Road Tripping USA #3, Day Four

Posted by: elraymundo at 5:46 am on Friday, July 10, 2009
From: Great Falls, Virginia
Filed under: Lotus Blossom, Travel, American Idol, Family, Jeep

We’ve decided to go from Jackson, Tennessee to Northern Virginia in one shot today. It’ll take about twelve hours of driving, and since the front desk forgot our wake-up call (and I didn’t have an alarm clock as a back up) and we’re running late, this will be brief recap of yesterday’s drive.

Oklahoma was hot! And windy, too. 103 degrees and 100mph winds (it felt like) as we rocketed across the Sooner State. I saw a boot brush outside the front door of our hotel in Weatherford, OK…just one of those small details of place that usually go unnoticed but which go a long way to reminding you where you are on the planet.

Since I-40 passes just alongside El Reno, where my dad grew up, I decided to take Debra quickly past his old house in town. We didn’t have time to visit with relatives but we did find the house on West Rogers street. It’s a small, simple place just off a gravel road and it looked better than I remembered - it’s been re-sided and the old dead tree out back that we used to play on as kids has been torn down. I sat out front in the Jeep talking to Dad and a fellow wandered out onto the front porch, brushing his teeth and obviously wondering who we were. After I hung up I went up to the porch and spoke with him and an elderly woman who turned out to be the mother-in-law of my father’s half-sister’s daughter (the daughter owns the house now, I believe) and I chatted with them about how we were related. Then I snapped a couple of pictures and we went on our way.

Eastern Oklahoma and Arkansas are beautiful drives. The roadside through Arkansas is lined with trees, thick and green, and emerald farm fields dotted with rolled up bundles of hay that look like they were sliced one by one from a giant hay sausage.

Conway, Arkansas is the hometown of recent American Idol winner Kris Allen and Debra thought it would be fun to stop at a local joint in Conway which promised a lifetime supply of its locally famous cheese dip to the singer after his hometown visit during the show. Debra called Lisa in Minneapolis, she Googled “Conway Arkansas cheese dip Kris Allen” and got Stobey’s, we plugged it into the GPS and stopped by for dinner. Conway itself is a pretty cozy town. The main drag downtown, which was very small-town-America, was lined with Kris Allen banners and small shops that were actually open (as opposed to other downtown we’ve driven through where the shops are shuttered due to their being Wal-Marted out of existence). Stobey’s itself is a tiny little place which sits in a residential neighborhood - which reminded us a lot of a larger version of Carruthersville, Missouri, the Mississippi River-side town in the boot heel of Missouri where William grew up - among mature trees and well-kept lawns and where locals came in for dinner and greeted each other by name. Across the roof is a stretched a banner congratulating Kris Allen and their are photos inside with Kris and the Stobey’s staff sitting around a giant cake. One thing we noticed about both Oklahoma and Arkansas - both are very proud of their favorite sons and daughters (e.g. the water tower in Yukon announces not only that you are passing through the hometown of Garth Brooks but also lets you know that the high school team won state championships in ‘72, ‘82 and ‘84 - I might be getting the years wrong, but you get the point - Henryetta lists Troy Aikman’s birthplace among the local attractions on a large blue sign along I-40 and 2005 American Idol winner Carrie Underwood gets her own green freeway sign outside Checotah, Oklahoma). Debra had a spicy (and very good) blackened chicken quesadilla and I ate the restaurant’s signature sandwich, the Stobey (three choices of meat, two choices of cheese, lettuce and tomato with Stobey’s sauce. I had mine on rye. The food was tasty and the cheese dip wasn’t bad either.

From Conway we barreled through Arkansas, dipped down as we approached the Mississippi River with insects smashing into our windshield with such speed, volume and ferocity that I thought I was in the battle of Zion from The Matrix, then crossed the wide wide wide river into Memphis. We continued on to Jackson and that’s where I’ll leave off for now, because Debra has finished drying her hair, the time is getting on, and we have a long drive ahead of us to get home.

