Showing posts from May, 2012

Summer, Day 11

I'm a little worn out as I type this post. I'm writing and watching "Dog Day Afternoon" on TCM at the same time. And I'm tired.

I co-oped Tuesday and Wednesday at the boys' school, and today I helped out with the kindergarten classes' Water Day. I filled up a lot of water balloons, then became a target for water balloons. None of the other adults got water balloons thrown at them, just me. Maybe I shouldn't be such a fun co-oper. It was a fun morning, and I wasn't defenseless in the water war -- I had the bucket and access to a faucet.

The boys had swim practice in the late afternoon, and once again, I lounged by the pool while they swam. Michael did diving practice after swim, but Ben didn't, so the two of us swam for 45 minutes, involving Ben getting thrown about 25 times. He loved it, but it took a lot out of me, even though he's so light (even in the water). After practice, we picked up dinner and came home.

I took Popcorn for a long w…

Summer, Day 10

Co-op days are always a little crazier, and though I will miss co-oping over the summer, I'm ready for the school year to end to get a break. Today was no exception the crazy expectation after co-oping Ben this morning, trying to get some work done this afternoon, taking the boys to swim practice, then to their baseball game. At least at swim practice, I got to sit by the pool and relax while watching the boys' practice (I even jumped in for a few minutes -- the water was great). Ben struggled a little today; he's suddenly not wanting to swim freestyle (or is forgetting what it's called).

After swim, we picked up a pizza and motored to the baseball game. Propelled by six-run fifth inning, the Twins won 8-4! I was a little nervous that fate wasn't on our side. Michael and his teammate Kyler, the best to hitters on the team, probably have not failed to reach base after hitting the ball in play all season -- until tonight. On consecutive at-bats, Kyler hit a soft line…

Summer, Day 9

Past Memorial Day weekend, and back to school. I'm amazed grade school teachers try anything scholastic after Memorial Day. Ben's last day is next Monday; Michael's is two days after. Nevertheless, I took them to school and co-oped in Michael's class. After the morning co-op ended, I took Ben to the cafeteria, where he stood in line for his first school lunch, in preparation for next year when he will be eating lunch there every day. He did great, getting his spaghetti and cheese, picking some veggies and fruit from the choices bar, sitting down and enthusiastically eating his lunch. I took Ben today to give him a chance to experience a new routine. Maybe I don't give him enough credit sometimes, because he loves tackling new routines. He's going love first grade, too.

The rest of the day was uneventful. I coached Ben's soccer team's last practice of the season. I went for a at dusk (this is my favorite time of the day at my favorite time of year to run…

Summer, Day 8

Today was Memorial Day, and as far as Memorial Days go, this one seemed somewhat anticlimactic. The sun came out after three less-than-stellar days, perhaps preventing the weekend from being a total bust.

I worked late last night but was awake earlier than I wanted to be this morning. I fell back asleep and woke up around 10:30 to a thumping sound outside. Michael, Lori and my father-in-law got the rest of the sand in the base of the new basketball hoop, and Michael and his friend from across the street were shooting around.

This was Lori's parents' last day in Utah, so we treated them to The Cheesecake Factory at the new City Creek mall downtown. I had the macaroni and cheese burger and most of a piece of Oreo cheesecake (no matter how much I pushed on my sons -- they wanted to share Lori's banana cream cheesecake). The boys and I wandered City Creek a little and came home.

The afternoon wasn't much more eventful. Michael and I took Popcorn to the park for about 10 mi…

Summer, Day 7

I'm happy to be writing this post after work. I'm picking up some extra shifts for the summer, and if I want to blog every day, I'm going to need to write after work to recap the day. It helps that today wasn't too eventful ...

The sky was as cloudy as it was yesterday, but it didn't rain much today. My father-in-law ambitiously assembled Michael's new basketball hoop. He did a great job, better than I would have done, but the base of the portable hoop needed sand. I didn't find any at Sears or Walmart, but bought some at Home Depot cheap. This took a couple hours, and I got home just as Tony was finishing the hoop. The boys and I started putting sand into the base -- unfortunately, not a quick task. I funneled one bag in, and Lori and Michael got two more, but we still have three to go. I know Michael is excited about his new hoop, but I am too -- I love random shootarounds.

