Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Float That Wasn't

We'd been looking forward to Summer Float 2009 for quite some time. Made a facebook "event", discussed it with the attendees. Coordinated who was bringing what, and advised newer people what to bring and what to expect. Painstakingly packed. But I couldn't find my hand-held GPS. It was bugging me.

Kevin and Marken, as well as Brian and Kristin ... were coming down this year from our side, and John and Alli and Tomas and Deanna on the Williams' side. But then Brian had to drop out due to a business trip to the Carribean. And Kristin opted not to come by herself.

We went down with Ryan & Kristie, as usual. Met them at their house, and helped them load up their new trailer with our stuff and their stuff, which this year included kayaks and canoes. I've been especially excited about the kayaks, as I think they're more responsive and fun. I was still fretting about my GPS, but I kept telling myself it's not going to get any MORE lost while we're gone and I really don't NEED it. It's just a toy on a trip like this.

We made the traditional lunch stop at Steak & Shake in Rolla, headed down to Eminence, reserved campsites, met up with Kevin and Marken, set up tents, and headed for the river. It was HOT!

The swimming hole was pretty crowded, and we wandered downstream a ways into the shade. Had a beer and split another with Vicki. Floated on noodles, talked, and generally stayed cool until 5:30. Went back to the campsite.

I lit some charcoal and whipped up the Jiffy cornbread mix in the dutch oven. This was the dutch oven's virgin tryout. I followed the dutch oven instructions I read last month in the Missouri Conservationist, put the coals on top and below, and whipped out the other dutch oven and started the jambalaya.

Popped open a Sam Adams Blackberry Wit, and suddenly felt a little chilled. Well my shirt was still a little damp. But it was at least 90 degrees out, still. Sat in a chair and talked a while, tending to the food. And started to get queasy. Too much grease and milkshake for lunch? I felt pretty full, too. If I could just throw up, I'd probably feel better.

Kristie felt queasy, too. We'd both had hamburgers. So did Vicki. Ryan was fine.

I went and lay down for a while. And suddenly, it hit me. That tingle in your mouth with the slightly acidic and not at all pleasant taste. I popped out of the tent and went to the edge of the woods and emptied my stomach -- which still seemed quite full of what I'd had for lunch 7 or so hours before.

Did I mention how much I hate throwing up?

About 10 productive heaves and a couple of dry ones later, I was at least relieved that that would probably be the end of it. I went back and sat down.

And the chills hit, worse.

Dinner finished cooking with Kevin and Marken kind of watching it and I went to check on it a couple of times as well. The cornbread looked great, as did the jambalaya. But my stomach didn't think it looked all that great. I went and lay down again, this time with a blanket.

I got up a few times, but each time I was queasy, cold, and tired. So I gave up and went to bed.

Vicki came to bed a little later. Everyone turned in by 10.

And in the middle of the night, Vicki got up and dashed from the tent to throw up.

The next morning, we were both feeling lousy. Kristie was fine. And so we began to think... Kristin had the stomach flu Monday. Trenton got it Wednesday. We babysat Wednesday night. 2 days. 2 days. Probably the stomach flu, especially since Kristie feeling fine was casting doubt on the hamburger theory.

So Vicki and I stayed in camp and didn't go floating, much as I wanted to. But I knew I wouldn't have fun. Everyone else went.

I drank some gatorade -- which helped -- and went out mid morning to get some oyster crackers, ice, Mylanta, and a couple other things. We lay on the mattress together in the tent using Kevin and Marken's battery operated camp fan as the temperature rose into the mid 80's, and probably hotter in the tent.

I finally left the tent and sat outside where it was about 5 degrees cooler and there was a better breeze. But Vicki had it much worse than I did and couldn't bring herself to get off the mattress in the tent.

I took a shower in the shower house and came back and sat outside the tent. We talked and slept off and on the rest of the afternoon.

It was very much like having a hangover without the drunken stupor the night before. Bad headache. Nausea. No energy.

Everyone got back and said they had a good time and thought of us often. There were offers to take us home, but the thought of trying to break down the tent and pack our stuff in our condition was overwhelming. The night was going to be comfortable, and we'd feel better in the morning.

Couldn't even imagine eating dinner that night, either. All day I had a bottle of gatorade, water, and oyster crackers. I tried some coke, but it didn't sit well. So we went to bed early again.

I slept like a rock. Even thought I was home in our room at first the few times I briefly woke. Vicki, on the other hand, was not really any better AND had a migraine to boot.

I didn't feel as well as I had expected in the morning, but better for sure. Headache was gone at least, and not everything made me want to hurl. We moved slowly breaking everything down. Had lots of help packing up, and headed for the traditional pictures at Alley Mill.

It was very pretty -- I'd never seen it like this. There was more water from all the rain, but the neat thing was that because it was so hot and humid but the water was so cold, there was a dense mist a couple of feet thick over the water, and the light streaming through the trees gave the God Effect in a few places. Camera .... itch .... If I weren't with a group .... and Vicki weren't still pretty sick .... I got a couple of quick shots and had to settle for that before we did the group shot and left.

