2017 Valentines Day Act

This year, Della and I had the pleasure of once again being in the Bellingham Circus Guild's My Circus Valentine show. The show turned out super great, with 5 sold out, standing room only shows. The cast was amazing, the acts were fun, and the total vibe of the space and show were just magical. Every year, the producer does such an amazing job all around and we feel lucky to be a part.

If you missed the fun, I've included a video of me and Della's act. It was conceived of on a long bus ride in Costa Rica and hashed out in many long hard hours of rehearsal. During the process of creation, Della and I swear we'll never do it again, being that it puts too much strain on our relationship. But in the end, after we share it with the audience and feel their positive reaction, we forget about the struggle and are happy with what we've created. Anyway, we hope you enjoy it too!



Every year, there is also a photo booth at the show. Della and I find time between shows to sneak in and get a few shots. So, in the interest of posterity, I include them here. Try not to throw up on yourself due to our cuteness.

   


Thursday February 23 2017File under: juggling, holidays

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Thanksgiving on the Farm

Being a city boy mostly these days, it was nice to spend some time at the family farm in Oklahoma this Thanksgiving. I was surrounded by family, noodles, hay bales, baby lambs, peanut brittle, pitch*, and more...and it was great! I took Della along to give her a taste of the Midwest and she took to it quite nicely*

There's a beauty and simplicity to county life. The days centered around meals (which were plentiful and wonderful!) and excursions. Such excursions took us to dad's old homestead, which has seen better days, Norman to visit friends and family and cruise through the old stomping grounds, and a neat little roadside attraction off Route 66 that featured a 60 foot LED pop bottle and the soda selection to go along with it*.

Yes, it's good to go back home once in a while. This trip to Oklahoma reminded me that I should make a habit of going back more often. It was just so wonderful to be surrounded by family, the simplicity of life on the farm, and lots and lots of good eats!
Saturday November 26 2016File under: holidays, Oklahoma

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Pi Day 2016

We all can agree that Pi Day is the best holiday ever. It combines nerdiery and dessert and can be celebrated in the simplest possible way. I've documented 7 previous instances on this here blog (see archive) of me celebrating in one way or another (creating a crossword, getting a [different (and much better)] crossword published, testing my pi memory, and, of course, baking pies). The only 2 Pi Days I've missed posting on since the blog began were when I was travelling (Japan and Belize/Guatemala). So I can hardly let this Pi Day pass by.

This year, we didn't do anything too special, just baked a couple of pies: quiche for breakfast and an apple/rhubarb pie for dessert. The carved apple "π DAY" was a nice touch. But just because we didn't go all out celebrating doesn't mean we didn't appreciate the holiday in all its glory. 3.14 cheers for Pi Day!
Monday March 14 2016File under: holidays, food

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Twas the Night Before Christmas 2015

Tis the night before Christmas
And here in Dubai
We're taking it all in
My Della and I

We saw Burj Kalifa
Tallest building man made
We watch the grand fountains
And strolled the promenade

At the Burj Al Arab
Down on the sea shore
We jumped and we jumped
And got the pic I came for

This town seems to teem
With malls big and small
We visited a half dozen
But that's hardly them all

Paris has the Seine
And Vegas's nightlife is hopping
But as fars I can tell
Dubai's known for shopping

The places were packed
You couldn't swing a dead cat
Acre upon acre of
Things to look at

We peered at the sweets shop
Where they made candy by hand
We watch sharks in huge tanks
And we browsed luxury brands

At one mall we saw
The biggest afront made by man
A ski slope in the desert
Just 'cause they can

This town's an enigma
Nothing else like it on earth
I'm glad to be seeing it
Whatever that's worth

But tomorrow we move on,
Flying out Christmas Day
On our way to Luxor Egypt
We might pass Santa's sleigh

Tonight I'll hang up
My socks with great care
Not to be filled with gifts
But 'cause they need the air

I'll lay down my head
Upon the mattress on the floor*
And be thankful I have
All I could ever wish for

An adventuresome Christmas
Is best gift I could get
Some time with my sweetie
That I'll never forget

But now I must go
And close out this verse
Lest my words become boring
And rhymes become worse

So I'll just end it the way
That I always do
With all of my heart
I wish Merry Christmas to you

(If you're jonesing for more
Of my silly yule tradition
Go on and click through
To the previous editions
'07, '08, '09, '11, '12, '13, '14)

Thursday December 24 2015File under: holidays, poetry

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My Pi Day Crossword

This year's Pi Day has been getting a lot of attention, as it should. It's a once a decade event!* (If you've somehow missed all the news coverage, it's a big deal because it is 3/14/15 to correlate with 3.1415....) But as longtime BdW followers may know, Pi Day has always been a big deal here*. It is usually celebrated with the baking of a pie (or two) and a reciting of the first 50 digits, which I still remember from 9th grade*.

This year I plan to bake (and eat) a pie or two, of course. What would Pi Day be without pie? But since it is a special Pi Day, I wanted a special way to celebrate, one that I started working towards 5+ months ago. I set out to create a crossword to commemorate the day and get it published in a nationwide publication. I'm happy to say mission accomplished (ish).

My puzzle, Pi Row Technics, appears in this week's Chronicle of Higher Education online. It was slated to be in the print edition, but some quarterly insert preempted the crossword section, and since the puzzle was time sensitive, they couldn't push it to next week, so online is where it ended up. Not ideal, but as the editor pointed out, most of the solvers use the online version anyway so the audience isn't much diminished.

