Dang long time…

Posted in Michael's thoughts, The Family on August 27th, 2009 by Michael

Wow, I’ve been a miserable failure when it comes to blogging. Lots of reasons why, no excuses. Hmm., surely lots has happened since I last posted. Let me think…

First of all, we did survive the trip to Ohio and survive is the right word. So many stops to go potty. So many whines about touching each other’s toys. So little agreement on which videos to watch. So much noise at bed time. So few Marriott hotels where we wanted to stop. So many times my butt fell asleep in the minivan. BTW, we have a trial of XM radio and long trips almost justifies it.

I’ll let MA write about the family stuff since she was there for most of it. Me, I got to play a little golf at a few courses on my list. These would be Alister MacKenzie designed courses at the University of Michigan and the Scarlett Course at The Ohio State University. It was not easy to get arranged but between Maureen and John, it all came together.

I know most of you don’t know (or care) jack crap about golf and especially about golf course design, so I will not droll on and on about it (well, maybe a little). Suffice it to say, you can read more in my [maybe someday I’ll actually write it] book about the subject.

I enjoyed myself immensely though the ride to and from was a bit long. The fabulous Lauren (a friend of a friend of my sister in law, I think) was my host for the Ann Arbor classic. Insightful design. Wonderful bunkering. Way longer than the score card (6687 yards) says. Undulations, back and forth directional holes. Casual. It is right next to the stadium and it is a shame that at one time they actually parked some cars on the fairways. Bastards. But alas, that has been rectified, the course was restored and for the most part, it kicked my ass.

After a brief respite from that, it was off to Columbus to play at the famed Scarlett Course. This too was recently restored and slightly augmented. Most of the characteristics are still in place though it is a little more “commercial”. Nice bunkering but alas, I think a few too many were added. Pretty stout layout at around 7300 yards (since it was still set up from the Nationwide Tour event there a week previous – I felt like I was in another zip code on a few holes). It was more park-like than Michigan but I enjoyed it. I got a little revenge on the course outside of #10 which took me down. There is a lot of sand there. I managed to stay out of it for the most part…unlike a few others.

More images of each are in the photo gallery but you had to see this burger I ate at the Thurman Café which was featured on the “man vs food” tv show. They had a double meat version too that I would have eaten if not for the two hotdogs and five beers I had on the course. Next time…

We spent some time at the zoo near the end of our trip. All of these images will be available in the month in the photo gallery too. You can contrast these to the last visit to the zoo in October. Meghan has decided she only likes Lions now. Not a lot of those at the zoo. Of course, they were all exhausted towards the end and a tired child is an obnoxious child.

What else…. Yes, we had to eat at MA’s favorite places… and met Maureen’s boyfriend.

There was also this little thing called a high school reunion that I was dragged to. It wasn’t mine (thankfully) so I really didn’t care if people were fat, skinny, rich, had hair or any of the other petty things that happen at such events.

And then we drove back.

I’ve gotten a break from going to Virginia but that is about to end. There were also some cut backs at work while I was gone, but nothing that was too impactful to me. It was just a reminder of crap that happens and I will not be getting a new car this year. Not sure how I can havea bona fide good mid-life crisis without a sports car but I guess I will have to figure it out.

We went to the Art auction and against the initial diktat, we did buy some stuff.

We got really excited that Britto may be the featured artist since they had a brochure for him but it was not to be. And so, we started out a little disappointed…. But Marcus Glenn was one of the artists and he produces art that we actually thought about buying before. Mostly jazz inspired work. You might call it ethnically oriented. Anyway, he and his wife (Yolanda) spent a lot of time there talking with us and the rest of the captive cattle. Really really nice folks. Marcus is really a soft spoken, Christian, momma’s boy if I were to describe him which is weird since he is built like a professional football player.

