Friday, April 30, 2010

Another Dim Spring Day

Make no mistake: We can use the rain here in Minnesota.

But the dull overcast, and wondering if I should turn on a light, here by a window, is - dreary, I suppose.

We had fog last night - and it seems to have moved into my head. I've got 'creative' tasks to get done, and no clue what to do about them.

Time for some concentration, and maybe coffee.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

(Intentionally) Broken Jaws and a Tractor

My wife, our son and #3 daughter went to St. Cloud this morning. The two kids are going to have their jaws broken - and put back together in a better configuration.

I think that, on the whole, it's a good idea. But they're not exactly looking forward to it. I'd be a little concerned if they were. What's going to be done isn't cosmetic, by the way: their jaws don't line up all that well, and the series of medical procedures is intended to make things more functional.

This afternoon, I got a call from my son-in-law. He's got a new tractor - and sent three photos of it, via email. Well, two of him and the tractor: another of my daughter and a trailer. Those two are definitely settling in.

Monday, April 26, 2010

So That's What My Chin Looks Like! - the Photo

Friday, I wrote that I'd tried something new for trimming my beard.

Boy, was it effective!

I took that photo of myself yesterday, testing out a setup for making at-the-computer videos. Which is another topic.

The downstairs bathroom is now missing a sink and most of the wallpaper (wallpaper? in a bathroom??) - and looks a bit like a construction site.

Which, in a way, it is. My wife and #3 daughter have been prepping the room for new fixtures that will be coming soon - I hope.

Meanwhile, my wife's another step closer to having that patio she's wanted for - over twenty years now. She had a chat with the 'call us before you dig' folks in Minnesota. I trust that'll go smoothly.

Last week (week before last??), someone from the regional gas company came by. He, and about ten other fellows, were working this part of the state. It seems that a supervisor had been leaving work orders on his desk, instead of processing them. He's been dismissed, I understand. I feel a little sympathetic, job market being what it is: but you just don't do that.

This is, in a way, good news. We've had good experiences with the company for years: until this one project.

That work order was to find out what would be needed, to deal with the patio we're planning. I suspect that our contractor lit a fire under someone at the gas company - we weren't the only ones whose projects were waiting for a routine task.

Anyway, the technician explained why it'd taken months instead of days to get around to our job - and showed me where the gas meter will go, when the patio goes in. We're responsible for seeing to it that a pipe is run there.

Like I said: good news. The bricks, sand - everything has been sitting on the contractor's lot, waiting for that 'we need to put the gas meter here' task to get done.

Now we've got all the paperwork in place, I hope. I'll admit to being a bit excited about this patio project.

Friday, April 23, 2010

So That's What My Chin Looks Like!

Yesterday I said I was going to trim my beard, tomorrow. Today is yesterday's tomorrow, and I trimmed it.

I got smart, and used the same trimmer my wife uses on me: a sort of electric razor with a set of (brushes?) that hold the cutting surfaces a (fairly) fixed distance from the skin.

I think she used the 1/8th inch brush yesterday. I asked her, by the way, and learned that she didn't remember which one she used: she just 'grabs one' and starts cutting.

That might explain a few things.

For the beard trimming, I chose the 1/4" 'brush,' to more-or-less match the rest of my hair. That's a lot closer than I can get it, using my fingers and a scissor.

Anyway, I finished trimming the beard, and had an impressive pile of white, gray and brownish-black hair in the kitchen sink. The bathroom sink isn't available: but that's another story.

Then my wife comes around the corner, takes one look at me, and starts laughing.


She's never seen me with a beard this short. Neither have I, for maybe a third of a century.

Now, several hours later, my wife, our son, and #3 and #1 daughters agree: I look - different.

They're right, you know.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Rabbit, a Haircut, Soo Bahk Do, and Phone Calls

It's been a a good day. My wife gave me a haircut this afternoon: no more 'ancient wizard' look for me. I haven't measured, but my hair's maybe a quarter-inch long now. Probably less. Tomorrow, I trim the beard to match.

There's plenty of time for it to get long and curly for the 'Santa Claus' look next Christmas.

