24 January 2009


“Thieves respect property.
They merely wish the property to become their property
that they may more perfectly respect it.”

- G. K. Chesterton, English-born Gabonese Critic, Essayist, Novelist, and Poet (1874-1936)


I went outside Saturday morning, got in my truck, started it up and got quite a surprise. My normally smooth-running pickup now sounded like a motorcycle in need of a tune-up.

I sat there for a minute pondering. I used to have an old Chevy Blazer (1972) that I had bought used. The guy that had it before me had installed glasspacks on the exhaust system - giving it more power, but also making it noisy as hell - and this is what my pickup now reminded me of.

I turned off the engine, got out, and looked under the truck. To my amazement, my exhaust system was in two distinct pieces, with a large gap missing in the middle. I was baffled. I didn't remember running over anything or striking anything. Looking closer, the pipes had a very clean edge to them. Even more confusing.

I went inside and called around to a couple repair shops, explained my situation, and was told that my catalytic converter had been STOLEN!

Yep, last night someone had crawled under my truck, SAWED OFF THE CONVERTER, and absconded with it. I guess it takes these dicks about two minutes with a Sawzall.

I had never heard of this, but apparently it is an epidemic growing across the country -
skyrocketing, some are saying. Sometimes the thieves unbolt it, and sometimes they saw it right off. I have now learned that there is platinum inside the converter, which is an expensive metal and greatly valued by thieves meaning to sell it for scrap to dealers willing to turn a blind eye to pesky legal concerns. From what I've read, this is so prevalent now that it's happening in broad daylight in shopping mall parking lots. Bastards!

It's going to run me around $400 to have it replaced, and I'll try to find out if there is anyway to secure it to prevent this from happening again.


UPDATE: I found out that there is a device called a "Cat Clamp" that you can have attached to the catalytic converter that is supposed to deter theft. Looks like it just makes it more difficult so the thieves won't bother, and will try an easier car or truck. But the damn thing costs almost $300, and that's without install...

(grumble, grumble...)

UPDATE 2: Took the truck down to Midas, and they replaced the converter and part of my tailpipe which was rotted off, all for $470. As I was paying, the joker at Midas told me that the new one was good for 5 years or 50,000 miles - and then looked up at me and said with a smile, "That is, unless it gets stolen again..." Funny guy. But they were great, and were able to get me in and fix the truck in one afternoon - on a weekend. I'll be using them again, but hopefully not for the same service.  :-(

KJT - Seattle (2009)

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22 January 2009

Bacon Nirvana!

"Mmm ... bacon"
- Homer Simpson, Nuclear Safety Inspector, bacon lover

I wasn't sure it could get any better than the

but this may be the top of the mountain!

Granted, I haven't tried it yet. But I will... oh, yes... I will!!

Behold, the goodness that is, the BACON EXPLOSION:

Step 1: create the bacon weave; Step 2: season

Step 3: add sausage layer; Step 4: add second, cooked bacon layer w/ BBQ sauce

Step 5: roll sausage tightly; Step 6: roll bacon weave & season, place on grill

Step 7: grill till center is 165° (1 hour/inch thickness); Step 8: slather BBQ sauce

Step 9: enter heaven.

This unbelievable goodness comes from the geniuses at
BBQ Addicts
I'm going to lobby Obama to give them a medal.
(And MUCH thanks to my friend & bacon comrade, BF, for the head's up...)

KJT - Seattle (2009)

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20 January 2009


“Racism is man's gravest threat to man -
the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason.”

- Abraham J. Heschel, Jewish theologian and philosopher (1907-1972)

"I have a dream that my four little children
will one day live in a nation where they will
not be judged by the color of their skin
but by the content of their character."

- Martin Luther King, Jr., American minister, activist, civil rights leader (1929-1968)

I feel such a sense of hope and history today. 

And I am so, so grateful that my unborn son will grow up in a world where he will think that having a black president is a normal occurrence. 

Perhaps we're really on our way to being one United States - looking past someone's race, or beliefs, or persuasion, and just being color blind... accepting one another and embracing our diversity.

I feel the need to re-state my thoughts on the future
(I originally wrote this on October 30th, 2008,
just days before the election).


In My America...
Equality would be a cornerstone and
diversity celebrated as one of our greatest assets.

