July Photos of the Day

July 1

The guys pose at the Warren G. Harding Memorial. (Nikon D300; Nikon 24-120mm lens)

We start July on the road! My #2 son is playing in his second Amateur Disc Golf World Championships this week in Marion, Ohio. My #1 son and I joined the Mister and #2 in Marion (they flew here this past Sunday) yesterday. Our only sightseeing “adventure” was the Warren G. Harding Memorial right there in Marion. It’s a beautiful building, but it’s not very exciting at all.

July 2

The Thinker (aka, my #2 son) (Nikon D300; Nikon 105mm lens)

After playing poorly in his penultimate morning round during the Amateur Disc Golf World Championships in Ohio, my #2 son contemplated his possible fate before teeing off that afternoon. It sure is hard to take him serious, though, when he’s wearing that Cookie Monster hat!

July 3

My #1 son meets Rachel 2.0 in Cincinnati. (Nikon D300; Nikon 24-120)

Definitely the Photo of the Day for my #1 son, as he finally got to meet Rachel, a girl he’d been corresponding with online for about a year. We drove more than two hours to Cincinnati to meet her at a mall. By the way, #1 was wearing his glasses, because his right contact lens ripped the previous day, and he hadn’t packed a spare pair.

July 4

My three guys entertain themselves during our unexpected airport wait. (Nikon D300; Nikon 24-120)

We had no independence from airport problems on the Fourth of July, unfortunately. Good thing both sons had iPhones to keep them entertained while we waited to board the plane (my #1 son also had his Nintendo DS), while the Mister took the pause that refreshes.

July 5

Dr. K works on my #1 son. (Nikon D700; Nikon 50mm lens)

Four years ago, our dentist, Dr. Tyson, noticed that my #1 son had a huge root in one of his top teeth. We sought out the opinion of Dr. K, an endodontist, who said it was best to just wait and see what happens. Well, something finally did: A nonpainful fistula formed on #1’s gum, which meant there was an infection. Back to Dr. K, who cleaned up the area in preparation for a future root canal. Ouch! And ka-ching!! And ouch again!!

July 6

Raindrops are falling on my car's windshield. (Nikon D700; Nikon 17-55mm lens)

As tonight’s weekly handicap mini disc golf tournament started at our local park, the sky looked ominous. All too soon, thunder sounded, and lightning crackled. Scary stuff! I was accompanying my #2 son’s group, which was near the back of the course, the farthest point from the parking lot. Suddenly it started to pour. I protected my camera equipment with a towel that Dr. Steve lent me and ran for my car. The Mister, who was on a hole close to the parking lot  when the deluge began, came after me with a huge umbrella that barely kept us from getting soaked. Then he went to pick up the rest of the crew in his minivan. We drove home completely saturated; fortunately, my Nikon D700 and Nikon 17-55mm lens (which, by the way, wasn’t the lens I intended to pick up; I thought I had my Nikon 105) handled the moisture without a problem. Whew!

July 7

My three sons brawl (in a video way). (Nikon D700; Nikon 50mm lens)

Summertime means the chance to play lots of video games for my three sons: #1, #2, and, of course, my “third son,” Chase. This time they engaged in a spirited contest of Super Smash Brothers Brawl, a particular favorite of the three.

July 8

My #2 son, Marcus, and Chris battle for the rebound. (Nikon D700; Nikon 35-70mm lens)

My #2 son enjoys playing basketball with his buddies. Usually they meet at our local elementary school’s basketball court; however, today our driveway was the perfect venue for #2 and his long-time friends Marcus and Chris. It was hard to tell who won—Marcus or the team of #2 and Chris—but they all sure were thirsty when they came inside to cool off!

July 9

The multitasking #1 son (iPhone 4)

Just look at my #1 son: He’s able to read his “Nintendo Power” magazine, listen to music via his headphones, and drink lemonade . . . all at the same time. But one thing he had trouble doing while we dined at Pei Wei?

Talk to his dear, old mom!

July 10

The Mister gets cozy with a fave Pokémon. (Nikon D700; Nikon 50mm lens)

I’m exposing one of the Mister’s secrets: He likes to nap with a large, stuffed Pikachu. Talk about getting up close and personal!

July 11

My #2 son plays a Facebook game. (Nikon D700; Nikon 50mm lens)

My office is across from our dining room, which really is more like a computer room. Tonight I heard the sound of guns emanating close by, so I walked over to investigate: My #2 son was merely playing a Facebook game. I really enjoyed listening to him explain how he set up his defense and other intricacies . . . not that I really understood anything about the game at all!

