Friday, February 28, 2014

Book #7 - White Fire

41xPjZBvHFL._SX105_The next book in the Pendergast series. White Fire takes place in Colorado, which was interesting to me. The girl that Pendergast saved in a previous book, Corrie Swanson, is working on her PhD and has come to investigate killings by a bear from 100 years ago in a Colorado mining town. The town has turned into a ski restore, full of billionaires, and sounds like a mix of Aspen and Crested Butte. When she runs into some trouble, and finds out the bear didn't kill the miners, but someone else did, Pendergast comes to her aid.

It's a great story, one that I thoroughly enjoyed. It does help to read the other books and understand some of the history of the characters, but this stands alone well. A good continuation of the series.

Nighttime reading

Delaney was struggling to get through Fahrenheit 451 last night and took a break with Tia and I in our room. I suggested that he bring the book and hang out with us and he didn't seem interested, but then he showed up in our bed and read aloud a bit of the second part. When he got tired, I took over, then Tia. She got tired and he was about to give up for the night, thinking he'd wake up early and work. However I offered to finish the section and read the last 4 or 5 pages.

It was neat to read aloud, and hopefully we helped engage Delaney a bit in a class he doesn't like. It was also interesting to have memories of reading that book myself in high school come back. While I didn't love literature either at that age, I did think this was one of the better books. Reading it again, seeing the absurdity of trying to remove books and literature made me glad that the world hasn't moved (too far) in that direction.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Book #6 - The Gods of Guilt

51N7GDMV-rL._SX105_I've enjoyed most of Connelly's books. The Harry Bosch character is great, and I've come to really enjoy the Lincoln Lawyer as well. This is another one of those stories, one where a "digital pimp" is accused of killing an escort. She's a woman that Mickey Haller tried to save years ago, and apparently didn't.

We also find that his mentor has told him that the jury are The Gods of Guilt, and he must appeal to them in his case. He believes the accused isn't guilty, and starts to build a case over time. He runs into people from his past, and bad situations, and people die.

The book covers the early accusations and investigations, and then jumps later in the year to the trial. It's a wild trial, one that's well written and exciting, and ends in a way I hadn't expected. A good read, but I'd read the Lincoln Lawyer first.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Book #5 - David and Goliath

41J3A8XZFbL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Another Audio Book, David and Goliath this time, but a quick one. I've read a few of Malcolm Gladwell's books, and this one is another great one.

The book opens with the idea of underdogs, and uses the famous story that is the title. As we think this is an underdog story, Gladwell shows us it isn't. We shouldn't have doubted David would win. For a variety of reasons, and I found them fascinating.

From there he goes into a few other areas. One, with schools, and the idea that smaller is not better, or that better schools are not better for everyone. Logical, and makes sense.

He also goes into London's bombing in WWII, the Civil Rights movement, and the Three Strikes law in California. Gladwell leads us along, and as you might expect, the introductions to each section prove to not be true. However, as with the other books, these stories make sense for small groups of people or situations. We certainly wouldn't take them as truisms for everyone, but we should stop and think a bit.

Monday, February 24, 2014

A Quiet Sunday

A quiet day for me overall. Up early, feeding horses and then a walk with Uma. That was a good way to start the day, quiet, with just some music playing in my ears.

Photo Feb 23, 9 32 43 AM

Then I relaxed a bit, watching the cross country skiing marathon, or part of it, on TV. It made me want to get up to the mountains and participate. I'd like to learn to skate, and work hard, though I need to wait until the knee gets fixed. On my agenda for next year for sure. Perhaps even on those half days where the kids don't want to ski.

After I got motivated, I changed windshield wipers, burned out lights on the car and removed ski stuff. Then when I sent Delaney to clean up some dog droppings in the back, I managed to break out my ski rack and put the second coat of finish on it. In the warming son, it soon dried, and at the end of the day, after Kendall and I fed horses, I was able to put the ski stuff on it.

