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Showing posts from 2006

Scott and Judy, the Bodeans and Jerry

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I took advantage of 40 degree weather a couple days ago and took down the outside Christmas lights...we also put away all the indoor decorations and reclaimed our home. It's nice to get things back to normal. We met Scott and Judy at Hardrock Cafe in Minneapolis last night for dinner. It's been too long since we've gotten together and we had quite a bit of catching up to do. They're really happy and it's nice to see. Scott's last marriage wasn't a good one and he suffered through a lot...he could never please Barb. I remember when they first met at the Plaines bowling alley in Huron in '84. He was really happy and I think she was too. It didn't take long though before that all changed. It was during the breakup when she became pregnant with their child. Those were some difficult times but it's all worked out well for both of them...and Lindsay too. Scott's wife, Judy, is a real sweetheart. I haven't spent all that much time with her but

Merry Christmas and 9002 Covered...So Far

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I don't know where this post will go but I do have some things on my mind. Tammy, Rachel and I exchanged gifts with each other on Friday night as we had family coming in the next day and it would be the only chance we'd have to spend some time alone together if that makes sense. I could go into detail about what we got each other but that would be like forcing somebody to sit through a slide presentation of a family outing so I won't. We had Tammy's parents and sisters and their families over for dinner on Saturday evening. Tammy did a great job of putting it all together. I helped where I could without getting in the way. We also went to church that night as Hosanna had a service the evening before Christmas Eve. that worked well for me because I had to work last night and wouldn't be able to make it to church otherwise. It was a full weekend and everybody enjoyed themselves, what more could we ask for? My family on the other hand isn't so unified at the mo

Best Buy, An Update

I got a call from Best Buy last week stating that my laptop which they'd had for two months and couldn't fix was being junked out and that I would be receiving a new one. I am happy to say that I am now the proud owner of an HP Pavilion dv9035nr Entertainment Notebook PC. Thank you, BB but you've lost a solid customer. Hello, competition.

A Winter Wonderland, At Least It Is For Me

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I can’t remember a milder winter than what we’re experiencing in the Midwest this year. The temp was in the upper 40s today which is about 20 degrees warmer than normal. The winds were strong from the west but that warm air has to be driven here somehow. I worked the all-night shift, came home and got a few hours of sleep, walked the pups and headed out on my bike. This time of year I’m usually happy to be able to get 30 miles in before I can no longer feel my toes and have to call it quits. I didn’t ride outdoors in the winter until a couple years ago. I used to be fine on my indoor trainer in the basement but once I actually ventured out into the frigid air and found that it was easily doable my indoor trainer has been sitting idle, so much so that I’ve stored it away. I left home at noon and headed out not sure which route I’d take. A few minutes into my ride I decided I’d take a route which I’ve done half a dozen times this year and one I always enjoy for the variety it has to of

Best Buy...Sucks

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I've been without my laptop since October 12th when I took it in for servicing by the Geek Squad at Best Buy. Here's a copy of a letter I sent to their corporate office last week. Best Buy Corporate Customer Care P.O. Box 949 Minneapolis, MN 55440 To whoever may wish to help me, 11/27/2006 I brought my laptop in for servicing back in September to the Best Buy in Apple Valley, MN for a keyboard, touchpad, and CD ROM read/write which had gone bad. The problems were resolved within a few weeks and I had my laptop back. One week later the TV tuner on my laptop quit working. I reformatted the hard drive to see if I could resolve the problem myself as I did not want to be without my laptop for another extended period of time. I determined that the problem was hardware and not software and brought my laptop back for service on October 12th, 2006. The tech spent 30 minutes trying to fix the problem but agreed with me that it appeared to be hardware related and that they would

The Afters and 8000 miles

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It's been a busy week...aren't they all. We weren't crazy about the election results but neither were we surprised. Divided government really is the best approach when it results in people actually working together rather than one party having all the control and steamrolling their way through. I've always been a strong supporter of Bush but there are some things about him which trouble me. I watched as his appointee to head the FAA negotiation with our union (NATCA) didn't really negotiate with us at all. In the end, we were forced to accept a contract we never even had a chance to vote on. It's a long story but it showed me a side of this administration which isn't very pretty. In the end, there are other things more important to me than pay raises and such. I still voted a straight Republican ticket more-so as a protest to the pro-abortion candidates. We saw The Afters at Club 3 Degrees in Minneapolis last night. Rachel brought her friend, Katrina. We w

