Category Archives: Creativity

Get off your duff and lace up your hiking shoes – Wyoming!


Mountains in the Wind River Range, Wyoming Gre...

Yeah, baby! This is what I’m talkin’ about: the unrivaled mountains in the Wind River Range, Wyoming Green Lakes region of the Bridger Wilderness, Briger-Teton National Forest. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Attention all outdoorsy types or outdoorsy wannabes: Hey, if you’re looking for a strenuous, test-yourself sort of outdoor semi-survivalist trek this summer, book the week of July 15 in the Bridger Wilderness in Wyoming.

Six nights of sleeping on the hard ground (but inside a tent away from the mosquitoes), nearly 37 miles of potential blister-inducing huffing-and-puffing trails – all offset by incredible views of the Cirque of the Towers and fly fishing for fresh brookies. They say this is God’s country, and The Almighty hasn’t denied it.

We assemble in Jackson, WY Friday, July 12 (or Saturday, if you prefer just-on-time arrival) and head into the country around noon on Sunday, July 14.

Me doing my pack mule imitation in the Bridger Wilderness a few years back. Tom has helped me lighten the load considerably.

Me doing my pack mule imitation in the Bridger Wilderness a few years back. Tom has helped me lighten the load considerably.

Physically, we’ll be in the Southern Half of the Bridger Wilderness near Big Sandy, which is southeast of our favorite town, Pinedale. We’ve been doing this foolishness for years. (You might wonder, and rightly so, ‘what the hell does this have to do with his weekly letters to Ellen and Reid?’ Well, a guy has to have something to write about.)

Seven or so objects of our affection. We are mostly catch-and-release hikers, but keep some brookies for supper.

Seven or so objects of our affection. We are mostly catch-and-release hikers, but keep some brookies for supper.

We stumble back out on Friday, July 19 and lick our wounds over cold beers and burgers (bison, we hope) at the renown Wind River Brewing Company on West Pine Street in Pinedale before further licking our wounds (after soothing showers, of course) once we get back to Jackson. We wistfully fly out on Saturday. (When you make your flight arrangements, pick a window seat on the right side of the plane. On the approach into Jackson, you’ll see why giving up an aisle seat was worthwhile.)

Me and my boy Tom (The Beast Walker) Bohr

Tom (Beast Walker) Bohr has walked the Appalachian Trail, across Spain and the guy is a pro.

Tom (The Beast Walker) Bohr has solo hiked the length of the Appalachian Trail in a single pass, trekked across Spain and the guy is a pro. Ain’t no mountain he can’t climb.

will handle ground arrangements (it means we rent an SUV) and hotel stuff in Jackson and Pinedale. We need to know your Continue reading

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Set the bar low…


People ask what Ellen looks like, so here she is with hubby Tim up to their knees in Wisconsin trout waters.

No doubt some of you – maybe all of you – have rolled your eyes at some of the sub-trivial fluff I foist on the kids and other unwitting recipients.

I don’t hold myself in very high regard as a writer.  What comes out, comes out.

My dire self assessment aside, the goal has never been to set the bar high as high art.  Instead, my goal is really to stay out of my own way and just get the letters out the door on the appointed day.  To achieve “high art’ is not in my meager skill sets.   It would seem to imply that art supersedes the doing and that the writer’s sense of self-importance surpasses the expectation(s) of the recipient(s).  In neither case is that true.   High art also takes time, suitable inspiration and untold revisions, all of which further implies a pursuit of creative perfection which, if you’ve read my onslaught of letters, is in no danger of being eclipsed.

I’ve set the bar low and am pretty much content with such lowness.  Some days might be higher than others, but not by much.

—————–

The Charlotte Observer ran my first column this weekend.  As my age will attest, my beat will be narrowly focused.

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2010/10/23/1778133/having-the-talk-with-aging-parents.html

———–

Here is last Monday’s letter to Ellen and Reid.

October 18, 2010

Ellen/Reid: Ellen, what is this with your car windows being smashed?  I thought your little neighborhood was relatively immune to such nonsense.  What a way to start your Sunday morning.  Was the car in the garage or on the street (Tim’s new rig is likely in the garage, isn’t it?)?  Just make sure you keep stuff out of sight since that’s how most of these car-invading hooligans decide to break in to your car instead of others.

