Showing posts from July, 2018

Summer 2018: Days 60-67

Unfailingly, the days after you return from vacation go fast.

You get back. You wonder how the trip went so fast but are happy to sleep in your own bed. You start realizing that, wow, you just did something fun a week ago. Then you realize, wow, two weeks have already passed since vacation started. That first day seemed so fun, but it's already a memory.

And then, you get back into your routine  Summer continues ...

This is what has transpired the past week:
Michael swam a meet last Tuesday, got three season bests despite not practicing for two weeks.Ben swam a meet over the weekend at Cottonwood Heights Pool but wasn't as successful. He broke his toe last week and it was still hurting, plus he was still getting into his practice routine after vacation. He did get one PR.Salt Lake is hot again. I did manage to open the windows last night because it was breezy out, but tonight it's back to sweltering.Ben and his swim team had a pool party at another family's house in adv…

Summer 2018: Day 59; Vacation, Day 9

And just like that, vacation is over.

The ride back seemed amazingly swift today, even though it took 10 hours. Lori drove the whole way and was happy, especially because she passed Michael to win Slug Bug after he led most of the week (he never knew what hit him ...). We picked up Starbucks in Barstow, bought McDonald's in Las Vegas, and filled up at Costco in St. George. After arriving home, I brought home Noodles for dinner. The cat was happy to see us, and we listened to the remainder of the audiobook of Ready Player One as we ate.

Vacation always goes too fast. Michael starts school in less than a month, and I'll be back at work shortly. But this is one trip that truly was rejuvenating and unforgettable. Until the next adventure ...

Summer 2018: Day 58; Vacation Day 8

We left Seal Beach this morning, and it was bittersweet. The week was fantastic, and the house was a great find, but wrapping up vacation is always sad. Ben literally was sad, crying a little bit as we drove away from the house. If we come back to California next year for a basketball tournament, we want to rent this house again.

Ah, yes, basketball: Michael played four games today. The first two were with his regular team, and they lost the first, struggling with turnovers and getting screwed by terrible refereeing. The second game they won easily and finished the tourney with a 3-1 record.

Afterward, we headed to Irvine, where he played two more games with the U15 team. Both games were losses, but Michael again held his own, averaging 11 points a game and showing he can play with high schoolers. He did get stepped on once and has a bruise/scrape/mark on the side of his chest.

With basketball concluded, our trip back to Utah started with earnest by traveling to Pasadena. We checked i…

Summer 2018: Day 57; Vacation Day 7

More basketball today, but some fun, too.

Michael's regular team played two games today and won both, one in a nail-biter, the other in a blowout. Between games, most of the team ate at Denny's, with eight players getting their own table. I don't remember Denny's being as expensive as it was -- for the average quality of food you shouldn't get Chili's prices. And of course, Ben ordered a cherry limeade, perhaps the most expensive drink on the menu short of a milkshake

After the game, many of the families met at Seal Beach so the boys could get a chance to hang out together. The weather was perfect, as were the waves. The waves were actually pretty huge; topping me a couple times when I was only in water up to my knees. The boys had a blast. This is what is best about the travel tournaments: Not so much the basketball, but the fun the players have and the memories they make.

We walked back to the house with one of Michael's teammates we were managing (his fa…

Summer 2018: Day 56; Vacation Day 6

We originally thought Michael would have basketball games Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but to our surprise, no games were scheduled for Friday. Instead of being disappointed, we viewed this as an opportunity to enjoy another full vacation day near the ocean. After a sleepy morning, we began pondering what to do with our unexpected free day.

About two minutes into our discussion on what to do, we received a text asking if Michael could play three games up with the U15s. Our free day disappeared, replaced with some incredible basketball experience for Michael. This tournament features a crazy amount of good teams, and the competition is top-notch high school players -- who he'll be facing for the next four years.

He held his own, though he was tired in a ridiculously hot gym complex. In three games (alas, all losses), he averaged about 8 points and held his own against older, sometimes bigger, sometimes stronger competition. He definitely proved he could play at this level, and thou…

Summer 2018: Day 55; Vacation Day 5

Today was the sort of vacation day Lori and I will remember forever. And hopefully, the boys will remember it too.

