surprise smokey sunset lights autumn birthday festivities

dan, nazy children, grandchildren Sep 26 2021

Does Dan always celebrate his September birthday in autumn? Will the grandchildren agree to let Dan have the biggest piece of birthday cake? (On Dan’s birthday.) Was the sky really filled with cantaloupes? Why was it necessary to ‘make sure that Arrow’s cough’ was not worrisome? Who reads in the dark? (And Why?) How do 2021 car seats compare to 1960 car seats? We all know that grassy knolls are found in Dallas — but what about rocky knolls? Where was the Lucky birthday dinner/? Read More...

Galloping Gertie blows out ferry-less sunlit rainforest volcano

The Martin Families Palm Sunday 2021
What excuse would you use to dash to the store to get a bottle of Champagne? More important, why do you need an excuse to get a bottle of Champagne? Will the collected Families Martin make the 2:00 Ferry to Whidbey Island? Did anyone think that the Ferry might be cancelled? Will the Bayview Cafe have what Dan orders? Will Carteret High School beat the Green Bay Packers? For Ferry Cancellation, the alternative route crosses the Tacoma Narrows Bridge? Did you know that Galloping Gertie also crossed (for a short while) the Tacoma Narrows? Where can you find a temperate rain forest?

Travel Perimeter impacts birthday, jury duty and slide rule

Family Azelle Birthday take 1

How do they choose prospective jurors? Does geography have anything to do with it? What constitutes proof of non-residency? Should Dan have simply tossed out the summons? Why was it necessary to consult a superior Superior Court Judge? What’s the farthest Dan and Nasty have traveled in the last half year? Who had a birthday? And who helped blow out the candles? What is a slide rule and does it ‘work’ if it only slides one way?

Birthday Arrows with flying hats and soul-less cars

Arrow Birthday photos for TWL 2020

Who celebrated his forth birthday with a major positive behavioral switch? Will any hat be able to dislodge Arrow’s woven fedora? Can Dan and Nazy navigate the challenging task of finding a new car? And speaking of new cars: Is there anyone that lives in Los Angeles that doesn’t need a car? How long did it take for Kia to accept the end-of-lease Soul? (Hint: Many in California believe that it is still March.) Would you trust your gardener with your personally planted sunflowers? Read More...

June-uary Birthday marbles dance with hatted crayons

dan and nazy at Tiger's birthday party

Why didn’t it feel like summer had begun on the West Coast? (Hint: it’s called ‘June-uary’ in Washington State and ‘June Gloom’ in Santa Barbara.) Is it easier to fall asleep in a high chair or in an economy class seat on a trip to the Far East? What is the best way to get from Santa Barbara, California to Bellingham, Washington. And, if that’s too hard: Is there a safe way to get from Santa Barbara to Bellingham? Who just happens to have five
crayon costumes? Did Nazy complete both The Family Tree and The greatest marble run? Read More...

sandy graduation mis-sizes pajama party tree marble

nazy and the boys jumping June 2020

Who won’t wear his new pajamas? (And why?) Did Dan ‘let’ Tiger play in the sand? Of course he did, but who let Tiger bring sand into Nazy’s car? What year does the Safavi Family Tree start? Did it take Nazy longer than that to complete the watercolor depiction? How did the video Kindergarten graduation go? To mask or not to mask? Is that a question?

Tie dyed family trees are composting in the garage

Arrow and Tiger closeup June 5 2020

Will Dan have a place in Nazy’s Family Tree? Would it have helped if Dan’s surname was the same as Nazy’s maiden name? And if so, would the tree’s roots be hopeless entangled? Why does chocolate ice cream tend to melt faster than rainbow sherbet? Will Nazy remember how to tie dye tee shirts? Is anyone brave enough to ‘clean the garage’ — again? Who is this month’s recipient of the Birthday Zoom call? Read More...

