Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Northern Michigan

Missed posting yesterday as I headed to northern Michigan for the holiday weekend. My folks are up here at their place and LL's folks are renting a place on a lake about 45 minutes away. The drive up was uneventful, but is 6 hours, so it's pretty tiring. We did stop at a beef jerky place just south of Cadillac and picked up some delicious goodness.

After sleeping in today, I took LL to her folks where she'll stay through Saturday morning. Friday night is a big anniversary dinner for her folks, so I'll head over for that and then stay the night. This morning I called to my favorite golf course, Treetops, and found out their rate is $145 a round! Yikes. Too rich for my blood. After 2:30 though it drops to $75. Perfect. I can finish a round of golf as long as I start before 5 up here! They gave me the 2:40 slot AND the courtesy rate of only $35!!! Why? I think it's because I'm a nice guy!!

So this afternoon I headed to the local course to hit some golf balls and practice putting. Good stuff that I don't do often enough. It's nice and peaceful and the weather is great!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Two Willy Entries in One

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the 1971 version, came on ABC Family last night. Why was I watching ABC Family? No idea. I think it was adjacent to another channel that I was watching. Anyway, LL and I started watching the show because I love the story, the movie, the soundtrack and then end when Gene Wilder says, "...etcetera, etcetera...." several times. I also really like the city they show when the glass elevator shoots through the roof. The town is actually Nordlingen Germany and is built on a meteor crater site! When Veruca Salt went through her routine, I wondered what happened to her. Turns out, she's a decent sized star in England. Interestingly, none of the other kids have done anything much in cinema or TV. Charlie is an animal doctor in upstate NY. Augustus is a tax accountant in Munich. Violet was considered for Linda Blair's role in The Exorcist, but her parents had issues with the subject matter. Imagine how that could have changed her life!! Her consolation prize? One of Peter Brady's girlfriends towards the end of The Brady Bunch's run.

After the stress and excitement of Saturday, I was looking forward to a relaxed Sunday. That wasn't really likely though as it was the Gay Pride Parade in the neighborhood. The parade runs north up one end of my block and then runs south down the other end of my block, so unless I leave town for about 8 hours, there's no avoiding it. And it's pretty awesome people watching, so it's worth hanging around. These three girls I saw at Starbucks in the morning ended up making the front page of the Tribune. Here are some pics:

Here's the real reason I didn't want to miss the parade this year. The Stanley Cup!!! Brent Sopel, who has since been traded ironically enough, brought Lord Stanley's Cup to the parade on the first ever Blackhawks float.

Another Stanley Cup picture.

And one more on the other end of my street when they were headed the other direction. This is as close as I've been to the Cup, except for getting my picture taken with it in Toronto at the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Not to be outdone, the Cubs had a float too! Wrigley is only four blocks away from the parade route, but this is the first time I remember them being in the parade. No players were on the float...there was a game....yeah, that's why.

Starbucks Barista Frank marching in the parade. Unfortunately his waving hand is blocking his face.

This is one of the first floats and is the Pride Queen I think. Well, they are a queen, but I'm not sure if they are THE queen.

These two pictures are for a plastic surgeon. Too funny! The characters dressed up as the blue avatar creatures and had their painted boobs hanging out (showing off the doctor's work). Very original I thought!

I just thought Chipotle's burrito was funny.

This was funny to me because it's Amtrak's entry, but it's not a's a bus. WTF?? That's like GM having an entry that's pulled by a Hyundai. Idiots.

Joliet in the house!!!

Some of these pictures won't blow up....not sure why. Sorry!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Rare Entry For Saturday

One heckuva day yesterday. It started off with a continuation of the saga of my Iphone. Earlier in the week I had tried to upgrade the operating system and it failed midway. It sent the phone back to factory mode, though there was a backup on my computer. The problem was getting the backup from my computer to my phone. Late Friday night, around 10, my technical support person, Harvey in Minneapolis, and I successfully employed my laptop to download the new OS and then hooked it up to my desktop to see if it was ready to go. It was now midnight and Harvey thought for sure it would work now so he ended his shift on time at 11:30. Well it didn't work and I was beat so I went to bed.

