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Showing posts from August, 2015

Summer 2015: Day 91

I'm calling summer, right here, right now.

I will keep blogging summer for a couple more weeks as planned. But I'm backing off The Summer Project because I'm not feeling too summerly. I got some good posts out of it -- not as many as I hoped, but I can revisit next summer, or if I feel inspired anytime before then.

Three events today are driving my decision.

First, Ben played his first fall baseball game today, a 16-12 victory for the Robins over the Thunder. He walked once and struck out once, and had fun being back on the diamond. Fall ball doesn't have the same vibe, the same optimism as in the spring. That's not a criticism: Fall ball is actually nice and low key, perfect for Ben, and perfect to get some more baseball in that isn't high pressure. But it's definitely a signal that summer is concluding.

Lori and I did Big Costco today in preparation for the first week of school. The boys stayed home. As we were driving back, we got a call from a neighbor …

Summer 2015, Day 90

This was the boys' last hurrah of summer.

We went to Olympic Park outside Park City for the afternoon. Lori had bought two discounted all-day passes for the boys to zipline, Alpine slide, traverse rope courses, and enjoy extreme tubing (that's a new feature, though Ben was too young to slide down the ski jumping landing hill) as much as they wanted to. Lori also bought a pass for herself, and I found a shady picnic table and worked for the entire afternoon.

They had so much fun, and I was content to watch. Ben especially loved the zip line and the rope courses, and he also did the drop tower in which he stepped off a 70-foot ledge and gradually coasted to the ground via a cable. Michael did the extreme tubing twice and overcome some fear of heights by doing the intermediate ropes course. Lori had fun as well.

We went to Five Guys in Kimball Junction for dinner, then headed back to Salt Lake. I almost liked this better than Lagoon -- despite the extreme sports, it was mellower …

Summer 2015, Day 89

With Lagoon out of the way and school starting in four days, summer already seems over. Another end-of-summer milestone passed: Michael's last basketball practice after about 10 weeks of multiple days of hoops. He gets a week off before tryouts for the next season.

The rest of the day was uneventful. I was tired from the day before and kind of muddled through work. Lori and I went to Michael's class parent meeting at school. I took the dog for a long walk.

Summer 2015: Day 88

Today was our annual (though we didn't go last year, and I'm thinking we didn't go in 2013) trip to Lagoon. Lori's office sponsors a day mostly for clients, but also for employees, at the amusement park, and though both of us had to work into the early afternoon, we still got to spend a good eight hours at the park.

We met up with some friends there and spent much of the day with them. A friend of Michael's from school, who he will insist is not his girlfriend, met us there as well (she has a season pass and lives close to the park; her mom just dropped her off). The kids made it on a lot of rides. I escaped with only one spinning ride and twice on a rollercoaster that went upside down (Wicked), plus stayed dry the whole day.

The boys, after insisting they weren't going to go on scary rides, went on almost most of them. Michael's friend convinced him to go on a few rides I was stunned he would even consider (adding fuel to to the girlfriend argument), inclu…

Summer 2015, days 85-87

The last week of summer before school has begun. So far, so fun ...

Sunday, we all went to the driving range. Lori is playing in a golf tournament (I'm not making that up -- it's being sponsored by a women's business group) in a couple weeks and needed some practice, and Michael has occasionally bugged me to get him back on the links. We bought a large bucket to split among the four of us. It felt good, though I was pushing the ball to the right a little. Michael struggled a bit but eventually got the hang of it. Ben wasn't hitting the ball that far but was driving it surprisingly straight (he was enjoying using my big driver). I grilled dinner later on.

Monday, we went to the waterpark later in the afternoon. Michael brought a friend, and Ben found one of his school friends there, so each had fun hanging out and swimming. The waterpark this late looks so end-of-season, as if the management has given up on any sort of maintenance. Nevertheless, I'm glad we went, an…

The Summer Project: Lame-duck childhood (1984)

With August 2015 dragging a little, I started thinking about Augusts past, which I've done before in the blog. But the August that is permeating my brain is 1984. I started high school that month, and the few weeks before now seemed like a transition. Of course, it was a transition, but August bridged the two phases more than I could ever imagined.

Here's the bizarre thing about those three weeks of August before school began: I don't remember much about them. Summer 1984 was so memorable, but not the end of it. The Olympics had ended. The Cubs weren't collapsing, and the conclusion was foregone by that point that they would win the division. Channel 66, which had been playing music videos all summer, transitioned into a normal TV station (airing an array of old reruns). Most of the music popular around this time I associate with earlier in the summer or September (with a couple exceptions: "If Ever You're in My Arms Again" by Peabo Bryson and "Go In…

Summer 2015, days 82-84

Thursday morning started with Michael throwing up, We don't think he caught something, but instead was just tired -- he has a history of vomiting when he's overly fatigued, and maybe the long summer just caught up with him. That threw off or Thursday plans a bit (I had hoped to take them to the waterpark), but he was feeling better by the afternoon, and we went bowling in the evening. I won the first two games, but Lori edged me in the third. None of us are good bowlers, but at least I broke 100 twice. The evening was fun.

Friday we went to the JCC pool in the afternoon, and then I had the evening to myself while Lori and the boys went on a little campout at Red Butted Garden. I wish I could say I made the most of the solo evening, but I took it easy, going to McCool's for dinner and a beer, then vegging out after walking the dog later.