Zoom enables Socially Distant Birthdays

zoom Nazy Birthday

How many days are there in March? Is that number fixed or does COVID19 make changes? Will Dan be able to find the ingredients and skills necessary to bake a cake for Nazy’s birthday? Hint: ‘Yes’ to one half of the question. Does Dan know how to turn on the oven? More to the point, does Dan know what an oven is? How will Zoom, PowerPoint and Play Doh help the celebration? Read More...

four seasonal birthday luau @ LAX with Vaness

dan and nazy rincon Sept 2019

How many birthday celebrations will Dan be able to wrangle? What could Dan do that half of a horse (power) machine was unable to accomplish? Who invited Vanessa Williams to Dan’s birthday dinner? Did they tell Vanessa? Did Nazy know who Vanessa Williams is? How did Dan and Nazy escape attention from the paparazzi at the IVY in West Hollywood? Did Marilyn crash the party? Who helped celebrate with a great party in Santa Barbara? And what about that Rolls Royce? Read More...

water $’s float away on baptisms and birthday

nazy and azelle August 17 2019 at party

Water, water, everywhere — and not a drop for free. (Or even for a reasonable price.) Who turned a $ water bill into a $$$$ National Deficit? And, speaking of water, which six month old baby was unimpressed with the ‘water’ concept that is associated with Christening? What was the perfect occasion for Dan to wear his
harlequin shirt? What kind of bottles did Dan buy for a first birthday celebration? What can you do when ‘the children’ have no problems with jet lag, but ‘the parents’ are not so lucky?

Cheops celebrates birthday with blue cupcake car at Stonehenge

dan nazy arrow, tiger birthday July 2019

Did children have birthdays before Chuck E. Cheese existed? What kind of blue car did Arrow want for his birthday? Was it a big (outdoor) car or a little (indoor) car? When Dan failed, could Tiger get an answer? How does Tiger ‘help’ Arrow with the cupcake candles at pre-school? Did Arrow have more birthday parties than Dan has birthdays? How did Pharaoh Cheops and Stonehenge delay Nazy’s drive to Los Angeles? And — how does Disneyland compare to Chuck E. Cheese on the birthday celebration scale? Read More...

Chuck’s Cheesy Tales of Oregon Whale Tails

All the Adams and dan and naz June 2019

What’s the best thing to do after a ten day swing through the East Coast? More to the point: Would you choose Chuck E. Cheese and dueling drives to LAX? What keeps the Moon up in the sky? Hint: “It can’t be gravity, Dan, because that pulls things down!” Will the family whale watching tour deliver Whale Tails or Whale Tales? Who wants his Mommy? (Now!!). Read More...

Orange Winter Storms Butterfly Birthday on Trampolin

mitras party 2019 b

What is the official name for a group of butterflies? Why do painted lady butterflies choose to migrate across the Pacific Coast Highway? At rush hour? Were any of them smart enough to seek refuge in the local museum’s live butterfly sanctuary? Did anyone in Santa Barbara know what to do about a ‘Winter Storm Warning’? (Did anyone recognize the word ‘Winter’?) How did Arrow deal with the ‘slow moving’ obstacles on his obstacle course run? Would you volunteer to chaperone a pre-school visit to the zoo if you knew the topic was ‘bugs’? (Hint: I’m a lion guy.) Who provided detailed specifications for her birthday cake (orange), menu and agenda? (By detailed, we’re thinking multi-volume.) Read More...

Cat, eh, Koi, eh, Angelfish feeder carries ABC luggage

Family in Ojai

Can Dan, with help from an engineer-written instruction addendum, successfully configure an automatic and analog cat (and koi) feeder to work with his aquarium? Will the end product disrupt gray whale migration in the nearby Santa Barbara channel. How does two year old Arrow describe his Mom’s work? (His Mom is a lawyer.) Where did Tom and Melika celebrate Melika’s birthday? Why is there a suitcase issue as Nazy plans packing for our forthcoming trip to Australia?

