Monday, June 29, 2009

Boys of Summer

"Boys of Summer"... one of my favorite Don Henley songs, from his 1984 album "Building the Perfect Beast". I'm sure some diehard Eagles fans may scoff at Henley's solo work, but I loved this whole album. Then I saw him in concert back (in '88 or '89, whenever "Heart of the Matter" was released) with my friend and bandmate Timmy D. (I was the token female in the band, playing keyboards, singing background vocals and yes, even shakin' the tamborine a bit!) and Henley put on a great show.

That was a bit of a round-about journey I went on to tell you about our weekend; we headed to see the STL boys of summer play on Sunday at Busch Stadium. I'm not the biggest sports fan; in fact, I'm not much of a sports fan at all. But I DO like baseball, and I love seeing the Cardinals play. We bought a package of tickets, and plan to see five games this season. In between that, lake time and all the other stuff, I don't think we have a free weekend between now and the end of September!

Jace had a baseball game on Friday night (an awesome one, I might add-- he pitched two innings and did great! Don't ask me the stats, I knew at one point but I've slept since then... I think he only allowed two players to get on base, or something like that... I could be totally off though) and then he was going to his dad's for the weekend on Saturday, so Dave and I headed to St. Clair after Jace left Saturday morning.

Dave is continuing the never-ending home project with my dad; it started with a day of jackhammering about two months ago. This is the third time we've been there, and the area is really shaping up. Dave spent four hours in the heat on Saturday, screwing webbing into the cinderblock walls and putting the first coat of Kwikcrete on it in preparation to put stucco on at a later date. My dad wants to finish up screwing the webbing in sometime in the next three weeks, and then we're going to spend a Sunday afternoon there in late July, after going to a Saturday Cards game.

After all the work on Saturday, we headed into St. Louis about 11AM on Sunday, and started out at Paddy O's, right by the stadium. We took my dad to the game with us; my mom just had foot surgery, so she opted to relax at home, rather than risk getting her toes trampled on at the game. So my brother, Rob, headed in from Edwardsville and enjoyed the game with us - it was great to see him and get to spend a little "adult time"... not that we don't LOVE having Jace, Eva and Sam around, of course! It was just nice to catch up, hear about his job, the kids and just hang out and watch the game.

The Cards played the Twins, and although they won on Saturday we didn't have that luck on Sunday - they lost, 6-2. Here are a few pics from the afternoon:

The other thing we did while we were home was load my grandparents' spinnet piano into the back of the 4Runner, to bring back to our home. This was the piano that my mom (Terry) played when she was young, but my grandparents don't play it any longer so I was thrilled to be able to have it. My folks have a baby grand that my mother (Catherine) refinished before she passed away, and at some point it will be given to me. I love that piano, mainly for the memories - we grew up singing with her almost every day, and I am sure that is in part why I have such a love for music. She was so talented, and could play both the piano and the guitar. My brother Rob has her guitar, and has learned to play it- something I have not yet mastered. But I can play the piano, both by ear and by reading music, and have missed it very much. Right now it is still in the 4Runner, until Dave's work buddies can come over and help him unload it tonight - I'm excited!

Back to work, it is a short but busy holiday week.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

FPK Update

Gus brought us a present Friday morning, a nice little bird he had caught somewhere on his roamings... yuck!! But I think he was pretty darn proud of it.

And then Dave, the guy who loves to hate the cat, sent me this on Friday, saying "This is how we'll get rid of the FPK."

Jace, on the other hand, still wants to know if Gus can be our "real" pet cat, and come in the house with us.

I'm in the middle of the road on this - we're not gonna catapult the cat to relocate him, and we're NOT going to let him be a house cat. He'll remain the FPK, as long as I have the say.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Front Porch Kitty

Well, I guess we have a new pet in the family. Pretty homely, isn't he? This little guy has been hanging around for the last couple of weeks, and Jace has just been so worried about him ("Mom, what if no one is feeding him? Can't WE feed him? Can't we keep him? Look at him..."). Which elicited all kinds of "mom" responses from me ("Honey, we already have two pets, we can't have another one... someone else is feeding him, since he's not on our porch EVERY day... I'm sure he will be fine.").

But the cat was persistent, even without us feeding him, and took up residence on our front porch, where he could be found piteously meowing on a regular basis. On Sunday morning as Dave, Paige and I headed to breakfast to celebrate Father's Day, Dave was the one who broke down (softie!) and brought back some cat food and milk.

