Saturday, May 30, 2015

On to Las Vegas

Just a short note before I head to Sin City for what should be a fun week of poker, sun and relaxation. The relaxation is really necessary as preparing to go away for a week is almost as bad as working that same week. I had to stay at work until 7:45 p.m. on Friday night. What a way to end a long week of work.

This morning I made sure all my bills were paid and everything else taken care of. I am heading to the airport in a couple of hours and, as usual, still need to pack. This is one routine I really should change.

Unfortunately, traveling tonight means that I will likely see very little of game seven of the Blackhawks-Ducks series -- the NHL Western Conference finals. Excellent timing!

I will be staying at The LINQ this trip and, for the first time in several trips, am not renting a car. I think I will miss being able to just hop in and go wherever I want.

I am not sure who I will see this trip. I will definitely play some poker and spend some time with poker buddy Rob. Old online poker friend cmitch is playing some WSOP tournaments and will be probably be good to shoot the shit at a lunch or dinner.

As for my friends in Las Vegas or other friends who might be in town, text me if you have my phone number or message me on twitter (@lightning36, of course). I'll likely be hanging out at MGM, Bally's, Harrah's, ...

And Mr. Subliminal -- I want to take you up on your offer of a tour of the fabled Las Vegas underground for the homeless. I just might stay there if The LINQ is not up to snuff.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015


May has become, for me, a month of ambivalence. May brings with it the end of the school year and the hope of summer -- which certainly can not be discounted when one lives in Illinois. There are other things, however.

My father's birthday is in the first week of the month. He would have been 91 this year. It is hard to believe that he has been gone for over ten years. Fortunately many memories remain vivid in my mind. I've shared several of these memories in my blog over the past nine years. Among the most vivid is the moment when the family gathered around my father's hospital bed as his life support system was turned off. At that point he only had what appeared to be random brain wave activity. Thankfully, he passed away immediately.

In two days, we will remember my father-in-law, who passed away 16 years ago on May 21. Again, it was a very difficult time as my father-in-law was barely surviving on blood transfusions and called the family together to say farewell and watch over him as he passed away. After all the family that could showed up at his home in northern Wisconsin, he stopped receiving blood transfusions. We took turns staying with him as we watched his body slowly and orderly shut down over the course of a day. He passed away peacefully in the early morning hours.

Today marked the final time that I would drive one of my kids to high school. My youngest daughter, Erin, has her final day tomorrow. At the end of the afternoon tomorrow, I will officially be out of the high school business. Never fear, however, as all three kids will be in college next school year and I will likely be driving Erin to school four days a week at the local community college where I work.

The next week and a half of work should not be too bad, and then it will be off to Las Vegas at the end of the month. Aside from my already generous vacation time, I am being forced to take additional time off -- some "use them or lose them" days. Other trips planned for June and July include a trip to Phoenix (and possibly a short jaunt to Reno to visit Tony Bigcharles) and a trip in the van with the family to Memphis and New Orleans.

And yes, before it is said in the comments section: "first world problems."

I hope you are having a great May!

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Catching Up

Is it really the weekend again?

I have finally gotten over whatever had me under the weather for about 2 1/2 weeks. I am not sure if it just worked its way through my body or if antibiotics did the trick.

So ... I fell behind in my work and have been working hard to catch back up. My yearly self evaluation was due yesterday, but that was one of the things I didn't get to it time. It should not be that big of an issue. I will try to keep in mind that three weeks from today I will be leaving for Las Vegas. I have not been there for about five months -- longer than usual for me. However, an increase in my participation in a few home games, some trips to the riverboat in East Peoria, and a few stops at Harrah's Joliet have kept me playing poker pretty regularly.

Some unfortunate news, however, has come up since my last post. My mother, who is due to turn 90 in October, has continued to lose weight and seeming slip cognitively over the past 6-12 months. When thundering36 took her in to see a family doctor recently, the doctor suggested that we enlist my mom in hospice care. Even when you know that something like that might be coming, it still smacks you in the face and bruises your soul. Fortunately, after meeting with someone from a hospice program, thundering36 decided that our mom is not quite there yet. We have some time, but we know that things are unlikely to get any better and will only get worse in the weeks and months ahead.

In a couple weeks my youngest daughter will graduate from high school. Three kids in college next school year. Ugh.

As my sea legs have finally returned, I might take a short trip to the riverboat today. Tomorrow was originally going to include a family brunch for Mothers Day and my oldest daughter's birthday, but we opted instead to cook out at home. Steak, hamburgers, hot dogs and/or brat burgers should rule the day. Life doesn't get much better than that.