My weekend was far less adventuresome than yours.  Felicia and I rode to Maggie Valley, NC in search of the ‘Wheels Through Time’ museum of ancient Harleys.  It was wonderful, and I’d go again in a heartbeat, but the real star of the trip was the trek through the mountains.  The leaves and the scenery were incredible and the traffic was nil.  That’s quite a change from my last leaf-looking trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway a couple of years ago.  This went through canopied twisty roads alongside streams, and you can tell Tim we saw lots of fly fisherpeople all along the route, and secretly, I wish I’d been among them.  The route took us northwest out of picturesque Hendersonville, NC west on state road 64 and then a right turn onto state road 276.  One of the best roads ever for riding.  The museum was just a scream.  I’d guess the guy had 100+ old Harleys and Indians and other makes strewn all over the place.  But half the fun is looking at the old memorabilia such as newspaper clippings, posters, letters, and other assorted stuff.  It was just a lot of fun.  It was a cold ride in the morning but got nicer as the day went along.  Had BBQ in Maggie Valley at some place called Butts on the Creek.  It was pretty good, not the best, but just pretty good.

Reid, Nebraska choked in the Texas game.  The Big Red came in all hyped up but came out like Little Pink (a name from Bob F____________).  On the ride I was kicking myself for not recording the game but in hindsight it was a good thing.  Your uncle must’ve been a basket case at the game.  He would’ve been beside himself, and I pity the poor person sitting next to him, in front of him and behind him.  Your grandfather probably rotated in his grave.

My lengthy interview last week has gone for naught.  I made the second cut but not the third.  In most interviews you typically rue making comments you wish you wouldn’t have made and that was true in this case.  I had nosed around with people about their impressions of _______, and was trying to relate that their views didn’t necessarily mesh with what I’d learned about the firm.  I just didn’t communicate that very well to the person who mattered most.  I inadvertently irked the hiring manager and it was instantly apparent that I was out the door – and I still have five other people to talk to.  But that’s just the way it goes, although it was a firm I would’ve liked to get to know a little better.

But things are going along as well as could be expected here at the bank.  I like the new situation, and while it’s just a temporary layover to whatever is next, it’s a daunting task.  The technical aspect of legal letter writing is overwhelming.  You really have to be on point and organized to orchestrate a letter which alternately recognizes the customer’s problem but doesn’t do anything to further irritate them.  They’re likely irritated enough already.  But it’s a challenge and that’s okay.

No real word from the place where your grandmother is staying.  I’ve been a complete absentee in that I’ve not called her as much as she deserves.  My pre-New Year’s resolution is to begin, this week, to call her 2-3 times each week.  She may not remember the calls but I’ve just been a schmuck on that score.  You guys should write her a note now and then because the staff will read them to her.   Gotta run, but keep your phones on for further text messages.

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A public display of private affection…


Today's letter to mom before it was tucked into the envelope. Some aren't sure if letters to her are worthwhile. Not me. If a letter gives her a few minutes of enjoyment, what's wrong with that?

A blog is an odd beast.  It is an open book to whatever the topic is.  Although mine has yet to catch on with the masses, in theory this post could make its way around the globe in the time it would take you to read this whole shebang.  Maybe faster.

What is doubly weird is that this blog is all about what would be, under most normal circumstances, a highly private matter – the personal correspondence between a father and his children.  But here they are, reams of letters, for all to see.

As it has occured to others, how do I reconcile a public display of private affection that others can see, too?  That is a fairly pointed, but fair, question.

I guess the short answer – you will be spared the long version – is that this whole exercise is an object lesson on how one dad goes about the business of family business.  By necessity, you ought to see what the hell I’m talking about in the most graphic of terms – the literal pages themselves.  I’m not above slicing out paragraphs that are solely intended for Ellen and Reid only.  I’ve done so with regularity.  You see most of the dirty laundry but not the whole washer load.  That might change, but not right now.

—————–

Bridger update: The list of tentatives continues to grow.  If everyone went who has voiced an interest, we’d be at 10 right now.  I’m going to do two things: there is a rustic ranch B&B on the outskirts of Pinedale that will provide affordable rooms the night(s) before the trip.  They might also help arrange pack animals (horses or llamas) but I do not know the pricing.

——————–

My brother thinks my letters to my mother are a waste of time.  The staff at her facility don’t think she grasps everything.  But she doesn’t have to grasp it all.  She just has to grasp a few things.  So, I will continue sending a Friday letter to my mother.  Here is today’s letter to her.

October 22, 2010

Mom: We are smack in the middle of Indian summer here.  The weather has been glorious.  Not too hot, not too humid, just right.  I see that the weather in Grand Island is pretty good, too.

