Monday, May 25, 2009

Poolin' Around

Here is a view of the pool at night. It gives off a nice glow and reflects off the overhanging trees. We have torches around the edge which makes it look really cool out there when we fire them up. I jumped in today and swam around for a while. Jasmine the golden retriever hopped in with me and made a lap. She enjoys sitting on the top step with the jets of water swirling around her. The water temp was 78 degrees but the air wasn't much warmer so it felt good. And I hung out by the solar heater water jet which was pumping warm water in from the roof. And that is due to my friend coming over yesterday and going up on the roof to replace a leaking solar panel gasket.

We had a fun weekend playing games with friends and cooking out and doing a lot of house stuff. Lucie has been working hard on the basement. I helped Elliott produce a DVD for school tomorrow with his friend. That came out OK.

We watched the movie "Australia" this weekend. Pretty good. Nice story but almost 3 hours long!

More employment roller coaster ups and downs. Really believing for a breakthrough this week. I made some calls this weekend and got a few emails that are encouraging.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Ashleigh Goes to the Prom

Thursday night Ashleigh went to Nathan's Senior Prom. Here is a collage of pictures Lucie took before they left.

Looks like a quiet weekend here. The pool is heating up and filtering out. No real plans.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Pool Is Open

Today I got motivated and opened the pool all by myself. There is a lot to it but I have detailed instructions that I made and I print every year. I have to undo the cover springs (the cover is like a trampoline cover affixed to the concrete with springs and posts), wrestle the cover off, dry and bag it, screw in the 36 posts flush with the concrete, take out the winter plugs, put in the steps rails, etc. etc. etc. Quite a process but it was fun. The water is a bright green but it should clear up in a day or two. It is a bit frosty at 62 degrees. But once the water clears up I will fire up the solar heater and getting that going.

A little while after I got started, Jasmine came up with a dead mouse in her mouth. Or so I thought. Turns out a bird had made a nest in the corner of the fenced in pool area. Obviously very low. By the time I got over to it, the dogs and decimated the nest and killed all the little birds but one. About 5 of them. I moved the nest out in the woods with the one little survivor but I think that one is a goner too. Kind of sad.

My game at hoops tonight was sad too. Poor shooting, two times in a row I threw away the inbounds pass, weak rebounding. Ugh. I hit a few jumpers and did have a couple of nice full court passes. But I was drained from working in the sun all day.

Ashleigh went to Nathan's senior prom tonight. They came home and changed and went to the after-prom party at the school. Lucie tried to stay up but didn't make it.

We went to her Cambridge honors banquet last night. That was fun. She and the other students were recognized for their achievements and hard work. Pretty fun.

At the security luncheon I went to yesterday I got a lead on an Investigator job. It didn't pan out due to the experience required and distance. Back to the drawing board...

No plans for tomorrow or the weekend except to sit around the pool I suppose...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Lacrosse Banquet

Tonight was Ashleigh's lacrosse banquet night. She got her varsity letter and pin. The pictures above were taken during the season and posted around the school cafeteria (where the banquet was) and she could take them afterwards. She got several certificates from the school and district for getting good grades. And the seniors gave gifts to the players. One mother, who is also the school art teacher, made mirrors for all the players and she got a water bottle and shorts. It was a nice night. Good food too.

Tomorrow night is her Cambridge program banquet. That is the advanced program she is in at school.

Elliott used his savings to buy an iTouch yesterday. He is loving that.

Buttercup the snake re-appeared today. The other morning we had deer in the woods behind the house. That got the beagle all riled up.

Tomorrow I am meeting a friend for coffee, then going to a security luncheon to earn continuing education points, and in the evening is the other banquet.

I am still wrestling with some timing issues regarding some decisions. No clear definition on which way to go or when to do things. I can see both sides of the decision but can't figure out which way is the "right" way to go. Keep Lucie and I in prayer.

Monday, May 18, 2009

It's All About The Timing

Timing is everything they say. We see it every day. On the way home today, Lucie, Elliott and I came across an accident that had the road shut down. Ashleigh was home but was supposed to leave to go to a friend's house. She got delayed so not only was she not in the accident, she was able to go a different route and avoid the whole mess. Later on when I was walking the dogs, they both decided they had to poop - halfway through the walk. They had been outside with me all day while I mowed and did yard work but they waited to go until it was the most inconvenient. Being the good neighbor that I am, I have a spool of bags with me so I cleaned up after them. And then I had to walk the second half of the trip with two bags of poop in my hand like prized pelts from a hunting expedition. Anyway, when you think about the timing of things, it can be pretty amazing how just a second here or there can have monumental effects. And that ties into a more serious matter I am dealing with - knowing when the right time is to make a decision. Nothing is easy...

