Monday, August 16, 2010
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Every now and again I see something that makes me think, "Alright, the next generation will be okay." It's even better when that moment involves your own child.
I took Kyle and his best friend up to the Sierra's over the weekend for some camping and fishing. We met up with my good friend, Dave, and his son Conner. Now Conner's only 10 and he's a bit on the small side, but what he lacks in height, he makes up for in his gusto and heart. He's one really good little kid.
As it goes, Conner almost didn't make the trip when a couple of weeks ago, he became very ill and experienced what the doc's later realized was a diabetic coma. His folks had no previous inkling he had diabetes and a week in the hospital confirmed it; Type 1.
Now, Conner was really looking forward to this trip and Dave, rather than breaking his heart, packed up the insulin, the records books, and all the other stuff and headed on up. Because they are still dialing in treatment, Conner had to have readings almost every hour. He must have felt like a pin cushion with all the needles he felt. But, he was a trooper and took it all in stride.
When they first arrived, it took about an hour of testing, readings, consultation via cell-phone with the Doc, etc. before Conner could hit the water. Kyle & his buddy had already been out for several hours and were getting ready to wrap it up when Conner finally made it out.
On his first cast, he fouled his line. Seeing that, Kyle threw his own lure out at a large trout he had been trying to entice all morning with no effect. Sure enough, the fish hit his lure and as quick as a blink, Kyle handed his rod to Conner and excitedly said "He's yours! Get him!"
Conner tugged and pulled and landed that fish, which turned out to be the largest trout caught by any of us all weekend. Conner was beaming. Kyle was beaming. And I was beaming because, even though Kyle's a surly teenager, he still had the kindness to hand his rod off to a little kid. He could have had bragging rights for the trip, but he did the right thing. In retrospect, I guess he has bragging rights far more than just a big fish.
Conner and his big fish.....
Posted by The Wandering Blues at 3:01 PM
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Posted by The Wandering Blues at 7:23 PM
Thursday, July 8, 2010
When the wife's away, the boys will play. Actually, that's not entirely true. She lets us play quite a bit. But, since she's in Wisconsin (aka Fiskonsin due to her new job with Fiskars), Kyle and I were invited to join a good friend, Art, on his boat for some White Sea Bass fishing.
Needless to say, it was a very productive trip. And, the simple enjoyment of sleeping out on the open water with friends is always unbeatable.
So, guess what we will be having for dinner tonite (and the next, and the next, and the next....)?
Posted by The Wandering Blues at 10:59 AM
Sunday, April 11, 2010
We took advantage of some nice spring weather to roll out to Laughlin, Nevada. For those out of the area, it's the red headed step-child to Las Vegas, sitting about 120 miles south on the Colorado River.
Now, I'm not much of a gambler. Still, it gave Tami a chance to scratch her itchy palm on some slot machines, and Kyle a chance to luxuriate in the glory that is the Friday Nite Seafood Buffet. He tried his first ever oyster on the half shell and had several plates of crab legs and shrimp.
For me, the benefit of going to Laughlin is its proximity to a Cracker Barrel, which can be conveniently visited on the way to the Grand Canyon. Nothing like feeding your soul on the most amazing vistas on the planet only to then feed your tummy with good old fashioned southern cooking!
It dawns on me that we only have 3 more Spring Break's with Kyle. Time just flies......
Posted by The Wandering Blues at 4:43 PM
Sunday, February 14, 2010
With the sun shining, and the temps above freezing, I had the chance to visit my local creek. So much water flowing; more than I've seen in many years. Even had the chance to pick up a pretty little trout on the fly.
Posted by The Wandering Blues at 10:44 AM
Sunday, February 7, 2010
If you are looking at the title and asking yourself, What the?...." I can tell you it comes from the novel The Shining. Long story short, a nice family moves in to act as caretakers at a resort in the mountains that's closed for the winter. Cabin fever sets in, dad goes crazy, kid scares the hell out of everyone, chanting "Redrum....." which is murder spelled backwards, blah blah, blah. If you can't find the book, find the movie. Jack Nicholson does a great job of scaring you to death. Still, even though it's scary and suspenseful, it's still just a good yarn. Or is it?
We (actually, mostly Tami & Kyle) have been shut in for the last week. The snow has made things nearly impassable and both Tami & Kyle have been sick to boot. So sick, in fact, that Kyle missed all of last week at school.
Yesterday, I looked on in amazement as Tami threw her coat on, swearing there was a break in the weather. She was right; it was only a deluge as opposed to a monsoon. But, off she went, down the hill to her favorite craft store. She told tales of flooding, rockslides, fog- real old testament weather, in order to get to a stamping yard sale.
Kyle walked around in the house in a trance. Any acknowledgement of his existence was greeted with bloodshot eyes and a teenage snarl (redrum, redrum, redrum...). And today, it came to a head.
Kyle had math homework to do and demanded that Tami help him, dropping any and all projects she was involved in. When Tami responded (and I can't really print what she said), all I could hear was the loud, forceful stomping up the stairs and a slam of a bedroom door.
