Monday, September 15, 2008

Work. Work. Work. Fun. Fun. Fun. Free. Free. Free.

Sarah and Jackie at the KU Football Home Opener
Since I've returned from Washington DC, I've been busy every day at work, and summer events have consumed my nights and weekends. With all that's going in the financial industry, it's tempting to tell you about my line of work as a bank examiner. Every day at work has been an eye opener. Things I had previously only read about, I'm seeing, and it hits it all could unravel. I'd like to flesh out my own thoughts about everything here, but some fool out there might take seriously my words as an employee of the Fed. So, I have to skip the work, work, work talk and move on to the fun, fun, fun talk.

Since returning from DC, I have seen a ton of music concerts, primarily at Kansas City's Power and Light District. The concerts are free, and my friend Sherri and I have tried to take advantage of that as much as possible. Anyone who knows Sherri knows that she LOVES free stuff, and I think she has infected me with that bug as well. So, together, we have seen Seven Mary Three, Say Anything, The Pat McGee Band, The ACBs, Ludo and other local KC bands. Sherri and I signed up for the weekly drawings Buzz 96.5 holds, and I have won VIP tickets (free food and beer) and tickets to the Kansas City airshow. We have also gone to concerts at the Beaumont Club, including the much anticipated The Hush Sound, which I love despite their youthful audience. There have been some music festivals too at Westport and the Crossroads District...but I have now forgotten some of the great bands we saw. Ah, speaking of the Crossroads District, we did see Live and Collective Soul. I loved Collective Soul. And of course, there was the Kansas City Irish Fest at Crown Center, where we saw Gaelic Storm! Sherry and her sister Tammy snagged their handwritten set list for me as a souvenir. We picked up some other free stuff there...more on that in a bit.

Outside of concerts, we have gone to a number of Royals games. Last Thursday, our department at work took it's staff appreciation day at the K, where I FINALLY saw a winning Royals game. After seeing several losses, I was beginning to think I was cursed never to see a winning game at the K. Sherri has gone with me to a couple of games, and she taught me how to get a free soda (by signing up for the Good Sport of the Game contets) and free Sheridan's Frozen Yogurt (if the Royals score in the 7th inning). How I would miss out on all this free stuff, if it weren't for Sherri! If you ever meet Sherri, ask her how she and her sister Tammmy got 11, yes 11, free Royals t-shirts at fan appreciation day.

I've already mentioned camping at Wakarusa, so no need to mention that again. We did go camping one more time for a weekend canoe trip somewhere on the Niangua River in Missouri. Just like last year, we brought Lucy. I was curious to see how Lucy would handle the water and the canoe this year. Last year, she was only a few months old and didn't seem to like the water very much. This year, she fell in the river and it was evident by her frantic swimming back to the canoe that she hasn't outgrown her dislike for swimming. We did find out, thought, that she likes running in shallow water. We stopped at a shallow spot to wait for the others to catch up with us, and Lucy would run as far as she could run until the water hit her chest, and then she would run back. She ran in circles like that for quite a long time and drew cheers from the passing canoers. Funny dog. Anyway, here's a pic of Lucy after she had hopped onto Rebecca's canoe (the trip organizer and official photographer).

Click for more Lucy picsLucy's typical perch on the canoe was right on top the cooler in the middle of the canoe (as high above the water as she could get) or right next to me at the front of the canoe, squeezing me out of my seat. And what a social butterfly she was. Any canoe that came along-side us, she would happily hop on, without fear of being dognapped on the river. That Lucy! Every group has it's canoe hopper.

I had a few visitors this summer. My brother Chris is back from his deployment to Iraq, and he took some leave from the Army to spend time with family and friends. I was fortunate that he was here to share in my birthday dinner at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. Yum! Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures to share, but I have an upcoming trip to Savannah next month to visit Chris, so I'll be sure to take some then. My good friend Sarah also came to visit. That's her picture at the top of this post. While she was here, we went to the Kansas City Irish Fest at Crown Center and the KU Football home opener against Florida International. Continuing with the "free" them, we got free stuff at the Irish Fest and the football game. In particular, I was excited to get two free KU t-shirts, and at the Irish Fest, while the Boulevard t-shirt I got wasn't free, as Sherri put it, "It was cheaper than my fricking beer!"

Sarah got the finger at the Kansas City Irish Fest!

Mary, Sherri and Jackie at the KC Irish Fest

There were a ton of other summer activities that I'm leaving out, but I am running out of writing steam. Though summer is officially over, I have two more "summery" events coming up....Austin City Limits next weekend and Fantasy Fest and a scuba trip in October.