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Showing posts from 2021

Faith, and Some Different Points of View

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I stopped and chatted with some neighbors last night as Charlie and I were finishing our walk. They were in their driveway working on a craft project for their church. They said  the church  they attend is made up of mostly military families and is led by a former Army chaplain. They talked a little about their current sermon series and what they liked about their church. It was a bit of a sales pitch and while I could appreciate that, I had to tell them that even though I'm a very spiritual person, at this point in my life I simply have so little desire to be involved in a church again. I didn't tell them that my beliefs no longer align well with Christian orthodoxy. I'm leaning now toward a belief in reincarnation. I find that option an interesting one to contemplate. Nobody among us knows for sure what's on the other side but many will say they do, just as I used to think I did.  A snapshot of where I'm at at this point in my life.  I still feel that there's

They Did It! They Got Married!

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Rachel and Drew were married last Sunday in the backyard of a Vrbo they rented along the shore of Lake Superior north of Lutsen, MN. It was such a nice and memorable wedding with Drew's brother Colton officiating the ceremony. It was mostly limited to immediate family—about 17 of us—as they were unsure what the status of the pandemic would be when they began making plans a year ago or so. With the rise of infections due to the Delta variant, it was a wise move on their part to keep it small. They plan to have a much larger reception at Drew's parent's home near Rochester next summer. Tammy used the  Rover app to find a couple in Apple Valley (a few miles away) to watch the pups for us. We had been to their home a month earlier to meet with them and to give the pups a feel for their temporary home. We left Charlie and Cotton with them the night before we left the cities. All seemed to be okay as we left for Lutsen late the next morning. More on this later.  Tammy arranged f

What Worries Me

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I've been meaning to sit down and tap out a blog post for several days but my heart hasn't been in it. The things I want to write about — to make note of here as I try and create some kind of a timeline to my life for personal reasons — are somewhat depressing things to ponder.  There is so much that's been happening in our world and much of it is very concerning to me. Mostly, I worry about the political divide within our country and if there's anything we can do about it because unless we do, I see our democracy slipping from our tenuous grasp while a hard-right fascist movement waits in the wings to replace it. A few short years ago I never could have imagined myself thinking that, much less putting it in writing. But it's where I am. Unless we can maintain a healthy democracy (we currently aren't doing so), other pressing matters can't be dealt with as effectively as they should be — concerns about climate change and income inequality will continue to b

George Lucky and Free Falling

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I met with my doctor last week to discuss the latest results from my lab work. He was very pleased with where I'm at and said he sees no need for me to be on a statin to control cholesterol — something he was considering in my last checkup. He said that should I ever slow down and lead a more sedentary life, then maybe his advice to me will change. I had a spring in my step as I left his office. I've been saying for the past few years that I don't handle the hotter days of summer all that well anymore. I'm happy to say that I was wrong. I don't care for the relentless heat we've been experiencing this summer but I've been riding and golfing in it quite a lot this year and it's really not hindered me much at all. Still, I'm becoming more of a cool/cold weather person the older I get. My sweet spot is 65ºf (18ºc) or cooler. And it looks like we may be leaving the extreme heat behind for the season (ever the optimist I am!) before long. The #1 item on m

Healthy Arteries, Wedding Plans, and an Ace!

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I woke up yesterday morning to the sound of thunder. My Weather Bug app's radar depiction screen lit up with a large area of precipitation working its way through southern Minnesota. I don't think I've ever been happier to see rain. We're so overdue. And maybe the rains will wash the smoke out of the air (at least for a while). The wildfires out west have been feeding a steady stream of smoke across the country, even at the lower levels of the atmosphere. I was mowing the lawn last week and could see smoke hanging in the air just by looking across the street. I can't begin to imagine what it must be like living much closer to the source of the fire.  My primary care doctor is the same doctor who guided me through my last round of blood clots in January 2015. My previous primary care physician had retired a few months earlier so I was in need of someone new and Dr. Foley was happy to fill that role for me. He's very intent on making sure I've got the healt

