Ice Storm

Park Central West You have all read or seen the weather reports about the ice storm that covered Texas to the Northeast coast. It was pretty significant in Southwest Missouri, with Springfield getting 2 inches over a three day period. The region that was hit the hardest stretched for what would be an hour long drive just West of Springfield up to Lebanon MO along I-44, extending a similar distance on the North-South axis.

The strangest part of the experience is that the roads and sidewalks were hardly affected. The temperature and slow pace of the rain lent it’s self to covering the trees, bushes and ultimately the grassy areas while there was enough heat retained in the roadways that only a light salting ended up being sufficient. The amount of damage has led the Governor to bring in the National Guard to assist in the cleanup, to be done under FEMA rules only.

I lost power Friday night, around 2:30am (I was unable to sleep due to a head cold and was watching a movie) and it came back on Sunday afternoon around 1:30 pm. 36 hours wasn’t too bad and I was able to enjoy some comfort in the meantime at my friend Diane’s house a mile away. Julie had power as well although while sharing a pizza with her Saturday evening the power went out around 6:00 pm. Following one of many ‘bangs’ that were part of the soundtrack of this experience. Between transformers blowing and tree branches full of ice falling throughout the day and night, it was a bit surreal.

Julie’s still without power but has been enjoying the opportunity to bond with her girlfriend Diane who has never lost power. Haylie’s enjoying extended sleepovers at girlfriends homes that have power and her father and brothers take advantage of the gym’s shower facilities while bundling up under extra blankets at night. My ‘nephew’ Dave and his wife Greta lost power early Friday evening and finally got it back Tuesday morning so they were vagabonds, enjoying friends hospitality and spending some time at my place.

Mom & Dad didn’t have a single problem with the ice storm that swept through St. Louis. That’s a welcome relief after their week without power this past July during the thunderstorms that hit the area and the ice storm that knocked them out for a couple of days in early 2006.

All in all, we have been very lucky. The city continues to work well, there is a strong sense of community support in this region that has been one of the best aspects of my move here. Wish us luck as everyone continues their recovery.

Christmas 2007

Christmas 2007
Our traditional Christmas, with Julie and her kids Tim, Chris and Haylie along with Lucy, Bob and their son Eric. All at Grandma and Grandpa’s house in Florissant. 32 years and counting, hard to believe for a bunch of Army brats.

Tim’s (back row right) finishing up at Missouri State University where he has two semesters to go. Chris ( ) just completed his first semester at Ozark Technical College, a local community college that has gone from 0 to 10,000 students and two campuses in less then a decade. Haylie ( ) is a sophomore at Glendale High School. Eric (front row, on Grandma’s lap) is almost ready for 1st grade and a full day of classes.

On a related note, here’s a short video of Eric writing and performing his first song on his first guitar. Enjoy “Eric – Rock Star”

Glendale Falcons Football

Glendale Falcon's vs Joplin Eagles
The Falcons took on the Joplin Eagles tonight and were shutting them out at the end of three quarters, 28 – 0. The third touchdown came on a 35 yard fumble return by Ronnie (pictured above, #15, as he enters the end zone). There’s a series of photos associated with the play, along with a couple of others where he makes a touchdown saving tackle while suffering a broken nose late in the 3rd quarter. Click on the photo above to be taken to the other shots.

There will be more photos posted on the Glendale Falcons football website as well.

Hannah Featured in the New York Times

Hannah Olson, Lung transplant receipient Thanks to a heads up from her older brother Andrew, we were able to see the New York Times article discussing the advances that have been made in lung transplants in the past five years. As you can see from the picture, Hannah is making a remarkable recovery from her double-lung transplant in February. She is featured in the story as an example of not only the technological advances but the changes that have been made in how Donor Organs are allocated. We are fortunate that the pieces fell into place and made a huge difference in her opportunity. You can download a copy as well.

Valdez Joins Glendale Football Squad

Glendale HS Football

Two-a-days have been going on for over a week now. According to Head Coach Hurst, Ron will be handling punt returns for the team while he continues to develop his football skills on the JV team in the defensive backfield. More to come…

Mother’s Day at Shaw’s Garden

Mother's Day at Shaw's Garden

Mom’s favorite excursion is a trip to the Missouri Botanical Garden’s, otherwise known as Shaw’s Garden, on the south side of St. Louis. We ventured down early Sunday morning under cloudy skies, hoping that the weather would hold and the crowds would be manageable. We did get wet but it didn’t drive us inside, we were prepared and enjoyed the quiet that descended on the gardens with the rain. Eric (pictured above with his grandparents) enjoys it as much if not more then Mom as the pictures show (click on the photo above). Afterwards I took them by my favorite coffee house, Kaldi’s, located in my old stomping grounds from grad school. Whether espresso or hot cocoa, everyone had something to dip the cookies.

SteveO turns 50

Harmony I passed the half century mark last Friday and my sisters and friends made certain it didn’t go by without some ceremony. In particular they held a party at our friend Diane Spade’s home near the MSU campus. There was a nice crowd of Glendale soccer parents who we have gotten to know well as we share the boys exploits as well as some other fine folk I’ve met in the three years I’ve been in Springfield now. I also had three very close friends from Chicago come visit for the weekend of the party which was held September 24th. Amy Skapek, Anale Shaba and Liz Bentkowski came down for three days, staying with me in my downtown loft/bachelor pad. Amy took some great pictures during her stay and I’ll be adding those later.

In the meantime, I also got a very nice print from my high schoo friend, and first love, Bonnie Estrella. I visited her in San Diego in January and while spending the day at Balboa Park (think Golden Gate, Forest Park or Central Park) we saw this print by an artist named Lucy Wang. She does watercolor on silk and this print is called “Harmony”. Bonnie included a nice letter with the print describing how cranes represent longevity and success in the Chinese culture. I think she got a kick about pointing out the longevity part in particular. She also commented on how strong a community the cranes have and said some nice things about it therefore being an appropriate symbol for my life. Very touching.

So next time you see me, don’t pat me on the back too hard, I’m getting old after all.