Monday, January 31, 2011

You Called That Out?

As was reported last night, I was out on the tennis court again this morning.  All was going along pretty much according to the usual routine through the first which I got my butt kicked...but there came a big change at the beginning of the second.  Through the luck of the draw it fell to me to begin the set on the serve, and right off the bat I blasted one that clearly hit the line on the outside of the service box and was missed by at least a mile by my opponent.  As I walked over to the other side of the court to prepare for my next serve that member of the posse (who will go un-named) called the initial serve out.  My partner immediately turned to me with a look of total disbelief, and the partner of my un-named opponent looked across the net in a completely puzzled fashion.  Based on these reactions I felt the need to ask the offending member of the group; "You called that out?"  To which the response was a rather feeble, "Yes."  What followed was an extremely focused effort on my part that resulted in my partner and I winning that game, and then going on to win the set 6-0 against the offending party and his unfortunate teammate.  As I am known as a very forgiving and humble man, I shrugged off this terrible injustice and played on, but alas, I did have to once again raise the question at the end of the set as to why in the world that this person could call an obviously superior effort on the serve to be out when it clearly hit squarely on the white line.  I never did get a satisfactory explanation.  From there we continued on and all went well through the end of our session.

After tennis it was time to head off to the church to try to figure out just what it is that I do for a living, and try to accomplish it.  Late this afternoon I headed back out onto the court...this time a basketball officiate a couple of middle school games.  These games went quite well, and I didn't have to throw any coaches out of the gym, and none of them made any horrible line calls (unlike what happened this morning).  The evening was highlighted by sushi and pan-seared scallops so the day ended well.  We'll see what tomorrow brings.

One final note:  For all who read this and are dealing with the blizzard in the middle of the country please keep in mind that we are experiencing global warming and this snowstorm is just a figment of your get over it!  (that's what my buddy Al Gore told me to say.)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Coaches Gone Wild

I do believe that I have written a time or two about my exploits on the hardwood...the basketball floor wearing a black and white striped shirt.  Well, sometimes its gray with pinstripes, but I do prefer the black and white.  Anyway, yesterday I was assigned a couple of JV games; first the boys game, and then the girls.  Going into these games things were looking pretty good.  In the boys game both teams were pretty talented, and I was paired with a good partner.  That was before the game.  Those things didn't change, but from the instant of the opening tap we ended up with a nightmare on our hands.  It seems that both coaches were more interested in trying to do our jobs than their own.  Two seconds into the game the visiting coach yelled "TRAVEL!", and probably uttered that same word a good 20 times in the first 5 minutes.  Both coaches felt the need to very vocally question each and every foul call, whether that call was made or not.  By halftime both my partner and I had had enough, so the first time one of these knuckleheads hollered in the 2nd half my partner fired his weapon and hit the visiting coach with a "T".  He couldn't believe it, and claimed that we were obligated to give him warning, but nowhere in the rulebook is there any mention of the need to warn a coach who is totally out of control before "T-ing him up."  By rule in the high school game that coach now has what we call a seat belt, meaning he has to stay seated on the bench for the rest of the game and keep his mouth shut with the exception of instructing his players.  It seems like the other coach must have gotten the message, and figured he was next, as he also took the opportunity to sit down and shut up.  The rest of the game went a little better.  The kids kept pounding on each other and the foul calls followed, but we didn't have to put up with near as much obnoxious behavior.  In the girls game that followed on of the coaches chose to follow a similar path as in the first game, but I think he saw the light just before we had to turn the light on for us.  Today we had a meeting of the basketball officials here in the Spokane area, and the chief topic of conversation was how to deal with coaches who lose control and forget just what it is that they are supposed to do...that is coach the kids and not abuse the refs.  I am now armed and loaded for bear with all sorts of new techniques to get the coaches off our back, and I can't wait to use them tomorrow afternoon as I head out onto the floor again.

