Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Face it, one of these days

Without you I'm just another Dorian Gray

It's the fountain of youth

It's the meaning of life

Baby you're the best magazine advice

Liz Phair

Hi Guys.... Guess what more volleyball, lots of live music, worked out a bunch, and of course enjoying an amazing summer in Wisconsin. I played in my first ever all-day grass volleyball tournament and got my ass kicked. We started at 8am Saturday and were eliminated at about 2 that afternoon but not before being embarrassed on the turf. I think there was around 50 teams competing and most were fairly serious volleyball players and my little rag-tag team was slightly over matched. Throw in an early start, a game much different than sand because of the ability to jump off the turf, and a giant dose of wind and it was a frustrating Saturday at the Wauna-Spike tournament.

Saw Sarah Pray Friday night and a Billy Joel tribute band Saturday night. Really enjoyed both shows even though I sat and watched them both by myself. I have seen a good amount of live music this summer. I wish I had seen more but I still have Jackson Browne and Steely Dan coming up in August.

It's really hard for me to explain how much I have loved my volleyball teammates and just the experience of having something to look forward to 4 nights a week. The thing I can't stress enough is how important it is to me to have exercise again in my life that is fun. I have come to appreciate what getting on the treadmill or schlepping up the mountain does for me, but I am never going to use the word enjoy or fun in those sentences. But working up a sweat in the sand is really fun, doesn't feel like exercise until I look at my sweaty sandy clothes, and makes me want to exercise at other times because I just want to be better than I am.

Summer's is great and one day I will find myself back in the land of 12 month summers but for now I am just going to keep on appreciating the few months of pleasantry we call summer in Wisconsin. Peace, Love, and Sweat, Jim

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Upside down and around and around

I've got two tickets to paradise,
Won't you pack your bags,
we'll leave tonight
I apologize for not updating this more often. It's just that when I sit down to do this I feel as if there are only so many ways I can say played a bunch of volleyball, worked out, competed in trivia, and saw some live music. Again no complaints at all with what I am doing, it's that I have run out of interesting ways to describe it.
Let's start with something really cool I did last week. Made my first trip ever to hallowed Wrigley Field, and the best part about it was I didn't have to watch a Cubs game to be there. I spent a very fun wonderful night at the old ballpark seeing Billy Joel and Elton John for the second time this summer. And thanks to an old friend on facebook who had a cousin on Billy Joel's soundboard got to sit about 15 rows back from the stage. I have already reviewed the show which was nearly identical to the show in Madison so I won't add much there but I will review Wrigley for you

The area around the stadium prior to and after the show is really electric with an almost Bourbon St. feel to it. There's all sorts of bars and people just being part of the action. We ended up in a bar called Cubbie Bears directly across the street from the stadium. And to add to the festivities they hosted an after show concert for free by Eddie Money. He had a lot more hits then I could remember and really enjoyed that show as well. It made for a very long night and a very late drive back to Madison.
And apparently the bars in Chicago all come with a surgeon general's warning about the dangers of drinking. Although the thought of some pregnant woman spitting out her drink after reading the sign seems a bit far fetched. You mean drinking may cause damage to an unborn child? Who knew?

The late night was followed by a very early morning as the past weekend was, as always, our busiest of the year. Maxwell St days is our outdoor sidewalk sale/festival and although the weather was fairly uncooperative the people came out and spent. And speaking of the weather the temperature in Madison dipped into the 40's one night last week. This has been a ridiculously mild summer in town with I believe only 3 days in the 90's, and lots of days in the 70's and 80's. I have this mental picture of me melting away like the witch in Oz at about the 3.5 mile mark of my first hike in August in what will surely be 100+ degree Utah weather. I am now only 5 weeks away from my return visit. One thing is for sure I will be in the best shape yet for a visit to Utah.
I would love to be able to say that my anklet has made my decision making easier, but still having issues that come with being in bars every weeknight between volleyball and trivia. I have started to at least attempt to offset the damage I can do there by adding some evening workouts ( mostly walk/jog interval work). I had a decent weigh in this week losing a little over 3 lbs but I should be doing better, and am actually very much looking forward to the structure that comes at Fitness Ridge.
I would really love it if someone could find me a flight from Chicago to Maui for the four days before Thanksgiving for under $500. My dream field in the Maui Invitational has both Wisconsin and Maryland competing in the 3 day tournament. I hold no aspirations that I will make it there, but I can dream and settle for instead the tropical beauty of Bloomington , Indiana in December as my Terps travel to play Indiana.
That's all the news from here. I hope everyone is having a great summer. Football season is right around the corner :) Peace, Love, and Touchdowns, Jim

Monday, July 13, 2009

It's all love, all love

when i say
you take away the most important parts of me with you
and when i've had the greyest day,
you add more grey,
that's just your way, it's true.

