Monthly Archives: June 2014

Be wary fish, be very wary…


This kayak/fishing expedition simmered for a long time, last weekend was the time to bring it to a boil. More news on the disappointing outcome next week – after Ellen and Reid hear the sorry results first.

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June 23, 2014

Ellen/Reid: Well, Spring 2014 lasted for all of two weeks and then got rudely shoved aside for stifling heat, and the Summer Solstice just passed this past week. That means we’re going to broil through at least the middle of September. It’s just a crusher. I suppose it’s good for the front porch tomato and whatever else thrives on brutal heat but that’s about it. Alaska sounds pretty good right about now. The only problem is, I’m not going to Alaska anytime soon.

The fledgling cardinals have been in queue at the window feeder for several weeks now. Their parents could be seen hand feeding – make that beak-to-beak feeding – the young birds until they got the hang of things. Part of me wants to wean them from the sunflower seed gravy train so they’ll learn to fend for themselves but I like to see them in the morning while I read the paper so the practice will be, in bank-speak, ‘ongoing.’

My friends Jody and Sondra prodded me to join them for the U.S. vs. Portugal World Cup match. We thought the U.S. had it in the bag - until the last few seconds. I enjoy this level of soccer very much, and am not altogether sure why I don't write about it to the kids.

My friends Jody and Sondra prodded me to join them for the U.S. vs. Portugal World Cup match. We thought the U.S. had it in the bag – until the last few seconds. I enjoy this level of soccer very much, and am not altogether sure why I don’t write about it to the kids.

Played golf twice this weekend and walked both days in the afternoon heat and came through it no worse for the wear. It’s all about hydration, and I don’t mean the beer variety. Didn’t fire up the bike this weekend for the first time in a long time. I miss some of the longer rides. What may work is firing the mother up in the early weekend hours to beat the broiling.

Ellen, sorry about the salty language. Continue reading

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The Old and Memory Challenged…


I’ve always thought (and you probably agree) that the bulk of what is written to the kids reflect the huge chunks of daily life that are routine and mundane.

Last week’s letter runs pretty much along those lines.

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June 16, 2014

Ellen/Reid: Pretty light reportage this week. It must be the heat that is really beginning to ramp up. It will be in the lower 90s today and the rest of the week. Makes you feel like you need a siesta in the early afternoon. Even this morning my front porch vegetable/herb crop was showing signs of stress overnight. I just can’t keep the greenery watered enough. The heat just makes it hard to be outside and doing things.

I pushed my cart twice this weekend around golf courses. For the most part I handled it pretty well and managed to stay hydrated. I do like the physicality of walking and seeing how I can bear up under the conditions. But once I sit down after the round for a breather or to have a beer, I really tighten up and get sore, particularly in my balky ankles. They just don’t feel very good. It’s a holdover from all that marathoning. But the first course, The Club at Irish Creek, was really a fine track

The par 3 7th at The Club at Irish Creek is one of the prettiest short holes in the Carolinas.

The par 3 7th at The Club at Irish Creek is one of the prettiest short holes in the Carolinas.

and the nicest I’m able to get my group on. It’s up in Kannapolis, a former mill town about 25 miles east of Charlotte and hometown of Dale Earnhardt, the NASCAR icon. We had 28 players at the event and it was really super fun. We’re settling into a good group of players who like good natured competition but don’t take it so seriously they wreck it for others.

Sorry about the shirt, Reid. Take it back to REI and tell them I’m a member. They’ll let you replace it with whatever you want. If you get something a little more pricey, I’ll make up the difference.

This time next month I’ll be in Wyoming with Tom. Ellen, thanks for the Facebook picture from the time you and Tim joined us a few years back in the Bridger. And thanks for your call, Reid. Good to hear from both of you. Wish you could join us.

The kayak should make it’s debut Continue reading

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A big day: February 6, 2015…


The cat is out of the bag, the horse has left the barn, water has passed beneath the bridge, et al.

Come February 2015, it’ll be time to move on with things. Ellen and Reid were the first to know.

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June 9, 2014

Ellen/Reid: We’re coming down the home stretch for Wyoming, and the grind to get ready continues. My legs, though, are dead from the workouts. I can feel it right off the bat as soon as I step onto the elliptical machine. One sign of the physical stress is that my working pulse is elevated a little bit at the start of the day’s sweat equity. I take my pulse every five minutes and I max out about 155 beats per minute. Not bad. It’s just the tired legs that are disconcerting. I haven’t felt sluggishness like this since my marathoning days. Perhaps it is that I am a little dehydrated?

