Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Change is in the air …

Changes – and that’s a real big knock on wood – are afoot. Ellen and Reid got a whiff of the possibilities in this letter; they also got some phone call updates this past weekend. If nothing else, it will give us plenty to talk about at Thanksgiving in St. Paul. And more fodder to write about, too.

November 13, 2017

Ellen/Reid: So it appears the plans for Thanksgiving are set. A 2 p.m. dinner with the girls, then dessert over at Liz’s parents. That sounds fun. Reid, tell Liz, Donna and Tom thank you for the dinner invite but that would make two big meals in the space of a few hours and it would have been too much good food even for my healthy appetite. Ellen, I’ll be baking a lot of the day Wednesday, so if there are any special requests, let’s hit the store Tuesday and early Wednesday. Anything Emma and Georgia would like, other than pancakes or waffles? What’s Tim’s holiday schedule at 3M? Is he taking the bulk of the week off? I know it sounds a little odd to be scooting out of town on Saturday afternoon but I thought you guys might deserve a somewhat quieter weekend after all the hustle around T-Day.

It’s turned cold here, perhaps not by your Midwestern standards, but cold nonetheless. I’m telling you, 30 degrees feels downright frigid. It must be our damp air that slices right through you. Golf this weekend was liking teeing it up in an icebox. But golf might be on hold for a bit; somehow I goofed up something just outside my right elbow. Not debilitating by any means, just very sore. So golf is out of the picture at least for a little while. That’s not entirely a bad thing. Some lettuce and spinach was planted last week as a winter experiment; nothing has popped up so far and the expectations for a good crop aren’t terribly high. But there were some surplus seeds were left over from the summer so into the pots they went. I’ve got to make a do-I-stay or do-I-go decision on the house. This three floor thing is killing me. Not literally, but the heat rises so it’s cold during the day when I’m downstairs and warmish upstairs when I try to sleep. Something has to be done. The real estate market is still reported to be fairly hot and the notion of putting the homestead on the market has crossed my mind once more. Now, where to live?

My friend Tom has tossed out the idea of a rigorous hike around Mont Blanc in the Alps. That would derail plans for the Camino in Portugal. His suggestion sounds of great interest and what it will likely do is shove Wyoming back another year since the plan now, as it is, is to make this trip in late July or August.


Portugal may not look exactly like this scene along the Camino de Santiago in Spain, but the vistas can’t be that far different.

But I absolutely have to be back in time for the September wedding of Sondra’s daughter, Chianna. There’s still the notion of a rendezvous with Sondra and Jody in Paris toward the September but that might not be a fiscal possibility for me to both trips in such close proximity. But there’s a long time to go and planning to be done before this is a done deal. Still, Mont Blanc sounds fun. Tom says it’s a pretty tough route. You have to be adventuresome while you’re still able.

Reid, your countdown to Sri Lanka has started. I’ll make amends when we’re in the Twin Cities for Thanksgiving. Damn, kid, you really get around. It’ll be interesting to get your take on the island. The Tamil Tigers were active there for quite a while and I’ll admit to not having paid much attention to the turmoil in that part of the world. That’s gonna be one hell of a trip for you and Liz.

It is also good news, Ellen, about Georgia’s coloboma. She and her eye are going to be just fine. She really looked smashing in those perky little glasses. So stylish in her sweater and specs. Can’t wait to give you and the girls your trinkets from Spain. I hope they like them. There were lots of things to choose from but I couldn’t very well buy anything too heavy or bulky since there was not much room for extra stuff.

Alrighty, time to sign off for a Monday. I’ve subsisted on C+ chili for the past few days and it’s time to dream up some other recipe. There’s no telling what that will be but it will be something different. Gotta sharpen up the feeble cooking skills before we put it all on the line for Thanksgiving.

Love, Dad


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The week that was…

Alas, trips long in the planning come to an end all too soon. All you have are the memories of a week that was.


