Candid Thursday Rundown

Good evening, everyone. I hope you are having a blessed Holy Week. What will tonight’s five topics be about? Well, read on my friend…

Candid Shot – Very rarely do Sidney and I have true candid shots captured of us together. Last summer we attended the wedding of a couple we prepared for marriage. On Sunday, the bride sent us several photos of our kids from that special July day. Included in the images was the below moment from a dance that Sid and I shared during the reception. Thanks, Sarah and Brendan! #QuinnTheDay

Thanks to Sarah Quinn for sending us this picture (📸: Ashley Haikkila)

What Else I Did On Friday – Earlier this week, I mentioned that I took the day off so I could take a driver safety class. However, that class just took up the morning leaving the afternoon to do something really fun. So what did I do? I took the kids to the dentist 😂. Although not the most thrilling way to spend the day off, it is much more tolerable to go to the dentist office when you aren’t the one sitting in the chair. Sloan and Beau go to Children’s Choice Dentistry in Liberty Lake and after their Friday appointments they retained their membership in the No Cavity Club.

I took the kids to the dentist on Friday afternoon.

Happy Birthday, Miranda! – My sister turns 40 today. Did you read that closely?…FORTY! Thank you, Miranda, for making me feel a little bit better about my age 😂. But in all honesty, I wish my sister a very happy Birthday, she is a wonderful big sibling!

A photo of the three of us siblings on Saturday, September 23, 2023. Ironically, this photo was taken on my brother’s birthday. Today is my sister’s birthday.

Top Easter Candy – With Easter Sunday just a few days away, I suppose it is worth mentioning that I once ranked my top Easter candy. Way back in 2018 I revealed my countdown that included robin eggs (#5), Reese’s peanut butter eggs (#4), Cadbury eggs (#3), and Starburst jelly beans. But my all-time favorite Easter candy? Well, you will just have to read the blog post to find out 😉.

I love an Easter basket filled with delicious candy.

Easter Bunnies Are Weird – Last week, my parents took the kids to the Spokane Valley Mall. Their outing included an Easter Bunny visit. Nine years ago, I admitted that a syndicated columnist who pushed for the removal of Easter Bunnies from American malls had a point. Now? I don’t know if I agree. While I still maintain that it is next to impossible to find a normal-looking costumed rabbit, at least I now realize that they do bring joy to kids.

Sloan and Beau discuss whether it is safe to approach.


I wish everyone a very happy Easter. Don’t lose sight on why this day is the holiest one there is. He is risen! Don’t Blink.

No Use Yelling Over Spilled Sports Drink

Some of you know I was a ball boy for the Gonzaga University men’s basketball team. I served the squad for two years right before the infamous Elite 8 run. So, if you do the math, that equates to 26 years ago. If you want the details, read this blog post I wrote 10 years ago.

I was a ball boy for Gonzaga years and years ago.

But if you read that post from a decade ago, it leaves out one memory that is still engrained in my mind. During my first year as a ball boy during the 1996-97 season, the late Dan FitzGerald was in his last year as head coach. However, don’t think for a minute that just because he was retiring meant that he had lost his fire…

During a 20-second timeout (this was before they became 30-second timeouts in 2004), I approached the huddle to distribute cups of water. Because these timeouts were always so short, it was stressful for us ball boys to breach the huddle and handoff water in time. As I outstretched my arm to pass water, a player’s elbow inadvertently hit my wrist and the cup went flying as the water splattered in the middle of the huddle.

Coach Fitz started yelling curse words and flipping out. I don’t even know if he realized a ball boy was the culprit but I wanted to find my dad in the stands and disappear. I felt so bad and so embarrassed. Team staff quickly cleaned up the water but I was pretty shell shocked.

Now Dan Fitzgerald was an incredible guy who would always pat me on the shoulder before every game as I shagged balls for the players. But make no mistake about it, I was absolutely petrified by him.

Dan Fitzgerald was a fantastic coach but I was scared of him (photo courtesy of Christopher Anderson of the Spokesman-Review).