Pretty chilly around here today. But nice and sunny. We had a good weekend - cooked out with friends, went out with the church group after church Sunday night, Lucie went to a Scottish games festival and A&E had friends over. Busy but good.

Buttercup the snake is missing in action. I am sure it hasn't gone far and probably was burrowed away somewhere because it was chilly out.

We are finally catching up on some season finales - we watched 24 tonight and saw Fringe and The Office earlier. We still have Heroes and Lost and Terminator to catch up on. Although we just found out Terminator was canceled so I that is not high on the priority list now.

Lacrosse banquet tomorrow night.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Things Are Getting Better

At least in terms of Ashleigh's lacrosse seasons. Her team finished the year with 2 wins and 13 losses BUT last year her team didn't win a game. And the margin of loss was better this year: last year her team was outscored by about 5 to 1 but this year only a little over 2 to 1. Last year Ashleigh took 8 shots but did not score. This year she took 29 shots and scored 5 goals. So there is improvement...

Elliott had his 8th grade graduation dance/party last night. The school rented out a big place and he got all dressed up and had a good time.

The snake, that Elliott has now named "Buttercup," has become a fixture in our front bushes. It suns itself during the day on the bushes out front and moves from bush to bush.

We spent another long day in the basement yesterday. Made two trips to Goodwill with stuff, threw out a bunch of stuff, and re-organized the basement. Lucie did the bulk of it. But then again, most of the stuff is hers...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What Is Spring Without A Snake?

Yesterday when I was mowing the yard I saw this snake all coiled up in an evergreen bush in the front yard. I threw on a pair of gloves and tried to catch it but it took off. Today when I left, it was out there again. I picked up Elliott and while we were at Staples, we saw a big plastic container of cheese balls on clearance sale. So I told him if that snake was still there when we got home, we would dump the cheese balls into Ziploc bags, catch the snake and put it in the container. Whether we caught the snake or not, I figured I couldn't go wrong with a big container of cheese balls. So we got home and sure enough, there it was. So we ran in, dumped the cheese balls into bags, wiped out the excess cheese powder, and headed out on our expedition. I put on some thick leather gloves and Elliott manned the container.

I missed snatching it on my first grab and it scurried around under the bushes. I went in after it and finally found it again curled up in another bush. When I grabbed it, it tried to bite me over and over but it didn't get through the gloves. I put it in the container, put the lid on, and then poked some holes in the lid so it could breathe. We took these pictures and I sent them to a professor at UD who has helped me identify snakes I have caught before and he said it was an Eastern Garter snake. I kept it in the garage until Ashleigh could see it and then let it go. About 2 feet long. I have other pictures of it on Facebook.

Elliott had more X-rays today and another appointment with the surgeon. There is calcium starting to fill in the break in his finger and the doctor was happy. He doesn't have to go back for a month now.

It was senior night at Ashleigh's lacrosse game last night. She scored again! That is four straight games she has scored. She is very tenacious on defense and when she gets the ball on offense, she charges in and scores! The people in the stands were yelling and on the next play, they were saying, "Pass it to Ashleigh!" The best part was the announcer, which is normally not at the games, saying over the loudspeakers, "Newark goal. Ashleigh Hale. Unassisted. Time of the goal was..." And her name is in the paper. She has two more away games and then is done for the season.

All of a sudden some employment opportunities are coming in that may require some decision making on my part. Feast or famine!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Caught On Tape!

Well it was a good day for Ashleigh and her lacrosse team! With just a few games left in the season, I packed up the video camera and set out to record Ashleigh's game. But not only did I get video of her scoring, I captured something else: their team actually winning! It was called a home game but it was played on a local elementary school field. As you can see above, Ashleigh had a nice unassisted goal. And her team won 23-13! Nice!

Beautiful day here so I am going to go enjoy it. Yay Ashleigh!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Could Be Worse

Apparently there is a town in Australia that is being over-run by spiders (as pictured to the right) that are at LEAST this size! I think I would move into a giant Ziploc bag for a while... and worry about oxygen later.

Finally Oprah Winfrey really did something worthwhile and offered free Kentucky Grilled Chicken coupons online. A friend forwarded the link to me so we printed out our coupons and off we went. Worked out well and we got 3 meals for free! Poor Ashleigh missed out because she was at a school function but they fed her there. Anyway, the promotion is over but we ate well.

