Friday, December 31, 2010

This is the last day of 2010.  This also concludes my year long photo blog project.  The past 12 months have brought Stacie and I to many different places and we have experienced adventures that have enriched our lives and brought us much enjoyment. We started the year surrounded by family and we’ve spent the last week of it graced with their presence as well.  One year of captured pictures is worth a lifetime of experiences and memories.  I learned a great deal about taking pictures, writing, and about myself.  I learned that the automatic setting on the camera is a good place to start but manual is the way to better color and exposure.  I learned that sitting in front of a keyboard and writing about life, weather, or the events of the day is not as easy as it sounds.  I learned that my self-imposed rules about this project were key to its success and I never wavered from them (I only used pictures taken on that day and I wrote about it...Every Day!).  I learned that I had a voice in this world even when no one was listening.  I realized during the course of the year that the importance of what I write lies within me.  I chose images for each day by the same process that I determine what I like.  I can't tell you what I like, I just know when it is right.  It has been a great pleasure to take up some space on the Internet and even though my Journey Around The Sun has concluded I look forward to breathing life into a new venture centered around my favorite past time.  Geocaching.  It is my hope that this undertaking greeted you each day with a fresh perspective and brought you laughter or just something to ponder.  Where did your journey take you this year?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

There were five Catholic missions established by the Spanish church back in the 18th century built alongside the San Antonio River.  Today 9 of us set out to walk from Mission Espada (which is still an active parish and a mass was about to start) to Mission San Juan and we Geocached as we went.  Some thoughtful cacher placed a cache every tenth of a mile or so down the paved sidewalk.  Emma found the first one even though she didn't know what she was looking for.  Gary and I were holding the GPS receivers but were a dozen feet away when she made the discovery.  All the kids enjoyed choosing goodies from the "treasure chest" and we continued down the trail to find 9 more.  We enjoyed the spectacular Texas weather and wearing short sleeved shirts in December was such a change for Stacie and I.  Our round trip was a little over 3 miles but the children's endurance was amazing.  The day concluded with a quick meal at a fast food place where the little ones spent their remaining energy at the playground.  Did you know that the Alamo was 100 years old when the famous battle took place?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

We ate lunch today at a place that Taco had seen on a food show.  The TV series had the host traveling around the country looking for the best of the Mom and Pop type establishments and then treated the viewer to a behind the scenes perspective.  This particular eatery had a car wash, coin-operated laundry, and the restaurant all in the same facility.  Although the combination of services provided here was a bit unusual, the food was extremely good and priced moderately.  Some people take their business vision and run with it.  A single idea can spark industries and global logistics which can lead to a domination of the market.  Smart business people use tried and true formulas in order to sustain profits and prolong growth.  The step of faith needed to make the prototype a reality is where most people stumble.  History reflects the bravery needed by American entrepreneurs and their willingness to risk failure.  Their success has lead to industrial revolutions and provided pivotal turning points for society as we know it today.  Will you put your vision into action?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

It rained the whole day today in the 7th largest city in the United States.  The highways were riddled with accidents early this morning and this afternoon as well.  The commuting hours are obviously the busy time for tow trucks and the 1.4 million citizens that call San Antonio their home.  This is a very large metropolis with a small town feel.  The roadways do a decent job of moving people from point A to point B but the circle within a circle design can be challenging for some.  I remember when I was young and the World's Fair was hosted in this town back in 1968.  It was known as HemisFair.  Do you remember the Alamo? 