Visiting Catalina Island had been the centerpiece of Lori's California plans. We woke up early to head to the ferry dock to board a boat that would take us across the channel 25 miles from San Pedro to Avalon on the island. The ride across was pleasant although a little chilly. We sat on the top level of the ferry, which was open air and breezy as the boat raced across the water. About halfway through the 70-minute ride, the mountains of Catalina were visible in the distance. We were almost there!

As we pulled into port, we saw two seals swimming in the harbor -- a nice welcome to the island. We collected ourselves and took the short walk into town. After visiting the Catalina Island Conservancy, we decided we would hike the Garden-to-Sky Trail first. We stocked up on sparkling water and caught a bus to the Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Gardens above the city. From t…

Summer 2018: Day 54, Vacation, day 4

Even a mellow day on this vacation turned out to be awesome.

We needed a mellow day after driving Sunday followed by two nonstop days. But our day was far from boring. Lori took the boys for coffee in the morning, and I chilled with math puzzles. I then went for a walk down to the shore and then to CVS. After I watched Croatia defeat England in the World Cup semifinals, we headed to the beach.

This trip, I actually went in the ocean. The waves were fun, though I had to work hard so as not to get knocked over (I felt like one of the trees in "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" that braces itself when the flood is about to hit). We bought a cheap body board at CVS, and Michael got the hang of it right away, but Ben couldn' quite figure it out. After a couple hours, we left the beach exhausted, tan, and sandy.

We ate dinner at home, with me grilling steaks. Ben and I played a few games of the Ticket to Ride card game, and I ran to get gas so we'll be ready for our T…

Summer 2018: Day 53; Vacation, Day 3

We definitely are not taking this vacation lying down!

Today we did all the tourist-type things in Los Angeles proper. We started by riding the funicular in downtown LA  (featured in "La La Land" and admiring the above-average view from the top. It was a short ride and just $2 round trip, but it was definitely an experience -- a "Guess what we did?" moment. And it also was a neat start to a busy day.

Our next destination was the Farmer's Market, one of Lori's favorite spots in Los Angeles. We didn't wander it too much, but we did eat lunch (boys got sushi, Lori ate Thai, I ordered fried clam strips). I bought a puzzle magazine and a lottery ticket (we didn't win). As we were leaving, we saw a huge line emanating from a nearby pizza restaurant -- LeBron James was rumored to be visiting there that day and Laker fans went crazy (he never showed).

From the Farmer's Market we headed down Sunset Boulevard and back down Hollywood Boulevard. We could se…

Summer 2018: Day 52; Vacation Day 2

Today is what a family vacation is supposed to be all about.

I slept a blessed eight hours last night, then woke up to sit on the patio of our Airbnb and do a math puzzle (which, for the record, I've been struggling with lately, from Kakuros to logic puzzles). Lori made everyone breakfast, and we got out the door around 10 for some adventuring.

Michael had found online a shipwreck somewhat nearby he wanted to take pictures of. We got to the location in Rancho Palos Verde , but the area, known as Rocky Point, was pretty much a cliff overlooking a cove. There as a mildly treacherous path down, and a local out for a walk told us the shipwreck was cleaned up and was no longer there (it wasn't visible from the top; we would have needed to walk beyond the cove). The drive through Long Beach to the area was scenic, and though Michael was disappointed, we plotted our next adventure.

We didn't need to go far to find it: Abalone Cove Shoreline Trail, just back down the seaside towar…

Summer 2018: Day 51; Vacation Day 1

Let the vacation begin!

The drive to Seal Beach, California, was long but really not too bad. We encountered a little traffice around the Nevada/California border, then a bit more once we approached Orange County, but we still made decent time. Lori drove the whole way and I tried to nap a little at times in back. We listened to the audiobook of Ready Player One, and we even stopped at an abandoned waterpark near Barstow so Michael could take some pictures.

After arriving at the Airbnb in Seal Beach, we bought groceries and then walked down to the pier and beach. The view was nice, and just being on vacation and near the ocean is nice as well. For dinner, we ate at Burgers and Brews on Main Street. I writing on the patio right now and would write more but I'm exhausted. I have all week ...

