Florida Drift Diving

I just returned from five days of drift diving in West Palm Beach, Florida. Despite Hurricane Irene passing through in the middle of our trip, it was a great time and we completed a number of good dives.


The swimming pool and cabana at The Scuba Club in West Palm Beach

A view from our suite


Scott preps his gear for our second day of diving

View of The Scuba Club from the boat

Getting ready to head out for a dive. Hurricane, schmuricane.

Thursday morning. Hurricane Irene rolls by.

So we can't dive because of the hurricane. Hey, I know! Let's go to the beach! Here Darrick discusses swimming in a hurricane with the lifeguard.


The pelicans were loving it

It was nice knowing you, Darrick.


The morning after the hurricane passed

Time for more diving!

The diving group on our way back home. (L-R): Terry, Darrick, Laurie, Tom, Scott, and me






A Peachy Fourth of July

We traveled down to Augusta for the weekend of the 4th. The boys picked some peaches, rode on the 4-wheeler, shot off some fireworks, and had fun with the dogs.

Kyle shows off a peach that he and Grandma picked

Ian and Grandpa pick some peaches

Look at all these peaches!

A view of the peach orchard

Kyle and cousin Gabe

Suiting up for the 4 wheeler ride

Hold on tight!


When do I get my license?

High five for a great ride

Gabe shows Kyle where to point his camera

Chris throws a stick in the water. Ian was so excited I thought he might try to fetch it himself!

Katra & Karl’s Day Off

With the boys in Springfield at Grandma & Grandpa Ayappa’s house for a few days, Katra and I were able to have a few days to ourselves. On Thursday we followed in the footsteps of one of Chicago’s greats (Ferris Bueller) and drove downtown to visit Millenium Park and the Art Institute. Not having a red Ferrari handy, we settled for the silver minivan.

In Millenium Park. The Jay Pritzker Pavilion visible in the distance

A closer view of the Cloud Gate. If you look carefully you can see my reflection. Katra is a little harder to spot (she's wearing a white shirt).

The view looking up from directly underneath the Cloud Gate. My reflection is visible in at least five places in this one.

Self portrait

Our snack from a nearby cupcake shop. (drool)

Full view of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, with a few early arrivals for a concert later in the day.

The recently completed modern art wing of the Art Institute, with the lake visible in the distance.

Part of the Chicago skyline from the bridge to the Art Institute. The building with the diamond face is the Smurfit-Stone Building (yes, that's the real name, and no, I don't think it has anything to do with Smurfs). Just to the left of it is the building where I work. The tall building just to the right is Trump's recently completed hotel.

After touring the new wing of the Art Institute, we stopped to get a drink at Cosi. That's Watermelon Habenero Lemonade. It's spicy and it is FANTASTIC.

Even the Art Institute lions are getting in on the celebration of the Blackhawks' recent Stanley Cup win.

This is the bike that Jack built.

A view of both towers of the fountain. The inside faces are giant display screens showing the faces of various people.

Most of the time, the faces are just staring straight ahead, sometimes smiling and sometimes not. Every five minutes or so, this happens!

Morton Arboretum

Today we had the most beautiful weather we have had all year, and we took advantage of it by visiting Morton Arboretum.

Time for a snack.

This is a solid stone ball. It's sitting over flowing water so you can spin it with your hands even though it weighs many hundreds of pounds.

Disney Madness

When do you know you have finally slipped the rest of the way into insanity? When your Disney trip planning looks like this:

We spent probably three hours tonight planning meals, events, and park visits, after many hours spent reading tour guides and restaurant reviews. We used a different color post-it for each park, and yellow for events and meals at the various resorts.

Sadly, this is what it takes when you need to make dinner reservations six months in advance.