Tag Archives: bowling

Double-Glen Bowling

Glive smiles at his mom.

Glive smiles at his mom.

While it was wonderful that my older son’s friends joined him for bowling last Saturday, another special guest really made the Mister and I smile: Little Glen.

The Glens bowl . . . and ended up with a spare!

The Glens bowl . . . and end up with a spare!

My younger son’s best high school buds all were busy, so he invited his adult bestie, Glen, to join us. I was thrilled, because his wife Kelly and Glen V (aka Glive) tagged along. We always enjoy our times together (we just can’t help but love that tiny cutie!).

This was no exception.

High five!

High five!

Little Glen, who turns two next week, preferred checking out the lane action with his dad rather than chatting with us. So big Glen helped him roll the ball down the lane a time or two.

That's my boy!

That’s my boy!

It was so exciting when that slow-roller finally knocked down a pin, resulting in a spare!

Bowling for two

Bowling for two

Other times, IV balanced V as he played. It didn’t seem to affect his game at all. In fact, it added to a precious memory that made my son’s 21st birthday even more special.

It figures that little Glen would continue to bowl us over!

Wii U, Bowling, Thomas, and Pokémon

Chase and my older son laugh while playing the Wii U.

Chase and my older son laugh while playing the Wii U.

So what does a kid do when he’s on the cusp of turning 21?

If you’re my kid, you party with your besties. And by “party,” I mean go bowling.

Just like when you were seven years old.

Celebrating with us last Saturday were Josh and my “third son,” Chase, who both drove home from Houston (where they attend the University of Houston and Rice, respectively), and Tanner, who is on a sabbatical from Texas State. Because the guys were going to warm up with some Wii U videogames, my older son informed me that it’s best to only have five people (which included his little but bigger bro) to man the four Wii-motes and one Game Pad.

Who doesn’t know that? (Yes, I am raising my hand!)

The brothers show their different bowling styles.

The brothers show their different bowling styles.

After that we moved on to our local bowling alley for two hours of fun (the Mister and I watched, of course). The guys laughed, groaned, cheered, and kidded each other. Josh decided to experiment and try to throw a perfect curve down the alley for one game. He sadly found out what happens when bowling balls don’t turn.

Such unusual names!

Such unusual names!

As befitting the day before his big birthday, my older son bowled his two best games ever: A 142 and a 165. He throws the ball so hard that I always fear the pins will break in two. Thankfully, the pins stayed intact, and my sweet boy was rewarded, much to the chagrin of little bro (aka Beowulf), who usually is the better bowler. Unfortunately, he struggled but still tried to be a good sport . . . when he wasn’t complaining about it.

Tanner gives my boy a high five after a strike.

Tanner gives my boy a high five after a strike.

Having worked up an appetite, the boys were ready for dinner, which was at one of my son’s favorite local restaurants, Willie’s. Then we went back to our house for more gaming and Ultimate Uno.

Ah, sweet nostalgia!

Ah, sweet nostalgia!

Finally, it was time for dessert, which was a cookie cake. I pulled out some ancient paper plates from the cabinet, featuring two of the birthday boy’s childhood favorites: Pokémon and Thomas the tank engine.

“How long have you had these?” he asked.

Probably 13 or 14 years. I knew they’d come in handy one day!

Blowing out his 21.

Blowing out his 21

Once the guys polished off the cake (precisely cut by Chase), the Mister and I bade the boys good night. Although it was getting late for us (11 p.m.), we knew the gang had more videogames to play, plus a midnight stop at iHop to ring in my older son’s special day.

Tanner, Josh, Chase, and my two boys pose after bowling.

Tanner, Josh, Chase, and my two boys pose after bowling.

The next afternoon I asked my now 21-year-old if he had enjoyed his celebration, and he said he definitely did. Is there anything better than having a good time with friends and family who know you best? He’s been pals with Chase since kindergarten, Tanner since third grade, and Josh since fourth, and they still have fun getting together and acting like they still are in elementary school.

Good thing he’s not heavy!

Good thing he’s not heavy!

There’s nothing like being 21 going on 7, as long as you’re surrounded by friends and your little bubba!

Saying Hi to Good, Old Sam Houston

SHSU shows pride in its longevity.

After seeing that the University of Houston has a bowling alley on campus, I thought that C.J. had locked in his college decision. How easy-breezy his last year in high school would be, as he contemplates staying close to home (albeit living in a dorm) and attending the Mister’s alma mater.

