Friday, January 30, 2015


Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.

It’s paraphrased from John Lennon, but I think there’s some truth to this. A friend posted it in an interview he did. He mentioned that he doesn’t really make plans anymore, trying to just live life.

A little disingenuous, as certainly he has goals, and makes plans to move in some direction, but I get that he means he doesn’t make too detailed plans and doesn’t look too far ahead.

I’m somewhat the same way. I don’t have a ten year plan, or a five year plan, or even a 1 year plan. I have a few things I’m tackling right now (learning more C#, considering studying for a few exams, etc), but nothing formal. I don’t even have a good, formal workout plan, though I do really need one of those.

I’ve had a number of other plans the last few years, and what I find is that although I tackle them and move forward, things come up. Life changes. I have to adapt, and I do so. Right now my career is less important than:

  • my wife’s business
  • my daughter’s volleyball
  • my son’s cross country and knowledge bowl
  • my other son’s college if he needs help
  • my own health and fitness

Unfortunately, often my work, and the rest of my life gets in the way of career goals I have. Sometimes the items above get into conflict, and I have to change things. My workout plan may get shoved aside a bit when my wife’s or kids’ activities come up. However, to a point. If I miss a few workouts, I may miss some volleyball practice, or ask Tia to handle something without me, or take a day off work, or something else.

I also realize that I have too many goals sometimes. I need to selectively make plans, and let some things go. Right now I’m busy with a number of things, and snowboarding is falling to the side. That bothers me, but for that last couple weeks, other things are more important. I want to work on some software projects, but I don’t have the time, so I’m delaying those for months, perhaps years. I’d like to play basketball in a league, but I really don’t have that time.

Life comes along, and it’s always happening. Whether I’m making plans or not, but I want to make plans to do more in life. I also want to enjoy my life as it passes, not knowing how long that will be.

A Long Week

This has been a long week, as a virus of some sort is lingering for me. I was sure I’d be better by now, after taking some days to rest, not work out, relax a bit, stay warm, etc. However it’s still here and I am starting to think next week will really stink for travel.

At least I’m better than Kyle. He’s got bronchitis, missing a couple days of school and getting meds from the doctor. He’s looking better, and hopefully he’ll be back to normal this weekend.

At least the little kids are doing well, and Kendall finally feels great. Went through all of last night’s practice, full participation, even agility training after. We’re excited for her second Power tournament on Sunday.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Feeling sick, fighting a cold, but glad the weather was good as I dropped off and picked up kids

Photo Jan 26, 4 13 07 PM

Sunday, January 25, 2015


I'm amazed by the University of Virginia basketball team. 19-0 after their win today, a close one. I've followed their sports for years, and we've always been middle of the pack. We had an amazing football run just after I graduated, but it ran out at the end of the year and no one really seemed to take them seriously, despite being ranked in the top 10.

All of the top 25 basketball rankings since I left haven't been high, and we've often fallen apart at the end of the year. However this year, as I've watched them streak along, they've met some challenges and won some games. Not many top 25 opponents, but they've beaten a few (Notre Dame, Maryland, a few others).

A big test this week with Duke, so we'll see if they can keep it going.

Book #7 - George Washington: Life and Death

I decided I want to read about every US President. I started with George Washington: Life and Death, a short biorgraphy. It's part of a series, and seems like an academic book, with each section of his lift broken up into a summary of what happened, and then an analysis that seems somewhat unbiased from the conservative/liberal standpoints.

It was interesting to read about Washington. I didn't know much beyond the basics of US History, which doesn't cover his life. He became a head of household early, at 11, when his father died and left him a small estate. His education stopped, though he was a wilderness man, exploring out into the west and becoming a surveyor.

His estate at Mount Vernon comes from his older half-brother, who died and left him the property. He was mostly a farmer, and appears to have enjoyed that. He was also in the militia, and rose, despite being a part of failed campaigns in the Ohio Valley against the French and Indians. He spent 15 years after that as a farmer before becoming involved with the unrest of the colonies and being put in charge of the colonists army.

It's a short one, and an interesting read, but it got me thinking I really want to read another, more details, biography of Washington.

Book #6 - #Houston69: Apollo 11 - When Men Walked on the Moon

I was browsing for a book on the Apollo moon landing and stumbled on this book in the Kindle Unlimited collection. I decided to give it a try and was pleasantly surprised. 

#Houston69: Apollo 11 - When Men Walked on the Moon is told from the perspective of social media. It's almost like we meet characters from the Apollo landings, the astronauts, the mission control people, media, government officials, etc. and the story of the journey from launch to splashdown is a series of tweets and posts.

