A Return to Jeopardy

For the first half of our marriage, Sidney and I had one constant: Jeopardy. It was like the moment we tied the knot we immediately fast forwarded to senior citizen status and centered our entire evening around the game show.

Jeopardy used to be our lives.

I am not kidding. The goal of each day was to put in our time at work, eat dinner, and then find our way to the couch where we would spend the next half hour with Alex Trebek. Sid and I were the BIGGEST dweebs ever. We competed against each other every night as we kept score in a notebook. We wrote down our Final Jeopardy answers and revealed them when the contestants did. We maintained a running tally of who won the most games. It was consistent, it was intense, and it was downright nerdy.

A page of our spiral notebook that displayed our game scores.

But then we moved. We welcomed another child. We cut the cord. And Alex Trebek died. Our Jeopardy routine ceased as transitions shook up our world and life became more complicated. As Jeopardy dealt with turmoil in a post-Trebek world, Sid and I were the bandwagon jumpers who left it behind.
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Some things in life are like riding a bike. No matter how long you are away from it, once you return and pick it back up again, it all comes back naturally. A couple weeks ago, Sidney and I found out that we can access Celebrity Jeopardy episodes on Hulu. Hmmm…..Why not?

The two of us made ourselves comfortable in the living room and fired an episode up. The host had changed (hello Ken Jennings), the format was different (THREE Jeopardy rounds), and the gamesmanship took on a whole different vibe (even for Celebrity Jeopardy the contestant banter and jokes reached an entirely new level) but it was still Jeopardy. The crux was the same: answer the clues by responding in the form of a question.

We have welcomed Ken Jennings into our living room as we compete against each other in the current day version of Jeopardy.

More than four years after our nightly routine had ended, we picked up just like it was 2019. Sidney and I were blurting out answers, offering commentary on the categories, and competing like crazy against each other. Despite the return of that intensity, our re-discovery of Jeopardy also brought relaxation and sweet nostalgia.

Late at night after the kids are in bed, we are trying to find time to continue our Jeopardy binge. Ken Jennings is outstanding and we appreciate the new era of the game show. Who knows what will happen after we exhaust all of these Celebrity Jeopardy episodes but for the time being we are pretty content. Don’t Blink.

Batter Up! Beau Is Playing T-Ball

Beau has started his foray into organized sports.

My son now has three practices under his belt for his 6U “Navy” Spokane Indian Youth Baseball (SIYB) t-ball team. His squad met for the first time last week and they are putting in final preparations this week for the first game on Saturday. However, I don’t think he is stressing too much about his upcoming season debut. 😂

Beau is ready for some t-ball. This photo was from his first practice last Monday.

Beau is by far the youngest and smallest player on his team. His division includes kids ranging in age from 4-6 but his rookie status doesn’t seem to be holding him back. My little guy is engaged and attentive (for the most part) at the practices and he is always eager when we jump into the car to go to the field.

His coach was very honest with us from the onset. She said in her welcome email: At this stage of the game, the kids aren’t really that interested in learning strategy, rules, or technique. It is simply fun stuff such as running, jumping, and hitting the ball. LOL. Please keep that in mind this season while you witness firsthand the chaos of 6U t-ball.

Coach Karissa Gurske gives the team direction while Beau is at the bat at a recent practice.

Hey, I can get behind that! Having witnessed Sloan play two seasons of t-ball, I know exactly where the coach is coming from and I appreciate her laid back attitude.

I will write a season recap post in late May. I also might provide an update or two in future Thursday Rundowns. But until then, I am looking forward to Monday and Wednesday nights at the ballpark (aka neglected elementary school fields) as Beau takes his first step to the Major Leagues (😂). Don’t Blink.

Meeting A Spokane Icon

On Saturday night, Sidney and I met a person from my childhood past. Throughout my time growing up in Spokane, the local news was constantly on at our house. My parents made it a priority to tune in because of community connectedness, the ability to follow our local sports teams, and sometimes just for background noise.

