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Showing posts from 2016

Christmas Week, 2016

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I'm sitting by the fire on a rainy Christmas Day afternoon with Toby and Charlie to keep me company. Tammy and Cindy are visiting their mom at Trinity Care Center in Farmington. We're so pleased with the level of care she's receiving there. I remember how we were hesitant to have her placed in a nursing home environment but it's turned out to be an excellent decision. We had a nice Christmas Eve service last night at Family of Christ—our new church home. We like everything about FoC but we especially like its down-to-earth feel. It's not the megachurch we're accustomed to and that's a good thing. As an aside—we attended a Hymn Tap sing-along last Monday night at The Dubliner Pub in St Paul where some of the local faithful gathers once each month to sing hymns of praise and enjoy a drink or two with dinner. We even bumped into the pastor from FoC and chatted for a while. Like I said—down-to-earth. Rachel left for her dad's a few hours ago but not bef

InFIT Sim and It's Been a Good Run

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I loaded my clubs into the back of my Subaru Forester Tuesday afternoon for a round of golf at Pebble Beach—one of the more distinguished courses in the country (except I really didn't know I'd be playing Pebble Beach). I had an hour of golf simulator time scheduled at InFIT in Albertville, about a 50 minute drive northwest of Lakeville. InFIT was looking for people willing to play a round of golf on their simulator in exchange for writing an online review to help get the word out about their facility. I was only too happy to help. Here's my review: This was my first time playing on a golf simulator with the exception of when I was fitted for my clubs last spring. Colton spent 15 minutes with me to make certain I knew how to get the most out of the simulator experience — how to aim my shot, read the green and understand the graphics on the HD display as well as some basic computer inputs to the software. He then left me on my own to enjoy a round of golf in a comfort

Missing My Little Girl and Winter Arrives

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I'm missing my little girl. Our home doesn't seem the same since she left. I went to let Toby and Charlie out the morning after she died and I found myself waiting for Allie to bring up the rear the way she always would as the pups filed out the front door. It took me just a moment to realize she was no longer with us. There have been many more similarly small instances of our changed routine that remind me she's gone and each one leaves me with a wave of sadness that washes over me and settles in my heart. This all happened so quickly. I just didn't imagine her leaving us so soon. I'm reminded of the way she was always content to be the last in line to get her treat of a dog biscuit or baby carrot. She would take it and scamper off to the front room where she would eat it in peace, away from Charlie's attempts to steal it from her. I'd sometimes go out of my way to give her her treat first and make the boys wait. Or the way she would lay in front of their

Goodbye Sweet Girl

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This is a very sad post for me to write and one I feared I was going to be making sooner than I wanted. Allie died this morning at 8:58. Tammy and I are grieving her loss with lots of tears interrupted by memories of her as we recall those special things about her that made her who she was. She was a fierce protector of us and our home and she was as loyal as a dog could be. She never had pups of her own but we always felt she would've been the best mom—always nurturing and so quick to see what was the matter if ever she sensed distress. And she loved to lick! We've been tempted more than once to buy one of those signs that say "Our dogs can't hold their licker"—mostly because of Allie. I had hoped that the health issues she'd been experiencing lately were going to be something she could overcome but sadly, they weren't. She continued to have very little appetite and was becoming noticeably unsteady when standing. In the middle of the night last nigh

Allie, Christmas Decor, Protests and a Virtual Stroll

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We had a bit of a scare with Allie last week. She wasn't eating and she was restless at night and whimpering a little. We've also noticed that she's been losing weight. I took her in to the vet and found that her weight is down from 12.1 lbs in August to 11.2 lbs. That's no small amount for a pup he size. The doctor noticed a slight heart murmur which she said is not at all uncommon for a dog her age. More importantly, though, she felt around and determined she had a backed up digestive tract. She suggested fish oil caplets or something similar added daily to her diet to aid in moving things along. It seems to be working. At 13 years old we were both worried that something more serious was the matter. She's still not quite her normal self but we're hopeful that she'll continue to improve. I've been leaving Allie at home when I take Toby and Charlie out walking. Toby loves these cooler temps in the 30s and 40s. He wants to run between all of their sto

What Ifs

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I was recently contemplating the twists and turns of my life and the what if questions that accompany those sorts of thoughts. Of all of the 'what ifs' I contemplated, probably none seemed more inconsequential to me as the time when my dad turned down my request for a 10-speed bike. But in reality, it was likely anything but inconsequential. I was 14 and still a couple years away from getting my driver's license. A few years earlier my dad had found an abandoned gold-colored Schwinn 10-speed bike in the field of what is now Hubert Olson Jr High. He brought it home and spent an entire Saturday fixing it up and making it ridable -- I was maybe 10 or 11. I remember being out in the garage watching him work on it, figuring it was for him to ride. When he completed the job he called me out into the garage to have a look. Before I could comment he turned to me and said: "it's yours." I didn't know what to say. Sure, he'd given it new life, the bes

