What I Did On My Summer Vacation

I already posted about my high school reunion. The reunion was one of the things I did on vacation, but there was plenty more. We started the vacation by driving to my mother-in-law’s house in Kentucky. We had dinner, went to bed and then got up the next morning to head to Indiana University for a college tour. At the end of the tour I finally found a brain bigger than mine.

Indiana University

We left Bloomington and drove to St Louis. The next morning we went on a tour of Washington University.  It was a very nice campus, but miserably hot that day. They did give the students a free lunch and the entire family a nice water bottle.

 

 

 

We left the university and headed down to Grant’s Farm. I was skeptical and didn’t know if it was worth the trouble of going just to see the Clydesdales, but there was so much more. It was a fun place(with free beer samples) and worth the drive down.

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Grant’s Farm

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Grant’s Farm

 

 

While we were in St Louis we went to the City Museum. It was an interesting place and we had a lot of fun climbing around inside. I did bump my head several times and still have the mark. It’s also very hard on old knees. Everyone in the family chickened out and didn’t go down the 5 story slide.

 

 

 

After City Museum, we went to the Arch. The tram up was a little claustrophobic, but worth it. We were probably in line longer than we were in the arch, but the views were great.

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Gateway Arch

View from the Arch

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The Arch at Nighr

After St Louis we went to Bowling Green, KY for the reunion and to spend time with family. On the way back out of town, we went on a tour of my alma mater, University of Kentucky. We toured the dorm where I lived as a freshman. Well, it had the same name, but it was a completely different dorm than where I lived.

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University of Kentucky

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High School Reunion

I went to my 30 year high school reunion on Saturday. I always have trouble in this type of setting because I am a socially awkward introvert.  In large gatherings like this I tend to drift toward the edges and observe more than I interact. It was the same at this event. I had a good time, but it could have been better if I could break out of my shell a little. I should have ubered instead of driving so I could drink enough to loosen up a little.

Regardless of my personal shortcomings, it was a great event. There was a good turnout and everyone enjoyed seeing their old classmates.  It did feel a little like high school for me. I felt awkward and hesitant to join a group and gravitated toward the people with whom I felt more comfortable. When the dancing started I watched instead of joining. The difference this time is that people actually tried to get me to dance with them. I kept telling them I can’t dance, but they persisted. Eventually, I had to go to the dance floor to prove once and for all that I could not dance. They stopped asking after they witnessed that. I know this sounds like I didn’t have a good time, but I did. I enjoyed reconnecting with old friends. In some cases, it really didn’t feel like it had been years since we had spoken. It seemed normal and natural to be with them. I guess some friendships can survive time and distance more than others

The big takeaway from the night is how much I miss these people. I left the reunion melancholy because I know that it will be another 5-10 years before I see any of them again. Living 600 miles away makes it hard to maintain friendships. I will and have talked to them on Facebook, but it isn’t the same. I envy those still in Kentucky who have the option to spend more time together.

Thanks OCHS Class of 1987 for being such a positive part of my life.

I’m Not the Only Thing Getting Old

This weekend I was mowing my backyard. I decided to take a break because it was hot and the self-propelled part of my mower stopped working a month or so ago. I came back out and the mower wouldn’t start. I still need to do the front yard, but I’m not sure the mower will start again. The mower isn’t ancient, but I guess it is old enough that parts are starting to go bad. Now I have to decide: repair or replace? I’m considering replacing and going with a battery powered, cordless mower.

A while back our vacuum cleaner started to suck by not sucking enough. My wife told my mother-in-law that a new vacuum would be a good combined Christmas present(is it, though?) The result was us getting an old vacuum cleaner she no longer used. It is ancient and not easy to move around. I think it might be older than me. Forget what I said above. I think it’s obvious that I need to buy a robot vacuum robot and a robot lawn mower so I don’t have to do the work anymore.

Our house is now about 20 years old. We just got a new roof a couple of years ago. I’m sure as we get past the 20 year mark more things will need to be replaced or repaired.

We just replaced a couple of our old cars in the past few years.

It’s obvious I need to win the lottery so I can buy all new stuff.

