Monthly Archives: August 2015

‘Deep fried on a stick’ and time for Charleston …

It’s time to visit the girls (Emma and Georgia) and the Minnesota State Fair where the most popular booth is the one where they stretch your belt a few notches to accommodate the unique Midwestern style of state fair foods. Hopefully things won’t come to that.


August 25, 2015

Ellen/Reid: Nice job by the stock market the past few days. Can you say ‘tanked?’ Holy smokes. Talk about putting a dent in retirement plans. I guess it’s only money, but man. How the markets operate and the international influences that drag it down are beyond me.

Can’t wait to get to St. Paul with you guys. I wonder what the new “deep fried on a stick” thing is this year. It can’t be much more fattening than whatever they’ve had before; butter, candy bars, etc. Actually I’ve never had anything deep fried on a stick and am not about to start now. I volunteer to push the stroller(s) and watch everyone on rides. Reid, you and Liz ought to go with us. If nothing else there will be incredible people watching.

Had my physical yesterday. Short of blood test results, everything appears to be in good working order; weight, blood pressure, lungs, that sort of thing. Talked to the doc about the sore left knee, but he basically said surgery has its own complications beyond any surgery itself. His advice boiled down to ‘live with it’ unless it’s debilitating. Played tennis last night and it’s sore but not debilitating this morning so that’s a good sign. Ellen, the story of Tim pulling out your stitches sounds hilarious. How come you didn’t go back to the doctor for that even though it’s a simple process?

Not too nervous about the Sept. 14 surgery. I’ve been forewarned it might be a tad disfiguring, at least for the near term, since it’s on the cheek close to the left eye. I’ll keep a low profile until the swelling is down and the bandages are off. It won’t bother me to miss golf for a little while, a week or so, maybe longer. All that matters right now is what the results are. A good friend in my golf group just had similar surgery a week or so ago and I’ll check in on him at Macs tomorrow night to see how he’s doing. He’s a veteran of multiple skin surgeries, too. Ah, that damned sun.

Loved Tim’s photo of your garden produce, Ellen. Hopefully all the raspberries won’t be consumed by Emma by the time I arrive. You sure have good dirt for growing healthy things. Gardening is just such a good thing in terms of produce and relaxation. What I wouldn’t give for a little plot of land to do the same thing. The pots out back are a good substitute but it’s not quite like working the good earth with your hands.

Reid, last Friday’s reunion with our Wyoming crew was fun. You should see the photos Vince took.

Our band of Wyoming hikers (Rebecca, Katy, Vince, Tom and me) cleaned up pretty well. We had our reunion (minus Reid) at Birdsong Brewery near Noda.

Our band of Wyoming hikers (Rebecca, Katy, Vince, Tom and me) cleaned up pretty well. We had our reunion (minus Reid) at Birdsong Brewery south of Noda.

He put together a little show that ran on his laptop. There were a lot of nice shots of you in there. Speaking of photos, be sure to send me a few. Rebecca sent me such a nice ‘thank you’ note. We got to meet her partner, Anna. She’s well along with her pregnancy and she made the right decision to skip the trip. It would have been really hard, especially some of the more taxing stretches on the inward half of the trip.

Went to a meeting of folks who have walked, or intend to walk, the Camino de Santiago in Spain. The momentum is building for that jaunt. My expired passport is sitting on the kitchen counter and I need to get off the snide and turn that beast in for a renewal. Looks like a new photo will be needed but not much else. Tom speaks so very highly of the trek. It would be fun to mix in another little taste of Europe during the visit to Spain. Reid, you can give me your impressions of places that are worth visiting.

It’s time for another visit to Charleston. The weather is moderating and I’m a little miffed that a couple of months has slipped by without a visit to Bowens Island. Reid, wish you could go. And that goes for Tim, too.

Love, Dad


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A walk along the Camino de Santiago …

Some friends have made glowing endorsements of the Camino de Santiago, a relaxed east-to-west hike (can hundreds of miles really be a ‘relaxed’ hike?) across the northern tier of Spain. Looks like I’ll ratchet up plans for just such a jaunt next summer.

