Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tuesday: #2 Daughter and Son-in-Law-to-be and Hummingbirds

Yesterday evening my wife called a family meeting, and outlined what she wants us to do for the rest of this month, through #2 daughter's wedding in early September. She went into some detail, including two task lists: one for the morning, another which could be done at any time - daily. What it all boiled down to was that she was going to be quite stressed enough over preparations for the wedding, and (reasonably enough) wanted help.

I see her point. Among other things, she's making the wedding dress.

Last Thursday, I stayed up late, so there would be someone to let #1 daughter in. She was in another town, on job-related business. When she got back, I learned that she had a house key. As Manuel said, in Fawltey Towers, "I learn! I learn!"

Friday, my son came home from his three weeks (about that) at the farm. He was glad he'd been there, and glad to be home. He also was quite excited about his new (PDA, I think: some hand-held information technology gadget). My youngest brother-in-law had driven the two of them down here, and stayed to work on our front door.

Saturday, #1 daughter reported that the "neighbor lady" had called her. Our neighbor had seen Giol, #1 daughter's rabbit, outside. We'd had the garage door open, to provide some ventilation, and he'd gotten out of his enclosure inside the garage. He's gotten rather good at that. #1 daughter located Giol, waited for an opportune moment, scooped him up and returned him to his safe, if somewhat dull, enclosure.

Also on Saturday, I learned that my son was impressed with the size of the mosquitoes in the Red River Valley of the North. I know what he means: the ones we've got here in central Minnesota are rather puny by comparison.

Saturday night, Giol got out of his enclosure again. This time the door was closed, so he didn't get outside. We discovered his accomplishment Sunday morning. He obliged my wife by nibbling on what she gave him, but wouldn't eat for #1 daughter. My wife noticed that Giol wasn't doing his "happy dance" when she came with his food.

#1 daughter was quite concerned. Not being interested in food is emphatically not normal for that rabbit.

Then, she discovered that Giol had gotten at a bag of rabbit pellets. There was a substantial portion left, but he'd probably gone through at least a day's worth of food during the night.

No wonder he wasn't all that hungry.

Monday evening, at 6:33 a hummingbird came to the feeder and stayed for several seconds, dipping that beak into the sugar-water mix several times before flitting off. I'm quite sure there have been other visits: the 'nectar' level was down considerably since the last time I filled it.

Today, I took the feeder in, cleaned and refilled it, and put it out again. I also washed a few dishes with the water I'd used.

#1 daughter is off to Alexandria to get some of her own business done: this month's installment of a comic strip she's producing. Our scanner is temporarily on the fritz, so she'll be using the one in her apartment.

I returned a wireless router to Wal-Mart this afternoon, and got a full refund. That's good news. The unit was 'left over' from the time my computer's network card failed. While I was there, I had a talk with Ron, in the electronics department, and may have found a way to get my scanner working again.

Now, daughters #2 and 3, my son, and son-in-law-to-be are in the living room, having what sounds like a great time with a Wii #2 daughter bought with part of a sort of windfall: an insurance settlement from that head-on collision she and my wife were in.

As for me, it's late and I need sleep. 'And so, to bed.'

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tuesday: A Rabbit's Playpen, and Sunset

Yesterday's weather was bright, and hot: but mentally, I was fogged in. I got some research and writing done, put a fan in the attic window and relaxed up there for a while, doing some reading (Walt Kelly's Pogo), and getting some pen-and-paper work done.

My wife, #1 daughter, and #3 daughter got the window air conditioner set up in the north room: which was a fine idea. The north room and kitchen are comfortable, and the living room is cooler and dryer than the outdoors.

I expected that I'd fall asleep quickly, considering how tired I felt: but that didn't happen. Oh, well: I've read that the occasional touch of insomnia isn't something to be concerned about.

Today was warm, and humid, so I went out and put in some time at my former employer's. One of their websites needs updating, and I seem to be their first choice.