First thing Saturday morning, after coffee and my three S's, I was back at it with Harvey on the line. We hooked the phone up to the laptop to try again and voila! The new OS was on the phone. My data wasn't there, but the phone was ready to try to restore the data again. About 90 minutes later, the backup was restored and I had a phone again.

Since the entire day was reserved for getting the phone running, I opted for a before-lunch workout with some of my free time. Not the best workout, but not too bad. Instead of working my shoulder to exhaustion several times a week, I've opted for working out the shoulder, but not going crazy. We'll see if that is a little better for the continued healing process.

After getting home in time to make a quick sandwich and throw in some laundry, I flipped on the US World Cup game. As you know by now, it was pretty exciting and went into extra time tied at one. Ghana prevailed though and I think we should declare war on them. Sure, it's not good sportsmanship, but let's see who messes with us in the NEXT world cup if we do.

At halftime of the game, I got up on the roof of the condo and cleaned out the gutters as our current maintenance guy is getting fired for not performing his duties, cleaning the gutters being one of them. We were anticipating a fair amount of rain on Sunday and the clogged gutter causes an avalanche of water onto the decks below. The other guys in the building aren't excited about heights, so they brought the ladder up to the third floor and I went up on my own.

Then LL and I headed out by the airport to the Allstate Arena for an arena football game. Most of you know that I like any kind of sports and arena football is no exception. The tickets were comped as part of some sports package that I won at a charity auction two years ago. Last year the league didn't have a season and they were decent enough to honor the tickets this year. Unfortunately, I didn't realize there were 4 free tickets, so two of them went to waste, but we had a good time. Before the game we had dinner at The Ram Brewery. I don't think I've ever seen a menu look more awesome and the food be more mediocre. Here are some pictures from the game:

The kickoff from the seats.

The Rush mascot and the Rush cheerleaders right in our section.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Iphone hell

Sorry for the lack of posting. In addition to ESDNM being in town for our monthly call on clients, my Iphone died (sort of) while trying to upgrade to their new 4.0 operating system. As such, I've spent about 8-10 hours on the phone or email with Apple and Microsoft trying to get a backup of my phone restored. It hasn't worked yet. Actually we thought we had it working earlier tonight (we is me and Harvey, the Apple support guy from Minneapolis), but at the very last stage, it denied me.

So my computer time has been dominated by support teams. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Brief Entry

This afternoon I decided to upgrade my Iphone to the new operating system. Unfortunately, it did not go smoothly. I spent an hour or so working on it and then hit the gym. After running my 2.5 miles, I ended up spending another 4 hours with both Apple and Microsoft tech support. The Apple guys determined the problem with restoring my phone was that my Windows XP system on my computer needed the latest service patch. Though I tried to download the patch twice, I kept getting an "access denied" message halfway through the process. Ugh. So now I have an email into Microsoft for more support.

Meanwhile, my phone can call out, but I can't receive calls and I have no access to any apps or email or anything. It's been a long evening.

LL was caught on her way home in the leading edge of a really nasty thunderstorm and she actually took shelter at Midway Airport. Then it took her four more hours to get home from there.

Not a good night for us!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hot, Muggy Day

Here's some fun with photographs.

It's hot and humid in Chicago today, but at least it's not raining....not yet. We're supposed to get some nasty storms after midnight though. Ever interesting weather in Chicago. We finally got to play a double-header in our softball league which had been delayed two weeks due to rain. The games were for the championship of the spring league and $400 and all we needed to do was win one game. Unfortunately we played like crap and lost both games and the money. Ugh.

As my mind wanders during the day now, I find that I'm thinking about the Bears and football season already. I've already written one ranting email about a lineman they didn't pick up. Benny Baseball told me tonight that one of their rookies from last year is really stepping up though, so we'll see. It's interesting to me that I seem to think about them year round now! Or maybe it's because the baseball teams in Chicago are sucking pretty badly. Yeah, yeah, the Sox have been on a good streak, but their only a game over .500, so they still have work to do in my mind.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Busy Day?

