Archive for September, 2007

Catching Up Only to Fall Behind

September 26, 2007

Just another busy week in Alabama.  On Sunday, after watching the Packers win against the Chargers … the CHARGERS???, we headed off for a 1st birthday party for a friend of  Ben’s.  We also stopped by to see the 5-6 month old son of a couple of colleagues of mine, which was nice.  Ben is speaking more and more now, saying different things and making different noises all the time.  Jet checked his height the other day and after looking at a chart, found out that he is in the 70th percentile for his height.  That made her feel very happy and is something that she thought Bryon might like to know.

With all of the work I am doing at school, I have not been able to do much training for my big runs.  I really feel awful about this because it almost always seems that another issue pops up just after I resolve one.  I guess this is why I get paid the big bucks, right?

This weekend is the next Greystone Gathering, so that should be fun and relaxing for us.  Can you believe it … only one week until Dad will be here too!  Man time is just flying by.

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September, September

September 21, 2007

What a month, what a month.  I know, I know … I have been neglecting my posting duties over the past few weeks.  I suppose that is just one indicator of how busy things have been for me the start of the school year.  So instead of boring you with those details, why not talk about what is coming up?  It has been consistently cooler down here for the past few weeks (highs in the mid to upper 80’s, lows in the 60’s and even upper 50’s at night), so Linda and I talked about the possibility of hosting the next “greystone gathering”.  If you recall, the last one we held was on a very hot day.  It should be a bit different this time around.  We have tentatively set up a date of next week Saturday, and instead of having a dinner cookout, we are planning to host a “brunch” at around 9:30 or 10:00 in the morning; that way, if people have places to go or football games to watch, they can still attend, have a good meal, and be on their way.  We will let you know how that goes.

The weekend after that, Dad will be in town for the Talladega races.  He actually will be flying in on Wednesday, October 3 and will stay until the following Wednesday.  I hope that he will have as good of a time as he did last year.  We have gotten tickets for the Friday and Saturday races from Dan across the street who got them from Harley; still no luck on Sunday tickets, though.  Even if we don’t go to the Cup race on Sunday, it should be a lot of fun because Donald and Linda would surely host a great race-day party to go along with watching the race on their big-screen TV.  That same weekend is Oxfordfest, and now that I am a member of the lodge there, I may be selling a few BBQ sandwiches that Saturday morning.  We already reserved and paid for a whole Boston Butt, so it looks like we will be eating lots of BBQ that weekend.

The weekend after that is the National tournament for Aussie Rules football, which will be held in Louisville, Kentucky.  I was kindof on the fence about going since I have been terribly busy around here, that there is a chance that Jet and Ben would not be coming with, and with all of the excitement the next few weekends, but I believe I will be going anyways.  It likely would not be a good trip for Jet and Ben as it is a 6 hour drive (exactly halfway the distance to Milwaukee) and I would probably be consumed with playing footy over the weekend, so they would have to fend for themselves.  Therefore, if I do end up going, I will go alone.  There is a chance that Jet’s friend Wow might pay a return visit that weekend.  If so, that would work out great.

Taking a step back, it was great for me to check my hotmail e-mail and see the team pictures sent to me from the firefighter challenge.  In addition, I was able to see Aunt Sue’s TV commercial (which I have subsequently posted online)!  How cool!  Actually, the three commercials are very good.  If there is one thing to complain about, it is that I am being sent these messages to my hotmail e-mail account … I rarely check that e-mail account anymore.  If you do have great stuff like that to share, send it to my gmail account (aciganek@gmail.com) because I check that several times a day!  I don’t want great news like that to go unnoticed.

Speaking of great news, grandkid number 11?  Wow.  And another May birthday.  That is great news.  I wonder how Taylor is taking the news.  Perhaps she is too involved with school and sports?

Anyways, here are a few picture albums to make up for the lack of postings in the past week.  Thank Jet for this because if she wasn’t out there taking pictures and filming Ben, we might have nothing to document these weeks!  Jet has been sampling a variety of different Halloween costumes for Ben.  We think we have settled on one now, but I will wait to show any pictures of that until the big day as a big surprise for you.  Hmmm … what do you think, is it time for another haircut for Ben?  Should Jet have them cut his hair short?  Do you prefer his bangs down or to the side?

Rain, Sweet Rain

September 14, 2007

So this is what rain is.  Humberto made its way across Alabama last night and through today and has brought some much needed rain to the area.  Really it has been just a few showers throughout the day, but it is more than anything we have had over the past six months.  The clouds in the sky brought back memories to me of the cold autumn Sundays back in Milwaukee, but cold weather around here is only upper 60’s in the mornings and mid-80’s for highs.  Seeing that there is already a threat for the first frost in parts of Wisconsin just highlights the differences in the seasons in Alabama.

We are planning on visiting Atlanta tomorrow for an Aussie Rules match against some of the local teams in Atlanta, known as their AARFL (Atlanta Aussie Rules Football League) season.  Those local games are now starting back up after stopping in April due to the heat of the summer.  Afterwards, we are planning on getting some Asian food in town for lunch and then do some grocery shopping at one of the international markets.

Ben is now 19 pounds, 1 ounce (as of Wednesday) and we are learning new things about him every day.  He has quite the personality, as Jet likes to call it.  He loves to “communicate” with you by coughing-talking, at times to get your attention, but you can have a real conversation with him.  It’s very fun.  Ben is not ready to walk on his own yet, but everytime you take him to his toys to play, he loves to find his “walker” and walk everywhere he can.  When he hits a wall, he gets very frustrated and keeps ramming the walker into the wall, as if that will move it out of the way.  He now makes little screams, screams that are not annoying, loud, and shocking … the little ones that are quite cute and hope will last forever.  The kind of screams he makes when he gets excited to see you or is just in a generally happy mood.  What a character.  What personality.

