Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Year's Eve

Greetings on New Year's Eve 2005!

This evening will be spend with friends at The Kings Arms. There will be pints of ale, conversation with friends, and fun for all. At midnight there will be Champaign toasts, confetti cannons and wishes for a good year. I am psyched!

My coworkers from the states are to arrive this afternoon, there is a pot of stew going and I have nothing planned for today other than doing some laundry, reading, and chilling-out in preparation for tonight's festivities.

2005 has been a great year. I have spent time here in the UK, I still have a job that I love, and I have built and maintained a wide circle of varied friends. When it comes right down to it, I could ask for more, but I don't really want for anything. In the words of the old Joe Walsh song:

Lucky I'm sane after all I've been through
(Everybody sing) I'm cool (He's cool)
I can't complain but sometimes I still do
Life's been good to me so far!

I hope you can't complain on this, the last day of 2005 wherever it finds you.

Don Bergquist - 31-December-2005 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, United Kingdom

Friday, December 30, 2005

Reflections on the End of the Year

A friend of mine once told me that he made sure to always kiss his wife on the stroke of midnight every New Year's Eve. His family had the superstition that whatever you are doing when the year ends you will do frequently in the year to come.

I guess this is a good thing to hold on to. It is kind of sweet to think of the two of them kissing so that they are guaranteed many pleasant stolen moments in the new year.

This year, I plan to end the year with a toast. Probably with a pint of Tangle Foot, in The Kings Arms. Ending the year with a proper pint of British ale, in an English pub, with friends around to assure that I will be doing it often throughout 2006 sounds like a great idea to me. (Whether or not it assures that there will be many more pints in the coming year, it still sounds like a good idea.

Of course, it means that if successful, the year will also be a wet, cold, and dank one. But I suppose that is the price one pays!

I hope that you are making spectacular plans for your New Year's Eve. And on the off-chance that my friend's superstition is correct, make sure that you are doing something you love with the people you want to be with when the ball drops!

Don Bergquist - 30-December-2005 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, United Kingdom

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Winter Wonderland

Perhaps it is just that I was not here this late in the year last year, perhaps it is that they are going all-out this year... I do not know. But I do not remember Hampton Court Palace being this decked out last year.

I remember them having the Ice Rink and I remember them lighting the facade, but I do not remember it being this dazzling last year.

My friends Dave and Dave (both of whom work at the palace) told me that it was this lit-up last year. There is a carousel this year, that is new, but the rest, they say was there last year.

Whatever the difference is, it is lovely and walking past it last night to get to the Kings Arms, I could not help but notice how lovely it looked as I walked across the Thames River bridge. I had to take this picture to share with everyone.

I hope that your holiday season, wherever you are and whatever season you celebrate, continues to be joyous and bright!

Don Bergquist - 29-December-2005 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, United Kingdom

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Return to The Kings Arms

It is almost as if I never left!

I got to The Kings Arms last night after getting to the house and unpacking.

I was hot, tired, and road weary. But soon after I got there my friends showed up and it was old home week. We exchanged Christmas gifts and had a wonderful time catching-up. (Of course, the festivities were accompanied by plenty of ale.)

Oh well. It's good to be back in the UK!

I hope where-ever today finds you, it is with the people you want to be with and doing the things you want to do!

Don Bergquist - 28-December-2005 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, United Kingdom

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Two days ago (on Christmas Day) I was sitting in my shorts, sandals, and tee-shirt out on my neighbor's porch, drinking wine, chatting and exchanging Christmas greetings.

I am now sitting on a plane somewhere south of Iceland and looking at a news feed that is showing on the video screens on the plane. (Well, not now... now I am writing on my PDA my blog entry to be uploaded when we land... But a short while ago I was!)

The forecast for London for the next few days included no fewer than tree mentions of snow. Snow and Ice, Snow Flurries, and Heavy Snow through the night on Thursday!


Why, again, did I decide that I like this place? Not only will it be cold, but it is a wet cold. The kind that slices through any clothing you may care to heap on!


I hope you are warm, dry and comfortable wherever you are today!

Don Bergquist - 27-December-2005 - on Northwest Flight 32 - Somewhere over the North Atlantic

Monday, December 26, 2005

Boxing Day

I just love the phrase "Boxing Day."

When I first heard it I assumed it was the official pugilistic holiday.

I first heard of the feast of St. Stephen (the day after Christmas) being called boxing day about fifteen years ago when I first went to Canada on business around this time of the year. They celebrate Boxing Day as a public holiday although, nobody could tell me why or what it was all about.

Having done some research, apparently nobody else really knows what it is all about either. The link at the top of this entry will take you to the Wikipedia entry on Boxing Day.

I do however know what this boxing day is about. This Boxing Day is about thirty-six hours long! Following my tradition of getting onto the London time zone before I go there, I awoke at 01:00 AM (MDT) so I could say that I slept in. That would be 08:00 AM London Time.

I used the extra time this morning to spend time with Saga, finish packing, spend time with Saga, watch some TV, and spend some time with Saga. It is now just ten in the morning and I know that I am going to miss her when I go to the UK. Oh well...

I do not anticipate much problem sleeping (if I can get over the fact that I do not sleep well on planes) because I have upgraded myself (using my frequent flier miles) to first class. I also have a book that I found in my library that I (surprisingly) have never read!

Well, I have just over an hour until the van arrives to take me to the airport. I guess I had best get ready to go.

(...and spend some more time with Saga!)

I hope that wherever you are today you are having a great Boxing Day!

Don Bergquist - 26-December-2005 - Lakewood, Colorado

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!

George Bush has all but ruined my favorite Christmas Carol.

For years, my favorite Christmas Carol was the Henry Wordsworth Longfellow poem set to music: I Heard The Bells. When the president quoted the poem last weekend in his press conference and used it as an assurance that the war on terror - or whatever he wants us to call it these days - is valid I was livid! How could he despoil such a wonderful tune with such lovely words by using it to justify his unprovoked attack on Iraq?

Damn it!

The war continues to be a war in search of a justification. At least, I thought, it would keep him from using the attacks of 09/11/2001 as justification of the war. Never to fear! He did that too - only a couple sentences later.

I guess I should take a hint from the carol, this too will pass. The wrong shall fail!

This Christmas finds me packing for another trip to London. I leave tomorrow morning for an extended trip to the Thames Ditton Office. I look forward to spending more time with my friends in the United Kingdom. I had dinner last night (and the two nights before as well) with some friends here as a sort-of bon voyage celebration. Today has nothing more in store than to call family, finish packing and write thank you cards. I guess I will drop them in the mail at the airport tomorrow.

In the spirit of the season:

I Heard the Bells
on Christmas Day

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play
And mild and sweet the words repeat,
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had roll'd along th' unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong, and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."

'Til ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!

It is Christmas Day once again. I wish you all a Merry Christmas or a happy holiday of your own choice and a Happy New Year!

Don Bergquist - 25-December-2005 - Lakewood, Colorado

Saturday, December 24, 2005

When is Christmas?

Until the late '60s or early '70s, my family and our community attended church in one of two places. Sunday morning church convened at the Concorde Theatre on Bird Road. Any other service was held in the rectory, which was out in the farm country east of the old Tamiami Airport. Our parish priest was a man from Malta named LeCarre.

Father LeCarre always seemed old to me because he was older than my parents. (Of course, thinking about it now, I must be older now than Father LeCarre was when I knew him.) Things to know about Father LeCarre include that he always drank Ginger Ale. He kept cats in the rectory and that he had a wonderful sense of humor!

At some point, the young Don made the mistake of telling the priest that we were at church to celebrate Jesus' birth. A good theory, it would have been a better theory had it actually been near Christmas and not the middle of August at the time!