#1 daughter has had her rabbit, Giol, inside for much of yesterday, and most of today. His 'home' in the garage allows him to lie down with a concrete floor under him, and what for him is a concrete wall to lean on, but there's a limit to how much a fur-covered creature can cool off.

My wife came up with an excellent idea for keeping Giol out of the way.

Simplicity itself: Place laundry basket on floor; place rabbit in laundry basket. Result: instant rabbit playpen.

Then, the rabbit realizes how easy it will be to jump out.

Putting another laundry basked, upside down, on top of the first worked quite well: until Giol learned that he could push the top one off. #1 daughter eventually used duct tape to fasten the top on.

I've gotten my blog research and writing done for the day, enjoyed a beautiful sunset, and now it's time to call it a day.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday: Father's Day 2009 - Surprising my Wife

When my wife came back from church today, she shouted "Happy Father's Day" up the stairs. It was about a quarter to noon, and she apparently expected me to be still in bed.

I wasn't: Which she discovered as she rounded the corner into the kitchen, and saw me in the north room, at (what else?) the computer.

Now, I'm going up to spend a little time relaxing in a lazy boy chair in the attic, reading. It's been a good day.

Sunday: Father's Day 2009

It's around mid-afternoon as I write this. It's been overcast and raining most of the day. We need the rain, and it wasn't heavy enough to keep me from grilling: so that's okay.

I went to church yesterday afternoon with #1 daughter, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Friday morning my wife and #3 daughter set out for the Red River Valley of the North, to visit my father. Also #2 daughter, my son-in-law-to-be, and my son. They returned Saturday evening. I'm told they had a very satisfactory visit.

I stayed here, with #1 daughter, to get caught up after being unable to update my blogs last week. I'm just about there, and should be entirely caught up some time late tomorrow.

Right after church yesterday, #1 daughter took her Cutco demonstration kit and kept an appointment she'd set up earlier. I read my wife's instructions, heated a pocket sandwich she's left, and had my supper.

#1 daughter came home quite a bit later - after which she ate and we watched a "Star Wars" animated series we enjoy, and a few episodes of the old "He Man and the Masters of the Universe" cartoon series. The original one.

In both cases, they're far from Shakespeare's league: but they're fun.

I stayed in this morning, giving #1 daughter and I a chance to watch another Bleach episode. We seem to be watching quite a few cartoons, now that I look back.

I grilled burgers - not incinerating them - and enjoyed the receipt of Father's Day greetings from my wife, #3 daughter, and #1 daughter. Also a DVD of "El Dorado" - yet another cartoon - and four skewers. The latter from #1 daughter. She opined that I might like to grill kebabs some time.

Sounds like a topping idea.

Which brings me up, more or less, to the present.

I've also cleaned and re-filled the hummingbird feeder, seen several hummingbirds (or perhaps the same one several times), and - not at all unimportantly - relaxed this weekend.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thursday: Thunderstorms, Hail, and a Tornado Watch

Minnesota's weather is not boring. Right now, we're in a tornado watch, and will be for another hour and twenty minutes - unless the Weather Service lifts the watch.

Thunderstorms have been going by, dropping much-needed rain.

Part of the after-storm show, 9:23 p.m., Sauk Centre, Minnesota

And, about 10 miles down the road, hail.

"06/18/2009 0307 PM

"2 miles S of Osakis, Douglas County.

"Hail e0.88 inch, reported by trained spotter." Local Storm Report On Wunderground.com
I didn't see any hail in the neighborhood, but that's not surprising. Hail's even more localized than thunderstorm cells. Can't say that I feel left out. Chunks of ice as big across as an American nickel are a phenomenon I wouldn't want to get up close and personal with.

"It Could be Worse," as We Say in Minnesota

Austin, Minnesota, south of the Twin Cities, had a bad night yesterday. According to the police chief, three tornadoes went through the area.

The good news is that someone's lacerated hand, bad enough to warrant a trip to the hospital, was the worst injury, and nobody was killed.

The bad news is that 15 or 20 homes were damaged, around 600 trees ripped down in the city parks, and millions of dollars damage done to homes and businesses.