Now, I could've helped him at his math. But, keep in mind, I'm still engaged in a philosophical debate on the train from Boston that left an hour earlier at 60mph and the train from New York at 40mph and where they would meet (at the scene of the accident. DUH...) In other words, I'm no damn good. But, I digress.
Suddenly, I hear the steps coming down the stairs. I close the door to the computer room and block it with anything I can find. I hear heavy voices and a loud thump. Omigod, someones been killed! I grab the wiener dog and hold her up like a crucifix as I go into the dining room to see what macabre scene has been created (who could attack a wiener dog, seriously?).
And, there they are, working together in trying to understand the homework. The 'thud' was the huge algebra book hitting the table. They look up at me like I'm nuts and I realize that I'm the one that's gone around the bend. Maybe that Hawaiian vacation Tami wants to do isn't such a bad idea.
The photo is from the creek in the backyard.
Posted by The Wandering Blues at 1:37 PM
Friday, January 22, 2010
Up on the Lower Owens River, just past the cement plant, is the fishing dog grave. More than fishing, I love dogs-especially those that enjoy adventure as much as I. Looking at the old rod seats, wading boots, and dog toys left as offerings, I wondered about all the amazing stories that could be told if one could listen. For as much as any religion has its sacred places, I knew this was spot a cathedral to the bond of fishermen and their K-9 friends.
Under the warmth of a winter sun, I enjoyed a nice Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and paid homage to those loyal beasts that had stood alongside their human friends. Mayflies lifted from the cold flowing river like miniature white doves reaching for the azure skies. Only the gurgle of the flowing water stirred the silence and provided an appropriate soundtrack for the place.
It was a good day.
Posted by The Wandering Blues at 12:02 PM
Monday, January 18, 2010
Kyle and I went up to Bishop this weekend for a boy's adventure. Flyfishing was on tap and as we pulled into the first spot on the river, I had visions of "A River Runs Through It" dancing in my head.
Kyle asked if he could put his iTouch on the car stereo, and still in my dreamy state, I said "Sure.." Then, the peace was shattered with Metallica and Social Distortion. Not quite the soundtrack I had in mind, but I couldn't help but appreciate the juxtaposition of it all.
The trip was wonderful. Me, Kyle, my buddy Mike and his 2 boys.... We cracked jokes, played pranks, fished, hung out, and had one of those classic father/son weekends. It was just one of those great times.
Here's a couple of pics. Remember to click on the photo to enlarge.
Posted by The Wandering Blues at 4:27 PM
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Kyle and I will be heading up to Bishop this next weekend to celebrate Martin Luther King's Birthday as intended by Congress--- Flyfishing on the Owens River. We'll perhaps that wasn't what Congress had in mind, exactly, but the holiday will still provide a platform for us to relax and enjoy a few more Father/son moments while they are available.
You see, technology is waging a huge war on the attentions of my son. Whereas the mantra of the 60's was "Tune in, turn on, drop out," nowadays it seems as though it should be "Tune in, turn on, tweet....." He's hooked up to the world. He has a netbook that he can access the world through. He has an itouch that he can get wi-fi on. Heck, he can even play real time games with a kid in Japan on his PS3!
But, when you are out on the river, the fish don't know a tweet from a LOL. They only care about eating and not being eaten. So, he'll have to look around at what the world is doing; Have the insects hatched and can he match them with a fly? Where are the fish hiding so that a high flying eagle or osprey can't swoop them? What is the water doing? If he becomes so detached from the modern world and becomes plugged into nature, he'll do just fine. And, if he's landing a beautiful brown or rainbow with Metallica providing a soundtrack through his earbuds, I can live with that.
Photo taken from where we will be fishing, though the Sierra's will have a beautiful mantle of snow.
Posted by The Wandering Blues at 7:46 AM
Friday, January 1, 2010
Well, 2009 is in the books and what a tough year it was. We lost my mom to cancer and nearly lost Tami's mom to Valley Fever. There were furloughs and lay-off's at work. Just a tough year. But, there was a lot of good.
I reconnected with my Dad and my Sister and her family. I also reconnected with some old friends via Facebook and it really made me appreciate and value the relationships I've had over the years.
Most importantly, I've come to understand that life is more important than lifestyles; that living in the moment is better than living for the moment; and that all of it can change in an instant.
But, enough of the pondering. We enjoyed an amazing few days down in San Diego at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort, courtesy of an old family friend. Tami suffered through a day at the spa, with a Swedish massage and a treatment involving sugar and coconut milk. Meanwhile, me, Kyle, and my Dad enjoyed a day out on the bay to break in Kyle's new off-shore rod and reel.
The pic of the sea gulls is my dad's, played with in photoshop. HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Posted by The Wandering Blues at 8:22 PM
Friday, December 18, 2009
As the year comes to a close, I'm thankful for the the gifts in my life; my family & friends, my health, a job, and enough interests to keep me constantly amazed at the world around me. I'm excited that my Dad is coming out to spend the Holiday's with us, but sad that my Mom wasn't able to win her fight against cancer and be here as well. Perhaps her gift was to see us become involved in each others lives again. I wish everyone a warm, safe Holiday Season and best wishes for a better 2010.