But then C.J.’s long-time pal (since kindergarten), RJ, made a fateful decision: He wants to attend Sam Houston State University to study criminal justice (it’s one of the top programs in the nation).

Sam Houston watches over his campus.

Stop the presses on that college application (as if my son has even started it)! It was time to see if another hat (preferably Stetson) needed to be thrown into the matriculation ring.

Which meant that yesterday we were on the road to Huntsville, home of the university named after the former governor of and senator from Texas (and two-time president of the Republic of Texas, as well as the governor of Tennessee). It’s about an hour and 40-minute drive from our house, which is far enough away for my son and close enough for me.

Students always know what time it is.

We had never stepped foot on campus before and weren’t sure what to expect. We discovered during our hour-plus tour of the buildings and several dorms that SHSU is a gem of a college! We both were impressed by the beautiful, well-maintained grounds (it’s very green), mix of old and new buildings, and possible majors.

Sidebar: C.J. is having trouble deciding what to major in. Am I one of the few people who knew at a young age what I wanted to be (a writer)? Which, of course, led me to get a journalism degree at the venerable University of Illinois.

An advising center JUST for my son!

As we drove home, my son and I discussed the pros and cons of U of H and Sam Houston State. Right now he’s rating them as even contenders for our dwindling college bucks, so he’ll apply to both of them and see what happens.

This was the one, pitiful photo I snapped of my C.J. Sigh!

One thing seems certain: My beloved baby boy will be some kind of cat next fall. But will it be a (UH) cougar or a (SHSU) bearkat?

Time will tell!

The College Journey Redux

So welcoming!

Didn’t we just do this dance a few years ago? Same time of year but different places?

We sure did: The University of Texas, the University of Texas at San Antonio, and Stephen F. Austin State University. Those were the colleges we looked at when our older son, who eventually chose UTSA, was a high school junior. Now it’s his younger brother’s turn to send my maternal emotions on a roller coaster ride.

Must I climb aboard?

The Mister studies a far-different campus map than when he walked the sidewalks.

Last Saturday we took those first tentative steps towards a collegiate destination for my #2 son by attending the University of Houston’s Preview Day. UH is less than an hour away, depending, of course, on traffic. My younger boy always has wanted to be a Cougar for one reason: It’s the Mister’s alma mater. But he hasn’t spent much time on the campus. The day finally had arrived to see if reality jibed with his long-lived fantasy.

Michael and my son check out the grounds.

It was nice for us to see other students from my son’s high school also attending the Preview Day, which attracted a big crowd. We toured the campus with his friend Michael (who he’s known since elementary school) and his dad, who coached both boys in flag football one season. Seems like it was only yesterday.

After spending time listening to the recruiting pitch (which included the spirited pep band playing an overkill three times), we attended an academic session. My boy chose the College of Technology; the digital media technology degree is right up my alley! We ate lunch at the impressive dorm cafeteria with my older son’s good friend Josh and his girlfriend Leslie, who had plenty of words of wisdom for us. I really came away very impressed with UH and definitely could see my baby boy matriculating there.

In fact, all three of us enjoyed our visit on campus.

Sheer beauty!

For me, it helped that there were azaleas posing for my Nikon 50mm lens.

Dad and son are glad the fierce cougar is just a statue.

The Mister, who is proud of his hometown school, would love for his son to walk in his footsteps.

As for the kid?

It’s bowling time!

He found the game place in the University Center and immediately wanted to bowl. After a couple cheap games, he had made up his mind.

“I don’t need to visit any more colleges,” he declared as we drove back home.

But we will see a couple more, so he can compare them to UH. After all, Texas State boasts a club disc golf team!

So Long, Summer

My older son watches his younger brother bowl.

For the last gasp of sweet summer, my sons decided bowling was in order.

My #1 son shows off his form.

That worked fine for me, because I had a coupon, plus it’s great being where it’s cool when it’s a gazillion and one degrees out. Especially when someone else is paying for the electricity!

Look out, Houston Rockets!

After bowling for an exhausting (for me watching!) two hours, the guys moved on to the tiny arcade to try their hand at a basketball game.

Little bro takes his turn.

All too soon we were out of quarters, and it was time to head back home. There my older son needed to finish getting ready to return to college. In a week or so, bowling and basketball will be but a dim, fond memory, having been replaced by homework and tests.

Ah, summer . . . how we will miss you!

One-Word Wednesday

My #2 son sends the ball down the alley on Easter. It was unlimited bowling for $10!


