Monday, September 28, 2009

Double Yolk

Our neighbors raise chickens. Yes, Roseville allows chickens - but they must be hens, no roosters. One of the many benefits of having chickens next door is the chance to eat very fresh eggs. I've actually worked with eggs that were still warm.

Yesterday our neighbor shared another dozen eggs. Some were so big that it made it impossible to close the egg carton. (We use old store-bought egg cartons.)

Last night I decided to scramble two eggs for M. The first thing I always notice when I cook with the neighbors eggs is the incredible size and bright yellow color of the eggs. The egg "white" appears smaller - I suspect that is due to the large yolk. These are free range chickens - well as free as they can be in the city. They come out of the coop for a while almost every day. They pick around the yard, eating seeds and bugs.

In addition to the very yellow yolks, we were stunned to see the that biggest egg (from Beauty I believe) had two yolks. The kids made me take a picture - as if I wouldn't have done so without their prompting.

Now if the city allowed Roosters, might we have had twin chicks? Sounds reasonable but I'm not a farm kid so I don't know if it works that way in the chicken world.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sharks and Jets and More

The other night the kids and I were talking about how Romeo and Juliet is West Side Story is High School Musical – young lovers from different families, gangs, cliques – the same old story repeating itself.

Willa Cather said something similar – only much better.

"There are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before; like the larks in this country, that have been singing the same five notes over for thousands of years."
Willa Cather, O Pioneers!

HT: Terry Teachout’s Almanac.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New Laptop - But Where's the Printer?

It was a happy Monday yesterday. It doesn’t get any better than getting the email asking when they can stop by to drop off the new laptop. It’s fast, and lighter, and somewhat smaller. And – might I add – the cafeteria was serving Swedish Meatballs. Happy Monday indeed!

But now it’s Day 2 and the laptop honeymoon is over. My dictionary needs to be retrained. Imagine a computer dictionary not recognizing “Gisselquist” – the nerve. [Right click, Add to Dictionary.]

This morning I spent too much time trying to get the darn thing to recognize my desktop printer – the elusive HP LaserJet 1320 – not the various other HP Laser Jets out there – but the 1320. It almost makes me feel special – like I have the only 1320 – except I can’t print without walking down the hall to collect them.

Wait – there’s more: All my Internet Favorites were saved – thank goodness – but of course they now list in alphabetical order – not the special order I prefer – most frequently used links on top. It’s amazing how many links I just click automatically without thinking what they are called. Now I have to think – what is the real name of that site? – and then go searching down the list.

Yep that’s the extent of my troubles: My laptop can’t find my printer though they are about 2 feet away from each and tethered by cord; and, it takes me about .75 seconds longer to find a web site in my Favorites. Could be worse.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Springtime in September

The sunflowers just keep coming. They don’t seem scared off by the sight of their dead kin, hanging limply from the same stalk.

In our garden it’s sunflowers and tomatoes that just keep coming. At other locations around the metro area, some report lilacs blooming.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Maybe I Should Go Climb a Tree

I shouldn't complain about this late summer like weather - but I will. This is the time of year for the beginning of cool, crisp days. Yet here we are, nearing the end of September and we are running the AC almost every day. We do it for the dog of course - but I think the Hobbled Wife enjoys it as well.

It's been a week and a lot has happened as usual but I just don't have the energy to post. Perhaps it's the weather, perhaps it's our busy schedules, maybe it's lack of good sleep - though Duke has been sleeping until 5:30 the past few days. Whatever the cause, posting takes a hit. It's a leading mood indicator, sort of the canary in the mineshaft of how I'm feeling day-to-day. Feeling good, post. Feeling crappy, avoid the posts - probably out of fear of saying something stupid.

So - before I say something about work, life, dog, that I may regret later, here are some nice pictures taken yesterday as we walked home from the Dude's tennis lesson. We pass through the lot behind Corpus Christi where they have the best old climbing tree in the neighborhood. I believe it's a boxelder - hence the bugs. (My apologies for the slightly blurry shot of the bugs. The BlackBerry doesn't do as well on closeups.)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Duke - and the Bloomin' Garden

[Summer lingers and Duke enjoys some time in the pool.]

It's been a while since I posted about Duke. I wish I had snapped a better picture - one that would show off his weight loss. We've had him almost one year. Duke arrived at 112 pounds, and was weighed Friday at 87 pounds. We are quite proud of ourselves - though Duke is not always so happy. In addition to apples that have fallen from neighbors' trees, he's also taken to eating tomatoes from Shana's garden. Oh - and cat litter - but we won't go into details here.

Snapped a few shots of the gardens - this is the space near our mailbox and along the driveway. Shana can identify all the various plants - I just take the pictures.

More flowers - feel free to hazard a guess in the comments as to what they are. Sorry, no prizes.

All these flowers are quite small - seems the little guys bloomed last.

Final note (thankfully without pictures): The Dude has a stomach bug. He skipped dinner, and became ill shortly after that. Sad part is that he really wants to go to school tomorrow. I told him it was probably just a 24 hour stomach bug. He hopes it's a 12 hour bug. Yeah - right.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


There has been a lot of buzz in recent weeks about barefoot running. The New York Times and the Denver Post each had an article. Then there is piece in Wired. Here’s the intro:

Before the Nikes, before the breathable, antimicrobial running shorts, before the personal fitness coaches, heart rate monitors, wrist-mounted GPS and subscriptions to Runner’s World, you were a runner.

