Subject: RE: Paperwork
Date: Thu, 8 Jan 2009 16:14:47 -0800

Oh, and as my sister says, “he has a FU on his chin!!!”


Dan Leach

From: Daniel Leach []
Sent: Thursday, January 08, 2009 4:13 PM
To: ‘Ross, Suzy’; ‘Rebecca Ashmead’; ‘Judy Koler’; ‘’
Cc: ‘LARA KOLER’; ‘Teri – Danger Den’; ‘Karin Leach’; ‘DENNIS LEACH’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘Ryan Winger’; ‘Emily Carol Ann Fischer’
Subject: RE: Paperwork

…..everyone keep real quiet….no sudden noises.

There, she’s asleep again. You know, who would think the “Oldsheimers” would hit her like this. Happens all too often these days. Sigh. I’m starting to go through brochures for a home to stash her in. The pictures look very nice, very clean….but without the Pine sol® smell.  And oh look, this one has a nice rocking chair gymnasium where she can get some exercise.

As for the issue hand, the applicant….what’s his name? Oh I forget. And I’m with Dennis, why bother to scroll down to find it.  I mean, he might not last. In any case, we’re still waiting on the official “Mother’s Report” from Judy.  And it clearly states in the MAA (Remember, that stands for Membership Application Appendix) of MacBean Family© Code of Conduct v.12, 2003 edition that, “….no junior member of the MacBean Family shall formally submit an application on behalf of any potential boyfriend or girlfriend until the said applicant’s mother, or other senior female member of the family in good standing who is providing services as surrogate mother or senior female role model, has completed the Comprehensive Report on Estrogenator Effectiveness and Potential. (This is the formal name for the report commonly called the “Mother’s Report”, though most of the men actually call it the CREEP report).”

Until we see that, Lara can’t even think about filling out his paper work. She needs to respond to any issues that might show up in the CREEP report.

Issues such as…maybe…this:


Yes, that’s our boy Erik (oh hey, I remembered his name) there in the red sarong and blue hat (careful what you post on Facebook and MySpace people, it’s all evidence as far as I’m concerned). While he didn’t go off the deep end like his buddy there with a cowboy hat at a cape (nice combo!), he still has a few “fashion” issues he needs to explain.

What’s more, and I want to be clear I’m not jumping to any conclusions here, I did see what I would say was pretty substantial prima facie evidence of a violation of the Code of Conduct rules against pre-BF status fraternization and snuggly bunnying.  And I would never make such a charge without documentation:


So, I’m thinking the jury is still out here.


Dan Leach

From: Emily C Fischer, ARNP []
Sent: Thursday, January 08, 2009 2:43 PM
Subject: Re: Paperwork

Dan! A "bleeding heart liberal"??! Since when??

Now dear ones, you must understand that because certain people think that their attempted coup d’etat to overthrow my reigning position was successful, they are quite mistaken. Don’t listen to those rebels, Lara/Eric. They can’t throw me off the counsel. They may fall back on the by-laws or in-laws or outlaws, but I have the real seal. You’ll see.

So when is this counsel meeting? BD and I look forward to meeting Eric. There’s nothing like having romance and madly-in-love to make us all smile. Reminds me of when I fell madly-in-love w/ Wayne….I still "fancy" him.



From: Ross, Suzy []
Sent: Monday, December 29, 2008 3:58 PM
To: Rebecca Ashmead; Judy Koler;
Cc: LARA KOLER; Teri – Danger Den; Daniel Leach; Karin Leach; DENNIS LEACH;;; Ryan Winger; Emily Carol Ann Fischer
Subject: RE: Paperwork

Here is Suzy from Halo House at the Yoncalla Compound speaking:  Sayeth I, holding decisions on said applicant pending outcome of New Year’s Eve party, where applicant may be tempted to roll down behavioral governors after imbibement of alcoholic beverages.  Advice to applicant:  eat.  Regularly.  Eyes will be watching… Also, note to applicant:  As long as you treat our beloved Lara in a loving, caring and respectful way, I’m sure the council will look on you kindly.  At least Aunt Suzella will…

