Friday, 18 August 2006

Wow - 6 weeks without a post. Longest break ever, here at Snowstormlife. Last night I went to the store and bought a bottle of wine. Made a special toast to Rory's grandmother.

08/18/2006 07:15:51 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]  |  Trackback
Monday, 03 July 2006

We got up early on Sunday morning and headed off to Clearwater Beach for a family day at the beach. We didn't know how early the crowds would arrive, so we got there around 9:30 in the morning. The sky was clear, the air and water were warm, and the parking lot only had a few cars in it.

We staked our claim on a couple of umbrellas and chairs, and plied each other with gobs of sunscreen.

Zach and I waided into the water and threw the football around for a little while, each of us making spectacular dives to catch the ball.  We all bobbed around in the water. Alix didn't want to touch her feet to the bottom, afraid she'd step on a fish, so she bobbed around. Heh. I dove for shells and found a bunch of cool looking ones.

Soon the crowd started picking up. A couple of days ago at the beach Pam and I noticed I cute little kid with a European family. The family was there again on Sunday - they must have been staying at the beach for the week. The kid was probably about 2 or 3 and wore these huge surfer jams, baseball cap on backwards, Joe Cool sunglasses - a pint-sized surfer dude.

After a couple of hours the hamburger joint started calling our name. The offshore breeze carried the the mouth-watering smell of grilled burgers onto the beach and into the water. Time to eat! Yum. They were fabulous.

It's fun to people watch at the beach. There are the young and the beautiful, who sometimes wear hardly anything, trying to attract the attention of the opposite sex. There are the old and the relaxed, who also sometimes wear hardly anything at all, who don't really give a flip about what anyone else thinks. And there was one oversized woman who wore a thong. Ouch. She wasn't old enough to be in the "old and relaxed" category. The thong looked so bad. I felt sorry for it. It was being strangled. Her butt was big, and made the thong look like a regular bikini bottom that had been swallowed up by the grand canyon. Not a pretty sight. No! Don't bend over to pick up that shell!!! Argh!

We bobbed around some more, laid out in the sand, read some of our books, did some more people watching, and finally packed up and headed home around 1:30. We didn't have any trouble with traffic going out there or coming back. Very nice. (The traffic trying to get onto the island by then was horrible, though. It backed up for a mile or so in bumper-to-bumper, and was barely crawling along.)

In spite of thong lady it was a fun day. We're probably going to go again on the 4th. Yeah, Florida living at its finest.

07/03/2006 02:15:44 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [1]  |  Trackback
Tuesday, 27 June 2006

I'm sitting out back by the pool. The last of the twilight is turning into darkness. A number of stars are out. It's 84 degrees, and the pool water only feels a couple of degrees cooler. (No, I'm not in the pool with my computer. I just dipped my toe in.)

To the west, past the palm tree, there's just the faintest hit of orange tint left in the sky near the horizon. To the east is a large white shape near the horizon - a big thundercloud way off in the distance. Occasionally there's a flash of blue lightning that streaks across it. But it's too far away to hear any thunder. Probably 60 miles away, near Orlando.

Fortunately I have a screen that encloses my pool. Otherwise I would already be eaten up by the mosquitoes. When we bought the place I didn't know if I would like the screen, but it's fabulous. Makes keeping the pool clean a snap.

I can see my son through the sliding glass door. He's sitting in the dark living room, playing Halo 2 with some of his baseball buddies - online of course. They don't live too far away, but online they can trash talk each other, and more importantly, folks they don't even know.

I've noticed that the game score doesn't really matter in Halo 2. It's the postgame action that really determines the winner. The real winner is the team that trash talks the other team the longest. The losing team is the team that leaves first.

Ah - off in the distance to the west someone is shooting off fireworks. Good thing we've finally had a bit of rain. Hopefully there won't be too many grass fires this 4th.

It's completely dark now. On my way back inside I'll have to use my laptop as a night light. Otherwise I'd probably step right into the pool for an unplanned swim.

Time to go.

06/27/2006 18:17:50 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [2]  |  Trackback
Monday, 05 June 2006

All the sessions are available online:

06/05/2006 11:10:42 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]  |  Trackback
Monday, 01 May 2006

This evening on my way back from Jacksonville I spotted a Mini Cooper coming up from behind me. It was red with white stripes, just like Rory used to have. Reminded me of the little Rodawgg. I hear he is a company now, and might even be getting a little action. Sounds like hot times in Portland.

05/01/2006 19:40:12 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [1]  |  Trackback
Sunday, 30 April 2006

On Saturday I played my second USTA league tennis match playing singles. Last weekend I won. This weekend I was spanked 6-1; 6-2. Ouch. We had lots of close games, but the other guy kept winning the important points (like, almost every friggin game point). Makes a big difference in the outcome.

