Sunday, February 07, 2016

Nature Walk

Michele discovered an awesome nature area North of where we live, and so today we took Cody out there and we let him have the run of the place.





Cody looked like a kid in a candy store. We'll be returning to that nature area again. Often.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Nick Got Stitches

Tonight was Nick's second to last night at work before heading back to college, and while cutting open a bag of pizza sauce, accidentally sliced his finger with a very sharp knife:





After two hours and four stitches, Nick headed back to work to finish his shift. Michele and I are grateful it wasn't much worse.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Flashback to 1979

In the summer of 1979, after a year of careful planning, my good friend Steve and I climbed inside my 1976 Vega hatchback and headed to the West for two weeks of hiking and camping in the Bighorn Mountains.


Though we had planned extensively for this trip, things did not go as originally planned.

Our initial plan was to park our car to the South of Bighorn peak, just off of Hwy 16, then hitchhike about 40 miles to the Northeast. From there, we would hike back to our car using a preplanned route that took us through the Bighorn mountain range. The return trip would last about a week.

Something we hadn't planned for while including hitchhiking as a major component of our trip, was the possibility that we may not reach our destination. It turned out that there were three things we hadn't considered; First, most people don't pick up hitchhikers. Second, there isn't much traffic on Hwy 16, so the odds of getting picked up are that much more remote. And third, even if we did manage to get a ride, there was no guarantee the driver was going as far as we needed to go.

So, while sitting for hours along the road waiting for someone to pick us up, we had lots of time to goof around. One of the products of that goofing around was the picture below where I pretended to hitchhike with the knife I brought along just in case we encountered any grizzly bears:


We finally did get a ride, but that person only took us about 10 or so of the 40 miles we needed to go, and once again, we found ourselves hitchhiking alongside a very quiet and peaceful highway. It was at that location that things took another unplanned turn, which was a torrential downpour that lasted two days.

Once we realized the rain wasn't stopping anytime soon, and that nobody was going to pick up two soaking wet hitchhikers, we pitched our tent in a small clearing alongside the road. There we sat for two days waiting for the rain to subside.

When the rain finally let up, we talked it over, and decided to throw out the original plan, and instead just hitchhike back to the car. From there we could hike up into the mountains, find some midway point, then hike back.

This is a shot of Steve standing alongside the trail shortly after we began our hike towards the mountains that were looming off in the distance:


Steve and I set up our first camp at the Southern end of Lake Helen. We chose the spot because of the incredible view of the mountains off in the distance. It was stunning. The following picture captures a very small taste of what was an unbelievably beautiful view:


After the night at Lake Helen, we packed up and continued North. We couldn't wait to get to the base of those mountains.

We set up our next camp at Mistymoon Lake, which probably gets its name from the fact that it is very round, just like a moon crater. Once our camp was set up, we made a spur of the moment decision to climb one of the smaller mountains nearby. The next photo is a view from the top of that small mountain looking to the South. The lake that is further way is Lake Helen, and our previous night's camping spot was at the far end:


After getting the mountain climbing bug, we decided to take on Bomber Mountain, which is significantly bigger than the one I took the previous picture from. We were unaware of the reason behind the naming of the mountain, but it became obvious when we stumbled across the wreckage of a B-17 Flying Fortress that had hit the mountain in 1943, killing all 10 who were on board. As many had before us, we carved our names into the metal wreckage to leave our mark upon the mountain.

There were other day hikes after Bomber Mountain, but no more mountain climbing hikes. During one of our day trips, we were nearly run over by a deer that was running for cover during a hail storm. I don't know which was more startled, us or the deer.