From: Rebecca Ashmead []
Sent: Monday, December 29, 2008 3:27 AM
To: Judy Koler; Ross, Suzy;;
Cc: LARA KOLER; Teri – Danger Den; Daniel Leach; Karin Leach; DENNIS LEACH;;; Ryan Winger; Emily Carol Ann Fischer
Subject: RE: Paperwork

Now, Dennisy… there you go. Ranting again.   That’s why we are such an effective council!!!!  We keep 1 bleeding heart liberal (Daniel) 1 right wing/knee jerk conservative (you) and 1 centrist/willing to consider all sides (me, of course) on the council at all times.   And yes, I know that Momily was ousted, but be kind, dear.  She doesn’t realize it yet.  "Old timers" does that to you.
     About that "living in sin" that Daniel and Karin have been indulging in all these years… the priest wouldn’t let them elaborate on that at the ceremony.  Inquiring minds want to know. 
  Love, R. 

Date: Mon, 29 Dec 2008 00:07:45 -0800
Subject: Fwd: Paperwork

Aunt Suzy & Uncle Tom,

I thought you would like to be informed of the recent correspondance amongst the Family Council regarding Lara and her new boy "interest", Erik Hurley.  In accordance with the ByLaws, all Aunts and Uncles have the opportunity, nay, RESPONSIBILITY to provide input pertaining to this matter.  Please feel free to comment at will.



———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Dennis Leach <>
Date: Sun, Dec 28, 2008 at 8:57 PM
Subject: RE: Paperwork
To: Rebecca Ashmead <>, Judy Koler <>, LARA KOLER <>
Cc: Teri – Danger Den <>, Daniel Leach <>, Karin Leach <>, DENNIS LEACH <>,,,

Oh, let’s get real! You are all a bunch of soft bleeding heart liberals. Sometimes I think we are letting the children run amuck. Perhaps it’s time to go back to the old traditions, you know, arranged marriages and all that stuff!
  And Becky you know that wasn’t a real seal! The CODE  calls for a real seal! It was a fake I tell you! She had to go hunting to get one, (you know she doesn’t hunt) or borrow one from the Navy. One more point on that, you know mom can’t give any approvals anyway. You yourself started the process to have her thrown off the family council. 
Now all that being said, yes, Ryan get’s a pass. And not because he had the guts to apply in person to the family council, or not because he’s serving our country(Lara herself is doing that). It’s because he’s an EOMFD and he plays with bombs and he knows how to use them!
I second Becky’s motion to call an emergency family council session at the earliest possible time. And if any of the children have any applicants to submit, they had better have all the paperwork, and I mean all the paperwork filled out in triplicate. And we better have the paperwork in our hands a week before the meeting so we can be fully prepared for discussing it at the meeting.
Judy, we will be waiting to hear your initial impressions of THE APPLICANT(I couldn’t be bothered to scroll down to find his name until Judy gave her initial approval).
Uncle Dennis

From: Rebecca Ashmead []
Sent: Sunday, December 28, 2008 7:27 PM
To: Judy Koler; LARA KOLER
Cc: Teri – Danger Den; Daniel Leach; Karin Leach; DENNIS LEACH; Dennis Leach;;;
Subject: RE: Paperwork

