I am a Big Slacker – I Mean Packer

We have been in the middle of a move across town. So while I have been packing I have been slacking on this blog site (if only that were the only area in my life). Now that the packing is done perhaps I can keep myself on track with this. We’ll just have to see about that, considering we still have to UNpack.

I have some slide shows I need to show-off, however my computer seems to shut off when I try to render video to a different format now.
More videos to come as soon as possible, but here are some pictures.

Mallory’s Birthday Party:

Every time I turned around this is what I found:

The first slide show is from May, my niece’s (Lydia) birthday at the zoo. For some reason my video editing software hates me and all I could accomplish to add at this time is this video and one of Gavyn playing in the water at the zoo, and an orange baby.

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The next day we went to Lockridge, Iowa to see my Uncle Shannon and his wife Vy:

Noah and his parents Martin and Ashley

Kite Flying Fun with Dan (and Jacob too):

This is really turkey for brains – ground turkey that is. Jacob said it came out of the package that way.

Dave Wetmore was the Grand Marshall for the Macomb Heritage Days Parade! There were two bagpipe bands.

This is “not someone playing with” my camera on 4 July 2007:

cousins

Both of RondaJo’s girls seem to love doing this:

Water time:

The girls made it look so fun, Matt had to give it a try:

Fireworks:

Imagine going on a Youth Conference to serve food, ten years after you graduate high school. Upon arriving and seeing the youth get on the buses, you discover that one of the bus drivers is none other than your high school principal. That is right folks, Bob Bowen is a bus driver for Burlington Trailways:

The first day of this conference was my birthday (12 July – in case you were wondering) and this was the beautiful evening sky we saw:

With all the crazy gas price fluctuations, we all “know” that gas is “cheaper” in Missouri, however while in Kansas City, MO I was surprised to see these prices:

$31-32 for a gallon of gas???

I apologize for such a long entry, and promise there are more videos to come as soon as I get the computer to work with me.

Midland is Not the Same as Midwest

What American accent do you have? (Best version so far)

My Accent:  Midland

(“Midland” is not necessarily the same thing as “Midwest”) The default, lowest-common-denominator American accent that newscasters try to imitate. Since it’s a neutral accent, just because you have a Midland accent doesn’t mean you’re from the Midland.Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by YouThink.com quizzes and personality tests.

Only in Illinois… part II

Some time ago, I wrote about all the miles I’d put on my bike in the past year, and some of the interesting things that had happened in the process. One of those things was chasing a herd of cows down a farm road… Only in Illinois.

Well, today came part II. I was about 12 miles into my ride, headed north on a narrow road that probably doesn’t even exist on most maps. I was moving along at a decent clip – around 23mph, when I suddenly heard a loud rustling on the side of the road just ahead. A calf (or at least a small cow) sprang from the brush and ran for her life just ahead of me!

On both sides of the road were fences, so the cow had nowhere to go. She wasn’t going to let me catch up with her, so passing her and leaving her behind was out of the question. I didn’t want to run the cow several miles up the road to the end of the fence, as that would just leave some farmer with a lost cow.

I hit the brakes and slowed down so the cow could just walk and still “run” away from me, while I contemplated what to do. I could turn around and go back the other way, picking a different route than I’d originally planned. I could go to the nearest house and see if they knew whose cow it might be. I could call the police on my cell phone.

My new pacesetter and I came around a slight bend in the road, and saw the farmer and his son, just getting out of a pickup truck by an open gate. Aha! That’s how she escaped. The cow suddenly realized she was trapped between two bad things – the farmer that would make her go back into the pasture, and me, who had two wheels and a bright yellow shirt. She hesitated, considering going back the other way.

I sped up.

She turned and ran.

We repeated this 3 or 4 times, me using a bicycle to actually herd a cow towards its pen. When it got close to the gate, the farmer’s son (who looked to be about 10) whistled and clapped, and the cow turned and went straight into the gate.

I’ve never ridden a horse in my life, and I don’t know how well I would like chaps, boots and a ten gallon hat; but today, on my trusty Trek and in lycra shorts, clipless cycling shoes, and a bike helmet, I got to be a cowboy.

I waved to the farmer as I passed the truck, then sped up and continued on my way. I only looked up when I passed the main part of the herd farther down the pasture, to smile, wave at the cows, and shout “You stink!”

Thank goodness the rest of the ride wasn’t upwind.

We All have Aspirations in Life

Yesterday I went to Nauvoo with my friends Jessie, Megean (visiting from Kentucky), and Aiden. This is a slide show of our trip. We rode the oxen wagon, Aiden dressed up, we saw the temple, Aiden pretended to sleep in every patch of grass we saw, and she danced in front of the temple.

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Ayer fui a Nauvoo con mis amigas Jessie, Megean, y Aiden. Aca está un video de nuestro día. Pasabamos por la carta de las vacas, Aiden se puso ropa antigua, vimos al templo, Aiden jugaba en el pasto y bailaba en frente del templo.

A late-night run in with the police

Last friday night was one of the most beautiful clear nights we’ve had in a very long time. It was the perfect night to take our telescope out to a favorite stargazing spot, a cemetery about 7 miles south of town, and look at things like the moons of Jupiter, the rings of Saturn, the Mizar binary star, Owl Nebula, etc… Jupiter was particularly brilliant that night – we could even make out 3 of the 4 Gallilean moons with just a pair of inexpensive binoculars.

