Friday, July 29, 2011

When You Wanna See Baseball Really Bad...

We've got some really bad baseball!

That could be the motto of the Spokane Indians, the local class A level minor league affiliate of the Texas Rangers.  Group of just over 20 of us from St. John's Lutheran Church were in attendance tonight for the game against those pesky Eugene Emeralds.  I cannot report the final score, but when we left at the beginning of the 9th inning the score was 7 to 4 with the home team in arrears.  We ducked out early not to beat the rush in the parking lot...this is minor league baseball...there aren't enough people to create a rush in the parking lot, but rather to try to get out ahead of the case of dysentery that was setting in due to the ballpark food.  You see, tonight was "Family Feast Night", which means that the hot dogs, soda pop and ice cream sandwiches were all priced at a buck.   The Pepsi and the ice cream were not the issue, but the hot dogs seem to have been a bit suspect in their quality.

Speaking of poor sports, I feel that I have to comment on my tennis outing from earlier today.  The quality of my play rivaled the hot dogs of the evening!  It was abysmal.  About the best thing that I can say about it is that I didn't hurt myself, or anyone else for that matter.  I believe that it was last Friday that I reported that I was the big winner...where I am usually just big.  Well, today I was the big loser.  There's an old saying from back where I come from, the home country of Wisconsin.  "Some days you step in it, and some days you don't."  Today I stepped in it...BIG TIME!  Following the regular session of tennis I stayed for and hour and a half clinic called "Play With the Pro".  It is basically a free group lesson, and today the group was very small, just 3 of us.  That meant that the cardiac and aerobic aspects of it were pretty intense.  We ended the session playing a set of doubles...the 3 of us and the pro.  I was on the team that played against the pro, and surprisingly I held my own.  I wasn't good mind you, but at least a little more average than in the earlier session with the posse.

This afternoon we dropped into the NWMAC, the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture.  The da Vinci exhibit is here this summer and we wanted to go see.  It's a a lot...pricey, but that's the only way that the museum can stay in business.  It turned out to be pretty interesting, lots of his designs had been turned into machines that we could play around with, and there were knock offs of his paintings on display.  I wish there would have been more information about him personally, like, what kind of guy he was, if he wore boxers or briefs, and what his favorite beer might have been.  All of that remains a mystery.

The weather seems to have finally gotten straightened out.  The days are sunny and at least fairly warm, but I still feel cheated that we are not getting any hot weather.  Looking at the next week or so it appears as if we are in for a stretch of sunny days with highs in the 80s and clear nights with lows in the 50s.  That's not bad, but I really would rather be closer to least during the day.  Even I will admit that 100 degrees for an overnight low is a little excessive.  Tomorrow I will be spending the day mostly indoors, working at the church.  I have to finish my homework for the week, and put the finishing touches on the service and the sermon for Sunday morning.  Why not drop by on Sunday about 9:30am, it should be a good one!

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Brady Fix

Last evening we paid a visit to the neighbor's house.  We got in the car, drove about 3 miles and we were there.  Of course, these neighbors don't live just across the street anymore, I'm talking about Brady and family.  My little buddy is now 5 years old, and growing like a week.  His hair is still blonde...although it is turning more green everyday.  That's because of long period in the swimming pool this summer.  When we got there Brady had just woke up from his afternoon nap.  Now, most 5 year olds don't take regular naps, but Brady works hard and plays hard, so he sleeps hard.  As was usually the case when he wakes up...Brady was suffering from a severe case of "bed head".

After a couple of hours of catching up on what has been going on in life, and more than just a beer, we headed home (Beth's the designated driver) to rustle up a little dinner.  It was steak and a salad that was on the menu...mmm, mmm, good eatin'!

This morning included the usual tennis festivities.  Kay was the trooper today as she played in two successive groups, over the course of 3 hours.  I was out there with the regular posse...almost...with the Hammer off participating in another group.  Ken joined us today, along with John...happy as usual...Bill and myself.  I have to admit that things started off horribly for me, but I can explain.  You see, I came out of my coma with the clock reading 8:45am, and I had a court date at 9:30!  I definitely slept through the first set, which was lost 0-6, and right into the 2nd.  I did manage to wake up along the way and my level of play improved.  It wasn't necessarily good, but at least better.  It appeared for a time that John...still happy...might get through the day without dropping a single game, let alone a set.  Well, I took care of that by puking up one of my service games while teamed with him.  We still managed to win the set 6-1.  From that point the question was, could anyone stop John from being the big dog of the day?  Fortunately, Bill and I managed to take care of that, and in doing so kept John from having to gloat about his success for 48 hours, until our next session.

