Monday, February 28, 2011

Finishing Up Dartball, Basketball, Car Breakdowns, and a Wild Weekend...

Zoom, Bing, Bang, Boom....Where in the Hell did that weekend just go?

What can I say?  In a nutshell, here we go....Friday, my game at Allen East was canceled, they move it to Saturday at Noon....meanwhile as they were doing that, the snow that we had received on Thursday Night then overnight Friday morning was already in the process of melting, well at least somewhat.  So despite our Paulding at AE Northwest Conference games not being played, others on the schedule were completed.

The local boys from Celina, capped off a great regular season run by upending Ottawa~Glandorf 62-59 to capture their first title in the WBL in 4 years, and their first outright crown since 1998-99.  The local Bulldogs finished the regular season 17 wins 3 loses with a league record of 8-1.  After losing their first game of the WBL, they finished with 8 straight league wins.  Then on Saturday night in Girls Sectional action,  the Lady Bulldogs knocked off league Champion and Grand Lake rivals St. Marys 48-46 to avenge a regular season loss and move on to District play....the very young Celina team is now 12-10 while St Marys finishes at 17 wins 5 loses.

On Saturday I drove to Allen East for the NWC make~up match-ups.  Both the JV and Varsity contests were won by the visiting Paulding squad ....as I am driving the 40 miles to the game site, I get a phone call from oldest son Sam.  He is on his way home from Ohio State for the weekend, to get his laundry done and participate in the Dartball League Tournament on Sunday.   As I approach the school, my cell phone chimes in...it is Sam, telling me his car is stopped along side of US 33 between Marysville and Bellefountaine, some 75 miles from Celina.   After a back and forth, I tell him to call AAA and have his Nissan towed to Celina, at least I know the garage folks here and we can get it looked at.  After some thought I am suspecting an alternator problem...or at least I hope it's no more than that...could be worse.  Thank Gawd for AAA Plus, which me and Patricia have had for 30 years and have given the boys as a birthday present since they left the nest...believe me, it has more than paid for itself.  The tow to Celina didn't cost anything extra, and it's not the first time it has been used...not even close.

I'll stop by the shop(which I had Sam drop the car off at) and have them take a look in the morning....hopefully the cost will be doable.  If it isn't one thing it's another....life is a bitch at times....but I remind myself...it's only a freaking car, not real life.

Dartball, the season turn around____

I have mentioned on this blog our Church Dartball team...a rag tag group of guys with little in common, except for once a week we toss darts at a large baseball configured board.  Our youngest player is 11 or 12 and our oldest is now 92 years young.  Martin(not pictured because he had to leave early Sunday afternoon) has been in the league since it's inception in 1936(although it may have started in 1938...our records only go back that far)....and has been a quality darter since the beginning.  

We started off the season with 9 straight loses in route to a 6 win 15 loss first half....defending champions Hopewell Lutheran then knocked us off 3 straight to start the second half of the season.  After that we turned it around, as the young and old started to hit...we finished in 2nd place in the South Division with a 13-8 record in half #2.  Then in the post season tournament last week we upset perennial power Schumm Lutheran 2 games to 1 to move on to today's semi final round...where a win over Bethany United Methodist would propel us into the finals.

We began the day's session like we did the season back in early November....getting knocked off 1-0 in a pathetic display of darts in game one.   I finally started hitting and we squeaked out a 3-2 victory to even things up in the second contest.  Jumping out early, we held on to win the rubber match 6 to 4, moving us on to the finals....we had clinched a runners up trophy by that time, and for a team that was as bad as we were early in the season....we would take it.

Taking on host and defending regular season champions Hopewell Lutheran in the championship, saw us fall back in to our "not so hot" play...although we did manage to eek out a 2-1 win in game one... it was not to be.  We fell in the final two games 7-1 and 6-3 to lose the final 2 games of a 6 game,  4 1/2 hour day....the young guys were restless and the older guys were both mentally and physically exhausted.   The game requires mental stamina, and we frankly, ran out of gas.

However, a finish like we had, as compared to the start we began the season with....I'll take it!  

Nobody hit well...I ended up today 7 for 22 with 4 RBIs, while Sam finished the day strong going 5 for 7 in the last 2 games to keep us in the contests.  The All Star Games, which, despite a rather poor year(.367 batting average with 24 RBIs) I'll be in again, is scheduled for March 7th, and the Banquet at Hopewell is on March 14th.  


After the Dartball post season tournament was completed...I still wasn't done.  Sam's Nissan was here, and he had to be back in Columbus at Ohio State for classes by morning.  So after a long day of tossing darts, we headed for home...packed his stuff up and with me behind the wheel, we drove US 33 to Columbus....drove to the Capital City, then through the rain and fog I worked myself back...4+ hours of darts, 4 hours round trip 200 mile to C~Bus and back...all in a "Day in the Life" for one PRH.....


So basketball officiating and Dartball wind down....now a break, of sorts, before Baseball begins.....for the next few weeks I can hope for spring~like weather and hang around the house until hardball season begins.


back later>>>>


Photos-The Celina St. Johns Lutheran Dartball team...ranging in age from 11 to 92(with our senior member not shown)...finishes on the strong side, coming in second in the Division for the second half of the season, then taking home the runner up trophy in the post season tournament.

Friday, February 25, 2011

One More Time....Another Snow "Event"

As I headed off the bed last night, the Internet Radar showed it was snowing...it wasn't.  I think to myself, "Well maybe the 6 to 10 inches of white stuff they had upped their predictions too, wasn't going to happen after all".  By the time I woke up a 1:30am to "relieve" myself(a couple of times a night habit when you reach my age), I knew, looking out the window, that indeed we were going to get a good cover, especially with the winds blowing like they were.  At the time things settled down this morning, the fast moving storm had dropped 6 or 7 inches of windblown heavy snow on this part of western Ohio.

Schools, games, and just about everything else was canceled for today and tonight...so Patricia, home from school (they have no days to cover those already missed, so it appears the school year will be extended, by how many days, will be determined by the late winter snow and ice, along with the usual collection of spring "fog days"), and I put on the winter clothes and headed out to battle the driveway drifts, the city snow plows who dumped more slushy crap into our driveway, and the sidewalk ice....once done there, I headed over to mom's place to dig Mike out...the entire process took about 2 hours, not bad considering how much was dumped in a short time.

