Friday, October 31, 2003

Halloween 2003 and The Elms

We had a total of 62 trick-or-treaters tonight...not as many as usual. Some very cute costumes. Rachel went dressed in a Gothic costume and looked very much the part.

Tammy and I took Toby and Allie up to Jackie's to see their parents and Frannie before she goes to her new home next week. The pups had a great time playing nonstop for the 3 hours we were there. Jackie grilled steaks and fed us a fantastic meal...wow...I'm glad Tammy doesn't cook like that because I'd have a weight problem.

We went to Club 3 Degrees last night in downtown Minneapolis to see The Elms. What a show and what a nice Christian club. We made an exception and kept Rachel out later than we wanted. We thought it was worth it to let her see some older kids having a good time in that environment...no alcohol and no smoke. I can't get over how good the Elms are. That was the 2nd time we've seen them and we won't hesitate to go again.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Goodbye Ole and Lena :(

I said goodbye to Ole and lena today. I found a nice sturdy cardboard box which I cut air holes into and packed them away in. I sent them to Susan in Colorado Springs via 'next day air' with the USPS. I hope they enjoy their new home. I'd been keeping them in a 30 gallon aquarium so when they get a feel for their new 155 gallon tank it's going to allow them so much more room to roam.

Today was also a sad milestone for me as it was one year ago today that Snickers died. I know Toby and Allie are going to be great additions to our family but I'm not sure that I'll ever have the connection with them that I shared with Snicks.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Finding a New Home

I posted a message to a lizard newsgroup yesterday in hopes of finding a new home for Ole and Lena. It seems that I just don't have the time for them since Toby and Allie have arrived. Between Toby and Allie, the aquarium and Ole and Lena, I need some relief so a new home I must find for them...and it appears I may have. I got an email from a woman named, Susan, from Colorado and she would love to have them. She's got a 155 gallon aquarium all ready for them. That's a much larger tank than they're currently in so I feel very good about that.

I finally made it to church this morning after having been away for I think one month. It's nice to get back but it would've been nicer if Tammy was with me...she had to work. I love Hosanna! It's a church which is unlike any I've ever attended. It's a Lutheran church but not your ordinary Lutheran church. I believe the Holy Spirit is actually there among us. Hosanna has so many talented people who lead the service but I have just one complaint. The music is too loud. Tammy and I have been wearing earplugs for the past few months during the praise part of the service as it's uncomfortably loud sometimes. You really notice it when you come into church late and the music is full tilt.

Friday, October 24, 2003

From Dog Food to Puppies

So I'm sitting here watching Toby and Allie chase each other around the house and a thought occurs to me...Isn't is amazing that simple dog food in your hand becomes these little creatures, full of love and dickens?

These goofballs wrestle all day...they seldom let up. They'll crash for a bit but as soon as they awake they're back at it. Just when I think one of them is being picked on a bit too much I'll notice that the same pup is giving back as good as it gets. A lot of taunting going on. It's so funny to watch...especially when one of them assumes a crouching position and is attempting to sneak up on the other...in full view...and the other is watching the whole time and getting frustrated. Almost as if to say...attack me already!

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Me Again

I finished reading Lance Armstrong's latest book, Every Second Counts, the other night. Unlike his last book, this one got into some team tactics and previous race scenarios and his thoughts at the time. Interesting, to me anyway.

Speaking of riding, it's been over two weeks since I've been on my bike. I'm not bothered by it too much because we were out of town for a week and I've been sick so it's not like I've been a slacker. I'm so glad to have finally found some good form again. Ever since my accident over two years ago I've had a difficult time feeling comfortable on my bike. But I think I'm back now and maybe I'll always be a bit less carefree than I was before the accident but it's so good to know that I'm able to put in the miles like I used to.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Sigh

Don't ever take your health for granted. I found myself feeling guilty today because I was complaining about being ill with a cold, sore throat and no energy...then I got to thinking about those who have cancer or something similar which they may never recover from. It makes my temporary condition not worth complaining about in comparison.