oooohhhh, Lara invoked the "Amazing" appellation!!!!  Now where have I heard this before???? Oh, yes.  Sarah.  Her Ryan is "amazing".  We definitely need to get together, Council!!!!!  The earliest PLANNED gathering is the Galena Conclave in July, but there may be an earlier opportunity!!!  Since we don’t seem able to travel to Seattle during the holidays, Jeffrey and I will be "gifting" eachother with plane tickets to meet our new grandson in January.  Check your calendars……. 
"Membership Applications Appendix of the MacBean Family© Code of Conduct v.12, 2003 edition" clearly states that persons exhibiting exemplary character (or perhaps was it that they ARE exemplary characters of monumental proportions!!!  I need to find my copy of the appendix… oh no, I mean I need to find my reading glasses so I can clearly read the fine print) will be given the earliest opportunity to present their AMAZING credentials to the Council Members. 
     Ryan was given the "seal of approval" by Gramily, and the approved stamp last November for his Application to Date a MacBean family member.  (Erik may want to contact Ryan to ask for an example of an appropriately filled out application) He still has yet to put forward the "Permanent Partnership Papers", but given that he has been in Afghanistan lately, will be given an extension on the allowable time deadline for said papers.
     Judy raises a legitimate grievance against her daughter, Lara,  and the "young man of interest", Erik…   Judy dear, if you don’t mind filling that out in triplicate we can expedite the papers through, unless of course, Erik and Lara are able to provide that promised meeting ASAP!!!!  We look forward to hearing about the visit, with the pictures of said event attached, of course!!!
Love to you all!!!!!!  Happy New Year, although it’d be much happier if we were all together!!!   Rebecca

Date: Sun, 28 Dec 2008 16:35:18 -0800
Subject: Re: Paperwork

Well now!  All this going on and I have been out of circulation at the Yoncalla Compound. 

I am heartened that members of the Venerable Family Council have taken the initiative to inform my daughter, Lara, and new boy "interest," Erik, of their responsiblities in the introduction of said boy "interest" and required permission acquisition for any future contact ‘tween the two from the Honorable Council. 

I am, however, disappointed that I was not one of the first to meet said boy "interest".  If I am not mistaken, does not the Family Code of Conduct provide for the Mother’s perogative to be the first to be introduced and provided the opportunity to form a judgement in these matters?  I’m certain that is my right and this has obviously not occurred in this case.  I am not sure what action I will take to remedy this oversight, but hold in reservation my right to take action at some future time.

I look forward to meeting Mr. Erik Hurley, reading his application, and evaluating his worthiness to occupy time and space with my loving and precious daughter, Lara.  Perhaps I will have the opportunity for a first "impression" over New Year’s.  Some time spent with the Mother at New Year’s would certainly prove to be a most prudent decision and would go a long way to creating the positive response desired from those involved.

Thanks again for the work of the Council.  It is comforting to know there is no slacking off of duty when it comes to the affairs of the heart!  …even over the holidays 😉

Happy Holidays and Love To All!!!


On Sat, Dec 27, 2008 at 7:33 AM, Koler Lara SSGT WADS/DOCE <> wrote:

Most Honorable and Venerable Family Council-
I humbly and earnestly apologize for the tardiness of Erik’s application. We wanted to complete the paperwork prior to the holidays, however with the severe weather and general craziness of this time of year this was unable to happen. The paperwork is in progress and shall be submitted shortly.
Is there a link to where one might find the "Membership Applications Appendix of the MacBean Family© Code of Conduct v.12, 2003 edition"? With the original MacBean site now defunct I am at a loss to find anything. L Or sending it as an attachment would be much appreciated as accessing the Family websites from Government computers is a mite difficult (blame it on the Chinese hackers).
While the application shall be submitted soon, I have included some information to assuage the current want of information:
Name: Erik Hurley
Age: 26
Occupation: Civilian contractor for the Government, Prior Air Force (same career field I am in).
Fun Facts: He’s been based in Japan, Iceland and Germany. He plays soccer (and is really flippin’ good!). He enjoys the theater (we’ve been to two plays together). He is very family oriented. He has no kids, but definitely wants a family. He never lets a day go by with out telling me how wonderful I am, how beautiful I am, how amazing I am, etc. He spoils me. He is very eager to meet all of you. And he’s absolutely amazing J Oh and when Mom brought up the idea that we should go down to Oregon for New Years, he "put down his proverbial foot" and told me we were going down because he knows how much I missed my mommy at Christmas J
More details are forthcoming in the formal application. Once again I humbly apologize for the delay. I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and have a wonderfully happy New Year.
Reverently yours,
Lara Kalísta