July 12

My #2 son shows the Mister a Ted Williams card. (Nikon D700; Nikon 50mm lens)

The Mister loves collecting old baseball cards, and our sons always like looking through his collection. Our #2 son especially enjoys asking his dad questions about the cards and their value . . . if any. It’s a great chance for them to learn as well as bond with their dad.

July 13

Surprisingly, the iPhone does stop my #2 son's disc golf action with only some blurring. (iPhone 4)

When I watched tonight’s handicap disc golf mini tournament at our local park (no rain this time!), I decided to be a minimalist photographer and just use my iPhone 4. Could a phone’s camera really document an event? It’s no digital SLR, but it handled action shots pretty well. I especially like the funky disc blur from the 1/60th of a second shutter speed (f/2.4).

July 14

My #1 son smiles as his brother looks through sports cards. (Nikon D700; Nikon 50mm lens)

With his interest still piqued after looking at the Mister’s baseball cards, my #2 son pulled in his older brother and started checking the hundreds of loose sports cards that they own. #2 would tell #1 what the card was, and big bro would check for current information on my MacBook. It was fun watching their interaction, as they hoped to find valuable cards. Not that they did!

July 15

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! (Nikon D700; Nikon 50mm lens)

It’s tough work being a teenager during the summer. Look at how my #2 son is suffering . . . at almost noon!

July 16

My #1 son holds up his iPhone 4. (iPhone 4)

Steve Jobs, Apple’s co-founder and CEO, addressed Antennagate in a news conference today. Some iPhone 4s have a problem with a diminished AT&T signal if the phone is held in the wrong spot. My #1 son and I haven’t had any problems with our iPhones, possibly because we use the Apple bumpers that (inadvertently) solve the issue. I think it’s all much ado about nothing—there’s still a big waiting list to get an iPhone, and very few people are returning the ones they’ve bought. #1 and I are satisfied customers.

Good news for us: We’ll get a refund for our bumpers!

July 17

Faucet protectors at the ready. (Nikon D700; Nikon 50mm lens)

All of the Houston area can thank us: The Mister and I bought faucet protectors at Lowes. Back in January when we had freezing temperatures, these hunks of styrofoam were long gone by the time I tried to buy them at that same Lowes. Not only are we thinking ahead, but we figure that now that we’re better prepared for the cold, the temps will never dip that low again. We hope!

July 18

Rain, rain, go away! (Nikon D700; Nikon 50mm lens)

Who’ll stop the rain? The Houston area has been in an afternoon rain pattern for about a week, which means we’ve been experiencing downpours every day. They don’t last very long . . . just long enough to raise the humidity 1000 percent and add even more mosquitos to menace us. Dry days aren’t in the forecast until the weekend.

July 19

$2.29 for gas? That's cheap! (iPhone 4)

Gas prices have hovered around $2.50 for awhile. Today I was shopping at a local Kroger that had its own gas station. Using my Kroger card knocked a dime per gallon off the regular price, saving me about 20 cents a gallon over our local station. I just wish this Kroger was closer to home.

July 20

Rain drips from the garage gutters. (Nikon D700; Nikon 105mm lens)

Another day, another deluge. This is getting old!

July 21

Karan and my #2 son act as Chase videos. (Nikon D700; Nikon 50mm lens)

That gang of my #1 son’s is about to break up and go their separate ways to college. A couple of them—Karan (Texas A&M) and my “third son,” Chase (Rice)—came over to video. All three of them were in kindergarten together, and it amazes me how grown up they are. I especially like how Karan is rockin’ a beard!

July 22

A deer stares at me. (Nikon D700; Nikon 70-200mm lens)

We live in an urban area close to Houston, but every now and then the wildlife decide they want to join us. My #2 son, his friend Reid, and I were driving to a disc golf course when I suddenly noticed deer in a nearby green space. I just had to stop and snap a few pics, thankful that I already had my long lens on my digital SLR.

July 23

Inappropriate bedding for my college-bound son. (iPhone 4)

We’ve been shopping for college goods for my #1 son. Target was having a sale on bedding, which he needed, so I checked it out. So much of it was girl-specific! Reminds of when my guys were little, and I would shop for their clothes. There would be racks and racks and racks of little girl clothes . . . and only one or two for young boys. Looks like things remain the same when it comes to comforters and sheets for college!

July 24

A photographer risks his life to get a photo. (Nikon D700; Nikon 50mm lens)

We love watching the Tour de France. The cyclists, who are amazing athletes, take a lot of risks when they hurtle down mountains at high speeds. But they’re not the only ones with dangerous jobs during the Tour—some of the still photographers for the news media ride motorcycles in order to get those up-close-and-personal shots of the cyclists. Check out the guy on the right—he’s hoping his shutter speed is high enough so he doesn’t blur his photo of eventual Tour winner Alberto Contador. Personally, I’d be too scared to so much as snap the shutter!