Ghost House

Posted by: elraymundo at 7:48 am on Monday, July 6, 2009
From: Great Falls, Virginia
Filed under: Lotus Blossom, Travel, Family, Self-Spotting, Ah, Memories

The strangest thing happened when Debra and I pulled out of the driveway of our house in Yorba Linda. The house was sold, the movers had gone with our stuff and we were leaving the state of California to move back to Virginia. And we felt nothing. And I mean nothing. No sadness, no remorse, no relief…not even a sensation that we had lived there for the most tumultuous year of our lives.

When we bought the house we thought we’d live in it forever. It was going to be the TeamRaymond Ancestral Home. We were going  to landscape the big hill in the back yard with terraces and fruit trees and hibiscus and sweet-smelling jasmine. We dreamed up plans to expand the pool, add Italian villa-style arches and patio tiles and columns with water that cascaded out of them and splashed back into the pool. Over time it would become a back yard oasis of the kind often seen in southern California - our place to sit and relax and return to from our travels. We were going to make the inside like the riads we saw and fell in love with in Morocco. I found kits to arch the doorways and sites selling beautiful mosaic tiles. Debra had the kitchen of her dreams (or so she thought) and was going to spend her time testing and developing recipes for her chef in Washington, DC and cooking fabulous, delicious meals for us - something she loved to do. We fought for this house, saved it from burning down in November during the Triangle Complex wildfires by spraying flames with a garden hose. And, since they lived less than three miles away, we were going to get the chance to watch our niece and nephew grow up and we could be the cool aunt and uncle with the swimming pool.

Then it all fell apart.

The job I was promised was pulled out from under me in March. We never got settled into the house and though it was a beautiful house it never became a home. The boxes in the garage were never unpacked. The walls were never repainted. We didn’t even get the 20 years worth of wall scuffs and carpet stains from the previous owners cleaned up because we never knew when I was going to have to go back on some insane 24×7 schedule at the data center, or when it would blow up again and I would be gone for 36 or 26 or 22 hours. And once my job was taken from me we pretty much lost any home improvement steam we had remaining after the endless slog that November to March had been.

I know others have had worse times than Debra and I did. Our health was and remains good. :::taps the wooden window shutters with his fingers::: We’ve escaped with a nest egg to begin rebuilding with. I have a good job, and we both have good friends, waiting in Virginia. But five months of constant turmoil (wildfires, mudslides, lightning strikes, power outages, job upheaval, job loss, etc) really took it out of us and once it became obvious that carrying the house with no guarantee of future income was too great a risk for us to take, well, all those dreams and ideas we had for the Ancestral Home died.

We had some bizarre conversations in the two days prior to leaving. Neighbors whom we had not seen or heard from since we hosted a neighborhood party back in December called and came over to wish us well and tell us how sad they were that we were leaving. It was touching and heartfelt, but we both wondered, “Where were you the last six months?” One of the things we liked about the house on Stonehaven Drive was its privacy. We discovered that privacy also meant isolation - until a SOLD sign goes up in the front yard, then suddenly everyone comes out of the woodwork.

After the year we’ve had I didn’t expect the same emotion when we left Yorba Linda that we felt when we left Great Falls, Virginia. As badly as we both wanted to leave Virginia and try something new, it was still really, really hard to go. Especially for Debra. I figured there would be some sort of emotion when we left Stonehaven Drive. Maybe it would be relief or elation or sadness or bitterness - but there was nothing. I simply pointed the Jeep down the hill and we left. No emotion, no tears. (For Debra, the tears will come today when we leave Rancho Mirage and her family behind. Being near family - both hers and mine - has been the one bright, shining star in our time here.) Already our memory of the house is like the house itself: vacant.

