Friday, September 30, 2005

Random ramblings

Nothing specific to post today, but there were a few little things I thought I'd throw out there. I'll go in chronological order of thier occurance.

***
Of late, I've had many people (in the blog world and real world) tell either my wife or I that we're such good parents. The latest was an email from Aimee (thanks again for the note, you're a sweetee!). Whenever I hear someone say that, I think of the old Bugs Bunny cartoons, "You don't know me very well, do you?". Case in point: Last night, Maverick called for the Wife about an hour after we put him to bed. He usually is good about going to sleep. The Wife had just gotten comfortable in her chair so I asked him what he wanted. He wanted Mom and wouldn't tell me what he needed. So the Wife gets the cat off her lap, gets up, and checks on him. He needed his water glass filled. When asked why Dad couldn't do it, he replied that "Dad gets angry and you're more calm." Can you say body slam from the top rope? Ouch.

***
Today must be opposite day. If so no one told me. Usually, I have to fight with Maverick to get out of bed, get dressed, make his bed, etc. Grasshopper is always pretty good about getting up and getting ready and is always done before Maverick. Maverick usually needs 2 snooze bar hits before getting up. Today, he got after one snooze, was dressed, bed made, teeth brushed, everything, before Grasshopper even got in the bathroom. Usually Grasshopper is done first and we're waiting for Maverick before we can leave for day care. Also, I'm ususally a mean old bear in the mornings and the Wife is patient. Today, I was in a care free, great mood and the Wife was yelling at the boys.

People need to tell me when we have holidays like this.

***
I was listening to Joe Satriani's Surfing with the Alien on the way to work. I really love that CD. It makes me want to grab my guitar and just rock. Good mood combined with wailing guitar solos just makes the morning drive a pleasure.

***
I got tagged by Julie. This morning. Results will be below. The funny thing about it is it requires me to go to my 23rd post. I was just thinking last night that my blogiversary is coming up (October 12). So last night I was reading some of my original posts. I think she's psychic or something. I must also mention in public that I got to hear Julie's voice for the first time when I left her a message on her machine last night. She sounded just like I thought she would. Don't ask me why that struck me. It just did. Ok, now for Julie's tag:

The rules are:
1. Go into your archive.
2. Find your 23rd post.
3. Find the fifth sentence (or closest to).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
5. Tag five other people to do the same.


5th sentance is: She looks at them and her first response was "I liked the other picture better".

Ok, I now tag:
Brighton
Tracy
Renee
Melzie
Jude

Have at it!


Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Ah, So Young Grasshopper


Grasshopper in action

Grasshopper began his karate lessons this week. Doesn't he look tough? He was trying to sneer and look mean when we took his picture. He's had 2 lessons so far and is enjoying it. He's paying close attention and following instructions well. One of his friends from school is also in the class so there's the added social bonus.

I so want to take lessons with him. I've always wanted to study martial arts, but money was in the way. Even now, I can't afford lessons for both of us. However, I'm doing cub scouts with him this year so it will even out. If I could get out of a standing 4 pm Mon/Wed/Fri meeting, I could actually take him to his lessons. For now, the Wife is bringing him. But that should change soon.

I'm a little fearful for Maverick. If Grasshopper keeps up with his studies and becomes a Karate Master, he's going to kick his brother's butt. I may have eventually get him involved so he can defend himself.


Monday, September 26, 2005

My Meloncholy Blues

I'll preface this post by saying I'm probably going to get smacked by the Wife, at least to the extend she's going to tell me to Suck It Up, or probably, as we used to say back when I was in the Navy, "Wah, my pussy hurts." But I digress.

I had a very busy weekend. Saturday was spent mostly with Maverick. He had a golf lesson in the morning (passed his certification for the next level of lessons!), followed by a Cub Scout pack meeting, followed by 9 holes of golf with Maverick. As part of the his Birdie level certification, he had to play 9 holes. I decided to play with him, though I've never played golf in my life. I was quite comical. The first tee, it took me 8 or 9 swings to actually hit the ball with the club. Maverick had to give me pointers on how to line up on the ball. And he's 9. I managed to shoot an 84 on a par 34 course. As I said, I've never played in my life. It was great being out there with him, but I was tired and I'm still not sold on the game. I'll probably take some lessons to get better so we can go out golfing together, but it will be more for him than me. Anyway, by the time we got home and had dinner, I was done for the day.

