Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Prairieland Nanobots Take 5th at State

For the second consecutive year, a team from Prairieland Elementary has advanced to the Illinois State Competition of the First Lego Robotics League. Last year the Explorers took 3rd place, this year the Nanobots took 5th. Here is a link to a few of the photos taken at the competition.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Grand Canyon

We had probably one of the shortest visits to the Grand Canyon ever recorded in American History. We drove through a snowstorm in Flagstaff on the way there, and knew we would be hitting it on the way back to Phoenix. The day was slowly coming to a close, and it was very cold out. When we got to the South rim, we knew there was less than an hour of sunlight left, and we wanted to use as much of that daylight for our return trip as possible. So we walked to the edge, snapped a few photos from two locations, then ran freezing back to the car. Total time spent looking over the edge, probably less than 10 minutes. The view was absolutely incredible, and the following pictures don't even come close to doing the Canyon justice.

Most of these photos are shot facing straight North, looking at the North rim.

These next few shots were done looking more Northwest.

These last shots are all looking to the East.

As we were leaving the parking lot, this deer walked out in front of the car in front of us. I think four or five cars stopped and there were easily half a dozen people standing beside their stopped cars trying to get a picture. He seemed very tame, and in this shot is standing about 10 yards from me.

Michele and I have decided that a repeat trip to the Canyon is in order at some unknown point in the future, this time though we will take the boys with us. The Grand Canyon is most definitely something everyone should get a chance to see in their lifetime.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Cactus Excursion

There were many great things to see in Arizona, but one that really stood out was the cactus. After Michele's race, we decided we would spend the afternoon driving around looking for cool cactus to photograph. We were not disappointed.

Our trek started with a stop at this BBQ place in the desert. I think it was the name that sort of drew us in. Any place with a name like Bad Ass BBQ, has got to have some good BBQ, and you know what, they did.

We found cactus of varying sizes and shapes. This cactus had more of a fuzzy look.

This cactus looked like something out of a Dr Seuss book.

Then we found the Saguaro.

Michele is pointing at the needles on one. They could definitely pierce a finger.

There was a forest of these giant cactus. They were everywhere, and they were huge!

Here's a play by play of the conversation Michele and I were having during this photo session.

Me: "Go stand by that one, it's huge!"

Michele: "This is the last one"

Me: "Oh my God!, go stand by that one, it's huge!"

Michele: "This is the last one"

Me: "Holy...!, go stand by that one, it's huge!"

Michele: "This is the last one"

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Rock n Roll Marathon AZ

On January 12th, Michele and I traveled to Arizona so that Michele could run in the PF Chang's Rock n Roll marathon. This was the first time either of us had been to Arizona, and man was it worth the trip. What an extraordinary time we had. Over the next couple of days I will be posting some photos from that trip.

I liked the architecture of this building in downtown Tempe, and hoped to capture it with a photo. Unfortunately, my picture doesn't convey very well that this particular side angles back about 10 degrees or so. Michele as usual looks absolutely beautiful.

I was drawn to the architectural style of this church, but unfortunately could not get the angle I wanted due to massive construction that was taking place across the street.

Michele and I were surprised by the tropical look of Phoenix, Tempe and Scottsdale, with all the palm trees everywhere. I'm not sure what we expected, but we found the cities to be very pleasant visually.

The half marathon ended right in front of Arizona State University's, Sun Devil Stadium. It was a cloudless, but cold day. So cold in fact, that it broke 20 year old records. It was 27 degrees when the race started. There were numerous runners taken to the hospital for hypothermia, including last year's female marathon winner.

These are the first place (Morten Bostrom) and second place (Kyle Goklish) winners of the half marathon.

That's Michele about a quarter mile out from the finish. She's the one with the green sweatshirt tied around her waist.

Here is Michele as she dashes the last 100 yards. I almost killed myself running after her to get this shot.

This is the vast ocean of runners as they work their way through the final maze towards the exit.

Luckily, Michele spotted me. I was standing on top of a dumpster so that I could get a better look at the 37,000 plus runners. Had she not found me, we may still be looking for each other. With that many runners and all of the viewing public, it was extremely crowded.

This is the scene that awaited the runners outside of the Runner's Exit. It was a mob scene, with spectators trying to find runners, and runners trying to push their way out.

Michele poses with her medal. She had her best half marathon finish yet with a time of 2:10:56

I couldn't resist taking a picture of this pick up. Believe it or not, the back end is not dragging on the ground. Strangely, I think this is the look the driver was actually looking for.

A final shot of Michele amongst some palm trees. This was taken a couple blocks from PF Chang's where we went to enjoy some Chinese Bistro after the race. As usual, it was delicious.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Kris and Joni

My sister Kris and her friend Joni around 1986.

Thanksgiving Snowstorm

In November of 2004, on the Friday before Thanksgiving break, there was a good sized snow storm, bigger than we normally get. We welcomed the snow, but then we noticed our cat was missing...

We posted signs like this all over the neighborhood...

Four days later, a man knocked on our door with Sam in his arms. She had fallen into a window well at the back of his house and had been trapped. We were so relieved to have her back home.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A Day in the Park

After soccer practice on a summer day in 2001, Alex and Nick were gracious enough to pose for a few pictures by the playground, I'm sure glad they did.

Playing to the camera