Saturday, June 26, 2010

Uh-oh: Tracking Hurricane Alex

Thank God computer weather forecasts are always wrong.

Tropical Storm Alex

Still...I think this is going to be a busy week.

Adventure! Excitement! Ike!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Merriwether and the Tailor

Recently it has come to my attention that I need some new suits. It seems repeated wearing of my current suits has somehow cause their pants to shrink to a uncomfortable tightness. I'm not enough of an expert in fabric science to understand why this has happened, all I can do is respond in a manner favored by President Obama: throw money at it in hopes something magically works.

So Tuesday I found myself trying on assorted suits at a men's fine clothing establishment. My belief is really men wear good suits. If you don't feel like superman when you put on your suit you need a different (better!) suit. The house tailor is working with me, making some suggestion as I try on different jackets. I normally like the powerful image of double-breasted suits, but apparently these have gone out of style and they didn't carry any. I settled on a nice Italian wool very dark (almost black) charcoal pinstripe that will work well for both scientific presentations (yea!), funerals (bummer), and job interviews (bummer). Sidenote: I'm still employed, but in this day and age one should always be prepared for job-hunting.

Let me say a few words about the tailor. He is an old black man who looks and sounds like Morgan Freeman. He moved like he's been dressing men for fifty years, which looking at him seemed completely possible. Deft, smooth, no-nonsense, just perfection in his every movement. I swear if God ever needs a suit this guy is going to be yanked up into heaven!

Anyway he asked me what size waist I have and I sheepishly tell him 36". I haven't been on the treadmill in months while food consumption has remained the same...okay, maybe consumption has increased a little bit...but only a little! The tailor disappears, then pops back up with pants for me to try one. Oh, they feel great! I can move, flex, and sit comfortably. Yeah, I'm loving this suit!

We spend a while as he chalks up where he'll make alterations, and then it's time to take it off. He carefully hangs it on a nice hanger and walks me up front to ring it up. After signing the credit slip I run my hands over the suit again, enjoying the fine fabric. There's a tag on pants and I flipped it over to read it.

Waist: 38"

Oh, well played mister tailor man.

Adventure! Excitement! Time start running again!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The life aquatic with Clark and Merriwether.

It has been FAR too long since Clark and I have gone paddling down some forgotten/unpassable river or alligator infested swamp. Luckily Sunday Clark and I managed to have an aquatic adventure far more meaningful than past trips!

C-M
Clark and I ready for our aquatic adventure!!
(sidenote: Clark is a big, six foot tall man)

Not expecting the ties, were you? Alas, while Clark and I were deeply involved in this adventure, we were not the primary adventurers. That pleasure was reserved for the Younger Clark and the Clarkettes. I was asked to by Younger Clark's godfather. What an incredible honor!

They
These three are about to get very wet.

So by now you've figured out some sort of baptism has taken place. In this case it was actually multiple baptisms as both of Clark's daughters and his son were washed clean of the Original Sin and entered into the Catholic church! Give me an "Amen!" brothers and sisters!

Water1
None of this "dribble some water on the head" stuff, they were heading for complete submersion. Sidenote: the pool was heated which is a good thing as the decon was in there a long time (lots of baptisms today).

Water3
Standing at water's edge.

Water2
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit!

After the ceremony everyone went back to the Clarkhold and partied. Catholics are pretty good partiers. Polish Catholics are EXCELLENT partiers! Trust me, if a group of Polish people invite you to a party definitely go!! I didn't recognize any of the food they served but it was all most excellent. Better still was the "Joy of Life" they bring to celebrations. I love hanging out with Clark's and Misses Clark's extended families.

We
Of course, partying with my family rocks, too.

Adventure! Excitement! Redemption!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I need an AC repair person!

Our upstairs AC unit is acting really wonky. Can anyone recommend me a good repair person on the north side of Houston? Everyone I've looked up is blacklisted by the BBB! Help me readers, you are my only hope.

Adventure! Excitement! Sweat followed by $$$!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Looking California

But feeling Minnesota!
-Soundgarden

It took me several days to figure out what was wrong. I was home among family and old friends in beautiful Minnesota. The weather was beautiful, especially compared to the hot steamy weather of Houston. The landscape was beautiful with rolling hills, endless fields, deep woods, and clear streams. The people were beautiful, tall blonds, redheads, and brunettes... The flea markets and second hand stores were filled with cast iron cookware, unused backpacks, tools, and even row after row of nice leather jackets while here in Houston all they ever have is picked-over crap.

My family was great and I hadn't seen them in years. The friends I caught up with hadn't been with in twenty or more years but it was like yesterday.

Finally I figured it out. Minnesota is The Shire, a peaceful, bucolic landscape filled with peaceful people far removed from trouble, danger, or war. Basically, it lacked grit.

I realized a long time ago that I quickly get bored by peaceful contentment. I need threats in my life to keep my edge. Houston is good for that.

So I loved being up there and seeing my family. I loved the way Minnesota looks and the way it feels, but I can't ever see moving back there...

So now, the pictures.