YouTube and Jars of Clay

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I decided to set up a YouTube account last week. I've got a bunch of videos uploaded to my website but they're WMA files and people with Macs can't open them. YouTube converts them to a format viewable to all. Click to go to my videos. We went to see Jars of Clay last Saturday night at Maranatha Hall at Northwestern College in St Paul. It was a very good concert and our seats were in the 2nd row, right next to a huge stack of speakers. Fortunately for us, we brought along earplugs. I'd listened to their new CD several times before the show so I'd be familiar with the songs but one in particular which hadn't really caught my attention was Light Gives Heat. Tammy had been asking me what I thought of the song but I couldn't remember it. I thought that Oh My God was the best song on the CD but now I think I'm giving the nod to Light Gives Heat. It's a very moving song. They closed out the show with it. Here's a link to the video I took. Please

No More Mids and Rachel's Latest Dance Recital

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It seems like forever that I've worked a schedule where my last shift of the week was an all-night shift. That's about to change. We're bidding our schedules for next year and I've opted for different days off and no more mid-shift. I think my body is liking this already. They've been changing work rules in the FAA and we're no longer allowed to read materials at the sector on the midnight shift. That's a very ridiculous thing to do as a person needs to have something to occupy their mind when traffic is slow and a lack of sleep begins to overwhelm you. Anyway, for the past several months my body has been telling me that it's time to give the all-night shift up. Several guys who have already done so told me that I'll be much happier to not be working it. Our mouse total stands at 8 kills and no more signs of the critters for several days. Tammy is sleeping better and so am I as we didn't need to bring in an exterminator. I had to take my lapt

Egads...We've Got Mice!

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Yeah, just like the title of this entry says—we've got mice. We caught 3 more last night and a couple during the past few days. This happens every fall. Tammy freaks a bit and threatens to call an exterminator while I try and calm her fears. We think they get in from some small opening in the garage but we're really not sure. So, this was my first week back at work since I was off for one month while on medication for headaches. I looked at my month off as sort of a practice retirement and I found that I will have no problem at all filling up my days with things to do. I'll be eligible to retire in another 5 months but I'd really like to get our house paid off and get Rachel through college before I pull the plug. The time-frame for all of that to happen is 7 years from now. Some of the guys I hired on with are already gone or will be leaving soon. Another approach some guys are taking is to retire and then find another job; something different to do. I figure I'd

It's Been Nice

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It's been a nice month off. I phoned work today to let them know that I'm no longer on Prednisone and that I'm experiencing no headaches. I just got a phone call from the front office to tell me that I've got my medical back and I can return to work. Actually, I'm ready to go back. It's been nice sleeping in every morning until the pups lick me awake but it will also be nice to get back to my routine. I do like my job and I'm very blessed to have it although there have been some recent changes at work which will take some getting used to. No more reading material on the midnight shifts to keep you awake when traffic is light. Business-casual dress even though we have no contact with the public. Salary capped for the foreseeable future. I'm still okay as I really can't complain. Sure, I'd like to see the steady raises we've enjoyed year after year continue but they pay me quite a bit to do what I do. As I'm typing this I got a call from my

It's Just Tissue

I wrote a letter to the editorial pages of the StarTribune a few months ago which was critical of our nation's approach to abortion. It didn't make the paper but it did get printed in the online edition where someone from Human Life Alliance found it and responded to me. Since then I've been receiving their mailings. I was looking through their latest newsletter and came across this... It's Just Tissue Consider the following facts: Simple tissue does not have a beating heart, brain waves, fingerprints, and unique DNA. A woman can carry a baby with a different gender or blood type from her own. After the moment of fertilization, nothing new is added to the baby except oxygen, nutrition and time. The only differences between a newborn and a preborn baby are size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency. All of these facts confirm the reality that you are a person worthy of protection from the moment of fertilization. I'm reading on a little

Returning to Normal

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My cluster headache cycle has pretty much run its course. I go through a headache cycle about once every 15 months and it used to be that they pretty much owned me. The last two cycles have been different, though, and I'm encouraged by my new approach to them—that being heavy doses of Prednisone. If you've ever had a Mr. Misty or an ice cream headache you have a good idea what a cluster headache is. It's a sharp pain behind one eye which causes you to cease functioning until the pain goes away. In the case of an ice cream headache that pain usually only lasts a few moments. In the case of a cluster headache, the pain can last for hours. These are worse than migraines. They're called cluster headaches because they come in clusters and then they're gone until the next cycle begins. It used to be that during a headache phase, I'd get one or two headaches a day. I pretty much just suffered through them without using any meds for years. Prednisone has been around for