Monday, December 27, 2010

This appears to be a fledgling flight school being held at the Heritage Duck Pond.  These little guys were inching close to the ledge then were flying down to the water.  The rookies were looking on as if to say "Oh, so that's how you do it".  We start our lives with no knowledge of how the world works and we depend on the experience of others to survive.  Our parents, school teachers, college professors, and on the job trainers provide education at a metered rated to ensure we can absorb the information.  Our whole lives are a constant learning session that happens whether we are paying attention or not.  Can you imagine the exhilaration a bird must feel the first time it takes flight?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The setting Texas Sun illuminated the tops of the trees in Dan and Caleena's front yard as it faded below the horizon.  The diminished light seemed to indicate that the large nuclear fusion producing star was growing tired of fulfilling its assigned purpose but it just repositioned itself to furnish the other side of the Earth with energy.  Many people suffer from seasonal depression when the sky is overcast for long periods of time.  I know that the crisp blue atmosphere that we enjoyed today did wonders for lifting our spirits.  Did you get out in the fresh air and take in all that life has in store for you today? 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas! The morning brought us a bright, clear sky and the promise of hope. Many years ago a traveling couple found themselves with unacceptable accommodations. A few times Stacie and I have arrived in a town to discover no vacancies at all the hotels. We had the benefit of a modern day reservation system and were handed the key to our prearranged space. People find themselves on this nomadic journey called life and they reach a point where they need shelter and the resources of others. Visitors to new or unfamiliar cities have challenges finding their way to their destinations because of the many complex pathways that create obstacles. Citizens of local areas provide essential guidance to guests seeking provisional supplies and protection from the elements. All voyagers rely on established municipalities to sustain their ability to continue their expedition. Today we celebrate the birth of Jesus who was born in a stable. Do you have room in your inn?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Last night Stacie and I drove into Amarillo, TX (it was before midnight, so just a little bit before morning). We got a refreshing night’s sleep and drove the remaining 8 hours to San Antonio. It rained the whole way but we had great conversation and a few laughs along the way. We arrived at Taco’s house, unloaded the sleigh, and then went to dinner. We had some navigational irregularities but had a great tour of most of the city. After we found another location of the restaurant chain, we noticed that we were must minutes away from Dan, Caleena, and Rozz’s house. A little less than a block away was this great example of Christmas in the south. Did you drive over the river and through the woods?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

This deer just stood and looked at me trying to figure out what I was doing.  She was with a group of two other uninterested does who were looking for food in the spring-like weather.  It was around 52 degrees today and that's pretty amazing for Colorado 2 days before Christmas.  The snow melted from the trees and you could now see the sand that was spread over the sidewalks to make them less icy.  For a while there it looked as though the city was going to adorn the postcard ambience.  Why do reindeer get all of the publicity?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Geocaching therapy took me to this scenic spot just a few blocks from one of the busiest streets in Colorado Springs.  It was quiet and serene and I found the cache within seconds.  After signing the log I took a few pictures and admired the view.  The air was brisk, fresh, and chilled while the only sound in it was the mirror in my DSLR flipping down.  I returned to the warmth of the car and back to reality.  Do your pastimes take you to a peaceful place?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

This time-lapse picture of the lunar eclipse was taken at 1:18am.  The shutter was held open for 30 seconds at an aperture of f/6.3. This shoot turned out to be a challenge for me because of a few reasons.  The first problem I encountered was my tripod or, shall I say, my lack of experience with it.  I had never tried to point the camera straight up while attached to the tripod and look through the view finder.  The second thing I fought with was trying to locate the barely lit eclipsed moon in the view finder.  When I activated the automatic focus feature the LCD screen lit up to update the data and would ruin my night vision.  Switching to manual focus prevented the screen from illuminating but, due to the low light, I couldn't determine sharpness.  The last obstacle that I faced was the bitter cold.  After 40 minutes I couldn't feel my fingers.  I returned to the warmth of the house for about 15 minutes to figure out the tripod and thaw my frozen hands.  The mechanics of the tripod turned out to be as difficult as folding a map while balancing a running chainsaw on your forehead.  I returned to the Arctic and continued to struggle with focus.  I wanted to capture a true Journey Around The Sun event since the last time that a lunar eclipse occurred on the Winter Solstice was in 1638 and the next one will happen in 2094.  Do your positive influences eclipse your faults?

Monday, December 20, 2010

A really talented artist gave Stacie and I serial number 10/50 of his annual angel design. He uses a different medium to showcase his amazing work each year.  The sign of a true artisan is the ability to transform an image from his visual cortex to a physical substrate and our friend has certainly mastered his craft.  A picture may be worth a thousand words, but DJ's art speaks for itself.  What will your talent inspire?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Happy Birthday, Stacie!  You are such an amazing woman and I am honored to share my life with you.  You are so inspirational, loving, and without question my soul mate.  You are truly a gift in my life and although it may take me a moment to say "I Love You", it will take a lifetime to show you how much.  December is a month for me to celebrate two life changing births and it is my wish that everyone will find their kindred spirit and discover the power of the tiny baby born in a manger many years ago.  Did you know that the D in December stands for diamonds?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

One of the amazing things about God's rules of nature is that they are like Him.  They are constant and never changing.  Water freezes whether it is resting on a sidewalk or falling from the sky.  Snowfall can incite treacherous road conditions, school closures, and roof failures.  The white precipitation also provides snow ball fights, snowmen, ski resorts, snow days, and a gravity obeying medium in transparent glass spheres.  Snow can act as its own insulation and prevent it from melting at its normal rate.  Have you ever made a snow angel?

