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Showing posts from June, 2014

Summer 2014, day 32: Hot, hot, hot

The temperature is inching higher. At some point every summer -- usually around now, high temps in Salt Lake City climb above 90 degrees and stay there for the next two months. This isn't terrible because it never feels humid, just very bright. But for a 10-year-old practicing basketball inside a non-cooled gym, it's a challenge. Michael has been good about bringing and drinking plenty of water, and he hasn't looked worn out these past two days, even after he had basketball camp in the morning (that's four hours of hoops the last two days). The heat might be tougher on Ben during soccer camp this week, though the coaches are good about taking breaks and bringing the kids into the shade.

I escaped the sauna of the gym by finding a Starbucks at which to work. Later, I took Ben to swim practice and lounged in the sun while he swam. The water at the pool (Ben practiced inside, then splashed with his friends outside) felt good. I took the dog running in the morning before i…

Summer 2014, days 29-31: The calm, the storm

Oops, another break in the blogging action, but here's my chance to catch up again. The weekend was mellower than normal. We had a Saturday with no sports whatsoever. OK, we did see a Salt Lake Bees game, but the boys didn't have any sports. We hit a few garage sales in the morning (and found Michael a bicycle -- he outgrew his previous one, quickly), and I took the dog on a hike in Millcreek Canyon.

The baseball game was fun, even though the Bees lost. This was a group event for the boys' swim team, and Ben hung out with his friends for much of the game. There was a fireworks show afterward, and people were allowed onto the field to get a better view. Ben was somehow the first one out there, and he made a run to hit all points of the grass spectators were allowed. Lori was worried he was clueless about us (we hadn't made it on the field yet), but I knew that Ben knew exactly what he was doing. He wasn't lost -- this was his plan all along. The fireworks were short…

The hillside, the sunset, the reflection

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Summer 2014, Day 28

This was a summer day. Not overwhelmingly summer, but a good summer day nonetheless.

The sun was shining and the temperature climbed into the 80s. The boys had swim practice, and Michael had basketball camp. We all went to breakfast this morning at Original Pancake House. We went back to the pool for a few hours, and though I didn't swim too much, I did do my annual jump off the diving board to remind myself that I can swim in deep water. Ben and I, and Popcorn, walked to get a snow cone later in the evening while it was still light out. I'm sitting on the porch typing, listening to baseball, and enjoying the pleasant night.

Ah, summer.

Summer 2014, days 24-27: The Cooldown

Well, it had to happen: I missed a few days blogging. These four days appropriately coincided with a cold spell that swept through Salt Lake City. On Tuesday night, it was in the low 40s; the upper elevations even got snow. You don't usually see the peaks with a dusting in mid-June, but there they were. The cold and rain blew into town Monday, got really miserable on Tuesday, lost the rain on Wednesday, and finally warmed up near a pleasant 70 degrees on Thursday. SLC seems to get one cold snap between Memorial Day and mid-June before the heat really sets in. Sure enough, temps are supposed to hit the high 90s next week.

The week has been sort of busy and sort of uneventful at the same time. Michael is going to a different basketball camp this week in the morning. Ben and I hit a comic book store Monday, and his head almost exploded (needless to say, he enjoyed the trip). I ran errands with both kids on separate days -- we somehow arrived at Walmart both trips. The boys had a swim…

Summer 2014, Day 23

I wanted to go for a hike with my family on Father's Day. My family obliged.

The morning was a little cloudy, and I was a little concerned that the day would stay that way (the mountains are at a higher risk of lightning strikes even when it's not raining). The alternate plan was to see "How to Train Your Dragon 2." But the skies cleared up enough for the hike, and it wasn't even too hot today -- this was perfect summer hiking weather. We went up Rattlesnake Gulch to the Salt Lake Valley Overlook in Millcreek Canyon -- a hike I've done maybe three times already this year but never disappoints. I actually caught a little glimpse of a rattlesnake on the weeds off the trail; Popcorn briefly investigated some rustling, and I only saw a little of the body (and heard no rattle) to quickly shoo her off back onto the trail. The rest of the hike was great. I'm happy we got to spend the time together on the trail instead just the dog and me.

We picked up Barbacoa o…

Summer 2014, Day 22

A Saturday without sports but a lot of parties. Ben had a birthday party first, then the boys' end-of-season baseball party was on tap for the afternoon, then we went to a friend's 40th kid-friendly birthday party in the evening. The kids were exhausted by the end of the day, especially Ben, who was overtired by the end of the day. I was tired, too -- I had run with the dog in the morning and didn't quite feel like taking her for a walk in the evening after we got home from the last party. "Thirteen Days" was on TV, and I hadn't seen that in a while and was content to watch while playing Ticket to Ride on my iPad.