At first I thought it was too choppy and annoying, but I found myself getting excited in place, as we followed along the events as they occurred in real time. No distractions and side stories as happens in many books. Just a series of posts as  the story unfolds. Perhaps it's because I'm of the generation using social media that it worked, but I actually enjoyed the book.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Book #5 - The Last Ballot (Part 1)

lastballot1I don't like books split like this, but there's a ton buried in here and I can see why it's this way. This is Jim McGill #4 and it continues on. As you might have guessed, the Last Ballot is referring to the Presidential election. We don't see it here, but we do get to it in part 2.

Here we have Dr. Todd escaping the CIA with a couple of killers. It's somewhat crazy how it happens, but McGill is warned and gets worried. As if that's not enough, Kenny, his son, has Leukemia and they are searching for donors, one of whom turns out to be the President.

Burke Godfrey is back, having declined to be arrested, he barricades himself in his ministry, daring the government to get him out. We also get a new character, Hugh Collier, nephew of the billionaire owner of the Fox News like network. They're determined to take Patti Grant down as she announces new rules for the upcoming election and tries to change America's government.

And of course, we have the newlyweds, Welborn and Kira.

It's a crazy ride, ending with a cliffhanger that almost forces you to buy book 2. It did for me.

Thursday, January 22, 2015


Amazing to see Virginia at 18-0. Never in my time as a student or alum have we been even close. We'll see if we can maintain this into next week with Va Tech, Duke, UNC, and Louisville coming up.

Barbell Strength

Another tough class at the gym tonight. With Tia taking Kendall to volleyball, and me at my desk most of the day, I decided to hit a class. They had a Barbell Strength, which I've been wanting to try. It uses a barbell and an aerobics step,but really it's weight lifting for reps.

It started out with a warmup, not too bad, and it felt good. Lots of squats to start, and I could feel myself working. However, when we went into chest, my arms were getting tired, and then pushups made me take a break. We tended to work different sets of muscles to failure, lots of shoulder work with upright rows, back rows, and side lifts.

I was exhausted pretty good by the end and I struggled just holding planks with tired shoulders.

A good class, and glad I went. Also, realize I really am out of shape.

Book #4 - Tall Man in Raybans

tallmanI tried a different Joseph Flynn with Kindle Unlimited: Tall Man in Ray-Bans. It's a completely different character, but similarly wild stories woven together.

Here we find out about John Tall Wolf. The story is sometimes in the present, sometimes in the past, so you have to watch the titles. The early parts of John's life are mixed in with a mystery, and it gets confusing, but near the middle I figured everything out and enjoyed the book.

A body is discovered and it's suspected that it's a bank robber from decades ago. Still wanted, the FBI comes in. However John Tall Wolf, Bureau of Indian Affairs, claims some jurisdiction as well.

The book is a mix of John tracking down whether we have a dead criminal or someone else, while the FBI and local police try to work around him. I didn't love it at first, but I grew to enjoy the story and near the end, couldn't put it down.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Book #3 - The K Street Killer

killerkstSomeone is killing lobbyists in Washington. The K Street Killer is the third book in the Jim McGill series, and it's a wild ride like the rest of them.

As usual, we have a number of plots going on here. We have Putnam Shady enlisting Sweetie to protect him, and of course, she gets McGill involved. There's a plan to seize control of the country by concentrating lobbying power. It's undertaken by the Speaker of the House, and slowly McGill and then the President find out. The President, meanwhile, is forced to leave the GOP.

We also have Welborn and Kira schedule their marriage around all of this.

A fun, enjoyable read.

Snowy Days

I expected some snow today, but not as much as we got. Most of the day something has been coming down and a few inches accumulated. It's a bit slushy and I'm worried about tomorrow morning with a cold snap coming in.

As you can see, things were white today

Photo Jan 21, 8 26 45 AM

Monday, January 19, 2015


It was some kind of exciting yesterday for Kendall's volleyball team. And stressful for everyone rooting for the 303 National team.

Once again things were running late. We arrived at 2, ready to warm up soon and play, but the 13's were just starting their 1st/2nd and 3rd/4th place games. We watched the 303 12s playing for 3rd against 13s. They lost, but we cheered them on as we like the coach. She coached Kendall for part of Nationals last year, and we regret not getting Kendall playing at 12.

Our team was seeded 1st. Since we hadn't lost a game Saturday, we knew we'd be first or second. However still cool to be seeded at the top.


We were playing the 8th team, a team we'd beaten handily the week before. We were hoping this would go quickly, but you never know. Kendall got in the first game, playing middle again.


