Monday, March 26, 2007

Doghouse Weekend

The last week has been a whole week of the dull-drones. Work, sleep and eat is about all that I can say we accomplished. The good news is that spring is here and things are starting to come alive. My wife and I toured our grounds of out home this past week looking over last years plantings. She (and I) are disappointed in the growth (and death) of some of last years plants. One corner area in particular we were depressed about is where we planted some shrubs to hide a culvert. About 50% of the shrubs had died and the others showed little or no growth. Now, before you start feeling all sorry for me and my wife, know that we planted them, watered them for about 2 weeks then left them alone. So, it’s my fault for not taking better care of them. I have looked and I don’t see any part of my thumb showing signs of being or even turning green.

My lawn is the next sore spot. I don’t spend a lot of time, energy or money on it. I mow it. I fertilize it a couple times a year. I may even water it during the hottest part of the summer if I am in a giving mood. Therefore, don’t feel sorry for me in that matter either. I plan on this week working on the grass and maybe the shrubbery. Maybe I can still rescue my lawn from those pesky weeds. But, I am not promising anything.

Another weekend goes by without any geocaching. I haven’t even been a good student where I research an area in preparation. I was never a boy scout – but I do like to be prepared. Geocaching for me is mostly an impromptu activity. It usually springs up out of an unexpected time without the family. Usually my wife tells me she and Little One have plans without me and I grab my gear and head out the door. I should have everything already downloaded just waiting to spring into action. No. Not this big boy. I have been lazy here during the first signs of spring. Maybe this week I can get in gear and get an area mapped out.

Fun leads to the doghouse. Saturday, our family started the day off great. Little One had a soccer game at 9:30AM. Her team technically won while at the same time tied. Politically correctness has lost something with me. Either you win or lose – pansies. However, I digress. After her game, we stayed for the next set of games. Little One had a couple of friends playing on the same field as she did in the next set of games. We found out that another girl from her class also had a game on the next field over. So, we enjoyed three different games after hers. I was the cheering section. Electing to stand and walk around cheering for her friends on each field.

A birthday party was next on the schedule. We had a few minutes to get home – get Little One a shower – and get her back to the party. I left that up to my wife while I found nap time much better to my liking. The sad part – I ended up sleeping the entire afternoon away. This is where the train started to have trouble.

My wife had asked earlier in the day if we could go eat supper at her parents. “Sure” - I said. However, after being awoken from my nap, I wasn’t in the best of moods and said I would stay back. This wasn’t received all that well. Little One and mom left me there. I stretched and yawned and focused on Classic ESPN. A marathon of poker was on. I had fallen asleep to it, dreamed about it and woke to it. As time past, I found some grub in the refrigerator and heated it up for my dinner. I returned to my TV and poker. I was still hungry. I returned to the refrigerator and found more of the same left over grub. I ate it too. As I was finishing off the second plate, the phone rings.

2nd part of train trouble. Roy, my partner in most crimes called with an intriguing situation. Roy has a four wheeler. I want a four wheeler. I don’t have one. Therefore, most of his exploits on these machines goes on without me. However, this wasn’t the case building today. Roy had teamed up with a few riders and one rider was blessed with multi machines. Can you feel the wheels of this train starting to jump and wiggle back and fourth? Roy says “come ride with us – Scott has an extra four wheeler. Okay – I leave the wife a note saying I am riding four wheelers and will be home late.

Scott is a very interesting and good guy. What little I could piece together, he was once very active on the professional scene of motor-cross here in Georgia. He has 2 speeds stop and all out fast as it will go. I think his stop even out paces me. He’s just a fun guy to be around. Well, the extra machine he had is a Rhino. This machine rocked. Matt rode shotgun with me in the Rhino. Scott road a monster of a beast – a Polaris 800. Mark (Tunica attendee) rode with Scott. Roy tore the woods up on his Honda. Another machine and driver rode a short time with us but hung his helmet up early. We continued to ride – stop and tell stories and ride some more. Time escapes us.

