Saturday, August 31, 2013

College Football

Woo Hoo!

I absolutely love college football!

Roll Tide!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Conversation with Harry

Me:  So, how was the second day of school?

Harry:  Not bad.  Not bad at all.  In fact, it was pretty good.  You know what is weird?  It is like I am not even mad about school starting.

Me:  Wow!  That IS weird.

Now for a Harry throwback to 2003:

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

In Other News.....

I am on a blogging roll these last few days!  Bob and Lana sent me the sweetest emails telling me how much they look forward to my blogs and hearing about our adventures and what is happening with the boys.  Makes me want to be more consistent.  Makes me want to be a better blogger.

So, nothing particularly exciting happened today.  So "In Other News" should really be "There is No Other News".  So here is a little bit of our ordinary Tuesday.

My neighbor Karen, who is no longer my neighbor cause she moved away, dropped by for a visit this morning.  We grabbed a cup of coffee and caught up a little bit.  Her oldest daughter got engaged tonight.  Exciting times in their house - or more correctly "their temporary lake house while they wait to build a house" house.  It was great to see her.

My partner in crime at work is out on vacation for two weeks.  Two weeks!!  She has gone to Colorado for her niece's wedding so I am trying desperately to keep everything in the air.  She assigned some of her regular duties to some of our local folks in the Bama office, so that has been helpful.  I am just trying to keep things organized and moving in the right direction.  That may not sound hard, but it is!  I have done 2 days...only 8 more work days to go!  I am counting them down.

Harry has an off period in the morning so he didn't have to be at school until 10:30 a.m.  How awesome is that?  Pretty sweet!  However, he then had to work tonight so I saw him for exactly 7.9 minutes this afternoon after school.  I handed him a grilled cheese sandwich, a gatorade and told him to be careful!   He should be home momentarily and I will get to catch up on his day.

Chip brought home his trombone and had to practice for twenty minutes today.  He just blew through the mouthpiece making a farting noise, but he was using a metronome (whatever that is) to keep his beat.  First day and he already looked like he knew what the heck he was doing.   Then he showed me this dance they are learning in P.E.  I said 'You are dancing in PE?'  He said "Yeah, and I am rocking that dance!"  Just cracks me up!   So things are going well in Middle School.

Tomorrow should be more of the same!

Hope your week is off to a wonderful start!

Monday, August 26, 2013

First Day of School

Today is a big day at our house.  Not only is the first day of school, but it is the LAST first day of Harry's high school career.  He is a Senior this year and will be graduating next May.  

Someone get me some tissue, please!  I mean, maybe I should buy stock in Kleenex this year.  I seriously got teared up this morning watching him drive off to school.  I am sure this is the first of many such days.  

Once he was out of sight I did what any mother would do...I wiped my tears and started hunting for a picture of him from the first day of Kindergarten. 

Work?  What Work?  I have Kindergarten pictures to sort through.

Will you just look at this little pumpkin with his sweet little face and jean shorts?  I mean, look at him.  Have you ever seen a kid so dadgum cute??   I want to just eat him up!   

Here he is this morning!  A Senior.  

He applied to two colleges in late July and has already received an acceptance letter from the University of Alabama.  In fact, he also received a nice little academic scholarship offer from Alabama.  Let's get a little Roll Tide for that!  So proud of this kid.

He is still waiting to hear back from Arizona State University and then he will have some decisions to make.  For now we are just going to slow down and savor this senior year.  Day by day.  Moment by moment!  Big Man on Campus!  Parking in the Senior Parking Lot!  Leaving school for lunch!  Two off periods!  Does it get any better than that? 

AND if that wasn't enough, there is more HUGE little Chipster started 6th Grade... A middle schooler!!!  Riding the bus.....carrying his trombone!  I think he is the first on either side of the family to play in band.  I hear it is kind of hard on the ears for the first month or so, but gets better really quickly!   He is very musical so I have a feeling we will be hearing sweet trombone sounds sooner rather than later!  

He was super charged up for school this morning!  Up early.  In the shower.  Breakfast eaten and completely dressed about 40 minutes before the bus came. We went over all the reminders...take your trombone to the Band Hall....put your backpack in your locker, but carry your ride the Beaver Bus....get on here...get off there....if you miss the bus call me...

He is going to ROCK the 6th grade!  

So for the first time in 13 years I have no one to pick up from school at 2:45 in the afternoon.  It will be a big change for me and I will miss that little bit of our routine.  You can learn a lot about a kids day in a seven minute car ride home!  Instead, this year I will be standing at the front door with a big hug when they come home so they can tell me all about their day!  They will probably hate that!!!   

