Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Outside Looking In

The best possible view of the office on a 42 degree day in January.

The sun was shining brightly on my noon walk, but I forgot my darn sunglasses – again. In an attempt to use up some remaining money in my health care spending account, I purchased new prescription sunglasses at the end of last year. They are cool old-style Ray-Bans. The trouble is twofold: first, I keep forgetting to carry them with me; and second, I haven’t perfected the motion of swapping glasses from my “regular” specs to the prescription sunglasses. My vision is not so good without glasses, and taking them off/on in public places – usually while walking along – is something I’ll need to practice. So far I haven't dropped the glasses (either pair), but the glasses case tends to get away from me occasionally

Saturday, January 28, 2012

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?

Don’t let the lack of blogging fool you, there has been lots of goings-on at the Hobbled House. I’m up early this Saturday reviewing materials for Wednesday’s Planning Commission meeting where we will consider a proposal by Walmart to re-plat four existing parcels into one larger parcel in preparation for development. It’s the only item on the agenda – but I suspect it will keep us busy for a few hours.

[Skin of our Teeth photo by Mac Meade. Don't strain your eyes, Maria not in the picture, but I have to post some pictures to keep the reading audience interested.]

Maria in the midst of performances for The Skin of Our Teeth at RAHS. It’s not a big role for her but that’s nice after last Fall’s Urinetown –The Musical, and this Spring’s The Sound of Music where she plays – who else – Maria. Of course, that leads to lots of jokes around here about, “How do you solve a problem like Maria?”

Are you attending tonight’s opening of the Minnesota Opera’s Werther? If so, note the children’s chorus singing off stage in the final act. The Dude is amongst them. It’s been a busy past several weeks for him as they geared up for the big show. Several long, late evening practices – but he loves it.
Here’s some nice coverage from MPR’s classical side.

Too busy at work to think, much less post but that’s the subject for another post (or a dozen), so I won’t start now.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Meeting about Meetings

The subject of meetings in some corners of Corporate America has been very well documneted. I only revisit it to tell a story about what's going on in my little corner of that world.

We now have so many project “stand-ups” going on that all the key players cannot attend the meetings where their presence is required.

Long time readers of the Hobbled Runner will recall the famous Koosh Ball incident. Newer readers need only know that a stand-up is a short (usually 15 minute) meeting to check on progress of ongoing projects. Some meeting leaders enforce the standing only rule, but most allow sitting. Since most of these stand-up meetings involve our “partners” in India they take place in the early dawn Minnesota time which is early evening “over there”.

An example of how bad it's gotten: A colleague of mine told me she has 6 conference calls daily between 6:30 and 8:00 AM most days.

I really can’t complain because I have only one 7:15 meeting every day – with an additional 7:45 thrown in on Wednesdays.

Because of the problem of two many meetings, one of my stand-ups this morning started 10 minutes late (we had to wait for those "running" or dialing from stand-up to stand-up). Once under way we took up the topic of "too many meetinngs". As we listed off all the meetings currently underway that have contributed to this problem, I learned of two I should be attending but had never even heard of! Great move John – you now have two more meetings on your calendar!

Anyway, the problem is "Too Many Meetings".

The solution: We will soon be holding a meeting about these meetings in an effort to solve the problem consolidation or cancellation of existing meetings.

Posting at the Patch

My latest post for the Roseville Patch is up. It's meant to encourage folks to get involved in their community by considering joining a citizens advisory committee - like the Planning Commission.

My favorite sentence:

I’m just wonky enough to think that meeting monthly with a group of six other like-minded individuals to discuss zoning law, variance applications, conditional use permits, side-yard set-backs, and the like is fun!

Many of my posts - both here and on the Patch start from one line and I build from there. This one came to me in a flash - and the rest of the thing kind of wrote itself. Like the old saying, "One percent inspiration, 99% perspiration."

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Sweeping Year

The day started quietly - and early. I was up at 5:50 with Duke – he cares not that it is Sunday. Shana and the kids slept in. Maria winning the contest - slumbering until shortly after 11:00 a.m. The kids stayed up late last night to watch Saturday Night Live because Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) was the guest host.

It snowed a bit yesterday, maybe 2 inches of powdery stuff. The snow was so light I swept it away with a broom. I’ve done that more this year (sweeping snow) than I ever recall in the past. It has not been a big year for shovels, let alone snow-blowers or plows.

As Duke and I walked through the field – where we took the photo above – I apologized for our quiet walk. Often I talk to him, but today felt quieter. I told Duke that I used to have a lot to say – or at least talked a lot more as a younger man. I still feel I have a lot to say, but have trouble saying it, or figure maybe no one wants to hear it. Or maybe, I just learned how and when to keep my mouth shut.

After visiting my mother for brunch, the kids and I stopped to pick up a friend of John's - and they are now engaged in some sort of Pokemon duel at the kitchen table. He's leaving soon, and Maria should return from a friend's shortly. Then it's time to start dinner - pasta with my home-made white sauce.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Hobbled Wife in the News

Shana and her colleagues stopped by the Red Bull Crashed Ice competition during their lunch hour on Thursday. Naturally reporters wanted to know what she thought about it.

"It's been so fun to watch the energy around here," said Shana Crosson, who works downtown. "[The athletes] are insane."

Source: StarTribune.

Fair and Balanced

Since Tuesday's post was about the crazy warm weather we've experienced of late, I felt compelled to balance it with today's photo from the Walking Path.

Winter is back. It's been scary cold - or at least it's felt that way after our spring-like weather. After being cooped up for two days I ventured out at lunch today. It was snowing lightly, thankfully it was less windy than Wednesday or Thursday. Temperature = 11F. No caterpillars sighted.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Spring Time in January

When the weather warms as it has these past few days I know I'll share space on the walking path with my work colleagues - including many fair weather walkers - those who would not come out for a walk if it wasn't above 50 in January. (It's 53 as I create this entry.)

[You can barely see the little guy. I should have zoomed in.]

What I didn't expect was to have to step over a caterpillar. It wasn't moving terribly fast, but it was out there doing its best.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Back on the Trail - Again

While I'm not that excited to be back at work, I was able to enjoy the sunny weather - with temps approaching 40F- when I stepped out for my post-lunch walk.

Shortly before venturing out, Shana passed along this video extolling the virtues of 30 minutes a day exercise. I knew I was doing something right!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

It Flows No More

[Note the damp ends of the branch. The Dude and I had just sampled the dripping sap. Very tasty!]

Yesterday when the Dude and I were out for a walk we noticed sap dripping off freshly trimmed tree branches at the park. Not a surprise as it was partly sunny with the temperature in the in the low 40s. The fact the branches were dripping was likely due to the warm weather and the recent pruning - at least that's my uneducated guess.

That was then, this is now.

Winter finally arrived last night. It was beautiful, big fluffy flakes and a rapid accumulation of a few inches - in the hours before midnight.

Today it's cold and WINDY - very windy. I made Shana come take a walk with me - partly for the exercise, and partly to re-visit the dripping branches to check for change.

Not a surprise - they are dry as a bone. No more sap for a few months I expect.