Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye 2010

It's New Years Eve, still 2010, inching towards a new year. Having a blog I decided to look back and note a few things about 2010.

January, 2010, I made a first effort to regroup myself after Rex's terrible extended illness. I signed up for "The Biggest Winner" 8 week program at Apex fitness center. There were 16 classes where trainers pushed us beyond our known capabilities. It was terribly hard but I enjoyed the challenge. However, I got more of a challenge than I had anticipated. After coming home from one of the classes we discovered our hot water heater had flooded the basement. Because of Rex's weak health, our insurance company put us up in a residence hotel and the restoration on our home began. It was a full month before the new paint, wallpaper and walls were back into place. The remodel turned out beautifully but the disruption was stressful.

February, our beloved little granddaughter, Mackayla had to have her feeding tube replaced in a surgical procedure. I had been watching her when her tube just plopped right out of her tummy while I was holding her. Even with multiple attempts by her daddy to put it back in, the hole had closed up quickly. It made us all sad for her to have to go through another surgery.

In March, Rex and I took a road trip to Dallas to visit our dear friend, Wayne. We hadn't seen him in a long while and he had some special dishes he wanted to give us. It was wonderful to spend a short visit with him but Rex was feeling so poorly we left early and hurried home.

The month of April found Rex in New Orleans for a geology meeting. I sure wanted to go with him but it didn't happen. I was so worried about his health on such a trip. April brought my attention to a writing group that met close to home and I started going to it. I really love how much writing on my book I get done when I go to this twice monthly group.

Rex traveled to Dubai in May. When he returned we planned to go to Iowa to Kelly's graduation (our future daughter in law). However, Rex's mother was diagnosed with 4th stage lung cancer that had spread. So instead of going east we turned the car west and went to the Bay area to see her. While there we had a great time going to Fisherman's Wharf, Ghiradelli Square and wine tasting in the Napa valley. On our way home we made an extra stop to visit Loren Davidson, a troprock artist! He gifted me with one of his CDs and some other fun things he had. When we arrived home, Kelly had graduated and had relocated to Arvada. More specifically she moved into our spare bedroom while she and Matt continued to look for full time jobs.

June brought was one of the highlights of my life. I was Beth's guest on a Twitter Princess Cruise to Alaska. The first days were travelling on the Midnight Sun Express Train across Alaska. We had excursions one could only dream of. We rode in a helicopter, landing on Yanert Glacier. This was the ultimate life-time experience! We rode in a twin engine plane to the summit of Mt. McKinley, ATV'd and we went dog-sledding, whale watching, to a salmon bake, and ziplining. Not only did we have wonderful adventures, the people we were on the tour with were the most amazing group of people I have ever met. After 2 weeks of fun I returned home only to be whisked away to a Winter Park condo for a week. Rex and I had time to just rest and for me to recover from such exhilaration. While in Winter Park, Matt and Kelly and her two brothers came up for a visit. We rented a pontoon boat and had a great day on Grand Lake playing.

In July, Rex and Beth answered a quick summons to come to California to see Rex's mother, Louise. With her cancer she was not feeling well. While there they offered for her to relocate to be close to one of them. She decided to move near us in Arvada. Two days later she was in the car with Rex on her way to Arvada. Her first stop was a lovely independent senior home. She wasn't doing well there so within a week she was settling into a nursing home where the hospice nurses had made arrangements for her to move to.

August brought Rex's brother for a visit from Clovis, California, for a visit with his mother. We hadn't seen Kirk in a very long time so it was fun catching up with each other. The next week Rex and I left for another adventure of a lifetime! We flew to Los Angeles and met up with our dear friends, Chris and David and boarded their 45 foot sailboat for a week of fun and sailing. Into the month of September we sailed to Catalina Island and Two Harbors. While in Catalina, Chris and I bought ourselves Ukuleles! We decided to learn to play together! Living on a sailboat was on my bucket list and I and had the greatest time. Another highlight of 2010!

October was pretty much back to the basics. I watched granddaughters Abbi and Mackayla during the week, worked part time, got to my writing group, tried to get exercise in my day. Rex concentrated on his work, ministry and his writings. Every year in October I volunteer at the Jeffco Action Center's Beautiful Junk sale. This year I was astounded to find a new, upgraded ukulele. I had started going to a monthly ukulele song circle. Having the new uke, I feel I'm now making progress.