Friday, December 17, 2010

This certainly was a busy day.  It started with the snow that was promised yesterday and continued with the office Christmas party.  There were fun and games with a secret Santa gift exchange.  We were supposed to give gag gifts but I saw a bunch of useful items being ripped out of wrapping paper.  Later Stacie and I went to dinner with a couple of friends and we enjoyed the food and conversation.  Are you enjoying the holiday season?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Imagine my surprise when I turned to my left at a traffic light and saw this.  The image was clinging to the side of a company van.  The enterprise didn't have anything to do with vets, pets, or animals.  Now that I think about it, their advertising wasn't too effective since I can't remember the name of the business or whether or not it was a product or service.  Cute puppy though. What is your favorite commercial? 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I found a Geocache at lunch today.  It was just a short walk from where I parked the car down a dry creek bed. I walked down the wrong side and had to cross the creek and I was greeted by a very persistent barking dog who announced my arrival.  My iPhone app led me straight to the cache and within a couple minutes I had signed the log and was walking down the concrete sidewalk back to the car.  It felt great getting out in the middle of the day and just in time.  We are expecting a snow storm tonight.  Did you exercise your brain and your legs today?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I've been listening to Christmas music in my car and my desk at work since a couple weeks before Thanksgiving.  I've noticed that I don't know the lyrics to any of the songs.  I find myself humming a lot and just flat out making up words.  It's very therapeutic and I highly recommend it.  I often arrive at my destination with a slightly sore throat due to singing at the top of my lungs.  I've even busted out in some Latin lyrics from my grade school days for an entire stanza of a certain holiday classic.  Have you ever been caught at a traffic light performing a solo?

Monday, December 13, 2010

The irony of today's picture is that I took it from the parking lot of a local camera shop.  The magic moment of light faded in just a few seconds as I changed aperture settings and the following frames were not as spectacular.  Normally aircraft in the high altitudes go unnoticed but today they were used as skillful paintbrushes on this theatrical backdrop.  I wonder what this looked like from the top of Pike's Peak.  Have you ever painted on a canvas?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Stacie and I are recovering from the culinary Olympics from yesterday.  After our company left last night we cleaned up then relaxed in a mini vacation on the back deck.  The hot water action of the spa was genuinely needed on the bottoms of our feet.  Today we have taken an opposite stance.  Total relaxation with our laptop and iPad while watching Mythbusters.  Breakfast and lunch were leftovers from last night but we didn't make a dent in the contents of the refrigerator.  I appreciate the break from our busy holiday schedule and I'm starting to get refreshed just in time for the week ahead.  Have you ever been too tired to sleep?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Our stove, oven, and counters turned into a test kitchen this morning.  One of the rules we adhere to is we don't try new recipes on company.  So we made all the food for our holiday party and "adjusted fire" as Stacie puts it.  A couple of dishes needed some tweaks but Stacie quickly made the changes and retested.  Our spread of goodies included Mini Beef Wellington, dates wrapped in bacon, baked brie, smoked salmon with crème fraiche, mini quiches, chips and dip, barbeque meatballs, mini chocolate brownies, meat and cheese rolls, and various candies.  The prep time took around 6 hours including testing and tasting.  Eleven of our neighbors came over for some food, fun and festivities.  The best part of the day was spending time with my soul mate in the kitchen.  What new recipes did you try today?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Stacie and I were able to have breakfast together this morning at one of our favorite restaurants.  I dropped her off at work and went to an eye exam.  When I entered the first stage of the exam process I got very nervous.  If the technician was going to ask me to read the eye charts on the wall (there were 3) I was not going to be able to do it.  They were in Chinese, Arabic, and Farsi.  Later the Doctor of Optometry dilated my eyes and I started seeing the world as if a 300,000 candle power spot light was a foot in front of me.  I was so glad that Sam Foster invented sunglasses back in 1929.  I enjoyed the next few hours doing some shopping and met Stacie at quitting time.  After dinner we ran a few errands and now we are catching up on some digitally recorded television.  How did you spend your day?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I mentioned earlier in the week that Stacie and I were going to attend our Church's interpretation of the Dickens' classic "A Christmas Carol".  As always, an extremely well done presentation.  I think Stacie said it best, a Broadway quality play.  According to the program there were about 200 main actors, ballerinas, urchins, school children, directors, set design and construction workers, sound track production engineers, make-up and hair artists, special effects technicians, camera operators, costume designers, and back stage crew members. The amazing production didn't over shadow the story of a man's realization of his own mortality and God's love for him.  The goose bump moment when the audience witnessed a cold heart turn warm brought tears to every eye in the auditorium.  How will your life play out?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Imagine a world with no law and order.  Imagine a planet with no atmosphere.  Imagine if time stood still.  Imagine if people were exactly alike.  Imagine if love knew boundaries.  Imagine our country without its freedoms.  Imagine no warmth in the cold.  Image no sanctuary.  Imagine no hope. Imagine the past 30 years without music.  Are you a dreamer?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Snow has to be near its melting point for it to be at its maximum packing capability.  A gentle rolling motion will slowly accumulate enough mass to shape a traditional three part human inspired yard sculpture.  Most people will use coal for the eyes and a carrot for the nose.  Some will adorn their creation with clothes for protection from the cold environment.  Often you will see whole families standing guard in front of homes and usually in a stair stepped formation.  These were first built to celebrate winter and their continuing tradition conveys so much holiday spirit.  Have you ever made a snowman?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Stacie has really outdone herself with the beautiful decorations in the house this year.  With no snow on the ground it is difficult to remember that it's Christmas time in Colorado so Stacie's decor has immensely increased the spirit of the holiday season.  This week we are getting to view one of our favorite renditions of "A Christmas Carol" at church.  The production is very professional and the message very heartfelt.  The joy that character Scrooge felt with his new life is what we feel when the joy of God fills our lives.  Our celebration of Christ's birth really should carry on throughout the year but the world limits our joy to the end of December.  How often do you celebrate the joy in your life?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Stacie and I attended a Geocaching holiday event today.  We had a great time and met a cacher who lives just a few blocks from us.  It was great putting a face to a name.  We have found many of his Geocache hides to include some his "Amendment" series which educates us about the U.S. Constitution.  Geocaching exercises the mind as well as the body.  There are puzzle caches designed for every level of experience.  Some of the puzzles are pure math while others are word plays.  You can learn a great deal about history, culture, social sciences, and humanities while participating in this treasure hunting activity.  What do you want to learn about?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