I called Jace at his dad's later that night, to tell him that we were now as much of "owners" of the cat as we will ever be-- he is, and will remain, a front porch kitty. There are two dogs who are inside half the time, and the vacuuming of dog hair is quite enough for me, thank you.

So, the dogs will continue to have the run of the back yard during the day, and the house during the evening, and the kitty will now occupy the front porch. Rocky is NOT happy about this. The dog is the biggest wimp ever, constantly herded around by an ankle-biting Corgi who is a third his size, but somehow he now thinks that he must be the master of the house and defend his turf from this newest addition. He can regularly be found at the window by the front door, peering out and barking like he never has in the 2+ years we've had him.

Jace has decided to name the cat "Gus" (it was that or"Joe", who is one of his friends at his summer program! I'm glad he picked Gus). Gus is happy to have his food, milk and water on the front porch, and has been there to greet us (and Rocky) as we returned home each day this week. I've never been a cat person, but he is growing on me!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Between a (Nautical) Rock and a Hard Place

We headed down to the boat after dinner last night, to check out the new black cover/awnings we ordered for it, and to check on the batteries. I enjoy the boat life, but I have to confess that I'm blissfully unaware of most of the actual workings of the boat.

They have classes advertised with one of the local boat dealerships, classes that are actually advertised as boat classes "for women". (Some of you well-versed nautical women might take offense to that, but hey, not me!) One of them is how to tie ropes; I have tried a couple of times, under Dave's tutelage, but it isn't something at which I excelled, nor have I worked very hard to learn. It used to be more of a necessity, when we were in a BIG slip with our boat, on our other dock. There we were several feet away from both sides of the slip. So there were a few instances where I was on the dock and he was in the boat, saying "No, put that loop through that - NO, not that way, the other way..." and eventually I DID get it figured out, but then didn't retain it for any length of time. I think it is just some Boy Scout thing that all men learn and do well. Maybe I'll take a class or two.

Anyway, we headed down last night because our batteries were acting up last weekend, after the dock had lost power for a few hours. In addition,we also had our shore power unplugged while Dave had the boat topsy turvy and turned around as he was waxing and polishing for two days straight. There are two batteries that run the starboard (that's the right side- yes, I know that boating term!) engine, and then two batteries that run the port (left) engine, and run all of the things onboard that you would need while you are out in the water - the cabin lights, the head, the stereo and things like that. In addition, the port batteries also power the hatch lift to get down into the boat engine. When the boat is plugged into shore power, it recharges the batteries in order for all of these things to work, but it doesn't actually send power these things, it just recharges the batteries that in turn power these things. (Dave, if you are reading this, I think I'm explaining it correctly!)

However, if the battery is drained to zero, and the shore power won't recharge the battery, then you're in a quandry; which was where we found ourselves last night. No battery power, so couldn't start the port engine and take the boat out to see if the alternator might recharge the battery enough. AND, more importantly, no way to lift the engine hatch (which is about five feet long and three feet wide, and not manually liftable by one person-- or even one person and his wife, although we didn't go there) to GET to the batteries to change them, check them, etc. AND absolutely no instructions in the owner's manual telling you what to do if you're in this catch 22!

It was quite the predicament; we visited with some other folks on the dock, who tried to helped us reason through it ("there has to be an alternate way to lift the hatch"... well, gee, that's helpful, thanks!) but in the end we headed home, knowing that Dave would have to call the SeaRay dealership or hopefully find something on the internet.

The world wide web didn't let us down, and Dave was able to locate some information about our 13-year-old SeaRay; the alternate way is with the cigarette lighter outlet and a $10 charger-thingy (there's a technical term) that he has to buy, which will then plug into something and charge something else and then somehow the hatch will work. Good thing I'm not in charge of this mission, huh!?

So, all that to get the hatch open, then go buy new batteries, and make sure that is what the problem is, as opposed to the charging system. If the charging system is the issue then we are looking at a lot more expensive fix. But we are keeping our fingers crossed that it is "just" the batteries, and easily fixable. Boats - holes in the water into which one throws money. But hey, it is a heck of a lot of fun when things are going well, which is most of the time.

Happy almost-Friday to all.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Isaac Paul Bealor

Congrats to Tara and Luke, on their new little guy. Is he not just ADORABLE? (He arrived via c-section, so kept that cute little round head!) He's got his dad's serious look going on there, I think!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Boat, Baby and Barometer

The title's a little goofy, but the "B" alliteration just worked, when I thought about the subject matter to be posted - all about our shiny boat, a new baby (nephew, that is) and the promising weather (ok, it was a stretch, but "barometer" works, I think).