I finished Lance Armstrong's latest book, Every Second Counts the other day. A very good book even though I may be a bit biased. His recovery from cancer is nothing short of miraculous but he doesn't acknowledge any real higher power for his victory. He talks about team tactics in this book, something he didn't do in his last book. The race discussions were very interesting, especially his thoughts on his latest tour victory.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Cough Cough

I feel like crap. The morning we left Orlando I noticed I was getting a sore throat. It's now become a full blown cold and I feel miserable. I took the day off work today and I doubt I'll make it in tomorrow either.

Toby and Allie are quite a pair. I videod them for 30 minutes today and they never let up once. Always trying to one up the other. If Toby has something, Allie has to have it and the other way around. Allie is quite a bit smaller than Toby but she holds her own.

What a hassle this time share has become. Westgate keeps putting me off and won't give me the address to send the cancellation to. Tammy and I found whatever addresses we could off the mortgage papers and sent the cancellation to each of them as well as a copy to the Florida Attorney General's office explaining our dilema. The woman who is handling our paper work at Westgate says she'll have the address for me for sure tomorrow. Why should that be so hard?

My head is pounding and I'm trying to numb it with a glass of wine...it's not helping.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Getting Adjusted

I came home tonight from work and Toby and Allie were running through the house like they hadn't a care. I think they've adjusted pretty well. We're a little concerned that they may rely on each other too much for companionship and may not bond as they otherwise would with us. I'm not sure what to think. They seem to be very affectionate with us but I also notice that they're very content to wrestle with one another. It's cute. If you give them each a chew toy or a ball they have to have what the other one has even though it's the same thing...not unlike regular kids.

In the middle stages of a head cold...popping Seudafed to try and keep everything moving so as to avoid a sinus infection. I think I'm calling in sick tomorrow.

I had to call the state of Florida this morning to get some direction on how to cancel the agreement we made for the timeshare. They told me we have ten days to cancel the contract in writing and all of our funds will be reimbursed. I don't think it's necessary to involve a lawyer. We'll send a couple certified letters tomorrow to the offices of Westgate to cancel the contract.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

Welcome Toby and Allie!

We brought Toby and Allie home from Jackie's yesterday. They are such a fun and exciting addition to our family. I looked back at Rachel while we were driving home and it gave me such a nice, warm feeling to see her holding Allie in the back seat. Tammy is also very in love with these little guys and I know she'll be a good mom to them.

We had to stop at Petco on the way home for a few things. We brought Toby and Allie in with us and we felt like proud parents showing off our new pups for anyone who wanted to see them.

Theresa came over and we watched Survivor together...I'd taped last Thursday's episode while we were away. Toby sat in my lap with a rawhide chew stick and he reminded me so much of Snickers and how she'd love to sit on the floor next to me when I'd watch tv or read while she chewed on a bone. I commented to Tammy about it and she said that nobody would ever take the place of Snickers. She's right.

I woke up at 6:00am and went down to see how they were doing. They met me in their kennel...both sitting up with their tails wagging. I brought them outside and we came back in. I wanted to go back to bed but they really wanted to play so we did. They had me cracking up with their antics. I later brought them upstairs and put them in their basket in our bedroom. To my surprise, Tammy took them out of the basket and brought them into the bed with us. Toby saw his reflection in the headboard mirror and would duck his head down so he couldn't see it only to sit up again to see the other dog in the mirror. He did this a few times and then started barking at the new guy who looked much like him. What a nut.

Heading home from work in a few minutes and I'm looking forward to seeing how they're adjusting.

Good To Be Home

We got back from Orlando yesterday morning. I'm so tired and drained that I'm actually very glad to be home. I saw a sign at one of the theme parks which said 'I need a vacation from my vacation'...I agree.

We arrived in Orlando on Saturday the 11th and hit one of the parks as soon as we were checked in. I've done five marathons in my life but I don't ever recall my feet being as sore as they were after a couple days of walking the pavement throughout the parks. I actually didn't mind walking so much but it was the waiting in line which got very tiring.