We've had the pleasure of taking care of this little guy.  His name is Rocky and he's a friend's companion and he's been so much fun.  He likes to take long walks and is a really amazing jumper for his size.  He's been so good and never barks or whines.  Today he helped us wrap some gifts and I think he sniffed everything in the house.  He settled in quickly and right now he's curled up between Stacie and I while we watch some TV.  Did you make a new friend today?

Friday, December 3, 2010

You might just see an old rock in this picture but if you found your way to the coordinates N 38° 46.501 W 104° 49.186 you would find a bright orange container.  I find the most intriguing part of Geocaching is the ingenious camouflage techniques used.  Stacie and I have found caches disguised as weeds, logs, water sprinklers, and electrical conduit.  The best caches are those hidden in plain sight.  Most Geocaches go unnoticed by the public but, like a magic trick, when it is revealed it seems so obvious.  Maybe that's why I'm so obsessed.  I've enjoyed illusions since I was a child and I continue to appreciate them in the form of caches.  What magic do you enjoy?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The tan inflated structure in the bottom right corner of the picture is an indoor tennis court.  The design seems to intentionally mimic the mountainous backdrop.  You have to admire forward thinking like this.  The architects could have disregarded the placement of the buildings and built an attractive but out-of-place hard edged structure nestled here at the foothills.  I missed the morning pink glow by just a few minutes.  Do you consider all the facts in your decisions?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The immense power of the human spirit can steer our footprints on this Earth down paths that seem out of reach.  Life can deal out difficult circumstances and problems that don't appear to have amicable solutions, but we can overcome any adversity that stand in the way of success.  I reminded myself today that removing all things negative is the way to find a clear and certain answer to most of what is thrown at us.  Do you see dark clouds or their silver linings?   