First of all, I hope I don't jinx things by writing about it, I checked the weather for this weekend. It's become a commonly used internet bookmark for me, now that I've become a lake person. If we have no commitments for any given weekend, that is where you will find me (and Dave, and the kids) -at the lake, enjoying the peaceful atmosphere and (hopefully) the sunshine.

And today when I logged on to The Weather Channel on my blackberry to check the 10 day forecast, I was shocked to see "ZERO PERCENT" chance of precip for Saturday- that has not happened in MONTHS. Truly, it is always at 20-30% at least, but more commonly it is at 50%, 60% or more. So hopefully the forecast will hold and we will indeed enjoy a balmy, sunny Saturday on Banana Pancakes (named after a Jack Johnson tune about lazy weekends, for those of you who may not be familiar).

Last weekend we spent both weekend days at the boat, and it was a work-filled weekend. Dave had decided that the boat was in need of not just waxing, but a good cleaning of the oxidation that had built up over the past few years. Without going into too much detail, the project took him all day Saturday and Sunday and involved him lying prone on the deck and leaning over to use sponges, cloths and an electric buffer to put on and buff off a coat of oxidization remover, then polish and finally wax... basically like waxing the entire boat three times. The quote that he had for someone else to do this was over $700, so it was time well spent for him to do it, in our opinion.

My time was spent cleaning and organizing the inside of the boat and the top of the boat- vacuuming, cleaning out drawers and closets down in the cabin, and cleaning/treating the leather and vinyl seats on the top of the boat. She's all ship shape now (a little boat pun for you; i'm just full of it tonight!) and ready for a fun weekend. We're in high hopes that my sister Susan and her family will make it down to the lake on Saturday, to enjoy the day with us.

And finally, the baby news; I am the proud new aunt of Isaac Paul, 7 pounds 15 ounces, 20.5 inches long, born at 11:54 AM on Monday June 15th. My sister Tara and BIL Luke are on cloud nine, I'm sure. We haven't seen any pictures yet, hope we will soon (hint hint).

Signing off now, to have a little bite of chicken. My dinner this evening was cereal, because I had a bit of a bigger lunch, so trying to stay within my WW points limit. But the baked chicken marinated in some yummy-smelling sesame/ginger marinade is calling my name. Yum....

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Supersize Me

As I headed toward work after my early morning community board meeting, I was absolutely starving! I had stashed a ziploc baggie of Grapenuts in my purse for my breakfast, but it just wasn't going to do... So I made a detour through Mickey D's and ordered combo #10 - the two sausage burritos, hashbrown and orange juice. I thoroughly enjoyed the first burrito, and should've stopped there. But that was easier said (or thought) than done!

Those burritos have turned into one of my few fast food weaknesses... I've worked hard on convincing myself that since it is a tortilla it is better for me than the ever-so-fattening bacon, egg and cheese biscuit, but still -- it is full of sausage, egg and cheese, and that tortilla doesn't counteract all those calories!! I never eat the hashbrown anyway, it is just too greasy and yucky to even consider. But why, oh WHY did I get the combo? I don't need that second burrito, and as I started my 9AM meeting with our marketing rep and one of the nurses in my office, I was lamenting, "did you see me eat that second burrito? Why didn't one of you STOP ME!?" Ack!!

So, it is Grapenuts for lunch, and a Slimfast shake mid-afternoon, plus some exercise over lunch. I didn't make it out of bed this morning to go to the gym, so I'm going to head there over my lunch break and try to get 40 minutes of cardio in. The hubby has done so well these past two weeks with his exercise and diet, it has been good motivation for me. Plus the thought of swimsuit weather is another motivator... maybe contrary to my previous post, I SHOULD wish for rain this weekend, just so I won't have to get into a swimsuit!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Week in Review

When I last posted, we were headed to KC with Paige to visit her school and stay with friends Garry and Heather. It was an entertaining evening with Geather, as we like to call them (kinda like Brangelina or one of those celeb couples' names, but Dave and friends have been calling them Geather for years, so they were cool first!), they fixed some yummy appetizers and we broke out the wine and spent a good three hours just catching up on life:

Me, trying to be cool like my man G-Dykes!

