Monday, August 30, 2010

Ready? Set? Peddle!

This was our outdoor adventure last Tuesday. One of the last opportunities to take the kids out on a weekday. Hard to believe they will both be in school starting this week! Kaylen is so excited and Kelton has been ready to go back to school fof a while now. Big kids! Summer has gone by so fast.

Boating was a big adventure; peddling harder than it should be; and at one point, Kaylen was the only one peddling the other three of us around - we all decided one boat would be more fun. Go Kaylen!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Nearly the End of Summer? NO!

It has been an amazing summer. I have traveled, moved into a new apartment, gotten deeper into a relationship that is intense and full of promise, and tried to help the kids feel like this new home is their new home, too.

I know Casey has posted a ton of pictures of the fun things she has done with the kids, but as many of you know, I don't share a ton of pictures on this blog. Mostly that is a matter of not taking the time to upload them...I do take pictures on my phone and send them to Facebook. My FB friends see silly pictures of the kids quite often.

I have not gone to many "destinations" with the kids, but we have been getting used to the apartment and exploring our surroundings nearby. We've found splash parks, the neighborhood farmer's market is now a regular part of our Sunday routine, and checking out the 7-11 at the end of the block to see what is at the Redbox is common. Today we will go to a lake about 20 minutes away and play on the peddle boats. We tried last week, but they were closed. Very disappointing!

It is strange getting used to not living with my kids, and I notice it more now that I have another place to live. It is both difficult and joyful to see the kids moving on with people that could potentially be part of their new family. I want them to have all the happiness and love possible in their lives, but it is hard to know that so much of their lives happen without me now. I believe leaving was something I had to do. Now I must try to do everything I can to stay an important part of their lives, offering the kinds of lessons, love and stability that I might not have been able to otherwise.

We have had an odd-weather summer here with not nearly enough sun, and a couple very hot weeks. I am not ready to say good bye to summer fun - picnics, parks, hikes, the beach....I know, most things can be done in fall and spring....but it is not the same when the chill is in the air and chances are better than not that you will get rained on. September should still be nice. I will mostly be on my own, as my girlfriend will be back east, but I am sure the kids and I will still find some kinds of fun to get into!

Oh, and Caroline, this one is especially for you. :)

This is Vicki and me at Munson Falls in Oregon.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Best of England Trip

Click on the small picture to view about 200 of the nearly 1000 pictures I took while in England! I imagine most of you don't care much about seeing them, but if you do, have at it!

Included are photos from Cambridge, Woburn Abbey (location of wedding), London - the London Eye is the giant ferris wheel, and Paris.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Cordless Drills at

Let's talk about drills.


Yes. They are on my mind because I have had one sitting in my living room for about three weeks now. I brought it over from the house to hang some lights on the wall. (Wall lights that are like art...way cool!) Ends up we did not need it, but the drill, and the heavy-duty power cord have been waiting to go back to the garage (sharing it with Casey) ever since. Might still need know how those thoughts go. I will need it as soon as I return it.

Yes, I did say power cord. I love cordless drills, but sometimes you need more power, or one that is not 15 years old and no longer holds a charge. :)

I love our DeWalt power drill. Lots of power! (Can't you hear Tim "The Toolman" Taylor grunting?) Easy to use, reliable, a great drill. I would love a cordless DeWalt. I saw one with a 9.6 volt motor that is 3.4 pounds and it would be great for just about everything, I suspect. OK, maybe not building a whole deck. Don't know how long the charge would last, but for most household projects - this would be perfect!

I may have to keep my eyes open for a sale on one of these bad boys. A girl's gotta have her power tools! *grin*

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Buy.Com Inflatable Roof Rack

Many years ago, I had planned on getting into kayaking, but somehow life just happened, kids came along, and I never did. I would occasionally rent one on the beach in Mexico, or wherever, and tool around a bit, but never got serious about it. I think it is time to get serious again. My new girlfriend is into any kind of adventure and has been wanting to try kayaking, so this past weekend, we took a tour on a few miles of the Patuxent River in Maryland. We had a great time and are now looking at lessons and getting our own kayaks, once we've done the research and know what we really want.