Jars of Clay

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Tammy brought home the new Jars of Clay cd this week. There are some real gems on it. This song seems appropriate for me this past week. It's called Oh My God and is somewhat of a lament of a man's cry out to God in a fallen world. Don't quit too soon on the song as it's got a powerful ending. Here's the song... Oh My God Oh my God, look around this place Fingers reach around the bone You set the break and set the tone Flights of grace and future falls In present pain All fools say, "Oh my God" Oh my God, why are we so afraid? We make it worse when we don't bleed There is no cure for our disease Turn a phrase and rise again Or fake your death and only tell your closest friends Oh my God Oh my God, can I complain? You take away my firm belief And graft my soul upon your grief Weddings, boats and alibis All drift away and a mother cries Liars and fools, sons and failures Thieves will always say Lost and found, ailing wanderers H

Some Random Thoughts

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I was struggling with some fit issues on my bike earlier in the year and tried a bunch of different fixes but none of them were getting me the position I needed, or if they did it was at the expense of the handling of my bike. I worked with Scott Flanders at Flanders Brothers in Minneapolis and together we put together a new bike package for me. My new bike has a compact frame design (sloping top tube) which will more easily allow me to get the bars in a little higher position and remedy the fit problems I've been having with my other bike. We placed the order to Serotta in May and began the wait for the frame to be produced. Serotta has a demand for roughly 16 frames per day but is limited to a production capacity of 12. I got a call from Scott on August 8th telling me that my bike would be ready later in the day or the next. I was actually just a bit nervous about my new ride...worrying that all the money spent wouldn't solve my problems. Scott had assured me when we did th

They Say You Can't Go Back Home Again

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They say that you can’t go back home again; maybe not but I did. I was out on my bike yesterday and I found myself not far from the home I grew up in. I decided to go a little off my intended route and cycle through the old neighborhood—something I do maybe once every couple years. Anyway, yesterday was the first time I’ve ever seen anyone out in the yard and when I did I didn’t hesitate to stop and introduce myself. The owner’s name is Byron; I forget his last name. He was out edging the grass along the sidewalk and I biked up to him and told him I was one of the original residents of his home and that my dad had this house built 40 years ago. His face lit up and he put out his hand and we exchanged greetings. I looked around the yard and told him that my dad had put in the fence and I helped him a bit but I mostly remember just trying to walk along the top rail all along the perimeter of the yard. I told him how I'd loved it here. I mentioned the tree swing in the backyard and

Kevin, Is That You?

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I brought Rachel to Coles to have her hair cut and high lighted the other day. While we were sitting there waiting for her stylist I heard a woman's voice from across the way say, 'Kevin...is that you?' It was a neighbor lady (Luann Coburn) from my old neighborhood whom I hadn't seen in a dozen years or more. We chatted for a few minutes before Rachel was led away to have her hair done. That was a nice touch to my day. I left Coles to run over to BestBuy while I killed time waiting for Rachel. As I was parking my truck I looked over in the truck next to me and there was another familiar face I hadn't seen in over 10 years; a friend from high school: Gary Sink. I yelled over at him and we both got these big smiles on our faces. We stood in the near 100-degree heat in the parking lot and talked for 20 minutes catching up on the last decade. We said goodbye and I went into the store thinking, wow, two in one day—that's pretty odd . The next night Tammy and I went t

Father's Day, 2006

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In church each year on Father's Day, our pastor has all the dads stand up for a moment of recognition. It's become for me one of the prouder moments of my year and I always look forward to it. I stand up to say that I'm proud to be Rachel's dad...well...step-dad. I'm proud of the love she has for me and amazed at the unconditional love I've been given for her. When Tammy and I first began dating a little over seven years ago, I wasn't really looking to be a step-dad again. I'd done that once before and it was not easy. I love(d) David and Joe but we never achieved the bond that Rachel and I share. We celebrated Father's Day yesterday as I had to work today. I got up early and was on my bike by 8:00am headed 50 miles southwest to LeSueur. It was a hot day and I rode as well as I've ridden in a long time. I'd had my bike into Flanders the day before and had some adjustments made so that it's now back to its original setup. Here's my r

