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Showing posts from June, 2015

Summer 2015: days 37-38

I am sitting on my porch on a Tuesday night, with everyone else already asleep. The heat has been all but unbearable the last two days, but I can feel a slight breeze at my back, coming from the west. I took the dog around the block and saw lightning -- far away, but close enough to give the night sky a little flash -- to the west. And right now, I can smell the lake. Whenever something is blowing in, you can smell the distinctly salty, somewhat putrid lake from miles away. The heat may be breaking, even just for a night (the forecast still calls for high 90s the rest of the week, which is an improvement over the low 100s of the past few days). I'm looking forward to the break.

Tonight the boys had a swim meet at Lifetime Fitness in South Jordan. I think the heat played a factor, because neither boy swam the meet of their lives, but both did OK. Ben forgot how to do a backstroke flip turn in his best event, and Michael wore out on some of his races. They swam their last events -- …

Summer 2015: days 30-36

So hot this past week, and it somewhat has coincided with my overall attitude.

The week was busy. Michael had a basketball tournament (alas, his team went 0-4) and practice every day. Swim team just about every day, including a meet on Tuesday. I pushed my way through work each day, not getting too much free time for myself. The weekend has been an improvement -- I got a lot of yardwork done yesterday -- and the upcoming week won't be so hectic. I did manage to write my usual solstice post, albeit a few days late. What I read after I completed the post got me in this restless attitude.

So I'm on the hillside, having hit the "publish" button on the annual reflection, when I started reading past years' posts. I discovered a common theme: I'm close to writing the things I want to write; I'm on the verge of something big; I'm really optimistic for the next year. This stretches back years. I walked back to my car thinking "What the f--- is wrong with …

Solstice (plus 3) sunset simmering

My annual tradition of reflecting on the previous 12 months on the summer solstice took a little delay this year. It's three days later, but here I am, back on the hillside of Donner Park, just as I was last year, writing my annual solstice post. A really nice breeze just kicked in off the mountains -- a welcome relief to the 97 degrees it was just two hours ago.

I'm writing on a new laptop, listening to my iPod on new headphones. These updates are a sign of the update in my life over the past six months: I'm back to being a full-time employee. Twenty-four weeks have already passed since I started the new job, which I'm lucky offers a somewhat flexible schedule and the ability to work from home or wherever (the new Mac helps). The full-time paycheck has been great. The job has had its ups and downs -- it was much more stressful four months ago -- but the benefits of stable work and a consistent check have been worth it.

What is giving me serious pause is that I'm f…

Summer 2015: Day 29

Father's Day.

Lori had asked me what I wanted to do this day, and as last year, go on a hike with my family. We started in the morning, around 9 a.m. -- a little later than we intended to but still early enough that we avoided the heat. Our destination was Jack's Mountain Mailboxes -- a small peak near our house that features two mailboxes full of journals that people have been writing in for two decades in memory of Jack, a 5-year-old who died of leukemia in 1995.

The hike was a bit of a steep climb: 1,200 feet over 1.6 miles, but we made it. I left a note in one of the journals and gave the boys a big hug. It was the perfect place to be on Father's Day. The walk down was a little treacherous, but we made it and went to Blue Plate Diner for breakfast. Of four diners, we ordered three sides of bacon to accompany our pancakes (at least the boys and I got pancakes, I added chocolate chips).

The rest of the day was mellow. I stopped at the comic book store to pick up the Marv…

Summer 2015: Day 28

My sleep schedule has me waking up before 7 a.m., which is a sort of departure from pre-2015. I didn't have to wake up this morning for anything, but there I was, not readily falling back asleep, and it seemed counterproductive to just lay in bed and play Candy Crush Saga. So, I woke up, put my Sauconys on, and took the enthusiastic dog to Liberty Park for a run.

I generally love morning workouts, but just hate waking up for them. After they are complete, I feel I have a whole day of possibilities ahead. We didn't exactly set the world on fire the rest of the day -- I took the boys to Pokemon league, we all went to Costco, I mowed the front lawn, and got the dog out for a short walk in the evening -- but I already felt productive before 9 a.m. I've been feeling the same way working for an hour during the boys' early swim practices. After two weeks of this summer schedule, I'm feeling generally good. I do miss the flexibility I had when I was freelancing, but I'…

Summer 2015: Day 27

The long, busy, hot week finally concluded today. And it concluded well.