As I was hunting for the owl nebula, which is just northeast of the northernmost corner of the big dipper, I suddenly found that my night vision was gone. I couldn’t see anything. Taking my eye away from the eyepiece, I found that Marcia was waving at a pair of very bright headlights coming up the access road into the cemetery.

Great. Visitors. After midnight. Marcia wasn’t sure whether the people saw us, which is why she was waving to make sure we didn’t get run over. That’s when the red and blues flashed for just a second, and I realized it was a police officer. From the Sheriff’s department, to be exact.

I approached the car from the front, making sure they could see my hands (but without raising my hands like some sort of criminal – I would have just felt dumb). Officer Carlson introduced himself and asked what we were doing. Marcia said that we were doing some stargazing, and the officer noted that it was a perfect night for it. He asked “are you aware that cemeteries close at dark?”

Honestly, “no, I didn’t know that.”

He explained that the main concern is people coming and getting drunk or high or other things, as cemeteries do tend to be secluded (which is why it was perfect for astronomy – no bright lights nearby to ruin the view), and that since it was obvious that we weren’t doing any of things, he wasn’t going to give us any trouble.

Whew!

Perhaps out of gratitude for not arresting us, or wanting to prove that were indeed just a couple of geeks staring at the sky, or just because I was really excited to share what I was seeing, I asked if the officers wanted to take a look. “Have you ever seen the moons of Jupiter?” Officer Carlson accepted my offer, and they got out of the car.

As I fumbled for a flashlight, since my night vision was ruined by their very bright headlights, I heard a clanging sound. I turned around with the flashlight to discover that the other officer had gotten out of the car and walked right into a fence.

And he had his own flashlight.

I wanted to show them Saturn, as that’s probably the most visually impressive thing in the sky these days, even if it does appear significantly smaller than Jupiter through the telescope. But Saturn had already set, so Jupiter would have to do. I trained the telescope on Jupiter, got the magnification up as high as I could and still allow it to be focused, and let the officers take a look. Officer Carlson was genuinely interested and taken by the beautiful image of the huge planet. I don’t think his partner (who we later discovered was an intern and had had a class with Marcia’s brother who also studied law enforcement recently) was as impressed.

We talked a little more about astronomy and I pointed out a couple of interesting things that most people don’t know about the stars, and then the officers thanked us, we all shook hands, and they went on their way. I must say that this was by far the most pleasant run-in I have ever had with an [on-duty] police officer.

(Ok, there was the one time when we were walking around a used car lot at night looking at cars, and found one with the window rolled down and a storm was approaching. A police officer happened through the lot as part of his evening rounds, and we flagged him down to tell him about the window and see if he had any way of contacting the dealership owners so they could save their car. As I walked up to the window of the police cruiser, I joked that I liked being on that side of the window MUCH better. The officer wasn’t very amused, but I still think it was funny.)

Unfortunately, we try our best to be law-abiding citizens (speed limits notwithstanding), so we probably won’t be going back into the cemetery after dark. We’re going to have to find a new stargazing location, and that cemetery is going to be hard to beat.

The Boldness of Some People’s Children

Yesterday we took a trip “to town.” For those of you who are wondering, I do not mean Wal-Mart, I mean Springfield. We went to Best Buy, looked around and realized that we still didn’t find anything to waste our hard earned money on, so we left. As we waited along the side walk for the rest of our group to emerge from the store, we saw this couple walk out. That is a normal occurance, however the woman was walking (or should I say waddling) funny. My first thought was that she had knee problems, as she couldn’t seem to bend her legs. She took a few more steps and suddenly it was obvious what the problem was. Under her long full skirt hem appeared a box, about the size of a DVD player box. She was in broad daylight stealing from the store. My father-in-law went in to tell the store security guy what we witnessed, and the guy wouldn’t believe him.

On the 4th of this month (a Friday) I went over to my friend Heather’s house to help her set up for a garage sale. The sale was advertised to start at 4pm. At noon we had barely set the tables up and were just beginning to bring things out of her house. Our other friends, Chris and Margaret, were there dropping things off and had their van in the driveway. At the moment Chris and Margaret were getting ready to leave, two older ladies pulled up in front of the driveway and blocked them in, got out of the car and started “garage saleing.” We told them that we didn’t have much of our stuff out and that it didn’t start till 4 anyhow, but they continued shopping. One of the things we DID have out was a mouse pad that I had been given for free 10 years ago, as a joke I priced it at “3¢ OBO” and other free things of little or no value to us. These two women took the free stuff leaving only a few things behind AND they took the 3¢ OBO mouse pad. Normally we would have waived the fee, say if they had arrived after the starting hour…. But because they came 4 hours early and blocked in our friend’s van, we made them pay the 3¢. (This gets even better.) Heather had to step in to get change for the woman; while she was inside I was in the garage holding Logan and watching the woman continue to look, had I not been out there she would have walked off with more things, she kept looking at her bag and had her hands on a photo album and looking at me to see if she could sneak it. All the while blocking Chris and Margaret in.

I just can’t believe it! And my eyes saw it!