Fr. Chris and I went to see Fleetwood Mac last night at Nationwide Arena. It was their 1st show in 3 years and opened their tour. Their performance rocked with intensity and emotion exceeding my expectations. Lindsey Buckingham is an amazing guitarist. Stevie Nicks had her signature sexy voice. Mike Fleetwood brought great drumming chops. They still have it despite being in their 60′s.
I went skiing in Colorado with friends back in January. On Saturday I went to confession before attending mass in Breckenridge. Fr. Marty threw me a curve ball penance to volunteer my time. I am more accustomed to a prayer penance to begin to repair my relationship with God after my confession. Well, I returned to Colorado on another ski tip in February with Doug and Fr. Marty had our mass. I remembered that I still needed to perform my volunteer penance. I saw science fair judges were needed in the church bulletin back home at St. Mike’s and I volunteered.
I reflected on my past junior high science projects and taking them on to compete at Heidelberg College. It was fun to be on the other side of the equation. It was a great experience and I was impressed with all the 7th grade science projects and the solid understanding of the scientific method. I am definitely going to volunteer again next year! I even got to pet a large rabbit at the fair. Perhaps, that is why Barkley carefully sniffed me when I came home.
My dad and I have been going to Michigan kayaking the last several years. We take a few friends and have a great time. I am reinvigorated by the natural smell of fresh air that finishes with a crisp pine scent. The sticky Michigan sand always makes its way home to Ohio. The weather was sunny but refreshingly cool. We cooked all our meals over the open fire and enjoyed treats like homemade kettle corn and homemade hot apple cider.
The Pine River flows with a fun quickness and swerves through a scenic natural forest. On the first day we arrived in time to run the Pine River (before night curfew). We paddled from Dobson Bridge to Coolwater Campground. This was a shorter trip than we anticipated. Next time, we need to start at Coolwater Campground and paddle to Peterson Bridge. We paddled our favorite sections of the Pine River twice. We also drove North and paddled the Boardman River, first Beitner Road to Shumsky Road and second Brown Bridge Dam to Beitner Road. We could have done one longer trip of Brown Bridge Dam to Shumsky Road but we weren’t sure the distance and time required. Brown Bridge Dam was being removed and after our trip the dam collapsed releasing water in hours instead of days. Below Shumsky Road is a 1/2 mile of class II rapids (Keystone Rapids) that I want to try next time.
My GoPro camera caught some great HD video. If you play the videos below, click the gear icon and increase the quality to a full 1080P for the best video.
Mandy likes to point out my family has a tendency has to hang onto stuff for a long time. My uncle, John Quenneville purchased a box of clay pigeons in Richmond Michigan on October 8th 1976.
John only used a few of the clay pigeons and put his empty shotgun shell casings in the box. John tragically passed away and my grandfather was given this box of clay pigeons. When my grandfather passed away in January of 2012 this box was still in his possession. I was given the box and noticed it was made in Findlay Ohio.
There is a nature preserve a short walk from my house that was donated by the DuPont Corporation. The famous Blue Rock clay pigeons were excavated from this site’s blue clay.
Some of the clays survived the many years without cracking. The local newspaper wrap helped protect them despite the fact clays are as fragile as eggs. They are a bright yellow color which I found intriguing as modern clay pigeons are orange.
I wonder if any other Blue Rock clay pigeons still exist. I bet they have an interesting history as well. I was thinking I should donate a clay pigeon to Findlay’s time capsule. Findlay dug up its last time capsule during its bicentennial celebration this year.
As a side note, Barkley loves the Blue Rock Nature Preserve. He is ready to run around the preserve and sniff everything.
“I am happy to report that the Court has ruled unanimously against the government and found the practice to be unconstitutional under the fourth amendment. It is a stinging defeat for the Obama Administration but a roaring victory for privacy and civil liberties at a time when good news is rare.”
What an excellent judgement!
I enjoyed reading Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days by Jessica Livingston. I was drawn to this book after reading Jeremy Zawodny’s dust jacket quote, “Entertaining, inspirational, and human-a must-read for anyone interested in how some of the most important technology companies came to be.” The collection of stories is well put together and engaging. My favorite stories were Apple Computer, Gmail, Viaweb, del.icio.us, Flickr, 37signals, ArsDigita, Fog Creek software, TripAdvisor and Firefox. Of course, I may be biased as I am a customer of most of these companies and their products are as enjoyable as their stories. The theme of all these startups was an unflinching persistence and dedication even when there was a desire to quit.
Mandy and I are lazy when it comes to sending out Christmas cards. We wanted to thank all of you that still send us Christmas cards. We wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas! We also wish you and your family many blessings and good health during 2012.
I enjoyed Greg Kuenning’s article, Growing The Sport: One Buoy At A Time in Water Skier magazine. I came in second place at Tour Stop #2 – Lottawatta Top Cat Challenge and won a nice set of wing angle gauges. I never thought my name would be in Water Skier magazine! ;-)
I finally had time to post about Mandy and I’s trip to St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands.