That is, if I survive the Minnesota State Fair.


August 17, 2015

Ellen/Reid: Things are in gear for Labor Day in the Twin Cities. Tell Emma that I’ll escort her to the rides but will leaving the twirling and tilting to you and Tim, Ellen. Papa doesn’t want to lose it in front of his granddaughter. The girls look so good these days. It is so wonderful to see little Georgia beaming. She is just such a precious little one. Can’t wait to get up there. The ticket will be purchased today. I’ll come up on Friday night and scoot early Monday morning.

War is declared on the ground squirrels that are munching on my tomatoes. They leave the half-eaten fruit on the ground. This will be a guerrilla fight in the trenches. All they had to do was leave the hard-fought tomatoes alone and we could have co-existed. But that won’t happen now. They wanted a fight, and how the little striped creatures are going to get one. The basil adjacent to the tomato plant remains undisturbed and has made for fantastic pesto. Quite a lot of it has been prepared.

The call came in last week that the program that let thousands and thousands of workers like me work from home is coming to an abrupt end. The bank now sees ‘synergies’ and ‘positives’ by having ‘teammates’ work and collaborate together. This is a thinly veiled plan to use the glut of existing space. Since there’s only one person on my ‘team’ that I can have synergy and positives with, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. There’s a fair amount of grumbling about it. When the bank got on the work-from-home train a few years back, it was to save on energy (gas) and transportation (cars) and parking (now about $140/month). But that forward thinking has evaporated. So they are to move me to an office on the west side of Uptown in mid-November. I may apply for a waiver since I’ll pull the plug in February.

There is a strong chance I may head to Spain next summer for a solo walk of the Camino de Santiago across the northern tier of the country going from east to west. Reid, Tom has done it and two other friends had a great time on the trip this past summer. It’s really the route (there appear to be several routes) followed by pilgrims for many centuries although for me it won’t be as spiritual as it might be for some people. Thousands and thousands of people do this every year, and you walk a leisurely pace and stay in hostel type accommodations. A friend of mine, Richard (he went to Wyoming with us in 2013) cautions me that it is a 5-6 week marathon rather than a hurried walk through. Sort of a stop-and-smell-the-roses type of deal. I’ll probably piggy back it with a side trip to London, Reid, and I might lean on you for some navigational help/directions. I don’t mind doing this on my own. It’ll just add to the sense of adventure. The only nation I’ve been to is Switzerland and I never left its borders for three weeks during the 1982 World Rowing Championships. There is a group here that meets quite often on the Camino and the thinking now is to get my feet wet by attending their meeting tomorrow night.

Reid, I’ve settled on some slip ons for the bike rather than a full exhaust system. This will save me about $500 over a full exhaust system. Ellen, the pictures of Tim and Emma fishing at the Pagoda were so cute. He’s a good dad, and she’s a good daughter. The kayak has been gathering dust for a couple of months now and it’s time it got hauled to Charleston. The paper keeps running photos of big fish caught in the salt flats and I want to join in on that party. Or at least try to join in. As they say, and as Emma found out, you can’t catch fish unless your line is in the water.

Love, Dad

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Payment for sins of the past …

Call it payment for sins of the past.

If those of us with sun sensitive skin could wish it so, we’d probably whisk ourselves back to the late ’60s when baby oil slathered all over bare skin was all the rage in some sort of misguided pursuit of a tan.

Once there, we’d beg off the browning (and blistering) and would opt to wear shirts and hats and maybe long pants. Unfortunately, the only time machine I own is my mind.


August 10, 2015

Ellen/Reid: I’m getting tired of this skin cancer scourge. The surgeon just called. Mon., Sept. 14 at 7:15 a.m. It will be MOHS surgery where they take off layers until they think the blight is gone. They have some concern that it is so close to my left eye. No traveling for a week afterward, they say. Reid, given that you’re in the same family unit, you really should go get checked. You did a pretty good job of covered yourself up in Wyoming, but this disease is all about sins of the past in terms of sun exposure. If nothing else it will give you, Ellen, your mom and me a bit more peace of mind.

