Saturday, November 23, 2013

P52 Week 45: Family Time

Gee, I thought I could slip one by, but my conscience in Michigan reminded me I've got a blog to keep up with!
We had our son Jordan and his GF Shelbie down for a few days vacation. Haven't seen them since July and it did my heart good to have them here. Anyway, I was too busy for camera work this week, but, "Have iPhone, will travel"... So all I have is iPhone shots.
The kids came all the way to NC, and Jordan wants to go to Buffalo Wild Wings. That's his favorite restaurant in NH, so of course we wanted him to feel at home. Who am I to argue? Ok, twist my arm...We'll go... :-)  Gave them a nice tour uptown, and stopped for some great wings and cold beer.

Jordan joins my weekly beverage shots...
We had planned on going to Chimney Rock on Saturday, but it was a cloudy, rainy day. Jordan asked if there was a guitar shop around.. Do we have one? Yessiree! A Big one.  Sam Ash's. So he and I went there while the ladies went off on their own and did "Girl shopping". Whew. Dodged a bullet there!

Wall of Guitars at Sam Ash's

We were done in about 1/2 hour. And planned to meet the girls at the Sleepy Poet antique store. They hadn't planned on us being done for another hour or so.  Women just don't know how to shop efficiently. With guys, it's Bing Bang Boom. You're done. Hmm... Sorry, my mind wandered for a minute...


Sleepy poet is a really cool place. Nostalgic

and Blue
We survived the day without spending too much money, and still managed to have a great time.

We know Jordan likes Bass Pro Shops, so we went there Monday morning in Concord Mills. For the Southerners  it is pronounced Con-Cord.  Unlike the REAL pronunciation up Nawth.... which is CONCERD. :-) Anyway, Bass Pro Shops was very cool. All of a sudden, I wanted to go out hunting. Easy to get caught up in all the outdoorsman type toys... Managed to get out of there cheaply too. Mainly because I have nowhere to put anything else. And also I do not have the time for new hobbies.. But maybe someday...(Those cross-bows looked like fun)...

The Ugly Sticks...

Fine for Hunting
Monday night was when the main activity of the vacation was....Going to the PATS/panthers game in Charlotte. When I came down to Charlotte in May, and interviewed for a job, I said to Sue, "Wouldn't it be cool of the Pats played the Panthers!" That night, the NFL schedule came out. Lo and Behold, they were playing! I got all excited and planned on getting tickets.  She reminded me "You don't have a job down here yet...". I did a day later though!  And I found tickets online shortly thereafter....DESTINY!

The Fam tail-gating
We had a great time. Found a spot to tailgate, right down the street from Bank of America stadium. And surprisingly enough, there were a lot of Pats fans there.

Our neighboring tail-gaters...A soldier and his wife from Mass,
now stationed in Fayetteville. Nice people...

Party Atmosphere
It is a great stadium with an awesome view of the skyline.

Let the Game Begin

Half-time Salute to the Troops
If you are a fan of the game, then you would agree that it was a good game...If you were a Pats fan, you would agree that the Pats got ripped off with a lousy call at the end of the game. Gronk was interfered with trying to catch an end zone pass. The refs threw a flag, and then took it away, thinking that the 7' plus Gronk wouldn't have been able to catch it anyway...You know, the ones he always makes.. I found this video on-line...You be the judge...

Bear Hugs now Legal?

Ah well, it's just a game (trying to convince myself)....The real pain was when I got back to work on Wednesday, and had to listen to my friends at the office razz me... Ug...

The next day, we were again going to try Chimney Rock...But the elevator to the top was not working. Dang, it just wasn't meant to happen this visit. Shelbie told us that we don't have to DO anything...They just came to see us, and whatever we do is all that matters..  Smart girl...She was right.
But we decided to go out and about anyway. We introduced the kids to IKEA. Hey - It was their idea! Great store. Smart people-them Swedes.  I managed to get out of that store unscathed too. Only spent about $25... A smart shopper - my wife is....

IKEA Warehouse

After which, we went back to the Con-Cord Mills mall, where we played some pool at Dave and Busters,. Good times!
Pool Boy

Pool Girl

On Cue

It was a short visit, only 3 days, but it meant the world to me. I've been worried about my bud since I moved down here.  It has done a world of good for him to be out on his own though, and I can tell that he has grown up a lot and is thriving.  And that makes me a very happy dad....


Monday, November 11, 2013

P53 Week 44: Thank you to Those Who Served

First off, on this Veteran's Day, and every opportunity I get, I want to thank  those who have served our great nation. Thank you for your sacrifices, as well as the sacrifices your families have made.

I have to admit that I never was in the service. From as early on as I could remember, my dad would too often tell me "You are going in the Army!". He'd never tell me why, or what it could do for me. And unfortunately, I was very immature, and rebellious, and I'd be darned if I was going to go into the service. I did however try to get into Mass Maritime after high school, but they told me my eyesight was too bad. Said that I should speak to my congressman, and try to have him pull some strings. That just pissed me off all the more. If I couldn't get in under my own merits, I wasn't going to ask for favors. (that's the way I am-ask anyone). Anyway, I'm much older now, and over it. In hindsight, I should have joined some branch of the service and grown up quicker, but it's water under the bridge.
Anyway, this weekend Sue and I went to an Airshow in Monroe, NC. Actually, we saw it from a nearby field and saved the price of admission and saved ourselves from the crowds and the traffic. Saw a bunch of cars parked, and we pulled in. Rolled up next to an old red pickup, with a gentlemen sitting on the tailgate. I got out of my car and pulled out my camera. We each said hello, and he tapped his tailgate and said "C'mon over and rest yourself on my tailgate." Plenty of room." I accepted his offer and we got to talking. His name was Don, and as we watched the planes flying overhead, he'd identify each one. I said, "you must have been in the service". He said he had served in Vietnam. And I shook his hand, and thanked him for his service. He lit up like I'd given him a million dollars, and he said "Thank you for that". I explained my story about never serving, and he said "aw that's ok". Made me feel better actually. We sat awhile and ooh'd and aah'd at the acrobatics going on in the skies above us.
I would have liked sitting and chatting all day with Don, but after an hour or so, his daughter called and was having car problems. And he had to go jump her car. We shook hands again and as he started to drive off, he said "Welcome to North Carolina!". Another fine example of the folks I see everywhere down here. Genuine and friendly.