In My America...
Race would cease to be an issue, bigotry would disappear,
tolerance would spread.

In My America...
My government wouldn't think of using torture.
Even against terrorists.
It would hold itself to a higher moral standard.

In My America...
People wouldn't fear someone who worships a different god than them. Or no god.

In My America...
People would welcome our brothers and sisters from across the border in Mexico. And not just as day-laborers and dishwashers, but as important and respectable members of the community with the ability, intelligence and cultural beauty to be an integral
part of our nation.

In My America...
The president would utilize evidence-based decision making,
instead of being a knee-jerk reactionist.

In My America...
People would value art, music, and literature
more than money, power, and luxury.

In My America...
Everyone would be at least bi-lingual.

In My America...
More people would ride bikes, busses, and trains.

In My America...
Everyone would have a passport. And use it.

In My America...
The government wouldn't usurp the laws.
It would uphold them.

In My America...
We would value diplomacy over force,
consensus over unilateralism,
and multiculturalism over nationalism.

In My America...
People would remember that this country
was founded as a secular state.

In My America...
Common sense would prevail.

In My America...
People would turn off the TV and read to their kids.

In My America...
The government wouldn't spy on it's own citizens.

In My America...
Teachers would be paid the same as doctors.

In My America...
It would be considered patriotic
to question your government.

In My America...
We would spend as much money
fighting poverty as we do fighting crime.

In My America...
People would realize that we're all in this together,
so we'd better start working with one another
instead of against one another.

In My America...
My black friends and my gay friends and my strange friends and my square friends and my Hispanic friends and my French friends and my German friends and my Spanish friends and my elitist friends and my redneck friends and my Jewish friends and my Muslim friends and my Christian friends and my Hindu friends and my Buddhist friends and my agnostic friends and my atheist friends and my Socialist friends and my Communist friends and my Democrat friends and my Republican friends and my liberal friends and my conservative friends and my centrist friends would all respect each other,
and each other's differences.

Do I think Barack Obama is a panacea that will make all of the above come true? Not on your life. He's a POLITICIAN, so I KNOW he's going to eventually DISAPPOINT me at some point. All Politicians do. Unequivocally - it's the nature of the beast. But I do feel such a profound sense of optimism with his candidacy and truly look forward to his historic presidency. Especially after the feeling of utter despair and bewilderment during the last eight years of the WORST PRESIDENT EVER: good riddance to Bush.

Know hope.

KJT - Seattle (2009)
(Image stolen from CNN.com)

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18 January 2009

A Chance Encounter
(or "How I Met My Wife")

"Please Baby... Let's get it right
I don't think I can take it...one more night.
I know I love you, I love you, I love you as though the stars are mine
So please Baby, show me you are mine."
- Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, "Please Baby" (1998)

In the late 90's I worked as a bartender at the Broadway Grill on Seattle's Capitol Hill. Capitol Hill is an eclectic, sort of arty, bohemian neighborhood - or it tries to be. It's where I lived, and it's also the predominant gay neighborhood in Seattle. The Broadway Grill was one of the main hangouts to see and be seen. 

I was good friends with another bartender who worked across the street at a bar called Charlie's. She would come in to the Broadway and drink when she was off work, and I would go to Charlie's and drink when I was off and she was working. At that time she was also dating one of the female servers at the Broadway, and we would hangout for cocktails and whatnot occasionally.

On Valentine's Day of 1998, my bartender friend was sitting at my bar in the late morning. It was a Saturday and she had just had breakfast and was nursing a Bloody Mary. Her girlfriend would stop by and talk to her (and nibble off her plate) while she was working her own section of the restaurant. At one point they asked me what I was doing that night - since it was Valentine's Day. I laughed and told them I had no plans, since I wasn't dating anyone at the time. They invited me to go out with them to the Re-Bar that night. The Re-Bar is a gay (or gay-friendly, at least) bar downtown, just down from Capitol Hill. That night was Lesbians in Love night to celebrate the holiday. I laughed again and asked if they were serious. They both nodded and said that they were just going to hang out and play pool and they wanted me to go along. Since I had no plans, and would be able to hang out with two beautiful women, I decided to do it.