It was a hard game. We went up, but then made mistakes and they caught us. The same actually went down to the wire, a 25-22 or something similar. It was surprising for all of us, though our girls didn't crack and played hard. They won, and then won the second game more handily.


Kendall had a good game, though she was tentative with her hitting. After seeing her hit hard during warm-ups, she plays safe when points are on the line. She had a blown serve, but overall we were proud of her.


I took lots of pictures with Tia's camera, and need to try and get those uploaded later today. Parents were all asking, as we girls. They reviewed pictures during the break, which was long. We had to referee the next game, and then had to sit the third game while some losing teams played in their bracket.

Tia and I had a nice walk during this time.


The second match was against White Tiger VB, who plays in the facility next to us. Actually, 303 rents two of their 6 courts and we practice on one. In this one, Kendall played well, making plays, and the girls again, kept things close.


Both games were closer, and we kept thinking they might lose one, but they didn't. They played well when they needed. They made mistakes and let the other teams get close, but they won both games, stressing out everyone watching.


With the win there, after 8, we had another break. I was about to get something to eat, but they asked for a line judge volunteer. Girls usually do this, but a couple teams had gone home, a couple were playing, and we wanted out girls resting.

Tia had a nice chat with coaches, while I went to referee. It was long, and my legs were tired from standing. Fortunately the games were semi-lopsided and I wasn't there too long.


The last match was against the #2 seed. Colorado Springs Altitude, who are a division 3 team. We were division 5/6 for the first Power tournament, but we were probably low.

We started strong. Going up 6 or 7 points and getting excited. Kendall had started with the team, and it was so exciting. Altitude came back and we went back and forth for most of the game, with us up 2-3 points. We won handily, once we got to 20. One down, one to go.


The second game was tough. Kendall didn't play, but she was involved, exited with her team. We went down by a few and we were chasing them until about 10 points. Then we seemed to fall apart, going down 10-18.


At that point, we were expecting a third game. The coaches had switched setters just before that point as the first girl was struggling, though it hadn't made a big difference. We managed to stop them and switch to a new server, little Lexie. She's one of our defensive players, and a great server.

She served well and they made a few mistakes. Suddenly it was 18-15 and they took a timeout with our girls jumping for joy.

We made more points, they made more mistakes and struggled. We traded serves a couple times, but we made ahead at 21-20 and they were dejected and upset. I could see their girls falling apart and their coach struggling. He took another timeout as we were ahead 22-20 and I felt bad for those girls.

We never looked back, winning 25-21. Our girls were so excited, all of them running on the court to celebrate.


Two tournaments, two wins. This one undefeated, not even losing a set. This weekend, 6 matches, 6 wins in 12 sets.


Kendall was hoarse from yelling, as were most girls. They were so excited, and she said as we drove home that she loved this team. This is way better than last year, even though that team was more talented. She'd rather play second team with a group of girls that really like each other, get along, and work together. No individuals apart from the team.

An exciting weekend, though long. We got home at 11 and were exhausted.

Two weeks to the next tournament, and we're already excited.

The Early Morning

It was a lazy morning Sunday. We didn't get back from Kendall's tournament until after 10 and we were tired. Tia and I got up, after Kyle collapsed in our bed after work. We decided to just feed ourselves since we had to leave by 1:15 and we weren't sure he'd be up.

It's been a long time since I went out to drop hay, which I've been glad about. It was a good day, no wind and warm, so I went out to help Tia.

Photo Jan 18, 11 43 17 AM - Copy

I've started trying to take a daily picture of myself, so I took a couple today.

Photo Jan 18, 11 42 07 AM - Copy

17 horses takes some work. It took us about an hour to get hay into all the feeders and fill water. I'm glad Tia has hired someone.

It was neat to get to see the feeders. I've built most of them (maybe all), but they've been modified by Tia's employee to make them work better. However they've held up well. This is one of the original ones, with plywood on the sides. It's got to be 18+ months old and doing well. A successful project.

Photo Jan 18, 12 15 22 PM - Copy

Sunday, January 18, 2015


Kendall's volleyball team is part of a mini-tournament this weekend. Lots of the teams in her division aren't competing, but there are 24 of the 96 14 year old teams playing. We were seeded with 7 others in our home facility, which was nice. We also played at 3, which seemed like a good idea until we did it. Then we weren't so sure if this was what we preferred. The early teams ran late, so we didn't start until after 4 and didn't finish until after 9.

However they played well. Kendall sat most of the first match, potentially with coaches worried about her. However she said she felt fine and when a couple girls struggled, Kendall got in.