From: Teri – Danger Den []
Sent: Friday, December 26, 2008 10:14 PM
To: ‘Rebecca Ashmead’; ‘Daniel Leach’; Koler Lara SSGT WADS/DOCE
Cc: ‘Karin Leach’;;; ‘Dennis Leach’
Subject: RE: Paperwork

Dear Lara,
From what I understand from your emails with Uncle Dan, there is this "situation" that is not covered by the MacBean Family© Code of Conduct by-laws so you have an "out" of doing the application?  What is this new "situation"?  Uncle Dennis is in Corvallis this weekend with Brady for a OSU baseball camp.that laptop of his is never very far from him, so I’m sure he will get his two cents worth in here too. 
We hope everyone had a great Christmas despite the snowy weather.  We made it to my brothers in Astoria on Christmas eve, but we were surprise to the new 4" of snow we received Christmas morning.  Uncle Dennis woke up early with the flu, so he stayed home as the rest of us went over to my parents for Christmas dinner.  So many of my family members couldn’t make it and Mom had all this food so we asked a few of our neighbors that were home alone too to come over and join us.  It turned out great and we had a good time.
So much was going on with us this fall.  It was great for Brady that Uncle Dan, Uncle Jeff, Christian and Grandpa BD got to watch Brady’s Championship football game.  We are finally not "living" football anymore but we have great memories.
Take care, love,
Aunt Teri
P.S. Dennis is still having a hard time with your Uncle Dan and Aunt Karin living in "sin" for so, so many years..before really getting hitched!  I think he is looking into the matter with the MacBean Family Code of Conduct to see if there were rules broken and if they were required to fill out their application before they got remarried in November..

From: Rebecca Ashmead []
Sent: Friday, December 26, 2008 6:31 PM
To: Daniel Leach;
Cc: Karin Leach;;; Dennis Leach; Teri – Danger Den
Subject: RE: Paperwork

NOW I HAVE SOME QUESTIONS.  WHO IS THIS MAN.  I WANT THE REFERENCES IMMEDIATELY!!!!!  He must not be in the military, he has a "fu" on his chin!!!  unless he is on leave.   Is he worthy??? We are very particular.  Lara is too precious to just casually bestow upon some unknown.  NEED INFO ASAP.

Subject: RE: Paperwork
Date: Fri, 26 Dec 2008 10:25:27 -0800

Lara, Lara, Lara,
You have learned so much.and yet have so much more to learn in order to fully comprehend the rules governing the conduct of our family business. 😉
If you will remember back many years there was a reference in a posting to the family website about  the "Membership Applications Appendix of the MacBean Family© Code of Conduct v.12, 2003 edition". 
I suggest that you consult this appendix as it will contain all of the information you need to complete all required paperwork. It also contains has a section that details when, where, and how to submit all applications, supporting evidence and required documentation.
I’m sure you’ll agree after reading it that the MacBean Family© Code of Conduct v.12, 2003 edition is a comprehensive guide that really does cover any situation that could come up.  If you find some new situation that you "think" is not covered in the guidebook (and I’m not really sure that’s’s really pretty comprehensive) you will find that we even thought of that.  If you turn to the last page in the book, past the index, the footnotes, the recipe section and the map section, you’ll find a several sheets titled, "Things we didn’t think of."  They are pre-perforated, so you can just tear one out. Fill in the alleged "new" situation, and send it off to the nearest member of the MacBean Family Council.
Your loving Uncle,

Error! Filename not specified.
Dan Leach

Sent: Friday, December 26, 2008 8:10 AM
To: Daniel Leach
Subject: RE:

What would be the best way to submit our paperwork? Is it best to submit it when the council is all together? And when might that be?

E-Flight Weapons Asst. NCOIC
Western Air Defense Sector
DSN 382-4313 / COM 253-982-4313

From: Daniel Leach []
Sent: Friday, December 26, 2008 7:55 AM
Subject: RE:

I did post some pics of you both, and mailed them to your mother. 😉
And yes, Lynn got home last evening about 6:30pm and we had a nice dinner at the house.  Wish you and Eric could have been there.

