Monday, July 31, 2006

I am finally back from a whirlwind climbing trip. After waking up at 3:30am on Thursday, Sean and I busted a move out to Denver. Once we arrived, it was great to visit with Harry/Marsha. That evening they hosted the youth group interns, and fed us some great fajitas. Before hitting the sack, I drove Sean to The Tattered Cover. This is one of the best bookstores in the country.

Friday morning we stopped by to see Jimmy G, before heading out for a quick peek at Red Rocks. We walked in through the back way, and promptly got kicked off the stage. Apparently some band called "311" doesn't take kindly to strangers walking around their amps, etc... Oh well, by this time, we were ready to hit the mtns. We hooked up with Landon and Brice at Leadville, and decided to eat a few hotdogs instead of breaking out the propane stove. Bad move. By the time we got back to our spot at Twin Lakes, more guys started showing up. I think there were probably 15-17. Of those, I believe 11 made the climb up Mt Massive Saturday morning.

During this climb, I learned a few things. First, I don't want to do that particular climb again. It was a 14-mile roundtripper, with roughly 4,500' elevation gain. Second, I will never again eat 2 big hotdogs, Pringles, and 2 peanut bars the night before a big climb. 14 miles of burping hotdogs isn't what I call fun. Third, when it comes to climbing, my Dad is king of the family. I felt all of 40 on this one. He was well into his 60's during his last climbs of Shavano and Elbert.

Despite these facts, I am supremely proud to having completed it. Last one up, Last one down! This was my distinction. The quickest group to summit took 3 hours. Sean and I huffed, puffed, wheezed, and summitted in a paltry 4:58. Our roundtrip turned out to to be 8 1/2 hours. We were beat, but not defeated. Once we got back to camp, we packed up and headed out. With no rooms available in Summit County, we decided to drive to the big metropolitan city of Arriba, CO. Our posh digs included a big, dead bug right next to my bed, and a scorpion that quickly lost his life to a hiking boot. The room wasn't that great, but hey, the lukewarm shower was awesome!

Here's a quick snapshot of our campsite, before the batteries died on me. I am expecting a summit photo from one of the guys, though.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Here's a few random pics from the past few days. Decker and Benny got along like 2 peas in a pod. It's times like this that make me realize how fortunate it was for me to grow up with my cousins.

Benny Holding Court With The Cousins

Sunday, July 23, 2006

As I go back through the pictures we have taken this year, there are several of Benny eating fruit. Here is my latest contribution of this wierd photo essay.

A funny thing about Benny's personality is that sometimes he wakes up with a fixation on something. This might be a certain book, his pacifier, a specific was a bit different. He needed to have in his possesion 2 swim diapers. So G did what comes natural. Stuck one on his head, and took a picture!

We also had company Saturday night. Our friend Brian is Benny's "Big Brother". Brian dialed it in with his cow puppet routine.

We have family from GA in this weekend, so there should be more good pictures coming soon! My nephew is looking over colleges, and I feel old. In my mind, he should still be riding bikes with his buddies in Woodward.

On other notes, we had a great worship service this morning with Jerome Williams. Services ran "over" by probably 1/2 hour, but didn't even realize it.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

40 Candles

Whoever suggested that Neosho and Thayer be matched up for a week together at Green Valley Bible Camp is to be commended.

In Junior High, I remember seeing this hot-shot basketball player from Thayer hoopin' it up on the cement slab halfcourt. Later on that week we bumped into each other at the dinner line. My perception before our introduction was that he was probably stuck up...being a 'baller with the highschoolers, and all. After we talked, those perceptions went out the window in a hurry. I actually liked this guy named Mark, We even laughed at the same stupid stuff.

As the camp sessions ticked through the years, we became steadfast friends. We even decided to become college roommies-complete with a fallback plan. If we didn't like OCC, we would backpack Europe, then go to SMSU. That was never an issue. We met other guys like Darrel, John, Todd, Barry, etc......and fell into a good groove, complete with a great college experience. We are all still good friends to this day, but that is for other posts.

This is a milestone year for most of us buddies (except Wib, who is "old plus 2"). More importantly, today is Mark's 40th birthday.