Man, Nebraska really got taken to the cleaners by Texas.  I thought for sure that was a game the Big Red would win in a cakewalk.  But nothing should surprise us any more about that team.

Ralph says you’re doing pretty well these days.  That is good to hear.  And it was good to talk to you the other day.  I need to do a better job of calling you.  I promise to do better.

Been riding the Harley a lot.  It’s much more fun to ride when the weather is cool but not rainy.  Rode through the mountains last weekend and it was very pretty.  The leaves are changing and the mountain streams looked clear and cold.  There was not as much traffic on the roads as I thought there might be.  That made for pretty good riding.

I have to admit to having ice cream these last few days.  I went to the grocery store the other night and made a trip down the ice cream aisle.  They had some on sale and I wilted.  It makes me feel guilty to eat it but it sure tastes good.  It’s all gone now.  Urp.

Now that it’s cooling down around here it’s time to begin to bake bread again.  My house just gets too hot when the oven is on during the warmer days.  But with the temperatures cooling it makes the kitchen that much more comfortable for baking.  I should send you a loaf or two.

Looks like I will be in Minneapolis for Thanksgiving to see both Ellen and Reid.  My plane ticket was bought this week and I’m really excited about going.  Ellen has already told me that I’ll be the chief cook for the weekend and Reid wants to help with the cooking, too.  He’s pretty good around the pots and pans.  Ellen isn’t much of a beef lover so it will be turkey the entire time, although her main request is for me to make breakfasts.  It’ll be pancakes, waffles, scrambled eggs and bacon.  Her husband Tim can eat like a horse, as can Reid, so there will be no shortage of food.  I’m glad you will be in Ralph and Gayle’s house for the holiday.  Maybe there is a chance Joe will get out there, too.

Things are going fine at work.  Busy and hectic, but there’s nothing new about that.  I like what I’m doing these days but there’s a lot of it to do.  You be good, stay warm, and watch for another phone call real soon.

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Being different…


Bryan's "designer" cast. He has limited sympathy for Bob's texting injury.

A friend of mine posted a message a few days ago on my seldom-visited Facebook page about a recent blog post, and I just got around to taking a look at her message today. It was a nice note, and I really appreciate Jane’s concern and support.

My tardiness could mean one of several things; A) I err by expecting others to instantly read my posts yet can’t take the time to read the messages of others, B) I don’t spend much time roaming the Facebook landscape and C) Facebook doesn’t hold a lot of interest for me.  I hope ‘A’ isn’t entirely true, but I think ‘B’ and ‘C’ hold smidgens of truth.

Make no mistake, I am a gnat bite on the globe-sized entity that is Facebook.  Part of my reluctance relates to time; recently, a local mother made news when she banned her teen daughter from Facebook for a week.  The young girl claimed withdrawal symptoms from her four to six hour a day Facebook habit.

Bob sports his real cast. Empathy, let alone sympathy, have been hard to come by.

It’s hard to spend one hour, let alone the young woman’s four to six hours, on anything every single day.  Sure, I like to know what people are up to but there is an intimacy that is missing online.  At least my obsessing with letters can be measured in minutes, not hours.  Perhaps it’s my way of being different.

—————–

Bridger update: Two more inquiries have come in.  The able-bodied Reid looks to be on board, too.  FYI…airfares from Charlotte to Denver appear to be in the $430 range, and $528 round trip to Jackson Hole.  Denver is a sturdy but esthetically pleasing 5-6 hour drive to Pinedale, WY while Jackson Hole is roughly two hours.

————–

October 11, 2010

Ellen/Reid: Well, it seems I’m in danger of becoming one of “them.”  By them, I mean a Southerner.  Because in the last few weeks, I’ve cooked okra twice (it’s pretty good) and also fixed up a mess of fried green tomatoes (also better than you might think), finally got a North Carolina license plate for the Harley, watched some NASCAR (just a few minutes), and while tooling around on the bike stopped by fields for a first hand look at peanuts and cotton.  On one stretch of road saw some tobacco over yonder but we didn’t stop.  I don’t think anyone down in these parts will ever confuse me for a local but the assimilation is happening as we speak.

