Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wide Open Spaces

Take another shot of courage
Wonder why the right words never come
You just get numb
It's another tequila sunrise,this old world
still looks the same
The Eagles

I made the five + hour drive to St Louis last week to see my brother Jay, my ridge buddy Betsey, and The Eagles and Dixie Chicks. None of which disappointed in any way. The Dixie Chicks played first and did a dozen tunes. Stayed away from politics, not that I wouldn't have agreed with anything they said, and played some old tunes and some newer stuff. The leader singer was sporting a summer buzz cut that was a complete wreck but she sounded great. Eagles came on second. They have been playing these songs for 40 years so they should sound good. Every song was a group hit or a solo hit for one of the members. Not much you would expect to hear was missing from the setlist. Hotel California, Take it to the Limit, Life in the Fast Lane, Desperado. Not hard to see why this band has the greatest selling album of all time. That being said I have now seen them twice and they are just not an electrifying live band. I'd see them again but they are down the list.

It was a perfect night with great weather, nice floor seats and fun friends. One thing about hanging out with ridge people outside the ridge is they are fun. It's not hard to see why we end up at a place like the Ridge. We tend to love the good things in life....maybe a little too much for our own good. Many props to Betsey for joining in the festivities. Not just the concert but also as the 3rd place finisher in our June Fitness challenge. I finished second although you'd never know it looking at these pictures as my face likes kind of fat. I'm going to blame it on the sun, or the angle or too much of the next picture. Congrats to Lisa for winning our first fitness challenge racking up an impressive 153 points to win by over 20 points. It was so much fun that we will be doing another one starting July 5th. This time there is a team aspect to it as the Boys will be taking on the Girls. Congrats to Brandi, Claire and Eric for competing as well. If you are interested in competing in the next challenge just drop me a note on facebook.
We spent the pre-show at a bar called Paddy O's which was right across the street from the stadium. It opens 81 days a year, every home St Louis Cardinal's game. But they opened for the concert crowd. If you happen to own some land next to a major league stadium you would be well advised to look into opening a place like this because the owners need a truck to hall away their money each night for sure. Jimbo has never been a fan of tequilla and thanks to Andrea I was reminded of that.

Some other things that have been going on: my monday night volleyball team won th 10 team double elimination tournament last week. Had to overcome a loss in the first championship match but rallied to win the second and take home the title. I had a very funny moment when the clerk at Walgreens asked me if I had been on TV lately. Was very glad I was buying some cards and Drano and not Ruffles and Snickers. He was very nice and said Congratulations. The World Cup has consumed more of my time than I would have liked. I have really enjoyed watching the games and think the whole event has been mesmerizing. I'm glad there are only a few games left. I have thrown my rooting to the Dutch Orange as the USA have been eliminated.

Happy Birthday to Jacky here being serenaded by the wait staff at Jimmy Buffet's Cheeseburger in Paradise. I can't believe that June is over and July is starting. Summer goes just too fast. I am heading to Chicago tomorrow afternoon to see a show that I just learned of yesterday. Sara Bareilles is playing a breat cancer fundraising show at Hard Rock in Chicago. I made a reservation for two at the restaurant as soon as I found out, although I'm 99% sure I will be going by myself. I just couldn't bring myself to admit to the hostess at the restaurant that I was such a loser I was coming by myself. But I wouldn't miss it for sure. So if you are in Chicago July 1st and want to see the fabulous Sara live...give me a call. Hope all's well with you guys. Peace, Jim

Monday, June 21, 2010

All my life I’ve tried to make everybody happy
While I just hurt and hide
Waiting for someone to tell me it’s my turn to decide

Who cares if you disagree?
You are not me
Who made you king of anything?
So you dare tell me who to be?
Who died and made you king of anything?

Sara Bareilles

I know it has been awhile, and I apologize. Let me give you the basic short version of my last two weeks. Watch World Cup, work at Sunshine Daydream, Try to earn points for the challenge, and play volleyball. That's it, that's the list :) I was going to say that I have seen no live music but it occurred to me that since I am playing in a Friday league now we have overlapped with the band both of the last two Fridays including the very pleasant surprise of seeing Sara Pray who played our party last fall rocking out' Tumbling Dice'. And speaking of live music I get to see both my brothers this week when I head to St Louis on Thursday for The Eagles and Dixie Chicks show. Plus the huge added bonus of seeing my fabulous Ridge friend and challenge participant Betsey.

Let's start with today's music. A new song from my favorite Sara Bareilles. The new cd is out this fall, some limited touring this summer, and the first new music in almost 18 months. On top of that. it is a really fun song. Here it is

I have been consumed these last 10 days by the World Cup. It's no surprise to anyone that I am a huge sports fan. But it would probably surprise most if I told them you can give me any World Cup match over game 7 of the NBA playoffs. You can sum it up in one word. PASSION. It makes sports so much better, but more so it makes everything in life better. When you are excited to get up and face the day you are going to get a lot more out of life. It's not always easy to bottle it up and I have had years without much of it. But it comes quickly and and next thing you know you're playing volleyball 6 nights a week, or driving 6 hours to see live music.

My Mom, who when she doesn't get a blog update calls to make sure I'm all right, isn't going to like this picture. But I wanted to showoff the tie-dye wayfarer sunglasses you can buy at Sunshine Daydream. Someone said they look like something a 9 year old would wear to me. Hey 9 year olds spend money too :) And sorry about the facial hair Mom, but we can at least agree I can shave it off, which is different than that nice arm tattoo your 16 year old grandson is sporting.