I went to work for a busy night, but I managed to get out on the balcony for 10 mi…

Morning drive

When I finishing up first grade in 1977, age 6 1/2 at the time, my family moved from McVicker Avenue near Riis Park in Chicago to Rascher Avenue on the Northwest Side near Oriole Park. We moved during the first week of May -- generally too late in the school year to even bother switching schools. At the time, I was going to Trinity Lutheran School, which was around the corner from the McVicker house. We weren't Lutheran, but the school was so close and my mom was so nervous (I'd be crossing the busy Fullerton Avenue to get to the Catholic school) that for kindergarten and first grade, I went to Trinity Lutheran. May 1977 was my last month there.

We moved five miles away, and somehow, I had to get to school. My mother didn't have her driver's license yet, so Dad drove me in every day. I don't remember specific conversations with him as he drove me in. I don't even remember if I sat in the front seat of the Century or not.

What I do remember is what those morning…

Summer, Day 6

Ben's kindergarten class is having a camping trip this weekend, about an hour south of us. We are not campers, but we were going to visit just for the day, weather permitting.

Unfortunately, the weather did not permit.

I was out running this morning when the drizzle began. By halfway through my run, at the farthest point from the house, it was pouring. A few minutes later, thunder and lightning began -- not a lot, but enough to make me a bit nervous. I passed another guy running, and we smiled while we said hi and passed each other, an unspoken smile that declared "Are we morons for running in this?" The funny thing was, I felt great running, being cold and wet notwithstanding. Maybe it was just adrenaline or the desire to get out of the lightning, but I was moving. Anyway, I got home, enjoyed a warm shower, and realized we likely weren't going to the campsite. The weather did improve a little, but it was still cool and windy, and we didn't want to risk driving d…

Summer, Day 5

(I'm writing this the morning after Day 5 after working late last night and not being in the mood to get back on the computer.)

Michael declared on Friday that it was a "video game sort of day." That description was accurate. The day felt like a cloudy August day -- not really cool, not quite rainy, but just miserable enough to remind you that summer would be ending soon.

The only problem: Summer is just beginning. We've seemed to have some miserable Memorial Day weekends here in Utah the past several years, and Friday was a precursor to what appears to be another clunker.

I tried running Friday, but got about 15 minutes out when my iPod shuffle's battery conked out. I took that as a sign and ran home. After a not-so-productive afternoon, I went to work.

The boys didn't do much either. I think we needed a day that was chock full of activity. I hate to take those days in the summer, but if you are going to take one, best to do it on a cloudy, climatologically …

Summer, Day 4

We take one big vacation every summer, almost always back to the Midwest. This year we delayed booking a trip. We contemplated going to Texas instead to see my family, as well as waited until airfares, which have been the most expensive since we moved to Utah in 2000, became cheaper. In the last 36 hours, fares became cheaper, and it was time to pounce.

Booking our trip should have been easy. Unfortunately, it became an adventure itself, dominating my thoughts and efforts all day.

I had found a cheap fare to Texas on Southwest, but I also found the cheapest fare I had seen for Chicago in months, maybe a couple years. We had miles built up, and I thought I could get us a good deal. However, Delta's website conspired against me. After swaying back and forth between Chicago and San Antonio, I finally got enough of a better deal for Chicago and booked the flight. We'll go to Texas in November, when the weather is quite nice. November in Chicago is terminally gray.

Otherwise, it wa…

Summer, Day 3

The rain didn't arrive until tonight. But the chill blew through all day.

I took the kids to school this morning and then went for a much needed run (the Wasatch Back is coming up quick, and I don't feel like I'm in any semblance of shape for it). We went to lunch with Lori's parents at an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant, and I was happy that I was full but not painfully full (which has happened at Simply Sushi before). The day just got busier from there. I eventually picked Michael up from school, took the boys to swim practice, picked up a pizza for them to eat after practice but before baseball, then took them to their baseball game. After getting out to a big start against the best team in the league, alas, the Twins lost 23-7, though Michael went 4-for-4 and Ben enjoyed playing catcher again.

After getting home, I let Popcorn play with the neighbor dog for a while, then retired for the night, watching "Modern Family" and the end of "St. Elmo's …

Summer, Day 2

Another warm day ... for a while.

When I walked outside this morning to drive Michael to school, I thought to myself how much I love warm mornings. I hate waking up for them, of course, but I love the green and the pleasant air that portends a great day is imminent. I co-oped at school this morning, and while some kids were taking district-mandated tests, I taught others how to play Strat-o-Matic baseball. Hey, it's educational -- there's math and reading and strategy! The kids who played seemed to like it, even though we didn't have time for a full game.