Father LeCarre, as I recall just chuckled and told me that Christmas was in December and that we went to mass every Sunday to learn about all the wonders God hath wrought and to give thanks to God for all his good gifts to man. All would have been well (and, incidentally, there would be no story) if only I had taken the old priest at his word. However, the young Don Bergquist (like the one he grew into) was not one to be dismissed with a brief introduction to the facts.

"But we are at church, so it must be Christmas." I insisted.

I was a long way from being able to understand the concept of a universal syllogism. (We go to church every Christmas. It is Christmas. Therefore, we will go to church. This is a universal syllogism. However, from this logic we cannot construct the following conclusion: We go to church every Christmas. We are at church. Therefore, it is Christmas.) Father LeCarre just laughed and told me Christmas is December 25.

Again, this story would be at an end would but that I had just taken the information and processed it. But no! We go to church on Christmas...

"We're at church because it is Christmas today, right?" The young Don asked Father LeCarre while his daddy was helping some of the churchmen carry the altar into place and the women of the church placed the candles and various paraphernalia for the service.

"No, today is not Christmas. Christmas is in December. The 25th!" Father LeCarre responded.

This exchange went on for weeks and eventually Father LeCarre decided to launch a preemptive strike. As the young Don Bergquist walked past him out of church offering a hand to shake, Father LeCarre refused to release the grip. "When is Christmas?" he asked once he had my attention.

Pulling my thoughts together, I wondered if it were, in fact, that day. But to be on the safe side, I said "December 25th?"

"Right!" Father LeCarre said giving my hand one last gentle squeeze before releasing me.

The strange thing (to the young Don Bergquist) is that the same thing happened the next week. And the week after! It became something of a habit. For years we no longer said, "Hello" or "How are you doing?" the ritual greeting between Father LeCarre and I was:

Father LeCarre: "When is Christmas?"

Don: "December 25th."

It was a warm and a much loved ritual that continued the throughout remainder of our friendship. Father LeCarre retired to a parish in Marathon, down in the Florida Keys. Many years had passed when once afternoon I answered the door. Now a teen, I opened it to an elderly person who was vaguely familiar. When the ancient, Maltese voice croaked out "When is Christmas?" I knew and old friend had come to visit.

It has been years since I have thought about Father LeCarre. Dad reminded me of this story the other day when I was chatting with him. Thanks Dad! Thank you Father LeCarre!

I hope that you have a Merry Christmas which, by the way, is tomorrow!

Don Bergquist - 24-December-2005 - Lakewood, Colorado

Friday, December 23, 2005

A Christmas Story

Christmas Eve is nearly here again and I have been asked if I am going to post my annual story again. It is the story of Christmas Eve 1969 when my brothers and sister and I spent much of the evening in exclusion in the kitchen.

I will not be posting the entire story again this year, but the link above will take you to the story as posted last year. I hope you enjoy it.

Merry Christmas!

Don Bergquist - 24-December-2005 - Lakewood, CO

Monday, December 19, 2005

An Open Christmas Card

Christmas Greetings to all!

Wow! What a year it has been! The year started with me working on a project that took me to Thames Ditton (a suburb of London, England) on a fairly regular basis. I have been to London four times in the past year and am about to get back there. I have been temporarily assigned to that office and will be there for most of the First Quarter.

I got to see all of my siblings at least once this year. Mary and Corey are doing well and have weathered the hurricane season (at least in Apollo Beach) well.

Denis, Helen and the Kids are also doing well. Two of their three are now in college so only Andrew made it up to Minnesota when I was there for Horseradish Time!

Chip and Allyn and Eric have made it up to Dad's place both times I was there. Eric is growing like a weed and turns eight this December.

Dad and Flo are also well. Dad had a Transient Ischemic Attach this fall. He is on the mend and showing very few after affects of the incident.

My life this year has been busy both socially and professionally. The travel to London has been great and I am looking forward to my next trip. I have made some good friends in London that I am looking forward to seeing again.

I started a blog last year that I post my photographs and observations while traveling (or indeed at home) and will be keeping it up this year as well. Anyone interested in following my adventures can read all about them in my blog at

For those of you who met Kathy when we were in dating, she and I have had a parting of the ways. It was for the best. I am back on the market. (but not selling myself too aggressively. It will be a busy year.

I hope that you all have a great year and that you will stop by to see my blog and drop me an email when you can.

The coming year promises to be every bit as exciting as the last. I know that I will be spending at least the first month-and-a-half with working out of the Thames Ditton office, spending time with my mates at the pub and generally having a good time in the United Kingdom. I may even celebrate my birthday there this year. I hope to visit some more of Europe on the weekends of this trip. I'll be taking my cameras so watch for more pictures to be posted as time allows!

God bless and keep you in the coming year!


Don Bergquist - 19-December-2005 - Lakewood, Colorado

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Tea Party

When we were kids, we used to go and visit my grandparents at their house in Minnesota alternate summers. One year we would go see them, the next we would go somewhere else, Mammoth Caves, Washington D. C., The Blue Ridge Mountains, etc.

On the years that we went to Minnesota, one of the family rituals was that we would get grandmother to retrieve the key to her china cabinet (a great, ancient oak and glass cabinet that took up most of one wall in the dining room) and get out the whistling tea cups. Grandma would make some Grape Kool Aid, pour it into the little tea cups and serve it at the dining room table. Her table always had a white lace table cloth on it which made us feel that we were having tea some place really fancy!

As opposed to our house that rarely had a table cloth on the dining room table (it was too easy to ruin a table cloth by doing homework at the dining room table. One pen fight and there would be ink all over the place.

The wonderful thing about these tea cups was that little tube you
see running down the side of the cup.
It leads to a small hole in the bottom of the base. What happens is when you sip your tea (or Kool Aid) from that side of the cup, some air is also drawn up from below the cup. The brief interruption of that stream of air by the liquid passing over the open upper end of the tube makes the cup issue a pleasant soft chirping sound, similar to a bird chirping.

We would finish our "tea" and ask for more. As many times as we could. I am not to this day sure whether it was the amount we were drinking or our contest to see who could make the cups chirp the loudest that finally end the tea parties. My guess in retrospect is the later.

I hope that your day is your cup of tea!

Don Bergquist - 18-December-2005 - Lakewood, Colorado

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Shoot the Moon

This week, I wanted to wish my step mom, Florence a Happy Birthday. Hope you enjoy your special day, Flo! I hope that you and Dad make the most of it. Go, do something nice for yourself.

This afternoon, I took my new camera out to test-out the telephoto lens. I am going to have to use my tripod more. I can tell now that I need to use my tripod more.

This picture was taken using my 300 mm zoom lens. The problem is that with the camera set to automatic, it sets the aperture at its widest point so that it can take the shortest exposure possible. Big aperture, narrow field of focus. Hence, all the attached pictures have either the moon or the branches in focus. In order to get them both in focus I will need to wind down the aperture to its smallest setting and compensate with a longer shot. This will not be possible with the camera hand held.

I hope your world today is clear and in focus for you!

Don Bergquist - 10-December-2005 - Lakewood, Colorado

Sunday, December 04, 2005

On Why I Would Make A Horrible Parent

I knew it would happen, I have weenied-out!

I thought that I could hold-up, under the constant onslaught, I caved. I have no idea how Dad and Mom did it! They had four to deal with and I have only me and I still couldn't hold my position! I crumpled like a stale taco!

I am, of course talking about my incessant internal child who has been begging and pleading with me to buy him a new camera. A couple weeks ago, I wrote about how I was always complaining to myself that I never buy myself anything. (See: "Morning In Florida" - 17-November-2005 in the November Archive.)

After listening to the internal whining for a bit over a year, I have finally capitulated. (Capitulated?!? Hell, I caved!)