November brought us to Minnesota. We had been wanting to visit Beth and family since they moved there and finally we were able to do it! On the way, we stopped the first night in Omaha. Another bucket list item got crossed off when the night security guard at the Comfort Inn gave me lessons and a chance to ride his segway! What fun I had at midnight riding around the parking lot. The day after we got to Minnesota, we were privy to see their first major snow storm of the season. Eleven inches covered the area. That was fine with us, though, as Jeb and Maddie and I worked on my "Wreck This Journal" and played Mexican Train with Grandpa Rex. It was all too short of a trip and we headed home. On the way we found ourselves getting to visit my sweet Aunt Bernadette in a nursing home in Norfolk, Nebraska. It was a wonderful visit and it was to be the last time I got to see her. She passed away December 17, 2010.

Thanksgiving was the transition into the Christmas season. After Thanksgiving dinner we put up our decorations.

In December we were thrilled to go to the Alpine Choral's Christmas concert to see Mary singing. It was a fabulous concert and Grandma Louise got to see her granddaughter singing. I hadn't seen Grandma smiling as much as she did that night. A few weeks later we had another grand event when Rex and I went to Abbi's first dance recital. Seeing our little 2 year old grandaugher on stage was so fun and brought tears of laughter to our eyes. She was in her element and the cutest one there! The very next day brought a huge surprise my way. I was visited at work by Matt and three Applewood Plumbing Heating and Electric employees. They came to tell me I was the grand prize winner of their "Eye Spy" Orange Truck Contest. I had won a new 95% energy efficient furnace, with installation. Total value was $7500. Within the week my new furnace was in and purring! Also December had Rex in the hospital for a night. His on-going chest pain was worrisome but his heart was given a clean bill of health and he was sent home.

December brought a milestone birthday for me! I had mixed feelings about it but it turned out to be A-okay! Mary and Sarah spearheaded a wonderful birthday party for me. Friends and family came and we had a great tropical party. The next day I joined my niece, Julie, my sister, Janet, and Kelly for a joint Birthday tea party since it was also Julie's birthday (she was turning a mere 19 years old!). We all traveled to Eaton, Colorado, to have afternoon tea at Victoria's Tiny Tea Room. Of course, Christmas was only days later so I cooked dinner and the family gathered for Christmas eve appetizers, presents and Mass. Rex served Mass on Christmas Eve and then also on Christmas Day when he preached.

It's now New Years Eve. Rex took me for a fabulous meal at The Fort. It's a famous place and I hadn't been there so it was another Bucket List item checked off. I had the Chef's special (venison) and Rex ordered the surf and turf (buffalo). For appetizers we had pickled quail eggs wrapped in buffalo sausage with jalapeno raspberry dip and my meal came with poached crawfish tails in a spicy tequila cocktail sauce. I now understand why The Fort has the reputation it does. A cannon was shot off during our meal and a costumed mountain man visited our table. Festive balloons added New Year's ambiance and even though it was zero degrees outside, it was worth venturing out in the cold.

May the New Year of 2011 bring lots more fun and excitement! I'm ready!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Papa at Mass

Since I have 2 little granddaughters who are most social, I sit with them and their parents in the cry room at church. Abbi is 2 1/2 yr old and Mackayla is 18 months old. Abbi cruises around visiting with her "friends" and it's impossible to corral this little social butterfly. Since her Papa is a deacon at the masses we attend, she will often wave to her Papa and say "hi" even though he is on the other side of the church at the altar unable to hear her. It's always a surprise to hear Abbi's comments about her observations of what Papa is doing during mass. One day she noted "Papa is wearing purple", another day when he was carrying the book of Gospels in the entrance procession Abbi commented "Papa is hiding". She plays with her cousin Mackayla and wanders the cry room, occasionally looking out the window checking on Papa. At the end of mass she observed "Papa is drinking coffee" when he was cleaning the sacred vessels after communion. When I told her he wasn't drinking coffee, she asked "what is it"? I thought my answer "the precious wine" was all the little one could comprehend. When Deacon Papa was kneeling during the Epiclesis, Abbi observed "Papa is hiding". When she looked out again and saw him standing she commented "Papa not hiding anymore." Bringing toddlers and young children to mass is challenging. We are thankful for the cry room where everyone understands the antics of the wee ones. I do hope the parents making the effort to get to Sunday Mass receive lots of extra graces and blessings! They are most deserving!

