Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Return to My Youth

Yesterday morning was a decidedly cooler day after several muggy days. On my way down to Starbucks, as is my morning tradition, I hearkened back to my childhood summer vacation days on Beaver Island Michigan. Not every day was in the upper 60's there, but with the lake and fishing on inland lakes being the primary activities, when the weather was colder, it not so much put a damper on the fun of being up north as the weather would alter it. I have many pictures of me in a sweatshirt or my jacket on those colder days. The wind would blow through the pine trees and make a quieting whooshing sound. The waves would crash on the beach some 75 or 100 yards away making that wonderful background noise that only waves can make. It was wonderful to fall asleep to both and it made for afternoons of warming by the wood burning stove.

Trips to B.I. involved many things, starting with getting up at 1 or 2 in the morning to get an "early" start. The reality, I firmly believe, is that it insured that most of the trip up north, if not all of it, would be kid-noise-free as we would sleep most of the way. Once in Charlevoix, which is where we caught the car toting ferry to B.I., we would get breakfast at a small diner. That was a particular treat because we didn't eat out very often when I was a kid, partially because my dad was a salesman and had to eat out a lot and partially because we didn't have a ton of money and eating at home with 5 people was much cheaper.

After breakfast, it was time to load the car onto the ferry, which was always a pretty cool thing to see. Car after car was loaded on and tied down with chains.  It was important to know where your car was because if the waves on the 90 minute or two hour ferry ride were too much, the car was a good refuge since it moved less in the middle of the boat. And if everything was smooth, the car held all your snacks and toys!

Once on B.I. it was a either a trip to the local family owned store, McDonough's, or to the cabins where we were staying to unload the car.  Then the race was on to the beach and the water. Good stuff. Eventually we would have to take our garbage to the dump. Yep, you had to take it yourself. Soooo many gulls!! Crazy. It was a fun side trip though.

Then there were the fishing trips.  My dad would lead the charge and I would go and sometimes my mom and sisters, but not all the time as I recall. Anyway, the key thing on the lake was to not make noise, ostensibly to not scare the fish. In reality, my ol'man just wanted some peace and quiet, which is also why even though we were fishing on an interior lake, he gave me a big old Red Devil treble hook lure which was probably bigger than most of the fish.  We also used worms as bait too, so it wasn't like my dad was a bad guy or anything, just sneaky smart. Unfortunately for him, I did latch on to a 19" rainbow trout one trip and caught some other decent fish that he then was forced to clean. Good eating though!!

Those were good memories and good trips and I'm glad that simply a cooler day in June would stir up those memories.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Hawks win Lord Stanley's Cup!!

What a great hockey game tonight and I almost missed it. There was a 40 and over softball game in Naperville tonight pitting our #2 team against the #3 team with the playoffs looming. I was going to have to make the sacrifice for the team and just record the game and watch it when I got home. Fortunately, a huge storm front swept through the area around 5:00, dropping tree limbs and knocking out power, so the game was called off and I got to stay home with LL and watch game 6 in Boston.

Boston struck first after unleashing a barrage of shots and hits, but as I told LL in game 5, if the home team only comes away with one goal after a period like that, it's going to be a tough row to hoe the rest of the way. In game 5, the Hawks went up 2-0 before winning 3-1. The Hawks tied it up in the second period on a great shot by captain Jonathon Toews. The third period came with another Boston barrage and a Boston goal with about 7 minutes left and it looked a little grim. We even got a power play, but pissed it away as we had most of our power plays this series.

Then with about 90 seconds left, we pulled the goalie to get the extra attacker. Instead of dumping the puck into the zone (and having Boston fire it right back out), Kane stick handled past three guys and put a shot on Rask, their goalie. It was kicked away to the corner, but now we had numbers. Duncan Keith dug it out, got it to Toews who passed it in front to Bickell and he buried it! We were all tied up!!! 17 seconds later, Oduya shot a rocket on net that was redirected by Frolik that went off the post and bounced to Dave Bolland who buried the game winner!! It was something else. Wow....what a game. Here's the video of the 17 seconds.

