Jul 17

A weekend in 100 words

My noggin threw me a super cool headache on Saturday morning. It was the sort of thing that turned sound up to 11 — which is better than the kind of headache where sound gets turned up to 43. Not so much loud as intense.

That was Saturday. Sunday I had a leftover headache. And I played with Allie:


And we also had company. Sally Ann and Spencer came up from Nashville for the evening. Sally Ann is a broadcast professor. Spencer is a professional newsman. We went out for dinner, watched Game of Thrones and talked all about the nerdy journalism stuff.

Jul 17

Your Monday status report

It was a successful race on Saturday. Everyone got finisher medals. Everyone set new personal records. Seventy point three is nothing to sneeze at. I’ve done it once. (Once.)

Afterward we sat in the shade and had burgers and told stories. Here are some of the visuals:

And then the long drive home. It was a sunny day, much improved from my drive up the day before. But I was tired and had a headache and passed actual Waffle Houses. So I stopped at one. And while weaving my way into the parking lot I saw this thing:

Now, their website says they have blacklight mini golf, laser tag, pizza, a game rame, playground, arcades and, coming soon, bumper cars. That all sounds fun. I’m sure that it appeals to children of all ages. But that guy on the roof is kind of terrifying. And the car doesn’t really scream “Demand mom and dad take me there.” But that’s just me.

Saw a bit of graffiti on the walk into the office this morning:

The lane is closed because the world needs more condominiums, and this construction has meant work crews and heavy equipment and Jersey barriers and cones and signage. And, apparently, a contribution from the commentariat. The only problem is we don’t know if this message was added for this job or some previous lane closure. Such is the problem of the application of permanent marker on temporary, and moveable, signage.

And now I’m hanging out with Allie. She’s in her box:

We’ve taken to interpreting this as “Time to play, hooman.” She attacked a ribbon toy for the better part of an hour, until I finally had to hide the thing while she was distracted. Then she sat on me so I couldn’t eat dinner. So pretty much a perfect evening for her.

Jul 17

Catching up

We are wrapping up a trip to my folks, a four-day visit to the ancestral stomping grounds, and I do mean ancestral. I’ve been brushing up on a few branches of the family tree. Turns out there are parts of my family that have been in northwestern Alabama when the state was merely a territory.

We arrived late Friday, just in time to go to sleep. Woke up Saturday and had a casual day of it. After church yesterday we spent the afternoon with my grandmother. She gave me another branch of the family tree to look into. And then we went to a nearby cemetery and found the grave of my great-great-grandfather.

Apparently, no one knew where he was buried. I figured it out online from a few hundred miles away, thanks to the Internet. After about six minutes of walking through neatly mown grass in the twilight I found the actual marker. You can’t miss it, really. I’m not sure how no one in the family knew. The marker just has his first and middle initials rather than his full name, though, so I suppose that’s part of it. Anyway, there he is, marked by a stone that tells the tell in just seven letters and a few numbers. He died more than a half-century before I was born. He was younger than I am now. He probably worked harder than I ever will. And there, next to him, is his wife, my great-great-grandmother, who died 24 years before I was born. I don’t know anything about them, otherwise, or, today at least, what their parents names were, but I’ve at least proven they existed. I’ve driven by their cemetery all of my life and didn’t know they were there.

Today was a pool day and a cookout day and a dodge the rain day. We went for a quick bike ride and then helped cleaned and then entertained the kids and then jumped in and out of the pool and ducked thunderstorms. I taught a three-year-old how to swim, sort of. It was a fine day, all told, then.

And we’re back here, as well! Back to the old Monday through Friday schedule. And here are a few June pictures to wrap up the month before … well, July 4th … when we’ll be … pretty much stuck in the car all day … So, yeah, enjoy some pictures!

This is a flower on campus that I walk by regularly. There’s really nothing special to it. I was trying to get the ants to cooperate with my phone’s almost-focal length. But I think the pollen became more interesting in the end:

We rode our bikes a fair amount, of course. This is a picture we took on our anniversary, actually. I thought it was nice of The Yankee to slow down and let me catch up:

She’s a nice person like that.

Allie is hard at work, just so you know:

I took this shot the other night at 8:50 p.m. There is a summertime advantage of living so far to the west in the Eastern Time Zone:

Later, that same night, I took this picture:

It is a fine perk, really.

Jun 17

Back in the U.S.A.

We arrived safely and on time and only inconvenienced by the inconveniences of the modern convenience of air travel.

Which is, at times, inconvenient.

But we were well-fed. Customs was a chore, even in the fast lines. And, like all things in New York, the moment you stepped onto the curb you knew exactly where you were and why you didn’t want to be there.

We made it back to the in-laws to find that Allie hadn’t missed us at all:

That was Friday. I flew back yesterday. The Yankee dropped me off at the curb:

I made a video of the flight:

And, now I am back in town, back at the office, back to the regular routine, now with jet lag! If history is any guide, I still have another two days until I can walk that off.

The above video makes the 31st video I’ve produced in the last two weeks. Add to that 103 photos that have also been uploaded to the site. And that’s just what I’ve shared here. So, with the trip well-documented, it seems a good time to take a little break on the blog. There’s an anniversary post coming up, of course. And if anything interesting happens in the next few weeks I’ll throw it here as well. But, otherwise, let’s say hiatus until July. In the meantime, follow along on Twitter and Instagram. They never seem to stop.

May 17

Riding across the top of Scotland

We spent the morning and a bit of the afternoon in Durness, shopping and exploring the little artists’ village there. It was originally a military installation that never really got off the ground. Eventually the government invited some folks to come live and work there, and so the artists moved in. After a good long while, they were given the option to buy the little buildings. It is a great little walking area. Everything is close together, the tourists come and browse it all and, in our case, we hit about half the stores and picked up a few souvenirs from some of them. We had chit chat and got some tips for what to do on the last bit of our trip and generally had a casual time of it.

I said it was an artists village. Did I mention the chocolatier? There is a chocolate store there. They call it a factory. It doesn’t quite fit the sense of scale you might imagine, but you can … fudge … a bit on the details.

They also boast the world’s best hot chocolate:

You got to hand-select the bits of chocolate you would chase the hot chocolate with, so that was a nice bonus. And it may or may not be the world’s best hot chocolate, but we agreed it was tasty:

A few quick pictures on our way out of Durness:

And then our right turns continued. We are going across the top of Scotland today. We ran across this just after we’d left the village. Ceannabeinne Beach, is known in its Gaelic name, as the beach of the burn of bereavement and death. There’s a tragic old woman drowned here story. And, almost as sad, there are ruins of former farms where families were forced off their lands. But the beach, just down from the road, and isolated enough to be delightfully empty, is a lovely looking place:

Some time later we pulled into Dunnet Head. Today it was chilly and breezy and felt fairly lonely. You go there to see it. If it had been warmer we might have stayed a bit longer, and that would have been OK, too. Anyway, this is the northernmost point of the mainland British Isles.

Though Scotland also records its actual northernmost point on an island some 170 miles in the distance.

We did not swim out there.

We sea kayaked.

(We didn’t do that, either. Thankfully no one had that idea.)

That rock type is called Old Red Sandstone, by the way. You can see it here, Ireland, Norway, Greenland and on the northeastern seaboard of North America.