Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday Thoughts 13

Here we go.

1. Laurie and I went to see Poison, Cheap Trick, and Def Leppard last night at Blossom Music Center on the lawn. The show was fun, it was great spending some kidless time with the wife and due to the rain and mud in the parking lot, we got quite a memory in getting the car unstuck in the mud in trying to exit the venue.

2. I love Blossom for seeing a summer concert, but seriously, $11 for a 24oz can of beer. It's not enough that Ticketmaster bends you over with their service charges and they apply a location charge. But for your captive audience you've pushed the prices way to high for drinks, not only on alchohol but $5 for bottled water. Unbelieveable. It doesn't help that in my 20 years of going to concerts there, you've never even tried to do anything to mitigate the parking fiasco that your venue is. If it isn't an hour and half from the freeway exit to your seats (often times meaning missing the start of the show) it's the 2-3 hour wait to get out of your complex. You want to be a modern age concert venue, fix your frigging parking and drop the prices a bit.

3. Michael Jackson: does he not define tragic in so many ways. The self professed "King of Pop" he created the megastar class. Elvis and the Beatles were phenomenons, but neither existed broke through in the 80's. The spotlight never stopped shining on you Michael, for all of your flaws your talent was never in question.

4. I hate to say it, but Bret Michaels from Poison's voice is gone. If it wasn't for nostalgia, Rock of Love, and a great sound by the band, there's no way anyone would go to the show. He gives a great performance, but like many singers over the years, he just doesn't have the voice in him anymore.

5. That's it for now, this list has sat in draft mode for two days. I hope to get a post in this week before I leave on Wednesday, if not talk I'm sure I'll have a good deal to post about in 2 weeks after my trip.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Checking in midweek

It seems I've been back and forth chasing my Internet service provider all week to keep me connected. It wouldn't be a bad thing if it was just for recreation, but working from home means it really sucks. When service goes down during the day it can usually mean to a long working night.

I call in this morning, because service was down again. No outages in area and they couldn't see my modem. Ok, so I'll take it into the service store and have them replace it. I start to disconnect the cable line and it's Christmas tree time. WTF? I'm guessing something got a bit loose during all the reboots I've done lately on the system. Ugh, well at least I'm back up.

This has turned out to be a pretty busy week too. Bronwyn started her next gymnastics/dance (tumble) class this week. She's moved up to the PeeWee level, so now when we take her we don't accompany her on the floor. Exciting, proud, and depressing all at the same time. She did great her first night though and gets more and more excited each week for tumble.

I'm taking the family out to dinner and to the Natural History Museum tonight. Laurie and I thought it might be a nice weeknight change of pace and after Bronwyn actually sat through the first Night at the Museum movie, it definitely seems like a solid idea. It will be nice to get out of the house mid-week as well. The one negative is it makes time fly when we start scheduling these recreational activities. Why can't I figure out how to do this during the winter?

Tomorrow night, Laurie and I have a date night of sorts, we are going out to Blossom Music Center for a concert. Def Leppard, Poison, and Cheap Trick. It should make for an interesting night. Laurie's excited to 'dress' for the show as she says, as she's looking forward to rocking some 80's style. I'm excited to go, although a bit ho hum about the bands, I like them, just not a huge fan. I'm waiting for 10 years from now so my 90's faves are grouping up and playing Blossom. Forecast calls for rain, which should make it interesting if it does, it also is likely to be a long night, especially since Blossom's about 30 minutes from our house and getting out of a concert there is downright painful. I'm hoping to get some pics which I'll post on here if I get a chance.

That's it for now, work is getting busier which is good, although people are in CYA mode right now, so it makes it a bit difficult to 'work together' on things. I'm looking forward to being out of the office starting on the 4th. It will be a welcome relief to be disconnected for a couple days.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Who's your Daddy?

Yesterday was Father's day and I'm glad to report it finally felt like it. Bronwyn is 3 years old now and it almost feels like I've been on probation for 3 years. I just haven't gotten into the whole Father's day mentality.