We headed in to Ruby's now Sharon's T&T Family Restaurant in Eminence -- they always have a great buffett, and it's a real neat small-town restaurant in an old building. Not a huge choice, but all of it is good, and heck... what do you need? Pancakes, french toast sticks, biscuits with optional gravy, sausage, bacon, scrambled egges, fried potato cubes and a few other things. All fresh and all good.

I was a little hungry, and I picked non-greasy, not-too-sweet or spicy fare. Vicki was surprisingly hungry as well. We both ate and everyone said their goodbyes as we took off with the Williams' back to Mid Missouri.

Unpacked the wet stuff. Vicki insisted on starting laundry. And my GPS was hanging on the coat tree in the hallway. Vicki was still feeling pretty lousy most of the time. I wasn't feeling that great, either. No energy at all. I did have to try to fix the phone... it's acting wierd ... so she could call her mom. I spent 30 minutes or so outside cleaning contacts and re-wiring it. It seemed ok for a while, then started acting up again.

Talked to Kristin. Brian came down with the stomach flu on the way to Honduras. And grandma Jean got it Thursday. So it was going around. I looked up "stomach flu" viruses on the internet out of curiosity.

Then we ended up watching a movie and going to bed.

Monday morning I just couldn't get up. I wasn't about to throw up, but the stomach wasn't at 100% yet, either. I'd read on the internet Sunday evening about the viruses that cause stomach flu. I figured it must've been the norovirus since adults didnt' seem to have any immunity to it like we seem to to the rotovirus. It had said the norovirus was highly contagious, and I decided to take an extra day away from other people.

So we got it from Trenton ... still... when all is said and done it's a fair trade. I wouldn't have had it any other way. He needed us :-)

Vicki was still a little queasy this morning. I went to work. I figure she had it worse and probably irritated her tissues more. I'd bet the virus is gone from her, she just needs to finish healing.

So now I want to go floating.

But I'm also Jonsin' for the Rockies.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Precious. And intelligent, too!

We were babysitting for Trenton on Brian & Kristin's date night. Vicki had changed her clothes and come into the kitchen. It was about 5:30 pm.

Trenton walked up to Vicki, grabbed her hand, and led her over to the kitchen table where his chair & booster seat are. He removed the tray, and handed it to me, and started pushing the chair away from the table. 14.5 months. He may not be able to talk yet, but THAT'S communication!!!

For the record, his normal dinner time is about 6 or 6:30. There was no fussing, no whining (not that he doesn't do that sometimes) but he was a hungry little guy, and he was hungry now. And he found a way to let us know outside of crying, screaming or pointing.

Smart little guy.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Sizzlin' Sophie

While I was listening to Diana Krall's "Quiet Nights" on Rhapsody, it suggested another artist ... one I hadn't heard of.

Now THIS is the way to approach classic material. A little emotion, a little flair. Great voice, and great use of it. She has 3 albums to date. The latest one just went on sale (right).

It was all really good stuff. I remember hearing "Day In, Day Out" and thinking - "now that's a fresh approach, but still classic jazz." Bravo, Sophie!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Sighing Di (One Note Samba)

Several years ago after hearing her version of Nat Cole's "Frim Fram Sauce", I bought Diana Krall's "All For You" ... which is an excellent album I'd recommend for anyone's collection. So I got "Steppin' Out", "Only Trust Your Heart", "Love Scenes", and "When I Look In Your Eyes" ... all with some nice piano trio work that worked well with her vocals.

Since I liked all the others, when "The Look of Love" came ought I bought it, too. Besides, the cover of that album flat sizzles, ifyaknowhatimean. Ouch!

With this album more than any other to that point, though, she went more to orchestration and away from the piano trio format -- which is where she shines (with the later, not the former). But it'll hold a special place in my collection and get played with the first four, which is probably a tribute to the brilliant marketer who had her pose just so in that black dress and those heels.

Since then she's gone mainly to torch songs and Jobim sambas. Great material, to be sure. And I'm as big a Jobim fan as anyone. It worked well with the Christmas album, "Christmas Songs" which is a perennial in my collection. But even on that her vocals had a jazzier spark to them on several of the tracks even if she was away from piano central. Ok, and the green dress and heels didn't hurt, either. Same marketer, I presume.

But with each new album, Christmas album aside, I've been hoping she'd go back to the trio format. She's a good jazz musician. This arranged stuff boxes her in. And she has a pleasant voice ... I mean, I like it. It's better when she's belting a song than it is when she's sighing one. That works for Astrud Gilberto. But not everyone is Astrud. It's just not bringing anything interesting to the material in this format.

And so it was with "Quiet Nights", which just came out a couple of months ago. I was again hoping she'd be tickling the keys and leaning into the piano with some of the old gusto... but no. This has got to be the breathiest, most arranged album to date. Pleasant background dinner music, to be sure. But a far cry from her early work.

Maybe this is what's in demand and it's how she can rake in the big money, which is totally understandable. Or maybe this is really what she wants to do... which would be totally understandable as well. But it isn't lighting a fire under my rear to go out and buy any more Diana Krall. Me, personally. I've never been one of those fans who has the audacity to tell an artist what they should do. I'm just personally disappointed. Still, I have the early albums to listen to, and my collection is richer for it.

Pssst. Diana! Your piano chops are what sets you apart.