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Festibond 2016 Date with Dad: Hayley

On Friday the thirteenth I had my Festibond date with dad. We would normally have them before Festbond, but this year we decided to have them shortly after so we would have more time. For it, we together decided to go to dinner at Zapoteca (a mexican restaurant in Portland), then to take a painting class at Muse Paintbar. I had never done that kind of thing before, despite having a similar one close to us called Painting With A Twist, so I was very excited to try it out.

My dad and I have eaten at Zapoteca before on a previous Festibond date, so I knew I liked it. I always love spending time with him and I really enjoyed having this time to talk to him. He ordered a tequila flight, a margarita, and a steak. I ordered a cherry limeade and soup. My dad also requested bacon guacamole because we’d had it the first time we went there and it was phenomenal, but it wasn’t on the menu any of the other times he went. They ended up making it just for us due to it not being too busy at the moment. It came on a plate with chips in a short circular shape, as opposed to being in a bowl, and like the first time, tasted delicious. When the soup arrived, it had a bowl with the chicken, tortilla strips, etc dry and the waitress poured in the liquid part in from a small pitcher, which I found very cool. It was very hot, but also very good. My dad also gave me a few bites of his steak, which also tasted great. I didn’t eat very much, being a tiny human, and we left to walk to Muse Paintbar.

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Festibond 2016 Date with Hayley: Brent

Hayley and I pondered, discussed, and researched what we might do for our Festibond date for some time. Nothing seemed worthy of the occasion. I knew she liked art and thought, perhaps, there was something we could do around that. Perhaps a visit to the Portland Museum of Art or the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. But Hayley seems to like doing art more than merely appreciating it. When I was a kid my mom got me private painting lessons and took me to a wood carving class. Of these and other experiences I have fond memories, and thought Hayley and I could do something similar. We should take one of these painting classes that have become so popular and that Kirsten did with a few of her friends from work. Of course! Hayley loved the idea, so we picked a night and I made the reservations.

Friday evening we drove to Portland and parked on the street between Zapoteca, where we had 17:30 dinner reservations, and Muse Paintbar. Perfect. We were seated immediately at a small table in the dining room. I ordered a margarita and a flight of Patron tequilas, which were very tasty. Hayley ordered a mocktail that was too sweet, so she drank water.

We also ordered bacon guacamole, which we’d had on a previous visit but is not on the menu. The kitchen agreed to make it for us, and we were both grateful they did. It’s very tasty. For our entrées Hayley ordered the Sopa Azteca and I got the Carne Asada con Mole Negro. My steak was so good that if I described it you wouldn’t believe me. It, and I know this is so cliché, melted in my mouth. The fat in the meat was cooked so that it added this wonderful buttery flavor. I digress.

Continue reading Festibond 2016 Date with Hayley: Brent

Festibond 2016 Date with Skye: Brent

For our Festibond date this year Skye suggested we watch a hockey game together, something we’ve enjoyed doing in the past. I was thrilled at the suggestion. The Portland Pirates are no longer a team here, so I suggested instead we take the Downeaster Amtrak train to Boston to see the Bruins. I’ve been wanting to see them since we moved to New England back in 2007. I got us two of the last seats available, then booked business class tickets on the train.

The following day, Thursday, Skye got out of her last block a bit early. I picked her up from school and we headed to the train station in Saco. The ride down was uneventful. We both planned to do work so brought our laptops and iPads, but it occurred to me on the train that we would not be able to bring our backpacks into the TD Garden, and because of terrorism we would likely not find public lockers at North Station. Fortunately, a Google search pointed me to a blog that suggested we might be able to leave them at Sullivan’s Tap for a small fee. When we got to Boston we found the dive bar and, sure enough, they let us leave our bags for $10 each.

We were early to the game, which was fine. We found our seats and got some food. Skye got fried chicken tenders and I got a sausage with onions and peppers and a few beers. And shelled peanuts.

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Festibond 2013 – My Date with Skye

My Festibond date with Skye was good, but not a lot different than the many occasions when we hang out together at my office or a small coffee shop. For us, it’s all about the conversation.