Shortly after I finished up at mom's location, the sun made an appearance....and the walks were soon visible, but wet.  Great thing about snow this late in the season, it usually doesn't stay around long, especially if the sun comes out.  The rest of the weekend looks to be cloudy, with rain and mid 50s arriving by early next week...the snow should melt in a hurry if those conditions come to pass.


My game at Allen East, a Northwest Conference match up with visiting Paulding, was postponed until tomorrow, with the JV game beginning at Noon.  The final weekend of league action needs completed, as the Boys Tournaments start Tuesday...the Girls post season has already began.  Dartball semi finals are Sunday afternoon, if we defeat the team from Bethany, we will stick around for the Championship round...it's been a few years since we won the post season tournament...a couple of second place trophies, but no championships with the new younger players involved,  We do however have a decent shot this year, especially with the way we have been playing of late.

back, with more, later>>>>

Photos-This morning, at the height of the storm, looking out the front porch across to the tool and dye operation across the street...the tree in front of the dining room window is covered with the fresh snow fall...the driveway awaits the snow machine, and the backyard evergreen and fence after the snow ended about 9am.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Here We Go Again!~~ Mo Snow!!

As I mentioned yesterday, Ohio and the Midwest's short flirtation with Spring, was just that...now back to our Winter of reality:
http://www.weather.com/weather/alerts/localalerts/45822:4?phenomena=WS&significance=W&areaid=OHZ034&office=KILN&etn=0004

Of course you never know, but this one appears to be headed straight for Mercer County...the proverbial Snow/Rain Line...rain to the south, ice and snow to the north.  We will see how it all shakes out.  The one thing I am glad about is the fact that we found a decent, lightweight, easy to use, snow blower for mom.  She's in Florida, but the walks and drive still need to be taken care of.   It's been a winter, snow wise, like we haven't seen in a couple of decades.  Not so much accumulation wise, but in the number of storms, snow events, and how long it has stayed around.  It's been on the ground since early December, except for the few warm days near New Year's Day, and the pre-spring warm up we had last week  So with the two snow blowers, my old Snow Machine, and the Toro at mom's place...it hasn't been as bad as it could have been.

If the predictions are even close, I suspect my final basketball game of the season tomorrow will be postponed....many will.  I am scheduled to be at Allen East as they host Paulding.  Meanwhile Celina, which has clinched a share of the WBL title, is slated to host Ottawa-Glandorf, with O-G, one game back, hoping to knock off the Bulldogs and share the title.  Being the final games of the regular season before tournaments begin next week, I suspect the games to be made up Saturday or Sunday, if they are indeed delayed.

Garry and I headed north to Van Wert for another local rules meeting for baseball last night...with helping to work a umpiring class at Parkway on March 19th, and a couple of meetings the next two weeks at my "other" association at Indian Lake, my requirements will soon be completed.  After that, I can pick and choose when and where I want to attend meetings.  I usually do a few more than required, because, frankly, I enjoy the meetings and discussing the rules of my favorite game with my fellow umpires...even if we don't always agree how the rules should be enforced or what they really mean.

In other news_____

The union mess in Wisconsin continues with the far left thugs still in control of the State Capitol at Madison...meanwhile the Democrat morons in the Wisconsin Legislature are still hiding out in Illinois.  Ohio and Indiana are also in the cross hairs of union thugery...led by the likes of AFL-CIO scum, whose leader is another slob fat slob, named Richard Trumka.  Do you ever wonder why union heads always look as though they have never missed a meal, or worked a day in their lives?  Probably because both counts are ture.  Trumka and his boyfriend Barack Obama, are out to destroy this country, one taxpayer, one state at a time.  They are getting plenty of help from lame stream media...especially MSNBC and the clowns like Jon Stewart on the so-called Comedy Channel.  It's a joke all right, as for the suckers that fall for these leftist bastards, the joke will soon be on them.

The Middle East Contines to burn, and the Libyan counter part of our own illegal Prez, Moammar Gadhafi...another thug, whom Barry refused to call out, until finally pressured to do so yesterday, is slaughtering his own people in the streets.  As Libya rages, and the oil prices soar, Obama and Company continue to still stick their noses in the business of the various state governments that they disagree with.  One day, they will get their noses cut off...if the 50% of the fools that still support this Kenyan Asshole, ever wake up.

Nothing going on tonight....so I will prepare to wait out the coming storm and tomorrow fire up the snow machines if needed...

back later>>>>

Photos-Baseball Season cannot come soon enough for me....Obamy and another one of his union thugs and probably another gay lover , AFL-CIO Thug, Richard Trumka...and Libyan soulmate Barry Soetoro, Moammar Gadhafi...handsome devil, ain't he?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sorting out the Union Fiasco in Wisconsin, Indiana, and now Ohio...

Originally they were calling for a high today of 46 with some sunshine....now that has been downgraded to 36 with mostly cloudy skies.  That isn't going to melt much of the fresh 6 inch snow fall from Monday night and early yesterday.  Some rain and 40 tomorrow, with another 4 inches of white stuff for Thursday overnight into Friday.  Looks like we won't see the ground for awhile...."Damn"!!!

The Public Union Mess...

I have been watching with interest, and giving my usual hard core opinions on what is going on with the Public/Teachers Unions in Wisconsin and now in Indiana and Ohio.  Seems the Democrats cannot stand the fact they are no longer in power in those states, and are cutting and running, refusing to do the peoples work.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2011/02/23/fleebaggers_the_new_cut-and-run_democrats_109000.html

This is what "progressives" do when they cannot win at the ballot box or in the minds of the public...cut and run, as long as the lap dog unions have their backs.

One thing I have noticed in this recent battle between good and evil.  Many folks have no clue as to what "Public Unions" are all about, especially compared to Blue Collar Unions.  Here is my take on Unions in General and Teachers/Public Unions in particular.
----------------
Unions, the Good, Bad, and Ugly.....

The Ugly:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/23/us/23beil.html?pagewanted=1&hpw 

Lazy slobs like this clown are why unions are in the shape they are in...bastard probably has not worked a honest day in his life...for certain he hasn't missed a meal.  A Marxist down to his rotten core.

