Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I Knew It Would Be An Interesting Day When . . .

The day started with a broken coffee machine, and ended with a failed attempt to understand these sentences in an email:

The plan to hibernate the old plan and create a new plan with the desired content. In special offers it is a frequent scenario that a renewal contract will continue to grandfather-in the content the customer had included in their previous contract(s).

Systematically when a material is hibernated is we are unable to process an order for that material.

A solution for this could be to process that hibernated material as an inclusion under their primary sub . . .

No time to stop home for dinner - as I'm off to the Civic Engagement Task Force at City Hall.

Hide the sharp instruments.

Old Dog – New Tricks

With an eye towards the (distant) future, I’ve set out to acquire new skills. Shana and I are preparing a grant for Rosetown Playhouse Community theater. Shana serves on the Rosetown board.

Shana has more experience than I in the grant world – working in the museum where a lot of the project work is funded by grants – but she has never written one herself. In the ancient days when I worked for the Minneapolis City Council, I sat on a committee that reviewed grant applications, but I’ve never written one either.

So in an effort to acquire new skills that may or may not serve me well in the future, I proposed to Shana that I help her prepare this grant application. We spent about an hour working on it Monday.

This could be one of those things that brings us closer – or not. Stay tuned.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Gravel Pit

The Dude and I are on rock-collecting jag this weekend. After exhausting the possibilities on Lonnie's Park Road yesterday, we set off this afternoon for what I call "The Gravel Pit."

The Gravel Pit is located just outside the edge of the farm property. It's over a quarter of a mile back to what once was a gravel pit. At one point the road back was paved - sort of an oil and tar deal. At the pit itself you can see the remnants of an asphalt parking lot or working surface. It's all overgrown now. All that remains is the large sand/gravel pile.

The Dude scampered up the pile - he's much more nimble than I am. Within minutes we spotted a snake (dead) and a lizard (live) along with several caterpillars. The rows of holes along the top are nests hollowed out by swallows.

As much fun as it is to climb - or try to climb up - it's more fun to climb around the back and reach the top, then leap over the top, surfing down as you go. I was a mere observer to that activity, but it sure looked like fun.

On the way out I snapped this photo - an old fence post.

Which Would You Choose?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Morning on West McDonald

Up early this morning - waking before the dog.

It worked! A co-worker told me this trick yesterday so we just had to try it. Use a toothpick to trace a message on a banana. Within hours the message "appears". Great for sending messages to your kids in their lunches.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Take a Break

Two pictures from the walking path this afternoon where it was 80 degrees, breezy, and sunny - a beautiful day.

Surely not enough people have stopped to sit on this bench.

When I saw this bench on today'w walk I was reminded of a colleague's observations. This colleague had recently returned from 3 years in Switzerland (for the company) and was commenting on how the pace of things had changed around the office. He noticed that everyone now eats lunch at their desks. It was rare to eat lunch in the cafeteria (no one ever thinks of leaving the "the campus").

Maybe he should take a look at this bench!

What doesn't show in this picture are the dozens of huge dragon flies hovering overhead.

Gotta Love Roseville

Today's Pioneer Press has 9 fun tips and tidbits about the local food/drink scene including just another great reason to love Roseville and some of the surrounding communities:

You're in St. Paul, it's after 8 p.m., and you want to buy a bottle of wine or a six pack. You're out of luck if it's a weekday. By city ordinance, off-sale liquor stores can stay open only until 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday. But that doesn't mean it has to be a dry night. Many surrounding cities - Roseville, Lilydale, Falcon Heights, Minneapolis, etc. - let liquor stores stay open until 10 p.m.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Cheryl's Cabin

Monday morning seems like Friday afternoon, as I slog through Friday’s email today.

I left early on Friday for a doctor’s appointment to investigate a lingering cough and now sinus infection that’s been dogging me since Philadelphia. The antibiotics are fighting the germs valiantly, though I’m not sure who will win. Still feel pretty worn down.

