Thursday, July 31, 2008

What a series!

I have truly enjoyed the last four days of baseball.  Nothing wrong with a good old fashioned on the road sweep!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


This message was sent using the Picture and Video Messaging service from Verizon Wireless!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Cubs stuff

Injured Cubs fan throws out first pitch.
Dominic DiAngi will probably never forget his eighth birthday Saturday.

The Frankfort, Ill., boy, who was hit on the head by a foul ball at the Cubs' July 10 game, got to meet several big leagues players and threw out a ceremonial first pitch to Ted Lilly on Saturday. DiAngi was struck by a ball off Lilly's bat, and hospitalized.

"It's going to be awesome to see him, and I think the guys will be excited to see him," Lilly said. "This will be a good experience for him. I'm glad he's willing to come back after the experience he had."

Lilly and teammate Derrek Lee had visited Dominic in the hospital after the incident.

"[Lilly] was visibly shaken," said Pete DiAngi, the boy's father. "I believe he brought Derrek for moral support."

Dominic has made great progress, and was not experiencing headaches, his parents said. He didn't know he was going to a Cubs game Saturday, but thought he was headed downtown for a birthday lunch. He arrived at Wrigley wearing his Aramis Ramirez jersey and Cubs cap.

He got to sit in the dugout, and talk to several of the Cubs, including Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Theriot, and Alfonso Soriano.

His parents seemed more excited than Dominic about the experience.

"I can't stop touching the grass," Pete DiAngi said, as he stroked the Wrigley Field turf.

That's simply a fantastic story. You can't help but smile that the kid is okay, still a baseball fan and got to meet a couple of real class acts in Ted Lilly and D-Lee.

In other Cubs news that makes me really happy - Leah finally took my advice and paid close attention to trying to lip read when Lou Piniella makes an appearance on the field. I was hoping she'd watch him when he was chewing a pitcher's ass out on the mound but she hit the jackpot. She got to see him go off on an umpire and get run from the game today. She did a fine job of figuring out what he said about the replacement ump Drake (thanks TiVo for helping with the replays!) and is now looking forward to the next episode of this little game I've been playing since he came on board as the Cubs skipper. Atta girl Leah!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Milking a cow

Holden at the county fair.

Monday, July 21, 2008

I'll miss you Peaches

My dog Peaches died this afternoon. I've had her since early 1995. She was at least two when she became part of my family and had been abused by whatever miserable excuse for a human had her before me. I remember her being afraid to walk from one room to the other when she first came to live with me. I was very proud of spoiling that fear right out of her in short order.
She was with me through more than I could list right now. Definitely way more than I'd like to go back and think about in fact.

Life's stressful right now. Other than a few months in 2005, it's about as stressful as I hope I ever have to deal with. Not that there's ever a good time, but losing one of the best friends and listeners a guy could ever ask for right now is a pretty big blow.

I hope you're at peace Peaches. In fact, I hope you're with your friend Akita right now somewhere playing like you guys used to. When it seemed like no one else was there, or even cared, you were always right there beside me. Thank you. I'm going to miss you.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Monday, July 7, 2008

July 4th weekend

We had a nice extended weekend thanks to the July 4th holiday. On Thurday we went to the state capitol to listen to the Des Moines Symphony's Yankee Doodle Pops concert. I was particularly surprised and pleased to see that Craig Schulman and Simon Estes were both performing with the symphony. It was fantastic to hear two world class voices in such a beautiful setting with the family. The girls, as expected, enjoyed the music but came away most impressed by the fireworks. I took all three kids down to within a quarter block of the canons that go off during the 1812 Overture. I sort of expected Holden to at least jump the first time they went off however he found the loud noise to be hilarious. Seriously - the kid did nothing but point and laugh.

Friday was a nice relaxing day at home complete with the traditional Fourth of July grilling and making of homemade ice cream. That evening we headed to the Herman Park Pavilion where I played in the Boone Municipal Band's annual patriotic concert. I've been in the group for 18 years now but still find the playing of taps and the armed forces salute moving every time we have this concert.

After the concert at the Pavilion, my mother joined us for the city's fireworks display. The kids all had fun with sparklers and other fireworks that their father just happened to have. The kids are old enough for me to explain that some laws were just made to be broken, right? :)

On Saturday, after much thought and discussion, we had Holden spend the day with my parents while we took the girls to Adventureland. Both of the girls (particularly Gillian, although I'd never call her out as a wuss publicly. Oops.) had their moments of "I don't want to ride that, it's scary!" however, each and every time they'd utter those words, we'd try to convince them - not push them - but convince them to give the ride in question a shot. Each and every time they got off the ride wanting to do it again immediately.