Sunday July 24th
We arrived at the Bolongo Bay Beach Resort but we weren’t greeted by opulence (ice cold towels, flowers and fresh coconut milk). Bolongo Bay was a simple family owned resort that welcomed you with a tasty but potent rum punch. Ahaaaarr! I booked a cheaper non-beach view room since the beach was so close. We were pleasantly surprised to receive a room with an amazing view.
The room was a bit dated but super clean. It worked great as we planned to spend our time enjoying the sun.
Monday July 25th
We enjoyed a wonderful breakfast. The all inclusive route is definitely the route to go. I tried to limit the amount of food photos I took this trip since I always get a hard time for doing that. But I can assure you the food was beautiful and delicious. We went over to the onsite dive shop and picked up snorkel gear (which is included in the all inclusive price). We immediately started snorkeling and it was exceptional. The water was clear and there were lots of interesting sea creatures (flounder [likes to hide in the sand], large barracudas, etc.).
We signed up for the afternoon turtle snorkeling (which is also included in the inclusive deal). We rode over to the turtle habitat on the Heavenly Daze.
There were an amazing number of sea turtles. Basically, they eat lots of sea grass on the bottom until they need air, then they surface breath some air and repeat!
Tuesday July 26th
We chilled at the resort and snorkeled three times during the day. This was the first time I saw a squirrel fish. Those black eyes and red body make one pimpin’ fish.
I must say I enjoyed the beach bar and tried all sorts of concoctions. Iggie’s has great dining on the beach. I have two important words for you. Voodoo Juice! Let the good times roll! The all you could eat crab dinner was awesome.
Wednesday July 27th
We got up early and went to Coral World, since there was free transportation on Wednesdays. A nice side effect of group transportation is the opportunity to check out the other resorts. Some of the other resorts were ritzy and stately but they didn’t offer the great beach, snorkeling, excursions and all inclusive deal. Mandy did a great job picking Bolongo Bay! It was rainy but we still enjoyed feeding the birds and the indoor fish exhibits.
I really enjoyed snorkeling at Coki Beach. We picked up snorkeling equipment at the dive shop (which was the best equipment I have ever used) and they gave us hard doggie treats to feed the fish with. Reef fish love the doggie treats. Barkley better watch out! I plan on taking his treats on our next trip to the Caribbean.
Video link for those with Apple products that don’t support Flash
The first fish in the next video almost took my finger too!
Video link for those with Apple products that don’t support Flash
We went on the romantic evening cruise on the Heavenly Daze (also included in the all inclusive deal). We enjoyed several large barrels of rum punch that the staff mixed up on board the boat. We sailed downtown and saw the largest cruise ship in the world leaving port. Then, we enjoyed the carnival night stilt dancing.
Thursday July 28th
We enjoyed onsite snorkeling. The staff took us out in the Hobie Cat right before a storm hit. We beat the storm back to the resort and celebrated our good luck with some rum punch! Thai shrimp and lobster were my food favorites.
Friday July 29th
We did the morning experience scuba diving lesson in the pool. We learned the basic skills and signed up for the afternoon boat. There were two dive sites and one featured a sunken ship following by snorkeling with the turtles and squid. It is amazing that the sunken ship is still available given the government mandate to destroy it but it had to be relocated. There is even government red tape underwater. I had difficulty equalizing my ears (due to sinus congestion) and unfortunately had to abort. Mandy enjoyed both dive sites and noted the Black Tip Caribbean Reef Sharks, Puffer Fish, Squid, Arrow Crab and Sea Cucumbers. I was bummed about not being able to complete the dives but look forward to next time.
Saturday July 31st
I was lucky enjoy to see two juvenile Black Tip Caribbean Reef Sharks by the resort’s dock. There is nothing like seeing a shark through your mask only a few feet away. Unfortunately, our underwater digital camera died the day before. It was a wonderful camera and captured many wonderful memories. We used it many times underwater and nature finally won out. Mandy found a really cool puffer fish under the rocks on the right hand side of the resort. She also pointed out a Sea Cucumber. I had a crab pot for lunch at Iggies and it was a killer meal! I wish I would have discovered that the crab pot was included earlier the trip. However, that would not have been good for my waistline. We had a nice dinner at the Lobster Grille. We especially liked the Lobster mac and cheese with breadcrumbs. The banana ice cream was a nice finish.
Sunday August 1st
I had another crab pot for lunch without the potatoes and prawns. It still was huge and amazing. I had some Voodoo Juice and was in good spirits before leaving for the airport. Mandy also enjoyed a few last beach foo-foo drinks.
We arrived back to Columbus very late and the Jetta was running a little crazy. A small piece of the exhaust system broke and caused the turbo to be bypassed. It fortunately was an inexpensive fix but added a sense of adventure to the drive back to Findlay. We thought about how soon we could return to Bolongo Bay!
Mandy and I saw the Toledo Symphony Orchestra perform at St. Mikes yesterday. They performed a nice selection of Christmas music. The sing-a-long medley was enjoyable and really put us in the Christmas spirit. The Christmas story was hilarious and it was great to hear the Stars Wars Theme.