Sunday, October 27, 2019

Gone Too Soon and an Impressively Frightening Makeover

My dad would've turned 94 today had he not passed away so soon, 6 weeks shy of his 70th birthday due to emphysema.

There was a side to him that he was never comfortable opening-up about—mostly related to his childhood and losing both of his parents at an early age. I respect that decision of his to keep that to himself. I do wish, though, that I had been closer to him. I didn't need to know the details of his past but I would've liked to have had a more meaningful relationship with him.

I can't recall the two of us ever sitting down and talking about how I was doing; what were my interests or plans for my future. I was so in need of his guidance and assurance but that need seemed lost on him. With 5 other siblings contending for his time in addition to his frequent business trips away for days on end, I suppose we all just accepted what little he could give us in the way of attention. But having said all that, he did offer sage advice to me when I needed it most after I was offered my job with the FAA. It was my dad who suggested I take the job offer when I was unsure about what to do—that I could always quit the FAA and return to college if that's what I really wanted. It was some of the best advice he ever gave me as well as some of the only advice he'd ever offered me and for that, I am grateful.

The last 5 years of his life were especially difficult for him, tethered to an oxygen tank where even the most basic tasks had become arduous. He had occasionally tried to shake his smoking habit over the years but I don't think he ever managed more than a few days smoke-free. He tried to substitute a pipe for his Winston cigarettes in the late '60s but that too was shortlived. I saw his passing as more of a relief than a time of sadness, especially for my mother who was there to tend to his every need in his final years. She loved him dearly.

Rachel and Drew's Halloween costumes were quite sick, as in, I think they need a doctor! It's not the first time she's pulled off this effect. She's getting quite good at it. It's a combination of latex, toilet paper, and fake blood along with some of her own makeup, she said. It's all layered until the desired look is achieved. She told me that her makeover took about 45 minutes and Drew's took a half-hour. As an added bonus, their contacts glowed in blacklight. Impressive!

I'm up to 64 leaf bags this year. Yes, I actually track that meaningless stuff. I'll have a few more to add to the total after tomorrow's yard work.

Charlie isn't too happy about a Halloween display along one of the routes we walk. He always has to stop and voice his displeasure.

Our Tuesday night and Saturday morning gravel rides are drawing to a close with the colder temps and lack of daylight. I have enjoyed these rides so much these past several months since diving into the world of gravel riding. It's everything and more than I was expecting. I've also made several new friends along the way. Win-win!

That's all I've got.










Friday, October 18, 2019

Chilling, Protesting, and Riding

I had my day fully planned. I was going to process some video from last night's ride then head off to the links by mid-morning. Charlie would get his walk in the afternoon before Tammy and I left on a dinner date with friends. The golf part of my day has been canceled and I'm sitting here chilling on the couch with Charlie and Dublin—my sister Claudia's cute little Yorkie with a cockeyed ear.

I got the video processed but that's it. I'm content to watch the world pass me by today. I need to allow for more of this in my life. I golfed yesterday so that itch has been scratched.

I was thinking recently how when I was working, I was always checking to see what time it was as I attempted to stay on task to get done whatever needed getting done before I had to leave for work. It's nice not to have that urgency about my days anymore but honestly, a little bit of urgency to jump-start the day can be a good thing.

We made arrangements to meet some friends and take the light rail into Minneapolis to protest Trump's* rally at Target Center a little more than a week ago. Fortunately, the rain held off but we were prepared and determined to make a showing regardless of whether the rain did or not.

As we were boarding the light rail I was tapped on the shoulder from behind. A friend from work, Chet, was traveling into the city for Trump's* visit as well. He would be observing it from inside Target Center. It had been 4 years since I'd last seen Chet. We'd both stopped following one another on Facebook a while back. We spent part of the ride catching up on each other's lives. It was nice to see him again. We got off the light rail and resumed our separate paths. It's a microcosm of what's become of our country.

Tammy wasn't one to stay put once we got to the protest gathering outside of Target Center. She was off and running with her cellphone in hand taking photos. I put together a collection of both hers and mine for the video embedded below.

I'm in full fall cleanup mode now but you'd never know it by looking at our yard. I vacuumed up all of the leaves a few days ago but they're back again, taunting me to rid our yard of them once more but I'm not taking the bait. I've got a blog entry to write. While blowing out our underground irrigation system I noticed that zone 5 had a major leak somewhere but I couldn't locate it without charging the system with water again. I found a guy blowing out lines nearby with an air compressor hooked to his truck. For a quick $20 he was happy to hook his commercial-grade air compressor to my line and easily locate the source of my leak. I fixed it the next day.

I've been doing less riding the past month and it shows. I can feel my form slipping away. I've been missing from the gravel scene in Northfield for the past few weeks but I was able to make it last night, lousy form and all. It was a good workout. We're finishing our rides well after sunset as you'll see in the video below. Always a fun time.

That's all I've got.










Thursday, October 10, 2019

Compromised, Little Gems, and it's Definitely Fall

I was riding my indoor trainer last week when I received a text message from our credit union inquiring about a charge on my card. I quickly replied to the text then halted my workout to have a closer look at our account and to speak with a representative from our credit union. Whoever had my card information had also made a purchase at GameStop for something in excess of $300. My card was immediately deactivated and rendered useless. I drove to the credit union and was able to obtain a replacement card with no hassle within an hour of first learning of my card being compromised.

At the suggestion from the rep at the credit union, I've also installed an app on my phone called SecurLOCK Equip which allows me more control over my credit card. I can deactivate my card when I'm not using it or set spending limits in addition to some other options. Plus, the app immediately notifies me whenever there's a transaction on my card. I like the extra layer of protection. I'm curious, tho, how my card data fell into the wrong hands.

Our hummingbirds have flown south for the winter but I still have our feeders up for any stragglers passing through who find themselves in need of a fix. We had one become trapped in our garage the week before last. I was eventually able to coax it out by lowering its feeder closer to the main door opening.

I continue to methodically go through each previous entry in my blog to ensure that any photo links pointing to my website are redirected to the same photo on Google Photos (I'll be letting our website expire at the end of our current contract). It's a lot of work and I don't expect to be done for weeks if not months. I'm also taking time to suss out dead links directed at pages that no longer exist. I'm enjoying reading through my posts from years ago and rediscovering the little gems (for me, anyway) within it.

My early biking videos are cringe-worthy. Here's one of the first videos I recorded while riding (wait for it). I like to think I've stepped up my game in that area.

Early videos of our pups are also fun to look back on.

Lakeville has an intimate concert venue at what used to be All Saints Church in downtown Lakeville. The church was sold in 2001 to the city and has been transformed into the Lakeville Area Arts Center. We've attended several events and concerts there over the years, most recently last Saturday night when we saw Jonny James and the Hall of Fames playing their Led Zeppelin tribute show. We saw them play this same show at Chanhassen Dinner Theatre a couple of years ago. They're good!

I spent all day yesterday doing yardwork—mostly tending to our 6 rock islands and cutting back the hostas and other plants on them. Before and after. It's nice to have it done. Now, it's simply a matter of keeping up with the falling leaves; a job made much easier by vacuuming them up every two days with my John Deer.

I'm looking forward to getting back down in my glass shop and indulging the creative side of me. I've got a project designed and ready to go so I can hit the ground running once the time is right. Tammy suggested that I come up with some less expensive/complicated designs for my Etsy site to appeal to a broader spectrum of people. I've toyed around with this idea before but I've yet to do it. It's worth considering.

That's all I've got.