Thursday, July 18, 2013

A final farewell

At long last, this is it.  I've looked over the posts for the past few years and decided that clearly, I've not put in the effort necessary to make this a worthwhile stopping point.  I've struggled with what to say, what might be interesting to others now, and I think the blog lacks focus as a result.

I've fought this.  I wanted to continue on, but I think that if I had been quicker on the uptake, I would have transitioned away a couple of years ago.  And so it is, that with some sadness, I announce that this will be the last posting I make here.  Farewell.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Spring welcomes

With all apologies to those of you anxiously waiting for the latest update, it has, once again, been longer than I thought since my last post. The last few weeks have seen the long awaited onset of spring, which I think began in full earnest this week. Prior to this week, it had continued to be intermittently cool and it is only this week that things have begun to leap into full bloom. It's one of my favorite times of year, when our little neighborhood in particular seems to shine, with azaleas, wisteria, daisies, and our apple tree sprouting blossoms almost overnight. To boot, it's nice enough today that I'm firing up the grill for its initial run for the year.

In other news, we spent last weekend painting Maggie's room devastatingly pink. She loves it, of course, but it is really pink. It almost glows. The house turns 39 this year, and is in need of some other upgrades, but to be honest, it looks better than it has since we bought the place. Hope springs eternal that one day we'll actually get it reasonably close to what we want it to be, but that still seems a long way off, if closer than before.

Michelle looked at our garden earlier and told me all we were growing was weeds. I'm inclined to agree. Looking in there now, there are definitely some green things, but nothing that looks like it might be tomatoes, peppers, or carrots. We do have lots of clover, and it is also clear that our efforts have attracted some animals, as something has been digging in there.

I've taken up my efforts to learn a little Spanish again, this time spending the dough to buy Rosetta Stone. We'll have to wait and see how it goes, but I like the RS approach, which is to never say a single word in your language, which means that you learn the language more intuitively, and eliminate the mental translation process.

We also took the kids to get their passports renewed this week, which was an experience in and of itself. Obviously, I'll post lots of stuff when the time comes, but until then you'll have to content yourself with gardening updates.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Walk in the Woods

While I am well aware that other places have far more severe winters, this has been a long "winter" by Alabama standards. We had a brief respite about a week ago, but then we promptly slipped back into cool and wet. Last weekend, we did a little work in the garden, planting tomatoes and peppers, but the past few days have seen heavy rains, so I'm somewhat concerned that our seeds may have washed away in the recent deluges.

This upcoming week is the kids' spring break, but we don't really have anything planned. The weather continues to look as though it will be less than great, so I'm not sure if we'll do anything out of the ordinary. I may end up taking off this upcoming Friday so we can make strip somewhere, but that remains to be seen.

I guess with it being spring break this upcoming week, it should be expected that we failed to get to a roaring start this morning. I think the last of the crew was up around 8 or so, which is late for us. After breakfast, we decided to make a trip to Red Mountain Park for a hike. We ended up walking about 2.5 miles, and while the trail was a bit muddy, it was still pretty neat. The trail runs along some old mine complexes which date back about 100 years or so. I've got a bit of a fascination with rundown places, so it was kind of cool to see some of the old mine structures. There's also a "treehouse" where you can look out towards downtown. On a day like today, it was a nice little trip... not too far, but something a bit out of the ordinary.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Spring and Garage Door Openers

Normally, due to living in the South, we have a much shorter winter than much of the rest of the US, and indeed much of the world. This year has, to my mind, been unusually cool for our state, and it wasn't until this weekend that I finally felt the warmth of spring. So much of yesterday was spent working in the yard, raking up months old pine straw, cleaning out our garden, and a few other odds and ends. If that isn't exciting news, then I don't know what is.

At any rate, this was the first weekend in about a month when we didn't have somewhere to go early in the morning on Saturday, and even though my internal alarm clock seems to be set for sometime early in the morning now, missing the need to rush and get multiple people dressed, fed, bathed, etc., on a Saturday morning was nice. So after working in the yard, I played basketball with Dalton, badminton with Maggie, and drank a margarita with Mich. All in all, not a bad day.

The week itself had one incident which I will relay, out of sheer frustration. My garage door opener died late last year, and I finally went into Sears to purchase another. (I had thought about keeping the name private, but then figured they deserve to have the story told). I actually bought it last week but asked them to install it this Tuesday. Okay, so now our tale begins. I am thinking that surely they will call ahead of time to figure out when on Tuesday will be a good time for us. Instead, we get a call on Tuesday asking when on Wednesday will be good for us. Fortunately, we are able to manage this little mishap and arrange a time in the morning. Wednesday arrives and the driver doesn't show up as expected. We receive a call around two hours after his latest expected appearance time to inform is that he is on his way. We then get a call two hours later to tell us that he is sick and won't be able to make it that day, and can we reschedule for Thursday. As it turns out, Thursday wasn't really an option for us, so we chose a Friday time early in the morning.

