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I opened the spice cabinet above the stove with a stew brewing underneath and 5 jars of spices toppled out. I caught them all. Saved the stew. Won the game. Woot woot. Insert college fight song here.

Great moments that happen when nobody is looking.

I looked for the cheers from the crowd and really felt like spiking the allspice or celery salt and doing a dance. Alas, I was alone. So, I applauded myself on my cat-like reflexes that remained at least for that moment in time.

I briefly considered an audition for America’s Got Talent with a spice rack laden with seasonings, Simon and Garfunkel singing “Parsley Sage Rosemary and Thyme” in the background but figured I’d run out of songs before spices on round two. (OK, “Incense Peppermints” would have been my second round song had I made the cut. I HAVE thought this through.)

Ever have a mundane feat worthy of air time? Share if you did.

Moments that happen when you wish nobody was looking.

First off let me say, nobody should sell watermelon by the pound. I have no clue what the average watermelon weighs and don’t want to get the $167 burn for a freaking watermelon at the check out line.

That being said, last Thursday, the local fruit market was selling watermelons for .39 cents a pound. Good deal? Who knows. Before I bought, I needed to know what it weighed. Did you know those little scales they have in such markets are not actually large enough to hold a watermelon? Me neither. The thing plummeted to the floor and split with a splat. Can you imagine that?

A lady bagging bananas was aghast. I don’t blame her. I pieced the three melon chunks together and skedaddled out of there quick like a cat. Was it wrong? “What would you do if your mother asked you,” said the Cat in the Hat?

Today’s lesson:

Embarrassment: A self conceived concept that someone may actually care about a stupid thing you did.

Accomplishment: Something you did that is amazing no matter who saw it.

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Clark Griswold. The very mention of the name invokes every left turn that should have been right, every tourist attraction that was closed, in short everything that could go wrong on a classic family vacation.

What makes the 1983 movie “Vacation” a classic is that we’ve all been there. (If you haven’t, God bless you for having wonderfully planned perfect vacations that materialized exactly as you charted it out. I think you are lying too.)

So in 1999, we embarked on our family vacation to Colorado via the Black Hills and Mt. Rushmore. (Who can resist a mountain carved with presidents heads?)

Our family truckster was a four cylinder 1998 emerald green Plymouth Voyager which when fully loaded with 4 people and vacation gear, went from zero to sixty in roughly 45 seconds. But once my wife got it rolling, she was well on her way to setting a land speed record that first day.

Luckily, the Voyager only overheated once with her at the wheel standing on the gas pedal going over the hills near the river valley of the mighty Mississippi. Deeeeeeeep River. Perhaps driving at 157 MPH uphill was too fast for the four cylinders in the 90 degree heat.

My wife is harried by heights. I am phobic of fog. We ultimately would encounter both. With my wife at the wheel in South Dakota, not realizing she had actually been driving up hills due to the lovely foliage, our daughters said, “Mommy look, Mt. Rushmore.”

RRRRRRRRR, Screech. She locked it up and pulled right over on the shoulder. (Luckily, not the shoulder of George Washington’s stoned bust.) We were facing uphill at a 2,785 degree incline at this point. So, when I took over the wheel, I now had to stand on the gas pedal just to get the Voyager up to 20 MPH to continue the hilly journey to our KOA Camping Cabin (koa.com).

We had planned only one organized event this whole trip, The Two Meal, 9-Hour Southern Black Hills Tour and Cowboy Music Show that starts on the Fort Hays set from the movie Dances With Wolves. The video on the site paints a wonderful snapshot. You can see buffalo and other wildlife, take photos in the sunshine and enjoy a pleasant day.

Perhaps it won’t rain all day when you are there. The closest we got to buffalo was a stew at Custer State Park and I do not think those were the happy tatonka. To the guide’s credit, he did say at the start, “weather and animals and the only thing we can’t control on this tour.” Even so, it is a great tour and I highly recommend it if you are in the area. (See mountrushmoretours.com)

After an entire day of this misty, rainy tour, it was time to head back home to our cabin on the campground. You betcha. Fog in the mountain on the ride home with me at the wheel.

Sort of a combination of Led Zeppelin and The Earl Scruggs Band. Doing a Misty Mountain Hop trying to avoid my own Foggy Mountain Breakdown. Slowly, surely, we eventually made it to the cabin. All was well, except that my oldest daughter fell down the hill on the way to the bathroom during a full fledged rainstorm later that evening. Her ankle still cracks on occasion as a souvenir.

Epilogue:

When my wife suggested this week’s Wedwand concept, I asked my daughters what they remembered from the journey, if in fact they remembered anything at all.

My youngest, now 18, remembered a dinosaur. (Thank you Wall Drug for the dinosaur slide. (walldrug.com) The oldest, now 22, recalls walking around Mt. Rushmore in white rain ponchos and a surreal ride on a bus through the smallest of openings in a tiny cave. That’s it, a man made relic, a plastic poncho and a bus in a cave.

Paging through pictures ultimately brought back more recollections. However, the fact that they have memories at all of being together as a family for this window of time makes the trip worth the adventure.

I invite you to share your memorable moments.

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August. For some it signals the end of summer for others it means back to school. Don’t want to go all Dickens on you but perhaps the month is the best of times or the worst of times, depending on your August. If you celebrate National Goat Cheese Month, this one’s for you,

I imagine the “dog days of summer” to happen in this month. But, basically, it’s sort of a nondescript month. Yeah it ties the record for longest month of the year with 31 days, but still, 6 other months have 31 days.

There are no major holidays in August. (Although 1.2 billion people from India would disagree since Independence Day is celebrated there on August 15.)

January – New Years Day
February – Valentines Day
March – Madness
April – Fool’s Day, sometimes Easter
May – Mother’s Day. Memorial Day
June – Fathers Day. Flag Day. First day of summer
July – The 4th of July
September – Labor Day
October – Halloween
November – Thanksgiving
December – Christmas

August – Uh, Hmm. Well.

There is only ONE good song I know about August. Thank you, Neil Diamond for “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show.” ” Hot August night and the leaves hanging down and the grass on the ground smelling … sweet.” Halle, Hallelujah! The song indeed conjures up a vision of tent revival show in August.

The month is named for Augustus, a Roman Emperor who ruled until 14 A.D. during an era often referred to as Pax Romana, which in Latin means “nothing really happened in August even back then”. OK, I lied. Actually, the term refers to an era that was marked by a period of prolonged peace by Roman standards. (Ironically, knew a guy in a band called Pax Romana).

Good old Augustus is mentioned every December in Christian churches on Christmas Eve in a reading from the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 2 Verse 1:

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.

But do we celebrate August in December? No. If anything, August’s sister month is November. August ends on the same day that November ends every single year. Look it up. I know you will. I did. This year August ends on a Saturday, so does November.

So here’s an August salute,
Though there’s no horns to toot.
You are one of the twelve,
but there are no August elves.
No big day to celebrate,
but your hot nights are great
for last summer nights on the beaches
before the kids meet their teacha’s.

Yeah I know that’s a stretch
Ya got a dog go play fetch.
Cause it’s the dog days you know.
In four months there be snow.
So enjoy every day
be it August or May
every day of the year for that matter.
Now I’m done with this chatter.
Word.
To August.

Waiting on Pax Romana to record this song, so check your iTunes account for release of their new CD called “Get a Peace of Dis.”

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