It doesn't look like we'll be seeing anything like that here, tonight. There's just over twenty minutes left in the watch as I'm wrapping this up: and nothing really close, apart from a clump of rain on the other side of Alexandria, some 20 miles west by northwest.

Austin, Minnesota, Tornado Video

I checked out YouTube, and found this collection of video clips taken by a storm chaser near Austin, Minnesota, last night. The video is quite striking, and the language of the people with the storm chaser fairly mild by contemporary standards.

"06 17 09 Storm Chase - Austin, MN"

BradNelson100, YouTube (June 17, 2009)
video 2:29

View Larger Map

In the news:

Thursday: Back Online, Finally

I had a one day, 21 hour, and about five minute, 'vacation' from the Internet.

Not by choice.

Tuesday afternoon, about ten minutes after four, I was writing a post for another blog. A little after that, I noticed that I couldn't get a web page to load. It didn't take long to discover that I couldn't reach anything on the Internet.

I checked this household's telephone and television connections: they were fine. We get all three through one company, and the signals come through one line.

Just the same, I called the company.

Or, more accurately, called a company. After a while, I discovered that I was talking with the wrong outfit, and opened a dialog with our Internet provider.

The good news was that there were no service problems in our area: and that my modem seemed to be in good shape.

The bad news was that we got a 'communication error' code from my computer's network card. Which meant that the problem was something I'd have to fix.

By now it was Tuesday evening.

Wednesday, I called the local Wal-Mart and had a talk with Ron, in the electronics department. He gave the opinion that it might be my router: which was likely enough, considering its age. So, I went in and bought a router. It took me a few minutes to find one, since the design has changed since I got mine. (I'd been looking at the photos on the boxes, not the lettering.)

Technical digression: this router is a device that connects all three working computers in the house to each other, and to the Internet. I set it up so that the kids wouldn't be asking me to use the 'business' computer for getting online. Quite as often.

Back home, I opened the box, read the instructions, and started the installation process. The first message I got, after acknowledging the standard software agreement, was that the setup program couldn't find a working network card.

So, it probably wasn't the router, and almost certainly was the network card. I didn't return the new router, since I wasn't convinced that two pieces of hardware wouldn't stop working at the same time.

I went back to Wal-Mart, had a face-to-face talk with Ron, and discovered that they didn't have any network cards in stock. That particular store had cleared out their stock. If my card had failed just a little earlier, I could have gotten a bargain.

A phone call to Computer Specialists, up in Alexandria, told me that the "network card" in my computer was an integrated part of the mother board. It couldn't be replaced, but if I opened the computer, I'd find slots available for a new network card. One of which they had.

Happily, #1 daughter had to go to Alexandria Wednesday afternoon, so by yesterday evening, we had a new network card.

That we couldn't fit in the computer.

We'd gotten the case open, vacuumed out a little dust that had accumulated, #1 daughter removed a sticker that would soon have fallen off one of the internal fans, and determined where the new network card should go.

It. Just. Wouldn't. Fit.

So, #1 daughter suggested that we take out a card that had been used for phone and USB connections, but was not now in use. The new card should fit in its slot.

The operative word there is "should."

It didn't. The new card almost fit, but there was a less-than-a-millimeter's difference between part of the new card, and the slot it was supposed to fit into.

Today, Thursday, we tried again. More accurately, #1 daughter tried again. I prudently stayed out of her way and didn't try to "help."

She called Computer Specialists, had a chat with one of the technicians there, and learned that any of the open slots could be used. Also, that the slots, although they looked alike, didn't all have the same dimensions.

A few minutes later, she had the new card in place.

Skipping over more technical details, and the process of putting the computer back where it's stays on this desk, at 1:15 today we got our first working connection to the Internet.

The elapsed time since the network card's failure, once again, was: one day, 21 hours, and about five minutes.

Then, we discovered that #1 daughter's computer couldn't find the Internet.

Two of the cables weren't attached the way that they had been, before. That was a quick fix, and now we have a working system.

And, I've got almost two day's worth of work to catch up on.