We also tuned in for the weather. Whether we needed an update on the latest snowstorm, info on what to wear for Bloomsday, or just a general outlook on what the unpredictable and diverse weekly weather would bring to the Inland Northwest, we turned to the local news.

Growing up in Spokane during the 1990s and early 2000s, there was a power player on the local weather scene: Tom Sherry.

On Saturday night at the St. Mary Gala, Sidney and I met Tom Sherry.

Sherry’s name was synonymous with Spokane weather—and, if I dare say—Spokane celebrity in general. If you know anything about how the local news works, you are aware that a typical newscast consists of multiple throwbacks to the meteorologist for weather updates. Watch an hour of local news and you will most likely see the weather person a handful of different times.

With so much exposure, you better believe a sense of pressure exists: either develop rapport and trust with your audience or find a different job.

Well, given those two options, there was a reason why Tom was comfortably installed at KREM for decades. I believe Sherry’s success and longevity went way beyond his command of the weather. He was charismatic, relatable, and deeply ingrained within the community. The man’s legendary charitable work alone gained him the respect of Spokane local news viewers.

I remember the feeling of peace, comfort, and normalcy I felt upon returning to Spokane in 2020. After leaving the community in 2005 to go to college and eventually start my career, I returned 15 years later to find a familiar presence on the news.

Re-connecting with Sherry via the airwaves gave me the opportunity to introduce him to my wife and children before his retirement in 2022. Then, on Saturday night, I had my first ever chance to connect with him in-person.

Over the weekend, St. Mary Catholic School held its fundraising gala. None other than Tom Sherry graciously agreed to emcee the event. The dad of two children who attended St. Mary, Tom holds the school in very high esteem.

After telling our friends, Ryan and Allyson Andrade, of my family’s history with Sherry, Allyson took it upon herself to flag down Sherry during a gala break. Tom came over to our table and talked with us for several moments and graciously took a photo with Sidney and me.

When I told him I was part of a KREM family growing up, he quipped, “Thanks for keeping me employed.” He then talked to Sidney about living in South Carolina and mentioned his connection to Charleston. We also discussed what makes St. Mary so special and other topics. The conversation was just as warm as Tom came across all those nights on KREM.

Thanks for emceeing the St. Mary Gala, Mr. Sherry, it was a pleasure to meet you. Don’t Blink.

Nerd Clusters Thursday Rundown

Spring is definitely in the air here in the Inland Northwest, another very distinct season in this beautiful part of the world. Hope you are enjoying some decent weather in your neck of the woods too. Let’s get started on my latest Thursday Rundown…

Nerd Clusters Sale – If you remember, my wife’s favorite candy is Nerd Clusters. Whether in regular form or freeze-dried, there is something irresistible about them to Sid. Imagine my surprise when I saw them on sale for just 99 cents at Safeway on Sunday. I don’t know if you realize what a screaming deal this was! This candy, at least at the size pictured, is usually always more than $3. And to find them so cheap at Safeway? It was incredible! Do you really even have to ask if I got some for my wife?

I couldn’t believe it so I had to take a photo of the Nerd Clusters on sale at Safeway.

Getting Medieval – Over the weekend, I took the kids to Valley Mission Park for an interesting demonstration. Our good friends, Dylan and Fidela Perry, have many unique interests. One of them is the passion to strap on the armor and go to battle like it was the Middle Ages. They engage in this fun via the Society for Creative Anachronism and last Saturday the organization had a rare event in Spokane. Sloan, Beau, and I met the Perrys right as Dylan was going toe-to-toe with another knight. It was a lot of fun to watch and Dylan graciously let the kids hit him with his own sword.

Sloan and Beau pose with Fidela and Dylan in their full gear.

Eclipse Tourism – This week’s eclipse provided a jolt to the economies of many states. “Eclipse Tourism” was a very real thing as millions and millions of people traveled to catch a glimpse of totality. Include my sister’s family in that mix. The five of them traveled all the way to Dallas for the special event and made a nice little vacation out of it that included the zoo and Six Flags. My sister caught this below photo that I think is outstanding.