I'm not going to bore you with my volleyball records this week but here is my Thursday night team. I will take this opportunity to talk more about our Ridge exercise challenge that is going on since my volleyball points are keeping me in the chase. This challenge has really turned out to be a good thing for all of the contestants. On days when you don't feel like exercising you know that your competitors are getting points so it motivates you to get out and do something. It is more accountability which is always good when it comes to exercise. I would really like to see the Ridge sort of embrace something like this to carry the spirit of the program on with people when they leave. One thing everyone misses post-ridge is the camaraderie that you get at the program. Are we perfect, not close, we all have zero point days. Has it made us work harder, do things when we didn't feel like it, and have some fun when doing it. Absolutely! So thanks and Congratulations to my competitors in the June challenge. Hopefully there will be some more competitors in July. Truth be told, I really think I need a food and drink challenge more than an exercise challenge.

Want to know what a $1,000 awning looks like? It's bright, it stands out, it's my favorite color. I don't love it, but I like it. The new store has been doing great. I'm not used to working in the store 5 days a week, but I'm getting used to it. This is a really busy time downtown in Madison and it should be a fun couple months with both stores going strong. But make no mistake I will be really happy when we are back down to just the one, which will happen in late September.

Wanted to give a shout out to my friends, whom I really love and who really add so much fun to my life. Had a post volleyball Sunday cookout where they schooled me in "teste toss" which involves throwing these two ball connected by a string at standing targets. Let's just say I need some practice. Should have broken out the cornhole game as I can at least hold my own there.

Followed that up with a spirited game of Apples to Apples. Again I fell a wee bit short of 1st place and by wee bit I mean tons.

I hope everyone has a great week. Get out and enjoy some sunshine. Watch some world cup, root for the USA, or the unofficial team of Sunshine Daydream... Holland. Call your friends and do something they like to do. Play that lobster card cause everyone loves lobster. Peace, love and Passion, Jim

Monday, June 7, 2010

Real Men Wear Pink

Loneliness is such a sad affair, and I can hardly wait to be with you again.
What to say, to make you come again?
Come back to me again, and play your sad guitar

Don't you remember you told me you loved me baby?
You said you'd be coming back this way again baby.
Baby, baby, baby, baby, oh, baby.
I love you, I really do.
The Carpenters
(Leon Russell, Bonnie Delaney)

So I figured I would start this weeks blog by talking about some of the music I never got to see live, that I wish I had. Obviously the Beatles is going to lead the list for most people that didn't see them, but for me the list starts with The Carpenter's. I just adore Karen's voice and it never ceases to bring a smile to my face.
Why do I bring this up. I had Karen in my ears as I did the Komen 5K Breast Cancer on Saturday. I believe the number of racers/walkers/funwalkers numbered around 13,000. The workers, well a little short to handle that number. It was somewhat hard to figure out where to go and when to start so I just started and went on my merry way. The crowd was so thick at time that I almost expected a cowboy to mosey over and start to brand us. I'm not a big fan of crowds, even less of a fan of sweating in big crowds. But I made my way around the 3.2 mile loop, ear phones on , eyes down, in a respectable time, although about 5 minutes slower than my tri time. I got passed by at least 100 kids under 13, a few people in blue jeans, and one lady in a walking cast. I will say that I was inspired by the unconditional and irrevocable love that so many of the racers expressed with their signs and balloons, and outfits. It was in no way a sad event, and I was impressed by the numbers, and families, and teams who joined in.

I was called a "dork" by one of my friends for wearing a polo shirt for the 5K. But I wanted to sport the pink. If you look close you can see the capital in the background.
I have just about finished my first week in the fitness challenge I am doing with four other ridgers. 2nd place for me and I picked up points for swimming, jogging, bike riding, lifting weights, sit ups and volleyball. Congrats to my fellow competitors. Between the five of us we did over 100 units of exercise with one unit being a mile walked, 2.5 mile on bike, or a half hour of weights or sports. Not bad :)

Speaking of volleyball I had a full week of 6 nights of play. This is my undefeated Wednesday night team. We play 5 people against 6 and as you can see by the picture I get to sweat. I have done some things on the court this summer that I haven't done in the past and it sure feels good.

Here is my Monday night team. We are in first place on Monday, but do have a blemish on the books. And just so you dont think I am only talking about the good teams. I'll add that my Tuesday team is getting spanked and is 0-3, Thursday is coming together and is 4-2, Friday is two weeks in and we are 3-0, and Sunday is my good friends and we are improving by leaps and bounds but are 3-5 on the year. Thanks to the Ridge for giving us t-shirts to wear. There seemed to be a surplus of shirts when the name change made most of the ridge stuff obsolete. So green Battle of the Bulge shirts got worn for all 3 victories tonight.
Nothing else too profound this week. With 6 nights in the sand I am never home at night. I am really happy though and so glad to be playing so much. Nothing major on the immediate agenda. Going to St Louis in just over two weeks to se The Eagles and The Dixie Chicks together in concert. I need to make a trip to Arlington Park soon as I haven't seen the horses run in awhile. Both stores are making a little money and it should be a very fun summer. I have been a bike riding fool and hope to keep cycling away the summer. Hope all's well with you guys. Peace, Jim