Photo Jan 17, 8 21 05 PM

They played well, with the first set being close, but them somewhat running away with the second. They won 25-22 and 25-16, and the girls played well. A couple struggled, but they didn't fall apart, no crying, no big emotions like we saw last year.

Photo Jan 17, 8 06 25 PM

Kendall looked good. She's getting strong and up nicely. In the second game, against the team in our pool who'd also won their first set, we struggled a bit. However we were right there, ahead the whole time. Even with our struggles, we were the better team and won handily.

Photo Jan 17, 8 32 21 PM

It's really nice to see all these girls getting along, and communicating with each other. They talk on and off the court, during play and between plays. It's a good group that's bonding and helping each other. More important, they trust each other.

Photo Jan 17, 8 43 00 PM

Kendall looked good. Tentative on hits, but she is active in the middle and had 2 or 3 really good blocks. She dinked for some points, and hit a couple harder, but not super hard. She scored points, and earned a good amount of playing time.

Photo Jan 17, 8 17 29 PM

Each lineup was different. Kendall started the day subbing in at left hitter for someone, but then spent the rest of the matches in the middle spot. She'd switch around and even serve her turns, so really playing 3 1/2 rotations almost the entire time. All the girls played, and they all struggled at times, but overcame things.

It was really good to see them go down 21-23 against the weakest team in our pool, and battle back to win. They were tired, they were tense, but they didn't crack. A lot of mental toughness I haven't seen from the other team she played on.

Photo Jan 17, 8 46 14 PM

They finished the day 6-0 in pool play, and will be seeded #1 or #2 today for the bracket part of the tournament. There was another team 4-0, and they had to play another match as we left. However it doesn't matter. We're looking forward to the afternoon.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Sympathy and Half Practice

Tia suggested I email all Kendall's teacher's yesterday. She's missed some work, has headaches, and is stressed over homework and testing. I sent a note to each one and almost all teachers responded. It was good to have them send some work over to us and all said they'd work with Kendall as much as possible.

Kendall went to volleyball last night, but it was only a partial practice for her. She dropped out a few times, and I thought the coaches would pull her, but she wanted to go in to the last drill (baseball) and they let her. Afterwards she said she might have pushed a bit hard, which is worrisome. A little torn on how we manage her, but I do think her moving a bit is good, as long as they're no contact.

We'll see what happens on Saturday. It's a two day tournament this weekend, luckily it's in the afternoon and at our club's facility, so it's familiar and shouldn't make it too late a night.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Walking the Dogs

My lunch yesterday

Photo Jan 14, 12 30 25 PM

Photo Jan 14, 12 30 10 PM

Lexus RX 350

Kendall and I went to drive cars recently and ended up at the Kuni Lexus dealership in Greenwood Village. It's right by a rather fancy neighborhood and I wondered if I was getting in over my head with pricing. However they had a nice selection I could see online, and the salesman was low key and easy going.

We chatted a bit and then looked at their selection on his iPad. We picked out 3 cars, and he went to get keys. Our plan was to drive these cars

  • 2012 RX350
  • 2010 RX450h (hybrid)
  • 1999 RX300

The hybrid was being detailed, so we never got to it, but we went in the 350 first.


The SUV is larger than the small SUVs like the X3 and Q5, but not big enough to have a third row. Kendall sat in back and said it was comfortable. The room is similar to the Suburban, and the seats recline about the same amount. It's not as wide as our car, but it's fine. For 4, it's good. 5 would be tight, but not as bad as the Suburban.

The ride was nice. Comfortable, good seats, though not cushy like the Suburban. I could easily see, which is one thing I wondered about, having heard about the pillars in the back limiting vision. It's up high enough for me, and the car drove well. Kendall liked it, saying it was her favorite of the day, including the X5 that we tested.

Cargo looks roomy enough for 3 of us easily to go skiing. The sunroof is like the Suburban, small, but lots of other things in the car look good. The controls are familiar to the Prius and easy to use.

All in all, a nice car.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The BMW X5 Initial Test

While Kendall and I were at the Lexus dealership, we saw a couple X5s there. One gas, a 2007, and a diesel, a 2010 or 2011. Both looked good, with just minor differences. I wanted to try the diesel, since I like the idea of better mileage and better torque getting around.

We drove it, Kendall in front with me. It’s wider than the RX, which is nice, and has a nicer finish inside. It also has me sitting more upright than in the RX. I can see better, and I tend to like that.

