Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Masters

My oldest brother Steve scored four tickets to the first practice round of the Masters this year, so he offered three of the tickets to me and my other two brothers. We gladly accepted, and off we went to Augusta, minus Steve, who ended up not being able to make it.

Here's a shot of my brothers Mike and John just prior to leaving the course to escape an incoming storm:

John and Mike at The Masters in Augusta
Prior to leaving the course, I did manage to get a picture of Bubba Watson, this year's Masters tournament winner:

Bubba Watson at the 2014 Masters
Even though we only spent about 4 hours on the course due to the storm, we still had a great time, and it made watching the Masters this year that much more personal. Since we're guaranteed tickets again next year, we may just do it again, and if we do, hopefully the weather will cooperate.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Perfect Timing

Lady luck was with me this morning as I called a local radio station in an attempt to qualify for a Hawaii trip give away. The radio jockey said he was looking for the third caller, and before he could finish his sentence, I was frantically dialing my phone.

I got through on the first attempt, and my name got added to the growing list of qualifiers. Here's the tweet they sent out after I qualified:

So I went in to work today feeling very lucky. But as it turned out, my luck was pretty insignificant compared to my good friend Jonathan's.

Jonathan and I have worked together for many years, and as we were eating lunch today, I noticed the time was about 12:28, and I knew that at 12:30 there would be another chance for someone to qualify for the Hawaii trip. So I encouraged Jonathan to give it a shot. Jonathan suggested we head outside to one of our cars so we could listen for the signal to call in, but I knew there wouldn't be time, so I suggested he just go ahead and call.

So, Jonathan pulled out his smart phone, entered the radio station's phone number, and dialed in. The phone immediately started ringing, and after only a couple rings, a voice came from the other end saying "congratulations, you're the 9th caller and the next qualifier for our Hawaii trip giveaway".

We were both stunned. Our timing couldn't have been better. Here's the tweet they sent out after Jonathan qualified:

So, on April 13th, Jonathan and I and probably around 200 other qualifiers, will be in a final drawing to determine who gets to go on the trip. Stay tuned.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Marker Man

Over 25 years ago, a great man by the name of Bruce Blake took up an unusual hobby. Driven by a love of history, and of storytelling, Bruce began to research some of the local history of southeastern South Dakota, which he then recorded on roadside historical markers. That quarter century of effort has culminated in the placement of over 160 historical markers throughout Minnehaha County.

Pictured here are Alex and Nick with one of Bruce's historical markers. This one is located in downtown Sioux Falls right across the street from the Holiday Inn, formerly the site of Fort Dakota:

This marker has special meaning to my boys, since Bruce dedicated it in their honor by inscribing their  names on the reverse side.

I met Bruce in the early 1980's while he was dating my mother. He was there to see me off in 1982 when I departed for the Navy, and he has been there for me and my family ever since.

This is a shot of Bruce, myself and my Mom at my graduation from the University of South Dakota in 1993:

Bruce holding my son Nick shortly after his birth in 1997:

In 2010, Bruce was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame for his historical work and other contributions to the state of South Dakota:

This month, Bruce, or as some call him, Marker Man, will be publishing a 550 page book that documents his 25 years of historical work. The book will be called Twelve Thousand Years of Human History: As Recorded on Historical Markers in Minnehaha County, S.D.

We are so proud of Bruce and his accomplishments. But more than that, we are honored to have been a part of his life during this magnificent journey. Congratulations, Marker Man, we love you.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Academic Achievement Award

This past week, Alex was recognized twice for outstanding academic excellence.

The first ceremony was held in the high school auditorium, and it included only those students who had achieved a 5.0 or higher last semester. Pictured with Alex is Principal Dave Johnson:

The second award ceremony took place in the school gymnasium. This one included only the senior student athletes who had maintained a GPA of 4.0 or higher over each of the last 7 semesters. Alex's cumulative GPA as of the end of the last semester is 4.85.

I wish I could have achieved but a fraction of what this kid has in his first 18 years of life.

Congratulations my son, you make your Mom and your Dad very proud.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Boys' Big 12 Conference Swimming and Diving Championships

Yesterday was the last high school swim meet that Alex will get to participate in, and it was one for the record books.

The meet took place at Champaign Centennial High School in Champaign Illinois, the same place olympic gold medalist Tyler Mcgill set records during his high school swimming years. One of those records, now belongs to 4 of our swimmers from Normal Community West.

The event was the boys 400 yard freestyle relay, and the pre-meet big 12 conference record, set in 2006 by McGill and 3 of his teammates, was 3:16.46.

Our team (deDianous, Loy, Kiper, deDianous) set the new big 12 conference record at 3:13.78.

Here's a shot of Alex preparing to dive in for the last time:

Here's Nick preparing for his last dive:

And a shot of the entire team after they pushed the coach into the pool, and collected the conference championship bar, which they've done for three consecutive years now:

Click on any of these pictures to make them larger.

And finally, the celebratory cake:

Congratulations Wildcats!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Welcome Skeptical Science Readers!

Believe me, I'm as surprised as anybody that my blog got mentioned in an article on one of my favorite web sites.

You won't find much science in any of my writing - I'm more of a science reader than I am a science writer - but man oh man am I proud of the science links I've accumulated over the years in the lower right hand margin. There's something there for every science lover. Enjoy!

Monday, January 06, 2014

It's Cold Out There

With temperatures outside hovering around - 11, Cody seems to prefer the balmy 70 that hovers around his futon. Can't say that I blame him.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Just Trying to Stay Warm

With temperatures dropping to record lows not seen since the Clinton administration, we're hunkered down just trying to stay warm. Seems 2014 is coming in like a lion, and its name is winter storm ION.

To warm things up a bit, here's a family shot taken on New Year's day.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Happy New Year

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Another Great Senior Photo

Monday, December 30, 2013

Another Senior Picture

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Senior Pictures

With graduation rapidly approaching - only one semester left - yesterday seemed like a good day to get Alex's Senior pictures out of the way. There were lots of good shots to choose from, more than we budgeted for, but we managed to whittle them down to an affordable number. The shot above is one of my favorites.

I'll post more as we approach the big date.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Feast Beggar

This year's Christmas feast included ham, which is one of Dolly's all time favorites. As expected, she worked her way around the table, taking full advantage of our inability to say no to her pretty face.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Linda Pays Us a Visit

In 2008, our good friend Linda moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico. We've been in contact ever since through email and phone, but this week she surprised us by stopping by.

Always great to catch up with old friends.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Michele and Sam Share a Moment

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Feeding Time

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Scooping Out

The official snow measurement, provided by the lovely Michele: 4 and 7/8"

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Dolly in a Snow Storm

It snowed pretty heavily this past weekend, we ended up with about 6 inches of snow or so at our house, but that's not the interesting part of this post. The interesting thing was the behavior of our cat Dolly. She doesn't particularly like going outside, she's a bit of a scaredy cat, but while it was snowing I found her pawing at the back door in an attempt to get outside. I was intrigued so I opened the door, and watched as she trotted out on the back deck. She then spent the next 10 minutes or so trying to swat snowflakes out of the air. It was very entertaining, and very unlike our cat.

I'm looking forward to the next snow storm, and apparently, so is Dolly.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Saxophone Choir at Angler's Manor

Alex and the rest of the saxophone choir performed their annual Christmas concert for the residents of Angler's Manor. A stellar performance by some stellar musicians.