Yesterday I woke up not wanting to do anything. Bascially I was not looking forward to the day as there was too much to do. We did the Walk for NAAR in the morning (many thanks to those that contributed, we exceeded our goal!). Then I had a few hours with nothing scheduled, which meant housework, then I had to be at church by 3:30 to rehearse follwed by Mass at 5. Dinner was after Mass, then get the boys ready for bed and get ready for school/work on Monday.

Basically, I woke up yesterday knowing I wasn't going to have a day to relax this past weekend. Normally I do indeed suck it up. But yesterday I woke up not wanting to deal with it. Essentially I was tired of being responsible and just wanted a day for me. Selfish I know, but what can I say. We can all be selfish at times. My mood was mostly crabby yesterday (as the Wife reminded me early that morning). When I told her I wasn't a morning person, she told me to "get over it". A wise woman but sometimes the truth is annoying.

We went to a program called Friday Connect Friday evening (hence the name) and while I didn't get a lot out of it, one thing I did get out of it is the need to let go of our needs/desires in favor of the needs/desires of others, which to me translated to the Wife and kids. I was really working on that Friday night and Saturday. Totally blew it yesterday. Probably the single hardest thing for me to let go of "me" time. We all need some, but it needs to be balanced. I have no idea how well I'm doing with that (Wife?) but I try.

As I said, sometimes the responsibility of raising kids, finances, schedules, church, everything, just overwhelms me and I can't take it any more. Nothing really to do but keep going, but man I just want a break. I try to resist the urge to fall into my favorite release from it all: music (duh). It's way to easy to shut out the outside world and just get lost in my favorite bands and songs. I just don't have that luxury any longer. So in the meantime, I'll just hang in there. I'm pretty sure I should have some time for me before I finally kick off. You know, maybe 15 minutes or so just before my heart stops beating.

Don't expect me
To behave perfectly
And wear that sunny smile
My guess is I'm in for a cloudy and overcast
Don't try and stop me
'Cos I'm heading for that stormy weather soon


Friday, September 23, 2005

Lovely Rita Hurricane

I've read that people are already coming up with many reasons why God seems to hate the Gulf coast. One was that it is a den of homosexual and deviant behavior. Another is that it's full of Red states. However, I don't think God hates the Gulf coast and is behind the nasty weather.

I think Satan's actually behind it all. Yes, Satan.

You see, the South is a Red/Republican bastion. The core of these Republicans are Conservative Christians. They're trying to make the U S of A a God fearing country again. Return us to those values our parents believed in when we had prayer in schools and Jews and Blacks knew their place. We didn't have all these problems back then.

Satan is having none of that. The Dark Lord is trying to create of world of chaos and Godlessnes, where abortion runs rampant, people are sleeping with whatever or whoever the heck the want to, our kids are turning to witchcraft, and Muslims are running the country. Satan simply cannot have these righteous people influencing political policy in any meaningful way. But how to stop them? Their furvor for converting their fellow men is contagious. They've taking over the government. They can't be stopped. What to do?

Of course! Kill them and destroy their cities! If they manage to escape with their lives, then they'll be so traumatized they won't even want to vote. Or better yet, will blame the Republican administration and Congress for allowing it to happen. Next thing you know, they'll start voting for Democrats, who we all know secretly worship Beelzebub. If Democrats are seen in a church, it is merely a ruse to lull the masses into believing they are actually Christians. Ravage enough of the South, and the Devil worshiping Liberals will again rule the land and our fall from grace will be complete. By the next generation, we will literally have Hell on Earth.

So don't be fooled, faithful readers. Take heed and remember my warning. Evil runs amuck through the land (and not just Evil Science). If you count yourselves amoung those that believe in fairness and equality of men, regardless of race, in individual rights and the separation of Church and state, repend and mend your ways, lest the coming storm sweep you away!


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Just Like Dad

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The Saxy Maverick

Maverick got his saxaphone yesterday and had his first lesson. He's totally excited about playing. He practiced for almost an hour yesterday and was dissapointed when we made him stop. He can't wait to get his hands on the thing. There's a lot of squeeking noises coming out of it right now, but he's doing well for a beginner.