It’s been less than forty-eight hours since we left the Ancestral Home and neither of us feels like we ever lived there. 5145 Stonehaven Drive has become a ghost house. It’s an overused expression, but it really does feel like a dream, like the whole year didn’t really happen and that we’re just out here visiting family and getting ready to head back home. (Although heading east with a Jeep packed with odd items like bath mats, a telephone and laundry basket hooks kind of illustrates the fact that this is not an ordinary return from vacation.) For both of us this dreamlike memory of the house is a very strange, very surreal, sensation. I keep thinking I’m going to wake up in bed next to Suzanne Pleshette, wearing a cardigan sweater and feeling very much at home again in my old sitcom.

Anyway, we leave the desert today and we’re heading for Flagstaff, Arizona. We plan to spend the night there then continue across the top of New Mexico - supposedly a gorgeous drive - and stay in Taos the next night, stopping to see the massive meteor crater in Winslow and the Petrified Forest National Park along the way. After Taos we’ll drop down to Amarillo and head east along I-40 until we hit I-81. From there it’s a pretty straight shot to northern Virginia and back home.

Hooray for Baguettes and Stinky Cheese!

Posted by: elraymundo at 10:46 pm on Monday, January 5, 2009
From: Great Falls, Virginia
Filed under: Euphoria, Family

So today wrapped itself up nicely.

I opened my email in a bit of a grumpy snit because The Debra and I are trying to choose the photo we will use for our (late again) Hannamas card. After looking at the same three photos 600 times and with no end in sight and with The Blessed One still unable to make a selection, I autocratically, dictatorially, and - with great sweeping gestures - grumpily  (I’m not patient with these sorts of agonizings, even though they almost always lead to excellent decisions) told my Lotus Blossom that I would email her the pics and she could look at them over and over and over and over (and over) again without me and that I would be more than happy with her choice.

Not only was she able to make the choice without me (and, as I expected, I love her choice), but when I opened my email to send the pics to La Raymunda, I found two Amazon gift certificates in my inbox from my parents, sister, and cousin Damon. Total score!!!

I told my family that normally I would have to say that their gifts were too generous, but since we are currently unable to afford air I told them that this year I heartily and unhesitatingly accept! So I bought the French language software I’ve been jonesing for for the past year and a half and I hereby promise to buy a baguette and some stinky cheese - in French, of course - on each of their behalfs the next time we are in France. Thanks mom and dad and Lisa and Damon!!!

French Software
This is that which will produce stinky cheese.

Factoring Trinomials, or My Adventures with the Satanic Bible

Posted by: elraymundo at 5:24 pm on Wednesday, September 12, 2007
From: Great Falls, Virginia
Filed under: Random, Friends, Family

Last night I drove by The Family’s and dropped off homemade chocolatey fudge bombs for Karla, who, lucky girl, shares her birthday with the anniversary of the World Trade Center/Pentagon bombings. Ringing the doorbell, I peeked through the window and saw Ian at the kitchen table, hands jammed against his cheeks, his face red, staring at the table top.

Annette came to the door, slightly flustered. I told her I had chocolatey fudge bombs for Karla and she directed me to go around to the back of the house to the porch.

“Karla’s back there. Ian and I are working through some math problems and some agitas.” She blew me a kiss and I walked around to the back porch where Amy, Karla, Devon and I feasted on fudge bombs. Ten minutes or so passed and Annette, whom I could see through the window, waved us into the house.

Ian, still a little red but no longer trying to drive his fists through his own face, was in a little better shape.

“Are you at that point where all the math is hitting the brick wall in your brain and falling lifeless to the ground?” I asked.

“Yes,” said Ian, smiling as much as an Emo is permitted.

“Yeah, I remember that. Happened to me too. Listen, don’t worry about it. It’ll all make sense when you figure out how your brain best processes math.” Ian glanced up through his bangs with a doubtful look. “Probably when you’re about twenty-three,” I added.

Ian wasn’t encouraged.

“Show me what you’re doing,” I said.

Ian turned his worksheet so I could see the problems. The worksheet said:

Factoring Trinomials

1. x2 + 5x - 20

I picked the paper up and held it to the light. It was a jumble of x’s and exponents and parenthesis and other Satanic symbols.

“What the hell do you have to know this stuff for?” I said, handing the worksheet back to Ian. Annette missed me with a kick under the table.

