Monthly Archives: June 2013

iPhone Photo Friday

This unusual sign appeared new the entrance to our community.

This unusual sign appeared near the entrance to our master-planned community.

Thanks for the warning, but we didn’t see any.

Sidebar: I know I should be outraged that bored kids decided to tamper with the “REDUCED SPEED AHEAD” sign, but I have to admit that it makes me laugh every time I go past it.

We Are the Champions, My Friend!

The motley crew pulls through!

The motley crew pulls through!

Need proof that even a blind squirrel can find an acorn?

Team Beowulf actually won our local Buffalo Wild Wings’ weekly trivia contest recently! Woot woot!!

The best we had done up to that point were a couple of second-place finishes, which we were very proud of. We figured we’d never top that given that there are several very-serious and talented trivia teams competing each Friday night.

This time we had a gang of 11, which included the four of us, my older son’s high school/college buddies Josh and Jon, the other members of the Core 4 (Jared, Ricky, and RJ), and Ricky’s parents, Julie and Carlos.

What really helped us along the way was that the second-round double-point question (worth 18 points for us) was about Hugh Hefner and the “Girls Next Door.” Anything about that TV show and the Kardashians is smack dab in the Mister’s wheelhouse. It makes me roll my eyes . . . except when it helps him answer trivia questions correctly.

We were miraculously in first place going into the final-round question, which amazingly was the easiest one we’ve encountered so far (often they can be impossible to figure out). We had to put the following in order from largest to smallest number:

Good, old Charlie Brown reads to Sally

Good, old Charlie Brown reads to Sally

a) The number of sisters that comic strip-character Charlie Brown had.

b) The uniform number of retired Houston Astros star Jeff Bagwell.

c) The number of living children of Queen Elizabeth II.

d) The number of seasons that “Three’s Company” was on TV.

This was one for the true adults. Julie, Carlos, the Mister, and I were certain of the first three numbers: One (Sally), five, and four. We didn’t know exactly how long “Three’s Company” was on, but we figured it had to be more than five seasons (it actually was seven). So we opted to put that first on the list with the others following in chronological order. Teams can bet from zero to 20 points; if you’re wrong, you lose what you bet.

Our fearless leader, my younger son, decided we would wager 18 points. If we blew it, we would probably at least finish fifth and gain one point in the league competition. But we were right! We placed first by six points. Whew!

Our reward? A $50 BWW gift card and eight precious league points.

As well as the knowledge that miracles can happen!

One-Word Wednesday

It’s official! My younger son is a high school graduate.

It’s official! My younger son is a high school graduate.

Diploma!

Working Men

My sons walk towards the Highlander with lunches in tow.

My sons walk towards the Highlander with lunches in tow.

Heigh-ho, heigh-ho . . .

Sleepy and Grumpy will be on their way to their summer jobs at our box-distribution company in Houston.

Sleepy and Grumpy will be on their way to their summer jobs at our box-distribution company in Houston.

It’s off to work . . .

And they’re off . . . leaving me the house to myself. Ahhh!

And they’re off . . . leaving me the house to myself. Ahhh!

They go!!

An Unsolvable Secret

My baby bro, older sister, me, and my second-oldest sister loooong ago

My little bro, older sister, me, and my second-oldest sister posed together loooong ago.

My beloved baby brother, the hot-shot Chicago lawyer, turned 57 years old last Saturday. As I was thinking about him that day while walking through my house, I looked up at the mantle where the above photo sits.

It seems like a simple portrait of the four of us “mobsters” (as my Dad used to “lovingly” call us) back in 1957. But appearances can deceive. It’s actually a mystery.

After my father died in 1991, my mom would periodically check in on his dad, who lived with his girlfriend, Ida, after being widowed twice, in Chicago. One day Ida, who had started suffering from dementia, pulled out a large photo from a drawer. She showed it to my mom and said, “I have no idea who these kids are.”

Usually my dad was our photographer. He loved to line us up, especially at the Brookfield Zoo. (1963)

Usually my dad was our photographer. He loved to line us up. (1963, Brookfield Zoo)

Well, of course, my mom did! She stared at the picture, which featured the younger version of those now-adult mobsters. Believe it or not, she had never seen the photo before, plus she didn’t remember my dad ever schlepping the four of us to a portrait studio in 1957.

The four of us looked so groovy in 1970.

The four of us looked so groovy in 1970.

So this became one of my mom’s favorite pics. We’ll never know why my dad decided to get a professional portrait done of us, why he never told my mom about it, and why my grandfather had it all those years. This is an unsolvable riddle, because the answer died with my dad.