We celebrated Shana’s old friends with our annual weekend at “Cheryl’s cabin” where there is no wi-fi so no temptation to bring laptop and try to keep up. That’s good as it was very relaxing – but now I’m living my Friday afternoon on Monday morning. I’m not sure when I’ll find time to fit in Monday morning.

It was a great weekend: beautiful weather, and lots of fun in the water. The “grown-ups” (6 of us) are always amazed at how well the kids (8 of them) get along. They only see each other once or twice a year but they get right back into the groove when we get there – as if it hadn’t been 6 or 12 months since our last get-together.

The gang - ranging in age from 8 to (almost) 15. Next year we may have another driver in our midst.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Meal - Alone

One of the most tedious parts of business travel is completing the expense report. Having recently returned from 6 days and 5 nights in Philadelphia I had a lot of expenses to account for.

The online expense tool we use requires you to select, from a drop-down menu, the purpose of each expense. It's depressing how many times I selected, "Meal - Alone".

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Need Bigger Pan

Home from the lake and preparing dinner - pork chops, potatoes, and this huge veggie saute/stir-fry. Thanks (or not) to the CSA and our own garden, we have veggies coming out our ears. I need a bigger pan!

Monday, August 08, 2011

Up at the Lake

[Monarch caterpillar spotted while walking Duke this morning.]

It's been a pleasant day at the cabin. The “girls” left yesterday, so the Dude and I are here with Helen and Jake. We are leaving Tuesday morning.

We visited Glendalough State Park today. Shana and I last visited the park in August 2009.

[The Dude on the trail. Note the "trail fashion" - designed to blend well with his surroundings.]

The Dude and I hiked the Beaver Pond Interpretive Trail which should have been named the trail of a thousand frogs and toads. Parts of the trail were underwater, and most parts were pretty spongy. That brought out amphibians by the score. The Dude had to stop and try to catch every one. That made the 1.4 mile hike into almost a 90 minute affair.

[One of a hundred or so frogs and toads.]

After that one hike we called it quits and headed headed to lunch in Perham – where we ate too much at Lakes CafĂ© – should have opted out of the pie for dessert.

While they were gone I trimmed branches overhanging the lake so we will have a better view of the lake. We used a very tall step ladder set in the lake and I used this extension trimming device to make the cuts. I used muscles I haven't used since mid-winter roof-raking.

Later I engaged in some vigorous kayaking as I chased down the Dude and a cousin and her friend who had been gone "too long" in the paddle boat. It turns out they were in some far off back bay looking for wildlife and were all tuckered out so the return trip was taking three times as long as the journey out there.

We all got back just before the rain. After the rain, it's cool (throw an extra blanket on the bed tonight).

[After the rain.]

Old Fashioned Analog Games

It's the second night of good old-fashioned games at the cabin for the Dude and I. Last night it was Go Fish and Poker, followed by Yahtzee. Tonight we are in the midst of a Yahtzee tournament.

H (my mother-in-law) asks, "Do you often play Yahtzee at home?"

Me: "No - usually we all sit at home on our various hand-helds playing games (like Word with Friends) with people hundreds or thousands of miles away."

Not that we haven't played our share of iPod, iPad app games this weekend, it's just that both evenings we've ended up doing it the old fashioned way.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Hobbled Runner at Rest

A scene from Saturday at the cabin: laptop with gin and tonic.

The Dude is upstairs moving furniture. I hear lots of dragging and banging noises overhead. "What are you doing?" I ask.


Did I really expect a different response.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011


[I was here.]

After my 2 simple tasks became 7 I won't finish - let alone start, I escaped to walking path. What a day!

[I was not here.]

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Her Wired Life

Shana has a new blog – My Wired Life, Observations about Living and Learning in the 21st Century. It grew out of her work and interest in “21st Century Learning”. Despite my bias, and the fact that she only has four posts, I think it’s gonna be great.