Birthday Karaoke in the Mall

Kristine and I had just left Target, which is attached to the mall, to buy her birthday present together – a FitBit that I’d later wrap with the kids and Kristine would pretend was a surprise. This is what our birthdays have become. Last weekend, I’d had pre-knowledge of my birthday gift, too. As Kristine and I walked through the mall, pondering this clinical approach to celebration, we passed the karaoke booth. I was nostalgically thinking about all our visits to Ozzie’s over the years when Kristine said, “Hey, do you want to sing karaoke with me for my birthday?” I said yes.

Happy birthday, Kristine. Heaven is being locked in a mall karaoke booth with you for eternity.


Reliving Khan’s Wrath 

In the summer of 1982, my sister, Kelley,  took me to see Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. We somehow got the start time wrong and arrived too late to see the movie. Kelley quickly assured me that we could catch a later showing, so we went home with the plan of returning later that evening. At home, to kill some time before going back to the theater, we watched some TV. Coincidentally, a rerun of an old episode from the original ’60s Star Trek series was on. Better yet, it happened to be the episode that introduced the villain character, Khan, played by Ricardo Montalban. So, when we saw the movie later that night, we were probably the most prepared in the theater (with the exception of maybe some diehard Trekkies). It turned out to be one of my favorite movies from childhood, and I’ll always remember that my 19-year-old sister took her 10-year-old brother to see it. 

That fond memory resurfaced this morning when Kristine told me about an article she was reading discussing the controversy surrounding the realness of Ricardo Montalban’s pecs in Star Trek II. By all accounts, they were very real. In the course of our research, we realized that, to celebrate the movie’s 35th anniversary, a director’s cut version is playing in Bellingham’s movie theater. We immediately decided we needed to take the kids to see it tonight. Before going, I insisted Henry and Ruby watch the 1960s Khan episode, “Space Seed” – the same Star Trek episode my sister and I watched in 1982. 

Thirty-five years after seeing it for the first time, The Wrath of Khan was awesome. It was preceded by an interview with William Shatner, who vouched for Montalban’s pecs and told some good stories about the making of the movie. I’m pretty sure I was the most excited for the experience. Henry enjoyed it. Kristine made fun of some of the dialogue and special effects. Ruby fell asleep. 

There’s an old Klingon proverb: Revenge is a dish best served with buttered popcorn. 

The Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth 

We got our rodeo on at the Calgary Stampede today. The Stampede is essentially a big, urban, cowboy-themed fair, complete with amusement park rides, carnival games and farm animal barns. But the main event is really the rodeo, where world champion athletes compete in events like bull and bareback bronco riding, steer wrestling, and barrel racing. 

We watched Tiany Schuster from Krum, Texas shatter the barrel racing world record, completing the course in 16.99 seconds. We also witnessed a cowboy carried off on a stretcher (pictured above) after being slammed to the dirt and then trampled by the mad bull he’d been riding. He ended up winning the bull riding competition for having hung on so long. The announcer told us later that he’s going to be OK. 

We were in the nose bleed seats, which was fine with us, given the breeze that cooled off the grandstand. From up there, we had a nice view of the instant replays on the jumbotron. Henry and Ruby got really into recording stats in the program. Both announced at the end of the day that they think they could compete in the pony wrangling event. I believe it.  

Kristine and I enjoyed every second of the Stampede, and we’d tend to agree it lives up to its “Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth” billing. We wish we had more time to check out Calgary, but we’re looking forward to exploring the prairies of Alberta and Saskatchewan this weekend. 



Fry Lodge has its first week of school at Wade King Elementary under our belt, and we all couldn’t be happier. Not only do Kristine and I get to have uninterrupted adult conversation again, but Henry and Ruby are ecstatic about their new school. Today, Henry came home and insisted he show me… the TED Talk (!) that his teacher, Mr. Livezey, showed his class. I watched. My mind was blown. It’s a talk by Art Benjamin, a self-described mathemagician, who does crazy math in his head in front of an audience. In this TED Talk, he calculates the square of randomly picked, five-digit numbers. In seconds. Henry has a new hero, and he couldn’t be more psyched about being in 4th grade at Wade King. Watch and have your mind blown.



I had been watching both the weather forecast and the yard full of fallen leaves, knowing I had maybe a few hours before those dry leaves would turn into mush. I used peer/sibling pressure to get rakes into the kids’ hands. Henry and Ruby were happy to help rake once I told them they could jump in the pile at the end, which they thoroughly enjoyed. We got the yard leaf free before the sky opened up.


Coming to America

Ruby turns six on Monday, and she requested to see the Nutcracker as her birthday present. So, the Fry Family Quartet took a trip to America this weekend to see the Nutcracker performed by the Pacific Northwest Ballet. Though she slept through a lot of the performance, Ruby loved the overall experience. The Maurice Sendak sets were gorgeous, and the intermission cupcakes were delicious. Plus, it’s kind of fun to get dressed up once in a while.


Going off-Island is always interesting. We’ve obviously been living on Lopez  for a while. I kept waving to oncoming cars as we drove through the city streets of Seattle.

We had a few hours to kill before the Nutcracker, so we took care of a few long overdue American tasks. We drove the van through a carwash. And Henry got his first haircut since June!

Small world update: Before checking out this morning, we decided to take a swim in the hotel pool. As we entered, a guy with his family of four asked if we lived on Lopez (he either recognized us, or Ruby’s Lobos t-shirt was a give-away.) It turns out they live on Lopez and were also in Seattle for the Nutcracker. Wow, we’re making Island friends all over the place. Doing the math, we ran into 0.2 percent of the Lopez population while in America.

Zero Waste

That’s the stated goal of the Lopez Solid Waste Disposal District, which manages the Lopez Island Dump. We make a biweekly trip to the dump to get rid of Fry Lodge trash and sort our recycling into a wide variety of bins. Lopez recycles everything, so the sorting process gets pretty tedious. Or, fun – if you happen to be between the ages of 5 and 7. Henry and Ruby love going to the dump so they can help sort. The corrugated cardboard conveyor belt is their favorite station. I always have to make sure there’s enough cardboard for each of them to throw onto the belt. Tossing glass bottles into the glass dumpster is pretty fun, too. Oh, and the magnet to determine whether a can is steel or aluminum could easily amuse them for an afternoon. I think our collective favorite thing about the dump, though, is “the mall,” where people are encouraged to leave discarded objects instead of throwing them away. This place is swarming with Lopezians on weekends. Yes, we have a slightly different lifestyle than we did in the West Village.