Saturday, May 26, 2012

Beard Keeps Face Warm!

Everyone points out I'm growing this beard at the wrong time of the year.  You should grow one in the winter, not the summer.  

Well - thank goodness for a cold day then.  It rained all morning.  The sun is trying to break out - unsuccessfully.  I went for a cold and windy 3 mile walk with John before lunch.   Guess what?  The beard works!  It keeps my face warm.


It's a tradition to spend Memorial Day at "the Lake" - the Crosson compound on West McDonald.  It's a bit different this year.  Maria is not here.  She's spending the weekend with a friend's family.  She's at that age when a friend's family is much more interesting than her own.

The trip to the cabin this year set a record.  Thanks to awful traffic (road construction) we topped 5 hours, clocking a new official record of 5 hours and 10 minutes.  That's crazy of course - it's only 200 miles.  Highway 10, one-lane from Big Lake to Clearwater - it's a killer.  Next time we take a different route.

This afternoon, John and I ran to Perham for provisions - when I snapped this picture of John alongside the railroad tracks - near the Tuffy's pet food factory.  We were sent to fetch drinking water, ice cream, frozen pizzas, and peanut butter.  Despite that shopping list, we are eating quite well.  We had chili last night, and pork roast tonight.  The frozen pizzas are intended to stock the freezer for those spur-of-the-moment parties that cry out for frozen pizza.  The ice cream - well, you know.

Speaking of "Tradition!" - the kids and I were cast in the Rosetown Playhouse production of Fiddler on the Roof.  John and I are villagers, which despite its anonymity will be fun as there are 8 all-cast song/dance numbers.  Maria has been cast as a Russian soldier.  I think she's also a villager as well.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Still Fiddlin' with the Beard

One week since I last shaved.  Not too bad - if I do say so myself.  Not sure I'll ever look like a Russian-Jewish peasant, circa 1905 - but I'm trying.

Auditions were Monday, call-backs (for Maria only) are tonight.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Business Jargon Update: Manly Talk

There was a surprising amount of masculine talk on a conference call today. Several folks talked about “manning” and having the right “man” for a position. It beats referring to a person as a “resource” – and it seemed that after the first “man” slipped out, everyone just fell in line and soon we were “manning” all our tasks with the right “man”.

Later a marketer referred to her role as “softening the beach” for sales reps reaching out to prospective customers. I had not heard “softening the beach” in business use before. It’s an obvious reference to artillery shelling in anticipation of putting your “men” on the beach – think Normandy, D-Day.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Thank you Friends School Plant Sale

John and I spent the better part of Saturday digging (let’s say “creating”) a new butterfly garden. He has been obsessed for some time about having his own garden. For the most part, we’ve been putting him off by encouraging him to help us in the existing gardens, or giving him a little space in the planters alongside the front steps.

This year was it. We were going to help him create some of his truly own garden space. It had to be totally new – and that meant digging up sod.

John decided it would be a butterfly garden – the sort of garden whose plants attract butterflies. He began researching online and consulting with experts, Shana and Helen (my mother-in-law). He poured over the Friends School Plant Sale Catalog, planning his purchases. Last week he bought the necessary plants, and this week it was time to dig.

He drew diagrams; he plotted it out in the yard. The boundaries were moved several times over the past week, until we found the ideal location – it needs lots of sun. I contacted the utility digging folks who marked out the necessary no-dig areas.

Work began around 11:00 a.m. on Saturday and we didn’t wrap up until around 5:00 p.m. We dug it out the old-fashioned way with garden spades. This left both John and I with lots of aches and pains – even my hands and fingers hurt! But the feeling of smug, self-satisfaction we both felt upon completion was priceless.

I think it looks pretty nice. The tree is a dwarf, tart cherry, and even though I helped plant, I don’t recall all the new plants, some milkweed, wild bergamot, and others. Some could say it’s too close to the swing-set, but Shana and the kids have mentioned selling that. I’m not sure I can part with it (a subject of another post I’m sure).

Also noted – Shana has the vegetable garden completely planted – the earliest on record. We have some of the usual, tomatoes, beans, along with some new ones – also from the Friends School Plant Sale. New this year are kale, onions – and others I’m sure (but Shana can add those in the comments).

Friday, May 18, 2012

Summer Time

Mid 80s, sunny, windy – summer is here.

Saw this little rabbit (it's really just a bunny isn't it?) sitting alongside the path. It didn’t spook easily, letting me snap this picture.

Beard – day 3. In the past I’ve always abandoned attempts to grow facial hair because my neck itched so badly. This time I’m being proactive, trimming along the neck, just above the adam’s-apple – but it’s not easy. Beard advocates always scoff at shavers – telling us how much easier their routine is without having to stop and shave every day. Maybe it gets easier, but I spend just as much time shaving my neck – trying to get the line just right. It's easier when it all comes off every day.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Just Fiddlin’ Around

You can tell I’m getting serious about the upcoming auditions for Fiddler on the Roof – Rosetown Playhouse’s summer production – I’m growing a beard. I have about two months to morph into a Russian peasant.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Where’s the Gluten?

I’ve been asked to contribute to our friend Judy’s blog. Judy runs Cooqi - maker of gluten free products. They want to add some other voices to their blog - folks taking about lifestyle, diet, and nutrition, etc. Seems the Hobbled Wife thinks my holier than thou attitude about food – spurred on by attempts to lower my cholesterol (specifically high triglycerides) might have an audience outside the home.

For the record, that’s chicken, onions, red pepper, orange pepper and broccoli stirred up in bacon grease (yes – I’m using left-over bacon grease – great flavor!). Of course, it’s sprinkled with parmesan cheese which has already melted. I served it over a lettuce, spinach mix (Costco).

Maria brought her egg bagel to the dining room to join Shana and me. She asked, “Why are you guys having stir-fry for breakfast?”

“It’s 11:45 am, this is our lunch,” was our reply.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Planner

I don't often post about my service on the Roseville Planning Commission. Numerous ethics courses have me "scared straight" about discussing official business in a manner inconsistent with Minnesota's Open Meeting Law. My blatherings on the blog would be permissible as they represent me expressing my opinion - and this blog is not a forum for members to gather and debate the issue - but - I'm a careful guy. If you want to see what happens at the Commission, attend the meeting, watch the replays on cable, or read the minutes online. I read this today in my favorite blog, The Bleat: The quote,
A top-down plan that tries to manufacture a dense community will fail. You have two instincts at work in city planning: make it happen, or let it happen. The former looks great on paper. The latter is a better place for living.
The context, Comparing the site of the recenty approved Vikings Stadium - which happens to be where the Metrodome has stood for 30 years or so - to the newer Target Stadium (hope of the Minnesota Twins),
But what about the Twins stadium? The area around there is doing great. Yes, because it was already the entertainment district. Because gentrification of the old warehouses was already underway, and the density is much higher. A decade-long redefinition of the area was underway, thanks to scores of individual initiatives. A top-down plan that tries to manufacture a dense community will fail. You have two instincts at work in city planning: make it happen, or let it happen. The former looks great on paper. The latter is a better place for living.
For the record, I prefer the “let it happen” approach.