Dinner & A Movie With My Little Girl

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      So, it’s Saturday night, dateline Salt Lake City and Mom is attending a bridal shower gala for her long time friend which leaves me and baby girl at home fending for ourselves.  Now baby girl will be 14 years old soon but as all Dad’s well know, they are still that wee little girl learning to ride a bike for the first time!  Even my 26 year old is still that same little girl I accompanied to the Daddy/Daughter dance when she was, oh my… 12?, 13?… where does the time go?  I mean honestly!  Enjoy these times now.  Cliché or not, there is nothing more true.

  Anyhoo, so baby girl and I quickly organize a plan…  Daddy/Daughter date!  And what will our date consist of?   Well dinner and a movie of course.  Now, we are one of those families that likes to do everything together so rather than say “Hey guess what we did?” to each other it’s –  Hey remember when we did that?” to each other.  It’s better that way really and creates way better memories, not to mention how much easier it is to talk about without having to provide lengthy explanations.  Well since our D/D date was sans Mom, we decided on something that Mom probably wouldn’t be too interested in (plus, I verified it with Mom, just in case).   Dinner at a pizza joint and a movie about a giant radiated monster on the loose in San Francisco!  Not much explanation needed there.  Simple – California Pizza Kitchen and ‘Godzilla’. Now the pizza was good but, well, expensive.  I’m sorry but honestly for a fairly small meal, let’s just say that they are very proud of their pizza.  The movie on the other hand, turned out to be the serendipity of the evening.  It was quite good!  At the conclusion of the film I asked baby girl if she liked it and she responded with a most positive yet somewhat surprised “Yes… I did!!”  As we made our way back to the car and then home, we talked about the movie and we both sort of arrived at the same conclusion…  it may have been a monster movie but it was more like a movie about people with monsters in it.  Quite pleasantly surprising.

  Of course, all that aside, the highlight of the entire evening and in reality the only reason to even write about this, was the creation of yet another lasting memory to cherish as more of that precious time goes by!  Time you will not get back.

  The expensive pizza was worth it.

Our house. No….make that Home.

RP Apr 2014 (1)

  I live in a small house with my wife and daughter in a really cool little neighborhood.  Now there was a time that I wouldn’t refer to my neighborhood as cool or nice or pretty much any other positive adjective.  Of course I didn’t live here at that time so as dictated by human nature, I looked upon this neighborhood based on reputation.
My neighborhood was developed in the post WWII years to accommodate returning heroes from the war.  The houses were constructed of solid, quality materials and built to last.  They also had (and still do) class and style with tons of character.  You know, the old ‘less is more’, ‘bigger isn’t always better’ adages?  Well that certainly applies here.  This area is also very close to the center of the big city making for added convenience. The people who lived here in those early days started their families here and many of them still reside here.  We are quite honored actually to have one of the original homeowners as our neighbor and friend.  She has dined with us from time to time and regaled us with stories and past memories of our neighborhood and her life.  A bit of advice if I may; if you ever find yourself in the company of an elder lady or gentleman who are willing to share their memories and experiences, consider this a gift and disregard your seemingly busy schedule and take it all in.  There is nothing like the real thing when it comes to learning about the past.
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Anyway, back to the present.  Even with its humble beginning and family environment, our neighborhood, much like many others in our country seemed to go through some not so great changes as children grew and moved away and in some cases the family themed community environment seemed to move away with them as well.  The class and style of the neighborhood seemed to diminish a bit as it took on a more transient feel with people moving into the area as a temporary residence or ‘starter home’.  I absolutely detest that term ‘starter home’ but will spare you that rant.  A home is a home no matter the size.  What makes it home is what is inside and the neighbors in your community.  There’s a misused word : community.  Ok, I can see that I am close to not keeping my word about sparing you my rant so… moving on.  Perhaps another post.  Onward.  As I was saying, the reputation of our neighborhood became somewhat tarnished over time as the trend shifted from urban dwelling to suburban developments and what seemed to be less of a focus on community and neighborhoods and more of an individual existence.  Unfortunately, that element took shape in the remaining urban areas as well leading to the previously mentioned less than favorable reputation.  Okay fine.  The bad reputation.  It was too and there are still many who hold the same opinion about our ‘hood.  Even my wife ,who is from here held that opinion for years before we actually took up residence here.  I am not from here but heard nothing but negative about this area and really didn’t give it much thought.  Well we married and moved to the ‘desirable’ area of our city, an even older neighborhood than where we currently reside and quite frankly, it just never worked.  After enduring much drama and crime and virtually no interaction within our ‘community’ (there’s that word) and the financial setbacks from these encounters, we realized the need to seek a different residence.  Peace. Harmony.  Relaxation.  We had heard of these things but found them to be very elusive in our living situation.  About the time we made the decision to relocate, a family member had decided to sell his house which was being used as a rental at the time.  Remember temporary?  So after researching many neighborhoods, we decided to have a look at the house which we would ultimately purchase.  We looked at it many times.  Then we looked at it some more.  This is the neighborhood that receives little love.  The neighborhood that gets no respect.  After many visits and much time staring at this house and surrounding area, my wife and I arrived upon a mutual decision:  It didn’t suck.  Actually quite the opposite!  We witnessed nothing alarming or negative instead we experienced to a small degree the elusive elements mentioned before that were missing from our soon to be previous situation.  Neighbors were interacting and smiling while doing so.  The character and charm of the homes could be seen with a little vision but was there nonetheless.  There were children playing outside.  Ponder that for a moment.  All of this together with a really great price helped make the decision fairly easy.  We found our new home.