My sister’s family watched the eclipse in a super random field in Dallas.

Parting Ways With Stuff – It was 10 years ago this month that I was packing up my life in Montana and preparing for a move to South Carolina. I wrote this blog post about the necessity of letting go of junk. It is a pretty entertaining 3-minute read if you have the time. One of the items I was especially proud of myself for discarding was my old lap top I received as a high school graduation gift. It was 10 years old in the photo below making it 20 years old today. In my opinion, that hunk of metal looks more like 30 years old.

It was tough to do but I tossed my old lap top from my college years into the big black trash bag and threw it into the dumpster.

Chick-Fil-A Shout Out – Wanted to squeeze a bit of gratitude into my last topic tonight. Last Friday, I took the kids to the Spokane Chick-Fil-A for an Easter Egg hunt. The restaurant decided to hold its egg hunt several days after Easter Sunday but I don’t think it bothered anyone 😊. In addition to the eggs filled with candy and toys, all participating families received a free entrée for everyone in their party. Thanks, Chick-Fil-A!

The North Spokane Chick-Fil-A staged an Easter Egg hunt on April 5, 2024.

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Stick a fork in it, another Thursday Rundown is in the books. We have a weekend coming up with sports, birthday parties, and a school fundraiser dinner. Thanks for reading this blog and I wish you a restful Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Don’t Blink.

Fruity Pebbles Pancakes For the Win

Am I the worst parent in the world? I mean, who allows their children to eat pancakes filled and topped with the sugariest cereals known to kids? Well, I have built that reputation for myself—at least on an annual basis. Let me take you down memory lane with the cereal-based hot cakes I have fed them over the past couple of years and then I will reveal how I outdid myself last night.

So let’s go back to 2022 when I whipped up Cinnamon Toast Crunch pancakes for Sloan and Beau. The kit came with “cinnadust” to mix in with the batter and Cinnamon Toast Crunch pieces to sprinkle on top. These pancakes turned out okay, but Sloan was obsessed with what was advertised on the side of the box…

Beau and Sloan sitting at the kitchen table eating Cinnamon Toast Crunch pancakes in Feb. 2022.

What Sloan salivated over in February 2022 became a reality for her in May 2023. My daughter had not forgotten about the Lucky Charms pancakes promoted on the Cinnamon Toast Crunch pancakes box. This particular batter had Lucky Charms bits mixed in along with full Lucky Charms pieces to add on top. These pancakes were much better than the Cinnamon Toast Crunch version but I still wanted something just a little bit more…

Despite Beau’s scowl, these Lucky Chams pancakes weren’t that bad.

My quest (wait, I mean my kids’ quest) to find the best ridiculous cereal-themed flapjacks was fulfilled last night when Sidney made a box of Fruity Pebbles pancakes.

These are the Mrs. Butterworth Fruity Pebbles Pancakes we made last night.

The kit came with a batter mixed with Fruity Pebbles pieces along with a generously-sized bag of the signature cereal to top. But the “more” that I was looking for? That came in the form of frosting! Yes, frosting. So after the pancakes came off the griddle we spread the white frosting on them and then let the kids drop the colorful cereal on what looked like a delicious blanket of snow.

Beau and Sloan with their Fruity Pebbles pancakes.

When I take a bite of Fruity Pebbles, my attitude automatically improves…and I am not writing that just for the hell of it. The magical taste of artificial fruit flavoring makes me feel some type of way. That same pleasant sensation came over me when I ate the Fruity Pebbles pancakes. It might be because the Fruity Pebbles pancakes are made by Mrs. Butterworth instead of Betty Crocker (which produces the CTC and LC varieties) or it might simply be the fact that they were slathered in frosting, but the third time was the “non-lucky” charm in this cereal pancake battle.

Beau sprinkling on Fruity Pebbles atop the pancakes

Hopefully no one is calling CPS on me as I conclude this post. I promise Sloan and Beau eat nutritiously every now and then. But are you really a kid if you don’t eat ultra sweet pancakes? Don’t Blink.

