Archive for July, 2010

I’m Back!

Sorry for the later than normal post, but my family and I attended the Minnesota Twins-Tampa Bay Rays game last night and it was after midnight when we finally got home, so…

I slept in a little!

By the way, after blowing the lead with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, the Twins lost to the Rays 5 to 4. It was our first game at the new Target Field and what a beautiful stadium it is!


Take plenty of cash or make sure you have an ample amount of credit on your cards available when you go, cause you’ll need it!

Target Field-Minneapolis

Target Field-Minneapolis

You may have also noticied that I have been “MIA” the past week. I don’t think my mug appeared on any milk cartons, but it did seem like I was away for quite awhile!

I spent the past week with my oldest son and his Boy Scout Troop at a high adventure camp called “Sea Base” in the Florida Keys.

We were the crew on a sail boat called the “Island Rose” and we sailed around the Keys for the better part of a week. We returned to the Twin Cities this past Wednesday and I have been trying to get caught up ever since!

It was interesting attempting to draw a cartoon yesterday while still feeling like I was at sea! Even though I have been off the water since Tuesday, I’m still feeling the up and down motion of being on a boat!

It was certainly a trip of a lifetime and a memory I will always cherish since this was my son’s last “high adventure” trip as a scout.

Of course there were plenty of funny moments and I will go into much more detail in my coming posts!

With my son, sailing the Keys!

With my son, sailing the Keys!

Have a safe and happy 4th of July!

Fourth of July Fun!

I’m back at the drawing board this morning, still trying to get caught up following my trip to Florida and the holiday break!

While on the boat trip, I got used to sleeping in later than I normally do and with the holiday weekend it made it easier to hit the snooze button a couple of times!

Speaking of the weekend…

We almost had a nice relaxing weekend!

On Sunday, on our family enjoy a “spirited” round of “putt-putt” golf, which is kind of a summer tradition with us. This time however, we played on a course with real grass and none of those “hoaky” windmills and characters to maneuver!

It was a battle!

My two sons versus my wife, daughter & I!

Following a “grueling” back and forth match, my sons edged us out in the final holes to win and of course the bragging rights that go along with it!

Then we piled into our car and headed home, almost…

We were traveling in the far righthand lane, westbound on I-494 in Bloomington when a tractor trailer decided to change lanes into ours.

One slight problem…

He didn’t see us!

All of a sudden I felt a hit on the back rear of our car and for a moment thought the car might spin! The truck had hit us with his front bumper and fortunately, he wasn’t making a quick lane change and he was able to back off soon after he realized what he had done.

We both pulled over.

The driver was very apologetic and made sure we were all okay, which thankfully, we were.

We inspected the damage, which happened to be very minimal considering the size of his vehicle versus ours.

The Minnesota Highway Patrol soon arrived, we exchanged all of the necessary insurance info, etc…and we were back on way home, grateful that it wasn’t worse!

The irony of it was, the truck that hit us was from a local grocery store chain that my wife has dealt with many times over the years with her food industry job!

After we got home it was time to fire up the barbecue!

We enjoyed a dinner of barbecued chicken and a couple of side dishes. We piled the dishes in the sink and headed for our town’s Fourth of July festivities!

One thing our town does right is it’s Fourth of July gathering!

he setting is a local park near a small lake. There are food vendors, games for the kids and a terrific band on stage that plays for a couple of hours before the fireworks go off at 10:00 PM.

We arrived about 8:30, located our next door neighbors who had arrived before us and planted our chairs in our usual spot, which is near the stage, but at an angle that we aren’t blocked by a large tree when the fireworks go off!

We then enjoyed a band from Minneapolis called Synergy that played songs from the 70’s, 80’s & 90’s, plus even a couple of today’s hits.

The fireworks, set to music went off at 10:00 and didn’t disappoint!

The only thing that did were the number of people who decided they needed to photograph the display!

There was a near constant display of flash from cameras of people, who I guess planned to make a great scrapbook of our city’s 2010 fireworks!

Can you imagine dropping by their house in a few months and having to look through countless pictures of fireworks over the years?!

“You know, this year’s was good, but I’ve got a great shot of the grand finale from 1998 that really tops that!”

Do us all favor next year, reject the urge to photograph every burst of color you see!

They’re fireworks!

They are not a “once-in-a-lifetime” thing!

They set them off every year!

And in case you feel the need to see them more than once a year, there’ a local amusement park that sets them off each night during the summer!

Just enjoy them!

Hope your Fourth was safe and great!

P.S. The “Grand Finale” of our display was great, think I’ll do a search on “You-Tube” to see if anyone recorded it! (Gee, I hope so!)

Found It!

Check out the following link…

High Adventure!

As I mentioned last week, I recently returned from a week of sailing with my son and his Boy Scout Troop at Sea Base, which is a camp operated by the Boy Scouts of America. Sea Base is located about 75 miles from Miami on the Florida Keys (Islamorada, to be exact).

This was my oldest son’s last “high adventure” trip as a scout. He turns 18 in December and then will age out. A “high adventure” trip is a trip where the boys are participating in activities that they wouldn’t normally do on our monthly weekend outings. The trips are usually a week or more in length and as was in this case, a pretty hefty distance from home.