Dan Leach

Sent: Friday, December 26, 2008 7:06 AM
To: Daniel Leach
Subject: RE:

Woohoo!!! Did you post the pics (or have the pics) of me and Erik? I take it Lynn got home ok?

E-Flight Weapons Asst. NCOIC
Western Air Defense Sector
DSN 382-4313 / COM 253-982-4313

2008 in our wake…

It’s late December, and another Christmas is approaching. You know what that means. It’s time for a look back at the high lights and the lowlights of another year in the continuing saga of that Pioneer family, the Leaches of Mountlake Terrace. No wait. That is from another book I’m working on. Hold on a minute. Here’s the correct one. ….the highlights and lowlights of the seagoing highland clan, the Leaches of s/v Marie. Hmmm. Needs more work, doesn’t it? In any case: on with the year in review.

Christmas 2007 092As is our tradition….we begin with last Christmas.  The holidays in 2007 brought another trip to Idaho to be with my sister, two Aunts and all kinds of nephews and nieces. No matter what pressures we face, no matter what issued are building up at work, when we cross the Snake River and see that “Welcome to Idaho” sign all our tension seems to just melt away. We know that an hour after seeing that sign we’ll be at Bardenay’s in the Basque section of Boise having lunch. Mmmm, there’s nothing like a good brewpub. About 90 minutes after we leave there we’ll be pulling into my sister’s ranch on the Snake River canyon rim, West of Twin Falls. Let the merry making begin.

Christmas 2007 088Christmas 2007 080We have traditions in Idaho, such as caroling and doing a little snow machine riding. But we always look for ways to mix in new twists, new variations on the old themes. It’s the best way I know to keep the fun fresh and new every year…and make it memorable. This year we went caroling in Wendell as per usual. But this year Rebecca found some friends who had draft horses….big Clydesdales…and a hay wagon.  So for about an hour, Wendell was treated to the spectacle of the extended family and friends being hauled around town in a blasting cold wind….singing our hearts out. This year we remembered to bring sheets with lyrics printed on them and flashlights to read by. No more of that trying to remember carols…and only getting half a verse in before everyone starts humming. 

Christmas 2007 074 Another new highlight this year was the dog sled races up in Fairfield. Now we’ve all been hanging around in Fairfield for decades, but this is the first year anyone could remember them holding a dogsled race. They had a ceremonial start in town, but the real course started North of Soldier, at the parking lot for a snow machine trail. In a bit of serendipity, one of my nephews, Josh, is renting a house just a short walk down the road from the start. Sweet! So even though it was a bitterly cold weekend we had a perfectly warm farmhouse to use as a warm base. We could warm ourselves with hot coco and food, then bundle up and wander up to the start line to mingle with the racers and their dogs. I think they were surprised to see so many people at their race…and even more surprised when they learned we were all one big extended family. Mush!

It was “A Redneck” Christmas in Idaho. Everyone got new hunting caps…in bright blaze orange. They also got a new “redneck” name. Basically, whack “Billy” onto the front of any male family member…and you get “Billy Jeff”, “Billy Dan”, etc. And for the ladies….whack “Sue” or “Jo” on the end of their names. “Karin Jo”, “Becky Sue”, etc. You get the idea. Christmas 2007 096

The family stocking collection is getting truly out of hand. There are so many custom stockings from Aunt Karin it’s getting almost impossible to hang them all at once. This year’s special stocking went to our favorite outdoorsman, Russ. It was made of camo-velvet….with wild trout fabric lining. The cuff was shearling, just like you see on fishermen’s vest. And while the ladies may like pearls decorating their stockings, Russ was touched that Karin had put hooks, lures, and tied flies all over the cuff of his. It was very manly Christmas stocking.

Christmas 2007 162 Minnie and Gracie got to come with us, and they loved to run around while we all played in the snow with the kids snow machines. They also came with Karin and I as we escaped for a little snow shoeing up above Ketchum. They love to be able to run and play in the snow.