Today started like most days recently: the three S's*, get some coffee and watch some world cup soccer while I catch up on work, emails and Facebook. But today I had a quarterly finance committee meeting with the American Red Cross which, including travel, is about a three hour event. Fortunately they serve us lunch, but unfortunately it's pizza. While I have struggled to restrain myself in the past (in part because there's always a lot of extra pizza) today I was good and just had two pieces of a thin crust pizza with a little salad. Good for me!

After a useful meeting, I headed straight to the gym to get my workout in. Today was a big day because it was the first time since my surgery that I've bench pressed using free weights instead of the machine. My concern was if I'd have full range of motion while doing the exercise, so I decided to lower the weight and see what happened. It worked out pretty well, though my concern was well founded. The first set of 10 went ok, but the bar would not come all the way down to my chest comfortably. After another 5 though in the second set, my range started to improve! Good stuff. I'm hopeful that my improvement will continue next trip to the gym.

Finally, after some more emails and work, our condo building had a meeting to discuss improvements that we want to undertake over the coming months.

And now I'm ready for bed! It was a busy day for me, but probably just a normal day for most people.

*Shit, shower and shave

Sunday, June 20, 2010

17 hour fun day

To be filed under "interesting information that isn't going to change my habits" category.

On Friday night I wrote about my fun Friday. Saturday turned out just as fun! It started with a bit of sleeping in, which is always nice. Then I headed down to Crete, IL which is about an hour away, for a softball tournament. The team on which I play is a D level team, but a C level team dropped out of their tournament so the director asked us to play a level higher and that he'd do us a "solid" later in the year if needed. In Illinois, there a lots and lots of E level teams, fewer D level teams and many times fewer C level teams. There are only a handful of B teams, though I don't actually know of any. So this tournament only had 4 teams and the format was a 3 game round robin and then a single elimination playoff. We went 2-1 in the round robin and won our first playoff game but lost in the championship.

Since we had 16 guys out for the tournament and my shoulder is still not 100%, I played the equivalent of 2+ games defensively, but hit in all of the games, at least in the four games I was there. Fortunately I hit pretty well, which was a good achievement against better pitching.

It was pretty warm, so I set up the Bears canopy given to me as a gift by Joisey Ken. It provided much needed shelter from the sun during the day. Thanks Ken!!

The reason I didn't play in the last game was that LL had won tickets to see The Eagles on Saturday night! She was entered into a raffle because she has a team in a breast cancer 5k run in September. Since I had an hour drive, had to shower, get something to eat and then get downtown by 8:45, I had to leave the fields at 6:30. The Eagles were playing at Soldier Field and though the concert started at 4:30, The Eagles didn't come on until 9. The Dixie Chicks and Keith Urban opened for them and LL and I are not big country fans so missing them wasn't a big deal. As it turns out, our seats were very close to where my Bears season tickets are! A happy coincidence. The Eagles played for two hours and were awesome. By the time we got home, it was midnight and I didn't get to bed until 1. It was a long, fun day!

A dinosaur outside the Field Museum next door to Soldier Field. LL is in the foreground and the dinosaur is wearing a Toews Blackhawks jersey.

The view from our seats. The Iphone isn't the best camera, but you get a sense. It was a beautiful night, but apparently it was incredibly hot during the warm up acts. Since the sun sets around 4:30 or 5 during most of Bears season and the temps are in the 30's and 40's, I haven't experienced the stifling heat at Soldier Field. Glad I missed it!

Post concert picture of the field and the end zone closest to my seats. I'm not a big fan of the ground level seats as everyone stood up for 2 hours. That would have been tough.

Happy Father's Day!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Ass Bacon

Today was promising to be a long day with an early start for the USA vs. Slovenia soccer game. Though the match didn't start until 9 (I thought it was 8:30), I was planning on hitting a soccer bar to watch the game. After I got up though, I wasn't feeling motivated to start drinking, so I decided to stay home for the first half and then go. Unfortunately, we were down 2-0 at the half!!! That put the kibosh on me going anywhere. I'm not going to go watch us get killed AND end up drunk.

