Monday, July 25, 2005

Claire's Downstate Graduation Party

Mary went to her parents last Wednesday to prepare for this graduation party for Claire, and she did a great job organizing everything. All I had to do was pull the beverages together for the day, which was easy. We had 70 people all told -- her Mulholland family, my McComb clan, and many neighbors too. It was sunny and warm, and we had a 20X30 tent setup which really helped. I think it meant a lot to Claire to have so many wellwishers to send her off to college. It meant a lot to me to see Claire thrive on the well deserved attention and love from her family.
I left Sunday with the girls to drop Kelly off in Big Rapids for a week of band camp. On the way on M46, we came upon a bad accident, sort of a 2/3 head on. There were several cars already there but only 2 people out of their cars to help, so I got out to do what I could. All 3 of us felt completely helpless but were able to get one woman out of her car and into a restful position on the ground. The other 3 people were hopelessly pinned, one unconcious, both drivers delierious with head injuries. The driver I helped was periodically trying to set up because there was no car left to lean against on his left side, so that was the only thing I could do to help him -- let him lean against me. After 10 mins the EMT's and State Police arrived, and after another 5 minutes I was no longer needed. The emergency personnel were amazing in those 1st minutes on the scene.
I was really shaky for the rest of the trip up north, I was thankful that Claire was there to help with the driving. I was still really upset this morning, and called the State Police post near the accident to learn that both drivers had died. I wasn't surprised, but it drove the whole thing further home for me. Mary is around this sort of thing in her profession daily, but I'm really not wired for this. I'm stunned at how profoundly the lives of those 4 people changed in that instant.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Mary's 50th

We celebrated Mary's 50th birthday last Friday in modest fashion at the cottage. It was the first time in a couple of years, given disparate schedules, that all four of us had been at the cottage at the same time. Mary was vehement about having no parties for her birthday, so we didn't. But Mary's parents and sisters Karen & Bridget had made secret plans with me to drive to the cottage on Saturday and surprise her. Since Mary was napping when they arrived, they all filed in the bedroom with the cake and she awoke to an awkward version of "Happy Birthday" -- first rate surprise.
We had hot and muggy weather through the weekend and were grateful to be at the lake. Since getting a depth finder for my boat, I finally had a chance to get out on the water and really use it -- very interesting after growing up on that lake, and having benefit of my father's version of topgraphic maps that he used when he fished. I think we always fished on the "wild" end of the lake because of Dad's bias toward the undeveloped part of the lake -- we always fished the East end. But what I found with the depth/fish finder was that there were many more fish down in the deep holes of the West end. Not sure why that would be. Sunday nite, Grandpa and I went out and slow trolled with bottom bouncers and rapalas/cleos. Within 20 mins I had a 28" pike, and 15 mins later Dad had a 30" pike -- the biggest fish he'd ever caught. Glad I could provide him that thrill.
Am reading a great geology book "Reading the Rocks" by Marcia Bjornerund that really pulls a lot together in a way I've never gotten. A fine book, well written, and cutting across the usual approach to geology.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Parent Orientation

I've just returned from the past two days with Claire & Mary at MSU orientation for Claire, and it was really impressive. There are so many more resources for students to succeed than when I was in school. I even liked the food they gave us for lunch. I was glad I attended because it reinforced what I already had guessed -- that this is a major step in Claire's growing up. She is so ready for college, and I was so impressed with what I saw and heard in orientation that I'm completely comfortable dropping her off there on 24 Aug to begin this new phase. I think she was ready to stay there today. Driving home, we could tell she was really thrilled with her decision to attend James Madison College, where she intends to major in Social Relations and a secondary interest in the STEP program, which I think stands for Science, Technology, Environment and P??. Her first year of classes sounds just amazing. It was quite a couple of days.

Monday, July 11, 2005

This past weekend

Well, I have a new definition of a good weekend. I got to Douglas Lake at 10AM Sat and was in my swimsuit till 9PM Sunday when I returned to Petoskey. Can't remember that ever happening before, but it was great. Got my little Zuma sailboat in the water, cleaned up, and sailed once. Went fishing twice. Took two naps, got caught up on my vacation journal to Maine, and swam four times. I'm having a problem with erosion on the beachfront and have been filling discarded tires with cement to thwart futher erosion. Seems to work well for my back to do no more than 4 tires each weekend, which entails hauling 12 80# bags of concrete down and mixing it on the beach. My backs been behaving lately, but I believe only because I am religious about stretching in grotesque ways. Also found time to work 3 of the "easy, breezy" NYTimes Crossword puzzles that are confoundingly hard to me. My Mother (Helen) used to work them routinely, and maybe there's hope for me to retain a few of the brain cells. Claire is buying a Mac notebook for college. I was willing to buy a Dell notebook, but she wanted to spring for the difference for a Mac. I think she, like many others, are so impressed with the IPod as a consumer design that they want the same elegance in a notebook. Being a PC kinda guy, I tried to sway her, but to no avail.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Getting Started

Just starting this blog after being inspired by cousin John with http://area51robotics.blogspot.com/
Not really sure what I'll be writing about but will begin by mentioning my use of APRS on my recent vacation to Maine. I learned that digipeaters on 144.39 are not as thoroughly dispersed as I might have guessed/hoped. I also learned that indavertently moving the tuning knob of my Yeasu FT-100D transmitter left me transmitting into outer space for an undetermined number of miles. Nonetheless, I had email from several folks on my return that indicated they had "seen" me in various places along the way -- even had a couple folks send me a screen shot of my location in areas I didn't think I was making it.