I purchased myself the camera I have been looking at. I even went myself one better and got myself a nice set of zoom lenses to go with it. To be fair, I would never have done so had I not been so good of late. (No, Really! I have been doing the dishes, and taking out the trash without an argument, and when I tell myself to go to bed, Pfthth! I go! And I get no lip on the subject!)

So I bought the Pentax Digital SLR that I have been wanting. I found it on sale and had a $100 off coupon that allowed me to afford the lenses as well. I looked at one lens (I need a fairly good telephoto lens to do some shots that I want to do but they are all pretty expensive.) the one that I found first was about $300.00. I then found this set of two for about $200.00 and could not resist.

Okay, and there was an ulterior motive. My friend Michael (who is, admittedly, a much better photographer than I) has a really nice camera. I have kidded myself the camera is all I need to be as good as he is.

I have decided to rationalize this purchase by calling it my Christmas gift to myself. So if you see me, don't tell me! It's a surprise.

Be nice to yourself today!

Don Bergquist - 04-December-2005 - Lakewood, Colorado

Friday, December 02, 2005

Have another day!

The number of times I look out this window in an average day and think to myself: "I should take a picture of that..."

Well, it's really quite limited, actually!

I sit on the eastern side of the building and have a view of the eastern plains (or as we affectionately refer to them; "Kansas."). The only time I have anything interesting to look at out this window is early in the morning when hardly anyone else is around and I can see the sunrise without the lights in the office on to reflect my own visage back at me.

This morning was an excellent day for a sunrise. The fact that it is payday does not hurt either.

I have a busy weekend ahead of me. I have to finish my Christmas Gifts (I am making them this year - no more details in case you are on my list) and get them into the mail.

I hope you have a great weekend!

Don Bergquist - 02-December-2005 - Denver, Colorado

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


What can I say? I love sunrise!

I used to think that this was because I was born so early in the day. Mother used to tell me (in times of dire provocation) that I was put on this earth so that she would never again be able to sleep past sunrise. I got her up at some ungodly early hour to be born and had not let her sleep in a day since.
This was not, of course, entirely true. Those of you who didn't know my mom need to know that the character In Damn, Lola, was similar to my mom in that "what ever Jeannie wants, Jeannie gets..."
Mom could have slept until noon every day if she wanted to. I have to assume that she didn't want to. She was right. I have always been an early riser. It has paid off too. I get to work ahead of rush hour, I get home before it. I get to see the sunrise...
What more could you want?
I think the best situation I have ever been in for sunrise viewing was when I lived on Tampa Bay in an apartment on a peninsula sticking into the bay. I could sit in the hot tub with my coffee and watch the sun come up and soak. Later, after work, I would sit in the hot tub with a beer and watch the sun go down. One old bitty once accused me of being there all day.
How absurd. Being of Scandinavian descent, this would have been impossible. Exposed to direct sunlight for more than ten minutes, I burn to a crisp. Scandinavians are a bit like vampires in this respect.
Well, I seem to have strayed a bit from my original topic. Hope you have an great day!
Don Bergquist - 30-November-2005 - Denver, Colorado

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity-Jig

There are some decisions you regret almost the moment you make them. Others you look back on with disdain only from the safety of the present when they are in the distant past. Alternatively, some present themselves as such an obviously good decision that it is hard to believe that you didn't arrive upon them as sheer dumb luck.

My decision not to stop in Nebraska last night for a nap or night's rest falls into this last category. Although you could not tell this from looking outside here, the weather is beautiful and the temperatures are moderate, the worst weather that was predicted apparently was not far behind me as I drove home last night.

This morning on the news they said that parts of I-80 are shut-down. Parts of I-76 (according to the news) are in danger of being shutdown. The local newscaster today said that if you are traveling through the Dakotas of Nebraska, you are on a dog sled! Good thing I made it back.

Well, I guess I should go do my shopping so that I have provisions should the storm hit here.

Have a great day!

Don Bergquist - 27-November-2005 - Lakewood, Colorado

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Threading the Needle

The sunrise as I was heading west along Minnesota State Highway 27 was spectacular. I captured this shot as I was approaching the Traverse County line.

The driving today was excellent. Except for the plethora of patrol cars pacing the traffic between Omaha and Lincoln, the traffic was flying.

The roads were clean and dry the entire way except for a few flurries of sleet between Julesburg and Ft. Morgan. Other than that the travel was easy and made faster by the book on disk I am listening to: Native Tongue by Carl Hiaasen.

I stopped for a late lunch in Lincoln and hit the road again. Saga has been wonderful. She has slept most of the day. I think it was the cold and snow back in South Dakota that made her decide to stay in her kennel as much as possible.

I have a bit of a problem now that I am home. I have nothing more to shoot for. I am pretty sure that my new personal best will remain un approached for quite a while to come. I made the eight hundred eighty miles in just over thirteen and a half hours today. That means that I averaged over 73 MPH the entire way. Quite a feat!

I'm planning leaving the car packed for the night. I can get that tomorrow. I hope you have had a great holiday weekend!

Don Bergquist - 26-November-2005 - Lakewood, Colorado

Friday, November 25, 2005


In the end, it made no difference what I wanted or what Flo wanted.

It started snowing this morning around 04:00! By the time the house was awake and moving it was more than ankle deep outside and still coming down steadily. We all decided not to head into town until it stopped showing (if at all) . It did finally stop around noon and Chip and I decided to head into town between Whist games.

Since Flo no longer wanted to head in, Chip, Eric and I went to the mall. Not only were the sale prices still ringing, I was able to get extra savings by signing-up for a Herberger's charge card. (Sure they have no stores in Colorado, but I had planned on paying cash and I can close it as soon as it is paid.)

The rest of the afternoon was spent people watching at the mall.

I have studied the weather reports (as if they mean anything... this morning's snow was not supposed to happen until Tuesday!) and Sunday looks horrible. Saturday looks iffy, but doable. I am planning on heading back a day early and getting home (hopefully) while the weather still holds. It looks like I have to be in Grand Island or beyond before I stop tomorrow. They are predicting snow and ice by sundown tomorrow.

My car is packed. The dog's stuff is ready to toss in at the last minute and I plan on heading west at daybreak. Wish me luck!

Don Bergquist - 25-November-2005 - Kensington, Minnesota

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving at Home

The rest of the drive was uneventful.

I did stop and took a nap in the Iowa welcome center. I just needed a couple hours. I then finished the drive and got in early yesterday. I was able to help Dad and Flo with some shopping and errands and am now in the process of roasting the turkey.

I am so glad I came home. I never get to cook and now I have the opportunity to make a big thanksgiving dinner for the six of us. Chip, Allyn and Eric are here and Dad, Chip, Eric and I have been playing games while the turkey takes care of itself.

Flo got a new domino game that we have never played before and Eric is just crazy about it. Between that and Monopoly, the eight hours that the turkey has to cook is passing relatively quickly.

There were some great deals in the circular from the local department store so, like-it-or-not, I am determined to go to the mall tomorrow. Herberger's has got a sale on luggage, it looks like a serviceable set for $40. I am rough on luggage with all the travel I do, I have learned to buy luggage when it is on sale and do not buy the very expensive kind. On the whole, unless you get something that is obviously cheaply made, you're better to get three or four cheap pieces than one really expensive piece. They also have a $200 feather bed advertised for $49. I want one of those because it is going to be a long, cold winter.

Flo wants to go, but wants to wait until later in the day. The sale is from five thirty until nine. If I have my way we will be first in, first out, go get some coffee and breakfast and get home before any of the decent folk are out of bed. (I hate crowds, I hate malls, I hate shopping!)