However, after 3 years, where she's developing normally, has no visible scars from accidents, and still likes to give her "Daddy" kisses and hugs. I've decided I've done enough to pass my probationary period.

I woke up Sunday morning, ready to go. Off for a quick solo bike ride down the trail in the valley. Ahh, the peace and quiet of a solo ride. I swear I saw 5-6 fathers doing the same thing and nodding hello as I rode past. This just reconfirms my belief that I've passed the initiation phase.

I decided on the ride, that at the very least for one day, I needed to dress like a father. You know what I'm talking about. Something that just doesn't work fashionably. Whether it's tube socks and shorts, sandals and socks, goofy hats, or just plain old unmatched clothing. Father's everywhere seem to make bold fashion statements. And on this day for Dad's I wanted to as well. I thought about sandals with socks but couldn't bring myself to do it, perhaps next year, with some dress socks too, or some grey tube socks that almost go to the knee.

I digress, I decided that I'd try and find my worst shirt, and most unusual hat. Bonus points if they were gifts for me. (On a quick sidenote, I'm not convinced Fathers have poor taste, until you've seen some of the clothing gifts we receive at times, you should not be so quick to judge). I found a shirt I've rarely worn (unfortunately not that unusual though), but I did score with an old Indians' cap a friend gave to me for being in his wedding party. (Bonus points as it has my last name embroidered on it). I changed into the outfit and went downstairs. The wife's initial look brought a smile to my face. Not quite the horror I was hoping for but a good start.

Laurie: "Oh you are wearing that?"

Me: "why yes, is there a problem?"

Laurie: (hesitating) "Umm, well know, it's just that hat and shirt don't go together" "The shirts a bit too nice for a hat like that."

Me: "excellent, that's the look I was going for, it's Father's day"

Laurie: (eyeroll)

I proceeded to run to a couple stores for some shopping as Laurie took Bronwyn to her swim lessons. I can honestly say I don't think I've walked so tall in quite a while. It was almost like I had been drafted into the armed forces and was proudly displaying my uniform. Even without child in tow, it was blatantly obvious that I was a father and that's how this Father's day went.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday Thoughts 12

I'm wondering if the Friday lists have become a bit boring lately. It seems harder and harder to put down a 10 point rant/list. Since I have a break of about 2 weeks coming up where I won't be sitting in front of a PC for the majority of the day, I think I'll re-evaluate some of what I do on the blog. At the very least the 2 week break should give me an opportunity to come up with some interesting discussions.

1. Not overly impressed with the new iPhone 3.0 upgrade so far. It's probably too early to say as AT&T hasn't enabled multimedia text messaging and some of the other features aren't going to be incorporated on applications until they are upgraded. But my first impression is a bit of disappointment.

2. I'm not the first to say this, but it's June 19th already? Technically it's not the beginning of summer yet, but since unofficially we start thinking of it as summer after Memorial day, it seems like it's moving quick. I wouldn't mind if the weather got hot like summer at some point though.

3. No leads for the wife yet on secondary Social Studies teaching positions. Supposedly Louisville, KY is going to start second round of interviews at the end of the month. Fingers crossed that something she winds up with a spot this year.

4. So North Korea's 'Glorious leader' is threatening to fire a test missile toward Hawaii. I wonder how that plays out if they do and if by some miracle it's capable of getting close to the island. I also wonder when China and Russia are going to slap down their insolent child and handle their part of the world. Come on Vladimir, you've made a mockery of the 'Democratic' process in Russia, so might as well do some leading.

5. A big thank you to the Cleveland Indians and Cleveland Browns for being so bad, average, or boring, I no longer care. Which means I have more free time to invest in other things.

6. I'm amazed I made it to number 6 today. 4 hours after I started the list and I've managed to find 5 solid thoughts. (Well at least to me)

7. If the wife doesn't get a teaching position this year and we wind up staying here, I'm thinking of trying to find a band that needs a singer. I've always wanted to and while I don't have a recording artist voice, I could hold my own for covers fairly easily. Wife's said before I should give it a shot, but we'll see how it goes.