Now to the topic of the evening.  Man!  Is it getting cold out there.  I wheeled the trash bin out to the street and nearly froze my kiester off!  It's not so much the temperature but the wind goes right through you, especially when you go out in a pair of shorts, a t-shirt and flip-flops.  Perhaps I should have prepared myself more adequately.  We are headed down to about 12 degrees tonight, and tomorrow we won't get much above 20.  At least the weather is going to be rather sunny for the next 3 or 4 days, so a little cold air will be no big deal.

In the morning it is going to be time to head out onto another court again...the tennis see if I can be the butt kicker, or if I will once again be the butt kickee.  Wish me luck!

Cold Air Spillage

After what has turned out to be a rather mild and rainy January we are starting to see the winter of 2010-11 rear its ugly head once again.  We managed to dodge the snow but the cold air is now starting to roll in.  By tomorrow morning we will be down near 10 degrees, with a wind chill near 0 or below thanks to a northeast wind of about 10 to 15 miles per hour adding the additional bit.  Monday's high temperatures will only be about 20 degrees.  We are in for a stretch of sunny weather though, and that's a plus.  Things would be even colder if there was a bunch of snow on the ground, but there isn't so there!  Later in the week things will be moderating a bit again, we should be back up above freezing on Thursday or Friday.

Keep in mind that January ends tomorrow night, and on Wednesday it's Groundhog Day.  Make your party plans accordingly. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Taking a Drive to the Neighbor's House

Last evening, after another interesting session chasing high school girls up and down a basketball court, we got ourselves invited to the neighbor's house.  So we got in the car and drove about 3 miles to see them.  If that sounds a little odd you have to remember that these our the neighbors who have the distinct privilege of being the parents of my little buddy Brady, and since they moved about a week ago to new digs we have a bit farther to go than just across the cul-de-sac.  What's a few miles between friends anyway?  Our friends Larry and Darlene (parents of Jason...Brady's dad) are up from Boise so we got the old gang together for some good times.

After the ice melted yesterday morning the rain continued pretty much non-stop through the afternoon.  That kept things wet into the night.  The sky cleared again overnight so everything was rather frosty and icy again this morning, but still nothin' like yesterday.  I had a breakfast meeting with a good friend and leader of the church, and then it was time to teach the confirmation class.  I just finished the prep work for tomorrow morning's worship service, and the folks that come out tomorrow morning at 9:30am are in for a few surprises.  That's all I'm going to say...if you want to know more just come on down to St. John's Lutheran in the Latah Valley tomorrow morning and find out what's goin' on!

In a little while I'll be back out on the court.  I have 3 games (ouch...that was my knees talking) of boys youth basketball to officiate, then I will be headed home to whine about it.

The weather ahead this week is looking fairly quiet.  Right now the temperatures are in the low 40s, and over the next several days we should see dry days with highs in the upper 30s to around 40 degrees.  If you want to read a good explanation of why our weather has been rather tolerable lately, in spite of the La Nina that is going on, check out this article from the National Weather Service Spokane's quite interesting.

Friday, January 21, 2011


last evening the sky was clear and the temperatures started to drop.  Early this morning rain began to fall.  The combination of the two coated just about everything with a sheet of ice, making it rather difficult to get around earlier.  Undaunted, as we had to get to our 9:30am tennis appointment, we headed out onto the roadways.  The going was slow, and at times a bit unnerving (mainly for Kay as I was in complete control of the Family Truckster and my composure), but we got there.  Coming home was a little better as things are now melting.  The dog still doesn't want to go out and conduct business though as the ice on the back steps is still there.

I have discovered the secret to parking oneself in front of the TV and watching as much sports as I want.  Just get your bride involved in whatever sport it is and you're set.  Not only can you watch hours on end, but she will watch too.  For example; we both have been playing tennis regularly for a couple of years now.  All week long we have been entertained in the evenings by watching the Australian Open.  It's even on the tube in our family room before I come home in the evening.  Through all of this I avoid having to be exposed to newscasts, sitcoms and reality shows.  It's really quite nice.  Now if only I could get Kay to start playing football.

