Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Rans and Juruf

Here is Judy on the new Rans Recumbent. You can see the bike, and you can see Judy's determination to ride it. We worked on basic skills for about an hour, and Judy;s abilities and skills visibly improved. She can make a turn and go in a circle now, where she could not do these without stopping when we started. She goes fine in a straigh line, but being able to turn around is a needed skill.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Golf on Frozen Greens

When the weather is clear in Snohomish, can it be any better?

I accepted an invitation to play golf today, and met David at the course at 9:30. We actually started off the first tee at 10:20, so I had some time to practice putting, and even a little chipping. My first hole experience was dismal, and my flight partners wrote me off for a hacker, which if course I am! I did better on hole 2, and occasionally thereafter, and I managed to salvage a bit of my image. I had a couple of holes where I ended up on the wrong side of a line of trees, and I honestly hammered the trees repeatedly with what would have been excellent shots if not for the branches, etc. I actually broke out in guffaws at times, it was so funny. I did make some long putts, and I did hit a fairway wood, but my mid-fairway game is in the toilet. Where did my ability to hit irons go? If it is not a 9-iron shot, I'm screwed.

The temperatures today were something to talk about. The greens were frozen when we started. I'm talking white with frost, grass breaks off where the ball touches it frozen. Surprisingly they weren't terribly fast, and putting was predictable and fun. My partners were about the same ability as me when it came to putting, meaning they missed the same sorts of shots I missed. David did make the long putt of the day, and we all cheered him. When we finished the temp was 43 F, which seemed warmer (especially in the sun), but not actually warm.

My hip and knee got sore, as did my feet. I guess sitting at me desk all day, weeks on end, does not leave me fit for walking for 6 hours. Who knew? Punctuating events of basketball and walleyball don't seem to make the difference. Rats. Do I need to walk around the neighborhood too? Damn.

Tomorrow I am the lay leader of the UU Fellowship service. I have the presentation all ready to go, and the children's story, the readings, and the guided meditation. I guess I'm ready. I plan to use my iPad as the source for the written word. Wish me luck.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Middle February Doldrums

For those who keep track, my leg has been fine. I played walleyball today, and had a great time. No pain, and good movement. I think it is an "in" or "out" condition, and if the socket and leg bone are together, I am fine. Apparently things are currently in alignment.

Today was a day of strange weather. This afternoon we had hail of sorts. It was dramatic and a lot, whatever it was. I ave it on video (I wonder how I am supposed to get that into my blog). It snowed in higher lowlands areas, but not at the house. There were plenty of cars from Arlington and environs with snow on their roofs, blowing off on the trestle.

Judy and Marilyn are cooking together for dinner tonight. Sausage, paprika potatoes, and Nappa Cabbage salad. Maybe a bit of broccoli thrown in for good measure. Another good dinner. Beek, where are you with your progressive cooking plan? Let's see some photos in your blog of amazing and wonderful food. I can't wait.

For the past several nights we have been playing Sequence. This is a game where you use a double deck of cards, and a playing board with images of all the cards and colored chips that you place on the board. As you turn over the few cards in your hand you place your chip onto the board, and try and make lines of chips that are 5 long. This is the sequence. Until last nigth I have been winning all the games, and some by huge margins. It has just been Judy and I, but last night Marilyn joined in. Judy won, and most of the chips were on the board. I had 3 sequences of 4 with interior open cards, and do you think I could draw the cards I needed to win? No! The card Gods hated me last night.

Tomorrow night is BQ, so no evening blog, that's for sure. I will try and get back on Saturday, but if the weather is good, I'll be cycling!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Recumbent Snow Geese?

Sorry for the hiatus. I've been busy, and feeling a bit under the weather. The sinus infection seems to be getting the best of me and I haven't been blogging as I should. I'm taking an antibiotic, which I would have thought would have kicked the bugs in the head and have me back to normal in no time, but it is taking much longer. Damn.