While we did get the door opener installed on Friday, it was another two hour delay before the guy showed up, and the service reps at Sears are telling us that they sent him to another job because they couldn't reach us on the home phone (where we've been sitting, wasting time, waiting for the call). I am continually amazed at what passes for service in this world. I am convinced that in most service type industries that all you would have to do to be among the best would be to show up on time and simply do what you had committed to do. Such is the state of our times.

And that's all the news for now. Tune in next time for more wild and woolly adventures not involving garage door openers.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

My Last Two Weeks

The most important thing to say about the last two weeks is that I made it through them. For those of you who don't know, Mich went to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic this past week (I'll try to get some pictures from her to post), while I stayed home and watched four children. That is a lot of busy. I'm sure all you moms are thinking,"Tell me something I don't know", but I'm glad to say that even with having to cook, take girls to ballet, help with homework, and other miscellaneous chores, I somehow managed to keep all of us alive for Mich's return.

Last weekend I took Maggie to see Sleeping Beauty at Samford. While I've always enjoyed the ballet, I have to say that I was really pleased with this one. The costumes, scenery, and choreography were all very well done. Maggie enjoyed it as well, although I think she was more excited when I told her that I had arranged for a couple of horse riding lessons for her.

Yesterday, after Dalton finished his math tournament, we headed to the Chili Cookoff at Brookwood. As Maggie said, chilly chili. I don't think there were any flurries while we were there, but it was cold and we could only stay for so long before we had to call it quits and go inside. This is the second year we've been, and even though the weather hasn't been particularly great either time, we've still enjoyed it. Last evening, we went to the Boot at the Preserve, a small little gastropub like place not far from home. My opinion is that while it may be somewhat overpriced, the food and ambiance are good and I will be going back to try some of the other meal options.

In between all of that has been just the regular sort of life stuff, work, various kid activities, etc., etc. Our weekend mayhem seems to be over, at least for a little while, so I am thinking it is probably not too long before we hit the road again for a few weekend excursions. The Chattanooga aquarium is one of the first things that we want to cross off the list, having made it to Chattanooga this past fall and visited Ruby Falls and Rock City, but not having enough time to go to the aquarium. Oxford, Mississippi is also on the list. We're still working on the arrangements for our summer trip, so we'll see how that turns out. I've downloaded several iPhone apps to try out when we finally hit the road, so I'm anxious to see how they really perform. More to come....

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Cold Season

Sneeze. Blow nose. Cough. Repeat. Unfortunately, that's been my routine for the last day or so. I left work early on Friday, because I wasn't feeling so hot, only to get worse yesterday. I had hoped to avoid the whole thing, but no. That said, I was the last in line. Maggie got it and passed it to Mich, and then I got it. I'm starting to feel a bit better now, though, so maybe tomorrow it will have passed.

Otherwise, the past week has been fairly quiet. Dalton went on a Scout trip this weekend and won a prize for cake baking, which is nothing short of amazing, considering when he's at the house, he is unable to make instant oatmeal. Maggie spent the night at her Nanny's last night, and I'd love to report that we took advantage of some adult time, but due to the aforementioned cold, our adult time essentially consisted of watching a movie on Netflix. Such is the excitement in our lives lately.

My parents headed back to the Czech Republic on Friday. Their visit was too short, or rather, our time with them was. Plans are for a trip there this summer, though, so perhaps we can spend some time with them then.

Until next time....

Saturday, February 9, 2013

February Thoughts

This is something a bit new to me. I'm now sitting outside the school, waiting for Dalton to finish his test and writing a blog post. That's promising for anyone who is interested in reading more about the wild and wonderful life of the Johnsons, but probably terrifying for anyone else.

I have to admit that being a private person takes its toll. I'm often unsure of what to say when I write here, and the danger of any form of social media is that it can quickly become a forum for your ego. That said, I also wonder about the value of speaking into the nothingness, as it were, and what it says about me that I continue to try to interest and (possibly) entertain the world by posting. Psychoanalysis welcome.

For those of you interested in something more than my pontifications, I give you this.

Our year has been reasonably quiet so far - no floods, broken limbs, or other natural disasters. Maggie continues to dance and Dalton continues to Scout. He just made Star Scout, so he's only two ranks from Eagle. We've had a couple of Maggie's friends staying with us for the past couple of weeks, which has made Maggie happy, but has also made for a little bit more chaos than I'm used to. The rest of this month, our weekends are being devoured by various school and extracurricular activities, which seems to be our new norm. People talk about stages of life, and I guess that's just the one we're in. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that. In short, our lives are probably pretty similar to everyone else's, just plain normal (except for our personalities - those, I can assure you, are unique).

Well, it appears they have released the children and Dalton should be out any minute. Until next time....