Last night after work, I poured Beau some grape Powerade in a cup with no lid. I told him very specifically that he was to drink it in the kitchen. I sat down on the couch in the living room and started to do something. Beau appeared and asked for a snack. After some back-and-forth on whether he needed a snack, I told him to give me a sec and I would help him. He then left my presence and went around the corner of the couch to a small coffee table adjacent to it.

I didn’t even hear anything fall but I did hear my son exclaim in a nervous voice…


I looked up over the table and saw that all his cup, along with the grape Powerade, was now on the floor. It had been resting on the coffee table and he somehow knocked it off. I didn’t handle it well.

Half mad because he spilled it and the other half mad because he should not have had the cup in the living room in the first place, I yelled. I finally stopped when I had a realization:

I was reprising the role of Dan Fitzgerald.

Beau ran upstairs. I followed him and apologized. I knew how Coach Fitz’s outburst made me feel and he was coaching a Division I basketball team in the heat of the moment. What excuse did I have?

I needed to remember an old cliché (no use crying over spilled milk) while also taking to heart that there is no room for tempers during Holy Week. It won’t happen again…at least for the next several days 😉.


I want to wish the men’s and women’s Gonzaga basketball teams the best of luck in the Sweet 16. May eternal rest be grant unto Dan Fitzgerald, a man who helped establish the Zags program and prime it for greatness. Don’t Blink.

Some Really Good Driver Safety Tips

Last fall, I got a speeding ticket. It was my first time being pulled over in 10 years and as someone who takes pride in driving cautiously, I was pretty ashamed. But the only thing that outweighed my shame was my fear about what would happen to our insurance rates.

Luckily for me, I was able to mitigate my ticket. The court graciously allowed me to take a course that would dismiss my speeding infraction. This past Friday I took the day off work so I could take a class called Attitudinal Dynamics of Driving (ADD). Despite the fancy name, it was basically just a driver safety course. With that said, it was just about the most interesting driver safety course I could have enrolled in.

Our instructor, Rick Sapone, conducted an extremely interesting morning course that ran just over four hours. Mr. Sapone spewed his knowledge and uncanny humor to me and eight other fellow motorists looking to have their tickets disappear.

Because I really did get a lot out of the class, I wanted to share some of the more interesting tidbits I learned from Rick. I hope you find it as helpful as I did…

I learned a lot from Rick Sapone about behind the wheel driver safety.

Rick’s Philosophy – The main theme that Mr. Sapone hammered home throughout the course is that we aren’t important enough to drive distracted. That phone call, text message, radio adjustment, and Instagram glance can wait while behind the wheel. I don’t have anything more pressing in my life when driving than to make sure I am operating my vehicle in a safe manner.

Drowsy Driving Best Practice – Ooops! Did you almost doze off behind the wheel? Pull over well off the road and set your phone’s timer for 15 minutes. Now close your eyes and take a nap. Right when your timer goes off, get back on the road. Rick says that a 15-minute snooze is the sweet spot for becoming refreshed when battling drowsiness. Anything less isn’t adequate and anything more will send you into REM sleep and make you a liability once you hit the road again.

Secure Your Back Seat – Don’t place items (groceries, ice scrapers, bowling balls, etc.) on your back seat. If you get into a collision those items become projectiles that will travel just as fast as your car was going before impact. Rick had all kinds of stories regarding back seat “luggage” piercing driver and front seat passengers.

Not Worth the Two Minutes – Rick outlined the absurdity of driving over the speed limit to save time. If you drove 70 MPH in a 60 MPH zone over the course of a 1-hour commute, you would just save a maximum of 160 seconds. That doesn’t even equate to three minutes! Don’t put yourself and others at risk to save an insignificant amount of time. Instead, just do the responsible thing and leave your house five minutes early.

I Have Been Lied To – Did you know it is just an urban legend that you can go over the speed limit to pass other cars? Yep, when the posted speed limit indicates 60 MPH, that means the actual speed limit is—you guessed it—60 MPH. My whole life I thought drivers were given a 5-10 MPH cushion to pass cars. That’s not the case.

Road Rage Tips – Rick provided a lot of great guidance on dealing with road rage. When being harassed by an irate driver, if you are on the freeway/highway, try to exit and pull into a police station or fire station. If that isn’t possible, Rick offered another helpful alternative…find a 7/11 or other convenience store. These places are covered by surveillance cameras and will ultimately provide crucial evidence against the driver. Bonus Tip: Did you know that Costco parking lots are some of the worst spots for road rage incidents?

