Sunday, June 17, 2007

What a Father's Day

Cassie couldn't wait to give it to me, and asked throughout dinner if I was ready for my present. I wasn't because I was so enjoying the dinner that Angie and her mom cooked for me (fried chicken cutlets, mash potatoes, green beans, salad). Ultimately, however, Cassie's enthusiasm became infectious, so I told her I was ready.

She told me to close my eyes - and BANG, it was right in front of me! I had finally gotten my bass boat. It is absolutely amazing - a two seater with two raised fishing chairs, a live well, a trawling motor, fishing pole, and net. There's nothing that it doesn't have. Funny thing is, that Angie didn't even give it to me, her mother did. What's that say?

Ok - now that I "hooked" you in - here's the deal. My boat isn't 14 feet long, it's 14 inches. It's a toy boat from Bass Pro - and it just may be the closest thing I get to ever owning my own. Maybe, but then again, maybe not.

I'm going to play in the tub!


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Technology - The Good...

Sometimes I am in awe of technology. I think it is just absolutely amazing how connected we are and how fast it has happened. I remember a world with no Internet. I remember a world with Bulletin Boards (BBS) on 2400 baud modems. I remember the familiar chime of a dial up connection (and having two phone lines in our home to allow me to work and talk). I remember broadband on wired connections only. I now have broadband over wireless in the home. I have a PDA that allows me to access the Internet anywhere I am at any time.

I am, by no means, a techo-junkie. In fact, I adopt new technology pretty slowly because it is too expensive. I don't have all the toys. But I do have a healthy admiration for how connected we are and how small the world has become. For instance, I am sitting in my hotel room in Ottawa, chatting with someone in India, while watching a baseball game on the Internet from Los Angeles and working on some school work with fellow students in Dallas. It doesn't matter where I am, my virtual office is in the form of an IBM/Lenovo T60 Laptop.

Another good example happened while at the airport in Chicago today. While waiting during a layover, I decided to pull out my iPod Nano and listen to a couple of podcasts. Approximately 1 in every 10 times I start it, it locks up. You can't do anything. I'm sitting there racking my brain on how to do a soft reset. I can't remember, so I pull out my Treo and browse to Google. I search for "ipod + soft reset", and voila, the instructions.

It is just so awesome being connected.


Saturday, June 09, 2007

Shakes On A Plane

I had given up all hope, and resigned myself to the fact that my plane was going down.

Since I'm typing this entry, I was obviously wrong, but yesterday, I did have perhaps the worst flight ever. There were several factors in the making of this story. First, I was on a very small plane, an ERJ-145 that had 50 seats. Second, there was some severe weather between Rochester and Chicago (directly in our way). Third, and most importantly, I wasn't supposed to be on that flight. I had put myself on a earlier flight as my day in New York finished up early. I am a big believer that when you change your travel arrangements, you are just asking for trouble.

You would think that as much as I fly that I wouldn't mind it, but the fact is that I am completely afraid of being in the air. I do not enjoy flying at all. As our plane bounced, rumbled, dropped and shuddered, I was miserable. Looking around, everyone else seemed fine, but I was grabbing the arms of my seat with white knuckled death grips. At one point I was convinced we were going down.

Twenty five minutes later we were out of the storm and flying smoothly. I prayed in gratitude and on let go of the arms of my seat. Ultimately, I arrived home about 15 minutes earlier than scheduled on my original itinerary, but my original itinerary didn’t arrive in Dallas until the next morning, so twenty five minutes of terror got me home about 12 hours earlier. I’ll take that trade.


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

What is a Canuck, anyway?

I am in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and it is a very interesting place. For one, it is exceedingly beautiful - like to great northwest (Portland, Seattle) but even nicer. I can't get over how green everything is and how mild the temperature.

I wish I had some time to go sightseeing and perhaps some fishing (there's halibut and salmon here, among others), but I don't. Perhaps I'll have reason to return.

A couple of things I will do should I have a chance, in addition to fishing:

1) Whale watching - they have all types of whales including Killer Whales (Orcas) here. Taking a three hour tour into the bay seems to be a great way to see them.

Sea Breeze Adventures

2) Whistler - skiing Whistler seems to be a must do. Never heard of Whistler? No matter, you will - just say 2010 Winter Olympics from Vancouver.

Whistler Blackcomb

3) Train Ride - they have several scenic trains available, including a three hour to Whistler. Seems like it would be a beautiful ride.

4) Float Plane Ride - like number three, but in a small plane that lands on water.

West Coast Air

5) The city has a very strong international feel...not only American and Canadian, but European in many ways. Additionally, there is a very strong Asian influence here, as Vancouver is considered the gateway to Asia.

Perhaps we'll have a chance to come back. There's a direct flight from DFW.


Monday, June 04, 2007

Blog Bytes

Formerly known as "Quick Takes"...

Not anything major going on, so I thought some updates were in order.

1) Summer has begun. The kids are apparently already bored and are taking it out on Angie and I. That's really an exaggeration, but the summer presents an interesting challege. How do you keep the kids from becoming idle? Angie and I are going to try to keep the kids more organized with respect to activity this summer, including regular chores, intellectual time, down time, etc. They are harping against the plan now, but hopefully they'll come to appreciate some structure.

2) In the same vein, Cassie started swimming lessons today at our neighborhood water park. The good - she loved it and can't wait to go back tomorrow. The bad - it's at 8:00-8:30AM. Thank God that Angie will be taking her most of the time.

3) I leave for Vancouver tomorrow. I built in some travel days, so I will have a complete afternoon and evening in Vancouver. Might take in some sightseeing. Friday I'll be in Rochester, NY.

4) School is a challenge this semester, particularly in light of number 3 above. I was up till midnight last night getting some homework done.

5) Trip to NY. We're still trying to get something going for a couple days in NY. It's not working out real well, particularly in light of all the other travel I'm doing. Perhaps a trip in August for AMA's birthday.

That's about it.


Saturday, June 02, 2007

Lots of travel

I spent this last week on the road, totaling six flights and three different cities. The good thing about the travel was that these were three cities I've never been to (Orlando, San Antonio, and Sioux City - I have been to Orlando, but never venturing off the Magic Kingdom might not count). The bad news was that it was work with little down time.

This week of travel starts four weeks where I will be on the road except for the weekends. A total of 21 flights and 9 different cities will be covered. Again, most will be new cities, but all will be work.

When I travel a lot like this, I am typically more mindful of my time with the kids and more open to some of Angie's ideas around family outings - today is a good example. We were supposed to be camping at Lake Whitney State Park, but the threat of severe thunderstorms kept us away. (I don't believe it actually ever rained - it's been rather pleasant, instead). Since we didn't camp, we decided to do a little outdoor activities. Angie suggested we go sit outside at the restaurant at Bass Pro (right on the lake) and have desert for dinner. We did and ate brownie sundaes and chocolate chip cookie sundaes. The kids washed them down with Shirley Temples. We had lots of fun and it was very pleasant. We then went to a park right on the shores of Lake Ray Hubbard and fished, sat and talked, threw around the football and had fun. Cassie and her friend Grant played together while Marissa, Dylan and I fished. Angie shared time with both sets of kids. Marissa caught a large snapping turtle and Dylan caught a small catfish. We had a great time. Cassie even fished a little, so we think we might have to go get some kiddie poles.

All in all, we had a great time spending some time with the kids. Considering I won't be seeing much of them over the course of June, I better make every moment count.