8. It's Father's day weekend, still a little weird to me. I guess I just don't get the have one special day for someone. I know I'm weird like that. But I guess it's better to get then receive. My wife keeps asking me what I want to do and honestly I have no idea.

9. No recipe for the week, but a nice drink recipe. Sort of an apple martini on steroids. Vanilla vodka, Apple Pucker, Goldschlager, and Pineapple Juice. Tastes like a mulled apple cider. I'd call them dangerous. Don't know the amounts of each needed and I can't remember if it had Captain Morgan's with it too. Anyway, I'd probably go light on the Pucker and Goldschlager and equal parts of the rest to start.

10. I watched Conan on the "Tonight Show" for the first time last night. I rarely watch any of the late night shows. Anyway, he looked a tad bit uncomfortable during the show. But I think he'll do fine and glad NBC moved him into the spot. He's come along way since he started out on the late night shows and I like that there is still a good deal of "Conan" style humor in the refinement process that's happened over the years.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Understanding Self Part 1: Crap, infinity writing...

I was inspired to write today based on my friend's recent blog post. You can find her excellent blog here:

It had me thinking about what life at 36 is really like. At least from the standpoint of understanding the way in which one defines one's self. So instead of hijacking her comments section with more discussion on it, I figured I'd put my thoughts down here.

"Defining one's self", if you've read my blog or know me personally, then it's no shock to you that this topic tends to be a bit of an obsession for me(go ahead laugh it was meant to be understated).

After thinking about what I wanted to write, I got through 2 hours of writing and realized that it was a dis-organized mess. One long ramble of non-associative points. It seems I've been giving this a lot of thought lately. And there are a lot of situations that I was using as reference, but they fit poorly together.

Since I can't seem to form my current thoughts into a coherent point, I'm going to break it up into individual points and hopefully let it come together as a series of posts.

*Update* I lied I thought I could break down the mess that I had wrote into shorter blocks, but in thinking about it. It's really just discussions of the same old thing. I'm half tempted to just delete this whole post, but for some reason I feel like leaving it up.

I guess the main theme I was going to drone on about was how interesting it is that at 36, how mentally I still feel 21 or 22 at times. In addition my self identity today, doesn't seem so close to what I thought I'd be at 36 when I was 22. As I started writing things down I realized that there are just to many good and bad points to the discrepancy to cover quickly. So you'll have to hold on for that discussion.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wednesday update

I just wanted to post a quick update, not much going on this week, seems like we are in the dog days of summer already. Lately, it seems like all I'm doing is working and trying to fix things around the house. I'm in process of getting the swimming pool ready this week. I've successfully changed it from a shade of brown to foggy blue water, so I'm making progress but still aways to go.

I saw another interesting movie last night, "Taken" with Liam Neeson. It was good even for a disturbing subject. When I was told about it a couple months ago by a friend it reminded me a lot of "Man on Fire" with Denzel Washington. Both movies were good, but I thought "Man on Fire" did a better job of 'taking frustrations out'. I'd highly recommend both though if you are looking for something to watch.

That's it for now, talk to everyone soon.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The wrong side of Bleh!

I'm not sure whether it's the weather, or some increase in work volume, but it's been a struggle to load the page up today and think about posting an update. As I've mentioned before though, it's good for me to continue to update even though I don't 'feel' like it. If I ever try and write someday I'm going to need the ability to write when I don't feel like it.

It was a great weekend, I took the family out for breakfast on Saturday at IHOP. It's rare we go out to a restaurant together, so I thought it would be a bit different and a nice change of pace from ordering in. I took the path of most indulgent by ordering pancakes, that were covered in pecans, granola, and butterscotch chips. I'm not sure it should be called breakfast but it was very good.

My daughter should be glad she's not Jewish, as she has an extreme bacon addition, munching through three sticks and then asking the waitress if she could have more. Outside of that Laurie and Bronwyn definitely seemed to enjoy their breakfast and it was a very nice change of pace.