I’m starting to learn where towns are like Florence, Laurinburg, Chester and Reidsville.  What I do know after this weekend’s bike ride is that there are no, or hardly any, straight roads in the entire region.  It is as if state road planners dyed a pot of spaghetti and poured it out on a large piece of paper.  Where ever the spaghetti hit the paper was the road scheme.  We rode to Danville, VA on Saturday, and according to Mapquest, the trip was roughly 150 miles.  That’s a shade over two hours at Interstate speed.  But the trip took nearly five hours because, without exaggeration, we took no fewer than 15 different roads to get there.  There weren’t enough bread crumbs to help us follow the path.  I couldn’t replicate it now by memory if I had to.  It was just bizarre.  Felicia and I laid the road maps for North Carolina and Iowa side by side.  It was hilarious.  Iowa was almost totally a grid of north-south, east-west straight lines, while North Carolina was a literal jumble of roads.

I’m going to make my plans for Thanksgiving this week.  Ellen, I will likely get up there on Tuesday because I’m late enough in making plans that all the Wednesday seats are filled.  Part of me would like to drive to get the stink blown off but let me see what the airfares are.  I’m excited to see your refurbished digs and the new furnishings.  Reid and I can handle all the cooking and whatnot.  That will be our role as guests.  Glad to hear you have a touch because mine is where a fair amount of my sleeping is done.

Your uncle did all the work to rid much of your grandparent’s house of stuff this past weekend.  He wasn’t too pleased that I wasn’t there to help him out but as a practical reality it just wasn’t a reality for me to be there.  All of your stuff is in the basement of a friend of mine, Pete Z__________, who was nice enough to hold it until you, or your mom, can get to Omaha to retrieve it.  I e-mailed your mother to see if she could help but she won’t be back in the Midwest until past the middle of December, so we’ll lean on Pete to hold your stuff a little bit longer than we might otherwise want.  Ellen, this includes the china, and Reid, this includes whatever it was you picked after the funeral plus some kitchen stuff Ralph and Gayle thought you might need to stock your new little kitchen.

My cousin Tom was the first to step up and say “yes” to a trip to the Bridger Wilderness at the end of July in 2011.  He’s always been an outdoor guy and the drive isn’t too onerous from his home in Eugene, OR.  It’s closer than Charlotte, that’s for sure.  I’ve got room for 8 to 12 folks so if either of you want to go backpacking…Ellen, you could even bring Henry along for the hike.  He’d love it.

Well, I’m gonna sign off for now as there’s a conference call on tap in about an hour that I have to prep for.  As soon as the T-Day plans are known, you two will be the first to know other than me.

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A beat down on my book…


My friend Bob has reaped what he's sewn. A post-op picture of his swanky new cast, a result of rampant over-texting.

A couple of years ago I spent days, weeks and months on a book manuscript about my years of writing to Ellen and Reid.  It was chock full of helpful advice and tasty tidbits and what I presumed were fatherly witticisms.  A sure-fire best seller, I thought.  Who wouldn’t buy such a gem?

Well, I can name at least three non-purchasers: my former A.P. national editor Norm and my good friends Julie and Jenn.

That’s because when their edited copies came back, I knew the book was DOA.  They put a beat down on the manuscript.  To say they “hammered” the draft puts it mildly.  A lead balloon cannot sink any faster than my deflated hopes for publishing success.  Proving again the old journalistic adage that the greatest joy is editing someone else’s copy, their editing pens probably ran out of ink.

As I look back, of course they were correct.  The book was bad.  The three slice & dicers played their roles perfectly.  Editors are of no use if they pull punches.  The best editors are the harshest.  And this trio was the best of editors.  So much for my grand illusions as a book writer.  Poof.

Yet I remain undeterred.  After an appropriate period of gestation (and for mourning), I have mentally regrouped.  The book will make a U-turn in approach and tone.  The redraft is underway, and per the scribbled notations of Norm, Julie and Jenn,  it will be devoid of the preachy lectures and inanity that drove them batty.  Hell, it drove me batty, too.

—————

Bridger Wilderness update: Our small band of hikers is growing.  Although an asterisk will go by their names, Jill and Troy Aleong* from Charlotte are tentatively on board.  Tom Andersen of Eugene, Oregon is our fourth walker.  The trip is set for the final full week in July, 2011.

—————-

Here is the typical Friday letter to my mom.  I hope the staff at her care facility keep reading the notes to her.  They say so, but there’s no real way of knowing.

October 15, 2010

Mom: I literally gave up on dinner last night.  I punted.  It boiled down to pancakes nuked in the microwave and peanut butter.  The peanut butter was on crackers, not the pancakes.  But it was the best I could do with the energy I could muster.  There was a grand plan earlier in the day to grill a burger but the meat stayed frozen and I went for the easiest thing available.  You eat better than I do.

