Danny & Family

Just Some Random Stories About Me and My Family

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Laura's Golf Lesson

This past Spring, Laura informed me she was interested in taking up golf. I probably should have jumped with joy, but I reacted as I normally do with just about every piece of information that hits me: with little or no expression or excitement. I don’t know why this is, it just is. Maybe I’m desensitized from work, I don’t know. This was not the first time nor will it be the last that my reactions didn’t meet someone’s expectations (this time it was Laura). Having said that, I want everyone – Laura, all of our family and friends, and the readers of this blog – to know that I am happy that Laura has decided to take up golf.

My dad, Papa Kirk, taught me how to play golf. I was an avid golfer for years. I played regularly from the time I was in high school – where I was a 2-year varsity letterman on the golf team, and at one point the #2 player on the squad – up to a year or so before Laura and I started dating. No, Laura had nothing to do with it, it was due to a heavier workload. I currently play about twice a year, one of which is a memorial golf tournament named for my dad.

So it is with great eagerness that I look forward to golfing on a regular basis with my Honey-Bunny, and getting away from the brats for ½ a day. Laura signed up for golf lessons through the City of La Habra, which were held at La Mirada Golf Course. La Mirada is the course Papa and I played the most. We played the back nine nearly every Sunday morning for years, being one of the first groups off each time.

Laura spent more time surfing the web for golf equipment, clothing and accessories that I would have liked, but then we shop very differently. But she didn’t actually buy anything. I found out what she wanted and bought it for her online for Mother’s Day. This turned out to be kind-of returning the favor, as she bought me a round of golf (with a gift certificate) decorated beautifully with a picture of the kids with a golf theme. As soon as I find where I put that picture for safe keeping, I'll post it here.

The week before Laura's lessons were set to begin, we practiced in the backyard. I showed her how to grip the club, and how to swing. She hit a few wiffle balls into the hedge. Then I took her to the driving range to hit a bucket of balls. She actually did pretty good - connecting with the ball and getting more loft and distance than I expected. Here are a couple of pic’s of Laura on the driving range.

After Laura finished hitting the golf balls, I took this picture on the way back to the parking lot:

After we got to the car, and as I was putting Laura's golf clubs in the trunk, Laura took these two pic's of Nina. The first one is just plain cute. The second one is . . . . I don't know where she gets that stuff. Are we in trouble or what?

Laura was really sore for a couple of days following this pre-lesson. I told her she used muscles she normally doesn't and it would pass. In a future post I will highlight our first round of golf, which took place on Cataling Island. Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Summer Vacation - Don's B-day Party (part 2)

Here are a few more pictures taken at Don's 50th birthday party in June. This first one is of Nina and Sara. And yes, that is a dress Sara is wearing. For those of you who don't know, Sara rarely wears dresses. I think the first time I saw her in one was at my wedding; she was Laura's maid of honor. Well this was a special occasion too; a milestone birthday for her boyfriend Don.

I didn't get a close up of Sara and Don, but if you look at the picture I posted yesterday, you might be able to see that there's an age difference between the two of them. It's probably a coincidence, but the three women in these pictures (Sara, Laura, and Tina, not Nina) have significant others whom are older. Here's Tina and Ed. I don't know the exact difference in their ages, but I think it's over 10 years.

Here's me and Laura. We're 12 years apart.

Sara is younger than Laura, and Don is older than me, so their age difference is the greatest of the 3 couples. May our love endure forever!

Summer Vacation - Don's Birthday Party

Next up on my Summer Vacation series of posts is Don's 50th Birthday Party. Just in case you don't have a scorecard, Don is Sara's boyfriend, Sara is Laura's sister (or as they refer to each other - seester), and Laura is my wife. This party was held at Don's brother's house in Upland, and what a beautiful house / backyard it was. And what a pleasant June evening it was.

Although I didn't get a picture of Don and Sara looking at the camera at the same time, here's the best one I got of the two of them:

It was tough to get both of their attention when everyone was about ready to sing "Happy Birthday" and all the guests are taking pictures at the same time. I cut the cake out of the picture above. (Get it? Cut the cake). Okay, I won't be filling in as your comedic host. (Get it? Filling).

Well here's a better one of Sara with her seester Laura:

And here's mi whole familia - Laura, Ed and Tina, Nina, and Brady:

And here's Brady after seeing Don kiss Sara:

I took several more pictures at the party, but I'll break up the post into two parts.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Summer Vacation - Tina and Ed's (part 2)

Okay, lets move to the outside of Tina and Ed's house for our Father's Day celebration. Tina and Ed live on the side of a hill on the outskirts of Lucerne Valley. As we drive east on Highway 18 leaving Apple Valley heading towards Lucerne, we look up to the hillside to try and spot their house. It's getting easier each time. As we turn off the highway onto their street and drive up from the bottom of the hill, we get a better idea of just how big this hill is. Tina and Ed's house is maybe 2/3's the way up.