Halloween 2011 (4)

(The kids I told you about…..playing…outside…)

 

More to come.  Thanks for your time.

Movie Night

I love movies as I’m sure we all do.  There is just something special about going to your favorite theatre for a screening of a new movie.  The huge screen, the amazing sound system and comfortable seating all combine for that unique cinematic experience where one can go and escape for a couple of hours.  But as good as that is, attending a film does require a bit of a financial commitment especially if you go as a family or group.  You know what else requires a healthy financial state to participate in these days?  Skiing.  You want to get the family out for a day on the slopes then you have a look at the cost of lift tickets!  Sorry, that is another post entirely.  Anyway, the movies, love the movies but when trying to maintain somewhat of a budget I find most times the thinking is “I’ll wait for the video”.  This is my personal default but even more so these days with the choices before us for viewing films at our leisure virtually wherever we choose. I think it is just so cool to turn on the telly, select the on demand menu, search through the seemingly endless list of film choices and upon arriving on a mutual agreement with whoever else you are watching with, enjoying a movie completely on your terms.

Recently, my adorable wife and I had a window of opportunity to have one such movie night and after the process outlined above, we mutually agreed (yes, mutually) on a little film called “About Time”.
About time pic

A lot of times I find myself wondering why they just don’t make movies like they used to.  Well with this one I didn’t have to wonder that.  It really is a delightful yet powerful film that will leave you feeling quite good after watching.  Of course, being totally relaxed in your own home or wherever you feel totally relaxed while enjoying a movie is all part of the package. The lighting and atmosphere are two of the three key ingredients.  The third, but in my opinion the key ingredient is sound.  We recently purchased a fairly budget priced sound bar with a sub and it truly does complete the viewing experience.  For lighting, a lamp with a low wattage bulb positioned in a corner is sufficient.

Adding to the atmosphere of course is fragrance and the only obvious choice for this ingredient is Scentsy.  Scentsy  fragrant wax warmers use a light bulb to heat scented wax so it actually performs double duty and contributes to the lighting as well (check out the Lampshade Collection). There are over 80 uniquely scented wax choices and along with the variety of warmers offered by Scentsy being similar to the movie choices you have, you’re likely to find one or more that suit your fancy just fine.  Oh and since you asked, I get my olfactory satisfaction from several different fragrances but currently am enjoying Thank You and  French Lavender. Believe it or not it really rounds out the whole home cinematic experience.  So get the popcorn popping and enjoy a movie night tonight!

My first Rock concert.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=N0FuFfcCZiE

 

 

Well I just happened to be on Facebook and decided to stray just a bit from the normal ops, you know just see what your ‘friends’ are posting, new photos and so on. I never realized all that FB encompasses with groups and pages, interests, likes and dislikes. Links, business and videos, people searches. It’s seemingly limitless. Anyway, I know what your thinking…he’s just now figuring this stuff out? Hey I might be slow but I’m not real good! So……I discover ‘pages’ and in particular the Music pages. Very cool! Now I’m looking through the many musicians pages and came upon the page of Mr. Keith Emerson. Keith Emerson was and still is one of the most progressive and prominent keyboardists of all time! Mr. Emerson entered my stream of consciousness in the late 70′s while performing with the incomparable Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Progressive Rock was the style they performed in and were very instrumental in pioneering. Somehow they managed to merge Classical, Gershwin, Jazz and honky tonk (along with just about every other musical style known!) with rock and sell many albums, gain a huge following and perform for thousands! I was one of those thousands and in 1979 I can quite proudly boast that my virgin rock concert was the amazing performance of Emerson, Lake and Palmer a.k.a. ELP at The Omni in Atlanta, Georgia! Keith Emerson on keyboards, Greg Lake on guitar and vocals and Carl Palmer on drums. All virtuosos and a perfect chemistry of personalities and musical inspiration. An anomaly really. Very good for us. Of course I can’t prove I attended the show with physical evidence of a ticket stub, but I do remember the ticket prices very well. Three prices : $7.95, $8.95 and $9.95! I believe I splurged and laid out the big bucks being my inaugural rock show! Compare that to the average charge for one of today’s shows! If you haven’t heard ELP or any of the solo outings from any of these talented musicians, it would definitely be worth your time giving them a listen! My recommendation : ‘Welcome Back My Friends to the Show that Never Ends….’ by ELP. In my humble opinion you will be very satisfied.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OLWgrr671g

 

There’s a first time for everything.