A client called me shortly after the match started and asked if I wanted to join him at the afternoon Cubs game. Since I only live about 6 blocks from the stadium, I've told people that I can be a last minute back up guest if someone backs out or whatever. So now I had the second half of the soccer game AND the Cubs game to look forward too, but I ended up staying home during the second half.

Here's my picture from the seats:
What a beautiful day right? Very sunny and a little hot. Our seats were in the sun the whole game, which can be a blessing or a curse and today it was more of the latter. After a beer at Bernie's, a local pub, we headed into the game. Right after I sat down I almost jumped up!! The seat was hotter than all get out! Now, before I lift weights at the gym, I go into the sauna and lay down to put the heat of the wooden benches on my back and warm it up. The temperature of this chair was WAY hotter and the sauna is always at least 180 degrees! Unbelievable. I really couldn't figure out what to do, so I sort of sat on the edge of my seat, but it was burning my ass! It was turning my ass into ass bacon!!! Eventually, after about 20+ minutes, the heat became tolerable in the seat and I was able to sit back fully. The rest of the game was still pretty warm though and I had to substitute water for beer several times during the game. The Cubs lost, so that didn't help. Still, a nice day!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A beautiful day for a noodle

Just a beautiful day in Chicago today and though I was outside often, I didn't really enjoy it as much as I would have liked. Other than going golfing or sitting outside at Starbucks, I'm not sure I could have taken full advantage of the day.

So what distracted me today? Soccer and work. Actually, I only watched soccer WHILE working, so it was really just work. Both consulting companies in which I work occupied my day: client meetings (he was 20 minutes late), lots of emails, a couple phone calls, went into the office, updated a complicated powerpoint file and put together a file of documentation. Not a bad day.

The day started off with mass at my church, which I often neglect during the summer due to travel and softball. Fortunately they have mass at 8:30 a.m. every day of the week except Wednesdays (which is at night), so I decided to get up today and start there. Afterwards, I ran some errands and drove by Wrigley where I saw this:

Coincidentally, they were talking about just this piece of advertising outside of the stadium. The radio personalities were questioning its location, so I took a picture and called them up. Though I got put in the queue to talk to the hosts of the sports radio Waddle and Silvie show, after 20 minutes I bailed. It's a noodle paid for by Kraft and is causing a bit of a stir on the radio, but I imagine will be forgotten about soon enough.

Absurdly, the PR guy for the Cubs tried to liken it to the downtown sculpture The Bean (aka Cloud Gate). Not really in the same category in my mind.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Looking to lose

Had a bunch of work to do today and also wanted to get in a workout this afternoon. This morning though I had a pleasant surprise when my folks called to tell me they were going to be downtown along with my 10 year old niece. As usual, they wanted to a Jewish deli near me called The Bagel. Good food and lots of it as is evidence by my mom's Mish Mosh soup order. The before and after pictures:

Look at the size of that bowl of soup!! Two quarts of leftovers too. All for something like $8-$9.

This morning I did my usual weigh-in and I was down 10 pounds officially! Yay for me!! It was a new low weight for me since starting to lose weight in February, but it's also less than I weighed going INTO the Fall last year. In fact, it's my drivers license weight from March of '08! Now, my weight will fluctuate up, but I'm hopeful that I can set new lows through healthy eating and working out and settle in at about 5 pounds lighter than I am now.

Yesterday I read that losing the first 5-10% of your weight provides the most benefits, though that seems like dubious study because what if a guy weighs 500 pounds? The next 20% after the first 10% seems to have great benefit in that case. For someone like me though, now at 195, I was only looking to lose a little over 7% of my weight and I've already lost almost 5%. Good stuff!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hodge Podge

This kind of useless trivia I find intriguing. Good fun.

However this kind of information is very useful, but sometimes disturbing. I had two Subway sandwiches on 9-grain bread last weekend.

Here's a picture from the seats in which I was sitting for the Cubs/Sox game on Friday. Lousy game, great seats; front row upper deck.