“That’s what I’ve been wanting to know,” mumbled Ian.

“I have no idea how to do this stuff. Do you?”

“A little,” said Ian. He opened a notebook and wrote some numbers and parenthesis and solved for x - or maybe factored for x - which to me resembled an alchemist’s carrot cake recipe. “First you find the Greatest Common Factor and then you switch the negative sign…” mumble mumble drone drift into fog…

I winced as a painful flashback of ninth grade shot through my brain, pimples and angst and gratuitous moodiness preceding a searing, fiery arc of x’s and y’s and square root symbols which etched themselves into an unerasable chalkboard in my mind while the bodiless voice of Mr. Casalegno, cloaked in shadow, reminded me to “show your work”.

Ian, sensing I was drifting, mercifully closed the notebook. Karla handed out chocolatey fudge bombs. Fog dispersed; spirits lifted. We chatted a few minutes longer and then I said I had to go. “I’m under instructions not to linger,” I said.

We said our goodbyes and as I stepped across the threshold and onto the front porch I stopped. Calling back over my shoulder I shouted what I hoped was encouragement. “You’ll be all right, Ian. You’ll get past all this. It’s just really gonna suck!”

Coke Bottles and Gall Bladders

Posted by: elraymundo at 8:37 am on Monday, April 23, 2007
From: Great Falls, Virginia
Filed under: Family

Jeff Watson AI Threat Level: Green - The reader may proceed without danger of reading anything related to American Idol.

- - - - -

Website Update: After months of neglect I have revamped and updated the Books and Recent Reads page on the main TeamRaymond website. If you’re interested, click here to check it out.

- - - - -

My sister, Lisa, had some back pain last week. She had it checked out and is now scheduled to have her gall bladder removed in two weeks.

Lisa is upset about this, the impending removal of her last vestigial organ.

It’s not the fact that she’s going to lose her gall bladder that’s really got her cheesed off. It’s the fact that I still have all my organs AND I’ve never broken a bone AND I got the good eyes AND the good teeth too. And she reminded me of all this when we caught up on the phone the other day.

“It’s just not fair. I got all the crappy organs from Mom and Dad and you got all the good ones.”

An accurate statement. I got Dad’s good teeth and Mom’s decent eyes while she was stuck with Dad’s blindness and Mom’s papier-mâché teeth.

“At least you don’t fall asleep when you read,” I told her. “It takes me six months to get through a book.”

“And I would be very upset if I did.” (Lisa is a voracious reader.) “But it’s small consolation.”

“I crack a book and narcolepsy sets in. I’m like an old man, constantly falling asleep on the couch and drooling on my books.”

“I’m still not impressed.”

“Wait! I had to get stitches once!”


When we were kids back in Minnesota some neighborhood kid sat on her finger, bending it backwards until it snapped. The parents were out that night, doing whatever social stuff good upstanding church-going folks did in the Seventies. (As long as they weren’t next door over at the Babcocks we knew everything was safe. We knew what happened over at the Babcocks. The Babcocks had board games with dice that had penises and breasts on them and cards that said things like, “Remove an item of clothing from the person to your left” and “Say the alphabet in French while kissing the person across from you in a way that makes them wiggle”. The Babcocks ran an underground Middle-Western den of iniquity. And right next door!)

But, as is my wont, I digress.

So the kid sat on her finger and broke it and I read to Lisa until she fell asleep that night, which stands as the only nice thing I ever did for my sister while growing up - although I still contend that smearing a spatula of peanut butter on her face was entirely justified and that the grounding was undeserved.

Shortly after the broken finger, out came the tonsils. And then she got Coke-bottle glasses. And a myriad of dental fillings. And then her appendix nearly burst and out it came. And now her gall bladder is angry with her and that particular Elvis will be leaving the building, too.

And me? I sailed into adulthood with all my groceries still in the bag and without even a cavity.

