And we're baaack! It's 1:43 in the PM, and here's what has been going on.
After the last post there was some significant driving, both on Thursday evening and Friday after an overnight at Norris Dam State Park in Tennessee. We made great time, though, and caught a Florida sunset before heading to Anna Maria and the Facheris residence. There, we met dogs and hit the tropical backyard for a dip in the pool. (I was going to post a picture of their backyard, but all the other backyards on the internet would be jealous.)
Saturday was the big day. From top to bottom, soup to nuts, a blue sky and green grass day. We started things off with a leisurely morning, then found citrus: a cafe for lunch. Both of us opted for the excellent special, a southwestern chicken salad. After lunch it was just a hop, skip, and jump to Pastry Art, where we had a fruit tart for dessert. From there, wedding time! The ceremony itself was a full Catholic wedding mass, which was new to this protestant. The priest was pretty funny ("it's just bottled up" said Jenelle) and all was very nice. Then we cruised past the McKay's house before heading to College Hall for the reception. We were greeted by a steel drum, cheese trays, and aperitifs al fresco, followed by a fantastic dance in the hall before dinner and dancing all around. A great night!
Sunday was First Church in the morning, then lunch at Tijuana Flats before an afternoon in Big Pass aboard Aquarius. We hung out on ziplines and watched crabs coast by on the tidal current. In the evening we headed to JP Igloo to watch some amateur hockey, then back to Anna Maria for a glass of wine and enjoying a nice evening.
Monday was our big day in Sarasota - St. Armands, downtown, MPYD, etc. In the evening we walked the Anna Maria beach and went to Tropical Treats with Zachary and Patrick and Patrick and Maria. Tuesday we hit the beach again before heading out to get to Georgia just in time for a great meal prepared by Match and an evening with Butch, Match, Lisa, and Greg. Wednesday was the rest of the trip home, picking up Oliver, and trying to shake off a nasty case of bus legs.
Just killing the last hour before getting heading off to a Michigan Mentorships meeting and then departing for Florida...online at the Garden Cafe inside 2200 Fuller Court.
Last night I headed over to the Fletcher Parking Structure at 10:00 to check out a Top of the Park movie for the first time. The feature was "The Princess Bride," which seems rather a strange film for a 20-something dude to be into, but I love the characters and their quirks. I also love sitting outside on clear Michigan evenings eating Stucchi's Mint Chip and watching a movie with a thousand other people.
posted at 2:28 PM - comments
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Practically speaking, I finished my Masters of Engineering just now. Technically speaking, there is still a matter of three more credits to be taken this fall, but since I have to take them anyway for my MBA they don't count in my head. All the same, it's done for me. I thought I'd feel different. There's a post-NA579 team gathering at Dominic's that sounds pretty nice, so I'm going to do that and call it fanfare.
So now it's on to a week off and a trip south and a trip north. Call it summer, I guess, on the heels of yesterday's news. At any rate I am excited about heading back to Sarasota and seeing people and having a lovely road trip.
Robin (and fam) left for Chicago this morning, the first leg of a long trip for her. Seems odd that that is going on and I'm fairly removed from it, but I suppose she's a grown-up, too, and doesn't need anybody to monitor her.
posted at 2:50 PM - comments
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
On a day when I was technically supposed to be giving a huge presentation, things went pretty normally. In my Tuesday at Ten meeting with my GSRA advisor I was told of my selection as a docent for the U-M NA & ME Naval Design Short Course taking place this summer. Long story short, I get to take the course and get paid (fairly well) to do it. The downside is that I'll be back to 40-hour weeks, which might actually be a good thing...a little structure before two years 'drinking from a fire hose' probably never hurt anybody.
posted at 2:11 PM - comments
Monday, June 20, 2005
Well well well. Fluidity, liquidity, adaptability, flexibility are all admirable qualities for a blog, and I'm going to be using them today. I had a whole spiel prepared about teams and projects and keeping up appearances and writing down appointments, but then when the afternoon's debacle of a presentation had wound down I got a very laid-back email from Nicky-D of Webb days announcing his engagement to the lovely Miss Bonnie over the weekend. There was going to be a rant supreme about doing your duty to your team, or about making free throws, or about D-ing up on the inbounder, or about finding tires that work and making amends, but instead I've just got two pictures of happy (albeit partially rained-on) people, some of whom are wearing heavy heavy jewelry. Anyway, that put a smile on my face today and lifted my spirits on what might have been a pretty somber evening otherwise.
posted at 5:21 PM - comments
Thursday, June 16, 2005
The early years of this blog featured many, many single-paragraph posts, but lately that style has gone away a bit. Not today though; there's not much to blog and that's fine by me. NA 579 has moved front and center for a couple of days and I'm OK with that, too. One last M Eng push and then it is really and truly summer vacation.
posted at 1:43 PM - comments
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
At the end of the day, blogging is about writing. Deep down inside some of us enjoy writing; the chance to vent, to share, to hear what one thinks is a gift. The flip is that a few days off can seem an eternity. I used to lament at the difficulty of keeping content fresh (stagnant content will kill the internet) but now I feel like there is no limit to my freshness.