We then headed down to the Great Lake Science center for my God Daughter's birthday party. Anna, is my best friend Mike's daughter, she's 9 years old this year. It was a great time and a nice chance to see Mike and Danny, whom my brother and I spent so much time with as kids.

Bronwyn was in complete heaven at the science center. She found the water exhibits outside fascinating and tearing her away from them was very difficult. Laurie and I were a bit surprised she liked the water exhibits so much considering their was an inflate able house available and she never turns those down.

It was a great time though and if you haven't been to the Science center I would highly recommend it.

We decided to take it easy on Sunday. I finished up some early grocery shopping and we played some tennis in the afternoon, where I proceeded to get sunburned further. It wound up being a very full weekend, without being exhausting. Quite a good combination.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday Thoughts 11

Sitting here on a dreary Friday morning. Hoping it would either just rain and get it over with or let the sun come out.

I can't say it's been an interesting week, it's been pretty boring from a work perspective and with my trip 3 weeks from now, I find myself looking towards that more and more, which is a nice distraction to have. Having said all that, here are Friday's thoughts.

1. I'm sort of surprised I enjoyed bowling as much as I did on Wednesday. I think it's due to the fact that I don't know how to fit it into my self identity. I just don't think of myself as a bowler and not sure I can think of myself as one. It's interesting as typically my view of hobbies is to do what you like. I have a feeling it's something I associate with my father and I'm rebelling against it.

2. Just a point for clarity that I may never have mentioned before. I think my father is a wonderful person, an excellent father, and I love and respect him deeply. My struggle lately to 'differentiate' myself is seeing where he and some of his friends are at this point in their life. I see them frustrated at times and depressed over how things may or may not be. It's my perception of their situation and may or may not be right. The fact is I don't want to end up that way regardless of whether they actually are. So I'm trying to understand myself and the coming years more to try and prepare to how I want to handle it. Too long a point for Friday thoughts, so that's enough for now.

3. I haven't made it to the gym in weeks, thankfully I have been bike riding, but it grates at the back of me that my gym membership is sitting unused. I need to get back up there at least once or twice a week even with summer here.

4. I've been catching up on renting movies lately. While they were critically panned. Paul Blart: Mall cop, and Adam Sandler's Bedtime stories were pretty good. Some predictable laughs, but not a bad way to spend the evening with nothing on TV on a rainy night.

5. Looking forward to seeing Clint Eastwood's Grand Torino soon, maybe this weekend.

6. After the great BBQ food last week, we sort of had a cooking hangover this week, too many nights of ordering out. Funny how that works.

7. Looking forward to belated birthday party for my goddaughter tomorrow. It's at the Great Lakes Science center, so should be a fun time. I thought this picture was a nice contrast to her

8. Laurie's new hearing device seems to be working well, although she says she's not used to it yet, of course at the time she didn't have it in and has been using it sparingly. I did mention to her it's hard to get used to the feeling of wearing it, if in fact you aren't wearing it.

9. Have the BBQ meal planned for this weekend, steak, stuffed mushrooms and some type of potato. Can't wait either going to cook it up Saturday or Sunday.

10. I'm looking forward to the new iPhone operating system that comes out on Wednesday. I can't believe it's taken them this long to have SMS multimedia capabilities.

11. It's been awhile since I posted another hottie, she reminds me of my wife. Sexy, beautiful, funny, and a bit goofy at times, Anna Faris. I thought this picture was a nice contrast to the type of roles she gets.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wacky Wednesday

Wacky Wednesday, sounds kind of nice doesn't it? Unfortunately it's not the case today, well at least not yet. (It's only noon though, so who knows).

Not a lot going on this week, but I wanted to stay in the habit of posting. I'm heading out tonight to bowl. My cousin mentioned to him this weekend that they were looking for someone to bowl a couple Wednesday's out of the month. I thought it was a good opportunity to get out of the house and open myself to some new environments and people. I'm not a huge bowling fan, so it will be interesting to say the least. As my cousin put it last week, it's not so much bowling, as drinking and we happen to bowl. Great just what I need a regular drinking night. I'll be taking it easy though as being a spontaneous, social drinker seems to fit my persona better anyway.

