Monday, May 30, 2016

IBUs and CO2, Among Other Things.

We got our gardens planted just in time for some much needed rain to welcome our flowers to their new home. It's always nice to have that work behind us. Tammy is a big help but once they're in the ground I'm pretty much on my own when it comes to tending to them. I don't mind -- I find it relaxing to be out there putzing in the dirt.

We've been enjoying our independence (I think I've mentioned that before here but it really is nice) and occasionally going out for a glass or two of wine or beer. It's nice but I'm finding that I have an allergy to the hops used in brewing beer, especially IPAs or those beers with higher IBUs. I have to be careful to order a beer with a lower IBU, preferably something less than 10 or I'll wake up with a pounding headache that will stay with me the entire day. When in doubt I'll reach for a Not Your Father's Root Beer. They're so good and they have an IBU of zero which begs the question: is it really beer? Hmmm...

We drove into Minneapolis Wednesday evening to see The Book or Mormon at the Orpheum Theatre. Oh my but was that funny! It's a Broadway production that's touring the country. I was laughing so hard at times that I was worried I'd embarrass Tammy but she was laughing too. Yeah, there's some inappropriate stuff in there that caused me to wonder should I really be laughing or even clapping? But then another ridiculously funny scene would play out and I'd be laughing as hard as ever and looking over at Tammy to see her reaction. Go see it if you get the chance.

Tammy is taking an online watercolor class. Yes! I've been wanting her to get her paints out for the longest time and now she is. She's always been very artistic (as was her mother) and I'm happy to see her taking the time to dabble in this again. Here's a link to some paintings she did in college. I wouldn't mind playing around with it too.

I had my first flat of the season while doing my loop to Jordan last week and it was the first time I've used CO2 to fill my tire. No doubt my cycling friends are wondering how this can be. I have no idea other than I like standing by the side of the road looking like...oh, never mind. So, one thing I learned from using CO2 is that the next day your tire will be very deflated as a CO2 gas molecule isn't the same as an oxygen molecule and the gas will much more easily dissipate through the rubber inner-tube. And yes, I'm a convert and CO2 will now be my go-to method for fixing flats out on the road. It's amazingly fast!

Speaking of riding -- I've been slacking on my bike and with the race in Lutsen less than a month away I need to get a move on. I went out today for a longish 94 mile ride (albeit on my road bike -- I'll be using my fatty for the race) where I pretty much just went through the motions. My right knee wasn't all that happy to be out there and as I said in my comments on Strava "I think I left about 50 watts of power on the back counter when I took off this morning. I hate it when that happens."

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Then and Now, 1984 Revisited

Scott came into town from the east coast last week.

Back in 1984 we were both working for the FAA in Huron, South Dakota at the Flight Service Station there providing pilot weather briefings, filing flight plans and meeting the needs of the local flying community.  There were 3 golf courses in the city and 2 of them would become a main outlet of ours during the warmer months as we whiled away our time in exile, serving our penance for having come up short in our training at Minneapolis Center.

Scott and I both joined the men's golf league which gathered one night each week at the main public course on the north side of town near the airport. I will never forget the first time we took the tee in front of at least a dozen others waiting their turn to do the same. Scott proceeded to hit at least 4 balls out of bounds before getting off the tee. It was an embarrassing moment that needed no words at the time. It could just as easily have been me. I made a passing mention of it when we met at Columbia Golf Course in Columbia Heights last week as I ribbed him about that cringeworthy memory from our past. We laughed. We had some fun times together and although decades have passed since we've hung out like that it still felt like old times teeing it up with him again.

We golfed with Scott's good friend Dan and Dan's father, Jim Hebert. Jim was once a controller at Minneapolis Center as well, having been fired in the PATCO strike of August, 1981. He went on to become a mathematics teacher and an accomplished sailor having sailed across the Atlantic and all throughout the Caribbean Sea. And now he's become quite the cyclist having recently biked to Colorado and back. I would love to have had more time to talk with Jim.

All the while we were out there I was trying to live in the moment, wanting the day to never end. It was so nice being together with Scott again. I didn't fully appreciate how much I've missed that until we were out there. He's a good friend.

I made the mistake of golfing again the next day with Bill from our league team. I don't think my rib injury is fully recovered enough to allow me to do that. I made sure to stretch as much as ever before beginning our round but with a temp still in the 40s it wasn't enough and when I went to golf again on Thursday for league play I had to pack it in after 3 holes with the pain in my left side having returned. It's still there but not as bad. I'm hoping to be back on the links in a couple weeks. From what I can gather online I've got a weak core. Tammy says she'll give me some exercises to do to improve it so I don't have to keep going through this.

Joe Konietzko has retired! Joe hosted a party to celebrate his retirement last Friday at Buck Hill in Burnsville. It's always nice to see the familiar faces at these get-togethers. Enjoy, Joe. You're gonna love it!