Have an awesome day !  

Vacation - Day Seven

The final day of vacation we had some time to burn in the morning before our flight home.   
Our first stop was "the curviest street in the world" at Lombard in downtown San Fran. 

These folks don't know curvy...they should drive the Road of Death before they start bragging about their little half block of beautifully manicured winding road.  No one barfed.  The brakes weren't smoking.  Come on! This was kid's stuff.  

Next up we went back over to Giants stadium for a stadium tour.  We have just in the last few years started doing stadium tours and they are always so interesting.  

We all enjoyed AT&T park the night before so it just goes to figure that we would like the stadium tour.

Here the boys are in the press box. 

Not a bad view for the newspaper and radio folks. 

This is the view from one of the suites. 

They had a terrific display of memorabilia on the club level.  Everything from a perfect game that was pitched to these game used bases from various big moments in Giants history. 

They also had several Snoopy figures.  Apparently Charles Schultz was a big time Giants fan! 

This is the display for I believe Matt Cain's perfect game - the pitching rubber, home plate, a big pile of dirt from the mound, tickets from that night, baseballs, champagne bottles, the umpires hat.  It was a very cool display of an awesome accomplishment. 

Then the highlight....getting on the field and in the dugout.  Such a thrill for baseball fans. 

Definitely their favorite part.  

The family in the dugout!

On the field.

We got to go see the batting cages that were behind the dugout...even cooler was that this was the Red Sox dugout for the series.

Harry found Nava's bat in a basket.  He tried to put it down his shorts and walk out with it, but it didn't work!  He had to leave it there!  Although, my boys did pick up a stray baseball and bring that home.  They need to be frisked before leaving a stadium!  

We had a wonderful vacation and felt like we got to see and do a lot of things!  Our flight home was a direct flight on JetBlue with a TV behind every seat.  That just really helps pass the time and it seemed like we were landing just shortly after taking off!   I flipped between HGTV and Food Network and was ready to eat and paint a room by the time we landed! 

I hope you enjoyed sharing our vacation memories with us!  

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming......

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Vacation - Day Six

We woke up at the Best Western and the plan was just to hang out and play for the day.  They had a great heated pool so the boys were both up for that. 

Bonus was that they had a basketball goal.  Give a boy a ball and a hoop and they can entertain themselves for a good long while.  Me and Hubby did not get in.  It was way too chilly for me.

We did play several rousing rounds of Shuffleboard.  That game is pretty fun.  

Then it was off to lunch and then they hit the basketball court!  

Just like playing in the driveway. 

We headed back into San Fran at about 4:00 with plans to see a Giants game. 

The Golden Gate bridge was not complete shrouded in fog so we stopped at the park and climbed up the hill to the vista overlook.  

It was so WINDY!  I mean look at my hair.  Hubby's hat blew off and so did Chips. It was seriously windy up up on that bluff! 

We made our way down to AT&T park and got a great parking spot.  We toured around the outside of the stadium.  They have the infamous McCovey Cove where home run balls hit the water.  All along the pier surrounding area were personalized bricks donated by Giants fans.  Some said things like "From the Stone Family...biggest Giants Fans ever!"  Other said "In Memory of Sarah Rice...we know you are watching the Giants from Heaven".  One that cracked me up said "Jim Brown.  #1 Giants Fan.  Dodgers SUCK!"  Sounded like something a Red Sox fan would say about the Yankees. 

The boys are all loving this. 

AT&T park is seriously one of the nicest ballparks I have ever been in....and I have been in a few.  It felt old but was new.

Look at this store!  If they don't have doesn't exist.  It was two level of everything giants you could ever want.  Tons of memorabilia, shirts, jerseys, they had it all. 

Inside the stadium was so pretty.  Clean.  Great views.  It felt small but held a lot of people.

We were lucky enough to see the Red Sox play the Giants.  It was the 227th consecutive sellout for the Giants.  Isn't that impressive?  They have some serious fans. 

The boys were out to right field to try to snag a batting practice ball while Big Pappi was taking his warm up swings.  They got so close!  The guy next to them caught a ball!  

It was getting colder and colder as the sun went down. Coats coming out and getting put on. 

Then I found this delicious little "Fully Loaded Bailey's Coffee"!  It costs an arm and a leg, but damn was it good!  Warmed me right up! 

Look at some of these food choices in Giants stadium...crabs, chowder, fish and chips!  