You’ll Love This Hack – We all know that when pulled over, the law enforcement officer will ask for registration and proof of insurance. This usually entails thumbing through a messy glove compartment to find the documents. It doesn’t have to be that way anymore. You can snap a photo of your registration/proof of insurance and legitimately provide that to the officer. Besides the convenience factor, there is another reason for the permissibility of this: when thieves ransack a car, they will look at registration and insurance documents for an address. They will then hightail it over to the residence and rob you blind. The photo hack is a way to avoid this.


Well, I hope you learned something tonight! Thanks to Rick Sapone and the Spokane Valley court system for forgiveness of my infraction in exchange for me taking a very educational course. Don’t Blink.

Conversations Thursday Rundown

Good evening everyone, it is great to be back for another Thursday Rundown. Hope everyone is enjoying the basketball. The WSU men’s basketball team will tip off against Drake soon so GO COUGS! Here we go with tonight’s five topics…

Lego Load – On Tuesday night, our doorbell rang. The kids opened the door to discover our next door neighbor holding a large box. We welcomed him inside and when he put the box on the floor we saw the contents: Legos. He had brought over his entire collection to give to Sloan and Beau. Many vehicles, buildings, and other structures were already built and a whole village of Lego people were also concluded. Beau loves Legos so this was a jackpot for him. Sid and I are hoping this might get him to finally sit still for 10 minutes.

Beau holding a couple of the Lego creations that he removed from the big box.

Sloan’s Birthday Cake – I routinely share photos of the cakes from our birthday celebrations so here is Sloan’s. Although I really do prefer cakes from Rosauers, we purchased this one from Walmart. They really couldn’t do a Taylor Swift theme so they just made something pretty for her. Do you all remember back in the day when pretty much all birthday cakes were ordered from Costco and you had leftovers for like two weeks? 🎂

Sloan’s 7th birthday cake by Walmart.

Red Robin Birthday Dinner – We have had many, many birthday dinners at Red Robin and that tradition continued on Sunday night. We celebrated Sloan’s special day with burgers and fries at our local Spokane Valley restaurant and the food was excellent as usual. But you know what wasn’t the same as usual? The balloons! In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, the normally red party favors were green.

A few shots from Sloan’s Red Robin birthday dinner.

Mother Teresa – I recently finished a book titled Conversations With Mother Teresa. It is not a biography per se but more of a book that delves into the thoughts and philosophies of St. Mother Teresa. A lot of her insight is shared via conversations with the author, Italian journalist Renzo Allegri. Folks, to say that St. Mother Teresa was inspirational and faithful is to sell her shamefully short. The extreme way she cared for the “poorest of the poor” was saint-like in every respect you can imagine. As we are all called to be saints, I couldn’t recommend a better Holy Week book than this one.

“Conversations With Mother Teresa” should be required reading for everyone in the world.

Beating GPS – I would like to extend lots of gratitude to my friend Lindsi for allowing me to steal another one of her memes (I couldn’t resist). When it comes to GPS travel time, I am always amazed at how accurate it is. If my map app quotes me a time as I leave my driveway, I am taking that for truth and texting whoever I am visiting with that time. Although I do try to beat however many minutes the app says it will take, it doesn’t matter how many green lights I make, I usually always seem to arrive according to how long the app said it would take me.

Although this is a worthwhile goal, it isn’t always attainable.


Hope everyone has a nice weekend. Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week will soon be upon us so let’s be sure to get in the right frame of mind. Don’t Blink.

Hitting The Target With Self-Checkout

About a week ago, I was at an event sponsored by Focus Ministries. We were in small groups discussing discipleship and evangelism. An older man in our group mentioned the importance of building rapport and engaging with the supermarket cashier. Although I usually listen more than speak during these discussions, I couldn’t help myself.

“How are we supposed to do this when all of us are using self-checkout?,” I questioned, only half joking.

Well, if Target’s new policy catches on with the grocery industry, perhaps I should perfect my small talk with cashiers.

Very rarely does Target get things right but in this situation they might have.

