Friday, August 22, 2008

Tagged! - Six Random Things (posted August 30, 2008)

I got TAGGED by Scott at All I'm Saying, which is okay, sort of. I am honored, but worried about fulfilling all of the associated responsibilities. You see...there are rules.

Here are the rules:

  1. Link to the person who tagged you.
  2. Post these six rules on your blog.
  3. Write 6 random things about yourself.
  4. Tag 6 people at the end of your post and link to them. (this is the hard part. do I know 6 people I can link to? We'll see how this turns out)
  5. Let each person you have tagged know by leaving a comment on their blog. (hmm)
  6. Let the tagger know when your entry is posted.
I started this entry over a week ago, and it has just never gotten finished. There are probably numerous reasons for the non-completion (work, being out of town, just plain being tired). But at this point, if I don't finish this entry, I will never get to write about the other stuff that I want to write about, or post any of the pictures that I plan to take this weekend. So...I better get it done.

So, without further are my random things:

  1. My life has a soundtrack. You know in the movies how when people are doing anything, there is always some sort of music playing for the soundtrack. I have something in my head that creates the soundtrack for my life, so there is always some type of music playing. You'd think I could play an instrument or something. Lately my soundtrack has been a song that is very cool, but I have no idea what it is. It has a very 70's vibe. Lately I've been listening to all 70's music at work. Oops, that may have been too much information.

  2. I am number 5 of 5 kids. I always thought that if I owned a company it would be called "#5" or something like that. Coco Chanel may have a problem with that, but I'm not thinking it will happen anyway.

  3. I like all sports and I am very competitive, but in my ideal world, all the big games would end in a tie. I'd really like a world where everyone could actually win.

  4. I got my first car when I was 24. And I don't understand why college students think they need cars at school.

  5. Cirque du Soleil amazes me and I am on a quest to see all of them. Watch this video and you can see why.

  6. I'm okay with breaking the rules sometimes, but it takes thought for me to do so. I have to come to that after a while of reasoning and justification. So, that brings me to the "I'm breaking the rules" part of this TAGGED game.

I'm going to break rules #4 and #5 for the TAGGED blog rules. This whole tagging was really probably meant to be good fun and all for all the TAGGED bloggers. However, the pressure of linking to 6 other bloggers has really gotten the best of my blogging. I don't even know 6 people who blog. So, just like the recipe chain letters, where people say, come on, share a recipe, surely you have a recipe...I break the chain. I figure, why would anyone want one of my Campbell's soup recipes anyway? And, it is doubtful that I would use any of the recipes I get.

Just let this be fair warning to anyone who may tag me in the future. I will break your tagging chain. I may not even do the assignment.

So, to my friend Scott. Sorry to let you down and not fulfill all the rules. I have done the best I could by completing the writing assignment, and I am glad that you made me think about this a little bit. Maybe that is a random thing about me anyway. I never respond or forward or do anything with the chain letters I receive (even from family members!). And this, while consistent, may also be a random thing about me.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Oil Can ROCKS

On Saturday evening, we had tickets to the Grand Opening of Lucas Oil Stadium. Which, was kind of cool, but not as cool as I expected it to be. The lines to see the locker rooms were way too long by the time we made it down on the field, so we did not get to see either The Colts or the Visitors locker room.

The event was pretty easy to do as far as parking and walking and dropping off goes. I dropped my Mom and everyone else at the front entrance and I drove to a Lilly parking garage and then walked back to the stadium. When we came out, it was easy to reverse and I was able to get the car and then go pick them up without much trouble. No traffic lines or anything.
Lots of people at the stadium were Colts fans, others were there to "see what my taxes are buying", etc., but everyone seemed to enjoy the opportunity for a walk-through of the stadium for "free". I say "free" because they did charge others for parking and this was the prime opportunity for selling all that Colts merchandise and concessions. I hope I get an opportunity to attend a game sometime.

