Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Greats...

Amelia played with the Great Grandparents for a little while today, fun.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Old Friends...

There are certain people that come into your life that just kind of, well, stick.
Wayne McGee is one of those people. We met at church camp way back when and just hit it off. We both bonded with some music and a wicked sense of humor. Wayne was in a band called "Cornerstone" and when Mark went off to college, Wayne and Jon invited me to fill the spot. We had many adventures including breaking into Matt Davilla's apartment at 4 in the morning (with Matt and his wife sleeping) so the 3 of us guys could get some sleep in their spare bedroom. To this day I still have no clue what we were thinking...
I spent many nights under the McGee roof and fell in love with his family. I went to piano tuning school and Wayne went to school in Kentucky. He and his bride raised a family living in the bush of Africa, then in London. 26 years later I'm sitting in an eatery with Wayne and his beautiful wife Sue sharing life stories and many laughs. The years seem to have disappeared and I was having a hard time with the concept of how much time has passed.
Wayne and Sue, fortunate to be able to call them friends...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Labor of Love...

What a great song.

Friday, December 26, 2008

A 3x5 tradition...

One of my favorite recipes Kim has up her sleeve is her cranberry salad. It arrives every year and I enjoy it very much and am always sad when it's gone. This year it was 2 batches. When putting things away I noticed Kim's recipe card and was amazed at the condition. I then found out that the card itself is over 25 years old. A simple 3x5 card that has been around the block a few times and is still holding up. It was kind of a surreal moment to think how many holidays this card has been a part of. A simple card transformed into a tradition....interesting.

1 13oz can of crushed pineapple
2 small packages of cherry jello
1 cup of sugar
2tbl lemon juice
2 cups of ground cranberries (raw)
2 small peeled and chopped oranges
2 cups chopped celery
1 cup chopped walnuts

Drain pineapple and save the juice. Add water to the juice to make 1 cup.
Dissolve jello and sugar in 2 cups of boiling water, add pineapple juice and lemon juice. Chill until partially set
Add fruits, celery and nuts and mix together.
Fill your favorite mold and chill overnight.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Christmas day audible...

We had the kids over for breakfast and presents, very nice. By the time 11am hit we were supposed to head over to Michigan to have dinner at my sister's house. Fighting a bad cold there was just no way I was going to make it. After everyone napped, Kim, Evan and myself watched "The Quiet Man" and those two watched me sneeze and blow my nose for the rest of the day. I'm sure we missed a great meal because of me but there was just no way I was going to make it.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Desert island Christmas top 6

Taking a cue from Mark I decided to post my top 6 Christmas CD's. How do I choose do you ask? I'll let my iPod play count do the talking...

1. Lowen & Navarro - At Long Last...
2. Dave Grisman - Acoustic Christmas
3. Mel Torme - Christmas Songs
4. Magnatune Christmas Compilation From Steve Aubrey
5. Eric Tingstad and Nancy Rumbel - The Gift
6. A Canadian Brass Christmas

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Let it snow...

MeeMaw scored tonight!
Sensing Amelia was suffering from a bit of cabin fever she made a trip to the store
coming back with a sled and snow suit and a big load of PlayDoh (for later)
Olive and Kim sat by the door enjoying the show and taking pictures.
What a great evening with the wee one.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Decorating at the 2 foot level...

Kim started working on the tree and Amelia got so excited she grabbed the first pair of gloves she could find to help straighten out the branches. Kim then gave her the job of hanging ornaments. We wound up having a perfect half tree of activity, 2 feet tall.
I think it looks pretty dang good.

Short Video

Monday, December 1, 2008

Survival mode...

With the first snow of the season laying comfortably on the ground, I can faintly here the giggles of all the little flakes...."we're baaaack".

We live less than 5 minutes from 3 grocery stores, why is it I feel the need to stock up 2 months of food and supplies? We have enough wood to keeps us going for a long time.
Our furnace hasn't turned on in over a week. Throw 4 logs on, turn the vent down and that will stay burning for about 6 hours. We go through most of the winter with only our wood stove as our only source of heat. The upstairs is currently reading 77 deg.

Dark at 4:30, snow, Christmas music playing....winter is here.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

We are now both home...

Picked Kim up from the airport last night. It is good to have us both home at the same time!
Kim has a fascinating gig and should blog but I can't seem to get her into it.
I will post a few of her pics and maybe, just maybe if I massacre the text enough she will take over and give better stories. Kim leads pilgrimages for a small company/mission group to help Catholics to better understand their faith by visiting not only the actual sites where Jesus and his kin folk walked but Church history as well.
This trip was Egypt, Israel and Palestine.
Here we go...

It starts in Egypt with Joseph, Mary and Jesus and the escape from King Herod

See one Sphinx you've seen em all

I'm not quite sure about the trip order but I think from Egypt they go to Mt.Sinai, ride camels up that bad boy for a sunrise prayer service. Kim did that on the last trip so she slept in on this one.
Off to Israel. Kim got a rare treat of being able to stay at a very nice Kibbutz hotel over looking the Sea of Galilee.

She even had a hot tub or as I called it...a Jewcuzzi

Once in Jerusalem they take a wee journey about 2o minutes due South to Bethlehem. What's hard to imagine is that Bethlehem is controlled by Palestine not Israel. The tourist dollar is very important so security is very high.
Kim's group got word that someone in her group was going to be the 1 millionth person visiting Bethlehem this year (Article). They were met by the ministry of tourism for flowers, dancing and gifts. Kim was 1,000,016.

