Ball Thursday Rundown

Can you believe that by the end of the weekend it will be May? But until Sunday arrives it is still April so let’s get going on the last Thursday Rundown of the month…

T-Ball Season Underway – It was Opening Day for Sloan’s t-ball season this past Saturday and she already has three games under her belt. Throughout the next several weeks I hope to offer some observations from the point of view from a t-ball dad, but until then I am really enjoying the opportunity to watch Sloan in her first organized (I use “organized” very loosely) sport endeavor. To watch Sloan’s t-ball “highlight reel” click here.

Sloan with her cousins, Mikayla and Johnny, on Opening Day for her t-ball season.

T-Ball Reality – I thought it was appropriate to follow up my t-ball update with this meme that my friend Lindsi shared. What you see below was pretty much exactly our experience this past Monday. We drove back from Coeur d’Alene that afternoon and Sloan fell asleep in the car. We brought her inside and let her nap for an hour or so before waking her up to get ready. She did not want to get ready. It was pulling teeth to get her uniform on but we were eventually successful…after some “strong encouragement” from us to cooperate, of course.

It was a struggle to get Sloan dressed in her uniform on Monday.

Minor League Ball – It just isn’t t-ball season, it is baseball season too! Our minor league team, the Spokane Indians, opened their season earlier this month. We visited Avista Stadium on Sunday as we watched the Indians fall to the Hillsboro Hops, 11-9. The best thing besides the crack of the bat and cold beer? A pitch clock! A pitcher now has a set time to make his delivery and it has had a dramatic impact. At the game we attended on Sunday, the game time was a mere 2 hours and 40 minutes even though 20 total runs were scored. The game on Saturday lasted only 1 hour and 53 minutes! I love spending time in the ballpark but I don’t need to be there for more than three hours.

It was a gorgeous day at the ballpark on Sunday. This is a photo I took from our seats.

An Incredible Boston Sports Day – On this date nine years ago, I had a dream day as a sports fan. On that particular Sunday I was lucky enough to attend a Boston Celtics playoff game in the early afternoon and the Boston Bruins regular season finale at night. Not only was the action itself exhilarating but it was a thrill for me to experience the transformation of the TD Garden from a basketball venue to a hockey venue in such a short period of time.

It was quite the experience attending a Boston Celtics and a Boston Bruins game in the same day.

Bloomsday – I am excited to hit the Spokane streets on Sunday for Bloomsday. It has been well over 20 years since I last participated in the race as I didn’t even have the option to participate the past two years (since moving back to Spokane) because of the pandemic. I will be tackling Bloomsday with my brother and sister-in-law. Don’t worry, I will be sure to update you on whether I finish the race or not next week.

Bloomsday is this Sunday and I am excited to participate!


Speaking of next week, that’s the next time you will hear from me. I hope you conclude your April on a high note. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and have a safe weekend. Don’t Blink.

The Inspiring Fritel Family

Every so often we attend the 5 p.m. Saturday vigil mass at St. Mary Catholic Church. As we enter the worship space, we always walk past a parishioner sitting in the back row. He chooses this spot because it allows space for his wheelchair. Toward the end of communion, Fr. Jeff Lewis will walk out to him and administer the blessed sacrament via syringe. It is always a touching moment to see both the man’s reverence and respect for the sacrament and Fr. Lewis’ dedication to make sure that he receives it.

Up until a couple months ago, I didn’t know much about this faithful parishioner. But at one of our Young Adult Catholic meetings with Fr. Jeff and Fr. Kevin Oiland, I learned some sobering and powerful information. Fr. Jeff opened up about the wheelchair-bound man named Garth Fritel, disclosing that he has ALS. He talked about Garth’s faith and then mentioned an effort he was going to spearhead.

Venerable Aloysius Schwartz is on the track to sainthood. Fr. Schwartz lived an extremely holy life in which he set up Catholic communities in some of the poorest countries on the planet and saved thousands and thousands of lives. He did this while battling ALS himself.

Fr. Lewis gathered the St. Mary community to pray to Fr. Al for the healing of Garth. If successful, it would help Fr. Al’s canonization process, establish a patron saint of ALS, and, most importantly in my eyes, cure Garth. A grounded man, Fr. Lewis has tried to manage expectations by saying there is no guarantee for healing but prayer is always a worthwhile endeavor, especially when the cards are stacked against you.