Here's a fond few moments that stick out in my mind over the past few decades:

Our first week in college.
Spilling Skoal juice on his head (he did manage to keep his cool, but I did pay for that many times during college-and until I managed to quit the habit.
Going to see Bruuuuce.
Going to Thayer and browsing through "the suitcase". These were his Dad's WWII momentos.
Going to Neosho and playing bball with Mark at the Rec Center. He spotted me 7 points, and still won 10-8.
All of our Colorado trips (Winter and Summer), and the creation of the now-defunct: Stumpers Mtn Club.
Bruuuce cruises.
That incident which will remain anon at Lake Hefner with Darrel and Barry.
That firecracker-under-the-car incident at Hafer Park which is not anon to a select few, and could have been life-threatening to us scrawny guys.
Mark getting married, with Cheech Marin officiating.
Mark skiing behind Wib's boat at Arcadia...waving to us...then promptly falling in the 6" deep nasty, muddy water.
Going to Normandy, and hearing Mark babble: "Parlay Voo, Uhhh, Hubba Hubba"
Mark stepping in dog poop in the Parisian park by the Eiffel Tower in Paris. (See picture).
Sharing our WWII books/DVD's.
Meeting up with the Landes' at Laura's in NC, and playing with Zach.
The Duke game.

This list could go on and on.

Here's to my favorite "hairless executive", fellow WWII buff, and supreme Cards Fan.

I love you, maaaan.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Time is ticking. The mountains have been in my blood for a long time. Since I no longer live around them, I plan on climbing every year. Last year, myself and a group of friends trekked Mt Elbert in Colorado. This year, a bunch of us will congregate amongst the clouds and ascend Mt Massive. I am absolutely stoked.

Now in the "olden days", I lived to see, touch, smell, and experience the mountains themselves. To me, camping and climbing was almost like a junkie getting his fix. I guess mainly an obsession.

These days, the prize is in the journey. I am looking forward to driving I-70 with my friend Sean, and renewing some old acquaintences once we get to the campground. The icing is the view from the top.

I am actually in training while typing this (ie: carbo loading for the climb). There's nothing like a bowl full of White Cheddar Puffed Cheetos as a bedtime "training snack". Somehow I think this won't help too much during the climb. Like the view from the sure is tasty!

Friday, July 14, 2006

This week we had some special friends stop by on their way back to Denver. Benny was excited to see "EXA" the dog, and Marsha (along with the rest of the family). They even took Benny to his first zoo outing. By all accounts, he was excited! I also had a nice conversation with my sweet friend, Gay. For several years she has been faithfully manning the phones, and keeping an eye out for my extended family at MWT. Thanks.

Brad, in case you are wondering about us slackers. We finally got everything notarized. Be expecting a packet soon! I apologize for taking so long.
Here are some random observations that have been stewing in my head.

1. Try microwaving greenbeans-take them out of the can first. They sure spark alot. I am guessing they have a high iron content.

2. Fill a house with a bunch of guys for a few days. There will still be toilet paper on the roll. Fill a house with a bunch of girls for a few days. There will be no toilet paper on the rolls, and there will be an abundance of toilet paper wadded up in the trash can! Why is this. Is it genetic?

Monday, July 10, 2006

What a great day for the park. Benny's reward for getting 3 shots at the Dr's office was a trip to the Des Peres park. I tell you..if you love parks, move to STL.

Hey Ed, put this on your calender: Aug 17th, at 1:10pm. Section 355, Row 4, Seats 5 & 6.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

While we should always be striving for something, Benny has this down to a science. If it's not the ceiling fan, it is bubbles.

Today my friend Edward did the preaching, and I would have loved to hear the word. Alas, G and I had nursery duty. Needless to say, by the time it was all said and done..we were tired. It's hard to complain with so many great babies at church. I look at those kids and just imagine what life will bring them. Who will be Benny's best friend? Will he go on a date with any of these kiddos? I am reminded that G and I need to be excellent parents, in the sense of exposing Benny to a loving family and a loving God.

After dropping Avion off at his house, we found a dim sum restaurant on Olive Blvd. I'm thinking that Dim Sum means "this food smells like fish". While I can't claim to be a great fan, it was a fun outing. When it comes to Oriental food..I'll take Thai any day of the week!

Has it been mentioned that I have a great wife. Lately she has been a good counselor. During these past few weeks, it has been difficult to hand over worries to God. Whether it is challenges with family relationships, or business-related issues...I have been stubborn to put them on God's shoulders. THis morning she gave me a great talking-to. Sort of like George C. Scott portraying Patton in the opening scenes, she began telling me the facts, and reminding me what matters in this life. She had me listen to some great music to think about the way I am handling stress (or not handling stress). If you want to be humbled, listen to "Who Am I", by Casting Crowns.

As with daydreaming about Benny and those kids in the nursery, I can't help but daydream about what God has in store for G and I. For now, I'll just keep working at giving God the load...the extra sleep will surely come in handy. After all, tomorrow is my day with Benny.