Applewood Contest!

http://www.applewoodfixit.com/contest.html
Rita with soon to be removed furnace.
Soon-to-be fresh air input.
Out with the old.
Awaiting installation.
Official.
Rita with the new and vastly improved furnace.


Christmas Gospel and Homily

Click link.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

C'mon, can't I figure things out?

After preaching and baptizing a darling little girl, I come home. In carrying out some trash, I suddenly experience pain - PAIN - in my upper chest. It's very intense. I take some 81 mg aspirin and wait - the pain fades.

The afternoon continues; I visit my mother and avoid the Broncos game (why cause myself any further grief?). Then Rita and I go out to dinner at Red Lobster. In the middle of the grilled platter (stuffed flounder, shrimp and marshmallows - oops, actually scallops), the pain returns. We quickly put the remaining seafood in boxes, pay the bill, and head for Lutheran's ER. After several EKG's, heart scans, sonograms, BP and temperature measurements, blood tests, and a night in the hospital... the diagnosis is: strained muscle. Better than any heart problem, after all, so I'm dismissed and able to head home.

Poor Rita, and all she has to put up with.

So what did he say to the current President?

My emphasis:

Q    And then as a follow-up, you mentioned the Republican Congress taking office in January.  What was your advice to President Obama today about how to deal with the Congress from the opposition party?
FORMER PRESIDENT CLINTON:  I have a general rule which is that whatever he asked me about my advice, and whatever I say should become public only if he decides to make it public.  He can say whatever he wants, but --
Q    What do you think?  (Laughter.)
PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Here’s what I’ll say, is I’ve been keeping the First Lady waiting for about half an hour, so I’m going to take off, but --
FORMER PRESIDENT CLINTON:  I don't want to make her mad, please go.
PRESIDENT OBAMA:  You’re in good hands, and Gibbs will call last question. 
It's a mystery. What, precisely, did PBC tell PBO? 

R and R's T and T in Wordle

R and R's T and T in Wordle:

Wordle: RandR

Other Wordle graphic analyses:

Plate Frames
Diaconate Ministry
Strange Loops

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Late night in Greater Arvada...

Where to go for a late night beverage and appetizer in Greater Arvada (northwest metro Denver)?


There's Applebee's in Arvada proper or in northern neighbor Westminster. After 9 pm, most appetizers are half-price and there is a variety of drink specials. On Thursday nights, there's Bingo for all. In the few times we've been there we haven't won, except when O-69 pops up; then all adults get a free shot of some exotic concoction. Since I'm driving, I let Rita have mine (as well as hers). The appetizers are probably high fat and high carbs, but they're good. Our favorites are the Chips & Spicy Chipotle Lime Salsa plus the Wonton Tacos (either pork or chicken). Usually there's enough for a take-home. To drink: AppleBeeTini (apple martini), White Peach Sangria, Kiwi Melon Sangria, or (boring, but sometimes necessary) the house red wine.

And there's Ruby Tuesday a couple of blocks to the north: Their drink specials are all-day long. Appetizers are similar to Applebee's, but a bit pricier.

Out west is Buffalo Wild Wings. Wildly enough, there are TWO Arvada locations! We've managed to be there when some Mixed Martial Arts (UFC) fights were the big deal, I guess. I know nothing about MMA, except for the octogonal ring. But the 20-30-somethings were there in force. Colin Cowherd keeps talking about MMA, but I guess I don't get it. I'm still waiting for Bo Pelini to work his magic with the Huskers (Oh, no, don't think about Miami!) Back to BWW: you don't have to just have wings; we've gone with the sampler -- it's quite enough. Beverages: the usual -- outside of beer the selection is limited, but acceptable.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

P&G Irony

Mixing it up (or diluting the brands):
Crest with Scope

Tide with Fabreze

And now we can have Dawn with Olay.
What's next, Olay with Tide? No, that's silly.
But are there other brands for P&G to combine?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

oops

Time to clean the laptop with an antibacterial cleanser. Here's the result during the cleaning of the keys:

Your search - `Ahyuijokp]\ ZA Q2a TRaq'[;] \';lkjhgfaszxC,M /..,MN CZX ]\ ] \- did not match any documents.