Photo Feb 24, 8 29 40 AM

Then it was a shopping trip with Delaney, a little Dad/Delaney time as we shopped and gathered provisions. Then I cooked and had Kendall sing along with me and the iPod before we called it a night.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Book #4 - Under the Dome

51v7ioHHeaL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_An audio book for me, but I went through the whole, unabridged version across a few weeks. Tia and I had started Under the Dome on a trip, but she didn't love it. However, I became fascinated. It's Stephen King, but not as much a horror story as it's a societal collapse.

The Dome appears over a town, matching the borders exactly. The story wanders, seemingly randomly through the town's characters. A plane crashes, killing a few people and leaving a streak on the dome. It also provides a time marker for the rest of the story. A car crashes into the dome from the inside, the cook from the local restaurant misses a ride hitchhiking and sees a lumber truck from the outside crash as well. A woman dies when her hands are cut off, as does a squirrel.

The next few days are amazing. The town struggles as it degenerates into a Lord of the Flies type of situation. The corrupt selectman takes over, with force of will, getting his son and other kids onto the police force. It's a wild ride as old wounds are opened and people take advantage of the fact that everyone is trapped.

The end wasn't what I expected, but it was a good one (I think).

Sunday Morning

I slept in, but only until 7:30. I fell asleep around 9 and as much as I tried, I was done at 7:30. I got up slowly, had some coffee, and this was my morning.

Photo Feb 23, 9 32 43 AM

Snow Day

A different kind of snow day. One that required us to get up early, but not go to school. The little kids and I got up at 7 to head to Keystone. Kyle had to work, so it was just three of us. The kids slept, while I fought traffic. I haven't been up on a weekend in a long time, and I know why. It was a mess.

However we persevered, stopped and ate, and then got up. I got a quick pic of Delaney on the first time up.


Photo Feb 22, 11 55 39 AM

It was a little chilly, some wind, but fun. Here Delaney was helping Kendall get started. It's neat to see them actually being nice and friendly to each other. Delaney was a good helper, and when Kendall was annoyed at the end of the day, he gave her a hug.

Photo Feb 22, 12 07 37 PM

We skied a half day, and as the weather deteriorated, we called it a day late.

Photo Feb 22, 12 07 49 PM

A fun day overall, even though it was short. Not much traffic on the way home, and we got back in the early evening, in time to crash and call it a night.

Photo Feb 22, 1 53 23 PM

Friday, February 21, 2014

Private Lesson

We got a private lesson today. Kendall worked on spikes and serves and did good.

Photo Feb 21, 4 11 40 PM

Delaney had to come since I picked them up, and once we got there he sat down and started homework while Kendall had her lesson.

Photo Feb 21, 4 10 32 PM

Night Feeding

A chilly night tonight. Once again a few horses wouldn't come in, so I had to drive out with the UTV and chase them back.

Glad the kids helped. I know it's annoying and cold, but it would have been a hassle without little K and D doing some part of the work.

Working Remote

Since I had to run a cable to Delaney, and I need to pick up the kids early, I grabbed my laptop, dumped it in my bag, and went to Elizabeth. After dropping off the cable, I grabbed lunch, doing a little PowerShell reading with lunch and then headed over here for some writing and demo practice.

Photo Feb 21, 2 13 17 PM

So far things are going well. Getting work done, and need to get kids soon.

No Swim

I was looking forward to swimming today, thinking I'd get one in. Then I get a text from Delaney that he needed something for a project he'd forgotten. I'd also committed late last night to a private lesson for Kendall after school and with ski plans tomorrow, the dogs were anxious.

So I bailed and decided to walk. Probably a good thing as the dogs needed it. Every time I got up and walked into the kitchen, they were right behind me. Two miles later, they're  more relaxed as I pack up to go take Delaney stuff and then hang out in Elizabeth until I pick them up.

Still, a seventh day of exercise. Always good.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Crazy Weather

It was 50+F yesterday. Clear, though a little windy as I took Kendall to volleyball.

