Palo Duro Pictures & More!

As promised, here are a few pictures from our little jaunt out to Palo Duro Canyon State Park in the panhandle with Kristi and Eric. We took the day off Friday and left DFW at around 6:30 in the morning. With the exception of a short pit stop in Wichita Falls, we made it all the way to the small town of Canyon, TX that’s just a few miles from the park. After a delectable Pizza Hut buffet and some admiring of West Texas A&M’s basketball arena (maybe they invited Coach Knight up from Lubbock to throw a chair at the ribbon for the grand opening) we headed on in to the park.

Click the pictures to enlarge.

Our campsite: coupla tents, coupla mountain bikes…quite standard really.

Laura on the first hiking trail of the trip.

A big sky on Juniper Trail

A great lookout in to the canyon from the Triassic Trail on Saturday. We went on a guided tour and learned some pretty interesting things about the park and had a nice morning hike. The best thing about this hike is that we were about five minutes late for the tour and so we were running to catch up. Somehow we took a wrong turn and ended up literally on the face of the cliff climbing up a very steep, very narrow, very overgrown path to get back up to the mesa. When we did arrive back at the top, we had to laugh at ourselves when we discovered that there was a nice little path running very near to the parking lot where we’d just left the car. What’s life without a little adventure?!

Ok, now I’m going to try something new that will be extremely cool if it works. For those of you with Google Earth, download this KML file to your desktop. Double-click it and it should launch Google Earth and take you to a placemark I created that is pointing right at our campsite! (you have to scroll down to the link that says “Click Here to Download”…right click and Save As…I’ll try to find a more convenient file host for future attempts) Hope it works and we hope you’re all well!

Happy Birthday, Laura!!

We just got home from a weekend trek to Palo Duro Canyon south of Amarillo, and with 12 minutes to spare on the 24th here is the Happy Birthday post for Laura! Twenty-seven years old!

Pictures to come! For now…bedtime.

Twas the Week for Concerts

Last Thursday night, Eric (brother-in-law) and I saw tool in concert. I’ve been listening to these guys for eleven years and truly, there is no other band that makes me ponder my very existence more than them. As a matter of fact, there aren’t many things period that are as challenging and mind-stretching as their music is for me personally. So, seeing them live is (not to be cliche, but…) not the sort of thing that can really be described, only compared to. They are like being in a terrible thunderstorm, but knowing you’re going to be ok. You are safe to look around and wonder at the bursts of light and quaking sound. And you are reminded that you are small, but as much a miracle as the storm.

It was wonderful.

Then, Saturday was Sufjan Stevens in Austin. I rode down with Shaun and Richard and we met up with several more friends before the show. Including, my old homey Lucas who I hadn’t seen in forever. It was serendipitous to find out that he was going to be there because he is the one that introduced me to Sufjan a couple of years ago. I can’t describe the show any better than Richard, who is, fittingly, a Language Arts teacher.

If you sit in a small padded seat on the Mezzanine floor of a Theater in Austin TX, you might feel as though you are soaring. And it starts suddenly, without warning, like being pushed out of a nest in the tallest tree. But as you soar, the soundscapes are domestic and light until the moment you dip into a dive–the dive takes you down into the heart of things–the words take you like a swift wind. There is no escape now, there is only the embrace.

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Happy 4th of September!

The 4th of July is my favorite holiday. It’s got the great vibe of Christmas without the pressure of all that shopping. Well, this 4th of July we had just returned from Zambia and Laura was bed-ridden with a horrible, horrible allergic reaction to the malaria medicine. We’re talkin’ major hives and swelling. It was bad news, and definitely nixed any plans we may have had for enjoying good company and a killer fireworks display.

I had completely forgotten about it until a few weekends ago. We spent Friday night and Saturday in College Station watching the Aggies open up their season with a win over The Citadel. Sunday, after the last service of the evening we took off to Paul & Betty’s lake house on Lake Cypress Springs. We both had Labor Day off and were looking forward to spending a lazy day reading in a hammock or riding bikes.

But, when I walked out of the bedroom bright and early Monday morning, I found that Laura and Betty had done the living room up 4th of July style! What a great surprise!

Foozin’ it up…

Petey Pablo manning the grill

“That thing’s coming right at me.”

Two Thursdays ago Gene scored some tickets to the Rangers/Orioles game. Even though we’re out of the pennant race we’ve still got to support our boys; so Gene, Jill, Laura and I went out to the Ballpark on what ended up being a wonderfully cool night. The heat is finally breaking!

Our seats were on the lower deck of the first base side, probably about the 18th row and as soon as we took our seats we sort of looked at each other and thought, “We are definitely in foul ball territory.” Well, as fortune would have it, in the third or fourth inning an Oriole hit a fly ball and almost immediately off the bat I knew it was coming in our direction.

It was wierd. As it kept going up and up, finally reaching its apex I knew, “That thing’s coming right at me.” I literally only had to take two steps to my left and wait for it to come screaming down. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a glove so I basically absorbed it with my body (hands, forearm and stomach) and then picked it up off the floor. And here it is!

The Rangers won which made the night even better. And come to think of it, we’ve been to five games this season and they’ve won every single time! Now that we’re sitting 9 games behind Oakland with less than a month to play, it makes me wish we’d gone to more if we’re bringing the luck!