This Blog is the journal/scrapbook/photo album etc. that is all about my family and our lives together. Here is where family and friends (and anyone else too, I suppose) can keep up on what's happening with us Mannimals! COMMENTS ARE APPRECIATED!! ;) Check back often as we'll respond to comments and make new posts as often as possible!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The New Mannimal

Knowing how much the kids like dogs and how much Athena would appreciate one, I decided to surprise the family and tell them we could look for a good dog to bring home. I told Athena first and after we got home from labor day weekend she looked up one of the local shelters online to look at some pictures and descriptions of the available dogs. There were several there that looked like they might work for us.
I called the shelter to check their hours the day we were going to go and see the dogs and the lady there told me about a pet fair that was going on less than ten miles from our house. She said they had 4 of their dogs there and that there were several other organizations that had booths their too. We figured we could check there and if we didn't find anything we liked we could go on to the shelter and look at the ones we'd seen online.
We arrived at the fair an hour or so before closing since we had just found out about it. There were several booths with a few animals each and books of pics/info about other dogs that they had back at their kennels. We looked through each of them and rounding the corner to the last booth we assumed we would just go to the original shelter and see their dogs since we hadn't found anything we liked at the fair. We checked out what they had at the final booth and were just turning to leave when the owner told a lady and guy walking by with a dog that we just had to see this one.
The couple walked over and sat down and the dog sat calmly amongst the other dogs and all the people. They turned out to be his foster parents who had been caring for him temporarily for the shelter. I had noticed the dog earlier when I'd seen them walk by and I was impressed with him. It took us less than 30 minutes to realize that Harvey (as he was called then) was the dog we were looking for. He was mellow yet young (they figured him to be 10-12 months) and the size range we wanted (mid-size). He also seemed to be a good dog for young kids to be around since he seemed smart and friendly while still being capable of protecting them if need be. From our instincts and all the info we gathered on him from the foster parents and shelter owners we decided that we would choose him.
The bad thing was when it occurred to me that we might be forgetting some hint the landlord had given about liking that we didn't have a pet when we originally moved in. Then when I called them and told them we were at the fair and had fallen in love with a little dog they weren't happy and even told me no and that previous renters had totally screwed them over with a pet before! :( But of course as anyone who knows me well knows I don't always take no for an answer so easily if I think it's important so I debated, haggled, persuaded my way through the encounter and ended up with an agreement and a yes on the dog.
As we walked around to buy the supplies we wanted, after we had sealed the deal and taken the dog, everyone at the Farm Store hosting the event and all the people running the booths who saw us with him commented on what a great dog they thought he was and even remembered his name so that was encouraging that we'd probably made a good selection.
So, we toyed with the idea of keeping Harvey as the name, but I told Athena it wasn't hard core enough to suit our dog and she came up with the brilliant idea of changing one letter in his name (to save him confusion) and making Harvey, Harley! (I wonder what he thinks about the family who could say his name on the first day but developed an odd speech impediment on the second, LOL.)
So that was a picture of Mat playing out back with Harley (or Har Lee Mann as we call him on paper to follow in family tradition of the males having Lee for middle name) on his first day home.

A close-up of the two new friends. We all spent time making sure Harley felt at home by hanging out with him out back. That's one of Harley's toys that his foster parents brought didn't survive the first day with he and Mat! ;)

The new King of the Back Yard and two of his toys. He's a fairly good listener and has just the right amount of energy we wanted in a pup his age...playful yet not overly energetic and excitable.

Mat was under the assumption we was stronger and went right in to do some tug-o'-war battling.

I like him, but the allergies will be a bitch being that I can only pet him with my hands and anywhere else he bumps into immediately starts to break out in an allergic reaction... :(
Some good news though is that after only his first trip to the folf course he has proven he can be let off the leash and behave without too much direction and thus spent his whole second game running free and without making any crucial errors.

Matrim goes for the over-the-shoulder pull to try for more leverage and manages to almost leave the shot.

But of course Harley pulls him right back around.
Every once in awhile Harley would let Mat win or Mat would catch him readjusting his grip and pull it loose but Harley pulled it out of Mat's hands far more often, several times pulling Mat off balance and tumbling to the ground. Mat has spent tons of time outside battling it out and playing fetch and hasn't wanted to come in until after dark when one or the other of them is worn out. ;) They have a great time already.

