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Showing posts from August, 2013

the final dress rehearsal

today is the final preseason game for the pittsburgh steelers as they put a bow on their efforts to prepare for the 2013-2014 football season. if you care about preseason records, then you'll be disappointed in the steelers 0-3 record so far. but the astute fan looks far deeper than the record of preseason games, since these games are about far more than the final score. they are about assessing talent, honing skills, brushing the rust off the veterans, and giving some valuable experience to the kids. with that in mind, it has been an up and down kind of preseason for the steelers. i'm excited to see who sets themselves apart tonight, and who will be on this team when the steelers season starts in a couple of weeks. i was able to attend training camp in latrobe this summer with my brother-in-law and my middle son, and we had a great time watching the team practice. it was great to be there with a tremendous steelers nation crowd, to engage in some friendly ba

raise the jolly roger! (our trip to pnc park)

when we were out in pittsburgh for our family vacation, my dad bought us all tickets (12 of us!) to go to PNC park to see a pirates game.  i was so excited to see the bucs this year, and so were a bunch of other people, since the crowd of 33,646 was the second largest for a 12:30 game in the park's 13-year history.  the pirates were looking for their 70th win, and a series sweep against the miami marlins.  i was excited to see the bucs young pitcher gerrit cole (that's him in the collage below), but was worried about facing the best arm the marlins have in jose fernandez.    and i had good reason to be worried.  the marlins had put up a 4-spot by the fifth inning, and the pirates had been able to do almost nothing with fernandez.  in the bottom of the fifth, though, walker and alvarez hit rbi singles, to get a couple of the runs back and cut it to 4-2.    how about this guy's moustache? that knocked fernandez out of the game, and the pirates made it cou

family art project 2013

as you may have seen on our summer bucket list, we had a family art project this summer.  inspired by the works of jackson pollock, we decided to do a "drip" painting, using spoons, brushes, paint tubes, and anything else we could use to put paint on our large canvas.  we looked up jackson pollock and learned about him, looked at some of his works, and even watched a youtube video of him making one of his paintings, before we started.  then we went to town.  what a blast!  i had some frantic music on (vampire weekend), and it seemed to fit the occasion, so the kids really got into it.  we decided to include the word "create" on the canvas with negative space, because we put the painting above the stairs leading to the basement, where shannon does all her graphic design work, my art room is, and the boys do most of their playing, including all the lego building.  it is a place where we do a great deal of creating, and it was an exercise in creating.  i thought

back to school

without so much as a warning, the alarm rang very early yesterday morning.  "summer's over!" it screamed.  "i don't care if it is still the third week of august," it answered me when i complained to it, continuing, in its awful blaring howl, "time to get back to routine and schedule and homework and soccer practice and running around like a family of chickens with your heads cut off!"  or something like that.  anyway, that's what it felt like.  so i rolled out of bed, woke up my two older boys, who seemed equally unwilling to let go of summer's final moments.  however, once we were up and dressed, and the morning was bright and warm, the day, and the season it ushered in, felt more inviting.  they even smiled for the pictures. we had already been getting ready, of course.  making sure we had all the requisite supplies and clothes and shoes.  we finished our summer bucket list with a lego project of making a school classroom,

happy birthday, shannon

happy birthday to my darling, my sweetheart, my love, my it-blows-my-mind-that-i-can-use-the-word-"my"-when-talking-about-her companion, my practically perfect, undeserved, and unimaginable wife.  she makes me better.  she makes the world better. 

last day of summer vacation

the kentucky derby is like a molasses-pouring contest.  the indianapolis 500 is like a three-toed sloth race.  heck, even usain bolt is snail-like, compared to the speed of the summer of 2013.  it defied all reason, and accelerated the clock's hands like an amphetamine.  there are many who would suggest that time is not so static as the clock would suggest, that its something more like flowing water, always moving, but sometimes at different paces.  never did that seem more true than this summer. of course, that might have something to do with the fact that we were extremely busy this summer.  as usual, we did our annual "summer bucket list," which is a list of a bunch of things that we want to try or accomplish during the course of the summer.    here you can see our bucket list as it looked at the beginning of this breakneck summer.  it included things like amusement parks, a big league baseball game in pittsburgh, the bronx zoo, camping, fishing, catching

mission trip day 4

greetings from the final day of our work at the jersey shore!  on this gorgeous day in atlantic city, we worked on a different property, doing some demolition work on a rotten deck, and removing the garage floor (and the mess underneath it) from what used to be a garage, also ruined by the storm.  more on that in a moment.  first, let me tell you about our team.  all through this week, i have been so incredibly impressed by (and proud of) our team for the hard work they were doing each day at the work site.  even though there were only 8 of us, and even though our know-how and experience were (extremely) limited, each person did whatever they could to help out, showed a willingness to learn new skills, and did everything (well, almost) with a spirit of love and patience.  i was amazed at their flexibility, their endurance, and their joy through it all!  that being said, we did have a bit of a health situation, starting tuesday night, when Eric started dealing with some signific

mission trip day 3

day 3 of our trip was our second full work day, and we continued working at Anthony's home in atlantic city.  we once again divided into groups and tackled different projects, including framing out some soffit, scraping paint, caulking and painting around a door, insulating, continuing to frame out and put up walls in a mudroom, and more!  for a group of eight people who have very little experience in building and construction, we have accomplished a good deal more than i expected already! the good folks here at "a future with hope," the organization that is coordinating this overall effort, shared with us their three goals for us: 1. to get some work done; 2. to grow closer to one another, and 3. to grow closer to God. i think we have certainly been accomplishing all three of those goals. there's no doubt that we have been growing closer together as a team, getting to one another better and sharing in tremendous fun and laughter, not to mentio