I dabbled with painting in 2014 after doing one with Mallory. I started out mainly with acrylics and tried to paint whenever I had a spare few hours which tended to be few and far between. The following were some of my earlier ones.
Some of my acrylics from later in 2014 and early 2015.
Around 2015 I took a few lessons from Leonid Afremov and switched to Oil Paints and palette knives.
In 2016 I took some more lessons from Kevin Hill.
Unfortuately I haven’t painted since 2016, but I’m hoping to get back at it this year.
We had planned this trip since our Arcade Fire weekend in Seattle in ’14. We had threatened to do a Blue Jays series in Seattle with my Dad and Carla for awhile since my Dad is a huge Jays fan, but the days just never worked out. This time we started planning early, so the condo/Jays tix/reservations have been booked since January. We wanted to balance downtime, with getting to see more of Seattle. The rundown of our trip is below, I feel like we balanced it out fairly well. Luckily we live close by so we can always check out what we missed next time.
We left at 9am, and got to the border by 920, luckily we got a crossed the border within 20 mins, and into Bellingham by 1030 so Desiree could have her traditional Clover @ the Guide Meridian Starbucks.
We hit the road, and arrived in Seattle by 1230 for our tour of the Starbucks Roastery, and lunch at our favourite (thus far) Seattle Restaurant “Serious Pie”. Desiree had been at the Roastery once before, but the rest of us had never been. It was interesting to see the process of how the coffee is made from start to finish even if I’ll never be a coffee drinker. The last time we were in Seattle for the Arcade Fire concert we hit the Serious Pie on Virginia after seeing it on one of Anthony Bourdain’s shows. So we vowed to make another trip this round, luckily one of the three Serious Pie’s in Seattle is inside the Roastery. While we were there Tommy Douglas was at the table next to us doing some schmoozing, and signing books.
When we finished we had nearly two hours to kill before our 4pm check-in, so we drove down to Pike Place to kill time. I have gotten better with crowds, I no longer feel anxious being sardined in with hundred’s of people in confined areas, and Pike Place definitely proved my new found skill 🙂 As always I lost Des half way through Pike Place, but we met up near the end, I don’t know how we survived without cell phones. We went to Pike Place last year, its much like Granville Island, mainly over priced junk, you just go for the experience and say you’ve been there.
We arrived at the Condo at exactly 4pm, Des went in to grab the garage key, and found a room there wasn’t clearly not only cleaned, but the previous tenant’s obviously didn’t bother to do any straightening on their own. We never leave a condo/hotel etc dirty when we leave it, I would just feel guilty otherwise. We stayed in a two bedroom ondo at the Modo Apartments on 3rd Ave, last year we stayed at a once bedroom suite on 2nd ave. It wasn’t a bad experience, just an unfortunate start to the trip. The room was directly above the bus stop which was great for convenience, but it meant couldn’t leave the window/door open.
We reserved a parking spot at CenturyLink Field acrossed the street of Safeco, while it ended up being convenient and a short walk. The nightmare getting in/out made me regret the choice. We thought we were giving ourselves ample time to get there, so we could spend over an hour checking out the Stadium, but the traffic down wasn’t pretty. We arrived at lovely Safeco Field at 630, we quickly found our seats, then went to find an ATM. We browsed around for food, Desiree and Mallory had crab fries, and garlic fries, and I had a BBQ poboy and yam fries. Unfortunately we missed the first inning, and the food was sub par, I should have stuck with the traditional ball park smokie.
The seats were great, the game started off well for us, and quickly soured by mid game. It felt like 50% of the fans there were blue jays fans, they were everywhere and very vocal. I felt bad for the Mariners fans having to put up with us obnoxious Canadians. The environment helped ease the pain of the loss, Safeco is a beautiful stadium.
We realized near the end of the game it was fireworks night, so we stuck around until 1030. Deep down, I thought it was going to be kinda lame, but I was pleasantly surprised, and it turned out to be really quite fantastic. The fireworks were synced with music, along with the lights in the stadium to be quite a little surprise after the game.
We mixed it up for day 2, and parked the car for the day, and walked to WestLake Station to catch the light rail to Pioneer Station. Unfortunatley, I’m starting to associate Seattle with pee, I feel like Vancouver has a bigger homeless problem, but I almost never smell pee in downtown Vancouver, but you can’t walk down a block of Seattle without getting a potent whiff of pee, and its normally always around parking garages, bus shelters or pubs. I had a bit of anxiety about missing our train, but it all worked out and we arrived at Pioneer Station with ample time for our Underground Tour at 11am.
We had a reservation for the Seattle Underground Tour for 11am. The true ground level of downtown Seattle is about 15 feet lower then you see today. Over several decades in the late 1800’s they built up the city to prevent flooding. It was fascinating to learn about the history/development of Seattle, and how sewage, flooding, fires, and prostitution helped develop the Seattle we see today.