Marissa move to 3-0 in her Hawks sweater with the win today! Here's a picture of her from Saturday's game though first:

Here's a pic of her sitting up in her little chair.

And here is her Stanley Cup winning picture!!!  Way to go Marissa!!!

To celebrate, we opened up one of the six bottles of sauternes that ESDNM gave us for our wedding. It's truly a celebration for us. Personally, I watched every game this year either in person, live on TV or on DVR except for one, which had an unanticipated early start time on a Saturday. LL watched almost as many, missing very few.  We also went to 3 playoff games together and I went to a fourth with Bill the Bear. What a year!!!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Catching up.

 Almost another week has gone by! So much happened, but I'll try to hit the highlights. First, Bill the Bear and his wife Nadine stopped by to meet Marisa and had this wonderful hockey sweater (the appropriate term, not jersey) as one of their gifts. Outstanding.

Marissa wore it during the day before game four and the Hawks won! That means we have to have her wear before the next game as well.  The Hawks and Bruins are tied 2-2 after each team has won one game on the road. Game four ended up 6-5 in overtime in favor of the Hawks and was filled with anxious moments as the Hawks blew two two-goal leads. All five goals for the Bruins beat him glove side, which could pose a problem for the rest of the series....we'll see. Either way:

You may have to click on that pic to see the message.

Thursday was my first time back golfing with the boyz (Markakis and Smitty). Though we didn't tee off until 4:30, we were able to finish 18.  On 17, a par 5, I hit a GREAT drive. I mean a really great drive. It was one that the pros would hit: about 250+ with draw that moved it around a dogleg left and put it right in the middle of the fairway. Awesome. My second shot was going to be about 230 into the green. Using my hybrid, with Smitty standing next to me, I hit a laser that came down just to the right of the green. But as it landed, something popped up. Smitty said, "I think you hit something!" Yeah, I think I did. What the hell could it be. "It looked like a bird." Markakis then hit his second shot after hitting his first attempt into the trees (he wasn't sure he was going to be able to find it). As we walked to the green, here's what we saw: 

Yep, a dead robin. I plugged him right in the noggin. Because it was getting dark, he must not have seen it coming!! Markakis' ball is the second one in the picture, just a few feet away. It's possible that the bird was already dead, but it looked like a fresh kill. 

There's new art in the neighborhood. This piece replaced one of the giraffes that was on the corner. It's something at least!!

Sunday, June 16, 2013


Today was my first Father's Day as a father. Crazy to even write that, but it was a great weekend. Yesterday my softball team was playing just across the border in WI.  The competition was wasn't very good and we had about 16 guys there, so it was an interesting day. We had 4 games of pool play before a single elimination tournament. Our first game was cancelled as our opponent decided not to show up, so we were down to three games. Our next two games we won by the slaughter rule and it was stopped after 3 innings. Our fourth game was not very close either, but we played 7 innings at least. With so many players, there was a lot of rotation going on and playing time for everyone. It was fun and I even got to pinch run (I offered as a way to burn more calories!).

After pool play was done though, I had to take off and head home for the Hawks Stanley Cup Final game. It was game 2 of the series and unfortunately the Hawks lost in OT. They appeared a bit sluggish and I think it was due, in part, to the long game 1 that they played. One of the moves Coach Q made was to insert the beefier Bollig into the fourth line in place of the much faster and more skilled Stalberg.  When the game turned out to be close, Q didn't trust his fourth line because of Bollig so they were only on the ice for 10 minutes of the 100+ minute game. The other lines had to pick up the slack. Q started Bollig again in game 2 which turned out not to be wise. Not only were the Hawks still out hit 50-34, they seem mired after the first period in which they out shot the Bruins 19-4. The rest of the way they were out shot 24-15. Ugh.  Laura and I still had fun and we split the delicious Sweet Baby Rays brisket sandwich with sweet potato fries. Yum.

