I don't typically use my blog to discuss political stuff all that much anymore but I do want to make mention of some things for the archives so when I look back I can see where we were and where I was in my thinking.
Talk about overplaying a hand. Nearly two years ago a republican dominated statehouse voted to place a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage on the 2012 ballot. Not only did that effort fail but it ultimately led to a new proposal to allow for same-sex marriage; a proposal which became law this past week. I would guess that this legislation would've eventually become law but had it not been for the efforts of republicans to deny equal rights for all in 2012, same-sex marriage may have been many more years away from becoming a reality in Minnesota.
Our politics of late have become as divisive as I can ever recall in my lifetime. It's troubling because we have so many other pressing matters that could better use our attention than where we're directing our focus. It's clear as anything to me that all we're watching play out here with respect to Benghazi and the IRS scandal is an attempt by republicans to try and hamstring Obama during the remainder of his presidency. Again, I'm left trying to understand how I was once a supporting member of that party not all that long ago.
I think it's safe to say that Christians in America overwhelmingly side with the republican party. Yeah, it would be nice if politics and religion didn't intertwine but they absolutely do. So, what confuses me most is how those who claim to follow a passive man named Jesus are the ones who are the first to want to send our kids off to war in some foreign country. They're the ones leading the charge to abolish the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and they're the ones who want an obscene amount of guns out on the street. Am I painting with too broad a brush? I don't really think so.
What of any of the above is reflective of Jesus? How do those who identify themselves as Christians justify those positions?
I took a long walk a few days ago and spent a lot of my time in thought about some of the issues I'm struggling with with respect to my faith. I found myself once again trying to reconcile God of the Old Testament with Jesus in the New Testament and trying to understand how they could possibly be one in the same as my faith teaches.
I can't for the life of me understand how God (in the OT) could instruct the Israelites to wipe out masses of humanity, women and children included so that they could take over their land while Jesus is instructing us in the NT to love our enemies. There's something seriously flawed here.
I was mentioning these concerns to Tammy a couple nights ago over a glass of wine at Ernie's. She's much more willing to overlook these things I'm struggling with while totally believing that it will all make sense when we get to heaven. I don't know.
Our conversation turned to Hosanna and the church's focus on the 'sins' of gays over the sins of the rest of us. She commented that we're both divorced and living in sin according to the Bible. In Mark 10, verses 11-12 Jesus says that “Whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries someone else, she commits adultery."
Hosanna has always been very firm about their belief that because gays are living openly and in disregard to what the Bible teaches about homosexuality, they can't be assimilated into the church in any sort of position of leadership. How then does that square with Tammy and me living in sin, contrary to what the Bible teaches while leading a small-group for the past several years? There can be no difference but all I get from Hosanna is a big yawn.
Anyway, enough of that.
Work continues on our sun-porch and deck project although rain has definitely been hampering progress.
I had a couple of nice 95 mile rides this past week. Yesterday's ride took me southeast to Kenyon. I was spent when I got home but it was a good tired.
Ride, 5-18-2013 from kevin gilmore on Vimeo.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
I don't typically use my blog to discuss political stuff all that much anymore but I do want to make mention of some things for the archives so when I look back I can see where we were and where I was in my thinking.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
I'm really sort of geeky when it comes to yard-work. I keep a journal of when I fertilize, sharpen the mower blades, change the oil in my mowers, mow the lawn, plant the flowers and when the heavy leaf raking gets done. Don't ask me why, it's just what I do. I keep my yard journal out in the garage and was looking at some of last year's entries yesterday. By this time last year I'd already fertilized twice and had cut the lawn several times. What a difference one year can make. I finally fertilized the lawn yesterday but I've yet to mow it. I suppose a part of my apathy (in addition to the worst spring season ever) is the fact that our porch project has taken over a good section of our backyard making it difficult to get the mowers around it all. I have a hunch though that this week will see me out there on the mower.
Speaking of our porch project, Joe made some nice progress this week. I don't see much rain in the forecast so I think we'll see lots of activity out there beginning tomorrow morning.
