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Showing posts from 2012

Coming off Coumadin and Ants...Lotsa Ants!

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We said goodbye to another retiring controller today. Bill Szydlo is off to greener, more serene pastures. Congratulations, Bill! Reference my post from yesterday about Mike. There's an update I added tonight at the end of that entry. From early on, 2012 has been one that has taken me off my intended path and forced me to adapt, but more than anything, it's also caused me to at times ponder more seriously my own mortality. Up until January 20th of this year I seldom ever gave much thought to that but now I find myself distracted or haunted by those sorts of thoughts more often than I care to admit. Had my experience with bilateral pulmonary embolus been a one-off ordeal, that would've been entirely different and I'd have moved on. But I don't know that it was. Chances are good that I'll never suffer an episode like that again but chances were much more in my favor before it ever happened that I'd never go through that experience but I still did so I fin

A Friend of Ours

I made my way through the Bible once again this past year, both Old and New Testaments. This marks my 7th journey through both books but rather than feeling like I have a better understanding of all I've read, I feel just the opposite, especially concerning the Old Testament. I'm not sure I'll go back there anytime soon. I think in the future, I'll explore books that delve into explanations of what I'm struggling with, some of which I've written about over the last several months. My faith is still intact although I'm feeling more confused than ever. I suppose the easiest way to say it is that I've become someone who has more questions than answers and those questions leave me bewildered. Also troubling to me is the way we Christians pick and choose those parts of the Bible we want to strictly follow while ignoring other even more meaningful scripture such as how Jesus calls us to help our fellow man or how he taught passivity while abhorring aggressio

Merry Christmas!

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I drove down to Rochester yesterday morning to bring Rachel back for Christmas. Our time is going to be so limited with her though as she leaves for her dad's home tomorrow. She'll spend a couple days there before making her way back to Rochester and her job at the assisted living center. We got to chat on our drive back and that's always so nice. She brought up the Newtown school shootings and asked me what I thought about it all. So much has already been said and I don't want to get into that here except to say that we're drowning in guns here in the US and I'm afraid it may be too late to stem the tide of senseless killings. The gun guys have won and easy access to firearms is there for just about anyone. And now we're all stuck with the constant drip, drip, drip of senseless deaths day after day. Get used to it. Sad. Anyway, Rachel mentioned how she'd read something Morgan Freeman had written on Facebook about the Newtown school massacre which r

Skipping Christmas and a Mini High-School Reunion

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I hate being sick. I've spent the last 6 days pretty much out of commission as I try to recover from a head-cold and assorted body aches. Whatever this bug is that I've picked up, it's left me with little energy to do much at all. After four days of being housebound, I convinced Tammy to go out with me Thursday night and walk around Mall of America. Yes, we made it back for one last time this year after commenting on my last post that we wouldn't. It was so nice to be doing something other than nothing. I thought I was doing better when I got up Saturday morning but a workout on my CompuTrainer told me otherwise. I wanted to pack it in after an hour but I finished. I'm not sure why. In my time on the couch, I've played too many games of Ruzzle . My ranking is steadily climbing as I'm getting better by challenging random players from around the globe. It was the simple distraction I needed this week. We had to cancel our bench time at Foci. I didn't w

A Busy Few Days

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This weekend flew by so ridiculously fast. It wasn't until I got to work around noon on Sunday that I was able to slow things down a little. We're in the midst of our first big snowstorm this winter. We made plans to meet up with friends last Thursday night to spend a few hours together in Northfield (25 miles south) to take in the sights of Winter Walk. It's an annual event that the city's Chamber of Commerce puts on to draw visitors and attention to the many shops that make up the downtown area. We weren't meeting up with our friends until after 5:00 so we got there at 3:00 to give us a chance to bum around a little together. It was a nice time . We got up early the next morning for 3 hours of glassblowing at Foci. Steve was there and I commented to him that I'm feeling a little stuck in my progression, that I should be further along. He assured me that it's something all glassblowers go through and to not worry too much about it. It was good to hear h

The View From My Basement

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I'm doing some serious vacillating about my decision to retire on January 2nd, 2014, precisely 393 days away. The more I ponder what to do the more I'm finding myself inclined to not put a firm date on it and just take it a month at a time. It's a nice position to be in and regardless of what we decide, the day will come and go all too fast. Keeping everything in perspective is important at this time while not becoming too seduced by the idea of an easy life. My ducks aren't quite as lined up as I'd like them to be. Close, just not quite there yet for the long haul—but soon. Tammy and I spent most of Thursday at Foci. After our 12:00 to 3:00 slot time on the bench, we went out for dinner at Cossetta's in St Paul before returning to Foci for a sandblasting class a few hours later. Glassblowing artists will often sandblast designs into their pieces or simply sandblast the entire piece to give it a look other than that of shiny glass. Craig sat with ten of us and