I usually go through my phone's photo gallery to get ideas about things to touch on for my blog posts and a lot of stuff in there gets left on the cutting room floor. Last week I decided to add a few of those photos to the end of my entry and I think I'll continue doing that.

So, without further ado -- photos from this past week or so...

A family of ducks along the 4th fairway at Crystal Lake.

Out to lunch with some fellow retirees, Jeff Ofstun, Ed Whitman and Mike Deml.

Sweet ride!

Storytelling with Bruce Steeples at Joe's retirement party.

Shawn, discovering the joys of fat-biking and having more fun than is allowed at his age!

Finally sitting down to catch up on some online reading and blogging. My laptop has been collecting dust lately.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Not a Scam, Golf Talk and Part of a Week of Pics

I wrote a blogpost a few weeks ago about concerns that I was being scammed. It turns out it was all legit. I received a check in the mail one week ago and promptly deposited it. Some friends were rightly suspicious and voiced their concerns to me on a Facebook where their words had me 2nd guessing my decision to pursue the offer.  That little video clip I stitched together paid for my Crystal Lake golf membership for the year. What a deal!

Speaking of which...

I was on the golf course the other day and I couldn't help but notice how much I talk to myself when I'm out there -- encouraging sorta stuff. I hit plenty of poor shots but I don't see any reason for berating myself. I sometimes see that in others and it doesn't seem to help. I quietly go about my business using a voice that's only audible to me as I discuss the options of my next shot. If my game's going poorly I'll often remind myself that I'm golfing and I'm retired. What's not to like?

I'm feeling relieved that I'm able to hit full shots again as my rib injury appears to be no more. I've been careful to do my stretches before I get to the first tee and all throughout the round. Still, I don't want to get too overconfident that this problem is behind me and let my guard down.

I'm using a Garmin S6 Approach golf watch to give me accurate distance to layup spots as well as front/center/back of the greens. It's super helpful. The game's technology has changed so much since I last played and because I'm a techy sorta guy, I'm all in. The new Callaway XR clubs are working well, too. Even though I'm well past my prime with respect to swing speed and such, I'm hitting the ball further than I ever have. It helps that one of the members of our men's league team won the club championship a couple years ago and is good about offering advice to me. He gave me some key tips yesterday that may have taken me months to stumble onto by myself.

Another thing that's also helpful is the amount of information about golf instruction and tips that's available online. I spent at least two hours a couple rainy afternoons ago watching this channel and absorbing as much as I could, excited to put it to use.

I've adopted a routine to my days that more often than not leaves me exhausted by the time I find my way to bed at night. I'm usually up around 7 and walking the pups by 8 before either getting on one of my bikes or heading out for a walk. It's been almost 2 months since I've taken a day off from working out. I'm not actually working on a streak but it's hard for me not to notice and I suppose it's sort of becoming one. Golf fits in there somewhere. I was at the course yesterday from 1:00 until 8:00. Tammy mentioned something about becoming a golf widow. Retirement is hard work!

I'll close this with some photos from this past week as well as a video from a recent ride with Reid.

Mother's Day at Perkins!

Walking the pups

Judicial Road in Lakeville

Minnehaha Falls

Mendota Bridge

A rainy walk

Men's league last night

Fat Miles with Reid from kevin gilmore on Vimeo.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Renewed Connections and Back in the Swing!

Tammy was asked if she would like to work as a nurse for the company that owns the group home where her mother stays. It would involve going to each of the 4 homes they manage and setting up pills in addition to some other nursing needs they have. It's very part-time at about 4 hours each week. She told them she would.

Her mother is doing really well in her new surroundings and we're very grateful for that. I don't know that she's able to grasp that she's in an entirely new place and that's fine with us. She's happy and content and that's all we could ever ask for.

I've reestablished a connection with Joe, my former stepson. It's been so nice to catch up with him and to see that both he and his brother Dave are doing well. And we have some key interests in common -- Joe likes golfing and mountain biking! He told me he watches "the PGA religiously" and tries to make it to tournaments when they're in the area. Very cool. He talked about coming out so we can get together and play some golf. I would love that!

The photo to the left is of Joe with his wife Susie and their family. What a beautiful family. I'm so happy for him/them.

Rachel has been roommates with RaeNelle since September. This living arrangement has been by far the best she's had since leaving home for college 5 and half years ago. RaeNelle recently lost a dear pet cat, Margot, but she still has a kitten, Greta. What started out as a "therapeutic doodle" for Rachel became a cherished gift for RaeNelle when she presented the finished piece of art to her in remembrance of Margot. I love the imagination that went into this.

