Sep 11, '04 - Jan 25, '05 - a seriously overdue post

ok....so it's been awhile. doesn't mean i forgot about this blog....

man. it's been so long i almost don't know where to start. guess i'll try to start waaaaaay back in September of last year and give a brief rundown on the major points since then- so's that when i'm all caught up i can try to keep current again.

the last post i made was September 11, 2004. don't know exactly what i wrote in it (suppose i- or you- could scroll down and look), but i do have little notes scattered around, things i jot down here and there to jog my memory, and i'm pullin' 'em all outta the woodwork.

September 11 was the first game of Loren's '04 soccer season. i took the liberty of taking pictures of the team the entire season, and ended up with quite a haul. in the end, it amounted to something like 900 pictures that were more or less worth keeping; don't know how many i trashed....but it was plenty. i tried to balance out shots of all the kids as much as possible, but since i'm first and foremost a fan of my own boy, i got a lot of him. at the end of the season i burned them all onto CDs (no DVD burner yet- woulda been handy with approx. 1.6Gb worth of pics). 2 CDs = 1 set of pictures for the season, and since there were 13 kids on the team, and i burned a set for each kid's parent(s), that made 26 CDs. i think the CD cost was like $1.30 and the cases i bought for 'em about $10, so for a whole lotta my personal effort and time, and less than $15, all the parents got something pretty khoul out of it. most of them were pretty appreciative; some thanked me up and down, but some were sorta nonplussed about it. in the end though, it was a worthy endeavor and who knows? maybe i'll do it again next season.

one of the things that was taking up a lot of the time i might normally spend posting on this blog was working all those pictures (and all the others i took through the present that had nothing to do with soccer) into my collection. i'm still about 450 pictures shy of being finished conventionalizing picture files for 2005, then i'll be posting all the personal ones in my albums on Kodak's EasyShare site (the ones already there are viewable here), but anyone who's looked since about July of '04 won't find anything new, for (best guess) a couple more weeks. one thing at a time....

but, as usual, i digress. let me get back to Loren's soccer season. Loren's team, the Granite Falls Live Wires, struggled all year against older teams, losing every single game they played. it's not that they weren't ever competitive- though often they were clearly outmatched- but they couldn't manage to pull out a win. they played some downright brilliant halves, but failed to put together a thoroughly outstanding whole game of soccer, and against the opponents on their schedule, it just wasn't enough. what positive things can be said about an experience like that? well, for one, Loren and his teammates never quit. Loren showed up for every game, as usual, and most of the kids showed up, and for the most part played their hearts out, for most of the games, right through the end of the season, despite being discouraged. honestly, i think losing was harder on the parents than the kids- they took it all in stride. Loren confessed to me that soccer is something he doesn't have a burning urge to "compete" per se in; to him it's just a fun thing to do. he thinks about basketball differently; it's more important to him to achieve success on the court than on the soccer field. hope he continues to play soccer though- not that he's given any indication he's thinking about quitting. after five years, i'd be a little disappointed to see him give it up i guess, but as always, it's his choice.

that about wraps up my coverage of the season, so let's see....what's next on the list....

oh yes. in some previous postings, i mentioned that i'd been seeing a girl. that ended (for me, in any case) rather abrubtly on September 12, 2004, which was the third and last time i called her (over the course of about a week) without getting called back. no explanation; she just stopped returning my calls. go figure. i thought things were going pretty well, but then the one who gets blown off always does, right? in any case, this blogger is still flyin' solo, and that's not such a bad thing. been plenty busy enough with everything that i couldn't even keep up on this blog, so how much free time would i have had with a girlfriend? i suppose that's the kind of thing you find time for, though. too bad, she was a nice enough girl. is it normal for guys in their late 30s to continue to call girls "girls"? i keep wondering when it'll feel right to call the females i'm involved with "women". i certainly don't think of myself as a boy! strange....in any case, you'd think, since the woman (ha! i did it!) has a master's in psychology and works as a counselor she might know how to deal with a problem in a better manner than just blowing someone off. i find that highly ironic, and somewhat telling. i have to admit i was slowly identifying things about her that i didn't like so much, the more i got to know her, though nothing too major. it was an interesting few months while she was around. i keep half-expecting to run into her in the grocery store, since she only lives a couple blocks from here. that'll be interesting if it ever happens. it'd be a short conversation on my part, that's fer sure. in the end, i'm left with the thoughts "how rude," and "there's certainly other fish in the sea." even something along the lines of being told, "y'know, i decided i just don't like you all that much and to stop seeing you, so....goodbye." would've been ok by me. but in any case, that's the end of that story.