The Bad:
 http://www.moonbattery.com/archives/2011/02/normal-american.html
 
Yes, the public employees unions are nothing more than tools for the Marxists out to destroy the republic.

The Good:

FDR was a kook, and a bad President IMO, but even he knew that Public Employees(paid by the taxpaying working men and women of America)should not have unions, where they can bring government to a standstill:  
 http://washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/worth-recalling-fdr-was-no-fan-public-employee-unions

 Last good I saw out of a union was perhaps, well I've never seen much, but perhaps back in the days of FDR and before...even FDR was against the Public Employees Unions

My experience with unions, and my personal take:

Unions, where to begin?

My first experience with unions was a couple months short of graduation from Celina High School.  I went to work at the Huffy Bicycle Plant in March 1967,  a full 3 months before graduation....the Vietnam War was on, men were in short supply, and Huffys was in full Bike production.  I worked second shift after going to classes at CHS all day.  Me and several other classmates would finish up at Huffy and then head up town to have a few cold ones at the Club Cafe(drinking age was 18 back in 1967 in Ohio), then head off to classes in the morning.  I would work at Huffy until June of 1968, when the draft came calling, so I joined the Air Force, froze my seniority at the plant and would return in June of 1972, after my discharge.  I would work for Huffys under the USW(United Steel Workers) until September 1973, when I decided factory work was not for me.  It was a good ride, the USW kept me employed, because I really was not a great worker, I liked to drink, and miss a few days(or more) per month.  However once I left, I never wanted or needed to work for a union again.

Mom worked at Huffy for 25 years....she never felt she needed a union either...mom retired and still collects a good pension...the union wasn't all bad.  Huffy meanwhile, fell off the face of the earth.  The once number one Bike Plant in America is no more...it wasn't the unions, it was cheap foreign labor, and incompetent management.  

That is the Good....about all I can say for my experience with unions.


Public Employees Unions....totally unnecessary IMO.  Most Government and State Employees are protected by Civil Service laws.  I worked for 2 different County Health Departments, on rare occasions a union organizer would come calling...we would tell them to get lost.  We didn't need them.  We made good money, had good benefits, and sure the Hell didn't want our union dues going to corrupt Left Wing Political Hacks...20 years without union representation as a public employee.  Never needed it....public teachers and other public employees, if they are worth their salt, don't need them either.  Even the left wing icon, Franklin D. Roosevelt didn't think the taxpayers should fund them.


The wife is a teacher, was a OEA/NEA member for 20+ years...she hated their politics and what they spent her $800 per year dues on...she left the union a few years back...her fellow teachers dumped the national(NEA) and state(OEA) last year and formed their own in~house union.  They, the majority, were sick of their dues going to support bad teachers, abortion, and queer rights....because after all, that is what the NEA is all about, protecting poor teachers and supporting the radical left wing agenda.  The NEA and it's state puppets are not about good eduction for the kids.


Wisconsin, Indiana, and Ohio, are at the forefront of this war in support of the taxpayers and economic sanity....the battle has just begun.  


back later>>>>



Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It's Back! I Guess It Really Still Is Winter Afterall...

The forecast was a little "iffy" Sunday night. ACCUweather said one thing, the Weather Channel said something else...turns out it was somewhere in~between.  Not as much snow here as the ACCU forecast, while TWC was a little lite on the predictions.  Turns out north Mercer County and other areas that way in Van Wert and Paudling had 5 or 6 inches on top of the ice layer....we ended up with maybe 3 or 4 over the ice and rain.  South towards Dayton and Columbus had no or little snow, just rain, followed by some ice.

This writing will be short....got to fire up the snow machine, take care of our place, then over to mom's to make sure Mike can get out.  Should have known, well in fact I did know, that the past few days were just a "tease"...no way we were done with winter, at least another month to go...here it is February 22nd, perhaps by March 22nd we can start to see the end of this, but even that's no guarentee until at least mid April.  So we will deal with it.

The one positive thing about the snow piling up this time of year...it usually doesn't stay around long....there are as many days above freezing as there are those below 32F.  The sun is also more direct, and makes the melting quicker and the piles easier to deal with....So off I go to handle the winter wonderland one more time, at least, one more time for now.

back later>>>>

Photos~top/Last Night as the moderate snow hit it's peak, and this morning the back yard, as the fresh snow makes a nice photo...and more outdoor work.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Reception and Weekend Dartball

Our early Spring weather lasted just long enough to get us through the Wedding Reception over the weekend...now we have ice north and a freezing rain mix south, with snow on the way, maybe a few inches before morning.

We pulled out of Celina at 1pm Saturday afternoon heading for Fairborn and our hotel at Wright Patterson AFB.  When we arrived, we found a nearly empty Hope(named after Bob Hope) Hotel and Conference Center...seems it was a slow weekend on the base, so our little group, which included my friend Rick and wife Toni from northern Indiana, Andy, Amy, and their boys from the Louisville, Kentucky, area, and the Schillings from Celina, nearly alone in the large building on the grounds of the Air Force base....we had plenty of elbow room.   The rest of the overnight staying group, including sister Marty and family, along with brother Mike's daughter Lori, would stay at the Cross Country or Courtyard(can't remember which) near the AF Museum....because it had a pool.  Hal and Lisa would join our group Sunday morning at Packy's Grill at the Hope for breakfast, before we all headed towards our various homes.

The reception itself, went without a hitch....plenty of kids and their families that Hal and Lisa work with, the kids, all of them, were well involved in the festivities....Anissa had a great time, dancing most of the night.  The Celina crew, which included a dozen or more of Hal's running mates and friends like Garry and Lisa, and other members of both families managed to close out the prepaid portion of the bar by 9:15 thus turning it into a 'cash bar' until we closed shop at 11pm.  The bartender at the Fairborn American Legion, said that was the first time they had seen anybody drink down the prepaid portion...I told him, "That's because you have never seen a crowd from Mercer County".   A great time was had by all, as far as I can tell....and now Hal and Lisa can resume a "normal" life...whatever that may be or bring.  It was indeed a fun last two weeks.

As we said good bye to those with us at the Hope, the rain was falling...as we drove north towards Celina on Ohio 49 to US 127,  ice was mixing with the downfall.  Sam had came back to Celina late Saturday night and was doing laundry from his Columbus apartment when we arrived.