Spend most of last night on my church newsletter.  Been doing it now for a couple of years.  It’s the one smidgen of creative work I do every month and it keeps me occupied and out of trouble although my pastor would beg to differ.  He gives me free reign and that’s fine by me.  It probably takes somewhere in the 20 to 30 hour range every month.  Hope the guy upstairs takes notice.

It has really cooled down.  We’re not in the 30s yet like you guys have been but it is a noticeable drop in temperatures.  Why, I even had to wear a jacket to work the other morning.  This weekend I’ll fire up the bike and head West and I will be sure to wear my leathers to ward off the cold.  It really is a beautiful time of year down this way.  I will avoid the “mountains” because all the leaf watchers will be out by the tens of thousands, clogging up the roadways as they gaze at the trees.  If the bike had a horn, I’d honk those slow pokes out of my way.

Good news for Reid.  He got a raise at his job, and they shuffled him around to give him some new big advertising accounts.  He’s pretty excited about it, and there’s some hope that he might get a real promotion in the not too distant future.  That kid is going to end up being a Chicagoan although he makes noise about moving to New York City every now and then.  As I tell him, kid, you don’t make enough money to visit New York, let alone live there.  But it would be a good time of life for him to be a little adventurous.  Heck, it would give me a reason to venture to New York to see him.

Ellen continues to battle through the educational turmoil.  Her first round of parent-teacher conferences were this week and I’ll be anxious to know how those went.  She must be a really good teacher because she spends a lot of time at the school working on lesson plans and things like that.  She just loves it.  I wish I’d paid a little closer attention to the teachers I had.  They must not have inspired me.

Nebraska is doing pretty well in football.  I know this because all the football experts on TV are saying what a good team they have.  The teams down this way are mostly lousy, especially the pro team (the Carolina Panthers) which has yet to win a game.  They are really, really bad.  El-stinko.  At least I don’t have tickets.  Heck, I don’t even watch it on TV.  Well, I’m gonna wrap things up.  Stay by the phone because I will call you real soon.  Keep eating that ice cream for me.

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Book the Bridger: July 24-30, 2011…


 

Okay, you saw this aerial view of the Bridger Wilderness a couple of weeks ago. But it's the best I have. Beautiful, but moderate, terrain.

 

A couple of posts ago, I said the Bridger Wilderness in Wyoming is my favorite place in the Lower 48.

I wasn’t kidding.  And now, you have a chance to see if I’m right.

Featuring six nights in the backcountry from Sunday, July 24 through Friday, July 29, 2011, I (and I hope to enlist Reid’s help as co-organizer) am assembling a backpacking trip in the Bridger for eight to 12 souls who are game for a wilderness experience.

We assemble in Pinedale, WY and hike the Northern half of the Bridger.  We will walk 3 – 5 miles per day (two to four hours) over moderate terrain.  I’ll pull all the food together (everyone carries their share).  Maximum altitude is probably 11,500 ft.  Any adult who is in moderate shape can handle this trip.  Incredible vistas.  Lots of good fishing, including Golden Trout in some high-country lakes.

If you’re interested, e-mail me or respond to this post.  It is an incredible place.

—————–

Here is today’s letter to my mom.

October 8, 2010

Mom: Last night I watched the Nebraska-Kansas State game and not a whole lot has changed.  When the going gets tough for NU, I turn the channel or get up and walk out of the room or just turn the TV off.  I’ve always been that way and probably will be forever.  Your other son is exactly the opposite in that you can’t pry him away from the tube.  But there wasn’t too much anxiety since Nebraska rolled all over K-State.

Been also watching the baseball playoffs and none of my teams – the Twins, Tampa or Cincinnati have done worth a darn so far.  Since Ellen lives in Minneapolis/St. Paul I sent her a message on her phone about the game, and she wasn’t even aware there was a game.  She’s just never been into those kind of sports.  Of course Reid follows the Chicago Cubs, and they will never amount to anything ever.  Cubs players are already on an extended vacation.

My tomato is at the end of its useful life.  The growing season here is rapidly drawing to a close although there are some little red tomatoes that just need a couple more days of ripening and they’ll be ready.  Down in these parts they fry green tomatoes (I’ve done it and they do taste good) so that’s how the remaining non-ripe tomatoes will end up on my plate.

