Friday, June 30, 2006

Friday read

Great read:

Sen. Barack Obama's speech to the Call to Renewal conference about the role of faith in politics and how both progressives and conservatives can each alter their thinking to pursue solutions to common problems faced by people of all walks.

So we all have some work to do here. But I am hopeful that we can bridge the gaps that exist and overcome the prejudices each of us bring to this debate. And I have faith that millions of believing Americans want that to happen. No matter how religious they may or may not be, people are tired of seeing faith used as a tool of attack. They don't want faith used to belittle or to divide. They're tired of hearing folks deliver more screed than sermon. Because in the end, that's not how they think about faith in their own lives.
A safe Independence Day (or as a British co-worker calls it "English Thanksgiving Day") to you all!

Friday, June 23, 2006

What the ....? (cont'd)

What would prompt a person who is nearly a complete vegetarian to delve into a filet during her recent visit back to Kentucky? A person whose body is eating for two is certainly cause for a change in appetite. Congratulations to Melanie and Roman who are expecting their first in January! Owen and Gus will be happy to hear they have a new cousin on the way, and Amy & I are interested to hear about the other cravings that may emerge over the next six months. Uncle Dude, you'll have to chime in when and if you make late night runs to the grocery store for dill pickles and ice cream.

Cheers to you both!

(BTW Mel, you know if the steak is a good one you won't need any steak sauce!!) :-)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Independence Day

Just as Owen is going through a stage of dependence on his mom and dad (especially his mom), Gus continues to be the yin to his brother's yang. Over the past two days he has decided that he would continue to exert his independence and has apparently had enough of being spoonfed. For a while now he has preferred to pick up food to eat with his fingers. But lately he has taken it a step further and decided that he is ready to feed himself completely (and his shirt, and the floor, and the dog, etc.).

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Tuesday was pronounced Hurricanes Day by the mayor of Raleigh. Thirty thousand fans attended a celebration parade and unveiling of the Stanley Cup last night at the RBC Center. Today was the sendoff parade in downtown Raleigh. Several thousand more people played hooky (including yours truly) for a couple of hours to witness the celebration that culminated the festivities for the new champions of hockey.

As we have said before, this was such a great run that was shared collectively by friends, neighbors and total strangers. People wearing hockey jerseys in the halls at work. Cars sporting Canes flags and words of support. A total stranger sees you wearing a Hurricanes shirt in the grocery store and starts up a conversation about the upcoming game. Amy & I were pumped to steal away for a couple of hours downtown to witness the tremendous sendoff that wrapped it all up.

Here were some shots we took from the parade.

Fans line the streets on a warm, muggy, summer day in Raleigh.

Amy and the boys await the show.

This guy has the right idea getting the view from a tree.

Raleigh police sport their new night sticks.

Stormy the Ice Hog. Yes, they are the Hurricanes and their mascot is a pig. We're still figuring this one out. But the kids love him regardless.

Mr. Kristi Yamaguchi proudly hoists the Stanley Cup.

Fan favorite Mike Commodore -- sans bathrobe -- and Glen Wesley. Commodore is auctioning off the right for a lucky Triangle resident to cut his hair. The money goes to the V Foundation for pediatric cancer research -- good guy.

The captain Rod Brind'Amour.

Perhaps the coolest moment of the parade as coach Peter Laviolette, spurred on by cheers from the crowd, stands up in the convertible to hoist and kiss the Stanley Cup. The crowd ate this up as people surrounded his car and gave a raucous roar.

The team is recognized on stage collectively. The fans were recognized and thanked for the support of the team. The Cup was raised one last time as people departed.

GJ in NC

After our visit to Glasgow, the boys' newly retired GranJane made the return trek with us to spend a week in North Carolina. One reason that made it such a good visit was that GJ got to step right in to our daily routine to see how we make it on a daily basis. Of course there was the benefit of spending some quality one-on-one time with the boys as well. She & Amy stayed in the house on a rainy day when Tropical Storm Alberto came through and ventured to the park when the weather was sunny.

Since little Owen is going through an especially selective phase of who he is near, GJ and Gus spent a good deal of time together. Owen was happy as long as his mom was nearby. From helping out with baths, meals, and walks to relaxing on the deck to watching Baby Einstein, The Office and Hurricanes hockey, it was a mighty good week and a good visit.

Cheers to you GJ!

GJ & Gus settle in for some Baby Einstein.

Gus shows his grandmother his preferred method of corn shucking.

Cruising in the living room is mighty fun with your grandmother.

The boys stop for a pose before hitting the sack.

What the ....?

Check back on Friday for more info on this picture...

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Stanley Cup Champions

Well, our beloved Carolina Hurricanes pulled it off last night. Lord Stanley's Cup will reside in North Cackalackee for the next year. What an awesome game, series and season by a tremendous down-to-earth team that united the Triangle area like nothing I have ever been a part of. It is truly an exciting time in Raleigh. Way to go Canes!

Cup Stops Here

The team celebrates at center ice.

Team captain Rod Brind'Amour -- a true workhorse -- hoists the Stanley Cup in celebration.

