Sunday, May 31, 2015

A Day's Work

With the kids away at camp, I have one less obligation during the day, albeit a huge one. There are so many projects that require my attention that I don't have free time to squander idly, but it does mean I can focus and spend more time on any given project. This also includes being a poster boy. In fact, for the first time I actually worked about 8 hours straight delivering posters, and with the unseasonably hot weather we've been having, it was probably the hottest day of the year, hovering in the mid-to-high 80s with brutal humidity. Not my cup of tea, for sure.

R was off to work and she sort of indicated that I could probably work as long as I wanted, so I went for it, getting about 75% of the work done in one fell swoop. I think I prefer to break it up in shorter segments, which is usually the case because with the kids and all I can't really work an 8 hour day. Plus, as I mentioned, it was brutally hot, though it's nice not having to drive through a snow storm. I'm not sure which I prefer.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to JD Hancock for the pic. 

Making the Call

I reached a bit of an impasse on the barn and was in dire need of some guidance, but it was one of those situations where it was difficult to explain without actually showing the person what needed to be done. With my Mentor still in the wilds of great northeast, I was hoping to get a contractor friend to have a look and advise me accordingly, but at some point I decided to man-up and just deal with it. We're not talking rocket science, after all, and while there is always a right way to do things, there are usually good alternatives, as well.

The problem in question involved the insulation on the second floor. I set a goal of finishing it by the end of the month and felt like I had achieved this about a week ago, but there was a small section of the roof that extended within a crawl space in the dormers. Again, it's hard to explain, but I sort of figured I could ignore it and just cover it with fiberglass and rigid board. That would have probably sufficed, but my OCD kicked in and I felt like I had to do it right. This meant attaching two inches of rigid board against the plywood, sealing it with foam, then putting fiberglass and rigid board over that. This task was greatly complicated by the fact that there's a knee-wall in the way and I had to work within a cramped crawl space. Total bummer.

It took me a couple of days just to get the rigid board glued in, then another couple to foam it in. I benefitted from the fact that the kids were away at camp, but was hampered by the scorching hot weather that we've been having. You just can't have it all, can you? Yesterday I managed to get phase 1 and 2 done, now all I have to do is secure the fiberglass and I believe the 2nd floor is done, in a manner of speaking. The next job will be to finish putting the fiberglass in the kitchen, then install the rigid board, which will once again require the insight of my Mentor, but I believe by that time he'll be back in town. We shall see.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Satjiwan for the pic.

Almost Got A Bike

My good friend DB is selling his mountain bike, and I'm in desperate need of an upgrade because my bike is not only old, but it's technically way too primitive. The technology today is more advanced and while I don't need a high tech machine, something a little more advanced than what I have would be nice. Now that N has his new bike, I am actually having trouble keeping up with him, and once we hit the trails, I know he's going to be eating his dust.

Anyway, DB got a spiffy new ride and was willing to sell me his for next to nothing because he's just that kind of guy. The only problem is DB is one tall puppy dog, en par with the Amazing PR Man, and realistically anything he rode would be way too big for my diminutive self. He said the bike was small for him, so I thought I'd at least give it a try, though sure enough, the darn thing was too big. What a total bummer. I toyed with the idea of getting it anyway, but then decided against it. Talk about disappointment.

For now I stick with my old bike, though it's hard to negotiate trails and bumps with wheels made of stone, but a real man in training doesn't whine about things like this, does he?

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Peter B Meyer for the pic.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Waste Not

I would say at least a couple of years back I bought all this un-faced insulation to put in the attic because it was on massive sale at Home Depot. I was talking to CF at the time and he said just layer it on top of the pre-existing stuff to get an extra layer insulation. It sounded simple enough, but in typical fashion I bought the rolls and they sat in the basement for two years, maybe three, past the statute of limitations of returning it... I think.

Either way, it turns out that I still need to insulate the kitchen in the barn, and the studs are 8 inches wide. It just so happens that the rolls I have are 8 inches thick, albeit un-faced. I asked several of my contractor friends and they all said it would be fine to use it in vertical walls, you just have to add your own vapor barrier, whatever that is. Good enough for me. Now the insulation won't go to waste, I already have it in my possession so I don't need to get more (at least not for now), and I clear out some space in the basement. I love when that happens. For the record, we are not for want of space in the basement, we have tons of it, but three big rolls of insulation is a bit of an eye sore.