Once the tennis was finished, the family took a little time out to spend quality time together.  Beth only has a couple more weeks of her summer vacation to spend at home, so we are trying to make the most of it.  We enjoyed a nice lunch at Tomato Street, and then a romp around a few of the local retail establishments.  Much to my liking...we bought nothing.  Now THAT, is what I call shopping.  The day was polished off with a church board meeting and then a frozen pizza...yes!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Beer Butt Chicken!

For all of you out there that have a taste for yardbird...that's chicken if you have never lived in the south...there is one way to prepare it that's simply the best.  It's called "Beer Butt Chikin!". Nothing could be simpler.  You just take a whole chicken, season it with olive oil, salt and pepper, and then stick a can of beer up it's backside and throw it out on the grill.  An hour and a half later you'll have the greatest chicken experience of your life.  It's's tasty...and it's so easy.  You're missing out if you haven't tried it!  There's only one problem though.  You need a 12 ounce can of beer to make it work properly.  Perhaps that doesn't sound like a problem to you, but it was for me today.  It appears as if the brewers of fine domestic beers, along with those that aren't so fine, are not making available these 12 ounce cans like they used to.  truth is that it's getting really hard to find a 6 pack of beer anymore in a can...a bottle just won't do!  I'm not going to purchase a whole 12 pack in order to stuff one can up the bird's nether regions, so it was a real struggle to economically get the job done.  What ended up taking place was a purchase of the stubby little 8 ounce cans of Coors light to get 'er done.  In spite of the fact that the bird suffered from a lack of support...she keeled over about an hour into the cooking turned out to be very tasty, and moist.  Mission accomplished.

One final note before I head off to hit the hay...If any of you out there are looking for a place to spend an hour or two in worship and Bible study tomorrow morning, come on down to the Latah Valley and stop into St. John's Lutheran Church starting at about 9:30.  You'll be glad that you did!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Coming Up Big

Time for an update on the broken body of my posse member John.  He is healing rather nicely, but once the body passes the point of 80 years old it takes a little longer.  In spite of the slower pace of his return to health he was out there again this morning, as was I and the rest of the regular posse...such as it now is.  That means that Bill and the Hammer were participating.  To start things off I was teamed with the old cripple...I mean John.  He was happy again from the start, but even with that we quickly found ourselves in an 0-2 hole, and then down 1-4.  Needless to say, but I'll say it anyway, we have found ourselves in such a position before.  Let me just say this, something happened that got my attention...I won't go so far as to say raise my ire...and things began to turn.  The old, John...and I came roaring back.  When all was said and done we won the set 7-5.  From there I went on to win the next set with the Hammer, and finally an abbreviated final set with Bill.  That made me the BIG winner for the day.  Usually I am just big.  Seldom am I the big winner.

After my romp with the posse I stayed to play with the pro.  This is basically a free clinic for an hour and a half that occurs each Friday from 11:00am to 12:30pm.  Kevin, the pro, put us through a rigorous workout...and tried to totally redesign my backhand...without much success.  I came away from the experience exhausted and humbled, which is pretty much how I live my life.

This day has been dominated by an extreme sense of sadness due to what occurred over in Norway.  The latest reports indicate that more than 80 people may be dead...most teenagers at a youth camp...after twin terror attacks during the late afternoon and early evening.  I can't imagine the pain that those who were subject to this tragedy are feeling, especially those who have lost children.  I'm sure we will be finding out much more about the person who did this, and why, in the next few days, but we will very likely never be able to make any sense of it other than the fact that there is a great deal of evil in this world that won't be eradicated until Christ comes back again to recreate heaven and earth, and to gather his people to himself for all eternity.  I will be praying for the people of Norway, especially those who have been directly affected by this horrible act.  I hope that you will join me in these prayers.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Fall Guy

Well after a weekend in which the highlight was four rumbles of thunder and six spits of rain, spread over a two day period, it was back it with another Monday rolling around today.  The day got off to a rather strange start as the alarm blasted at 7:15am.  It usually doesn't do that until almost 8:00 on Mondays, but due to the warmer weather Kay's Monday morning tennis group was going to play from 8:00 to 9:30 this morning.  It wasn't long after she rolled out that I rolled out, but my posse was not gathering until the usual time of 9:30am.  I went to the club early, in order to watch the Mrs. do battle with her group, and got to watch another of the men's 4somes have it out as well.  The problem was that the Hammer was involved in that tussle, and was not going to be part of my regular posse today.  If he's going to do that I fully expect that he dominates and humiliates this other group in order to keep up the honor and reputation of the posse.