Dartball Tournament____

With the regular season finished, the Wabash Valley Dartball League began the post season tournaments yesterday....that tournament and the divisional regular season playoffs will run concurrently the next couple of weeks, with everything ending with the all star game on March 7th and the season ending banquet on March 14th.

In the opening round of the tournament, done with a 'blind draw', we drew perennial power Schumm....we have had some good battles over the years, but of late they have been a superior team.  This season we had managed to split the season with them, each team taking 3 games.  We won our 3 at home in the second half returning the favor of them sweeping us at Schumm back in November.  They brought 12 players we had 11....and it appeared our tournament and season(except for the 3 of us in the all start game) would be done in a quick fashion.  We struggled, getting only 6 teams hits and lost game one of the best of 3 by a score of 6-1.  Then after a quick meal and snack break, everybody started hitting for our squad...and we held on for a 9-6 second game win to tie things up, setting up the "rubber game" and deciding which team would move on to the semi-finals and a shot at the finals next Sunday.

We put points on the scoreboard in the first 4 innings of the final game and never looked back, coming away with the game 9-3, and the series by a count of 2 games to 1.  Everybody on the team contributed, most of the players had 3 or 4 hits...I lucked out and led the team, going 6 hits in 11 at bats, with 3 triples and 3 runs batter in...next Sunday we will play the league bottom dwellers, who pulled off a 2 game sweep yesterday...which is always dangerous.  We defeated Bethany 5 games to 1 during the season, and anything can and usually does happen come post season tournament.  Whoever wins that match will immediately play for the championship against the winner of the Hopewell and Rockford Methodist game.  I cannot remember the last time that both Schumm and Mt Carmel have not made the semi finals.  Of course both teams are still left in the Divisional Playoffs, as usual.  We are just glad to be still playing, with a good chance of adding another trophy to our church's case.

Down to just one scheduled basketball game, next Friday at Allen East.   Baseball meeting, clinics, and scrimmages before the regular season begins on March 28th at Paulding.

back later>>>>

Photos-Lisa and Hal pose with the Hemmelgarn's and extended family, including brother Mike's daughter Lori and the grandkids...Rick and Toni Pearson, Lisa and Garry Mosier, along with Hal's buddies"Stump" Eckstein and our back yard neighbor Derek Wenning, and the Houseworth and Mangione family...Andy, wife Amy, and boys, are from the Cleveland/Akron area and now reside in Louisville Kentucky...

Friday, February 18, 2011

A New Look Outside the Window...

Peeked out the window this morning and "Lo and Behold"...after six weeks of ice and snow cover, and more ice cover, the ground is now visible....just a few piles of wet, slippery, dirty, icy, snow, lay under the poles, and near the curbs and backyard fence....the 5 day thaw is taking care of business.   Now the challenge, before it freezes and snows again, will be to clean up the back yard mess, thanks to Reagan the Airedale....pretty tough to shovel poop in the ice.   Sunshine today and 55, with a bit cooler forecast tomorrow, sun and 45, and a good rain by Sunday....no cold or below freezing temps before at least next Tuesday, and then the battle between Winter and Spring will go forth for at least the next 6 weeks or more, with Spring eventually winning out, hopefully early in April, if not before.

Worked a Junior High Tournament double last night here in Celina...that finished my JH work for the season....a JV Boys game tonight at Wapak and then one of the same next Friday at Allen East, and my basketball is done until sometime next November.   Bring on Spring and Baseball....after a good 3 weeks rest.

Tomorrow we head to Dayton, where Anissa, Patricia, and I, will stay at the Hope Hotel and Conference Center at Wright~Patterson AFB....close friends, Rick and Toni, Andy and Amy, and Garry and Lisa, will join us there.  Other family and friends will be staying at other places near the American Legion in Fairborn, where Hal and Lisa will hold their Wedding Reception, 2 weeks after the West Virginia Ceremony....should be a great time.  We will head home on Sunday.  Sam and I will toss darts Sunday afternoon in the opening round of the Wabash Valley Dartball post season tournament.

That's the plan for the weekend....not much else to complain about.  However I am watching the events unfold in Wisconsin as their Teachers and Public Employee Unions try to destroy the state economy.  The Badger State the Wife's home state, where Anissa was born and we all lived for several years, back in the late 1970s, is the battle ground for the soul of America...it appears Ohio is next.  Are we Greece or are we America?  The public union power play needs to be defeated. 

Yep, I worked in the public sector for 20 years, my wife has been a public school teacher for 25....but the dead weight and power of the Teachers Unions needs to be gone, and the prize is the saving of the economy.  Let there be no mistake, both sides are guilty, but government and their bloated unions are nothing but pure evil these days....and it's time to stop this madness.  The clock is running!

back later...enjoy the weekend!

Photos-Hal and Lisa at their wedding on February 5th near The New River Gorge in West Virginia...the Reception, back in Ohio tomorrow night.  And the snow/ice is melting away...but I'm sure we will see more before the end of Winter and even early Spring.  However, we will enjoy the respite while it lasts.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Happy Birthday Anissa!

The temperatures are headed towards 60 today, with cloud cover and a shot of rain possible both today, and tomorrow.  The grimy snows are melting...hopefully most will be gone soon, so I can clean up the yard a bit, before the next snow storm(you know it's gonna happen) hits.  I made an attempt to break up the sidewalk ice yesterday, and mainly got a pulled shoulder muscle for my efforts.  I hope that both the ice and pain will be gone by the weekend.

Headed for Van Wert last night...finally got a baseball rules meeting in.  I am required to get four local meetings plus the state rules session to stay licensed....I usually try to get 6 or 7 locals in, never good or experienced enough that you cannot learn something new, or improve yourself.  I have also been named to the training staff for a local area umpiring class coming up in mid March...will work the batting cage in the morning and work the video in the afternoon session.  No payment, but it counts as a meeting with a free lunch, which is more than enough for me.

Anissa turns 32____

On a cold, snowy day, February 17, 1979, my wife, Patricia, went into labor...and despite her pleas that she wasn't really in that state, I piled her into the Jeep Cherokee, and drove the 12 miles through the snow to the Wausau South Hospital.  The delivery room doctor was late, but at around 6pm Anissa Louise Houseworth was born anyway.  Today she is celebrating her 32nd birthday.