He is Harley, our "BullEt", our Pit Bull/Whippet mix, and the new member of the family. :)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Thanksgiving Invitation

Athena had a great idea a few weeks back and I figured I better hurry and get on letting everyone know:

The Mannimals are making an open invitation to any of our friends and/or family who would like to get away for a few days to join us for a Thanksgiving Extravaganza!

Athena and I are set to cook an ENORMOUS/DELICIOUS/HEALTHY Thanksgiving spread and would love to share it with any of you who can make it! Also there will be folfing a plenty as long as it isn't pouring rain. And of course we'll be watching the Denver Broncos kick some ass. This is an event you won't want to miss if you can make it! :)

We only have a limited amount of space for company to stay with us (unless you don't mind camping out back in 50's-60's degree temperatures with possible rain) so let us know if you'd like to stay at our house. We can also help with any motel/travel info as well.

Please let us know as soon as possible if you'll be able to attend so we can start planning on how much food to get. Also we'll need to special order the Organic/Free Range Turkey so we'll need to know who all is coming and as soon as possible.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Labor Day Weekend/Wedding Anniversary

Athena and I figured that there would be no way for us to see Tool this tour unless they happened to be playing at an amphitheater so we could take the kids and close enough for us to go and see them. And of all the luck the closest place Tool was playing happened to be an amphitheater outside of Yuba! And even luckier the date of the show just happened to be September 2nd...our Anniversary!! ;)
So I surprised Athena with the show and when we were looking for a place to stay and some folf courses to play we happened to run across Toney's Mountain Folf outside of Grass Valley. I noticed it was a pay to play course and that peaked my interest and then Athena noticed that there was camping as well so we looked at their website to get more info. It turned out to be another break of luck. Instead of paying a ridiculous amount of money to stay in a decent room we got to camp in a TeePee at a campground with fire pit and picnic table, an 18-hole folf course, and a big outdoor pool for $30 a night.
The couple that owns the place were very nice and easy going so we were able to relax and do our thing when we wanted or join them and their friends/family for some hanging out and folfing as well.

Since we had to go to the damn dentist and drive 6 hours to get to camp we didn't get in until after dark (very nice to stay in a TeePee instead of having to set up a tent at night!). Several of the people up there our first night could play instruments so they jammed us some tunes to smoke and hang out to. (I was passed a piece almost before I could sit down, LOL). This is the first morning and Athena is making us a delicious breakfast.

Since it was pretty hot, I kept dunking our shirts/hats/etc. in the pool to keep cool until they dried then I did it all over again.

Avi, taking a rest in her bassinet in the teepee.

That's the Pro Shop, a hang out area, and the jamming area up next to the pool.

Athena and Matrim while we wait on our breakfast.

The owners had some friendly dogs that would come and spend some time with us in our camp. Here's Mat chillin with one of them.

The course was pretty challenging. Most of the holes were quite long and technical to shoot. Also the terrain was pretty rough. We could only take the stroller on 3/4 of the course. I started off this hole with a narrow miss for par on an easy shot! :(

Also, many of the holes weren't this flat. On some of them you couldn't see the hole until your second shot. It's recommended to take a guide with you the first time. I played with the owner and one of his good friends. Here's a long, straight alley to shoot.

Down in the bowl holes Athena had to take the kids and meet me several holes up since there was NO way to get a stroller in there or even a kid backpack without great difficulty. Here's Matrim being hardcore out in the difficult terrain. Hole 4 is the infamous "Bowl Hole" which isn't the longest hole I've played but is easily the steepest drop I've ever shot (and somehow neither of us got a picture of it!). I was getting a little vertigo at the end of the pad and was forced to throw a little back of the edge. I didn't throw it sharp enough downhill and so my shot floated high and left of my target. Somehow the tree didn't eat my disc and kicked it out close to the path down. With a ways still to go I unfortunately missed on a great, swooping shot that would have birdied for me by less than a foot!

Here I am shooting a brutal uphill shot on hole 6 which they call "The Wall".

I'm probably about 40 feet up the side of a steep slope for my second shot here.

Trying for par I bounced of the basket and luckily didn't roll all the way back down the hill.