That 'vacation' was probably a good thing, though. I spent quite a few hours of it up in the attic, getting re-acquainted with the book collection, admiring the re-organization that's being done by #1 daughter and others, and doing some long-overdue book-and-notebook research and creative work.

My wife, bless her, told me that seeing me in the old lazy boy up there was a "Father Knows Best" image: all I lacked was a pipe.

Now, back to catching up.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Monday, the Sequel: Corn on the Cob and a Semi Tractor

My wife and I ate corn-on-the cob, thoughtfully provided by #1 daughter, out in the tent. A nice, restful place.

Someone on the other side of the block was running their lawn mower, a mourning dove somewhere to the north and east cooed at odd intervals, and as we wrapped up our meal a neighbor drove up in a semitrailer tractor. He's been parking it in his driveway lately, and seems to be doing some maintenance on it.

Monday: Small Town Tranquility and Road Work

A tranquil small town Monday afternoon: Sauk Centre style.

The house has stopped shuddering - for the moment. A road crew has been outside for most of the afternoon, laying another inch of asphalt on the west side of Ash Street. It's offered me the opportunity of watching road-building technology at work.

But Giol, #1 daughter's rabbit, didn't seem to like the noise and vibration. And my wife had me close a window. She said that odors from the tar were getting in, and she's probably right. With my sense of smell, it wasn't at all obvious.

Friday morning, #1 daughter got her raft out of storage, put it on her car, and had it inflated at a gas station. Then, leaving it upside-down on the car roof, she sat inside the tube and patched leaks. She'd gotten a leak kit at Fleet Supply.

Friday afternoon, soon after lunch, #1 daughter headed off to use her raft. Around 4:00, I started wondering where she was. Making a long story short, I called her a couple of times (she had prudently brought her cell phone along), gotten acquainted with three or four young men who were fishing on the 12th Street bridge over the Sauk River, let my wife know what was going on, and parked the van near that bridge.

Meanwhile, #1 daughter was drifting down the Sauk River, watching great blue herons, running into a beaver lodge - literally - and enjoying the passing revue of nature's wonders.

About that beaver lodge: she'd maneuvered around it without incident. Once she was past it, though, she discovered a spot where the current ran in reverse: and got a much closer look at the lodge than she'd planned.

#1 daughter told me that she'd planned to pole back to the Conservation Park, below the dam, where she'd started out. Then, she discovered that the river bottom was too muddy. Her paddles went into the mud just fine: but getting them out meant pulling about as much as she'd pushed. Net movement of the raft, therefore, was just about zero.

Back to the 12th Street bridge: I'd talked with the young men, so they were on the lookout for #1 daughter. Two of them brought the raft up to the street for her. They were quite impressed with the raft. I understand they were talking about building one or two for themselves, so they could fish closer to the river.

Leaving the raft there, I drove #1 daughter back to her car, and eventually we got her, the raft, and me, back for supper.

More must have happened that day, but I can't seem to remember. Actually, I do remember a sort of whirl of research, writing posts, and wracking my mind for something amusing to write for one blog.

Saturday was more of the same for me. Except that I grilled burgers - always a treat - and ate lunch with my wife in a tent that's rigged in the back yard. Quite a few small insects have found their way inside, and try flying out: through the tent's translucent top. They make a sound like a light rain, even - or especially - when the sun's out. Happily, they leave the food alone.

My wife would have taken her nap out there, except she didn't find a sleeping bag. The ground's a trifle cool to relax on. Maybe next weekend.

Eucharistic procession heading out from Our Lady of the Angels church.

I missed grilling Sunday. The two Catholic churches in town had a procession from one to the other and back: and I spent most of the noon hour taking photos.

My daughter spent the afternoon and evening at friends of ours, a bit under ten miles east of town. She went there to do a CutCo demonstration, and stayed to catch up. They hadn't gotten together for quite a while. Some of the family's sons are planning to go into farming, which means finding ways to save enough money. They've got a dairy farm: I found out that milk prices at their end have gone down as prices on the shelf have gone up. The milk on their table is produced on-site: which helps.

