Monday, May 30, 2011

Puzzle Weather

It was puzzle weather – not all weekend – but all-in-all a rather cool and sometimes wet Memorial Day weekend. In addition to puzzles there was homework. Homework and cabin don’t mix well – but what can you do when school is still in session?

I chose the title “puzzle weather” because it sounds a lot better than what it really was – Cable TV and computer weather. As many know, the joys of modern technology have caught up with cabin life in the form of a wireless cable modem. That’s good in some ways. You can keep up with email and even work from the cabin if necessary. However – on rainy, cool days the lure of cable TV, the Mac, and the iPad are too strong to resist. Yes, we could disconnect the modem, but we all rely on the darn thing – and it helps keep down the whining about nothing to do and when we are going home.

The good old days were probably not as good as we remember. How many games of Scrabble and Monopoly can you really play anyway? As for books – well, Mom and Dad still read – but everyone else goes electronic, including audio books.

My weekend was unplugged. I didn’t intend that, it just worked out that way. I rarely consulted my Blackberry – and only used its camera once for the puzzle picture.

We came home early so kids could get more homework done and adjust to the busy two weeks ahead. The Dude and I want to venture out to Battle Creek Park where his class recently visited for a field trip. We are holding off on that adventure as thunderstorms rattle through the Twin Cities area. The recent spate of severe weather has left me with a new respect for the power of weather.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Welcome Neighbors

Last year the neighborhood was embroiled in the School Board's plan to build a new softball field or two on the land behind the Fairview Community Center. Our back yard borders the field.

A number of neighbors were up in arms. They enjoyed the wide open fields. The proposal would place the fields too close to homes. The fans and athletes would park all up and down the streets, etc.

It turns out the softball fields were a compromise of sorts by the schools, after a Title IX complaint forced them to confront the fact they don't have enough fields for girls softball. (Girls softball has a different size field, and NO mound.) Our girls high school team was playing "home" games at Stillwater and Bethel College.

It was about time to build the girls their own field(s).

Without going into the whole mess, let me just say that in the end the plans were scaled back - only one field for now. The field was moved so that it would not abut neighboring properties. Work began late last year, and was completed this spring - almost. Apparently the field is not ready yet because the grass is not coming in good enough to support any activity. The field sits vacant now.

I'm glad they are using the field. It was kind of empty before and I feared the school board would sell the land to make money. The investment in the property seems to mean it will remain park-like and open for some time.

The problem is that it's not really open and inviting. The entrance to the west is padlocked shot, and a new sign has sprouted up this week.

Maybe the neighbors should get a game going this weekend and see what sort of police action we face?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Higher and Higher – to Infinity and Beyond!

Can one possibly be so busy that they only have time to scan their inbox for important email, but not enough time to delete the unimportant ones?

Yes - but.

But not so busy that they can't create snarky blog posts about email overload.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

We’re off to see the Wizard

Whew! I cleared my calendar of conflicting meetings and I'm now in the cast of the Rosetown Playhouse production of the Wizard of Oz. Both kids made the first cut, but I was not cast due to some scheduling conflicts. I made a few changes, and now the kids and I will be working together again.

This will be our third summer show, having appeared in last year's Oliver!, and The Music Man in 2009. We also appeared in last winter's Christmas Carol.

I expect some sort of chorus role, nothing with speaking lines, but I'm just glad to have a chance to sing and dance again - though the dance part of the audition was a bit taxing. It wasn't that I got winded - like other folks - but the leaping part - ouch! I don't fly through the air with the greatest of ease anymore.

More to come as rehearsals take off. Thanks to the good volunteers at Rosetown, including Shana, the Facebook page will be a great source for photos and video. So go ahead, follow Rosetown on Facebook.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Stamens and Pistels and Anthers, Oh My

How did we ever do it? I believe the only notification my parents got about my academic progress came from report cards and the once (or was it twice) yearly parent/teacher conferences. Now schools have websites with assignments (and grades) posted for the browsing enjoyment of you and your child.

