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Showing posts from August, 2011

The plunge

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The line for this water slide isn't too long. I'm guessing we'll be able to go in about five minutes. I look at the sign for the ride: "Cliffhanger." It used to be called "Shotgun Falls" before Raging Waters was taken over by Seven Peaks and renamed all the rides along with renaming the whole water park. Eldest is asking me about that name change as we stand in line. I'm barely listening, instead focusing on the mountains in the distance and the incredible knot that has built in my stomach.

Some of you know this and some don't: I was seriously afraid of water when I was younger. I didn't learn how to swim until my 20s, and I didn't develop the confidence to swim in deep water until the last few years. And it's not that much confidence: Every time I jump into deep water, I need to psych myself up a little and remind myself that I will surface, I will be able to swim back to the side, and even if I can't, the lifeguard will jump in …

Dells trip

On our vacation this year, we stayed in the Wisconsin Dells for two nights. For those unfamiliar with Wisconsin, Wisconsin Dells is a resort town along a stretch of the Wisconsin River know for its unique rock formations. Wisconsin Dells is also a bit of a tourist trap, with its endless waterparks, giant resorts and insane traffic. We enjoyed our trip this year, maybe because we rarely left the waterpark resort. This wasn't my first time in the Dells -- I went for a few days with friends a couple summers after high school, and Wife and I would take day trips there, because one day was about all we could take.

But my first time in the Dells was in August 1979. I've been wanting to write about this trip for a while now, particularly after our few days in the Dells last month. With school about to begin and summer nearing its end, here is one more summer flashback ...

My dad's friend owned an A-frame cabin in Baraboo, which is a few miles outside Wisconsin Dells. In 1979, th…

Summer fun in '81

Of all my summer memories from my childhood, for some reason, the summer of 1981 stands out. I can't explain why this summer was such a turning point or so memorable, but it was, so much so that I was making compilation tapes commemorating the summer of 1981 ... in early 1985.

The summer of 1981 was 30 years ago, and I meant to reflect, recall and relive that summer during this summer, at least on my blog. I never quite got around to it, however, particularly the past few weeks after vacation while we've been busy with enjoying the remainder of summer and taking care of the new puppy. But summer isn't over yet, and there is still time to look back at 1981 in 2011. Here's what I remember from 30 summers ago:

-- The baseball strike interrupted Fernando Valenzuela's rookie season, but didn't temper my enthusiasm for the game. This summer, my pee-wee team controversially won our league championship (a long story for another post), and I played more Strat-o-Matic th…

Still summer

We've been back from vacation for almost a week. Eldest starts school in two weeks, Littlest in three. Summer vacation as we used to define it as kids -- from the last day of school in June to the first day of the next school year in late August or early September -- is coming to a close.

I'm not letting it go quietly. I want to take the boys hiking, I'm taking them to the waterpark later today, I want to enjoy the warm sun, and I want to relish the pleasant summer evenings while we still can.

On my iPod, I have a playlist entitled "August/September" that features songs I immediately connect to the end of summer/very beginning of fall. Some of these songs include "Only Time Will Tell" by Asia, "Take Me to Heart" by Quarterflash, "Money for Nothing" by Dire Straits, "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns n' Roses and "One Week" by Barenaked Ladies. Year after year, this is the mix I start listening to once I get back…

Vacation finale

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As expected, the last three days of vacation were much less eventful than the first 12. This happens every year -- we get back from Wisconsin for at least one day before leaving for Utah, and it's just wind-down time. And that's OK -- going nonstop for two weeks isn't easy, especially with kids. And vacation is supposed to be a time to relax, and for the past three days, that's what we did.

The past few days weren't that relaxing, however. Monday, we met my mom, who is in Chicago this week, for lunch and then to Old Orchard Mall. That night, we met some friends at the new Superdawg (my favorite Chicago hot dog restaurant) in Wheeling.

Tuesday, after pondering going downtown, we ended up just seeing the Smurfs movie with my dad. Last night, we went to dinner at a nice little Italian restaurant here in Edgebrook.

Wednesday was mostly devoted to getting ready for our return trip Thursday morning. The heat and thunderstorms finally subsided -- this might have been the mos…