31 May 2011

Memorial Weekend '11

A quick run-down of the highlights from a fantastic weekend:
  • Although our day in the park tradition got scrapped due to rain, a rainy forecast and a rainy night before, we made the most of our get together at Farragut.  Some delicious salads, grilling and desserts.  A fun summer reading discussion around the lunch table.  A walk around town & frisbee tossing after the day turned out to be quite nice.
  • The rain-out was definitely bittersweet, because although we didn't have all our usual fun in the park, it also meant that both other brothers would be home to help with the big project that homebase had in mind.  We disconnected her cable and then installed a digitalHD antenna on her house, ran coax cable from it, into the basement and back up into her living room.  This was NOT something I was eager to attempt to think through or carry out on my own.  But, with our combined brains, we got it all done successfully with only a quick run to Shen for a bigger (monster) drill bit.  And the picture quality was fantastic!  She's pulling in over a dozen channels, great quality, and not paying a dime!  Tempting.  And we were rewarded for a job well done, by getting to watch the last 30 minutes of the Champions League final!  Barcelona rightly won.  They play an almost unbeatable style of football and are the deserved kings of European soccer for the second year in a row.
  • homebase & I went for a drive Saturday night and went through the Riverton Wildlife Refuge.  This is a place that I remember going to a lot growing up.  Sitting in the back of our station wagon, looking through binoculars for birds of all sorts.  I haven't been back there for probably 15 years and it was fun to check it out.  We didn't see a ton of species this time, but it was still a great time.  I had to make a trip to Half-price Books and pick up a copy of Peterson's Field Guide to Birds of Eastern and Central North America.  Now I can start checking off my 'life list'!  We did see Great Blue Herons, cat birds, a kingfisher, a yellow warbler, 3 deer, 2 raccoons, Canada geese, robins, goldfinches, and red-winged blackbirds, as well as a very disturbing sight of a bird that had tried to fly into the hole on a birdhouse, gotten stuck, died, and then had swollen up and was still there.  GROSS!
  • Sunday morning, I got the chance to go to mass at St. Benedict's in Nebraska City and see the parish that homebase has been high on for a while now.  Physically a small church but pretty and I liked the priest's homily and his energetic delivery.  He is very tech savvy and his example of tech use in school and collaborative learning are great!
  • On the way back to Des Moines, I listened to a 'This American Life' podcast (#432, "Know When to Hold Them").  T.A.L. has been pretty spotty it seems lately, but there was a ten-minute piece (Act #1, "Is this war or is this hearts?") in this one that I just loved.  I actually went back listened to it again when I finished the podcast.  It starts at the ten minute mark and tells about a son who has lost his faith and now seeks to 'save' others from being fooled by debating and poking factual holes in all their scripture stories.  If you've got 10 minutes, I thought it was pretty worthwhile.  
  • A fun grill out provided a chance to see the Holtgrewe's new house and catch up with friends (as well as eat delicious food and get owned in baggo.)  Very nice place!  I love how nice sitting on a patio with friends can be.  
  • I kicked off the actual Memorial Day with an 8 mile run with Nicole, both of us sporting our red, white and blue.  Beautiful morning to run.  Nice breeze, great sun, not too hot.  Followed that up with burgers on the Jethro's patio, a little time in the garden to stake up my tomatoes, a little Bourne Identity time indoors when it was really warm and them cooking a great meal.  I'd seen Bobby Flay fire-roast some poblanos to top his steak on TV that morning and thought I'd try the same.  So we had rib-eyes, marinated with garlic, EVOO, Italian parsley & jalapeno.  Asparagus on the grill.  And then pureed those poblanos with just a little of the reserved marinade.  I LOVED the relish.  It reminded me a little of chimichurri sauce, which I am a huge fan of.  A walk up the street for some ice cream at Snookie's sealed off a pretty great weekend. 


  1. You had a big weekend, sure loved you coming home and being here, bring on summer!!!!!!!!

  2. The red, white, and blue themed run was an excellent idea! It was a fun day and great way to wrap up the long weekend. AND so excited that I finally had my first Snookie's ice cream! Another one I get to check off the list!