Of course, this all sounds great in theory. Putting things into practice is a whole other story, so we'll see how it goes.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Better Business Listing for the pic.

New Level of LAX

LAX has always been the more relaxed and laid back cousin to hockey because it is a rec program and just doesn't have the same intensity as when we're on the ice. The season is short, there are maybe a half-dozen games, and the atmosphere is pretty relaxed for both N and myself. The warm sunny weather helps.

This year things have ramped up a bit, and it's sort of reminds me of hockey. The new coach DW is the real deal and is teaching the kids amazing new skills and tactics for the game. It's pretty cool to watch, and halfway through the season I think we've had close to a ten games. The practices are structured much like the hockey practices, and because DW is such a great coach, the kids have responded. They really like him.

The level of dedication and demand, however, have increased proportionately. Practices are three times a week and just last week we had something like 5 games in 6 days. For all it's worth, N's team has done pretty well against their opponents, beating teams handily that had given them trouble in the past. In fact, the only loss they had was a big one against a select team in Burlington.

All in all N is having a great time because the focus and hard work have upped his game. Plus, he is surrounded by talent (he's one of the youngest on the team) so it helps him that much more. They are doing a summer program but I don't think we'll be able to pull it off because of so many summer commitments, but we'll see if we can work something out.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Cap'n Ruter for the pic.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Back to Ultimate

Last week N had a big LAX game up in the even bigger city of Burlington. This is unusual for LAX because it's much more low-key than hockey and the season is short and games are few and far in-between. I think last season he had 5 games, and this year he's had twice that, and the season is only half done. Either way, we made the long and brutal trek and then had to jet back home because he really wanted to play ultimate frisbee (UF). The season is just getting underway and we haven't had much of a chance to play.

To complicate the matter, it was a warm day, maybe even hot, so when we got to the field it was a bit of a scorcher. We arrived a little on the late side and the games were already in progress so we slipped right in and it was fun. Since it was late we didn't have time to get home and prepare drinks, so I picked up some Gatorade at Mike's and went for it. It was fun, not the usual intense crowd because the high schoolers were busy, but competitive and challenging. I'm glad we made it, and my legs were big-time sore the next day.

Hopefully we'll have more of the same in the coming weeks. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Nancy Witthuhn for the pic.

Braces are Beautiful

We initiated orthodontic proceedings this weekend and it was a bit of an adventure just to get to this point. As anyone who knows us knows, we tend to do a lot of research before finally choosing a direction in life, and whenever possible make sure that no stone is left unturned. Something involving a plump sum of money complicates this situation exponentially, and let me tell you, orthodontists do not come cheaply.

In addition to cost, which is perhaps the most significant factor, we wanted to consider our impression of the orthodontist, or rather the kid's impression because you want to go to someone who you jive with, right? Especially when you're handing them your child's college savings to have a winning smile. We visited several of them, I think 4 in all, and it is interesting how they are a little different in their own unique way. Some were more expensive than others, but for the most part the cost was pretty similar. As you would expect, the one in the big city was the fanciest and most professional. In the end, we made the choice based on what N wanted and whom he felt most comfortable with, and as it turns out, this was not the most convenient choice for us because it is the farthest away, but such is life. It's his teeth and he should have some say in this.

We went to our first official visit this week, and the proceedings have begun. We met with the orthodontist and in a couple of weeks some metal will be installed. Of course I screwed up by scheduling things during events that we had already planned, but in my defense, I had not anticipated that things would begin so quickly. It always works out that way due to my coping mechanism of putting things off and hoping they will simply disappear rather than actually dealing with it. I had to re-schedule this appointment at least twice which had made me infamous, and this time around I think they were slightly amused and probably a little annoyed, which is nothing new for me.

Interestingly, when we walked in the door, our good friend GM was sitting there waiting for his daughter and we sat and chatted, which is always enjoyable because he's such a great guy whose opinion I value. He said that this ortho was the best and that he, too, had shopped around before coming to this conclusion, so clearly I'm not alone in this approach. Either way, it was nice to see a familiar face because the office is not in our area and people seem willing to cover some distance just to get here.

