Monday, May 31, 2004

Wet Weekend

Can't say we need rain. Got plenty of it this weekend. Spent two days at the newly renovated Chez Crosson. Nice and dry. Who would have thought twelve years ago - when I first visited the cabin - that I would be standing in front of a gas fireplace with a remote in hand puzzling over the proper settings. Is that #2 for heat, and #3 for fan - - yes that's it! Gone are the days of trudging out to the shed, chasing away the rodents to grab a log or two, then trudging back to the damp, cold cabin to try to start a fire. Oh - and all this had to be done quietly for fear of waking the Crosson women. Never wake a sleeping Crosson woman.


Fishing - During a break in the rain the Dude, Dad, and M got to dip their lines in the water from the neighbor's dock. Amazing fishing - we caught bass, sunnies, and rock-bass. Probably a dozen in 30 minutes, before the cold, damp weather chased us back inside.

Posted by Hello

No Bread - I mean "Demon Carbs". In the past we could count on H for a pre-cabin visit to Breadsmith or some other specialty bakery. The cabin stocked was well with many exotic breads - but no more. Breads are carbohydrates - verboten under the South Beach Diet (SBD). As long as H & J remain on the SBD, I will have to supply my own bread. At least I don't have to step outside to eat it - yet.

On a brighter note, H had a wonderful recipe for scones from Doctor Weil. Very good, and incredibly healthy! There may have been carbs involved, but I didn't say anything. Thank goodness Goodman's Sausage doesn't have carbs - though I don't think any of us want to explore the ingredients too closely.

Home Front - A busy day back in R-Ville. Completed the raised vegetable bed. Many wheelbarrow loads of dirt for that. Lord knows I will feel that tomorrow. S was able to plant the first "crops" - beans, peas, carrots, beets, asparagus, lettuce, and zucchini.

Friday, May 28, 2004

How to Rescue the "Rescue Hero"

Having some troubles these days with the aggressive little "Rescue Hero" in our lives. I've been puzzling over the question of violence in our culture and the little terror in our house.

Here's an interesting article discussing a subject I've been thinking of lately: What makes little boys violent? The article starts by addressing the "cleaning up" of cartoons and the effect it might have on our children, especially boys. [Warning: this article is written from a conservative point of view, but some friends and family might find it interesting nonetheless.]

One author has a better idea. In his superb and unfairly overlooked 2002 book, Killing Monsters, former comic book author Gerard Jones proposes that society needs an entirely different approach to the issue of violence in children's entertainment. He suggests that children respond strongly to violent entertainment because the violence mirrors their own feelings of aggression -- and those feelings of aggression are legitimate and worthy of expression. Rather than struggling hopelessly to eliminate childhood aggression, we should teach children to harness and employ aggressive feelings in socially useful ways.

I gotta find that book.

Ah - Summer!

Had to sing the "We Are Goin' to the Cabin" song this morning, as wife rolled her eyes and children groaned. Leaving at 2:00 for a hopefully warm and dry weekend at the "new" cabin. Weather reports don't look too promising so let's cross our fingers.

Dude and I went to Target last night and purchased his very own fishing pole. It's a kid's pole with a firefighter theme. Quick what comes to mind when you think of fishing? Firefighters? No?

Bringing the digital camera so hope to post pictures upon our return.

For those unfamiliar with the song, it's easy to sing (or chant):

We Are Goin' to the Cabin,
We Are Goin' to the Cabin,
We Are Goin' to the Cabin,
We Are Goin' to the Cabin,
We Are Goin' to the Cabin,
We Are Goin' to the Cabin,
We Are Goin' to the Cabin,
(repeat - while strutting around the room, wiggling your butt)

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Conversation with Myself

Good article in New York Times today about blogging,

Of course, most of those millions are abandoned or, at best, maintained infrequently. For many bloggers, the novelty soon wears off and their persistence fades.

Sometimes, too, the realization that no one is reading sets in. A few blogs have thousands of readers, but never have so many people written so much to be read by so few. By Jupiter Research's estimate, only 4 percent of online users read blogs.

Indeed, if a blog is likened to a conversation between a writer and readers, bloggers like Mr. Wiggins are having conversations largely with themselves.

Stop me if I get this crazy.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Yoga Butt?

Might as well admit it I addicted to yoga. I spend far too much time at the Yoga Journal web site. Did you know they have streaming video of the various postures, complete with multiple views of the pose and coaching techniques? They do – very cool. I’m working on the “perfect” morning practice. Tried a Sun Salutation I found on the YJ site, but it didn’t offer enough poses. The article recommended working through it 5 or so times, but I can’t do that many downward-dogs without my shoulders exploding. Now I’m back to usual morning routine and it’s working pretty well. Can really feel improvement through my shoulders and neck – didn’t realize how much I hunch. 8 hours a day at the computer can do that to you. I sit taller, walk taller, and can even sit cross-legged on the floor!

For what it’s worth: I may not have the much sought after “yoga butt” but now I can turn all the around and look at my butt.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Great Crested Flycatcher

On May 14, I was puzzling over a bird on saw on my noon walk. That mystery has now been solved thanks to my birding colleague - recently returned from vacation - who suggested Great Crested Flycatcher. This is exciting news, and embarassing as well. I'd never heard of a Great Crested Flycatcher. In this crazy world it's the little things that make your day.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Missing Myrtle

It was a quick trip to Willmar yesterday - a family get together for the Nordeen clan. Homemade donuts and caramel rolls were consumed. While there is life after Myrtle, it's definitely not the same without her.