One of the challenges, in my mind, is how to carry the kayaks. Roof racks are an obvious solution, but do you get hard rack ones like Yamahas, or something that I recently discovered, inflatables?

The inflatable roof-top carrier rack is said to have all of the advantage of a regular rack, without the disadvantages, which I suppose the main one to be possibility of being stolen or tampered with. These can be stored in the trunk, or wherever, and inflated in minutes for use as needed. They appear easy to install and would not damage your car and could be used for a variety of cargo. At a sale price of less than $100, I believe that beats the cost of most hard rack systems, so that is one definite advantage. I think I will have to do some research, but this seems like a good potential option!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

DC Trip - Part 9

I see I got a little behind in my story of DC.

Briefly, on Sunday, because of the very late night Saturday, we got a late start again, but were in the Smithsonian Museum of American History by 1 or so. Again, I was impressed with the quantity and how big things are! It took hours to see everything. I was amazed to see the top hat Lincoln was wearing on the night he was shot, and Washington's waistcoat that he often wore for portraits, and the original flag that inspired the Star-Spangled Banner. It is huge - about 30x40 feet - and displayed in a dark, leak-resistant,HVAC-controlled room.

I loved seeing Fonzie's leather jacket (odd - it is brown, not black, as I had thought) and Kermit the Frog...just so many things!

After that, we were very tired from being on our feet for two days, so drove to the Supreme Court building. It was closed, but I wanted to see it. It is a very impressive building...I took tons of pictures and was suitably impressed with the architecture, and the gravity of what went on inside the building.

Monday was the trip home....GF came with me. We were delayed overnight in Denver, but were given a large hotel room with a great whirlpool bathtub. Even though we only had four hours before we had to return to the airport for our rescheduled flight, we turned on the water, poured some bath gel in and took advantage of the perks of our delay. Let me just say that a little bath gel in powerful jets of water make for a LOT of foamy, white bubbles!

OK - so I finished this update just in time for my next trip. I am taking a last-minute trip back to Virginia tomorrow early in the morning through next Tuesday. More playing tourist in Virginia, one day in DC, and then camping in Maryland....maybe even a kayak trip!

Funny, even though financially and career-wise, things are not going great right now, due to some amazing circumstances and people in my life, I have been enjoying wonderful travel opportunities. Hey - since I am only working part-time now - I may as well take advantage of the free time and offers while I can!

In case some of you are wondering, I am not missing my time with the kids. It is Casey's weekend and they are off to visit her side of the family for a long-weekend. She will be taking her new gf and her son to meet her family. Life moves on in unexpected ways, but it does move on. I'm catching all the good waves I can!

Happy Weekend all!

Listening to Mamma Mia - Try through Buy.Com

Should it embarrass me that I have been listening to the soundtrack to Mamma Mia on my Mp3 player? Well, it doesn't! I thought this was a really fun movie. I love that it is filled with middle-aged women singing, dancing, talking about having sex, and having a great time amidst life's struggles.

I am not a huge Meryl Streep fan, I don't hate her or anything, just not crazy about her, so that is not why I like the movie. Mostly I like the music and the absurdity of the situations. The basic premise, for those who do not know, is that a young woman is getting married and invites the three men that might possibly be her father to the wedding without her mother knowing. The mother, Meryl Streep, is quite surprised to find these past lovers come back into her life, and of course, she still holds a torch for one of them.

I like Pierce Brosnan. He is handsome, and funny in this role, but really, he should stick to acting...singing is not his thing and I am reasonably sure most viewers who listen to SOS deserve an apology from the filmmakers who allowed this song to stay in. Oh, heck, even that is oddly charming in a way that makes you want to plug your ears and skip the song on the soundtrack.

The soundtrack itself is loads of fun and makes for good driving tunes. Seventeen songs are featured, which I think is most, if not all, of the songs from the movie. I like listening to the Soundtrack from the movie rather than a Broadway version because it reminds me of the movie experience. I especially love Christine Baranski singing "Does Your Mother Know?" about the not-so-subtle intentions of a maybe-legal boy who is attracted to her.

This soundtrack is on sale all over the place, but I enjoyed purchasing the download from a web site in order to have instant gratification!