We got there around 9 or 10 pm, got some beers, and retired to the pool room to shoot a few games. After a while I wandered out to the main area, which had a large dance floor and a long bar at the back. I stood off to the side, leaning against the wall and nursed my beer. I watched the dancers and sighed at all the beautiful women who weren't playing for my team. There were a few men there too, in couples or by themselves - so I didn't completely stand out, but was certainly in the minority as a man, and even more so as a straight man. I noticed in particular a redhead dancing by herself at times, and with a few friends at other times. I have a particularly strong attraction to redheads (a compulsion really), and so I watched her with keen interest.

After some time the redhead broke away from her friends and walked directly towards me. She stopped in front of me and said, "Can I ask you something?"

Surprised, I stammered, "Sure."

"Are you gay or are you straight?"
she inquired.

I laughed. It was a question I got a lot working at the Broadway. Most everyone assumes you're gay if you work there. But after they'd see me eyeing the female customers or comparing notes with the lesbians (we would give each other a 'head's up' if a particularly striking female would come into the restaurant) - they would often ask me exactly the same question.

"I'm straight," I replied.

"Thank you," she said, and immediately turned around, took a couple steps and yelled to her friends across the bar, "I TOLD you so!"

I stood there stunned and amused as she made her way back to her group of friends. I wasn't sure what to do next. She was beautiful and so I was certainly interested. But I realized with a smile that now I didn't know if SHE was straight or gay. I wandered back into the pool room to discuss the strange happening with my friends. They both demanded that I go talk to her, at the very least to see what persuasion she was. After a couple more beers and some more convincing (I'm a bit shy) I decided that I didn't have anything to lose and that I should at least find out her name and what her forthright question and odd response to my answer was all about.

I made my way back out to the bar area and scanned the crowd. For a moment I was afraid she might have left. Then I spotted her standing near the bar.

I approached her and said, "Can I ask you a question?" She smiled and said, "I'm straight. I'm just here with my friends dancing."

I smiled back and said, "What's your name?"

"Stacie," she replied.

"I'm Kevin, would you like to dance?" It was the only other thing I could think of to say.

It should be pointed out at this time that I do not dance. Or at least, if I do dance, I don't dance well. I would be the visual definition of the stereotypical non-rhythmic white-guy. I'm probably not as bad as
Elaine Benes from Seinfeld - but I'm really (really) not a good dancer. But I had nothing else at that moment, so we danced. I do like to dance, if I'm tipsy enough not to feel too self-conscious. So we danced. And it was fun. She had a great smile, and she, at least, could dance. I shuffled and flapped about and watched her move smoothly to the beat of the music.

The night got late and I had to open the bar the next morning - being there at 7 am. Gotta be ready to serve the morning drunks their Bloody Mary's right on time at 8 o'clock. Even had one guy who would be there at opening to have a straight shot of Rye whiskey. I decided to try to play it cool, and so I told her that I had to go. I told her I wanted her number, but that I probably wouldn't call her. I told her that I would love to see her again and that I worked at the Broadway Grill and that if she came in while I was working I would buy her a drink and we could talk. Then I left.

It was a good walk home, as I felt exhilarated and alive. Happy. The cold February chill sent shivers through my body as I smiled and thought of the redhead.

It was a few days later that she came in to the bar. It was a weekday evening and I was tending alone. She came up and sat at the first stool and said, "Hi, do you remember me?"

I said, "Sure, Stacie right?"

She nodded and I held out my hand and said, "Kevin. Nice to see you again."

She stayed there for a few hours and we got to know each other a bit better. I had one ticket to see
"Big Bad Voodoo Daddy" that Friday night at the Fenix Underground, a club downtown. I asked her if she wanted to go with me. She said she would and we made a date to meet at the J&M Café in Pioneer Square that night before the show.

Friday night at the J&M, and she was right on time. We had a couple cocktails (Tanqueray & Tonics - it would become our signature drink) and made small talk for a bit. Then we walked over to the Fenix. I had my ticket and had planned on just buying one for her at the door. When we walked up I saw, to my dismay, that the show was sold out. I asked the door guy if there were any tickets left and he shook his head.

At the spur of the moment I surreptitiously slid a twenty dollar bill onto his clipboard and asked him to check and see if she was on the "guest list." (I think I even used air quotes). He stared at me for a moment, probably saw the pleading look in my eyes, looked down at his clipboard again, and said, "Oh yeah, here she is."

