Posts Tagged ‘elliott’

SLO Adventure: We Hiked Madonna Mountain

We finally hiked Madonna Mountain. I can see the hardcore locals cringing now, but I grew up in SLO and I know that’s not the real name. It just happens to be what (almost) everybody calls it. Should I even mention the giant M on the side of the mountain? Maybe it’s stating the obvious and the M simply stands for “mountain”.

You say, “I’m hiking Cerro San Luis Obispo” and people will undoubtedly ask you what that is. And if you say something like, “Oh yeah, me and the kids are hiking one of the Nine Sisters today.” then you can expect a drop in from Child Protective Services because no parent should be taking their kids to a brothel even if Nine Sisters offers a buy one get one free deal. So, let’s keep it easy and just call it Madonna Mountain. Anyway, it was Elliott’s first time hiking it.

Is it really a “hike”? We were both in jeans and I was wearing the type of shoes you might wear to church or a business casual luncheon. In no way are they ideal for hiking, so let’s be honest and simply say we walked up a hill. And it’s a beautiful hill, but if I am going to go truly hiking then backpacks, canteens, bug spray, and a Swiss army knife should be involved and the fancy leather Clark’s will be left at home.

Elliott had been talking about hiking for weeks and was incredibly excited to go. He doesn’t remember it, but he actually sort of hiked it before. Or, at least, attempted to. Well, it’s more like he was carried up the hill and did no actual walking on his own. It was around Christmas and I wanted the whole family to hike up at night so we could sit under the Christmas lights on the top of the mountain. He was strapped to my chest in a front pack and we didn’t even make it halfway because somebody in our group wimped out. I won’t say any names (Coral), but we all turned around, walked back to the car, and returned home. Defeated.

This time was different. It was just Elliott and I and no front pack. If you think I’m strapping a 6 year old kid to my chest and walking up a mountain then you’ve gobbled down one too many space cakes. Growing up in a neighborhood near the base of Cerro San Luis gave me the opportunity to hike/walk up it a million times. It was basically right in my backyard and somehow I had never once walked by the giant M until a couple of weeks ago when I was with Elliott.

(Sidenote: It does not stand for mountain. I’d tell you what it stands for, but you can wikipedia that shit.)

Even then, we only discovered it by accident because I took a wrong turn. I know, how could I take a wrong turn when just a minute ago I claimed the entire mountain as my backyard. Well, as a youngster I always started the hike/walk from what I guess could be referred to as the north side of the mountain. Perhaps the locals call it the Foothill side. For this particular adventure we started from the parking lot on the Marsh Street onramp.

Here’s Elliott at the tippy tip top. We made it to the summit just before sunset, which was pretty awesome.

In case these photos weren’t enough I made a video of our hiking adventure. Check it out!

If you’re planning on watching the sunset from the top of this or any mountain, be sure to take flashlights. We did not take any and it was totally pitch black for at least half the walk down. It made it somewhat exciting, but maybe not the type of exciting you’re looking for.

Thanks for reading and watching!
– Jeff

* * * * *

If you’re not totally sick of me yet I encourage you to:
– check out the other videos on my YouTube channel.
– Follow me on the IG.
– and next time you eat a donut, think of me.

Trampoline Surprise

So, my lovely nieces gave their little cousin, Elliott, their trampoline. Obviously, he is THRILLED.

He totally adores these girls.

It’s safe to say, they adore him too.

And here’s a video of me setting up the trampoline and surprising Elliott with it when he came home from school the other day. Enjoy!

Thanks for watching!
– Jeff

* * *

If you’re looking for more things to click on, check these out:
– Time lapse painting videos!
– The Vlogtober Challenge, in which I teach you how to be a professional art vlogger.
– Listen to the Podcast Coral and I never have time to record, Live Work Love.

New Goodies At Viva Paso And Other Random Shiz

Things have been pretty busy at Viva Paso this past week. We’ve received a lot of new products. I’d talk about all of them here, but I’ve already done that on the Viva Blog.

Work stuff aside, let’s engage in some random photo time. I’m just going to scroll through my phone to find some things worthy enough to be shared with the world…or the two people that happen to read this. Here we go!

Here’s Elliott with all of his friends. How do kids end up with so much shit? What’s weird is how they’re able to keep such a good mental inventory of it all. If I secretly take one of these stuffed animals Elliott totally knows it’s missing.

Coral and I on Halloween just before hitting the streets for trick-or-treating. It’s hard to see in the photo, but Coral’s eyelid was covered in glittering turquoise to match her sweater. I was in my typical uniform.

Seriously, Postman? You couldn’t walk this one to the door? It took half a jar of Crisco and a Slim Jim to get this out. And while we’re on the Postal theme…

The line at the Paso Robles Post Office on Dec. 19. I think a read about 2 chapters of a book before I got to the front.

When the box of hot cocoa, James, and a ballpoint pen are left alone together.

Pretty random, but that’s just how life goes. A random string of events that sometimes make the most perfect sense or no sense at all.