But for a moment, I just want to focus on Garth and his wife, Adeline. If you have not read the article yet, please do so. Seriously, read it. The piece written by Kevin Wells of National Catholic Register is simply superb.

Garth is pictured with his two daughters, his wife, Fr. Lewis, our St. Mary formation director, and NCR’s Kevin Wells (this photo is courtesy of Kevin Wells).

Garth had it all. Important job, beautiful family, and a genuine love for life. Then ALS hit. The savage disease ravaged his body over the course of five years and now he is unable to move any body part below his neck. He needs to use a computer to communicate. His parents moved into his house and they help Adeline provide Garth with 24/7 care. At least 12 times a day, he has to have his throat sectioned to clear it.

The attitude that both Garth and Adeline embrace is beyond inspiring. Garth has accepted his illness as his cross. As Fr. Al described it, they are nailed to the ALS cross. Like Fr. Al, Garth frames his ALS as a sign of love and special favor from Jesus. Garth’s life is extremely difficult and he has found himself in dark places, which the story does a phenomenal job of describing, but he has chosen life over the prospect of quitting.

The love and loyalty that Adeline has for her husband is pure and unwavering. Instead of bitterness, she focuses on the blessings generated by Garth’s ALS, quantifying them as “too many to count.” The way Adeline compares her family’s suffering to that of the Stations of the Cross will blow your mind.

Perhaps no other part of the article painted a more vivid picture in my mind than nightly prayer for the Fritels. They gather every evening and identify a blessing from the day. Garth always has one. Always.

Please keep Garth, Adeline, and their two children in your prayers. Let us pray that they continue to draw on their strong faith and that Fr. Al can provide healing if it is God’s will. What an inspiration. Don’t Blink.

Funfetti Thursday Rundown

It is that time of the week when I brainstorm five topics that no one cares about and throw them together to form a Thursday Rundown blog post. Alright then, let’s go…

Funfetti Dip – Earlier this week I teased this dip when writing about how we spent our Easter Sunday. The dip I speak of is called Funfetti Cake Batter Dip and it is simply incredible. I got the recipe from a Facebook post that my cousin shared and I held on to it for about four weeks before making it for our Easter celebration. You just need funfetti cake mix, whipped cream, cream cheese, and heavy whipping cream. If you are more civilized than simply eating the dip with a spoon (because it is good enough to do so), consider using graham crackers or animal crackers for dipping. It turned out way better than I thought it would and my family loved it.

This funfetti dessert dip was delicious!

Half Decade Later – April 22 is a date that never goes unrecognized in our house. It was five years ago tomorrow that Sloan underwent corrective pyloric stenosis surgery. At just a month old she was having a serious operation because she couldn’t keep food down. You can read about Sloan’s bout with pyloric stenosis or watch this video I put together last year. Needless to say, Dr. Robert Cina is a rock star surgeon who will always have a permanent spot in our nightly prayers.

During Sloan’s bout with Pyloric Stenosis and for over a year afterwards, we kept it between immediate family. Sidney and I are so thankful for the support of our parents. This photo shows our moms and dads with Sloan at MUSC.

The 2022 Easter Bunny – I once wrote a blog post about the weirdness of costumed Easter Bunnies. Let’s face it, we have probably all come across an Easter Bunny or two that looked like it belonged more in a horror movie than a chair at the mall. With that said, I have to give high marks to the Easter Bunny that Sloan posed with this year for actually looking somewhat normal.

Sloan with a rather normal looking Easter Bunny at the 2022 Camelot Easter Egg Hunt.

Red Robin Headache – After Sloan’s t-ball practice on Tuesday, the four of us went to the northside Red Robin for dinner. What should have been a relaxing meal turned into mild chaos. Beau wouldn’t stay in his booster seat and when he made a sudden move to dip his fry in some ketchup, he knocked over his chocolate milk glass. The contents of the glass spilled across the table and then overflowed onto my lap. The mishap kept me damp for the entire dinner but luckily the Sprite that Sloan knocked over only drenched the table and not my pants.

Despite the snafus we faced at dinner, Beau got a Red Robin balloon and went home happy.

The Little Things – Make sure to get yourself a wife who will brighten your day with little surprises. When we were in Walla Walla a couple weeks ago, Sidney secretly bought this chocolate cross sucker and gave it to me on Easter. It was just such a sweet thing to do.