December 9, 2013

Ellen/Reid: Damn, that Thanksgiving extravaganza in Hilton Head went by too fast. You were all there, and then, just like that, you were gone. Those are the sorts of trips that we’ll remember, as much for Emma ruling the roost as you, Reid, working until all hours on computer/geek stuff. Really, I was sweating bullets with all the gloom-and-doom weather

Reid and his niece Emma take a spin along the shore at Hilton Head. Dad was on foot. All the better to watch my crew whiz by.

Reid and his niece Emma take a spin along the shore at Hilton Head. Dad was on foot. All the better to watch my crew whiz by.

forecasts about people being stranded in airports, etc. Even if you got in a bit later than expected, you still got in the same night. Nothing beats cooking for you guys and hearing you all yammer at once (when you’re not checking your mobile devices, of which I am also guilty). By our standards the weather was paltry, but for you Midwesterners it must have felt almost balmy. It was so much better than what you had at home. The offer of the timeshare is still open for either of you but as you know, some advanced warning and a range of dates are needed. If you want to conspire on a joint week, be my guest. I don’t have the foggiest about which unit you will ultimately get, but it would be one in the vicinity. Hard to beat Hilton Head for just Continue reading

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What I would have said…

There was no letter last week to Ellen and Reid. The kids were coming to Hilton Head Island for Thanksgiving; there was no need to write.

But as I watched them play, relax and laugh (and try to manage the high-high-high energy of Emma), I wondered what I would have written had my keyboard been in front of me as I witnessed a daughter and son be themselves. It might have – or should have – gone something like this:

Nov. 28, 2013

Ellen and Reid: I’m trying to think of the last time I wrote the words ‘I love you’ to the two of you, and nothing comes to mind.

But I do love you both very much. Tim and Emma and Liz, too. As I watched you riding bikes

Ellen, Tim, Emma and Reid cruise an all but desert beach.

Ellen, Tim, Emma and Reid cruise an all but deserted beach.

and walking and cautioning me against that extra piece of pie, I couldn’t help but think how swell you guys have turned out.

You make your mom and me proud of not only your professional lives, but how you’ve turned out as

Not that their parents are in the rear view mirror, but Ellen and Reid have rolled on with their lives. I like that.

Not that their parents are in the rear view mirror, but Ellen and Reid have rolled on with their lives. I like that.

people. That is probably the big thing; how you care for others, your sensitivity to those with less, your sense of fair play and your plain smarts. You’ve gotten by without us, but isn’t that the point?

You have given us a lot to be thankful for, not only today, but in your formative years gone by and most likely the years ahead, too. So let me say ‘thank you’ for who you are and who you each have become.

Allow me to look ahead to Christmas but not from the angle of gifts; you gave me everything this weekend in Hilton Head. There’s nothing else a proud dad needs or wants.



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All the News That’s Fit to Print…and it’s too bad most of it is bad

All the News That’s Fit to Print” reads the front page of the New York Times. The same goes with the letters, I suppose. I’m sorry that so much bad news has to be shoehorned into a single page.


November 18, 2013

Ellen/Reid: Last week was just one hell of a bad week. When it rained, it poured – by the bucketful.  Reminded me of 2010 all over again, a year I didn’t ever want to repeat. Overwhelming feelings of loss, first for aunt Mary, then your uncle’s law partner.

As soon as cousin Tom called with the news, I booked a flight to Portland. It really was important that your uncle and I be there to represent us. Mary was the last tie to an older generation of Andersens and Bradleys, and now there’s just the children left. Then I came down with this damned cold which floored me from Wednesday onward, and I’m still feeling lousy this morning. My intent was to make the go/no go decision about 3:30 Saturday morning, but as soon as I got out of bed, I knew instantly that there was just going to be no way. The cost of the ticket was really of no consequence. Tim took my call about me backing out of the trip, and I knew he was disappointed but I just felt so lousy. I liked Mary so much and it was so disheartening to miss the chance to tell your cousins the same thing in person. I hope we get to see them again under different circumstances vs. the somber events that have brought us together the last few times.

