Haphazard Ramblings

Monday, November 20, 2006

Time for the harvest

Here we are again, another Thanksgiving week is here. In my opinion, this is one of the best weeks of the year, the weather, food, friends, and a bit of downtime.

We held our annual Thanksgiving dinner with friends on Saturday. It was a smaller group than previous years, but it was one of the most interesting evenings due to the several rounds of shots that were done throughout the night.

After dinner we played boys vs girls in Catch-Phrase with the losers doing shots of the winners' choosing. I pity those poor ladies that just could not keep up with the combined prowess of the men in the room. Final score: Men -4, Women - 1.

On Friday night we attended Mason's 4th birthday party of which one of the benefits was getting to play with Legos. It's been years and I forgot how much I loved those things. Julie's Christmas list is now complete, Legos and one of those furry bears with the fiber optics inside that changes colors.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Surprise!

I had a pretty cool weekend thanks to my beautiful wife. On Saturday evening I walked into a house full of people there for my very own surprise birthday party. How awesome is that? Apparently the planning started before Labor Day and culminated in one hell of an evening this past weekend.

I woke up on Saturday expecting a day like any other. I had some inkling that stuff was going on in the background, but nothing definitive. I met up with Tim at Chevy's around 4:30 and we watched the second half of the Mizzou game (ouch!) and the Detroit-Oakland game over a couple of pitchers of beer.

Tim had talked about playing poker that night and I was skeptical, but he absolutely sold it. I asked him point blank, "So you're going to play poker tonight?"

Yeah

You're going to play poker tonight. Are you sure?

Yeah, why? You want to come?

Hmmmm......

No flinching, looking away, etc. Later I found out that he was about to bust out laughing but he held it together long enough.

We went over to his house for a bit so that I could help direct a small tree away from the neighbor's house while he cut it down. Probably not the brightest thing to get out a chainsaw after drinking. The idea of the poker game was sold even more when the neighbor ran out of propane and had to finish cooking the meal for the poker game on Tim's grill. Strange, I thought, maybe I'm imagining things.

I left Tim's and started the 10 minute drive home. In my head, I was imagining all of the last minute activity that occurs at surprise parties when people know the person is on the way. Lights are turned off, blinds shut, music turned down, and people are rounded up into a room.

I get near the house and see heads through the back windows and my thoughts are confirmed. I pull into the garage, and open the door about 6 inches and peek inside.

Yep, I've got a house full of people. It's my birthday party and I'm going to damn well enjoy it. I loved the entire affair. I got to catch up with so many people, some of whom that I had not seen since college. Friends were there from Hannibal, Iowa, and even Florida. It reminded me of the final scene in It's a Wonderful Life when everyone comes to George's Bailey's aid, if that makes sense.

The party didn't stop until after 3 by which time I was ready for bed. Sunday was a combination of cleanup and catch up on some of the new shows that we've been recording, but that's an entire post in itself.

The fun continued last night with the Breaking Benjamin concert at the Pageant.

This morning I catch a flight for a quick trip to California and then get back on Wednesday night just in time for my actual 30th birthday of Thursday.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated

By the way, we stayed at Robard's Mansion Bed and Breakfast in Hannibal.


And the skylift, well, it's on the way back. Check it out!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Recap continues

So the weekend after the run of our lives, we decided to tone it down a bit. We had an unused B&B gift certificate in Hannibal that we had booked months in advance with just that thought in mind.

We decided to take the scenic route up Highway 79 to Hannibal. As luck would have it, Crowne Valley winery had just opened a new tasting room along the way in Clarksville. Perfect, it definitely warranted a stop.

7 tastings each later, we were scrambling to make it to Hannibal for our 3 pm ghost tour. Wow, what a strange experience, divining rods and the whole ball of wax. A bit of a skeptic, but it was still an enjoyable time.

We went to the B&B to check in and upon arrival received blank looks from the owners. Not a good start. They had switched over computers and forgot to transfer over our reservation. Our suite was not available so we took the downstairs room with the semi-private bath. Not ideal, but no big deal.

Dinner, an awesome Notre Dame football comeback, and a very filling breakfast. The place just grew on us. It was nice to get away for a weekend.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Welcome to October

Well, summer has come and gone and here we are in October again.

Summer Recap:

July and August was filled with work and not much more than that, 14 different cities in 8 weeks, some of them multiple times. What little spare time existed was filled with training for the Lewis & Clark Half Marathon. Oh, there was also that couples baby shower where the keg ran dry and people were jumping into the pool fully clothed during a thunderstorm...

We opened September with a day at the St Louis County Fair and Air show, which turned out to be really cool, and then moved into the next weekend at the Clayton Art Fair where we ran into Vern Yip from Trading Spaces.

Then the morning of September 17 finally arrived, the day of our 13.1 mile run. I woke up way to early and had already watched most of Rocky and had a cup of coffee by the time we were ready to leave the house. We arrived at the Family Arena just shy of 6 a.m. for a 7 o'clock start.

Wow! What an impressive atmosphere. Music blaring, people pumped up, and everyone out to do something good for themselves. I've never experienced anything like it.

The starting gun went off and it was time to run. The run itself was mostly a blur. It's really cool to have people alongside the road cheering your name. The adrenaline kicks in when you hear that cheering.

I started off too fast but got into my groove around the 5 mile mark. My goal was to complete the run in under 2 hours, and to accomplish that, I had to keep moving.

6 miles - I'm feeling good

7 miles - This isn't so bad

8 miles - Okay, where is that energy drink

9 miles - Ahh, got the drink, waiting it to kick in

10 miles - How long is this thing?

11 miles - If I make it past that hill at the 12 mile mark, I'm in good shape

12 miles - I left my lungs on the hill, can someone retrieve them for me

13 miles - I hear my name, I've got enough left for an all-out sprint

13.1 miles - I DID IT!

Final time - 1:54:59, I smashed my goal. Wow, what a feeling!

Julie was chugging along behind me. She was going to push herself to finish in 2:45 so I was thrilled to see her coming down the road well before that. She finished in 2:27, now that's awesome!

I can't describe how cool the entire event was. We're probably going to do it again if we can commit the time for training.

Anyway, I've been away, but now I'm back.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Hmmm...

Wow, over a month since my last post. I'm not dead...things have been out of control lately and I just stepped away from the blog when I really should have been using it as an outlet.

I'll be back soon to update you on the missing month. Stay tuned...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Let's play the waiting game

I woke up this morning at 4 a.m. to catch a 6:20 flight out of San Jose. I quickly showered, dressed and was out the door of the hotel without turning on the TV.

Arriving at the airport, I was faced with the new terror warnings and news of the latest plot out of London. No liquids of any kind allowed in your carry-ons. The wine that I bought would have to be checked. I quickly packed the wine box with newspaper, emptied my laptop bag of lotion, mouth freshener, chapstick, etc and stashed it into my checked luggage.

What waited next was the longest line that I've ever seen in an airport. It wrapped around the terminal into a tight circle that resemembled a line of dominoes. One push and everyone would have been down. Keep in mind that it was already like this at 5 a.m. I can only imagine what the rest of the day holds.

Finally made it through security and confirmed with the gate that I had some time because of the delays. I bought a sandwich and a cup of coffee and sat down at the gate to eat when they told me to board. I had to throw out my full cup of coffee without even taking a sip because no liquids are allowed on board.

This was over an hour ago. We're sitting on the plane waiting for the late arrivers to make it through security. I hate airports!

Time to go, we're actually getting ready to leave.