N seems to be comfortable with the idea of getting braces, at least he hasn't voiced any blatant discontent. I might even go so far as to suggest that he might be intrigued and interested about the whole proposition. Braces aren't what they used to be, and they seem to be a little cooler these days, but what do I know?

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to omgitsvale for the pic.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Crazy Weather

I'm no expert on the weather in New England (I just play one on TV), but the weather has been crazy and unpredictable, to say the least. It seemed like winter was long, cold and snowy and didn't seem to want to let go, then it just leap-frogged past spring and into summer. We had several days of 80 degree temperatures in April before things finally cooled off. Then it got hot again with not much in the way of rain, so much so that they banned all bonfires because conditions were too dry. Temps were hovering in the high 70s, and now it's cooled off to the 50s again. How crazy is that? I'll take the cooler temps, though there have been some beautiful, albeit warm, days.

We've finally gotten the rain we needed though it didn't seem to last very long, but enough to moisten the dry conditions and get that beautiful bright green color going on the trees that makes spring so special. I'm hoping it stays cool so I can do more work outside, like mow the lawn and split that massive wood pile that is calling my name every day.

Sometimes a real-man's (in training) work is never done. Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to fromky for the pic.

Two Days of Going Nuts

I have not had much in the way of doing standardized patient (SP) work but I was recently called in for two rigorous days and as you can imagine, it really threw our schedule out of whack. What's even crazier is that it's still the beginning of the week, and we have a few more days to go. I usually take on whatever days they of SP work they are offering because they are few and far in-between, and this time there was a double shift. I signed up for the two night shift slots, but they also had a morning slot that would have made my day difficult, so I was initially hesitant to take it on, but ended up going for it.

This happens to be a fairly crazy time with the kids, so we had to some massive scrambling to get things done. Many thanks go out to AMP and JG for helping me with rides, we couldn't do it without them. As you can imagine, R had to modify her schedule, as well, so it wasn't easy. On Monday I had an evening session and of course the kids had LAX and track. N's LAX game was optional so I told the coach we couldn't make it. A had a track meet in NH, so she went along with AMP, who had a carload of runners, which probably made it fun. I had to get to work so I took N along with me and met with R, who took over from there. I didn't get home until after 9:00PM, so it was a long day.

On Tue I had a morning session that I had to be at by 6:30AM, which meant little in the way of sleep, and was I ever tired. I was in a daze all day. R was at home and AMP took everyone to book club. I was finished around 11:30 so I went and picked the kids up and took the girls to track and then hung out with N until I had to go. This gave me about 1.5 hours to whip up a supper, which I had initiated in the AM. I made some soup and a frittata and some green beans. It would have been easier to just pick up something already made, but I like the fact that we eat home cooked meals, and it definitely saves money. When you drop a load of cash when you're dining out, it just ruins the experience for me.

After I had supper ready to go, I had to get N to LAX. The problem was that his game was too late for my schedule, so I arranged to take him to the G's house where he could hang with his buddy and teammate, CG. JG took them all to their game, and R went to get N from work, which is a bit of a trek for her, but she pulled it off.

I worked until about 8:00 and then headed home, where everyone was relaxing after a rigorous day. As always, it sure was nice to be home. Thanks again to everyone for helping to make this work. It really does take a village.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Rudolf Vlcek for the pic.

Insulating Matters

I told R that I had a goal of getting all the fiberglass insulation installed on the second floor by the end of this month, and it appears that for the first time in my challenged-but-trying life I might actually finish ahead of schedule. Can it possibly be true? Actually, now that I just hexed myself, it may never happen.

In all honesty, work has resumed in earnest on the barn, and there is light at the end of the tunnel, even if it's just a speck of light. I have been diligently installing the fiberglass with the goal of getting it done and putting in the rigid board. Stapling fiberglass is a bear of a job, especially when you're working with cathedral-like ceilings, but like many things in life, you just chip away at the stone. It doesn't help that you have to wear protective clothes and facial protection, which makes it uncomfortable, but at least it's not scorching hot outside. I did actually run out of insulation and had to get more, which I took as a good sign.

I think a day or two more of stapling and it will be done, at least on the second floor. There is an issue with working on parts of the dormers which I wanted to address to my Mentor, but he's not around and not slated to be here until the end of the month, so I may need to take a leap of faith and just figure out a solution. That's part of real-man training, isn't it?

