Sunday, August 23, 2009

When we arrive

Jamie's playing Paradise City, I'm working on the guitar and computer. While helping Jamie set up the electronics downstairs, I heard a CD that Tony made me, with a song I haven't heard in awhile, that he introduced to me. Sons and Daughters by The Decemberists. So I looked up the lyrics, chords and tabs.

I'm happy with my rhythm guitar playing, getting a little better every day. Now I'm trying to learn a little fingerpicking and lead-playing. So I tried it, fumbled it a bit, listened again, tried again, tried the chords, sang along, fumbled, tried again, and eventually, in just a few minutes, my brain made my fingers do the right thing. It reminded me of when I learned to juggle.

I'm no vaudevillian, but I can keep three things crossing through the air. And the one clue that made it click for me seems to have the same logical basis for this learning process - let go. Somehow I realized that in order for me to catch the ball coming out of the air, I had to have an empty hand, so I threw that ball up in order to catch the one coming down. It clicked, I practiced, and now I don't have to think about it: I just do it.

Well, I won't say I've mastered this song in ten minutes, but I felt the click. I just kept trying to follow along, and I caught up.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sco to the B

Scobey reunion in Milwaukee. Many we hadn't seen in years.

Thursday we drove down from Green Bay. Saw the Brewers score 12 runs (including a Prince Fielder blast that was projected as the 3rd longest ever at Miller Park), but let the Padres back into the game enough to see the dramatic entrance of the game's all-time saves leader, Trevor Hoffman.

Thursday night, Annemarie, Jacob and Liam came over to our motel to swim with us. Then Friday we went with Bill, Teenasia and Jamie to walk around downtown. We saw the Calatrava wing "flap." We walked amongst the towering stone, steel and glass edifices, had lunch at Subway, and stopped for a beer at the Safe House while the kids explored.

Friday evening we had dinner at Paul & Marriane's. Then hung out with the cousins at the motel.

Saturday was the big day: swimming, eating, sports, games, challenges, a softball game, geocaching, cookout, campfire, guitar. All those smiles :)

Sunday: exhaustion, Culver's, a stop to see the site of past and future PGA Championship's on PGA weekend (this one being played in Minnesota, next year Tiger will be where we stood), Whistling Straits in Haven.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

One who stood

Football? In Green Bay? Get outta here!

Michaela, Jamie and I went to watch the Packers practice yesterday. Then we went to Jamie's practice.

The kids brought their bikes to Lambeau - didn't get riders, though.

At Jamie's practice, I watched some, took some pics, some videos, and played with Kayla, Logan & Sami - we made-up some combination football/baseball/time-trial games, and swung in the batting cage. On the way home, we stopped for frozen custard at Zesty's.

Today, I spent ten hours making a video of yesterday. It was fun for me. I knew most of the process. I had to find some software and learn some video-footage cutting and file conversion. And throughout - the rewarding part: transmitting what I felt about my experiences to a three-minute reel.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Just about vacation

Lot's of Baxters in town last weekend.

Jamie's first football practice of the season.

Michaela and Jamie and I went to play music at Dan Hogan's in the middle of the week.

These kids are good musicians.

Dave and I stopped by Fonferek Falls on the way from Kolb's to Shelly's to get the kids. Apparently, it's quite seasonal.

Yesterday, we put our canoe in on the west side of the bay looking for a nice large expanse of sand on which to roam, but the phragmites had invaded that area. So we headed up the west shore as far as Pensaukee. This little public access point in Suamico was the best we found.

Sunday, August 02, 2009


Apparently, I have oral allergy syndrome.

Mom found the birch pollen/fresh fruit connection for me last year. And I happened upon this info while cleaning up my computer desktop links and favorites.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

That's what she said

Danny Baxter has been in town all week. Dave had talked to Dan in the past about having Danny come up to stay for a week. And while we shared some margaritas around the fire at Dave's last Friday night, I reminded Dave that Shelly could bring him back, as she was in Hazel Green for Angie's birthday. He texted Shelly, she talked to Dan, and Danny had himself a vacation by the Bay.

Saturday I golfed with a couple of guys from work and their friend, then I took the cousins for the first night. Pizza at Cranky Pat's, playing outside, Rock Band, a movie, and popcorn at home.

Sunday Dave and Nicky and I took all the kids on the Fox with his Waverunner and Shelly's boat. That was my first time on a jet-ski - faster than I imagined.

Shelly moved to a new duplex on Tuesday and Wednesday with Dave, Nicky & Mary's help. Doug came to town for job interviews and helped her too. I had all the kids and Doug over for a cookout while they finished up Wednesday night.

(the title of this entry comes from the kids' exploring of the English language and its relationship to pop-culture inspired by Danny's habit of trying to drop this phrase into context, and as cousins are wont to do, they share the joy of the new, brought to them from far-off places)

I canoe, can you?

We took the canoe to the East River. I brought Michaela and her friend across to hang out at the park while Jamie and I went upstream. We both experienced an outdoor first: we saw a deer swim across the river in front of us.

Oh, yeah. While I loaded the boat, Jamie went to find the girls. I hollered for Jamie to let him know that Kayla had texted that she was returning. Then I heard a meek, "Dad?"
Jamie got stuck climbing a flagpole.

Muck the channel

After the first weekend helping the Hogans, I helped Dad remove some muck from the channel.

A little behind

Derriere petit?

It seems I've taken to the quick, sometimes instantaneous sharing of my life on Facebook. But that doesn't afford me the opportunity to share my more complex ideas; and larger events are more difficult to pare down to Facebook's sample size.

But I have no excuse, other than fatigue, for not sharing this past months activities.

My accuracy in recording slips with time. Funny how that works. So I'll just kind of throw out the jist of the month.

The weekend of the Fourth, I made it up to Crescent Lake for dinner with Mom & Dad. They and Carmen, Courtney, Alexa and Eli, and Larry & Janice were going to watch the fireworks on the lake. I went to Hoha's to visit with Trevor & Catherine and their kids and Mark, and Jim & Barb. It was a great visit.

Then a work visit.
That lasted two weekends.

Dan Hogan is a friend of mine, and I've known his parents for years. His parents, Dan & Carole have been building their home in Eagle River for years. From scratch. From the trees that sprouted after the lumbermen first cleared this land.

They felled the the trees to make space for the home. Turned the trees to timbers and lumber. First built a garage while they lived in a camper for a couple of years. While still working, he in construction, cabinetry, and gunsmithing and she a nurse. Built a workshop (that any woodworker would drool over) and began the home.

And still they work on the home. A couple of years ago, health problems slowed them down a bit. This summer Carole invited her cousins to reunite in the Northwoods. But she needed help. Dan helps a lot, and when I was over for Dan & Brenda's son Brady's baptism, Carole asked if I would help. And so now, my work is part of this magnificent building.

They repaid me with home-cooked meals, cameraderie, a cookout at the neighbors, a jamboree of sorts (Dan is a maestro, his Dad plays guitar and sings, his Uncle is a bluesman, and I'm learning. We had four guitarists sharing three guitars, sipping cola, beer and Irish whiskey on the back porch of this exquisite Norwegian log home; putting on a concert for the red pines.)