As I've stated previously, I also began my musical journey through life on the sax. However, there is a BIG difference between he and I. Growing up, my parents never really supported me as a musician. The let me play sax, which meant they paid the annual rental fee for the instrument. Encouraging me to practice was another thing. As most of you are aware, a horn is not a quiet instrument. If I tried to practice somewhere comfortable, say the dining room or family room, they would yell at me that it was too loud so I should go somewhere else. My room was not a good option since it was directly over the family room and the TV. That left the basement. Yes, the damp, unfinished, absolutely not comfortable or conducive to practicing basement.

As you can well imagine, I didn't practice very often. With all due modesty (or perhaps not) it was only my born musical talent that allowed me to play at all well with only band practice once a week. I played from 4th grade to about 10th grade, after which I gave it up. Got in an arguement with the band director. Besides, by then I wanted to be a rock guitar god. Which I am. Just ask Dave Navarro. He wants to be me.

I think Maverick will have a much better experience than I had. Already I've been giving him tips on reading music, playing the sax (what I can remember from WAY back when), and learning rythem. All in all I'm much more interested than my parents were. And I don't mind all the noise he's making right now. As the Wife stated to me, "I'm surprised it's making any sax like sounds at all." He loves the and I won't take that away from him.

So watch out world, I've got a torch in my hand, and there's a kid eyeing it. He's itching to get his hands on it and begin a family tradition of musical geniuses (at least in our own minds) that will take over the world! I can't wait until we can rock out together.


Monday, September 19, 2005

Rambling more than musing

Haven't posted in a couple of days so I thought I'd just throw some stuff out there as to what's going on.

First and foremost, our walk for Autism research is this coming Sunday. If you haven't donated but would like to, please click the link to the right for information. Many thanks to all of you that have already donated. We're over half way to our goal. I know with everyone raising money for hurricane relief that other charities can get forgotten. This is a worthwhile cause on an issue near and dear to our hearts, so help Grasshopper and other kids like him.

My church group rehearsed Thank You Lord (the song I wrote with Lois) tonight. It is sounding most excellent with an entire group. Everyone loved the song, so many thanks to Lois for sharing an awesome lyric. You totally rock Lois!

The weekend was a little hectic. We decided to go to our local outlet mall on Saturday. We had originally planned to stay a couple of hours. Nearly 6 hours later, we're several hundred dollars poorer and have a truck load full of clothes and other goodies. The boys were introduced to power shopping by the Wife. I'm not sure it's an experience they are ready to repeat any time soon. We did have an excellent dinner at a small outdoor cafe there and found the most heavenly chocolate shop, Harry and David. They had chocolate blueberries, chocolate covered cherries, and chocolate covered raisins that were undescribably delicious. The chocolate covered cherries were my favorite. And they give you samples of whatever you like! I so hated leaving that store.

Sunday was spent out doing "stuff". There was church in the morning, where the entire family attends and we all sit in the pews. Then I had to stop by my parent's place to first figure out why the satelite reciever had sound but no video (video cable not plugged in) and why the new DVD burner would record properly (quick setting change). Then I had to run to the grocery store with Maverick to do the weekly shopping and fullfill one of the requirements for his Family Pin for cub scouts. Then we had to run to Target to get a few more things. THEN I had to get back to church by 3 to set up and reahearse for Sunday evening Mass. After that, make lunches for the kids, get them showers, and put them to bed. Whew! What a day.

And to top it all off, I'm so busy at work, I can't even take a normal lunch and check out all my favorite blogs. As the saying goes, I'm so busy at work I can't get my personal stuff done. I need a clone or something so I have time to get everything done.


Thursday, September 15, 2005

Modern Times Rock and Roll

I've officially booked my stay near the Continental Arena for the October Queen concert. I'm going to NYC baby! I'll be driving in on Friday of that weekend and leaving Monday after the concert. Hopefully I can hook up with Julie while I'm there. We need to plan our final itererary, but the Wife and I have decided that necessary touristy visits must include the Intrepid museum, the Empire State Building, FAO Schwartz, and probably St. Patrick's Cathedral. We're going to probably hit Central Park, but after that it's whatever we can squeeze in.

In other music related meanderings (Wife , you may safely ignore the rest of this of this post as I will be talking strickly music), as I was mowing the lawn tonight, once my contemplations of Einstein's theory of relativity and meditation on the sound of one hand clapping ran their course, I got to thinking of Rock Star INXS.