Happy July 13th. Let's start with volleyball this week and a happy Wednesday it was for the Sunshine Daydream team as we took down the Wednesday night championship double elimination tournament. We got past a match point against us in the winner's bracket championship and than pummeled the team that came out of the loser's bracket in the championship 15-8, 15-6. We picked up a $75 dollar gift card and I, of course, got to talk a little crap to the youngsters that were on the other end of our matches. I'd post the standings but they look a lot like the last time I posted so I will just pass. I am sure I have said this before but I never played competitive volleyball growing up and I would love to get back on the court and run 5 0n 5 basketball again which has always been my first sport love, but I feel like I am still 50 lbs. and some better health insurance away from making that happen. As for the sand it has certainly rekindled my competitive spirit that lay dormant on the couch next to me and a bag of Fritos.

Spent Saturday afternoon at a beach party/8 band concert that included the Tom Petty cover band Petty Things. Just figured I would throw this picture up of the lead singer so you guys could get a look at the Petty look-a-like. I'd like to tell you about all 8 bands, but as has been apt to happen to me this summer way, way too much summer shandy in the afternoon and only made it through 5 of the bands before wrapping it up for the day. Still a real fun time and I got to play bag toss and ping pong with people drunker than I.

Which leads me to my next picture. First off wanted to show Paige the red Nikes that she
fondly remembers from her youth, and my goofy new anklet. I strung this together and threw it on to remind myself that I need to focus on 5 things that I have either not focused on enough, focused on but come up way short in my desired effort, or sadly missed focusing on all together. I know it is gimmicky but I figured it can't hurt and I really need to remind myself more often that the big picture is more important than the little things that tend to push me off track. And that I need to be more like Sisyphus pushing his rock up the hill and less like Homer Simpson rolling down the ski slope in a giant growing snowball.

Sarah from Minnesota was the third ridger to come to town and visit. She, of course, got to see the number one tourist attraction in town. Speaking of Sunshine Daydream and visitors, I will break this really exciting store news here. Ingrid Michaelson, who is one of my favorite singer-songwriters, will be doing an in-store appearance in late October prior to her show in Madison. I know most of you may not know her name yet but she has been on all the late night talk shows, had songs on Grey's Anatomy, and is going nowhere but up. Not often we get someone who has played Leno to play Sunshine Daydream and she will in fact be our first in store concert. So if you're picking a time to visit circle October 24th cause it will be a really cool weekend in Madison. I hope everyone is having an awesome summer. I'll be at the Ridge in less than 7 weeks. Time sure flies. Peace, Jim

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Up the down staircase

These streets have got a rhythm
It's a funky beat
The more I learn inside the city
The more I learn in me
It's a jungle gym
Jack Johnson

Well let's start with all the good and fun stuff that happened celebrating our nation's birthday. Wendy, who spent two seperate weeks at the ridge with me came down from Minnesota to make her first visit to Madison. I dragged her to two parties, the UW memorial terrace for some music, out on the sand volleyball court for some rallies, and had my wife take her to farmer's market. Wendy picked up some cheese and cheese curds which she thankfully left in my refrigerator by mistake. It was wonderful to have another ridger in town and while I'd like to say I was refined in the company of a ridger; truth is social eating is a monster problem for me and I paid for it Monday.

I got some awesome new shoes this weekend. Awesome, except like many things you remember fondly from your youth, they actually aren't that great. They offer no support and in no way can I fathom trying to play tennis in my Tretorns. Speaking of tennis the Wimbledon final was scintillating. I found myself welling up watching Andy Roddick accept the runner's up plate. So many chances that went by the wayside for Andy but that's why Roger Federer is the greatest champion of all time.

I played a ridiculous amount of volleyball Sunday and Monday. Our regular games were cancelled so we arranged for some pick-up games. Sunday three hours and Monday night 12 games and over four hours of play mostly with the 8 people pictured here. 4 on 4 for four hours and I was a wee bit sore on Tuesday. And my toes were hurting from so much time rubbing in the sand. But it's a great way for me to get exercise and it beats the hell out of a treadmill that's for sure. And my team won the best of 13 match 7-5. :)

The downpart of all this fun was I had my second bad weigh-in since returning. Plus 2.2 lbs. I think the root of the problem was my overdosing on the Buffalo dip pictured here, and Wendy gave me a portion control lecture regarding my friend the chips. Not proud of my effort but accepting of my flaws and let's say working on them, atleast until the next time the lovely buffalo dip siren calls my name. The good thing is following Monday night's volleyball session those 2.2 were gone and eventhough I knew prior to going in to W.W. that the number wasn't going to make me happy I bucked up and made the walk of shame. Not something I have always done in the past. So we are back on the wagon this week, back in the gym sore toes and all, won volleyball last night and have our Wednesday tourney tonight. And like the Visor on my head says Life is Good (thanks Sharon). Peace, Jim