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Shapes in nature can be beautiful things.  When you are in the third grade and the shapes are the imaginary boxes drawn around words and you have to match the word with the shape, it can be quite traumatizing.  For some reason I just didn't understand the purpose of the exercise.  I spent too much time trying to find the correlation between the definition of the word and the shape its letters created.  It seems that I have a talent for making things more difficult than needed.  When Stacie asked me to hang a picture on the wall, I promptly went to the garage for a hammer and nail and then I returned to get a tape measure, then a pencil, then a level.  Once I had assembled all of the tools, I noticed that Stacie had already hung the picture with a thumb tack.  It sounds like the Internet joke passed around a couple years back, but it happened.  Do you have a clear picture of where you're going? 

Monday, November 29, 2010

The first "Official" snowfall of the season covered our back deck, the neighborhood, and the road all the way to work.  People were very tentative at stop lights and signs.  They applied the accelerator and brake very sparingly to avoid slips and slides.  Luckily the usual stark sunlight glare was absent today when I steered the car into an easterly direction.  The drive home in the dark was free of incidents and again the difficult part was as I drove closer to the base of Cheyenne Mountain.  Did you drive through snow to get to work today?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sleeping in this morning was so refreshing.  Stacie and I had been keeping a very full schedule for the past few days and we stayed at home all day today.  Sometimes you just have to do nothing and recharge.  We did some pre-Cyber Monday purchasing and  I logged all the Geocaches that I found yesterday.  That took a couple hours or so.  The Star Wars marathon has been on for background ambience and we are quite full from the ordered pizza that was delivered.  Stacie is playing solitaire on her iPad and I'm preparing the statistics that were generated from all the cache finds.  How did you recuperate after the holiday?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

I only hit snooze once this morning at 5am when that cheerful little melodic phrase woke me from a sound sleep.  Stacie and I were on the Geocaching trail soon afterward.  Our goal today was to find 150 caches.  We found 110 after our (my) plan de-railed.  I built too much travel time in between some of the hides and this afternoon we were geographically challenged after transitioning into a new caching area.  As Stacie keeps reminding me, we surpassed 3 major milestones today.  We found over a hundred in a day (again) and we found our 700 and 800th cache.  The 105 degree water melted away the disappointment of not find 150 and the leftover turkey and dressing hit the spot.  Have you ever gotten lost with 3 GPS devices and a map?

Friday, November 26, 2010

I was in the middle of a REM cycle when the alarm broke the silence at 2am.  Today was Black Friday and when we arrived at our first visited store the line was around the building.  It was 13 degrees outside but that didn't deter the lemmings anticipating great deals.  We, however, stayed warm in the car since we had a long wait before we would break the plane of the front door.  We shopped for a short period of time and when it came time to pay for our items we noticed that the checkout line was wrapped clear around the entire store.  We made a calculated decision to retreat and hit the opening of the next store.  The parking lot at round two was absolutely filled to capacity.  We joined the line when it was a couple hundred feet from the entrance and as we rounded the corner people had already checked out with their coveted flat screen televisions.  The cashier line had already formed and ended at the back of the store.  This was 7 minutes after the store opened.  At 4:45am we arrived at our third retail outlet and the crowd at the home improvement store was quite different.  There were only 20 cold souls standing waiting for access.  We shopped and checked out in a very timely manner then it was off to store numbers 4 and 5.  The craft warehouse didn't even have all the lights turned on when we made our way to the back of the store but the atmosphere was far from chaotic.  Our adventure continued to 3 more establishments where we were rewarded with a thinner crowd and the same low prices experienced by the doorbusters.  Breakfast was at around 9am then we jumped back into the fast lane and patronized 5 more franchises.  Upon retiring back to the house Stacie and I made short work of storing the fall decorations and adorning the new season inside and out.  I settled my throbbing feet on top of two of the aqua jets in the hot tub for about 20 minutes but they are still hurting !  Did you shop til you dropped?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!  The day started at 5:30 this morning when Stacie got up and preheated the oven.  Fifteen minutes later the turkey started basking in the 325 degree spa.  We watched the activities in NY from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade while the bird in our oven was getting a tan.  After carving the turkey we traveled all the way across the street to our neighbor's home and had a fun time talking and getting to know their other guests.  We gave thanks and feasted on the usual traditional dishes.  I'm so glad that the pilgrims from 1621 in Plymouth, Massachusetts started this commemoration.  What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