One of the new features at Adventureland this year is called "Kokomo Kove". The description and a video follow:
  • Approximately 65 feet tall at its highest point
  • The “Kokomo Kove” area will be approximately 30,000 square feet
  • Over 200 lounge chairs for sunning and relaxing
  • 7 waterslides of varying lengths and heights
  • 123 different water jet features including water guns, tipping cones, hose jets, and umbrella jets
  • 91 different play features, including net bridges and climbs, crawl tunnels and pull ropes

  • This is "The Outlaw" (video from YouTube - not something I took). It's also know as "one of the bumpiest damn things I've ever been on in my life". Leah and I rode this together. One of the turns did a sweet job of popping something in the bad spot I have in my neck and I spent the next 20 minutes with a tingling arm and hand. Good times.

    We ended up spending about 10 hours at the park and, other than the 60 minutes we spent in line to ride the Raging River, didn't have any horrible waits for rides. The weather was beautiful all day long. Leah commented several times how impressed she was with the park. I hadn't be there since I was in high school and was pleased with it as well. It's nice to have something like this so close to us to take the kids to. It certainly won't be an "every other weekend" type thing thanks to the admission costs but it was very enjoyable and everyone is looking forward to going back. It was a good decision to take just the girls because either Leah or I would have had to sat out of probably 70% of the things we did if Holden had accompanied us however I can't wait to take my son there. He's not big enough to do most of the things there but I know he'd have a blast on the things geared towards little kids. And so will his Daddy.

    One final Adventureland note - we usually don't fall for the "buy a really expensive picture that we just took of you" scam at places like this however I had to purchase this one. The look of terror on Gillian's face is something that needs to be remembered.
    Vacation Bible School at our church starts tonight so it looks to be a busy week ahead of us. No time to relax and catch up from the fun of the past weekend. But, all in all, I wouldn't have it any other way.

    Wednesday, July 2, 2008

    New pictures

    New pictures posted!
    Sub-albums in fact. There is now one with softball pictures, one with Relay for Life pictures and some random ones in the root Spring Summer 2008 album.

    Leah and I both want to thank everyone for their support and donations towards our Relay for Life fundraising goal. After a mid-afternoon rainstorm and threats of bad weather during the evening, we ended up having beautiful weather during the time we were supposed to walk and were very pleased to be party of this very worthy cause. I was a bit disappointed that we didn't do more "fun stuff" with our team, have a tent set up, etc. but still feel good about the experience. It was great to have my mother and friend Chris' mother, Charlotte, be able to walk a few laps together again this year as well.

    The kids doing a lap during the first hour of the relay:

    In other miscellaneous household news...

    Chris and I helped the United Methodist Men serve breakfast for the WHO Radio Great Iowa Tractor Ride last week. Chris has some pictures and brief recap here. It was a great opportunity to help the church raise some money however it will probably always stick in my mind as the day the name "Meth Men" was born.

    Softball is now over for the season. It was a very enjoyable couple of months working with all of the girls. I was amazed, pleased and very proud at how much better the whole team got from the first day of practice to the last game. Ally and Gillian both started out the season afraid of the ball but ended up by wanting to know if we can go to the batting cages every time I turn around. Jesse and I are planning to coach together again next summer. I don't know that we'll be lucky enough to assemble such a great group of girls (and parents!) as we had this year but I'm already looking forward to finding out.

    In other little league happenings - I was elected to another tem on the Boone National Little League board of directors this past weekened. It appears that my oratory and campaigning skills remain legendary.

    Vacation Bible School at our church begins next week. I will decline to make any predictions on how it will go and will reserve any further comment on it until after it has taken place. Stay tuned.

    The family is off to a municipal band concert this evening, going to Des Moines to Yankee Doodle Pops and the accompanying fireworks tomorrow (side note: watching Leah's reaction to the canons in the 1812 Overture at last year's July 4th concert when she wasn't expecting them was one of the highlihgts of the year 2007 for me) then sticking around Boone for the Municipal Band's patriotic July 4th concert and fireworks on Friday. Saturday and Sunday seem too far in the future to speculate right now but I'm pretty sure the phrase "trip to the pool" will be heard at least once.

    We hope everyone has a safe and happy Independence Day!