- - - - -

On the marathon front, I “lazed” through a “step-back week”, meaning my Saturday distance was shorter than the previous Saturday’s. “Only” ten miles. Next week it ramps up again, though, to fifteen. There better be something good on the television or I’m slashing my wrists.

Total miles run to date: 174 miles
Longest distance run to date: 13 miles
Upcoming longest distance: 15 miles.
Upcoming miles this week: 29 miles

Why Can’t It Smell Like Rose Petals in the Rain?

Posted by: elraymundo at 8:25 am on Monday, March 26, 2007
From: Great Falls, Virginia
Filed under: Lotus Blossom, Family, Liquid Diet

Jeff Watson AI Threat Level: Green - The reader may proceed without danger of reading anything related to American Idol.

- - - - -

With our fifth wedding anniversary coming up in May, La Raymunda and I are trying to decide if we should stay home and have a weekend of wild monkey sex where we should go for our second honeymoon.

We spent Sunday morning in bed. I brewed a pot of coffee and brought a cup to The Debra, who was propped up on the Throne of Pillows with her laptop fired up and her reading glasses on. I handed her the cup and crawled into bed and read “The River at the Center of the World” while she surfed and drank her coffee.

“Ooh, look at these photos from Mesa Verde,” she said. I leaned over to look at the laptop screen and rested my head on her shoulder. The screen was full of images of ancient Pueblo ruins: homes built into the cliffs, the sandstone glowing in the sun. “Beautiful,” I said.

Debra turned her head so her lips were inches from my face. Looking down at me over the tops of her glasses, she said, “Where do you want to go most? We need to decide if we’re going to Mesa Verde for one week or to London for four days.”

Blistering red-hot flames erupted from her mouth as she spoke, followed by the scorched potpourri scent of hellfire and brimstone. It was a direct blast of coffee breath from point-blank range. I felt my face melt and the unnerving sensation of flesh sliding off the bone. My nose drooped down onto my chin like melted Silly Putty and the flames wrapped around my head sucked the water from my eyes.

Behold the cataclysm of eternal damnation, the Lake of Fire, the charred and smoking pit of Hell that I had been warned about all those years ago in Sunday School. All my sins had finally come home to roost, and payback was snuggled beside me in my bed in northern Virginia.

Finally, the searing heat died and as the pall of heavy black smoke and the lingering tang of sulfur lifted, I reached up with my flame-withered hand and took Debra’s chin and gently turned her head away from me and back toward the laptop.

“That’s pretty strong coffee you’re drinking this morning,” I said.

To Istanbul!

Posted by: elraymundo at 8:00 am on Tuesday, March 20, 2007
From: Great Falls, Virginia
Filed under: Art, Lotus Blossom, Travel, Friends, Family

It appears La Raymunda and I have settled on our vacation plans for 2007. It’s going to be Turkey for three weeks in October. Yes, yes, the original plan was Hawaii in June, which evoked the ghastly specter of me without a shirt which inspired my marathon-training-weight-loss-program, but that fell through. The plans for the trip, that is; Hawaii is still there.

We’ll be traveling with my cousin Damon the Genius Painter, (among many others, I like Big Wanda of the House of Fur Bikinis, What Goes Down Must Come Up, and St. Theresa, Patron Saint of Gunless Meeting Attendance) and our friend Leigh, the sexiest one-third of Sister Swing, a trio rocking Sacramento with swing/jazz music of the 1930’s and 1940’s (they’re right up your alley, Joshkins). This will be our second go-round on the Wheel of Travel with Damon and Leigh; we met up with them, quite by accident, in Paris a couple of years ago and since we all seemed to play well together (nobody went after anyone else with butcher knives or ice picks, no rabbits were stewed in stock-pots, etc) we decided to travel together again.

While the itinerary remains up in the air, current ideas are to wander Istanbul for a week to ten days or so, see the cave-dwellings of Cappadocia, then noodle along the coast to the ruins of Ephesus and finally Troy, as in The Battle of, and then return to Istanbul. Anyone with experience in Turkey feel free to weigh-in with thoughts, opinions and ideas and such.

