Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend

Well, we were supposed to be in Arizona for Memorial Day this weekend.  Amy and I were both looking forward to getting away from work and heading to Arizona to see her family.  We were supposed to fly in to Phoenix and then head up to her family's cabin in Munds Park, near Flagstaff.  Unfortunately, a wildfire began last Tuesday at a place called Slide Rock State Park, in a valley near Sedona, which is maybe 15 miles or so (?) from Munds Park. 
We weren't sure what the conditions would be, in terms of smoke and traffic (they shut down one of the major roads near the cabin, and people in some areas were being encouraged to evacuate).  Anyway, long story short, we ended up rescheduling our trip for June.  We were both a little disappointed about the weekend, but we're both still really looking forward to going!

So Friday was pretty uneventful.  We ate some tacos and went to Half Price Books.  Not too earth shattering.  I can't remember if we did anything else.  Mellow, relaxing night.
Saturday we got up and went shopping.  Amy made chocolate peanut butter pie.
(Amy at Mom and Dad's house)
Saturday evening we went over to my parents' house for a cookout with Ryan, Jamie, Mom, and Dad.  It was fun.  Dad and Ryan grilled some salmon and some steak.  We also had corn, salad, pasta salad, and fruit.  We had that chocolate peanut butter pie for dessert. 
It was good to hang out and relax and catch up.  Good food and good company.  It was really nice of Mom and Dad to have us!

On Sunday we got up and went out to The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center with Mandy and her family.  They recently opened up a Family Garden at the Wildflower Center, and there's a series of really cool watering holes and ponds that have been set up.  Kids can fill up watering cans and splash the water and pour it on the rocks and plants.  It's really cool looking, and the kids seem to really like it (and adults as well!).  The watering holes have been established as a memorial in Jeff Wilson's honor by his family and friends (if you were friends with Jeff, you can still make a donation here- just be sure to indicate on the donation form that you're making the donation in honor of Jeff Wilson so that they'll know that it goes toward the memorial fund).
The watering holes are a great tribute to Jeff.  He loved wildlife and gardening and being outside.  He also loved the water.  He loved all of these things enough to put a large pond in his own back yard, so, of course, he would have loved the idea of having a watering hole named for him.  He woulda gotten a real kick out of seeing all of the families hanging out in the Wildflower Center and enjoying the water.  The whole place sorta feels like Jeff.  It's a great tribute.

(Mandy, Amy, and a wildflower yeti)

(click on this photo to enlarge and see that the
watering holes are dedicated to Jeff)  

(the kiddos pump water for the watering holes)

(Another view of the watering holes)
Neither Amy nor I had been to the Wildflower Center before, so we also just wandered around and enjoyed the grounds.  It's a really cool place.  I can't believe I've never been out there before.  It's really not all that far from our house.

So we spent most of the morning at the Wildflower Center.  Then we went home and grabbed lunch, and I put on a suit and headed downtown for a memorial service for one of my coworkers, John Fusselman.  Fusselman worked IT in our office.  He was one of our "go to" guys when you can't access your electronic files or when the mail server locks you out or when a hundred other things go wrong.  John was a really nice guy.  He was always happy to help out- quick to lend a hand and diligent in working on something until it was actually fixed. 
He was an avid cyclist and had ridden his bike not only all across the country, but in Europe as well.  He was a member of several cycling groups, and frequently road his bike to work.  He died when a car struck him last weekend while he was riding his bike on Bee Caves Road.  It was apparently a true accident, with no one really at fault (the sun just got in the eyes of a driver as she was making a turn).  Very, very sad.
John's memorial service was very well attended.  Standing room only, in fact.  It was quite a testament to the quiet power of such a friendly, unassuming man.  His funeral packed a large chapel beyond its capacity on a Memorial Day weekend, even when so many people were out of town.
I know John will be missed around our office.

Sunday night I had band practice.  Reed, Jim, Frank, and I played at Reed's house.  We sounded pretty good, and we had a good time.  Practice ended with a bang (literally) when during our last song a large, framed picture fell off the wall above our practice room's door, and landed on Frank's head.  Glass went everywhere, Frank suffered a small cut, and the rocking came to an immediate stop.  I'm sure there's a joke in there somewhere about bringing the house down...
Anyway, other from the picture attack, it was a good practice.

I drove home, and Amy made pesto pasta for dinner.  It was very good!
After dinner we watched the last two episodes of Treme.  I'm really gonna miss that show.  I'll miss the music, of course, but I'll also miss having a show to watch that was actually just about interesting struggles in the lives of its characters.  Treme did a good job of getting you to invest in plot and characters without employing action/adventure plotlines and without devolving into soap opera.  The show was accused of being a little stereotypical or "post card" in its depiction of New Orleans, but I mostly didn't find that to be the case.  Sure, there were a lot of quintessential New Orleans locations and traditions depicted, but the entire point of the series was to demonstrate why New Orleans is such a unique place and why it deserved the attention and support of the rest of the country as it struggled to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina.  They weren't going to be able to convey that message by focusing on stories that could have occurred in just any old place.  Making the location a more subtle player on the show might have made the entire enterprise moot.

On Monday we had rain.  Lots of rain.  We needed the rain, for sure, but it really killed any chance of a bike ride or a trip to Barton Springs.  We went to Target, we exercised, and we did some reading.  When the rain finally stopped I grilled some chicken kabobs that Amy had been marinating.  They were really tasty.

And that was basically the weekend.
Kind of an interesting Memorial Day weekend.  In addition to thinking a bit about the soldiers who had given their lives for our country, I ended up visiting the Jeff Wilson Memorial Watering Holes and attending a memorial service for John Fusselman.
I still miss Jeff a lot, and I still haven't even really processed the fact that John Fusselman is gone.  Both were really good guys, although very different personalities.
I'm really pleased with those watering holes.

I guess that's it.  Take care of yourselves out there.  Have a good week.

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