Monday, June 27, 2005

Quinn smiling in a new spring outfit. June 2005.,

Nora shows off her catch of the day from a school field trip. June 2005

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Happy Birthday John!

So I'm sitting in a board meeting this afternoon in Boise, praying it will end on time (it didn't). And I missed personally calling big brother John on his birthday, though I know the kids called their beloved UNCLE JOHN! to wish him a big birthday this morning while I was traveling.

At the end of my business meeting of the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities of Idaho, the Bishop led us in the "June 24th prayer for St. John the Baptist". At the prayer's closing, I mentioned that today is my brother's birthday, and while I never had a clue that it was also the Feast of St. John the Baptist, I said "Bishop, I'm 100% sure that my mother knows whose Saint day it is!"

Regardless of his level of sainthood, I hope the old boy knows how much he means to his little brother - much more then his little brother can say. I'll spend lots of time with other mentor figures in my life - and I have.

But no one can conjure up a much needed simple reflection on my part or speak to my moral compass more quickly and completely than brother John. And no one's approval or acceptance quite measures up to that of brother John.

We haven't lived in the same city approaching 15 years now, and life doesn't have us talking as frequently as we should. But when life hits the fan, there isn't a person alive that I'd be more comfortable calling to give me a nudge to where I need to be, whether its with a sardonic question or a knowing wisecrack, than my brother John.

Our kids are growing up in a home that is one block short of chaos at any time. But first-born Will shows more ability to carry the torch of leadership - with all that entails - each day. We don't want to put a major burden on him to be responsible for his younger siblings, but if he has any interest in learning what it means to be a world class big brother, he could do much worse than spend some time with Uncle John.

He couldn't have a better mentor.

Happy Birthday Bro!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Thoughts on Nixon's Library

So last week I spent a few hours at Nixon's library in Yorba Linda, California. I'm a history and presidential buff, so the fact that the library was just a few minutes from where I was staying was a perk.

The library was fascinating, really. I went through rather fast, so I didn't read every plaque, every entry, every comment. But the overall effect was obviously very favorable to America's 37th President.

I have to admit, try as I might to be objective, some of the Watergate section seemed designed, bound, and determined to rewrite history on Nixon's knowledge, participation, and actions. Oddly I happened to be there on the 33rd anniversary of the actual initial break-in at the Watergate Hotel (DNC headquarters), something I didn't realize until later. The narrator of several of the components of the Watergate exhibits intoned deeply about how little the President knew, and how poorly served he was by his staffers. I can agree with the latter, not the former.

In following a few older ladies around the museum, I was struck by how defensive they were in talking with one another of Nixon. I don't know if they were locals or from elsewhere, but as I walked along in silence next to them they continued to talk about what the Democrats did that tripped Nixon up. I would have been more concerned if they hadn't been so completely wrong in their history of the events as I listened to them talk to one another about it. Listening to them made me aware of the Red/Blue state divide, even when it comes to history. It is perhaps fitting that when we arrived at the section on the First Lady's gowns, they lingered for a long time while I took a quick glance and moved on to the rest of the museum.

All in all the museum was well done. The preservation of Nixon's birthplace and the history of his family was very interesting. Despite the fact that it really is in the middle of a bustling town setting, at the cross-section of several state highways, it had a calm and placid feel to it. The gravestones where the President and Mrs. Nixon are buried are well-kept.

At the library now, and for the rest of this year, is a traveling exhibit of a brilliantly detailed scale replica of the White House down to the paintings on the walls. This exhibit has been around the country, and won't be at the Nixon Library permanently, but it was worth the price of admission.

Coming on the heels of the Mark Felt/Deep Throat admissions, I wasn't surprised to see no mention of that episode, but I was a little disappointed. I haven't been to Little Rock yet to see the Clinton library, but I'd be intrigued to see how it handles the impeachment. I would expect the same sort of defensiveness, but history is better served if these museums would report the facts as they are known, and update them accordingly.

Nixon, I was reminded, had a tremendous domestic and international record of success and progress. By today's standards he would be considered a political moderate and a rather effective president. But his personal demons, never slayed, proved to be his undoing. The story of Watergate has fascinated me since I was young (no explanations for that) so to finally see my first presidential library, and the fact that it was Nixon's was very unique.

Beautiful Maggie MacMoo is on hand to cheer her brother during his baseball game, June 2005.

Nora and Max stroll along a park pathway in Coeur d'Alene, June 2005.

Will playing a strong second base, June 2005.

Will prepares for a pitch in the fourth inning of Saturday's last spring Little League game.