It also has a huge sunroof. One that’s similar to my old Trooper. It must be 6+ square feet, and it has a second piece of glass behind it that allows more light into the back. Under it is a motorized cloth cover, so that you can block the sun if it bothers you.

The X5 seems to have better pickup and more power than the RX350 we drove. It rides similarly, though since I’m sitting up, it’s not quite the same. The X5 uses a touch more gas per gallon or less if it’s diesel, but with the cost of diesel, I think things are wiped out.

However I enjoyed it. I think the X5 is still on the list of cars to consider.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Auto Fix - Passenger Mirror Glass

I've replaced the driver's mirror on the Suburban, but this time I broke the glass and didn't think I needed the entire assembly. So I just ordered glass.

I found this video. Not the same year, but same process. I unpacked the glass, connected the leads, pressed it onto the rounded housing, and I was done.

Easy fix, and the Suburban is looking better. Slowly.

Monday Night Sushi

Kyle had done us a favor Sunday getting Delaney to some school stuff, and Tia promised him sushi. Last night we met him at the gym for a short workout before we headed over to Kimono in Parker. It was quiet at 8, only a  couple customers, and we got a table and relaxed.Photo Jan 12, 7 45 06 PM

It seems we're on the go so much, it was nice to have a quiet night, and with just Tia, Kyle, and I, it was different. A more adult night, which I enjoyed.

Of course, afterwards, Delaney came downstairs when we got home to see us and show just how big he is.

Photo Jan 12, 9 48 33 PM

Monday, January 12, 2015

Power #1

Yesterday was the first tournament for Kendall's 2014 14 National team's season. These are the monthly tournaments that rank teams and give them a chance to compete against others, and potentially aiming for a national championship. Last year Kendall's team went to the National tournament, one of 3 from Colorado, and it was a great experience for her.

This year she's on the second team for her club, and they aren't expected to do as well, but you never know. We had no idea what to think of their team or how they'd compete against all the other 14s. They played well against the first team in an internal match, and though they lost, a little more mental toughness, a few more plays, and they might have won.

So we were nervous and excited. Kendall coming off a concussion, having no idea how the players were ranked on her team and where or how much she'd play. It was something.

The first rankings had us in the 5/6 division with 15 other teams. There are (I think) 4 teams in division 1, and 8 teams in division 2, where our club's top team is. Then there are 16 teams in 3/4 and 16 in 5/6. I didn't look below that and hoped we wouldn't find out.

They day started way too early, with us getting up at 5:30 and driving to the NW side of Denver. The girls refereed first, and then warmed up. It's always neat to see them drill, and then line up to wave to the audience before the game.

Photo Jan 11, 11 02 17 AM

Kendall didn't start, or even play the first set of the first match. That made us a little nervous, but we weren't sure what to think. Their coaches (who are great) have been using an 8 player rotation in each of the scrimmages, meaning 2 girls don't play. Kendall has been an outside hitter, so we weren't sure how this would go.

Photo Jan 11, 11 03 03 AM

She got into the second match, and did some outside hitting. They subbed for her on serves, so she was in for only 3 rotations before going out. Two different lineups, and two different games. The girls won both of the first two sets easily, taking the match. Not much competition.

Photo Jan 11, 11 04 03 AM

The girls got a break, and then played their second match. They had more competition, but did well in the first game. The team made it close, but they won somewhat easily at 25-22. However what was more interesting is that Kendall spent time in the middle hitter spot. She was active, jumping to block, and tipping some balls. She had a few hits, and saved a few balls as well.

Photo Jan 11, 11 21 35 AM (1)

The second game had the girls falling apart. Almost every one of them had a bad game, and all in the same game. It was close, but they lost, which was disappointing.

The third was the short one, and after trading a few points, they got ahead and never looked back, winning easily and setting up a third match with the other team in their pool that had won their two matches.

Photo Jan 11, 11 11 19 AM

We weren't sure how this would go. Both teams had identical results against the other teams. 2-0 in matches, 4-1 in sets. Kendall looked great in the middle, and when the first set was played, she had her three rotations in the middle front, but also served a few. She was very active, and ended up playing most of both games and even serving the win.

The girls came together, communicated, made few mistakes, and really dominated. They ended up winning both of the two sets to be first in their pool. With so many teams, that set up a crossover game with the winner of another pool.

The girls were excited, and it was great to see them celebrating together so often after each point. Kendall's team did this last year, but not as closely or happily as this team. It looks like they're better bonded already, though certainly all the girls here are older.

Photo Jan 11, 9 43 50 AM

The last match was a single game to 25. Girls were nervous, but they went out and traded a few points early on with the other team. Then they went on a run. Hustling, making plays, good placement in hits, and really running away with the game. It wasn't close, something like 25-13 at the end.