I really appreciated this little Easter surprise from Sidney.


It’s time to wrap things up for tonight. We have an exhilarating weekend on the horizon so I need to get some rest. Thanks for reading and we will connect again soon. Don’t Blink.

The Chosen

During Lent, Sidney and I committed to doing something we had wanted to do for several months. We watched “The Chosen,” a television drama about Jesus set through the eyes of his disciples. The series came highly recommended from our friends in our young adult Catholic group and it was praised by Fr. Jeff Lewis, our priest at St. Mary, who recognized its excellence in a homily.

They weren’t kidding.

I recommend that you watch the two available seasons of “The Chosen.”

“The Chosen” is different from other multimedia works on Jesus because of its focused and unique point of view. You would be hard pressed to pinpoint another production that develops the disciples so well and provides a feasible examination of what they might have been thinking as they were called by Jesus.

But the series also stands out because of its depiction of Jesus. God’s Son is portrayed as a compassionate, humorous, and sympathetic Messiah. He is a gravitating figure and a good listener. Many people say that Jonathan Roumie, who portrays Jesus, delivers a performance that resonates with them on a level that past Jesus performances couldn’t reach. I also admire Roumie’s portrayal and I appreciated the evolution of his role as he started to take a stronger stance on matters in the second season.

One thing that you should know is that the series does take some liberties. All dialogue isn’t transported out of the bible nor are all scenes. But supplemental dialogue and scenes are centered around actual scripture and not thrown in with randomness or disregard.

There are so many powerful scenes throughout the episodes. Several times I was reduced to flowing tears. After reading the gospels for more than three decades and then to see some of the events and miracles brought to life in such a beautiful and authentic way had a profound impact on me.

As I have mentioned, the characters and personalities of the disciples are developed throughout the episodes. Some of the best scenes are discussions among the “Chosen” as they debate how to best help Jesus and decipher his teachings. The characters of Peter and Matthew are especially intriguing in the series with the latter my favorite disciple in the show. As a tax collector who is admittedly a little out of touch, he has a long road toward acceptance with his fellow disciples. It is very intriguing to watch him try to make headway.

Even the villains are fascinating to watch. Quintus, a Roman magistrate, and Gaius, a Roman centurion, play compelling roles who face their own struggles over who this Jesus guy actually is and the threat that he could possibly pose.

As we journey through the Easter season, perhaps watching “The Chosen” would be a good way to mark it. What would be better than completing both seasons before Pentecost Sunday comes around on June 5? I know we have countless options when it comes to streaming, but I think watching “The Chosen” on Peacock (the first season is available) is a best bet. Give it a try. Don’t Blink.

Easter Egg Hunt Critique

Over the past weekend I hit the Easter egg hunt circuit with Sloan and Beau. As we “hopped” to different hunts, a certain trend stuck out. But before I discuss this particular trend, which I liken to a “participation trophy” Easter egg hunt model, let me recognize a couple other hunts we partook in.

On Saturday morning, Sloan and Beau participated in the St. Mary School Easter egg hunt. The third grade class staged the event and it was well-organized and fun.

Sloan dumps the candy inside her plastic eggs into her basket at the St. Mary School Easter egg hunt.

During the evening of Easter Sunday, my brother and sister-in-law staged their annual backyard egg hunt (you can watch a video here). As always, it was an intimate and creative affair.

Sloan, Beau, and their cousins during the Easter egg hunt that my brother and sister-in-law annually put on.

We also attended an Easter egg hunt in our neighborhood and the longstanding Easter egg hunt in my parents’ neighborhood. Now both of these neighborhood events did things a little differently from the other two hunts the kids did. Instead of hunting for candy-filled eggs, Sloan and Beau were hunting for empty plastic eggs. They were encouraged to “find” as many eggs as possible, place them in their baskets, and turn them in at the end of the hunt. Upon turning in the plastic shells they were given a Ziploc bag of candy.

Beau hunting for empty eggs.

Let me preface this all by saying that any type of Easter egg hunt is better than no Easter egg hunt. All it took was a pandemic to truly realize that. With that said, I do have a few issues with the hunt model I just described. First, what is the fun of “hunting” for empty eggs? To pick up an egg, shake it, and hear nothing rattling around is extremely anticlimactic and depressing. There is no anticipation of finding something special.