Kathleen and the kids make another terrific Father's Day cake - Kathleen's creativity in cake-making knows no bounds.

Friday, June 17, 2005

33rd Anniversary of the Watergate Break-in

Here's proof that I, a known fellow traveler of the Democrats, went and visited the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace in Yorba Linda, California earlier today. And it was very cool. The fact that it was the 33rd anniversary of the Watergate break-in was a complete and total coincidence, a fact I didn't even know until watching Jay Leno tonight - how crazy is that? I'll blog more thoughts about it this weekend.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Tricky Dick and Me

So I'm in Brea, California on business, and my hotel is about 2 minutes drive from the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace. I have meetings most of the day tomorrow, but if I get an extra hour before my flight, instead of Disney I'm heading to see the new Deep Throat exhibit (do you think they've updated the enemies list section already?)!

Happy 4-Month Birthday Quinn!

Thursday, June 16 is the 4 month birthday of Quinn Marie. My how time flies - this shot is Quinn just a few hours old on February 16, 2005. A stunning beauty then, even more so now.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The Old House

So the powers that be are tearing down our old fraternity house to make space for a parking garage (or something equally useful). This is probably a good thing, considering the condition of the place was awful when I lived in it 16 years ago. People on the SMU campus (Dallas, Texas) always knew what fraternity you were a member of because all us Lambda Chis had a distinctive smell that you couldn't ever get rid of. I remember a friend of mine whose mother cried when he came home from break because try as she might she couldn't get the smell out of his clothes.

The administration is apparently building a new Lambda house down the road, but it won't be the same. I suspect they won't spring for the beach volleyball court and basketball court outside, though they'll probably have the good sense this time to actually put up toilet stalls instead of just leaving the toilets sitting open next to one another. There was an unwritten rule, broken by very few, that if someone else were using one of the toilets you never went "co-pilot". RIP Lambda Chi House, and RIP rotten Lambda smell that no one could ever conquer. RIP Magic Carpet Ride and RIP consistently bad food.

We'll miss you, but not that much.

Monday, June 13, 2005

This picture from a few years ago still cracks me up. President drops Barney in front of horrified youth softball team. No one was harmed in the filming, but Barney is a little less trusting than he used to be.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

This gem is from August 2004, as we drove north toward home on Highway 95. While Kathleen tended to a car-sick Max, the other kids tromped down along the banks of the Salmon River.

Friday, June 10, 2005

If you can beat the Red Sox, you're a friend of mine... - Cubs take out 87 years of frustration on Red Sox: "

By Rick Gano, The Associated Press
CHICAGO - Forget the curses and jinxes and all talk of bad luck. At least for one day. The Cubs simply gave the Red Sox a rude welcome on their first-ever trip to Wrigley Field in the storied teams' first meeting since the 1918 World Series. "

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Go, Shaylee!

Shaylee Welker, daughter of our good friends Dan and Shannon Welker, competes in the 50 meter dash on Tuesday during the 23rd Special Olympics held this year at Fran Rish Stadium in Richland, Washington. Congrats, Shaylee!

Cd'A finalist for $29 million Kroc grant

This is a major coup for our "not-so-little-anymore" burgh. Lots of people worked lots of hours to make this happen. And the fact that it will be just down the road from the new Kennedy compound will be an added plus! Congrats to all involved! CdA finalist for $29 million Kroc grant: "Coeur d'Alene beat out Seattle, Tacoma and numerous other cities today to become a finalist for a multi-million grant to build a Salvation Army community center.

Mayor Sandi Bloem said the city is almost guaranteed up to $29 million for a Kroc Center that will offer something to every resident in Kootenai County. The multi-purpose community center would be built next to Ramsey Park."

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Maggie "MacMoo" and her pal Miss Piggy posing for the camera.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Patty Duke Pearce and US Rep. Butch Otter kick off the Trust for Public Lands St. Joe River Basin Conservation Initiative

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Otter, Duke and the St. Joe River Basin Conservation Initiative

Today there was a press conference announcing that Congressman Butch Otter and Patty Duke are co-chairing the steering committee for the St. Joe River Basin Conservation Initiative. In short, this project has the Trust for Public Lands raising money to purchase conservation easements from Potlatch.

This is a terrific effort that is drawing support from all over the political spectrum, from Sen. Larry Craig and Potlatch to the Idaho Conservation League. When projects draw from that diverse a pool of groups, we need to encourage and promote them.

For more information click here: St. Joe Basin Project

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Max hides his stiff upper lip to be photographed in mid-bath. December 2004