Sunday evening, a bit late, #1 daughter and I watched another episode of "Bleach," a cartoon series we both enjoy.

Which brings me up to today. #1 daughter was out on a sales call this morning and has another set up for this evening, my wife's been working on #2 daughter's wedding dress, #3 daughter's been writing - there's a lot of that going around in the family - and I had a few words with my son on the phone. He spoke at much greater length with my wife. He's still having a good time at the farm: chopping wood and doing chores as well as getting to know his new laptop.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thursday: One More Day, and I Get to Grill Burgers

My son called, a little before noon, so I had a chance to talk with him a bit. He wanted to talk with my wife and #3 sister, but the ladies were out at the time. I understand he called later, and caught them. He reports that #2 daughter may drive back tomorrow - but we'll see how that works out.

He's having a fine time, I gather. Besides helping with chores, he's working with a new laptop computer: it's his 'junior high/high school' computer, which he's been paying for. We speeded up delivery of the laptop a bit, since he has this opportunity to spend time with my son-in-law-to-be, who has some experience with such things. Good experience: for both, I think.

I drove to St. Cloud around noon, to have my CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure - the thing helps keep my airway clear when I sleep) put through its annual pressure test. The device is working normally, which is good news. Driving for an hour down to St. Cloud, and an hour back, may not have been the ideal way to spend time, but it was a beautiful day.

While in St. Cloud, I stopped by the Crossroads mall and took some reference photos. They've expanded the place substantially since I was there last. It seems to me there's more emphasis on letting sunlight in for illumination, and less exclusive reliance on lighting fixtures, than when malls started being built.

#1 daughter made another sales call today - at least one. She's still upbeat about that job - and looking for another way to earn money.

#1 daughter also planted a bleeding heart bush she bought for my wife. She remembered that my wife had liked a bleeding heart bush at our previous house. (That's my girl!) #1 daughter reports that it felt good, digging a spot for the bush - and clearing out some concrete rubble she found in the process.

I didn't go to Soo Bahk Do class with my wife and #3 daughter this evening: there was an entry for the Sauk Centre Journal to do, and I'm determined to get to sleep at a reasonable hour. Which, God willing, I will: I finished the entry a few hours ago.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tuesday and Wednesday Weren't Like Monday

#1 daughter made another sale yesterday, despite having one person call to re-schedule a sales call, and another simply not being there. She observed that the universe seemed to be conspiring to keep her at one sale per day. #3 daughter pointed out to her that she was making one sale each day - and so was doing quite well. #1 daughter perked up a bit at that.

#2 daughter and my son are still up in the Red River Valley of the North. We got a call today, around supper time, from #2 daughter. Things are going well up there - and my son-in-law-to-be discovered that he'll have to re-test to get a valid North Dakota driver's license. That won't be difficult, but it's one more thing that he has to do, that won't be (directly) helping him set up his business connections there, or get a food-on-the-table job for the immediate future.

Of course, being able to legally drive himself around will be a big boost.

Yesterday, #1 daughter showed me a charming little house she found, one of a set of buildings that started out as year-round cabins on Shady Lane, on the north side. She's jumping the gun a little, looking at a house before she's graduated. But, it was fun.

Today, #1 daughter took my wife and #2 daughter to see the place. I think the ladies had a good time. One of the good things about house-shopping is that you aren't expected to buy each place you look at.

#1 daughter's being quite sensible about the place. I think she'll find something more suitable, after she's graduated and gotten steady work. Much as I appreciate what she's doing with Cutco, I don't think she intends to stay in sales for very long.

Transitions - Paperwork

I started tying up some loose ends today, regarding my father's financial affairs. It's high time that I did, as it turns out.

My mother died near the end of February, last year (Februay 23, 2008). Turns out, her name is still on a bank account she and my father shared, up in North Dakota. On an emotional level, I think I can understand why my father didn't remove her name.

Still, that's something that needs to be dealt with. Which means that I'll need to get the original death certificate. Which I find hasn't been done.

