2011 in review

My obligatory end-of-year post.

  • We went to Chicago to see Dolly Parton.
  • We got new windows installed (twice).
  • We went to Kings Island in Cincinnati.
  • I ditched Facebook for Google+.
  • My favorite album turned 20 years old.
  • We wrecked both of our vehicles.
  • Honey bought me a Kindle – which means I have read more books this year than I probably have in the last ten years combined.
  • We saw Beth Hart in Nashville.
  • We planted 12 trees.
  • I observed Lent for the first time.
  • We lost John.
  • I was included in professionally-taken photos with Honey’s family.
  • We saw Maya Angelou live.
  • We celebrated our 6th anniversary.
  • I stopped drinking sodas.
  • We went to the top of the Willis Tower.

Happy New Year, kiddos!

Post of many colors

It has been quite a while since I posted anything personal here, so I guess an update is in order.

We took a vacation a few weeks ago. It kicked off with a Dolly Parton concert in Chicago. It was my third time through the city, but the first time that I’ve actually been able to do anything of substance. The show was even more awesome than expected, and Dolly was able to quickly whip the crowd into a frenzy. The gays were out in full force. I guess we all enjoy a good drag show when given the opportunity. =)


The hotel was nice, but we noticed that our car had been side-swiped when we loaded up to leave the next morning. The cops were called, hotel management was less than helpful, and it was clear that no one had any interest in trying to track down the insensitive (and probably inebriated) driver who inflicted the damage. Regardless, I decided that it wasn’t going to ruin my vacation and we headed for Chicago’s Magnificent Mile.

I had read online that the best view of the city’s skyline was from the planetarium. It was perfect. A rain storm had just blown through, so the sky was clear and smog free, and the temperature on the lake front was in the seventies. We snapped several pictures before Honey’s mom announced that she had to go up in the Willis Tower (formerly named after Sears).


I hadn’t been up in a skyscraper since my trip to the top of the south tower of the World Trade Center on 9/9/2001 – save for my visit to the CN Tower in Toronto in 2003. That one technically isn’t a skyscraper or a high profile target for terrorists (at least in my mind). The Willis Tower certainly fits the bill for both, so I was more than a little apprehensive while standing in line with scores of other tourists while waiting for the elevator ride to the top.


The view from the 103rd floor was incredible. People crowded against the windows snapping photos of each other and the surrounding urban environment, but the biggest draw had to be the three glass boxes that protruded from one side of the building. Glass ceilings, walls, and floors. I peered over the side and looked straight down to the street – a thousand or so feet below. Talk about vertigo.


Honey and his mom couldn’t wait to walk out into the void, but I was freaked out. I did back out onto the glass floor a few inches, but I kept my hand firmly clasped onto the wall just inside the building and managed a forced smile for a snapshot. A few minutes later, we were back on the ground and headed toward Cincinnati, where we spent several days with Honey’s sister and niece.¬†The days went by much too quickly and we were back home before we knew it.


Last weekend, our church held a memorial service for our dear friend John, who passed away earlier this year. A health crisis had prevented one of his children from traveling back then, so things were delayed until everyone could be there. It was a beautiful service and a wonderful tribute to a man who continues to inspire me to this day. He was a quiet man with a gentle spirit, but he had a huge impact on the world around him, as was evidenced in the packed sanctuary.

One of our friends journeyed down from Wisconsin by bus in order to attend the memorial. She stayed in our home and we watched her health decline rapidly as each day went by. She was in poor health to begin with, but in very bad condition by the time we took her to catch a bus for the ride home. We actually wanted to take her to the emergency room, but she declined, insisting that she get home before seeking medical care. She was hospitalized as soon as she got home and will be getting a pacemaker within the next few days. Regardless of the fact that the trips were around 24 hours each way or that she nearly killed herself in the process, I know that she was more than happy to make the effort to be there to honor a man who meant so much to us all.

Not much else to report at the moment. I can already feel Autumn in the air, so I should have plenty of time for blogging in the upcoming months. Bye for now.

Random thoughts

I hate winter. I used to like it, but the ice storm we had in January completely changed my perspective.

I heard on the radio the other day that two books in the Bible, Esther and Song of Solomon, don’t mention God. Strange.

Pineapple Express is so freakin’ funny.

I am learning to not judge my paternal grandparents so harshly. They are who they are, and they aren’t going to change any more than I am. I’ve been spending quite a bit more time with them since going to work for my father, and it never fails to amaze me how physically fragile they have become.

We have been doing little projects around the house lately. One of the things we are planning to start within the next few weeks is replacing all the stained/varnished doors and trim with white.

Chris Brown is an idiot… and so is Rihanna for going back to him.

Do they really expect people to not continue calling it the Sears Tower?

Honey went with his mother to put their dog to sleep yesterday. Sparky had been with the family ever since he was a puppy and remained there after both Honey and his sister grew up and moved out of the house. Needless to say, it’s a great loss for all of them, but especially his mom.

I played Poker for the first time last night when we stopped by the home of our friends, Todd and Kelly. It all seemed terribly confusing at first, but I did pretty good once I figured out it was all about the ability to bluff.

I am making the switch from Microsoft Expression Web to Macromedia Dreamweaver for managing websites. It’s quite a bit different visually, but I think it will be far superior once I get used to it.