Ashleigh's game was rained out today but of course, 10 minutes after they called it, the sun came out! This afternoon a strong storm went through and about 1o minutes later, a wicked bolt of lightning hit a tree out in the woods. KABLAM! Scared me to death. Just like you hear about - the skies were clearing, storm had passed, and then WHAMO. Scared the dogs pretty good too.

I had a very interesting phone call today with someone who has an opportunity for me. Local and right up my alley. Very entrepreneurial but ground level and exciting. I will post more later as this develops. He and I are meeting next Wednesday to go over specifics but this has potential.

Tomorrow Lucie and I are going to move some stuff around in the basement and place the big entertainment center we picked up from our friends' yard sale. It came out really nice and will look good down there.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

On The Road Alone

Yesterday was the first day that Ashleigh could legally drive alone. So after much (Lucie) trepidation, she hopped in the car (Lucie's!) and headed down the road. To Kohl's. About a mile away. Better than nothing! She is a good driver and has driven a lot around here so I was fine with it. She doesn't have the golden key to the cars yet and still needs more practice, but she is doing fine.

And to make it an even better day, her team played the school that beat them 19-3 earlier in the season. This time they did better and only lost by a score of 4-16! ha ha BUT, Ashleigh scored! With about 30 seconds left in the miserable, damp and cold game, Ashleigh whipped a shot in through the goalie's legs. That was a spark!

I was able to work the mower through the soaking wet grass yesterday and get that under control before it rained again. The yard looks great though. I also took away the tree stakes I had used to support the Ash tree we planted 2 summers ago. They say you shouldn't stake the tree more than a year because the swaying of the tree actually helps strengthen the roots. It is really looking nice.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Jasmine's Got It Right

Jasmine found the perfect way to spend the day today - curled up in a chair asleep. Another rainy, slow day here. And it looks like another one lined up for tomorrow.

One of our antique VCRs stopped receiving signals from the remote control the other day. Which is no biggie except the time got out of synch and the only way to access the menu to correct that is with the remote. I knew the remote was sending out signals because I could control other JVC VCRs in the house. So I took the VCR apart, wiggled some stuff around, and it started working! Put it back together and called it a day!

Lucie and Ashleigh went with some friends to Dover this evening (about an hour away). Their phones were eligible for a free upgrade so they got new ones. Pretty nice ones. While they were down there, Elliott and I watched the Celtics game. I pumped the sound through the stereo and it felt like we were there in the Garden. The Celtics got behind by 28 at one point but cut it to 4 and wound up losing by 5. But it was exciting. Then the Red Sox were in NYC playing the Yankees and as I write this, they are ahead 6-4, bottom of the 8th, Papelbon pitching. Should be a win...

If the field dries out, Ashleigh should have a lacrosse game tomorrow afternoon.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Elliott is 14!

Today Elliott turned 14! It was a rainy day and kind of slow but it was good. Yesterday he had some friends over for pizza and cake and to play some Xbox. Then we all went and saw Wolverine. It was pretty good. Today he wanted to go to Red Lobster for lunch. Not a "real" authentic seafood place but it was pretty good. Good thing we had a gift card! Oddly enough, there were pictures on the wall of Nubble Lighthouse in Maine and a sign that said "Kittery" - where I was born in Maine. So we ate well and then he went and picked out a lacrosse stick. Came home and hung around for the afternoon before going back to church at night. In the evening we watched some of the original X-Men movies (where Wolverine came from).

Looks like rain the rest of the week. Ashleigh has a couple of games scheduled but they may get rained out.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Stop the Bleeding!

Ashleigh's lacrosse team got beat again and again. The other day they were actually ahead 4-1 but lost 12-14. Yesterday it was 4-17. At one point, the announcer hadn't finished broadcasting one goal before the other team scored another! Pretty hard to watch....

Meanwhile, at her high school today, a male and female student in a "suspension room" started fighting. The boy punched the girl so she did what any normal high school student would do and stabbed him in the back with a kitchen knife. Off to the hospital they go with charges pending against each.

The Celtics lost in TRIPLE overtime last night. What a game! Game 7 is Saturday which they will win by a big margin I predict. In Boston. We had 20 people come out to my Thursday night basketball which was just too many people. I set up 4 teams of 5 people each but that does not make for a good rotation. A few people wound up getting hurt or leaving early so we got the numbers down to something more manageable and had a good night.

Tonight at youth group at church we have a birthday cake staged for Elliott and another one for another friend who is 3 years older. That will be nice. Tomorrow he is having some friends over for lunch, then off to see Wolverine at 3. Looks like a rainy weekend but that is OK. On Sunday he said he wanted to try Red Lobster and we have a gift card for there so that will be where we go for his birthday lunch.