For those that haven't watched, the group INXS is looking for a new lead singer by doing a reality show. Their old singer commited suicide 10 years ago. They've basically fallen off the face of the earth until now. I saw a comment by Brian May on his website that the band basically sold out to Hollywood to get publicity. Unfortunately, I must agree.

I've been in the situation of picking a new band member. What it really takes is playing music with the person for about 30 minutes. If you don't get that "click" with them in that time, it ain't happening. I can usually tell after playing one or two songs. When my band Al's Neighbors was looking for a bassist, we auditioned many. The one we chose did ok on the songs that we asked her to learn. However, it was the third song that did it. We just pulled out something we all knew but hadn't rehearsed: Skynyrd's Gimme Three Steps. By the time we got to the first lyric of the song, I KNEW. The groove was there, the music was hot, it was HAPPENING! She was with our band a long time and is probably the best bassist I've ever worked with. It didn't take no 10 weeks with the public voting to figure it out.

All that being said, I hope JD gets the job. Of those left, I think he's the best fit. His style compliments thier old stuff, and he's a good song writer. Marty has a great voice, but he needs to be in an alternative rock band where he call be moody and evil looking always wearing black and screaming into the mike. Mig is pretty good, and has the advantage of being an alumnus of We Will Rock You, but I think his song writing skills are weak.

My biggest bitch with the show is how many times they mention the band's name. After all, what member of a band refers to themselves in the third person, "our band, INXS". It's like some cheesy wrestling thing. "The Rock says know your role!" And they mention the name, like 70 times a show. And don't get me started with Brooke Burke. Who is she anyway? Never heard of her before. And her wardrobes! Oh my God someone needs to bitch slap whoever picks those things out.


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Who made who?

The Wife and I were watching Rock Star INXS last night. Dave Navarro was playing guitar on some of the songs with the house band. (Totally unrelated, that house band is WAY better than INXS and should take one of the singers on the road and cut their own album. They rock!). As she's watching him move around on stage she says:

"You play guitar just like Dave Navarro. You lean back like he does and play the same way."

My response:

"Actually, Dave Navarro plays like me."

After all, what rocker wouldn't want to emulate me. Am I right?


Monday, September 12, 2005

Still here

Everyone,

Just wanted to let you know that for whatever reason, the need to write has been escaping me lately. I'm still going to be around, however, I may not update as frequently. I certainly will post when I have something to say. Same with reading blogs. I will certainly comment on your sites when there is something worthwhile for me to say.

Don't want anyone to think I've abandoned them.


Friday, September 09, 2005

The Wife Here

Okay, with LOTS of assistance, I finally figured how to post on this thing. That's why until now all my comments were just that - comments. Anyway, I want to clarify some stuff about my recent blood work. In general I am in good health. I am definitely not overweight (actually quite underweight), and have no health issues. My gynecologist sends me for bloodwork once a year (he's guaranteed to see me at least once a year - as long as I want my birth control pills. I only see my regular doctor when I'm sick). So I went for the usual workup. My individual cholesterol numbers (LDL and HDL) came back normal, and my total cholesterol was only slightly high (201). My glucose and other tests came back fine. The one that concerned my doctor was the triglyceride level (216). He sent an information sheet along with the results.

I then went on the American Heart Association website to find out exactly what triglycerides are. During my research, I discovered an article that claims that a high triglyceride level can increase your chance of having a stroke by 30%. Yes, 30%!! Okay, at that point I was concerned. I don't know how reliable this study is, but the information was on the AHA website. Now a little bit of history. My father died 3 years ago, eight weeks after suffering a stroke. During those 8 weeks, he was unable to communicate. I really think his mind was shot at that point. And he was physically unable to move. He couldn't even sit upright in a chair. They had to tie him to the chair to keep him from falling out. He was also unable to swallow, which led to pneumonia, chest tubes and the respirator. It was not pretty. My father was always in good health, NEVER had a weight problem, and actually had low blood pressure. However, he did have rheumatic fever as a child, and that's what I attributed his heart trouble to. He had at least two TIA's (mini strokes) before the last stroke.

So this is why I am so concerned. I saw the suffering my father went through for 8 weeks, while being unable to communicate his wishes concerning his health care. If I know my father, he wouldn't want to be on a respirator at all. I also have a history of heart disease on my mother's side. She had to have two angioplasties, and suffered a couple of small heart attacks she didn't even know about. The ironic thing is that it wasn't the heart disease that killed her, it was lung cancer.