In addition to that, my wife is working to play matchmaker with a friend of hers and my cousin. I'll be interested in seeing how this goes, my guess is it's not a good fit.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

New blog, shameless plug

Just a heads up, I've started a second blog, more of a content site for Vegas, but if you are interested, you can check it out here:

If I just keep riding.....

I actually woke up and got out on the bike trail this morning, and I'm so glad I did as it was a great ride. Temperature was mild, but not too cold with the wind and there was no one on the trail. As a matter of fact, as I got to the halfway point and needed to turn around, I couldn't help but think that I wouldn't mind just continuing to ride for a couple hours in one direction and worry about the consequences later. However my sense of personal responsibility took over and I did turn around and finish the ride.

It's so nice to get out on the trail by myself and put the ipod earbuds in and just cruise along. I love putting the little on on the bike seat and taking her for a ride, but it's a much different experience then a solo ride. With the little one in tow, she becomes my focus, how long before she gets antsy? why is she trying to shake the seat and knock us over? (because she can), what songs or commentary is she going to provide? (Yesterday she was commenting on how stinky it was and had determined it must be from duck farts). It's definitely a good time when I take her for a ride, it's just very nice to get the solo time.

I was thinking a lot on the ride today, and I'm having difficulty trying to slim it down and not spend 4-6 hours writing a post about it. Much of my thoughts are ones that I've been kicking around for weeks now for new subjects, but they just seem like good ideas at the moment and aren't flushed out enough for a post.

Which is why I've decided to due something a little different. Instead of breaking down the topic, I'm going to give you a peak inside of what I'm thinking about riding and some of the discussions in my head. There is a part of me that feels way too vulnerable doing this, which probably means it's more interesting.

Mike's Head: So you've teased about the self medicating post long enough, finally going to write about it?

Hmmm, not yet, my guess if anyone remembers the tease at this point, they are thinking drugs or alcohol. It's really more then that, since it's about everyday things, whether it's food, choices, things we like to do and certainly things like alcohol. But I'm not really sure what I can wrap the story around. I'm not in the mood for a deep, depressing post, and at times I'm not sure how I feel about my social drinking, and if I don't know how I feel about it, I'm definitely not sure on how I want to write about it.

Mike's Head: Well you could talk about how your such a sap or you could do that personality breakdown you've been thinking about.

Yes, I know I'm a sap because I watch a couple of 'light' comedies and they were actually enjoyable, and it's funny as it contradicts my social persona of stern, serious, and measured. That actually would be a good segway into the personality breakdown I've been thinking about. The problem is though, every time I start thinking about 'who' I am in trying to describe it. I feel like I go down a never ending path. And I think my fascination with my own contradictions is just me stroking my own ego. Yes, I have metro sexual tendencies and enjoy rural settings and I can come across as the most put together professional for one moment and break out the inner child at the next but the more I think about these contradictions the more I realize that it's no different then anyone else. Maybe my levels and interests are unique, but the contradictions itself aren't so unusual if you broke someone else down. So no, that's not a topic for discussion today as I don't want to indulge my narcissistic side at the moment.

Mike's Head: you're being difficult today. What happened to letting it all out and not over thinking it?

Ahh, excellent point, yes that concept is almost a complete failure. I'll strive for being open and vulnerable, but I've come to realize this blog is no different then real life, there are always possible consequences for actions, so I need to be aware of how my posts can potentially affect myself and others. However I don't think all will be lost in not being completely 'open'. By writing about how I think, I'm being more open then I've ever been in some respects. I'll just have to keep working on ways to try and balance it.

There were other assorted thoughts on the bike trip, but none spring immediately to mind and in truth I'm starting to run into a bit of a mental block in describing them, so now is as good of time as any to take a break from this, until the next post that is, well that is unless I just keep riding tomorrow morning, always a possibility.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Monday doldrums

Hello all, sorry I just don't have time for a long post today and possibly this week. I had a great weekend with the family, and am wore out. I'm hoping my muse kicks in this week and I have something interesting to write. Until then have a great week.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Friday Thoughts 10

Here we go.......