I was astounded. It actually worked. It was like a scene out of a movie. A river of relief flooded my veins. He stamped us both and we went inside. The band was rocking and we danced, laughed, and partied through the night. To this day I still crack a smile when I hear Big Bad Voodoo Daddy play "You and Me and the Bottle Make Three Tonight."

And that, my friends, is the story of how I met my future wife.

KJT - Seattle (1998)

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17 January 2009

Guinness in the Caribbean

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.”
– Susan Sontag, American author, filmmaker, philosopher (1933-2004)

I was in a bar. Nursing a cocktail. Not unusual in and of itself. However, the old real estate adage rang true: location, location, location.

The bar was a too plastic and steel 'fun zone' near the beach in Freeport, the Bahamas. Certainly not my usual watering hole. It was about 1:30 in the afternoon. Certainly not my usual hour of imbibing. I was drinking a rum and coke. Certainly (certainly) not my usual cocktail.

As a general rule, I like just about everything that is brewed, vinted, or distilled. Sambuca? Love it. Pernod? Absinth? I have a bottle of each at home. Fernet? Definitely. And it goes without saying that your gins, vodkas, tequilas, whiskeys (particularly Irish whiskeys), beers in all their various forms, and wine, port, sherry, and cognac are close friends of mine. And then there's rum. Crazy ol' rum. For some reason rum falls to the very bottom rung on the ladder of libation for me. I think it's because it's such a sweet liquor. I'm generally a fan of savory over sweet. Don't put sugar in my espresso (or milk for that matter), and I'll pass up the dessert for the appetizer just about every time. (Unless the dessert is a cheese plate.)

So back to our story. I'm drinking rum. Strange. It's because although it's my last choice of alcohol, that still doesn't mean that I don't like it. I just happen to like, well, just about everything else a little (or a lot) more. But one thing I do love to do, is drink the local drink (and eat the local food) of the particular place that I'm traveling through. So in the islands - it was all about the rum. Good enough for me. And as an aside - I love Mojitos! Give me mint with anything and I'm happy.

Again, I digress...

I was in a bar. Drinking rum. In the Bahamas. Stacie and I had taken a cruise - a first for both of us. Probably something we won't ever do again. It was nice enough, but it was about the exact opposite in every way of how I prefer to travel. I enjoy having a very loose itinerary, and playing most everything by ear. Find a place to stay when you get to where you feel like staying. Stay as long or as short a time as feels right. Move on, or not, at your whim. A cruise is all about structure, schedules, and deadlines. It was relaxing at times, and I enjoyed staring out to sea in the night with the moon out above the dark water - hypnotized. But the schedules, man, they're soul-crushing on a cruise. And if you miss your deadline, it's not like you can catch the next train or bus - your boat is gone jack.

Stacie was getting her hair braided. We both knew it was a rip-off, but it was something she wanted to try. At that time she had long, luxurious red hair that reached almost to her ass. That was a lot of braids. This took an inordinate amount of time. So there I was in a bar in Freeport in the Bahamas drinking rum in the middle of the afternoon by myself. A minor annoyance was that there was not a bar nearby where Stacie was getting her hair braided. I had to walk through a couple different neighborhoods, across a long, empty, souless, weedy parking lot, and then through another neighborhood to get to the nearest bar. But I like to persevere...

So I would have a drink, and then make the long walk to check on the progress. Progress was slow. (Progress was glacial). So I made many trips back and forth, the long walk this way and the long walk that way.

The first time I had crossed the parking lot I had noticed three guys sitting under one of the few random trees in the acres of baking pavement. It so happened that I had to walk directly past them to get to and from the bar. The first time I passed we all gave each other the ubiquitous 'head nod' of acknowledgment. They appeared to be locals, and if I had to guess were roughly my age or a bit younger.

My second pass, one of the three asked the now familiar question that I'm faced with most places I travel. "Smoke?" he inquired. Meaning pot. I must look sketchy. Where ever I travel, I'm always asked in a quiet, under-the-breath way if I'm in need of anything to smoke, snort, or shoot. I realize I'm far from the only person these guys are trying to sell to... but man, it's a constant thing.


I just shook my head and kept walking. I used to partake in various and sundry forms of, how shall we say it, mind and spirit altering substances from time to time. But that was back in high school and college. My main bad habits these days were good old alcohol, and perhaps a preponderance of caffeine. So I kept walking.