tiger helps rocking horse (2nd) birthday with rabbit cake

naz mel, the boys 2nd bd arrow

Will the big, bold, beautiful behemoth of a unused rocking horse survive the forthcoming Martin Family move? How did Arrow and Tiger conspire to tip the decision-making scales? How did Nazy react? (Hint: Does the phrase ‘I told you so’ spring to mind?) Why is Tiger happy to have his little brother join him at pre-school? And why is Arrow happy that his big brother is with him at school? What do rabbits have to do with a two year old’s birthday? Will Tiger, willing to help blow out the candles, dance at Arrow’s birthday? And, finally, what calamity befell Dan during exercise class? Read More...

chalk perfection always wins as AT&T mixes cement in matchboxes

Tiger and family at his birthday

Can Tiger replicate the world class chalk artwork at the Santa Barbara Mission — on our driveway? Okay, the question was too easy: Can he do it with Nazy’s help? Who needs to win every game? Why did Tiger's 4th birthday cake have the number 20 on the icing? (And why did it have five candles?) What toy replaces a little boy’s matchbox car? (And how big is the replacement?) Hint: we’re going to have to move soon.) Will Dan give up on ATT Direct Now and slink back to Cox Cable? Read More...

puzzling Vermont fares baffle algorithm as train wrecks birthday waiter

dan and tiger selfie

It turns out that loosing jigsaw puzzle pieces is a core family competency. So, who lost half (New Hampshire and Vermont) of New England? Who designed the airline pricing algorithm that proposed a ‘flexible economy’ ticket that cost 5 times more than an unrestricted business class ticket? How should you choose the celebrity to mimic when you’re taking a selfie with a three year old? (And how did we do?) Can Dan deal with an overly solicitous, hands-on, obsequious waiter? Read More...

Spring trees wearing bandaids tie traditions in knots

Mel and tiger and bunnies April 2018

Your grandson asks: Why does that tree have a bandaid? Do you explain tree grafts? Do you pretend that he’s speaking into the ‘bad’ ear? Do you say: “Yes, that tree has a boo boo.”? Were you afraid of the Easter Bunny when you were 1 (and a half) years old? Were you still afraid even it was your Daddy inside the costume? Can Dan master streaming TV? And what will Tiger do as he begins collecting royalties on his likeness?

no miniBBQ vans surprise Nazy in Santa Barbara (but Sister Does)

Martin siblings March 2018

Who ordered ‘soul food’ for a party of 250 when they meant to order for a group of 25? Was Dan able to fix the problem with gargantuan BBQ rib consumption? More to the point, why wasn’t the cake similarly sized? How do you change a birthday celebration into a birthday jubilee? Hint: Lots of rolling thunder surprises can help. Where does ‘freeway free’ really mean ‘traffic light enabled’? What color was the vanity license-plated VAN-GO minivan? And will Dan ever get another one?

Surprise! Clues Candles Minivans Cakes Grandkids and Hi Tech Loos

mitra, Nazy, Shahrzad March 2018

Will Nazy be surprised? (Can Dan and 25 other guests keep the secret?) Who said the ‘M-word’? Repeatedly? Hint: The word in question is ‘Minivan’. Who created a great Riff on a Hamilton song? And why? How did sleight of hand (and prestidigitation) keep secrets intact? How did Arrow react when it turned out that he was no longer the youngest baby in the house? Would you know how to use a joystick controller for the toilet? (Could you do it without reading chapter 28 in the instruction manual?)

shower curtains in Katmandu lock bathroom Cherries Jubilee

nazy and Tiger school Oct 2017

Will Nazy insist on a lettuce soufflé for dessert on Dan’s birthday? (Or will Cherries Jubilee make a fiery entrance?) Have you thought about how much ‘stuff’ is needed to set up a new home? And where can you find all of that ‘stuff’? Does Dan or Tiger have the best grasp of dinosaur names? (Hint: Do you know the difference between a Spinosaurus and a Stegosaurus?) Is superglue appropriate in a shower curtain installation project? Will duct tape suffice?