One of my favorite neighbors, Mike, moved out yesterday.  He’s moving to San Antonio and he was a good guy.  He worked at the bank, too, and was a dedicated Harley rider.  In fact, he sent me a message this morning that he kept his bike out of the moving truck and is riding all the way to Texas.  Good for him.  That would be relaxing and fun.  Maybe some day I’ll haul my Hog out of the garage and ride out to Grand Island to see you guys.  That would be a lot of fun.

Things are going okay at the bank.  It’s a stressful time, what with all the foreclosures and stuff like that.  It’s tough on people to deal with, and I don’t mean those of us who are workers but the folks who are losing their homes.  It’s really hard to watch some of those things go on.  We’ll help them when we can but some are just too far gone.

I’m baking chicken in the oven tonight along with some Idaho potatoes.  I’ll dust it with a little flour laced with some spices.  I seem to have fallen into a rut where I cook chicken one night, rice the next night, tacos another night, and pasta the other night.  It all tastes okay but I need to expand the menu a little bit.  Hope your food tastes pretty good.  You sure wouldn’t want me to be cooking for you guys.

Well, that’s it from Charlotte.  Be good, stay warm now that the weather is cooling, and I’ll talk to you before much longer.  Have an ice cream cone for me.

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Relaxation when you can…


The usual sticky pad with cryptic notes for last Monday's letter to the kids. It will be posted on Sept. 20.

There are times from the past couple of months when its been a real struggle to decompress.

A hundred or so posts ago, I went off on a tangent on how extraordinarily relaxing Monday letters (any letter for that matter) were for me.  It’s even more so now.  You grab moments of relaxation when you can.

I’m no shrink, but you don’t need to lay prone on an office couch at $125/hour to know internalization is not a good thing.  Get it out, and get it out often.  Ellen and Reid have felt the brunt of the getting out.  None of it has been down-for-the-count stuff.  Rather, its more here’s-where-I-am-at-the-moment, plus the oft-mentioned assurance that things ultimately will be okay and whatever course I’m now on is just another detour toward whatever is at the end of the (job) road.

I dawdled on the Monday letter and took my own sweet time.  Whereas it was formerly a six to 10 minute sprint, now I’m trying to figure out how to stretch the pleasurable part to 15 minutes.  From there, I’ll aim for 20.

——————

You know what Wednesday means.  Another blast from the past.

September 6, 2004

Hey, you guys:

Reid, honestly, we were glad you used the fire pit when your friends were over here.  Really, it was all good fun and food (usually paid for by us) and everyone seemed to have a good time telling stories and swapping lies.  We didn’t ask a lot in return (other than everyone’s car keys.)  Still, imagine our dismay when, after months of sitting underneath the green plastic cover, what to our wondering eyes should appear but a mold encrusted, stinky, half-charred and decaying pizza box PLUS several shrapnel-ized cans of Guiness that look as if they were exploded by cherry bombs.  Next time, just make sure you empty the fire pit of illicit or funky contents.  Oh yeah, and make sure you tell us when the BBQ tank is empty.

Finally, the Harley has passenger pegs.  What an ordeal.  Part of my own making, part of the dealership’s fault.  Without exaggeration, I made 6 or 7 separate trips to get parts, only to learn that there was still one more minor piece (such as a chrome washer) that was needed.  Geez, now it’s all together.

We were watching TV last night – I was watching, your mom was only partly watching – when a show came on about Kyle Petty’s bike ride across the U.S. to raise funds for children’s hospitals.  ‘Wow’, I thought, ‘that’s neat.  I could be part of a good cause and ride across the country.’  So, this morning I go to his web site.  The cost of a solo rider to take part: $10,000.  I guess I’ll be riding alone.

We ventured on the wild side this weekend by borrowing Holly and Dana’s two person kayak.  We wanted to float the river but decided our maiden voyage would be on the lake in West Des Moines.  It was quite a bit of fun, but the water was super yucky.  We did see lots of birds and stuff.  All the fish had 3 eyes, that’s how bad the water was.  People were fishing but who would want to eat anything out of gunk you can’t see two inches down?  We’ll do more wild stuff next weekend when we go camping with the __________ and everyone else at Lake Keohma.

Spur of the moment events are few and far between but we went over to the ______’s on Friday night to celebrate Stacy’s 46th.  It was a lot of fun.  When you get older, you tend to celebrate more because you know you’re on the downward slide.

I’ve tried to call the “Your 2¢ Worth” column repeatedly, but the mailbox says it’s full.  I was going to leave the message that ‘Hey, I know what the “W” stands for on all those car stickers: Wrong.”  Get it?  If the paper ever runs it, you’ll be the first to get autographed copies.

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