Second, do you notice my use of quotation marks around words like “find” and “hunting”? Well, there really wasn’t much of either. At both hunts, these empty plastic eggs were scattered in a field, clearly visible to everyone. With candy-less eggs and any type of challenge completely removed, it was pretty much like kids were being recruited simply to pick up a mess.

Sloan picking up empty eggs with other children.

Finally, the “prize” at the end was a small bag of candy. It didn’t matter if you picked up one plastic egg or 30, you earned the same bag of candy at the hunt’s conclusion. There was no incentive to return a large quantity of eggs, no bonus for meeting certain quotas.

These two hunts failed to instill motivation in the kids. In many ways, they were essentially pointless. I sincerely appreciate the effort of the organizers but children aren’t stupid. Easter egg hunts should inspire participants and a glorified pick-up session misses the mark. Thankfully Easter egg hunts aren’t what Easter is about. Don’t Blink.

Easter 2022

The holiest day of the year was a beautiful one for our family. From the time the kids woke up to the moment they shut their eyes, our day was full of blessings, of course nothing greater than the celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord. Here is a quick look at the highlights from Easter 2022…

The four of us prior to Easter Sunday mass. What a wonderful Easter 2022 it was.

When Beau and Sloan woke up, they discovered the baskets left for them by the Easter Bunny. Nothing like a sugar high before church, right?

Sloan and Beau with their Easter baskets.

Speaking of church, we didn’t do anything more significant the entire day than attend 9 a.m. Easter Sunday mass at St. Mary. It was so inspiring to see the church filled to a pre-pandemic capacity level. Fr. Jeff Lewis used his homily to stress the importance of family and how the family serves as the true building blocks of the Church. Thanks be to God!

We are so thankful for our St. Mary faith community!

We returned home and ate some sweet treats for brunch. We turned on some Easter hymns and Sloan helped me make a special dessert dip for later in the day. You will have to stay tuned for this week’s Thursday Rundown to learn the details of this dessert dip…it was dangerously good!

Sloan enjoying some sprinkle donut holes.

After Beau woke up from his nap we went out to my parents’ house for our family Easter celebration. It wasn’t long before all of us were hanging out in the living room enthusiastically chatting about anything and everything.

While my parents prepared the Easter meal the rest of us chatted in the living room.

Eventually it was time for our Easter meal as my mom prepared ham, scalloped potatoes, corn casserole, salad, and veggies. This was all complemented by side dishes that all of us brought as well. Per usual, the dinner discussion was engaging, silly, and fun.

The Easter meal hit the spot.

It was then time for the annual Aunt Carrie and Uncle Glen Easter Egg Hunt. They spread Easter eggs out in the backyard and after giving Sloan, Beau, and their cousins a pep talk, they let them loose. Once again it was an egg-tastic success.

Glen and Carrie gave the kids some instructions before letting them loose in the back yard.

The egg hunt was followed by dessert. We had peanut butter lasagna and tuxedo cake (my dessert dip was served prior to dinner) and I can say that I am still full from it.

You are looking at peanut butter lasagna and tuxedo cake.

Before returning home for books and prayers, we posed for some pictures, including the fabulous image below of my parents with their grandchildren.

What a special photo and a nice way to conclude Easter Sunday 2022.

He Is Risen! Thank you God for your Son and for a blessed Easter. Don’t Blink.

Easter 2021
Easter 2020
Easter 2019
Easter 2018

99 Cents Thursday Rundown

It is the most significant Thursday of the year—Holy Thursday. I almost feel silly offering up five topics on a day like this but as I have written on Holy Thursday in the past I will do it today as well…

Inside the Fire Truck – In Tuesday night’s blog post I mentioned that we visited the Walla Walla Children’s Museum over the weekend. Although it might not scream “museum exhibit,” it did offer an old Milton-Freewater fire truck. It was totally fair game for the kids to climb on and explore inside. Beau and his cousin, Johnny, loved getting behind the wheel. I thought this photo was pretty adorable.

Johnny and Beau loved getting inside the Milton-Freewater fire truck at the Walla Walla Children’s Museum.

AriZona Tea – I read a really interesting article yesterday about AriZona iced tea. The story detailed that despite inflation, AriZona has managed to stay priced at 99 cents for its entire 30 years of existence. How is it managing to do that, especially during these trying times? Well, the company is simply sucking it up. AriZona is making less money but the founder and chairman says he won’t increase the price. He feels that Americans are already the victims of too many price increases and if it means he is going to lose money if he doesn’t follow the trend, then so be it. I found the piece economically stimulating so if you have time be sure to check it out.

