The Hall Family


Blog #38



Garage Sale Weekend


   Our neighborhood has an annual neighborhood garage sale the last weekend of April.  This is the very beginning of the garage sale season in the Akron area.  We have been gathering junk and preparing for it for the past week.  We didn't raise a huge bundle of cash, but the money made it worth our time.  This garage sale was really about moving stuff out and freeing up space.  We priced our things to sell and had few people dicker; most folks seemed happy to pay what we were asking.  The sale started Friday; Bill and Joan cleared out 60% of our stuff while Svea and I were at school.  On Saturday I sold another 20% and finally set some things our on the curb with "Free" signs tagged on.  Svea and Brigitta sold "Hello Dolly" bars and raised $12.50 at 25Ę each.  Brigitta did the selling on Friday and Svea did most of it on Saturday.  They both are great salesmen and weren't the least bit shy.  They offered everyone who walked up our driveway a Hello Dolly and did a great job.  Svea even made change.  Joan, Bill and I each earned a mild sunburn in the process.


   One thing that didn't sell at the garage sale was Bill and Harriette's 1940's Duncan Phyfe dining room table and chairs.  We were asking a reasonable price considering it's an antique, but in rough condition.  The biggest problem with it is that the finish becomes sticky in the summer; we can't set anything on it without it sticking like glue.  We have a number of things that we plan on selling on Ebay and we will probably do better with the dining set there.  We may even refinish it first...  Right now the garage is the cleanest and most spacious its been in months, with the exception of the dining set.  The only reason why we want to get rid of it is because our teak dining table has been stored in the basement since we moved in.  Joan and I prefer the Danish teak look and teak is great for kids because the wood is extremely oily and the finish is oil.  Everything wipes off and its almost impossible to create a water spot.


   Svea went to a classmate's birthday party at the YMCA last night.  On top of typical birthday party activities there was swimming, gymnastics and a rock climbing wall.  Joan tagged along and said that Svea was one of only two kids who she saw who made it to the top of the 20 foot (or so) rock climbing wall.  Joan said that Svea just scrambled to the top without stopping and then "rappelled" down, belayed down by a YMCA staff member.  It sounded like a great party and everyone had a good time.


   Brigitta and I went to see "Ice Age II".  It was a fun movie and only the third that she has seen in a theater.  On the way home we were driving next to a very long train.  I pulled onto a road that crossed the tacks via a condemned and blocked rusty old bridge.  We parked and ran out onto the bridge and were able to watch a mile of cars pass under us.  It was loud and windy.


   Annika is walking hands free more and more.  Last night I watched her walk half way across the porch; she then bent down and picked up a book and walked the rest of the way across the porch.  This was especially amazing because the book was the only item in our entire house that was out of place.  We're still working on getting her to shelve books alphabetically.


   Check out two new movies on our Movie Page.


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Blog #37



All is Well


   Everyone, for the first time in a few weeks, appears to be healthy.  My car, however, needs to have it's catalytic converter replaced.  I was heading to a meeting in Cleveland today.  As I drove over a 10 mph speed bump at 10 mph in the IHM paring lot my old Volvo transformed itself into a Piper Cub; at least it sounded like a Piper Cub.  I stopped and spotted the separation immediately and determined that nothing would fall off if I were to continue.  I had a very loud drive to Cleveland and managed to negotiate downtown driving in spite of two professional sporting events' traffic and streets being blocked of for the filming of Spiderman III. 

   I met with the Curriculum Director for the Diocese of Cleveland about my concerns over adopting and adapting the State of Ohio's ridiculously puffed up technology standards.  She appreciated my research and points and agrees that the state standards are not realistic and are way too wordy.  She has assured me that we will not be basing our standards after the state's 360 page document, but will instead be working from the 4 page National Technology Standards.  Technology is the only (or at least the first) subject that the Diocese will not base it's standards on the state standards.  I am quite relieved that reason will prevail. 


   Annika is cruising around quite regularly now.  Joan says that she walks the entire perimeter of the porch while touching the walls and furniture for balance.  Tonight she took her longest open walk yet; she walked from one couch in the living room to the other, or at least to my outstretched arms.  I'd say it was just over six feet, which is quite a few baby steps.  We celebrated Annika Day a little late this year; I'll edit the movie clips and post a video soon.


