Saturday, June 27, 2009

The King of Pop is no more. Michael Jackson died on Thursday. Thriller was one of the first albums (and I still have the cassette tape) that I owned (Pac-Man Fever was the first). He was THE pop icon of the 1980s.

I should clarify that the Michael Jackson I remember was the African American, one glove wearing, moonwalking, young singer and dancer who influenced such dance moves as the robot and moonwalk. He is NOT the troubled, odd looking, eccentric Wacko Jacko of recent years, who had possibly became one of the weirdest people in Hollywood.

His Thriller album sold 45 million records, making it the best-selling album of all time. Posters of Micheal Jackson were placed prominently next to my oversized swatch watch wall clock on my purple bedroom walls. My friends and I would watch MTV (when the video news channel actually PLAYED music videos) waiting for the Billie Jean, or Beat It videos, or the short film Thriller, so we could press the “record” button on the VCR.

I remember watching in 1983 as he moonwalked for the first time on TV.
If you have trouble viewing the video, see it here on YouTube. (The whole video is more than 5 minutes long - he moonwalks around 3:40.)

I taped the 1984 Grammy's where he won eight awards, but the part my friends and I watched over and over was the moment he took of his sunglasses. As you may recall, he rarely took his aviator-like specs off in public.

His style was eccentric, wearing only one white glove, black highwater pants with white socks and black shoes, and his high pitched "woo hoo" voice did not make him a "manly man"...but could he ever dance!

His death interested me not only because he was one of my childhood icons, but the way the news spread. I first heard of it from a text from my dad during Zach’s tumbling class around 4:30 pm on Thursday. Immediately I checked the twitter stream (#michaeljackson), Facebook and CNN mobile to get the latest information. By the time I got home about 5:30 pm, it was one of the only trending topics on twitter, plus many of my friends on Facebook had posted status updates about the news. Twitter went down twice during the next hour, due to the large volume of users. All the 24 hour news stations were covering it, and some even had special reports about his life later that night. According to, 30% of all tweets were about Michael Jackson, a conservative estimate. Google, Yahoo, Facebook and YouTube also saw a major increase in activity, all related to his death.

As I am writing this (in the wee hours of Saturday morning), it is still a trending topic and coverage is high on all news stations. His video views on YouTube are in the millions with new comments posted frequently. All the major news websites continued coverage and updates. A picture and status update
I posted via twitter on Thursday has received nearly 700 hits. I only have 266 followers, so somehow its made it's way to more than 430 more people.

People were posting iReports left and right, and a remembrance was organized and spread through social media in Wichita.

It will be interesting to see what kind of activity his funeral brings.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Vacation in Washington DC:
Thursday, June 18 - Sunday, June 21

Thursday the boys (Scott, Wayne, Adam & Zach) rode the metro downtown. Lisa drove one car, and Pam and I followed. We ate lunch at an indoor food court with lots of options for everyone. From there, we walked to the White House. Since the last election had been quite historical, and I knew Adam had talked about the new president in Kindergarten, I thought they would think it was neat to see where the leader of the Free World lives. Ummm...not so much.
They were more interested in the people riding Segways and car-sniffing dogs. After a five minute view of the White House, we walked to the Museum of Natural History. The walk from the White House to the museum is not short, and It started raining a bit during the way. The boys were tired, and complained a little, but once we made it to the museum and ate a snack, they perked up.

Inside the museum, it was packed. I'm sure the rain had something to do with it. We decided to see the dinosaurs, since that would be the most interesting to the boys. Adam and Scott stayed together, while me, Aunt Lisa and Zach hung out. Zach zoomed through the dinosaur section and was ready to just people watch from the balcony into the atrium. I did manage to sneak a quick peek at the Hope Diamond, which I am sure Scott is thinking about getting me for our next anniversary.
Friday, the boys and girls went their separate ways. The boys to play miniature golf, and the girls dessert and shopping at Georgetown. Lisa took Pam and I to Leopold's Kafe, where we each ordered a different dessert: key lime tart, chocolate covered croissant, and a dessert plate with petit fours...needless to say we all shared and yummed it up.

Saturday we are back on the plane. This time the boys met a little friend named Sam, who was four years old. The three boys played with cars in the waiting area at the airport and watched the airport workers load the luggage into the plane.
He wanted to sit with Adam and Zach on the plane, but much to his dismay, his mother said he needed to sit with her. After we landed in KC, Sam ran up to the boys and handed them a picture he had drawn for them during the flight.

Saturday night was spent in KC. Scott and I went to a friend's birthday party in downtown Lee's Summit, and the others hung around Grammy and Grandpa's house.