AriZona Iced Tea has always been 99 cents and, according to its founder, always will be.

Easter Candy – It was four years ago that I wrote about my favorite Easter candy. Admittedly, I placed more emphasis on the commercialized part of Easter than I should have as a kid and gorged on Easter treats. Although I have straightened out my priorities over the years when it comes to the importance of the holiday, I still enjoy eating Easter candy. My top Easter candy are Cadbury mini eggs. Speaking of Cadbury, the company’s signature egg also found a spot on the list. So did a very specific type of jelly bean. If you want more details, you will just have to read the post.

In 2018, I listed my favorite Easter candy.

National Dolphin Day/National Pecan Day – Today is National Dolphin Day so I feel I should flashback to when Sidney and I swam with the dolphins in Cancun just about six years ago. It was the one thing that Sidney really, really wanted to do on our honeymoon so I made sure to make it happen. It is also National Pecan day and I will once again admit that the way many of us pronounce the nut (PEE-CON) is flat out wrong. Did we all just skip Hooked on Phonics as a kid? When I lived in South Carolina it totally made sense that it should be pronounced phonetically as PEE-CAN. Okay, got that off my chest.

A photo of Sidney and I swimming with dolphins 6 years ago.

Grilled Cheese – Would you buy a $13.50 grilled cheese? I did. Last weekend when we were in Walla Walla we ate at a downtown restaurant called Red Monkey. The “Ultimate Grilled Cheese” came with American, swiss, pepper jack, and sharp yellow cheeses. However, while the bread was decent, it sure didn’t seem like it was packed with four thick, gooey cheeses. It wasn’t my best menu selection for sure. Although I must say that the macaroni and cheese, which I upgraded to for +$2.50 (instead of fries), was the bomb.

I just don’t think this $13.50 grilled cheese was worth it.


As we mark Good Friday tomorrow, let us keep in mind how easily we can turn on God when things don’t go our way. But once Sunday comes around, let us enthusiastically celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord. I wish everyone a very happy Easter. Don’t Blink.

Losing Three Influential Comedic Titans

In late January, Louie Anderson passed away. Fellow celebrity comedian Gilbert Gottfried tweeted a photo of himself with Louie and Bob Saget, who also died early in 2022. Gottfried expressed his sadness that two of his industry friends had passed away. The sentimentality of the tweet was not lost on me as I retweeted it from my own personal Twitter account.

This is the photo that Gilbert Gottfried tweeted out in January with Bob Saget and Louie Anderson. Sadly, all three men are now deceased.

Well, that tweet received many more retweets yesterday when Gilbert Gottfried also died. Looking at the photo in light of Gottfried’s death, you couldn’t help but feel sorrowful that the three comedic heavyweights in that photo were now all gone.

All three men entered my television screen as a youngster and tonight I thought I would describe the manner in which each one did.

Gilbert Gottfried – As a relatively young boy, probably 8 or 9, my sister and I would walk to a grocery store in Walla Walla to rent a couple movies. The titles? Problem Child and Problem Child 2. We loved them! Each film focused on a troublemaker boy named Junior who wreaked havoc for his adopted father, played by John Ritter. In the first movie, the adoption agent is Mr. Peabody, played by Gilbert Gottfried. In the second film, Gottfried returned but had a career change as he was now the principal of a grade school. Coincidentally, third grade Junior is enrolled into Peabody’s school. In an effort to graduate him from the school as soon as possible, Peabody promotes him to sixth grade.

The Problem Child movies introduced me to the eccentricity and uniqueness of Gilbert Gottfried. I became familiar with his very distinctive voice and character acting chops. For the longest time, whenever my sister and I would see him in other movies or television, we would refer to him as “Mr. Peabody.”

Louie Anderson – In the mid to late 1990s, Louie Anderson actually had his own animated series called Life With Louie. Along with Howie Mandel’s Bobby’s World, I watched both shows on Saturday mornings during my early childhood.

But I probably became even more acquainted with Louie Anderson during the years he hosted Family Feud. He was the person who introduced me to show. Before Steve Harvey and before Al from “Home Improvement,” Anderson handled the hosting duties and it was under his tutelage that I learned the concept and rules of the wildly popular game show.