I got a lot of work done this morning, at swim practice and while Michael was at basketball camp (Ben and I went to a Starbucks), that eased the load enough later that I took the boys to the waterpark for the first time this summer. In between, we met Lori for lunch at Noodles.

The waterpark was fun. We stayed almost three hours, with mostly the boys going on the tube rides on their own (the slides at Seven Peaks have not been kind to me over the years). The best part of our time was watching the boys swim together, having fun like they are supposed to as brothers. In one of the pools, there's a spout that shoots cold, cold water into the pool through a 4-inch pipe, and Michael was dragging Ben over to it to be chilled. Ben half-resisted, half went with the flow. It was just a happy moment to watch. They get on each other's nerves a lot, but they still are brothers, and hopefully, each other's best fr…

Summer 2015: Day 26

Today was a scorcher. Salt Lake rarely gets humid, but just very bright, and the sun was hot today. Thankfully, the AC on the car works, as does the AC in the house (though I really need to change the filter tomorrow). The boys are handling the heat fine, though, despite all the sports. At least one gym today was air conditioned.

The day culminated with "Buddy Night" for the boys' swim team -- a kind of party in which an older swimmer was paired with a younger ones for games and such. Afterward, all the kids got to swim, which is fun for them to goof around in the pool with their teammates after so many laps. We got to the pool early for Ben's swim practice, and Michael swam while I worked. I did manage to jump in, then got out to jump off the diving board and experienced a bit of a chill -- the board was in the shave, and the two kids in front of me were taking their time right as a breeze pushed through. The chill was so sever that even though it was 97 degrees out…

Summer 2015: Day 25

Wednesday was much like Tuesday, just without the swim meet. But I did get a lot done work-wise today and managed to get the dog out for a long walk. The routine was the same: Ben had swim practice in the morning, Michael had basketball camp at 10:30, Ben had his own camp at noon, Michael had three more hours of basketball while I found a Starbucks to work. Michael skipped swim tonight, so instead, I worked some more and then we picked up dinner at Costa Vida.

I knew this week would be blurred chaos, but I just don't want it to be over for the sake of getting easier. I'm workin' for the weekend, but honestly, I don't totally like having to. Simply put, I'm still getting used to the work schedule in terms of summer. And though it is easier than during the school year, it's still an adjustment. After next week, things calm down, and then vacation looms. No rush, just a knowledge that this bit of time claustrophobia isn't permanent.

Summer 2015: Day 24

If Monday was nutty, Tuesday was insanely busy. I actually worked during a swim meet tonight. I needed to finish something up, and it was the best place to do so after the long day. Michael played basketball for five hours today. The boys had the swim meet. We came home and watched the Warriors win the NBA title. I got the dog out for a short walk.

The meet was fun, at least when I wasn't editing. Michael at least swam a race faster than his little brother, who still managed to go faster in the other three. Ben's backstroke looked amazing tonight. But the highlight of the meet was the fact actor Gedde Watanabe, aka Long Duk Dong from Sixteen Candles," was in attendance. Turns out, he's a friend of a friend and came to watch the second friend's kids swim. Lori went up and said hi and got a picture, but I chickened out. I was afraid I wouldn't be able not to quote one of his lines to him instead of engage in a normal conversation (and I do know about every one o…

Summer 2015: Day 23

A series of thunderstorms passed through Salt Lake City today. Nothing too violent, but significant enough to remind me of summers back in the Midwest. Michael does not like the thunder -- he's just not used to the loud boomers. I walked the dog around the block when it wasn't raining, but when a storm loomed in the distance, and she was amazingly calm through it. For me, it felt familiar.

I wish I could have taken Popcorn for a longer walk, especially because this Monday was the first day of what promises to be a crazy, crazy week. I took Ben to swim practice in the morning, Michael to basketball camp at 10:30, Ben to his camp at noon, picked Michael up, eventually picked Ben up, and later made dinner. This might be the quietest day of the next four. Work was good, though, and I did watch the Blackhawks clinch the Stanley Cup. Ben and I finished the evening with a game of DC Dice Masters (he won), and then I got the dog out for the abbreviated walk.