Families are like the universe, expanding all the time. If the "Big Bang" was the marriage for Grandma Julia and Grampa Ed, you watch the evolution over the years as waves and waves of new Nordeens are born, expanding out further and further away from the New London/Spicer/Willmar area. We may not have gone too far physically - most are still in Minnesota - but we don't see each other much anymore.

Self-pity aside, I could do my part to prolong life in the universe by scheduling get togethers more often.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Puff the Magic What?

Been working on Puff the Magic Dragon on my guitar. Stumbled upon it accidentally - discovered the first three chords (C,Emi,F) just doodling around. Downloaded the whole thing from some guitar tab site. Quite easy actually - didn't have to learn any new chords. Surprised to learn it was written by PPM (really Peter or was it Paul and some other guy).

Getting fairly good at it. Was playing it on the deck a week or two ago while the kids were running around backyard. Neighbor girl walks up and asks what I'm playing. Puff the Magic Dragon, I said. Silence - she'd never heard of it.

Kids today - Sheesh.

Bury Me in a Library

I love going to libraries – any libraries. Childhood memories of going to the old Richfield library with my father – I can still smell all the books on the shelves and see the large globe in the entryway (if that’s where it really was). Libraries are full of opportunity: so many books to read, so much opportunity. If you pick a book you don’t like, simply return it. No money wasted like Barnes and Noble, except for tax dollars. Now as a parent I am struck by the dichotomy of the library as a place of quiet study and reading and its “public space” functions and children’s room where noise rules. So I wrote this little poem. A library would be a nice place to spend eternity. Just the right combination of quiet rest and contemplation, and a glimpse to the boisterous screaming, laughing future.

Bury Me in the Library

When I die, bury me in a library.
To lay forever beneath it’s quiet floors, slamming doors
Trod upon by muffled feet, and scurried over by laughing shrieks
Catching up on books unread,
Sharing my thoughts with both living and dead.

©2004, John Gisselquist

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

My Son - Rescue Hero

Drove the Dude to pre-school today. With partly-sunny skies and a predicted high of 75, many would be surprised to see him in his winter boots! But not those who know him in his new role - Rescue Hero. Apparently a Rescue Hero always wears boots - and a walkie-talkie on his belt. I carried along a pair of tennis-shoes, despite his insistence that he would not wear them. "Rescue Heroes don't wear tennis-shoes, they wear boots." I am able to get him to remove the walkie-talkie during class. We stash it in his "cubbie". I've convinced him that others will answer the call when he's "off duty".

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Sunshine, Sniffles, and Downward Dog

OK - I get annoyed when people don't post regularly, so I better do the same myself. Went out for walk at noon. It's the kind of day when it's hard to return to your desk. Sunny, light breeze, in the low 60s at the time.

Family on the mend: Dude on antibiotics and S is snuffling along. I felt a little under-the-weather (tired, swollen glands) yesterday, but seem to be feeling better today. Must be my Yoga.

S received yoga "stuff" for her birthday: video, DVD, along with mat and other props. I've started using them regularly (about 30 minutes each am), and I think it's working. I have become more flexible, my posture has improved, and I actually enjoy the down-ward facing dog. Still can't run worth beans, but I try to walk every day and that works fine.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

The Dude - Just a little off the top Posted by Hello

Shearing and Donuts

With Mom and young Brownie at an all day Girl Scout "encampment", Dad and the Dude had things to get done. Took the monthly trip to the old neighborhood for shearing and donuts (Bob's Barber Shop and the Scandia Bake Shop).

On the way home stopped off at the Parkview Cafe. I've driven by it for almost three years but never stopped. Took a little coaxing to get the Dude in the door. He had his heart set on McDonalds. He was convinced to stay when I told him the Parkview served malts.

Great meal: shared a cheeseburger, fries, and vanilla malt (boring, but his choice). They have those "real" hamburgers - - the kind they put together by hand (I guess). Not mass-produced. Very tasty, and great atmosphere - a mix of neighborhood types and the young and hip - - I suspect they are from the neighborhood as well. Large American flag on back wall which prompted the Dude to comment: "Hey this is an American restaurant." He's fascinated with the flag lately. If you ever need to count flags in your neighborhood, take him for a ride. He never misses one.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Kickin' Back in San Diego Posted by Hello


Eventful week in my bird world. Was able to add Rose Breasted Grosbeak and Nashville Warbler to my yard list. Unfortunately the Warbler was found dead on our front step (hit the glass) - but that's still in the yard.

On my noontime walk today spotted a Bluebird (first of season). Nice to see that some Bluebirds actually get to use the Bluebird nesting boxes. Swallows usually get their first. Also spotted a mystery bird. Greenish-yellow underneath, darker - possible brown on top. About size of Robin. Bullocks Oriole??

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Recent Readings

Stumbled upon Flight of the Phoenix, by Elleston Trevor, at the local library. It was on the staff recommendation shelf. Published in 1964, it tells the story of a small group of men whose plane crashes into the Libyan desert. One of them figures out how to cobble together a plane or sorts out of the wreckage. During the construction of the plane there are many battles with hunger, thirst, and sanity. It's the kind of book that would be good to read in the middle of a long winter - - you really get hot and thirsty reading it. The book was made into a movie in 1965. Must try to find it - starred Jimmy Stewart, Richard Attenborough, Enerest Borgnine, George Kennedy and others. A new version of the movie is in production, scheduled for 2004 release.

Getting Started

Many say that you should follow your passion. Do what you love to do. OK, I’ll go with that. What do I like to do? Read blogs, and follow the paths (links) from news, to art, to politics, and back. It’s fascinating, and you really are exposed to a variety of perspectives. Time to "give back" as it were.