Monday, June 30, 2008

Nostalgia Revisited

Reaching the second half of my fifth decade (God that sounds a lot worse than saying – “turning 46”) I’ve encountered brief but intense waves of nostalgia. In that spirit I share these words of wisdom from Terry Teachout on point:

I'm sniffing the air again, but not so obsessively as I used to: I've pretty much given up on new movies, for instance, and I don't even pretend to know what's going on in pop music. One can only absorb so many new things in a lifetime.

And later,

I should add, however, that a fifty-two-year-old man probably has no business feeling nostalgic about something that happened when he was forty. Nostalgia is a seductive and dangerous drug, to be used in the strictest of moderation on pain of losing your grip on the present moment. I don't often have occasion to quote Frank Zappa, but he once said something very much to the point: "It isn't necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice--there are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia."

Some of my recent nostalgic, brooding posts.

Cluck, Cluck

Our neighbors are raising chickens, and they have started sharing eggs with us. I scrambled two this morning. When she handed over the four eggs yesterday, my neighbor pointed out which ones were laid by which hens: One by Stretch, 2 by Leggy, and the other by [I don’t recall who]. When I opened the box this morning, I couldn’t remember which was which – or if I even had the names right. I better check with the kids as they are pretty keen on identifying the hens. In the end, I’m pretty certain that I ate the two laid by Leggy – or was it Stretch. Anyway, they were tasty.

Of course our kids won’t eat them – it’s a little too personal for them.

Can't believe this post doesn't have a picture - I better take one tonight

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Baseball Sunday

Boppa, the Dude, and I had lots of fun at the Twins game this afternoon. The Twins beat the Brewers 5 - 0. We were sitting behind 1st base in the upper deck when I recalled that the Hobbled Brother-in-Law had emailed a picture from Nationals Park a few weeks ago. I figured I'd get the better of him and snap a quick shot and send it off to him - maybe make him jealous.

[The Dude and Boppa at the Dome.]

No sooner had I snapped this shot of the Dude than I got a response - his own picture from today's Nationals game. Seems we were both at baseball games - that's lots of guys named John attending ball games at the same time.

[Real baseball - played outdoors.]

After the game, kids under 14 were allowed to run the bases. It was crazy, thousands of little folks lining up for their one trip around the bags. Boppa and I (being well over 14) were content to observe the playing field up close. You gotta touch the turf (a little more forgiving than I would have imagined, and the warning track was actually kind of springy. The blue wall/fence in the outfield was all scuffed and patched - you gotta wonder who made all those marks. A little history before our very eyes.

[Post-game, on the field.]

While waiting his turn to run the bases, the Dude looked up at the Dome ceiling and said, "I don't see why those other players complain about not being able to see the fly balls. It's easy." Yeah - they're all wimps!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Shake Up in Bird World

As some of you know, I'm something of an amateur birder - with emphasis on "amateur", not because I don't get paid to bird - few do - but because I devote much less time to this hobby than most birders. That said, I found this interesting. I first read about the big shake up in the bird world via the MOU listserv. They linked to an article. Here's a quote from, and link to, the ScienceDaily article:

Birds are among the most studied and loved animals, and much of what we know about animal biology -- from natural history to ecology, speciation, reproduction, etc. -- is based on birds. Nevertheless, the avian tree-of-life has remained controversial and elusive -- until now.

For more than five years, the Early Bird Assembling the Tree-of-Life Research Project, centered at The Field Museum, has been examining DNA from all major living groups of birds. Thus far, scientists have built and analyzed a dataset of more than 32 kilobases of nuclear DNA sequences from 19 different locations on the DNA of each of 169 bird species. The results of this massive research, which is equivalent to a small genome project, will be published in Science on June 27, 2008.

More here at grrl scientist:

And here's another surprise; falcons are the sister group to the parrots and songbirds. Further, the falcons (Falconidae) include the New World vultures -- but they are not closely related to eagles, hawks and osprey (Accipitridae), as previously thought.

Hattip on grrl scientist piece from the BirdChick.

Fertile Plotter Branches Out

The Hobbled Wife has moved beyond mere garden/lit blogging at Fertile Plots. Some of her gardening handiwork is displayed on the Friends School Plant Sale site.

Walking on the Humid Side

Stepped out over lunch - 75% and humidity to match (almost - 66%). Makes it kind of uncomfortable back in cube-land. Not sure what this is, but I'm suspecting spider webs on some tall grass-like plant. There were many similarly covered plants in the area, so I'm suspecting spiders.

The colorful one below I know - thistle. Kind of an invasive species but very pretty nonetheless. One person's weed is another's wildflower.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Off-Site Insights

I’ve been to more off-site meetings/events in past two weeks that I care to recall. At this point I can’t want to get back to the office and actually churn out some work.

Wednesday (yesterday) I went “downtown” for a work-related event. Downtown of course means downtown Minneapolis, and not downtown St. Paul – this despite being a proud Ramsey County resident. This picture was taken from the ramp of the Hyatt Regency looking southwest over Loring Park and off towards the Lowry Hill neighborhood. You can see the “new” (newly remodeled) boxy Walker Art Center next to the Hennepin United Methodist bell tower.