So after all that, today was just a day for relaxing. It started off with cards from LL and Marissa in which I was named Father Rookie of the Year. I gladly accepted the honor!!

My weight is holding at 194, so that's good. We'll see what happens over the next few days. It seems like my weight bottoms out for several days and then drops.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The incredible shrinking Joe

So first off, day 3 in a row of posting. Crazy, I know. The Hawks won in triple OT, the 5th longest Stanley Cup Final game ever. Twice they came back from being down two goals to tie it and then got a twice redirected goal in triple OT to win it! Very exciting game.

Last night Marissa slept from 8:30 to 5:30, so despite LL being sick, we both have more energy today. And at my morning weigh-in, I was down to 194!! Saweeeet!! My goal weight was 195 which was 13 pounds lost, but now I feel like 185 should be my target. Feeling pretty good.  Lest you think I'm not eating, here are pictures of my typical breakfast:

Omelet with red and green peppers and black beans. 

Greek yogurt with fresh blueberries. Pretty damn yummy!

Here's our new artwork at the end of the street. Very festive.

Best part of this picture is the beautiful day!!

LL had Marissa sitting up in a chair the other day. Her head wobbles a little bit (like Ricardo when he has been drinking), but for the most part she's pretty strong.

And finally a picture from LL of Marissa flailing her arms and legs while wearing one of my favorite tops. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Rare second day in a row post!

Just two topics today...okay three. There's a nasty storm system sweeping through the area so I'm hoping it doesn't interrupt my television viewing. What I'll be watching is topic two: the Blackhawks in game one of the Stanley Cup Final against the Bruins. Very excited!! Coach Q is moving Stalberg out of the lineup for the beefier Bollig to add a little toughness.  

The last topic is the real reason for the post: my morning weigh-in was 196, a new low for the diet and only one pound away from my 3 month goal weight. I'm down 12 pounds in the first month and now I'm shooting for a revised goal of 185.  We'll see how it goes!!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Happy Birthday Marissa!!

In a fit of frustration, I decided it was time to clean up our storage container drawers. Once upon a time, we had one drawer for circular pieces and another area for square containers. Every base had a lid, every lid had a base. They were all easily accessed and it was all good. Last night though, that was NOT the case and I had had it. The result:
The drawers are organized now!! Four bags of containers on their way out!

Today is Marissa's 3 month birthday. The little angel cooperated with some smiles. Yay!!

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Hawks win!!

Only one new baby picture to add this week, but trust me, there were a lot more! Marissa is sleeping for 5-6 hours at a crack now, so getting better. The last few nights it's been 10 or 11 until 4:30, so we're working on getting both sides better (earlier to bed and later to rise).

The Blackhawks beat the LA Kings in 5 games to move on to the Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins, another original six team. I went to the first game and Bill the Bear invited me last night for game 5 since his wife's bad back was acting up. The game went into double overtime and we won so it was a great time! After going up 2-0 in the game, the Hawks let the Kings tie it up 2-2. In the third period with about 5 minutes left though, the Hawks scored and the celebration was on. Unfortunately, they iced the puck with 14 seconds left and the Kings scored off the resulting face-off with only 9 seconds left in the game!! Patrick Kane scored his third of the game in the second overtime off a great pass from Toews for a hat trick. Lots of fun!!

Wednesday, June 05, 2013


Two nights in a row!! Marissa slept from 9 til 5:30. 'nuff said!!

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

A watershed night!

That's right, the long awaited "sleeping through the night" may have arrived!!! Last night our little angel slept from 9 til 7.  Sooooooo nice!!! Life will be about 100 times better if she's sleeping through the night. Sweet!! We'll see what happens tonight. It's all due to the great mothering of LL. She's very diligent about reading up on what's good, what's not so good and what we should be doing. She's really good about putting her down to sleep around 7:30 every night and getting her on a "schedule", which of course is always open to Marissa's interpretation.

Here are some new pics.

And here are the June wedding calendar pictures. We're already working on our return trip to Puerto Rico next spring. Can't wait!!