So I’m scurrying around after my first early morning work assignment as I get ready to head out the door to the Y. Off I go, make both lights and have clear sailing to the Y five minutes away on Sharon Road. I score a primo parking spot, lock the car and head to the door. Only then did I realize I’m still in a pair of beat up loafers. So after a brief but silent self-cursing, I head back to the car and onward to home to retrieve my Asics and a pair of socks. Then it’s back to the Y – this time, I don’t make the lights – and the close-to-the-door parking space is long gone. The Camry is now parked in almost the furthest away lot. Your dad is a ditz.

My pushcart and I got along just fine walking 18 hot, muggy holes on hilly courses both days this weekend. And I wonder why my legs are dead.

My pushcart and I got along just fine walking 18 hot, muggy holes on hilly courses both days this weekend. And I wonder why my legs are dead.

Along those lines, my legs are in the final stages of throwing off a case of poison ivy contracted from the golf course. Amazing how quickly it spread but the worst is past. It was everything I could do not to ‘scratch where it itches’ so that minimized the damage. I steered clear of the foliage this past weekend.

Well, I’ve made an announcement of sorts. I don’t know how we got on the topic, but I told my boss that my Continue reading

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Pipe dreams…


One adventure hasn’t even started and already the wheels are turning toward another, and then another. Pipe dreams, no doubt. Ellen and Reid haven’t opined as of yet. Perhaps I don’t want to know what they think.

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June 2, 2014

Ellen/Reid: So I’m down at REI on Saturday morning to get something else for the kayak roof rack when one of the staff asks me what sort of kayak I bought. He already knew what kind of rack I got since he asked me about that, too. When I divulge the length (13’ 6”) and style of the Ocean Kayak, his face kind of goes blank and I take that for a bad sign. He immediately mumbles something to the effect that perhaps I got the wrong type of rack. His suggestion was a ‘cradle’ style rather than the J-style Yakima. Of course, in another moment of stupidity, I didn’t have the keys that lock the rack to the roof so I’ll have to make yet another trip down there – after I find the receipt – to make the exchange. He told me, too, that a kayak of that length needs to be tied down to all the corners of the car. Of course, the Toyota Camry has no tie down facility in the front. Figures. It’s never easy.

But I will press on undeterred. Here’s a hair brained scheme/dream. Once I get used to it or like it, what about paddling the Miss Emma down the entire length of the North Carolina coast, fishing as I go and staying in seedy little dives along the way, perhaps even camping. How loony is that? But what a retirement gig that would be. There’s nothing wrong with a little adventure now and then. The fuzzy little plan is to stick hard to the coast line and Inter coastal waterways. I have no earthly idea of how long it would take, where to stay, how far to go each day, what it might cost. But  guy has to dream big.

My near-barren first floor living room is strewn with gear headed to the Bridger Wilderness is scarcely over a month.

My near-barren first floor living room is strewn with gear headed to the Bridger Wilderness in scarcely over a month. On a secondary note, interior design recommendations for this naked room are welcomed.

Next month’s excursion to the Bridger isn’t here yet and my friend Tom is already floating the idea of a mammoth hike across the entirety of Colorado. He’s already got it plotted out and from the sounds of things it appears to be 30 days from start to finish. We won’t even talk about his pipe dream of the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada. That’s on his bucket list, too. Why the hell not? It’s better than looking up the TV listings. If we want to go out with a bang, that ought to do it.

There was a sobering story in last week’s paper about how humankind has accelerated the rate of extinction by 1,000 times and how the pace has been greatly accelerated the past few years. It just makes me sick to think of the species we’ve relegated to the trash bin because of our penchant for land cars (I’m as guilty as the next person), climate change and just doing whatever the hell it is the ego of man wants to do. It’s a travesty. I don’t even know how to address such a calamity. The Assoc. Press reports that researchers say man could put the world on course soon for the Sixth Extinction – and there have already been five in the history of the planet (all caused by meteors colliding with us). Don’t get me started on our idiot legislators in North Carolina push-push-pushing through a fracking bill with virtually no public debate. Morons.