Anissa seemed to be a normal child as we moved from Wisconsin to Indiana, then to Dodge City Kansas, and finally my radio days brought me back to Celina...I guess we were so busy moving, working, and maybe in denial, that we never realized that Anissa was just not developing at the pace she should be.  Once her brother Sam came along in December of 1981...we finally admitted to ourselves that something was seriously wrong with Anisssa's development....made all the more obvious from Sam's quick development.  He was able to read, write and play along with game shows on the tube, by the time he was 2.  We finally took Anissa to Dayton, and at the age of 3 it was pronounced to us that she was indeed "retarded".

"Ness" would live her life never reaching her full "normal" potential.  Now at 32, despite of adult age, she is still a child at heart and in mind.  Not to worry though, she has great individuals to help her along, and she continues to be a major focus of Patricia and my life.  Forever 5 years old in some ways, but smart as a whip in others.  She can watch a movie and then when watching it the next time, can tell you each word the actors are going to say, before they say it.  Her music favorites are Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffet, getting those from her old man of course.  Her movie favorites include "Stuart Little 2" and "Drop Dead Fred"...she is in love with the American Flag, and has hundreds of "Bennie Toys".  

She now lives in her own house{which she refers to as an apartment} on the other side of town.  She has a roommate and a crew to keep an eye on her activities 24/7.  She spends some of the weekend hours with us, and attends an adult day care center and the Cheryl Ann Workshop.   Despite all the trials, she is, for the most part, a happy adjusted person, who, like the rest of us, has good days and some bad ones.  If all goes well, even after we are gone, she has the people in place, including her youngest brother Hal and his bride Lisa, to make sure to make sure she is loved and cared for through the rest of her life.  Happy Birthday Anissa!
 
An early double header at the McKirnan 7th grade tournament tonight in Celina tonight.  4 o'clock starts my 2 games...Celina vs Delphos St. Johns, followed by Fort Recovery against St. Marys...4 teams I have done multiple times,. so I expect no surprises.   Tomorrow night at Wapak for a JV game vs Kenton, then Saturday, we drop Reagan off at the Pet Center, and head for Fairborn for the Hal/Lisa reception.

back later>>>

Photos-top/left...the Houseworth clan at Hal's wedding last weekend in West Virginia...February 18, 1979, me and the 1 day old Anissa in the Wausau(Wisconsin) South Hospital,  With her mom at Granpa/Grandma Callies house in Wisconsin...and with our original Airedale "Rags" at our Kokomo, Indiana, apartment in 1980.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Guiness Foreign Extra Stout....basketball winds down, is winter doing likewise

I was checking my officiating/umpiring calendar this morning, and noted that by the time I finish up basketball next week....even with the snow cancellations, I will have officiated on 50 days/nights(about 75 games, including double headers and Saturdays with 3 games on occasion)...What the Hell am I doing?  75 Basketball games, most with a 2 man crew...that's a lot of work, and a lot of stress, wear and tear, on the legs, knees, and back.  Oh well, it's winding down, and I'm looking forward to a few weeks off before baseball gets underway in middle to late March.  That schedule, while set, always depends on the early Spring conditions.

A new beer for the taste buds____ 

Driving home from Lima Central Catholic after last night's boys Junior High double, I stopped by a beer warehouse and picked up a brew I had noticed on a previous visit....

It was out of the Guinness line, a stout beer called, Guinness Foreign Extra Stout....it comes in 4 packs of 11.2 oz bottles, and is, for a beer, pretty pricey...I gathered four of em' and drove home in time to grab a shower, and tune in to the Ohio State vs Michigan State basketball game.  Done in the shower, with robe on, I settled down in my leather recliner and poured me a bottle into a frozen glass, and proceeded to enjoy a couple of the "new" finds.  A dark coffee/choclate mix with a pretty good "kick" from the 7.5% alcohol...another great beer that I'll try again, although the price($10 for a four pack) will not put it on my list of "must have in the fridge" brews....but on occasion, I'll give it a try...Mark it down as an A- on the scale....it has more flavor that the regular Guinness Extra Stout...the Foreign ES, has more kick as well.

Meanwhile, Ohio State pulled away late to shake off a stubborn Spartan team to get back on the winning track, after the weekend loss at Wisconsin.  The Buckeyes are now 25-1 on the season, and 11-1 in the Big Ten.  Oldest son Sam was working the game for The Big Ten Network/OSU.Com...pretty nice gig, getting paid to "work" big time basketball.

The Ice Melt Continues____

With temperatures slated into the fifties today and 60 or better tomorrow, you would think the hard ice would be gone in short order...but I'm beginning to have my doubts.  The layer of ice is so thick and hard, that I am now doubtful it will be all gone by the weekend....I'll keep the camera in hand to keep track of the progress.  I have no games tonight, a 7th grade tournament tomorrow here in Celina, and a JV game at Wapak Friday will finish off the week, with just one more contest scheduled on Friday the 25th at Allen East to end my season.  A good 3 week rest, clean up the baseball gear, and I'll hopefully be ready for baseball.  Tonight my first local hardball rules meeting at Van Wert, having already completed the State Meeting on line.

back later>>>>

Photos-A Glass of the Guinness Foreign Extra Stout that I poured last night...Damn Good Beer!  And the ice on the driveway(yard and walks too), will the coming thaw melt it all?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The February Thaw!

It appears that the next 4 days will see our massive ice and snow accumulation take a hit...maybe "massive" is a bit of an overstatement, however, the ice under the snow is at least 6 to 7 inches thick in some places...or was!  It took a hit over the past weekend, and with sun today and tomorrow, with temperatures ranging from the low 40s today to the low fifties tomorrow, much will be gone by the time the upper 50s to near 60 arrive, with some rain on Thursday and Friday....

I have to admit, February is a change over month...by the time it arrives, especially in years like this, where the winter has been long and cold, you are sick and tired of the season.  Sure February usually isn't warm, but you do, on occasion, get a brief hint of Spring...then by March you can feel the sun warming, and when April hits, you at least get 50% of the days where you can enjoy the outdoors with no coat, or at least just a lite jacket or sweat shirt.  So this week will be our "hint" of Spring, and the extended forecast, looking out 10 to 15 days, doesn't look all that bad...some cool, some warmer, but no days that are forecast to be bitter or with major snow accumulations.  At least that is the Ohio forecast.  For those of you to the north, good luck....to the south, watch out for the early Spring storms and Tornadoes....