Michael had an orthodontist's appointment, and we took him to lunch before taking him back to school. I returned home to an uneventful afternoon, followed by Ben's soccer practice. After being so hot, and this being kind of an optional practice league-wide (the league doesn't play this Saturday), I had something fun planned for the team: a water fight. I brought several plastic sport bottles for this, but the …

Summer, Day 1

Having the crazy first three weeks of May, I'm thinking of summer. The temperature climbed above 90 on Monday, really making me think of summer. Thus, I embarked on some simple math.

Ten days remain in May. June has 30, and July and August each are 31 days. Labor Day is Sept. 3, but I'm going with Sept. 5 -- the first NFL game of the season (yes, it's on a Wednesday this year). Add it up, and you get 107. Add the day that just finished, and you get 108. That number is how many days I'm declaring officially as my summer.

I'm planning to write something about each of the 108 days. It's ambitious, and it doesn't mean that I won't blog about other things (but it might mean multiple postings in the same hour; please, please scroll down when you call up my home page). I've declared how much summer has meant to me, and how much I try to recapture the feelings and memories and summers past. This year, I am making no excuse to let those memories drift into …

Catching up

Yeeks, just when I thought May couldn't get crazier, it did. Baseball, soccer, swimming, grandparents, school, extra work shifts, a trip to Denver and Ben's birthday party all kept me from blogging, or any writing at all. There's so much to catch up on ...

I survived another round of layoffs at the newspaper. I wasn't too worried anyway -- as a part-timer who can perform a variety of jobs, I am incredibly cost-efficient, and besides we wouldn't be losing that much salary if I was laid off -- but I didn't want to go out like that. And I didn't, but I feel bad for the co-workers who lost their jobs, as well as those still working under a reorganized but not necessarily improved newsroom structure.

Lori and I went to Denver last week for our first trip without the kids since we had them. The three-day, two-night excursion was wonderful. We ate at restaurants not worrying if they had a kids menu. We explored a great bookstore and took our time browsing. We saw …

Batting averages, epilogue

Since Part 4 of this series, I embarked on a mission: Find a pack of baseball cards with gum in it. I've seen such packs in the past few years, and I wanted to taste the nondescript flavor of this gum again.

My summer of baseball that was 1980 came to an end, and I began fifth grade. I followed George Brett as he chased .400, but hampered by hemorrhoids, he fell short at .390. The Phillies defeated the Royals in the World Series. The Cubs were worse than ever (at least in my baseball lifetime), and they would trade Bruce Sutter and Dave Kingman during the offseason. I transitioned into football season, collecting football cards, rooting for the Bears and getting Earl Campbell's autograph that fall.

I thought for sure I would find a pack with gum at Shopko, which usually has a decent selection of cards. However, the store didn't have such packs. I see the Topps retro pack, which puts today's players in the 1963 style of baseball cards. Maybe past years of these cards wer…

First Communion

Michael made his first Communion today. He's such a big kid that I can't believe it.

This picture is of him at the reception afterward. If he looks relaxed, I think he is. He did the second reading today, and though it was only two sentences, I think he was nervous. I know I was nervous. He got to the pulpit, tapped the microphone to see if it was working, read the reading (which he's been practicing for two weeks), and stepped down. We were so proud.

The Mass was really nice. I wonder if my family came away from my Communion Mass so uplifted. I think Michael was nervous as well receiving the Eucharist for the first time. The ceremony was designed to that we would be right there observing him taking Communion for the first time, so we saw him eat the wafer, almost forget which hand he needed to make the sign of the cross with, and take the wine (I forgot to asked him how it tasted). Lori was tearing up off and on during Mass, and at that moment, I tried hard not to as well…


This is May.

Leaves. Exploding leaves, reclaiming branches that have been bare for months. Thousands of reminders that the sunshine and the warmth returns every year.

Dirt. The soil underneath the grass that is daring to grow again. The dirt on the baseball diamond that lightly coats the players (and coaches) above it -- dirt that won't feel the same in June.

The sun is reasserting itself in the sky. No more wimpy paths that barely graze the southern sky, but a start ruling directly overhead. The sun at 9 a.m. is tentative. The sun at the same time in May is confident.

"Sir Duke" is May. So is Smokey Robinson's "Being With You," as well as "The Reflex," "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" and "Shattered Dreams."

Every Star Wars movie is May.

May is relief. And hope. And anticipation. Summer is right around the corner. The month of May is no better reminder of that.

This is May.