I’ve seen a lot more vipers in recent weeks. The heat has them out and about. Some of them don’t move so fast and it’s cost them with their lives. I was out very early Saturday when I saw a beautiful 18” copperhead along the road, dead. It hadn’t been hit so I’m not sure what the issue was. It was a pretty beast. I wonder what befell it. Along the same path the next day, it had been smished. So are a lot of other little snakes that just don’t make it across the road in time. I saw about a 3 footer slithering near me in the water while I walked the golf course the other day, but he/she wanted no part of me or me it. I like to see such wildlife. What it tells me is to stop hunting for golf balls in the spots where copperheads and water moccasins call home. All it takes is one bite and I’d be the latest nitwit to learn all about herpetology.

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Hereby named ‘Miss Emma’…


Well, it’s time to put up or shut up. The kayak is here. The ocean is there. The kids now know I’ve got to get off my duff to make this happen. There are a few loose ends to tie up – more on that next week – but a maiden voyage should be in the offing. Maybe the christening will include a bottle of Guinness broken – okay, make that a gentle, non-breakable tapping – over the bow.

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May 27, 2014

Ellen/Reid: Whoa. The fishing kayak is already here, still encased in the bubble wrap. It’s exciting. I ordered a few bells and whistles with it – rod holders, paddle holder, etc. – but this will be pretty much a learn-as-you-go proposition. The roof rack installation process was a two beer affair – Ted thought it might be a three beer thing – but it’s amazing how smoothly it can go if you simply follow the directions and have the Boze system cranked up in the garage. John Mayer and Dave Matthews had a calming effect on the process. I know it’s kind of whack since I’ve never been in a kayak before but I’m anxious to get it on the salt water. Now it’s on to Bass Pro Shops (does this make me a ‘neck?) for the basic rod and reel and hooks and stuff. The paper this morning mentioned how the precious blue crab catch is way down in North Carolina largely due to the massive numbers of redfish. Music to my ears. I cannot wait to get the craft – hereby named the ‘Miss Emma’ – on the salt flats. Even if I don’t catch anything, other than a sunburn, it will still be a grand adventure.

Sitting on cardboard is not the same as sitting on salt water. It's time to make a maiden voyage.

Sitting on cardboard is not the same as sitting on salt water. It’s time to make a maiden voyage.

My flowers are finally in on the porch planters, along with a container tomato and some sweet basil. I can only hope the HOA garden Nazis leave me alone this year. For crying out loud it’s only a tomato plant and some herbs. Call of the dogs. Ellen, tell Tim thanks for the shot of the seedlings sprouting in your garden. That’s good to see.

Made risotto for the first time the other night with some sautéed shrimp. It was really good although it takes a while to make. Two cups of the grain needed 8 cups of chicken stock to make, with near-constant stirring for almost 40 minutes. The downside is it appears to pack the same dietary wallop as ice cream because it fills you up and out. The post-meal scale was not as nice to me as it might have been. It is good, though, to spread the culinary expertise to a new dish.

It was a wonderful three day weekend. Played golf two of the three days, rode the Harley two nights (just went over 50,000 miles on the way home from Macs) and of course the roof rack went on. This is what three day weekends were meant to be. The weather was almost perfect. John played with me on Saturday and it was great to see him relax on the course for a change. Walked the course yesterday and this morning my legs are just plain dead. Not sure why that is. Maybe it’s been all the intense work getting ready for Wyoming. I don’t know.

They continue to demolish the landscape next door in preparation for the construction of 50-some housing units. They’ve kept the tree canopy (knock on wood) so far toward the rear portion of the property and that shields the work from my view but not the noise. I need them to keep that greenery in place. It is hard to see them cut down very large oak trees that have been there for who knows how long. The guy next door who is marketing his condo for $379,000 has had some lookers but apparently nothing really serious. I took a break on the roof rack install to have a beer with neighbors who are also selling their unit for an aggressive price but they say their Realtor is very optimistic about their sale. A rising tide lifts all ships and perhaps that might make it easier for me to part ways with my unit, too.

Well, that’s about it from Papa central. You guys be good and keep me posted on your comings and goings. Reid, tell Liz I’m sorry about the Blackhawks. They seem to be going down, down, down.

Love, Dad

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