Summer 2010 in review and Kook

First the book, then the summer in review...

Kook: What Surfing Taught Me About Love, Life, and Catching the Perfect Wave by Peter Heller was an over-a-month page-at-a-time bedtime read for me. And for the most part it worked well that way. The one night when I reached for it during 4am sleeplessness and he was describing the slaughtering of whales, well, that didn't work so much. However. Mostly, it was great, in that it captures the adventurous spirit of a guy who has done a lot of running around alone, and now takes on both surfing and couplehood (SPOILER: marriage, in fact) at the same time. I appreciated the unconventional approach to life that this portrayed, and the author, while not a deeply introspective type, did manage to catch himself being a crappy partner more than once. But the real appeal was the landscape, the descriptions of waves and surfing, and the appreciation of our oceans. Heller has been an activist in defense of marine wildlife, and he sprinkles the adventure with healthy doses of reality about how seriously the oceans are in trouble. And this was before the BP oil flooding of the gulf. He describes coastlines in California and Mexico vividly, highlighting the differences between them. The fact that (SPOILER) his last reported surfing attempt nets him both a tubular wave and six stitches gives you something of the flavor of the whole book.

And now for something completely different. It occurred to me recently that, hey, I have a blog. I know, I know, this seems a little silly, but what I mean is that I could, occasionally, seasonally, capture some of my own adventures for the sake of posterity and celebration and all that. I'm not looking to transition this into being some kind of online journal. But, occasionally, I though I might post some pics. As fall is well underway, with the official season having started on Thursday and everything (with a full moon, no less), I thought I'd take a brief tour back through the highlights of summer 2010.  If you're here for the books, then you'd probably want to skip this part.

Summer started with a big, mysterious back/leg injury for me in May, so our trip to Chicago had to be delayed for a month. So, in the meantime, I grew some peas in the garden. Carefully. In a raised bed, I'm glad to say.

It was a slow first month, but it picked up!  First there was the marvelous play Aquatown and Andrea who directed it.  Meeting her and hosting the cast party was a delightful experience, of which I wish I had pics.  Then came a party at Richard's (for Boyd's visit) where Jerry found a cat who loved his beard and I enjoyed meeting Richard's partner for the first time.  Plus a motley assortment of other folks.

i haz a beard

(I don't have pics of the Mikki/Ellen birthday shindig either, unfortunately, but that would go well with this.) 

Then, finally, in late June instead of late May, I had healed enough to get to Chicago for our anniversary trip.  Ben found us the most spectacular hotel ever, called The Wit.

Ben at The Wit

And the next day we went to the Art Institute and then to Millenium Park for the Bean and some live music...

Ben and a duck
Ben and Bean
Me and a lovely beer @ Karen's Cooked (great vegan restaurant)

And finally to good old MCA with its raucously painted steps.  Ending with dinner at Frontera Grill.  Best Mexican food since, well, Mexico last December.

Then we left Chicago proper and spent a fabulous day and night at Sof and Nadeem's house.  So glad we did all that, even though it took some serious recovery time!  Worth it.  Totally worth it.  

In July, Laura and Todd created an insane feast experience for a bunch of us as Golden Harbor, which does indeed harbor insanely good Chinese food!  I had thousand year eggs and tried the duck feet dish (but couldn't really handle it).  Was glad I tried, and gladder still to have the opportunity to try so close to home.  I really wish I had a pic of Laura, but every time I got out the camera S. was nursing, so I'm going to keep those off the internets.  Here are some of my other extraordinary peeps at that party.

Danielle is often a blur in my photos, but Marie and Beth are not.

But she's in focus here

Me and Meadow!  She was post knee-surgery
Cope and Walter had an amazing party at the Crystal Lake boathouse and lakefront there.  I didn't get pictures of the Volkswagen-sized bubbles that some of the fancy bubble folks created.  Nor did I get me and little S. hanging out much, though we spent a lot of quality time there.


I love Ben's expression.  Classic.
I'm not sure when this happened, but at some point there was this incredible bonfire at Kord's house.  We were safe about it, and extra careful with the babies (though it looks dangerous, there were 2 trenches, an adult sitting right behind that play structure, and several others to the left).   That fire was big and hot and intense!  

L., Lorien, and Kate

Kord at the grill.  Crazy good italian sausages!

And we bought a water table for S. to have to play with at our house, and this was a night when Lorien joined us with L. too.  But this next pic, at least with Laura, Todd, and S. on our screened porch, could have been so many terrific nights from this summer.


And Ben and I went to see Anna and Lorene's band, Duke of Uke, at one of the downtown Champaign festivals.

Then came Melanie's wedding, which was absolutely gorgeous.  Though Ben couldn't go because his knee was hurt, which (he reminds me) was the side effect of the double-carpal-tunnel onset.  Sheesh.  Great summer, but what a bunch of injuries...

Melanie and Vince
My goofy friends Danielle, Mark, and Susan

And finally came my birthday bbq bash, which was a total blast.  Wish I had more pics of the crowd, especially the Gengler bunch and all the kids playing together.  But I was very grill focused, so the camera escaped me. 
Me with my new birthday grill!  Local organic meats only for this party.

Todd, Joe, Kord

And that's summer 2010, or at least all that's fit to print about it!