The Way We Were

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I got an email from my older brother a few weeks ago telling me that he'd found the super8 mm home movie tapes which he'd lost several years ago. They were small, 3-minute movies from the late '60s and early '70s; no sound, just movies of us mugging for the camera. He asked if I was interested in them and I told him I absolutely was. I got them in the mail a short while later and took them to National Camera Exchange to have them digitized. I got them back last week and have been adding some background to a few of the better ones. Some of the films are quite good and some are not so good. This first one  was taken in 1968 while my brother Bryan was home on leave from the Navy. Your typical home movie stuff where all us kids are mugging for the camera. I'm the overly energetic red-headed kid. The second video  I think is from 1971 and is taken in the basement of our home in Bloomington, Mn. The final video  is an eclectic mix of several of the film reels and h

Recital Weekend and a New Ride

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It was dance recital weekend for Rachel this past weekend. Tammy's folks came into town as they always do to watch her. Every year I think it will be the last year her father will make the trip but every year he surprises me and finds his way here. The recital was great. Rachel is so poised and beautiful on stage. She continues to grow as a dancer and her love for it is as stong as ever. This was the first year I took part in the Dads' Dance and now I'm left wondering why I took so long to get involved. There were 20 of us dads and we had a blast out there dancing to Puttin' on the Ritz. We had our top hats, tuxedo shirts, black pants and black canes. We actually put in several class sessions to get the moves down and I think everyone put in some time on their own, too.I know I did. I wasn't sure how I'd react to being on stage. I was somewhat worried that I'd freak and forget the moves but that didn't happen. I had a blast! The only time I messed up w

Spring Has Sprung

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I seem to have so many things to get done this spring, so many that some days I’m not sure where to begin. I’ve got some projects in the yard which have me a bit preoccupied. One of those projects I was able to get done this past weekend when I found someone to come and grind our stumps out which were left behind after we cut down our Aus trees last winter. I would’ve thought it would be easier to find somebody to do the job than it was. I found a guy in the Yellow pages less than a mile from home. He came out last weekend while I wasn’t home to size up the job and he was to give me a call back with a bid. He never called back. Tammy saw him out back looking at the stumps so I’m (sorry) stumped as to why he never called to at least give us an estimate. I called another guy on Wednesday and he said he’d be by the next day around mid morning to quote us a price. When he hadn’t shown up by late afternoon I called his number and he said he was planning on coming out on Monday instead…hmmm

Dad's Dance, Riding and Projects at Mom's

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I picked up Rachel at dance last week and her teacher poked her head in the truck window to tell me that they were looking for dads for the dad's dance and she needed a 'yes' from me. My default answer was that I had to work and wouldn't be able to attend the practices...whew...I really dodged a bullet with that one. I could tell that Rachel was really counting on me to get involved and over the course of the 20 minute drive home I'd pretty much changed my mind although I didn't tell her just yet. I got home and both Rachel and Tammy let me know that they were really really really hoping I'd do the dad's dance, "okay, I'll do it!" They were so happy—that alone was worth it I suppose. My first practice is tomorrow night. We'll find out then when the other practices are. There still is a chance that the practices may interfere with my schedule and I really won't be able to make it but I'm actually looking forward to it. This could

Contract Talks and Riding

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We've been in contract talks with the FAA management since last July and this past week the talks came to a halt and an impasse was declared. This isn't the end of the world but it does signal the end of status-quo. We've enjoyed several years of prosperity as air traffic controllers and now management is looking to get back some of our gains. Where it will hurt most is in our retirement pay as any pay raises we see for the next five years will be seen as bonuses paid out in lump sums and not to be used as part of our base pay for annuity purposes—boring stuff so I'll stop writing about it. I've been finding my form on my bike...I went out for a 70 mile ride yesterday. My Edge 305 has been good at helping me squeeze more out of my workouts. The poll numbers continue to fall for Bush. So let's see, continued negative reporting and nothing but hate-Bush-talk from the left. Hmm, I'm not surprised. Not to compare President Bush to Jesus but Jesus also suff

Garmin Edge 305

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Okay, I've been neglecting my blog...sorry. I got a Garmin GPS unit for my bike last week and I've been playing around with it. It's an Edge 305 and it's such a cool toy. I've got to be careful to keep my eyes on the road and not spend too much at looking at all the gee-whiz stuff it's showing. It's really something how it tracks my slightest movements. Check out this photo —the red line across the top is me returning home, heading from right to left. You can even see where I got into the left turn lane to make the left turn...pretty cool. Here's a Google Earth file of the ride I took on Saturday. You'll need to download Google Earth to be able to view it. Once the file opens you can press the play button toward the left and watch the ride unfold. I love this technology.