Another positive note is that I had purchased a few rolls of un-faced fiberglass to put in the attic, but I changed my plan for up there, as well. Under normal circumstances I could have just returned them to Home Depot, but when is it ever a normal circumstance? I had them for over two years and at some point the statute of limitations must apply. I was faced with having to deal with all this insulation, though in retrospect I'm sure I could have found someone on the town listserve who would have snatched them up. People love free stuff, I know I do.

Well, it turns out that even though the stuff doesn't have facing, I can still use it on vertical walls. At least that's what a few contractors have told me. They call it friction grabbing or something like that, and all I need to do is install it and then apply a vapor barrier, whatever that is.

I have to say, I'm relieved that I can find a good use for this stuff because not only is it not going to waste, but I can save money by not having to pay for new rolls for the downstairs area. I love when that happens. There might be width issues but I've come this far and can't stop now. I'll find a way to make it work. Isn't that what any real man would do?

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Knauf Insulation for the pic.

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Mulch "A-Ha" Moment

I'm not a gardener (I just play one on TV), and I don't think I have the right disposition for it, but I can appreciate good landscaping when I see it. That means a certain amount of yard work to keep the place looking civil, and even that minimal amount is at times too much for your truly. Sure, I mow the lawn and rake and prune assorted shrubs, but for the most part, I just keep things in order.

I do pay a little more attention to our blueberry bushes, because they sort of need it. They seem a bit more "needy" than your average shrub: I fertilize them twice a year, I water them (I don't water any other plants in our yard), I add soil acidifier, and I surround them with mulch. It was while I was attending to them recently that it suddenly dawned on me that other areas in our yard might benefit from mulch, and maybe the lack of ground cover accounted for the wild and uncontrolled growth of certain weeds. I decided that this year I would add mulch to certain trees and areas where bulbs grow. We have a crabapple tree with assorted perennials and irises growing along the back of the house.

There was a sale on cedar mulch and I got about 6-7 bags of the stuff, and I have to say, it sure does look nice, clean and orderly. Plus, it's kind of cool when the bulbs push through. I think it's somehow good for the trees, as well, because I think it protects the roots in some capacity. The only question is, what do I do with the mulch in the fall/winter? Does it simply become part of the soil? Isn't it just like me to worry about something that far into the future?

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to k.ivoutin for the pic.

Pallet Mania

I was driving by Woodstock Home and Hardware and couldn't help but notice a massive pile of pallets. I've gotten them there before and they are very cool about giving them away. If anything, it makes their lives easier because they don't have to deal with them. Spring is a good time because they sell a lot of mulch and fertilizer that is delivered on said pallets, so they end up with a lot of them. They leave them in a pile outside and told me to help myself. I was stoked.

I use them mainly for stacking wood, and believe me, they take a beating. After a couple of years of sitting in the mud, rain, and snow, they start falling apart. I try to dry them out in the spring but let's face it, nothing really survives nature's wrath. As a consequence, when they start to collapse, I need to replace them. I have also a third compost bin that we will need to employ at some point, and it will require a shelter to keep the bears out. That's how it works in theory, that is.

The biggest problem I have, as always, is transporting them. Enter the Mighty Fit. In a testament to the beautiful versatility of this car, it has a fair amount of cargo space, enough to do the farmer's market, transport three people to the hockey rink, equipment and all, and believe it or not, at least 4 pallets. The trickiest part was getting them in. I started by angling them in, but found that at a certain height, they went straight in. There's that magic moment when it fits into the cargo hold and it's like a ray of sunshine coming through the clouds. I picked up 4 when I dropped N off at his buddy's house, and then 4 more when I brought him home from LAX. I would get more if R didn't think I was completely insane for having pallet OCD. Truth be told, I was a little surprised, and still am, that they just give them away. There's a little time, effort, and material that goes into them, and to just burn them afterward seems like a shame. Then again, what else are they going to do with them?

Give them to me, that's what. Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Mike Mozart for the pic.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Digitally Exposed

They had a digital arts exhibition (DAX) at Dartmouth the other night, and of course we our interest was piqued since we lean toward all things digital in this house, especially the kids. When it comes to creative digital composition, I'm all for encouraging the kids to check it out. Evening events are always a little tricky because it not only dips into mealtime, but we have so many things going on in the afternoon/evening that it takes a fair amount of juggling.