Speaking of tennis...certain members of my posse are getting a little uppity again about not getting enough space devoted to them on this blog.  My response has been "well do something noteworthy!"  That doesn't seem to help though as we just kind of keep grinding along.  Since I want to maintain the peace, and keep my buddy John happy (which really isn't that hard to do if you know what I mean) I am including a picture of the fellas.
That's Bill on the far left, John second from the right, and Tuck on the right.  Also pictured is the lovely M'Lou...Bill's bride.  You'll notice that there is no ice, except in the drinks.  This picture was taken when the weather was much warmer and the posse was much younger.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Little Rain, A Little Snow

Its a chilly and damp afternoon, much cooler than it has been for most of the past week.  Outside my office window there is a steady drip of rain, while up in the higher parts of town some snowflakes are mixed into it.  Late this afternoon and evening a little more snow may actually stick to the grass, but we probably won't see much more than that.  Over the next few days it will feel a bit more like January as the daytime temperatures only reach into the low to mid 30s and the nights chill out into the 20s.  While for us that represents colder weather my dad back in the wilds of Wisconsin longs for such conditions, as snow and cold is all that they have had for about the past month.  We should consider ourselves fortunate.

In a little while I will be heading for Cheney High School to officiate a couple of JV basketball games.  We'll see how that goes!  This pretty much the peak of activity for high school basketball so I am getting plenty of  Once we get to February and the playoffs start the number of games decreases rather rapidly.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Raining Champion

Once again this morning we rise to rain.  It has pretty well eaten all the snow in the area, with the exception of the berms plowed up and deposited in the front of the house.  They still extend a good 10 to 15 feet out into the street.  This round of rain is not long for the area as it will be heading out to the east this morning, and another 50 degree afternoon will be left in its wake.  Things will be cooling down though, beginning tomorrow.  Through the middle of the week we will be seeing high temperatures in the upper 30s to near 40 rather than in the 50s.  That's still a bit above average though as the normal high is still just 32.  A dusting of snow may come through Tuesday night or early Wednesday, just enough to remind us that it IS still winter.  Later in the week there will be more rain, mixed at times with snow, but all in all that doesn't look like a very big deal.  Temperatures at the end of the week will top off near 40, and drop down around freezing at night.

In a little while I will be off to my regular Monday morning humiliation.  That's will be back out on the tennis court for me with the posse there ready, willing, and able to kick my butt.  I have been watching the opening round of the Australian Open on TV (It started yesterday).  Just about all of the matches shown resulted in thorough butt kickin's so I am very inspired!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Timing Is Everything!

In the past I have devoted considerable space in this blog to complaining about the winter weather, but if you look back to early December I did mention that I enjoyed a 50 degree day to put the Christmas lights up on the house.  To quote the very eloquent Yogi Berra..."today seemed like deja vous all over again!"  I was out there in front of the house, up on the ladder, in mid 50 degree weather removing those same lights from the property.  Where there was about 8 to 10 inches of snow on the ground just a few days ago there is now mostly bare ground, except for the glaciers that have been deposited right at the front of the yard by the snow plowers.

Once I finished de-lighting the house it was time to give the "family truckster" a bath.  Quite a bit of the winter gunk had built up on the beast, and it was high time to remove it.  She is looking pretty sweet right now, and that might just last a day or so, until the mud puddles have their way again.

Earlier today we made a Costco run.  This was significant in the fact that we had not made a Costco run in a good 6 or 7 years.  Way back when we purchased a membership card each year through the TV station, but we found that we never spent enough to justify the price of the card, so we gave it up.  Well, now that Kay holds the most powerful position in our church...she's in charge of the food and coffee...the congregation is springing for the cost of the membership so off we went today to stock up.  There is something about Costco that universally means that you cannot get out of there without spending at least 200 bucks, and we certainly honored that today.  I'm not sure what we are going to do with a 55 gallon drum of olive oil, but the 400 pairs of Adidas ankle socks that I bought will definitely be put to good use.

