Friday, August 29, 2008

Election 2008

The political race is heating up.

The black dude picked an old-timey liberal as his running mate. He's talking about change and "eight is enough."

The old white dude picked a chick as his running mate. A chick from Alaska where there are about 300 registered voters. He's talking about...?

I'm not really sure what the old white dude is talking about. The press doesn't seem to report much about him.

Anyway, the choice seems clear.

I'm voting for...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Monday, August 25, 2008

An American Ritual

Every Sunday evening in parking lots across our country a ritual unfolds.

A car drives in and parks next to another. A man climbs out of his car and opens the passenger door. Children climb out.

Hugs are exchanged.

A woman climbs out of the other car and opens her passenger doors. The children take a one last look at their dad and climb into mom's car.

In the best cases a few pleasantries are exchanged. Sometimes the parents can't manage even that.

They drive away only to repeat the ritual in two weeks.

Friday, August 22, 2008

July 4th in August

We had our annual 4th of July family reunion last weekend at Uncle Hank's. Lots of family I haven't seen in a while (or ever). Mom took the train down from Montana to visit with us and to attend the party. She only stayed with us for 3 short days. But we had fun.

I took her to In-N-Out for lunch.

Tabitha and Aidan watching the fun in the pool.

I was probably ten years old before I jumped off this diving board. Abigail jumped, swam to the side and did it again. Over and over.

Two very handsome men sitting by the pool.

That kid is hard to pin down.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Weenie Wipers and Hair Pluckers

It's not all glamour for a CSI. Sometimes you have to investigate a rape. And then you get to be a weenie wiper and hair plucker.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Tomorrow is a Big Day

I know Obama and McCain are going to be at Saddleback. I wasn't talking about that.

Tomorrow is the opening day of the 2008-2009 English Premier League.

Can ManUtd repeat as champions? Can Chelsea get back on track under Scolari? Will this be the year for Liverpool to win domestically? Will the young Arsenal players fulfill their potential from last year? Will Newcastle finally prove they are a "big" club by winning something?

Will Verizon FIOS stop advertising "The Manchester United Red Devils host the Newcastle Magpies" or "The Arsenal Gunners take on the Fulham Cottagers at Craven Cottage"?

Seriously, these are not American teams like the Packers, Devil Rays, or Dodgers.

These are football clubs with histories stretching back over a hundred years. They have roots buried deep in their communities.

Anyway, I'll finally have something to watch on TV again.

You Never Know Who You Might Meet

My in-laws just returned from a trip to England. They had dinner one night at Cambridge University (my father-in-law, Andy, was presenting a paper). As they're walking back to their car, they see a dude in a wheelchair waiting to get into a van. There's a big computer screen on the wheelchair.

As they get closer, they realize they recognize him.

He's some famous guy named Stephen Hawking.

I guess he's a theoretical physicist or something. I hear he wrote a book or two.

And no, they did not bring me back a football jersey. I wanted an Aston Villa one this time.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sunday Was A Busy Day...

...salt mining.


I went to Popeye's Chicken and Biscuits today for lunch. Have you ever had an experience like this?

You go into a restaurant and no one looks like you.

It's a weird feeling.

Did I make a wrong turn? Am I supposed to eat here? Is everyone looking at me?

I was very self conscious.

I was the skinniest person in the restaurant.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

There's This Cheese...

It's from Italy. You might have heard of it.

It's called Parmigiano Reggiano.

It's good. Real good. It's not quite "Jesus" good but probably "Mother Teresa" or "Gandhi" good. That's pretty good.

Real Parmigiano is made near Parma by real Italian dairyman with mustaches and big rubber boots. They mold the cheese into big wheels and stamp "Parmigiano Reggiano" around the outer edge. And then they stuff them into caves or barns or somewhere cool and dry and and age them for at least 18 months.

It develops a thin rind around the edges to protect the salty, tangy, grainy goodness inside.