The staff for this trip...

Killer food the whole trip

Kim on the Sea of Galilee

They even got Kim to puff on a hookah...

There are so many more pictures and stories so I will have to just make her play show and tell...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Virtual is literally done

Anaheim - Done
San Jose - Done
San Francisco - Done
Minneapolis - Done
Chicago - Done
New York City - Done
Boston - Done
Washington DC - Done
Philly - Done
Atlanta - Done

The Virtualization tour is over and I have to say, even with the slight challenges we had, this was the best tour I have been on.

TC, Me, Brian, Zim

The best bunch of guys to travel with...


Monday, November 17, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Google Video...

I just tested the new video chat that Google is offering (free) with Mark from Tennessee.
It's part of Gmail and I must say it works pretty well. Check it out...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

been out too long...

Something tells me I've been hanging with the crew too long...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The boys (and girl) from 24

I was wondering how to tell this story without me getting hurt. The sad thing is I am serious. (the names and union numbers have been changed to protect...well, me)

One of our events was in San Francisco, a known union issue venue. We had to hire the local stagehand union to do everything we do. We weren't supposed to touch any of our gear. They turned out to be pretty cool, expensive but cool, they allowed us to set up our own technical points, mainly the stage connections. The part my company fell short on was how to get the gear out of the truck. You got it, they forgot to hire teamsters.
So I have 8 union stagehands standing around waiting for me to make a decision. I call local 24 and left a message, so I decided to have us unload the truck with out them.
Two hours later I get a call from the union saying they would send guys right over...gulp.
Me: "well, the truck is unloaded"
Them: "WHAT? WHO unloaded it?"
Me: "My personal crew, I had 8 guys from local 46 waiting and I couldn't wait any longer"
Them: "You know there's going to be a penalty"
Me: "As long as the penalty isn't me at the bottom of the San Fransisco bay, we'll deal with it"
Them: "Don't joke like that"
Me: "sorry"
Them: "You will pay the guys loading you out tomorrow each an extra 2 hours wages for you taking matters into your own hands.
Me: "done"
After the show we start to load out and three Samoans are waiting on the dock to load the truck. Right in the middle of the task, a truck pulls up and starts to unload gear on their own...uh oh.
Them: "Who are you and who's unloading you?"
The other them: "Local 46 from San Jose"
Them: "yeah, don't move, Bobby get over here"
Bobby was a 300+ pound guy in his 60's that dragged a chair to the back of their truck and just sat there. An hour later our load out was winding down, Bobby was still sitting there and three clients in suits were standing in amazement that their show was shut down by well....Bobby.
I was later told by the union rep that because we actually called, we didn't get punished as bad.
On to Boston. The hotel told us it was a non union dock so we should hire local temp guys (which we did). On third of the way through I get a call from the truck that two union guys are on their way to see me. Huh? wonderful. Sure enough local 24.
Me:"Hi guys, what's up?"
Them: "You have non union guys working on our dock"
Me: "I was told this was a non union dock"
Them: ""
By then the hotel manager showed up and announced security is on it's way. With one phone call an elevator opened up and I now had 12 teamsters standing all around me. I have very few gifts but I do have the gift of gab, I joked with the guys a bit and assured them that I was just stuck in the middle. They understood. Security shows and says "you know you guys can't do this on property"
Them: "fine let's take this outside"
After a 3 minute negotiation, the head teamster says I need to call this number which I already had in my cell phone.
Me: "oh Mike?"
Them: "you know him? We knew you were a good guy!"
I call my boss in Chicago and explain the situation. He calls Mike and pays for 4 guys to load in and 4 to load out. Each day is a 4 hour call so 4 guys 8 hours...3K. yup three THOUSAND dollars! The kicker was that on the load out there was a small teamster girl. We have 3 big projector cases that get stacked for shipping. One of the teamsters tells the girl to step aside and tells me to help him stack them...WHAT??
I like my knees so I did it.
Our trucker had to back into the dock and blocked traffic for only about 4 minutes. That made a cop mad so he pulls in with lights blazing. Our driver asked how else he was supposed to get in and that made the cop madder. The cop stated he had about 5 commercial violations that he was going to slap on us. The head union guy walked out and told the driver to go away. Three minutes later the guy comes back with the license and paper work then hands them back to the driver. The cop was gone. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I asked what happened and the guy just said, "hey, you're our friends now".

Question: How many Teamsters does it take to change a light bulb?
Answer: 27, got a problem with that?

I've been telling that joke for years, some how it's not as funny anymore.

DC, Philly, Atlanta....after that I am unemployed again...Joy.

At least I'm not hurt!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Dumpster diving AV style...

We normally steer clear of most hotel party food but these leftovers were too good to pass up! The hotel staff told us to go for it because it was all going to be thrown away. We can't let that happen, right? We created enough of a scene that even the Microsoft people jumped in on the action...

I was digg'n the hummus

Ed, our driver, had to go low for the spinach dip... hey, it was even still warm!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pumpkin time!!

Yes, it's that time of year again to head out to the pumpkin farm for a pony ride or two and pick out the best pumpkins we can find.
Man I love this time of year.