04/30/2006 17:09:25 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]  |  Trackback
Thursday, 20 April 2006

Tonight I played my first singles tennis match in quite a while. Hit against a fellow who is pretty good. I started out quick as I always used to when I played singles all the time. It usually takes my opponent a few games to zero in on my serve - it's lefty and I can hit a kick, a twist, and sometimes a flat serve. Keeps them off balance. And I used to rely heavily on a couple of easy service games at the start of most of my matches.

I somehow jumped out real fast and won the first set 6-1. But in my last service game of that set he had gotten used to it. His returns were getting stronger. I had to work to win it. He was lightning fast and kept getting to balls that I thought were sure put aways. He had started really putting pressure on my shots.

The second set started with his serve and he won the game easily. I had to work to hold my first service game. He easily won his second service game then broke me with a couple of really good passing shots at my feet. Then he held his serve. Suddenly I was down 1-4 and he had a ton of momentum. It was only 1 break, but he was easily holding his serve. And I was having to work hard on mine. I held then he held. 2-5. Ugh.

My next service game was a marathon. Deuce, Ad-in; deuce, ad-out (set point); deuce, ad-out (set point), deuce, ad-in; and on it went. On one of his break points he came to the net on a great approach shot deep in my forehand corner. I threw up a prayer of a topspin shot, but it was shoulder high and sitting right there for him to put away for the set.

And he missed it wide.

He had 3 set points in that game, but I absolutely refused to give in, and he made a couple of timely mistakes. If he had won the game and the set, he would have started the third set serving, and I would have been toast.

I finally won that game.

But I was still down 3-5 with him serving for the set.

I kept concentrating, refusing to give in. I kept mixing up my shots, trying to keep him off balance and not let him get into a rhythm. He kept the pressure on, running down an amazing number of balls. But, a couple of set points saved. And I broke his serve. 4-5.

Well, I've come this far. Don't play a sloppy game and give up the set.

I held serve again, but it was a struggle. He was still nailing his returns. I kept mixing up my serves as best I could and won the game. A couple more set points saved. 5-5.

He served and held it pretty easily. 5-6.

Gotta get into a tie breaker. Who knows what could happen then.

More serves. More rushing to the net to put away the volley and win the points as quickly as possible. And I held serve again. 6-6.

Tie breaker.

He served the first point in the tie breaker. I chipped the return low and followed it to the net. He had to pick up a tough half-volley and gave me a sitter to my forehand for an easy put away volley.  I got too casual and hit the tape. The ball stayed on my side. Blown chance. 0-1

My serve.

I swung him out wide to his backhand side in the ad court. He hit a sitter of a return and I blew the volley. Again. Mini-break and I'm down 0-2.

I won the next point with a good serve, then won the following point off his serve as well. 2-2

He won his next service point, and I held mine. 3-3

Switch sides.

I hit a sloppy first serve that missed, then a nervous second serve which he drilled past me. Down another mini-break, and he's serving and up a point.

He won both of his service points. Suddenly I'm down 3-6 and facing a few set points in a row. Huge uphill climb.

I served him out wide in the ad court again and this time made a solid put away volley. 4-6

In the deuce court I jammed him on the serve and ended up winning the point. 5-6

He's still serving for the set.

I played chip and charge on his serve again. I wasn't going to go down from the baseline. Live at the net, die at the net. And I won the point. 6-6 in the tie breaker.

We switched sides again. His serve.

Another chip and charge return. The strategy worked. I was up 7-6 and serving for the match.

I stood out a bit wide to get a better angle into his backhand. I hit a good serve, sending him wide for the return. He floated it up and I kept charging the net. I made a firm forehand volley down the line. It went in. He couldn't get to it.

Suddenly the match was over.

In all I had saved 12 set points.

It wasn't the prettiest match in the world. We both had our share of unforced errors. But they go both ways. When he missed a sitter I didn't get onto myself for giving him the sitter in the first place. I hit a shot. He missed. My point. Just like when I missed an easy shot and he won a point. That's the way it goes.

And I didn't give up.

Man, I feel good.

04/20/2006 21:19:23 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]  |  Trackback
Tuesday, 18 April 2006

I've been an american idol fan for quite a while now. This year since we now have a DVR I've been able to keep up with the show each week. (I love being able to zip through commercials!)

Tonight I thought most of the singers did very well. I was surprised with how well Kelly Pickler did - for the first half of the song... She didn't try to oversing and sounded lovely. But then she stumbled on a word and started falling apart. She missed several notes in the second half and hacked her way to the finish. Too bad. I like her.

She's outta here unless all the horny guys of the world vote for her because of her looks. Ace is going to give her a close run for the bottom this week.

My picks for the finals: McFever and Taylor.

Now listening to: "You Send Me"
Mood: upbeat
Energy level: tired

04/18/2006 21:04:47 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [3]  |  Trackback

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