The train has definitely jumped the track. I pull up to the house and open the garage door just as the clock in my truck clicks over to 5AM. Yeah – the wife was more than a little concerned for my well being and wasn’t too happy with this kind of behavior out of her husband. I showered and climbed into bed for a 3 hour nap before having to get up for church. I guess you’re not too surprised to know that Sunday afternoon was also wiped out to a nap.

That was my weekend. I hope you enjoyed reading about it. Now, it’s time for me to take my dinner back to the doghouse and wait for green light to come back inside.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Full Sunday

Today after church - my wife and little one took off to Alabama to see my wife's ailing grandfather. He is in the hospital suffering from conditions of diabetes. He has been there about a week and the returned message was that he wasn't doing well.

I stayed back in Georgia and took the afternoon to visit a few Geocaches that were near my home. One was new and the other I hadn't gotten over that direction to retrieve. I spotted both fairly quickly. One of those caches will be muggled quickly. It is under some rocks right at a boat ramp. Kids will spot that one as soon as the weather warms a bit. I was alone in my search. Not a soul in sight. Today was a beautiful day with only a bit of crispiness in the cool air. The sun was bright and inviting. It was interesting that both caches I went after were at 2 boat ramps at 2 different lakes. I guess my mind is trying to tell me it's fishing time.

I returned home for a quick sit-n-go where I placed 2nd. Then retired to the bed for a good nap. Tonight as I ate supper, I jumped into another sit-n-go. I was chip leader after about the 4th hand where I picked up a wheel draw on the flop and bet it until the miracle 3 came on the river. 2 people paid my all-in bet off with aces. From then on I was chip leader except for one section where I called off a stack of chips with top pair not thinking they made the flush. They did and then became my target. I quickly regained the lead never to look back. Later, when I put them out - it was sweet. It was very sweet. It went to heads up with me a little over T10,000 and the other two fighting for about T1,800. enots made a vallant effort but came up short. The cards were very good to me. I didn't have a long dry spell the whole game. It was the first sit-in-go I played in a while that took 5 people to the 1 hour break. It was a very cautious table.

I did feel bad about one suck out on someone. I had a gut shot straight draw and they just didn't bet enough to throw me off my hand. When the card came on the river, they also went down.

It's late and I am ready for bed. night all.....

Saturday, March 17, 2007

GOAL!!!!

Little One is on the record books !

She made her first goal today.
Her team won. (they dont keep score - but I do :-) )
They only gave up one goal to the other team.
The kids played excellent. Clearing the ball well
whenever it was in front of their goal.
The hockey game was good. Only 1 good fight.
It was tied when we left near the eng of regulation.
Atlanta won in overtime. The suite was nice.
Yes Carmen - our own bathroom - that was GOOD.

I splurged for the group and purchased the "snack attack".
It was an assortment peanuts, cashews, chips, pretzels and trail mix.
Listed at a whopping $36 I was fine with that since the
tickets were free. The bill rang up $45 - a little different
than advertized. I gave them a tip and sent them on their way.
19 people showed up to enjoy the suite - there was snacks
left when we left. Sorry - no photos of the hockey.
Here are the photos from todays game.
As you can tell - it was a cold Saturday morning.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Goodbye Stardust

For some excellent reporting from the scene of the
imploded Stardust Hotel and Casino - in the great
Las Vegas - visit Linda’s page over at Table Tango.
She has some awesome pictures of it.

Yes, Aaron. The previous post was aimed at my
2 Geocaching readers.

That’s all folks!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Revival Week

This week has been revival week at out church. So, to say I haven’t had much time to venture outside much. All day at work – pick up Little One – wife gets home – we head out to church for dinner and revival – drive home and get ready for bed. Okay. Now you know how my week has been so far.

The week has been a good week. I am lifted up from the revival services. I have a new outlook on life. I am emerging from the rut of the drums of life. The project that I was covered in is coming to closure. Life outside is coming alive. The weather is warming up. Bills are paid. All signs point to a few good times in the near future.