This evening we got in the car to drive to the neighbors house.  Now, usually we would walk across the street, but the neighbors moved so we can't just do that anymore.  Now it is about a 3 and a half mile drive to get across the cul-de-sac.  This gave me the opportunity to catch up with my little buddy Brady once again to see how life is treating him.  I don't remember that last time I saw him, it might have been way back before Christmas.  It didn't take long to reconnect though as he had me reading "The Stinky Cheese Man" and hauling him around the house upside-down while holding by the ankles.  We almost trashed the foyer light fixture...ALMOST!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I'm Back

Yeah...I HAS been awhile!  But things have just been a little busy around here.  Our "Sweet Little Babboo" Beth just took off today to head back to school, and life just seems to be coming at a little slower pace tonight.  In the past few days we celebrated her 20th birthday (can I really be that old) and watched as our neighbors began the process of moving away.  That is a lot of emotion in a rather short period of time.

I opened up the front door just a short time ago to witness a pouring rain.  That's a good thing.  We had some snow this past Wednesday, but since then it has gotten a whole lot warmer and a whole lot wetter.  The rain will be coming down pretty much all night long, and the mild weather is going to be with us for quite some time.  We have already seen as much snow fall to date as would normally come down in an entire winter so rain is a welcome sight.  I am even getting a little optimistic that the glacier in front of the house might even melt before May.

Back to Beth...she was her for just about a month, and that turned out to be a very good thing.  There were a few grumpy days...on all of our part...but all in all we had a lot of fun (Rose Bowl trip and all).

One last thing...How about a New Year's resolution?  I resolve to be more diligent in keeping all of my followers posted on all of the humdrum aspects of my life.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Time For More Pictures

Here are more pictures from the Rose Parade on Saturday morning.  We were situated about a half mile from the beginning of the parade, along Colorado Boulevard at Fair Oaks.  It was very cold...mid 30s...before the sun came up, but the sky was clear so we picked the north side of the street to take advantage of the warm California sunshine, once it cleared the buildings on the other side of the street.  That didn't take long.  You get a whole different perspective on the parade be witnessing it in person than watching on TV.  Things move along very quickly!  Up at the top is the Salvation Army Marching Band.  They were playing "Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus" which was pretty cool.  It was a nice balance to some of the religious fools that were going up and down the parade route before the event began.  Then there is a high school band from Japan followed by some of the early floats.  Just below is a high school marching band from near Mexico City.  For a number of reasons this was one of the crowd favorites!
Stay tuned...there are plenty more to come...On Wisconsin!!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Off The Road

We made it back from our adventure last evening, and now the recovery process is beginning.  We had to evacuate the LA area very quickly on Sunday morning, before the snow hit...yes...snow!  The mountains to the north of the metro area rise to 5 to 7 thousand feet, and Tejon (pronounced "tay-hone"...which is Spanish for Badger) Pass is at 4,300 feet.  We scooted through as the first flurries of what would end up to be about a foot of snow began to fall.  From there on the weather was favorable and the driving quite uneventful.  We made it to Grants Pass, Oregon on Sunday evening, and then back to Spokane last night.  I must admit that I prefer the green grass and palm trees of southern California to the snow and ice of eastern Washington.

What follows is the first installment on plenty of pictures that I took on New Year's Day, from the parade and the game.  This first batch has a decidedly Wisconsin flair.

Maybe we didn't win the game...but we represented well!

More to come.  On Wisconsin!!!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

We Didn't Win

Well, it was a full day.  The outcome of the game could have been different, but it was a very good day in all.  Our feet are killing us, and it is just about time to crash.  I will be posting many more pictures in the next few days, and will fill you in on the details.

On Wisconsin...and goodnight.