Being a motorcycle-riding photographer at the Tour de France? Definitely not on my bucket list!

July 25

New pair of Nike Pegasus ready to rock ’n roll! (Nikon D700; Nikon 50mm lens)

When I checked the heels of my Nike Pegasus running/walking shoes, I could see that the rubber was starting to wear down. That’s a sure sign that it’s time to retire this faithful pair, especially since it’s the start of marathon-training season. Fortunately, I already had a new pair ready to go!

July 26

Playing in the rain without getting wet. (Nikon D700; Nikon 105mm lens)

During our usual afternoon deluge, my #2 son decided to putt discs into his nearby disc golf basket from our covered patio. I captured the disc hitting the chains . .  a score for both of us!

July 27

I'm signed up for the Chevron Houston Marathon! (Nikon D300; Nikon 50mm lens)

Entries into our local marathon and half-marathon have been growing the last few years, so much so that the Chevron Houston Marathon has capped entries at 22,000 (11K for each race). Too much demand and too little supply meant that both races sold out very quickly last year. To make entering a fairer proposition, the CHM powers-that-be decided to switch to a lottery for the January 30, 2011, races. Naturally, most of the local runners were appalled that they could be shut out of their favorite event by out-of-towners.

Fortunately, the CHM worked with the Houston Area Road Runners Association (HARRA), giving the umbrella organization (of which I’m an original member) 500 spots. Veterans who have finished at least 10 Houston Marathons already had guaranteed entry; now the CHM decided that so-called “mini-vets” who have earned five to nine official finishes also could bypass the marathon lottery.

I’ve completed eight Houston Marathons since 1987, but several of them were considered to be unofficial, because I didn’t meet the time limit (all were too slow by about 10 minutes). I had no idea how many official finishes I had until CHM posted a list of the mini-vets online. There I was with five! Enough to be guaranteed entry into the marathon. However, I’ve been running the half-marathon the last few years and haven’t finished an official 26.2-miler since 2001. What a quandary: Take my chances with the lottery and enter the half-marathon or opt for the guarantee and train longer and harder.

What the heck . . . I’m going for it! I signed up for the marathon. Even though today’s e-mail claimed that I’ve registered for the lottery, when I checked online the next day, it showed I had a guaranteed entry. Wonder what the weather’s going to be like on race day?

July 28

My #2 son's running shoes ready to go. (Nikon D300; Nikon 50mm lens)

High school cross-country practice starts Tuesday. Does that signify that summer almost is over? Of course, my #2 son has totally trashed last year’s running shoes, so we stopped at Fleet Feet Sports to buy a new pair. He got the updated version of his muddy Asics pair . . . and found out that his feet have grown another size. With those 10s, he’s easily got the biggest boats in the house!

July 29

Chase, my #1 son, and my #2 son play Runescape simultaneously. (Nikon D700; Nikon 50mm lens)

I know I’m cheating, because these really are three separate photos. However, they were snapped within minutes of each other. My three sons—#1, #2, and my “third son,” Chase—occupied three of our five Macs playing Runescape, a time-wasting game (according to mom). It was funny hearing them ask each other, “Where are you? What world are you in?”

Yes, what world indeed!

July 30

I multitask (read and eat) at Chipotle. (iPhone 4)

My favorite restaurant is Chipotle. I eat there twice a week (always a veggie bowl). When I’m not meeting friends for lunch (because just about everyone but my sons love Chipotle, too), I always read a book. In fact, I do the bulk of my reading at Chipotle, because I like to multitask. Right now I’m plowing through “Farewell, My Subaru” by Doug Fine. All UTSA freshmen are required to finish this ecological memoir. My super-reading #1 son, of course, polished it off in a couple days. I need to complete it before he leaves for college in three (gulp!) weeks. If that means I need to eat at Chipotle more often, I’m willing to make that sacrifice!

July 31

Lance Berkman joins the New York Yankees. (Nikon D700; Nikon 50mm lens)

This looks so wrong! Lance Berkman, formerly a Houston Astros lifer, was willingly traded to the hated New York Yankees and started his first game as designated hitter. The wimpy American League and its wimpy DH—they’ll get no respect from the likes of me! Lance has been my favorite Astro since he joined the team. Heck, I was an avid fan of his when he played baseball at Rice University! His star did tarnish a bit when he lashed out at the Wrigley Field faithful once (I am, first and foremost, a diehard Cubs fan), but I’ve since forgiven him . . . until now. Still, I will root for him but not for his team!

Big Puma, thanks for some great years with the Astros. Good luck in New York!

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