July 30, 2010

On the road again and better yet, on vacation again!

It's hard to get too concerned about anything when you're starting a week of vacation.  Especially when it's a week of white water and zip lines.  Well, a few days anyway.

I was at a going away party tonight for a great person, she will be missed, but she felt it was time to go to the next thing, without knowing what that next thing was.  I am impressed with her courage and will miss her smiling face.  I've never liked goodbyes...unless I'm the one leaving.

I looked at the calendar and realized that I missed a birthday shout out to Aunt Jean on the 27th.  For those in the know,  you'll remember that Jean is the one that introduced me to my best friend and wife.  I still remember, it was a blind date at Brann's Steakhouse on Division near 44th.  Jean and Connie Cook were there to make sure that I was a gentleman. Thanks Jean, I owe you one, it's been then best 22 years of my life, for sure! 

Then I realized that if Jean Birthday was upon us, then Jeff's was close too.  Sure enough, that's today.  Jeff is one of those guys that's able to look at the ground, the side of the house and then set the posts to hold the deck up, all straight, all right.  I am dumbfounded with how he does that.  Thanks for all the help with my little home projects, Jeff, you're the best!

While I really didn't want to blend the birthdays together, it kind of happened, sorry guys! Anyway, this one's for you two!  I hope that you both have an awesome year, and honestly, I've always thought that you guys were a cute couple.

Here's a shot of that cute couple at Spencer's 4th Birthday.

Even Spencer had to close his eyes from the glare of the cuteness.

Have a great weekend!

July 29, 2010

After Friday it's Vacation Time!

The boys and I are headed to West Virginia on Saturday for white water rafting on the New River!  And I AM STOKED! 

On Sunday we'll be in 2 person Duckies on the Upper New River.  Duckies are an inflatable kayak and  look like the shot below and here's some more information at this  link.

Monday it's a normal 8 man raft, with a guide in the boat on the Lower New River.  Anything involving a helmet and a paddle is cool with me.  I just don't want to hear "Dueling Banjos", if you know what I mean.  Here's the raft for the Lower.

Finally, on Tuesday, the "Creme de la Creme", the piece "de resistance", a Tree Tops Canopy Tour.  10 Zip Lines from 100 feet long to 800 feet long.  Ranging from ground level, at the top of the ridge that is, to 85 feet above the ground.  This is the one that I am really looking forward to!

We leave on Saturday, so tomorrow will be packing and getting the car loaded. 

The following is offered as a reason to crop pictures.  Looking at the first photo, you get a bit distracted by the goofy look on my face, you can almost miss the beauty of Holly's pose.

As you can see, by cropping out the unsightly we end up with an awesome shot of an awesome lady!

Finally, this is to show what can happen if you don't crop properly!  Be careful!

Have a great day!

July 28, 2010

Pushing for the weekend!

Work is crazy busy!  We launched a new product line or two this year and we waited for the orders to come.  And we waited, and we waited and we waited.  Then, two separate companies decided to opt in and placed an order.  Well beyond what we had thought would happen with the first order.  Last week and most of this week has been focused on expediting material from metal benders, painters, our China facility, you name it, I've called them.  The stress is palatable, but when it gets to that point, I try to remember that it's not life or death, it's office furniture.  Which helps me sleep, but I make sure I never say that to the customer.

Quick recap of the 50th party for my sister.  Here's a shot of Maureen, the Birthday Princess.  It was an awesome day for weather.

Here's Molly, my much younger sister.  As you can see, I was enamored with the close up.  The head tilting is their own quirk.

Maybe It was the way I was holding the camera, because here is my sister in law with the same tilt.  Maybe there's something from being from Minnesota?

But wait, Tom's from Minnesota too, and this close up shows that he can hold his head straight.


The guys here, Ian, David and John, all seem to be able to hold their heads up straight.  Hmm, maybe it's gender bias?  I think I should just stop and move on.  Here you can see that the Young men are a serious group. 

This was the inaugural run of Ian's latest toy, a long board.  He got it from "The Longboard Store" It's pretty cool, but I was only allowed a short run on a pretty flat spot.  Still I nearly wiped out.  It's all good!

Have a great day!

July 25, 2010


It's a hot one here in west Michigan.  I was going to go for a ride, but a nap won out instead, kind of sad, yet, I really enjoyed the nap.  ;-)

Yesterday the boys got back from their summer camp in New York.  The camp is the one that I've mentioned before, called NTS, Never The Same.  2nd year and they seemed to have really enjoyed it again.  They called at 7:30 AM to say they were an hour out.  I met them at Church and brought them home.  We emptied out their bags of the smelly stuff, made them shower and get cleaned up.  After lunch Ian and I hopped into the car to drive to Illinois to honor my sister as she turned the BIG 5-0.  Can you feel it coming?  A birthday shout out...

But first a comment.  When my family gets together we play cribbage, not for money, but for bragging rights.  I earned all the bragging rights yesterday, it sure wasn't David, he was playing about as sucky as could be.  Not sure when the last time was that I drubbed him so thourughly, but it was enjoyable.  Best of all, I learned that I wasn't the only one that had beat him, his streak went for the weekend and anyone that could count to 15 seemed to be able to take him down.  This shot is for you David, I'm green, John's Blue and David is red, it finished in that order as well.  Revenge is sweet!  I understand that he went winless until Sunday morning one team took pity and let him win.  True?  Probably not, even a blind pig can find an acorn once in awhile.

One of the earliest shots that I have of Maureen, with her protectors, David, John and yours truly.

Here we add in Dad.  I'm thinking that this was her baptism shot. Look how saintly I am.

Christmas 1961, Grandma Ames, Maureen, Me, Mom and David

I think Christmas 1963 at either Dad's or at Grandpa and Grandma Young's
Picnic in the back yard of Grandpa and Grandma Ames.  Nanny, Maureen and Mom.

The only school shot that I have of her, love the ringlets!
About 2 years later, I'm 15sh, Grandpa Ames, Chris and Maureen
Nanny, Maureen, Mom and Grandma, several seriously strong women.
The Original Motley Crew!
I think this was taken at a major wedding anniversary, or was it John's graduation?
The college years, I think that's Roseanne hidden behind Maureen, Grandma and Mom
College Graduation
Next logical step?  Marriage!  Owen, Mom, Maureen and a rather shaggy Tom
Me, Chris, Maureen, David, Mom, John
One of David's kids Graduation Party's.  (Sorry Bryce, Kelsey and Taylor, I really can't tell Whose it is.)  Note the rare shot of Owen's face.  I was sneaky.
Maureen and Molly
Maureen and David
The good Aunt, taking Ian for a week of fun and adventure.
The whole set of siblings.  A rare shot indeed. 
Not so rare, we'd done it a few years earlier.  In Birth Order; John, David, Patrick, Maureen, Jeffery, Christian and Molly
For Holly, she's the sister that she never had.
Hanging in Michigan with Kelsey, Maureen and Holly
From one of the early visits that created our Thanksgiving Tradition at Starmacks.  Turkey on the grill, lots of spuds, our version of yams flambe and blessing rolls.  The boys are adamant that the tradition must continue.
The second half of the tradition, we manly men go cut the Starmack Tree.
Showing that's she can get silly just like the rest of us!
Maureen, you are an great sister!  My hope and prayer is that you have a great year!  You deserve it!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Have an awesome day!