After some rain this weekend I guess, I snapped these pictures on Monday morning in the front of our building by the street. They just popped through the mud! My own little time-lapse photography, but only one picture each.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Busy night, short post

It was a busy day and even busier night. Though during the day I took it easy and ran errands, got my haircut, that kind of thing. This evening I cooked dinner: sockeye salmon, roasted broccoli tops, store bought hummus with baked pita and caprese on a toothpick. Good eating. The plan was to roast some corn on the grill, but I ran out of propane!! Ugh. Another chore to be handled tomorrow.

After dinner, we watched the movie Precious, which neither of us had seen. I can see why Monique won awards for her performance. Very compelling as the antagonist.

And since I have to get up for an early morning church meeting, it's off to bed for me! More tomorrow, hopefully with pictures.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Lucky or Good?

There was not as much time to celebrate the Blackhawks Stanley Cup victory as I would have liked. Friday morning was a hectic mix of work, laundry, packing and loading the car. Then it was off to a bar, Rockit, near Wrigley by 11. Yes, 11. Why? My good friends the Punke (Pun-kee) clan was in town for the Cubs/Sox game and I was invited by one of my clients, Dave. We were also meeting another client of mine, Tom. So I drank with the Punke's until Dave and Tom got there and then we went off to had lunch. Dave and I were sitting together in the front row, upper deck above 3rd base. Great seats.

After the game, LL and I had some dinner while the traffic cleared and then headed to Joliet and LL's parents house. My softball team had an interesting tournament in which our first game was Saturday morning at 8 a.m. This tournament is called a "Major" in which teams from all levels, A-D, compete against each other. As a D team, we weren't really expected to beat a non-D level team, but you never know. Unfortunately, only one D team beat a higher level team and it wasn't us. We beat the only D team we played on Saturday though in a good game where we came back from being down 10-2.

So all the D teams are thrown into a single elimination tournament on Sunday and our first game was at 9, another early start. However we ran off 4 straight wins to win the tournament! Winning earned us a bid to the World Series in Disney in Orlando in September!! Very nice! So we ended up playing 7 games over the two days and I was hitting 10-13 going into the last two games.....when I went 1-6. Ugh. Two of the outs were well hit balls, but I didn't get on and that's the name of the game for me. Fortunately the boyz picked me up and we scratched out some wins.

LL was on hand all weekend as our only fan and did a great job cheering me on and keeping score on her phone (when the scoreboard wasn't working on Sunday). The weather was a bit odd, especially on Saturday, but fortunately I told her to take cover in the car just a few minutes before a big storm front came through with some high winds and pelting rain. They had us continue to play though and we finished our game. It cleared up in time for our last game on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we finished our tournament about an hour before the rains came again.

Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Oh what a night.....late December back in '63.....

...ok, it was April 16 of 1961, but I'm sure it was quite the night anyway. There was a snowstorm in Detroit the night the Blackhawks last won the Stanley Cup. That was 49 years ago; the longest drought in the NHL. Of course, that's nothing compared to the Cubs 102 years or whatever the hell it is now, but still it's almost 50 years.

With the prospect of a Cup clinching victory, LL and I decided we should be out amongst the people somewhere. Instead of trying a new place and not really knowing that many people there, despite a crazy all you can drink and pizza deal for $25, we headed to Mulligan's on Roscoe and Damen and hooked up with Sausage Andy and his friends (several of whom I know or have watched a game with). Unfortunately I didn't take pictures because the bar was pretty dark, but it was a fun evening even though we had to stand up the entire night. In addition, I successfully stole yet another beer glass with "Wrigleyville" on it. Sweet. The last time I was there I pinched one with Dick Butkus on it. Ha!

It was pretty crazy at the bar because the last goal wasn't very obvious. The goal light didn't go on, no horn sounded and the referee didn't make any indication. After watching the replay, only a few of the players even knew it went in! The celebration, though delayed, caught on quickly and there was much beer spraying, high-fiving and hugging of strangers. Good times!!!

On our way home, my buddy Mike called to ask where we were. One of my postings earlier on Facebook indicated I was going to the place with the drink specials, he saw it and had headed over there. After telling him we were 30 yards from my house, he headed down and we had another beer and watched the end of the game again (which we wanted to do anyway because it was so odd). Finally we had to call it a night and end the least at Chateau Sutton. The partying out by Wrigley continued on well into the night and even included an appearance by the Stanley Cup sometime this morning around 9 or 10.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

'nuff said!

