Family Time

Family TimeThis past week, I spent the day with my family. My mom and dad invited us all over for dinner at their house and we had pot roast. There is nothing that says dinner with the family like pot roast, and my dad makes one of the best. I even manage to talk about an art show I saw at the local museum recently to the mild interest of the people at the table. No telling if they would  actually ever think to go to it themselves though.

After we had filled up on dinner, we all decided to watch the football game. I’m not a huge football fan and this game was a rerun from earlier, so my dad already knew the final score but it was sill a fun occasion. Even mom joined in on watching with all of us. I do have to say, however, that we didn’t really watch the game very closely. At one point, I came back from getting a drink from the fridge to find that the score had changed and most of the third quarter was dedicated to my dad discussing his  favorite thing in the world, hunting.

There is not a single time I can remember where my dad has not worked hunting into the conversation somehow. He really has a one track mind about it, and it’s actually kind of humorous sometimes. This time, he was excited because he felt that he had just found and bought the nicest hunting rangefinder. He is absolutely convinced that this little device will make him a deer-finding machine.

Of course he showed it off to all of us and we all gave our requisite “Ooh”s and “Aah”s. Well, except for mom, who had disappeared into the mud room to do some straightening up at that point. I’m pretty sure this was calculated on her part. I know both of my parents pretty well, and I guarantee that she had already been given a full demonstration of dad’s new toy earlier in the day and didn’t want to hear the pitch again.

Just when he was getting really into it, the fourth quarter of the game got exciting again, which kind of limited dad’s ability to extol the virtues of his hunting equipment. Like I said, football is not really my thing, and I actually had to have some of the finer points regarding a penalty explained to me. So, I felt a little lost and silly at points, but I guess that at least I learned something new. Overall, I was pretty proud that I could keep up with a sport hat I have always liked but thought had exceedingly complicated rules and inexplicable formations and plays.

Overall it was a fun game with a lot of quality time with the family. Of course, pot roast is always a plus and I have to admit that I enjoyed playing with dad’s rangefinder. Football, however, is still an inexplicable mystery to me.

These Boots Were Made for Walking

These Boots Were Made for WalkingPhysical activity is as important as artistic and intellectual activity, as has been addressed in a couple of other posts already. In the process of learning about the physical world and exercise, people can better learn about themselves. What I have learned is that simply walking and hiking are wonderful activities to stay fit and to take time to think and contemplate life. Walking is the gateway to physical well being for so many people.

It is a natural, stress free way to get moving and feel better, and it is flexible. I can walk anywhere, and it gives be time to think. It can be either relaxing or challenging depending on my pace and the terrain. As I have been moving more into hiking and trekking, it’s been a perfect fit for my lifestyle.

Since it has been summer and early fall recently, I have been doing quite a bit of walking and hiking in the past couple of months, and I have been wearing through my boots really rapidly in the process. My current pair has nearly worn through in one place on the sole, and the seams are coming apart in another.

I’m sure they are no longer effectively waterproofed because of this. Basically, they have had it, and I am really gong to have to replace them soon. Rather than buying a basic pair of hiking boots at the local sporting good store to replace them, I think that I may try something completely different. There is this great site online called Combat Boots Pro that reviews all sorts of different hiking boots, combat boots and tactical boots. The styles range from pretty military looking to boots that look more hiking orientated to some pretty stylish pairs that go up to the knee.

Now, I am not really a military type, and my time hiking is more about appreciating nature than anything. Having said this, I can see when something works. These boots seem to work, and I think that they would be a great help to my (almost) daily treks.

One of the things that I like about going the combat boot route is that they are not only unusual, but they are also built to last in all sorts of terrain. They seem like they could be a great solution for someone like me who wears through regular boots quickly. I am really in the market for shoes lately, I realize. But these will serve a great purpose for me.

New Pool News

New Pool NewsI have some really great news! We have just installed a new swimming pool at my house. After several months of research and planning, it is finally done, and it has been well worth it.

Because it was one of the bigger purchases I’ve made if a while, I though that I would give anyone how is interested I buying a pool some of the information that I’ve learned in this process. This blog post is only an overview of my experiences. A far more comprehensive place to get information is over at the Pool Home School website, which contains best above ground buying guide.

In or Above Ground

The first thing that anyone buying a pool needs to consider is whether they want an above ground or an in ground pool. We decided to go with an above ground model because they are easier to install and less costly than the in ground versions on the market. They are nice because they can also be moved to a new location and do not need to have any concrete poured or necessitate major permitting issues or construction changes made to the house.

Sizes, shapes and styles

Even after you have decided on whether to go with an in or above ground pool, there will be a myriad of models, features and price points to try to wade through. This can be overwhelming at first. I found that the best place to start is with measuring your outdoor space and coming up with the size of pool that is right for you.

After that, it becomes easier to focus on shapes and prices within that size range. We ended up with a 12 by 24 foot rectangular pool. From this point on, it is a fairly easy step toward choosing the remaining necessary equipment like a pool liner, filter and the efficient above ground pool pump possible. This process is really important, as it constitutes the mechanical workings of the pool. The filter and pump need to be the right model and have enough power for the pool you choose.   


A team came to take care of the installation of the pool, so we really didn’t have to worry about that part of the process much at all. The only things that are good to remember here are that it does take some time and digging and, also, to be sure to clear the ground of debris (and lawn furniture) before hand. After that, I had to learn how to install my pool lining, which was quite straightforward. I am learning to maintain the pool slowly but surely. After the weather changes, I’ll have to winterize the pool by cleaning the filter, draining the pump and covering he whole thing.

Buying a new pool has been a process, but I have really enjoyed this new addition to our home so far. I highly recommend investing in a pool if you are able. With this information in mind, you can also enjoy the benefits of swimming at home.

Pets and the Professional

Pets and the ProfessionalI know that I usually post about art here, but for this post, I am going to talk about something a little more personal than usual. My sister has been trying to make a career change recently. She has been unsatisfied with her 9 to 5 job, and a while ago she mentioned that she might be going to go for training so that she can start doing something new. I actually wasn’t completely sure what she was planning until recently when she and I talked on the phone. Over the course of our conversation, she told me she plans to become a professional dog groomer.

Okay, she has mentioned this career path before, but I admit that I was a bit surprised.  Then, I thought about it and it really makes sense for her. We have always had pets and she was the best with them of anyone in our family. She loves all animals and really is the caregiver of the family. She has an extremely calm and patient personality and is very good with dogs in particular. In turn, they seem to gravitate toward her in a why that is really special.

I naturally had a lot of questions for her. The first thing I asked her about how she can get training for this new enterprise. She pointed me to for more information and said that I would be really helpful in giving me more information. She is currently enrolling in a local program, which is very exciting for her. After that, she may try to get on with a vet or existing business, but what she really wants to do is set up a on-call grooming service so that she can be her own boss.

While I was looking over the link she gave me, I noticed that dog grooming requires not only good business sense but also a lot of technical knowledge. Even more, grooming is often very breed specific. I started to think about how particular some of the cuts are for dogs like poodles and Pomeranians. Those dogs really have a sense of style! It takes a steady hand and an eye for proportion and form to mange doing one of those cuts well.

I think my sister has the sense and ability to make this work for her. It is what she really wants, and I know that she will appreciate having more flexible work like this. I’m proud of my sister and I know that she will succeed in both her training and her future career.