The Hobbled Runner began running (1975) when the only fabrics you were supposed to wear were cotton and wool (winter); nylon was definitely a no-no. Heck, we even wore jock straps (hope those don’t come back in style). Like other runners, I changed with the times, adopting the Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers line of nylon running shorts – and of course the shoes – bigger and better each year. My earliest running shoes are now classics: the Tiger Corsair, and Adidas Rom.

Strong evidence shows that thickly cushioned running shoes have done nothing to prevent injury in the 30-odd years since Nike founder Bill Bowerman invented them, researchers say. Some smaller, earlier studies suggest that running in shoes may increase the risk of ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis and other injuries. Runners who wear cheap running shoes have fewer injuries than those wearing expensive trainers. Meanwhile, injuries plague 20 to 80 percent of regular runners every year.

Now apparently we can turn the clock back. Not just to 1975 – but maybe 1975 B.C. Lots of runners are trying the barefoot method, and shoe manufacturers have gotten into the mix with the Nike Free shoes and the cool Vibram five-finger jobs.

I’m doing my part. I’ve started going barefoot while walking the dog. It’s great in the early morning when the field behind our house is so covered in dew that it soaks through my shoes and socks within minutes. No more annoying wet shoes. Barefoot is comfortable and I find I’m getting better on those few instances where I have to walk on asphalt for a few feet. As a kid we went barefoot all day in the summer. I remember having contests to see who could stand the longest on the black tar roadway before jumping up in nearby yard to OOOH and AAHH on the cool green grass.

Rain Garden Grows

Here's a look at the expanded rain garden. The Hobbled Runner's role was limited to helping dig up and dispose of the sod. Shana did the rest - adding dirt, edging, planting, etc. It looks pretty bare compared to the well grown - almost overgrown - older rain garden to the rear, closer to the house.

Have I ever mentioned how hard it is to dig up grass/sod that has been in place for 50 years? The roots just don't want to give up without a fight.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Take Good Care of My Baby - and More

While reading a blog post today, I learned that the Beatles had recorded September in the Rain – something I did not know. In fact, I’d never even heard of the song. Found it on YouTube – of course. Quite a bit overdone by Paul McCartney.

From September in the Rain, YouTube suggested Take Good Care of My Baby. Never knew they did that one either.

I like Take Good Care of My Baby for a number of reasons:

1. George Harrison has a “difficult” voice. He seems to struggle with many numbers – especially cover songs. In my opinion, this is one of his better covers – sort of a nice falsetto at times.

2. The song is written by Fargo native Bobby Vee – who rose to fame after being asked to stand in at the last minute for Buddy Holly in Moorhead, MN. Holly had died the night before in a plane crash that killed Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper (and the pilot of course). Vee was 15 at the time.

3. I heard a lovely version of this song at a wedding, sung by the father of the bride. It sounds corny now – but very touching to see it in person.

Both songs (bootlegs never officially released) were from the infamous Decca audition recorded January 1, 1962. The Beatles did not pass the audition. The Decca guy who turned them down reportedly said, “Guitar groups are on their way out." Words he surely regret later.

But really, if you see to the selection of songs they presented to Decca, it’s not surprising they were turned down. Some of the numbers were downright goofy, Sheik or Araby, and Three Cool Cats, for example. Almost novelty numbers. Not the best showcase for their talents. They auditioned only three of their own numbers – none of which was ever released officially by the Beatles, but were covered by other Liverpool artists.

Another cool YouTube find was some recently posted concert footage from the Indiana State Fair from September 1964. What I found fascinating was this live version of If I Fell. The footage is a little shaky – OK the whole thing is kind of shaky! Shaky but cool. Apparently Hoosiers don’t scream a lot – so the sound is not so bad – all things considered. Check out the funky glasses on the female audience members.

Homework Party

How long will this last?

I arrived home last night to this – a homework party in our neighbor’s front lawn.

Obviously the first day of school brings out the best in kids. When I reflect on this picture it’s like a poster for school choice in MN.. Here are four kids who live on the same block – directly next to each other in one case, and directly across the street for the 4th. All four attend different schools. The neighbor in on the left (blonde hair) attends the local neighborhood school. The other (long dark hair in back) attends a charter school in St. Paul. Our two attend two different schools as well – M attending Parkview, and the Dude at Friends.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Back in Class Again

Back to school – the obligatory photos. M was not that excited about getting her picture taken.

Duke was not too excited about pictue time either as the Dude attempts to cuddle, but Duke appears to be shying away from public displays of affection.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Third Time's a Charm

A banner year for State Fair attendance with the Hobbled Runner making it a total of three times this year. The Dude and I stopped by the Great Minnesota Get Together for about 4 hours today. We tried a few new things - the Fine Arts building - with the Dude being awarded the Fine Arts Detective award for completing the scavenger hunt.

This time we brought the Flip camera and captured some Fair moments - like the Dude's explanation of how Pronto Pups are made, and my overly long documentary of our ride on the Giant Slide.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

State Fair - Round 2

[SkyRiding over the Fair with Sweet Martha's Cookies.]

Today was my second trip to the State Fair. This time the entire family (and a friend of M's) came along. The Dude and I went off alone so we could see the animal barns - which M now refuses to enter - and a few other things that only appeal to the boys.

[The Dude and some really large pumpkins.]

At the end of the evening we all walked home - as were at the north end of the Fairgrounds and it would have taken longer to walk back across the Fairgrounds, and then wait for a bus home. The kids did not even complain - much.

[Butterfly House]