Now this time around, for reasons I can't quite recall, we were out all day running errands or doing something that made the day more complicated. I managed to get the kids some sushi for lunch, and then mom picked up some supper and had it waiting for us at the school. We wolfed down a few bites and then headed into the Expo.

The first segment was a selection of digitally animated short films made by Dartmouth students and alumni, and it was cool except for the fact that we had seen more than half of them at the earlier student exhibit. I contacted the person in charge and she said it would be different, but clearly we had our signals crossed. After the film we headed over to the Hop and checked out the displays, some of which were cool, others that had me scratching my head and wondering what it had to do with digital arts. Another thing that really struck me looking at the show was that Dartmouth really is a small school. I realize it's a prestigious Ivy League and all, but at times you realize that the scale is significantly smaller than bigger universities. I think if a similar program went on at my alma mater, it would have been huge and probably a little more high tech, especially since it's located in a huge entertainment hub.

Either way, it was fun to attend, and they had some food and these amazing brownies. It's nice to expose the kids to some creative ideas to pursue when they get older, and we got to see some old friends. In fact, our friend and neighbor LL is one of the professors who is in charge of the digital arts studio, how cool is that? I think she was behind the creation of the department, so that's a nice connection to have.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to mrhurt03 for the pic.

Rug Removal

When we first moved into our house we bought a new table for the kitchen from a nice family out in NH. They were a super-nice family that really loved the kids, and when we went to pick up the table they gave us this beautiful rug. It was big and looked brand new, or at least unused. It was very cool of them. The problem was, it was a cream-yellow color, which is not the most practical when you have kids and live in the wilds of New England. The rug ended up sitting on the floor, rolled up, for several years. It almost became invisible except for the frequent occasion when one of us would stub our toe on it or trip over it.

Finally mom decreed that the rug must go, which wasn't the simplest thing because it was huge, and came with a matching pad. I asked a few people we knew who had just moved into their houses if they were interested, and they declined, so I listed it on the town listserve and within minutes people were clamoring for it. I invited the first person to contact me, who happened to be our good friend CF, and he took it with him that morning.

Now the rug is gone, and I have mixed feelings. On the one hand it's nice to be rid of it, but it was such a nice rug, I'm bummed we couldn't find a use for it. Then again, you don't want to get into the hoarder mentality, because it can get pretty ugly, especially for someone with fat case of OCD like myself.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to OceansFour for the pic.

And the Winner Is...

I just wanted to make some final comments on the kid's win in the 48 Hour Film Slam because it was such a cool moment and a big surprise. Not so much because their film wasn't worthy, because it was, but more so due to the way things transpired. As I mentioned, they didn't even really want to enter this contest, and only did so because a friend wanted to. When that friend dropped out, A&N took the helm and made it their own and with the help of ES did a fine job.

Once the contest started, they were competing against kids their own age, though for full disclosure, several of the so-called "middle-school" teams had older people acting in the films and presumably taking part in the creative process. I fully acknowledge that some parental input is en par for the course, but clearly some of these projects had the stamp of significant adult oversight. In fact, one group had a superstar actor involved and the film clearly reeked of his influence. I guess I understand that this is going to happen, and it was clearly the case when A did her movie about the F-35. Then again, kids are pretty savvy these days and can do amazing things with technology.

Whatever be the case, A&N were pretty much on their own. Mom and I offered suggestions and gave some input, but the ideas were basically theirs and their alone. Once the filming got going, we literally did nothing other than supportive stuff like cooking and driving. In the end, you can't control what other people do (though you can gripe and bitch about it all you want), you just have to stand by what you believe in and do your best. I'm proud of the kids because it really was their creation.

At the awards ceremony I think the anticipation was high but muted because it was their first foray into this event and again, it sort of fell into their laps. This made it more fun and less stressful, but toned down expectations, as well. Once the awards were given out for their age group and A,N&E didn't win, we figured that was it. At the very least one of the winners of the respective age category would win the overall prize, and there were three categories, with our kids being in the youngest. Keep in mind, they were competing against adults.

