Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Duke Update

Quick Duke update. He is/was doing great until yesterday when he pooped a beer bottle cap, and threw up two wine corks. The party hound!

Seriously, he's at the Vet for observation today - possible X-Rays. If it hadn't been for recent events, I think we would have laughed it off - but now we are hyper-vigilant. (Though obviously not vigilant enough to keep him out of the trash.)

A Summer for the Turkeys

The latest wildlife spotting on the walking path at work. Turkeys captured with the zoom feature of my BlackBerry - which leaves a little to be desired. It was 60F, cloudy, and windy when I ventured out at noon today. I wore a jacket. Don't recall the last time I wore a jacket in the summer.

Hah - while loading picture, found this one from same day - last year. Looks a little warmer.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Too Early for Tomatoes?

We got tomatoes, yes we do.
We got tomatoes, how ‘bout you?

The Hobbled Wife went crazy this year at the Friend’s School Plant Sale, purchasing numerous plants that she is still – to this day – getting into the ground. She had so many tomato plants that she ran out of space in the regular vegetable garden and planted them in large pots and placed them around the yard. This plant is actually in the front yard – not your normal place for vegetables.

Why is it that edible plants usually are planted in the back yard, and flowers planted in front – really anywhere else for that matter? Anyway – she is breaking all the planting rules this year as she scrounges available real estate for her greenery.

Unrelated photo – we got together with my Mom and brother’s family for a joint birthday celebration yesterday – M and Paul’s youngest. Both turned 12 in the past few weeks.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Rock World Rocks

[Lake Superior after following Gooseberry river from Gooseberry Falls.]

Whirlwhind trip with the Rock World class. Lots of fun - and learning. The weather was great - and so were the kids. In the end it wasn't half bad sharing a room at the Comfort Inn with four 9 year old boys. The chaperones even got to have a night on the town (well 2 hours really) on Thursday evening.

[The Dude and colleagues at Agate Beach.]

We visited a number or rocky sites - and I came away with a better appreciation of the geology of the State and region. I was also very impressed at the level of knowledge the kids brought to the subject. These kids really knew their rocks.

[Jay Cooke State Park.]

My apologies for lack of detail - or cute vignettes about spending time with sqirrely 9 year olds. Perhaps I'm too tired to recount it all. I was away from the computer for 3 days - and I didn't miss it. It's hard to sit down to blog now. I often think that if I didn't have a job where I was paid to sit in front of a compter all day that I would never have taken up an interest in the internet - or blogs for that matter. I'd probably have been one of those old farts you have to call to remind them to check their email already!

[Dude and friends at Moose Lake Gravel Pit near Moose Lake State Park.]

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

How Hot Is It?

You know it’s hot when the outdoor dining area is closed due to “inclement weather” – and it’s a clear and sunny day outside!

With another humid day in the mid 90s on tap, it’s truly summer in MN – with excessive heat warnings for much of the state.

Not looking forward to 3 hours of the Shipoopi Dance this evening, 6:30 – 9:30 in an un-air-conditioned school.

My only nag about the musical is that I wish I had been informed of the extent of dance skill/ability required of Shipoopi dancers. After all, I was picked only because they needed more adult males in the scene – I not cast for this scene at the initial try-outs. I feel I'm in over-my-head - and the thought of 3 hours in a non air-conditioned building tonight makes my stomach turn. I need to blow off some steam and I'd love to just start whining out loud at home – but if I did that the Dude would just follow my lead and go off the deep end.

Oh well – perhaps 3 days away from it all will help – or not. I am one of the chaperones on the Dude’s Summer Academy “Rock World” class field trip “up north”. We leave tomorrow morning at 7:15 a.m. and return Friday noon. We will be hitting several state parks and the Soudan Underground Mine. That’s two nights in a Comfort Inn – I will have 4 kids in my room. We arm wrestle for the cot.

It will be fun to get away – but you never know when can happen when you are chaperone – and we will be missing two nights of Music Man.

I’m exhausted. The Hobbled Wife assures me this is just the mid rehearsal-performance blues – when it seems like the cast and crew will never pull it together in time for opening night. I hope so.

[The Stars - Harold, Marian, Winthrop, adn Amaryllis - don't those costumes look hot?]

Monday, June 22, 2009

Cabin Weekend

Father's Day - and the very long days of Summer Soltice - spent at the cabin. The Dude found a turtle on Saturday during an epic (1+ hour) canoe trip. We took it back to the cabin, named it Jesse, and kept it until Sunday afternoon when we returned it to its home. It was very big of him to let it go - he was quite adament on bringing it home to Roseville. The Hobbled Wife's logic prevailed and he agreed to release it.