1. Cleveland's talk radio host Mike Trivisonno is a twit. . Putting all the things wrong with his views into words would take multiple blog posts and to do so would be more time then I wish to waste on someone so ignorant. If you are local, take a listen for yourself and make your own opinion, if you aren't local, be glad. It's embarrassing that he's #1 or #2 rated talk show host regularly.

2. Frost/Nixon is very good, well worth a rental. Felt like I was watching a Rocky movie. Back in December, I heard a very good interview between Ron Howard and Bob Costas, 2 hours of discussion on the movie and some great insight. It was one of those unfortunate coincidences as I was driving to Canada and my Ipod transmitter wasn't working. It's well worth a listen if you have the time. (Unable to find a link for the interview archive, sorry)

3. Wife and I are off to the Boneyard in Mayfield tonight (and this time I'm going to make it there). It's Rockstar Karaoke night. Cheesy? Definitely, but fun. Besides it's one of the few times I get to perform on stage with a full band.

4. I'm feeling really good lately, have a strong positive outlook going.

5. I'm not usually one to care about stupid things like whether or not fans should vote for Manny Ramirez for the All Star Game. But I was thinking about it this week and if MLB players can make a mockery of the game through steroid use, then please don't tell me fans shouldn't be able to make a mockery of the All Star Game.

6. I wonder how players who have never taken steroids feel. Everyone during this era has become a suspect. Maybe someday some of the non-users will speak out. I have no idea if they used, but players like Frank Thomas, Jim Thome, Carlos Delgado, and Fred McGriff come to mind. all were/are considered good for their time but have rarely been considered best overall players. If it wasn't for steroid inflated statistics, the type of numbers these 4 put up would have classified them as the elite of our generation. Maybe that's the way we try and figure out who did and who didn't?

7. Song of the week: Not enough time by INXS (I forgot how much I loved the last Michael Hutchence INXS album). I can't believe I actually saw them in concert at the IX center of all places. Weird venue for a show.

8. I'm amazed at how much my pug hates getting his nails clipped, it took every ounce of my strength yesterday to hold him as the vet clipped him. My arm looked like swiss cheese after that process. He is one stubborn dog, I can't believe that at some point he doesn't relent and give up, but he fought for the full 30 minutes it took to get them all clipped.

9. This week I've been missing my first dog, Kasey. She passed away a couple years ago. I have been thinking about her, she was a female golden retriever with the most attitude I've ever seen from a dog. I'll post about her sometime, but I honestly don't know if I'll ever be as close to a dog again after her. I do love our pug Edgar, but in many ways I view him as Laurie's dog, so our bond isn't quite the same.

10. Here is a tasty refreshing summer dessert recipe for you:
Key Lime Pie:
1/2 cup lime juice (much better with real and much, much better with key lime juice)
1 can of sweetened condensed milk (fat free is fine)
1 tub of 8 or 9oz whipped cream.

Combine all ingredients and mix together, don't worry about not folding the whipped cream in, the texture will still be fine. If you can whip the mixture for a while and work some air into the mixture it will be a lighter texture, but you don't need to mix long. Throw it in a pie crust (graham preferably), refrigerate for 1-2 hours to set and then eat.

Hope everyone has a good weekend!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Tiananmen Square Memorial

Not much to say on this, I'll let the incident speak for itself, but June 4th is the 20th anniversary of the protest ending.

Crazy Neighbors part deux

I've neglected my duties of my blog in not getting to some of the more interesting takes I have in recent weeks. Having said that, here's the second set of observations on my unique neighbors.

Our next contestant, I kindly refer to as "Schnauzer lady". The two houses next to mine are owned by Schnauzer lady, the house right next to mine was rented out by her and both of them share the same fenced in yard. Upon moving into our house and getting our pug Edgar we became acutely aware of a pack of 5 schnauzers that would run over from her house and terrorize Edgar at the fence.