On St. Patrick’s Day, Target implemented a “10 items or less” rule for its self-checkout lanes. If you fall within the quota you can use self-checkout but if you have 11 items or more you must use a traditional checkout lane with an actual human being scanning your haul.

Target doesn’t get a lot right, but I have to hand it to them on this one. Although I use self-checkout a lot when I have more than 10 items, I understand the policy.

Let’s be honest, the self-checkout concept was intended to speed things along for people with a light grocery cart. It was basically Express Lane 2.0. But as people got more and more comfortable with self-checkout, they naturally started to use it at the conclusion of their once-per-week Sunday grocery outing.

This defeats the purpose because it removes all efficiency from self-checkout. It really is tough to scan a full cart by yourself without slowing down the process by paging the self-checkout employee for one reason or the other. Need your produce properly scanned? Or your ID checked for alcohol? Or the “wait for assistance” prompt cleared? Or assistance with inserting that coupon? Or one of the hundred different things you need to bother that poor solitary employee with? Yep, you aren’t scanning 30 items without their help.

For me personally? I suck so much time at the self-checkout because my kids demand that they “help” scan the items. Yes, Sloan and Beau are well-intentioned but my patience always dwindles when my 4-year-old takes an eternity to scan a loaf of bread. To now have the excuse to visit a traditional lane because we have too many items is very much appreciated.

A dozen years ago I wrote a blog post about self-checkout and I concluded that the concept had a bright future. I think my prediction proved correct but tweaks are always needed. I hope other outlets follow the lead of Target. Don’t Blink.

Sloan’s Taylor Swift-Themed 7th Birthday Party

Watch a quick video of Sloan’s Taylor Swift-themed birthday party

There was no doubt the theme of Sloan’s birthday party this year. She developed into quite the Swiftie as a 6-year-old and for several months she had a pretty clear idea how she wanted to celebrate.

Are you ready for it?!…

We threw Sloan a Taylor Swift-themed birthday party!

On Saturday, March 16, 2024, Sloan had her 7th birthday party.

Thanks to Sidney’s creativity and the generosity of our friend, Fidela Perry, the party was just about as fun as attending an actual T.Swift concert.

Sloan had a great 7th birthday party.

Fidela ordered Taylor Swift Eras Tour VIP passes to make the girls feel special. She also ordered materials for a backdrop.

Each Swiftie was given a credential, microphone, and heart-shaped glasses.

Sidney turned our living room into an all-access backstage party hall. She spent a lot of time decorating, planning the party activities, and putting together a menu.

A look at Sidney’s handiwork.

Sloan and six of her best friends lived out their Taylor Swift dreams. They made friendship bracelets using a plentiful rainbow-assortment of beads…

The girls going through the line to pick up the materials they needed for their friendship bracelets.

I read to them the Taylor Swift Little Golden Book…

I read a Taylor Swift book at the party.

We negotiated with Disney+ to release the Eras Tour movie the night before the party so the girls could watch/sing along to it…

Thanks to lucky timing, the girls got to watch the Eras Tour movie.

Of course being a Swiftie requires a lot of enthusiasm so cake was needed to replenish energy levels…

Sidney bringing Sloan her cake.

And the backdrop provided a great spot to document the party animals who attended the special day…

These girls made the party so much fun!

The concert…I mean party…went off without a hitch. Sloan had so much fun and it was definitely her best birthday party yet. Even a dad like myself had a pretty good time 😉. Don’t Blink.

Lucky 7 For Sloan

Not too long after turning 6, Sloan brought home a certificate from school. She was really proud of it so we made sure to give it prominent placement on our refrigerator. The honor that the certificate bestowed? Most Likely to Brighten Your Day.

Sloan brought this certificate home in April 2023 and it was promptly placed on our refrigerator.

I think that piece of paper accurately described the essence of what it means to be around Sloan—especially this past year. Quite simply, if you spent a few minutes around her, chances are your outlook for the day grew just a bit sunnier. This effect she has on others is why Sidney’s adult friends want to hang out with her, why grocery store clerks give her extra stickers, and why her principal hand-picked her to provide on-camera testimony for the school’s marketing video.