All in all it was a fantastic trip, one that I'll never forget. Here's one final shot of Steve and I which was taken by some hikers we encountered shortly after a rain storm:


Glad our planning included the possibility of rain storms. I don't know what we would have done without our rain ponchos.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Happy Birthday My Love

Today is the birthday of my lovely wife Michele. I'd tell you which birthday it is, but, then I'd have to kill you. Since neither of us wants that, let's just settle for taking a look back at Michele's life through a handful of pictures, starting with Michele when she was a year old:


The next picture makes it painfully obvious that Michele was a good kid, because, well look for yourself, she was a band kid, and everyone knows that band kids are the best kids:


The next photo was taken on Michele's wedding day. With her are her grand parents, whom Michele loved dearly:


What's obvious from the next photo is that Michele hooked up with a pretty nice looking young man, and hey, cute is an understatement to describe those kids:

A trait that I really admire about Michele is her commitment to healthy living. Here she is running one of her many half marathons:


Here'a a fairly recent shot of Michele, the mother of two college students, and my best friend:


As you can see, Michele just keeps getting more and more beautiful. Here's to many more birthdays my love.

Friday, January 01, 2016

Happy New Year!

One of my favorite New Years was the one spent at South Dakota's Terry Peak in 1988.

Michele and I met up with two of my siblings and their girlfriends, along with my mother and stepfather for a ski weekend over the New Year's holiday. On New Year's eve, while standing at the base of the mountain, I managed to capture two iconic photographs of my mother and stepfather toasting the coming new year:



It was the perfect ski trip. The snow was perfect, the temperatures were perfect. Everyone had a fantastic time.

Here are a few shots of the skiing action:




This final shot is of Michele. She refrained from skiing on this trip due to advice from her doctor, but ignored that advice on later ski trips:

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Flashback to 1967

Pictured below is my uncle Bob (everybody has an uncle Bob, don't they?) and my brothers and I.


That's me with a missing sock.

A lot has changed since this photo was taken. Bob doesn't smoke anymore, and I no longer sit on his lap. One thing that hasn't changed is that Bob is still one of the kindest people I've ever known.

It's an honor to be Bob's nephew.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Flashback to 2003

Alex and Nick anchor themselves to the sand of the Jersey Shore to keep the surf from sucking them back into the Atlantic Ocean:

















They spent the better part of the day playing tag with the ever growing surf:


A rope anchored to the shore allowed them to stand toe to toe with the biggest of the waves:


But, every once in a while, the surf would get the upper hand and rise up victoriously:


At the end of the day, we drove home with two very tired boys.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Peep Invasion Redux

Christmas break brought about a veritable peep explosion, which translated into a peep invasion. Fun was had by all:



Monday, December 07, 2015

Underway Replenishment

While underway, aircraft carriers travel with an armada of support ships. Some of those ships serve as protectors, and some serve as suppliers of food, fuel, and anything else you can possibly imagine. When supplies are transferred from a supply ship to the carrier, the two ships get up close and personal which makes the operation risky, but also provides for great photographic opportunities for guys like me who like to take pictures.



This photograph was taken in 1983 somewhere in the vastness of the  Indian Ocean. That's the USS Coral Sea on the right, and on the left is one of her support partners, the USS Mars.

This operation of transferring supplies from one ship to the other is called underway replenishment, or UNREP. This particular UNREP was done using Chinook helicopters to move the goods from the Mars to the Coral Sea, but sometimes the transfer is done using cables and pulleys. Both are amazing things to watch.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Good Thing This Picture Doesn't Have Sound

I can't sing now, nor could I sing when this picture was taken in 1985:


I still liked to play though, and I was fortunate that my fellow shipmates were tolerant of obnoxious noise.

The poor souls that were present to witness this horrible travesty played out over many nights have my deepest sympathies,

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Peep Invasion

A lot of faces appeared on the doorstep last night that we haven't seen in a while. Naturally, I had to document the event:

Jason, Nick, Brian, Evan, Alex, JT, Bryce, Trey

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Something is Lurking in the Woods

A mysterious creature was spotted lurking in the woods near our home earlier today. Fortunately, the person who spotted it was able to get the following photograph as they ran screaming for their life:


The photograph very clearly depicts a terrifying creature of unknown origin, and this video footage seems to corroborate the authenticity of the photograph.

On the other hand, it could be that the photograph was intentionally made to be blurry so that it wouldn't be obvious that it's just a person underneath a green blanket, and the video could be just an additional component of an elaborate hoax.

Hmmm, which seems more reasonable to you?