ah yes, the following weekend, Sep 17, 2005. Saturday night. went to my 20 year high school reunion. it was fun, believe it or not. i think i decided to go at the last minute, mostly because i was certain i'd be curious about what happened if i didn't go, who i might've gotten to see that i hadn't thought about in 20 years, and because i missed the 10 year one, so i'd never been to one at all, and was curious what they were like. i remembered my 10 year reunion the night it was happening, about midnight; too late to go. the next day they did a thing in a park in Edmonds, where people brought their kids, etc. this year the same thing was planned for the day after the reunion, but it conflicted with a soccer game of Loren's so i missed that part of it. it was just as well, i doubt Loren would've had too much fun, at 12 years old, hanging out in the park with a bunch of people he's never met before. waitaminute- if anyone could've had fun, it woulda been Loren- that boy can have fun with anyone. but back to the reunion itself. it was expensive, which i expected, but in all honesty, though the company that coordinates those things is a helluva racket and making waaaay too much money hand over fist, it was prob'ly worth it. i did get to see a lot of people, and it was really interesting to see all those old folks hehehe. seriously, some people had put on a lot of years, many of them wearing it pretty well i'd have to say, and some people had barely changed a bit. everyone told me i was in the latter category, to which i had to reply i had changed, i'd just changed back. it might've been a mistake to leave my camera at home, but i decided i didn't want to be a slave to it all night, and just be able to cruise around. when i sat down for dinner it was, rather fittingly, with Sheri E. and Debi M. (last names withheld to protect the innocent, and initialled in the way in which i'll always think of them, regardless of name changes). spent a fair amount of time outside the Shilshole Bay Beach Club (i think that's what it was called) with the smoking crowd, of course. ran up a pretty decent bar tab. my thought was, if you're not going to run up a bar tab at your reunion, when the hell ARE you going to? it was really nice to see all those people, and for the most part i'd have to say any kind of political stuff that might've been going on in high school had been put to bed. hope it doesn't take another 10 years to see some of those people again.

moving on.....

ah yes, once again, Loren and i made our annual trip to the Puyallup Fair two weeks later. we spent quite a while there this time, and had a blast- it was one of the best trips ever. we got our traditional Ferris Wheel pics taken near the end of the evening, look for those in the aforementioned online pic gallery. Loren didn't make off with as big a haul from the gaming tables as he has in the past; no one's luck holds out forever at those games, so that's not too surprising. i think he did win something, but i can't remember what. regardless, i now have THREE doo-da birds in my downstairs bathroom. going to have to find a place for 'em if that little tradition keeps up. i'll have to ask him who won the slide race (we always gotta race down the big slide at the end of the night). it seems to never fail, no matter how much money's in my wallet when we get to the fair, it's all gone by the end, and then i need a little more for the last ride tickets to do the slide. all part of the fair, i guess. we spent more time checking out the animals this year than we ever have before too; plenty of animal shots in the fair pics.

ok, moving right along....

a couple weeks later, Oct 8, 2004, Loren and i drove out to Bothell to see Ethan play an indoor soccer game at the YMCA Nichole works at. Nichole was one of the coaches of his team. it's "non-results-oriented" sports for Ethan's league, so they don't keep score; which is just as well, as for most of them, "it's all about the snack," as Chris likes to put it. too true. Ethan did well, showing improvement over last year, and plenty of enthusiasm for the game. good times.