Rachel has become somewhat discouraged about trying to gain acceptance into a Physician Assistant program. It's so competitive with very few class seats in comparison to the demand. St Kate's program in St Paul receives close to 1000 applicants each year for 32 seats and is pretty typical of what she's up against. I don't blame her for being discouraged and beginning to consider other career options. I don't think she's given up on her PA dream entirely but I think she's looking at other options in the medical field which may also involve a more roundabout way into a PA program. She's sharp as can be and I have no doubt that she'll find her way to where she's supposed to be.

I met Reid at the trailhead in Mendota Tuesday morning to ride the river trails to the Bloomington Ferry Bridge. Our plans to race our mountain bikes in Lutsen in late June are still on and he's wanting and needing to get some miles in his legs for the 69 mile distance. It's one thing to finish it but you want to be able to finish strong. We'll meet again this coming Monday and increase the distance a little as well as the intensity.

My next door neighbor Bob and I played 18 holes of golf yesterday afternoon and my rib injury that's had me only able to focus on my short game for nearly two months appears to be fine. I played the first 9 holes trying to hit 3/4 shots, being careful to not stress myself. I felt fine but I was playing terrible golf, scoring a 52. I was careful to continually do the stretches I need to do to avoid more injury. I felt comfortable enough on the back 9 to begin hitting more full shots. I scored a 41 and was very pleased. Men's league starts tonight and I wanted to have at least one round in me before we begin. I think I'm good to go!

This retirement thing is tough work! Between a walk I took yesterday morning and 18 holes of golf in the afternoon, I logged over 18 miles of walking.

Speaking of men's league -- I better get a move on. I'm due on the tee in an hour.

Here's some video from last Sunday morning's ride along the Minnesota River trails.

Enjoy! I did!!

River Bottoms! from kevin gilmore on Vimeo.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

I Have Such a Talented Partner!

With Prince's death a few days ago I'm left somewhat puzzled by the amount of national and worldwide attention his passing has received. I assumed he had a sizeable following but I had no idea he was so revered. I've read my share of articles about him these past few days and they've given me a new appreciation for the man and his music. I can't imagine Bob Dylan garnering more of a send-off than what we've witnessed with Prince.

I don't own any of his music although there are songs of his that I liked and even a couple to take me back to specific places and times from my life in the '80s but nothing more. Tammy and I have been talking about getting a "Prince Essentials" collection of his music if there is such a thing.

I only hope that our lasting memories of the man, other than his music, will be of his generousness for those in need and not a focus on anything darker that is rumoured to have resulted in his death.

We had friends of ours come into town from Kalispell, Montana Thursday night. We met Paul and Kate about 6 years ago when we used to host a small-group for our church and they were such an important part of that group: Kate with her sincere sweetness and Paul with his questions that nobody else thought to ask. They're such fine people as are the others from our disbanded group. We jumped at the chance to have another get-together at our home. It was so nice to see everyone again. I should have a photo to add here but I don't. Next time.

Tammy has been putting her creative side into overdrive lately. We're still doing our volunteer work on Thursdays in Woodbury with some elderly residents at an assisted living facility in addition to some mentally and physically challenged adults. Each week Tammy comes up with a craft for the people we work with to do and this past week's project was quite a hit. Tammy prepared dozens of polymer clay slices of various designs she'd made using the cane technique. She had her crafters apply them to a clear glass cup to create a pattern design. They all had a fun time working with them. She brought them home to bake in the oven and we'll bring them back this week. We're thinking of maybe adding some potting soil and flower seeds to complete the project.

She had one other project she took on last week -- she reupholstered our deck chairs. After only 3 years they had become faded and tired looking. We went out to Joanne Fabrics and found some outdoor material to use then she spent the better part of two days fitting the cushions for a new look. They turned out great! I'm super impressed that she's able to do this. She first took on an upholstering project when she was a single mom and couldn't afford new furniture but wanted to make her home as nice as possible. She bought some well worn furniture at a garage sale and breathed new life into it. I have such a talented partner!

I'm still waiting to get back on the links. I had a bit of a setback last Monday when I had an abrupt encounter with not too big of a tree while riding the trails at Murphy. I allowed my left bar end to get too close to a tree and it reached out and grabbed me, stopping me dead in my tracks and sucking me in and smacking my ribs and upper front left shoulder where it left an abrasion that I've done well to keep Tammy from seeing and because she seldom reads my blog I'm fine with mentioning it here (insert smiley face). My GoPro was there but my physical meeting with the tree happened out of view of the lens of my camera. Still, you can see it unfold at 3:33 of the video below.

The sharp pain in my rib that I've been nursing for 6 weeks now (due to a golfing injury) was all but gone when this happened but now it's back. I'm hopeful though that I can still swing the club as most of my issues were with rib pain on my left side, more toward my back. I don't want to rush my recovery but I'm really itching to get out there. I hit a couple dozen balls at the range tonight at about 3/4 strength and I felt good.