This weekend was an interesting one. On Saturday we took a road trip to LaConnor, a small fishing village on the Skagit River that has remade itself into a vacation spot and fancy boutique shop area. We saw literally hundreds of snow geese sitting in an open field, and 6 bald eagles also on the ground. There were high winds at the time but no rain, and the birds were magnificent. They were a bit far away to take good pictures. Judy tried to take a picture of some geese that were flying overhead against a strong wind, and they were almost stationary in the air above us. Very cool.

We had lunch in a small restaurant on the water, and there were water birds to watch, and boats going by. We wandered after the meal and found a wood item store filled with tons of wonderful wooden items. We looked at the furniture things, but they were ridiculously expensive. The shelf nick-nacks were nice. We settled on a puzzle in the shape of a grizzly bear. It comes apart in about 10 pieces, but inside the main piece there is a secret compartment where a small salmon hides, supposedly inside the bear's tummy. We have it sitting on the mantle, and it looks great.

Sunday was the Seattle Bike Swap, and I wandered around loking for inspiration. I found a Rans Recumbent bike I liked. I is a long wheel base design, in perfect condition, and was offered at a reasonable price. It is sitting in my garage now. I did the Centennial from Snohomish to Lake Cassidy, a round trip of about 22 miles, and it was a good ride. I certainly got sweaty (probably why I am sick today). The muscles needed to ride a recumbent are different than an upright bike, and they are in surprising places. My left butt cheek was sore, which was odd. I averaged about 15 MPH, which I considered to be OK, but I was definitely slower in the last half of the ride. Can I blame my weakened condition on the sense of strenuous activity? Maybe. Maybe I'm just an old wuss, and I need to get used to it! I'm hoping that Judy will like it, and use it to ride with me on the trail.

This week has been hectic so far. Work is busy, and there are lots of things coming up that I need to keep track of. I got a call today about a project in Sacramento that I had honestly forgotten about. It is definitely tangential to what I normally do, so I forgive myself for forgetting, but that doesn't mean that I can blow it off. I need to make trip down there in the next week or so. But next week I'll be in Atlanta again. Damn linear time!

Tomorrow I am in Vancouver BC visiting clients. It is just a day trip, however. I should be home for dinner. Thursday and Friday are predicted to contain snow at our elevation, so travel might need to be local only. I need to go to Portland, so we will see.....

Friday, February 11, 2011

Basketball and a Friday Beer

I haven't played basketball for several weeks, as I hav been suffering from a painful right leg tendon issue. Bicycling doesn't seem to bother it, but at times the twisting and turning of hoops does. It has been feeling better, so I tried it out today. Very nice. I was able to run without pain, and I did. I shot well, scoring several baskets in the first set of games, and the winner in the final set. Most were from 3-point range, which was very satisfying. When younger I used to think that constant practice was needed, and I did practice at home, at school, and so forth. As an adult whose roundball career has seemed to stretch beyond all practical reason, my "skills" seems to have become innate. I practice and that does help, but the determining factor seems more to be attitude, positive thinking, and how I generally feel. I can hit a 20 foot jumper most of the time, but I miss when I am not paying attention, or at least not the right sort of attention. Pain distracts me, damn it.

What better way to end the week than with the kids coming over to eat Gulyas, and drink a beer or two. They better show up pretty soon or they will be a beer behind (or 2!). Gulyas, or Goulash as some people say it, is wonderful stuff. Curly noodles are the base, topped with beef chunks, peppers, tomatoes, and a soup-like sauce flavored with paprika. We have some nice hot paprika just now that makes it spicy with a bit of a bite. I think it is great, really. I smell it cooking, and I have a hard time waiting.

I love ethnic food!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cashmere Visit and Family

Uncle Les' funeral was nice, and it was good to see all the cousins. All 8 of Les and Sabina's kids were there, and many of their kids. What I would normally call couslings, although in this case they were in their 20's and 30's, and seemed to be much more than the little ones I usually think of couslings. Good looking, one and all. Several of them live in San Diego and decided to drive up en masse, which they report took 23 hours. I don't envy them the ride back home.

