Monthly Archives: April 2015

Georgia, Reid in Raleigh, and a Big Red …

Family news is still dominated by Georgia’s grand entrance, but there are other things going on, too, i.e. Reid’s headed down this way, the garden is in, and a Big Red finally shows up in my boat.


April 20, 2015

Ellen/Reid: So now there are two granddaughters. Welcome, Georgia. Wow. That little peanut is a little beauty. What a great photo that is, Ellen, of the two of you moments after she was born. Whew, and I’ll bet you’re glad that is over. Sort of funny to hear she’s a little night owl although that’s easy for me to say 1,200 miles away. At least your mom, then Nancy P. , will be there to help you the first few weeks.

Ellen beams moments after  Georgia made her debut. A couple of real cuties.

Ellen beams as Georgia announces her arrival. A couple of real cuties.

To look at Georgia’s long fingers might be a tip off that she’ll be tall. Maybe 5’ 7” – 5’ 9”, something on that order. Emma seems a little reticent around her new sis but that’s only natural, one would think. She’s been the top fiddle for three years but she’ll be a good big sister in short order. To be a fly on the wall to hear those two bumpkins talk once Georgia is old enough. You and Tim will have your hands full.

I’ve no real clue about what to get her. Some suggestions would be good and it would be fine to wait until I’m up there next month before any shopping is done. Did you keep a lot of Emma’s baby clothing? For some reason it rings a bell that you gave some of it away. That’s okay. So just toss some ideas out there.

Reid, even though your weekend in Raleigh for the wedding should be packed, I’m looking forward to however much time you and Liz can spare. So just let me know what works for you. How’s an early Saturday morning breakfast sound? I could be up there around 8:30 or 9:00. If the weather permits the Road King will make it’s highway debut since it’s seen no road time with me. How was Berkeley? Can’t wait to hear about it. If Liz could get entrance to Cal, that would be a great thing, and you can do worse than live in the Bay area although it’s probably pretty pricey.

Alas, the blue birds are gone. Continue reading


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Georgia on my mind …

Even before this letter hit the mailboxes of Ellen and Reid, Georgia, at 7 lbs. 4 oz., was among us.

All grandparents think their grandkids are the cutest thing ever. No exception here.


April 13, 2015

Ellen/Reid: Geez, Ellen, now the wait is on full bore. If I were a betting man, I’d say Emma gets a sister sometime this week. I know your mom flies in today and she’s pumped about. It will be good to have her there to watch Emma while you and Tim are off to the hospital for the delivery. It seemed to me Claire was a good name. But no more guessing on my part since you say everyone is so far off. You’ve got my itinerary for May. Tell Tim his picture of Emma chowing down on a bowl of ice cream as she ‘prepares for Papa’ is pretty accurate.

Georgia surveys her new surroundings. She was officially 5 days early (due Apr. 19) but her early entrance was quiet and routine.

Georgia surveys her new surroundings. She was officially 5 days early (due Apr. 19) but her early entrance was quiet and routine.

The girl and I will get plenty of practice. Betsy saw your selfie and thought you looked ready. I guess. Watch for a delivery sometime soon of Emma’s birthday gift. It would be great to be there but we’ll have to wait a few more weeks for a secondary celebration. If your garden isn’t in by the time of my arrival, I’ll put in the plants you want. Just make a list. It will give me and my helper Emma something to do.

The warm temperatures have put the trees behind the house into full foliage which now blocks any view of the apartments 80 yards away. I like that invisibility. It makes my spot one of the better units in the entire development. The HOA garden Nazis will have to deal with a newly planted crop of lettuce, basil, cilantro and a single tomato plant. Per your instructions, the pots are now on the top of the steps which should no longer offend anyone’s sensibilities. Also planted were the flower boxes, but like a complete ditz for some inane reason I bought only five plants and had to return to the garden shop for a sixth. What an idiot. But at least things are in now and we’ll see if it raises the dander of my overseers. There’s also been a bumper crop of pine pollen which covers everything in a soft layer of yellow dust. When it gets wet it changes to a goo.