The next day we headed to William Jewell early to start the orientation day with Paige. It was a lot of fun, she had several things to do on her own and then there were some combined sessions with students and parents. It was nice to visit the campus again and have a good idea of where all the buildings are, so we will know what she is talking about after she starts school and tells us about her days.

We headed home Friday night about 5pm, but with the KC rushhour traffic and an accident to boot, we didn't get home until almost 9pm. We both had friends we were supposed to meet (it was guys' weekend on friend CD's boat, and I had some girlfriends who had started with dinner and were continuing the evening with drinks) but we were both beat and ready to call it a night after the long day.

The rest of our weekend was spent at home, working on the deck (Dave), cleaning cabinets and purging things we haven't used in awhile (me) and taking Neil driving now that he has his permit (each of us did that various times on Saturday and Sunday, each time we needed to leave to go to the store, etc).

This week has been just as busy, with Neil and Jace both having baseball games on Monday, and then a dinner with a group of our friends last night. The boys both have games again tomorrow night, and then Friday will just be a relaxing evening at home, finally.

Saturday will find us heading to the lake (it is a weekend that the kids aren't with us) to wax the boat and hopefully get some relaxation in as well. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the weather will be sunny and 80s, but we will see. The rain just keeps finding us, even in June.
In other news, we're soon to be aunts and uncles in my family again, as we wait for the arrival of Tara and Luke's first child, Isaac. He's schedule to be induced and arrive into this world on June 16, just four days after Tara's 30th birthday! Our brother Rob got all kinds of heck from Tara (and Luke, actually!) when he suggested in an email that Tara could hopefully hold on and deliver baby Isaac on June 18, which is Rob's wife's birthday. Tara did not feel that his suggestion of 48 hours of labor was helpful, even if it was for a good cause! We're all excited for Tara and Luke, who know this will be a life changing event for them. (Just had to put that in there, Tara, since I knew you weren't sure how eventful this whole having-a-baby-thing is!! Ha!!)

Now I'm off to bed, with another early morning meeting looming. Will be so glad when Friday evening is here!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Smoky Mountain Trip, Part Two: Family and Fun!

We're back in the car again this week, now heading to KC with Paige for her orientation to William Jewell. Our evening will be spent with friends Garry and Heather, in their new home. They now live about ten minutes from where Paige will be at school, so it will be good for her to have some family friends close to her if she needs anything while at school. And, we'll have friends to stay with when we come to KC to visit her!

Now to finish up the rundown of our weekend in Tennessee; it was a busy weekend, with hiking, mini-golf and some downtime in the evenings. Dave cooked breakfast Saturday and Sunday morning, and treated everyone to their choice of blueberry, chocolate chip or plain pancakes, along with eggs, bacon and the works. (Although in the pic below he is standing at the sink, I really DID clean and he did the cooking!)

It was a lot of fun in our cabin, with our three families there together. Sam and Eva were the two littlest ones, and they were so much fun! I was impressed that they were such good sleepers - they were in the upstairs loft area, which was open to the kitchen below, so not much there for a sound barrier. But once the kiddos were down to sleep, they stayed asleep! Sam was so funny, he is getting so big. This picture below looks JUST like his dad, Rob, did when he was little; I need to find one of Rob and scan/post it-- two peas in a pod!

Here are a few more pics of Sam and Eva:

After breakfast on Sunday we headed out for a hike up to Grotto Falls, which was a 3 mile roundtrip hike. It was a pretty steep climb up the side of the mountain towards the falls, and we were all pretty winded after our climb, but I was impressed that my dad, at age 73, was hangin' right there with us all the way up to the falls and then later on the hike up to the observatory on another mountain.

The boys had a great time on the hike, and were out in front of all of us the majority of the time; they found walking sticks on their way up the trail, climbed all over the rocks in the waterfall area and just generally enjoyed their time outdoors. (My 7-year-old nephew, Payton, informed me that I "wasn't much of an outdoorsman" because I was spending my time on the trail looking at the ground and roots to avoid tripping!)

We left early on Monday morning to head back to Springfield, after a wonderful weekend. I think Dave really enjoyed getting to know my sibings and their spouses a little better, and all of us siblings that were there (and I know Tara agrees, especially since she didn't get to be with us on this trip) think that we should do this annually, or at least every few years. Now that we are all getting older with jobs, families, and life that keeps us so busy, we really only ALL get together for three holidays a year. An annual trip for all of us just to relax and enjoy ourselves together would be great. Maybe we'll pick a warm place - Florida, Cancun, Jamaica? That would be my vote!