Back in Michigan it has been a few days of misc. fun stuff. Mostly. Sunday night we watched some hoops and made great spaghetti. Monday saw quite a bit of car repair to the Taurus then a return to Ann Arbor, swimming in the pool, some frisbee, and Wes Anderson's "The Life Aquatic." Yesterday I had meetings and some work, then we tinkered with bikes and rode into Ann Arbor to eat at Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger, who has (no exxageration necessary) the very finest burgers ever. Seriously people, Fatburger is all well and good but I'd bet the Big House on the shack at Packard and Division having a superior meat sandwich. After dodging the rain and a coronary on the way home, more swimming and frisbee and the excellent "Spanglish."
This morning I made my way to the dentist, a hair cut, and the office for a Michigan Mentoring meeting. I signed up to mentor - loan eight hours to - a youngster from a local school district in the ways of NA/ME. Even though I think I did what I could (often only after my parents' encouragement) to help myself, it's nice to think that somebody not that different from me will have a better view of what they are getting into. Plus, mentoring pays cash money. I find this kind of weird, but mentors have to eat, too.
posted at 1:43 PM - comments
Sunday, June 12, 2005
Pretty good day on Friday, all told. My meeting (and tour) in the morning at David Taylor Model Basin yielded good information, useful stuff, food for thought, and some NavArch eye candy. Then to the Navy Yard where things could have gone better but no damage was done.
In the evening, Anthony and I checked out the World War II Memorial on the Mall before heading to Dupont for dinner at the California Pizza Kitchen and then on to Adams-Morgan for a round at sleepy Tom Tom before heading to a house party with his housemates from Bethesda at a swanky townhouse.
Up a little slowly today, taking our time before heading to Great Falls National Park on the Potomac for a mini-hike along the river. It was mighty hot, so we went back to Anthony's but discovered the pool was reserved. Instead, we drove downtown and checked out the International Spy Museum (interesting) and the events leading up to the Tyson fight (not). Then we were off to Georgetown for a BBQ dinner at Old Glory and a touch of window shopping and people watching. The night wound down in McLean with very funny Shaun of the Dead.posted at 12:25 AM - comments
Thursday, June 09, 2005
When I imagined being in school again, I had not imagined the professional nature of being a graduate student. Consider that an appropriate segue to my announcement that this post comes live from Washington DC, or, more accurately, McLean Virginia.
Yesterday Jenelle and I headed into Ann Arbor to try Noodles & Co and Stucchi's, but also wandered a majority of Ann Arbor and enjoyed the fine summer evening. People were out and it was like a midsummer fair, except that it was just a normal Tuesday.
Tonight (and each until Sunday) I'm at Anthony's place, hanging out and watching the Pistons and gearing up for meetings at Carderock and Washington Navy Yard tomorrow regarding my GSRA research.
posted at 8:38 PM - comments
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
Thank goodness for one more day of nice weather, since much of what occupies floor space at 409B is outside on the balcony today while the carpets are steam cleaned. Fortunately for me, the couch and table which are too nice to chance even a few hours out doors both fit into my (apparently not-so-) tiny kitchen. Either way, moving house, even if just a little bit, isn't that fun.
This morning I had to trek down to Wolverine Tower to pick up a waylaid check and I discovered on my return home that Ann Arbor is a sleepy place at 9:15 on a summer Tuesday. Bivvy and Goodwill weren't open and Steve & Barry's still had boxes piled everywhere. Even in a college town, who can wait until 10 AM to take care of personal business? My man Nate has a post about how the Italians seemed to have plenty of leisure time while waiting for the announcement of a new pope, and it is much the same around here.
Two sports-themed things crossed paths yesterday...I watched part of Seabiscuit and the Detroit Pistons clashed with the Miami Heat. Just like the 'biscuit did to War Admiral, Detroit's steady-mobbin' collection of anti-stars took it to the Heat. Just like last year, this team makes professional basketball fun to watch; they make professional basketball feel like college basketball. When the Pistons are on, people miss shots, fundamentally sound defense is showcased, and an actual offense runs like a top - a far cry from the NBA standby of 5 on 5 games of 'HORSE' that usually take to the airwaves in June.
posted at 2:38 PM - comments
Monday, June 06, 2005
In the Midwest, sunny days are generally punctuated by an ever-so-slight polka-dotting of the sky by tiny, puffy, ultrahigh clouds that scroll from horizon to horizon in a lazy progression of sun and shade. During 'the Florida years' I got totally used to the constant sun of cloudless days, but being back around a Midwestern summer makes me realize the beauty of the occasional cloud and the blessing of an occasional sunshadow.