There is much discussion around Indianapolis about what to call Lucas Oil Stadium, like a nickname. My Mom has suggested "the Oil Can", but I don't think it will really catch on. Some TV reporters have been calling it "the Luke", but Forrest Lucas of Lucas Oil doesn't like that at all because one of his competitors is Luke Oil. Mr. Lucas isn't really getting his $123 million dollars worth if they call it that.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Back in the Swing of Things

So...I don't know what it was, but I have been so tired lately. There are a few things that I have attributed it to, but mainly I think it was the excessive heat of the southern vacation, and the 4:00 a.m. olympic watching.

I really didn't think I would watch the Olympics this year. I'm much more a fan of the winter games, and I really was so turned off by all the pre-Olympic coverage from NBC. I thought I might just skip it all. But then it happened, you start watching the Michael Phelps phenomenon, the gymnastics, synchronized diving (who had ever heard of that before?) and I am still looking for table tennis.

In any case, this was a big weekend, so I had to snap back to normal. Trevor was with me and we went to the Trader's Point Hunt Charity Horse Show. This is our second year to do it, and for $10, the two of us had a great day.

The Trader's Point people know how to do a horse show. It is held at Wild Air Farms in Zionsville, and the grounds of this private estate have several show rings and a beautiful Grand Prix Field. We always try to go early so that we can see the young riders, but we didn't see them again this year. I read my program later that said unless they have at least 6 entrys in a class, they will not have the competition. Maybe there weren't enough of the little kids ( 5, 6, and 7 year-olds) who entered.

It was kids day, so there were plenty of things to do. They had the air jumpy things, pony rides, face painting, clowns, etc. We did a few of those things, and then headed off to the terrier races. Have you ever seen the terrier races on TV? I've seen them on Animal Planet. But basically, they have terriers (or in the case of Trader's Point any small dog) chase a toy on a string down a fairly long grassy course. At the end of the course they have bales of straw set up so that they form a dog-size hole for the dogs to go through. The first one through the hole is the winner. We watched the races, and then went to the Grand Prix field to watch the jumpers.
I really like this show and we had a great morning. And, I like to think this is another of some very different experiences we have during the year.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The First Day of School

Today was the first day of school in Indianapolis, and most of the surrounding areas. So all the kids I know went back to school today. My nephew Trevor started the 2nd grade.

Every year at this time, I remember the feelings I had when I was in elementary school, and I always remind my Mom about them. I never slept before the first day of school. I was so nervous! I always thought that the next grade was going to be too hard for me and that I wouldn't get good grades. It was never as hard or scary as I dreamed up, and I always passed to the next grade.

So, you see, even at a very young age I was a little off. I remember going to my first non-animated movie and wondering if I would be smart enough to follow the story. I remember going in the movie theater and thinking that I really needed to pay attention so that I wouldn't get lost. Maybe it was because the movies and filmstrips at school were so boring. Needless to say, I was able to make it through.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Linksys May have beaten me

How many hours is required to set up a wireless router? Go ahead. Take a guess. If the number you said is less than 10, you are wrong. And I still can't figure it out.

It is funny. I had wireless all winter, then something happened in April or May or maybe even before that, and my router went out. So, I have done this successfully in the past. The first time, I remember it taking a while. I had to call the 1-800 number on the linksys literature. And I remember that what I was told on the phone was different than what was written in the "Easy Set-Up Guide". But you know I can't find that phone number now. Surely the online instructions have been updated. Surely.

I hope not. If they have been updated, something is seriously wrong, and I just need to go buy new stuff. Right now though, I will give up again. As for tonight's 2 hour session, it is over. The wires are hooked back in and I am back in my wired up business. We'll try again another day.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Editor's Note: Date Issue with the Blog

Most of you know my stand on post-dating, pre-dating, or just incorrectly dating something, so I will leave that out. BUT...for some reason, even though I clicked "Publish" today on Monday, August 4, the vacation re-cap has actually published under Sunday, August 3.

I put the headings in on Sunday evening, but didn't actually finish them and click "publish" until today. I thought they would take on today's date, but they stayed in their original order. So, to read the vacation re-cap, you have to go to Sunday's date.