Interestingly enough, when they announced the awards, the runner-up hadn't won in their age group, either. When they called the kid's production group for the overall winner, it was quite a shock, albeit a pleasant one. The kids were thrilled, as were all the parents. It was a pretty cool moment, and I'm glad they got some recognition for their hard work and clever ideas. To add to the fun, there were a ton of people we knew in the competition and the audience, so for several days afterward people were congratulating the kids on a job well done. One of the actors is a teacher in our school and she announced the winners in her class and several of A's friends. She also wants to screen the film at the school assembly, but we'll see how that goes.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to svenwerk for the pic. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


A had her first session with her band and I think it went well. At the very least A got a big charge out of playing with a group. It was a fun and rewarding experience for her, and I think it will inspire her to practice her guitar more and take it more seriously. I can push her to practice and play, but nothing motivates you more than the expectations of your peers. They seem to be fairly serious musicians, so she is in good company.

Another good aspect of this is that she was terrified going into it for two main reasons: she was going to face the scrutiny of her peers who also happened to be accomplished musicians, and she was not as prepared as she could have (or should have) been. I don't think expectations were high because she didn't receive the tabs until a day or two before, but she knew what songs they were practicing, and she had easy access to the chord sheets online. I was nudging her for the past few weeks to learn some of the songs, because we were familiar with all of them, but she let it slide. She learned one or two, but the band has a repertoire of at least 20 songs.

We headed over to the studio and I could tell she was nervous. I said it was a good lesson in taking some initiative and being motivated, and that she should remember to just have fun with it, and I believe she did. I dropped her off and went to do poster stuff, and returned just in time to watch them play some Ozzy. For whatever reason, Crazy Train is popular with this generation. They were jamming and looked really good. A seemed to be meshing, and afterward she was charged and told me she had a blast.

I'm glad, for a number of reasons, but mostly because she took on a challenge that was uncomfortable and went with it. It's always better to regret what you have one than what you haven't done, right? Just to make things fun, I think they said they are doing a show in about a week or so. How's that for getting thrown to the lions?

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to paolospiga for the pic.

Back Again

This seems to be an annual thing, but I managed to hurt my back once again. This all stems from a bad injury I experienced three years ago that put me in traction. I'd never experienced pain like that before, and it seems like it comes back to haunt me every year. Last year at some point I tweaked my back and suffered accordingly, though not as bad as the prior year. This time around I was splitting wood and the maul got stuck in the wood. As I tried to yank it free, I could feel something go wrong in my back and sure enough, the pain had returned. I have trouble straightening my back, so laying down flat is difficult. Sneezing and coughing are a nightmare, and it's hay fever season, so you can imagine how much fun I'm having with that.

Talk about a total bummer, though if you had to look at the bright side, and we are always searching for that bright side, it's that life is fairly calm right now, and at least there is no hockey. Spring has just sprung, the snow has just melted, and there's still a lot of time to get things done, so if there was ever a good time to get hurt, it would be now.

Or better yet, don't get hurt at all. What a novel concept. At least I can sleep, and it sure makes a big difference sleeping in a comfortable bed. Funny how that works.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to supulido62 for the pic.

Mom's Day Out

Hope everyone had a nice Mother's Day. We sure did. We spent the day just chilling out and letting mom relax and do whatever she pleased. The weather was unusually hot so it made outdoor activities a bit of a challenge. Mom got some beautiful tulips and some cards made by the kids, and we enjoyed a nice breakfast of French toast, bacon and strawberries. Mom lounged around and read while I did some things outside, mostly yard work and getting the wood pile back up to speed. As I mentioned, it was hot, so it set a limit on how much work I could actually do.

Around lunchtime we headed over to the Worthy Kitchen to have brunch/lunch, and that was nice, though I think the food was a bit bland. Definitely in need of more salt. I've found in my extensive experience with cooking that you can't make up for blandness by simply putting a sauce over a dish, it works best when each ingredient tastes good. I.e., food tastes best when it is adequately seasoned, rather than adding seasoning while you're eating it.

