Elia – 42 Months!

Elia - 42 Months!

Ezra – 94 Months!

Ezra - 94 Months!

Easter Egg Painting

A bit of snow outside, a Nana and Papa inside, and some hard-boiled eggs the Friday before Easter.

Ezra & Elia Go Tubing

Best of 2015 Playlist

If you needed a representation of 2015 in notes, melody, and taste…here it is! All year long, I think about this list and if a song may or may not make the cut for consideration. As I sat down to put together the list, I had some preconceived notions as to the direction of the music; but setting those aside and choosing the songs lead the list in a rather different direction. Of course, each kid has the opportunity to pick a song to go onto the list – their favorite for the year. In the rest of the list, I found a few reoccurring themes: notably, the heaviest Colorado band influence to date, songs that finish a lot better than they start (which is the exact opposite of my very first qualifier to a good song – a first 30 seconds that sinks it’s teeth into you), and a lot of input from television shows and movies. That brings me to my next confession: this is one of the smallest raw pools of music that I have had in years. I really didn’t visit a lot of the music blogs that I normally would have (and one of the best, I am Fuel you are Friends, is shutting/slowing down), so my exposure this year was mostly through friends, entertainment, and podcast. The result is a few gems that I probably wouldn’t have come across in other years, and a few songs that may have had a tougher time making passing grade in other lists. Either way, these are my favorite songs from 2015…

Like always, there are three rules that go into qualifying for the list: Rule #0 (because it applies every year): fit on a traditional CD and come to my library in the calendar year (even though the songs may be older than that). Rule #1: Don’t suck. Rule #2 (and most important): Be interesting.

1 – Worthless by The Yawpers

2 – Who I Wanna Be by Pandas & People

3 – We’re Going To Be Friends by The White Stripes

4 – Grew Up At Midnight by The Maccabees

5 – Bend To Colors by Chemistry Club

6 – Clearest Blue by CHVRCHES

7 – The Skylab Plan by Daniel Pemberton

8 – Occupied by The Radio Dept.

9 – Oceancrest by My Body Sings Electric

10 – Fresh Blood by The Eels

11 – When Summer Comes by Pan Astral

12 – Squeeze by Monroe Monroe

13 – Red Right Hand by Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds

14 – Girlfriend by In The Whale

15 – The Feast And The Famine by Foo Fighters

16 – Go’head by Rocstrong

17 – Can’t Keep Checking My Phone by Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Elia’s Song Choice: Red Right Hand (right? my 3 y/o digging post-punk? awesome)
Ezra’s Song Choice: Who I Wanna Be (he has picked Pandas & People two years in a row)
My Favorite: Worthless
The One Despite All Efforts I Couldn’t Keep Off: The Skylab Plan
Biggest Surprise: We’re Going To Be Friends (mostly because it sounds nothing like The White Stripes)
Really Crank This One…No, Louder Than That: Girlfriend or The Feast And The Famine
Band Not Making The List For The First Time In A Few Years: RAC
Bands Continuing Their Run: CHVRCHES, Pandas & People
Dammit If They Didn’t Show Up Again: Pan Astral
Last Song Dropped From The Playlist: Sea Of Love by The National


Previous Year’s Best Of Lists:

Best of 2014

Best of 2013

Best of 2012

Best of 2011

Best of 2010

Best of 2009

Best of 2008

Elia – 38 Months!

Elia- 38 Months!

Ezra: 90 Months!

Ezra - 90 Months!

Elia – 36 Months!



Elia 36 Months!

The First Snow Of The Season

The first snow of the season also equals the first shoveling of the season, which also equals the first discovery of snowflakes for the season, which also equals the first ‘my boots are wet’ of the season, which also equals the first good pictures of the season.

Elia Shoveling Snow 2015-5

NYC Stair Climb

An absolute highlight of my career/profession/life.

A lot of work and a lot of thought and a lot of care have gone into planning the stair climbs locally and nationally over the last 11 years. Throughout all of that planning, there have been several program positions that are uncompromisable…including 1) money raised using 9/11 would go back to the FDNY and whatever they saw appropriate, 2) what the families say is non-negotiable, and 3) what the FDNY says is standard. For example, the FDNY has worked on the idea of a stair climb in NYC for a few years now, but for a variety of reasons, it just wasn’t the right thing to do. Additionally, the FDNY has stated that when looking at doing a stair climb in the city, they would not be supportive of a climb in lower Manhattan…just too close to too many things (physically and emotionally). So when the FDNY said that they were ready to have a climb in the city, it was a significant marker in the stair climb program.

I had a chance to fly out in the spring to assist the FDNY with a site visit at Citi Field (home of the NY Mets) and to begin the planning of the climb that would eventually be held in October. The FDNY, and the FDNY Counseling Services Unit were completely behind the effort and dedicated equipment, units, and lots of hours of work on the climb…and they were extremely successful with the final outcome.

Ahna and I, along with the rest of the NFFF Stair Climb Steering Committee had the opportunity to travel to NYC to assist with the climb. It was such an honor to be part of the event, to see the firefighters climbing, to be witness to the FDNY support, and to spend time with crews that lost friends, and families that lost husbands and fathers. It was especially touching to talk with the kids of the firefighters who were able to find their father’s photo card, and climb for him. The event was incredible, and I am pretty sure that I was somewhere between clouds nine and 10 for the entire duration – and to be able to spend that event with the other members of the committee and with Ahna was very special.

After the event, we were able to spend a day and a half in the city exploring Manhattan. We had the chance to go to Ground Zero and to go to the 9/11 Museum – which was an incredibly emotional experience (especially after doing the climb the morning prior). The museum is beautiful and extremely well done, packed with a ton of information and artifact. After the museum, we wandered around Central Park, MOMA, and finished the evening at a Michelin starred vegetarian restaurant and drinks above Broadway/Times Square. We even squeezed in a midnight ice skate at Rockefeller Center.

The trip was a great get-a-away with Ahna, and a physically and emotionally exhausting and fulfilling experience. And now the planning begins for 2016…


Photo Oct 11, 06 37 23

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