You drive over the top of the pool on this hole. That is our teepee across the water. The owner of the course kept score for us and I ended up finishing 18 with a score of 12. Not too bad for the difficulty level, first time playing, and the heat in the 90's. The owner, Mike, scored a 9 (his best is a 2) and his friend Ern got a 7. I finally did get one birdie on a hard, short hole (I think it was hole 11). :)

We went to the Tool show this night (our Anniversary)! As usual we intentionally missed the opening band since they weren't someone we really wanted to see and we almost got there late for Tool since the only restaurant we could find was a Denny's and they took 5o minutes just to get us our food.
The Sleep Train Amphitheater has the best sound I've ever heard at a show. The sound was better than CD quality! You could here everything clearer and sharper and it was damn loud (we even left our seats and moved back to the lawn GA)! Avi spent most of her time with one of us holding her to us and covering her other ear but Matrim was rocking out. He was having a great time between moshing by himself and riding on my shoulders. Also the weather was perfect (warm, clear, and not windy).
The setlist was the same as every other show this tour (one of the things I wish they'd do different) but a good one with every song a fine choice and well performed. Maynard was wearing some Levi's, a belt and giant hick buckle, and a cowboy hat to top it off. Several times he pretended to be riding a bull while doing his usual routine of motion and sound.
Danny Carey was phenomenal as always! Justin rocked out more than usual and Adam did his usual technical performance without much motion.
I couldn't pick a favorite since they didn't play the song I most wanted to hear this tour, Right in Two, and all the ones they did play were good. I knew they'd play Vicarious and Jambi and I was very pleased with both, but I just really like Right in Two of the choices from the new album. I've heard every other song they played at at least 1 or more shows so I was excited for the new stuff a little more than the classics even. And of course it would have been a musical treat to hear Wings/10,000 Days but I didn't figure that would happen. Oh and they rocked down on Rosetta. You could hear Maynard far better than on the cd with the quality of the sound at Sleep Train.
Check the reviews at their sites (I use Toolshed.Down.Net) if you want more details or the setlist. :P
By the time we got back from the show (they jammed for about 3 hours) we were beat from the folfing and concert. Unfortunately we missed the night round of folf everyone at the camp was playing with glow sticks to attach to their discs, but it was still a great night.

Relaxing around the little shade from our teepee, recovering from the fun of the day before.

I decided to let Athena do the swimming and be the photographer. Here's the first one of them first getting in the water.

Mat's on a lifesaver with Athena towing him around and teaching him about floating and kicking his feet to move.

Avi and I hung out in the shady wind tunnel, under the water fall.

Athena and Mat cruising across the middle of the pool.

One of them playing under the waterfall.

Mat's got his water confidence up and so we let him play around the edge since it's a gentle slope.

This is one of my favorite pictures of Matrim (especially at a bigger size and full detail)! This was his first attempt to go into the deeper water where he couldn't quite reach all by himself. He did a great job!

Our last night in camp. It was hot enough at night and we were busy enough that we didn't light a camp fire until this night. Mat and Athena gathered us a little more wood than we already had in camp and I got a us a nice fire going and a beer. Here I am with my fire stick and beer between the fire and the teepee.

One of Mat, in his camp chair, by the fire.

We ended up having an adventure when we tried to enter the 299 (the only highway through the mountains, to our house for MILES!) and found that a fire was raging and the road was closed for at least a couple days. I got a map at the gas station and luckily found out that we could still reach some back roads and make it through to home without having to take a 2 hour detour back down a road we had just driven.
This is a pretty, little lake at Whiskey Town right outside of Redding. We stopped here to have a picnic dinner to fill us up until we made it home.
So we added a couple hours to our drive having to take a little longer route on much windier roads, but we made it safely and in time to get Athena to bed for work on Tuesday.

August of 2006

That's Dad's hardcore little cutie! ;)

She's pouncing on them!

Mat loves sharing his toys with Avi and she has a great time laughing and playing with him.

Messy faced cutie.

Athena and Mat blowing up his inflatable Cars chair he got for his Birthday.

Haha, I love getting the sleeping pictures. (LOL, Athena almost never even sees me sleeping.)

Here's another great sleeping picture. Matrim can sleep anywhere. :)

Another angle of it.

Matrim, after Mom and Avi have gone in to their beds.

What a cutie!

Aviendha's first taste of meat and she loved it. She wolfed this turkey down.

Athena got this one of me after a round of folf.

And then demanded to get one with no glasses.

Mat us sporting the pirate hat that he and Athena made together.

These flowers are crazy. They grow up one solid stalk then burst out with several blossoms at the top.

Aviendha kicking back eating some organic cheerios.