Sunday, September 26, 2010

Signs of the Season

Figaro just loves to sit on top of anyone who will let him
Including ME!
Welcome to Fall!  Wheee!  I love this time of year.  College football everywhere.  Food coming out in pails and buckets.  The horizon chock full of so many colors as if angels had painted the landscape in joyous celebration of the harvest.  Neighbors passing blessings to each other in the street.  There is that fall 'nip' in the air, so very fresh and delightful.  Wind blowing the trees around as if the trees were waving goodnight until spring.  Riding the Harley is wonderful this time of year.  Wearing the full gear is easier now, unlike mid July when even looking at a leather jacket makes you sweat in agony.  And Halloween is almost upon us - BOO!

Cheyenne before Homecoming

Our youngest Cheyenne finally went to the homecoming dance this year.  She was almost giddy with excitement.  She went with a friend from school.  Right now the only "boys" she looks at are the Jonas Brothers.  Boys at school are 'obnoxious' which is actually kind of nice for a change.  Dad doesn't worry about her as much, in part because any boy who wants to take Cheyenne out is going to have his hands full.  Maybe all that grilling is finally paying off.  She is doing well in school, particularly in Algebra.  Unfortunately teachers at school don't like Dad helping with the algebra homework.  If we do it Dads way we miss some of the important lessons, so Dad refrains from helping much.  We get a lot of help from school, and she does quite well to get her studies in order, although we do slip on occasion.  Its those slips that help me step in to teach a bit, and teaching is cool!

Cheyenne (left) Jesse(center) and Katelyn

Jesse, our oldest, is having a bit more of a struggle.  Her boyfriend had some "personal" issues and has left for Ohio.  Consequently there will be no wedding, but as with Cheyenne, it has served Jesse well to remind her of some of life's lessons and how to learn from her mistakes.  She is looking for new work, and hoping to go back to college (Dad WAS right!) and work into paralegal studies at some point.  She has remained quite positive and resilient, and I have seen a definite positive change in her attitude. She has a big heart, and I know she will make it.  Its one of life's negatives she is working into a positive .

As for Mary and I.  Work work work, and when you are done working, work some more! Mary has outperformed most of her management goals by far, but she works a bit more than her body can handle.  I pick up where she can't (my mommy taught me!) and step up the house where I can.  She enjoys being a supervisor, but sometimes it gets a bit hard to work 60 hours and only get paid for forty.  Salaried folks do not apparently get the same overtime perks.  My consulting work has been all but nill, until I got a call last week that work was coming.  Things have been plenty tight with lack of that extra work and all the furloughs I have suffered through, so maybe just MAYBE this will help.  I love what I do, enjoy it immensely!  I think my biggest joy comes from driving through a neighborhood I helped to design.  That's just neat! 

The 2009 Road King Custom at Cedar River Harley in Charles City.
What a beauty and that includes the pricetag.

Riding time has been at a bit of a premium.  Not much time to ride when you are busily tending to the herd.  I did get in about a 400 mile day two weeks ago.  Made a big circle of sorts riding west to Ames, then north to Mason City, on through Waterloo to home.  On the way I stopped at Cedar River Harley.  Found a gorgeous Road King, and they even have one of the newer Electraglide Limiteds on display.  I hope I can figure out how to get my hands on one of those Limiteds soon.  My goal, at least for the riding portion, is to get to Alaska on the Harley by the time I turn 50.  I read an article in a motorcycle magazine many years ago about a guy that rode his Harley from Florida to Alaska, then down along the Pacific Coast Highway to the top of Baha California, then back home.  Not sure I have those kinds of lofty goals, but even if I can get to Calgary, Alberta, what an awesome ride that would be!!!

Peace and Love everybody!!!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Potayto Potahto Tomayto Tomahto

Weather outside is beautimus today!  Where am I?  Working my fingers to the washing machine and cleaning the house.  Mary is at work, the kids are - doing whatever kids do these days.  Bowling started last night - I won't be setting any scoring records again this year.  The Harley is running much better, although longer rides are giving me a sore bum.  A new seat would cure that, but that budget was eaten in the repair bill I had to fork out last month.  Its Labor Day weekend, and the firemen are out in drogues with their annual drive for Jerry Lewis and his kids.  Fall is a coming, and its one of my favorite times of the year to be out and about, seeing the natural beauty before the doldrums of winter.

Our trip last weekend to Minneapolis - WOW! What a wonderful time.  Mary and I have never allowed ourselves to do much outside of the workplace or home.  We always felt compelled to work hard to earn our keep, although THAT lesson took awhile to sink in.  This trip was a reminder and a breath of fresh air.  First the concert.  The setting could not have been more perfect.  80 degrees, a bit of a breeze but not too bad.  The band - Rush - far exceeded my every hope.  Even new material from any band can be a surprise, but these guys have almost 40 years together, and I have never seen a tighter, or better sounding band.  The best part was the venue.  It is an outdoor arena, the weather was perfect, and the last half of the show was illuminating from none other than a waxing gibbous moonrise!  How cool is that?  The only bad side was some idiot, and I say this with utter disgust, had to be chased down by 6 police officers and several security teams right in front of me as the last number was being played.  It took 8 people to get this person under control, and by then the band was already thru most of the encore.  That put aside, the band left me a great memory and a renewed spirit.

On our return trip, Mary and I stopped at a local diner called Mickeys.  Its one of those diners ran from the confines of a tram car.  Located in downtown St. Paul, it appears to have a sizeable customer base.  While the food was good, I did watch the cook in his preparations.  I noticed a large metallic pitcher that he was using, but didn't quite know what it was for, until he pulled a large container of lard out and began spooning the lard into this pitcher.  Now - I ordinarily don't have much issue with lard, if its used in moderation, but this was different.  The pitcher was used to melt the lard, and then he poured the entire contents of lard into the hash browns, causing my stomach to flutter and my gout to scream!  I paid the price for my meal, both literally and figuratively.  It took the better part of three days to recover, and I can honestly say lard does NOT sit well with my stomach.

We did see a couple of "sights" so to speak.  Downtown St. Paul is literally loaded with attractions, but the ones that really struck me were the churches.  One in particular is the Cathedral of St. Paul, whose foundation began in June 1907.  It is the highest structure in St. Paul, and is located very close to downtown. On October 14, 1958, it was consecrated by Archbishop William O'Brady, securing its place among the premier houses of worship in the United States.  This is a wonderful testament of faith that stands within just a few blocks of downtown.  I highly recommend a visit to this place, and I will make it a regular stop on my return trips to that city.  All in all we counted six different churches standing in their architectural grace, not to mention the various spires and statues that grace the landscape.  St. Paul reminds me a bit of another town, but that's another story.

Of course, upon our return, things just seem to not be going as well.  I may be forced to close my consulting business because there is simply no work.  We received a "you owe us" gram for some company I have never heard of (oh Mr. Attorney!). Mary went thru another pain procedure on her back.  Its been 9 months since her last one, but these procedures always make me nervous.  I have also been reading about faith in the morning.  Something about starting the day off right by first praying and then moving to the routine of the day.  I can honestly say in three weeks of doing that, things have only gotten worse, not better.  Work at the office is not going well, either.  Sometimes you can tell who your supporters are just by how they greet you in the morning, and lately only a couple of the brass are even saying anything at all.  Whine as I may, I suppose things could be worse.  Certainly if you asked those miners in Chile they might sober us all up a bit!

So - maybe its time to ride.  Have a great weekend everyone.