– Jeff

Polar Bear Dip 2016

I grew up in SLO and had never heard about The Polar Bear Dip in Cayucos until about 10 years ago. Probably because I was off in the mountains snowboarding and snowmobiling. Oh, how I miss those days! The first New Year’s after I met Coral she introduced me to The Polar Bear Dip and we haven’t missed a year yet. The funny thing is we’ve never truly participated in the dipping part, but our kids do and it’s become a family tradition. I think this year was the kids’ eleventh year of running into the freezing surf. Their grandparents even drive up from San Diego every year to join the madness. Also, it’s James’ birthday so it’s just a big party all around.

You can click the photo at the top to see a movie I put together of the event. I also made a short movie documenting Elliott’s first Polar Bear Dip (it’s only 1:29). We did not anticipate that he’d take the plunge so he braved the cold ocean in his Lightning McQueen underwear. Click this photo to see that video:

– Jeff

Sunday Afternoon Up For Auction On Facebook

A couple of weekends ago I wanted to make a time lapse video of making a painting. My plan was to paint the whole thing in one sitting. Both ideas didn’t quite happen, but that’s totally ok. The time lapse idea evolved into a short movie with a couple of time lapse sequences thrown in. I started the painting in my front yard and once Elliott (my 4 year old) saw what was happening he really wanted to get in on the action so the painting turned into a collaboration when he found himself a paint brush. It was very cute and I love that he wanted to join me. Speaking of four year olds, making a 24″ x 48″ painting in one sitting is quite ambitious with one of them around, so the painting took two sitting sessions. I was super stoked to still finish the painting in one day, so I felt quite accomplished. I mean, I have 6″ paintings that sit unfinished for weeks at a time, so making a big painting in a single day felt pretty good.

(Click image to see the video)

This painting is on a 1/4″ thick piece of plywood and has been coated with multiple layers of a high gloss protective finish. If you’ve seen my work in person that is covered in epoxy resin this piece is different. It’s shiny, but not thick like the resin.

I have this painting up for auction right now on my Facebook page. If you’re interested in bidding on it please visit the page and read the full description:

At the time of this posting the highest bid is $50 and the bidding will continue for another 30 hours. The official ending is December 14, 2015 at 11:59pm.

This is a good chance to get a one of a kind original at below gallery price. If you have any questions please feel free to ask.

Happy bidding!
– Jeff

Elliott Upgraded His Playpen

Elliott finally upgraded to a new playpen. It’s much more roomier than the one you might remember from last summer. The only thing I can think of that would improve on this new set up is if we crane lifted it upside down and set it over Elliott. It would be like when we used to put the laundry basket over my sister’s cat and called it Kitty Prison, except this would be with a trailer and human.

Just A Couple Of Check Out How Badass My Kid Is Pictures

I’d like to say that Elliott can now teeter-totter, but if I said that I’d be lying. I totally did all the work. I mean, look at his feet. He’s not even trying to fake it a little.

And here he is flying a helicopter. He’s not going to let a little rug burned chin stop him from being a badass. Nope, not this kid.

Elliott And An S-Load Of Birdhouses

A few blocks down from our house lives a person with an insatiable appetite for birdhouses. And I’m glad they do because it looks awesome. This is literally just a portion of the fence. What you don’t see is how far it extends out of frame. Also, the opposite side of the fence has birdhouses on it and when you peek over the fence into their backyard you see even more birdhouses all over the place. I wish I had the same thing, but replace each and every birdhouse with a stack of $100 bills. Or cocaine.* One day I had a brief conversation with the owner/birdhouse addict. He was an incredibly nice fellow and pointed out a specific house to me as he told me the story of a little boy, about 5 or 6 years old, who walked by one day, loved all the birdhouses and told the man that he had built a birdhouse and asked the man if he could hang it on his fence. Of course, that was the birdhouse he was showing me. I thought that was awesome.

*Just kidding about the cocaine thing. Although, if you think it about the cocaine might be worth more than the stack of $100 bills. But really, I was just quoting Gob from Arrested Development.


Speaking of, how awesome is it that Season 4 was finally released on DVD. Coral got it for me for Christmas and I haven’t watched the special features yet. I better get on that.

End scene.
– Jeff

Photo Shoot Sunday

James really wants to pursue acting as a career. Unfortunately, we don’t live in Los Angeles, but we’re going to do what we can to help him. Coral’s working on a website for him and wants to start submitting head shots to agencies. And if that means impromptu trips to The City Of Angeles, so be it. We hired our longtime photographer friend, Richard Fusillo for James’ photo shoot and I tagged along taking some of my own photos while keeping Elliott away from the action.

Elliott stole mom’s camera and took his own “behind the scenes” photo.

After walking around downtown SLO for a couple of hours we drove down to Shell Beach. I wasn’t around for all of the SLO locations they shot at because I was keeping Elliott busy strolling him through the rough and tough streets of SLO.

A RARE SIGHTING…Coral in front of a camera! She’s so cute. She’s also very demanding. I don’t know how she talked James into getting into the water. And not just walking a few steps in the water, but getting fully immersed.