Getting that far along took most of this afternoon, and a trip to Alexandria, up the road.

On the up side, it's a beautiful day, and I enjoyed the scenery.

Didn't get much else done, though.

And, I can't say that attending to the business of my mother's death and my father's steady decline is adding to my chipperness.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Another Call from Hospice

I got another call from Hospice this afternoon.

My father's condition is about the same as before, apparently. He's been experiencing some "nerve pain" where the shingles appeared. They started out giving him morphine for pain, but recently switched to pregabalin. I looked up the medication: and trust that the doctor who prescribed it made a sensible decision.

This can't be an easy time for my father. He was tired today: I think the week's doses of morphine might have had something to do with that.

The person from hospice referred to his noticing his mother and sister as "hallucinations." She could be right. She also interpreted his saying "I'm making a right turn now" as his imagining that he was in an automobile. That could be so: but he (and I) have been known to use phrases like that as metaphors, to indicate that we're turning to another subject. Not everybody talks that way.

I can't say that I'm happy about any of what I heard: but it's good to be kept up to date. I genuinely appreciate that.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Monday: Finally, the Sky's Clearing, and So is My Chest

A sort-of-a-cold that's been bothering me for a while seems to be clearing up. I think there's a good chance I'll be able to get to Soo Bahk Do this Thursday.

#2 daughter and my son set off for the Red River Valley of the North after supper. The most obvious activity this afternoon in the house was those two getting ready to go.

#1 daughter has been out most of the day, with sales calls and related activity. She dashed in a bit before supper, dashed out again, and returned around 8:00.

I've been researching and writing post most of the day, as usual. One of them was a sort of micro-review of an article that #1 daughter found: "Cats and Dogs: The Dating Game" - a sort of take-off on television game shows and the (presumed) personalities of cats and dogs.

Which brings me up to the present. My wife, #3 daughter, and #1 daughter are watching "Get Smart," I'm here at the computer, and now it's time to call it a day.

It's quite quiet here, with #2 daughter - and my son - not here.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunday: It's Been a Slow, Hectic, Day

First, more about Friday. I knew I'd left something out.

My son found the CD that came with the webcam I'd been using. He was quite pleased with doing so: it was in a container, behind a CD rack, at my desk. I'm a little embarrassed - but glad that he found it.

He also found out on Friday that a set of cables and connecting hardware he wanted to use, to connect a printer to his computer, was about twice as expensive as he had thought it was. So, he tried using the wireless Local Area Network that lets computers in the house connect to the Internet, as a connection to the printer. Later that day, he'd succeeded. 'That's my boy!'

Today was a gray, chilly, overcast Sunday. I didn't get out: I may be coming down with a cold, and didn't want to make the situation worse. I think that was a good idea.

As a result, I was able to see a streak by the feeder that #1 daughter identified as a hummingbird. She's been out on a sales call, and down to St. Cloud to file reports, back up to Alexandria to check on mail at her apartment, and back here. Even so, she's making enough money to pay for the gas, with more left over.

Friends of the family came a little after noon, and took my wife, my son, #2 daughter and #3 daughter out to eat. I stayed here. It was then that I saw the hummingbird/streak.

They visited for a while, went on their way, and after supper my wife, my son, and #2 daughter went to Soo Bahk Do class. I'm hoping to get back into that routine on Thursday. After they got back, I read Garfield and sang with my son.

#1 daughter got back here in time for the two of us to watch a "Bleach" episode together - we've gotten into the habit of watching that cartoon series together. It's a sort of fantasy-adventure serial. Hardly something to rival Shakespeare, but it's fun.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

About a Wedding, Burgers, a Movie, a Rabbit, and Rain

For most of Friday, My wife had the kitchen table covered with fabric, pieces of a pattern, and pins. She's making #2 daughter's wedding dress. Normally, making a dress like that doesn't take three months: but my wife's going to be doing other things too.

I can already sense a heightened level of excitement about the upcoming wedding. It's going to be interesting, seeing what happens as September 5 approaches. My plan is to stay discretely out of the way.