A Follow-up, a Small Goal Achieved and Counting Steps

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I received a response a few days ago from the police officer who did the follow-up on the close call I had with an aggressive driver two weeks ago. He wrote: "We do take reports like yours seriously. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a little while for a follow up. I was able to contact the driver tonight and had a lengthy conversation with the person. Hopefully that was the last time that driver has done it. Seemed to be understanding. And I stressed the fact that while I cannot give a citation for this incident, it has been documented and will be on the driver’s record. Please let us know if anything else happens on the road. Thank you, Vadim Romanets" That's really all I was hoping for—that he'd have a talk with the driver and put a note in his file so if something like this happens again it may result in more serious consequences. I got some pretty cool fat-bike decals in the mail for the back of my car . You should get some too. Here's a link t

A Silver Lining Where I Least Expected It

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I've wrapped all of my yardwork for the year and I have my mowers washed and put away. I even took some time to sharpen their blades so I'm good to go in the spring. It's nice to have it all done. Normally about this time each year, I'd spend nearly an entire day stringing Christmas lights, but not anymore. I started the tradition 17 years ago in my first Christmas together with Tammy and Rachel. I got a lot of enjoyment from it but Tammy has the final say and she would prefer I no longer put myself at risk up on a ladder for such a frivolous thing. It's been a good run but she's right. I suppose I could string some lights where using a ladder isn't necessary but I'm an all or nothing sort of guy when it comes to this. We're still enjoying some beautifully mild weather and I'm making the most of it—so much so that I haven't bothered to schedule any time for us to blow glass at Foci. It's just too nice out. The days are getting so shor

A Guy Can Dream

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My little-blog-that-could turned 13 last month and this entry marks my 800th post. I'm not sure what I envisioned when I embarked on this all those many years ago but it's been an enjoyable investment of time and I hope to keep tapping out entries for many years to come. I'll be honest—Tammy and I were saddened, ashamed, shocked and embarrassed by Trump's election to lead our country. Even when I was an ardent conservative a little more than 10 years ago I can't imagine I would've supported someone of his temperament and repugnant behavior and his total lack of preparedness for the job. I'm actually not surprised by the election results when you consider the amount of over-the-top hatred directed at Hillary Clinton by a republican smear machine that had been relentlessly pursuing her for decades. The party of God sure knows how to hate. That's one of the takeaways for me from all of this. They had abundant forgiveness for Trump and his endless list

A Final Goodbye and an Aggressive Driver Encounter

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How about those Cubs!? I'm not a baseball fan but I did manage to catch some of the play in the World Series. As my friend, Steve says: "you get to watch the best of the best". I can't imagine more excitement in a baseball game than what game 7 offered. Fun stuff! We're sitting on the edge of our seats here in the US (and likely some other places as well) as we anxiously await tomorrow's voting results between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in addition to many other races. There's lots at stake for everyone and we've pretty much all settled into our camps to ride it out. The hatred being directed toward Hillary Clinton is unlike anything I've ever witnessed and it's concerning to watch. A relentless and all-out orchestrated effort by republicans to destroy Clinton along with the most unpresidential and divisive candidate in Donald Trump is, in my opinion, to blame for the great divide we're experiencing where family members won't

Lotsa Leaves and Lotsa Golf!

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I still have a vivid memory from my late morning run on October 31st, 1991—25 years ago today. I was on Nicols Rd in Eagan when the snow began to fall and in very little time, it was snowing heavily. My running journal states that we received nearly 30" (76cm) of snow before the storm ended. It's now referred to as the Great Halloween Blizzard of 1991 or some such name. The roads would remain a rutted, icy mess for what seemed like weeks afterward and it would make outdoor running extremely hazardous. Thankfully, we have no hint of that sort of weather in the offing for the foreseeable future here in the Twin Cities. I'm happy to say that my battle with fallen leaves is mostly over for the season. Here's a before and after  snapshot of what that looks like. It only lasts a day or two before more leaves find their way into our yard but they'll be easily vacuumed up by my John Deere rider and won't overflow my blue Dick's Sanitation compost bins. I put o

A Favorite Route and Catching Up on 33 Years!