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Blog #36

David & Joan


Geneva on the Lake


   On Friday we spent a night in Geneva on the Lake, Ohio on the shore of Lake Erie.  Originally we planned this trip for Monday night, but postponed it a few days because of concerns about Annika being too sick to travel.  As it turned out Joan was the one who was too sick to travel (but she did anyway).  Papa and the girls and I took a walk on the beach; its amazing how much Lake Erie looks like the sea.  The girls were most excited about swimming in an indoor heated pool.  In spite of nearly drowning twice, Britta had a blast.  Svea also was thrilled.  We ended the evening by watching Disney's "Brother Bear"; a great animated movie about Inuit brothers and bears in the days of the Wooly Mammoth.


   I've spent some of my time over the break preparing for our garage sale.  Our area has the first neighborhood sale of the season and we typically have a good turn out.  Last night I found a box of things from high school and my early college years that I haven't looked through; I stayed up past midnight reliving old memories.  Today I found my old negatives from college; I hope to scan them and digitize them. 


Bill and his Hall granddaughters on the shores of a cold Lake Erie

- click here for 1024 x 768 resolution


Britta tosses a rock in Lake Erie


Svea tosses a rock in Lake Erie


Brigitta contemplates the number of grains of sand on the beach


Svea swats Lake Erie


Brigitta on the rocky shore


Svea loves just about everything, even driftwood


Annika swings, Papa flinches


More evidence that Brigitta has pirate in here blood; she sleeps with one eye ever so slightly open.


Saturday was quite foggy


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Blog #35

David & Joan


Mother's Grandmother's Brunch at Treehouse Preschool

(April 20th, 2006)

The Brunch included cookies made by the 3 year old class, an egg strada made by the 4 year old class and muffins from the Pre-K class.  Brigitta and her class sang songs and presented their Moms with hand decorated plates. 


A very happy Mother and Daughter.


Brigitta had to serve Nana and Joan their food.



On Wednesday Brigitta brought Svea in for show and tell.  Svea popped out of a box!


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Blog #34



 Mid Life Crisis - Part One


   I suppose that many men my age are buying the car that they've always dreamed of but could never afford.  The kayak that I've been using for the past 17 years (except in Hawaii) was purchased at a garage sale for $100 with two paddles; it was pretty "used" when I bought it.  It's big really been showing its age lately; the underside of the hull is very warped and the soft plastic has dents in various places.  I've retrofitted some wooden stringers and a Lexan entry deck to help it out.  It's also a pretty slow, wide boat made for navigating rivers.  I mostly cross lakes and have been wanting a faster truer-tracking boat. 


   So I bought a new kayak; I've been watching it on ebay for the past five days.  The previous owner lives in Youngstown Ohio, less than an hour away.  Bill and I picked it up yesterday.  It's a relatively new sit-on-top "Sprinter" plastic kayak made by Ocean Kayak in New Zealand.  It was designed by a world champion paddler and a reputable kayak designer.  It features a long skinny fast hull, a folding aluminum rudder, rudder pedals that hinge at the arch of the foot so that heal can brace for stability, a rear cargo hatch, leg/knee brace straps that lock the kayaker into the boat much like a conventional kayak, and 4 scuppers.  Scuppers are drain holes.  Basically the seat and footrest portions of the cockpit fill with 3 or 4 inches of water, when waves wash over the sides or down the bow into the cockpit, the excess water quickly drains out at the sides of the seat and at each foot well.  The downside is that the paddler is always sitting in 3 or 4 inches of water.  The biggest advantage is that it is very easy to get into, even after a capsize in rough water and the hull cannot take on water.  I've never capsized a conventional Eskimo style "hole" kayak and tried to enter it from the water.  I have thought much about how I would go about it and have never imagined it going very well.  Even if one could re-enter a conventional kayak from the water, the boat could easily have hundreds of pounds of water in it and would be very difficult to handle.  On the other hand, the last time I capsized a conventional kayak was in Alaska over 20 years ago.  It was an intentional capsize as I was practicing righting myself.  The result was a badly dislocated shoulder and a vow to never capsize a conventional kayak again.  Eleven years ago I capsized and even vertically cartwheeled end-over-end my old 19 foot fiberglass sit-on-top "surf ski" kayak many times in the Hawaiian surf.  I have a lot of experience re-entering a sit-on-top; it's not too difficult except in breaking surf.