Oh well, time to make the sides. The link above will take you to the pictures of the finished dinner.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Don Bergquist - 24-November-2005 - Kensington, Minnesota

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Driving Home

It is late (nearly midnight local time) Wednesday and I am writing from a restaurant at a truck stop outside Lincoln, Nebraska.

The roads are, indeed, in great driving condition and there have been very few other drivers on the road with me. From our "Best Laid Plans" department, I had planned on leaving this morning when my conference call ended. I had planned on it lasting about an hour (since the coordinator of the call had scheduled it for an hour) and was unpleasantly surprised that it lasted for over three. It purpose of the call was to discuss my new job (and that of the people on the call) and what the new reporting structure we are in means.

Yes, I have a new boss... I am not sure what this really means, I have worked with Leann before and like her and all, I am just a bit hazy about the role that I have. (And no, it has nothing to do with the hour.) Seeing how late it was getting, and having been up early this morning to finish a few things up, I decided to take a nap before leaving. which, unfortunately meant that I hit the early part of the rush hour and was in traffic all the way to Ft. Morgan. Once past that, though, it has been smooth sailing.

I'm having a bite to eat before heading east again. I will probably stop for the night somewhere in Iowa. I am making good time, though and will keep going as long as possible.

I hope that your roads are clear and dry today!

Don Bergquist - 23-November-2005 - Somewhere in Southern Nebraska

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Weather Report

Checking with the weather channel, it is supposed to be warm (relatively speaking) and sunny through the weekend and therefore I should have great driving weather throughout the holiday weekend.

I have packed the car and called Dad and Flo. I will be in Minnesota for the holiday. I have a conference call that I need to take tomorrow morning, but I hope to be on the road by late morning.

More from Minnesota!

Don Bergquist - 22-November-2005 - Lakewood, Colorado

Monday, November 21, 2005


Okay, for those of you who have asked: Dad is doing great!

For those of you who didn't: Dad is doing great!

For those of you who have not heard: Dad has had a stroke. Well, technically, it was a Transient Ischemic Attack (or TIA). I have included a link at the top of this article for those of you who would like to read more about this on WebMD. Dad had this attach last Sunday and has been home for the past couple days.

According to Flo, Dad is in good spirits and is on the mend with little physical aftermath of the stroke. I have been talking to Dad regularly and he sounds just great! He is upbeat and except that he has an occasional problem with aphasia, he is talking normally. I hope to be able to make it to Minnesota for the holiday. I'm hoping to see how he is doing first-hand.

I hope that your day is going well!

Don Bergquist - 21-November-2005 - Lakewood, Colorado

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Flying Home

Okay, I am not sure that I am going to get used to this "no assigned seating" thing.

Chatting with a number of my fellow travelers in the B Line this morning, they agreed... they only fly Southwest when there is sufficient difference between Southwest and some other airline. Being able to know where your seat is and not having to jockey for position in line to get the best seat is worth a few extra dollars.

The flight crew, though, are definitely worth the hassle of no assigned seating. Shortly after leaving Tampa, I got up to stretch my legs and the flight attendants, having finished the beverage service, started chatting with me. It was nice. We chatted about this and that, Christmas, travel, etc. for the entire flight. Well, practically; a short way out of Midway we hit some pretty severe turbulence and the two lovely young ladies (I know, I sound sexist, but they were) and I all said in unison - "Better grab a seat."

The last few minutes of the flight were pretty rough, but the landing was ahead of schedule, my flight to Denver was not too far away, and so I am sitting here with my PDA, my coffee and my blog entry for the day.

I hope that your day is smooth and filled with pleasant people to chat with!

Don Bergquist - 20-November-2005 - Midway Airport: Chicago, Illinois

Saturday, November 19, 2005


I never did see what kept me sitting on the bridge last night. It was nearly two before I made it back to Mary and Corey's place.

This morning, I headed back to St. Pete this morning to see what needed doing back at Fritz and Sarah's place. Fritz' parents were there and just stirring as I showed-up. The house was otherwise quiet but for the sound of sleeping people.

After making sure that the transfer that I had started from the Video Camera to a VHS tape had completed successfully, I grabbed the camera, checked to see if Fritz or anyone needed me to do anything and then ran out to return the camera.

It is a lovely, sunny day so I stopped to get a Cuban Sandwich and a bag of plantain chips and sat out by the airport watching the planes take off.

I returned to Apollo Beach mid-afternoon and visited with Mary and Corey for the rest of the afternoon/early evening. After a dinner out at a salad bar Corey put on a film, but with the long hours that I have been keeping over the last two days, I fell asleep almost as soon as the opening credits were done.

Awaking a little later on, I decided to hit the sack. I am writing this quick entry before going to sleep again. One final thought: I love traveling, but I miss Saga!

I hope your day was full of simple pleasures!

Don Bergquist - 19-November-2005 - Apollo Beach, Florida

Friday, November 18, 2005


If I ever get off this bridge and make it back to Apollo Beach, I am going to sleep like the dead! The day has been hectic.

I showed-up at Fritz' place this morning and asked what I could do. Suffice it to say that I spent the rest of the morning running around. I know that this is the first event this group has done, but I am surprised at the things they didn't think of. Like, if they want to use footage of the wedding for a promo they might want to have a video camera.

Okay, enough of the bad stuff. Sarah was lovely and Fritz was flustered. But they had their friends there and between all of us, we kept them pointed in the right direction. They were still married when I set-off for home; that is always a good sign.

Their wedding was pirate themed and was held at the South Florida Pirate Festival. The crew who was putting on the wedding runs the festival. As the sun set over the intracoastal waterway, the guests all gathered in the saloon. The pirate ship pulled up and a hush fell over the crowd. The groom was attended by his son, James. Fritz and his son came into the saloon first sporting sabers, sashes and other pirate paraphernalia. A swashbuckling pair they were and they carried the theme of the wedding quite well.

The Bride was escorted into the saloon by her mother and attend by Fritz' daughter Charlotte. Sarah wore a lovely, short silk dress and carried a bouquet of roses, orange blossoms, and bluebells.

In attendance were the bride's family, the groom's family and assorted friends from all across South Florida, the south east of the US, and of course, your humble blogger from Colorado.

After the service, there was a feast served by the serving wench of the saloon. The meal was excellent including Cuban roast pork, black beans and rice, and a nice salad. There was a margarita cheese cake for the wedding cake. After the feast we went to the pirate ship outside the saloon for family pictures. I'll be uploading all the pictures I took at the wedding to Shutterfly as soon as I get home; so follow the link above to see them all.

It was, all in all, a lovely day and a busy one! The party was an excellent mix of the interesting kind of people that Fritz and Sarah always seem to be surrounded by. If only the traffic on the bridge would start to move I could get to Apollo Beach and get some sleep. I need to return the video camera tomorrow. But while I sit behind whatever accident is keeping the bridge from moving, I am glad I have my PDA. At least I can write my blog entry while I am sitting still.

I hope wherever you are, your day is moving along nicely.

Don Bergquist - 18-November-2005 - Over Tampa Bay on the Gandy Bridge

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Morning in Florida

I wish I had a nice Digital SLR!

I have been fighting with myself for months over why I hate myself so much that I refuse to buy myself a nice camera. (I don't seem to remember that I have a nice digital camera - I bought myself a nice FujiFilm F10 less then a year ago. I remind myself of this and that is when I begin, seriously, to pout!)

I have been looking at the new Pentax *ist line of Digital SLR cameras. It is expensive but if I had one I could capture the lovely sight that is outside my window right now.

I am driving from my sister's place to my best friend's place. It is about 08:30 and I am in fairly rural county due to a detour of my main route. I was on the phone talking to Dad when I happened to look to the west. The sight that I was treated to is so lovely! I stopped, took a picture, but with the limited focal length of my camera, it is lost in the translation.