Summer 2014, Day 21

We can chalk this Friday the 13th up as being the first official lazy day of summer.

Michael played Minecraft with his best friend from across the street for hours starting this morning, and Ben's best friend is out of town. Around noon, I started realizing I had very little incentive to do much today. I had caught up with all my freelance work and was looking forward to a work-free weekend. That went out the window when I was informed that I had been given the wrong documents for a news release I wrote this week So much for my work-free weekend, though I'm not rushing to rewrite the release after their mistake. But the debacle put me in a more restless mood.

Ben and I did get out of the house, going to the game store for a birthday present and to some thrift stores (found a classic version of Risk and kids Penguins jersey for Ben). I got home and the boredom was really setting in. Michael complained his friend and Ben were suggesting things he didn't want to do. I even of…

Summer 2014, Day 20

The boys completed basketball camp today, and both had fun all week. Michael continued to mostly shoot with his better form, and Ben was his usual happy, bouncy self. I didn't get to see the whole session, as I needed to get some work done and found a Starbucks. But from what I did see today and all week, I'm glad we signed them up for the camp -- especially Ben, who wants to come back next year.

The rest of the day was mostly uneventful. Lori took Michael to basketball practice (yes, he played a lot of hoops today) while Ben and I played a couple board games and watched Game 4 of the NBA Finals. I got a haircut this morning and took the dog a long walk at night. Got sucked into a "Kitchen Nightmares" episode (why?) and am about ready to call it a night. I'm ready for a weekend.

Summer 2014, Day 19

After Michael complained about his basketball coach's suggestion Tuesday night, I was expecting at least a discussion with him about it today. But he surprised me, and I'm so proud of him.

He had swim practice early, then had some time at the JCC while Ben was in the pool. Michael to the gym, found a basketball, and practiced his shot the way his coaches want him to. He came home and showed me, then did it the same way at camp to the praise of the head coach. No arguments -- he got the idea he needed to do this if he wanted to get better. I watched him during camp, and there were still a few times he dropped his hands on his shot instead of holding the form, but even that will dissipate as he practices. He loves basketball and wants to get better, and knows he will need to work hard to get there.

The day was filled with sports -- the boys had a swim meet in the evening. They raced great. Michael put up some good times despite not being able to practice too much lately (I hope …

Summer 2014, Day 18

Today, Lori stayed at basketball camp with the boys while I spent the afternoon at home. I was mildly productive, getting some freelance work done, but I also enjoyed the new iPad.

I did run with the dog in the morning; later, I took Michael to basketball practice and watched the session. We're at odds right now -- his coach wants him to change his shooting form, but he doesn't quite have the range on it yet and just wants to chuck it like he usually does. I spent my whole walk with the dog stewing over the argument he is throwing at us. Michael befuddles me sometimes: He wants to be good at things but never wants to put in any sort of work toward it. Guitar, reading, baseball, math -- you name it, he's complained about it. Basketball is usually the exception, but he's resisting this shooting suggestion. His coach told me that she doesn't mind if he shoots airballs for now -- just get the form down. He doesn't want to airball it. Hence, the impasse.

Michael and…

Summer 2014, Day 17

The first super busy week (of three) began today. The boys had their first morning swim practice of the season and then basketball camp in the afternoon. Lori took them to swim, and I think it went off without a hitch.

I took them to basketball camp -- three hours of hoops fun -- and stayed the entire time while I also worked. Ben had a lot of fun, saying it was a good day. Michael had fun, too, but anything basketball-related is old hat for him. This was Ben's first exposure to this much basketball -- dribbling, shooting, passing -- all at once. He's never going to be a comp player like Michael, but I would like him to become good enough to hold his own in rec play. He's not bad little shooter (though he's so skinny he can't shoot from too far out -- he's been challenging himself to make a free throw), and hopefully he'll some more confidence dribbling after this week.

I got home to an early Father's Day present. Lori and I have talked about getting an…

Summer 2014, Day 16

I tackled the garage today. It tackled back.

I had been planning on clearing out the garage -- taking everything out, reorganizing, throwing some stuff out -- for a few weeks now, and today seemed like the best opportunity. I took Popcorn on a hike on the dog trail this morning, then ate lunch and started the job. Four hours and a cut finger (achieved while taking the kid pedal trailer off Lori's bike), I was finished. And exhausted.

Ben and I went to Walmart for some things, and I took the dog for another walk after the NBA Finals Game 2 completed (Heat beat Spurs -- boo). And now I'm blogging outside and it's getting a little chilly. Going to wrap this up and get a good night's sleep in preparation for a busy week ahead.

Summer 2014, Day 15

Baseball season ended today, but let's get the rest of the day out of the way first.