Appreciating Totality

Good morning and happy Eclipse Day to everyone! Well, it isn’t such a “happy” Eclipse Day here in the Pacific Northwest. Any effects from this major astronomical event will only last in Spokane for just under two hours and we won’t experience anything above 27% totality.

But I can’t complain too much. You see, I had an experience of a lifetime with the Great American Eclipse in 2017. I was working at Coastal Carolina University at the time and I was given the assignment to cover it via our university social media channels. My boss, a videographer, and I were dispatched to a tiny South Carolina town called McClellanville (population 500) that was smack dab in the path of totality.

Goofy photo of myself looking up at the sky (Thanks, Bill 😉).

Once in McClellanville, we met up with Louis Keiner, a CCU physics professor and eclipse expert. In the weeks leading up to the Great American Eclipse, Dr. Keiner provided his expertise to our campus community about what we could expect. All of the knowledge he instilled and anticipation he had planted would culminate on this particular August day.

A look at our “Coastal Crew” from the Great American Eclipse in 2017. Videographer Alexandra Morris is on the front left, University Marketing and Communication VP Bill Plate is front middle, and I am front right. Physics professor and rockstar Louis Keiner is in the back and his daughter, Emma, is wearing the red hat.

It was an experience I will never forget. As Dr. Keiner provided me with minute-by-minute commentary and full access to the incredible photos he was taking, I felt so lucky to be there. Then it happened. Totality hit and a strong mysterious feeling swept over me. During those 150 phenomenal seconds, a couple sentences did manage to register with my overwhelmed brain…

My amateur photo of the sun post-totality.

Oh, this is good. Oh, this is good.

Those repetitive sentences came from Dr. Keiner, a true kid in the candy shop moment for a man who had this event circled on his calendar for such a long time. That genuine joy was almost as good as the eclipse itself.

It was a pleasure to observe and take in the expertise of Louis Keiner.

To those who are fortunate enough to view the eclipse in totality today, I hope you have the same reaction as Louis. Enjoy this opportunity. Don’t Blink.

Eggo-Flavored Thursday Rundown

And we meet again! Thanks for returning to Don’t Blink for another Thursday Rundown. Let’s get started right away with tonight’s five topics.

Sid’s New Work Location – Earlier this year, Traveler’s Insurance moved from its Spokane downtown location to a spot in the Spokane Valley. This new arrangement has cut down on Sid’s commute time and eliminated the need for my wife to pay for parking. On Tuesday, I took the kids to visit the new digs. After picking Sid up for lunch at the nearby Arby’s, we returned to her office building and rode the elevator up to the fourth floor Traveler’s headquarters. It was really nice to visit and see where my wife goes three days per week.

Sidney poses for a photo with the kids at the new Traveler’s Insurance Spokane Valley location.

Dessert Table – After Lent, our family is always excited to eat some sweets. Can you tell by our Easter Sunday dessert table? Delicacies on the table include chocolate/butterscotch hay stacks, ice cream pie, a cream cheese/pudding dessert, chocolate cookies, and Costco cookies.

Sloan contemplates what she is going to take from the Easter dessert table.

Eggo Pop-Tarts – I went against my better judgment from back in March 2023 and decided to buy Eggo Pop-Tarts. News flash: don’t expect to find them on my top 10 favorite Pop-Tart flavor list. I was hoping to experience a taste that incorporated maple and an actual Eggo. What I got was something I don’t even know how to explain. My best advice is to just stay away.

Stay away from Eggo Pop-Tarts.

Latest Movies – This week I have watched two films on Netflix. The first is “Feel the Beat” which is basically your dance team version of the “Mighty Ducks” or “Bad News Bears.” Although it had a very cliché story line, I chose it for Sloan to watch during her Spring Break and because she liked it I must say I liked it too. I also watched “The Miracle Club” on Tuesday night and enjoyed it. This particular film tells the story of a group of women who travel on a pilgrimage together to Lourdes in hope that they will receive miracles of healing from the Blessed Mother. Although they don’t receive the physical ailment healing they were after, they return home with even greater graces.