I sure am proud of my 7-year-old. (photo cred: Ocean Simpson Photography)

But let’s get real here. I may be a proud dad but I am also realistic. Even though Sloan dressed up as a saint and was named Future Saint of the Week at school, she has a lot to improve upon before canonization 😂. Bossiness? Lack of Patience? Drama? Well, she’s working on it all…even if it might be listed in the job description of a newly minted 7-year-old.

Sloan dressed up as the Saint of all Saints at a St. Mary Family Faith Night in November.

With that said, her areas for improvement didn’t get in the way during her stint as a 6-year-old. Sloan had a fulfilling and busy trip around the sun. She read 500 books, played t-ball, tried soccer, lost teeth, proclaimed the Word of the Lord at mass, served as the guest announcer at a pro baseball game, ate Happy Meals, ran a drink stand, discovered Taylor Swift, jumped high in a bungee, and aced spelling test after spelling test.

Sloan played soccer for the first time this past year.

While I observed Sloan doing those things, I also had the blessing of directly making special memories with her. Searching for sand dollars as the sun rose on a vacation morning, taking her to a WSU football game, and bonding at the daddy/daughter dance are all highlights I hold dear from her past year.

Our official St. Mary Catholic School Daddy/Daughter Dance photo.

As I look forward to Sloan’s next 365 days, I can’t wait to see what is in store. I know her beautiful and genuine faith in God will continue to blossom. I know she will take our new neighborhood by storm as she makes friends. I know she will amaze Sid and I with her maturity and knowledge.

Thumbs up for knowing it is going to be a great 12 months as a 7-year-old.

And, I know for a fact that she will continue to brighten the days of others. Sloan, you are a special individual with a gigantic heart. I love you and am proud of you—happy birthday! Don’t Blink.

Past Sloan Birthday Posts
Sloan turns 6
Sloan turns 5
Sloan turns 4
Sloan turns 3
Sloan turns 2
Sloan turns 1

My Fourth Year At WSU: Elevation

Wow. Can it really be four years? I have now worked at Washington State University for the length of time between Presidential Elections, leap years, and Summer/Winter Olympiads. I guess I am a well-seasoned Coug by this point.

It’s crazy. I have now worked at WSU for four years.

Memory Lane

But even with the passing of four years, my vivid recollection of March 16, 2020 is sharp. I woke up early to meet my then-boss (shout out Dave Wasson!) at a gas station right outside of Spokane. I hopped in his truck and we drove to Pullman for my first day of work. What has now become an icebreaker/inside joke among my University Marketing and Communications colleagues, that mid-March Monday would be my only day in the office for a long time. That afternoon we received the directive to work from home indefinitely as COVID-19 shook our world.

That turbulent and unpredictable period in our world’s history ensured that my first 365 days at WSU centered on reacting. By the time my second year came around, although we were still dealing with the Coronavirus, I embraced the building stage which, in normal times, would have transpired during my rookie year. My third year was about emerging as I became more than a Zoom square and our social program made tangible, measurable progress.

My fourth year? It was all about elevating.

Because I am a NERD, I always like to wear the same outfit on my work anniversary that I wore on my first ever day of work at WSU.


A year after our social program invested in brand marketing, amplified major university accomplishments, and presented on the national stage at conferences, we did more of the same in Year #4 but to a greater degree.

By the time my third year was wrapping up, our social program was active in the first two installments of our #GoCougsMeans brand marketing campaign. During my fourth year, I had the privilege of doing social media ad buys for the next seven installments of the campaign. Furthermore, I grabbed a front row seat for the additional brand marketing work we started with a nationally renowned agency (big things to come!). And when it came to amplifying major university accomplishments from both a paid and organic front, our social team was called upon for strategy and execution. Communication projects included the establishment of a pediatric medical residency, the breaking of ground on Schweitzer Engineering Hall, and the renewal of a partnership with Pullman Regional Hospital. Finally, after presenting at the American Marketing Association’s Higher Ed Conference with Pac-12 colleagues during my third year, I submitted a proposal this past year solely on behalf of WSU. Stacked against stiff competition, it was among the 11% of accepted proposals, paving the way for Cara Hoag and myself to present at the 2023 AMA Higher Ed Conference in Chicago.