At least I established a bunch of PRs on my ride at Murphy but was it worth it? In that moment, yes but it's no longer that moment and I really wanna golf! Did I mention that men's league begins in less than 2 weeks and I haven't even established my handicap? I've got some work to do in the way of both healing and golfing and I don't know that I can take them both on together but try I'll because I'm stubborn that way.

Murphy Hanrehan Loop from kevin gilmore on Vimeo.

Friday, April 22, 2016

A Little Help Please -- Am I Being Scammed?

I was contacted recently by someone claiming to work for Facebook. He was wondering if I'd be interested in allowing parts of some video I shot at a Bernie Sanders rally a few months ago to be used in an online commercial he was involved in making. This is actually the 2nd time I've been asked to give someone rights to use this particular video which you can view below.

The initial contact was followed up with another email detailing the legal specifics about granting Facebook the rights to use the video in addition to an offer of $1000 for its use. (Page 1 and page 2.) In a follow-up correspondence he stated that all they needed from me to proceed was a digital file of the video which they now have. I was told that I'd be contacted by another person who would arrange for me to be paid.

I received an email today from the person responsible for making the payment to me. One of the things he's asking for is a filled out W9 form for the IRS and I assume I would obviously need to provide my SSN. Maybe this is how it has to be but I'm a little concerned about giving out this information. I did a search for Kapsized, Inc. and all I could come up with is this link to two videos they've produced.

I dunno. It seems legit but it could also be a scam. Thoughts? Please share here or on Facebook. Thanks!

Bernie Sanders St Paul Rally from kevin gilmore on Vimeo.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Art Fairs and Fairways

Tammy and I are making up for lost time as we get out and about together the way we used to. We took in the American Craft Council show at St Paul's RiverCentre on Friday and probably enjoyed the show as much as we ever have in the past. Sometimes it can be a little hit-or-miss for us but not this year. They brought in some ridiculously talented artists from all across the country to display and sell their work.

No trip into St Paul is complete without a stop at Cossetta's. It's tasty Italian food dished up cafeteria style. I had a mostaccioli jump off my flimsy plastic fork and splatter the front of my shirt. It required a stop at home for a quick change before continuing on to Canterbury Park in Shakopee to battle the crowds at their craft fair. After just a few minutes we were both questioning why we came. Unlike RiverCentre, there were very few actual artists at Canterbury, just a lot of cheap imported stuff for sale that we had no interest in. We vowed never again! Still, it was nice to be out doing things together and that was really what the day was all about.

It's been four weeks since I walked off the golf course in pain from a dislocated rib and strained intercostal muscles. Today was my first pain free day since my injury but I'm reluctant to tee it up just yet. I was reading several stories online from others who have suffered this same injury and came back too soon and reinjured themselves only to have to start the healing process all over again. I really don't want to experience that.

Our weather has been cool and windy so I'm not missing much by being sidelined. My chiropractor suggested hitting some balls with half a swing when I'm feeling ready to see if there's any pain the next day and to keep increasing the amount of swing until I'm back to 100%. I think I'll leave my driver and 3 metal out of my bag for now.

I'm taking advantage of this downtime to make it over to the practice green at Crystal Lake several times each week to work on my short game. This is practice I'm quite sure I wouldn't have taken the time to do had I been healthy so that's my silver lining to all of this. It's beginning to pay off.

Speaking of playing golf -- Dave Celski has joined the ranks of the retired! There was a party for him at Carbone's in Lakeville Saturday afternoon. He said he intends to play a lot of golf at The Wilds this summer. It was a nice gathering of people who made it to his party.

I spent part of my weekend watching all four rounds of The Masters golf tournament. I used to say that if I could only watch one program each year on TV I would choose Sunday afternoon's coverage of that tournament. I put my clubs away in 1997 when I was going through my divorce because I'd lost my focus on the course and I really couldn't afford to play; I gave up watching the game on TV as well. But I'm back! I've managed to catch final round tournament coverage of each of the past few weeks and that makes me happy.

But what a loss for Jordan Spieth yesterday, blowing a 5 stroke lead on the back 9. I haven't seen a collapse of that proportion since Greg Norman's epic collapse 20 years earlier on the same course. I enjoy watching Jordan play and hope this loss won't negatively impact his game although how could it not to some degree?

I've put my Sarma Shaman on a bit of a diet for the summer and it's shed an inch around its tires. I've gone from 4" 45 NRTH Dillingers to 3" Maxxis Chronicles on 52 mm Stan's tubeless rims to make it a little easier to do some longer distances on it. I took my new wheels out for a ride yesterday and I could tell that I'm a little more nimble on the trails with it. My legs were tired after 54 miles but that's to be expected. I'd like an even narrower tire but I'm not sure the extra speed it would give me on the trails is a good thing. I think I've found a happy compromise with this new setup.