on and off again for a couple of weeks in this period, we'd been buildng a shed out back behind the building where i work. i did the majority of the work on the thing, and was putting the finishing touched on the roof on Monday, Oct 17, 2004. put me around dangerous machinery or chemicals, and i have no problem- i'm paying attention. on this day, i happened to pick the wrong thing to be careless about, and managed to kick a ladder out from under myself getting down off the roof i'd just finished nailing down. i tried to flip over in the air, to land on my feet (and avoid the fallen ladder) but managed only to avoid landing on my face. i took about a 5' fall and landed on my side, and my left came down across the abrupt 3" tall edge of a slab of concrete i'd broken out to make room for the concrete pad of the shed. the pain i felt on landing was in my ankle- which smacked hard- and the left side of my foot. i scrambled up immediately off the ground and tried to walk, but was hobbling pretty good and my left ankle was on fire, so i lay back down on the ground, clenched my teeth, and waited for it to pass. when the big breakers of excruciating pain had subsided into low rolling waves, in about a minute, i tried to walk around again, with a little success. we still had a shed to build, after all. so i kept hobbling around showing people what to do, and finally got talked into sitting down for a while. when i sat down i took my shoe off and my entire left foot was swollen up HUGE! it was massive. i've never seen swelling like that before, except maybe when Melissa had hives when she was little. the longer i stayed off it, the harder it was to walk on it, and that got me thinking that maybe it actually was broken. i didn't think it could be if i could walk around at all to begin with. i finally called up Chris, who advised me to get it checked out, since i could have complications if it truly was broken and i didn't get anything done about it. i took him up on his advice, hunted down a clinic in Lynnwood (something close by was in order) and hobbled in for an X-ray. yep- broken twice; a triangular section of bone, close to the first knuckle on my farthest outside metatarsal. isn't my lack of knowledge of specific medical terminology wonderful? there's certainly a word for "outside" (by which i mean away from the vertical center of the body) and by "first knuckle" i mean if you started from the ankle end of the bone and worked toward the toe (the little one, in this case). they gave me a splint boot to wear and told me to stay off it as much as possible, light duty at work was recommended, and they made an appointment for me with a specialist that Friday. after a week of doing my best not to mess with it, the doc came in, looked the X-rays, and told me i was getting a cast. first time in a cast, for me, and hopefully the last. there's simply nothing i can think of that's less convenient than having your foot in a cast for six weeks. it was uncomfortable, and it made it impossible to get comfortable in bed- felt like sleeping with a boot on), and it made showering a complete pain in the ass- break out the plastic bag, tape it up around your leg real good, keep the foot up on the side of the tub the whole time, repeat....repeat....repeat....repeat....etc. totally lame. working was also quite difficult, as i was on crutches for 5 weeks, not to mention that the place i work in is sometimes one big pile of sharp metal chips- not conducive to a cast. i finally figured out that i could yank the padding out of the splint boot and use it as a sort of shoe to protect the bottom of the cast; that at least let me rest my foot on the floor, but between the cast and that huge boot it weighed a ton. my right leg was killing me. since the machines at work spit coolant constantly (also not conducive to a cast) i had to cover the whole 9 yards with a garbage bag, every day. the garbage bag caused moisture to condense inside the cast, which made the whole thing clammy. being upright and working, as opposed to sitting down or lying down with my foot elevated, made my whole foot swell up. my leg was practically bursting the cast by the end of a work day. i gathered from the foot doc that the normal motion of your ankle actually helps pump blood up out of your foot, but since mine was in a cast, it was just swollen constantly- which didn't help it heal any more quickly. eventually the 6 weeks from break to cast removal were done (Nov 28, 2004...didn't have to look that day up hehehe) and then it was physical therapy time, where i learned just how much i'd lost in that week. plenty. my left leg was pretty atrophied, and my ankle and foot had almost completely lost range of motion. it felt like i could put all my weight on it trying to get it to bend, but it wouldn't. stretching and strengthening exercises were the prescription for that, both at weekly PT sessions and at home daily. did my part; got to the 90% function benchmark they look for in PT in about a month and quit having to go to that- which was nice, cuz like i said, i've been busy. won't be breaking my foot anytime soon, i can assure you. what a hassle! they left me with an open-ended thing to go back to the doc and get released (close my L&I claim) but i haven't made it back yet. i've still got some pain in my foot, especially when i plant it and try to change directions, or when i plant it and exert force against something heavy, for instance, but i was waiting to see how much of that would go away before making an appointment. my foot and ankle are still discolored, so i think it's time to head back to the docs again. that's on my list now too.

hmmm again.....

November 22, 2004 marked the beginning of Loren's 2nd basketball season. his team, the Granite Falls Tigers is pretty good, though not outstanding by any stretch of the imagination. Loren's full-on into it and workin' hard. he practices 2x/wk and has a game pretty much every weekend through the end of February. more on his basketball season later.

Thanksgiving (Nov 24, 2004) had come and gone by this point, and was fun, though Loren wasn't around. all the rest of the family was though, at my folks' house. no matter what- i can count on one FANTASTIC meal a year. the next day marked the craziness that is the Christmas Shopping Season, so for Dad it was calm before the storm. for me, it was a big waiting game until my cast came off, so i could get started with MY Christmas shopping hehehe.