Skye hangs out at my office before our date
Skye hangs out at my office before our date

I had taken Skye to Grace recently for one of their tiny juicy bar burgers, after which she decided she did like hamburgers, which she had theretofore disliked. In order to satiate her newfound craving for a delicious burger, she asked if we could go to Five Guys for our date. I thought it an odd request, as Five Guys isn’t exactly a nice place to enjoy conversation while being well cared for by an attentive wait staff. I tried to talk her into several other restaurants, but she wasn’t persuadable. At least I didn’t have to make a reservation. Continue reading Festibond 2013 – My Date with Skye

Festibond 2013 – My Date with Jenna

Jenna had warned me that she doesn’t like fancy restaurants, but I figured I knew best. She’s a princess who dreams of opulence and refinement. She also said she wanted to eat at an Italian restaurant for our date, so I tapped my social media network for recommendations. Suggestions poured in for quaint little restaurants in the Old Port, many of which I was not already familiar. I called them all, only to be told they would be closed on Christmas Eve, the evening we had planned for our date. Frustrated, we rescheduled to December 27 and I made a reservation for two at Piccolo on Middle Street.

After much thought and searching for fun things to do, we decided to go bowling at Bayside Bowl in Portland. They would open at 16:00, and I was pretty sure few people would be there as the weather was supposed to be snowy. I left work early and drove down to Saco to get Jenna for our date. The roads in town were treacherous, with wet snow falling heavily and piling up quickly. Fortunately, road crews had done a good job of clearing I-95N, so our drive north wasn’t bad. When we got to the city, though, things were different. Conditions were slippery and visibility was poor. The silver lining, of course, is that we would have the bowling alley to ourselves. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The place was packed! Every lane was busy with both large and small groups, and they all had nearly an hour left on their lanes.

Drinking buddies
Drinking buddies

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Festibond 2013 – My Date With Hayley

My Festibond date with Hayley was December 22nd. We went ice skating and then to dinner. It was a great time. Hayley is a terrific conversationalist, and I enjoyed getting to know her better.

Because we would be skating at the Family Ice Center in Falmouth, which is close to Freeport, we visited L.L. Bean ahead of skating so we could get Hayley a new pair of gloves.

Skating was fun. We held hands and talked as we made laps around the rink. Hayley remarked that there was a sign hanging up for “Greely Girls Hockey” and another for just “Greely Hockey.” She recognized the inequality and preference for the boys team, for which I was proud. After a while, both our feet were hurting from the awful rental skates, so we stopped for a rest, then decided we were done skating.

Skating buddies
Skating buddies

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Festibond 2013 – Kirsten

On Sunday the 29th of December our family celebrated our seventh Festibond. This is a tradition we started as a way to celebrate and strengthen our bonds with each other every year. We love this tradition, and I hope the girls continue it after they grow up and move away.

Within the week prior to Festibond, Brent and I each take each of the girls out individually for a date. The girls get to choose what they want to do. We still seem to come up with new ideas every year. We have each written a post on our blog about the dates. I love having that special one-on-one time with each of my wonderful daughters. They all change a little every year (obviously), each one unique in their own way. I thoroughly enjoyed every one of my dates!

The Danler family on Festibond.
The Danler family on Festibond.
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Festibond 2012 – My Date With Kirsten

Kirsten at Grace
Kirsten at Grace

Normally Kirsten and I take each of the girls out on a date for Festibond, but we don’t go on one together. This year I proposed that she and I go on a Festibond date, too, to which enthusiastically she agreed.

Kirsten had wanted to see the film “Les Miserables,” which was fine with me. I knew she has liked the story for a long time, and would enjoy the movie.

Kirsten made reservations to one of our favorite Portland restaurants, Grace. The building is a gorgeous repurposed church, which is far more useful than teaching innocent children to fear an angry deity. I digress.

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Festibond 2012: My Date With Brent

Our Festibond dates wouldn’t be complete if Brent and I didn’t have a date together. Brent told me he wanted to take me to see the latest “Les Miserables” movie at the theater. There were other movies showing that I knew Brent would prefer, but he said to me: “‘Les Mes’ would be better, because when I think of it I think of you. And I really want to think of you.” It was very touching and sweet of him!

Brent enjoyed his "Heated Affair" margarita
Brent enjoyed his “Heated Affair” margarita
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Festibond 2012 – My Date With Dad

On Tuesday afternoon I went on a Festibond date with my dad. Festibond is a holiday my family celebrates every year in December. We spend a lot of time together, write each other loving letters, play games, give hugs, and my sisters and I each individually have a date with my mom and a date with my dad.

Me and Dad: pre-date photo
Me and Dad: pre-date photo

When we were driving to the restaurant, we had many conversations that ranged from the raindrops on the front window to school to talking about how you get from one conversation to another. When dad was driving, he went past the restaurant and when he noticed he did so, he went back and parked.

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