Posted by The Wandering Blues at 7:19 PM
Friday, December 4, 2009
I went for a hike this morning. Tami was down the hill shopping and Kyle was in school, so I took advantage of the weather and headed down into Deep Creek gorge. Beautiful colors and nice temps in the high 40's.
At one point, I was rock scrambling and fell, full force, on my left thigh. There is a nano-second before the pain hits when time slows down to allow you a brief vision of clarity. You feel the impact and before the pain arrives, you ponder how bad it's going to be. You think about what you might have done to prevent it. You wonder if it's going to be so serious that you may spend the night in the wilderness. And, most of all, you wonder if the butt-chewing your wife is going to give you will be as bad as the immediate pain.
Then, POW! It hits! Cuss words flow liberally with the F-word being used as a noun, verb, adjective, and so on. It was as if Mark McQuire or Sammy Sosa let loose with a home run impact on my leg. No time, to worry. Got to keep hiking out before it knots up too badly.
Well, obviously I made it home. Took some Motrin and thanked the stars it wasn't worse. And, best of all, I got some beautiful photo's while I was there!
Posted by The Wandering Blues at 2:06 PM
Friday, November 27, 2009
Tami asked me "Are you getting up for Black Friday?" My response was immediate. "Heck, yeah! I'm going hiking in Deep Creek!" The idea of spending some quiet time looking for the little jewels (aka Deep Creek Wild trout) won out over the hustle and bustle of the crowds at Walmart. Fortunately, I didn't have to hike to hard. I was still a bit run down from earlier in the week, so big scenery lifted my spirit. And, I caught a few of those beautiful trout as well.
Posted by The Wandering Blues at 3:55 PM
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Well, with some tough times at work (layoffs, etc) and home, I'm thankful this year for several things. Foremost, I'm thankful for family. I've got a good wife and son; I've gotten reconnected with my Dad, and my in-laws a great folks. I'm also thankful for my health. Yeah, I've got a beer filled inner-tube around the waist that mountain biking isn't cutting into, but I'm healthy. Given what my Mom went through with cancer, and what my mother-in-law is going through right now with Valley Fever, I have no complaints. And, finally, I have a good job. A whole bunch of folks got laid off in our Police Department. My heart goes out to them and I wish the best for them.
And, when the going gets tough, the tough go fishing. I'm thankful for the little wild trout only a couple of miles from the house. They are some of the best therapy around. Happy Thanksgiving.
Posted by The Wandering Blues at 5:55 AM
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Ahhhh...... Finally, a day away from work to recharge the batteries a bit. If you have any doubt as to how the day will go, just ask the ladies. They look pretty well ensconced for the morning, that is unless someone mutters the w-a-l-k word. Hope everyone has a wonderful Fall day and that the East Coast folks get some relief from Ida.
Posted by The Wandering Blues at 9:08 AM
Saturday, October 24, 2009
I love airports. I always wonder what story lay behind the travelers; are they going on vacation; to see loved ones; business? There's always a level of anticipation in the air, regardless of destination, that makes me wonder "Where are they going?"
Last evening, as I flew in from my Mom's services in Omaha, I was looking out my seat window. We were pulling up to the terminal and I was anxious to see Tami and Kyle. I observed a lone soldier in desert combat fatigues standing at attention as our airliner came to a stop. Knowing the restrictions on flight tarmac access, I wondered why he was there. As quickly as the question formed in my mind, the answer also came in the form of a deep sadness down in my soul. I recognized it so quickly because I had been living with it in the absence of my mom during my visit. I knew our plane had flown a very special person home.
When I reached the top of the skywalk, I heard the gate steward say "Ladies and gentleman, if you would join us in honoring a young man who is coming home." Outside, an honor guard had formed up. Just past them, a family, wearing t-shirts bearing a photo of the fallen soldier, held each other up. His mom and dad looked no older than Tami or I.
The flag draped casket came down the conveyor belt and into the hands of the soldiers. They were not a true 'dress blue' honor guard. Rather, they were most likely comrades of the young soldier. They smartly escorted their friend to a waiting hearst. Inside the terminal I saw hundreds of people, stopped, paying their respects to this soldier and his family. Many had their heads bowed. Some, who might have been in the military long ago, stood locked at attention- only their bellies to betray their age. Travelers with places to go and people to see, stopped to pay their respects. And then it was over. The airport came to life, and the buzz in the terminal returned.
And for once, I knew where a traveler was going.
Posted by The Wandering Blues at 6:45 AM
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Finally, a weekend at home! It's been since August 10th that I have had a chance to be a home-body over the weekend and I certainly have made the most of it. I actually enjoyed winterizing the garden beds, cleaning the garage, and working on a novel (that I've been writing in my head for the last 5 years). Tami & Kyle were up north for a wedding, so I had the whole house to myself. Were it not for a buddy coming by Saturday nite, I don't know that I would have even showered and shaved...
Anyway, photographic evidence now suggests that the evolutionary development of the Weinerdog came about, not so that they could enter into gopher burrows in order to hunt, but so that their tongues could retract in a safe & efficient manner. That's my story and I'm sticking with it. Enjoy your Sunday!
Posted by The Wandering Blues at 8:00 AM