November 27, 2004, (the day before i got my cast off) saw Jason and i in downtown Seattle for brunch and the Seahawks/Giants game at Qwest Field. Jason (and Melissa, by proxy) bought me a Seahawks cap for my birthday, which came in handy that day since it was kinda chilly. the Seahawks won in double OT, if i remember correctly, with the Giants missing two make-able and one long-shot field goal; they finally won it by a field goal. it was an awesome game, and thanks to Jas and Dave for getting me a chance to go. and Melissa too, for that matter, since i'm sure she had first dibs on the ticket!

December 5th, 2004 was Monday Night Football, the Seahawks v hmmm can't remember....Loren came for the game though, and we had fun rooting for the 'hawks- and they won! fantastic season for them this year (more on that later, i'm sure).

Loren came the next weekend, and once again it was the Seahawks on TV, this time vs. the 49ers- they won again! Loren's turning into quite the football fan- and of course, he's rooting for the home town boys.

during all of December i was working, frantically Christmas shopping, doing physical therapy, hitting Loren's basketball practices and games, watching the NFL and NBA, and doing my thing with Loren. we typically spend part of every weekend watching back episodes of Star Trek (through the miracle of Netflix, which lets us watch the TNG, DS9 and VOY series in the order the episodes broadcast, and simultaneously). i love Netflix.

then it was Christmas. i need not give the date, right? i finally managed to get my tree up a couple days before Christmas....just barely in time, but enough, i guess. Loren and i decorated it and spent a relaxing Christmas Eve, before he went to bed and i wrapped gifts till way too late. left a snack and a note for Santa, as usual, then got up when Loren couldn't bear to wait any longer to open his gifts. i got him a boombox and some CDs (Green Day's American Idiot, System of a Down's Mesmerized, ACDC's Back In Black, and Audioslave's new one...) this year, and he says he likes it the best out of all his gifts. my son's growin' up! he got a Playstation 2 from Santa too, and i got him a subscription to GameFly, so now he can pretty much play whatever he wants whenever he wants- provided he has decent grades; the video games go when the games drop. report cards are coming out in a couple weeks too, so we'll see if he gets them back (he also loses his games for low grades between report cards, as everything's available online now). the internet is a wonderful thing! but i digress. Loren spent the morning of Christmas at my place, then we cruised to my folks' for a little more Christmas, before finally heading Loren back to his mom's for the rest of the day. i headed back down to my folks' for dinner and to spend some more time with 'em- it was the right move, well worth the extra driving. don't hardly spend enough time with 'em. gotta make it down there more this year.

I think New Year's Eve was when we caught up with the Sargents, doing a belated Christmas thing, since they spent the holiday with the Sargent family this year. they bustled my nephews home rather early, and then the rest of the evening saw me hangin' out with my folks and Melissa and Jason. Loren spent about half his break from school with me (as normal) but he did head back to his mom's for New Year's- which didn't prevent us from talking on the phone when the clock struck midnight. But (switching back to what i was saying before in as confusing a manner as possible) we at my folks' house watched a movie...something like Killing Mona Dearly or something. Bette Midler. OK movie, kinda funny. this holiday was like the rest of the December ones for me....not thrilling, but a welcome break in the action- i've been beat-down tired.

that takes care of '05. in with '06. yes i know this is terribly brief and not thrilling reading....at this point i'm considering this post to be a necessary, evil chore- a prerequisite to a new start on the blog.....bear with me?


oh yeah, before i forget, i should mention that one of my goals at the beginning of last year was to read more books; i've definitely done that. i read something like 27 books last year (the complete list is here), and i'm considering renaming 2005 in my personal history as "The Year of Raymond Feist." a guy at work turned me on to his first book, and i got hooked. frequenting used books stores as necessary, i worked my way through his first 18 books, which make up in turn 5 different series, though the last series is a sort of retrospective of events "skipped" in the first three. good reading. i've since moved on to a book Dad got me for Christmas, Harry Turtledove's Days of Infamy. i've read one of Turtledove's books before (The Two Georges), and liked it alot, so i figured i'd like this one- and it's great.

so now....on to 2006. Jan. 2, 2006 saw Loren and i in the car headed for Bothell, to finish up a second little belated-Christmas celebrating with the Sargents, since he missed the first one. i was both happy to get together with them and relieved to have managed to finish celebrating Christmas before February. i patted Loren on the back on the drive home: "Yay, we did it!"