I would never remember any of the models of aircraft flying, but here are some sights from the day:

Stealth Bomber

Thank you again, Veterans.
And Thank you Don.
God Bless America!


Monday, November 4, 2013

P52 Week 43: The Love of The Game

Old Timey
I've always had a love of the Game. What Game? Baseball of course! And this is a fitting week for me to ramble on about it, following the BOSTON RED SOX WORLD SERIES WIN!!!! Ya-HOO!
My dad was a big Red Sox fan, and that coupled with growing up in Red Sox Nation, made me the fan that I am today.
Part of My Ward-drobe..
I remember as a little kid, my dad taking me to that hallowed Museum known as Fenway Park. I remember the smells of the food coming from sidewalk vendors, especially the Peanut vendors. Same guys every year with their "Peanuts, Pistachios, Cashews!" chant. I remember these 2 guys in particular. If you're a local, you know who I'm talking about. One guy may have been Italian. A short guy with a strong accent and a small mustache. Another guy never said anything, but he had a curled up old cowboy hat, and smoked a Sherlock Holmes-type pipe, and had wizened, smiling eyes. They were part of the culture and helped instill the love of the game in me.

Red Sox
I'd always have to get a score book, and check the latest stats of my favorite players, and keep stats on every play. I was a Big Fan of Yaz, and Ken "The Hawk" Harrelson.


I'd bring my glove to the game, in the hopes that I'd be one of the lucky few who would catch a foul ball. The only time a ball came close, I was looking at my score book writing in the last play. The ball went sailing over my head, just out of my dad's reach..Dang...Not sure if I ever kept score after that!

Lucky Bandana
I always loved playing baseball too. From playing catch with my dad, to pick-up games with friends. I played softball all through my teen years with DeMolay. Great memories. I tried out for the Northeastern University Baseball team. Didn't make the cut though, but at least I tried out. I was good at 3rd base, but I've always had a mental problem with throwing. If a ball came at me and I just threw it, I was ok. But if I had too much time to think about it, there was a very good chance that the ball was not going where it should. I made the Wentworth Institute baseball team. Can’t remember much about those days though. I was stuck out in Center field, and was just an average hitter. Nothing exciting to report.

On my Left Leg
Once I had my own kids, I shared my love of baseball. From playing catch, or signing them up for T-ball or town leagues. Most of the time, they were just picking daisies out in the field, but I tried to give them a taste of it. I enjoyed taking them to a couple of Red Sox games, and AAA games. Trying to pass the torch as it were.

My Papelbon Shirt.. (Remember Him?)

I can remember my son Jordan (Sorry girls, your brother is just a natural athlete), when he was about 14. That was the summer that he burned his first fastball into the palm of my glove. It was a mix of complete pain, and utter joy, at what just happened… He had grown about 8 inches over the winter, and was now able to play an awesome game of catch. He developed a fine curve ball and Knuckle ball too. He could have played HS baseball, but just liked playing with the ol' man. And I’ll admit, I’m not as young as I used to be. The last few years, I've had to ask him to hold back a bit because my reflexes aren't as quick as they used to be. I was seriously afraid he was going to kill me out in the back yard.

The Lucky Head-Toppers
Anyway, I digress, but I’m trying to explain the love I have for the game of baseball.
Now, down in North Carolina, I didn't get to see the Red Sox play very often. Just when they played the cursed Yankees on the game of the week. But I followed their stats this year. And when they made the playoffs, it was a whole new season for me. Getting to watch every game. Up til midnight almost every night for 3 weeks. And making it to the World Series again. And Winning Again! Gosh!
Big Curt

And despite the funny looks I got from Sue, I know deep down that I had played an active part in them winning…Back in 2004 and 2007, the Sox won because I started wearing my Carl Yastrzemski shirt. This year though, it wasn't working…I had to switch to Curt Schilling. Yes, that helped them. And there were a few times, I Sh$t you not, when I would plunk my Sox scally cap on my head, and also my upside-down inside-out Sox baseball cap, and Lucky Bandana and someone would hit a home run. 

More of the Uniform
That David Ortiz grand slam in the playoffs-Yup, that was thanks to me.You’re very welcome! Sue would shake her head in amazement at me. Remember, as the Bud Lite ad says “It’s only weird if it doesn't work”. But that is what a fan of the game will do. Whatever it takes.

It's Only Weird if it Doesn't Work
Before the Sox won last week, I had to admit, that win or lose, if you were a fan of the game of baseball, it was a great series. It’s America’s favorite past-time and I’m happy to be a Red Sox fan.

And now, the parades are over, and the Duck Boats are put away…At least until the Pats win the Superbowl on Feb 2, 2014…Oh Oh…here we go again..

Here's to the SOX!

See you next week!