Jason's Untimely Thoughts

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Archive for March, 2009

Fun in the Valley of the Sun

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I had a great trip to Phoenix/Scottsdale over the weekend.  A great time.

I’d been there once before, on a Spring Break trip in 1993 or so.  We hit Santa Fe, the Grand Canyon, and Phoenix that trip, spending St. Patrick’s Day in Phoenix.  Since I was never able to find anything close to a reasonable rate on a rental car this trip, I caught a Super Shuttle from the airport to the hotel.   They would make a few stops first, but $16.  I’ll take it.

First stop from the airport, about midnight, pull in front of a bar.  I look out, it’s Seamus McCaffery’s.  I curse.  In my one previous trip to Phoenix, that’s the one bar we went to.  Crazy.  When I finally make it to the hotel at 1:00 a.m. local time (3:00 my normal time), I email the guys that were on that earlier trip.  “I’m relatively sure I took off my pants in that place to show my ankle tattoo!” came the reply.  Yes, you did.  A story that I told to everyone on the shuttle just a few hours earlier.

The rest of the trip was all basketball and Mizzou fans.  Which was great.  I love football… love it.  But basketball trips are better than football trips, without a doubt.  The ‘family’ is so much smaller, the games are more frequent, it’s just a more intimate and fun atmosphere.  Football everyone is so wound up until the game starts that there’s no fun.  Then once the game is over, everyone scatters and that’s that.

Basketball is just more relaxed.  And then in tournaments, there’s another game in a day or two.  So, especially after a big win, everyone comes back to the hotel and hangs out.  It’s fun to see the players, coaches, and families in that atmostphere.  They and the athletic department staff are able to hang out with fans and supporters some, soak in the congratulations.  And then the Mizzou fans just dominate the hotel bar and run the always understaffed group ragged, but good-naturedly.

It’s a group of uncommon backgrounds together for a common thing, so a real sense of camaradarie develops.  It’s awesome, no matter how cheesy it sounds here.

Beyond the wins and losses, the best part is being able to connect and re-connect with other Mizzou fans, the staff that’s on a bit of a working vacation, and everyone associated with the deal.  Just a fun time with new friends and old friends.  And the games themselves offer another opportunity to connect with friends and fans that are in from wherever.

Plus, it was in Phoenix, in the sun, in 80 degrees, didn’t see a single cloud, saw lots of beautiful scenery, and the Tigers played exceptionally well twice.

Yay Phoenix.  Go Tigers.

Written by Jason Becking

March 31st, 2009 at 2:59 pm

Posted in Mindless Ramblings

Congratulations Time

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Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping… seems like it has been 2 months since I’ve written anything, but really only 2 weeks.

It’s Spring Break week in Columbia, so the kids are in Malden for their vacation.  For some reason it struck me on Sunday how different the pace of life is when they’re not around.  Lunch took about 2 minutes, dinner another 4-5 minutes, going to the hardware store didn’t result in an argument over not buying a crappy plastic toy.  And so on.

With a relaxed pace in place, I couldn’t let it be.  Drove to KC Monday night for dinner with an old friend and then to the semi-finals of the NAIA Men’s Basketball Tournament.  My old employer, Columbia College, made quite a run in the tournament, winning four games before eventually falling in the National Championship game.  Much congratulations to them.

With the kids out of town and the basketball Tigers doing well (Big 12 Tournament Champions, 30 wins for first time in school history, etc.), I’m headed to Phoenix tonight for their Sweet 16 contest with the University of Memphis on Thursday. On these trips I’ve taken to moving Sarah’s luggage tag to whichever suitcase I end up bringing.  A stupid thing that started by chance, but she’d certainly be accompanying me under the correct circumstances.

The Tigers will then play on Saturday night for the chance to go to the Final Four, so I’ll stick around for that game too.  Much congratulations to them, too.

My older brother Mitch is newly engaged.  He and Anita are planning a May 30 wedding in SE Missouri.  While purely a coincidence, that is our 10th Wedding Anniversary.  Adelaide is going to be a flower girl, JT might/not be a ring bear.  Much congratulations to them too!

Our new kitchen is having new ceramic tile installed starting today also.  I went with black & white checkerboard, similar to the linoleum that was installed originally.  Emptied the kitchen for that installation, including a completely empty refrigerator.  Not surprisingly, the room looks sad and empty, but will be better when we return.

The kids continue to do very well.  Amazing to talk to them on the phone now when they’re away, as both of them sound so grown up.

I continue to be blah.  The things and people that excite me excite me less than they used to (although the Tigers game vs Marquette certainly got me going).  New things either aren’t all that intersting to me or aren’t all that interested in me.  I keep trying though, including going to ridiculous lengths (flying to Arizona by myself on a whim, for example) to enjoy the things that I know I will.

Nothing funny to say, it seems.  If anyone has a connection with a Phoenix-area rental car company, send them my way.  Congrats Cougars, Congrats Tigers, Congrats Mitch & Anita, and on a side note, screw ku.

