Happy Saturday morning all:

A city thought for a Saturday morning:

“Do you enjoy wasting time on the internet? Take this 1,500 question online quiz to find out.” ~ Tim Siedell

We’re home! The first thing I noticed was that I again had an infinite amount of broadband at my fingertips.

So, here with a fresh mug of coffee in hand, I find it difficult to break free from Facebook and Drudge or even the recently hacked Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) site which now offers Ugg boots, NFL jerseys, or Armani fragrances for sale. This is all great stuff. But, all good must come to an end, and I’ll continue with my Ramblings.

Leaving – Northern Comfort became a bit of a Dark Matter. The fine folk at Hydro-1, our government owned electricity supplier, filled the weekend with a variety of blackouts. And yes, they managed this exactly during the time where we were organizing the final packing and cabin winterization activities. Some blackouts were planned events, others were spontaneous happenings – sorta like the way ‘Flash Mobs’ operate.

The worst was the 8:00 am to 2:00 pm outage followed by a 6:00 to 7:00 pm scheduled outage. So fine, we planned all our necessary activities to accommodate these events. The fact that I had to work for three hours to make the Deux Chevaux’s Dolly trailer lights work became a bonus incident.

A final Happy Hour and shared Pizza with Donn and Marlene and we were off for the closing packing/securing efforts. At about that time we found out the scheduled 7:00 pm electricity “on time” was moved back to 10:30 pm. We had to work with candle light and flash lights.

By 10:30 we both crashed. At exactly 3:30 am many of our lights popped on, as did the radio. At 4:15 I still hadn’t gotten back to sleep and the all-night Truckers radio show was beginning to grate on me. I started a pot of coffee. 5:45 AM, thermos-mug in hand, we headed out into the fog. Our 13-hour trek home had begun.

Sleeping Beauty’s Castle – greeted us when we arrived home. It looked even more so since our arrival time came at dusk and all colors began to merge. I believe that real tears would have been shed by Marcia except for the fact that Vai and Vili ran uDSCF0004p the little side street as they returned from a school open house. Hugs can overcome a lot – shock and tears included.

Me? I could barely see for the sweat caused by unloading the big pieces (5-foot plastic tubs) and dealing with getting the little car off the trailer and stored.

In case you think that we don’t give a hoot – we do have a lawn service while we’re gone. Our lawn looks just lovely; thank you very much. It’s only because Marcia is very particular about her garden that she doesn’t trust a garden service.

The next day shock set in as Marcia observed the wall of 5-foot high tall grasses and weeds. Since our homecoming last Monday, she has spent at least 6 hours per day working trying to knock stuff back into a semblance of order. She is winning!

DSCF0011

Think I am kidding? The attached photo shows what we have waiting for next Thursday’s Yard Waste pickup. I would not be surprised if the city will have to send out our own waste truck.

Fini – Last evening it was “a glass of wine” with neighbors – till well after 11 PM. A delightful time which caused me to sit up and watch Kimmel with Justin Timberlake live on the streets of Los Angeles. “Live” that is until I convinced myself that sitting up was quite nuts and turned the TV off mid-song.

We’ve had dinner with all the kids in town – it had been way too long since we enjoyed their company. We’ve also made a ‘must do’ trip to the local Dairy Queen for a Dilly Bar. Normalcy is slowly returning.

Mid-morning we’ll watch Marin play soccer. Then this afternoon a gang of us will be off for the apple orchard and apple picking. Yes, normalcy has returned.

Make it a great week everyone.
Cheers.
Dirk

From the Archives
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Morning all:

Quote Of The Week:

“Do not allow the perfect to get in the way of the good” — Tom Peters

Morning and hello from Minneapolis, Minnesota—ja, u-betcha!

These past couple of days have been better than excellent. Imagine spending well over two hours with the legendary leadership “Uber-guru”, Tom Peters – author of In Search of Excellence. Sometimes a high doesn’t quite describe it.

Since I couldn’t get to sleep till 1:30 due to some foolishness such as drinking espressos after dinner, I had best pour a mug of in-room Italian LavAzza coffee to kick start my day.

But first, the true account of the strange saga of a quickly shrinking skinny cat – our Morgan. Always she’s been a runty thing. However, starting this summer we noticed that she was well on the way to becoming the disappearing Cheshire cat of Alice’s tale. Eventually, at three pounds, enough was enough.

Well, you know how I love the internet. Firmly planted on the Google search engine, in 15 minutes Dr. Dirk had a diagnosis: Feline Hyperthyroidism. Marcia giggled and proceeded to call the Veterinarian who chuckled halfheartedly and invited the little critter over for a visit. $233 later and the professional’s verdict was in – Feline Hyperthyroidism.

Google stock is currently around $600 per share. It took me 15 minutes to find the cause. $600 divided by four is $150. I could have saved $83 if I had bought ¼ of a share of Google stock instead. Not a bad return don’t you think?

I just know that the Vet Googles.

Back to Minneapolis, somehow I became part of a focus group with Tim Pawlenty, Governor of Minnesota. It was amazingly refreshing to talk with someone who, though a politician, spoke common sense without the expected politico ‘stump’ or ‘waffle’ speak.

Without creating a book, we dabbled into topics such as business environments, education, and health care. Pawlenty concurred that in order for the US to stay competitive we’d have to address education. What was refreshing was that in place of common platitudes, he got very specific in his viewpoint – grade school sort of OK, Middle school, barely, but hanging in, however, High school is where we’re absolutely losing out to the rest of the industrialized and quickly developing nations. Addressing the reasons for drop-out rate of over 30% nationally should be a good starting point.

I said that “better than excellent” describe these few days. How about having Dr. Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace as a luncheon speaker? Realizing to what degree illogical extremism has taken over environmental movements he resigned from the organization he helped found.

Today Moore’s focus is on promoting sustainability in a comprehensive, commonsense, and rational manner. He claims that, flat-out, the most sustainable of all products are in fact trees and forests. To clear-cut an area creates the greatest concentration of biodiversity. Wood products for everything from building, heating, paper, and furniture for an ecologically friendlier world is Moore’s advise.

Make it a great week. May the forest be with you.

Cheers,

Dirk

10/13/2007 07:30:00 AM

One Response to “Sleeping Beauty’s Castle”
  1. Pieter pastoor Says:

    Glad you guys are back safe and sound – I do miss our regular telephone chats while your at the northern comfort