After work today Stacie and I ran some errands then headed off to a local restaurant.  We have a knack for arriving just before the big rush of people cramming their way into the small waiting area.  We sat and talked while the place filled up with hungry patrons.  The overheard conversations divulged that almost everyone were going to The Radio City Music Hall Rockettes show at the nearby World Arena.  We saved a little room for dessert and I felt like I needed a wheelbarrow to get me back out to the car.  We returned home where Stacie made her delicious Andouille Sausage Cornbread Dressing and I prepared the turkey for roasting in the morning.  Did you know that calories don't count on the weekend?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I snapped this picture on our way out the door this morning.  The sensor for the thermometer is on our back deck.  The whole time I was getting dressed in the warmth radiating out of the furnace I was thinking about those poor souls who spent the night on a park bench, inside a cardboard tent, or under an overpass.  Whether people are without shelter from a series of unfortunate incidents or through their own decision, it is with a sad heart that I imagine their miserable night's sleep.  While I kept warm from the insulating characteristics of the comforter and pillow-top mattress, fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters were lying in a brutal sub-zero environment.  What is the answer to our growing homeless population?

Monday, November 22, 2010

It's so sweet.  I'm talking about the Geocache that I was able to log tonight.  I was casually checking my email and a notification of a new Geocache was in my inbox.  I just knew that it had been published during the day and several people would have found it already.  I got a kitchen pass, grabbed a flashlight and started up the mountain.  I arrived at the designated location and plunged into the wooded area.  I "found" many tree branches poking me in the face when I realized I was tracking my progress on the iPhone like I was in a virtual reality thrill ride.  I regrouped and noticed that I hadn't even turned the flashlight on yet.  When Apple's electronic marvel showed that I was within a few feet of the treasure I found the container nestled between two rocks and covered with pine needles.  The log was void of any entries which gave me the coveted honor of First To Find!  I fumbled with signing in the appropriate slot since I have very poor night vision and vacated the area.  Did you play hide and seek today?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

There is a use for all things in nature just like all humans have a purpose.  At first glance it may seem that there is no application for a thin spiral grass-like weed but its place in home decor has a firm foundation.  The seemingly unmanageable plant is not tamed but cut as it grows in the wild then is transformed into a stylish accoutrement.  Stacie has these emanating from a chic wooden vase in the master bedroom.  Although we spend many years trying to discover the predetermined course of our lives, we need to realize that it will find us.  Every single being is placed here not out of chance or coincidence, but out of carefully measured intent.  The sequence of events that collectively populates our existence on the planet can be altered but the results are skillfully managed into the inevitable by a force that we cannot perceive.  When you feel abandoned and have no sense of worth, look deep at who and what you are.  You add value to your family, friends, and fellow inhabitants of the Earth.  Have you discovered your purpose?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Our Geocaching adventures brought us to downtown Colorado Springs today.  The trek started slowly with the first two caches going unnoticed but we quickly bounced back by finding the next 12.  As always, the iPhone application generated paper-free Geocaching so as we strolled from cache to cache Stacie read descriptions, hints, and directions vital to the discovery of the elusive containers.  We hiked for about 4 hours and found a total of 17 well hidden items.  At one point I thought we would have to cross a creek via a 20 feet high tree branch but we just used the well placed concrete steps provided by the city.  This treasure hunting activity will get you off of the couch, take you to new places, and exercise your intellect.  Have you visited yet?

Friday, November 19, 2010

This steel mesh insures that the danger is contained within a specially designed space.  It also prevents accidental contact from the outside.  Parents provide the same protection to their children through constant physical care and intellectual development.  It is a natural instinct for guardians, whether biological or otherwise, to keep their young safe from harm.  There might be a correlation with parenting and law enforcement since the focus of both is to protect and to serve.  As children pass from adolescence into the teen years they more than likely feel like their parents are constables in the home.  It is not until we are well into middle age that we realize how much our caretakers have done for us.  How have your parents inspired you?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tonight Stacie and I went to see the funniest person on the planet.  Brian Regan.  He had clean, family friendly material that poked fun at his feigned stupidity and low IQ.  He is anything but unintelligent and really makes you think about behaviors and personalities in a hysterical state of mind.  He watches how people act with an uncanny sense of perspective and turns everyday events into tear bearing laughter.  I laughed so hard, I cried.  I cried so hard, I got dehydrated.  Did you laugh today?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

On my way to work this morning there was so much traffic.  Signals, lanes and signs "steer" us into herds across vast paved pastures.  Herds make migrations due to imitation of others or in response to external circumstances.  We align our direction during the week based on the need to work and provide for our families and the outside forces that drive us are things such as food, shelter, and clothing.  How far is your commute?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Performance with style.  The legend was born in 1898 and was inspired to destiny 10 years later.  The pursuit for perfection was driven somewhat by competition but mostly by passion.  The world heard the most powerful roar in 1947 when years of service and dedication produced a well-oiled machine with one successful formula.  This stable icon of velocity manufactures excitement and whispers challenge unto all who dare to slip into the Patent leather.  The name has grown to be synonymous with affluence, strength, and prestige while the comfort and design is second to none.  You might wonder about the correlation with these shoes...they're Ferrari red.  Where will your shoes take you?