Every year we take pictures of the kids - usually M, sometimes both - in the Daisys out back of the cabin. Here is one of this year's photo and another shot of everyone trying to set up the shot.

Here's an earlier Daisy photo - last year (??)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Speaking Part

[The "band" rehearsing Minuet in G. Dude in yellow T-Shirt with flute.]

Well – it’s certainly not a “role” but I’ve been assigned a few words – and I do mean a few words. If you are familiar with the Music Man, it’s the 4th of July ceremonies, and Harold Hill begins stirring up the crowd prior to the 76 Trombones song/dance scene.

Harold: I heard there’s a pool table in town.

Me: Yeah, that’s what I heard!

That’s it – 5 words. Notice the exclamation point (!) – that means I get to yell my lines – so it should be a bit more dramatic.

I neglected to update after Monday’s Shipoopi dancing scene. Long story short – better than I imagined – but I’m no Fred Astaire. For the record, I was not originally cast as a Shipoopi dancer – I was only brought in after-the-fact for gender balance (they needed more adult men). With that in mind, we should all adjust our expectations accordingly.

Monday night’s practice – the second time for the Shipoopi dance scene – went well. At least no one got hurt. We danced with a partner. Yikes – I don’t think I’ve danced with anyone in 10 years – when was the last wedding I attended? The steps weren’t too difficult, but when dancing with a partner there is always the risk of stepping on your partner’s feet. Luckily I did not do that. It may have helped that I was paired with a real dancer.

Jeez – the qualifications of some of these folks put me to shame. I just hope I don’t fall off the stage or sing (noticeably) off-key.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Ah-ha – now I have some photos to illustrate portions of yesterday’s post. While we didn’t take photos at the dance recital, a friend snapped some at the dress rehearsal earlier in the week. None of the photos’ do justice to the final numbers as performed, as most dancers including M (tall one, second from left, front row) look as if they are ready for a nap, but they give you a flavor of the costume.

Finally - the new piercing job.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Up a Tree

We packed a lot into this weekend – more than just climb trees – though that seems to be all I snapped pictures of. The Dude has discovered tree-climbing and is quite good at it – even in the flip-flops that he wore on Sunday.

Saturday we did a lot of yard stuff and various errands. M had a dance recital with two performances – one at 3:00 and the other at 7:00. She did a great job considering it’s her first year in dance. Despite being in plays and choirs, M had never done dance but felt it would be a good skill to add to her other stage skills. I think it helps a lot learning the various dance steps for the Music Man.

Sunday was M’s 12th birthday. She really wanted to go to brunch – at Baker’s Square. That would not have been my first choice – but it wasn’t my birthday. Instead of the regular breakfast fare I opted for a hamburger – or “Crush Burger” as they call it. Very good.

After brunch the “girls” headed off to Rosedale to havetwo more holes put in M’s ears. She had her ears pierced several years ago – but has wanted additional holes for a while now. We were able to hold her off until she turned 12.

Since it was a beautiful day, and the Dude and I did not want to go the mall, we walked home from Baker’s Square. It’s only about 1 mile but not the most pedestrian friendly walking environment. Luckily we found some good trees to climb behind Corpus Christi Church.

Upon arriving home we set off on a bike journey – down to the Raptor Center, then over to the St. Anthony neighborhood Dunn Brothers for refreshments, followed by a stop at a park to climb yet another tree, then home. Total time for trip = 2 hours. I slept well last night.

Tonight it’s back to the Music Man – Shipoopi dancing for the Dude and I, M has the night off. I promise to snap a picture or two of M’s new ears.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Whew! - - Busy Week

[The Dude resting after a difficult dance number.]

I’m beat after 4 nights of practice but really enjoying my first theater experience. It’s a blast to sing with “real” talented singers and realize that you are not half-bad. The dancing has proven more challenging, but it’s fun when I can get the steps right. It’s a great environment. You are free to sing and move, and make a fool out of yourself, and no one gives you any grief. As long as you give it your best try, that seems to be OK. Even the kids seem to be letting go and trying to push the boundaries, moving out of their comfort zones – though I suspect there is more going on in the adolescent brains than I’ll ever know.

The Dude is very pooped – and needs the three day rest. Last night he hit the wall. 4 nights of practice is a lot to ask of a 47 year old – not to mention a 9 year old. M is tired as well – but she is still going strong. This sort of activity energizes her.

