Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Back from Vacation, still Illin'

Continuing from the Carmel post, the next day, Paul and I indeed went to Point Lobos, named for the barking of the Sea Lions on the rocks out there (for those who don't know, "lobo" is Spanish for "wolf" -- sea wolves, I suppose.

We started out on a nature tour of the area, but it was going slow and there wasn't much new the guy had to say after a while. I learned the limitations of using the 1.4x teleconverter. I got a lot of bad shots on that outing but a few decent ones. I'm going to be lazy and send you out to the flickr site for the rest of the trip photos. There are around 80 of them :-)

We went to lunch most days in the early afternoons to nice restaurants in the area, which usually meant limited outings in the mornings and afternoons. Mom is 89 -- and healthy for 89, but she's still 89 and there are just things she's not up to. This trip was probably more about her than us anyway -- getting her out there to see Paul & Barbara's new place -- not that it wasn't a nice visit and vacation for us as well. Point being we didn't spend a lot of time outside along the coast.

Paul's computer system was experiencing some problems -- either OS corruption from a full hard drive (we took care of that problem first) or it could possibly be a memory chip going bad. So we spent some time working on that off and on.

Thursday morning Paul, Barb, Vicki and I went to Garrapata beach, which Barbara calls "The Noisy Beach". It has really consistent well-formed waves that crash loudly on the beach and rocks. We spent a couple of hours there with our shoes off, letting the cold Pacific water spread out over the sand and cover our ankles. I even got up on a big rock that was ocasionally being hit by a couple of feet of water and a couple of bigger waves hit it and splashed water all the way up to my sunglasses.... but I wore the quick-dry hiker clothes that day on purpose.

Some surfers were surfing toward the north end of the beach, and just past them was a group of nudists hanging out ... literally. We didn't get up that far :-)

It was nice to just walk along the beach and feel the waves and listen to the surf and breathe the salt air. Not excactly Jimmy Buffett Tropical Island Paradise (what with the cold water and dangerous surf), but beautiful all the same.

We hit a winery up Carmel Valley and did a tour there, and went to another's gift shop. Paul and Barbara are wine lovers and we had some wine every day.... it was awesome. I'm going to have to get me one of those Vinturi thingies.

We ate at Fishopper Wednesday evening on the pier on Cannery Row, and the next night at a place on Monterey bay whose name escapes me right now.

Paul showed me their Wii/Wii Fit. Pretty cool. I might even have to look into that, too. Although this bum shoulder needs fixin' first.

Friday evening we got a motel room in San Jose so Paul (and us) wouldn't have to get up at 0 Dark Thrity to make the drive in (an hour and a half). We ate at a seafood place there, too - the Fishmarket. Went to bed, caught the shuttle to the airport, flew to Pheonix.

We never got over the illness that befell both of us within a day of arriving in California. We'd hoped it was allergies to something blooming out there. We figured that if we left and it got better quick, that would be it.

I felt great at the Pheonix airport (... er... "Sky Harbor")

However, it was all back by the time we got to Indianapolis at 9:10 PM. Got out of the airport and drove the two hours to Fort Wayne. Got up at 7:00 the next morning, an hour later than we'd planned. Vicki went to the store. I replaced a light bulb on the front porch. Ate a couple eggs, made some coffee and Vicki threw the eggshells in the garbage disposal....

It had been getting noisier for a while. Well, it got noisier still and made awful clunking noises. Vicki turned it off and reached in there (that's my girl!) and could tell the whole spinn-ey thing was loose. I reached in and felt as well.

Went to Lowe's, got a new garbage disposal, and spent about 15 minutes putting it in. I've probably done 5 of those now. I pretty much know the drill. So ... a little inconvenient for us, but it saved a huge inconvenience for Mom trying to have it fixed ... get a handyman and all. Big headache and no garbage disposal. And we got out of there only an hour and a half later than we expected.

We're still sick. I was actually worse today than yesterday. We had Trenton tonight... I bought hand sanitizer, changed my shirt, and took every precaution to keep from exposing him to this. He got his flu shot and something else today. Poor guy.

My physical therapist sent me back to my doctor for my shoulder (rotor cuff). She said it should be healing faster than this. I see the doctor tomorrow morning. My guess is she'll send me to some ortho person to get a cortisone shot. Then more physical therapy.

And that noise my car was making a few weeks ago is back. I may need to take that by the garage and have them give it a listen.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Trenton's Brush With Greatness

How do you like them apples?

McCain came to Columbia and last week and ate at Buckingham's BBQ (run by Joe the BBQ-er).

Buckingham's is right next to Brian's security business, and he slipped in there with Trenton and got a picture taken shaking McCain's hand. My grandson's "brush with greatness".

Brian is "Joe the Security Business Owner".

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Carmel Colored

Drove up to Fort Wayne Thursday, hung out there Friday, then flew from Indianapolis to San Jose on Saturday. Vicki's cousin Paul picked us up at the airport and brought us to their stupendously lovely house in Carmel, CA. Carmel is at the north end of the Big Sur region of California, so there are lots of lovely things to see nearby. Sunday he drove us up to Monterey, by Cannery Row, and along the coast to the north. Yesterday we drove south through the Big Sur area, stopping at several places along the way. (The picture to the right was taken last night from their back porch.)