We finished up the Dartball regular season last night...our team went out with a bang, defeating our cross town opponents, Bethany United, three games to none.  So after a dismal first half, which saw us lose our first 9 games, and finish 6 wins 15 loses, we bounce back and win 13 to 8 defeats in the second half of the season....no league playoffs for us, but we did improve, and some of our younger players really stepped up.   The post season tournament will be held beginning this Sunday at Hopewell Lutheran, we take on perennial power Schumm, whom we split with during the regular season 3 games each.....they took 3 at their Church, we took the 3 at ours.  I finished first on the team in both batting average at .367 and in RBIs with 24...the average down from last year, when I finished in 2nd place in the league with a .441.17 just a fraction out of first(the top average was .441.34), but my RBI's with 15 in the second half was 3 more than last year...our team got steadily better as the season progressed...anything can happen come tournament time, and usually does.  I make the all-star team for the 14th time in my 17 seasons playing this type with the large wood darts, tossing underhand.

As Dartball winds down, so does my personal basketball officiating season....a regular season Junior High double header in boys action at Lima Central Catholic tonight....and a 7th grade boys tournament double in Celina on Thursday.  Friday back to High School action at Wapakoneta...then off Saturday for Hal and Lisa's post wedding reception in Fairborn, back to Dartball on Sunday.  Next week, just one game on the agenda, that being a final JV Boys contest at Allen East.  Then I can concentrate on Baseball Season....and hopefully some warmer conditions to work in...but Spring snows have cancelled many a contest over my umpiring career.  Meanwhile rules meetings to be caught up on...my first will be in Van Wert tomorrow night...I already completed the State Meeting, they are now offered "on-line" in all 3 of my sports...saving time and gas.

That's about it for this morning....will let the sun, weaken up the ice cover and see if I can help clear off the walks....I would be remiss if I didn't "brag" a bit about my score on the video Miniature Golf game located on the right border of this blog....a 24 with an opening string of holes in one, made for my best score ever, played last night before hitting the sack!!

back later>>>>

Photos-The ice is still with us, the driveway is a sheet of mixed ice and slush, which freezes overnight and melts during...the walks both out front and in the back yard still have at least of 2 or 3 inches of cover...it should melt by Friday, if the forecast is correct...and finally my scoreboard from the best score of the video mini golf game(see right border column)...I started with 10 consecutive holes in one!  Ya~Hoo!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Weekend Review....Friday Night at the Celina Fieldhouse

Happy Valentine Day!  For those of you who celebrate those sort of festivities.....

Running late today....I almost (keyword "almost") decided to continue to break the ice from the walkways.  Patricia(did most) and I got some of it cleared off over the weekend, as the temperatures "soared" into the 40s...with some ample sunshine to help the snow banks shrink.  However, with the heavy cover of ice beneath the snow, it still will require a number of warmer days, with plenty of sun and/or rain to rid us of this mess...thus making a mess of mud, especially on the
roads and in my back yard.....


 Bulldogs vs Bulldogs-Working the Fieldhouse___
As I mentioned on Friday's post....I was assigned to work the Celina Field House by the Western Buckeye League on Friday night....a JV boys contest between the home town Bulldogs and the visiting Elida Bulldogs.  I would have never accepted nor would I be assigned a hometown game of the Varsity level in WBL Basketball.   The games are intense, with much emotion and drama to work a home varsity game of that level, not that I or most officials would ever be a "Homer", it is just one of the unwritten rules, you don't do your home school Varsity contests at the home site.   However, as it turned out, my JV partner had to work both our game and the varsity that followed.

Celina had little trouble dispatching Elida in the JV contest...leading by as much as 25, they cruised to a 57-39 win...some complaints from fans and coaches, as their always is, but nothing major.  I did blow one call for sure, calling a foul on a Celina player after a made basket by Elida...the score was a 23 point lead late in the 3rd quarter, so it made no difference in the game, despite at least one Celina fan getting in my ear...I basically gave him that "I don't give a Shit what you think" look...let's face it, there are few perfect officiated games, and this one by me, wasn't....I've done worse, done better....it goes with the territory.

After our game was finished, Bruce, the AD, came in and told us that one of the Varsity officials had not shown up and he couldn't get a hold of him....needless to say, I wasn't going to work this game, and he wasn't going to ask.  Varsity Baseball, in a non-league game is one thing....no way in a Varsity Basketballl game was it going to happen, especially given the importance of the contest.  So my JV partner, Mike out of Lima, was given the opportunity to officiate the league contest.

I walked out and sat with some locals, including my barber, George for the entire varsity contest.  The game was intense, and the coaches were up and down...Mike caught it from both benches, especially Elida, as well as the fans.  With the exception of a couple of "iffy" calls, given the circumstances, I though he did an excellent job.  Celina jumped out by 16 in the first half, and had to hold on late, as Elida poured in almost a dozen treys(going 11 for 25 in three point shots), before finally falling 77-71.  Celina{with another win Saturday} now is tied for the league lead with Ottawa-Glandorf at 6-1 in the WBL, and with 13 straight wins, stands at 15-2 overall...securing the #1 seed for the upcoming Sectional Tournament at Ada, where they will take on the winner of league rivals, St. Marys and Wapak.  Meanwhile the Celina Bulldogs and O-G will face off the final Friday of the season on February 25th....at least a share of the league title will be on the line.

I survived my night at the Field House, and have accepted another JV game there next season...what the heck?  It's a 5 block drive,  so why not?  Saturday I drove to Allen East High School, where I worked a girls game...and of the 5 officials for the two contests, 4 of us had worked together in baseball, and 3 of us in football...good to see old faces.