- - - - -
On the marathon front, I’ve begun Week 5. Yesterday, Monday, was a rest day. Today is a three-miler. I’m actually at the place where I look forward to the three-mile days. “Only three miles? Piece of cake!” Running three miles horrified me six weeks ago.

Total mileage thus far: 62 miles.
Weight lost: 6.2 pounds (I don’t get why the weight hangs on. Must be because I’m hungry and eating all of the time. But I’m in skinnier pants now. This pleases me.)

P.S. I’ve begun sorting through the 200+ Iguazú Falls photos. The first one is today’s Photo of the Day, Salto Mbigua, which, mighty as it looks, is but a pittance of the overall mass of the waterfall complex at Iguazú.

Death’s Requiem World Premier

Posted by: elraymundo at 8:17 am on Tuesday, March 13, 2007
From: Great Falls, Virginia
Filed under: Art, Euphoria, Friends, News of the Clever, Family

Photo of Tim Maddocks, Ian Barcaly and some dude named LarkinCongrats to my Aussie buddy Tim Maddocks, whose film, Death’s Requiem (a Maddfilms production) will have its World Premier at Method Fest, a film festival in Los Angeles. Tim and I go way back, to our bull-running days in Pamplona. Here’s the scoop on the World Premier – if you’re in LA on March 31 stop by and check it out. And shake Tim’s hand – he’s the guy with the shiny dome and the funny accent.

Death’s Requiem

March 31, 1:30pm

Louis B. Mayer Theatre
Motion Picture & Television Fund
23388 Mulholland Drive
Woodland Hills, CA 91371


Allen Shen, a former colleague of mine at The Place of Evil and Darkness, sent me a story about a Dutch guy who plans to climb Everest in boots, shorts, hat and gloves.

Apparently, said Dutch person (code name: Wim Hof) has achieved some sort of inner control over body temperature which allows him to run a barefoot and shirtless half-marathon in Finland in winter with temps in the -4 to -22 range (-20 to -30 for you Euros).

And now he wants to take a whack at Chomolungma.

That’s all well and good. A hat, boots and gloves will trap the vast majority of escaping body heat (a hat traps 40% of your body heat all on its own). What he’s going to need at 26,000 feet, though, is skin of steel to withstand the wind. The world’s top mountaineers are slowed to a crawl once they hit the Death Zone above 26,00 feet, often taking 30 or more seconds between each step. And the top of Everest is another 3,000 feet past the start of the Death Zone - that’s a lot of very slow upward steps…and a long time to be in savagely cold temperatures with no skin protection.

My guess is that he succeeds but returns with the mother of all frostbites.


Finally, they are kicking my dad out of the hospital today. He’s decided his recent condition was nothing mortal and that he’s perfectly ready to spend another couple of decades playing golf, messing with computers and watching “24″.

Glad to have you back home, Dad.

Sous-Cheffing in the Abyss

Posted by: elraymundo at 9:55 pm on Tuesday, October 3, 2006
From: Great Falls, Virginia
Filed under: Lotus Blossom, Family

Ye Gods, seven days without a post! Well, here’s one to keep you (slightly) amused. Now please call off the black helicopters and tell them I didn’t really mean it when I called the White House and told them I had Jar Jar locked in a steamer trunk and was feeding him strychnine through a slot in the casing.

Let the festivities begin!


I sous-cheffed this evening, grating cheddar cheese while La Raymunda prepared dinner (southwestern pasta casserole…yum) and this conversation sprang up:

“You know how sometimes you can’t control where your mind goes when it’s wandering?”
“Yes,” said La Raymunda.
“So today I was mowing the lawn and I wondered what it would be like to do it with the neighbor’s wife.”
La Raymunda paused. “Which neighbor?”
I told her.


“It always starts innocent enough,” I said and dumped shredded cheddar into a measuring cup. “Today I’m out mowing and I see something that makes me think of their kid and then the next thing I’m thinking, ‘Well the kid had to get here somehow…’ Next thing I know there she is in my mind, our sweaty naked neighbor with her legs flung up all every which way.”