The picture I took was so bad (because I could not get the moon to look right) that I tossed it. (Plus, a construction vehicle went past spewing a cloud of dust that has yet to settle - the picture was ruined.) You'll have to settle for my description.

Looking off to the west there is an open expanse of scrub grass and palmettos. An occasional royal palm (the state tree of Florida) rises from this expanse which reaches to the horizon. The sky is an uninterrupted field of azure backing the greens and browns of the field. There is one lone live oak in the center of the field. But, calling the sky an uninterrupted field of blue is not quite accurate. There is one interruption. As big and round as a stray beach ball, the moon is just a few degrees above the horizon. It looks like a big silver coin about to be dropped into the slot between the Live Oak and the Sable Palm off towards the south.

I wish I could show it to you!

I hope that your day is lovely - wherever it finds you!

Don Bergquist - 17-November-2005 - Somewhere near Riverview, Florida

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Flying Southwest

There is about to be a new choice of airlines out of Denver. I am glad that Southwest
advertised that they would be flying from Denver before I bough my tickets for the trip. I am not sure I like the way southwest loads their planes, but I like the prices.

I am sitting in the Chicago Midway airport waiting for my flight to Tampa. (So I guess I am really flying southeast on Southwest...) My original flight was cancelled and the consensus among my fellow passengers is that this was because there were only five of us on the flight. It is a late flight that goes (was supposed to go) directly to Tampa from Chicago but it was cancelled.

When I talked to the agent a while ago she said, no. I could not go on the direct flight that went out at 21:00 - I was supposed to be leaving at 21:30 and the 21:00 flight is just about to board - I had to take a connection through Nashville. Instead of getting in just before midnight I will be in some time before 01:30. I have an hour's drive ahead of me when I land.

Okay, so what is not to like about the way that Southwest loads their planes? They have no seat assignments! When you get to the airport they put either an A, B, or C on your ticket. All the special assistance people get on first... Then the As, then the Bs and finally the Cs. They insist that this makes the process go faster. I will have to see for myself. I am eight people from the front of the B-Line so I assume that I may get a fairly good seat.

Oh, I haven't told you why I am headed to Florida!

My best friend, Fritz and his long-term girlfriend, Sarah, are going to tie the knot. I learned of this a few weeks back when Fritz told me that he had a friend that had a new business, they cater fantasy weddings. Well, I guess they will do other things as well... But they wanted to photograph Fritz' wedding so they could use it to promote their new business.

Well... The As are almost done walking down the jetway. I will tell you more of this experience tomorrow. Good night!

I hope your day is pleasant - wherever you are!

Don Bergquist - 16-November-2005 - Midway Airport: Chicago, Illinois

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Of Science and Religion

The recent decision by the Kansas school board to rejoin the 19th century has left me to wonder what all the palaver is about. This vote was a good thing. I can see it now! This intellectually lazy "science" will be a boon to intellectually lazy students the world 'round.

Teacher: "Class, what is 6 x 9?"
Johnny: "God knows."
Teacher: "Right!"

C'mon! Be serious. You could call Intelligent Design a science, but then, you could also call me "Ra, Sun God, Master of Time, Space and Dimension." Neither would be right.

I was prepared to write a long and scathing essay on this topic. I had written a three-page screed but then decided that there were better works out there. I am not against religion! I just don't think that it should be taught in public school science classes. Oh, and the religious right-wing will claim that this "theory" of theirs is more than just creationism dressed-up in a lab coat. It is not just an attempt to slip their theology into science. If this is the case, why are all the main proponents of ID in the religious right-wing?

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against the Reverend Pat Robertson. He has the right to implore God to smite any foreign dictator that he wants. First he thinks he is the keeper of the divine hit-list, now he really believes that he is the sole spokesperson for God! The good people of Pennsylvania have the right to teach science in their science classes. Should they choose to vote the eight members of their school board off for trying to foist creationism off as a science, who is he to tell them that God will no longer be there for them?

But as I said, this is not an angry screed about the stupidity of Kansas for not-only voting that ID must be taught in their schools but also for voting to change the meaning of "science." No, really... that is the part of the story that doesn't get enough airplay.

They now want to define "science" so that it no longer is looking for natural explanations for observed phenomena. This will probably make things fun in electrical engineering classes at the University of Kansas:

Instructor: "Mr. Smith, your paper on computer design is really great."
Smith: "Thank you. I thought it important to debunk the fallacy that electrons moving along the conductive materials inside chips on the motherboard cause computers to work."
Instructor: "Yes, and that word 'Motherboard' has such a stink of paganism to it."
Smith: "Since the hand of God is what makes the computer work, I think that we should call it the manna-board."
Instructor: "I'll call the board of education and ask them to pray upon your suggestion."

There is an old proverb that says, "He who cannot remember the past is doomed to relive it." Apparently, however, even those of us who can remember the past are going to be taken along for the ride.

For fifteen days in the summer of 1925 Dayton, Tennessee was the center of the universe for creationists (literally since everything in the universe revolves around the Earth, you see) as John Scopes was tried for teaching evolution in the public school. Imagine! It was a crime to teach science in a science class. Makes you wonder what Home Economics would have been like...

Mary: "My cake always fall, Miss Nancy, what am I doing wrong?"
Miss Nancy: "Well, you probably didn't pray enough. God is making your cakes fall because you are a bad person!"

I am not saying that all proponents of Intelligent Design are stupid, backward or gullible. That would make the "theory" easy to dismiss. Some are misguided, some are sincere in their belief that there is some viable reason to call this science, and some are just insidiously using it to forward their agenda. They want to turn America into a theocracy with their God at the helm.

Didn't we just bomb the heck out of a theocracy because it fostered hate and discriminated against its own population? Hmmm. I guess that they backed the wrong god.

Billy: "Teacher, why is the sky blue?"
Teacher: "Because God wants it that way."

Well, I guess that is enough, I'll jump down off the lectern for now. But not before making one pitch in favor of ID. There are some good things to be said for taking the intellectually lazy route of blaming everything that you can't or don't want to explain on a supernatural power! For anyone that I have offended with this piece, please remember:

I am this way because God wants me to be!
(Alternatively, I could be possessed of devils. Take your pick!)
Don Bergquist - 13-November-2005 - Lakewood, Colorado

Sunday, November 06, 2005


This has been a busy weekend so I have not gotten out to take pictures. I have been doing work around the home and trying to get ready for my fall festivities. I have been thinking about pizza today, though, so I thought that I would get you thinking about it as well.

The news article was commemorating the early days of pizza as introduced to America and how it has changed over the years. The early pizzas, the article said, were thin-crusted with crusts that tended to burn in places leaving the pie crispy and topped with a thin layer of sauce and toppings. IT went on to explain the evolution of pizza to the Chicago Deep Dish pizza and to discuss how the pendulum is swinging back toward the early style of pizza again. The article made me think of pizza and I have been fighting the urge all day to order one from Papa John's for dinner.

Ah, Pizza! The famous local favorite is the Colorado Mile-High pizza from a local chain called Beaujeau's (pronounced "bo-jo's). This thing is huge. I have seen it ordered but have never tried it myself. It is at least two inches thick. As far as I can tell, it is what Douglas Adams describes in The Long, Dark Tea-Time of the Soul. In the book, an American who lives in London entertains herself by calling the most uncooperative pizza restaurants that she can find (none of which deliver) and ordering huge and lavish pizza pies; "pies with extra cheese and anchovies, essentially a pizza with an extra pizza on top." Make them both Sicilian pizzas and you have the Mile-High.

Then of course there was the pizza that my Aunt Judy used to order when we would come to visit in Minnesota. They were the first pizza that I ever saw that, although the pie was round, the slices were square. I remember how my cousins used to get so excited that we were going to have pizza.

