Sunday, July 29, 2007

Step 14,787

Years ago, a friend asked if I would carry a pedometer and record the number of steps I walked. Our agency was in a competition with another agency about who walked the most. Since she was a good friend, I agreed to do so. I don’t remember who won. But I do remember two things. First, it soon become a habit to carry that pedometer and I still do to this day. Secondly, most of the steps we take on any given day are pretty common and uneventful. But, occasionally there is a step that is life changing. This is the story of one of those steps. The story of step 14,787.

The day started out hot and dry just like any other day during the past five weeks. Around eleven o’clock in the morning the clouds started to build up. This had happen before so no one got excited. The clouds usually just blew over. But not today. At around 4:45 they just opened up and we received heavy, heavy rain. Normally this would not be a big deal but this was DOR ‘s (Daughter of Ralph) and SILOR's (Son in Law of Ralph’s) WEDDING DAY.

Fortunately, at around 5:30 the rain stopped and things began to dry out. They could still have the outdoor wedding they wanted.

Here are some the events leading up to, during, and after step 14,787.

Here is a picture of the bride and Char getting ready for the big day. The brides maids were helping as well. This picture is priceless, at least to me, as it shows a special moment between mother and daughter.

The bride is ready.

The groom looks a little nervous. He should be – in a matter of minutes I will officially be his Father in Law.

The Mother of the Bride enters on the arm of a groom’s man – who also happens to be her son.

The bride makes her entrance. Don’t let the smiles fool you. The bride was ready. The father is a nervous wreck.

Then there is the life changing steps I was talking about. This is step 14,787. This is the exact moment Char and I officially gave Tiffany to Jason to become his wife

Tiffany and Jason moments after becoming husband and wife

The happy couple enjoying their first meal together as husband and wife. There was no pretense at the wedding, the reception, and even the food that was served – it was just so Tiffany and Jason.

These two kids spent the summer with Char and I. Yet, this is the biggest smile we had seen on either one of their faces.

The first dance by the bride and groom.

Tiffany and Jason are laying out a strategy to cut the cake.

Here are some of the groom’s man having a good time at the wedding. These guys were great. They were a lot of fun to have around and all of them told us that Tiffany and Jason really belong to one another.

Speaking of dancing there was a lot of it. I danced more this day than I have in the last 50 years. I don’t dance, but I did today. Here Tiffany and I are doing the father-daughter dance.

Don’t be deceived by this picture – she is not reaching for my wallet.

I even tried to do the twist with Jason.

While it might appear that Char and these ladies were excited to the have the wedding over – they are actually doing the YMCA dance.

I’m not sure what Cliff and I were laughing about – it might have been the fact that this was the first time I saw him when he wasn’t cooking. We had many friends who helped throughout the wedding and we truly appreciate all of them and their help. Cliff and Marilyn were there and did whatever needed to be done while having a calming affect on Char and I.

The wedding is over, the reception is done, the dancing is finished, and Tiffany and Jason walk through the bubbles to get to the limo.

And so ends the story of step 14,787.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Fun Day

Between getting ready for the wedding, trying to spruce up the yard, finishing the basement, and just life in general we have been really busy. These are the things that have been keeping us busy but it seems like everyone is extremely busy this time of year.

So on Thursday we decided to have a fun day. It started with a trip to Estes Park so Jason could be in the mountains. Although it looked like rain throughout most of the day, we never received any. In fact, the temperature at Estes Park was ninety-two degrees.

Our first stop was the Stanley Hotel. I guess part of the movie, ‘The Shining’ was filmed here. They recently decided to capitalize on this fact and now charge for parking so you can walk the grounds and go through the gift shop. Most of the hotel is off limits unless you stay there.

Then it was off for a walk through town. Estes Park is a tourist town full of gift shops and specialty stores. Not being a big shopping fan, I decided to take a little rest.

After shopping, it was time to see some wildlife. This picture of the elk was taken without using the zoom feature of my camera. Yes, we were that close. While that might sound impressive . . . .

. . . these pictures were taken in the center of town. These elk have no fear of people and unfortunately many people have no fear of the elk. Some people were actually trying to get close enough to pet them. Not smart.

After a nice picnic in Estes, we headed to Fort Collins where we toured the Budweiser brewery and the grounds. Here is a picture of Tiffany and Jason posing for a picture. An amazing amount of beer is made at this plant and it's just one of many Budweiser plants.

One of the many attractions is the Clydesdales horses. These are amazingly tall animals. The Fort Collins location is the training grounds for these horses.

After the tour, and a visit to the Clydesdales it was off to the tasting room. Tiffany and Jason were two of the people selected to do a taste test on unknown beers. Here they are performing the duty of looking at the clarity of the beverage.

Following all this, we headed home and stopped and had a nice dinner. It was a much needed “fun day” as the countdown to the wedding has begun.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Basements, Weddings, Jokes

The basement is done and we have moved stuff back into it. I hope to post some pictures soon.

The wedding plans are progressing (I guess). The wedding is in less than two weeks.

I still have a lot to do to get ready. But I heard this joke and thought I would share it.

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***
Mom was trying to console little Susie, whose cat had recently died.

"You know," Mom said, "it's not your fault that the cat died. Right now he is up in Heaven and God is having a great time with him. "

Susie, still crying, said, "Why would God want a dead cat?"

Saturday, July 07, 2007


It’s been in the 90’s and low 100’s here the past few days. So, this morning, while it was cool, I decide to start moving things back to the basement. The remodeling is done and it looks nice.

Carrying a box down the steps in the south field, I heard the neighbors behind us talking. While I couldn’t hear what they were saying, the mumblings sounded like they were having breakfast on the patio.

I have spoken to these neighbors a few times and have invited them over for wine night on the porch. It’s pretty clear they like being left alone. I have never seen nor heard anyone at their house, besides them.

Their dog heard me and started to bark. Suddenly the lady yelled out, “Tiger, stop barking. Tiger no barking.”

Now is it just me or is there something seriously wrong with people who name their dog after a cat?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Grape Abuse

This morning I realized if things keep going the way they are by the end of August, I might be the only one reading my blog. And I probably won’t leave a comment.

Between home improvement projects, the wedding, and grapes you might be pretty bored by August. Anyway . . .

. . . last night I took a stroll into the vineyard. All three grape plants are doing remarkably well, maybe, to well. I severely pruned them back a couple of weeks ago and since then they have put on three to four feet of new growth and form quite a few new clusters. The vines to the left and right of the black trellis is all new growth. The grapes have started to form and are now the size of peas.

While I was pruning them back, I got thinking about Fred. Fred was a vineyard keeper. I met him eight years ago. When I met him he was seventy-three years old. He was out working in the vineyard when the lady working the tasting room called him so I could meet him. He came marching into the tasting room like a man on a mission. He went up to the lady in the tasting room and blurted out, “Where’s the guy that wants to know about grapes?” He smiled all the time I told him what I wanted to do. Yes, Fred loves grapes.

We spent the next couple of hours walking through the vineyard and Fred gave me advice about planting, watering, cane pruning, fertilization, verasion (the coloring), pushing the sugar, harvesting, and a lot more.

Then he told the most important thing. He said, “I know you are a forester and you probably have a lot of plants in your yard, but forget everything you have ever learned about trees, shrubs, and plants. None of it applies to grapes. Grapes love abuse.”

A couple weeks ago, when I abused my grapes by cutting them back so severely I actually felt quite bad. But, as usual, Fred had given me good advice.