Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Rape on the Lake Wobegon Trail: Good News/Bad News

This may not make the news, at least for a while, but yesterday a 14-year-old girl was raped on the Lake Wobegon Trail. She made identification of her assailant easier, by giving him a bloody nose.

Subsequent to the assault, she flagged down a local priest, who had a cell phone. Her cell phone was inoperable. The local priest called law enforcement, and police apprehended the alleged assailant (I trust that's cautious enough for American usage).

My wife called a family conference a few minutes ago, updated all of us on the events, and outlined changes in routines and procedures which are now necessary. We live within a block of the Lake Wobegon Trail.

Good news: The alleged assailant was apprehended, and may be discouraged from committing assaults in the future. And, the 14-year-old girl was able to get assistance in a timely fashion.

Bad news: This is 'small town America,' but we've got the same issues that the rest of America faces. Being on the Interstate and having a bike trail connection to larger population centers probably doesn't help.

I'm not one bit happy about this situation. I could maunder on about 'loss of innocence' and 'the good old days' - but the first is beyond recall, and I've got too good a memory to fall for the idea that 'Things Were Better When I Was Young.' They were different: but I'm not at all convinced that, for example, sniffing paint was better than burning out on meth.

Finally, I've redacted some details.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Found: One Affectionate, Rather Hungry, Cat

Update: 3:53 p.m. July 24, 2009

That didn't take long: Those are photos of Max, who was lost three months ago, up in Alexandria. That's 20 miles away, but Max's family lived near the Lake Wobegon Trail's rail line - and so do we. It's not hard to imagine a cat making his way down that trail.

Max will be returning to a household of three dogs and two (now three) cats: and a lot of attention. They'll have quite a lot of catching up to do.

We connected with Max's owners through a poster in Pets Galore, on Nokomis, in Alexandra: a new-since-last-year (I think) pet store.

- - - - -

Here's what this post said, before we contacted Max's owners:

A cat showed up in our yard today: quite obviously someone's pet, and quite unfamiliar to us. He's a neutered male, quite affectionate - and/or realized that we'd provide a meal and attention, if properly approached.

He's in good shape: if he's lost he's either very good at finding food on his own, or hasn't been gone for very long. At this moment, he's sharing the garage with my oldest daughter's rabbit, Giol. Giol has been trying to sniff the cat, through the chicken wire of his enclosure. I'm not sure how the cat's been reacting to Giol.

We're hoping that we can re-connect this fellow with his family. There's someone in Alexandria, who lost a cat that looks a great deal like this one: but that's 20 miles away, a rather long walk for a cat.

If you recognize our foundling, please leave a comment on this post. We'll work out a way of making contact.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

You Know it's Hectic When - - -

There's a set of programs the family likes to watch, Monday evenings: "Phineas and Ferb," and "Aaron Stone," both on a Disney channel.

For the last two - make that three - weeks, we've remembered the shows: on Tuesday or Wednesday.

There's a reasonable explanation for these memory lapses, I think: More about that in an earlier post: "Wednesday: Hectic, But a Good Sort of Hectic."

Ah: I see there's a cousin here. #3 daughter's 'identical cousin,' specifically.

Wednesday: Hectic, But a Good Sort of Hectic

Good grief, it's over a week since I wrote here. I've been doing my usual work: researching and writing. And, getting a Knights of Columbus bulletin out for the local council. I finished the postal paperwork for one today.

The big deal was me going up to the Red River Valley of the North for the better part of two days: Wednesday the 15th and Thursday the 16th. I visited my father for a while, and spent the rest of the time at the homestead, where my son-in-law-to-be is setting things up. He and #2 daughter plan to live there after they're married, this September.

He's gotten a respectable set of plantings in the greenhouse, including herbs. He's a better-than-pretty-good cook, and introduced me to more Cajun cookery while I was there.

#2 daughter, my son, and my son-in-law-to-be came/returned Sunday night. My son's still here, but #2 daughter and son-in-law-to-be left this afternoon. She's involved in the wedding of one of her friends. I think she's providing music: She took her violin, at any rate.

#1 daughter's rabbit has settled into a new enclosure in the garage: a more secure, and better-ventilated arrangement of chicken fence wire and two by fours than the cardboard walls he had for a while.

#2 daughter's just about finished with her wedding invitations, #3 daughter's practicing her music - which is a delight to hear - and my son's come back from the Red River Valley of the North.

It's been good to have the kids under one roof for a while.