Hawks win Lord Stanley's Cup!!!

(More discussion tomorrow)

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Promised pics

Here are some pictures from the weekend. Not as many pictures as I wanted from bowling because the Iphone doesn't have a flash and it's impossible to take a good picture in a dark bowling alley without one.

Saturday, we went to The Maple Tree Inn in Blue Island and had a very nice meal. Here's a flattering write-up in the Joe Mansueto owned TimeOut Chicago as well as their slogan at The Maple Tree Inn.

Here's the group in my innovative mirror picture. Ok, it wasn't the best, but it was worth a shot!

By far the best appetizer on the menu and possibly on the planet: Crawfish Cardinale. Holy crap. There's probably way too much better and sweet cream or something. Good Lord is it awesome though.

My crawfish ettoufee. Delicious!

The beer list. Impressive for a south side of Chicago restaurant. Normally you run across either Bud or Miller products with the occasional Old Style thrown in.

At the bowling alley. Left to right it's Molly, Elle, Terry, LL and Sandie. Pumped in smoke in the background.

The next day we went straight back to The Inn for their crawfish boil. A very light breakfast was the only food I had in the 18 hours leading up to the boil. I'm not sure of the science of eating or not eating related to maximizing my intake at a big meal. As it turns out though, I did ok from a food consumption perspective. Here we are in nice comfy chairs preparing for the meal in question.

My first plate. Yes, I tried some slaw and corn bread, but I focused on the crawfish and ribs.

The food was served buffet style actually in the kitchen. You grab a plate and head in and serve yourself.

All in all, it was a really fun afternoon and we got home in time for the Hawks game!

Monday, June 07, 2010

Blogger finally back up

Last night and this morning I tried to update my blog, but Blogger was down in my "region" so I couldn't even leave comments on other people's blogs (sorry Alexis). It seems to be back up finally!

A busy weekend with Laura's friends Elle and Molly in town, so there's much to write about. I'll keep it short though and follow up with some pictures when they arrive (Elle had her camera and took pics).

Friday, instead of going to the Sox game (which they lost 10-1 I think), we had a tailgate in the house prior to the Hawks game. Lots of good food including bacon wrapped shrimp and pulled pork sandwiches. Fortunately I had already put in my run at the gym. Unfortunately the Hawks lost 5-3 which evened their series at 2 games apiece.

Saturday was a lazy start, but a strong finish. We had a charity bowling event for Family Rescue down in Orland Park, not far from where I go on Memorial Day. In fact, Terry and Sandie came to the event too which was a lot of fun. Though I had only bowled once in the last 18 months or so, I hadn't bowled since my shoulder surgery (which will be 6 months ago tomorrow) so it was going to be a good test. Despite some difficult lane conditions, I was able to bowl only 30 pins below my normal average.

Prior to bowling, we hit a restaurant in Blue Island called The Maple Tree Inn. They specialize in Cajun style cooking and have some really great dishes. Their crawfish cardinal appetizer is da'bomb. I had the crawfish etouffee as well. Pictures to come!

On Sunday, Elle and Molly headed back home to Ann Arbor, and LL and I headed BACK to The Maple Tree Inn for their $25 all you can eat crawfish/shrimp boil complete with ribs, corn, corn bread and bread pudding for dessert. Fantastic. If you want to know how to eat crawfish, this video was very helpful and only slightly annoying. They are a lot of work for the amount of meat you get, so I was happy they had all you can eat ribs too. Yum!!

Watching game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals was on the slate for Sunday night and what a game it was! The Hawks started out roaring with a 3-0 lead and won 7-4. Next game on Wednesday night back in Philly.

Pictures are on their way!!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

From Softball to the Gym to Golf

As I wrote on yesterday, on Tuesday night I had two late night softball games. Wednesday afternoon I had a solid workout at the gym where I did at least 20 reps of 18 different exercises and reps of most of them. So how do I take it up a notch today? Golf!!