Bob Saget – I watched Bob Saget the most growing up. Full House was a “family show” that the five of us would watch together on a weekly basis when the new episode would premiere. My brother, sister, and I would eat up the reruns that would play throughout the day during the summer.

Although not a particular fan of the show, I also watched America’s Funniest Home Videos during Saget’s tenure as host. Although I cringed through a lot of his jokes, I now understand that a lot of his material was simply what was expected of him from production.


I don’t think it is a stretch to say that these three comedic titans combined to produce millions and millions of laughs during their careers…some of them coming directly from me. Let’s remember to pray for the souls of Gilbert Gottfried, Louie Anderson, and Bob Saget. Don’t Blink.

A Walla Walla 60th Birthday Party Weekend

This past weekend we were in Walla Walla again. We were there previously in February but that was a tough trip—we were there for my Aunt Nancy’s funeral. This time around we were centering a family weekend around my Aunt Debbie’s 60th birthday. Although Nancy was still ever present in our hearts and minds, this trip had a few more smiles than the last one (quick video of the weekend).

We traveled to Walla Walla to celebrate my Aunt Debbie’s 60th birthday.

Sidney, Sloan, Beau, and I drove to Walla Walla on Friday afternoon. We met up with my parents, my sister, and her family at the Holiday Inn Express. After we checked in and got settled, we went out to dinner—well, everyone but my dad. The poor guy had caught a stomach bug and would be confined to his hotel room’s bathroom for most of the weekend.

Sloan and Beau arrived to our hotel room in style!

We ate dinner at a downtown restaurant called the Red Monkey. It was really nice for our mid-size group to sit down and enjoy a meal together. Sloan and Beau always love it when they can dine with their cousins, Mikayla and John.

At the Red Monkey in Downtown Walla Walla I had the ultimate grilled cheese and mac & cheese.

After we returned from dinner I took Sloan to the hotel pool where we met Miranda, Jay, Mik, and John. The kids played in the swimming pool while the adults relaxed and chatted in the hot tub.

The kids had a nice night swim.

The next morning all of us met for the complimentary (and very impressive) breakfast. Despite the junior college baseball team that had us beat both in numbers and overall appetite, we took advantage of the many offerings and had our fill. It was a good way to start the day.

Sloan and Johnny stoked for the Holiday Inn Express breakfast.

After our food settled, Miranda, Jay, Sid, and I took our kids back to the pool area for swimming and hot tub lounging. Just like the night before, both children and adults were content in their respective waters.

Sloan and Johnny jump into the Holiday Inn Express pool.

We changed out of our bathing suits for street clothes and the eight of us went to the Walla Walla Children’s Museum to pass some time. The indoor exhibits were all really cool but our kids really liked what awaited them in the outdoor back area of the center. The lot had a teepee, sand boxes, and an old Milton-Freewater fire truck that the kids could climb inside and on top of. That gave them a lot of entertainment.

Sloan, Mikayla, and Johnny play on the top of the Milton-Freewater fire truck at the Walla Walla Children’s Museum.

Once we left the museum, Sid, Sloan, Beau, and I went to Applebee’s for lunch. It was a nice, quiet, and relaxing time with just the four of us, the perfect break in what was a busy day.

Enjoying lunch at the Walla Walla Applebee’s.

After we ate we returned to the hotel and relaxed for about an hour before heading off to the main event. My Aunt Judy had reserved the indoor community center at the famous Pioneer Park for my Aunt Debbie’s party. About 40 Resers and friends were there to welcome my aunt to the 60 Club. Dang, it was a fun time. We had hot dogs, snapped photos at the photo booth, played games, drank beverages, and celebrated Debbie.

Sidney and I posing in front of my Aunt’s 60th birthday backdrop.

Oh yeah, there was also an Easter egg hunt for the kids.

Sloan looks for eggs during the Easter egg hunt at Pioneer Park in conjunction with my aunt’s 60th birthday party.

But back to Debbie for just one second. She turned 60 but doesn’t look anywhere close to it. I think it is a reward for having one of the sweetest souls you will ever come across. I was so happy to attend her party and celebrate what a spectacular woman she is.

My Aunt Debbie is AWESOME. So glad I got to celebrate her 60th birthday with her.