I’m thinking about selling the Harley. It’s just too big for me. It outweighs the Heritage Softail by about 80 lbs. and that’s a lot for me to handle. A couple of short jaunts this weekend to Macs and a breakfast nook over the border in South Carolina were enjoyable but my run of bikes is probably coming to an end. I’m okay with that. There was the option of a much lighter Wide Glide (same big engine)

It may be time for the Road King to make way for a new Wide Glide.

It may be time for the Road King to make way for a new Wide Glide. That, or the end of my riding years is in sight.

but that brings me full circle to the same conclusion: probably time to end my riding days. There’s still the kayak as a boy toy along with my golf clubs. Besides, the Road King needs some seriously louder pipes and it would set me back about $700 for a pair of Vance & Hines Big Shots not to mention the installation since that would be over my head a little bit. They estimate it takes about three hours for the install but you could double or triple that in my case.

My friend Tom and I head to Charleston this Friday for a down-and-back day of fishing. The last time we went it was so, so cold and we (and our guide Tripp) were completely skunked. He chalked that up to cold water temperatures. But the Friday forecast calls for mid 70s which will be really nice for a change. The kayak hasn’t touched water for a couple of months now. Reid, we’ll use most of the same bait that other guy was using when he pulled in all those big reds. Frozen sardines are akin to the cut finger mullet he used. The fishing reports in the Observer are marginally hopeful. I really hope for Tom’s sake that both of us catch something, anything, just so we can say something was boated. Not too sure Tom is overly enthused about a 5:30 a.m. wakeup but that’s just the wages of going fishing. On a separate note, I hope to take my pastor John and his wife Kelly down to Charleston sometime this summer or fall if they can break away.

Reid, it’s exciting that you can give your full attention to your grad studies at DePaul. Make sure you stick to your knitting on it. Not that much longer to go. You’ll do well, and the thinking here is that a lot of employers might take a shine to a graduate degree, too.

Love, Dad

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We know the name won’t be Louise or Claire …

I’ve tried on end to guess the name of the girl Ellen and Tim are expecting any day – or moment – now.  Louise? Not close. Claire (Ellen said that was a name that was considered so score one for Papa). As usual I’m off the mark as I am on so many other things – stocks, the weather, Cub games.

But the name won’t matter as long as my new granddaughter and Ellen come out of the delivery process in good shape.

We’ll know soon.


April 6, 2015

Ellen/Reid: Thanks, Reid, for resurrecting the trip to Chicago. Really looking forward to it. The plane ticket will be secured today and I’ll bump the itinerary to you ASAP. I thought about coming in Thursday night since I have Friday off but will likely wait until Friday to jet in. So watch for something soon.

Emma scarfs down some ice cream. She and her Papa will get to know the business end of a spoon and a bowl(s) of ice cream when I visit next month.

Emma scarfs down some some of the good stuff. She and her Papa will get to know the business end of a spoon and a bowl(s) of ice cream when I visit next month.

Ellen, your time for the-girl-to-be-named-later is closing in. Geez, by the time you get this she could already be with us. It’s so exciting. People have asked if I’ll be there for the delivery but this time around it does make more sense to let the dust settle, so to speak, before heading up to Minnesota. I’m trying to guess her name but am totally stumped as to what you and Tim have selected. Her name won’t start with an ‘E’ since Emma has already claimed that. I haven’t checked out what the more popular names are for girls are in the past couple of years. Louise? Nah, too old school.

Continuing to thumb my nose at the HOA garden Nazis by planting a round container with Romaine lettuce. Will augment that today with a container tomato and some basil purchased on Saturday night. The high and mighty have said nothing more about the ‘hearing’ that was supposed to be held about my garden pot crimes. Perhaps they’re marshaling their legal forces. The Charlotte Observer ran a story about how perfect container gardening was for those of us in condos and smaller spaces. Touche. People put moronic styrofoam Easter bunnies and gigantic eggs outside their front doors this week, but the betting here is that the Forces of Evil let those slide. I didn’t know a few heads of lettuce was a felony.