As I said, I am in generally good health. No weight issues, no diabetes, I don't smoke, etc. And I want to keep it that way!! So wish us luck on modifying out diet and getting some regular exercise. And Vince, don't forget that a metal casket is just fine for me. They're cheaper than the wood ones. Make sure my funeral mass ends with City of God.


Thursday, September 08, 2005

Out of the Dark Ages

I've made it into the modern world and am finally on high speed access at home. As I type this, I'm on my laptop going through my wireless network card to my wireless router over a very fast DSL connection. Hurray! It took a while to get everything configure, but I've got my workstation and my laptop going. The last thing to do is get the server up and running. That will require a little more work. But I'm in good shape.

Along with the change to DSL is a change in email address. You can reach me on my public account, notsidewinder@frontiernet.net. Sidewinder@frontiernet.net was taken, so I'm not him. My email link to the right has been updated. For those of you with my private email address, I'll be updating you shortly. My old email address will work for the next few weeks while I get everything converted over. I'll have to update about a dozen sites and about 50 people.

For those with laptops, I recommend getting a wireless card. When I was configuring mine, I found 3 other networks in range that were wide open. I even connected to one and was surfing on someone else's dime. Free internet is a good thing. All for a $40 network card. Very cool. Sleep tight kiddies!


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Can't think of a title

It's unusual for me to post twice in a day, but my previous post was written the other day and I wanted to throw this down on paper now (OK, typing on the internet is not like writing on paper, you know what I mean). The Wife got the results from some blood work back and had slightly high cholesterol levels and high triglyceride levels. She's concerned about her health since heart disease runs in her family. And since she's concerned about her health, I'm concerned as well.

She wants to start walking to get more excersize. I'm totally cool with that and we need to work it into our routine. It could be a good excuse for me to get back on my roller blades. Anything it takes to keep the little lady heathly. Because she simply cannot die before me. It would crush me. That may sound selfish, but I can't imagine her not being around.

Words cannot express my feelings for her so I won't put them here. She knows, as I've told her many times. However I worry when she worries, and writing it down helps a little.


Recording update

Here’s the music update I know you’ve all been waiting for: I finally got my ass in the studio last Friday. I haven’t had a chance to record all summer. I went in to finish some guitar tracks and start recording vocals. I was a little tense when I got there. There was some confusion between the Wife and I on the time I was going to start which resulted in a very quiet dinner. I had a very difficult time laying down the guitar solo tracks for Hearts of Stone. I had trouble relaxing, coupled with the fact the ideas I had for it weren’t working. In the end, I came up with something that I felt came out ok. I also laid down a lead for Matthew 7:25. I had the lead completely worked out for that one and got it basically in one take. A minor punch in at the end and it was good.

The rest of the evening consisted of vocals for Hearts of Stone, Matthew 7:25, Voice of the Spirit, Give It All To You, Blessings, and Calvary Hill. I started out with the easy vocal songs. Without getting into too much detail, I double tracked many of the songs and added harmonies to most of them. The one I probably had the most trouble with was the last one I did, Blessings. I never really liked the scratch vocal I came up with but couldn’t come up with a better melody. Even after recording the initial vocal, I didn’t think much of it. However, I double tracked it and liked it much better.

The song was quite emotional for me. As I mentioned previously, there was a little tension when I left the house. I was reviewing the lyrics before I began recording. This verse really hit me:

Anger, dwelling deep within my heart
Hurting, family ties are torn apart
Selfish, ignoring those you love the most
Asking, show me how to let it go

I wrote that verse when I was in a similar mood. It reminded me that I can be a real asshole sometimes. I really hate it when I remind myself what a jerk I can be. The result for the song, however, is a haunting vocal. The song itself is rather up beat, but the vocal has some emotion to it. I was rather satisfied with the result.