Home
Home: +150 year old farmhouse with three bedrooms, one bathroom and for the week of the trip, SIXTEEN people! Here's a tip if you ever find yourself in a similar situation: write each person's name on a clothespin which they then use to mark their bath towel. Sixteen white towels look alike but thank's to Mommawether's ingenuity we knew which towel was ours.

Supper
Suppertime.

Brothers
Left to right: Prayerwether (youngest), Merriwether (middle child), Acrticwether (oldest). I was the last to grow a beard.

4Vs
Mommawether and Poppawether with their only two granddaughters.

Arrival
Misseswether and the Wethergirls arrive. They took three days to drive up (+1100 miles from Houston to St. Michael, MN) while I spent four hours flying.

Swing
Mambowether swinging in the backyard.

FamilyFun
How do you keep six boys and one girl entertained without electronics? BB guns!! Mambowether decided she LOVES shooting, which makes me happy.

AllEight
All the kids. Luckily this playground was built two blocks away from the house.

SmallTownBall
Little league game next to the playground in the cool evening. Crack of the bat, cheer of the parents...it was right out of Norman Rockwell paintings!

After
Mambowether and Uncle Arcticwether.

Sleepers
Tuckered out after running wild with their cousins.

OurChurch
Memorial Day was spent visiting three cemeteries to pay respects to our ancestors. Mommawether's family had been in St. Michael for 5-6 generations.

TrackingFamily
Mommawether showing Missesarcticwether and Misseswether the family tree.

Family-Friend
My parent's "Other Son" TJ. I haven't seen him in over twenty years! He happened to be riding past, saw everyone and immediately turned in to the the driveway. He was welcomed back like the Prodigal Son...but without killing a calf. TJ is awesome. We sent many years adventuring together as kids.

Powerspot
The woods. It's pretty much where I spent all my free time growing up. There's not much left of it anymore.

TheCreekAndTheCrow
The source of my power: where "The Creek" (lower right) joins the Crow River.

MyHome
Me in The Woods.

Thistles
One of the many wild edibles in The Woods.

Waterfall
One day was spent at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. It was very pretty but too tame for me. The waterfall above is probably the wildest part there but even it was built and arranged by man.

We also went to Como Zoo because we always go to Como Zoo. The kids liked seeing the animals. I prefer the Como Conservatory and the Carousel.

Conservatory6
One of the rooms in the Conservatory.

Conservatroy5
All family and some nude chick.

Conservatory2
Another shot of the nude chick. :-)

Conservatory3
The other end of the reflecting pool. This shot is now my desktop picture at work.

Conservatory1
A different room in the Conservatory. Growing up, I wanted my house to be just like this.

Vgirls
Snowcone break with Aunt Prayerwether.

Manybutnotall
Dang, missing one of the kids.

GrandpaTaxi
The kids always fight over who gets to ride "Poppawether's taxi". Mambowether usually won because I've taught her how to fight dirty.

Pose
My picture of Misseswether trying to take a picture of Mambowether and the lions.

Multipleladies
Mommawether and Wether-in-laws.

ComoCarousel
Carousel time! Yes, I like riding the horses.

Horse1
I took a dozen pictures of them trying to get just the right dramatic flair. This shot turned out pretty good.

Fun
Mambo thought Mini was going to ride in the carriage with her. Disappointed!

The next day was another mellow one at home and a birthday party for Miniwether that evening.

Birthday!
She got a multipack of glittery lip gloss and other lipsticks. After trying to find a purple unicorn Pillow Pal I finally ended up buying one of ebay. It'll arrive sometime next week.

The last day was spent visiting my amazing friend Christina Rodriguez in Stillwater, MN. She is an award-winning illustrator of children's books (though I can't really say The Antarctic Express is a children's book considering the child in it is driven insane by the attack of a shoggoth) and all-around totally awesome person. I'd know here for years on line but this was our first face-to-face meeting.

Christina
Christina giving the girls autographed copies of The Antarctic Express and Storm Codes, two of the many books she's illustrated.

Stillwater
A rainy day in Stillwater.

The week went by way too fast. I couldn't live in Minnesota, but I love our all-to-rare trips up there. Misseswether loaded up her SUV with her, me, the girls, assorted luggage and new treasures, bottled water, and a ton of snacks (both healthy and not so healthy). The Minneapolis airport is just off I-35, the freeway she was going to spend the next three days driving so she dropped me off for my plane.

DrivingHome
Misseswether and the girls somewhere in America.

Okay, if you read this entire post drop me a line in the comment section. I'm just curious to see if anyone does. :-)

Adventure! Excitement! Civilization!

Monday, June 07, 2010

And I'm back from...

Home
Home.

Sixteen people in a +150 year old farmhouse with three bedrooms, one toilet and one computer = WONDERFUL!!

I'm back in Texas now but Misseswether, Mini, and Mambo are currently in a Motel 6 somewhere in Oklahoma. Due to my limited amount of vacation time I flew to Minnesota and back while they drove...and drove and drove and drove. They should be back sometime tomorrow.

More to come...