I presented at the American Marketing Association Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Ed in Chicago in Nov. 2023.

Besides those prominent opportunities to elevate, I had many other chances to make an impact. Over the past 12 months, I ran paid campaigns for numerous campus partners, assumed the project manager role of our UMC team’s effort to recognize #WSU’s Top Ten Seniors, presented to communicators system-wide on a variety of social media topics, and provided consultation to numerous departments about social media strategy.

I had a lot of fun, too. In this fourth go-around I collaborated with the video team like never before as we made some creative and memorable videos (favorites include this, this, and this). In May, the WSU communicators conference led me to Everett where I hung with my colleagues throughout the Washington State University system for a couple days. When fall arrived, I covered the WSU vs. Wisconsin football game as we answered a certain question everyone wanted to know. Then, in February, we successfully launched a social media organic campaign called #CougCounties—a project that had hovered at the top of my goal sheet.

It was a lot of fun working with video during my fourth year at WSU.


With all that said, seldom do you journey through a year without adversity. Our department helped navigate our university through some challenging times. The Idaho murder case/court proceedings continued to linger, our academic student employees went on strike, leadership was questioned, and budgets continue to hang in the balance.

And then there was the Pac-12. The way the “Conference of Champions” disintegrated that August day was sad and shocking. But any personal hurt feelings I harbored needed to be cast aside because the days and weeks that followed would prove to be a big lift. Statements, court cases, short term agreements, and so much more kept us on our toes. My responsibilities thrust me right into the thick of it.


But those challenges can’t cloud the positivity cultivated during my fourth year at WSU. While the highlights and growth are neat, the best part of my job is the UMC team I work with. I am constantly heartened by our team of writers, photographers, videographers, designers, and developers who go out of their way to support our social program. Without these colleagues, our social media presence would be shoddy at best. Well, at least it would be if I was the only member of our social team. I am grateful to have Matt Haugen serve as our social media manager—he can do a lot with a little as his passion for WSU leads him to do great things for our program.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t recognize a couple other team members who played a big role in my fourth year. Let me once again mention Cara Hoag, our enrollment management marketing director, who presented with me at the AMAs. Whether it was preparing for that major conference, driving to Everett together, or trying to pinpoint strategies to bring more students to WSU, it was so nice to work with her and also have someone to talk with about the daily joys and challenges of raising young kids. Also, our creative director, Eric Limburg, continued to go out of his way to make sure our social team always had everything we needed from a video/photo/design perspective. The conclusion of my fourth year at WSU coincides with Eric’s final month at the university. He landed an incredible job at another university and I will miss him a lot. Thanks for everything, Eric!

Cara and I collaborated a lot this year. This is us returning to Spokane from Everett.

Finally, what more can I say about my boss? Holly Sitzmann is invested in my success and the accomplishment of my goals. Her guidance in my development as a professional is what most employees can only dream of when it comes to their supervisor. But as I have said on numerous occasions, the support she gives me as a WSU employee is only outdone by the recognition she gives me as an individual. Holly allows me to put my family first and pursue the quirkiness and weirdness of the person I am. 😉


I am thankful to be at WSU. In fact, two of the people I just mentioned—Holly and Eric—were on the search committee who brought me here…so special thanks to both of them! I am grateful for the opportunities I have been afforded and I hope to continue to contribute. I look forward to Year #5 as I try my best to rep the crimson and gray. GO COUGS! Don’t Blink.

Frassati Thursday Rundown

We are right in the middle of March—a time of madness, greenery, and a curly-haired girl’s birthday. Let’s get going with the latest Thursday Rundown…

March 14 – Yes, it is obviously Pi Day and I still believe this is one of the best videos that truly celebrates it. To this day, it ranks at the top of video projects I have worked on. But did you know it is also National Children’s Craft Day? This is a big day in the Reser household because Sloan has never participated in a craft she didn’t like. In fact, she naturally gravitated to the craft table when we visited the library this past weekend. And it is also National Potato Chip Day. Whether I am sampling the different flavors of Lay’s or testing for the best jalapeno potato chip, it is hard not to like this crunchy, salty snack.

Beau and Sloan work on a craft project at the library this past weekend.