Summer 2018: Day 50

The day before vacation is always a bit nutty; at least this year we weren't also dealing with a swim meet. I took Popcorn for an early walk before it got too hot, went to Costco, went to the post office and Walmart, went to Home Depot and TJ Maxx, packed, took Popcorn to her vacation sitter, and finally was able to settle down before we leave in the wee hours. Also watched an episode of "Band of Brothers" amid all that. This was all worth it because vacation starts tomorrow! This is going to be a great trip.

Summer 2018: days 48-49

Two days of work. Two days of heat. Those are these two days in a nutshell. I'm sitting on my porch typing and it feels like it is still 90 degrees at 10 p.m. I did manage some good writing yesterday and walked the dog early this morning. Also worked outside in the shade, but it was still hot. In the shade, it's not so bad, and cooling off under a cold hose has risen to a level of fun in the middle of the workday. We had pizza for dinner tonight from Papa Murphy's, and I watched "Indian Summer" on the DVR. The weekend has arrived, and vacation is imminent. And the heat I can live with.

The Summer Project: Rum (1988)

The Summer Project is back!

Three years ago I started writing posts detailing memories of summer past. Some were broad general memories, and some were of specific events. I loved the effort, but as my diligence blogging waned, so did the project.

Tonight I resume, starting with the first time I ever threw up drinking.

I graduated high school in May 1988 and started college three months later. In between was perhaps the most fun summer I would enjoy between the early '80s and when Lori and I were first dating. So many more stories are available from this time -- and I'd like to get to them all -- but I'm going to start with maybe the last memory of that summer before I made it to school.

My friends and I planned one more party before we all departed for college. I'm not sure how we did it, but we got a suite at the Residence Inn over in Rosemont, I want to say by Lawrence and River Road (why this is important will become evident later). It had two bedrooms and a little …

Summer 2018: Day 47

My Fourth of July started early: Ben had swim practice at 8 a.m., and I took him in and hiked with the dog for about 90 minutes. I have this goal to hike to the top of a mini-peak near the JCC, but the path up it is narrow, currently surrounded by tall grass on both sides, and has the potential of a "Princess Bride" moment rolling down the mountainside if you make a wrong step. I didn't want to run into a rattlesnake this morning, so instead we walked along the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. That was more than enough for Popcorn because the sun was already beating down on her at 9 a.m.

When we got home, we attended the neighborhood parade for what I think is the 15th time -- I believe we have gone every year since we moved here. Nothing to spectacular this year, and we didn't stay too long; we were tired, and I had already eaten when I got home from the hike. Still, the parade is always nice, and this year had an added bonus unusual for what normally is a majority LDS e…

Summer 2018: Days 45-46

This is a weird week with a holiday smack dab in the middle. The last two days of work have felt a bit disjointed as a result -- especially with vacation coming up. With that in mind, these two days were uneventful. I was tired for both, even dozing off for a few minutes on a lounge chair during Ben's swim practice this morning. I got Popcorn out for a walk tonight. Michael and I started watching "Band of Brothers." And that's pretty much it for excitement. I'm looking forward to the holiday tomorrow.

Summer 2018: days 34-44

A long break between blogging, but an eventful 11 days. Here we go ...

Michael had two basketball tournaments in this time span, and his teams (he also played up with one of his club's ninth-grade teams for two games) went 10-1 and won a championship. His regular team should have won two, but a last-second three-pointer sunk its chances for a title last weekend. Except for a few blips, he played great.I attended my company's annual meeting/retreat/party at Deer Valley. These three days were filled with conversation, great food, some alcohol, productive work (for one day), and fun. I led co-workers on a hike to Peak 10420 at Guardsman's Pass (whew, it was a little challenging but well worth it), and Lori and the boys came up to hang out by the pool on Tuesday. I was so pleased this was held in my backyard, and I was not bummed at all that I didn't get to travel. My only complaint was it went by too fast ...The weather is hot again. Cooled off for the weekend, but triple …