This marks my third published crossword and my glee is as high as it was for that first one. And with each published puzzle, I'm learning more about the industry. What was interesting about this experience was to see how many changes the editor made for publication. Besides changing ~75% of the clues, he also changed 7 grid squares. I know these changes are the editor's job, as he knows his target audience and difficulty levels, but I was surprised to see the volume of changes.

One of the downsides of CHE's online crosswords is that you need a special program to download and play them. And since I know all of you want to have a crack at it but don't want to install new software, I've created a PDF of the puzzle for you to print and solve. Just be sure to visit CHE and surf around a bit as a thank you for continuing to make my dreams of professional crossworder come true. (In case you are interested to see the before and after edit, you can see the submitted puzzle here.)

Each experience with getting a puzzle accepted amps me up to get in even deeper. I've got another puzzle slated to come out in a couple months and a few out for consideration to various places. So keep watching BdW to see the excitement unfold. In the meantime, go eat some pie and do a crossword!

(03/20/16 Edit: In preparing my 2016 Pi Day post, I noticed that I didn't post any pie pictures for this year's Pi Day post. Even with the excitement of this crossword coming out, I figured I would have celebrated the holiday properly, so I went back through my instagram feed and found this! Sometimes it's nice to be reminded that I can be very predectable.)
Saturday March 14 2015File under: crosswords, holidays

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Roses Are Red Poetry Slam No. 9

It's that time again—to reluctantly and hastily dash off a few Roses are Red poems for that special someone. Well, that special someone for me is you, dear reader. So here are a few hastily dashed off poems to celebrate year number 9(!) of the Blog du Wren Roses Are Red poetry slam. Please leave your contributions in the comments below. Or, if you're not feeling the poetry bug, have a read back at the previous years ('14', '13, '12, '11, '10, '09, '08, '07)




It's late in the game
To beg your contribution
But the Roses are Red blog post
Is a BdW institution

Roses are red
With a hint of green
You've stolen my heart
And also my spleen

Twelve words about roses
Not a bouquet
My gift to you
OK?*



The day before Rose Day
Is a Friday quite ominous
Another scary thought?
My love for you is bottomess

Roses are pokey
Like your fresh trimmed moustache
And them kisses from you
Are so worth the rash

Roses embed
A love tasty and true
And our love runs sweet
Like milk chocolate fondue

Friday February 13 2015File under: poetry, holidays

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Twas the Night Before Christmas 2014

Twas the night before Christmas
And all through Sin City
The lights were aglow
Making everything look pretty

The bright neon greens
And sultry neon reds
Could almost be seen as
A tree, Della said

The fountains at Bellagio
And the tower high above Paris
Miss Liberty at New York new York
And the giant new wheel of ferris

But for Vegas this is standard
Every night here is glitzy
After all that's why people come here
To feel a tad ritzy

But not me and Della
Shows are our reason
For coming to this place
This holiday season

So we did our best
And saw three shows just today
We saw a juggler, we saw Mac King
We saw a Cirque du Soleil

But Vegas has more than
shows big and small
Sometimes you'll end up doing
Something you didn't expect to at all

We got roped into sitting
through a timeshare man's pitch
And they almost convinced
Til we remembered we're not rich

But the swag that we got
Has added to our fun
Free lunch and a free show
And some cash (not a ton)

We packed it quite full
This Christmas Eve day
But tomorrow will* be fuller
Cause we're hitting the buffet

Until then we rest
On our giant hotel bed
While visions of adventures
Dance in our heads

I think about Santa
As I lay my head and retire
I don't think he'll visit
But I've got all I desire

Good family, good friends
And my partner I adore
Good health and good home
Who could ask for much more

So I drift off to dreamland
And its warm soft embrace
Reflecting on my full life
With a smile on my face

And just as I've ended
The 6 previous 'Twas posts'07, '08, '09, '11, '12, '13
I offer up my wishes
For my friends coast to coast

May your holiday be
A day filled up with delight
Merry Christmas to all
And to all a good night!
Thursday December 25 2014File under: holidays, poem

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Merry Christmas 2014


Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Tuesday December 23 2014File under: holidays

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35 Years Young

For the past 3 years on my birthday, I've been involved in some Chautauqua event, whether tour or a benefit. While Chautauqua is always a fun time, individual celebration can get lost in the mob. This year, my calendar was clear and I tried to take full advantage of it. With the planning help of my wonderful partner, the day was a resounding success.

In short, breakfast with the fam (including cake*!), a dip in the quarry (when the weather was super hot, so it was great!), gathering with friends for happy hour (and more cake(!)), juggle club at the park with more friends (some of whom even dressed up as me!), and all ending by sleeping in my cabin at the quarry*.

Birthdays can be stressful with too much expectation or can be lonely with not enough planning. Mine, I'm happy to report, was just perfect.
Thursday August 14 2014File under: holidays

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Pi Day 2014

It's that time again--the happiest of holidays, a day that combines two of the world's greatest things (math and dessert). It's Pi Day! And I wish you all the best pie and mathematical calculations ever.

As Pi Day Eve drew to a close yesterday, I was on the verge of resorting to my standard Pi Day fare: a pecan pie and quiche (posted here and here)*. But last minute inspiration brought forth this beauty, an apple pi pie. We think it turned out peachy. Della was responsible for the artistry while I did the culinary stuff. A little cocoa powder did the trick for coloring the pi dough.

Yay for Pi Day!
Friday March 14 2014File under: holidays, food

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