"We're going to have pizza! Do you have Pizza where you live in Miami?"

What does one answer to a question like this? Granted my cousins were very young when they asked this, but then we were all young as at the time as well and as such, had to have a good time at their expense. So, even though Dad made some great Sicilian style pizza himself, we looked at our cousins and all four of us shook our heads feigning bewilderment. "No," we replied "What is pizza?" We have gotten some good natured ribbing at our cousins' expense ever since.

Dad's Sicilian pies were good. He'd make them occasionally, lining a cookie sheet with dough, smearing on the sauce, and then letting Mary, Denis, Chip and I "help" put on the toppings. Yum! We didn't have pizza nearly often enough when we were kids.

No story of would be complete without mentioning Provenzano's. When the description of the "original" pizzas was stated in the article, Provenzano's was the first thing that sprung to mind. There were very few restaurants that I can remember going to a child. There were a couple breakfast places, one in the Concorde Shopping center on Bird Road (Next to the Woolworth's five and dime) there was another, further from home, at the Westgate Mall. I cannot remember which was which, but one was called "Bertrand's."

For lunch (and occasionally dinner) there were two that stand-out both of them because we got to see the elephants when we went to these places. One was the Burger Giant the other, diagonally across the street was the Royal Castle. Burger Giant was a burger restaurant that served the burgers plain and you could take them to "the fixings bar" at the end of the counter and put whatever you wanted on them. Oh, and it had the best strawberry shakes! Royal Castle was an odd restaurant for its location. It was a corner coffee shop that had booths in the back and a lunch counter that wrapped around the front. There was a window that wrapped around the two sides of the restaurant that faced the streets that it was on (Bird Road and Southwest 107th Avenue) just like they expected a lot of foot traffic past the windows. The restaurant would have looked less out of place if (like all the others I had ever seen) it was on a corner in a busy down-town area.

The elephants! Also at the corner of 107th and Bird was a large house set back from the road by a large front and side yard. The house was surrounded by a ten-foot chain link fence. The fence was to keep Trixie and Dixie a pair of African elephants in the yard. They were pets of the homeowner, who (as I was led to understand) was apparently the widow of the famous flier Eddie Rickenbacker.

For dinner it was either The Grotto (a seafood restaurant in Coral Gables) or Provenzano's. Provenzano's was a family-owned Italian restaurant that had the kitchen in the open so that you could see the dough being tossed and the pizzas being slid into the oven. We used to go and get thin, crisp pizzas with one or two toppings, sausage and mushrooms was what I remember. One other thing I remember about the pizza at Provenzano's is that they used Parmesan or Romano cheese on their pizzas. I do believe that this was probably the first pizza I had ever had. Occasionally we'd get spaghetti and meatballs. One big baseball-sized meatball sitting on top of a pile of spaghetti topped with tomato sauce!

Well, I've made myself hungry! I think I am going to go and make some dinner. I hope that your weekend has been great!

Don Bergquist - 06-November-2005 - Lakewood, Colorado

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Yet Another Sunrise

I know, I know... I take entirely too many pictures of the sunrise. But when I am provided with so many spectacular sunrises, how can I not?

This morning was yet another spectacular opportunity to shoot a sunrise. As Saga and I left for our walk, I caught a glimpse of the sky to the east of my home and decided that it was worth it to turn around and grab my camera off the dining room table. I am glad that I made Saga wait the three extra seconds.

Speaking of Saga, she was such a brat this morning. I put down the lead so that she would quit pulling against me, shaking the camera as she did, and she started walking away. She stopped when I called her to come back. (She is afraid of the take-up reel on her leash; it freaks her out when it comes along sliding behind her.) I called her to "Come Here!" and she just sat there looking at me. I had to take the picture and then go and chase her down. Luckily, the leash got snagged on something and I was able to grab the leash. Oh well.

I hope that your day is bright and colorful!

Don Bergquist - 02-November-2005 - Lakewood, Colorado

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


The number of trick-or-treaters I had come by last night was, comparatively speaking, pretty high. About 19:30 the president of my homeowner's association, his wife, and their son showed up. It was pretty cute. The kid (who cannot be two-years-old) rode in the wagon, pulled by his Daddy, while his Mommy did the actual Trick-or-Treating.

He was dressed as a little puppy and provided some of the best entertainment of the night. Saga approached the wagon to see what was in it and sniffed at the creature riding in the big, red, radio flyer. When the kid moved, Saga jumped. She beat a hasty retreat and hid behind the nearest human that she could find. This was Michael's wife who Saga also didn't know.

I had moved over to the wagon to get a better look at the costume. It really was pretty cute! Saga, realizing that she had mad a tactical error, hiding behind a stranger - looking for protection, slinked from her hiding place and cautiously slipped out the gate and behind me (nervously eyeing the wagon as she slipped by). She then refused to go anywhere near it.

What a stalwart defender of the homefront she turned out to be! Sure, she'll bark at those darn squirrels that seem to be intent on invading her territory, but let her come up against a toddler in a puppy costume!

That was it, one visitor. Good thing I didn't go out of my way to actually buy candy or anything. We did have a nice sunset though!

I hope you weren't too spooked by your visitors last night!

Don Bergquist - 01-November-2005 - Lakewood, Colorado

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Popular Fallacies: That the Worst Puns are the Best

British essayist Charles Lamb and I would have probably never seen eye-to-eye on this one! Had we ever met (which is unlikely in the extreme as he died 128 years before I was born) he would have immediately found that I am a great aficionado of puns. The title of this entry comes from the title of an essay he wrote in 1833. I must say, I do not agree that his statement is a fallacy. The best puns are the worst!

Among the gang of friends with whom I hang-around, Halloween is a big event. Partly because we can party and hang-out, partly because we get to dress-up, but mostly because we drink! No, just kidding. It is the socializing that is important. At least as important as the booze.

It has been my practice since moving to Colorado to wear a Visual pun to the Halloween party. Most of them have been pretty good. Here is a list of the costumes I have worn in chronological order since my stretch of puns has started.

1996 - I stuck a bunch of small boxes of cereal (the individual serving kind from the Kellogg's Snack Pack) all over myself with a plastic knife sticking into some of them (with blood dripping from the knives), bullet holes in a couple others, and a few hung from nooses.

1997 - I was at a station this year but I wore a rubber band around my head with a bit of crepe paper stretching from it to the ground.

1998 - I had a sheet that I draped over myself, eye holes had been cut-out and a black "Lone Ranger" mask was glued over the face. The word "Costume" was stencilled in black across the front and a UPC code and the words "1 Halloween Costume" were stencilled on the back.

1999 - I wore a bull's eye dart board on my front and my back.

2000 - I wore a sheet with the daily puzzle from the paper drawn on it. I carried the clues on a piece of poster board with me and let people try and solve the puzzle with a sharpie. If they asked any questions I was really surly to them.

2001 - I carried a couple lengths of cloth, a measuring tape and a but of curtain cord. When people asked what I was I said that I was still working on it. (This was fun because people gave me suggestions all night long!) half way through the party I went to a private room, wrapped one bit of the cloth around my head like a turban and the other I draped over me and tied-off with the curtain cord like a robe and announced that I had decided to be a Swami.

2002 - I wore a bunch of pictures of people named "Arthur." Art Garfunkle, Arthur Treacher (of the Fish 'n Chips Restaurants), Dr. Art Ulean, Arthur Miller, etc. All these pictures were stapled to various places all over the sheet I had draped over me.

2003 - I made large bar magnet out of foam and fabric. It was a big red box with silver ends that had "N" written on one end and "S" on the other. Glued to either end (and a couple to the middle) more-or-less at random were a bunch of little baby chickens.