Quite a difference from last year where we lost all three matches in the first tournament. This time, a win, and their first pins.

Photo Jan 11, 2 55 55 PM

We'll see what happens next weekend. They should move up a division to 3/4, and I'm starting to wonder how far they can go. They are playing together well, trusting each other, and looking good.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Daddy’s Having Breakfast and Driving Cars with Daughters

We decided not to drive all the way up north to watch Delaney’s Knowledge Bowl. He wasn’t sure we’d even be in the room watching, so we bailed. Tia had to work, so Kendall and I planned on driving some cars today. Kendall suggested IHOP as well, so when she got up after a lazy morning at 10, we headed out.


Despite the picture, Kendall was in a good mood and we had fun chatting. It was a nice breakfast, veggie omelet for me and berry brioche French toast for her. A nice time, and while Kendall and I spend a lot of time together, we don’t get a relaxing, quiet breakfast much where we aren’t coming or going from something.

Afterwards, we slowly made our way over to drive a few cays. That was interesting, and he was definitely happier then.

Photo Jan 10, 2 59 19 PM

It’s neat to get her opinion and see what she thinks about cars. We called it quits after 2 dealerships and 4 cars, then hitting Wal-Mart to get supplies for tomorrow’s volleyball tournament.

A good day so far, with a trip to the gym coming tonight.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


It was an icy, chilly day today. Yesterday was about 50F, but overnight the temp dropped. When I started the car this morning, it was 10F. All the stuff that had melted, but hadn’t evaporated ended up freezing. Slippery times for me walking around a bit, so after getting Delaney to school and hitting the grocery store, I came in for the day.

I worked a bit in the kitchen and it was chilly. We need to get new windows.

Book #2–The Hangman’s Companion

41CeLp352OL._AA160_After reading The President’s Henchman, I was hooked and immediately got the second book in the series, The Hangman’s Companion. It’s a bit later, and the President heads to London for the G8 Summit. McGill comes along, but goes to Paris when a former Chicago cop he knew is being held for murder. We know he didn’t mean it, interrupting a man abusing a women by the Seine and accidentally killing him, but the man was a soccer star. And the women has disappeared, so he’s in trouble.

Back at home, Deke is recovering from being shot and the Secret Service can’t figure out who did it. However Deke’s Mom hires Sweeney to help and with her come Deke, Welborn, and more to investigate a problem in the Vietnamese community and the Catholic Church.

If you don’t know those people, read the first book. In any case, it’s another wild ride, with the G8 Summit, the Paris investigation and the Vietnamese case in DC all woven together and interspersed in the book. Along with this, Catie, McGill’s youngest, wants to be an actress and interrupts at times.

It’s a really wild ride, one that ends with a cliffhanger. This story wraps up, but I’m wondering what happens in the next one.

Changing Teams

I got a somewhat disappointing call last night on my way back from the gym. The manager of the Cannons, the team I've played baseball for during the last 4 years, called to let me know he doesn't have a spot for me. I missed last season with my knee surgery and we got a new manager. Some turnover, and really only 4 players I'd played with from the previous year.

I'm glad he called, and I'm not upset, but it was a tough call. I've enjoyed teams for years, and only switched once. My first team, for whom I played during the first 3 years, was very competitive and they always had 12-14 people at a game. That meant I only played about half the time. Don't love that.

Since then, I've been on three teams, but it's really one team where the manager and name evolved over time. After 7 years, I took last year off and missed playing. I was looking forward to going back this year and playing again, though a good friend was retiring from the game.

However that's not the case. I don't want to be stuck with a team with too many people and sent a note to the league this morning telling them I'm looking for a team. I noted I'd rather play than win, so we'll see. I got a note back from the President saying he'd send my information to managers.

I can't make the tryouts, and don't think I need to since I've played before. If I remember this when I looked for a new team years ago, I'll go into the draft with all the new players and people without teams and get selected somewhere.

Fingers crossed it's a team with 11-14 people, since I think that means we'll get 10-11 per game. That's what I'd like to play for, even if we lose every week.

Now to start throwing…

Back to Volleyball and Spin

Kendall went back to volleyball last night. She was cleared to start, but light workouts. I dropped her off and then went to the gym. Tia had joined Lifetime Fitness for all of us and I wanted to check it out.

I decided to try a spin class. I haven't done one since 2003 or 2003, but I remember it being a great workout. It was, a hard one, and I struggled. I did 40 minutes and I was tired, lungs hurting, but it felt good. Certainly part of it is learning the pace and what resistance to set, but it was good to be back.