Lots of weekend activity to post, starting with a killer al fresco meal that hearkened back to last fall's pre-football feasts: spicy venison brats (thanks Bill!) and corn on the cob. Saturday we chose an ad hoc trip to Lansing's Potter Park Zoo. Local zoos are what they are, but Potter Park is pretty impressive. We saw three baby Amur (Siberian) Tiger cubs, snow leopards, a lion, two wolves howling at the tornado whistle, and many a monkey, oryx, peacock, and so on. After the zoo, we headed back to Woodbridge to hit the pool, forage for some lunch, and get ready for the evening's MSU Library Circulation Department (are you ready for this?) Bar Crawl. Basically, we met about a dozen other 'brarians and took in the festivities around the great city of East Lansing...Crunchy's, Harper's, Lou & Harry's, and B-dubs. Sunday was meant to be an outing to the park, but the park was slammed, so we used the lawn at Jenelle's and then made a foray to Meijer for ingredients for a day-early birthday feast for Robin that included Italian bread with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, hot bacon dressing over spinach greens tossed with hard-boiled egg, spanikopita, and rhubarb cobbler a la mode. We also enjoyed a fine white wine from Leelanau Cellars with the meal, a fine complement to a hot summer day if I don't say so myself. Afterwards we hit Cold Stone and then The Post, where we met Robin's formerly imaginary friend Sarah.
Robin's birthday (today, #22, well done, rah rah sis-boom-bah!) is a fine time to advertise the launch of Robin @ Thailand. This new blog will help Robin keep all of the friendly and familial readers of BrownCow up to speed on the shape of her world. (And, please note, a quick and easy link to Robin @ Thailand appears in the "Intranet Reference" menu to the left.)
Last evening we actually did some entertaining! Thomas Richir, all the way from Belgium, is at U-M NA/ME doing some PhD work and happens to be in Office #138 most of the time. Recalling from winter work days how nice a meal with other people gets to be after a few weeks, we asked Thomas to join us for dinner. He obliged and we had quite a nice conversation over pork chops and key lime pie. Did anybody know that Belgians start school at age three (3)? Can you imagine? The educator in the room suggested this was a good idea; I'm in bewilderment. Be that as it may, it is good to hear of other cultures, even ones not unlike our own. Plus, there was key lime pie for dessert, did I mention that?
posted at 1:01 PM - comments
Thursday, June 02, 2005
It is really feeling like summer these days. Last night Jenelle and I dined al fresco on the fourth-floor balcony at my place, the first time this year. Spaghetti and garlic bread and broccoli, a meal that I really enjoy, and pleasant late-evening light were more than enough to ring in a new season on the First of June.
After dinner and a swim and daiquiris we watched "Motorcycle Diaries." This is a Robert Redford-produced film about the life-changing tour of South America made by Ernesto "Che" Guevara as a young medical student. It seemed to be less about the revolution he led and more about the revolution within himself, which was something to see. Also worth seeing was the amazing, bigger-than-your-TV panoramic cinematography used to capture the enormity of South America. All in all, a very well done film. Two thumbs up plus one bonus point for using 'panorama' in consecutive posts.
posted at 10:53 AM - comments
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
No early summer celebration would be complete without a couple of pictures, so here goes nothing:
In the first, Jenelle and I appear in the foreground of a panorama taken over Little Bay de Noc on the evening of Eric and Paula Lundin's wedding. In the second, the re-assembled members of Rapid River High School's 1998 High School Bowl team appear together as part of their 'Reunion Tour,' which bears no significance and had actually not been called that until I typed it just now.
There's a strange subtlety to being in the right place at the right time, I'm learning. The subtle part is that you have to go and do stuff; my case in point was yesterday afternoon's trek over to the Red Cross' Ann Arbor Donor Center, where I left a pint of O+. Afterwards, once the tape had been ripped from my hairy forearms, I was introduced to Liz Cobbs at the cookie table. The result: an Ann Arbor News story that includes why I give blood. It seems odd that I'd be in the paper, but then again if you get out there and put yourself in enough places in time, I suppose the odds of this sort of thing happening are higher.
In the meantime, please give blood. It takes less than an hour, doesn't hurt, and will save somebody's life. We're not talking about, like, it 'will help them get a good job' or it 'will help them get a house.' Giving blood will help them not die. You get cookies, a sticker, probably a t-shirt, and a good feeling. Somebody whose life depends on it gets blood. The shortage is chronic and urgent, especially in the summer, so please donate today because somebody just like you might not be able to wait until tomorrow.