Vicki and I are suffering some respiratory problems... Don't know if we caught whatever Mom had... that would be a pretty fast infection. It could also be something blooming out here. We've eaten at some lovely places ... Fishwife near Monterey, and Nepenthe down south along the coast. We hiked through an old bootlegger's tunnel down to a dramatic part of the rocky coast, around a large coastal hill, and looked over a famous beach with a waterfall on it ...

Today we all pretty much laid low. I'm really coming down with this thing and we were pretty tired. Worked some on Paul's computer and went to lunch at Casanova in Carmel -- nice Europeanesque place downtown.

Hopefully tomorrow we'll feel better and we can check out Point Lobos.

Friday, October 10, 2008

A wedding in KC

Last weekend we shuttled off to Kansas City to see Cami's friend Coleen (that's /koh-leen/) get married to Steve, who we'd met at Mark & Cami's holiday party last year. Vicki had met Coleen at at another ladies party a couple of years ago. I'd met her at a BBQ at the Lipsky's place last summer, I think. Nice woman. Smart. Pretty. We were glad to see her find such a nice guy.

We went to the kids' football game Saturday morning. Cassie and Nathanial are on the same team. The Cardinals. All of the teams have "Official" NFL-ware jerseys. Their team is the Cardinals... of Arizona fame. Of course, when I was growing up near St. Louis in the 70's and early 80's ... they were the St. Louis Cardinals, and they had no more avid fan than I. Jim Hart was my hero. Pat Tilley. Mel Grey. Roger Wherli. Dan Dierdorf. And yes, Dobler and the always exciting Terry Metcalf. Exciting because you never knew if he was going to bust one for 60 yards or fumble the ball on any given play. But I digress.

Unfortunately, they were playing the Saints, and the Saints had a little boy on their team who was apparently the son of a former Kansas City Chiefs... running back, I think... and the kid scored on every end-around they ran. It was like 42-7 or something like that. But they seemed to be having fun, and that's what it's all about, right?

Mark and I played a little guitar when we got back, and Vicki and Cami went off to see if Vicki could find something different to wear to the wedding. She brought a purple top and a black skirt which looked fine, but she wanted something a bit more ... autumn themed. Mark grilled up some lunch and we sat out on the driveway by the grill and talked and had a few beers on a beautiful October afternoon. It was one of those periods of just a few hours when you're not doing anything in particular but life is grand because of where you are and who you're with.

The wedding ... which was really just a reception for us because the ceremony was private and tiny -- was at a KC BBQ place, and didn't really last long. We were there from about 7-10, and by the time we got home we were all bushed and went to bed.

We wanted to get back to Columbia in time to do a few things (like fix the leak in the firewall on the right side of my car), so we took off around noon.

I did get my car fixed ... and we watched the Mizzou/Nebraska game we'd recorded the night before.

52-17. First time we'd beaten them in Nebraska in 30 years.

#3 in the nation this week.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


[queue Van Halen - Jump!]

Something Vicki's always wanted to do... and something I just don't have an itch for... has been jumping out of an airplane.

Her friend Linn Lyons found a place down in Rolla, and they planned a trip. Vicki told Kevin about it, and apparently he had the same death-defying urge. And so it was set.

Angela feels the same way as I do about jumping. It just seems like such an unnecessary risk. Especially for the price. But hey, if I can spend $500 on a trip to the mountains, the cost for Vicki and Kevin combined came in under that. So who am I? Different strokes. (no, I'm not Gary Coleman)

Kevin and Angela came in on Friday night as we had to get up early to be at the Vichy airport just north of Rolla by 8:30 am. We sped off in plenty of time and were there shortly after 8:00 am. Linn showed up about the same time. They signed their lives away and paid their dough. And we waited.

[Queue Tom Petty - Learning to Fly]

They take a couple of people up at a time in a small plane. You get strapped to the belly of a professional skydiver (tandem) and they fly you up to about 12,000 feet. This takes about 25 minutes. The plane is a white spot against the sky, barely recognizable as a plane. They cut the engine for a minute, and you step out.

[Queue Tom Petty - Free Fallin']

You fall for about 5,000 feet, and then they deploy the chute. If that one doesn't work, they cut that one away and deploy a second chute. One jumper had to do that ... the ones that went up right before Kevin and Vicki went up.

They got about one jump in per hour. First it was a guy who kept getting rained out. Then Linn went up by herself because she had hers filmed, meaning another jumper with a camera had to go with her.

So after about 40 or 50 seconds of free fall, the chutes come open and they glide down for about 4 or 5 minutes and land in a grassy field.

We don't know why, but of the morning group, Vicki and Kevin were last.... so they were getting kind of antsy. The little girl in Vicki was fighting her external adult and occasionally peeking through. :-) Kinda cute, and I sympathized.

[Queue REO Speedwagon - Time for Me to Fly]

And finally they got to go. They took a different plane for some reason. Angela and I were familiar with the drill now from the previous three jumps, and we timed and watied, but never saw the plane. We saw other planes in other locations. And at some point we looked up. They had just deployed. So we missed their free-fall.

Apparently this plane came across from a different direction than the other three trips that morning.

I took pictures, but it was difficult. The lighting wasn't ideal, and their final approach was straight out of the sun. But I got a few.

We all went to Steak and Shake in Rolla for lunch, and then drove home. Brian, Kristin, and Trenton came over that evening and we watched baseball and talked and ate junk. And played with the baby, of course.

We babysat Sunday while Brian and Kristin went down to the lake. Had a nice, calm day with Trenton, doing nothing in particular. It was a good day.