So, it's easy to determine the order of keys cleaned.

Distinctive European

Golden Europe in Arvada is perhaps the most distinctive restaurant in this Denver suburb. Rita had the wienerschnitzel with that "wonderful" sauerkraut. I had the 1/4 duck with red cabbage; GE offers a 1/2 duck, too, but I found the 1/4 perfectly satisfying. Rita and I both agreed that the special potato and sauerkraut soup was fantastic; we may want to look for a recipe. GE offers a limited wine selection; I went with Estancia merlot which complemented the duck well. Rita went with a Warsteiner.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Size Matters

In Columbus, Nebraska, Rita found the following in the local paper (provided by the local Rodeway Inn, also found onlineemphasis added):

Breastfeeding class set today
COLUMBUS — Columbus Community Hospital will host a breastfeeding class at 7 p.m. today at the hospital in either the Pawnee room or Maternal Child Health Department, depending on the size of the class.
Classes will be held on the third Tuesday of each month.
This class is for those who are unsure about breastfeeding or know they want to breastfeed.
Stop at the second floor Maternal Child Health Department to check for class location. For more information, call 562-3266.
Yes, Rita found it, but Rex loves puns.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

BIG Wind Farm

Extending across three state corners is the Alta Wind Farm (in Iowa) and MinWind to the north.
Along I-90 in southwestern Minnesota.

Framed by silos and crowned by sun-illuminated clouds.

Between Luverne and Manley, Minnesota.

It almost seems like the big wind farm east of Los Angeles.

After the Snow

More wind farms in southwestern Minnesota:
More blue (on white).



Don't you love the clouds? Note the Welcome(?) ethanol(?) plants in the backbround.


To the south.

Wind Farms - Northern Iowa

Hancock County (?), Iowa:


Ignore the insect streaks (oops!). Look for the small white towers on the horizon - those are the turbines.

Thereby...

Story County Wind Farm:
Along the left horizon (after zooming).


Click to enlarge. The wind turbines are along the horizon.



Unexpected smoke, no mirrors

While enroute to Minnesota, and watching for wind farms, we encounter a steam (coal-fired?) locomotive, west of Des Moines, Thursday, November 11:
Click to enlarge.

Smoke trail of the train. (This needs some research; is this some sort of historical reenactment?)

Aha, found it, cached (the paint-brushed background indicates what terms I used to search for):

November 11-13: Iowa Interstate QJ Steam Excursion
QJ 2-10-2 steam locomotive #7801 leads a round-trip from Des Moines to Council Bluffs, Iowa
For more information: Rock Island Technical Society


Clicking the last link:
Breaking News!
When did you last ride behind a steam Engine? You can have a chance to ride from Des Moines, IA to Council Bluffs, IA behind the IAIS No. 7801. This 2-10-2 was built in China and purchased by the IAIS in 2005. The IAIS has donated 20 tickets to RITS with the proceeds going to support the museum/company store in Savanna. The ticket price is $175 round trip and $100 one way. 
The train departs Des Moines at 10:00 AM on Thursday, November 11, 2010 and arrives in Council Bluffs around 4:00 PM.

So, that was indeed a steam engine with vintage passenger cars. How neat must that have been? Click for more pictures of the engine and train. And more.

A New Hobby

Collecting Wind Farms:
Lone turbine in Stuart, Iowa.

The "big" Adair farm on I-80, between Omaha and Des Moines.

Adair: A quiet wind day.

Adair: In the distance to the south. (Click to enlarge.)

Adair: To the north.

Adair: The empty car carrier is headed west while the turbine looks on passively.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Logos

Speaking of oil company logos and brands, Wikipedia has a collection as do other sources, from which I'm posting some US brands:

Amoco:


ARCO:

BP:



Chevron:


Conoco:

Exxon:
Frontier*:
Gulf:

Hancock:

Hess:

Kerr McGee:
Marathon:

Phillips:

Shell:

Sinclair:

Skelly*:

Sohio:

Texaco:

Unocal:


*In the early-mid 1950's my father managed Frontier and Skelly service stations in Ogallala, Nebraska, for owner R. E. Searle.