Also, a bit hectic. But a good sort of hectic.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Gone Fishing

Today, after a day spent in routine matters and helping one of my brothers-in-law install new storm doors, my wife, #2 daughter and #3 daughter went fishing with my brother-in-law. They spent most of the evening on Birch Lake, east of here. #2 daughter landed a 20-inch northern: the largest fish she's caught.

They had a great time. #1 daughter came home from a business-related trip to St. Cloud. She and I had supper, after which I got some Wii-Fit exercising in. That's a good program, in terms of providing reinforcement for non-fanatic exercisers like me.

Where Did the Last Week Go?

It's been over a week since I posted anything here. Quite a bit has gone on, but it's hard to pin down details in my memory. #2 daughter's upcoming wedding might have something to do with it.

My son had a friend over on a few successive days, after which he went up to the Red River Valley of the North, to spend more time with my son-in-law-to-be.

He nearly wound up in Montana.

#1 daughter drove him and her rabbit Giol up to the Valley, and was unaware that she needed to get on Interstate Highway 29, northbound, after passing Fargo. As some point, as she and my son past across the vast expanses of North Dakota, she realized that they hadn't reached their destination - and that things weren't all that familiar.

Prudently, she called home. (Cell phones: ain't technology great?!)

I calmly (for me) explained exactly what she needed to do, and had her repeat the instructions. Slowly. I had visions of the next call being from the vicinity of Brandon, Manitoba, or Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Or maybe Billings, Montana.

As she put it, "there's a lot of 'not much' out there - it took a while to notice that things weren't looking familiar."

They got to their destination without further incident. Then, the next morning, the rabbit Giol escaped. #1 daughter woke to my son informing her that the rabbit had escaped, and that he and my son-in-law-to-be thought he might be outside.

They were right. By the time #1 daughter was dressed and downstairs, Giol was found - in the vicinity of 'the hill,' a mound about seven feet high near the northwest corner of the homestead.

Sprocket, my son-in-law-to-be's dog, found him. That was not a serene rabbit.

Giol was also a bit damp. Sprocket had licked him.

Sprocket likes Giol: but the rabbit doesn't seem to appreciate the affection.

Before #1 daughter returned, the three of them had rigged a rope to an old cottonwood tree - and my son had swung upside-down from a rather elevated portion of the rope.

#1 daughter had a ride on the rope (it's a sort of zipline affair, I understand) - but probably didn't enjoy it as much as my son did. She tells me that she took a minute or so to release the rope and unbend after being lowered to the ground. My son, at one point after she'd been deposited on the grass, said "she blinked!"

My wife and assorted daughters helped the Soo Bahk Do class at a fund-raiser at a horse show's food concession over the weekend, I've been to a Knights of Columbus meeting, and #1 daughter and my wife finished building a rabbit run for Giol. It's a wood frame and chicken wire affair sitting in the garage: Giol seems to like it. He can see out now, and has a bit more floor space to work with.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Whizzing Wednesday, an Identical Cousin, and a Desk in the Attic

Wednesday whizzed by, as far as I was concerned. Getting caught up from that unplanned 'vacation' from the Internet had me unusually concentrated on getting things done.

I did notice that #3 daughter's 'identical cousin' was here that day. Those two look more alike than any two of our children, and they get along famously.

Thursday, I discovered that my wife and #3 daughter had cleared my desk up in the attic. It's a piece of plywood supported by a filing cabinet at one end, and a set of 2x4 legs at the other: and serves my purposes very well.

I was touched by that bit of organizing. I'd mentioned, a few days ago, that I planned to get more work done up there, after I found a way to set up a workspace. My idea was that some time, probably next year, I'd have gotten my weight down and flexibility up enough so that I could rig some sort of drafting table.

And here, those two ladies got that desk in shape for use: complete with a quite sufficiently comfortable chair.


I spent some time up there this afternoon, getting some research done: much easier now that I had a place to put the books, a place to make my notes, and a fluorescent desk lamp to shed light on the process.

Also Wednesday, I started using a Wii Fit set that #3 daughter bought: At this point, in terms of readily-available assets, she's got more money than I do. Which is fine.

I exercised using the gadget again today: it gives pretty good feedback, and tracks progress (or lack of same). I'm actually looking forward to using it again. Being able to improve my performance over a 24-hour period helped, I think.

My son-in-law-to-be left for the Red River Valley of the North today. Among other things, he's a little concerned about his dog, Sprocket. Sprocket is in the care of a conscientious and reliable 12-year-old. The conscientious and reliable part doesn't worry my soon-to-be-in-law. It's the 12-year old aspect of the situation, I gather.

#2 daughter has been talking on the phone to someone for quite a while, and she's still at it. My guess is that it's Sprocket's and her guy.
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