Weekend Road-Tripping and Norm's Memorial Service

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I can't recall a more oppressively hot and humid summer in my nearly 64 years than what we've been experiencing this summer. But there's hope in sight! We'll only be in the 80ºs by Thursday when we ditch these 90º+ days we've been contending with. Our air conditioner never feels better than when I come home from being out on a ride. I'm also learning to love cool (bordering on cold) showers!  When I had our home built in 1992, my brother installed a state-of-the-art security system that still serves us well today. I don't actually worry all that much about people breaking into our home but we've added another layer of security in the form of wireless Eufy security cameras that are set up to monitor all of the entrances to our home. With the help of a neighbor who works for a tech company, we were able to get them at a very reasonable price. They're also a source of good fun for our neighbors to prank us while we're away, such as this past weeke

Forty Years Ago This Weekend

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I was golfing with Steve last Thursday when I got a text from Keith: "Deborah passed away last night". I was shocked. Deborah is our cousin and was only in her early 60s. I knew her health wasn't good and that she had been admitted to the hospital but I had no idea she was gravely ill. I last spoke with her this past winter when I gave her a call to chat. I had no idea it would be our last conversation. Deborah was one of just a few people who were invited to attend Tammy's and my wedding 22 years ago at our home. She sang a beautiful song she'd written for us. She was a talented musician with perfect pitch and an angelic voice. She was also a very giving and forgiving person who looked for the best in others. My heart especially goes out to her husband Mark and her brother Bern. She will be missed.  Forty years ago today, relatives on my mother's side of our family held our largest family reunion in Michigan's Upper Peninsula — an area of the country wher

This Can't End Well for Us

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Six months ago today, a group of Trump's supporters descended on our nation's Capitol in an attempt to halt the certification of Biden's decisive Electoral College win in our nation's presidential election. It was a disturbing act of loyalty to the most corrupt man to ever occupy the office of the presidency. It's now seven months after the election and Trump has yet to concede defeat to Joe Biden.  It would be one thing if it was merely a one-off collection of misfits who plotted this ill-fated attempt to overthrow our government but it's not. It's so much more than that and I have no doubt that it goes to the very top — to Trump himself. The most disturbing aspect of the entire travesty is that Trump was reported to have been gleeful as he watched the events unfold, refusing to send in reinforcements to stop it. It would be hours before they arrived and not because of any help from Trump. That's criminal but so is pretty much everything else with him.

Time Traveling, Sort Of

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It's been weeks since I've noticed the strong and oftentimes relentless scent of smoke in my nose that I've mentioned here previously. My lungs appear to be mostly back to normal as well without the spontaneous cough from deep in my chest that I'd been experiencing. I can't say with certainty if my symptoms were Covid related but I suspect they were. Yesterday marks four weeks since crashing my bike and injuring my ribs. I'm feeling mostly healed from that as well. I took one of my golf clubs out of its bag last night and gave a few 80% swings out in our yard. I think I'm ready to at least hit the range for a few sessions before easing my way out onto the links again.  I'm not totally disappointed in being unable to golf this past month because I've used my spare time to ride more than I otherwise would have — and I needed that. My form is beginning to come around but I still have some work to do. Most of my riding lately has been on my road bike; a

That was a Fast 20 Years!

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Twenty years ago this afternoon, I had an encounter with a rambunctious loose pup while riding my bike north of Northfield. It was an encounter that would land me not only in the emergency room of the Northfield hospital but it would also land me on the set of the Judge Judy show a few months later. For those who haven't already seen the video, I'll post it below. Had it not been for my then-10-year-old daughter Rachel, I never would've agreed to stand in front of Judge Judy but there was no way I could say no to Rachel's request. She even offered all of her stuffed animals for me to practice speaking in front of in preparation for the show with a viewership of some 10,000,000 people. How sweet was that!? Like most everyone else, I was familiar with the show having watched it numerous times but never did I ever imagine appearing on it. I sometimes wondered how they found out about our pending small claims court case and have since learned that the program has a staff of