   Iíve already put 4.4 miles on the boat yesterday in Mogador Reservoir; it was windy with one foot rolling whitecap waves. The boat handled well.  Compared to my old Hawaiian surf ski, the Sprinter is noticeably heavier and perhaps a bit slower, but is very stable, has a lot of great hardware and features and is presumably much more rugged.  The rudder system is just perfect. Into the waves it cuts cleanly and efficiently. I found myself sitting in more water than I expected or recalled, but guess thatís mainly due to the warm Hawaiian ocean water hardly being noticeable compared to crisp early spring Ohio water.  I also think both the boat and I are each a bit heavier then back in those days.  After just a few minutes the seat well water warms up and isn't a distraction until a new wave breaks over and adds some cooler water.  Another advantage/difference of the sit-on-top is that it is entered by carrying the boat into shallow water, stepping over it and then sitting down into it.  In a conventional kayak I would start on shore and scoot into the water.  To exit I would typically sprint towards a beach with enough speed to drive the boat ashore; usually I would need an extra shove with the paddle dug into the beach to get the cockpit area over dry ground.  This keeps me dry, but does scratch up the boat.

Paddler's position in a sit-on-top kayak


Length, width and profile comparison photos


   "Mid Life Crisis - Part Two" is already planned for the beginning of May; Joan hasn't left me yet...


   Annika is doing well; still a bit sick but nothing severe.  Harriette has the sickness now.


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Blog #33



 Easter Overload


   Blasphemy; I know.  However, Joan and I were just counting how many times this week our girls have participated in Easter egg hunts, Easter parties or received Easter baskets or Easter care packages from Alaska.  The answer is ten.  That's just the plastic & chocolate side of Easter.

I think that in lieu of mowing this year I'm going to cover the back yard in artificial Easter basket grass. 


Whatever you do, it always helps to bite your tongue.


Our back yard neighbors Jasmine and Grace invited Svea and Brigitta to their Easter egg hunt.  Britta found 58 eggs.


   Annika woke up pretty happy this morning but quickly ran out of gas.  She hasn't thrown up today but she's had some diarrhea.  She has been sleeping much more than usual, but when awake she doesn't complain much.


   I think every generation of children that have grown up in this house has destroyed at least one set of blinds.  I recently took this picture while replacing the set that Britta ruined.


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Blog #32



Sick Annika


   Now Annika is sick.  Normally she's pretty peppy and happy; today she just wants to be held and has been sleeping a lot.  Joan and I thought she had an ear infection because she kept tugging at her ear.  We were concerned about getting her diagnosed and picking up a presumed prescription before Easter.  I was concerned about spending three hours in Children's Hospital's waiting room.  I called to see how busy it was and they only had two patients; that's probably as good as it ever gets so we decided to go right away (after dinner).  After three blocks we realized that Annika has what Brigitta had (and is still getting over); the poor thing ralphed everything she had.  We turned around and went back home.  After she was cleaned up I held her while Joan colored Easter eggs with Svea and Brigitta.  Normally when Annika is not feeling well only Mommy will do.  Tonight she was content to be held by me and fell asleep in my arms. 


   Brigitta is mostly better but is a little extra moody and doesn't have her normal four year old stamina. Joan and Papa have been doing a variety of projects outside.  Our lawn has already been mowed twice, flowers are starting to bloom, the apple tree's buds have opened and peas, lettuce and chives have sprouted in the garden. 


   I woke up feeling quite a bit better and decided that I was well enough for a paddle.  I usually paddle at Mogador Reservoir west of Highway 43.  Today I headed East and portaged across Congress Road.  Most of the most eastern portion of the reservoir is very shallow and by summer is typically so thick with lily pads and other swampy water plants that it is virtually un-navigable, even in a kayak.  A small frog could probably hop across it.  It also gets pretty stinky by late spring.  The lily pads are just breaking the surface now so I figured that this would be my only chance this season to see that part of the reservoir.  Most of it I've never seen up close because I've never entered it in the spring.  Today I paddled as much of the perimeter as possible; close enough to the shore to startle every nesting bird to flight.  I saw the typical geese, ducks and swans.  In one cove I found four Great Blue Herons; this was unique because typically they are loners.  Probably the most exiting critter I saw was a four inch turtle who swam under my boat.  I'm sure that they are everywhere, but I seldom see them.  In the satellite picture below you can see my outgoing path (red) and my returning path (pink).  I figure that I traveled seven and a third miles today, much of it slowed by lily pads and other water plants including an amazing thick neon green slime.  By the time I was done my arms were pretty worn out.  As a scale reference, Highway 43 (far left vertical road) and Congress Road (left of center vertical road) are one mile apart. 