Of all the places we went I'd say my favorite were Animal Kingdom and Epcot. They're both so amazing. I look around them and I'm in such awe that people have combined their efforts to create them.

We stayed at the Westgate timeshare villas in Orlando and did the 90 minute tour. I went in their having no desire to purchase a timeshare but we left as new owners. I'm now in the process of canceling the contract after getting home and looking online at what other people have to say about Westgate as well as timeshares in general. They're really not much more than a scam for the unsuspecting. I know several people at work who own them and seem to be happy owners; it's just not for me. I'm sure they'll try and drag their feet as I proceed to cancel the agreement so I'll need to be deliberate in getting it done. I think a registered letter to their main offices tomorrow expressing my request is necessary. Maybe even a lawyer so it gets done right and I'm not left stuck with the contract.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Lots To Do

I've got so much to do tomorrow. Today was too busy after coming off an all nighter at work. I'm really looking forward to some time off. I was hoping to get a ride in tomorrow but I should probably run instead. I can get my workout done in an hour that way instead of two or three hours on my bike.

Speaking of my bike...I'm really happy with how I've found my desire to ride again. After my accident two years ago I've had a difficult time getting back into the groove I'd been in. I just never seemed to be comfortable with being out on the road for fear that something bad would happen again. Then I'd get depressed because I wasn't finding my form and that would cause me to not ride as much. Kind of a downward spiral. But since late August, I've been putting in some very good miles with 6 rides of over 100 miles and two of those in excess of 150 miles. It feels so nice to know that I can still put out a good effort at 46 years old.

I'd like to do an all day trip one day next summer if I can get a favorable wind and ride the 260 miles to Babbitt, Minnesota in one shot. I know I can make Virginia easily but it will take everything I've got to make Babbitt before the sun goes down. Hey, I've got to have a goal and this is it.

I went out tonight and picked up some dog food and a water bottle for Toby and Allie at Petco. We'll be bringing them home on the 18th and I want to be ready for them. We all turn to smiles here whenever anyone mentions them. They're so cute.

Good night.

Thursday, October 9, 2003

A Conservative's View

db was on a rant tonight on the board about how conservatives were taking this country over the edge of a large abyss. A couple others chimed in and of course agreed with him. Conservatives are evil, bad, uncaring people don't you know. This was my response...

Are your party’s motives (providing you support one) any better? I think Bush is showing that he wants to preserve our freedoms from those who would love to threaten them. We’ve seen what 8 years of a do nothing president brought us with respect to those freedoms.

I know it’s not nice to keep bringing up Clinton here but you’re forcing me to make comparisons and so I will. Tell me something Clinton did to uphold the constitution? Is preserving the right for partial birth abortions your idea of upholding the constitution? Are those the freedoms you’re worried about losing? Please tell me how your life has changed in the wake of the Patriot Act. What is it you could do before which you no longer can?

For that matter, tell me anything the previous administration did which you’re proud of. Don’t tell me he created a vibrant economy because there isn’t any basis for that claim. He inherited it from Bush1 and left Bush2 with just the opposite. Frankly, I’d rather have a president with the will to go against public sentiment at the risk of being voted out of office, a president who isn’t afraid to make tough choices rather than one who needs to rely on focus group polling before deciding where to vacation.

You come across as one who feels Republicans are to blame for all the world’s ills. Is that really the way you see it? Sure, there are some greedy, money grubbing conservatives out there who would sell their mother for a nickel just as there are liberals with the same love for money. Warren Buffet is one of the wealthiest men in America, let alone the world but he’s a Democrat. Am I to assume that he’s a bad guy because he’s made money off the hard work of others? I don’t assume that about Mr. Buffet and neither should you about other hard working, business owning, people employing Americans who may be of a conservative tilt.

Why does it have to be that if you’re for big business you can’t also be for the little guy? I want the little guy to do well…it’s what makes this whole American dream fly. The problem is that we all want whatever it is we’re after for the cheapest rock bottom price we can get it for. That’s fine but we have to realize that the cheap goods we enjoy come at a price to the person who works to sell them to us or to the person working to produce them. Take away a climate which helps to create jobs and you’ve got an even worse situation where the little guy can’t find work let alone buy things from the evil business man. Who benefits then? Certainly not the conservative entrepreneur who’s risking his capitol to try and make a living. I think we can all agree that nobody is out to keep the little guy down.