Billy the Bear and Smitty have been golfing for a month already if not longer, usually on Thursdays. Oh, they play in a Saturday league too I think. Anyway, at the end of last year, they switched from a pretty bad county course to a pretty nice course that I play fairly often on my own. After work, the rate is $22 to walk, $26 if you want a push cart. So in addition to playing for cheap, we get some good exercise. A 6,800 yard course is 20,400 feet which is almost 4 miles!

Since I haven't swung a club in....8 months I think...and certainly not since my surgery, I went to the driving range at the course first. While my shoulder seemed fine, I didn't seem to be hitting the ball as far as I did last year. The practice balls they make you use are pretty bad though, so I didn't worry too much. Out on the course my distance seemed comparable to last year.

But my putting was MUCH better! I have no idea why. I practiced putting a few times downstairs on my relatively new carpet, but that was it. No warm-ups on the practice green even. If you're not a golfer, you'd expect two putts per hole or 18 for 9 holes, 36 for a round. At the end of last year I was often between 36 and 40 putts for a round. Just awful. The pros who score low will end up with 23-26 putts. So today, I had 30 putts: 15 on the front and 15 on the back. Only one birdie unfortunately, but still pretty good putting.

Tomorrow I go back to just running at the gym.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Exciting night of softball, no pictures though

Last night we had softball games at 8:30 and 9:30, which means I didn't get home from the suburbs until 11:30 or so and by the time I shower and unwind, it's usually around 1 a.m. It was a fun night though as we ended up winning both games. This league is very competitive, which is why we play in it and many players from other teams are one or two and even three levels above our level of play. So usually we'll split and we started off on the right foot with a big 10 run win.

The second game we were down 10-5 going into the top of last inning. I batted in the top of the 6th (next to last inning) and had a terrible at bat. When I got into the dugout in the 7th, I told the guys to get it around to me and let me hit again. Hit by hit we started to scratch our way back into the game. 10-6, runners on first and second. An out. 10-7 with the bases loaded. Another out but it's 10-8 with runners on second and third and the lineup made its way around to me again. The first pitch was right down the middle, just where I expected it, and laced a single up the middle to tie the game. The guy behind me made and out and we went to the bottom of the 7th tied. They went down 1,2,3 so we went to extra innings. We ended up winning it by scoring 2 runs in the top of the 8th and held them to only one in their half, though they had the tying run on third.

To elaborate, I had expected a juicy pitch because for this pitcher, I was taking a strike before swinging at anything in my previous at bats. He didn't want to load the bases with a walk, which I had already done in the second game, so I figured he was thinking I'd take the first pitch. That's called experience!

Anyway, I know the pictures from this weekend appear to make it look like my shoulder is 100%, but it's not yet. Swinging a bat, throwing a bowling ball, swinging a golf club are all more natural, underhand movements. Throwing a softball overhand however, is very much an unnatural movement and puts a lot of pressure on your shoulder. Through all the hard work I've been doing rehabbing and going to the gym, my shoulder is about 85%, but it's still not ready for consistent throws from third base. Soon though. Soon!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Some Pics

So here are some pics of my most recent condo renovations:

Before and after on the boiler room door. The bad wood trim was consistent throughout my condo and I'm slowing removing it all. There is oak trim now and dry wall where some of the bad wood was in place.

Similarly, my storage room door was awful and trimmed with bad wood (like the boiler room door before picture) and now it looks like this! Much nicer. Where you see dry wall in this picture was also the bad dark wood. The wood had covered up the header beam above the door and some pipes that were running between the door and the wall to the right in this pic, so I had to do something and an "L" shaped piece of dry wall did the trick.

Now for some softball pictures from this weekend (actually only Sunday only which is when LL's mom was there to take pics). Great sunny weather, but very hot!

First, here are most of our fans! From the foreground: Liz, Debbie, Nicki, Carol and LL.

Pictures of me striding into the ball. Form looks ok.

I'm going from first to third on a single in this picture.

Getting ready for a ball at first. Normally I have the glove rotated from this position, so that's a bit odd.

There was a pop foul down the first base line in the last inning. I turned and ran down the line to get it and made an over the shoulder catch.