Then came the news about the killing of your uncle’s law partner, Todd Elsbernd. He was such a good guy and had been with Ralph for about 20 years. I don’t know all the details but it appears it was a targeted slaying. Todd had stepped out of his office for the day when some guy shot him in the back from a nearby parking lot. It turned out to be some disgruntled former client still upset about a divorce case from several years ago. The shooter also apparently murdered his ex-wife that same day. Ralph’s taking it quite hard. I’ve only talked with him briefly but you can tell from his voice that the shooting has had a significant impact on him. It’s hard to even imagine something so horrific happening to anyone at any of the place’s where we work, let alone in Grand Island, Nebraska. I don’t know. It just seems that are so many crazy people out there with guns. That could be because there are just too many guns out there, period. One of the first things that came to mind right after the killing was “Is Ralph being targeted, too?” I tried to call him several times but he was already working with authorities to piece together what happened and why. He said it was the first time in his years of legal work that he feared for his safety.

In a way, all of this will put Thanksgiving into that much more perspective.

Even the pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving came out bad. I'll be back in the kitchen later today to try, try again. Usually I eat my mistakes but I don't know about this brace of so-so results. There's not enough whipped cream to turn these two into something edible.

Even the pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving came out bad. I’ll be back in the kitchen later today to try, try again. Usually I eat my mistakes but I don’t know about this brace of so-so results. There’s not enough whipped cream to turn these two into something edible.

We will have much to be thankful for. The new jobs for you both plus Tim’s new situation at 3M. And little miss Emma, to be sure. Alley and Joe and Andy and Steph are both set to be parents again. So there is plenty of good news for us to celebrate.

My final blog class is this week. There’s a sense of relief about it. I’m just not sure I’m a good blog person. So much of it is sizzle and technology, both of which have sort of passed me by. The content creation is one thing, it’s the other stuff that could be buffed up a fair amount. I’ll have to cross that bridge on it soon enough but it’s probably best for me, and the students, if I stick a little closer to wordsmithing and writing. Reid, you know all of this like the back of your hand.

The city is abuzz about the big game tonight between the previously hapless Panthers vs. the tough Patriots. I’d like to watch the entire game from the comfort of my couch but they don’t kick off until after 8:30 p.m. which means no matter how bad I want to see the ending I’ll be out like a lamp long before the end of the game comes around. I’ll just have to check my ESPN app as soon as I wake up. I’m okay with that. With this cold, I’d rather get my sleep.

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No ice cream but who’s counting the days – hours or minutes?

Well, life can’t be exciting, pedal to the metal, hold-on-to-your-seat and thrill-a-minute all the time. Yeah, I might dream about that faster pace but there is, and will be, long stretches of the hum drum. Such is my life. Nothing even remotely earthshaking in last week’s note.


October 1, 2013

Ellen/Reid: Well, when the shit hits the fan it does so in high volume and the fan is blowing full tilt right towards me. That’s how it feels these last couple of days. Work starts at 6:20 a.m. and I’ve been logging off/calling it a day/surrendering/throwing in the towel at about 6 p.m. with not much to show for it. Such is life. But I’ve got later this month in St. Paul and then Thanksgiving in Hilton Head to look forward to. It will be fun. Reid, I’ll get us a couple of chef’s hats, and maybe one for assistant head cook, Emma.

My new fav hat pretty much sums things up these days. If you want one, let me know. But you gotta be an old dog.

My new fav hat pretty much sums things up these days. If you want one, let me know. But you gotta be an old dog.

The bathroom scale has been a little more truthful these past few days so I’ve pulled back on plans to toss it frisbie style out the top floor window. Morning workouts at the seedy little gym I frequent are entering a third month and there are some results but not enough for real publication. It’s just not as easy to lose weight at this stage of the age game. I suspect it’s the exercise of pushing away from the table that might make the most difference. To my credit, there’s been no ice cream for the last 10 days (and six hours and 47 minutes) but who’s counting?