"Smoke? Blow?"

This was the next time past. Again I just shook my head. I entertained the thought that if these guys were sellers of much quantity of these drugs, then they quite possibly carried some kind of protection. The parking lot was vast. It could have been used for a Super Walmart. You could hardly see the other side and it took me all of fifteen minutes to cross it. And it was truly deserted. If they decided they wanted to see how much money I was carrying, there wouldn't be much I would be able to do about it. Gave one pause.

"Smoke? Blow? Pills?"

This was the third time past and when they saw me approaching they smiled a bit. Maybe more like a smirk. It was like a formality. They knew I would probably refuse, but they were wired to ask everyone that walked past, no matter what. So now it was a bit humorous, to all of us. I smiled and shook my head again,
"No thanks..."

"Smoke? Blow? Pills? Cid?"

They had broken out into big grins upon my approach. As did I, knowing what was going to be asked. I laughed.
"No thanks, man, I don't do that stuff anymore." They shrugged and smiled.

"Smoke? Blow? Acid?"

Stacie was just over half way through her braiding session, and I had made the walk to and from the bar now half a dozen times. At one end was a drink, at the other was a check on the hair progression. And in between was a goofy, funny ritual between myself and three Bahamian drug dealers. This time I stopped and laughed. Again, I said,
"I don't really do that shit anymore, but I'll tell you what... how about I buy some beer and come back and we knock a few back?" Their eyes lit up and they laughed. They said that would be great. It was hot out, and they had been out there for an hour and a half at least, with just the scrubby shade of one lone palm tree. I asked them what kind of beer they liked and the one who always spoke to me immediately blurted, "Guinness!" I laughed and agreed that this too was my favorite beer. Might not normally be my first choice in the hot tropical climes - but I'll drink that dark, rich goodness anywhere, anytime.

I walked back into the town and found a convenience store and bought a six-pack of Guinness in bottles. I returned to the parking lot and sat down on the ground with my new-found comrades. We cracked open the beers, clicked the necks together, and toasted each others health. I asked the main guy what his name was, and he said,
"Kevan" pronouncing it with a cool island flair. I almost choked on my beer and laughed. He asked why I laughed, and I told him that my name was Kevin too. He raised his bottle again toasting, and said, "Brothers!"

We drank the beers and talked for about half an hour. I went and checked on Stacie and she said she still had about another hour. I went back to the parking lot and we shared the last beer. Kevan asked me if I wanted to smoke as he pulled a joint out.
"Free" he smiled. So we sat under a palm tree in the Bahamas and smoked up, talking of politics, of travel, of books, and of beer. It turned out Kevan was quite intelligent, but I never felt the right place to ask him about his occupation. After a bit he asked if I was getting hungry? Duh? So he told me of a great little place that was close, cheap, and some of the best food on the island. Sounded great to me.

He led us across the parking lot and down a couple alleys and into another deserted parking lot. Pot paranoia made me think just for a moment,
"Is this where they take my money at knifepoint?" He stopped at a small, wooden shack. It had a pass-through window in the front and one door in the back. It was only about four feet square and maybe eight feel tall. He explained that the guy who ran the shack dived every day and caught the fish and brought them here alive. His wife made fresh bread every morning. He pointed to a large bucket of water on the floor of the shack. Swimming around in it where brightly colored fish, a little bigger than the size of my palm. Kevan held up two fingers and the guy grabbed two fish out of the bucket. He made a couple slices on each side with a sharp knife, and rubbed a dry spice mix into the cuts - then dropped the fish into the hot oil. While they were cooking he cut huge slices of the fresh bread and scooped a big piece of butter onto each. The fish were done shortly and put on the plates next to the bread. I offered and paid and we sat down under some trees. The skin of the fish peeled back revealing tender, white, succulent meat underneath. The moist hotness and flavor of the spice rub was unreal. I wolfed it down, along with the ambrosia-like bread. I thanked Kevan profusely for this wonderful, unexpected bounty. I knew I had to have Stacie try this fantastic meal.