Sunday it was back to Wichita. The boys took much needed naps for a while in the car.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Washington DC vacation
Tuesday, June 16 - Wednesday, June 17

On Tuesday, we visited Annapolis, MD. We walked around the Naval Academy campus, ate ice cream (Superman ice cream, that is) and took a 40 minute boat ride around the harbor. We saw a class of children taking sailing lessons. Zach tested my nerves to see how far over he could look until I freaked out. Adam asked how the motor on the boat worked.

At the Annapolis Harbor.
On the boat.
Wednesday was a day of rest. In the morning, the boys ran around a neighborhood park, and then in the afternoon we went to the 3D movie, UP. The movie let out right in the middle of rush hour so we had to fight traffic on the way home. The boys were wondering how many times we would get honked at, and why everyone was in such a hurry!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Washington DC vacation
Monday, June 15

Both Lisa and Jason were off work on Monday, so a trip to the Air and Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles airport was in store. First we stopped at a national park (I can't remember which one) and ate lunch. It had a pond where you could fish, walking trails and neat bridges that went across a small stream. The boys enjoyed looking at the fish in the water, and jumping across a bridge made of concrete slabs in the water.

Uncle Jason, Aunt Lisa, Adam, Zach and Grammy.
Aunt Lisa, Grammy and Scott.
Jumping across the stream.The Udvar-Hazy Center was a good choice. What could be more exciting than seeing the Space Shuttle, space robots, and a life size Optimus Prime?

The cherry (or three) on top was rides for both boys in aircraft simulators finished off by ice cream at McDonald's and picking out a special treat at the museum store. Zach choose a miniature space shuttle aircraft and Adam chose an airplane that "flies" by rubber band. You see, once the airplane is put together correctly, the user is instructed to wind the propeller 80-100 times. We did not have high hopes for this flimsy $6 toy, but much to our surprise, it lasted the entire trip. Every night Adam would play with it in the backyard, tweaking the wings to see if he could get more distance than the last flight.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Washington DC vacation:
Friday, June 12 - Sunday, June 14

We drove to Kansas City Friday afternoon, with one stop at McDonald's for an afternoon treat. A wasp in the car excited everyone (well, maybe just me, as I am scared of wasps and bees). Everyone got out and we opened all the doors and windows. When the wasp finally flew out, we rushed back into the van as if the wasp was going to follow us back in the car.

On Saturday, we headed to Independence Mall with Scott's parents with the primary goal of buying Zach some new shoes. He did find a pair of Spiderman shoes that he liked (but I don't) and said he would wear. His other tennis shoes had holes, but for several months he refused to get new ones because he "didn't want new shoes." One small victory for mom!

The boys ran around the kids area at the mall, and played video games: Galaga (Scott's favorite) and Pac-Man (one of my favorites...Pac-Man's better half, Ms. Pac-Man, is actually my favorite). This picture was taken with my BlackBerry, so it's not the best quality...

Scott and I went out for dinner and enjoyed an hour or so of "no kids." After we ate, we couldn't think of anything to do so we headed back home. Pathetic, I know. Actually, that is not entirely true...Scott suggested a KC Royals game, but that didn't fly with me.

The boys were fired up on Sunday. It probably had something to do with the airplane ride to Washington, DC.
We arrived at Reagan National late afternoon. Lisa and Jason took us to a cool pizza joint, 2 Amys. Lucy, Annie and Buck were eagerly awaiting Adam and Zach's arrival, and the boys were excited to see the dogs, as well. We settled in to Lisa and Jason's house and promptly made a mess. This is Adam and Annie.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

One fish, two fish, four fish, five fish!

This morning, we all went fishing in the lake behind Oma and Papa's house. Uncle Steve brought fishing poles, and bought worms from the bait shop at Sedgwick County Park. In two hours, Jake caught five fish, Adam caught four and Zach caught two. Even Matthew "caught" a fish and was very excited about it, although none of the boys wanted to touch the flippy fish.

I think everyone "caught" a tree while casting, and several times the fish outsmarted us by eating the worm off the hook. Finally, cousin Ryan, an avid fisherman informed us we had too much worm on the hook. After he gave us a lesson, we caught all kinds of fish! These pictures were all taken by Katie. Seventeen people were coming to our house for dinner.
In attendance: Clayton and Phyllis, Grandma, Hatteberg's, Hilger's, Carole, Ryan and Marisa, and the four of us.

We had dueling grills on the deck: one filled with turf, one filled with surf. Scott grilled chicken, steak and hot dogs. Cousin Ryan grilled salmon. After dinner, the storm was so entertaining that we decided to watch from the garage. There was lots of lightning and thunder, but once it started raining, and became very windy, you would have thought this was our first Kansas storm. We watched as the neighbors shingles blew off their roof, and squealed as the overhead attic door was pushed out by the wind. Adam was very concerned and "reminded" us not to forget to shut the garage door when we came in. Once all of us were safely inside he checked all the doors to make sure they were locked, and watched warily from his room as I opened the front door to see the storm. It stormed most of the night. Needlessly to say, Zach ended up in our room.