The Dude's teachers even send emails like this,

5th Grade Parents:

Hopefully your child has already begun studying for this, but just in case - they have a quiz this Wednesday.

The quiz will cover the structure and function of flowers. They have a study guide to prepare from and we will spend time in class tomorrow reviewing for the quiz.


He has been studying - making flashcards - I quizzed him yesterday. We - I mean - He is so ready.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

School House Rock Live!

The Youth Performance Company’s production of School House Rock Live! opened last week.

This is Maria’s first show with YPC and she is enjoying the intense and fun experience. Unlike Maria's past shows, it will be impossible for me to attend every performance, but I did see both last shows on Saturday and Sunday. It’s a small cast – only 7 – and the action is non-stop. They weave all the classic Schoolhouse Rock songs into a one hour 15 minute production built around the dreams of young man who is about to embark on a career as a teacher.

Maria takes the lead on Inter-Planet Janet.

In the video that’s M in her blue opera t-shirt, and later in the long orange/red dress – which she does NOT like.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Window Repair Recommendations

[Window in question on top left, trapezoid about 4 feet long, and 3 feet high.]

Now that Spring is here, it’s time to buckle down and get this window repaired. Last October the window broke. We don’t know how. The consensus of those who came out to examine it and offer estimates was that it was caused by a bird strike. Seems a bit odd to us, given the very small precision-type hole that caused the initial crack and break – but that’s neither here-nor-there.

What we need is someone who will fix this one window. We have had several folks out to examine and offer estimates. Only one – Andersen Windows – actually prepared an estimate. We thought it was high, so we started shopping around.

Several contractors – some from the obvious, reputable names in window construction and repair – stopped by to look at the broken window. All promised to get back with an estimate. None did.

We can procrastinate no longer.

I’m asking for recommendations: Do you know someone who could repair this window?

A few points:

I cannot remove the window and bring it to your shop. That’s beyond my technical abilities.

I realize the entire window may need to be redone or replaced. This might not be an eay replacement of the outer pane. I know it’s difficult to get the proper seal with double-paned windows in a repair situation. I can handle that.

We only want this ONE window repaired. We do not want to talk to someone who insists on giving an estimate for $15,000 worth of window replacement for the entire family room.

We would like the contractor/repair person to admit up front if the job is too small. Don’t promise us that “no job is too small” and then never get back with the promised estimate.

Any help appreciated – thanks!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Ahh – 3:30

Yes, 3:30 p.m. that magical hour in the business day. Things are slowing down. All your meetings are done – because while it’s no big deal to schedule meetings for 7:00 am, there’s apparently an unwritten law forbidding meetings after 3:30. If I only had the energy to start on the work that has been piling up all day – and those 299 unopened emails.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Contrails and Tinnitus

[This morning, looking over the field.]

I can’t really explain my fascination with contrails. I simply enjoy staring up into the sky and watching contrails. It’s fun to watch them as they form – works in progress. It’s fun to watch them morph as they blow across the sky and disappear. It helps me relax.

[This morning, looking over the house.]

It’s part of my strategy to enjoy the little things in life – the unexpected gifts. That's how I’ve come to enjoy the ringing in my ears – seriously. Maybe I could combine my two new hobbies. Tonight when I get home, I’ll grab a beer and a lawn chair, and head to the back yard where I can sit and observe contrails while listening to the “music of my ears”.

This may be related to – but should not be confused with - the “music of the spheres”.

Anyway, here's an article about the latest research into tinnitus.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

What I Like Most About May

The ice on the puddles. 30 degrees this AM, but the sun was out.

I'm looking forward to putting in the dock later this month!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Things I’m not proud of – but won’t deny doing

If an email requires I scroll too far, I just stop reading.

How far is too far?

Well, the email that inspired this post was 13 paragraphs. That is certainly too long – but I generally lose interest after 4 paragraphs anyway.