When I went to practice, Kendall was serving, but not playing. She did some hitting and looked good, but then she dropped out of the resistance/strength training. I'm a little worried we need to move slower, but we'll see how it goes tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Auto Fix - Throttle Sensor

Last night I replaced the throttle sensor on the Suburban. The idle has been really rough, and this was one of the codes that the auto parts guy read. The process I followed was what the 1AAuto guys showed in this video. They do a great job, and there's not too much to add.

I will say that getting the Torx screwdriver in there necessitated me disconnecting the alternator and removing both bolts to move the alternator to the side. Apart from that, it was really only about  15 minutes to replace the sensor.

The car was hot, so it started right up with an even idle, but not a good test. It was also 50F outside, so it wasn't a good test.

This morning it was 30F, and it started right up. A slow, even idle around 800, but when we started to drive after 2-3 minutes, the idle dropped. Might be more of an issue with the exhaust system, but so far it's running slightly better.

On the downside, I added another item to my list. Trying to pull into the garage for light and more heat, I knocked the top trim of the garage a little with snowboards (forgot they were on) and then broken the passenger mirror getting out. Ugh.

Monday, January 5, 2015

The Auto Fix - Rear Latch

I took the suggestion from the Chevy dealer and took the two plastic parts from the actuator latch into the living room yesterday. I mixed up some 2 part epoxy (I need more, I love this stuff) with gloves on, and then applied it generously to both sides. I held them together and tried to glob more on the sides, but they wouldn't stay together. Eventually I just put a bunch on one side, rubbed the connecting surface in more, and then held them together.

It wasn't hard and I spent about 10 minutes with them together before they held. The hardest part was not pressing too hard on the pieces. I then set them on a bookshelf and let them cure overnight.

After skiing, I took things down and it felt solid. I screwed the assembly back into the liftgate and tested it. It held and let me lock/unlock the hatch, as well as open it.

We'll see how long it holds.

Last Day of Vacation

Today was the last day of Christmas break for Delaney and Kendall. Kyle's got another couple weeks off, but we decided to snowboard one last time before school hits. Kendall was held back to ensure she heals, so it was just the boys and I.


A slow drive up, and when I stopped in Idaho Springs for a conference call, it was 50F. Yikes!

Fortunately, when we got to Copper, it was high 20s, and nice.


We started on blue/blacks on the East side, going up a couple times before moving to the middle and then the East. We got over the top above the Sierra lift, and it was really windy. We had fun, going quickly as everyone is fairly experienced now.


We even had a great rainbow behind us a few times and I got some pix and video.

A good day, and we had fun. Nice weather, no one got hurt, and an easy trip up and back.

Book #2 - The President's Henchman

518Mp-mJQQL._AA160_I got The President's Henchman through Kindle Unlimited, but it was so good that I bought the next one. It's a twisted, turning mystery mixed in with politics and one that I really enjoyed. It was slow to start, but after 40-50 pages, I was hooked.

There are numerous stories going on and we jump from one to another across chapters, which drives me to read. Sometimes I'm really enjoying a plotline and it changes. I have to try and resist not racing through another chapter to try and get back to the plot I like.

Patti McGill is elected as the first female President of the US. Her husband, a former police chief, comes along, but doesn't want to sit around. He gets his PI license and sets up shop in DC. We get some background that he's struggling to find clients as he has to convince lobbyists he won't take retainers to present their demands to the President.

We have the President dealing with her job, and worrying about McGill, who only has two secret service agents. Her first husband was killed by anti-abortion protesters who wanted her to vote their way. They still protest against her, and threaten McGill's children from his first marriage. We also have McGill getting a case from a reporter that's been brainwashed.

As if that weren't enough, we have a young lieutenant investigating an adultery charge. The stories in the book are disparate, but slowly converge in places and weave together. It's a wild ride that reminds me of a complex Clancy book.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Car Search 2006 Cayenne

I was surprised to see a Porsche Cayenne at the Chevy dealer I guess they get traded in, so I shouldn’t have been. While looking at Tahoes, I asked if I could drive it.

$20,000 for a 2006 with 66k miles on it. Not many miles, but a little worn inside. A new move from another dealership and with the weather and holidays, it hadn’t been detailed. It looked it, and some wear on the steering wheel.  It also stuttered slightly when driving. Not a ton of power, and not a great ride, but not bad. Certainly if I were interested in this car, I’d have to get a mechanic to check it out.