They'd usually be out in their backyard for a couple hours at a time and would congregate right against our fence as soon as Edgar came out. Barking away and stumbling over one another to get in our new puppies face.

Besides the constant yapping that the schnauzers did they did seem rather harmless. (they were in fact a bit fun to taunt, unfortunately my pug never decided to join in with that as he'd cower away from them).

Within a week of our moving in Schnauzer lady would walk over to the fence and attempt to engage in conversation, to say that she may not be all there would be a bit of an understatement. She often spoke in broken sentences and unusual statements. Every time I saw her near the fence and I couldn't avoid her, I'd cringe. The best way to describe it would be to put a set of headphones on with the sound of nails on a chalkboard running through it and with no ability to remove the headphones.

Talking to her wasn't the hard part, I soon realized that she really wasn't listening, or for that matter even directing her conversation at me. She would ramble on in an almost non-sensible matter, if I had to give you a visual, I'd compare it to Gollum from Lord of the Rings obsessing over the Ring. It was like she was having a conversation with herself and had somehow drawn me into it. It wasn't hard to see that the picnic basket was short a few sandwiches.

Let me interject for a moment, the women is elderly and I understand that with age comes some very debilitating conditions. So while I do poke fun at times at the situation, my goal here is to recap some of the interesting observations I've experienced during our time as neighbors, even while realizing that this person is a bit unfortunate for what they maybe dealing with.

In the first couple years we lived here she seemed to have a younger person (daughter maybe) come by to help her, this younger person seemed to stop coming after the first year or two we lived here. Her sister (similar age, well at least what I assume is a sister, they look similar) also appeared to come over and help. A couple years ago the sister moved in. Her sister also never seemed quite right. I managed to avoid most engagements with her, but she has managed to corner my wife on numerous occasions. (The engagements I did have with her, were the same feeling I had in dealing with schnauzer lady, except the sister would stare directly at you where Schnauzer lady tended to look everywhere else)

One of the more memorable episodes was when my wife was out back during a period when we were struggling through fertility treatments and the sister engaged my wife asking about our kids. When my wife advised we didn't have any (over and over again), the sister upon finally getting that we didn't have any proceeded to tell my wife repeatedly how we would. If you've ever been around a woman struggling with fertility treatments you know how difficult it can be for them, even a person not familiar with understanding someone else's emotion would typically be able to pick up the signs that a conversation was becoming uncomfortable. Just another example to what I could best describe as dementia for these two women.

Anyway, back to Schnauzer lady, so I mentioned her 5 dogs, slowly over the next year and a half, the dogs dwindled one by one until they were all gone. How you might ask? Well it's hard to confirm, but during the winter months she'd leave them outside and my guess is either the house next door's gate was open or there was a hole in the fence and they would get out. It didn't appear she'd notice they were missing or attempt to track them down. This would happen every couple months where we'd notice one less schnauzer running up to the fence barking. Occasionally if it was one of the smarter ones it would get out and then find it's way back into the yard, only to repeat the process in another month or so. I believe most died during the winter months as they'd get out and freeze. Again it's very hard to tell, because by the time we realized what was likely happening it was almost too late to do anything. Besides that, it's not like we were finding dead frozen schnauzers lying around the neighborhood. For all we know they were actually given away or died of natural causes and buried (highly unlikely but possible). My guess is they got out and died but it is just a guess.

To say this was unfortunate would be an understatement, especially if the dogs froze to death through neglect. It does go to show though that sometimes people just don't get it, if someone is barely able to take care of themselves how in the world are they allowed to have 5 dogs to take care of as well.