A blizzard when we came out and drove home.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Back Home

A long day for both Kendall and I yesterday. The tournament ended for us at 12:30, but too late for me to get the 1:00 back to Denver. I tried standing by on the 5:15, but it was oversold, so I ended up sitting in the airport from about 1:30 until boarding around 7:30 for the flight home. I worked a touch, read, and watched some of the Amazon Pilots they're considering producing. I saw 4 and they were all good.

However it was a long day, landing after 9, grabbing food and driving home. I checked with the bus when I landed and was told they were aiming for 12:30. Ugh.

I got home, saw Delaney and the dogs, and then got an hour of sleep before getting up to head back. The last thing I wanted was parents or coaches waiting around for me to arrive. I got to the parking lot around 12:40, having been told they were closer to 1, but it ended up being around 1:20 that they arrived. I fell asleep in the car, waking up to the bus pulling up in front of me.

Kendall was beat and I got her home, Her bed wasn't made (I washed the sheets before I left) and so she tumbled into bed with Uma and me for a short night's sleep. At 6:40, I decided to let her sleep as she needs the rest and I don't want her exhausted for the week.

A fun trip, we're both glad we went, but we are tired.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Asics Challenge Day 3

Another early morning. I got to eat dinner with the team and some parents last night. I should have taken a picture since Kendall looked nice and had her hair braided. The girls sat together and didn’t spend all night on their phones. I sat with a few parents and it was nice, but not great.

Today the girls started out refereeing the first match. It was for the 4th and 5th place teams to see who proceeded on. Neither team was great, and neither one would play us unless they won the next round.

Our game started out with smiles and good hits.


The team played well, going up quickly and never looked back. Kendall had a couple hits and even set a few when the setter was the first hit.


Kendall got to serve as well. She ended up serving the final 6 in the first game to win.


Lots of back bending, which we need to work on, but she hit them over.


The second game was more of the same. The team going up early and never looking back. Kendall had a few good hits as well.


The girls created a new cheer yesterday, where they come together, jump and cheer. I got a couple pictures of the jump and sheer.



Kendall’s getting up on the blocks as well.


Here’s one of her good pushes:


After a break, we next played a team that we beat on Sunday, and beat them again. The first game wasn’t close, and the second was closer, but we won. The girls played well, Kendall didn’t have a lot of plays, but she did well.

They won their flight, finishing the weekend 9-7. Not great, but a great couple days after a shaky beginning. This is the second tournament that they struggled to get started, and not sure why. Nerves? Maybe, but we need to find them a way to get ready to go early and confidently, but loose.

Exciting to be in Omaha with the team, and ready to go home.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Day 2 - Asics President's Day Challenge

Day 2 of the tournament was much better than Day 1. We were in the Civic Auditorium, and older facility, with just 4 courts on each level. It's quieter and less chaotic. Not sure if that mattered, but the girls played better.

They looked good in warmups for sure. Kendall had some good serves, and I suspect that led to them letting her serve a few times in the game.

They came out looking better. I think a good night's sleep and the chance to relax after first day's nerves helped. Yesterday they played tight, and made lots of mistakes, losing all three matches. I walked shoes over to Kendall last night and she looked much better.

Today they played a tight first match, though Kendall had some good ups. No stuffs, but she was up nicely on blocks and had a few hits.

Her swings were looking better, with some in, some out, but good hits overall.

Nice to see her moving well, and saving some balls that needed help. In the second match, she closed out a game with a nice dink.

She was the right hitter all day again, which she doesn't like, but she's learning the most, so this is a chance for her to learn that spot this year. As they've gone to three hitters, it's interesting. Some struggles, but slowly the girls were looking better today.

Three matches, three wins, 6-1 on the day, which is good. After the 1-6 performance yesterday, we're doing better. Not sure how much it changes our seeding for the next few weeks, but we'll see.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Snow Day

Delaney had a day off from school, so we decided to head to the mountain. I was looking forward to skiing as it's almost been two weeks since I went, shocker, I know.