I watched both “Feel the Beat” and “The Miracle Club” this week.

National Hug A Newsperson Day – I want to start off by giving a huge shout out to our news team here at Washington State University. What a pleasure it is to work with these talented and committed professionals on a daily basis! Next, I want to give a general “thank you” to all people working in news. On this National Hug A Newsperson Day, I offer up this ode I wrote to on-air journalists approximately 11 years ago. You are appreciated!

I appreciate all journalists. This is me with Mandy Noell (then at WMBF) in 2014.

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On that note, let’s wrap things up for tonight. I wish you a pleasant first weekend of April and I look forward to writing a blog post or two next week. Don’t Blink.

Taking A Tuesday Off

This week our children are on spring break. Sidney and I worked together to create a parental coverage plan for Sloan and Beau. My wife took Monday and Wednesday off from work while I requested Tuesday and Friday off. My parents happily obliged to watch them on Thursday.

This past Monday, I was having a conversation with my boss and she mentioned how it can be nice to have a day off in the middle of the week. After I thought about it for a moment, I couldn’t agree more.

For the most part, many workplace holidays extend weekends, whether that be at the beginning (Friday day off) or the end (Monday day off). And, I would argue that most of us choose the same pattern for our own annual leave days. The fact of the matter is that we typically don’t take a “one-off” Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday unless something out-of-the-ordinary happens that requires us to do so.

On my mid-week day off earlier this week, I took the kids to the library. This is Sloan happily playing with Legos.

And I guess that makes sense. Taking a day off in the middle of the week can disrupt work flow, make us miss meetings, and insert some awkwardness into the calendar. But if you can get past this traditional way of thinking, a mid-week day off is pretty glorious.

A work week can be a grind and doing so many of them consecutively can lead to burnout. There is something liberating about breaking up a work week with an occasional day off smack dab in the middle. Also, when you take Tuesday off like I did yesterday, it makes Monday feel like a mini Friday which is a pretty cool feeling.

You also find that not working on a Tuesday or Wednesday feels much differently as a community member. Because most people don’t take these days off, if you venture outside your house it will seem like the world has truly gone on without you…which at times is kind of nice. When you take a Monday or Friday off, it seems like society is just getting back into the swing of things or starting to wrap up for the weekend.

Tuesday was a gorgeous, 70-degree day in Spokane. In the afternoon we hit up the park and Beau was all for it.

Taking a mid-week day off breaks up the week—it gives you something to look forward to and then it makes the second half more manageable. You will still have makeup work to complete and your mental recall of the day of the week might be funky once you return to the office but those are minor inconveniences.

I had a fabulous day with the kids yesterday. We visited the library, picked up Sidney at work for lunch, played at the park, and watched a movie. With Wednesday now in the books, I have a second non-traditional “Friday” of the week tomorrow. I think I could get used to this. Don’t Blink.

Which Easter Bunny Wore It Best?

Last week, I mentioned how it is so difficult to find a costumed Easter Bunny that looks…well…normal. In fact, back in 2015 I devoted an entire blog post to the diverse and curious depictions of Easter Bunnies. Although this predicament is a challenging one, I have not given up on finding the perfect furry embodiment of Hallmark Easter. I would say I gave it a pretty good effort this year.

My kids met three Easter Bunnies in March. As you would expect, their appearances varied wildly. I thought I would show you the three rabbits we encountered “in the wild” and provide context of each meeting. Perhaps at the end of this exhibition, you can tell me which bunny you thought “wore it best.”

This first Easter mascot is your classic shopping mall Easter Bunny. My parents took the kids to the Spokane Valley Mall on a day I was working in Pullman. Beau exchanged a high five with the bespectacled bunny.

Sloan and Beau met this Easter Bunny at the Spokane Valley Mall.

We encountered the second bunny this past Saturday morning at a vintage décor and furniture store owned by the parents of one of Sloan’s friends. This was by far the most relaxed environment for an Easter Bunny rendezvous.