Things I learned on vacation...

  1. When in doubt, rent the mini-van - For a while, we had considered driving my car on this vacation. The week rental fee for the mini-van was totally worth it. Space is good.

  2. Check climate data before planning travel - In the winter go south; in the summer go north. This can't always be done, but think about it.

  3. Take a day off work before and after your trip if at all possible - I can't tell you how glad I am that I don't have to work tomorrow.

  4. Wear sunscreen and a hat. Period.

  5. A good breakfast does make the day start off right. And it can get you through a pretty active day.

The vacation re-cap will be posted tomorrow. For now, off to sleep for me.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Big House, A Pink Palace, and some Marching Ducks (Saturday, August 2)

I was responsible for the Saturday itinerary in Memphis. I have always wanted to go to Memphis to visit Graceland, the Civil Rights Museum, and see the Peabody Ducks. I really just hadn't planned on the Excessive Heat Warning that would also occur on the same day.

We started out with a good breakfast. I though a full tummy would get everyone in a good mood. Some caffeine, some pancakes, chocolate milk. That is what we need, energy to get us through this day. And off it was to Elvis' house. My older sister had told me that Graceland is a magical place for little boys, because they would all choose to live in a house like Elvis had. A soda fountain, 3 TVs in one room, a game room, the Jungle Room, and a swimming pool. What more could you want? How about 2 private planes and so many cool cars. And two buildings full of trophies. My nephew didn't really know about Elvis before Saturday, but in the gift shop as he and his Dad were picking out some Elvis wind chimes he said, "Dad, we gotta get this one, it has his picture on it!" By the way, did you know they have a whole separate "Elvis at Home" store? How many Elvis sink strainers do you think they sell everyday?

From Graceland, we made a quick stop at the Pink Palace. We went to the Planetarium show, which provided a nice break in a comfortable chair, in a dark room. Those who wanted to could close their eyes and rest, others had a show about stars and planets that was somewhat entertaining, but could have been better. Back to the car....

And on to Peabody Place. Have you heard of the Peabody Ducks? They are pretty famous and they march into and out of the lobby fountain of the Peabody Hotel every day. There is a video of the march here. I had always wanted to see this duck parade, I just didn't know how many other people would be there to enjoy it with me. This is quite an event. My nephew got to sit right along the red carpet for the march out of the lobby on Saturday evening. He said the ducks flapped their wings and got him wet. Pretty cool.

Dinner at Pizza Hut, then back to the hotel. One more day in the car, and vacation is (sort of) over.

You really can't get there from here (Friday, August 1)

Friday was the second car day. We drove from Branson to Little Rock to visit the Clinton Presidential Library and then on to Mississippi.

I used to live in Massachusetts and one of the T-stops I would often pass was the one for the JFK Library. I never got off to visit it. I regret that now, but at that time I didn't know what a Presidential Library was all about. My first Presidential Library to visit was the Jimmy Carter Center in Atlanta. It really is a beautiful place. This is where I figured out how cool the Presidential Libraries were and what they had inside. I've visited the FDR historic sites in New York, but wasn't able to go to the museum. I'll have to get back to that one.

At some point quite a few years ago I decided that it would be cool to visit all of the Presidential Libraries. My grandfather had a goal to visit all of the state capitals. There is a lot of old movie film in a box at my Mom's house of my grandma walking up the steps of many, many, many state capitals. I didn't think I would ever really do that, but I figured I could do the libraries. Then, last year I found out that my brother had the same ambition. He had visited the Gerald Ford Library in Michigan last year.

So, between Branson and our next destination (Tunica, Mississippi), was the Clinton Presidential Library. We both can cross that one off of our list now. There is many a joke to be made about the Clinton Library. And my Mom was right there to make them. It actually does look like a double-wide trailer, sort of, so well...couldn't the architect have seen that one coming? I enjoyed the visit. Inside the building is beautiful. I would like to go back sometime when I have a little more time. There are also a lot of other things to see in Little Rock, like the Central High School Historic Site. I will go back, someday. But maybe not in August. It was 99 degrees today.