We went out with Brenda and Marty Friday night. Our original plan was to go to JoJo's Rise & Wine Bar in Burnsville but after meeting there and standing in the front entrance looking at the menu for a couple minutes Brenda suggested we scrap those plans and go across the street to Mediterranean Cruise Cafe instead. Either place would be a new experience for Tammy and me so we were happy to go along with whatever was decided.
What a fun time we had!
We got there during prime dinner time for a Friday night but managed to get seated right away. I immediately liked the atmosphere. Did I mention they have belly dancers?
We decided on a dinner special for 4 people that gave us a wide variety of foods, mostly things I'd never heard of much less tasted. There was nothing I didn't like. The only negative I'd have to say about our time there was that the table was too small for all the food they were sending out to us. Seriously! I had to laugh at the salt and pepper shakers on the table because I couldn't imagine using either and altering at all the already so flavorful food. We'll definitely be going back. And don't worry JoJo's...we'll be out your way soon, too!
I was on a ride a few days ago and went past the dog park at Cleary Lake about 10 miles west of home. I got to thinking that I really needed to get our pups back out there. They always love the park but we didn't make it there once last year opting for Ritter Farms Park instead because it's closer. I got up early Saturday and piled them in the back of Tammy's Forrester for a trip to the park. They had so much fun. Toby and Allie will be 10 years old in August and I don't know how many more years they'll be able to romp around at the park so I'm going to do all I can to get them out there as much as possible for as long as possible. It's crazy how much I love those little guys.
We took Mom out to dinner at Ernie's Pub and Grille last night for an early Mother's Day dinner. She looked so pretty. For all the times I've mentioned Ernie's on Facebook or here this was actually only the first time we've had dinner there. It's our hangout for a late night glass of wine and unwinding.
We were in there a few nights ago and Greg was telling us how they were totally booked up for Mother's Day with over 530 reservations. He penciled us in for Saturday night when he could wait on us. We're always impressed when our waiter is able to take our orders and get all of the details right without using a notepad. Tammy commented how there's no way she could ever do that. I know I couldn't.
We had a really nice time, good food, wine and conversation.
I talked to her tonight and she mentioned all of the family that came by to see her today and how nice it's been. She sounded very satisfied and content. For the last few years I often wonder with each passing celebration if it will be the last time she'll be there with us and each year that unease grows just a little more.
We love you, Mom!
Posted by Kevin at 9:26 PM
Saturday, May 4, 2013
We had four more controllers retire last week: John Manring, Lantz Wagner, John DeGrood and Mark DeGrood. I mention these names and will continue to make mention of retiring controllers knowing that my blog is read by some retired controllers who will be interested in hearing of the latest to join their ranks. There will be so many more names to follow over the next couple years.
Mark and I have had such similar life paths. We both went to the same Jr-high and high-schools graduating together, we both did four year enlistments in the Navy and we both found careers as air traffic controllers with the FAA. I suppose I shouldn't have been too surprised when he moved into a home across the street from me some 16 years ago or so. He and his family still live there today. He would like to have worked a couple more years but was forced out by the age 56 mandatory retirement rule. I think we'll both be a little envious of one another as he transitions to his new phase of life. I'll be wishing I had his free time and he'll be wishing he had my paycheck. We're both in a good place.
I'm enjoying my Monday morning rides so much. I came back from last Monday's ride so pumped up having found another gear that's been missing for the longest time. After uploading my data to Strava I was surprised to learn that I've moved into 5th place overall on the segment on County Rd 46 from Cedar Ave west to the top of the hill with an 18.6 miles per hour average for the 0.8 mile climb. Between my power meter and the smattering of Strava segments along my routes I'm seeing improvements in my form as I push myself harder than I have in a long time on the road. Really fun stuff!
I'm still managing to get on my CompuTrainer regularly and hope to continue to even once the weather warms. I get such a good workout on it. I've got one ride in particular that I do where I go all out. It's only a little over 20 miles but I compete against myself by using my personal best time on the course. I can load that effort into the CompuTrainer and it will show that rider out there with me on the monitor. I rode against myself last night and lost. I held the lead for the first 15 miles but couldn't hang on in the last 5. I love how it pushes me.