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I just dodged a bullet. A few days ago I upgraded my 6-year-old MacBook Pro's operating system to MacOS Sierra and found that I was no longer able to access the PC side of my Mac through my VMware Fusion. I didn't appreciate how much I use and depend on that side of my laptop for some of my computing until it was gone. I searched the net for solutions but wasn't able to find anything helpful. Fortunately for me, I had recently used the Time Machine backup feature on my Mac and was able to revert to where my laptop was as of very recently. Whew! I was somewhat doubtful that I'd be able to retrieve the PC side of my Mac. It was a 3-hour process for the revision to take place and I was sweating it a little but it's all intact. Last Sunday I rode my bike down to the Minnesota River crossing at Cedar Avenue in Burnsville to check out the new pedestrian/cycling bridge that was recently completed and opened to the public. It's in the place of the old bridge that was

Fall has Arrived as has Dublin

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I'm listening to Kings of Leon's new release,  Walls, as I write this. I have no doubt that Tim would've been all over this if he was still with us. Perhaps he had his own pre-screen listening from wherever he's at. I have a love-hate relationship with autumn. I love the cooler weather, fewer mosquitos and the changing colors but I hate to see the sun going down so soon when there's still so much I'd like to be doing outdoors. I cut back all of our hostas and some other perennials over the past few days and I pulled the flowers from the backyard garden today. I'll be out in the yard for much of tomorrow as I do battle with fallen leaves. I'm up to 20 bags of compost so far on my way to between 55 to 60 bags before I'm done for the season. Yes, I actually keep track. The pups also love the cooler weather. We were out a few nights ago and Toby kept wanting to run nearly the entire 2.25-mile walk. He was so happy, passing up many of his usual pee-m

I'm a Work in Progress

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There! I did it! I finally scheduled us for some bench time at Foci next week. It's been nearly a year and a half since we stood in front of a 2300ยบ F furnace with a dollop of molten glass on the end of a pipe working it into a form. Hopefully, our limited skills will come back before too long. I'm excited to feel the heat again. I've been getting out to the golf course more than I ever have and I'm pleased that my ribs aren't protesting. I golfed 18 holes each of the last 4 days without any issues. I played with Steve yesterday at Southern Hills in Rosemount and really enjoyed our time together. It had been more than 20 years since I'd last played the course and part of the enjoyment for me as we walked along was the nostalgic aspect of it. I remembered some of the layout but not all. I mentioned to Steve how much my life has changed in the time since I was last there. I think it's safe to say that the last time I played Southern Hills I had no idea my

Rachel's Adventures, One Last Move and Taking a Knee

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Rachel made it safely home after a full week of camping. Their trip took them (if you're directionally challenged at all you're going to hate me for what follows) west through South Dakota and into southwestern Montana then south through Idaho and into southwestern Utah before returning home through Colorado, Nebraska, and Iowa. She snuck in unnoticed early Monday morning and crashed on a couch after driving through the night. After recuperating from her drive, she spent an hour filling us in about the details of her trip. Much of the planning they'd done had to be entirely reworked on the fly because of heightened bear activity warnings in West Yellowstone where they'd planned to camp. They made the most of it and had some very memorable experiences. She also took some beautiful photos along the way. They all pushed themselves to  their limits at Upheaval Dome with not enough water or food for the 8 hours the hike required. Oh, and they stayed at a campground for s

To Be a Conservative Christian Today...

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You know, sometimes I seriously question my religion. But then I think about it and I decide that it's more so conservative Christians that I question, until I ponder it all a little more and find myself at a place where I'm not only suspect of conservative Christians but I'm back to questioning my religion as well because of the influence a conservative agenda has had on Christianity. And today, conservatives are enjoying tremendous influence on the church. My faith is strong, in that, I believe in a higher power but the tenants of my religion are very much in doubt. I was in a Facebook discussion a couple nights ago with a friend I used to work with. He was talking about Obama and how before his term is up "He is going to declare martial law, because of an economic crisis that he orchestrated." He then went on to talk about a CNN report about a financial meltdown that was going to happen on 9/27/2016. (It was actually a bogus CNN report that's since bee

Cool Campers and Big and Little Flyers

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Rachel is on a camping trip out west with friends. She takes her camping seriously as do the others she's with, and it shows in their preparation . But for all of the planning they've done, they've had to "go rogue", as they're referring to it, because of high bear activity warnings along their intended route in addition to more snow and cold than they anticipated this early in the fall season. So, they're making it up as they go. Tammy and I were never ones to want to camp. My parents used to own 40 acres of land in Webster, Wisconsin when I was in my teens and they would routinely make the 2-hour trip up there on Friday afternoons with my younger brothers Keith and Tim when the weather allowed. They would pull a trailer home behind my dad's 1971 lime green/yellow Ford F150 pickup truck and park it up on top of a hill in the middle of the forest of land they owned. I would occasionally accompany them but for the most part, I would remain behin