Post Office tables and gargantuan desk wins twister party in LA

Mitra's house Sept 2017

Who uses the postal service to transport a table across a sea (The Mediterranean) an ocean (The Atlantic) and a continent (North America)? And how many stamps did that take? And, on the subject of tables: who constructed a beautiful hardwood dining table without using a single screw, nail, dab of glue or even duct tape? (Hint: It’s not me. My entire repertoire of tools contains only two items: WD-40 (to make things go) and Duct Tape (to hold things together.) Why was the surprise birthday in Los Angeles such a complete and total surprise? Do you remember playing Twister? (With a three year old?) Read More...

smoke and ash, butterfly balloons and toys thrill birthday boy

nazy and arrow with arrow shirt

Has Dan found an appropriate use for the clown horn ringtone? Does anyone need to have an Australian accented female announce iPhone callers? And, thinking about that, why do we say the phone ‘rings’ when, in fact, ringing is not what it does? How did the nearby wildfire remind Dan of a snowy night in New Hampshire? Did the music school recycle Tiger’s birthday party hat on Arrow’s first birthday? Who popped the butterfly balloon? And how is the youngest, but grandest daughter sleeping? (And notice that Arrow is wearing an 'arrow' shirt.) Read More...

Neon graveyard in Death Valley presages Mojave campout

nazy and Dan on neon museum

Who would propose a romantic trip to Death Valley as a birthday gift? (Hint: the person celebrating her birthday gave the proposer a colonoscopy for his birthday.) Where is the hottest, the driest and the lowest US National Park? Would you want to visit a tacky, neon lit cemetery? (Well, we were in Las Vegas.) Should you listen to a navigation computer that recommends a route that is 75 miles longer? And, related: Is there anything to do when you’re completely stopped, between Mojave desert exits, on the I-15? Read More...

Birthday body glitters with Beatles red sole sales

dan and Nazy April 2017 Wynn

Who had an April Fool’s Day birthday in Las Vegas? How did Dan get body paint and glitter dabbed into his beard? Why would anyone want $hoe
$ with red soles? Was Cirque du Solei able to resurrect The Beatles or was it all a Mirage? Where can you see a giant statue of Popeye? What did Dan do when reminded to use ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’? Read More...

verizon’s event horizon breaks kumquats and hearts in lotusland

dan and arrow March 2017 lotusland

Who’s palate is so ‘sophisticated’ that he likes the taste of kumquats? How did Verizon’s customer ‘service’ vanish into the event horizon of a nearby black hole? (This was the Verizon Event Horizon.) Would ATT or Sprint have been better? Would you trust FedEx to deliver the heart being used for your transplant surgery? Where did we learn that Spanish Moss isn’t Spanish and isn’t Moss? Read More...

Dolly lures sliding carousel socks in sleepless birthday ritual

Melika, Tiger, Dan on Merry go round Sept 2016

Will Tiger succumb to peer-pressure and ritual by taking an actual nap? (How did ritual fail in the case of Darius?) Did Tiger insist that Dan celebrate his birthday on the Carousel and the Spiral Slide? Did Dolly Parton sing ‘Happy Birthday, Dan?’ What was Nazy thinking when she gave Dan a pair of socks for this birthday? Or did she lure him into drawing an astronomically unlikely conclusion. And, would the birthday celebration interfere with Jeopardy? Read More...

polarized flamingos pull wisdom teeth with Maui iPhone

Tiger and his blue car Sept 2016

What would you do if your dentist, Dr. Vladamir Throb (nicknamed Vlad the Impaler) recommended a wisdom tooth extraction? What if your wife said: “He’ll have to go deep if he’s looking for wisdom”? What do you think about when someone asks for help with a citation? Why did Maui Jim relocate the Hawaiian Islands to Peoria, Illinois? When will Dan and Nazy discover the ‘catch’ in ATT’s latest ‘deal’? Where are the flamencos gray? Read More...