Today, I got Popcorn's nails trimmed in the morning, then we all went to Target and the DI around noon. The rest of the day was modera…

Summer 2015: Day 81

I'm sitting out on my porch late, hope to catch a glimpse of some shooting stars as the Perseid meteor shower passes through the northeast sky. I'm contemplating taking my Mac down to the school a block away and watching from the large field to give myself an unobstructed-by-trees view. Previous to now, the day was solid, though mostly uneventful. I took the boys and two of their friends to the JCC pool for a few hours, and I got some work done and also swam. Lori made street tacos for dinner, and I walked with the boys to get a Sno-Cone afterward.

The crickets are chirping tonight, and the weekend is just two days away. As I write these summer posts, I keep thinking back to being the boys' age during summer evenings, just like tonight when we walked to the Snow Shack. Parts are different. Much of what I remember is how the air in Chicago felt in the evening -- humid, dusty, a little bit orange -- a feeling that I just don't get here in Salt Lake. Part of the experienc…

The Summer Project: The Cherry Coke continuum (1985)

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I am not a big soda drinker. I like Dr Pepper, but usually only drink it if I need a caffeine fix (I don't like coffee). I usually order water in restaurants, though sometimes I'll get a pop. And any Pepsi or Coke made with real sugar (and in a real glass bottle) tastes awesome, and I still have a soft spot for Orange Crush and Sunkist (though both today are way too sweet -- blame the high fructose corn syrup). But for the most part, I'm not one of those people who drink a few sodas a day, or even a week.

In 1985, for one summer, I was one of those soda drinkers. The Coca-Cola company debuted Cherry Coke that year, and it instantly became my favorite drink.

By that year, my family wasn't buying much soda, either, so I was on my own to find Cherry Coke. I'd walk to the drugstore on Canfield and Higgins, or even to the Dominick's on Cumberland to get one. Or, whenever I was out with friends, I'd buy one as well. It tasted so good.


The introduction of Cherry C…

Summer 2015: Days 79-80

These last two days have been hot and humid. And filled with work -- just a Monday-Tuesday thing, but both seemed long. Today it rained, as the monsoon season has arrived in Utah. Yesterday, I walked and the boys biked to Shop 'n' Go for desert -- I got an ice cream bar and they got Icees. That was nice. I made it to Costco today to pick up my contact lenses, a rotisserie chicken and sushi. No end-of-summer panic fun these two days, though the rain didn't help today (and yesterday, Michael had a tooth pulled). We still have the rest of the week and next week left.

The Summer Project: The roller skates (1980)

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Our grade school, St. Eugene's, built a massive gymnasium/parish center that opened in late 1979, when I was in fourth grade. Previous to the debut, the school had been using the old church as a converted gym (the new church had been built sometime in the early 1970s, before we moved into the parish in 1977). Many of Chicago's Catholic schools don't have full-sized gyms with actual gym floors, so this was a quite a project, spearheaded by Father Shaunessy, who became a good family friend and who the parish center is now named after.

When the gym floor was installed, it was just going to be for basketball and gym classes -- it would double as a roller rink. This would make St. Eugene rather unique and a great place for kids who roller skated. However, by 1980, I had never laced up skates.

My parents had bought roller skates for my sister Julie, and she became a good skater almost right away. I wasn't against the idea of roller skating, but I was such an uncoordinated 9-…

Summer 2015: days 72-78

I did it again -- went a whole week without posting. This week was almost as tiring as the last, and I never felt like writing any night after the long days. Things settle down this week -- swim season ended, and work doesn't look so crazy post-vacation. Here's the recap; let's see what I remember ...
Day 72, Monday -- I actually slept in, as Lori took Ben to swim practice so she could work out, too.Day 73, Tuesday -- Same as yesterday, I got to sleep in, but still seemed tired all day. Got the boys Taco Bell for lunch after Michael's basketball practice.Day 74, Wednesday -- A cloudy, rainy day. Wendy's was for lunch today -- this trend was more for me being to lazy to make something. Ben had yoga and I worked from a nearby coffee shop. Michael had swim practice, and while Ben swam in the outdoor pool with friends, I worked under a canopy once it started raining (which didn't faze Ben).Day 75, Thursday -- I can attest that even though the last three days were un…

The Summer Project: Trains for one (2005)

Michael and Ben are almost 2 1/2 years apart in age. For the last 9 years, I've referred to my children as the boys, as my sons. Plural. All these years later, remembering the time when our family was just three, when there was just one son, seems odd. I wish I was blogging then to capture the time. Sure, there are plenty of memories and pictures of just Michael. It was so wondrous. And I'm not implying that life hasn't been wondrous since Ben was born, but the summer of 2005, when Michael was in full todderhood, and every day while Lori worked was just the two of us ... well, it was a unique kind of special, which I'm glad I experienced, and I'm glad ended when we had another son.

That summer, we drove to Southern California for a friend's wedding and turned it into a weeklong vacation for the three of us. We stayed in Las Vegas the first night (temperature: 117 degrees when we arrived) and had a view from the Flamingo of the Bellagio fountain, moving a chair …

Summer 2015: days 66-71

After hoping the routine would settle down, the remainder of the post-vacation week just got busier and busier. I'm writing this on Sunday night, trying to catch up on the five days previous as well as today. Here it goes:

Day 66, Tuesday -- This seemed to be the most stressful day of work I had experienced in a while. The work after vacation was piling up, not so much because I was on vacation, but I think because we had the company retreat in Vegas the week before, and everything was scheduled to be completed right around the day I got back. Michael was playing in his 3-on-3 tournament, so he missed his swim meet, and I didn't get to see Ben swim either. Mike ended up playing four games on two different teams in the tournament, but they lost all four in games at Providence Hall way, way down in Herriman. He had fun though, did better than the night before, and even drained his first competitive three-pointer (a step-back one at that; he almost looked like he had been making …