I had a hell of a time trying to grill today. The new propane tank I bought didn't work, then the meat thermometer gave me a minor false reading and I had to put the steaks and chicken back on the grill. The T-bones at least turned out well (I can't speak for the chicken). We played the board game Dominion tonight as a family (I won, but just barely!) and then I got a bit lazy, only managing to take the dog around the block (she had been at Ben's baseball game and got enough outside time then).

Now for baseball. Three years ago, in Michael's first season of machine pitch, Ben would be don a helmet and be a runner during fielding practice. One day, he asked if he could get in the batter's box and try hitting a pitch. On the second ball, he amazingly hit it. Not far, but he got his bat on it. At another practice, he did it again at age 5. He played t-ball that summer and would hi…

Summer 2014, Day 14

Michael's last baseball game of the season was tonight. The Giants had reached the championship game and were playing a team that was undefeated. Even as an assistant coach I was antsy about this game for a couple days. We had played the Sharks tough the last time, and I wanted our kids to not get blown out in the last game of the year.

The Giants didn't win. But, oh, we were so close. We lost 7-6, giving the Sharks their toughest game of the year after we probably gave them their previous toughest in the other loss. We actually led 6-5 at one point -- which was the first time the Sharks had trailed outside the top of the first inning all season -- but a bad bounce here, a unfortunate dribbler there, and we lost by one run. Michael contributed to making this game close, doubling in two runs and stealing home. The Giants finished 12-4 for second place -- an amazing achievement in a 12-team league.

One more baseball game to go: Ben's last game is tomorrow. There's nothin…

Summer 2013, Day 13

Today was another busy day, but instead of running errands, we cemented the rest of the summer. Our vacation in July is now set, and the boys are registered for soccer (both for the fall, Ben for a camp as well). I completed some online errands, too -- ordering some phone accessories and furnace filters. I have this yellow sticky on my laptop that was full of tasks, and it got a lot smaller today. I'm looking forward to it being blank. Again, this feels like a transition week into the meaty part of summer. Though it was a good day, I'm ready for more fun.

Summer 2014, Day 12

Kind of a busy Wednesday. I had many errands to run, including getting new tires for the Outback. In the afternoon, I worked on the lawn, putting some EZ Seed on a large bare spot with the hope that some grass will actually grow this summer. Ben had a baseball game in the evening. The day went by quickly, and after a long walk with the dog, I was exhausted. I really just want to get through this week.

Summer 2014, Day 11

At my sons' school, the last day before summer vacation is just like many other schools' last day -- a little celebration of the completed year. At Open Classroom, it's even more of a party: The kids gets individualized awards for their contributions to the class, there's a brunch in every room, and parents can take their children home earlier than the already earlier dismissal time.

My grade school, St. Eugene, was similar, except we finished with Mass and got our report cards. We were free, and it was awesome. My boys didn't seem as excited today. Ben was sad because one of his friends -- the only one he's been a classmate of all three years at the OC -- is moving this summer to Washington. Michael was mellow, too, though not sad: When we went to pick him up (his class did awards before Ben's), he was sitting with his friend Hazel, who gave him a big hug goodbye and said to call her (but don't call her his girlfriend -- he got so mad when I even impli…

Summer 2014, Day 10

The boys swam a practice, intrasquad meet tonight -- a tuneup before the season starts next week. Michael swam OK -- you could tell he needs to get more laps under his belt because the endurance just isn't there yet. For example, the first 25 of his 50 breaststroke was fast, but then he tired out on the second half. Ben swam fast but got tripped up by technical details. He didn't take enough strokes after seeing the flag on his backstroke (his arm also hit the lane line); he forgot to touch the wall with two hands on the breaststroke and butterfly; he performed a flip turn too soon on his 50 free and wasn't near the wall when he was done. That said, every time he got tonight was a PR over last season. Once he figures out the mechanics, he's going to be cruising.

:Lori and I enjoyed a nice lunch at Sea Salt. We are vowing that will be our last time out to eat until vacation in July. I helped time the swim meet, so I only took Popcorn for about a 2-mile walk after we got…

Summer 2014, Day 9

With all the sports yesterday and the busy week we endured, I wanted Sunday to be a day of recuperation of sorts. It started out that way when I slept until 9:30. Then came Costco.

We needed a big trip to Costco to stock up for what is shaping up to be a very active summer. Lori was just going to make the excursion herself, but I offered to join her and let the boys stay at home, but then we decided to take two cars (to gas both up for the week) and the whole family. To paraphrase a line from "The Brady Bunch Movie:" Put on your Sunday best, kids, we're going to Costco!

A loaded Outback later, we returned home for the long process of unloading, sorting and putting away all the groceries. Before long, it was 2 p.m. and I had a work project to finish. I completed the writing, then took Michael to baseball practice. After not wanting to put in much extra practice all season, he suddenly wanted to get some hitting in afterward. Someone else was using the field, however, so w…