Finally Maskless, CRT, and OTB

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Mask restrictions have pretty much been lifted here in Minnesota with the rare exception of some smaller businesses that may still require them. I'm good with leaving mine in the car when I'm out and about running errands. It's disappointing to me that so many people are hesitating, with many refusing to get the vaccine — roughly 50% nationwide have had at least one jab. I would not want to be someone who abstained from getting the vaccine only to become infected and die or end up with long-haul Covid symptoms for years to come or possibly for life. It seems like a foolish risk to take simply to make a political point as it seems many are. I was a lousy student through all of my years of schooling with the exception of when I was enrolled in community college after my enlistment in the Navy. I wasn't dumb; I was immature and had zero motivation to do anything more than what was necessary. It didn't help that my parents never once asked to see my grades. Ever. And ne

Taking Notes and Diving Into Spring

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My blog has always been a place for me to come and sort through my thoughts and make note of some of the goings-on in my world and in our world. Perhaps it's because I don't trust my memory to recall little parts of my life that I may take pleasure in reminiscing about at some later date. Other times it's just me writing about things that seem too important to not talk about, such as what follows. Not long into Trump's term as president, I found myself wondering if we were witnessing the fall of our democracy — a thought that seemed over-the-top in some regards. It wasn't just me thinking along these lines, either. It was pretty much anyone who was paying attention to the erosion of our democratic norms on so many levels and who wasn't in the grip of conservative media. We were right to be concerned. The party of Regan is now the party of Trump. The party of the patriotic (or so they claimed) is now the party of insurrectionists, conspiracists,  and corruption  

Returning to Normal and Motion is Lotion

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Tammy and I are fully vaccinated and beginning to make our way back into restaurants and other establishments that we either avoided or were closed for the past year due to the pandemic. We took so much for granted. We kicked around Mall of America twice this past week. The first night we went we didn't realize they were closing at 7:00 and that only gave us an hour so we went back on Friday night when they were open until 9:00 and we had more time. The mall looked about normal to me with only a smattering of closed stores. Facemasks are still a requirement here in Minnesota and there are now directional stickers on the floor of the mall that encourage people to walk in a more orderly way to help with social distancing.  I was out walking Charlie a couple of weeks ago on a chilly afternoon when I saw a butterfly in the grass. It seemed odd to see a butterfly so early in the season so when I got home I looked it up using Google Lens . I learned it's a Mourning Cloak and that it

A Chance Encounter and a Verdict

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I had my 2nd jab of the Moderna vaccine last Wednesday. The side effects weren't bad but they were noticeable—mostly mild body aches and tiredness. It's nice to have the vaccine in me and to be doing my part, especially when so many others refuse to . I was in Davannis late Saturday afternoon enjoying a hot sandwich and a cold glass of water when a man and his 5-year-old son pulled up chairs at a table across from mine. The young boy was so adorable and I could tell he really thought the world of his father. Some time passed and the father glanced my way. I told him, "your boy is adorable". He thanked me and said his job as a trucker keeps him away several nights each week so he's sure to make time for his son during his days off. He had a thick Middle Eastern accent. He said he's from Persia and came to America when he was in his early 20s, nearly 30 years ago. I asked if his son speaks Farsi and he replied that he speaks a little. In less than two minutes of

Spring has Sprung and When Trouble Comes

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I spent the better part of a day recently going through my collection of stained glass and sorting it by colors while cleaning off the dust from pieces that haven't been handled in years. I threw away quite a lot as well—some opaques that I'll never use. I'm really liking the way I have it organized because if nothing else, we Virgos are all about organization. It's so much easier to find what I'm looking for. Now that my shop is as clean as it's been in a while, I think I'm done working in  my glass studio  until next winter. Spring has most definitely arrived and my focus has turned to outdoor interests. I managed to do this sun-catcher last week before turning out the lights. When I first began making my Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired sun-catchers 25+ years ago, this was the first design I came up with. I've replicated it numerous times over the years. I've been out on my Orbea mountain bike a few times in the past week. It's nice to finally ge