We have a busy weekend ahead culminating in M’s 12th birthday on Sunday. She has decided not to have a party with friends because few if any of her friends get along. M’s group of friends cross several sub-groups of 6th (now 7th) grade girls. She’s afraid that if she were to put all of them in one room – it might be difficult. It’s a mature decision on her part – but too bad for M. I suspect she will work out a few smaller sub-parties.

[M and friend posing after dance.]

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Reading Hideout

Day 2 of summer vacation for the Dude and he is up in his "reading hideout" - actually his closet outfitted for comfort. Duke seems to enjoy the cramped quarters as well.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dancing Easier with Music

[The Dude and others practicing moves for 76 Trombones scene.]

Ahh - that's better. We've moved beyond learning our dance steps by merely counting off the steps and graduated to dancing with music. Much easier! I suspect dancing was always meant to accompany music.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Rehearsing and Old Shoes

Yesterday afternoon, on the way home from my mother's, we stopped by the Como Park Pavilion to try out the stage where Music Man will be presented. The stage itself seems rather small when you consider the size of the cast - but what do I know.

Over the weekend, received this reminder about this week's rehearsals: "Don't forget to look for some appropriate shoes for 1912 and dancing!" We are being asked to rehearse in the shoes we intend to perform in - as we want to get used to making the dance moves in the proper footwear.

Hmm - might need some help with 1912 shoes.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Rain Barrels Overflowing

Rain came today - finally. Here's a shot of rain pooling in the rain garden. Rain started around 9:00 or so, and we were amazed to discover that both rain barrels were full by mid-afternoon. Of course it's been raining all day so we don't really have anything to water. Hmm - maybe Saturday night baths?

Duke is doing fine today. Caught him eating pizza crusts out of the garbage can this evening. Definitely a good sign.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Five Plus Hours of Civic Fun

To my amazement, I am not tired, despite 5 hours at the Planning Commission last night. The big item on last nights’ agenda – over 2 hours of public hearing – involved the design of a Planned Unit Development (PUD) for an apartment building near Cleveland and County Road B. The developers call it “The Orchard”.

This was the third time the matter was before the Planning Commission for one thing or another. All that predates my tenure on the Commission, so it was all “new” to me – though I’d followed it in the local paper. I won’t go into all the gory details – you can download the entire file (34MB) if you like. (See item 6.d. on the agenda.)

The project was approved by the Planning Commission in March, but the City Council sent it back to the Planning Commission to review design changes implemented by the developers and architects.

The item passed on a 5 – 2 vote. I voted in favor. The Hobbled Wife was surprised with my Yes vote. Do you suppose these sorts of political disagreements happen with Michelle and Barack as well?

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Home for the Night

Duke is home tonight. He is pretty doped up but still manages to strike a regal pose without exposing too much of his shaved belly. He returns to the Vet tomorrow for continued observation and IV pain meds. What we really need is some sort of nursing home option for dogs.

Here's a shot of some early growth in the rain garden. I'll call it an unidentified plant (at least I don't know what it is - Hobbled Wife knows but she's not home).

It's Not All Dog Emergencies

In addition to tending to sick canines we actually got some other work done over the weekend. One thing I'm particularly proud of was the installation of two rain barrels. It was easier than I thought - but I'm not the handiest guy in town so any project has the potential to take on epic proportions. This was quick and only involved one - wait - it was two - trips to the hardware store.

Now we can capture the rainwater run-off from two of our five downspouts into these handy barrels and use that water on the gardens. Of course it would have to rain first. One of our other downspouts empties into our "rain garden" - but even that's needed some good old-fashioned hose water this spring.

Coming Home

Duke is on the mend – he spent last night at the Emergency Clinic for observation and was pretty chipper this AM when he was transferred back to the Vet for another day of observation. Dr. Stefan reports that he will send Duke home tonight. We are looking forward to having him back. Roscoe the cat seems to miss him, as they like to rough-house together. I suggested that M or the Dude try getting down on all fours, picking the cat up in their mouth and tossing him around the room like Duke does, but they declined.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Under the Knife Again - Poor Duke

Another late night - early morning int he Hobbled Household. Too tired to post all the gory details so I'll copy/paste an email to my colleague this AM:

Leaking fluids in abdominal cavity. Emergency surgery last night. Not much sleep around here.

Duke was in such good spirits yesterday - then something happened. He was in pain (we thought choking - but not). Ran him to Animal Emergency. X-Rays showed fluid. Sample of fluid showed high white cell count and some sort of stuff that didn't belong there.

Emergency surgery last night found the inner sutures on abdomen had held up - but something had leaked - perhaps.

He's now back at vet, resting "comfortably".