Tonight no games....so I will get in a full night of Dartball at home at St. Johns.  We have no chance for the 2nd half championship, but can take over second place, and with one win, against the team with the leagues worst 2nd half record, will assure us of a winning half.   I have clinched a all-star spot for the 14th time in 17 seasons.  The post season tournament starts next Sunday...right after we return from Hal and Lisa's reception at Fairborn....we will head for the Hope Hotel on Saturday afternoon, and return early Sunday afternoon.

back later>>>>

Photos-The Officials Dressing Room at the 72 year old Celina Fieldhouse...not much has changed since my days in the 1960s...except the lighting and floor(2nd photo) are both much brighter than those days of my youth.  Celina's green and white varsity and JV teams both came out on top this past Friday over the orange and black Elida Bulldogs.  And the final round of the regular season comes to a close tonight for the Wabash Valley Dartball League...post season tournaments start next weekend.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Working the Historic Fieldhouse....

Another frigid morning, but maybe the last REAL COLD one for awhile.  Tomorrow we may hit 30, and by the middle of next week, depending on which forecast you follow, it could be in the upper 40s to low 50s.  Not sure I believe that, but it is February, almost mid February, and anything is possible, from Ice to Tornadoes...I've seen plenty of both in this changer over month. 

Worked a girls JV game at Van Wert last night, as the Lady Cougars took on WBL Rival St. Marys....the visiting Roughriders took both the preliminary and Varsity contests....tonight I stay in the WBL(Western Buckeye League), and stay home.  Working the boys JV contest between Celina and visiting Elida, both teams with the nickname of Bulldogs.  This will be my first chance to work the floor of the historic Celina Fieldhouse...the oldest, by far, active High School Varsity gym in the area.  Built in 1939 by the FDR Works Programs that tried(unsuccessfully) to dig the middle of America out of the Great Depression...the Fieldhouse, once the crown jewel of high school arenas, now is in it's 72nd year of Bulldog sports.  It has seen many classic games over the years.  I have broadcast many of those games on radio, and cable TV, I played some intramural hoops on this floor(or at leas the old floor, now replaced), and for many years I had front row seats from the view of the photo at the top, me and the boys had season tickets, squeezed into the corner, just off the north end basket.  One thing I have never done however, is officiate a game here...tonight will change that as well.

While I do work Junior High games at the Middle School, Freshman at the intermediate or High School...I have not yet worked this Fieldhouse, although I have been inside hundreds, if not thousands, of times.  I graduated in the building in 1967, I swept the hardwood floor in my year as a janitor, post Air Force, when I was a student at Wright State Lake.  And as mentioned, worked many basketball games as a broadcaster.  In addition I probably saw every home boys contest from 8th grade(when we moved to Celina in 1962) through my Senior season of 1966-67...tonight will be a little different.  I would never work a Varsity game here, not because I would favor one team over the other, but just because of the perception, but JV basketball, much like JV football and baseball, is not something I worry about being thought of as a "homer", you work the game right down the middle, regardless of teams.  And frankly, I want to say I worked the Fieldhouse, at least once in my basketball officiating years.

After my contest, I'll stick around and watch the Varsity game..should be a good one:  Celina comes in with 11 straight wins, and overall stand at 13 wins 2 loses, and 5 wins and 1 loss in the WBL.  They are locked in a three way tie with Defiance and Ottawa-Glandorf.  Meanwhile the visiting Bulldogs from Elida, stand just a game back at 4-2  in the league,with their overall 11 win 5 loss record.  Should be a dandy....and the first full game I will have watched here, since giving up my season tickets a few years back, when I got back into officiating high school sports.

Over the years, as I mentioned, there have been many classic games played at the Fieldhouse....none more so than back in January 1981, when undefeated Dayton Roth came to Celina with their top ranking, and took on a Celina team that was below .500.  Celina had one great player, Mike Hoyng, and a group of guys that, while not great players,, were hard workers.  I was doing the play-by-play that night for WCSM Radio, my sidekick doing color was Mark "Ryan" Nakon a young broadcaster out of the Cleveland area...he was pretty clueless about sports, but was full of talk...we had a great time doing the game, and Celina, who would remain below .500, for the entire season, won the whole ball of wax in overtime. A classic upset for the ages.  The tensions were so high, that the police kept the Roth fans in the building, until it emptied of local fans...I doubt that was necessary, but it made for a great recollection for years to follow.

http://www.dailystandard.com/archive/story_single.php?rec_id=10589

As you can see from the story, Dayton Roth was a talented bunch, included on the roster was future Ohio State All American football player, and NFL all pro, Keith Byers....it's equally hard to believe that the game was played 30 years ago last month....talk about time in a bottle.

It turned out that was the only loss Roth would have that season.  I would get to broadcast them again in the State Finals in Columbus early the coming spring, they would win the state championship in their division...but they would have that one blemish, a underdog Celina Bulldog team defeated them in OT on a cold winter night.  Yes the Fieldhouse certainly has it's history...tonight will be a bit of personal history for me.

Story and photos from the Daily Standard, and the Mercer County Outlook:

Photos-Looking at the floor from just above where I sat for years...in the front row corner, just off the north end basket.  The Student Section...it has changed over the years, during my HS days we sat on the west side opposite the visiting bench(now the home bench)....and a Daily Standard photo of the classic upset of Roth.{the Roth player with the 4 in the far left is future Ohio State and NFL great, Keith Byers.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

One Final Look at the West Virginia Wedding....

Woke up at my usual 7:45am or so, with Reagan the Airedale barking for her morning biscuit...5 more days and she will become the longest living Airedale we will have raised over the past 35 years...Max lived to the ripe old age of 12 years 7 months 8 days, she will pass that on the 15th of February.  Everytime she seems to slip a notch, she rallies, and despite her age, seems to be ready to hit 13 come July.  After taking care of the morning feed,  I checked the computer weather station and despite the bright sunshine coming through the windows....it was hardly toasty...6 below zero, with a wind chill approaching minus 20.  The coldest day of the winter, without a doubt.  Damn!  Usually by this point in February, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel....but not this long winter, it seems the bitter conditions wants to hang on as long as she can.  Next week they say we many reach the 40s and even a day in the lower 50s...somehow with the rock solid casing of snow turned to ice on the ground, I doubt it.  But if it happens, the melting, despite the mess, will be welcome.

Sunday, Coming Home_____

 The wedding and following dinner went off without a hitch, except the hoped for snow never materialized....and after a good night's sleep, we arose early and prepared for our trip back to Ohio.  Lisa's dad Tim, and his wife Kim, were charged with fixing the getaway breakfast for nearly 20 folks, before all, except Hal and Lisa, prepared for the drive back to the Buckeye State.  A grand feast it was....