So on to 2008.

Blakely Rocks Race 2008 007 Frostbite Sailboat Race 002It was a pretty quiet winter and spring really. We sailed…realized the boat needed a new engine. I got to sail on a historic racing sailboat several times.  I also did some races on Puget Sound with Roy Dunbar on his all wood racing sled. We had a killer church choir party, where the Nintendo Wii Karaoke was the hit of the event.





and henry and abigail april 051 Karin finally took time off to go to Idaho to take horse riding lessons. She had a blast, working from the Ashmead ranch by day, and riding horses in the late afternoon and evening. She had her dogs with her. A woman at peace with the world.

Cruising to Coupeville 088We got to take Christian out sailing to Whidbey Island over Memorial Day weekend as a way to test the new engine in the s/v Marie. It was beautiful weather, a beautiful weekend, and the engine worked. Always a plus!


By June it was clear that it was time for me to leave Dunbar Marine. Not enough mental stimulation. But before finding new work…it was going to be a summer with sailing. (Needless to say this decision looked a little less intelligent when the economy fell off the cliff in the Fall, making work harder to come by. But it was still a fun summer). Early in the summer I headed the boat south in the Puget Sound to visit Tacoma where the tall ships were gathered for a festival. I also went to Gig Harbor, a cute little town near Tacoma with a lovely little harbor. In Gig Harbor you can row up to a bar, tie up at their dock, and stay as long as you like. 

After the 4th of July, we geared up for the annual summer sojourn to the high country, family camp at Boulder Mountain in Idaho. But that plan had to be drastically changed when Aunt Roselee’s cancer finally started getting serious. Instead of going to the mountains, we went to Fairfield for lovely peaceful days of sitting with our beloved Aunt, talking about all the great times on the farm, all the love we felt around her kitchen table. We set up camp at Josh’s, and just shuttled back and forth to the Krahn ranch where Aunt Roselee was spending her days. We sang, we cried, we laughed, we hugged, and we said our goodbyes. Frankly, it’s the way it should be for all of us. Gathered with those we love around us as we prepare for the next great adventure God has in store for us. I know when she passed in her sleep Aunt Roselee went to heaven, and is waiting for the rest of us to get there.

September 2008 036 Back in Seattle again, it was time for sailing in earnest. I took the boat and sailed north. Jim and David joined me again for the sail to Canada, where their wives, Karin and in-laws Suzy and Tom Ross would join us for a little vacation. We wanted to see those fireworks again off the Vancouver shoreline, and once again, it was a great show. You have to love the ability to sail into a foreign country, and clear customs just by making a cell phone call. We found a berth at False Creek again, in walking distance of the Grandville Island market. We found new little neighborhood bars and restaurants to try all around the area, and generally enjoyed another visit to Vancouver.

After a weekend in shore, it was time to take off and cross the Georgia Straight. I probably should have waited another hour before going through Porlier Pass. The current was amazingly fast, and it was all I could do to keep the boat going forward through.

Next time, wait. But we eventually found lovely moorage in a provincial park and spent the next two days playing in the Gulf Islands.

September 2008 011_stitch

Then we crossed into the US again, and went looking for crab and fish. We found the crab…but not the fish. We had to cut a few days short when I developed a little issue with my shaft and coupler. Wouldn’t be a trip if I didn’t have some mechanical, sigh. Next year, we’re fishing first. Oh, and we’re going to Victoria for a change of pace.

Canal Station 001With boat work needed, Karin and I headed back to port in Everett. It was August now, and we decided with was time to launch our experiment in urban living. Many of you know we were going to move around the country, trying cities we liked for 5 months at a time. But Karin suddenly got tapped for a new job at Sprint that would keep her more Seattle bound. Since we had already planned to rent the house to Lynn, Jared and Christian….we decided we’d still do that. Karin and I would just experiment by moving around locally. We found a cool condo in Ballard, a neighborhood in Seattle, and moved in.  It’s fun to be able to walk half a block to anything…bar, theatre, restaurant, library, cleaner, bakery. I love it. Boat and Ballard 012There’s a Sunday Market a block away with farmers, craftspeople, buskers, and all manner of food to eat.  When you load up on fresh veggies on Sunday you hardly ever have to go to a grocery store. But living in a condo is very different from our house…and it’s a much smaller space than we’re used to. What’s more, the dogs have to live with Mom in Arlington…and I can tell Karin hates not having them sleeping under her desk.