Things started out with my up at 4:55am. Kendall was heading to Omaha for the Asics Volleyball Challenge and the bus left at 6. So we loaded up, put Delaney in back, and drove over. I was glad that I'd packed the car last night because we didn't have time to mess around this am.

I dropped her off, loaded her suitcase, and they were off.


It was dark as I left and started driving up to the mountains. Delaney slept, as I got to Idaho Springs and pulled into Starbucks. I had a conference call, and needed more coffee. It was a beautiful morning as I got a latte.


I settled in for my call and then drove the rest of the way to Keystone. Lots of traffic and it had me worried the mountain would be busy. It wasn't too bad, and that made it a great day. As we walked in, they were preparing for a busy day, making ice sculptures. I'm glad we're not going tomorrow.


Our first stop was breakfast. We got some burritos and fueled up, and relaxed with coffee for 10 minutes.





Then it was out to the mountain. We did a bunch of runs, on all three mountains.


We took a few breaks.


Delaney looked good and we stayed on blues all day with a tough black thrown in that we enjoyed.


Delaney has become a great snowboarder and I suspect he'll be dusting me in a year or two. We'll see after my knee gets fixed.

Afterwards, a long drive home, but a great day. Lots of fun.

Now I need to figure out when I can go again.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

One thing after another

I’m not sure I could have done more wrong things this morning. I was on a call and hurried off it, racing to yoga this morning. I hurriedly packed my bag (1), which was my first mistake.

When I arrived, I realized I didn’t have my membership card (2), but since I was barely there in time, the teacher let me slide in, saying we’d search later. I hurried into the locker room to change, only to realize I had 3 shirts and no shorts (3). I ran back to the car to see if I had shorts, but I didn’t.

I was almost resigned to skipping, but came back in and told the teacher. She said they had a few pairs of men’s shorts. There were only small sizes, but I grabbed one that felt stretchy and tried it on. It kind of fit, in a 1970s, high school PE kind of way. Still, it was enough to take class.

Class was hard, which was good, and afterwards, I realized I hadn’t brought a towel (4), but I had an extra hand towel, so I used that. Then I noticed I didn’t have any underpants (5). Commando it is. Then I hadn’t brought my wallet in (6). I went to get it, paid for the shorts, and then went down to the car. I realized I’d left my sunglasses in the locker (7).

Well, seven is my favorite number.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Early morning

Not too early, still on east coast time a bit, but still I was tired this morning. Kids did OK, but slow for sure. Fortunately it's a 4 day week. Unfortunately I need to get Kendall to her bus to the Omaha tournament Friday morning.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

First Place

Today was the second Power tournament in Colorado for Kendall's volleyball team. They struggled in the first one a few weeks ago. They were ranked #1 in the top division, but lost all three matches to three tough teams. They were close, but fell apart in a few. The result was they moved from division 1 to division 2, though still ranked at the top.

Today we got up early, and I was glad we only had a 25 minute drive to get to a high school nearby. The girls warmed up, and we watched them start by taking on a new team we hadn't seen before. They didn't make the same mistakes they made last time, but they made some new ones. We were up by 2 most of the game, but we kept letting the other team hang around.

It was slightly nerve wracking to watch, but we finally won 28-26 to close out a game. In the second game we played better, and while it was contested, we won to get the day off to a good start.

I watched the second match, which was a 12 year old team against a team, Juniors B that beat us in the first tournament of the year. The 12 year olds won, and fairly easily. That was surprising, because I was worried about our last match of the day against the Juniors B.

Our second game was against the 12 year olds, and they were a scrappy team. Lots of saves, and made us work hard, but we won again. The Juniors lost again, so the secured our place as the top team, though we wanted to beat them.

We did. We won the first fairly easily, lost the second when we got down and couldn't get going, and then played tight in the third before pulling away to win easily. Exciting for the girls, and good to see them come back a few times today from being down. They had struggled with that before.