My son has gone on previous trips to Wyoming, where the troop backpacked for a week in the Big Horns Mountains, Phlimont, which is another BSA run camp in New Mexico, a “Sea To Sky” trip to Oregon and now, Sea Base.

I have never traveled with him on one of these trips.

One of my regrets.

Oh, I’ve done many weekend trips and even spent a week with my boys at a scout camp, which I enjoyed very much, but never one like this. And this was my last chance with my oldest!

One last chance to create a wonderful memory and the chance to spend a week with my son learning how to sail and being part of a crew on a sailboat!

The trip started very early for us, 5:00 AM was the meeting time for the group of 16 scouts and 8 adults who signed up well over a year ago for this trip. We met at a local school, in a driving rain, to quickly get a headcount, meet our drivers (who volunteered to take us to the airport at that early hour), load our gear and be on our way to the Minneapolis airport to catch our 7:30 AM flight to Miami.

The flight was uneventful, which is the best kind, and we landed in Miami on time.

The adult leader in charge of this journey soon found out that the bus company that was supposed to pick us up and take us to our Fort Lauderdale hotel was running just a “tad” late.

My definition of “tad” has always been, “small amount”, like, “be there in a couple of minutes”, apparently though, in south Florida it has a totally different meaning!

Oh, it started out as “Be there soon!”, but we quickly found out we had PLENTY of time to pay for & consume very overpriced airport food!

It became comical!

Every now and then we would receive word the bus was actually in transit but was encountering tremendous amounts of obstacles en route to Miami International Airport!

The excuses started to flow…

Another bus in the fleet had broken down.

Traffic was a mess.

Bad traffic on a bridge!

Road construction!

We were waiting for, “My dog ate my bus!” when we finally heard he was pulling in to pick us up!


Not on our level, which was currently the “baggage” level!

(The level most people use following arrival at an airport!)

No he needed to pick us up on the “departure” level since the designers of “MIA” must have not envisioned tour buses when they figured out the clearance needed for vehicles on the baggage level!

So, like the theme song from the TV show, “The Jefferson’s”, we were…

“Movin’ on up!”

Moving on up to the departure level!

That’s when we met him!

For the sake of protecting his identity, for whatever noble reason, I’ll call him, “Tony”! (Actually, he looked and acted much more like a “Tony” and I really believe his parents messed up on this one!)

A “northeasterner” transplant to the sunshine state!

You know how you can pretty well size someone up in a split second? Someone you’ve never met before in your whole life, but you instantly know what that person’s personality will be!

That was our “Tony”!

None of that sappy, “Sorry for the delay and I’ll do my very best to make it up to you guys!” for “Tony”!

Nope, he was instantly complaining about the speed to which our guys were loading their bags under the bus, which by the way, wasn’t slow at all! (It took about one minute to load our bags!)

It was almost like he was blaming us for his troubles!

Just a hunch, I don’t think “Tony” moonlights for Disney in his spare time!

But okay, relax, we’re finally on the bus, we’re in Florida, life is good! We’ll be at our hotel in no time and relaxing on the beach…

One slight problem…

We need to pick-up another troop at some “gatorland” place (which just happens to be halfway in between someplace and nowhere) and take them to the Fort Lauderdale airport!

You see, “Tony” was the kind of bus driver who liked to disclose his schedule on a “need-to-know” basis and that moment was pretty much when we were pulling into “Gatorland”!

We pulled into “Gatorland”, our boy honked twice and the troop came running! (They must have encountered “Tony” before!) One problem, they were a scout short! This didn’t make “Mr. Efficient” very happy! It seems the scout had briefly stopped off to use the restroom since he probably didn’t know if the bus ride would last 20 minutes or 20 hours!

“Hey, before I drop you guys off, I need to pick-up another group in Orlando!”

I must say, the Fort Lauderdale airport looked nice!

A rather clean, efficient looking airport!

Good news…

The bus was able to fit on the appropriate level!

We dropped off the troop, which was heading home to Wisconsin, and more importantly, we didn’t pick-up anyone else! We were finally on our way to our hotel!

Following a lot of “honking” by “Tony” at passing vehicles, he dropped us off at the “Bahia Cabana” in Fort Lauderdale around 4:00. (Two hours later than planned.) The scouts still had time to enjoy the beach and get their first taste of salt water!

The good news…

“Tony” was assigned to take us to Sea Base the following morning…

To Be Continued…

“Things I Learned This Week”…

I’ll cover a whole list of things I learned on the trip later next week, but I couldn’t pass up this one…

*We actually have a LEAGUE in this country for eating contests!

It’s called, “Major League Eating” and apparently the league was in a dispute with “star” eater, Takeru Kobayashi, which kept him from participating in Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island this past Sunday!

You know the contest…

Always on the Fourth of July…

The one where contestants see how many hot dogs and buns they can shove into their face in ten minutes and win, oh I don’t know, a t-shirt?

Who knew we actually had a league for this?

Who knew there was more than one of these contests a year?

Anyway, Joey Chestnut won the thing by “eating” 54 dogs in ten minutes!

Kobayashi tried to “crash” the event and won an all-inclusive stay at the county jail!

Happy Weekend!