I visited with the branch of the Smith clan involving Fransce and family. Her siblings Helen and John were there, and mother Gerry. John and Ginny Peterson were there, and John's brothers Brian and Chris, and his sister Marianne. John's mother Helen looked fabulous, as did Sabina. She is really remarkable. She never changes. She was a lucid, bright-eyed, and sharp in conversation as I can ever remember. And hardly a wrinkly for someone in their 90's! Amazing!

The most fun aspect of the visit was seeing the AMAZING role of genetics in everyone. Little Les was there (Terry), and Sabina's Twin (Kate). And the features and mannerisms that distinguish the Kane's, and the interwoven Smith characters that show up in all of us. We are definitely related. Incredible.

Judy made a connection with cousin Sabina. Sabina had wandered into the Interfaith Church Judy has started to attend in Lynnwood, and they had lots to talk about.

It would be nice to meet everyone in a different setting, but I know it will never happen. I may stop by and visit Sabina when I shoot through Cashmere in the future, but the "whole gang" won't be together, and probably never will be again. Sad, but human nature, I think.

It does make me think that the effort for a Weller Family Reunion may be well spent. I should start a blog about that. It might be the easiest way to get the word out, and to get everyone talking. It would be fantastic if all we end up with is a bunch of family photos with everyone in them, fixed in time, as it were, so we can have a point where we can refer in some future context. There were photos of Les and family taken thorugh his life, blown up to poster size and displayed in the meeting hall at the church. It is good to see him as a young man (he was born in 1915!), and not as the old man I always knew him.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Shooting Stars and Funerals

The sky was perfectly clear this morning as I sat in the hot tub at 6:00. The stars were twinkling, and one lost its footing and shot across the sky. The eastern glow started softly at first, then grew, and finally erupted into a mass of golden sunlight, but by this time I was reading the paper at the kitchen counter, smelling the coffee and planning the day.

Tomorrow Judy and I take a trip to Cashmere to attend the funeral of my Uncle Les Kane. He has finally succumbed to the vicissitudes of life, after 92 some years. He was never one to rush into anything, and I always found him to be one of the most calm, pedantic people I knew. I liked him, but we never really connected. John Peterson and I were visiting in Wenatchee as late teenagers, I recall, and Les and John's dad Clyde were sitting on the couch talking. John turn to me and says, "Let's go for a walk." When we get outside he tells me that we need to get out of there. He thinks that sitting and listening to these slow talkers will drain the life out of us. Maybe he is right, or perhaps the pace they set will prolong life? It didn't work for Clyde.

I have a ton of cousins. Tomorow I will likely see something like 30 to 40 cousins. Direct, first cousins THAT I DONT' KNOW! Damn Smith relatives were prolific as hell, and all of them are older than me. Well, most of them are older. John will be there, and maybe Francse Hansen. Grace Kane and Jim Kane are the only ones close enough in age that I actually know. The rest were off and out by the time I was an person that might be of any interest. Funny how families work. If you keep in contact the little ones that seem so distant became quite interesting, and the only thing you need to do to make the transitory shift is to stay in contact. Just be "present" as the transcendentalists say. With the Kane kids, I was not "present".

Soon I will blog about "being" and "becoming". I know, you can't wait...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A sunny day in Snohomish

A flash trip to Portland and I caught the end of the Super Bowl. I was pleased with the outcome. I pull for the under dog. Was Green Bay favored? I don't know. I did enjoy seeing Ben Rothlesburger's quick shave after the game. Apparently he was taking the Stanley Cup approach to shaving and not cutting his facial locks as long as they were still in the playoffs. Maybe I should do the same when I'm working on a particularly important proposal? Grow my beard until the customer buys? That's an intresting idea!

There was an Op Ed piece in the Seattle Times today about biomass use for burning in Washington today. I don't want to call the author names, particularly, but this crackpot environmentalist granola-munching tree hugger has no clue how the world works! I can refute each and every one of his bogus claims on technical and political grounds, and I think the Times did the community a disservice by publishing his bile. I've considered writing a rebuttal. Maybe I should.