Sausage, eggs, bacon, more sausage(both links and patties), fresh fruit, coffee, juices, biscuits, and crescent rolls, were on the menu....and we ate well...thankfully despite the over eating this past weekend, I have  dropped back to my pre-weekend weight, but it wasn't easy.

After breakfast we said our good-byes, until we hook up again at the delayed(by choice) reception in the Dayton area on February 19th.  The Hemmelgarn's and our car decided to drive Highway 19 past the New River Gorge(where we would stop for a photo shoot), then take US 60, the long and winding Federal road, back towards Charleston, where it would hook up with the interstate.  We would then cut off on US 35 just south of the Ohio River, and head towards Columbus, time wise not a great savings, but 75 miles shorter save some gas money and the monotony of the boring Interstate trip.  Once there, we would drop off the Tuxedos at the Men's Warehouse location, and then Sam at his apartment near the Ohio State Campus.  Back onto US 33 we would go, and arrive home at 4:15pm.  There we were greeted by a previous days 6 inches of heavy, wet, snow that plugged our walks and driveway.  That would take another hour or so to clean out....then I sat down with a couple of cold beers, and watched the Packers squeeze out a victory over Pittsburgh...which topped off a excellent weekend indeed.

3 more basketball games to work this week...tonight a Girls JV game at Van Wert, tomorrow I stay in Celina to work a WBL Boys contest at the historic Fieldhouse, then Saturday I finish up the week at Allen East for another Girls JV contest.  By that time the deep freeze should be broken with highs reaching the mid 30s, and hopefully upward from there by the middle of next week.

back later>>>>

Photos-The look at the New River Gorge Bridge on US 19 near Fayetteville, West Virginia.  Kim and Tim fix breakfast for the masses on Sunday morning before our departure....and Sam standing on the platform before it begins it 600 foot walk down the wood stairs into the gorge....I would have walked down, but time, and the realization that I had no chance of making the walk back up the stairs kept me on top of the situation.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

More from West Viginia...photos and comments...

The Temperature on AccuWeather says 5 above zero...about the same as when I returned from my basketball officiating at Wapakoneta last night....tonight and by tomorrow morning, down to 5 below, so they say.  I'm not sure I can remember a winter that has been constantly below freezing for these long of stretches, in many years.  Nothing like the winter of 1977-78 in northern Wisconsin to be sure, but long enough to have me sick of it and ready for whatever March might bring.

Tonight, in a rare Wednesday game, I travel back to Elida for the second time this week, for a boys Middle School double header...meaning I will miss my baseball rules meeting in Van Wert.  With last week snowed out, I will be getting a late start, but have plenty of time to get my requirements done.  The state rules meeting is a different story...I need to get one in, but the area ones, except Piqua, have passed or were canceled due to snow...my ace in the hole is I can do it on~line.  But this computer has so many firewalls, I cannot get logged in, so I may have to take it over on mom's computer, when I get the time.

Hal and his new bride Lisa, made it back to Ohio yesterday, after a few days extra in West Virginia...both are back at work.  I am sure the short "Honeymoon" was just that, far too short...but at least both have good paying jobs to return to, as they begin their lives together.....

Saturday____

Saturday was the busy and most important day on the West Virginia trip....after morning coffee, the guys, at least 9 of us, headed south to Ghent, West Virginia, to the Winterplace Ski Hills.  Not enough time for the guys that ski(I gave that up years ago) to do that activity, but plenty of time for a few cigars, a few beers, and "tubing" or snow boarding...I choose the beers, and cigars.

However, with my brother-in-law Pat, and Lisa's dad, Tim...we did take a few shots at the Tubing portion...Tim did great, being somewhat younger, Pat at least got down head first...I made it down, albeit backwards the entire way.  Don't know how I got turned around, and once I did, I had no clue how to get turned back forward.  But What The Hell?  I made in down safe and sound, and the old guys can at least say, we gave it a try.
Once done at Winterplace, we headed back to Geno's Pizza in Fayetteville, grabbed lunch and watched some basketball.  While we were doing that, the women were getting their hair fixed and nails done...we guys had the better time I am sure.  We arrived back at 3:30 or so, about 2 hours before the ceremony was set to begin.  Since the vows would take place at our cabin, we relaxed(except Tim who was busy getting some frozen concoction ready for the Sunday getaway breakfast), with a beer or 2 and watched some basketball before heading to the showers...meanwhile Hal and Sam were fitting into their Tuxedos....the rest of us were going to dress casual, with a shirt and tie being the "casual" of choice.

The wedding at 5:30 went off without a hitch....and shortly thereafter we headed to the other cabin(cabin in name only, as I described yesterday, these large houses were much more than mere cabins), where the catered dinner and festivities would be held into the late hours.  I must say the meals, throughout the weekend, were more than outstanding, and nothing could compare to what the caterers fixed for the post wedding meal.  Some gift openings, music, dancing, and shooting pool followed.  Some of the guys were ready for another card game...but I was bushed from the early rise, the food, beer, and ski hills...I hit the sack at about 11pm.  The next morning would see a great breakfast, fixed by Tim and wife, Kim, the New River Gorge Bridge, and a winding way back on US 60 towards Charleston...more later on that.

As I mentioned, at Elida tonight, Van Wert tomorrow, here in town Friday, for the JV portion of a key WBL contest, and a JV game at Allen East for Saturday afternoon.  That will end a busy week.  Next week basketball winds down, then we have the reception for the couple on the 19th...one final fling at basketball February 25th, then some down time before Baseball begins with scrimmages in Mid March.

back later

Photos-top/left Hal and Lisa with the "first dance"...Me at the Winterplace Hills in Ghent, WVa, catching up on some "news"...the guys with cigars and a few beers, comptenplating the tubing to come.  One of the tube runs, and Hemmelgarn celebrating his conquering the run...The location of the Ceremony, me and the boys about an hour before the vows were said, Sam the older brother being the best man for Hal, me and Patricia decked out for the first of our kids to get hitched.  Below:  Hal and Patrica as the Mother/Son song played, Patricia picked that out.. Anissa dancing with Hal and "Lamb Chop"...our daughter had a great time...and finally my beer of choice for the weekend, the Yuengling Black and Tan, along with some regular Yuengling Lager.