I splurged after Little One’s first soccer game Saturday and took the family to KIKU – Japanese steak house. Hibachi style! Little One hadn’t been since she was about 2 and she doesn’t remember that time. So, there we sat with two other couples ready to eat very well. The Japanese cook was young and not all that polished in his twirling of dangerously sharp knives. His spinning of the egg and cracking it open with the spatula was off and took him to his second egg to get it correct. The food was good. I was the only one at the table to get steak. All others had chicken. No one in our family tried to “catch” a shrimp flipped from the chef. However, the other couples were there ready for their try. Most missed – due to flight path totally missed the mark. We walked out paying slightly over $54 for lunch. Combine that with a Red Lobster Friday night supper and it nears $100 for 2 meals. That stings a bit – but what the heck. Sometimes you just have to live life.

HOCKEY. Thanks to a well connected friend at church, we will see the Atlanta Thrashers take on the New York Rangers this Friday at Phillips Arena. No just any tickets but suite tickets. He works for a very large corporation in downtown Atlanta. This corporation has a suite in the area and he was able to lock down the suite. I think about 4~5 families are getting to go. We are taking my mother-in-law. My father-in-law will be out of town for a team national meeting I think. She will be spending the night with us on Friday and attending Little One’s soccer game on Saturday. I am a true southerner. I don’t know squat about Hockey. But I will attend any sporting event that creates excitement. I have only been to 1 other hockey game. Phillips arena has two large “Thrasher” heads mounted above the ice. (Thrasher is Georgia’s state bird). When the Thrashers score the mouths on these birds open and shoots out a large flame. You can feel the immense heat from any seat in the house. We should have fun.

Geocaching: None, nope, notta, haven’t been – It is killing me. I have the surrounding area fairly well covered with my signature. I prefer non urban caches since I do most hunting alone. I really don’t like standing in the rear of a store picking through some bushes looking for a 35mm film canister. I much prefer to trek miles through the Georgia forest looking for an ammo box stuff full of trinkets. I will have to plan a day get-a-way soon. Maybe somewhere like Savannah. Any takers???

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Quickie

A quick mid-day Saturday update.

We just returned home form Little One’s first soccer game. She enjoyed herself. Mom and dad are proud of her. She did fairly well in her first game. She was timid at first. However, after a few minutes she was in there fighting for the ball.


Here are a few photos from this morning. I was so excited during the game that I totally forgot to take pictures then. Oh well. Maybe next time.




Thursday, March 08, 2007

Hanging on

It’s a little past mid week here and I am fairly tired today. Another staff meeting presentation looms on the calendar next week. This time I am almost finished ahead of time. I need to polish the presentation and we will be set to deliver it.

Poker is hot. Well, at least my game was. I told you a couple blogs ago that I haven’t really played since returning from Tunica. That inspired me to log in and test the waters. 1st sit-n-go. BAM! First place. 2nd sit-n-go BAM! First place. Then reality – 3rd one I am chip leader with four left and one sitting out. A player gets put on the ropes and I go after him – every hand hard. He starts gets hit in his fat face with the deck. He out pairs me. He 2 pairs over my pair. I can’t get a break. I slow down – I know when someone has my number. I lay off a while and start working on stealing some of the other players blinds. I out last the sitting out guy and then get caught with deck face with A9 on an A ten eight flop. He holds A ten. Go figure. So, we will see if I can recover. That game hurt my ego. I owned the table and couldn’t pull off the win. That hurt.

I had in interesting day today both business and personal. It started off with a trip to our secondary facility several miles from the headquarters. It constantly amazes me the level of garbage that people will spew from their mouths while presenting in a meeting. Do they think we are dumb and weren’t listening last week? Do the “real” executives (not me) hear the same things I hear in these meetings? They must be asleep. I wouldn’t think they would let them get away with it week after week. I know I am being non-specific – but I have to keep it that way (family needs me to keep my checks rolling in). Let’s just say it went from bad to worse then a second meeting confirmed the proverbial train wreck. It’s frustrating having all the answers and no one else seeing the forest for the trees. I have to say I have seen a couple of key people coming to me and telling me I hit the nail on the head and that I made the presenters look like a deer in the headlights the last couple of weeks. I need to be quiet and not draw attention to me. That’s the way you get more work dumped on you.