The kids met this gentle Easter Bunny at a Spokane Valley furniture/decor store.

Finally, the third Easter Bunny is brought to us courtesy of a Easter Egg hunt in my parents’ neighborhood park. Sloan and Beau had the pleasure of swapping pleasantries with this rabbit on Saturday as well.

Sloan and Beau met their second Easter Bunny of the day at Camelot Park in north Spokane.

So if you had to rent one of these costumes for your own Easter celebration, which one would you opt for? Please don’t be shy with your opinion! Don’t Blink.

Easter 2024

After a fruitful Lent that culminated in full liturgical participation in Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the sacred Easter Vigil, our family was ready for Easter Sunday 2024! What a beautiful day it was…

Sloan holds a candle during the Easter Vigil at St. Mary Catholic Church in the Spokane Valley on March 30, 2024.

The early morning started with Beau and Sloan racing downstairs to find their Easter baskets. I am pretty sure both kids ran as fast as the “other” disciple when he dashed to the tomb. Anyway, the Easter Bunny definitely visited the Reser household.

Sloan and Beau pose with their Easter baskets.

The most important part of our day took place at St. Mary Catholic Church as we attended 9 a.m. Easter Sunday mass. The four of us were joined by my brother and sister-in-law as we worshiped in a full house surrounded by our dearest friends. During a mass with enthusiastic singing and powerful optimism, Fr. Jeff Lewis delivered a homily about the 8 effects of the Resurrection.

Beau and Sloan hang in the vestibule at St. Mary Catholic Church in the Spokane Valley prior to Easter Sunday mass.

We returned home and ate some brunch and relaxed. The kids took the opportunity to take a closer look at their Easter baskets and probably eat a little more candy than they should have. Sidney and I? We continued to watch “Jonathan and Jesus,” a documentary on The Chosen star Jonathan Roumie. It is an incredibly inspirational doc and Roumie, a devout Catholic, proves again and again that there is no Jesus actor better than him. It was the perfect Easter Sunday show to watch.

Taking a moment post-church to take a photo with the kids.

The four of us then piled into the car and headed north to my parents’ house for our Easter celebration. My parents, my siblings, their spouses, and our nieces/nephew were all in a joyous mood. After we all caught up and the kids expelled some energy, we staged the annual “Aunt Carrie and Uncle Glen Easter Egg Hunt” in the front yard. So much fun!

Glen and the kids after the “Aunt Carrie and Uncle Glen Easter Egg Hunt.”

After the egg hunt concluded, it was time for the Easter meal. Now don’t be too surprised but we ate something a little exotic…it was called ham 😂. Everything tasted delicious but as always, the conversation around the table was even better than the food.

Easter meal at the Reser household.

Once dinner concluded, the kids went outside to enjoy the gorgeous weather and the adults gathered in the living room to play a rousing game of Chameleon. I honestly don’t know who had more fun—the young people or the old people.

The adults playing “Chameleon.”

We then gathered back around the dinner table for dessert. But before we dug into the pies, puddings, and cookies, we sang “Happy Birthday” to my sister who celebrated her 40th birthday earlier in the week! After we stuffed ourselves even more, we continued to talk with each other and enjoy the day. Eventually, it was time for everyone to head one. When my family returned to the house, we were all ready for the bed. The preceding Holy Week masses/activities and the busy Easter Sunday had us humbly exhausted.

Miranda prepares to blow out the candles while holding her son, John.

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Although Easter Sunday was yesterday, it is important to know that the Easter season extends for the next 50 days. And, although Lent is now over, I must revert back to Fr. Jeff’s homily from Ash Wednesday. Lent should not be viewed as a 40-day sprint to Easter Sunday whereupon we throw out all the holy practices we developed. Rather, we must treat Lent as a boot camp that whips us into shape for the long haul—well past Easter. Rejoice my friends, He is risen! Don’t Blink.

Easter 2023
Easter 2022
Easter 2021
Easter 2020
Easter 2019
Easter 2018