Posts Tagged ‘fireworks’

We arrived after a long ride after I exposed my kids to the glory of songs like “Low Rider”. I arrived with my gift from the sea, Raybans. My sister-in-law has lost her sunglasses the day before and was praying that she would find them while she and the many kids took a walk on the beach in the morning. They found the Raybans, but not her sunglasses. So … now I have them.

The kids arrived with their gifts from the sea, shells placed in “personal disposal” bags covered with roses. Yeah, re-purposing is a beautiful thing but kids can make it interesting.

We also arrived with the remnants of the good, expensive beer Dan and I bought for the Shore. We bought 2 six-packs: Flying Dog Amber Lager and Dogfish Head 60-minute IPA. While transporting a mixed 6-pack down from the room for dinner, Dan didn’t notice the cardboard was a bit wet. Instead of falling apart in the hallway, which is carpeted, they started to slip out poolside in the Great Beer Incident of 2013. So I arrived in NY with 4 of the original 12 left.

One of our sisters-in-law heated up some lasagne for us. We unpacked all 6 suitcases and put the kids to bed. I watched the NBA Draft both glad and sad at the developments for the Celtics. Then I finished a Jack Reacher novel before heading to bed later than expected.

That evening the rain started, heavy at times but through most of Friday and intermittently on Saturday.

On Friday I did some reading- Frame and Sproul. I began to do some work on John’s Gospel in preparation for a series I should begin in November. I got some exercise by walking Darby Gray, the little moose that is passed off as a Great Dane. Huge bladder. My hair grew about a quarter of an inch waiting for him to finish. In the afternoon I enjoyed a La Gloria Cubana cigar while reading a Jack Reacher short story and listening to Boston Sports Talk radio.

The kids? They ran around like crazy people enjoying their cousins and the green grass up here.

After they went to bed, we watched The Confession on Netflix. It was a web series with Kiefer Sutherland as a hitman talking to a priest in a confessional. Interesting. Again, I was asleep later than anticipated.

Saturday was almost a wash. I had bacon and cheese between an English muffin for breakfast. We made a run into Warrensburg which included the obligatory Dunkin Donuts stop. Sadly, no chocolate cream filled. But I looked like I was attacked by a powered donut when done. There was a bunch of puttering around until the kids napped. Then we started to watch a BBC series called Waking the Dead about cold cases. After naps the kids were eagerly anticipating the arrival of their cousins from IL. CavSon #1 was waiting in the driveway until we went down the hill for a belated 4 o’clock coffee (I had tea). They arrived and the chaos increased.  After dinner, CavWife caught up with her sister-in-law so I continued watching a Korea TV series on Netflix.


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I grew up in the 2-time Money Magazine #1 City to live in.  Of course this was after I moved away (is there a correlation or causation there?).  I spent about 7 years in Orlando, FL.  My 10+ years in Winter Haven were small city-ish.  I now live in a large city again.  But my in-laws live in the middle of nowhere.

Seriously. Friends visiting us there asked where the town was.  “You’re in it.”  The only non-residential buildings I’ve seen are the Post Office, volunteer fire station and the church.  The school is 6 miles and 2 towns over.  The nearest Wal-Mart is about 40 minutes away, as is the nearest mall and actual movie theatre.  Cell-phone coverage?  About 9 square feet on the back porch.  There are only 2 gas stations within 15-20 minutes, and they are next door to each other.

Here in the middle of nowhere, we have chickens and guinea hens.  It is amusing to see a chicken running across the lawn.  Or to see a gaggle of guineas hooting their way around the yard.  This year we discovered a hen being followed by 18 chicks.  The days of mail order chicks may be done.  But there is talk of a highland (or furry) cow.

Mystery Animal

When you live in the middle of nowhere, one of the things you do for fun (read: entertain the kids) is visit petting zoos and alpaca farms.  Each year we make our pilgrimage to the Word of Life Ranch.  I say ‘hi’ to the llama with the offset jaw.  He’s a reminder to me that I am loved by God despite my own brokenness.  The young kids love the goats, sheep, rabbits, horses and more.

This year we stopped in on an alpaca farm.  What, you ask, is an alpaca?  It is part of the same family as the camel, and looks like a smaller version of a llama.  They are not beasts of burden, like the camel and llama because of their size.  Like sheep, they are shorn and their fur is turned into yarn.  Don’t tell the lady who raises them, and calls them all by name, but they are also raised for their meat.

They are fascinating creatures.  Unlike most livestock, they use a common “bathroom” to prevent predators from tracking them.  They are basically helpless.  Which is why it was so funny to watch 2 of them fight.  It was like two geeks trying to hit each other (I can still use the word geek, right?).  Their necks were intertwined (see the picture of the shorn alpacas) and they made camel like grunts while spitting.  See, there is a common denominator between the 3- spitting.  They roll around in the dirt to cool off and lay with their bellies exposed to the sun to soak up the vitamin D.

There's an alpaca under there!

Life here is very different from any life I’ve known.  This summer has been interesting in some new ways.  For instance, this was the first time we were up here for the 4th of July.  We often travel the 11 miles and 30 minutes to a beach a few more towns over.  We decided to head over there on the 2nd of July.  One of the kids’ cousins from NJ decided she wanted to spend birthday up here.  We went to the beach to play and have a cookout.  We didn’t realize it was [name of town] Day.  I guess each year they have their annual meeting, have a parade, covered dish BBQ and watch the fire works.  Could your town have a covered dish BBQ at the local park?  In the process of preparations, we had to move about 3 times on the beach.  We made sure our food was ready before the parade.


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Last night I went to the home opener for the 2011 season.  If you know me, you might be thinking “You were in Boston?”.  Nope, I went up to Phoenix to catch the Diamondbacks’ home opener. It was my first trip to Chase Field to watch a ball game.

We were a little late getting to the game.  Traffic in Phoenix was predictably lousy.  The signs for the park actually took people the longer way to the field.  We wanted to get there on time because they were having a fly over by some F-16s.  When you have a pilot in the car, that is an even greater priority than usual.  We did see the fly over, sort of.  We saw the planes heading toward Chase Field while we were still dodging traffic.  We did get numerous fly overs from commercial jets leaving nearby Sky Harbor.  Some must have been D’Backs’ fans since they flew unusually close.

Once off the highway, it was fairly easy to get to Chase Field.  Finding parking was another matter.  Actually, it wasn’t very difficult aside from the fact that the light rail kept us from getting to some of the parking lots.  Word for those deeply in love with light rail as the solution for numerous woes.  It can create traffic hazards.  Just factor all that stuff in.

This was the first time I went to a ball field in which the field was below the entrance.  Usually the field is on the street level.  Our seats were pretty easy to find even though we were distracted with the game having already begun.  They were facing the Cincinnati Reds for the first home series of the season.  It wasn’t looking good at the outset.  The D’backs had a rough season last year.  They made lots of changes, but the Reds are essentially the same team that took their division.  Ian Kennedy was on the mound for the D’backs, which did not instill lots of hope.

We found our seats in the left field bleachers.  We were in the lower level, not too far from the bull pen.  It had been awhile since I’ve been in the bleachers.  They were bench seats, but fairly comfortable.  Except for the cup holder which I kept hitting with my knee.  That is until the guys next to me left around the 7th inning.


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