Looking south from the back of their house, which points further up the hill, you can see the mountains behind them. On the other side of these mountains (and a few miles further south) is Big Bear. In this first picture, which is looking southeast, you can see a mine. I think they are removing granite or sandstone or some type of rock.

In this second picture, which is due south, you can see how steep the hill is behind their house. Tina and Ed have seen all kinds of wildlife just beyond their fence - coyotes, rabbits, squirrels, and birds of all sorts.

In this third picture, which is looking northeast, you can see some of the houses and ranches just west of Lucerne Valley proper. You can also see a dry lake. After a heavy rainfall this dry lake fills up part way with rainwater runoff.

I've saved this picture for last because it's my favorite. This view is looking due north, and shows the ranch sign spanning the driveway. This is pretty much the view Tina and Ed see looking out of their kitchen window.

So there you have it, a day at Tina and Ed's house to celebrate Father's Day with Laura's dad. I really love the desert, but for me it's a nice place to visit. I wouldn't want to live there. Too much wind (my least favorite element), and the temperature extremes are more severe than I care for.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Summer Vacation - Tina and Ed's (part 1)

Continuing my series of mini vacations, weekend activities, and family commitments, the next stop is in the desert. One of our Father's Day celebrations took us to Laura's mom and dad's house in Lucerne Valley. Here is Laura pictured with her dad, Ed. Happy Father's Day, Ed:

Ed and Tina have the coolest aquarium. It is a saltwater variety and it's full of colorful coral and brilliantly vivid fish. I'm sure you all have heard of Nemo the orange and white clown fish. Well, here are his cousins (trying their best to hide from my camera), a pair of black and white Percala Clown's:

And here is a beautiful blue Jaw fish:

Ed and Tina also have a great big loveable dog named Nala. Nala is just over a year old, and is just a little too rambunctious to be inside. She stays outside, which kind of bums her out. Here she is looking in at me:

Tina loves to play Canoga, a dice game she learned earlier this year during our family Easter celebration. To help her with her addiction to the fun that this game brings, I agreed to loan her my Canoga game. It is pictured here along with Tina and Nina:

I've broken this post up into two parts because I have a few pictures of the various views Ed and Tina have from their hillside house. Those exterior shots are next.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Summer Vacation - Mike and Myrna's Pool Party

Back in June, we were invited to our good friends Myrna and Mike's house for a pool party and barbeque. Here they are taking shelter in what little shade there was on this sunny day:

Laura and I didn't go swimming, but Brady and Nina did. It's usually a struggle to get the kids to cooperate when I'm trying to take a picture of them. This is evident in two other pictures not posted here that I took on the same day before they jumped in the pool. As a result, I didn't get a decent picture of them smiling at the same time. So, here is one of Brady smiling wedged between Nina and one of Mike's neighbor's kids:

And here's one of Nina (by herself) simling:

In the two pictures above you can see Mike and Myrna's new swimming pool. Its not your typical pool; this one is partially below ground level, and obviously partially above. It has a liner similar to an above ground (or as I call them, a Doughboy) pool. This type of pool is much less expensive compared to a conventional built-in pool. My wife now wants one of these pools, citing the lower cost as the main reason, but with the considerable larger size (compared to our Doughboy) as a second reason. This latest item on her never-ending wish / shopping list resulted in a "heated discussion" the day after the party.

When Myrna invited us to this BBQ & Pool party, she didn't say anything about celebrating Mike's birthday. A few days before the party Mike called me and asked if I had heard anything about celebrating his birthday. I told him no. Mike seemed to be concerned that Myrna was planning something. Mike was right although I wish Myrna would have told me. I think we were the only ones there that didn't bring a birthday present or card. My present will be to post this picture of Mike getting ready to blow out his candles. Unfortunately I can't operate a camera properly. I should have waited another second or two to press the shutter.

So I leave you with this family picture of the four of us. We were happier here than the next day when I told Laura and the kids we would not be getting a pool like Mike and Myrna's.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Not a Damn Thing!

Actually, that's not true. Me, the wife and the kids decided to spend what little time we had taking short weekend trips. As some of you know, my personal vacation time is used up during the D.O.M. riding season. I take a vacation day on the Friday that starts the "ride weekend" and take another vacation day on the Monday following. This makes for a 4-day weekend (for me), most of which is spent preparing for, driving to, driving back from, and cleaning up after . . (Breathe) these fun weekend trips our club schedules during the riding season.

Anyway, we weaved these mini vacations and weekend activities between various family commitments. So, with that, here is the start of a series of posts dedicated to our little family outings. Pics and descriptions included. I'll try and post something daily - time allowing.

Here is Laura and myself in front of some old barn we found on a country road while taking a drive one Sunday in June:

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Even More on Commuting to and from Work

Back to venting about the idiots. By the way - I use the term "idiots" because I decided back when I launched this blog that I would not use profanity or vulger language. That's my long-winded way of saying that what I really think of these people is that they're F***ing A**h***s. Anyway, this post is 3rd in a series of my daily commute and some of the things I encounter. This post is more closely related to the 1st one, in that it describes other motorist and how they endanger my life by their poor driving. Mostly, it's how they irratate me by breaking the law, and how there never seems to be a police officer or highway patrol officer around to bust them.