Looking at the Sidewalk from below the street. There’s not many of the original side walks left, but they built them this way to help brighten the stores etc before the street before there was electricity.
Rat problems caused them to close off the underground stores.
Our tour ended at about 1230, and we made our way back to Pioneer and caught the light rail to Stadium Station, and walked to the Stadium. We arrived with 20 mins to spare, and this time we grabbed some tried & true stadium food, and got some Nachos and a Smokies and made our way to our seats.
Desiree did a fantastic job picking our seats this year, yet another great view of the field, directly behind the Blue Jays bench. It felt like a bigger congregation of Blue Jays fans, and there was one really annoying drunk guy behind us constantly taunting the Mariners fans. I was secretly hoping someone would thump him. The Jays came out strong in the 2nd for three runs but the Mariners always had an answer and chipped away with runs in the first four innings. Before we knew it we were down 5-3, and Jays weren’t playing well. That all changed in the 8th inning when Carrera came up and tied the game with a swing of the bat to make it 6-6. Des was thrilled to see Sanchez in his first game back from injury start the 8th, and still throwing consistent 99mph pitches. The Mariners brought in Rodney who traditionally tanks, and he loaded the bases with none out, Colabello singled bringing in two runs, and the Jays went on to win 8-6.
Sanchez’s first game back
After making our way through the maze of people, and losing Des/Mallory for 10 minutes, we made our way to the Stadium station, and took the sardine fest back to Westlake Station. We hung out at the condo for a few hours, and went out to catch our 710 bus to our Dinner reservation at Toulette’s Petit. Unfortunately we didn’t know it was the night of the Torchlight parade which created a log jam on our street, resulting in 30 min delay of our bus. Luckily the restaurant held our reservation, we arrived at 8 for our 730 reso. Toulette’s is a Creole restaurant, primarily specializing in Southern French cuisine. The meal was great, I’d probably give it an 8 out of 10, I’m spoiled with the lovely food Desiree always cooks so it felt like a home cooked meal, but I didn’t order anything out of the ordinary like Des/Mallory.
We wrapped up our trip by doing the one and only thing Mallory wanted to do on the trip, hitting a stored called Kinokuniya. They specialize in selling Manga/Anime, and various other things. Mallory was in Manga/Anime heaven and we spent over an hr in the store, and $140 US later, we left for Bellingham.
We made a few stops in Bellingham to grab some booze, grub (five guys) and random supplies, and made our much anticipated final stretch home only to find out there was a 2 hr wait at the border as everyone and their dog was apparently coming home from the Jays series at the same time. I thought it was odd that Trader Joes was so busy with Canadians since our dollar is so lousy, but now it made sense.
The weekend was deemed a success, and I think everyone except for Mallory is looking forward to the next Blue Jays weekend.
Seattle Success! Arcade Fire at the Gorge… probably one of the most scenic venues I’ve ever been too, but likely not worth the drive for the venue alone. However, Arcade Fire definitely made the driving worthwhile with an exceptional set. We also finally hit Serious Pie after drooling over the food on Anthony Bourdain’s: No Reservations several years ago, and now sits in my top 2 for crust, and top 1 overall.
We had a great time in Seattle and will definitely be planning another trip next year for the Blue Jays series.
When we booked our trip, we had three things we wanted to do while there apart from visiting family, #1 eat at the Combine in Simcoe, and #2 attend a Blue jays game, and #3 goto the McMichael Art Gallery, it was a jam packed 10 days, but we accomplished everything and more that we set out to do.
We spent the 10 days living at my mothers, and the first day we had an early bday party for Mallory and invited my grandmother and Roy over for cake and Desiree made Beef Wellington for dinner.
We love food, and so we made sure to do our research on picked some restaurants we knew we’d love while we were in Toronto for the Jays game. The Combine had opened the year prior in Simcoe, and I had watched its progress via Twitter. They serve local/seasonal menus.
We set a side a chunk of change knowing full well we’d end up spending a bit eating out a few times while we were there. Some photos of the food we got while there.
We spent Saturday at my Uncle Len and Chris’ house for a family reunion. The entire clan showed up for the event, it was a typical Offless get together, lots of laughter, and antics.
Grand kids, and great grand kids
Grand kids and great grand kids with Grandma Offless
Mallory and her first cousin Nyla
Near the end of our trip we drove up to Toronto for a couple days of checking out the local sights, and attending a jays game. We booked a room at the hotel in the SkyDome, and drove up to near Barrie to check out the McMichael Art Gallery which is where the group of seven art is housed. We had to get to Toronto at a specific time to pick up some donuts we ordered, they were medicore, a slight disappoint considering how expensive they were. Our experience at the hotel was fantastic, I loved being able to walk back from the game to our hotel in a matter of minutes. Some photos from our TO trip are shown below.