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Blog #31



Sick Daddy


   I have come come down with a cold.  I'm a bit achy, sniffley, phlegmy and run down.  Actually, I'm not sure that I don't just have allergies.  Either way I feel less than great.  I also get a little stupid, impatient and klutzy when I'm sick.  This can be serious because normally I am sometimes challenged when it comes to being patient, graceful and making intelligent decisions.  Some of you may know that I've always cut my own hair.  What can I say, I'm cheap and impatient.  I can cut my own hair in less time than it takes to drive to a barbershop and I'm free.  Normally this works just fine; my hair ends up looking like some boring old barber who knows what he's doing but just wants a quick $10 cut it.  Today it looks like that same boring old barber wanted to get fired.  I'd say I just gave myself the worst haircut ever.  I really shouldn't even be driving on a day that I couldn't operate an electric hair trimmer.  I guess I can't complain though, it was quick, free and I stiffed myself on the tip.  I don't know if this is good or bad, but I really don't even care.


   Joan is painting the porch.  Simple jobs around our house have a way of snowballing into major projects.  She's painted the fake/Spenard paneling a nice yellow and the wooden window frames white.  The inner window frames are thick aluminum and are coated with glue residue.  Normally they are covered with wood-looking trim, but that was falling apart.  Joan and Bill have been replacing the trim with white plastic based trim.  The porch is about 70% windows, so its a lot of work.


   Svea and I are off for Easter break; we have today and all of next week off.  My blog rate might go up a bit.


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Blog #30



Sick Britta


   Brigitta really scared us this week.  She started throwing up Sunday afternoon and all day Monday.  When she wasn't vomiting she was sleeping.  Joan and I got worried and took her to Children's Hospital last night.  The lobby was frightening; lots of sick kids coughing and a few of running around touching everything.  I held her in my arms while Joan read to her.  At the triage/vitals screening we asked how long the wait would be; the nurse told us it would probably be about three hours.  Joan and I talked about going home and coming back, just to avoid germs.  The nurse said that Brigitta didn't look to bad and also commented that she might pick something up in the lobby.  We opted to go home.  Britta threw up in the car but slept through the night.  This morning she vomited a few time, but has held everything in since 8:00 AM.  Tonight she was actually smiling and even danced a little bit.  Joan and I are very relieved. 


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Blog #29



"The Easter Bunny Cometh... Early...  No, That's a Stupid Title...  Help Me, Joan..."



   Svea's best friend had a Easter egg hunt today for over 40 children.  Joan took Svea and Brigitta; the weather was cool, bright and sunny.  Both girls had a great time.


   Today I changed the snow tires on the Volvo to the summers.  Normally this is a 30 minute job, but I had a lug nut that stripped and wouldn't budge.  I ended up drilling and chiseling the nut into pieces; it took over two hours.  A few other bolts also stripped and had to be heated before they would budge.  I came to the conclusion that the lug nuts were defective or perhaps slightly the wrong thread.  I had trouble with them when I put the snows on as well.  I bought a new set of lug nuts for all four wheels.  Hopefully I won't have trouble again.


   Last night all seven of us went to the German Family Society "Card Party" fundraiser.  This is the only fundraiser of the year for the three youth/dance groups.  The event Annika's first real social outing.  Because she was at high risk for RSV, we've been very protective of her and have kept her out of public places.  The fundraising part of the event was a series of raffles.  We won a few things, had a fish diner and a good time.


"Weapons of Ice Destruction"

We had a very strange, yet short hail storm yesterday.  It was hailing medieval mace-ice.   This is a random sample; they were about an inch across and every one appeared uniquely malicious.


I was sick and stayed home on Thursday.  I slept most of the day; Brigitta took good care of me and brought me a pillow, blanket and bunny.  I think this was my first sick day in four years. 


This picture is from Brigitta's dress-up day at dance class on March 27th; can you spot our child?


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Blog #28



"If I Only Had A Brain"

Svea, Brigitta, Joan & I made a fun little movie tonight.  Be sure to check it out on our Movie Page.


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