Slowly making headway on the recap of the Bridger Wilderness experience. It shouldn’t have taken this long, however, for the thing to be completed. It’s just that once I get rolling, one day becomes page after page. I’ll send it to you both before posting. Reid, be sure to send a select group of pictures. That would be a fabulous inclusion.

Went to a horse show up in the mountains yesterday with a new friend. It was absolutely amazing, both the venue, the Tryon International Equestrian Center, and the horses/riders themselves. Reid, I hope Liz didn’t mind the flurry of photos. It was just an incredible experience. One thing though, the judges don’t cut the riders any slack.

A horse worth six figures makes a routine jump at the Tryon International Equestrian Center. It's quite the place. Reid's significant other, Liz, knows how to do such things.

A horse worth six figures makes a routine jump at the Tryon International Equestrian Center. It’s quite the place. Reid’s significant other, Liz, knows how to do such things.

The rider/horse combo would make what looked like a flawless  routine and then they’d get scored down for “four faults” and we couldn’t quite figure out what the problem was. It is quite the complex with I don’t know how many stables, warm up rings, gigantic television replay screens, a few thousand seats, boutique shops, etc. It is just enormous in scale. Clearly it’s set up for major equestrian events.

Well, there are no tenants on either side of me for the time being. The young woman to the north just moved to Texas this past weekend. In my opinion she sold at way below Continue reading

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A long recount and a grizzly sighting …

We are just over a week removed from walking out of the Bridger, and it already feels an eternity ago. They say you don’t remember pain, and oxygen deprivation while laboring up the steep grade from Lonesome Lake to Jackass Pass is already fading from memory. A word of warning to the easily bored: in another week or 10 days a very, very long day-by-day recount along with photos of the trip will be posted. It won’t be for the faint of heart. Ellen and Reid will see it first, but you’ll be a close second.


August 3, 2015

Ellen/Reid: Reid, at this point exactly one week ago we didn’t know 80+ MPH winds awaited us in a few hours at the top of Hailey Pass. Great pic of you trying to remain upright. That was unbelievable.  You got through all the hiking more than pretty well, and far better than me in many spots (i.e. the slog from Lonesome Lake up to Jackass Pass seemed straight skyward. The steep uphill portions were just excruciating). You and Rebecca each have a strong set of wheels. We just couldn’t keep up the pace. What a day, and a trip, it all was. Gear is strewn about the living room floor; the tents and sleeping bag and dissembled pump are airing out. It’ll be tough to stow all that gear. What was on the horizon for so long is now slipping away in the rearview mirror. I am really sorry about the food, in particular the weak, anemic dinners. There just wasn’t enough planning put into those. There was no variety, no taste, no nothing. It was pathetic. No wonder you went your own way to buy a few, shall we say, tastier entrees than the tepid rice and Indian spices put forth day after day. The breakfasts and lunches would rate a ‘B’ but the dinners would scarcely earn a ‘D.’ That’s how bad those supposed meals were. If we hadn’t caught trout most nights, we wouldn’t have had anything remotely flavorful, let alone enough protein.

Dinner is served. Cutthroats on a makeshift stringer of mountain willow.

Dinner is served. Cutthroats on a makeshift stringer of mountain willow.

As for the trout, those were some of the healthiest brookies in memory. Really filled out and big. You caught some awfully nice ones in the 10-11-12” range. Those are big for the mountains. It was nice to see Vince and Rebecca haul in their first-ever fish. Rebecca has the bug for it and it wouldn’t take long for her to be an accomplished fly caster. She never needed prompting to come to the lake or stream to commandeer the fly rod. I’m writing up an extensive log of it and will post it to my letter blog sometime in the next week or so. The intent was to write on the trail but there either wasn’t enough time or I simply ran out of gas most evenings. Our breaks during the day weren’t really conducive to writing. But in hindsight Continue reading

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