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Showing posts from June, 2008

Buzzed, Alpha, Riding and Calf Convulsions

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Rachel had some friends over the other night and turned our garage into a hair salon. Tanner is a good sport. He shaved his head in preparation for the mission trip to Guatemala that he and Rachel and some of the kids from their Hosanna group are taking. Tammy and I have been attending Alpha classes at Hosanna for the past ten weeks. Alpha is a course designed for people at all levels in their Christian faith as well as nonbelievers. It's something we've been wanting to do for a while but our schedules didn't allow for us to do it together until now. We were divided into small groups the first night and have remained with the same people throughout. I wasn't sure what to think of setting aside nearly three hours every Thursday night for ten weeks (through part of summer no less) but once it began, I soon realized that I was getting a lot out of it. I found that it became one of the highlights of my week. The course concluded tonight and we've decided that we&#

Reminiscing...part 3

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Continuing with a series of posts I started this past week. This is part 3 of 3. Part 1 and part 2 . When our family moved to Bloomington in 1966, I'm not sure that any of us thought we'd be there very long. My dad had a history of moving us between Minnesota and Michigan every year or two. I suppose it was all a part of climbing in his position as a financial manager with Control Data. In Kindergarten and 1st grade I was in the same school. I was in a different school each year from 2nd grade through 5th grade. I'm not sure my parents even fully unpacked between some of our moves. When we moved into our home on 102nd street there were no schools within walking distance but construction would begin on Hubert Olson Elementary/Jr. HS shortly after we arrived. Our little neighborhood was situated between Hubert Olson and the soon to be built Thomas Jefferson HS. Our days of moving from school to school were over even if we didn't yet know it. Stability is good. Cont

Reminiscing...part 2

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Continuing with a post I made a few days ago... I got back in my truck and headed in the direction of my old neighborhood about a mile away. I made a small detour and drove past where John Bodger used to live . How is it that I still remember his phone number after all these years? 831-6859. I parked in the culdesac behind our old house and in front of what used to be the Testin's home. I got out and walked around the culdesac snapping a few pics . There was a guy mowing his yard in what had been the Barbour's residence back in the day. I interrupted him and told him that my folks had built the house behind him in 1966 and would he mind if I stepped into his backyard to take a few photos. He was a man of few words; "go ahead". I was half hoping to engage him in conversation about the neighborhood and give him a perspective from forty years earlier but he had more pressing issues with a lawn that needed mowing. His lawn will need mowing again in a few days. It w

At an Intersection in My Life

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I was on a ride yesterday when I found myself waiting for the light at the intersection of France Avenue and Old Shakopee Road in Bloomington. I was only a mile away from where I grew up from 1966 to 1975. As I sat waiting for the light, I quickly surveyed the area and noticed that there was very little left from when these were my stomping grounds. I thought to myself that I should come back to take a slow walk around and do some reminiscing. I got up this morning and drove my truck back to the same intersection to have a closer look; my camera in hand. I pulled into McDonald's parking lot and went inside. I ordered my usual: Egg McMuffin, Cinnamon Melts, and a large decaf coffee. I recalled when this McDonald's first opened in the early '70s. Before then, the nearest McDonald's was off Nicollet and I-494. Maybe once a month a couple of us would go there and bring back dinner for our family of eight. I can still remember holding the warm bags of food on my lap fo

A Hat-tip to Tim, Father's Day and A Plea

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A friend from work, Tim, has a tutorial soldering video which is also doing remarkably well. Check out Headless Solder Guy. I had to work Father's Day but Tammy and I were able to get out Friday night for dinner at Outback. Rachel was going to come with us but a night spent with friends won out. Earlier in the evening, I was getting ready to take the pups for a walk when Tammy and Rachel cornered me and asked if I wanted one of my Father's Day gifts early? Tammy insisted that now would be a good time. They'd bought me a Sony radio with an AM/FM/TV/Weather tuner. I'm a gadget guy but the radio I'd been using on my walks was one I'd bought at least a dozen years ago and Tammy felt I needed something less clunky looking. She was right. In fact, just last week I'd been kicking around the idea of buying a new one but I hadn't mentioned it to her. Funny how that works. The other gift they gave me was a beautiful cross to replace the one I'd damaged l

Hey Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime?

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Our air conditioner hasn't been doing the best job of keeping up with demand. I first began to notice it last summer. By the time I got around to calling our service company, the temps had cooled too much to put a load on it for them to check it out. They made it out a couple of days ago and found that it was low 1.5 lbs of freon. The guy who came out topped it off but told me that we may want to give some consideration to having it replaced. The compressor was making more noise than it should. He said the average life span of an air conditioner is 15 years and ours is one year beyond that. Furnaces typically last 20 years. We could probably use a new one of those, too, he suggested as what we've got in our home is just standard builder-grade stuff. Nothing at all efficient—just enough to satisfy code requirements I'm guessing. He said the newer stuff is much cheaper to run and will pay for itself over time. I suppose these are the sort of things you want to replace while

A Quick Test and a Cyclist's Perspective

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Here's an interesting site hosted by Northwestern Mutual Financial Network where you can plug in some specific information and get an approximation for how long you may expect to live. I suppose if a person can avoid getting a terminal illness or having a fatal accident the number you come up with may be somewhat accurate. There are just too many variables along the way. Anyway, my estimate came in at 90 years old. Not only is Gordy Shields still riding at the age of 90 but he's breaking records, too. To be honest, I think he's alone in his age group. If my body holds up and I'm able, I hope to be riding well into my 70s. It's my belief that once you stop moving, age catches up with you. Maybe that's why it so often feels like I'm on the run...or ride. Speaking of riding, I rode back across the river yesterday on the bike path adjacent to 494 where it dumps me out by Mall of America. I'd done nearly the same ride two weeks ago on Memorial Day but

Knock Knock er Text Text, 1st Prom and a Beautiful Day

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Tammy got the green light to begin working from home this past week. There were a couple small glitches getting the computer and all her gear synced but it's working fine now. The den used to be primarily my domain but there's not much room for me in there anymore. The sign on the door pretty much says it all. Rachel and I will have to get used to keeping it quiet outside her office; not that we're all that noisy to begin with. Toby and Allie are another story once they get wound up and begin racing around the house. I covered it in an earlier blog but for those not aware, Tammy is working as a triage nurse over the phone helping direct people to the right care for their needs. I'd much rather see her do this sort of nursing as it's much easier on her body; there's no heavy lifting involved unlike what she's been used to. She'll miss working with the elderly though as she's always felt that has been her calling. Now she'll be helping them on th

Thoughts About My Father

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I came home from work and took the pups for a walk. The plan was to go for a ride after our walk but it began to lightly rain so I decided to work on my bike instead of riding it. Doing bike maintenance is therapeutic for me. Sort of the way I feel about working in the yard the first couple months of the season until it stops being enjoyable. Having a healthy way to unwind is important and for me, that typically means a ride. For my father, that meant hours spent tinkering out in the garage or down in the basement in a poorly lit space in the back of the utility room. When I was a kid my dad would come home from work and he and my mother would sit in the living room and discuss the day; mostly stuff about the office. She'd mix them a drink or two and for maybe an hour they'd sit and talk. I think for the most part my siblings and I were pretty good about not interrupting them. Mom would have dinner cooking or ready and when they were finished talking we'd sit down to eat.