I was checking in on Facebook last night from Ernie's Pub and Grille and commenting that we've become regulars there to some degree. Not that we're there that often, typically a Friday or Saturday night each week but regular enough that they know the wine we like and bring it over to our table without us placing an order. They're good people there!
Ernie's is a nice, quiet (usually) place to unwind. They have a somewhat eclectic mix of music and often we'll try and figure out who the singer or group is...lots of music from the '90s. When we don't know for sure we'll Shazam it and then read the trivia from Shazam about the song or artist. We learned something new last night about one of Rod Stewart's biggest hits. Maggie May was originally a B side to a 45. I wouldn't have guessed that considering how popular it became. The song on the A side was Reason to Believe.
I had to laugh at Tammy while we were there. She was telling me the URL of a website and she began with "W-W-W" I said "nobody uses the w-w-w part anymore!" She went on to explain that it's something she does for the older people she deals with on the phone as part of her nurse-line job when she directs them to a link online. They get confused without it she says. It just struck me as being funny at the time.
Our sun-porch and deck project got underway on Monday. There's no turning back now!
Posted by Kevin at 7:46 PM
Sunday, April 28, 2013
Spring finally made it to Minnesota this week in a very nice way but not before leaving the returning Robins cut off from their supply of worms with 5 inches of fresh wet snow on Tuesday morning. Mom was telling me that raisins make a good substitute food for them. I looked but we had none.
I noticed out our laundry room window that tulips were beginning to push their way through the snow in the front flower bed. Finally!
Do I detect a hint of frustration or worse from a co-worker or three because I intend to work beyond age 56? (mandatory retirement age from which I'm exempt) I think I do. It's something I began to notice a few months ago and seemed to begin around the time I first talked about staying an additional year beyond my original planned retirement date of January, 2014. I can think of no other reason for the changed attitude toward me by a few people. I actually find it amusing while at the same time recalling the clique in high-school I was once a part of. I figured the days of that sort of thing were long gone but apparently I was wrong.
Speaking of work...the furloughing of air traffic controllers across the country began one week ago today. It lasted all of 5 days before being stopped due to the inconveniencing of the flying public from the resulting delays because of reduced staffing. Sure, I'm happy that I'm not being furloughed but I'm troubled that the administration caved so quickly on the issue. Sequestration was meant to be painful for our nation as a whole but if Congress is going to be allowed to soften the effects of it each time it causes a little pain, what's the point? They should have allowed the air traffic control system to continue to limp along and cause so much frustration that they were forced to address all of our budgetary problems, not just ATC.
I haven't made any updates lately to our sun-porch/deck blog because the weather has been keeping Joe from beginning work. He plans to be out tomorrow morning though to drill holes for the support posts. It will be nice to see the project finally get underway. We're excited about it but glad for the delay in getting going because it's given us some additional time to rework the design just a little.
I got out for a fun but tiring ride Friday afternoon. My first time out this year without full length tights and knee warmers. Nice!
I'm happy that my riding isn't interfering with my walking. I went a little further than I'd planned to yesterday and I have a blister to show for it but I really enjoyed my time out there. I took the pups out first then spent the next few hours on my own.
We had a fun time last night with friends. Phil and Tracy hosted a Murder Mystery dinner party. Tammy played the role of Torchy, a nightclub singer with a sketchy past while I played the role of Eddie "Socks" R. Gyle, a well connected, wheeler-dealer nightclub owner. Tammy did a nice job on our outfits!
In the game you act out your role in four separate rounds. You're given a biography about your character and a brief scenario of each round to help guide you along. Each person knows information that the others don't and it's up to the players to try and piece it all together by asking questions throughout the game. There's specific information you're required to divulge to the other players along the way. I think Tammy was the only one among us who figured out who the murderer was. It was a lot of fun.
Here's a link if you're interested in hosting a game. I believe Tracy bought the one we used at a local bookstore.
Look beyond the smiles of this dapper group because one of them is a cold-blooded killer. Who do you think it is?