Personally, I jumped at the chance to go geocaching today. Little One wanted mom to pick her up from school today. That gave me a chance to exit stage left and get out of the house for a while. I quickly downloaded a couple of places and off I went. I found 3 out of 4 I looked for. A good day for me. These were out in the woods. I prefer these. I am about frustrated to my eyeballs on urban caches. I don’t like them and they are not worth it to me. Standing behind a bank walking around in the shrubs is not my idea of a geocache. An afternoon in the woods on a beautiful 70-degree day is a wonderful day. It also helps in blowing off the steam from the business day. Worked for me. However, now I have to deal with a slight back pain. Advil and an ice pack – ahhhh.

I am becoming more computer savvy – An old dog learns new tricks. I logged my “rakethetable” name at youtube. One of these days I am going to have to copyright/trademark the name. If you know how, let me know. I have a reason to be on youtube. A blog is a great way to keep the extended family updated on our life’s. I guess it take away from a old form of a Christmas letter. However, this fat boy gets to also share of videos of our lives.

**Comment needed** - if you know how to shrink the size of videos - please let me know.

Last but not least – I have a special surprise for all the family readers (that never comment – an aggravation of mine). I took a video of Little One for you to enjoy.

Oh the joys of parenting.

Little One showing me a song she is learning in Children’s Choir.


Good night and God Bless

Monday, March 05, 2007

Saturday Review

Little One did awesome in her Mathfest competition. The first round started at 8:30am with all students, parents and teachers in a huge ballroom at the Georgia International Convention center. It was loud and confusing. My opinion is that was a very poorly run stage of the event. Little one was sitting on the end of a row with lots of parents within feet of her talking and moving around. How she concentrated I will never know. They needed established boundaries that allowed for the students to be significantly away from the crowd. A very short introduction of how to answer with no instruction on when the clock started was also a very poor performance on the organizers. Little One pressed on and had cards remaining when the stage ended. The concept is that they get about 5 cards to begin with. As they miss questions, cards are taken away. Out of a couple hundred kindergarteners she made it to the 2nd round of 75 students.

The second round students were taken away from everyone into a smaller room. This was a much improved process. However, Little One had a panic attack at this stage. She is NEVER without a teacher or parent that she knows. When they closed the doors to this room and no one she knew was in there – she freaked. I was called into the room to settle her down. I placed my arms around her and told her we were right outside and that this was normal and that her friend was next to her. She calmed down and I was whisked away. All of us parents were waiting outside this room. We were pacing the floors. We were sitting along the hallways. Some of us were standing viliagently outside the door to peek in any time it was opened to allow students to leave or staff to enter.

As the second round progressed, students would file out as they ran out of cards. The crowd would greet them with applause. I thought this was awesome. Some students took it well to have them cheer. Other students didn’t take it so well. They knew their day was over and sobbed. We were told the next level would be when they were down to 17 students. We told us that there were 18 students left. Little One was hanging in there and was smiling as I could see each time the door swung open.

This time when the door opened, Little One suggested to mom by hand motions that she we down to 1 card and didn’t know the answer. Sure enough, with 18 students remaining and the next stage beginning when 17 were left, about 5 small math wizards walked out of the room and Little One was one of them. Mom scooped her up into her arms and gave her a big hug. We all told her how proud we were of her. She handled it well. Little One and her friend (who had been knocked out a few moments earlier) exchanged hugs and smiles for the hard work they had accomplished. Soon we were headed out into the brisk cool windy Atlanta day. Little One with a calculator received from the staff of the event.