La Raymunda, hands on her hips, looked at me with an expression that said, I’m waiting…any minute now your skull will split open and Satan’s devil-spawn will crawl out onto the kitchen floor, which I just swept, wearing sequined Elvis jumpsuits and Richard Nixon masks.

“That…is…so gross,” she said finally. I shrugged and started grating a second cup of cheese.
“Hey, it’s not like I was enjoying it either. Anyway, I told you - I can’t control my mind. It just kind of merrily goes to these strange odd places…”
“Well, as gross as that is it’s not as bad as where my mind wanders,” said La Raymunda. “My mind goes to horrible places, like are they going to find a tumor in my CAT scan or will the airplane we’re in explode in mid-air or what if the bridge collapses and we drive off the edge and…well, you know.”
“That’s pretty dark,” I said. “Hey, is two cups of cheese enough?”

La Raymunda took my arm. “Honey, what if there is something wrong with me that makes me think of these awful things?” Her forehead was all shrinkled up the way it gets when she ponders the abyss. “I’m worried that there’s something wrong with me.”
“Because you’re afraid of cancer and exploding fiery death? Those seem like legitimately bad things.”
“No, because I think about such horrible things. Really, do you think there’s something wrong with me?”
“I think it means that you have a little bit of a dark side. You know, Jim Carhart would find that terribly sexy.” I dumped the last of the grated cheese into the bowl and started toward the basement stairs. “Now unshrinkle your face or it’ll get stuck that way.”

“Do you think it’s just my Chamber of the Horribles?”
“Probably,” I said. I stopped and turned around at the top of the stairs. “Look, some people just don’t worry about stuff. I’m one of them. You aren’t.” I headed downstairs.

La Raymunda called after me, “How do I get my mind to think like yours?” (Now that’s a question I’ve never been asked before.)
“I don’t know,” I said over my shoulder. “Watch lots of porn and football?”
Indignant sigh. “You’re not helping, honey.”


Hey, is it just me or has anyone else noticed that the only thing Cling-Wrap clings to is itself?


Sports Illustrated’s website needs a better online editor.

Today, in the first game of the AL Divisional Playoffs, Oakland’s ace (Barry Zito) beat Minnesota’s ace (Johan Santana). SI had this to say on the front page of their website:

“Frank Thomas dented Johan Santana’s aura of invisibility at the Metrodome…”

Now, you don’t think I’d let that slip without getting a screenshot, do you? No way, my fellow babies!

Screenshot from Sports Illustrated's website

It’s Clobberin’ Time

Posted by: elraymundo at 7:56 am on Monday, July 17, 2006
From: Great Falls, Virginia
Filed under: Lotus Blossom, Travel, Family

Yesterday afternoon The Debra brought down an entire wall-mounted bookshelf on her head. There was the plank of wood, of course, a ceramic piggy bank, boxes of photos, a serving tray covered with seashells, and many, many books, including a very large, very hardbound German dictionary. She’s ok, no harm done, but we were concerned that she might have a very slight concussion. That means she couldn’t sleep for at least eight hours (meaning a late night for both of us) and that I had to wake her up every two hours during the night to make sure she was doing ok. For example, this exchange at 3:30am this morning:

(turn off shrieking alarm clock)

“Debra, wake up.”


“Debra,” (gentle shaking), “wake up.”


“How old is William?”



“Debra, how old is William?”


“What’s the capital of France?”


“How do you say, ‘I’m hungry’ in French?”

“J’ai faim.”

“I think you’re all right. Go back to sleep.”


It all made for a not-so-restful evening. So to any and all who may encounter a grumpy, sleep-deprived subset of TeamRaymond today, I apologize in advance. Forewarned is forearmed.

As you were.


I’ve added pages (with photos) to the Destinations: Prague section of the TeamRaymond site. Here are some links:

Destinations: Prague homepage, and some pages about specific places and goings on during our trip there.

Next Page »