On to Mississippi, and getting hotter.

Too Much Sun (Thursday, July 31)

So, on Thursday, I spent a little too much time in the sun. I hadn't drank enough on Wednesday, which also didn't help. I was suprised when I looked up the high temperature that day and it had only been 91 degrees. I would have sworn that it was closer to 100.

Anyway, I don't remember much. I swam. Only in the outdoor pool. I forgot my sun visor. I was out too long. Biofreeze does sooth a sunburn. I should have gone in. We also went to Celebration City, a very nice, small amusement park with rides and shows.

Train Ride, Shopping, and The Presley's (Wednesday, July 30)

Before we headed to Branson, I had asked many, many people for suggestions on what show to see while I was there. I do enjoy a show. Unfortunately, lots of people seemed to be out of town for the week (the Japanese violin guy, Yakov, even #1 hits of the 60's was not playing at a time when we could go). So, the maintenance man working on our dishwasher (another story, but not a trip highlight) said, "Well, why did you come to Branson? You come to Branson to see a Branson show. And if you are going to see a Branson show you have 2 choices, either The Presley's or the Baldknobbers. Those are the people who made Branson what it is today."

And so, he went on to tell about The Presley's. The Presley family has been playing to audiences in Branson for a very, very long time. They used to play in the caves around Branson, where a stage had been set up that was used for church services and for shows by the Presley family. Soon, so many people were coming to the shows that the family built a theater on Highway 76 in Branson. You got popcorn, a coke, and a comfortable seat in air-conditioning for $1.25.

So, we took the maintenance man's advice and bought our tickets to see The Presley's, and all of us had a great time. There were Presley's aged 3 - 84 on stage, playing every kind of musical instrument possible. It was a great show, but it also made me wonder how a family business like that works. I'm sure there are many more family members than those that I saw on stage, but it just makes you think of what a different life they lead.

So, for all of you bound for Branson...go see The Presley's.

Mini-Golf, Swimming, Go-Karts and more (Tuesday, July 29)

Today was a good, relaxing day, mainly spent at the resort. They had a mini-golf course and even Granny played with us. I am not the mini-golf pro, but I was very lucky and won that round. Then we went swimming for a couple of hours. We swam both in the indoor and outdoor pool, which was a key in my not getting too sunburned (more about that in a later post). The indoor pool was cold, but I can't believe how refreshing it felt to be in that cool, cool water when it was so absolutely hot outside.

Later on in the day I had some work to get done, so I slipped away to Starbucks with my laptop. I had to get some things in by the 31st, and it all got done while they were go-karting. My Mom had a great time watching my nephew drive those go-karts. On Wednesday, she said to see him drive those go-karts was worth the whole trip. There were many more of those moments to come.

West to Branson (Monday, July 28)

I actually can't remember what time we finally got to my brother's house to leave. I know we were late, but when I got home, I was glad I had taken the extra hour to clean the kitchen floor and wash up all the dishes. It is good to come home to a clean, non-smelly kitchen.

This day was primarily spent in the mini-van. It was a beautiful Jimmie Johnson blue color and I wish I had taken a picture. My nephew picked it out. Somewhere close to St. Louis we stopped at a Rest Area and ate a beautiful lunch packed up by my sister-in-law. I really need to buy some applesauce. I like it a lot.

We played car bingo, read a few chapters of "Mr. Popper's Penguins", and talked about how much fun we were going to have. This was a long day in the car, but I didn't notice it too much. Was it the excitement? Or just that it was new? It wasn't too long before we stopped at Lambert's Cafe, the home of throwed rolls. Yep, throwed rolls. There is a guy that comes up and down the aisles throwing hot rolls to anyone who asks for one. He throws them all the way across the room. Pretty cool. And our table only dropped one! Check out their menu. Definitely not on the heart healthy list of approved restaurants, but it is an experience. And hey...we were on vacation.

After dinner and about an hour more of travel, we were settled in our condo and ready to crash. The next day would be full of activity!!