Cam Ward -- the Conn Smythe award winner for playoff most valuable player -- dominated in the series clincher, here stoning Fernando Pasani in game seven after his shorthanded goal upset the Canes in game five.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Game Seven

Tonight, Carolina doesn't need to come out on fire and get into the physical game the Oilers want to play. The Canes need to come out in control of themselves and the puck. They need to get to the third period -- their period -- skating well, shooting often and ready to send Pisani, Chris Pronger and the troublesome Raffi Torres back to Edmonton with a story, but without the Cup.
The Canes better be ready for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals tonight.

Ric Flair is ready with his "Woooooooowoooooooooo's."

The Rutledges are ready. Anxious, weary, skeptical, and nervous as well but ready nonetheless.

The boys are ready.

Go Canes!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Summer Homecoming

Amy, the boys, and I ventured back to Glasgow to visit with family and friends this past weekend. We got to catch up with aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, great-grandparents, neighbors, friends, dogs, cats, horses, and hot tubs. It was a fulfilling four days of good food, good conversation, and much-welcomed relaxation.

Amy & I got the pleasure of seeing a dear old friend in Amy Renfro get married on Saturday where we caught up with many people we had not seen in a while. The weekend concluded with a good old-fashioned cookout with hamburgers & hot dogs on a warm Kentucky summer day.

Here were some shots of the homecoming weekend.

Pappy & Sayla explain to Owen the art of relaxing in the shade with a radio flyer 80 red wagon.

GJ brings Gus over to learn the art.

Owen was in toy heaven in the basement with pop-up toys and Tonka trucks and practiced his DJ skills on the Fisher Price record player.

Owen gets the hang of the pop-up surprise box.

Aunt Karen found a little buddy in the Gus man. Gus was thrilled by all the "toys" Karen brought for him in her earrings and watch. At last check, her ears were still attached despite Gus's best efforts to pull them off.

The boys got to spend some quality time with their great-grandmother showing Mother their growing appetites.

There was plenty of time for wagon rides -- both laid-back indoor rides...

...and outdoor backyard rides touring the backyard.

GJ and Gus chill on the back porch in the shade...

...while Owen practices his walking skills with Pappy.

Amy & I ventured over to Spencer, Carrie & Austin's house to take a plunge in their pool. The boys experienced their first swim (outside of the bathtub). Owen took to water like a fish; Gus was a bit unsure at first but ended up enjoying making splashes.

On Saturday morning we ventured out to Spencer and Carrie's horse farm, Spencer Benedict Stables, 55 acres of lush green rolling hills and horses. Sights like the ones at their farm always remind me of Kentucky. The boys loved their first look at horses -- "dahs" (dogs) as Gus called them. We explained to him that yes, horses are like big dogs.

A few of the horses had the right idea catching some shade under a tree.

Owen gets to pet a horse, his first up-close experience with a real-life big dog.

Carrie, Mel & Austin play the sunglasses game with Hollywood, which is what we're calling Gus these days as he shows off his cool dude green sunglasses.

On Sunday, we prepped the patio for a comfort food cookout.

Spencer & Carrie get to hang out with the boys and grub on Cheerios.

Sayla was elated to play chase & fetch with Austin.

Nana and Granddaddy made the trek from Paducah on Sunday to join in the cookout and spend some time with their grandsons.

We all ate well and got to catch up on some quality visiting time.

Owen was captivated all weekend by chimes and ceiling fan strings, and cousin Jane Layton was obliged to help him indulge in one of his favorite pasttimes.

Tomorrow we head back to the Tar Heel state with GJ joining us for a week with the boys. Our homecoming trips back to the Bluegrass are always ones we look forward to making. This one was no exception.

(Congratulations to Amy & Kyle Stelman, the happily newlywed couple on their way to Key West for their honeymoon. Cheers to you!)

Monday, June 05, 2006

Starting Early - The Boys' First Practice

The guys and I skipped playgroup this morning and went to the RBC Center to see the hockey team practice. The place was buzzing in preparation for the game tonight. Go Canes!

Talking strategy.

Sign outside the arena.


Saturday, June 03, 2006

Dog Dreams

Gus recently discovered the dogs on the blue pjs given to him by Nana and Granddaddy. When asked to find the dog he would point to the dog on his lower right arm and say 'da'.

Now anytime he's asked about dogs, regardless of what he's wearing, he points to that exact spot on his arm. He's going to grow up one confused kid!

Waiting for the queue...

Showing off his dog...

Friday, June 02, 2006

Memorial Day

Aunt Melanie made the journey up to Raleigh from Charleston on Memorial Day weekend to pay us a visit. Uncle Dude was working so this was a solo trip for Mel. The weekend saw quite a bit of relaxation and vegging out, complete with The Office and CSI episodes, a hockey game, and chasing two little monsters around the house. A splendid time indeed.

Gus offers up his cool man sunglasses to Aunt Mel.

The boys crawl all over their aunt and explain Tar Heel life with a series of "da da's" and "oooo's."

Summer has returned to NC but the heat was not a deterrent to dinners on the deck.

Melanie beared witness to her nutty brother and sister-in-law as they donned their Canes jerseys to watch game five of the conference finals. Mel then promptly fell asleep in the chair until being awakened by raucous, joyous shouting from the Caniacs as they celebrated an overtime win.