My son-in-law-to-be called. Several times. Quite often, actually. It was charming: but also a bit monotonous for those of us who were answering the phone.

#1 daughter went to a combination training and recruitment session. She was the only one to show up, besides the team leader. The two of them went from St. Cloud, down to Monticello, where they handed out leaflets to high school seniors who might be looking for a job. Then, it was back to Sauk Centre for #1 daughter. By then, she was quite willing to call it a day.

My son missed "Up." He and #1 daughter were going to go together (her treat). He took the setback quite well.

Saturday: It's been a gray day. Happily, it didn't start raining until just before I finished grilling burgers for lunch. The rain lasted most of the rest of the afternoon. My wife took advantage of the chilly weather, and baked more bread. She's stocking up, while the weather is favorable.

The brother-in-law of mine who had been up at the farm, fixing the place up, called. It's been raining there, too, so the painting will have to wait. He's taken care of just about every other fix-up there is to do, so he'll be getting back to his family, by way of South Dakota. I'm not entirely sure what he'll be doing there: quite likely found short-term employment of some sort. He's got a rather wide range of marketable skills.

I got the usual research and writing done - today's the 25th anniversary of the Tetris video game, so my writing was a trifle more focused than it usually is.

Supper, washing dishes, and prayer followed. The family had a good time with Giol, #1 daughter's rabbit. They discovered that he'd nibble and hop his way along the floor, with a cardboard box over him. He seemed quite pleased with the situation: Partly, I think, because he could see, and stick his nose through a hole in the box. My son was taking a video of the result: I hope it turns out.

#1 daughter and my son went downtown to see "Up," the new Disney movie, after prayers. They came back a few minutes ago, in high spirits. The local theater has equipment for the 3D version of the movie, and apparently it's visually spectacular. And, has a quite good story, too. My son said he'd probably have insomnia tonight, since he was quite excited about the movie.

I'll wait for the DVD version to make it to the Public Library's collection. Which is a bit frustrating for #1 daughter, since that means she can't talk very much about the movie with me: not about specific details, that is.

I don't think she'll have to wait long: not "long" by my standards, anyway.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Thursday: A Rabbit's Play Date, Two Sheep and Two Dogs, a Doctor's Appointment, and Clear Sky

It's been a pretty good day. Beautiful weather: almost entirely clear blue sky.

Jake, my brother-in-law's bloodhound

One of my brothers-in-law came by this morning with two sheep and a bloodhound. He and my son-in-law to be, and Sprocket, will be spending some time up in the Red River Valley, near Hillsboro. My brother-in-law's going to be fixing the place up: nothing major, but there are a few repairs to be made.

The sheep should take care of lawn mowing while they're there: although I've heard that their grazing is hard on grass. We'll see how that turns out. Sprocket will have some company, at any rate, with Jake around. Those two hit it off pretty well.

Aside from researching and writing posts, I touched base with a doctor about some of my medications. Good news, I'm doing fine. Even my blood pressure is inside normal limits.

#1 daughter took her rabbit, Giol, to friends for a 'play date' with their rabbit, Charlie. The two go along quite well, I'm told, after they sorted out who was the boss rabbit. After that, they had a fine time. Actually, hearing #1 daughter's description, they probably enjoyed the negotiation tussle. I gather that Charlie was the boss rabbit.

#1 daughter made another sale today, and is setting up more visits while I'm writing this. The sun has set, my wife, my son, #3 daughter and #2 daughter are playing some game in the living room. Me? I'm going to lean back and relax for a few minutes, before praying, reading Garfield and singing with my son.

Ridiculously Early Thursday Morning: #1 Daughter's Back

#1 daughter drove up about a half-hour ago. The sales meeting/meal/pep rally ran rather late - as anticipated.

Sprocket and I met her at the front door, and we talked. Actually, #1 daughter and I talked, Sprocket grunted a few times and panted. He also got patted, and scratched behind the ears. After which he lay down at my feet. Over my feet, rather. He makes a very effective foot-warmer.

