Thursday, February 25, 2010

deep freeze

This winter is putting us through the grinder. Since we returned from Park City, I think only one day has reached 32 degrees. Guess what day it rained. Now, I'm a big fan of winter; I love snow, my allergies are non-existent, and I can always wear another layer. But a warm spell would really soothe the soul right about now.

On Saturday, we took a pizza ride to the southwest Jupiter's. Uh, the reason Jill pulled the chariot was, um, because she wanted the exercise and I needed a recovery ride. Except sadly, I didn't need a recovery ride since I haven't ridden fast in over a month.
At the home front, daddy and baby still smile a lot.
Another winter highlight is wearing a favorite sweater as Clara demonstrates.
Clara's outings have generally been limited to eating out and going to church and Bible study. On Tuesday night, we reached further and took her to our adopt-a-student's symphony at Krannert. The first two songs by the opening high school band went fine. Then 'Vesuvius' opened with a BANG!!! (two 1 by 4 planks slapped together). Clara jerked forward, breathed in, and wailed. So Jill and Clara listened to most of the remaining pieces in the hallway with another mother and 11 month son.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Free time is a treasured event around here, but I have managed to dig some up. I read a couple books in the last few months, most recently 'Life of Pi' by Yann Martel. The book has quite a lead-in; the story will make us believe in God. I already do, but would I be further encouraged?

Pi, the main character, describes his mish-mash of beliefs from the major religions. Then, we relive his 200+ day shipwreck adventure on the Pacific Ocean. Readers get to decide if his story is a parable or the truth. Either way, it's a downright scary tale of sorrow and suffering. I prefer to believe his story (the alternative involves more cannibalism than I can stomach). After all his suffering, he lives a relatively normal life.

Call me dense, but why you would believe in God after hearing this story?

Prior to 'Pi', I read 'The Crossing' by Cormac McCarthy. Jill hates these types of books. Lots of angst, introversion, and minimal relationships. My favorite exchange between the brothers:

B1: When did you start cussing so much?
B2: When I quit eating.

The writing is brilliant. And succinct. At the end, I felt depressed.

With Clara around, depression is short-lived.

Finally, I joined facebook this week. Wanna be my friend? I'm still figuring out how to arrange my digital life. I prefer the blog so that I can tell stories, short though they may be. But learning about the doings of people I haven't seen for 15 years has a mesmerizing, bizarre pull.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Utah redux

Vacation was so nice, let's look at it twice. Sometimes when I'm not 100% focused at work, I like to look at recent photos on the blog. So this post might be more for me than you, but I hope you enjoy.

Here's the view up the mountain from as high as we got on our snowshoes.
Along the way, we made a Colts logo for intimidation in the Super Bowl. As you may know, this did not lead to victory. Even sadder, I couldn't see it while riding the gondola on Fri. Most saddest, we made it upside down. We thought the helmet logo was the same direction as an 'omega'. Not so, but maybe this didn't cause the defeat.
The Park City stream was flowing nicely. In the summer, it's a nice place to dip the toes for a cooldown. In winter, we just look.
Clara turned 5 months old on Super Sunday (also happy 2^5 birthday to Jessie that day). She can now look down on Raggedy Ann. At her dr. appointment today she weighed in at 13lb 15oz and 26" in length. She can roll over, but doesn't feel any need to do so. She still likes to laugh and shout.
Finally, I'm not sure what my mom wanted me to report about their calorie counting. I know that they have lost weight, but don't know the extent. Perhaps they can comment.

Oh, and finally, finally, since even my dad has joined facebook, I might also. But I'm scared.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

snow birds

Did you get my clue from the last post? We went to Park City, Utah, to play in the moguls (well, only I played in the moguls). Our whole family met up at my parents' condo for a week of playing in the snow.

I skied two days (Mon and Fri) mostly on my own at the 9990 lift. On Friday afternoon, I joined my dad and niece for her first double blue run. Bravo! We're all looking forward to the year she can ski with me; me for the company, and her parents so they don't have to keep up with her.

It's getting hard to show everybody together, so here's a mediocre photo of the cast.
A series of storms hit the area the week before we arrived, so we got to play in deep snow.
The nieces love Clara, and she was amazed by them. They both wanted to hold her often and did their best to make her smile and laugh. Happy times!

Local horses don't mind the snow or the kids (though they wished we had brought apples like we did last year).
Just because Clara is small doesn't mean she can't join the fun. We took the bus to downtown and walked back on the multi-use trail. We almost made it back home before Clara got hungry, but she handled her first outdoor drink of milk well.
We left the baby with the family one morning to do a short snow shoe adventure. We hiked the hill/canyon just to the left of the gondola where we unexpectedly encountered a moose. The moose wasn't willing to pose for a close-up, so you'll have to look carefully to find her in the photo below.
A recurring source of amusement was watching my parents track their calorie intake with an app on their iPhones. They would compare notes to make sure that neither cheated. In that spirit, here's a recap of my high altitude training:

Two days skiing (I hiked up to Murdock bowl on Fri afternoon)
One 2 hour snowshoe adventure (probably less than 800' climbing)
One flat 6.5 mile walk
Two days playing with the nieces (in the snow and at the pool)

Alas, the vacation ended, and we're back home in IL. Mercifully, we returned to blue, sunny skies, not to be confused with skis, of which we have no need here.