You may have had Parmesan cheese before. You probably opened a plastic bottle with a well known American brand name emblazoned across the front and shook it on your spaghetti. It was okay. It's cheese after all. But it's not the real deal.

Do yourself a favor. Go to your local grocer and buy a wedge of Parmigiano Reggiano (look for the stamp on the rind). The last wedge I bought was priced at 15 bucks a pound. It's not cheap but the best things in life aren't free. And it lasts forever - a little goes a long way.

I grate it fine with the rind on edge. It grates a little rind into the cheese but you'll never notice and you won't waste any cheese. It is so good. Or break off a chunk and let it melt in your mouth (don't bother trying to cut it).

You won't be sorry.

Happy Birthday Mama

It seems like yesterday when you were learning to drive - that sure entertained us kids. And then you started back to college, shaming us with your awesome grades.

Thanks for being you Mom.

And have a great trip down on the train. We can't wait to see you.

The Other Shoe Drops

We knew it was probably going to happen. It's just so final when it does.

Tabitha received a notice of suspension from the DMV today. She will not be able to drive starting on Tuesday.

It's going to be a challenge to do all the things we need to. We are going to have to rely on the kindness of friends and family.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

She Loved That Car

About two and a half years ago we decided to buy a Mini Cooper. We went down to our local Mini dealer and test drove a coupe and a convertible. After cruising around with the top down and Abigail in the back seat we decided to buy a Cooper S Convertible.

We picked out the color and features we wanted and then waited. And waited. Every day for two months I got on the Mini website and tracked the progress of our car.

In the meantime we got a new addition to our family - Aidan.

We started to wonder if we made the right decision. The Mini is pretty small for two car seats. But we made it work.

After two months of waiting, our car was finally delivered. It was a chili red Cooper S convertible with the sport package.

It was awesome.

We loved that car.

But our love was not to last.

A few weeks ago our baby was taken from us. It doesn't make sense to spend $24,000 to repair a $24,000 car.

We went car shopping today. We have a rule in our family - we don't buy boring cars anymore.

We like red cars.

The Happiest Place on Earth (Day 3)

On Saturday, we planned to get up at the crack of dawn to take advantage of the early entry they offer to the park for hotel guests.

Yeah, right.

We had our breakfast with the characters at Storytellers Cafe again and then went to Toon Town.

Aidan, don't hit the pole.

That's the cutest pumpkin face I've ever seen.

The ever popular Goofy.

We had lunch at the Wine Country Trattoria in California Adventure. It was a nice change from the usual burger, fries and coke. This was the best lasagna I've eaten. Ever. Or maybe it was the glass of pinot noir I washed it down with.

Somebody looks tired.

Abigail wanted to go on the Grizzly River Run. After waiting in line for 25 minutes we had to go to the restroom. Fortunately the nice man and his son in line behind us let us back in.

Grizzly River Run is a good choice on a hot day.

The kids enjoying Bug's Land.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Happiest Place on Earth (Day 2)

Day two began early. Even with the shades drawn, Abigail was awake at first light.

Breakfast with the Critters at Storytellers Cafe.

Giddy with anticipation.

It's either Chip or Dale.

Mommy took Abigail to Libby Lu for hair and makeup. Daddy took Aidan to the room to change a stinky diaper.

A future equestrian.

My love, my bride.


Buzz and Zurg join our family.

A cocoon, perhaps?

You can't catch me!

I think they're tired.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Happiest Place on Earth (Day 1)

The cynic in me knows Disneyland is a carefully crafted machine designed to extract as much money from me as possible.

And yet...

... I love going there.

Last week we had a short summer vacation at Disneyland. We stayed at the Grand Californian for a couple of nights and went to both Disneyland and California Adventure. We had a great time.

Aidan and Abigail enjoy the view from our room.

Abigail patiently waits for her pizza at Naples in Downtown Disney.

Aidan was not so patient.

This is my favorite pizza.

I saw Mommy do it this way.