The interior is nice, though many of the controls didn’t make sense. Not intuitive, and I’m sure I’d need to learn where things are and how they work.

A nice drive, and still on the list. I’ll drive another, but I wasn’t blown away.

The Car Search–2010 Tahoe

After stopping by the Chevy dealer for parts, I decided to look at their used car lot. I found a couple of Tahoes for sale and a Cayenne. I decided to pop in and test drive them as the snow started coming down.

One Tahoe was 110k miles and older, but the second was nice. A 2010, 80k miles, for $24k. Not a bad price, and certainly a nice truck. An LT model, leather, rear DVD entertainment, heated front seats, sunroof, a nicely equipped truck.

It’s similar to the 2001, but updated a bit. The controls are a bit more modern, and the seats are firmer.  As I drove it, it’s similar, but lighter than the Suburban and tighter. No rattles, and it felt good. Overall, it feels like a slightly upgraded version of what I have.

This wasn’t a great truck, and I’d like to see the LTZ and decide if that fits better. It’s still a possibility for me, so I’ll keep it in mind as I drive more cars.

Swimming in the Snow

A nice afternoon swim, with a blizzard outside. After my car errands, I swung by the rec center, walked inside in the blowing snow, getting cold feet in the process. However after 15 minutes lifting to warm up and a 1400yd swim, I felt great. Didn’t even feel that cold on the way out.

2001 Suburban Fixes–Parts and Diagnosis

The idle has been strange in the Suburban, so I stopped by the auto parts store and had them read me a code from the system. It showed two things: a bad throttle sensor, and an exhaust system leak. I’ll need to get smoke test for the exhaust, but I can do the throttle sensor myself.

It’s too cold to do that today, but I’ll try tomorrow to replace it.

I also went by the Chevy dealership to see about my actuator latch. The guy said he didn’t sell it, and I’d have to buy the entire assembly. He also told me it wouldn’t be close to the online price from him, so I’ll go online if it comes to that. He was nice, and he also had a suggestion.


He said to take off the broken piece and then use lots of epoxy to bind them together. I can file down anything that sticks up, and it might actually work for awhile without buying a part.

I’ll try that tomorrow as well.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Fixing the Suburban 2001 Horn

As a part of my fix list, I decided to tackle the horn early on. It should be simple, and I'm not sure why I didn't think of this when I first realized it was broken.

The fuse.

I was looking through a few forums on the Suburban, and people mentioned that the horn could short out, have loose wires, water that grounds things, or have a blown fuse. With a blown fuse, they definitely recommend that you consider water if it blows again.

I walked outside, pulled the hood up and then the fuse box and hunted around. The horn has a relay and fuse, both of which are hard to get out. There's a fuse puller in the box, and I used that to pull it out.


That's an easy fix. I didn't have any 15A ones around, but I got some a few days later and replaced the fuse. The horn worked, and that's one item off my list.

The Fix List - 2001 Suburban

We had a few things fail on the Suburban recently. The big one was that the heat in the rear didn't work well and the back hatch stopped opening. In the cold, snowy weather in Steamboat Springs, that wasn't good.
I sat down recently and made a list of the problems. It was quite a list, and I decided to work through things. We'll add a new vehicle soon, but in the meantime, I wanted to get the Suburban in better shape. Likely Delaney will be driving it by himself in 2015 sometime.
  • Horn
  • Rear door actuator - not needed, see the latch below.
  • Rear door latch
  • Service engine light
  • Sticky rear windows
  • Windshield
  • Rear wiper
  • Rear defroster
  • Rear heat
  • Iffy idle
  • Passenger mirror
Some of these I can do, some I can't, but it's time to work on fixing things where I can.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Book #1 - The Atlantis World

atlworldBook 3 of the series, Atlantis World is much more the sci-fi thriller than the medical one I started with. The plague is over, humanity isn't losing it's intelligence, but Kate and David are still in the ship of Gibraltar. Kate is going through memories, and they are killing her, causing nose bleeds and exhaustion. David is worried and joins in another vat, coming out hurt himself, but better they Kate.

They rush her to surgery, and worry, as David realizes more and more how advanced the Atlanteans were.

Meanwhile we have Ares and Dorian in Antarctica consolidating forces and eventually causing floods around the world. Ares sends Dorian to try and stop Kate from reaching the Atlantean beacon in space and sending a message.

The book really gets wild, with pursuit through portals to beacons around the galaxy. Slowly through memories that Kate and Dorian experience, we find our more about the history of the Atlanteans and what is happening. It's mind-boggling and creates quite the story. Not sure it holds together, but it was fun to read.