Sunday, August 30, 2009

Good Morning - From Just North of Dent

[This is what I would be seeing outside now, if I turned my head 90 degrees to the left.]

This weekend marks the first time that the Hobbled Runner is taking advantage of the cable modem at the cabin.

Pro: Blogging of cabin events as they happen - rather than waiting until Monday.
Working from the cabin - as I did Friday afternoon on a GoToMeeting conference call.

Con: Can't get the kids out of the house - damn Disney Channel. Also - here I sit typing away whilst the sun rises over the lake.

[Very interesting - a pet cemetery in a state park.]

Yesterday, the Hobbled Wife and I had a little date. The kids were in the mood to hang around the cabin and listen to Harry Potter audio books. It was cloudy and had begun to drizzle. But the Hobbled Wife and I were determined to hike. So off to Glendalough state park - about 25 miles south of here. On the way the clouds broke and we enjoyed a pleasant, cool time at the park. The park was once owned by the Mpls Tribune as a retreat/conference center. Later the paper gave it to the Nature Conservancy who in turn gave it to the State. It's one of our newer state parks.

We traversed the Beaver Pond Trail, and later the little Prairie trail. It was nice to be out and about - minus the whining and fighting, prodding and cajoling that would have been a part of the family experience had we tried to take the kids.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

State Fair Report

[That's a Snickers under that fried dough and powdered sugar. M only ate 1/4 before even she gave up and tossed it.]

With Shana and the Dude are at the cabin, M and I took a short visit to the State Fair on this the opening day. It's so easy when you live only a mile away. It's a shame we don't go every day (OK - that might be too much).

[M glued to the back of my favorite, the Tilt-a-Whirl.]

Nice evening. Not too crowded. We started things off with the Space Needle, followed by the Giant Slide. We enjoyed the Tilt-a-Whirl (pic), before we tackled the real rides. M got me on two rides on the Midway - the Crazy Mouse (eyes closed and screaming for 90% of the ride) and the old classic, the Scrambler. For the past few years I've successfully avoided the Midway, confining my riding adventures to the Kidway where the rides are aimed at a much younger crowd.

[The view from the top of the Giant Slide.]

In addition to the Candy Bar on a Stick (above), we sampled cotton candy, Martha's Cookies, ice cream, and a fish taco (just me on that one).

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Not Alone on the Walking Path

[Butterfly and bee(s) on thistle.]

Back in the swing of things – post vacation. Stepped out this afternoon for a short walk. I was not alone.

[Turtle with a slug on his/her back. It was probably the fastest alternative transportation it could grab on to.]

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Crack in the Wall and the Phantom Track

As I walk the dog past the Fairview Community Center each day (sometimes several times a day), I keep thinking I should snap a photo of “the crack” in the old 1959 tile wall. It’s growing and wouldn’t it be cool to document the deepening chasm? I was pretty sure I had taken a photo earlier (yes, I had), but I had edited out the crack so we can’t do a, “That was then, this is now” comparison.

Oh well – there it is. A crack in the wall.

Item number 2: The phantom track. The first time I realized that that I was walking over an old track back of the Community Center, I flashed back to Richfield East Junior High. (It’s now an “intermediate” school – a promotion from “junior” status – possibly?)

Constructed at the same time as the Community Center (which was a Junior High in its previous life), my old Jr. High had a similar track behind the school. It was a short (possibly less than 100 yards) straight-away of cinders. We used it for gym (Phy. Ed.) class. This picture doesn’t do it justice. Under certain lighting conditions the track almost “jumps” out at you. When you get down close you can see the old cinders still peaking out under the grass. The track also has wooden edging – which is not readily apparent in these photos.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Early Signs of the Minnesota State Fair

They're lining up for the Fair already!

M and I were "home alone" this weekend. She thought it a little odd to do a u-turn on Como Avenue to go back and snap this one.

The Great Minnesota Get Together starts August 27. This year the Dude and I are making it a priority to attend more than one time like last year. Sheesh!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Ring Dammit!

Last night, I was at dinner with a dear friend of mine. Talked turned to work. Now that we reached “that age” we are able to recall the "good old days" (1980s) of life at the office. We talked of changes in the work place around technology. What sort of expectations does your workplace have? BlackBerry? Laptops at home? 24 X 7 expectations of access? Does it make us more productive?

Coming to no particular conclusion, the conversation turned to the lonely telephone – the landline type. My friend thinks she had 2 phone calls this week (Monday – Thursday). I reported only one?

I still use the phone. In fact, I’ve had number of conference calls this week, but only one incoming call this week.

How many incoming phone calls have you had this week?

Maybe they should install one landline for each area of cubes - we could take turns answering it? ("If it's Bob from Marketing, tell him I'm too busy to come to the phone.")


Update: Immediately after posting this, my phone rang. It was my VP calling. Make that 2 incoming calls for me this week.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The Perks of Office

One of the small rewards of serving on the Planning Commission - which by the way is a voluntary post - is the chance to eat candy and steal pens during the meetings.

The Planning Commission meets in the City Council chambers. To the right of each Commission (and Council) members' seat is a small drawer. Inside you will find, a copy of Robert's Rules of Order, a small package of Kleenex, and a whole bunch of pens and candy. Last night, my drawer held only Brach's red/white peppermint candy. Sometimes I get individually wrapped Wint-o-Green LifeSavers. On a good night - both!

Ahh - the joys of public service.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Are We There Yet?

Here’s the view from the side-view mirror as we crawl along in stop-and-go traffic between Royalton and Rice. [7.8 miles according to Google Maps.] It seems to me the traffic is due to traffic signals in Rice. These signals were installed several years back after the tragic death of an elderly couple who were hit while trying to cross busy Highway 10. As a method of stopping traffic to ensure safe pedestrian crossing, they seem to work fine. The problem is that they also seem to slow traffic for miles in either direction during busy cabin commuting times. I don’t know if it’s possible from a traffic engineering perspective to coordinate these lights with the lights in St. Cloud and Royalton – like what is done on city and suburban streets. Perhaps these signs are just too far apart with too many other variables (cars entering and exiting from smaller roads) to make it workable. Has anyone tried?

It may help stop traffic in Rice – thus boosting local business revenue – but it’s been a year since I stopped there, though the Hobbled Wife reports they have a great Subway!