The other artist was Leslie Lew – we had never heard of her but I guess she makes the gallery and museum scene quite a bit. She does mostly pop art – no surprise given her influences from her father (an advertising agent – who designed sugar smacks, amongst other product lines) and the fact she has lived in the Village with the likes of Andy Warhol, etc. Her technique is the interesting thing – she “sculpts” with oil paint – using really thick paint and layering on and on. Never seen that done. We talked a lot with her, participated in a demo on a piece she was doing, etc. I saw one piece I liked immediately and is was not the one MA wanted. In the end, I won but only after Leslie came over, we talked about it and then she spent part of the evening updating the piece just for us. She is a spitfire of energy.

Not surprisingly, we bought a piece from each and I think we actually have new friends as well. Now, we just have to wait for the framing to be done…….. Argh.

Z is starting pre-school soon and so preparations are underway. More stupid rules follow and you all know how much I am opposed to interference of personal liberties. Fortunately, MA is handling most of that. I really hate when question about why a rule is in place, people do not have a good answer. If that is the case, then don’t have the stupid rule.

Z got a significant haircut. Seems a little “old” for her but it doesn’t look bad (aka, like the Max incident). She looks somewhat like a cartoon character in that she is skinny as a pole then she has this big bob for a head.

Max is a still good but starting to be loud and opinionated. Fortunately, he is also easy to distract. He then returns to giggling. We like that.

It will be interesting to see how Meghan reacts to this change at home. She is use to doing almost everything with her sister. I fear that it will not go well.

Have not watched a movie in several weeks but did pop out to see Harry Potter while up north. It was as little slow but I remain a fan.

Still not a fan of Obamacare and the increased rhetoric on both sides of the aisle. So much FUD on the GOP side. So much BS, lack of representation and intimidation being put out on the Democrats side. Geez. I HOPE that this break really has people ready to sit down, start over and think about what the best thing to do really is. I doubt it since there are already calls for “win one for Teddy” going on…. That is not being open-minded.

A government option is a disaster. Obama found that out until his socialist backers made him reconsider and put that back in. The answers are simple: tort reform has to come first. Increased competition – across state lines. Less governmental requirements. Tax breaks for coverage – be it direct, through savings accounts and or donations. Encouraged proactive services. Personal accountability and choice. Very little that I have heard from democrats do ANY of these things. You don’t hear about Republican options – which do SOME of these things – because democrats will not let the bills come up or get amendments offered (thanks Pelosi). Plus, they have been too busy stopping the train than selling the new course. I hate that. I wish we could just get it all out there and discuss the best options versus having winners and losers.

I’m not going to say a lot about Ted Kennedy. I know he had done some good things but he was not the saint that he is being portrayed as today. If the Mass government changes the law again to put another Senator in a purely partisan manner, they should be removed from office. That is all I am going to say.

BTW, the CEO of Whole Foods rocks. He supports most of the above (and a few other things I am not so sure about). Glad he had the stones to be a good American and offer an opinion. To those bastards that want to intimidate him by misrepresenting what he wrote and organizing a boycott, go ahead. Ironically, he is one of the most pro-labor CEOs out there so go ahead and bite your own hand off. I’ll shop there any day. More so now.

Whatelse… this whole foods thing reminds me. Okay, I’m not a big organic, gluten free, farm raised, ‘fair trade’, etc nut job, but I do believe in saving energy and generally trying to be a good steward of this earth. I have re-usable bottles for water, have looked into alternative energy, have radiant barrier installed in my attic, etc. I also use recyclable batteries for cameras and toys (which consume them without end). What I was not aware of was why these batteries were never as good as other ones. Well, two reasons – I was using the wrong batteries and more importantly, the wrong chargers. I did some research on this. Most battery chargers are worthless. They do a piss poor job and ultimately, you toss the batteries get frustrated and get other ones. Well, invest in a good charger (aka – a Lacrosse and Maha). I just got a high end Maha that should keep things humming at home for some time. They are not cheap but neither are batteries and over time I think I will come out financially ahead – I know I will come out environmentally a head. Also, best batteries out there – eneloop (you can get them on line at places like amazon.com – and are my personal favorite for my camera flash), rayovac IC3s and the high end Duracells (2650). So, if you go through AA or AAA a lot like I do, please think about doing your wallet and planet a favor….