What could be more fun than bowling while watched by your adoring parents?

This was one of the 12(!) games my younger son bowled.

Somehow #2’s right arm stayed attached, and he had his fill of bowling . . . for now.

Life Lessons Learned While Bowling

Who knew bowling could be so dangerous?

Every summer just before school starts, I take my sons and a friend or two bowling. Yes, it can be expensive and potentially dangerous apparently, but the air conditioning is great, and the kids always have a wonderful time.

The ball heads down the alley courtesy of my #1 son.

Plus I have the photo challenge of snapping decent photos when most of what I see are backsides!

My #2 son brings the bowling ball back as he approaches the pins.

Oh, how I wish I could put a remote camera above the pins so I could get pix of the guys’ faces! Of course, then I’d have to worry about it getting smashed by my #1 son, who throws the bowling ball so hard you’d think he envisions the pins as his enemies (nagging moms excluded, hopefully).

Cody sends the bowling ball flying.

This time my #2 son’s good friend (since first grade) Cody joined us. He’s easy-going with a good sense of humor, which all the guys need when they’re bowling without the security blanket of bumpers.

Could it be a strike for my #2 son?

Without those rubber rails there are far more gutter balls than strikes and spares. Good training for lives that hand us disappointment along with great times. Yes, there are life lessons to be learned along the well-oiled alley!

Cody and #1 celebrate strikes.

Such as be sure to enjoy your successes, big and small. Gutter balls often are followed by spares and even strikes if you work hard enough and enjoy what you’re doing.

#2 celebrates with Cody.

And never forget that it always lightens your load when you share good times and bad with your friends. The fun is taking the journey together . . . even if you barely break 100 while bowling.

Photo Friday: Shoot the Periphery

The #1 son bowls.

The #1 son bowls.

What if you don’t have a digital SLR to help you take fantastic photos?

#2 bowls, too.

#2 bowls, too.

Or say you do have a dSLR, but you don’t have a low-light lens like the Nikon 50mm f/1.4 (which I used for these photos) or f/1.8? Should you forget about taking difficult indoor action pix?

Of course not!

#1 reacts to missing a spare.

#1 reacts to missing a spare.

First, if you do own a dSLR but only have the 18-55mm kit lens, be sure to increase your ISO, so you have a faster shutter speed to stop the action. And try to have steady hands, too.

Gutter ball sadness for #2

Gutter ball sadness for #2

If you’re frustrated because you’re not able to stop the action or you’re using a point and shoot camera that can’t stop the action, relax! Just try to shoot the periphery, e.g., everything that surrounds the activity.

I took my sons and #2’s friend Daniel bowling yesterday, and, as usual, it bothered me that it’s a sport that features more butts than faces. I don’t know about you, but usually (well, unless it’s George Clooney, my second husband), I prefer to photograph faces when I shoot sports.

#2 should've had a V8!

#2 should've had a V8!

But then I realized that there’s always more to sports than just the action, and that’s what I needed to concentrate on documenting. It does mean that you need to anticipate when your “athletes” are going to show that emotion and be ready and steady on the shutter.

Daniel gets a high five from #2.

Daniel gets a high five from #2.

The lighting tends to be funky in the bowling alley, but I think that just adds to the photos’ uniqueness. Or it could be that my Photoshop skills just aren’t good enough . . . that’s too often the case, unfortunately.

No movement here

No movement here

Don’t forget to take photos of everything involved in the sport, especially anything that doesn’t move (easy to shoot!). For bowling, of course there are the bowling balls. You might want to turn off your flash for these kinds of close-ups.

No movement here either

No movement here either

Fingers in a bowling ball can convey the action almost as much as rolling the ball down the alley.



Bowling shoes? Gotta wear ’em and gotta take a photo of ’em.

#2 is happy after picking up a spare.

#2 is happy after picking up a spare.

Even if you have to have them pose, be sure to get some good expressions from the athletes to help tell the story.

Those eyes!

Those eyes!

I couldn’t resist getting a photo of my contact-lensed high school senior heartthrob!

Love the electronic scoreboards!

Love the electronic scoreboards!

Back in the day, we had to keep score at bowling alleys by hand. Now the electronic scoreboards are great, and they’re easy to photograph.

The Terminator (#1), Daniel, and #2 pose.

The Terminator (#1), Daniel, and #2 pose.

If all fails indoors, don’t forget to snap a photo or two of your subjects outside. It’s all part of shooting the periphery when you’re an action photographer!