Thanksgiving, 2012 Style

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What a difference a day or two can make weather-wise here in Minnesota. I took off from work early Wednesday to take advantage of some unseasonably warm temps to go walking. The weather was so nice that I was able to get by in shorts and two T-shirts. It's likely the last time the sun will see the skin of my legs until next spring. I did my west loop  (14 miles) through Murphy Hanrahan and enjoyed every bit of it, listening to tunes and feeling the sun on my face. It was so nice. A cold-front came rushing in Thanksgiving day trailing winter behind it. Tammy and I finally made it out to see Keith and Tracee's new home. They invited us over (or maybe we invited ourselves over) for Thanksgiving. They made their move nearly two months ago but we've been slow in making a point of going to see it because I wanted to have some blown glass done for them as a housewarming gift. We were so impressed with their home. It's going to take some time to do all of the changes the

From Scrooge to Griswold in an Afternoon

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Tammy has been busy for at least the last month sewing hats and mittens that she'll give away to some of the children she works with on Tuesday nights at Hosanna. For the past 7 or 8 years, she's been volunteering there every other Tuesday painting nails of mostly young children but occasionally adults as well. She's doing such a nice job with these and putting in a lot of hours on them, I had to make mention of it here. I know she'd rather I didn't say anything but it's me tooting her horn, not her. The hats are really cute and the photo to the left is just a small sample of what she's done. I told her that I think Rachel would love a pair of the mittens she's made for Christmas. I've mentioned before in my writings how selfless Tammy is, always giving of her time to others while expecting nothing in return. Not even a thank you. I admire her so much. I know she won't be one to sit back and put her feet up when she finally steps into retireme

Water Worries

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Some thoughts for me to look back on years from now. Barack Obama was just re-elected to a 2nd term as President last Tuesday. I can't recall a president that I've ever identified with as much as I do him. I simply agree with so much of what he stands for, especially his sense of fairness. I get that many will cringe at what I just wrote but then I cringe at the thought of where I think many of you get the information you use to reach your conclusions about him. Yeah, I was very relieved to see Obama prevail last Tuesday night, rising above the constant drumbeat of negative comments about him that's been nonstop from right-wing radio and TV over the last four years. I went to bed at 10:30 just after he was declared the winner, intent on getting to sleep as soon as I could for a 4:00 AM start the next day. I laid there thinking about the election, wondering how Fox News and right-wing radio would handle the defeat. Smiling. I tossed and turned, occasionally reaching for

Leaving Home and Celebrating 84 Years

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Following up on my previous post. I exchanged a couple more emails with Bill Bohline (lead pastor at Hosanna) about Hosanna's stance toward same-sex marriage. The tone in each of his replies became progressively dismissive. Realizing that emails were a poor vehicle for voicing my concerns I emailed him asking if I could have 30 minutes of his time to discuss the matter. What I wanted was to sit down with him and together watch Greg Boyd's video. My email to him: Pastor Bill, I would like 30 minutes of your time, please. I'm available Tuesday after 2:00 or anytime Friday. Thank you, Kevin Gilmore His response to me: Kevin, you have had more than 30 minutes of my time in this last week. And that was that. Not even a "sincerely, Pastor Bill" ...just his curt response. I was left with the overriding feeling that he has little time for anybody who dares to challenge him and I sensed absolutely none of Christ's love in his words in either his last e

Losing My Religion, part 2

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This is a continuation of a blog post I made yesterday. Tammy came downstairs yesterday morning and out of nowhere, she asked me what I thought about attending a church that openly welcomes gays and lesbians. We must've been doing a mind-meld because I'd just finished reading a blog post from a pastor whose point of view I admire very much. He was discussing this very thing—openly accepting members of the GLBT community among their congregation. It would be such a departure from the disappointment I'm feeling concerning Hosanna's approach to this issue; an approach that looks at the issue through a funhouse mirror lens where a disproportionate amount of emphasis is placed on certain scripture/sins over others in a way that makes no sense to me. Philip is one of Rachel's roommates in Rochester. He's gay and he's working diligently to reach people in the city who will soon be casting a yes or no vote on the Marriage Amendment. He grew up in a Catholic fam