How to Make Vacation Seem Like Work

I will be on vacation soon. I will be away from work for a week, so I will be on vacation. The problem is, this vacation will not be very relaxing. After a good run of trips to places like Lake Tahoe, New Hampshire, Zambia, Norway, Sedona, etc we are only taking one week this year to head back to see family in Kentucky. That could be relaxing, but we took care of that by adding in some college visits. Here is the itinerary:

Day 1 – Drive 9 hours to mother-in-laws house. Eat dinner. Visit some. Go to sleep

Day 2 – Eat breakfast. Drive 3 hours to Indiana University for college visit(do I really want my kid to be a hoosier?) Leave IU and drive 3 and a half hours to a hotel outside St Louis

Day 3 – Head out early to see some sites in St Louis before going to college visit at Washington University. After college visit go to arch, city museum and other attractions. Very tiredly drive back to hotel.

Day 4 – Head out early to go to Clark Farm to see the Clydesdales before driving another 4 and a half hours to my brother’s house.  Spend a little time visiting with family before attending my 30 year high school reunion.

Day 5 – Finally a day with no driving. Hang out at my brother’s house. Hope the weather is good for swimming.

Day 6 – Still in flux. Hang out at brother’s house all day again or spend half a day there and then drive 2 hours back to MIL’s house. I’m hoping at some point my wife tells me what we are doing.

Day 7 – If we are still at my brother’s house, up early to drive the 2 hours to MIL’s house. If already there, a nice no travel day to possibly go to a movie.

Day 8 – Drive 9 hours back home.

I am scheduled to be back at work on day 9. I might need to ask for an extra day to recuperate.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Bridge

I have several bridge photos I could have chosen for this challenge. I was actually looking for a covered bridge from Indiana to post. I also have some good ones of a covered bridge in New Hampshire that I like as well, but then I passed this one and decided to post it instead.

This is the bridge you walk over in Victoria Falls Park in Zambia. Great views of the falls and almost always a rainbow below. Close enough to the falls that you will get wet when crossing.bridge

 

 

Bridge

via Photo Challenge: Bridge

A few words in defense of #CNN

A defense off CNN from a friend who once worked there.

Ephemereality

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I worked for CNN for 16 years, and I don’t think a month went by when I didn’t bitch about the place.

Some of my complaints were simply attempts to blow off steam. Why is the CMS down again? Why do I have to change that headline? Do we have to do that bullshit story simply because it’s trending?

And then there were my deeper concerns, ones that have provoked debate in newsrooms since there have been newsrooms — questions about ratings/traffic vs. news value, questions about ethics, questions about quality.

But for all of my bitching, I was proud to work there. It was, and still is, full of intelligent, thoughtful people.

I could be cynical — most journalists are — but, as George Carlin was fond of saying, scratch a cynic and you’ll find a disappointed idealist. You don’t deal with so much human weakness without a…

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High School

My 30 year high school reunion is about two weeks away. The last few days the Facebook group for our class has been full of live videos, pictures from high school and comments from old friends. I know a lot of people avoid their high school reunions for various reasons, but I am really looking forward to it.  All of the posts have brought back a lot of memories from my teens. I’m not going to post specific memories because I’m old and probably have skewed the memories in my brain. I will post some general reflections instead.

Unlike a lot of people, I did not hate high school.  I hate that I was shy and had serious self esteem issues while I was in high school. I hate that this kept me from having a more enjoyable high school experience. I didn’t hate high school, though.  I was not Mr Popular, but I had a good, solid group of friends. I don’t think a lot of people hated me(class of ’87 correct me if I’m wrong) but I think most were pretty indifferent toward me. That’s not a bad thing. It’s just the way it was. That’s just real life.  It’s the same today. I have a small group of good friends, a few people who hate me and a large number of people who admire me from afar…I mean, are indifferent toward me. I could choose to not attend the reunion because I was not universally loved by my classmates, but instead I will attend to show them why they should all love me today. 🙂

Some of the specific things that were the best parts of high school for me: French Club parties at Mrs Bradley’s house. The Motley Crue concert in Evansville with some good friends. Friends who were still my friend after I threw up in their car(I have to mention this because they do a lot). Going to the girl’s basketball tournament in Bowling Green. The friends who came to the funeral home to show support when my dad died my senior year. The friends who made sure I still went with them to do fun stuff after the death. The graduation party where I apparently told the police my name was Beaver Dam and I lived in Alan Simpson.

I hope to add to these good times with friends soon. If you are from the OCHS class of 87 and are reading this, please come to the reunion and have fun with us.