Ready for Madness – The NCAA Tournament will be a little more exciting for me this year. After a 16-year hiatus, the Washington State University men’s basketball team will play in the Big Dance. The last time the Cougs played in the tourney I was rooting for them from my college dorm room. Throw in Gonzaga and I have two teams that I will be keeping close tabs on. Looking forward to Selection Sunday to find out where/when the Cougs and Zags will play.

In 2015, I traveled with the Chanticleer men’s basketball team to the NCAA tournament.

Finding Frassati – Last week I finished a book on Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, a man who is on the cusp of sainthood. Frassati was born in 1901 to a rich Italian family but would shun his wealth in favor of serving the poor. In fact, he spent so much time in the Turin slums that he ended up contracting polio and died when he was just 24. A handsome, athletic individual with an unshakeable faith and deep devotion to the poor, Pier Giorgio Frassati is a modern day hero to look up to.

I recently read “Finding Frassati.”

Fruit Roll Up Fun – The last time we experimented with Fruit Roll-Ups we were putting ice cream in them. This time, we were trying to figure out the mystery flavor! I am a big sucker for when brands do mystery flavor challenges so I wanted my children to experience the thrill as well. I purchased a box of the “classified flavor” Fruit Roll Ups and let Sloan give it a taste test. After considering the taste for a moment, her guess for the mystery flavor was grapefruit. After doing some internet searching it looks like the mystery flavor is mango—kind of close to grapefruit, right?

It was fun letting Sloan try the mystery flavor Fruit Roll Ups and hearing her thoughts on what it could be.

Wienerschnitzel – As what happens in Spokane when an iconic fast food chain opens in the area for the first time, Wienerschnitzel created quite a buzz. I have some things I will wait in a long drive-thru line for, but a hot dog isn’t one of them. My dad on the other hand?…

Last Saturday he brought me a Wienerschnitzel chili dog. I ate the small serving in about three bites and thought it was simply okay. Although the low prices fit the amount of food, I found nothing special about how it tasted. To me, Wienerschnitzel is the Taco Bell of hot dogs—cheap and average.

I was not impressed with Wienerschnitzel.


Wishing everyone a happy St. Patrick’s Day. Be safe and remember to wear green. Don’t Blink.

Dinner Time Phone Call

I probably deserved what was to come because I committed the kitchen table cardinal sin.

At dinner last night, my phone rang. Instead of letting it just go to voicemail, I decided to pick it up. The number displayed an “843” area code (South Carolina) so I thought it could be important.

A re-enactment of the scene at our dinner table last night.

“Hello, this is Brent.”

“You hit me!” an agitated voice responded.

“Excuse me?”

“You hit my car!”

“I think you have the wrong person.”

“You hit my car…in the parking lot…there was a note!”

I was still a little confused at this point. The guy on the other line was irate and the best way I can describe his tone was that of a WWE wrestler airing out his grievances in the middle of the ring.

“It wasn’t me. I don’t live in South Carolina.”

“It was you. If you don’t pay me, I am going to come after you.”

This dude was yelling through the phone as Sid and the kids heard every word of the conversation. He became even more threatening to the point of saying he had “people” who were going to find me. But by this point, the threats didn’t unnerve me because I knew this had to be a hoax. In fact, it seemed to me like I was actually just talking to a recording.

Although I probably should have hung up, I entertained the call a little longer. It was all bravado and intimidation on the other end of the line. Prank phone calls are fun, I thought, but do they really have to be placed at dinner time?

The call ended with the guy demanding my insurance information. When I refused his “kind” request, the call went dead. Hmm…perhaps that was a red flag?

When I put down my phone, Sid told me it wasn’t simply a joke or kids experimenting with voice software. She said it was an outright scam with a goal to obtain personal information from me. In fact, she was mad that at one stage in the call I told him I lived in Spokane.

Of course we called the number back only to receive a recording that said, “Hi, thank you for your call. There seems to be an issue with the number you called. Please double check your number and try again.” We Googled the number as well, but didn’t find much.

Have you received an elaborate shakedown call like this recently? If so, I am interested to know about your experience and the angle they came at you with. I slept last night without the fear of “people” coming after me but a little disturbed at the lengths folks will go to scam you. Don’t Blink.