I pulled the plug on my group on Meetup. Only five people joined and I did a lackluster job of promoting it and posting pics and such. It was ill-fated from the start. It also cost me $20 a month to host the site and given that I wasn’t doing much to stir the pot, it was time for it to go. Herding the cats in my Golf for One group is plenty enough site management for me.

Played twice this weekend. Walked a muny early, early, early Saturday morning with my friend Todd from work and just kind of slapped the ball around. Our rounds are mostly about gabbing about work and liberal politics. The worst sort of golf is when you’re not taking it terribly serious. And the results show. Played yesterday on a fine track called River Hills with my friends Sondra, Jody and Jen. Hit the ball much better but still made bonehead decisions which cost me shot after shot.

Sondra, Jody and I couldn't score tickets to the Charlotte Knights game on a gorgeous Friday, but vendors still sold us 'dogs and beer through the bars - all with a full view of the field. Nice.

Sondra, Jody and I couldn’t land tickets to the Charlotte Knights game on a gorgeous Friday, but vendors still sold us ‘dogs and beer through the bars – all with a full view of the field. Nice.

Sondra and Jody and I rode the train Uptown on Friday night to watch the local team, the Knights, clobber the White Sox. But since it was a sellout, we perched outside the fence in right center field but still have a full view of the field. What was really hilarious was that the beer and hotdog vendors walking inside with their trays strapped over their shoulders were only too happy to sell brews and ‘dogs through the tall black fence. We’d push cash their way and they’d deliver the goods. It was a warm beautiful evening to watch the game (more people watching that baseball watching). We rode the train back south to a biker bar called McCoys

We had a great time at McCoy's - half the fun is people watching, including these two.

We had a great time at McCoy’s – half the fun is people watching, including these two.

that’s right along the rail line, so we spent the next couple of hours listening to live music and watching bikers in my age category. I’ll get my bike there in pretty short order. Hope to order new, and louder, Vance & Hines pipes this week.

My class on letters atCentral Piedmont Community College is done. It looks like there will be a repeat in the fall but hopefully there will be more than three students although the three I had were really good. I’m also on tap to teach a general writing course and am really excited about that. To teach is to learn twice.

Love, Dad

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Rubbing salt in the wound …

When my dating life in high school would bomb, which was often, my mother used to tell me there “were plenty of fish in the sea.” Well, her saltwater admonition lives on. As an old guy in Florida told me a couple of weeks ago, he practices ‘catch and release’ – but he skips the ‘catch’ part. I can relate, pal. I can relate.


March 30, 2015

Ellen/Reid: There was a short article in the paper this weekend about how the body can acclimate itself to colder temps. Based on this aging body, I ain’t buying it. No way, no how. I had to wear a fleece headband and gloves Saturday and Sunday, and I’m sick of cold.

The trip to Florida to see Dave. H. was good in most respects. The drive down in daylight went fine and is a much better option vs. nighttime naps at rest stops which stretch out the trip and exhaust me.  We had a lot of fun at a Cajun thing in Pompano Beach plus just lounging/talking at his place, which is just so nice. He and Jane have done a spectacular job on renovating every single thing in their house. The real downer this time was the fishing. It was just a total disaster for three straight days and might be the final nail in the I-have-no-clue-how-to-fish coffin. We spent $$$ for a guide for tarpon and could see the 100 – 200 lb. fish only feet away from the boat just outside Naples.

I didn't even feel the bite. But the elderly woman in the wheelchair next to me out-fished me big time.

Asleep at the switch: I didn’t even feel the bite. The elderly woman in the wheelchair to my right out-fished me big time.

But the four hour excursion was essentially an expensive lesson in fly casting. We were using a 9 weight rod and we just couldn’t master the double haul and effortless motion of the guide who could wing it out there 40 yards with a couple of snaps of the wrist. The guide was unmerciful in his unending criticism, however nicely made. It only underlined that my self-taught ways don’t work. I can get away with faulty mechanics in Wyoming, but not on big water with manly equipment. It was utterly deflating. To rub salt in the wound, the next day we paid $40 each for a ‘drift boat’ to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with other folks and out of 30 people on board, guess who were the only two that didn’t Continue reading

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