Case in point, I got the burrito, which was good, but again, a little bland. I could put salt and hot sauce over it, but it should taste good from the inside. Does that make sense? N got the ham steak and eggs and my first impulse was to question his choice - do you really want that? I held my tongue and let him get what he wanted, but it turned out to be just okay, and he's not a big egg eater, so I'm not sure why he chose that. He's got to learn these things himself, right? A got the burrito as well, and mom got the salad, which was really not that impressive. I would not be so nit-picky if the prices weren't so high.

After lunch the plan was to see a movie a the Hop, and we were early so we lounged at the library. I was bummed because I missed a golden opportunity to distribute posters in the big city, which is the key market, but sometimes you can't maximize efficiency during your every waking moment. We also decided to forgo ultimate frisbee because mom takes priority. Plus, it was too hot, the forecast called for thunderstorms, the teenagers couldn't make it, and the kids have been exercising like crazy at track and lacrosse. Plus, UF will be going on all summer, so we'll make it next week.

At the library I actually had a chance to relax, read, and even catch a few z's. The movie was something we wanted to see for a while, a Danish film about an all girl punk rock band called We Are The Best. It was your typical Euro movie, short on plot but heavy on character development. In fact, being the aspiring filmmakers that they are, A&N made this observation, as well. I liked the movie but could see that it was really geared toward a more culture-oriented audience, like a lot of European movies, especially French.

After the film, we stopped at a friend's house to care for their cat and baby chickens, which when you get down to it is a precarious combination. Just as we got there the sky opened up and we got some much-needed rain. Then it was home to relax and end an enjoyable day. Later that evening I called my mom and wished her a Happy Mother's Day, which is a bit out of character for me being the rotten son that I am, but maybe this is a new chapter in our relationship.

Hope everyone had a nice Mother's Day, and thanks for reading, and thanks to Stephanie Klasen for the pic.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Spring Sports Begin

When it comes to youth sports, it seems like you just bounce from one thing to another. With hockey over, we now begin track and lacrosse (LAX). Most sports do not have the level of fanaticism that you see in hockey, with track being pretty laid back. Lacrosse, however, has elements of that dedication, and you see it in the parents and the kids, which makes sense because it's got many of the same players, and then some. It's almost like a club, and the kids (and parents) really identify with it. There are also opportunities for enrichment, almost like extra-curricular activities.

A wavered on whether or not she wanted to run track and in the end she went for it, and I think that's a good thing. She is a good runner and it's a good way for her to stay in shape. Plus, she'll have an activity to do through the spring term and won't be at home wanting to be on the computer all day. The weather has been cold and miserable until recently, so they haven't had much of a chance to run around outside, but that will come in due time. I am actually impressed with how hard they are working indoors, and I think the new coach, RS, is doing a good job thus far. Last year they didn't seem to do any conditioning and the coach didn't seem to totally know what he was doing.

Lacrosse has also begun, and N is into it. He is growing so we had to replace a few pieces of gear, which is alway painful because for whatever reason LAX gear is expensive. More so than hockey. He is a first year at this level so he's the younger kid on the block, but he seems to be doing fine. A week or two back the team got to play on the Dartmouth LAX field in between periods, and that was fun to watch. I'm not even sure who they played, but they got out there and went at it. They also got to watch the big boys play, and it was a good opportunity for DW, the coach, who for the record is an outstanding coach for both hockey and LAX, to give pointers to his players. The guy is amazing, he really is knowledgeable and passionate about the game without being overbearing.

The game was fun, N got to hang with his buddies, and then it was done and over. It could very well be our one LAX game for the year, but at least we got one in. Personally I prefer to watch the kids, but that's just me.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Fred Backhaus for the pic.

Ultimate Begins... sort of

People are chomping at the bit for ultimate, and I'm excited for it but it seems like there's so much other stuff going on. Enough to keep us busy, that's for sure. Either way, a big group of the young kids couldn't make it on the allotted day, so they shifted things. We had sort of planned on going to the film festival, but when the kids learned that there might be ultimate, they were ready to rock and roll with the frisbee.

It turned out to be a pretty small group, and at first, it was just the three of us and two others. I was ready to call it a day and head over to the film festival but a few other people showed up and we managed to have a small 4X4 game. It was fun, but was I ever out of shape. I was sucking air the entire time and the next day I was as usual sore in places I didn't even know existed, but such is the life of an old man like myself. I'm actually glad that some of these activities have started because I could use a little more activity in my life.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Evil Sivan for the pic.