And now, I have got to get some sleep.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wednesday: Elementary School Graduation

#1 daughter made another sale today, and is spending the bulk of the evening in St. Cloud, dropping of forms and getting dinner as the company's guest - along with other sales people. I gather that Cutco puts quite a lot of emphasis on keeping their sales people's enthusiasm up. Smart, really.

#2 daughter and my son-in-law-to-be discussed wedding plans with #3 daughter and my wife. Actually, it was mostly #2 daughter doing the discussing with her sister and mother.

Sprocket apparently thinks we're okay. He'll accept all the attention we give him, and has rested next to the couch as my wife took her nap.

My son took Giol, #1 daughter's rabbit, for a walk after he came home from school. Sprocket wanted to join them but cooler heads prevailed. Sprocket would, I'm sure, be well-behaved enough: but Giol's a rabbit, with all the nervousness that's normal to his species.

Sprocket got a walk with my son soon after Giol was inside again.

I'll say this for having a rabbit and a dog in the house: some members of the family get many opportunities to get out in the fresh air and sunshine.

My son and the rest of the sixth graders had their graduation ceremony this evening. It was quite an affair: The elementary school choir sang, and my son was one of the soloists; we watched a slide show and reading based on "Is There Really a Human Race?" (Jamie Lee Curtis & Laura Cornell); awards for particularly good grades were handed out - my son got one of them (and yes, I'm a proud papa); we watched more slides, this time of the sixth graders as quite young youngsters and then as they are now; and, finally, the diplomas got handed out.

Also, inflatable balls.

The kids knew what those balls were for. Quite a number of them were chasing the balls across the back of the multipurpose gym, or whatever that outsized room is called. The room's just about the right size for energized kids to run off steam while family groups talk and take pictures.

I put a dozen photos of the ceremony and reception in today's Sauk Centre Journal entry.

Back to that book, "Is There a Human Race?" I gather that the answer is "yes." I think my favorite set of questions from the book was "Am I a jockey / or am I a horse?"

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Of Valleyfair and Hummingbirds

I just about forgot a high point of the week for my son.

He and his class went to Valleyfair, down in the metro area, on a field trip yesterday. I'm still not at all clear on how that's 'educational,' but he certainly had a good time. Happily, they have water fountains copiously distributed at Valleyfair, so he didn't get thirsty.

A hummingbird showed up this evening at the feeder. At least, that's when I noticed the first one. Another came later - or maybe it was the same one - and a bit after that I saw two at the feeder. Then, I think, they spotted me and flew off.

Tuesday Evening: a Nice Summer Day

My back's feeling not-as-bad. I'm continuing the exercises and treatment that should keep that progress going in the right direction.

Sunday was a relaxed day. I grilled burgers for lunch, and mostly relaxed. Monday whizzed by. The landmark event of that day was the arrival of #2 daughter and my son-in-law-to-be. And his dog, Sprocket. Sprocket's a friendly, large sheepdog. Which I think I mentioned before.

I talked with the newcomers for a short while before turning in. It was around 11 when the arrived. I'd long since done my Garfield and song routine with my son (and #1 daughter, who likes to sing along), and my wife had sensibly retired a bit after that.

My son took Sprocket for a walk several times today, after school. It sometimes looked like the dog was taking him: but Sprocket was quite content to stop when my son did.

#1 daughter came back from another sales call a little while ago. I think she's doing pretty well with Cutco. Aside from a 'that's my girl' attitude, there's the matter of her running out of order forms today. She called the office and has a work-around for that situation.

#2 daughter and my son-in-law-to-be are in St. Cloud, or on their way back. I gather that they were doing some wedding-related things down there.

#3 daughter got a call from a would-be student within the last week. I gather that the gist of the conversation was that between family schedules and finances at the other end, there was neither time nor money for the lessons. She took the news quite well: particularly since this one called, rather than simply not showing up.

As for me, I got posts written, a search function added to one blog, and now plan to do something creative with a story's background.

After which it will be Garfield, song, and bed.
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