I ate an apple today - not entirely so that I could give the core to Giol, #1 daughter's pet rabbit. But that was a factor. This time Giol hopped a couple feet away from me before starting to eat the apple core. He does that, sometimes: more often when I make it a little harder to get the thing. I think he may be protecting 'his' treat.

My wife and #3 daughter went to Soo Bahk Do class this evening. They're preparing for a test. My son stayed home this time. The rationale was that he wasn't going to be taking the test - and prep for the test was all that'd be happening in class.

I didn't get out for a walk today - but I did go through some of the Wii Fit routines. I'm rather serious about undoing the effects several years (decades) of comparative immobility.

And, I'm catching up, more or less, from the break I took to write about lint. Earth Day and all that, you know.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Oh, Wow! Earth Day #40: I was There in the Beginning

I've spent a great deal of time this week, getting ready for the 40th Earth Day.

I remember the first one. And I remember the wonderful swell of emotion I experienced, seeing that big theta fluttering over the campus.

Other people saw it, too, by the way: it was on a flag that looked sort of like the American flag. As I'll say in another blog, a Wikipedia article asserts that the 'ecology flag' came after 1970. The person who wrote that could be right.

Like so many other memories of that groovy period, mine aren't entirely precise. I wasn't part of the drug scene: and I'm very glad that I came out of the sixties and early seventies with pretty much the same neural equipment I had coming in.

No great virtue on my part: I didn't see how stirring your brain with a chemical egg whisk would improve its performance; and with a brain wired like mine, all I needed to take a trip was ease up on the brakes. Which is another topic. (Drifting at the Edge of Time and Space (March 7, 2010)

So, I've been indulging in a walk down memory lane, with nostalgic Pilot shades over my mind's eyes.

I've also been doing my small part to raise the level America's awareness of lint:

Monday, April 12, 2010

This Monday was More So Than Most

I woke up today - which is good news, considering the alternative. It was about 7:00 a.m., which is also pretty good. Not early, but okay.

I thought, 'I might as well relax for another few minutes.'

Four hours later, my wife called me to lunch.

That extra sleep was probably a good idea. I'm running a slight fever - but may be getting rid of a nascent cold. Or something.

On the other hand, now there's catchup to do on my catchup.

Friday, April 9, 2010

A Bulletin and Clerical Errors: Two of Them

It could have been worse.

Somebody at the Post Office called me this morning: either my numbers were 'way off, or we were missing over 50 bulletins.

Not good news. Particularly since there would have been no way to know which 50 were missing.

I was pretty intense (sorry about that!) with my wife and daughter, who had dropped the mailing off at the Post Office. At the time, what I thought I was doing was making it very clear what might have happened - and that this was non-trivial. That's not, I think, quite how it came across.

They came home, with news that they hadn't seen bulletins on the ground/streets/sidewalks around the Post Office. Which I believed. Even with today's wind, that many would be hard to miss.

So, at the Post Office I discovered that I'd made a sort of double clerical error in one of the forms. Not my best work. I'll be reviewing my procedure, next month - and paying particular attention to some of the details.

Knights of Columbus members should be getting their bulletins in tomorrow's mail, unless they live well away from Sauk Centre.

Blue Sky, Comfortable Chair, Routines and Schedules

Friday morning. Blue sky. Almost 50 degrees out. (Fahrenheit, of course.) My wife and #3 daughter are off for their Friday morning routine. My son seems to be sleeping in - not a bad idea, actually, since he's got what sounds like a cold.

I've gotten the postal paperwork done for the Knights of Columbus council bulletin I edit: The ladies will drop the mailing off at the Post Office in the next hour or so.

Me? I'm sitting in that hand-me-down chair and - I see I'm scheduled to be spontaneous and creative now. I'd better get to work on that.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Hand-Me-Down Chair: From My Daughter

Now I remember: #3 daughter bought a (used) office chair for her work station. It's a classy number, and looks very comfortable to boot.

When I came downstairs, I found her old(er) chair at my desk - it's a huge improvement over the instrument of torture I'd been dealing with. And has much better wheels.

I pushed off today, expecting to move a few inches as I usually have, and was getting my feet in position for another shove, when I realized that I was about two feet from the desk and still rolling. Nice! It'll take a little getting used to, though.