While we were at the competition, we were told by other parents with soccer kids that they had received emails saying the fields were closed and the soccer games cancelled. It was while waiting on the event to start, I whipped out the trusted Palm TX and obtained a wireless signal from the conference center and checked my emails. Sure enough, the game was cancelled. We didn’t break it to Little One until the event was over.

We headed home. We all had a few things to get done with the gift of a few hours handed to us by a cancelled soccer game. I cleaned out the piggy cage (also took a nap), mom handled the dishes and laundry. Little One amused herself upstairs in her play room and also took a nap. That afternoon we headed out to catch up with Little One’s Great Grandparents from Alabama who were staying at Granna and Grumps house. Two of Little One’s Great Aunts also came over to visit with their mom. I did my best to pick on Maw Maw and stay out of the way the rest of the time.

Later, my father-in-law and I headed out to pick up dinner. We hit Captain D’s. I went inside to use a 10 piece meal deal coupon while he headed through the drive-thru to use another 10 piece meal deal coupon and pick up Little One a Chicken dinner. I was starving by the time we returned to the house. It smelled so good. I don’t eat Captain D’s much. However, I do like it. I ended up eating three pieces of fish, fries and 2 hush puppies.

This is one fat happy boy here. Bring on the work week.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Math and Soccer


Did Someone say football?

Let the spring season begin and let the hustle and bustle of new life spring forth. We have returned from Phoenix. Things are starting to seem like they are falling back to normal. I have a week of work under my belt and have recovered from what piled up while I was gone. The house is somewhat back to normal. Now......

Saturday morning will be a rush. Our Little One has been selected to participate in the Mathfest in College Park. She will be one of the students representing her school in a math competition. We are proud of her. I can’t imagine at 6 representing my school for a math competition. The categories she will have to compete in are: Adding whole numbers, telling time, value of Coins and adding objects. We have to be at the venue at 8:00am Saturday morning.

Soccer season starts on Saturday as well. Little One’s first practice / game is at 11:30am. I am not sure if we will make it back by then. If the printed schedule for the math competition is correct, she should be completed by 11:00. I am guessing that things will be running late. There are suppose to be hundreds of kids from K~8th grade there competing.

Our pigs are doing great. They survived the boarding while we were away in Phoenix. They are eating very well and seem to be adjusting back to us well. Snoopy is more relaxed around us. We pick him up and pet him the most. Jack is our skiddish pig. If we come near the cage, he will run and hide in their plastic house. Snoopy will just freeze.

Little One is getting better and better with them as well. She is now wanting to get snoopy out more and petting him without direct supervision. Snoopy is great because once you get him into your lap he just sits there all quiet and content.

No poker this week. To tell the truth - I have really been burned out lately on it. While I am a profitable player the drag of the grind is really torture to someone who has a full time job and a family and other activities of interest. The tournaments no longer are much interest due to you always get the player playing ace anything calling to the river ace. I don’t have the stomach much for limit. Fold, fold, fold, play hope they don’t hit their flush by the river. Then the no limit these days are filled with the "all in" player. They have no "game". Just one move. So, the poker content here has just about dried up. Maybe the spring sin will bring more interest back. If it doesn’t return, what ever will I do with a blog named rakethetable. It’s hardly fitting for anything other than poker.

I don’t like to talk (or write) politics. However, I am thinking more and more about politics, economy and the balance lately. I am sure a lot of people are. With the current administration, our futures are tossed about at the whelm of an failing foreign policy. I usually sit in church and hear some pastor preach about the end of times. At which time I tune them out and start thinking about lunch. However, things seem to be different. Not the end of times different. Just different in that you know the icy lake we are currently traveling on is very thin and just one small wrong step and all hell can break loose. I love my country and I support our soldiers. However, we are in a pickle and there is no good answer to exit our current situation. We stay - we continue to die and make more and more enemies. We leave and Iran takes control of 50% of the worlds oil and they have us by the nuts. If you are thinking of running for the presidency, take my advise and wait about 12 years. The next president has some really hard challenges ahead of them - whoever they are/whichever political party affiliation.

Ideally, I have left the building