Jan 5-7, 2006 Loren was ill and stayed home from school- which put him further behind in a quarter in which he's stuggled mightily. Christmas break is fun stuff for him, but he always tanks when he's outta school for two weeks. prob'ly fairly typical for a lot of kids, and i'd think even more so for those who split their time between two households.

[editors note: it's a damn good thing i type quickly or i'd've been here longer than the 2 hrs this has already taken....bear with my folks, we're almost at the finish line!]

January's seen basketball practices and games; Loren's team's been competitive in every game, but they're 2-2, having won once by forfeit when the other team couldn't make it. Loren's Tigers won their first, skipped the forfeit (2nd) game, lost their third and fourth i believe. their work is cut out for 'em, the season is looking like a repeat of this soccer season in terms of age and skill level of their opponents. they're definitely playing uphill, but i think they have a chance to win some games....a winning season would be awesome. Loren's been enjoying some respect from his teammates, and workin' hard- he's playing a big man's spot, generally 4 or 5 (forward or center) in games. the last game i was pretty disappointed he didn't get more time on the floor (he didn't even get to play the minimum "guaranteed" by the league- which was really disappointing for him, considering 1>he's earned it, and 2>his aunt Melissa and Gramma & Grampa all drove out to see him play), but i think it was a fluke. next game will tell for sure, and it's this Sunday (Jan 29).

Jan 13, 2006 was the beginning of the first 'Dad weekend' of the year for Loren. we watched the Sonics Friday night...the 13th oooooh. Loren showed me a bunch of drawings he's done lately, and some of them are just amazing. he's definitely developing some skill there. he did some absolutely amazing artwork in MS Paint, by hand, with a mouse, that were adaptations of things he did with a pencil and paper. still not sure how he managed to get those that good. Paint is simply a crappy program for the type of thing he ended up with; the results were truly amazing and now displayed on my fridge. we followed up the Sonics with a little ST:TNG, and some long overdue butterscotch pudding, watching the DVD on Loren's playstation. my DVD player is acting up, so it was nice to make it through an episode without anything freezing.
Jan 14, 2006 was Saturday, and the Seahawks, following their 1st round bye in the playoffs (a first), won their first playoff game since 1994 and their first 2nd-round game ever, to advance to the NFC Championship game. HELL YES! then we hightailed it up to his school for basketball team picture day, and then back home for dinner. we capped the evening off with a little more ST:TNG, and it was a worthy day in my book- especially since this was the first day all year that Loren spent the entire 24-hr day here. that doesn't happen nearly often enough.
Jan 15, 2006 we watched some DS9 (totally vegged out this weekend) then got ready to have him hit the court for his 6:15pm basketball game- this is the one his grandparents and aunt drove out to that i mentioned a couple paragraphs ago. he elected to head back to his mom's after the game (seeing that she had company in the car- that's getting to be a predictable method of getting Loren to leave with her).

the following week was two more basketball practices and (as usual) work work work for me. but hey, i'm almost all caught up on the blog now! are you still with me?

Jan 20, 2006: spent all day cleaning the house, as i got called while commuting to work and told not to bother coming in. that was a bummer, i need the money, but i took advantage of the time at least. the place looks great! was expecting Loren to show up this evening, but his mother didn't bring him. long story short....i got screwed this time. listened to a ton of music while i did chores, mostly the 'jazz niteclub' Rhapsody radio station- some very good music gets played on those stations. i'm definitely considering a Rhapsody subscription, being able to hear whatever i like at any time is certainly an interesting prospect. of course, all i need is one more bill. i watched the Sonics lose to the Raptors- missed the beginning but it was nice to see Ray Allen back in the lineup after a 3-game suspension for fighting with Keyon Dooling. imagine: the Ray Dumars Sportsman Award winner gets suspended for fighting! but he didn't start it, and his suspension was only 3 games, not the 5 that Dooling got for instigating the conflict. kick his ass, Ray!

this pretty much brings us current- HURRAH!

so on with the current stuff. watched a couple movies this week, War of the Worlds and Trois Couleurs: Bleu. both good. the last one was just last night. being sick is awfully conducive to kickin' it on the couch and watching the tube. been fighting something for almost two weeks now; mostly a sore throat that never developed into something all that bad; but the last few days have been worse. started out being just sick enough to know something wasn't right, but for the last few days i've felt pretty shitty. just tryin' to make it through the week.

and now, if something interesting happens, i'll try to post it dammit! cuz i certainly don't want to do this again.

tired of typing. thanks for reading. no three month hiatus this time....ol' inf is back.


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