In the outfield they have a giant Coke Bottle and glove.  The coke bottle is a slide.  In fact it has four different slides in it.  Chip went down before the game. 

It is almost game time so we headed to our seats.  

We were in the nose bleed section, cause those Red Sox tickets sell out early.  I think there were as many Red Sox fans in attendance as there were Giants fans.  

We had a great view of the kayakers out in the cove waiting for potential home run balls. 

David Ortiz struggled and did not hit one out during the game, although he put two in the water during batting practice.  The Red Sox did come out swinging early and led the entire game.

There was a beautiful moon. 

The wind was wicked.  Fortunately our backs were blocked by a wall so we were protected, but look at the flag above our seats.  It was ripping in the wind.  I thought it might blow right off. 

We stayed till the very bitter end and the Red Sox won!  They normally lose whenever we manage to see them in person, so it was a thrill that they pulled out a win! 

What a beautiful stadium and a great game!  

Vacation - Day Five

We woke up in the middle of downtown San Francisco!  I was a little chilly but looked to be a beautiful day to be out and about exploring this city.  My first impression....San Francisco is big.  Very big.  We wanted to do all the tourist stuff so we started out with the traditional trolley car ride.  The main stop or turning around point was right by our hotel.  

Sadly, all other 1.2 Million people visiting the city also had the same wise idea and the line was LLLLOOOONNNNGGGG!   

We watched them turn the cars around about 42 times.  You would think they would have this mode of transportation down to a science, but there was tons of room for efficiency improvements.  I think I could have turned this trolley around, loaded it up and had it on its way much quicker than the gents that were working.  They were soooo slow.  Ugh.  

We were patient though and after about an hour in line we were aboard!

From all the movies I have seen with San Francisco, you think I would have been prepared for how hilly it was...but I was still surprised. It is very, very hilly!  Not a town you would want to have to walk around much.

That is Alcatraz out in the water in the picture above.  We had planned to do that tour, but it was sold out.  Bummer.  Didn't realize it was something we needed to plan ahead for.

Cool customers on the trolley. 

First view of the Golden Gate bridge.  Concealed almost completely by fog. 

This was a street vendor down by the wharf.  Crab on the sidewalk.  I totally could have eaten here!  Instead we hit up an In and Out Burger. It wasn't bad. 

We walked several piers of Fisherman's Wharf.  Checking out the sites. 

Pier 39 is where it is at.  All the seals are up close and they are fighting and jockeying for space on these floating piers.  It was quite entertaining to watch them.

There was a big boardwalk areas with stores of all kinds.  Candy stores.  NFL store.  Ornament store.  You name it, they had it.

Look at the gorgeous flower baskets. They were everywhere.  So pretty. 

Then we got back in line for the trolley.  And waited.  And waited.  And waited.  

It is a fairly inexpensive way to get around the city, but my was frustratingly slow.  At one point there was a driver guy just sitting on the trolley reading a book.  Two hundred people in line and he is reading a book.  Not a worry in the world.  I wanted to hit him.  Actually, I wanted to drag him off the trolley and take it over myself.

So there is this one kind of disturbing thing that goes on in San Fran...major homeless problem and also tons of street performers.  Some of them were interesting (magician, robot guy spray painted silver) but some were down right scary.  This guy above is "Escape Man".  His buddy put him in a straight-jacket and chained him to a light pole.  For reals.  He screamed out all this crazy talk and then dislocated his arms to escape.  Took him about ten minutes or so.  Then he calming walked up and down the line of waiting trolley passengers for donations for his act.  Bizarro.  There was another guy playing a guitar and singing. He would start with one song and wander into a different song....every single time he stopped playing no one would clap and he would say "Thank you for that moment of silence."  Then he would launch into another song.  So not only is it annoying to have to wait in a line for an hour, but the entire time you are being entertained by the locals.   It was not my favorite. 

We finally caught a trolley back up town to where we started, hit a mall, grabbed a Starbucks and decided to head over the Golden Gate bridge to our next hotel. 

The bridge was still covered by fog, but we stopped to take a few pictures anyway.  

We arrived at the Best Western in Corte Madera, just a short drive from San Fran. 
This was much more my speed.  Although mileage wise it was not far from downtown, it felt a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city.  

We chilled out for a while and then went to dinner at PF Changs, which was right across the street.  We ate out on the patio and had a terrific waiter.  He recommended a chicken dish for me that was out of this world delicious.  It was a great way to wrap up a busy day.