When our time came it was myself, John...a man who is always happy...along with Ken and Jake who met on the court of competition.  As we went along in the first set, which for my team was not going well at all (go figure!) I hit a perfectly placed, and brilliant I might add, drop shot in the middle of the court.  This was a completely legal and highly ethical thing to do.  As John moved in from the baseline he appeared to trip over the back line on the service box and down he went.  Now when a guy who is nearly as old as dirt takes a tumble like that you can think of only one thing...someone call a personal injury attorney so we can all cash in! Fortunately, John rolled through the fall minimizing the carnage.  Once we got the pieces of him put back together we continued on, playing around the pools of blood.  John was still happy, but battered and bruised.  That fall seemed to wake him up as he was the one doing the dominating and humiliating, along with Jake, of myself and Ken.  In the second set things began to turn for me.  I was paired with John (still happy) who was now getting pretty adept at moving around the court on a gurney.  About half way through the set I returned a serve with a blistering forehand that flew about 100 yards off the court to the left as I heard the sound of "twzing".  One of the strings on the old racquet had broken.  There were no signs of any cats in the area, to borrow a bit of gut from, so I ran into the pro shop to get a loaner so that we could play on.  We ended up, John and I, winning the set 6-3, and by the end he was playing with the aid of an iron lung.

The remainder of the day at tennis, there was only 10 minutes left after set #2, was rather uneventful.  By Wednesday I'll have my old racquet back, restrung and ready, and we'll get back at it again.  We'll see how well John plays from a casket. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Tennis Tour

As it is Friday, it was time earlier today to head back out onto the tennis court.  That's a regular Monday, Wednesday and Friday occurance.  Our group has undergone a bit of upheaval in recent weeks (No not that kind of heaving) as one of our esteemed members has decided to cut back on his's a bit of a medical thing.  Anyway, we have welcomed a new to the regular bunch, Mark.  From this point on I will refer to Mark as "the Hammer" for reasons that are obvious to those of us in the group.  The Hammer tends to play the game in a not so fair fashion.  Where most of us have a forehand and a backhand, the Hammer chooses to only hit forehand shots...if you are having trouble figuring that out it means that he plays ambidextrous, or amphibeous, or amalgamated... something like that, he uses both hands!

That now means that my posse consists of John, a man who is always happy, Bill, who grew up just up the river from me (about 100 years before) and the Hammer.  In our 2nd set today it was John and I pitted against Bill and the Hammer.  We quickly went down 2 games to none, as I was pretty much useless at the net.  In truth, I am useless just about everywhere, and I don't just mean on the tennis court.  Bill and the Hammer were getting a little impressed with themselves, and at that point...John and I, like a frieght train...came roaring back.  We won the next 5 games in a row and took the set 6-3.  It was an incredible display of tennis prowess!

This evening it is time to throw the yard-bird on the grill and let the aromas fill the neighborhood.  We are including homemade baked beans and a nice salad in tonight's menu.  From there it's on to the weekend.  Looks like rain tomorrow...maybe even some thunder and lightning...SWEET!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Wild Times!

We just had a flash of lightning and a rumble of thunder!  That doesn't happen very often around these parts (unfortunately).  I just thought that I would let you know.  Ooh...there it goes again!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Alright Already!!! wife informed me this evening that I have to blog at least once a week or else.  Or else what?  Really, I don't want an answer to that question.  After 29+ years of marriage I know what the answer very well might be.  Speaking of marriage, my neice tied the knot today back in Minnesota.  Congratulations Cody and Erin, and may you have a wonderful life together.

I am not going to complain about the weather today, because it has been pretty nice.  Just the other day, Wednesday I believe it was, we hit 90 for the first time this summer.  I wish it could stay like this, about 90 each day for 9 months out of the year.  The other 3 months I would like it to be between 100 and 105!  People around here always talk about how nice it is to have the 4 seasons.  I say that it's highly over-rated.

Earlier today I was out on the basketball court officiating 3 high school girls basketball games.  I had the opportunity a few weeks ago to do some boys varsity summer league games.  I have to say, the level of play today was pretty poor by comparison.  Out of the 3 games we had one good team, and they won by over 50 points.  The other teams were a little bit challlenged, to say the least.

Tomorrow morning, Sunday, starts off with our regular church service, and then we are resurrecting the annual church picnic.  Us church folks always like a good resurrection.  Following the cook-out will be our season ending church league softball tournament.  We were an expansion team this year, and our record certainly reflected that...3 wins and 7 losses.  Tomorrow is one last chance to get even with some of the teams that beat us.  If we can't beat them on the field though, we will certainly be the more talented team in the post-game beer party.

One final thing...a note to my tennis buddy John...I am now motivated for us to make the blog again on Monday morning.  You should be "Happy" about that!