Looking forward to letting…

Summer 2015: Day 22

Today, we enjoyed a Sunday that was anything but lazy, but not crazy either. I took Ben to a swim practice (a turn clinic, to be precise) in the morning and got some work done while lounging near the pool. We came home, but didn't stay long, as we were out the door to see a matinee of "Jurassic World" at noon. Michael had been asking for a couple weeks to see it as soon as it came out, then bugged me even more since Friday. The movie was entertaining -- I went in not thinking about the science and how predictable it was going to be (which it was) and just had fun with it. This was our first summer blockbuster of 2015; with "Pixels" on the horizon, it won't be the last.

I got a haircut in the late afternoon and got some more work done before dinner. Michael and I watched the Warriors beat the Cavaliers in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. I took Popcorn for a long walk (I needed to work off the other popcorn, from the movie theater) and returned home. It's still…

Summer 2015: Day 21

With me working full-time, I need weekends to be productive in many ways. I need to get a couple work things done to get a jump on the next week, which is a jumble of chauffeuring and sports and time in front of my laptop earning a living. I need to get things around the house done that I might not have gotten to the week before. And I need to enjoy family time.

On this Saturday, I achieved all three. I got some work done, emptied out the Outback in advance of us selling it, bought a new thermostat and watched as our neighbor helped me install it (OK, he pretty much did it all, but I like to think I assisted ...), and I watched Michael's basketball game this morning and went to Ben's end-of-season baseball picnic. It wasn't an all-out fun extravaganza, but it was a good summer outing. Watched some of the Blackhawks' Stanley Cup game (they won), socialized with the neighbors, and explained to Michael how the Outback worked.

Michael has a friend sleeping over tonight, an…

Summer 2015: Day 20

Today was a glorious summer Friday. I was still driving around a lot and a couple disappointing work moments (but was rather productive despite the goofy schedule), but for the first time all week, I didn't feel quite rushed. The boys had swim practice this morning, one after the other, and I worked the whole time, which was a nice little jump to the workday. I did take Ben to and from paleontology camp at the Utah Museum of Natural History, but that was mostly the only other driving during the day (don't worry, it gets super nutty next week ...).

Nobody felt like cooking, so we went to a ramen restaurant for dinner, then to TCBY for dessert. It wasn't even 8 when we got home, and I was going to take the dog for an earlier walk before the sunset, then came up with a better idea: taking her to the H Rock for a hike and to watch the aforementioned sunset from above the city. Ben came with me, and it was a great way to end a nice summer day.

Summer 2015: days 10-19

One night passed in which I didn't blog. I thought I would get it the next day. I was tired after a long day of co-oping and baseball and whatever work I could squeeze in and walking the dog -- and I just wasn't alert enough to write a post.

One night became two, then three, then four ... and then nine. The last week of school was busy. The first week of the boys' summer vacation was busy as well. I'm going to try and recap as succinctly and thoroughly as possible. I don't like missing these days in my summer blogging, the chronicle of my favorite time of year. Allow me to catch up:

Day 10: My last co-op shift of the school year. I had to take a work phone call during my time at school and ran out to my car to do so. The entire co-op shift was a realization on how quickly this school year went. I remember trying to settle in way back in September, and helping out on field trips and getting used to the kids in new classrooms .... and then it's spring and June an…

Summer 2015: Day 9

The heat is back after a long hiatus, but I'm not complaining. We turned on the AC yesterday, and though we aren't running it at night (Lori and I both still like having the windows open as much as we can), it's provided some relief. The boys had swim practice in the indoor pool, and I sat by the outdoor pool and worked. This may sound dreary, mixing leisure time with work, but it was actually nice to earning a living while wearing swim trunks. Unfortunately, the wind picked up and blew some clouds in front of the sun, and I put my shirt back on and never actually jumped in the pool. No matter -- I still got a lot done all day (not just at the pool).

We returned home to the Ramona Avenue block party, which was in full swing. The boys and I didn't stay too long, but we did eat and congregate with our neighbors. Took the dog on a good walk in the comfortable evening air. I'm now on the porch finishing up some writing before going to bed.

Today was June 1, and I had a…