I really flubbed up on my blogging class at the local community college. I thought it began on Wednesday of last week, but I got a call Continue reading

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The false readings of a bathroom scale…

Maybe it’s my age, maybe it’s my metabolism. One way or another, the bathroom scale and me aren’t in sync.


August 20, 2013

Ellen/Reid: Monday just got away from me, it was go-go-go, so this is written first thing Tuesday morning. It’s another damp, cloudy and – mostly likely – rainy day. Depressing, and more what you’d expect in Seattle. I couldn’t deal with this all the time but we’ll make do.

They talk about August being the ‘dog days’ and they’re not kidding. Really have a case of the blahs and all that goes with it, and there’s a lot. The bathroom scale continues to display blatently false readings

My archenemy awaits to torment me with lies, lies, lies. It's probably too late to return it to the factory for obvious defects.

My archenemy awaits to torment me with misrepresentations and lies, lies, lies. It’s probably too late to return it to the factory for obvious defects.

after hitting the gym, and the zip isn’t there in my workouts or walks. I’m behind on my blogs and no worthy posts come to mind. Maybe it’s the back-assward politics down here. In all, it’s gotta be like running a marathon – you just sort of gain a head of steam to run through that wall, or you at least you figure out a way to go around it. The one thing that I am looking forward to is Thanksgiving with you guys. That keeps me going.

Reid, keep me up to speed on the job thing. Sounds like some good possibilities. The digital world has to be where it’s at these days for a lot of companies who are just now getting their arms Continue reading

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The intellectual side of Reid in Seattle…

Turns out we missed Reid in Seattle by a matter of a scant few days. His visit was a little more eclectic than ours.


Reid at the EMP Museum in Seattle. He's always had a curious and intellectual side to him.  We may not have seen that in his formative years, but we see it now. (Photo: Chase Turner)

Reid at the EMP Museum in Seattle. He’s always had a curious and intellectual side to him. We may not have seen that in his formative years, but we see it now. He was in the NW for a Phish concert with buddies but he took in the cultural portion of the Emerald City, too. (Photo: Chase Turner)

August 5, 2013

Ellen/Reid: Well, you can kiss the greenbelt behind the house goodbye. We got a note from the city zoning department notifying us and other homeowners within 300 feet of the project that the 5.5 acres that is now bordered in solid greenery is being developed into what appear to me to be mega-mansions. It’s quite the downer. Felicia worries about what will happen to the deer we see grazing on our shrubbery, the resident hawk that watches from our pines, and the frogs that relentlessly croak in the uncovered stream right behind us. It’s depressing to think of the canopy going away. More of man’s incursion into the natural world, but I suppose the folks said the same when my neighborhood was developed 20 years ago or so. The only question is where is the lot line for the new development. From the plat they circulated, it might be 50 feet away from the creek, so perhaps not all the greenery will be lost. I’ve called the city about it, but as you would expect, no response thus far. The guy who owns the property is named Phillips, and I see him on a lot of my Saturday and Sunday walks since he’s up early in the morning walking his little dog. I mentioned the sale to him yesterday, and he said his tax bill was $22,000/year which was a little steep for a retiree. I couldn’t grind on him because it’s just the way things go. Let’s hope they don’t scour the land down to the nubbins or at least to the creek. It would be nice to keep some vestige of green.

Played golf three times this weekend and had the same score each time – 82. It could be so much lower but my golf psyche just won’t allow it. My swing is making baby steps toward improvement but isn’t all the way there, yet.

Washington and Oregon seem ages ago. Seems like we were just boarding the plane to head West. I don’t typically buy lottery tickets but perhaps now is the time to try my luck. If I win, you both win.

This starts the third week of working out at the gym. Feeling a tiny bit of improvement although the damned scale has yet to provide independent verification of progress. Maybe it needs to be replaced with a more user-friendly model. Ellen, I did get the coconut oil and will try it this week although it doesn’t sound particularly appetizing to me. I didn’t even know they could extract oil out Continue reading

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