2004 - I wore old, soiled, damaged clothing, carried a bundle on the end of a stick, didn't shave, had a red cape and had a big "S" in a diamond-shaped insignia on both my chest and my cape.

2005 - This year (pictured above) I chained a huge playing card (the queen of hearts) to my belt so that as I moved around it dragged behind me.

I am writing an intervening paragraph to let you think of what the puns are. I once had to write "A Pun Is The Lowest Form of Humor" a hundred times. My one hundred and first line on that assignment was ", it isn't..."

Oliver Wendell Holmes is wrote that "People who make puns are like wanton boys that put coppers on the railroad tracks. They amuse themselves and other children, but their little trick may upset a freight train of conversation for the sake of a battered witticism." This, I think sounds more like me!

The Puns From the Above-Mentioned Costumes:

1996 - Cereal Killer

1997 - Bookmark

1998 - Generic Costume

1999 - Moving Target

2000 - I was a "Cross" Word Puzzle

2001 - The World's Worst Procrastinator

2002 - Traveling Art Collection

2003 - Chick Magnet

2004 - Supertramp

2005 - Drag Queen

I hope that you have a happy Halloween!

Don Bergquist - 30-October-2005 - Lakewood, Colorado

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Not A Lot To Report This Weekend

I have had quite a busy weekend, but there is very little to report.

I can feel that the winter is coming on. Not because it is cold or anything, actually, it is rather nice outside. I checked the thermometer and reset it before coming upstairs tonight and the high today on my deck was 75-degrees. When I rolled out of bed on yesterday morning, I knew that I had lots to do and only a couple days to do it so I got an early start.

I started with two major projects on my to-do list and about half-a-dozen little things. I am happy to report that I am mostly finished. Both the big jobs are done and there are only a couple of the minor ones left to do.

So, what has kept me out of the lovely weekend outside?

Well, my first big project was to start a major fall cleaning. Yesterday morning, I opened every window, and cleaned them inside and out, removed the window screens, cleaned them and replaced them. I even got out the Carpet Shampooer and cleaned the upstairs carpets. Today's big project was to re-design the utility room.

Anyone who has been to my place (or heard tales of it) knows it is pretty compact. This is a plus when it is time for my Spring and Fall cleaning and a big minus when it is time to try and figure out where everything should be placed. The utility room/laundry room/pantry was a prime example of what I mean by this.

A square room just under seven feet on a side, the room sits just beyond the kitchen. The HVAC and water heater take-up the eastern third of the room and the washer/dryer took up the western third. The end of the room furthest from the door had a bookcase with all my cookbooks on it, and there were some dark cabinets over the laundry machines.

That's what I started with. The problem was that it was dark, cluttered and had a claustrophobic feel. The first thing I did was empty the room and rip out the cabinets. I then stacked the dryer on the top of the washer (the machines were designed to be stacked, but the cabinets prevented me from doing it) and pushed them to the far wall. The book case of Cookbooks moved to the western wall (in front of the dryer duct) and a set of open white shelves went up against the walk behind and above it.

Although I now have about the same amount of shelf space, all of it is usable. The room feels a lot bigger as you walk into it. The best enhancement I made to the room is the simplest one and the one I like the best.

I installed brackets at the top of the room just either side of the door and hung a closet rod between them. I now have some place to hang clothing straight out of the drier so that I do not have to carry them all over the house looking for a place to lay them and hang them up!

I made a couple trips to Goodwill today to drop off some old clothing I no longer wear as well as some stuff that had been cluttering my utility room. Miscellaneous kitchen stuff that I never use. All-in-all a very productive day.

I hope that your day was productive!

Don Bergquist - 23-October-2005 - Lakewood, Colorado

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Request for Family Information

Greetings to all family members be they Bergquist, Johnson, Korkowski, or some other branch I have unfortunately forgotten!

With the end of the year rapidly approaching, (and with a little spare time on my hands) it is getting time for me to think about the annual ritual of trying to get holiday greetings out. This used to be aided by the use of Flo's directory of the family that she maintained manually (on paper with many edits and crossings-out) until the sheet became to arduous to maintain.

A couple years back I attempted to automate the maintenance of the "Flo Sheet" as we called it affectionately, but my knowledge of the tool that I attempted to write it in was not up to snuff. Sadly, this meant that the sheet has become so out of date as to make it unusable.

This year, in preparation for the holidays, I would like to re-start the maintenance of the "Flo Sheet." To this end, I need input. If all the relatives could please email me (at: I would be happy to enter names, addresses, email, web sites, birthdays, anniversaries, family relationships, and other important information into a database so that we can share it either via email or via hardcopy sent to you via the mail.

In the interest of privacy (because I do not have a secured website to which to post it) this information will not be posted to the web.

If you are interested in being included in the list, please email me with the information you want to share. I hope to get this information collected by Halloween and get a sheet published and posted to everyone by the first week in November.

Thanks and have a great day!

Don Bergquist - 20-October-2005 - Lakewood, Colorado

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Mira, Pappi! Mira!

One of my most persistent memories of Zayer's Pool in Village Green was the one time that I rode my bike up there to go swimming and the entire time this little Cuban Bow was screaming "Mira, Pappi! Mira!" (Sorry, I do not have the upside-down exclamation point that should be at the front of these imperatives.)

The kid would then do something so incredibly lame (like dunking under) at which point the kid's dad would go back to his book and the kid would start screaming again.

I have been thinking of this today because as soon as I got home I finished the last of the stuff that needed to be finished after my trip. Saga, could she talk, would be screaming "Mira, Pappi!" at me constantly. She is so needy now that we are back home. It will take her a couple days to get used to being alone all day again.

Saga has been incredibly clingy. As a matter of fact, she is sitting at my side right now demanding my attention.

I hope you are having a great day!

Don Bergquist - 19-October-2005 - Lakewood, Colorado

Language Lesson

Mira, Pappi!
This is spanish for "Look, Daddy!"
It is only understood if it is screamed at your father repeatedly and at the top of your lungs.

Don Bergquist - 19-October-2005 - Lakewood, Colorado

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Back in the Swing

Today was a long day! Perhaps not quite as long as driving fourteen hours the other day to get home from Minnesota, but long none-the-less!

I was up extra early this morning because I wanted to get a jump on getting caught-up on my email at the office so I headed in and was at my desk by 06:00. After getting the backlog opened, read, prioritized and marked for follow-up, I started getting the backlog of requests to update my team's communications portal updated.

Luckily, I got all that finished in time to head out a couple hours early and get some of the detritus from my trip cleared out of the living room and dining room before my sister-in-law visited.

We had a nice visit. I printed some pictures that she wanted and got her on her way to her hotel in the Colorado Springs area. I guess I should be spending some more time getting back into the routine before I sit down and write more blog entries. That is what I will do!

I hope you have had a great day today!

Don Bergquist - 18-October-2005 - Lakewood, Colorado

Monday, October 17, 2005

Newly Scanned Pictures

One of the things I love about visiting my parents (as if the thrill of seeing them and anyone else I get to see in Minnesota is not enough) is that I get to paw through the box of old photographs that seems to perpetually replenish itself with old, half-remembered photos that I have not seen in years and the occasional nugget that I have never seen.

The link above will take you to an album of a few of the new photos that I found this time. A couple of them predate me. (Like the one of my grandparents and their group visiting the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in 1960. A couple I can vaguely Remember. (Like one of my mom with Grandma, Aunt Tina and Uncle Martin at Disney World. I think this may have been back when we first visited it in the early seventies. Back when the phrase "E-Ticket Ride" had a contemporaneous meaning. Everyone who has ever used an E-Ticket to get onto an E-Ticket Ride, give yourself a point!)
I hope you have a fighting chance to find some old pictures that bring back memories for you today!