1st 787 Pre Flt

The newest commercial airliner from Boeing and currently the only airliner in production that is not constructed entirely from metal ; the 787 Dreamliner. I know there are a lot of news reports out there describing it’s issues but things always get worked out and let’s face it, it’s a pretty sexy airplane! I was there in Everett,WA. when the above airplane saw the light of day for the first time, in fact I was probably in the aircraft pictured when this was taken. The plane in the picture above is the very first Dreamliner, Ship #1 and the reason I was there is that I was employed by the company as an aircraft maintenance technician. I was hired along with many of this profession’s best and brightest to get this aircraft off the ground and subsequently into the hands of the many airline operators that ordered this amazing new machine.

MINI & RC1 back in SLC 10.2.11

  Airplanes aren’t the only vehicles I put a wrench to. Here are my automobiles(two of them). 1985 Dodge Ramcharger and 2007 MINI Cooper R56. I’m assuming the reader(s) will identify which is which.(hint:the MINI is the white one) . Well the Ramcharger is in it’s 29th year of existence and one can understand that the wrench comes out on a fairly regular basis to keep the old girl on the road. My daughter actually refers to her as a him so there may be a bit of confusion on gender from time to time. The MINI (the white car) ,being much younger and newer has not needed as much attention from the wrench and being new means that for the first three years of life it received it’s wrench needs from the MINI dealer because of the ……say it with me….WARRANTY! Of all my favorite words that begin with ‘W’ , Warranty comes in second. What’s the first? Well, Wife of course!

  Well, the MINI is now in it’s 7th year of operation and as with all things mechanical, issues begin to develop and usually issues that require attention from the wrench. Of course my 2nd favorite ‘W’ word is no longer available (7 is more than 3 which apparently makes some sort of difference when dealing with a 3 year warranty) which means that the wrench needed to provide the necessary care will have to be from the same toolbox as the wrench used for maintaining the 29 year old gender confused SUV. I just remembered that SUV is the latest acronym for vehicles like my Ramcharger so I will use that for those of you who still can’t tell the two vehicles apart. Also,I can stop referring to the MINI as the white one. Now that we’ve cleared that up, back to the developing maintenance issues with the MINI. I have always maintained my POV’s (privately owned vehicles). Just couldn’t bear to have an unfamiliar wrench in my car’s proximity. That and I’m hardheaded. I keep aircraft flying, I’ll keep my automobiles rolling. Well, the MINI’s issues needed attention and even though I no longer had the security of my 2nd favorite ‘W’ word, I allowed the MINI dealer, Mini of Murray, to actually access the engine of the white car and inform me of the details and price! of what needed to be done to effect repairs. Upon the conclusion of their inspection they contacted me. I knew of one serious malady, possibly one other. They identified 3 additional maladies. I asked the price. They told me. I was not pleased. Shocked,actually. No way I was going to allow a foreign wrench near my engine nor part with that much currency to pay for the occurrence of the utilization of that wrench!

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   At this point I think it’s pretty clear that I have a wrench. I also have the book with how to do everything complete with pictures! I have considerable experience using wrenches and books on how to do things complete with pictures. Then, I realized something else I have that I never had that much of in the past years when I’ve had to facilitate  my own automobile repairs. Money! Now that’s not to say that there is an overabundance of money but at this particular time there just happened to be more money than other resources like time,patience, energy, give a ____ level….did I mention time?  So, making a short story long, I gave the MINI of Murray service writer the green light thus allowing the introduction of a foreign wrench to come in contact with my beloved MINI Cooper engine thus enabling me to experience the luxury of enjoying my time, not trying my patience ,conserving my energy and not disrupting my give a ____ level to any varying degree. Hey, for a guy like me this is big. I got my car (the MINI….the white one…) repaired and back on the road and all I did was go to lunch! I might be on to something here.

    I still know where my wrench is. And I’m not afraid to use it.

….Initializing….

We seem to live in a world these days where nothing truly is impossible. With all of our computers and devices and such it seems that virtually everything you need or want to know is just a click away. Honestly, if one wants to know how to do a brake job on one’s car or install a hot water heater or learn how to fix an issue on one of the aforementioned devices or just obtain basic to advanced knowledge on ….. anything, there are nearly unlimited resources available online to help you accomplish your pursuits or steer you in the right direction. I really admire the people and businesses that take the time to share info and ideas via the multitude of outlets available through this digital age we live in. I still clearly remember when my sister and I got our very own telephone line complete with our own personal rotary dial (the dial would light up! It was really cool!) phones! You may now have an idea of my day when I say ‘back in the day’. Anyway, knowledge acquisition back in the day was, well, a little more time consuming to say the least. Just last week my good friend and neighbor Al, who is 20+ years older than me, came over and asked me about obtaining a part for his aging vehicle. I replied “let’s look online”, the obvious first response, to which he replied “no thanks, I’d rather go to the auto parts shop and inquire in person”. I have to admit, there’s a lot to be said for doing things physically sometimes just to sort of ‘keep it real’. We need to keep that Human Touch alive. Anyway, the reason for the title I chose is because this is the initial post on my first blog and since I don’t really know what I’m doing yet, I’m just winging it and getting my feet wet. Hopefully it get’s better. Thanks for tuning in

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