Posted by Kevin at 11:02 PM
Saturday, April 20, 2013
It's been a crazy and heavy news week here in the US. Between the terrorist bombings at the Boston Marathon and the filibuster of the Senate for background checks for gun buyers to the return of winter (if it ever left) in Minnesota, there's been little room for good news this week but there was some. Julie Damico's retirement party was one of the bright spots! Even if it meant braving some pretty slick roads to get there it was one I didn't want to miss.
Julie's last day was 3 weeks ago and already you can see that it looks like she's gained at least 5 years of her youth back by the look on her face. I joked with her that it was the wine that was giving her such a nice glow (and it may have helped) but in all reality I think it has more to do with getting back to a normal schedule, a thing that air traffic controllers know nothing of. She looked so rested. She's excited about doing things in her own time and not being owned by the chaotic schedule at work. Me too. Someday.
We'll miss your pretty smile, Julie. Enjoy! (and I haven't forgotten about the vase!)
Speaking of work; the furloughs resulting from the government's sequester are about to be realized (beginning tomorrow). The sequester began nearly two months ago but it's taken this long for the actual furloughs to reach our workforce. We'll all be forced off work without pay one day each two week pay period. I'm not about to complain because this career has been such a blessing to me and my family but yeah, I'm hopeful that our government soon turns away from its divisive ways and begins functioning once again.
Nobody I've talked with or listened to seems to have a good handle on how this will play out at work. We're simply going to have to get by with less staffing. We can do that to a point but it remains to be seen how we'll be able to allow people to take time off this summer for vacations that were scheduled months in advance. There's a chance those vacations will have to be cancelled. I think all eyes will be on the east coast where they've been using a boatload of overtime to bolster their poor staffing numbers. The overtime supposedly comes to an end once the furloughs kick in. If they can't manage the traffic with their reduced staffing it will be necessary to reduce the amount of flights across the country destined for their airspace to a more manageable number. Read flight delays. Lots of them. That's what I think will ultimately get people's attention about this whole sequester. Stay tuned.
I didn't think I'd make it out on my Mukluk anymore this year but when I woke up Friday morning and saw that winter had returned in a big way I couldn't resist getting back out on it one last time.
The roads had improved quite a lot by the time I made it out in the early afternoon so I did my best to find some slush and muck conditions where my Mukluk thrives. She was filthy by the time I got her home. Always the sign of a good ride!
Ride, 4-19-2013 from kevin gilmore on Vimeo.
Posted by Kevin at 8:29 PM
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Cabin Fever: a condition in which a person feels unhappy or bored because of spending too much time in the house, esp. in winter. Yup. I'd say that pretty much describes just about anybody you talk to who is still looking at snow on the ground with frigid temps, me included. I had to laugh earlier in the week when a friend wrote on her Facebook wall about her 3 year old daughter waking up and being enthused that it was snowing outside. Someday she too will succumb to the fever.
My daughter loves to dance. It's something she works hard at but it's also something that comes naturally to her. I never tire of watching her dance. A few years ago we thought that we'd enjoyed her last public performance after her spring recital when she left her dance studio behind for college and a change of cities. We were wrong and we couldn't be happier about it.
She's been part of UMR's Ballroom dance team since arriving in Rochester, co-captaining it for two of those years. She's also found a new studio to call home as she continues to explore Ballroom dance.
She was asked to be one of the premier dancers for this years Dancing for the Arts in the city of Rochester, pairing up with one of the city's more notable persons to compete against 9 other couples. She was excited to tell us of the request a few months ago hoping we could attend the event. Fortunately we both could. Rubbing shoulders with this crowd meant that we'd have to leave our jeans behind but that's ok. I survived.
I was so glad that Tammy could be there for this night because too often her work schedule gets in the way.
The entire show was entertaining and the dinner wasn't bad, either. We watched as her partner, Ed Hruska, a City Councilman and Executive Director of the Rochester Amateur Sports Commission led her around from table to table introducing her to many of those in attendance, schmoozing the crowd before the competition, hoping to get their votes and take home the top honors of the night.
They weren't due to dance until deep into the program. I got a text from her not long before they took the stage: "Woo! Gettin nervous!" I leaned over and showed Tammy. She assured me that she thrives in this environment. I knew that but I offered up a small prayer anyway. No doubt Tammy did too.