So here's the run down of the things "idiots" do that I hate the most:
* Failing to pull over to the right when a fire truck/police car/ambulance approaches with their lights on.
* Failing to stop before the "Keep Clear" area in front of a fire station.
* Running a red light.
* Making a left turn after the red arrow appears (which is also running a red light).
* Using the far right side of the road as a lane, when it's actually not a lane.
* Using a right turn only lane (or exit freeway lane) until the last second, then pulling back in the thru traffic lanes.
* Crossing over the double yellow lines to get in the carpool lane on the freeway.
* Cutting through the Gore Point to exit or enter the freeway.
* People who tailgate.
* People who cut you off.
* People who drive sooooooo fast coming up from behind you on the freeway, zig-zagging between cars as they pass along.
* People who talk on their cell phones and drift into your lane.
* The driver next to me who doesn't yield to the pedestrain for whom I've yielded.
* The J-walker. Side note: I occassionally have to go to down town L.A. in the clothing district. Toooo many pedestrains. One FAT F*****g B***h took her lazy time waddling across the street and really pissed me off.
* There are more that I will add as I remember (or encounter) them.


Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Independence Day

To all of those who helped (and continue to help) make this country what it is, thank you!

May everyone enjoy this holiday safely.

God Bless America.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Fred and Alice

My blog entry this week is dedicated to the two dogs I once owned. Both have moved on to Doggy Heaven, and yet are still with me in my heart and memory. I'll get to the pictures first, then to the story of how I came to be the owner of these fine animals.

Ladies first. This is Alice. No, her eyes did not look like that all the time; that's caused by the flash from the camera.

This is Fred. Yes, his hair looked like that most of the time. I can't tell you how difficult it was to brush him. He was soooo uncooperative! I actually had to tie him to a fence in order to brush him, and he fought me the whole time.

This is actually 3 different pictures of Fred and Alice that I cut up and pasted together. These pictures (as with the two others above) were taken at my old house years ago. I keep this particular picture collage in a cheap plastic frame in an inconspicuous place. Just a pleasant reminder of the companions I had for 10+ years.

This is Fred in the backyard of my current home. This was taken about a year before I had to put him down. He had a lot more room to roam around this backyard compared to to my old house - not that the old one was small - this yard is just BIG.

So how did I get stuck with these dogs? I ask that affectionately because I loved them very much, and I know they brought joy to several people. Alice belonged to a friend of mine (JP). JP had Alice since she was a pup. JP needed someone to share a rental house with. JP's cousin shared the house with JP, but cousin joined the Marines and would be oversees for a few years. Enter me. JP's girlfriend found a stray dog, but her backyard was too small for this big beast. Alice needed a companion, and I always wanted a dog of my own. JP came up with the name and everyone thought they sounded good together - Fred and Alice.

A year or so past and JP moved out and took Alice with him. Both dogs slipped into depression. After a couple of months, JP realized it was better to have the dogs together. My house had the bigger backyard. Time passed and I moved in to a house I owned, of course taking the dogs with me. Years passed and much happiness was had by me, family, and friends due to the loveable and playful Fred and Alice.

One Sunday morning, while was gone to church and then breakfast, I returned home to find that Alice had peacefully past away. Much sadness was had by Fred, me, family and friends. Time passed and I met my wife-to-be. We knew the house I lived in was too small for the family plans we were making, so a larger house (with a larger yard) was bought. Brother-in-law-to-be came up with a nickname for Fred: Wooly Bully.

Fred (Wooly Bully) was with me (and after the wedding, us) at our current home until May of 2000, when I had to put him down due to a tumor. Much sadness was had by me, family, and friends. But in retrospect, much happiness was had by many due to these beautiful animals. My mom, in particular, really enjoyed stopping by my old house to give the dogs treats. They loved it when Mama Norma stopped by. My sister once gave my mom a license plate frame that said "Doesn't Everyone Carry Milkbones In Their Car?"

Fast-forward to present day. My kids have asked numerous times if "we" can get a dog. I keep answering no, and I tell them why: 1. our fence is not secure; 2. "we" really means "me". I have already spent more than 10 years feeding and cleaning up after 2 big dogs, and I'm not going to "take over" for them when they realize how hard it is and get tired of doing it. The wife and kids have already proved me right with the kitty, and then later with the cat (2 different pets) that we used to have. I fed them most of the time, and was nearly the ONLY one to clean the litter box. As far as the fence problem goes, that is slowly getting fixed - a portion of the fence has been replaced, but a significant portion remains. This takes financial resources and the coordination of the neighbor.

I would love to have a dog again (I prefer them to cats), but until "we" are all ready in this household, I will have to hold on to my memories of Fred and Alice.