It's been a number of years since the dogs disappeared. Since that time, if we see her or her sister , they are sitting on their front porch or walking in front of their house. Thankfully they never come over to our fence in the backyard anymore. In the last year or so it appears that they did get another dog. Which lived with them but was never let out in the backyard alone. Another set of 'unusual' neighbors from down the street came down and walked the dog on a daily basis. (Let me just say the fact that the 'schnauzer sisters' and the 'unusuals' from down the street have teamed up for dog watching is fascinating. This is like the Beatles and Elvis during their prime doing concert together. The amount of weirdness that must be present in that circle is unprecedented)

It appears that the dog was doing fine for awhile, well that is until last week, when I went out on the porch and noticed a police car and animal protection vehicle out front. All I saw was the 'unusuals' and 'schnauzer sisters' being interviewed (I really feel for those police officers, they had to want to stick a fork in there eye after having to decipher any of those conversations), I didn't see any signs of the dog. Given that the animal protection van was there, I'm guessing that it was being neglected and someone called it in, it bit someone, or it got run over by a car. Since I haven't seen the dog since that day, I'm pretty comfortable in assuming that it's either been removed from the premises or was another doggy victim.

Not much else to say on Schnauzer lady, and speaking for dogs everywhere, I hope there isn't a lot more that is blog worthy in the future.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Weekend update

Had a great weekend, had a chance to take Laurie out yesterday for her birthday. Since her birthday's today, we thought it would be easier to do some activities on Sunday rather then trying to fit them all in after work today.

First up was taking her to play tennis. She's wanted to learn how to play for a while now now and I bought her a racket for her birthday. I found out that Garfield Heights has 3 fairly nice tennis courts, so that's where we headed.

It took Laurie a little bit of time to used to the feel and swing of the racket, but she picked up on it very quickly and I'm confident in a month or so she'll be ready for a full game. I do know as of this morning, we are both terribly sore from our first tennis outing.

After that, we came back to the house and cleaned up. We then headed over to the Bonefish Grill, it's a 'sister' restaurant to Outback. I had given Laurie a number of restaurants to choose from and this was her choice. She told me that she was really craving some lobster, having missed out on some opportunities recently to get some and not finding anything serviceable in Myrtle Beach. It was a good meal, while Bonefish is a chain, it's a solid chain and while it won't blow you away it's not going to severely disappoint either. It also didn't hurt that I had a $25 gift certificate. Laurie loved her lobster tails and I had one of their steak specials. We decided to share a piece of key lime pie for dessert and while it wasn't bad, the waiter noticed we weren't thrilled with it. He asked if we were Florida natives. We told him "no, we weren't, but that my grandmother was for a number of years and makes the most outstanding key lime pie." He seemed to nod in acknowledgement having heard this before, he did comment "at least their key lime pie wasn't some mean green atrocity." I'd have to agree with him there, while it wasn't great it wasn't horrible, just not as good as what my grandmother makes.

One caveat to my grandma's key lime pie. It's funny how good her pie is because she's not known for her cooking, as a matter of fact the one thing she makes that's extraordinary is key lime pie. It's light and fluffy and has so much key lime taste too it, it should be illegal. I'm working on getting the recipe as it's truly outstanding.

One other thing from dinner, I should point out the 'waiter' I reference wasn't our waiter but rather the person who filled our drinks and kept tabs on us. Our 'waiter' was really poor and if it wasn't for the gentlemen who filled our drinks and kept tabs on us, I'd have been disappointed with the service. I'd like to believe that the 'star' server was just a waiter from another table but if in fact he was the water boy and not a waiter, then restaurant management there is very bad as they have things completely backwards.

We finished off the night by going to see Angels and Demons. The movie was pretty good even though it strayed from the book in a large number of ways. This effort was much better then the DaVinci code, but I expected that as this story was better suited for a movie given the plot. DaVinci code was a wonderful book but translated poorly to a movie. I'm hoping to get into a review/discussion here in one of the posts this week on the movie, if time permits.

So all in all a good birthday day for the wife, at least as far as she tells me. I'm sitting here on Monday sore and sunburned and have hastily rushed through this recap. But I thought a hastily put together recap would be better then none at all. I'm hopeful that I'll be able to put together some good posts this week, a lot of that will depend on how work goes. Hope you have a great week.