Camera recording? Check.
I can't appreciate her dance skills the way I'd like to while I'm videoing her because my focus is on the small viewing screen of my camera. Still, I snuck a couple of quick looks, enough to tell me that she was really working it out there. Her facial expressions, her body language, her confidence. I actually got a shiver up my spine early on as she took command of the stage knowing every eye was on her. I thought how fortunate and blessed I am to be a part of her life. Just so proud! I wouldn't trade it for the world!
We spoke with them afterward and Ed commented that he'd never before seen the look in her eyes that she displayed while she was onstage. He knew she meant business. I don't think we could've been more proud of her...and Ed did a nice job too.
On the drive home we talked about the poise she has and what a blessing she is in our lives and how excited we are for her as we watch her life unfold. I mentioned to Tammy how grateful I am to have been along for the ride and to be a part of both her and Rachel's lives but with just one regret...that being that we didn't find each other sooner.
Posted by Kevin at 7:20 PM
Sunday, April 7, 2013
Is it possible to have both a relaxing and a full weekend? I think I just did.
We got together with Karen Thursday afternoon to do some necessary legwork toward our sunporch/deck project. More about that here.
I've resumed my walking that I unexpectedly fell in love with last year. I need to ease back into these seemingly easy workouts though because they're leaving their mark on me with tender shins and some sore spots on the bottoms of my feet. 10.5 miles a couple times a week is a little much until I'm conditioned. I'll get there.
I made it out Friday afternoon for the Hampton loop. Yes, those were flakes of snow toward the end of the video (for those who watched) as the spring that just can't seem to get going continues to spin its wheels! It had been close to 18 months since I've last done this ride. It's really nice to be back on the road again. There are so many rides ahead of me that I look forward to, places I haven't been since late fall of 2011 because I was forced to sit out all of last year. It's sort of like visiting with old friends again when I'm out there.
In addition to Garmin and TrainingPeaks I've begun uploading my ride data from my Garmin to Strava. I still use Garmin because that's what I've used for the last 7 years. As I mentioned in my last post I'm using TrainingPeaks because it does a nice job of breaking down my power meter data. I'm playing around with Strava now because it's got a fun feature where it compares segments of my ride with identical segments of others who have ridden the same section. It then gives me my ranking against the others so I can try and improve on it next time I'm riding that segment.
Between the motivation my power meter is providing me and these timed sections out on the road I can see me riding myself into a form I haven't seen in several years. I'm looking forward to it. The key now will be in learning where these timed sections are located so I'll know when to put in my best effort. Fun stuff!
I stopped in at Greg Haupt's retirement party on Friday night at Carbone's in Lakeville. Greg retired with more than 27 years of government service. It was a nice turnout of people with quite a few retired controllers in the mix. I can't be sure but I think the retired controllers may well have outnumbered the active ones.
We've had 5 controllers retire in the last 10 days. I'll list them for those interested who aren't on Facebook and plugged in with the announcements there. In addition to Greg we also saw Julie Damico, Jeff Daly, Jeff Eggers and Ralph Fee retire. We'll see so many of us leave in the next couple years.
Jeff Eggers came by the area I work in to say goodbye to everyone Wednesday morning. I was in the sector and he tapped me on the shoulder and said "don't stay too long". He's right. I was speaking with another controller at Greg's party about this. Randy retired 10 months ago and he said that I'll know when the time is right. I'd like to think so.
I was finally able to take down most of our outdoor Christmas lights yesterday. There wasn't much I could do until the snow melted off the roof. This may be the latest into the year that they've been up. I got to wondering while taking them down if this may be the last time I do this? Tammy would rather not see me up on the roof any more than is necessary. Christmas lights aren't necessary I suppose.
We watched an excellent documentary last night called Searching for Sugar Man. It's about a guy who makes a couple of albums in the late '60s and early '70s but they never garner any notice here in the US. The artist trades making records for a life of manual labor rehabbing old buildings, all the while he's unaware that his music has found an enthusiastic and loyal following in South Africa.
Check it out, it's quite a story.
Posted by Kevin at 7:07 PM