He’s such a good sport. Or he’s just straight up loco en la cabeza. Probably a little of both.

We are so lame. Yes, this is a photo of Coral and Richard both taking photos of James. If only Evelyn was with us, she could have stood back and taken a photo of me taking a photo of Coral and Richard taking a photo.

Typing that last sentence made my brain hurt.

Elliott was not too excited to be on the beach today. Last time we took him to the beach he was running, tripped and landed face first in the sandy water while fully dressed in jeans, sweatshirt, socks and shoes. This was on New Year’s Day, so the water was pretty cold. Needless to say, I carried him almost the entire time we were at the beach today.

Homeboy’s getting heavy and I had to set him down from time to time so my arms wouldn’t fall out of their sockets. As soon as I set him down he would start reaching for me, yelling, “Catch!”, which in Elliott language means, “Pick me up, dude!”

Daddy selfie. Fake smiling through the arm pain. Check out that ninja grip he has on my hoodie. He was making it very clear that there was no way I was setting him down again, which bummed me out because I really wanted to stack rocks. There were a couple of rock stacks where we were and they were beyond sad, standing at about 12 inches tall, if that. As soon as I saw them I was like, “I eat weak stacks like you for breakfast! I will murder you!” but I never got the chance to show off my skills thanks to Mr. Lead Butt Elliott.

Luckily, I managed to pawn him off on Coral for a couple of minutes. Not long enough to stack a pile of rocks, but long enough to get some of the feeling back in my arms.

Coral turned her phone away from James dunking himself in the freezing water long enough to catch Elliott and I heading back to the car.

When we got to the top of the stairs we ended up sitting on a bench to watch the sunset, which was quite spectacular.

And that’s how you spend a Sunday afternoon. I hope you all had a good weekend.

– Jeff

Elliott Attempts To Break Into Mission San Miguel

We took a little family outing to San Miguel today. I took A LOT of photos and videos of Elliott. I even got some more photos of Coral taking photos, but it’s all too overwhelming to edit them all tonight. I did like this one though, so I’m posting it as a preview to a future post. Keeping it short and sweet tonight.

Sweet dreams.
– Jeff

Lots Of Claassen Artwork At Fiona Bleu In Morro Bay

If you’re in or around Morro Bay I highly suggest you check out Fiona Bleu Gallery. They have more of my artwork available than I have in my studio. A few days ago I dropped off a few more things, so they now have about 45 pieces of mine for sale. A pretty good mix of originals and prints. And of course, they have a lot of other cool art to check out. As you can see, Elliott is a big fan. Did you notice that little rug under us is made out of old fire hoses. My partner in crime, Neal Breton even has a few pieces from his ice cream truck series available.

Fiona Bleu is located at:
900 Embarcadero
Morro Bay CA

Hours: 10am-6pm everyday.

Happy gallery stomping!
– Jeff

I’m Well Taken Care Of

(Pismo Pier with Elliott – July 2014)

This photo doesn’t have anything to do with this post*, but I like it and have never posted it before because I am so awesome at procrastinating. Anyway…

Today, the first day of 2015, was spent at Cayucos Beach for the annual Polar Bear Dip. It’s also our oldest’s birthday so this has become his yearly tradition. He is 15 today and this marks his 10th year in a row as a Polar Bear Dipper. After the gazillion crazies emptied out of the surf Coral and I sat on the beach. We have yet to participate in the “freeze your genitals off” frenzy that so many others enjoy so much. Some day we’ll do it, but that day was not today. So, there we sat. Coral had just bought me an amazing pulled pork sandwich. As soon as I finished licking my fingers clean (because why waste a napkin, right?) she handed me the last half of her burrito scrambler thing-a-ma-bob which was also a culinary delight. At some point after I inhaled that treat I made a comment about being “well taken care of”. That one little comment sparked a whole train of thought in Coral’s brain and a few minutes later she said very definitively, “You ARE well taken care of.” I shook my head in agreement. After all, I had, just moments before, made the very same statement. She took it a step further, laughing as she said, “Look, you’re not even wearing anything that you bought for yourself.” Then she went down the whole list of what I was wearing while sitting there on the beach. “My dad gave you that hoodie. I bought you those pants, belt and socks. Your parents gave you those shoes last Christmas (as in Christmas 2013). I even got you the hat you’re wearing.” Proudly, I was able to prove that not everything I was wearing was given to me. I bought the T-shirt. As it turns out, Coral even bought the fancy polka-dot boxers I was wearing.

I am very thankful for being taken care of so well. It’s funny though, because my family knows me. I mean, they really know me. They know that for me to look somewhat presentable they need to step in otherwise I’ll be walking around with faded and torn jeans, a 4 year old hoodie worn down to the thickness of a piece of paper, a dirty misshapen hat and shoes with holes in them.

Here’s to another year of being a spoiled brat well taken care of.


– Jeff

* Come to think of it, the above photo totally relates to this post because Elliott is the next generation of being well taken care of. If I think I’m well taken care of it’s nothing compared to this kid. I mean, seriously, he doesn’t even wipe his own ass.

Related Posts with Thumbnails