John Wayne once said in a movie, "Someone should knock your block off. But I won't. But I Won't. The Hell I won't!" and then he punched the guy into the next county. That's the way I feel about these idiots.

The power industry's new bumper sticker: Environmentalists: Let the bastards freeze in the dark!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Testing the mobile blog!

Super Sunday - On the Road

Home for a day, and then off again. I spent a couple of hours at the Clinic getting rid of a pesty sinus infection I've been fighting for a week. Killer headaches and lots of pain in the upper jaw. Strange how the nerves of the face are arranged. Early on I thought I had a toothache, but then I recognized the symptoms. I've had this one before. Amazing nose spray knocked out the pairful stuff with the first blast. Thank goodness. The sulfa drug they gave me has an interesting side effect: I woke up at 2:00 am in the spare bedroom bed, and I have no idea how I got there!

I need to be in Portland at 7:00 tonight, so I have to leave just about kickoff time this afternoon. Rats. I'll have to listen to the game on the radio, I guess. Others in the house will be attending SB parties, but not poor old me. Driving, driving.

I see nephew Alex has a photo of himself having a face-to-face phone call with someone using his iPhone 4. I was wondering, do any of you kids have iPods with front and back cameras that can do this? I've been trying to talk Judy into getting one so we can have video conversations when I am traveling. So far she is resistant and in fact, I don't have one either. The next version of the iPad is supposed to have this capability, and some of the iPad competitors have it now. It has to be easier than Skype, which is pretty easy already, and portable so you don't have to be exactly at your computer when talking.

I made a sweet dough yesterday evening and turned it into 2 pans of sticky buns and one loaf of cinnamon raisin bread. Marilyn is in rapture, and Judy even had a hot bun when they came out of the oven. I had a half bun this morning, and they are very nice. The bread didn't rise as much as I would have liked, but I am sure it will be fine, too.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Rainy Night in Georgia

They predicted 1-2" of rain tonight, and I swear there have been 3" fallen already. The office roof has a rather transparent insulation and while it is not exactly rain on a flat tin roof, it is not far off of that. I find that it is a sort of comforting sound as long as there aren't any drips falling exactly you, I guess.

When I visit in Atlanta my days in the office are typically 12 hours long, from 7 to 7. It reminds me of graduate school days, honestly. I have nothing to do when I am here but work, and then to take myself out for a good dinner if I can. Skimp on lunch and am still hungry. Tonight I'm hungry. I'm sitting at a Longhorn's steak house waiting for a prime rib dinner, enjoying a Sam Adams lager. What could be better?

The other thing that happens when I visit here is that I get reintegrated into the company. My biggest problem with working remotely is that I miss the daily interactions with people. Phone conversations are different than face to face conversations. That, and I can have multiple contacts over the course of a day. I am of the opinion that remote working can be productive, and I feel that I am productive when I work from my home office, but I am more productive when I am here, no question.

I had lunch today with a customer. Their office is in Kennesaw, which is 45 minutes away driving at 70 miles an hour. As a crow flies it is actually fairly close, but there is no road here as the crow flies! You have to take the super slab, and that takes longer. Anyway, I had not met this customer before and we seemed to hit it off very well. I have 2 large packages bid to his company and he gave me good feedback about both projects. Nice.

We are actually facing the enviable problem of having too much work shortly. The pent up demand seems to breaking out into Go Projects as 2011 opens up, and there are indications that this will accelerate. Good news for us, but also a problem. Deliveries are slipping out, cost are creeping up, and engineering is getting hard to get applied to projects. With so many "window shoppers" of the past couple of years now converting to the beloved category of Buyers, things could be looking up. And lots of them are in my western territory. Yum!

So, you can see that the On The Road nature of my blog can mean At Work. Sorry if this isn't what you are interested in, but this is what is on my mind today. Tomorrow I shift locations and begin to attend the MOTAG meeting at the Atlanta Airport Hilton, with a fair amount of drinking with old friends, lying to competitors, and sniffing out new projects. Perhaps my blog will take on a different tone...