Monday, May 26, 2008

Into the Woods (Memorial Day Part II)

[The fast guys out in front on the way to the Farm. We later learned they were talking about school, with Boppa dispensing sage advice on the pains of being a second-grader.]

Seeking relief from the bugs, the entire gang hiked up to the Farm, and then back into the woods. I hadn’t been back there since before the kids were born (so 11 years at least). We hiked out behind the Farm buildings and across and around a few fields before hitting the woods. Luckily the cousins keep the trail quite passable – it’s a deer hunting thing I imagine – so it was mostly a walk in the woods. We had to step carefully around the ponds/wetlands.

[Swamp Monster]

BUGS, AAGGGHHH! (Memorial Day Part I)

[No swinging for us.]

We arrived at the Cabin on Friday and drove off the road and parked in a swarm of bugs. We later identified them as Midges (let's call them Lake Flies) a sort of mosquito-type bug. They didn’t bite, sting or do anything bad, but when they are swarming around the cabin in the millions you can’t help but breathe them in or get them stuck in your eyes. And the noise – the constant, low level humming was amazing. They are very delicate creatures and any attempt to brush them away usually results in a squished midge. The ankles of my socks had little black marks which I later realized were midges that just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Despite the nice sunny weather, we were essentially housebound due to bugs. A few times we braved the bugs and walked up the road. We found their numbers lessened the further you got from the lake.

Of course a trip to Big Jim’s and the Loon were in order – both very bug-free events. At Big Jim's we purchased both ice cream cones and night crawlers. They sell food out front, and bait around back. I usually buy the bait first, deposit it in car, then get the food. It's hard to enjoy the treats with a dozen night crawlers staring at you.

[The irresitible photo caption, "A Couple of Loons" - groan!]

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I Heart Moose Poop

[Photo swiped from BirdChick blog.]

My sister-in-law is known in certain circles by her nickname Moose. For that reason, I thought she might enjoy this picture taken recently near Detroit Lakes, MN site of the Detroit Lakes Festival of Birds.

Missed the Festival, but looking forward to heading up towards DL this weekend for the first cabin trip of the season. No plans to put in the dock - at least I don't think so, but perhaps a trip (or two) to Big-Jim's.

[The Dude at the annual Cub Scout Rocket Launch/Ice-Cream Social]

OK, by this time I’ve concluded that this effect is not due to superior phone/camera skills, but some freak of the camera itself. If you take a shot with the sun off to your right at about “2 o’clock” you get cool sun-ray effect.

[M came along – mostly for the ice-cream, and not the rocketry. Yes, we all traveled to the event via bicycle. Doing our part to reduce our carbon footprint.]

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Simply Radiant

Picture by the Dude.

I wasn't going to post this earlier, since I didn't think my Mom would be crazy about the picture - but if you cut her out you lose the cool sun-ray effect. So here we are in all our blazing glory.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Musical Sunday

[M takes time out of her busy day to stop and smell the crabapple blossoms.]

[M poised to begin The Entertainer by Joplin.]

[The Dude and his teacher during his second number, Beauty and the Beast - a fav among the young piano-student crowd.]

It never fails. The end of the year piano recitals and church choir concert are on the same afternoon. This year we had a little more time between events so we could hang around after the piano recital for treats before rushing back to the church.

[The Dude and Grandmas after the concert.]

[M in church court-yard next to the dove sculpture.]

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

5th Grade Band Festival

[A slightly bleary-eyed Dude with Mom - who is hiding behind the program.]

Couple of shots from M's 5th Grade Band Festival. All 5th graders in Bands from all the elementary schools assembled for one big show. It was well done, and very loud!

[M and the Dude post show]

Garbage Boys

Some of the boys from Pack 150 in a photo from last Saturday's annual litter clean-up at Parkview Center School. Not a real good turn-out, probably due to Fishing Opener weekend and drizzly weather.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Not So Hobbled Runner

[The Dude, post-race, holding his ribbon - which didn't quite fit into my picture.]

The Dude and I ran a road race this morning. We ran the Kids' 1 mile at the annual Melpomene race in St. Paul. The Dude's school is closely tied to the Melpomene organization and the students turn out in large numbers to run this race every year. They start training in PE several months before. The little ones run the 1 mile, while the bigger kids (and some teachers) run the 5K.

The Dude and I did the 1 mile. I had strict instructions not to run with him and his friends, and not to pass him. That wasn't really a problem as the kids lined up in front and tore off at the start. I couldn't even see the Dude until just before we hit the 1/2 mile turn-around, then I had to race to catch up. I caught him at 3/4 mile and we finished together (actually he was a few steps ahead of me.) He ran 8:07, I ran 8:09. It was a blast. Now he wants to run another.

After a quick lunch we headed out to Hyland Park Reserve in Bloomington for a Raptor Release event. We had never been to one of these events. It was very well attended - in fact I would say there were at least 300 - 400 people there - enjoying the first sun in a few days.

They released a Cooper's Hawk and two Red Tailed Hawks. Special guests get to release the birds. The Cooper's Hawk (found last fall in a bus shelter in Burnsville suffering from some sort of infection) was released by a gentleman whose name was drawn out of a hat immediately before the release. The 2nd bird (Red Tail who was brought in with a broken wing) was released by a long time supporter of the Raptor Center.

Bird #3 (Red Tail that had been shot, suffering broken wing and numerous soft tissue injuries) was released by former Minnesota Viking Matt Blair who just happens to be a big supporter of the Raptor Center as well. Prior to the release, Matt was snapping photos of the birds and people like a mad-man. His web site describes in more detail his love of photography, with samples of his work.

The release was a very moving event. I didn't think it would be so emotional. Quite a day.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

What Sort of Older Person Do You Want to Become?

How often do you interact with elders? Interesting post at Marginal Revolution about what sort of older person you’d like to become.

Reading the paragraph below made me realize that outside of immediate family (Mom and my in-laws), I do a very poor job of cross-generational communication – especially with older persons. Another reason I should stop by and see my Uncle (my Dad’s brother) more. Here’s one reason why:

Overall I am struck by how little beneficial trade there is between the generations. I find this one of the most striking stylized facts of the social sciences; one simple model is that people don't want to leave groups that produce fun and high relative status for them, and that is what switching across the generations usually entails.

Actually, for me, staying in my generation results in diminished fun and high relative status, I’d prefer to hang out with my kids.

One of the comments to the post had this to say on older people in business world vs. academic world:

The biggest mistake elderly faculty make is not retiring. Nobody knows what to do with this unproductive tenured geriatric deadwood that sucks up valuable resources.

Quite the opposite is the case in the business world, where the trend is toward retirement at ridiculously young ages. 55 is the new 65, and all that.

I’d agree with that. I look around me and see that many VPs are my age give or take a year. I have to go 4 steps up the chain of command (to the company President) before I hit anyone actually older than me. My guess is that most of the upper echelon is in their mid 50s.