But it sure makes for a great story!

Wet Dunks

My younger son is ready to air dunk!

My younger son is ready to air dunk!

The Summer Games have begun in our backyard pool. Usually that means that danger is the number one ingredient, because these made-up sports always involve males. I’ve told my two sons and their friends to be careful, avoid the pool edges, and please don’t get blood in the pool. So far, so good.

This summer my younger son and his pal Jared have been hanging out in the pool. Recently they made up a new game to quell the boredom: Pool dunking.

We have a poor man’s pool basketball goal that floats. So the kid and Jared decided it would be fun to take a running start with a small basketball and try to dunk it in the ever-moving, inflatable hoop before landing in the water.

This gives new meaning to the term “jump shot!”

Gotta love the wink!

Gotta love the wink!

Jared opted to go for style points on this dunk.

Hovering in the air

Hovering in the air

Looks like a certain two-pointer.

Note where the ball is

Note where the ball is

Score . . . and splashdown!

Looks like a perfect take-off.

Looks like a perfect takeoff.

The kid decided to go for power.

Closing in

Closing in

Did he mistime his leap?

Stretching it out

Stretching it out

Not at all! It was a splashy two points.

I guess when you’re too short to dunk on a regulation 10-foot dry basketball hoop, the little version in the pool is a great way to boost your ego. Plus it wasn’t dangerous . . . for a change. My blood pressure appreciated that!

Let Me Tell You ’Bout . . .

Neal (left) and Adam watch in awe as Eric scores in two.

My younger son’s putt is good for a birdie.

. . . the birdies . . .

(Eric [top] and my younger son [bottom] clang the chains with their second shots during last Tuesday’s Southwest Handicap Mini at the First Colony Aquatic Center; all 18 holes were par 3s.)

Definitely a hazard near one of the baskets

Definitely a hazard near one of the baskets

. . . and the bees!

One-Word Wednesday

A dragonfly blends in with the scenery at Imperial Park.

A dragonfly blends in with the scenery at Imperial Park.

Green!

Trash makes a nice resting place apparently.

Trash makes a nice resting place apparently.

 

Looking Ahead in the Present

RJ and the kid are ready!

RJ and the kid take a break before the first-day sessions started.

Talk about your whirlwinds!

It seems like the last couple weeks have been so jam-packed that they’re pretty much a blur. I went from picking up my mom from the airport on June 6 to my younger son’s emotional high school graduation on June 8 to the all-night ProGrad afterwards to dropping Mom off at the airport the following Monday.

But there was no rest for the weary, because Sam Houston State’s orientation beckoned for the kid and his roommate, RJ (who he’s known since kindergarten), last Thursday and Friday. This, of course, is my second rodeo, but I was curious to see how SHSU’s version differed from UTSA’s.

The campus looked green and lush.

The campus looked green and lush.

The boys and I headed up to Huntsville to learn what to expect when they move into their dorm and start classes in late August. It was very educational (pun intended)! For most of the sessions, parents and students were separate. I was impressed with the information we heard and the heartfelt emotion displayed by orientation leaders, administrators, teachers, and staff. It sounds like the boys will be in good hands.

Big Sam Houston watches over the boys.

Big Sam Houston watches over the boys.

Orientation is about possibilities. It’s about looking ahead to hopefully a wonderful college experience from today until August 25, when they move into their dorm, Sam Houston Village. For the class of 2017, the road ahead seems long, winding, uncertain, and exciting.

I would say that for these two roommates, they’re ready to take that first step, thanks to orientation.

Our Kind of Father’s Day

Our younger and older sons surround their dad.

Our younger and older sons surround their dad.

When it comes to Father’s Day celebrations, ours are always low-key. Just like the Mister.

The boys made lovely cards.

The boys made lovely cards.

Our sons first gave their much-loved dad homemade cards.

Hope this gets a lot of use.

Hope this gets a lot of use.

Then the Mister got his big gift, as he was allowed to join the Nike FuelBand cool kids club (e.g., my younger son and I).

And now you don’t!

And now you don’t!

We always see a movie on Father’s Day. This time we opted for “Now You See Me” at our new Santikos Palladium. We liked both the flick and the venue!

That was followed with lunch at Pei Wei, and then everyone doing their own thing at home before we went to dinner at Wings ’n Things (the better to watch the San Antonio Spurs smack the Miami Heat). A fitting ending was our Netflix movie, “Think Like a Man,” which was pretty good.

This was the kind of day guaranteed to satisfy everyone . . . especially the Mister. What a wonderful Father’s Day for one of the luckiest dads in the world!