Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Late Summer Doldrums

Things have been busy enough. The kids are getting ready to go back to school (5th and 10th grades...I can't believe it), we have been re-doing both of their bedrooms, and there are no shortages of other things going on. But I just haven't felt much like blogging. Call it the summer doldrums I guess.

From a hobby perspective, I haven't touched a paint brush in over a month. Really the only thing I have been doing is reading through some of the new Dungeons & Dragons stuff that is being released (more on that later). And doing some work on getting ready to make an attempt at playing D&D for the first time since about 1990 (best guess).

I've assembled a bunch of IKEA "Hemnes" furniture (in white stain) for Grace's room. No more allen wrenches for a while please...

I've read some short stories out of various collections or out of Amp's New Yorker subscription.

I started a new novel, got about 10 pages in, and decided I didn't feel like reading a novel.

This holiday weekend is the end of summer, and it has been a good one. The kids are happy and healthy. They are bored and looking forward to school, which is good. Julia is already talking about the Fall school musical (Disney's The Little Mermaid) and about going to the football games, and Grace is hoping that her class will be one of the lucky ones that gets to try out the new iPad-based modules that only a few of the classes will get.

Perhaps someday soon a burst of creative energy will hit me. One can hope.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Yellowstone Under Canvas

A funny thing happened on the way to the forum...

My wife pointed out the following tidbit that she had seen somewhere and thought looked interesting: "glamping" in Yellowstone. Yellowstone Under Canvas. Glamping, which I won't bother to look up, is something along the lines of "glamour camping", or luxury pseudo-camping. Or as the website says - "camping as it should be". Which I guess means "camping if you don't really want to be camping but don't want to see Yellowstone from the window of a tour bus."

I have to admit that I find the idea the sense that I've always wondered what I could get away with in terms of trying to get the family into some sort of outdoors camping experience. I suspect that Grace would find it somewhat cool until she realized she had no internet connectivity. I can hear her little voice in my head saying "yes Daddy, this is very cool...can we go now?" But she might surprise me. Julia would be spooked by any and all kinds of night noises. And Amp would probably (certainly) prefer to be in a hotel.

But I would love to see Yellowstone someday, and not from the window of a tour bus. Maybe something like this could make that happen.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Avalon NJ 2014

For the second year in a row, we have spent part of a week at the Windrift Hotel in Avalon. Also once again, the kids have pronounced it "excellent", and have asked that we do more beach time in the future. I guess it is hard to say no to that.

We left Tuesday morning, drove through overcast and showers, and got there in time to spend some time at the pool in the afternoon, check out the beach, and get settled. Like last year, Amp's sister and her family are meeting us at the hotel and staying in a room across the hall. It's nice to spend time with family, and the kids get to spend time with their cousins at the pool and on the beach, which is good.

We love the Windrift. The rooms have been renovated fairly recently, and are pretty nice. The location is perfect - on the beach at 80th street, straddling the border between Avalon (to the north) and Stone Harbor (to the south). There is a nice pool with waitress service for food and drinks (gotta love that!), and it's right on the beach. So you can spend beach time in the morning or afternoon, and then head poolside for lunch or an afternoon snack. And a glass of wine. Or two. It is vacation after all...
Windrift Pool

The forecast wasn't very good for the first couple of days, but we ended up making out pretty well. It rained hard Tuesday night while we were having dinner at the restaurant in the hotel, and the rain continued into the morning, but by late morning on Wednesday we were on the beach enjoying the sunny if cool day.

The days went quickly, with beach, pool, eating, drinking, a Wildwood boardwalk side trip (complete with new fancy hair wrap for Grace at the same tattoo parlor she got it done at last year), and the usual terribly-played mini golf outing. None of us will be showing up on the professional golf tour any time soon.
Mini golf

Salt water taffy. The pancake place. Running into a few different friends while there. It was a very nice few days.

Last years' shore time was three days as a test run. This years' was four days. Knowing how much the kids like it, we'll shoot for a week(ish) next year. We made this years' reservations well in advance, and although I tried to extend us (on either end of the four days), there was no availability. We had intended to leave later on Friday and drive home, but the kids were having so much fun together that we decided to all head to our inlaws house in north Jersey and continue the vacation there through the end of the weekend. That went well too...

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Appreciating Genius - Simon and Garfunkel

Time seems to catch up with some faster than others. And if you close your eyes, maybe some not so much at all.

From the performance at the 25th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Concert (2009):