Monday, November 15, 2010

I'm often reminded of things from my childhood.  Stacie says it's because I haven't left it.  She's right.  A number of my great memories stem from the trips to the local store a short walk from my grandparents' home in Kaplan.  My cousins and I would carefully select what we bought since we didn't have too much to spend.  Some of the popular items were the wooden paddle with the ball connected with the huge rubber band, the plastic sketch pad that would erase will a pull of the top sheet, wax lips and coke bottle, candy cigarettes, Pixy Stix, jacks, cards, the Slinky, and the "Wooly Willy" where you decorated a bald guy with metal shavings and a magnet.  They were just simple toys and candy but we were completely ecstatic and grateful to get them.  Kids of the 2000's will look back and reminisce about their DVD player, DS and cell phone.  What is your fondest childhood toy memory?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The day started with a time of relaxation in 105 degree pulsating water complements of the hot tub.  The air temperature sensor on the back deck displayed 36 while we enjoyed the hydrotherapy.  Later a herd of deer settled in right below our deck to take a break from the vigor of those hectic deer activities.  Stacie prepared a wonderful breakfast then she let me vegetate for a few hours.  I scared the deer to the other end of the open space when I stepped out onto the deck to take pictures but they looked like they welcomed the stretch of their muscles.  I spent a couple hours in the kitchen preparing a clam chowder recipe and was a little disappointed in my execution of the dish.  It seemed too thin for my taste but then Stacie reminded me that "chowdas" from the East Coast are thin in comparison to the Seattle area chowders.  I checked the recipe and sure enough, it had New England written across the top.  I'll just need to find a recipe from the West Coast.  Which coast do you favor?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Our dinner last night could have fed 4 people.  The feast started with 4 appetizers.  A Kobe beef tartar, grilled shrimp...excuse me, prawns and 2 types of salad.  We were served Kobe steak and filet mignon grilled to perfection for the main entree.  You always hear about meat that melts in your mouth. Last night we experienced it. There was no way for us to clean our plates but we left a little room for dessert. Craftsteak served us 2 flavors of sorbet, a bowl of fresh fruit, a toasted pecan crusted dessert bread, and vanilla bean cheesecake. They boxed our leftovers and we had enough for a complete lunch today.  I positioned the table in front of our 24th floor window and we ate with a spectacular Vegas view.  We walked down The Strip, took a tram ride, and had afternoon coffee and a snack at Jean-Philippe Patisserie at the Aria.  We walked back to The Signature at MGM, picked up our luggage and took a shuttle to the McCarran Airport.  As usual, we wore ourselves out, but we built in a day of rest into our mini-vacation schedule. How do you decompress? 

Friday, November 12, 2010

We drove to Denver trying to beat the snow last night but it turns out that we didn't have anything to worry about.  Our flight was delayed leaving due to a medical emergency but we were able to arrive in Vegas at a decent time.  Today started at around 4am and we drove just across the border into Arizona.  We parked the rental car at a Lake Meade National Recreation Area trail head and tried to figure out how to get to "The White Bridge" which is a Virtual Geocache.  The area was heavily under construction and the website for the cache didn't mention that you needed an off road vehicle to get there.  We weren't prepared footwear wise and we went rock scrambling in more than casual shoes.  Stacie was such a trooper as she made her way down to the bridge with rocks and dirt getting between her feet and the brand new pair of flats.  She could have been extremely furious with me but she did nothing but laugh and we really had a fun time.  We returned to Vegas, stopped at a couple of garage sales, lost some money at our favorite "Wheel of Fortune" slot at the Sahara, ate lunch at Wolfgang Puck's, and tonight we will dine at Tom Coliccio's restaurant Craftsteak.  To top off the long day, we will take in the evening performance of Cirque du Soleil's "O".  Whew!!! I need a vacation!  Do your vacations wear you out?