My bride convinced me to register as a potential chaperone for our 5th grader’s field trip a few months ago, and I forgot about it, because she said lots of folks register for this privilege, but what I shouldn’t have forgotten is that I’m really lucky and win stuff from drawings all the time, so when I found out I was going, I had much to shift in my work schedule to make it happen.  But, on Wednesday morning at 545am, we arrived at her school to board…






Just the other day, the postman brought 4 bags of potato soup mix from Idahoan® Foods to try, so I partnered with Life of Dad and the good Idahoans to turn my backyard into a kickass steakhouse with outdoor seating. We started with boiling water on the stove. Then, I poured in the potato soup. The children volunteered to make it into a romantic evening and served as hostess, server, and sommelier. They made name tags and menus, and they set the speakers to the “Symphonic Classical” Pandora…






We boarded the train in York and arrived at King’s Cross on July 7, briefly stopping at Platform 9 3/4 before depositing our bags at the AirBnB in London. Then, I met my distant German relative, Andreas, and his girlfriend to tour the Warner Brothers Harry Potter studio, and it was amazing. I think this excursion was supposed to be for the children, but I was looking forward to it as much as anyone in the family, if not more. I read all the books (that were out…






After we left Santa Fe at noon on Wednesday, January 4, the objective was to follow I-40 to Oklahoma City.  This was to be the longest “pure driving” day of our trip, so we’d hoped to start early (but the lure of Meow Wolf was too great–and it was worth it). We left Santa Fe about noon and headed southeast to 40, then east on I-40.  About 2pm, we pulled off to visit Tepee Curios on Route 66 and have lunch at Del’s.  At the concrete teepee, I…






We entered New Mexico via I-40 east after our travels through Arizona on Monday, January 2.  We passed Albuquerque, and my eldest let her American Girl doll, Saige, wave out the window to her hometown, but our destination was Santa Fe.  Dinner was at Sazón, which I only found because after we checked into our bed and breakfast, I used the Yelp app to find something still open for dinner that was close.  We arrived at 8:30pm, and it was immediately apparent that it was a nicer place…






The 5 of us took a one-way flight to Phoenix on Thursday morning, December 29th, picked up a 2017 Kia Sportage SX Turbo, loaded it with bags and children, and then met 4 of my cousins and 5 of their children for authentic Mexican food for lunch. Then, all 14 of us went to my uncle Chuck’s house (my cousins’ dad) to visit with him a few days before he turns 90. That evening, we left the high 70s of Phoenix for the low 30s of Flagstaff.  Friday…






Yes, some musicians and actors and athletes I like died, and we had a really contentious and nasty Presidential election, but entertainers and politicians aren’t responsible for my day-to-day (or year-to-year) happiness or contentment; I am. This was the most successful year I’ve ever had professionally and financially, but that’s not how to measure whether a year was great or not.  For me, it’s in large part concerts and travel. This year, I got to see Madonna, Prince, Duran Duran, They Might Be Giants, Van Morrison, Smashing Pumpkins…