We have been working on our plan for coming back this Thanksgiving.  Flights are relatively cheap ($184 including tax), but Jet is suggesting that we try to drive there and back for the holiday.  I have been dead-set against this, fearing that Ben could not take the long ride (nor Jet or I), but we will see.  It might actually be a good experience for us.

Music City Re-cap

September 11, 2007

Back from Nashville and it was a nice trip to get away and relax.  We left at around 8:00am on Friday morning and arrived in Nashville a little before noon.  We stopped to eat some Thai food for lunch first, then went ahead with our sightseeing.  Our first stop was the Parthenon which was right across the street from Vanderbilt university.  We got some good pictures there and dodged the occasional drop of rain, which turned out to be the weather for our entire stay.  We then stopped by the Vanderbilt stadium where Alabama was going to be playing in less than 24 hours … you’d be surprised be all of the Alabama fans and Alabama merchandise available for sale that was around.  We continued on our trip down Music Row and onto the Country Music Hall of Fame.  After some great shots there, we walked around the area nearby, which was a street that had a lot of honkey-tonk bars – akin to Water street in Milwaukee.  By this time we needed a break, so we traveled to our hotel over in “Opryland” and checked-in.  We were thinking about going to the Tennessee state fair, which had just opened that day, but since there were a few sprinkles in the air and it didn’t look all that impressive (with respect to Wisconsin’s) when we drove past it, we decided to stay nearby the hotel instead.  For dinner, we traveled to the Opry Mills shopping mall, which is a fairly large mall that is similar to Gurnee Mills just outside of Chicago.  We ate at the Rain Forest Cafe where Ben enjoyed seeing all of the animals move and make noises every few minutes.  After that long day, we called it quits by around 8:30pm and turned into bed.  Ben had a rough night sleeping in the hotel-provided crib and Jet had her troubles too with the loud air-conditioning unit, so it was a long night.  We went down to the hotel lobby for the complimentary breakfast at around 8:00am, which was yogurt cups, cold cereal, and oatmeal, then headed back up to our room so that Ben could get a nap.  We checked-out of our hotel at 11:30am and stopped over at a nearby Thai restaurant for lunch.  After that, we stopped over at the Grand Ole Opry Hotel and the Grand Ole Opry House for some more sightseeing.  After visiting the hotel, both Jet and I knew that if we were to stay in Nashville again, we would be staying there.  After all of the sightseeing was through, we stopped over back nearby Vanderbilt university in time for my Aussie Rules match at 3:30pm.  The Milwaukee Bombers lost to the Nashville Kangaroos 62-32, but it was good to see all of the guys from Milwaukee once again and to have a good run.  We left Nashville just before 6:00pm and arrived back home at 9:30pm.  Jet got Ben to sleep as we started our drive back home, and can you believe it, he slept all through the night until 6:00am the next morning.  What a trooper.  That was our Nashville trip.  It seemed like we were there more than a day and a half, but we did enjoy ourselves.

On Sunday we stopped over at our new Wisconsin neighbor from Harley, Dan Schoening (that’s for you, Aunt Sue!), to watch the Packer game on his DirectTV game ticket.  What an exciting game made all the more better by the Packers winning.  It looks like we have a new place to hang out at on the block on Sunday’s now as we have been invited back.

Well, that’s all for now.  A lot of work ahead of me this week to keep me busy.  Everyone down here was very excited about hearing how well Sandy and Kristin did over the weekend at the Firefighter Challenge.  I also recorded the TV segment that had Sandy in it, which was really fun to watch.  Congratulations!

New Car Fever

September 6, 2007

“I’ve got a fever, and the only antidote is more cowbell.”  Well, perhaps not that kind of fever is happening down here, but there is a car fever in the air.  Two weeks ago we got a new car … well, kind of a new car – perhaps I should say “different car”.  We had been thinking about getting a new car for the past few weeks, there was a big special going on, and here we are today.  We traded in our 2007 White Toyota Camry for a 2007 Tan Toyota Camry.  Our old car had 12,500+ miles on it, the new car, 200+.  Our old car payments were $319/mo, the new car $245/mo.  So we ended up getting a different car that is a better color with no miles on it and we pay $75 less per month … Jet is good.  So there was a new car fever in the neighborhood afterwards … Donald and Linda traded in their SUV for a new car last week, Patrick and Abby just up the block from us traded in their SUV for a new car this week, and there was talk across the street that Danny and Sarah might trade in their minivan for a car soon as well as Tom and Sandra trading in their car for something else.  A chain reaction, courtesy of Jet.

Things have still stayed pretty busy around here.  We spent the evening over at Donald and Linda’s on Labor day grilling out and eating hamburgers.  I have spent the past few days solely at school trying to stay ahead and on-top of things.  It really is a juggling act.  Tomorrow morning we will leave for Nashville and spend two days there as I will be playing an Austrialian Rules football game for the Milwaukee club there on Saturday.  It should be pretty busy around there with lots of traffic because Alabama plays Vanderbilt the same day.  The field that I will be playing my game at is only a few miles from Vanderbilt stadium.  It should be a fun weekend and I will surely update you on how things went.

Dad is coming down here again in October for race week at Talladega, this time for only a week.  Round-trip ticket flights from Milwaukee to Atlanta on Midwest was only $150 after tax … likley the cheapest we have ever seen.  Our new Wisconsin neighbor across the street who works at Harley (Dan) mentioned that it could be pretty easy for him to get tickets for us to see the races on Friday and Saturday, but will try to get us tickets for the Cup race on Sunday as well.  Should be a pretty good time and is something that we will be really looking forward to.