Written by Jason Becking

March 25th, 2009 at 11:40 am

Posted in Mindless Ramblings

Everything Changes

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Thanks to Carolyn Preul and Cristin Mumma, we now have a logo for Everything Changes.

No other new details at the moment, but those details can be found at the Everything Changes group on facebook.

Written by Jason Becking

March 12th, 2009 at 2:28 pm

Posted in Everything Changes

Cheese Grill Doesn’t Cut It at Dinner Club

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I’ve long had an aversion to cooking.  Basically, I’m completely content having a sandwich or a bowl of cereal for almost any meal.  When that doesn’t work, restaurants will.

With the onslaught of kindness since July, we had meal upon meal delivered to us, which fed my aversion well.  Although that stopped a couple of months ago, I’d still avoided the stove and the oven nicely (microwave doesn’t count).  Not even a frozen pizza in the oven by my hand.

Tuesday is Adelaide’s dance night.  Dance is at 6:15, we try to start the bedtime routine at 7:30, I normally get home from work about 5:15, so Tuesday is a mad rush day, normally resulting in a hurried stop at a restaurant on the way to dance.

This week I asked the kids what they wanted for dinner.  Adelaide said a turkey sandwich, which was very easily done.  Jack said “Cheese grill”.  Huh?  Adelaide informed me that meant a grilled cheese sandwich and “Oh, but you don’t know how to make that.”  So, for the first time in literally months, probably years, I turned on the burner and “cooked” a meal.  It’s an extremely trivial thing, but one that had much symbolism and meaning to me.  I’m not sure what the meaning was, but it was awfully hard to turn that dial.

Dinner Club is also this week, which also has much meaning to me.  Our group of seven couples was originally started by good friends of ours that have since moved.  We rotate houses and themes, trying to gather monthly but really fairly sporadically.  When the group first started, Jack was either nearly born or a newborn, so we missed the first many many times.  By the time we finally attended, our friends had moved to Texas, the other couple we knew had moved to Washington, and we sat down at a table full of people that we didn’t know and that weren’t quite sure how we came to be in their group.

Overtime, I’ve come to think of each person in that group as great friends.  Great friends.  We had them to our house for regularly scheduled dinner club almost immediately after Sarah’s surgery/diagnosis in May 2006, which was a welcome home, a welcome back to normal, and a welcome sign that things were going to be OK for us.  In ways the group could never have known.

We depended on that group for medical advice and were fortunate beyond all measures that we’d joined them for that reason alone.  Everyone had kids, so parenting advice.  Different circles, so just a great way to go out and be adults when the occasion allowed.  It is a happy gathering of happily married people.  We’d sometimes make a point (most times with direction from a specific clubber) to sit away from spouses…. would almost always make a point to sit boy-girl-boy-girl (again, most times with direction from a specific clubber).

Various of the group would have larger gatherings, where kids and non-dinner club people were also allowed.  One of the only specific things Adelaide remembers about this past July is that she missed two of her favorite July 4th events because we were in New Orleans… the annual Stewart Park parade and going to a couple’s family farm for revelry and fireworks.

It’s a rare group that Sarah & I only knew together.  No one was “her friend” or “my friend” first, they were simply our friends.  And they’re all still our friends, but I feel out of place any more.  So, at least for now, Friday night will be my last dinner club.  I hope to still be invited to the occasional larger gatherings.  And I hope I can attend those, where the reminders of my lack of coupledom are less obvious yet can still be around the new group of our old friends.

Written by Jason Becking

March 12th, 2009 at 10:34 am

Posted in Mindless Ramblings

Hold That Hug final contribution

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I’d tried to spread the word that Hold That Hug photos would be available only until January 31.  As I knew there were a few people that still intended to order, I left up past that until those orders were placed.

Those orders came in last week, though, so the photos are no longer available.  If you’re reading this and would still like to order, please let me know and we can work something out.

I’m sending the final contribution of $308.59 to POYi today.  By my quick calculations, that brings the total raised to $4,085.86 from 109 orders.

Thanks again to the photographers who donated their services and all who helped make the event happen.

Hold That Hug Crew

Hold That Hug Photographers

Hold That Hug Photographers

Written by Jason Becking

March 3rd, 2009 at 9:33 am

Posted in Hold That Hug

Cemetery Details Update

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I finalized the order for Sarah’s memorial stone last week, payment included, so that is officially in the works now.  It’ll likely be another 3-4 months before delivery.

Below is the working drawing.  The only change from what I’d posted previously is going away from a bronze vase on top.  I was simply trying to avoid providing temptation for troublemakers.

SEMB Memorial Stone

SEMB Memorial Stone

I’d ordered the bronze suns and gerber daisies while I was in San Antonio for the Alamo Bowl, those arrived last week as well.  (Bad) pictures below.

Written by Jason Becking

March 2nd, 2009 at 3:30 pm