They got pins for winning, and were proud of them.

Kendall stuck hers on her bag right away.

Kendall played well today. With only 8 girls in an 8 girl rotation, she's in there regularly. No serves, but lots of time in the front row.

She's usually in the middle, and is getting to be a good center player. She had quite a few blocks today, a couple good spikes, and a bunch of dinks and tips for points.

 She gets up well and here was one of her hits. The block was late, and she got a point.

 On the bench, she's social with the other girls, and I think it's a good break for her. She's not pressed too hard to play the entire game.

But when she's in there, she's really getting up. Here she is blocking a shot.

That wasn't a block, but she had 2 blocks earlier, and 2 or 3 hits that went off her hands and up. Near the end of the last game, she had a great block. The girl on the other side really swung hard and hit the ball with a loud thump, but almost immediately there was the thump on Kendall's hands and the ball went back down on their side. They saved it and got the point, but it was something. The crowd let out a large breath on that block, with a few audible comments.

Overall an exciting morning and fun day.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

First Flight

My first flight of the year tomorrow. I head to Cleveland for an event, and I'm looking forward to speaking again. Albuquerque was OK, but I was first, it was early, and the 10-15 people I had didn't provide a lot of energy for my talks.

One I go again in Cleveland, one I've done many times, and two more I've done a few times, all of which I practiced this week, but want to practice again.

It's an easy trip, back late Saturday night. Then I get a break before life gets a little crazy in March.

I need a coat today

I need a coat for sure today. The forecast for our zip code

Photo Feb 05, 7 47 54 AM

The back porch

Photo Feb 05, 7 48 57 AM

School had a one hour delay for "cold" and I'm glad.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


A good day on the mountain at Keystone. It was snowing when we left, around 10F and Tia was a little worried. However I checked the CDOT cameras, things were clear and this was the only day I can do this week. We both drove kids to school and headed up, which was good. Saved us a half hour at least.

Photo Feb 04, 10 55 54 AM

Things cleared up and it was 15F and sunny at Keystone. We headed up and had some good runs on the backside, including a challenging black that we slid down carefully. We had a good 5-6 runs, and then some snow moved in and it was hard to see. We took a break, relaxing in the lodge. Tia had gotten a touch motion sick, so she stayed in while I had 3 more runs, and then we headed back, skiing our way back to the front.

Photo Feb 04, 10 55 49 AM

Overall a great day on the mountain, some good work, and no one got hurt.

Monday, February 3, 2014


The Super Bowl was embarrassing for Denver last night. I started watching and got through the first half at home and didn't have much desire to watch more. When Tia got home I was a little upset and crabby, but managed to get to our neighbor's to watch the second half. It got worse, though I'm glad we weren't shut out.

It's just a game, and today it's over. Nothing to celebrate, and not important enough to mourn, other than football being done for the year. Now it's looking forward to next year.

A great year for Manning and the Broncos. 600 points, 55 regular season TDs, 60 TDs passing total for 2013, an amazing and exciting season. Actually two amazing seasons with lots of entertainment for Denver.

Now to watch and see if the Nuggets can generate any excitement.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Hobby Lobby

I must like building and creating. While I haven't had a great track record, I go get some things done, and certainly have no shortage of ideas as I wander Home Depot. I've learned to just plan for an hour when I go there because I'll often get lost.

It was the same today in Hobby Lobby. After a team volleyball meeting, Kendall and I stopped by Hobby Lobby to get some ribbon. We are in charge of hair ribbons for the trip to Omaha, and I didn't want to wait too long since next weekend will be busy. After finding ribbons, we both wandered around.

Kendall interested in painting, me in getting some parachute cord and crafts. I've been wanting to make a key fob and some things that might be handy. I saw a few projects, and also a book, so I grabbed them. Now I have a few things to do on the cold evenings that are smaller projects and should be fun.

It was surprising how long we were there (over an hour) wandering around, both of us with ideas. Fortunately I had the wallet and self control or we might still be there.