That's it. I'm turning in for the day.

Prayer, Hair, and a Rabbit

My son gave me the 'chaplet' (a crucifix and knotted cord of the sort we pray chaplets on, actually) - looks like I'm the one he's been praying for during this Lent. Well, I can use all the help I can get. I'm wearing it now: swapped out the one I've been wearing and using through Lent.

And, I've already used the 'new' one: Someone on Twitter suggested: "Please pause whatever you are doing and pray for your family and country." It took me the usual six minutes to run through the particular chaplet I've been doing: but who's counting?

My wife got a haircut this afternoon: a sort of rite of spring. Also a practical matter of staying comparatively cool during summer. A - tech school grad, I think - did the work, and a fine job it was.

Giol, #1 daughter's rabbit, is doing fine. He doesn't say much, but he's been using the pet taxi and rabbit run my wife set up for him with evidence of satisfaction with the arrangement.

Apart from that? I'm probably forgetting something: But so far, that's what I've pulled out of memory.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Sunday 2010

Happy Easter!

My son and son-in-law have spent much (most?) of the day playing/working with Lego Mindstorm - and having a great time. They showed me video they're going to edit and put on YouTube.

It's been a beautiful Easter Sunday. I grilled burgers, relaxed and spent some time with my family, walked to the grocery and back to get coffee, and did I mention that I relaxed?

Now, I'm taking a break from work: getting things set up for Monday's tasks.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Mouse? A Really Big Mouse?

I got finished with my tasks a bit late yesterday. Fridays are challenging, sometimes, since one of my 'creative' blogs has a post due then. And, as often happens, I had nothing in the net when I trawled my imagination until rather late. So I wrote about ducks.

The rest of the family was quite sensibly in bed by that time and the lights were out on the 1st (ground) floor where my desk is. Except for my task lighting and a light in the kitchen.

It's quiet at night in this neighborhood: except when there's an event at the school. But that's another topic.

Anyway, I heard something. In the living room. A sort of skittering sound. In the dark.

Okay: once, it might have been a pile at one of the kids' workstations sliding into a more stable configuration.

I heard it again. Definitely a skitter. And another sound: something sliding? It didn't last long enough for me to identify.

A mouse. Maybe. They get in, sometimes, in the fall: and we'd had at least one in residence in the early winter. We couldn't catch it. Them? I think they're getting smarter.

I heard it again. Sounded like a mouse. Sort of. A big mouse.

There it was again. A really big mouse.

I was not at all sleepy by then.

Since I wanted to pinpoint its location and at least identify the critter before taking further action, I didn't want to spook it: so I left the light off.

And waited.

After hearing a whole lot of skitters and shuffles, and another possible sliding sound, I had a pretty good bearing on the source of the sound.

Whatever it was, it sounded like it must weight several pounds.

A five-pound mouse??

It wasn't entirely dark: some light comes in from the kitchen. Which wasn't all that reassuring. I might not have seen a mouse, in the direction I was looking, but I'd have expected to see some trace of a critter weighing upwards of two or three pounds - assuming that it was moving around.

Nothing. I saw nothing.

Finally, around 4:00, with skitters not happening quite as frequently as they had at the peak, a few hours previously, I decided that whatever it was, wasn't going anywhere.

And I needed sleep.

Turns out, my wife had decided - correctly, in my view - that since it was so windy out, the rabbit should be let in. She'd moved his enclosure outside yesterday, I'd secured its entry, and Giol had been energetically nibbling grass yesterday afternoon.

So, my wife told our son to tell #1 daughter to go out, put Giol in his carrier, and take him in. Which #1 daughter did: leaving the carrier in the living room and returning to bed.

Without telling me that we now had a pet carrier in the living room, with a rabbit in it.

I hope to get to bed in better time tonight.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

First Robin of the Year

I saw my first robin a few minutes ago, scooting along the yard near the 9th Street curb. That's a nice way to start a day.

"A Nun's Story" - Pretty Good Movie

The family watched "A Nun's Story" (1959) tonight. I hadn't seen it before: and am glad we corrected that oversight.

Other than that, it's been a fairly routine Wednesday: tasks done, Garfield read and all that.
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