Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Fired Up For Spring

Ryan and I peeled off almost 1,000 rounds of 9mm ammo at a tactical self-defense training course last saturday. My hands hurt, because I was shooting relatively big ammo out of a relatively small pistol. We shot right and left handed, both handed, used baracades as protection -- leaned out from the left and the right and landed shots on steel targets. In a course like this you basically learn where your weaknesses are ... so you know what you need to work on, and the instructors let you know how to go about it.

Apparently Scott is involved in a program with the local police department where he goes and helps the policemen train. He plays a bad guy in live scenarios where he has to act out certain parts. They use real guns with fake, paintball ammo. They apparently hurt. And, being a bad guy, Scott gets to fire back sometimes. I think it's pretty cool. Anything to help the good guys win. Maybe if Molly Bowden had had more training like this ... perhaps things would have turned out differently. Maybe this will help protect the next "Molly".

Scott joined us for an overnight walkabout to "#17" -- a spot Ryan and I frequented a couple of years ago. We chose it because it's relatively near some good morel mushroom hunting grounds. Realistically, though, I didn't think we'd be spending much time mushroom hunting as we'd all have 40 lbs strapped to our backs and it was probably going to be raining in the morning. We did a little. Scott and Ryan found several. I found only one. I'm not very good at it.

There was plenty of downed dead wood for a fire, and we used ye olde magnesium & flint method on some cedar bark to get it going. We brought packets of vegetables and cornish game hens. The game hens were still a bit frozen when we got them out so we thawed them on one of the grilliputs while we gathered more fuel and basically shot the bull. By the time we thawed them and cooked them it was 11:30 pm. But no biggie. It's just generally fun to shoot the breeze around a campfire in the woods at night with a flask of whiskey.

Sunday Vicki and I went to see little Trenton for a couple of hours. He spent most of it sleeping, but that's ok. I got a little grandpa time again.

Monday at work we went to a co-worker's house for a "meeting" where he showed off his homemade brick oven where he bakes bread and pizza. We all made our own pizzas. It was a lot of fun. And they were good. Richard and I apparently share the same taste in Jazz, so we listened to some Bill Evans and Sonny Stitt through it all. I was also fascinated by the oven. Kinda wish I had one. An oven you build a fire in. Pretty neat. It was 840 degrees in there.

Vicki and I went to the Elks for "Washee" Monday after work and had a burger there. And Tuesday morning while thoroughly cleaning the grilliput I found out that I was missing a cross-bar ... one of the specialized ones with the threads and the crooked end. If you're going to lose one, those two aren't the ones you can get by without. Kind of integral to the structure.

So when I mentioned it to Vicki, she suggested we take off early Tuesday afternoon and hike in and find it. I knew excactly where it should be. It was a very pretty day (the various flower pictures are from that hike). We could both use the exercise and the time together, so we went. We spent a very nice hour or so in the woods, and the cross-piece was right where I expected it to be, really no worse for wear.

Then it was back home for leftover pizza and Jeff Corwin's "America's West". Ok, I'll admit it, I sat through an episode of "The Bachelor" with Vicki first. ;-)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Spring has sprung. The pear trees on the street are actually almost done blooming, and the redbud has busted out. The daffodils, now that I think of it, are only a memory.

Baby Trenton had a brief period of stuffiness... poor guy. Less than 3 weeks old (well, he's 3 weeks today) and already had a bout of trouble breathing. He is changing every day... we get over there every few days to see him. Cute little guy.

We were going to go to the Black and Gold game with the Williams' on Saturday, but it was pretty drizzmerable. We went to D. Rowe's for lunch, then back to the house to watch the game on ESPNU.

By the end of the game, Kevin and Angela dropped in. They came in to town for his birthday celebration. They went out with Ken for dinner and then stayed the night.

We made waffles in the morning, and Kevin came up with a menu for his birthday dinner ... some marinated chops (courtesy of Alton Brown), potato wedges, corn bread, and waldorf salad. Which we whipped up. Had to replace the burner in the gas grill before that. Brian, Kristin, and Trenton came over as well as Ken, and the Cubs fans all gathered around to eat in front of the game. Cubs won. Handily.

Haven't seen Angela in a long time, so it was good to see her again. She's a great girl ... good for Kevin, I think. Sweet. Funny. Cute. Greg dropped by to drop off my cajun cooker burner and some beer he had made. He brought little Johnny along with him. And it turns out that Angela is also good with kids.

Hey, just sayin'. She is.

The heat pump got fixed, but it sprang another leak. I'm afraid we're going to have to replace it. Can't just keep chasing leaks. We're talking $6,500. It should be offset somewhat by lower energy bills, but ... whew. It'll take a lot of time to pay off. But having a cool house this summer will be some immediate pay off.

We've started up the weekly jams in the lunchroom at work again. Wednesdays. Adam brings his keyboard, and Alan plays a killer recorder. He's a saxophone player, but recorders are smaller and quieter. Wayne usually shows up. Brian. Richard B. on guitar. A guy from the help desk on banjo and guitar. And Jeff drops by to sing along especially on the Buffet tunes. A lot of fun.

I need to start riding the bicycle to work again for exercise, too. I both look forward to it and don't look forward to it at the same time. But I think I'll start Monday, weather permitting.

Yeah, so I can drink more of Greg's beer (left) ... and stay healthy while I'm at it.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Cliffs of Dover

At my funeral, which hopefully will be a long time from now, but...

Ever since I first heard this Eric Johnson tune on Ah Via Musicom, I thought that at the very end, when everybody's leaving, they should play this.

That's the ticket! Thanks for showing up, now get out and go on with your lives and think of this music whenever you think of me!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Baby Time

See, Grandpa Phil gets a little baby time in between feedings and grandmothers, too.


Lately life's been largely about the grandbaby. We've been over to visit a few times. Kristin's mom stayed with Brian & Kristin for a week while Kristin recovered and they both adapted to having a round-the-clock responsibility that needs feeding and changing every time you turn around. We were over there for dinner ... Thursday night? Something like that. We don't want to go visit too much because they need to get some routine going. But mom & baby seem to be doing great.

Mark & Cassie made a kamakazi visit over the weekend to pick up the Gazelle exercise machine. Ryan and I had gone on a walkabout out at Sam's place, doing the dogs and testing out some firearms (aarrr aaauuurrrr AUUURRR!!!!). Then Bri came over and had a cigar with us out by the chimnea on the deck.

The heating/air conditioning guys came Monday and found a crack in the tubing in the heat exchanger outside and fixed it. That was almost $500, but we're talking $6,000 to replace it... so... we should have more efficient heat again.

Man, there's a lot of stuff to do around the house that I just don't feel like doing. *sigh*.

Incidentally there are more baby pictures out here.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Trenton Edward Marema

There he is!

Dang good lookin' baby. 11:49 am. 8 lbs, 6 oz. 20.5" ... and "only" about 13 hours of labor. (full Walmart Photo Album is here.)

Any Minute Now

This baby's comin' to the station. This morning.