Losing My Religion, part 1

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The first church I was a member of as an adult was Family of Christ in Lakeville. We started out as not much more than a dozen families meeting at what is now Kenwood Trail Middle School off highway 50. That would've been in the spring of 1988. The church grew over the next few years and we eventually built on a piece of land in an undeveloped area south of 185th street just east of the freeway where it remains today. As part of any new church, there were formalities we needed to follow in the organizational process and one of those formalities was in officially calling our pastor to the position of Pastor of Family of Christ. Dell had been serving in that capacity for around four years so I assumed this was a no-brainer of a decision. But it wasn't. To my surprise, one woman stood up and voiced dissension with the nomination. I couldn't believe it. What was Kathleen thinking? I was totally oblivious to what had been happening there behind the scenes. It would take a co

Makeovers and a Twist

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Rachel is beginning to worry me. I'm not sure this college thing is such a good idea. About a year ago a friend at work had a new procedure done on his knees in an attempt to restore lost cartilage. The procedure involves harvesting stem cells from your bone marrow and injecting them at the site of the injury. Stem cells have the unique ability to become the cells needed to repair an injury. The science is still new and will undoubtedly improve in time but even now it appears to be beneficial. Barry was treated by the people at Regenexx and says that one of his knees feels 100% while the other is improved but without as good a result. One other guy at work also had one of his knees treated recently. Jeff used to run ultra-marathons and hoped to begin training for them again but his procedure didn't yield the results he'd hoped for. There are no guarantees but the procedure has piqued my interest and I'm considering having it done. For the longest time, my knees hav

One Man's Great Leap and Another Man's Great Fall

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I'm sitting here in awe after having just watched Felix Baumgartner make his leap from 128,000 feet then free-fall at speeds exceeding the speed of sound (at one point 833.9 mph) back to earth. Just wow!  What incredible bravery! Tammy and I watched it together, both spellbound as he stepped out onto the capsule's platform just before his leap. Video His jump is easily one of the most incredible things I've ever seen! But what is equally as impressive if not more so was the jump of Joe Kittinger from 102,000 feet in 1960 considering the technology of the day. I didn't realize while watching the coverage that he was the guy in communication with Felix, going through the checklist with him as he prepared to jump. I had to laugh just a little because while they got all of the highly technical stuff down just right, they really struggled to accurately get Felix the current surface winds for his touchdown. Clearly, one of the more no-brainer things on their to-do list

No, I Don't Need to Pee

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It's been a busy weekend. I went into overdrive on the stained-glass panel project we're making for Paul and Kate. They'll be returning to town this week from their new home in Montana for a visit and I wanted to have it completed for them to take home. I'm happy to say that it's done and securely packed away. I found myself really enjoying being down in the shop working on it even though it was often beautiful outside. That's always been the sole reason for me only ever doing stained glass in the winter—it just can't compete with a beautiful fall or summer day. But I'm happy to have made this exception and envision I'll not be so averse to doing it again in the future, especially once I'm retired and every day is Saturday. 451 days to go. I've been contemplating what I'd like to do for my next stained glass project and I'm kicking around ideas for some sort of landscape scene—one done on a very small scale with lots of tiny piec

That's the Pros for You

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I walked out in the yard this morning when I let the dogs out and noticed that fall had arrived overnight. Several of our trees have begun to shed their leaves in earnest. And so it begins, The Battle of the Leaves, 2012. Rachel is probably busier now than she's ever been in her life. I texted her Saturday morning around 9:30 and was surprised to get a response. She was up early studying. In addition to college, she's taken on a part-time job working as a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) with a local retirement facility in the city of Rochester. She'll be working three six-hour shifts per week (a .6 in medical jargon). She was trying to get some studying done before her shift later in the day. Once again this year finds her filling roles as co-captain of UMR's Ballroom Dance team; student ambassador; student liaison representative for UMR (where she sits in on staff meetings among other duties) as well as serving as one of the coordinators for STLF (Students Today

Adding to My List

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I came home from work last week to find our newly ordered glassblowing pipes waiting by our front door. Exciting! We were able to try them out Thursday afternoon and I can happily say that we both really like them. These feel so nice in our hands as they're not quite as heavy as what we're used to using with Foci's shop-pipes. We ordered two but I think ideally we'd like to have three to be able to keep the rotation of pipes going smoothly between us while we're working. This will suffice for now though. I can't wait to get back in the studio and use them later this week. Foci has a new 800 pound crucible furnace that recently went online. It's being referred to as a new heart for the studio because that's exactly what it is. There hasn't been a steady supply of molten glass to draw from for the past several months because of some breakdowns between the studio's two main furnaces but with this new addition, that should no longer be a problem.