Butterfly Museum in Firefly City excites birthday Tiger

Tiger blowing candles june 2016

Is Tiger ready to interact with a tent full of fluttering butterflies? Or will he find a T-Rex exhibit, a Blue Whale sculpture or a live barn owl more exciting? Did a cosmic ray cause a mutation that made caterpillars create butterflies that morphed into fireflies? (It must be true, what else could have started the local fire?) And who told Dan that “You have to catch me!”? Read More...

Toys R Us archeological find chalks up Birthday Car

parents asking babies to smile

Was it Nazy or Dan that was brave enough to venture into The Storage. Did that certain someone actually find something useful in The Storage? What toy store’s financials were impacted by the huge magnitude of the find? Who arranged the entirely appropriate chalk drawing at the annual I Madonnari exhibit by the Old Mission? (And why was it appropriate?) How did young Tiger, the grand(est)son celebrate his second birthday?

drought tweets picnic basket birthday swim with goggles

mitra mel tiger and birthday cake May 2016

What occasion was so important that The Martin Family picnic basket had to be deployed? (I can’t share the initials of the birthday girl, but her name was ‘Mitra’.) How often was the picnic basket — complete with wine glasses and corkscrew — ever used during our twelve year stay in Switzerland? Which Presidential candidate can’t tell the difference between a lake, a river, a creek and a dessert? (Hint: He went to a ‘university’.) Will the grand(est)son swim with goggles before his 2nd birthday? Read More...

romantic shingles ram and juice nazy’s birthday celebration

better naz and wardrove

Why wasn’t Nazy impressed with Dan’s birthday gift? After all, isn’t it true that the family that gets vaccinated together, stays together? And, do you think that a cold juicer is, well, utilitarian rather than romantic? Was it possible that Dan missed subtle hints about alternatives. (BTW: when you think ‘subtle’, think of elephants stampeding or Presidential candidates ‘debating’ or fireworks factories exploding.) Did Nazy forget that her birthday is on April Fool’s Day? What did she do with Elmer’s glue and a bottle of sand? And, were Dan and Nazy able to avoid the woodlands police while following an ancient Persian tradition? Read More...

Siamese business fish duel for new year easter egg birthday

Melika, Tom, Tiger and Easter Buny

The Persian new year celebration traditionally needs a goldfish. How did Nazy explain the use of a Siamese fighting fish instead? Young tiger found the gold Easter egg — so why was Dan disappointed. (Hint: we didn’t win the Lamborghini.) How is El Nino like the loudest Presidential candidate? And what happened the last time we had a businessman as President? Finally: Happy Birthday Darius; can’t wait to see you get married next month. Read More...

Zuni necklace? Tee-Shirt? While Bison Dan blocks the road

Western Belle

If you’re making a vintage western photograph, would Dan be The Good? The Bad? or The Ugly? *(Hint: Nazy said he could assume ‘The Good.&rsquoWinking Who, when they can’t decide on a tee-shirt color, compromises by buying a necklace? And a pair of boots? And a vest? And a hat?Where can you see a landscape that reminds you of Io? Read More...

Sainted United Air chooses Delta for Teton Birthday trip

dan and nazy in jackson

How did United Airlines finally deliver a perfect flight experience? (Hint: it involved another airline.) Where do bugs hitting the windshield sound like hail-sized baseballs? Is it a sheer coincidence that the Pope visited and the moon was eclipsed on Dan’s birthday weekend? Why are they renaming the street where we live? What led to a Grand visit to the Tetons? Read More...

Swimming, dancing, walking tiger babbles epithets at Skype

Family all on Tigers birthday

Can Skype bring a baby to tears? What does Dan have in common with the graduation speaker at the American University of Beirut? The grand(est)son’s dancing genes are shared by Mitra, but where did he get his babbling genes? Who gets his comeuppance - and why? And, didn’t someone, a grand(est) someone have a birthday party? Read More...