Here are four guys who know which scenario is true:

Creature Hunters - Drew, Alex, Nick and Jason

Hanging Out Just Like in the Old Days

Andrea stopped by to play cards and hang out. Naturally, we had to get the camera out and take some photos, both serious and silly:



A Friend in Need

I met this amazing 3 legged dog in San Antonio earlier this year, his name is Sgt Rambo N577 :

Sgt Rambo N577
Yesterday, I discovered that Rambo had to be rushed into emergency surgery to remove foreign objects from his stomach and intestine. Those objects turned out to be socks. Seems that Rambo likes to eat things that aren't always digestible.

Sgt Rambo is a war hero, and this year, was recognized by the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards.

The latest news is that Rambo is out of surgery and is doing well. The problem now is that the surgery is expected to cost around $3500.00. A gofundme site has been set up to take donations. If you have a few bucks that you can afford to spare, you'd be doing a great thing for a great dog.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Things Were Very Different Back Then

In 1977, I was an 8th grade student at Patrick Henry Junior High School in Sioux Falls, SD. Occasionally, I would bring my camera to school with me, and if I got lucky, I would get a classic shot of my friends, kind of like this one:

Don, Bryan, Bob and Bruce
Oddly enough, we were part of the popular in-crowd. Today, we'd probably be shunned by our peers, and committed by the authorities.

Bob getting choked by David

Saturday, November 21, 2015

First Snow

The first snow of the year fell today. Overall, I think we got about 3 inches.


The ground is still pretty warm, so I don't expect the snow to stick around very long. Glad that Michele and I raked all the leaves last weekend.

Saying Goodbye to Sara

Another peep is spreading her wings and leaping from the nest. This time it's Sara. Soon she'll be leaving town for basic training in the the Army National Guard.


Good luck Sara! We wish you all the best on this new chapter of your life.

Once a Big Game Hunter

Hunting played a major role in my life while growing up in South Dakota. I hunted with my grandfather, my father, my brothers, and my friends. Everybody I knew was a hunter. In 1979, at the tender age of 16, I shot my first deer.


I remember how proud my grandfather was when I gave him the above picture. With a proud smile on his face, he put his hand on my shoulder and said "Dave, big game hunter". He then built a frame by hand and proudly hung the picture in his home.

After my grandfather passed away, the picture made its way into storage, and after many years of conditions not very conducive to preserving photos, eventually made its way back to me.

When I look at the picture now, I look at it through the eyes of someone who doesn't hunt anymore, and has no interest in hunting ever again. I've changed over the years, and while I don't begrudge those who continue to hunt, I just don't have the heart for it anymore. Today, I'd rather photograph a deer than shoot it.

Knowing my grandfather as I did, I'm sure he'd be just as proud of Dave, the big game photographer.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Maneater

The A-7 Corsair is known as the maneater due to the ease with which it can suck people into its engine intake. Trust me, you don't want to stand in front of one of these jets when its engines are at full thrust.



The photo above was taken in the mid 1980s on the flight deck of the USS Coral Sea. That's a much younger version of myself standing next to the maneater, and those missiles attached to it are AIM-9 Sidewinders.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Trading Places

In 1983, the USS Coral Sea and the USS Carl Vinson received orders to swap home ports. At the time, the Coral Sea was home ported in Alameda, Ca, and the Carl Vinson was home ported in Norfolk, VA. It was in March of that year that the two ships left their home ports to circumnavigate the globe, in opposite directions.

Months later, the two aircraft carriers would rendezvous in the middle of the Indian Ocean, which was approximately the half-way point. The photo below was taken at that rendezvous. That's me standing on the flight deck of the Coral Sea, with the Carl Vinson in the background shrouded by thick fog.


When I chose my orders following the completion of torpedoman training, I specifically passed up the Carl Vinson because it was an East coast carrier, and I wanted to be stationed on the West coast. Imagine my surprise and disappointment when I discovered that my first cruise on the Coral Sea was simply an exercise in switching coasts.

In hindsight, I'm glad I chose to serve on the Coral Sea. I met a lot of great people, and experienced some really amazing adventures.