I was paid a very nice compliment by the recording engineer. He said he know someone that was working on a CD. She plays piano and is writing songs she hopes to record and sell. She needs someone to help arrange the songs. He thought I would be perfect to assist her and that he felt I was a very good arranger. I never really thought of myself as someone that arranges music. I just write stuff and play and sing what I hear in my head. I hear a melody, and I can just hear the harmony trying to get out. Or I can feel what the bass, drums, or rhythm guitar should be doing. It’s more instinctive than anything. I mentioned that while it sounded interesting, I couldn’t commit to anything with everything else going on. It turns out she won’t need an arranger for some time, so perhaps it’s something I can look at in the future. You know, for a fee. Giving away my music is one thing. Working on someone else’s for free, that’s another thing entirely.

Next step is to finish the assorted instrument tracks and vocal tracks. I need lead guitar and a sax solo on Voice of the Spirit, piano on Give It all To You, and perhaps some percussion tracks on a couple of songs. I still need to do vocals on I’m Coming Home, Power of Darkness, Lament, and Shout for Joy. Then I can mix it down. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but it will probably (hopefully?) be ready for a Christmas release. Wish me luck!



Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Weekend Festivities

Hope everyone’s Labor Day weekend was enjoyable. The weekend was spent preparing for and hosting our Second Annual Labor Day Bash. We used the holiday weekend last year to have a house warming party for our high school gang and decided to make it an annual event.

While the party got off to a slightly late start, it went rather well. We cooked out and everyone brought something. It’s a lot of fun to hang out with your pals and munch on food. Back in high school, the “gang” I hung out with consisted of myself and the Wife (yes, we go that far back), and 6 other females. I got involved with them because R. played the clarinet and sat next to me in band (yes, I was a band geek too). She later switched to sax, which I also played. In any event, I basically weasled my way into a group of females and became the only male member.

Since high school, we’ve lost touch with one of the gals. One of the others separated from her husband and he’s remained a member of the group while we haven’t heard from L. in a long time. But the rest of the group is intact. All are married but two. The way it worked out this year is that only one spouse showed up, so we had a great time chatting. My buddy R. has two daughters, one born 20 days before Maverick, the other born 10 days before Grasshopper. Maverick attended a soccer game with a friend so Grasshopper had the two gals to himself. A chip off the old block. He had a wonderful time having someone to boss around that actually listened to him.

The story of Maverick’s game is quite amusing. He had a message on our machine from a friend of his from day camp. They hadn’t seen each other since we took the two of them to a baseball game in May. They go to different schools and don’t get to play much. Maverick called back the next day and had to leave a message for his friend. We were out shopping at Sears for clothes (tax free week, after all) and who did we bump into? Maverick’s friend and parents. They had even stopped by our house just after we’d left to go shopping. They had been calling to invite Maverick to the game. He had an awesome time, grabbed a free T-shirt they tossed into the stands, and got lots of player’s autographs.

Labor Day was spent doing a few odd jobs. I changed the oil in my care (2000 miles overdue), fixed a bird feeder, and purchased a wireless router and wireless card for my laptop. I should have my DSL modem this week and will need to set things up then. Later we went to my parent’s for dinner. My cousin was there as well, so it was good to see him. We don’t see each other as much since his wife died last year. All in all it was a slow day. The kids go back to school Wednesday (YEAH!). Tuesday they’ll be in Fun Club at the YMCA. They’re going to have to start getting used to getting up early again.

I’ll be posting later this week about how recording went on Friday. I’ve got a few songs in the can, but I’m not done yet. Soon, my eager fans, soon. Hope everyone’s Labor Day weekend was relaxing and stress free.



Friday, September 02, 2005

Not much to say

With all that's been going on, there's really not much I have to say. I've got a couple of quick updates:

- I've linked Melzie's Monologue to my blog roll. She's very sweet with an ADHD child so I can relate.

- I'll be going into the studio tonight to record more tracks for the Voice of the Spirit CD. Time to get moving and get it finished.

- I'm finally going to make the move to high speed and get off dial up. I havn't decided yet whether I'm going cable or DSL, but I'm leaning towards DSL since they have a better deal right now. I'll let everyone know my new email address when I make the switch.

- I want to send a public shout out to Lois Lane. She and her mom were VERY generous in supporting Grasshopper and our austim walk. She and I have had many emails go back and forth the last couple of days and she is the greatest. I place her third on the list of awesome women in my life, after the Wife and my mom. Lois amazes me with her ability to give of herself. If you haven't read her blog, go there now!

- Our second annual Labor Day party is Sunday. Hopefully I'll have good stories next week.

Hope everyone has a great Labor Day weekend!