Because we have two small children, we bowed out at 9 p.m. and returned to our cozy hotel room. The next morning we woke up early and attended Palm Sunday mass at St. Francis of Assisi. I was actually baptized at St. Francis and attended mass numerous times throughout my childhood when we would visit my grandparents. It was my first time at the parish in about 15 years and although it has been renovated, I was proud to show Sidney the church that played a big role in my early life.

We attended Palm Sunday mass at St. Francis of Assisi, the church that I was baptized in.

After mass we returned to the hotel, ate breakfast, and checked out. Our Walla Walla weekend concluded with a visit to Bright’s Candy, the premier (and perhaps only) candy shop in Walla Walla. We purchased some Easter candy and hit the road for Spokane.

My mom, Sid, and Sloan inside Bright’s Candies in downtown Walla Walla.

The weekend getaway was perfect. Well, except for one thing: my dad didn’t get to enjoy it like the rest of us. But I can assure you that he is on the mend and will be ready to celebrate Easter with a full bill of health. Don’t Blink.

My Top 5 Favorite Smells

I have pointed out that a song has the power to conjure up memories, illicit emotion, and set a mood. I think the only other stimuli with such an influence is smell. It is incredible how a smell can put us into an instant state of mind—for better or worse. Tonight I am focusing on the better. I thought I would offer five smells that I adore and seem to always bring me to my happy place. So, in no particular order, here are my favorite smells.

Incense – Nothing conveys “home” more than when you walk into a beautiful church and the air is filled with that holy smell of incense. The smoky and wood-inspired aroma that is sacred to so many is rooted in the birth of Jesus Christ himself. Frankincense and myrrh, two gifts from the magi, are usually burned together to produce the distinctive smell. The scent of incense isn’t something I mind clinging to my clothes as I leave mass and I get great satisfaction when I can still smell it lingering throughout the day. For those who don’t know, incense purifies and sanctifies but it also has a symbolic purpose. While incense evokes the mystery and solemnity of the Divine Liturgy, it also represents the prayers of the faithful moving upward to our Father in Heaven.

When a church is filled with incense, like St. Andrew Catholic Church in Myrtle Beach routinely was, I am all for it.

Oranges – There isn’t a “portable” smell I like more than fresh oranges. Nothing will bring a smile to my face quicker than when I am in a room with other people and unbeknownst to me someone starts to peel an orange. It won’t take long until the citrusy scent reaches my nose and suddenly a stuffy room turns into an orchard. I love the smell of oranges. It is just so pleasant and fresh. Although I definitely prefer the natural smell, it goes to show how much I enjoy the general orange scent as my go-to air freshener is a citrus option.

Cinnabon – Sure, it is always a glorious smell when cinnamon rolls are baking in the oven but there is just something extra about the aroma of a Cinnabon that stands out. I could go to the mall simply to walk by Cinnabon and be happy. The cinnamon-y sweet cloud you walk through is so rich, so warm, so mouth-watering that it takes every ounce of self-control not to stop and buy a cinnamon roll. This is my favorite food smell. Simply irresistible.

Subway Shop – A lot has gone downhill for Subway over the past several years but at least it still has the fresh bread smell. In fact, the distinctive smell always brings me back to the era of $5 footlongs and other affordable menu prices. But besides the nostalgia it drums up, the smell itself is absolutely superb in its own right. Just like with Cinnabon, the smell generates a “warm” and happy feeling. Better yet, the smell isn’t something that sticks to you once you leave the restaurant like at other sandwich shops. You always knew your nostrils were in for a double special experience when the fresh bread smell mixed with a batch of cookies coming out of the oven.

I still can’t get enough of the smell of a Subway shop.

New Car – Ah, the scent of promise, excitement, and novelty. The smell of a new vehicle definitely relates more than just olfactory notes of cleanliness and chemicals. Although those two things do combine to produce something that is on the surface quite pleasant, the psychological impact of the smell enhances the experience…and I am all for it. I will never forget when my parents bought a mini van almost 30 years ago and I got my first taste (umm…I mean smell?) of that unmistakable new vehicle scent. Since that moment, the new car smell has always been pleasing.

When we got our new Tiguan I savored the new car smell.


So do you smell what The Brent is cooking?! I appreciate you humoring me while I went on about such an inconsequential topic. But now it is your turn. What is a scent that means a lot to you for one or multiple reasons? Let me know. Don’t Blink.