At the event, I received two compliments on my tie –I was one of only two gentlemen sporting neckwear. My father would be proud. Inspired by the compliments, I stopped off at Men’s Wearhouse and use the $50 gift certificate that was burning a hole in my pocket. Men’s Wearhouse – a very bad name for me. It implies that you are buying fancy clothes in a warehouse – not the first choice for high fashion. Kind of like Dress Barn. It’s amazing these businesses actually turn a profit.

This afternoon I made a last-minute appearance at a work event at the Eagan Community Center. I had never been there before – very beautiful place. Lots of stuff for kids and families – gym, place center, etc. Of course it was DEAD! Where the heck was everybody! Correction – the room set aside for senior activities was hopping. There was some sort of card game going and there were about a dozen tables full of senior citizen card sharks. These pictures were taken out back – showing the building and the nearby pond.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Walking Break

Two shots from my mid-morning walking break.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Cabin Weekend

[Dude on trip home]

I've been too busy and or tired to blog lately. Rather than find the right words, I thought I'd fall back on the old adage, "A picture is worth a thousand words" - making this post worth about 3000 and change.

[The Farm]

Short cabin weekend packed with lots of fun. We (finally) put in the dock. Seemed to go pretty easy. Like other years, the work was done entirely by guys named John, ranging in age from 8 to 72. This year's installation went very fast. We were not sure why.

[M on trip home.]

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Losing Steam

Crazy wild days here at the Hobbled Home while the wife and kids are away. Yes, I'm grilling two nights in a row. Tonight I had to eat indoors because it's raining (again) outside. Did the pork chops with Penzey's BBQ 3000. It's a BBQ rub - very tasty. I'd never really used a rub before - hard to believe at 46 isn't it. But I'm smart - I sprinkled it on the meat, then rubbed it in. Seemed the logical thing to do. They turned out very nice.

At least I won't have to water the plants. The Hobbled Wife usually leaves pretty detailed instructions about watering the plants when she leaves. This time, no instructions. Thank goodness it's raining, because it's a job to water all the various plants and gardens around here.

Last night, after staying up until almost midnight working on my PowerPoints for the MOBAR (Missouri Bar conference), I had dreams where people argued about changing PowerPoint slides. Between the awful dreams and waking ever two hours, I had about 5 hours of sleep last night. Took a short nap this afternoon, but haven't been able to get the energy back.

I finished painting M's room this AM; and it's very nice if I do say so myself. Also did some birthday shopping for M and secured some stuff for her party next Saturday. I also bought a gift for my nephew - we are hosting my Mom and my broher's family next Sunday for a big combo birthday bash - my mom, nephew, and M - all have birthdays in about three weeks of each other.

Changing subjects - working my way through the Summer Sampler by Summit Brewing, a local brewer in St. Paul. I really like the Scandia Ale. The Pilsner was good, and now I'm enjoying the HefeWeizen. Overall favorite - so far - the Scandia Ale.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Busy Day

While the rest of the Hobbled Family is off visiting the beloved nephew/cousin, the Hobbled Runner has been busy. Took advantage of M's absence to finish painting her room. That girl has a lot of stuff! The picture shows what things look like after pulling everything away from 2 walls and cleaning behind and underneath bed, dresser and bookshelf.

She has a two-toned purple theme going, and I don't have enough of the darker color to complete the final wall. Looks like it was purchased at Home Depot, so I'll try to match it tomorrow.

After a wonderful meal - and I did end up eating both bratwurst (actually mild Italian sausages), I'm sitting here "working" on two PowerPoints for my next work related trip, the Missouri Bar Association Solo Small Firm Conference. I leave Wednesday, and I don't feel I've gotten far enough.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Hobbled Date

The Hobbled Wife and I broke out of our routines and actually had lunch together at La Cucaracha in St. Paul.

The point of the “date” was not lunch so much as the purchase of a new print for the Hobbled Gallery. A few weeks back whilst killing time before the kids end-of-season choir concert we had stopped at The Grand Hand Gallery.

There we discovered a nice print by Charles Beck . After some thought, we splurged and bought the darn thing. Now we just have to make some room on a wall to properly display it. We bought a print entitled, Birches, but not the one in the link. I should have snapped a photo, and will do so after it’s framed.

Late Memorial Day Post

Since we spent most of the actual Memorial Day at the Cabin, we made the delayed cemetery visit on Sunday. Ft. Snelling National Cemetery is huge (176,567 internments through fiscal year 2007 - according to the website) and the Hobbled Wife is always amazed I can find the graves as easily as I can.

I've posted on the cemetery and the graves of my father and brother before. visit before (link), so I don't plan to make this a long post. Last week was kind of a down week. Memorial Day is kind of a sad time, my parents' wedding anniversary was May 25, and Memorial Day is always close-by, followed by my Mom's birthday on June 2. Lots of Family action packed into a few days. I felt myself missing my Dad a lot last week so I dug out the old family home movies that we had transferred to VHS years ago. I wanted to watch the old movies just to see him, but my Dad was not a real camera hog, so he doesnt' appear too often. In the end it didn't work as it just made me sadder. This was the first time I felt a lot older when viewing footage of myself when I was about the same age as my kids. I guess 1972 was a long time ago.

Oh well, feel better now. The cemetery visit was fun. Thought I'd post a somewhat more amusing picture. The kids seem to enjoy wandering around and reading gravestones. Thought I’d post the “lighter” of the pics. Hope it doesn’t seem weird – maybe I should come up with a caption about two Johns – maybe I should have posed along with the Dude.