Fall in the Arboretum 049 Fall in Seattle was amazing this year. There was a week of rain…but that was about it. We had day after day of warm weather into late October. The leaves slowly turned their fiery colors, but the storms didn’t come knock them down. So we could take long walks in the arboretum to admire the color. We moved the boat down from Everett to new mooring on Lake Union. It’s a lovely spot where you can sit and watch lake traffic all day. We also got to go to Oregon to watch Brady play football, and what do you know, Knappa loggers went on to win the Oregon Class 2a high school football championship two days after Thanksgiving.

Brady Leach State Champion 087

KarinDan Wedding 041Speaking of Thanksgiving….or really the day after…after 29 years Karin and I made it “official”, at least in the eyes of the Catholic Church. On the Friday after Thanksgiving we had our convalidation ceremony at Blessed Sacrament Church.  The church actually recognizes our civil marriage, but gives you the option of a formal blessing in the church. So at 11am, with many of our friends beaming from the pews, Karin and I walked down the aisle to be blessed by Father Daniel. And oh wasn’t he in a funny mood. Father Daniel has the most wry sense of humor, and when he insists that “he’ll be brief”, you can bet money that he will not be brief at all. You could see as he got rolling in the homily that he was really starting to enjoy himself with this one….giving us the full understanding of the four types of love spelled out in the bible…and assuring us and those gathered that he was sure we were still living all the types of love…but please…no details. Oh…that reminds him of another thing….etc. We had friends who were not Catholic come up afterward to say, “you know, if I WERE Catholic…this would be the guy I would want to listen to every Sunday.” We agree.

Noah makes his entrance 009 Finally we move into December of 2008, and the big event everyone in the family has been waiting for; Lynn and Jared’s baby. Just was the biggest storm in years was blowing into the Northwest, Noah Alvaro Ashmead decided the time had come. That day was Friday, More of Noah 014December 12th. Just after 1pm, Noah arrived. Jared was beaming, Lynn was tired, and Noah…he was just about the cutest baby we’ve seen since…well…the last Ashmead baby. Now we realize that he has Grandparents….and they have been visiting. But they will also be in Idaho most of the time…and Karin and I fully intend to make sure he has all the Aunt and Uncle Love possible. I was over there four days in a row….just happy to let him sleep on my chest while I sit in a rocking chair. Karin was stunned at how bonded she feels to him in just a short time. I think Lynn was horrified when I suggested we rig his Johnny-Jump-up from the end of the boom on the boat so he can just hang there while we sail. I didn’t mean right now….I’m willing to wait…some. 😉 (and it wasn’t me it was Jared that gave him his first sailing nickname; OrcaBait). Balllard in the snow 004Stormwatch 2008 002

A huge winter storm blasted Seattle as Christmas drew near.  Now normally a place as low and near the water as Ballard is the last place to get much snow. But this was a big storm. The entire region was blasted for days, and the cold weather has lasted almost two weeks. In Ballard we got at least 8 inches of snow on the ground. But as I mentioned, you can walk to everything here, so we mostly hunkered down and made the best of it.Mmm Oysters





We had been planning to drive to Oregon for Christmas…but the heck with that. I don’t want to drive to Eugene at 25-miles an hour, on ice the entire way. We’ll just stay here and enjoy our new baby nephew.

So that’s 2008. There was an economic meltdown, and a presidential election. But who wants to talk about that stuff. I think I’ve hit the high points of the year. Best wishes to all in 2009. I know it will be great.

Dan & Karin