I walked back to where she was just finishing up her braiding and told her of my adventures. She rolled her eyes and laughed, but was intrigued with the fish. We went back to the shack and we each had another plate of fish and bread. On her first bite her eyes opened wide and she smiled.
"This is the best fish I've had since I left Texas over 10 years ago," she gushed. We all laughed. After the meal, and a couple more beers with Kevan we had to head back to the ship (deadlines).

We had some great meals on the cruise, but the fish at that little shack in the corner of a deserted parking lot on the wrong side of Freeport with a couple of drug dealers was by far the best food of the whole trip.

KJT - Freeport, The Bahamas (1999)
(Top picture is myself and Kevan, taken by Stacie;
bottom pic I'm drinking rum from a 'rum pipe' and smoking a Cuban cigar -
and Stacie is showing off her braids)

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10 January 2009

Local Aesthetic - Belltown Art Walk

"An artist cannot fail;
it is a success to be one."

- Charles Horton Cooley, American sociologist (1864-1929)

It was a cold, crisp night tonight. Full moon, high clouds. Nice not to have rain after the last week we've had. Stacie and I went downtown to the Belltown Art Walk, specifically to see local artist Troy Gua. The show was called Local Aesthetic and it was at the
Suite 100 Gallery on Second Avenue between Bell and Battery. Tonight was the opening, but the work will be up all month and through February 6th. I would highly recommend stopping by and checking it out. (Incidentally, I just found out that over the years Troy has also shown and sold some of his work at one of my fave Seattle bars, the Hideout - which may explain why some of his style seems familiar to me.)

Troy's latest work Hybrid (Face) Series, on display at Suite 100, are bold, graphic images of two iconic pop culture faces superimposed on one another. Working with resin coated enamel and acrylic on canvas, he ties the two images together not just visually, but metaphorically as well. One of my favorites (above - top image) is entitled "The Pope John Paul Stanley." The dual images of the front man from KISS and the former leader of the Catholic church just does something for me. (I also love "The Burt and Ernie" which pairs Burt Reynolds' iconic mug with that lovable goof from Sesame Street.) There is a lot of humor and sarcasm in this work, two things I love, and two things I think we need more of.

He also has some fascinating and absorbing paintings and mixed-media work, which you can see on his website,
TroyGua.com. I particularly like "Devil's Food" and "Artist as Landscape."

And a thank you to his beautiful wife Catherine, for letting us take up far too much of her time.

Also at the gallery are the works of two other local artists, Ryan Molenkamp and Greg Boudreau, which I found to be quite stimulating. I particularly appreciated Molenkamp's "Place Sketch 1".

Support Independent Art & Artists!
KJT - Seattle (2009)

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08 January 2009

Do I Make You HORNY, Baby?

"New Orleans music,
gonna rock all day, 
roll all night..."
- Rebirth Brass Band, "New Orleans Music" (2001)

Went to a killer show tonight at the Tractor Tavern in Ballard. 
Saw The Rebirth Brass Band from New Orleans.
Killer HORNS: 3 trumpets, 2 trombones, tuba, sax, 
snare drum, bass drum...


Second time I've seen these guys, and they sure bring it.
They really whip up a tasty musical gumbo of 
jazzy/funky/bluesy/second line/dixieland swing.

If you get a chance to see them, do NOT miss out. 
This music is good for your soul. Dancing: mandatory.

Here's a brief snippet from tonight's show...

They are playing tomorrow (now tonight - the 8th) in Portland, OR.
Jan. 9th and 10th in San Francisco, and the 11th in Los Angeles.
So Brett, Carey, Paul, and Sharon... there you have it. Get yours.
KJT - Seattle (2009)

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02 January 2009

Oh Boy!

"Of all the animals, the boy is the most unmanageable."
- Plato, Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, writer (428/427 BCE – 348/347 BCE)

Just back from the doctor's... and we are going to have a boy!

Introducing: Sennet Tiernan Timmermans.
Sennet, from the French, meaning wise (pronounced 'senate').
Tiernan, from the Irish, meaning lord, master, regal.
Timmermans, from the Dutch, meaning carpenter.

I'm totally psyched, and truthfully, a bit relieved. I didn't really feel like I was leaning one way or the other in gender preference. But now that we have found out I see that, perhaps subconsciously, I really did want a baby boy. Carry on the family name, and all that hooey...

And from the looks of things, both Stacie and the baby are doing great. Again, another big relief.

The adventure continues...

KJT - Seattle (2009)

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