I’ve been an Air Traffic Controller since the PATCO strike in the early ‘80s. Reagan had the nerve to fire the controllers when they went on strike. As a controller we’re forbidden from striking. We take an oath that we will never strike when we take the job. The controllers' union felt they had the nation by the balls but Reagan didn’t back down. Firing the strikers was the right thing to. It took us years to rebuild the system at a huge expense. Fast forward to 1998. Clinton gives the okay to rehire the fired controllers even though some are in their late 60s and early 70s. We need new blood desperately in this field yet we’re wasting our resources training rehired controllers, many of which have no chance of recertifying simply because the traffic is much heavier than it used to be and they can’t keep up. Clinton already had the union vote so it’s beyond me why he allowed them back. Not only is it a waste of resources to try and retrain them but in most cases the rehired controllers simply put in the minimum amount of time required for them to secure a government pension and then they’re gone. Good for America? I don’t think so. There’s more troubling aspects to this whole story but I won’t bother with them here.

I understand this isn’t foreign policy or macro economics I’m talking about but it’s a small example of a larger problem; a problem which neither side can claim to be above. It’s politics.

Why are we in Iraq? I wish I could honestly say all our motives are good and right but I can’t with 100% certainty say they are. We’ve all seen in the past how our good intentions have left us with egg on our faces. I said early on in a post to this board that I absolutely believe it all comes down to oil. We had an unstable dictator sitting on top of the earth's second largest oil deposit and like it or not, oil is the life blood of this world. His rape, torture and slaughter of his people made it that much easier for us to remove him. I’m not sorry about that.

I get the feeling from your post that whatever side it is you’re invested in you feel they’re taking the higher ground. Bush may be rocking the boat in an effort to make America a safer place to live (yea, I really do believe that) but If not rocking the boat while it’s sinking is a better approach then please toss me a life vest because we’re going down either way.

Neither of us are evil, uncaring people, David. I hope for a better world for my daughter than the one we currently live in. I know we can do better. There are always two sides to every story and each of our sides is never without its shortcomings. I hope this helps.

Kevin g

Tuesday, October 7, 2003

Whew

Today's ride was my last long one of the year at 152.5 miles. I rode hwy 169 to hwy 19 to Gaylord. I got in just as it turned dark. I'm pretty tired but I feel good.

A lot of politics being discussed on the db message board I posted a few articles about media bias and was met with the usual denials. I agree that the tide has turned as far as there being conservative voices out there now where there once was only Rush and before him, nobody. But...the big three networks all still lean left and they have a huge influence on the average person who naively believes there's no bias. Check out ratherbiased for an interesting site devoted to Dan Rather and his bias.

Back to work tomorrow. I've been an Air Traffic Controller for the FAA for nearly 22 years. I can't imagine anything else I'd rather be doing for the money they pay me. I suppose I wouldn't mind making my living working with stained glass but that's not going to pay the bills. Tammy and I hope to dabble with our own stained glass business when we retire in ten years.

Monday, October 6, 2003

I'm Journaling

Very cool. I kept a journal for 3 years while I was in the Navy in the late '70s so this will bring back some memories for me. My name is Kevin and I'm 46 years young. I live in Lakeville, Minnesota. I've been married to Tammy for just over 4 years and I also have a daughter, well, actually she's my stepdaughter, Rachel. I don't really think of her as a stepdaughter though because to me she's my daughter. You can see her here.

Her dad is involved in her life and we're very happy for that. I was married previously for 15 years but that marriage ended in 1998. I met Tammy online in the Spring of '99 and we were married a little over 4 months later on July 30th, 1999. At the time I'm sure there were people who thought we were nuts for getting married so soon but I have to tell you, when you're in your 40s you have a much better idea of who you're looking for. Tammy and I knew very early on that we could stop looking.

Did you check out our website yet?