Don Bergquist - 17-October-2005 - Lakewood, Colorado

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Driving Home

04:45 Central Time

Without the use of an alarm clock this morning, I got up and finished packing the remainder of my stuff in the car. After a quick cup of coffee (and one more for the road) I hugged everyone good bye and headed west. The Weather Channel shows nothing ahead of me but about 900 miles of clear skies and dry roads.

Just west of Morris, Minnesota I noticed the moon setting and thought it would make a good picture. I am now more certain than ever that I need to upgrade to an SLR digital camera. I miss my 400 mm lens! This is the best definition I can get with the lens built into my camera.

07:30 Central Time

In retrospect, I am not certain that the back way (the long way through Morris) is any better or worse than the way that I normally take. It did make it possible for me to get the sunrise over the trees in this field. The driving is going well and there is nobody else on the road to slow me down. I expect that I should be in Sioux Falls before too much longer.

Saga is snoring in the back seat and I guess that means that she will be of no trouble to me for this trip either. I have the books on tape playing and am really into the story I am listening to. I am currently listening to Double Whammy by Carl Hiaasen. Good book!

18:06 Mountain Time

It has been a great day of driving! I made it through Sioux Falls in record time and am well into Colorado by now. I loved the book. I have also listened to a book by David Sedaris today and am currently listening to The Book on Bush. I just looked in the read-view mirror and noticed that the moon is rising.

I took this shot by rolling-down the window and aiming the camera at the side mirror. The shot came out surprisingly well. Ahead of me, the sun is setting over the Rocky Mountains. What a gorgeous day! I count myself as exceedingly lucky that I get to live here!

I am beginning to get a bit tired. I think that I will take the short way - through town - to get home.

19:50 Mountain Time

In retrospect, I suppose I should have taken the long way. This is the problem with not being a sports fan. It never occurred to me to turn on my radio to the channel that carries all the sports.

Apparently the Broncos were playing tonight. It took me well over an hour to get through town because of all the people leaving the stadium. Oh well, all-in-all it was still quite a nice drive today! I am now home. All the stuff from the car is sitting in a pile in the living room. That is for tomorrow to worry about.

I hope your day has been filled with clear roads and good weather!

Don Bergquist - 16-October-2005 - Lakewood, Colorado

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Time to Make the Horseradish!

Horseradish has been used over the centuries as an aphrodisiac, a treatment for rheumatism, a bitter herb for Passover seders and a flavorful accompaniment for beef, chicken and seafood.

More recently, my family has used it as an excuse to get together for a day in the fall.

Apparently, according to the Horseradish institute (yes, there is one - everything has an institute), horseradish has been around since early in Egyptian society. The first step in making horseradish is to dig the roots out of the ground. Or, as we see here, to dig the roots while Uncle Dick supervises.

Then comes the fun part. We all sit around a table out on the lawn with a posse of paring knives and peel the horseradish. Some of the roots get a bit long and stringy, but that is the fun, to grab the good ones ahead of everyone else and see who can peel the most.

This, as all family occasions, is accompanied with liberal doses of chit-chat, gossip, and reminiscence.

Do you remember the time that Don...

Once the roots are peeled and washed, it is time to grind. This year I brought the food processor with me. It was no problem keeping up with the pealing table.

We started with a couple people shoving the roots through an old style grinder but it soon became apparent that my Kitchenaide could easily keep up with the pace set by the pealing table so we left the grinder alone and processed it all.

By early afternoon we had gallons of horseradish pickled and ready to bag and freeze.

Yum! Horseradish. I cannot wait to get home and make a roast!

Of course, there was also plenty of coffee, lunch to eat any time you felt hungry, and a bottle of schnapps to pass. (Well this is, after all, Minnesota!)

Once the production was done, it was time for pictures and cards. It is obligatory that whenever my dad's generation has quorum, they take a "Siblings" picture. The picture at right is one that I took of them standing on the dock out on the lake. I almost broke my neck trying to get to a place I could get this shot, but I think it was worth it.

Not to be out-done by the fogeys, my brothers and I decided that we should also have a "Siblings" picture.

Interestingly, Chip is actually the tallest of us and Denis the shortest. I guess we were just in a mood to goof around.

After the pictures, there was time for some cards, whist and cribbage mostly, and then everyone went off their own ways. What a fun day! We have, however, been running all day long and I am sure that it will be an early night!

I hope that your day was filled with as many wonderful memories!

Don Bergquist - 15-October-2005 - Kensington, Minnesota

Friday, October 14, 2005

A Walk in the Woods

On such a wonderful fall day as this what can one expect to do when visiting Dad and Flo?

Well, as mentioned yesterday there is the ever-popular walk down the drive to get the mail. Today we all donned our jackets and made the trek through the woods to the highway to check the mailbox. The colors were lovely and the lighting was perfect.

It really wasn't as cold as you might think (notice the jackets that Denis and I are wearing) but being that this was Autumn and we were in Minnesota, I thought that it would lend a look of seasonality to the picture. Denis wore his because he was cold.

The Walk was pleasant, the temperatures mild, the conversation lively and the colors, although a bit past their peak, still vivid. Who could ask for anything more?

Our Hostess and Host for this lovely long weekend (short week) stay posed for a portrait on the walk. Since this one came out so well, I decided that we need to have one of the whole group. It's too bad I didn't bring a tripod or I could have made it into the picture as well.

Oh well... Live and Learn!

Aside from the walk, today was made in making preparations for the big event tomorrow. We are expecting a huge contingent of the relatives within a respectable radius to appear and assist with making horseradish!

This preparatory time, of course, left us time to plan what needed to be done across a cribbage board.

This is what I love about this place! It is fun to be here and to spend time with family. Speaking of family, Chip and Eric arrive tonight! I cannot wait.

I hope that today started with something you were looking forward to end ended with a pleasant surprise!

Don Bergquist - 14-October-2005 - Kensington, Minnesota

Thursday, October 13, 2005

A Fine Fall Day

One might imagine that just having driven over 900 miles yesterday, the last thing I would want to do today would be to go and get into the car and drive some more. One might, but one would be wrong!

There are just some things you have to do when you visit Rancho Bergquist. If you're a grandchild of the residents of the household, you can count on Grand-Dad having a task or two that needs doing and that he would love to have your assistance with.

If you're of my generation, you can help with these tasks (and surely will get conscripted if you can think of nothing more pressing that needs your attention. This time, Denis and I needed to get into Miltona to go to the locker and pick-up our orders for dogs and sausages to carry back with us.

When we returned, the back yard was all raked and the leaves were in the compost pile. (Gee, figure that!)

Later in the afternoon, we took our daily pilgrimage to the end of the drive to get the mail. Dad and Flo live ad the end of a nice little dirt road that cuts through the woods that surround their property so it is a good walk to do each day.

Coming home we cut across the lawn to go into Dad's vineyard. The grapes look luscious and ready to pick or to render into wine!

(What did the grape say when the elephant stepped on it? - Nothing, it just let out a little wine!)

I hope that you've been able to fill your day with the things you need to do.

Don Bergquist - 13-October-2005 - Kensington, Minnesota

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Driving to Minnesota

The storm now passed and headed south and east I decided it was time to get the dog and my stuff back into the car and head out to Dad and Flo's for the festivities.

I actually left at what I like to call "Butt-Ugly-Early o'clock" and headed east. Saga and I made great time. She pretty much slept the entire trip.

I could not believe the time I made. The roads were dry and clear. Even where the ice and snow made driving treacherous only yesterday; today it was smooth sailing. I saw the remains of the wreck that killed two people at Keenesburg, but that was all that was left to show of the storm. The conditions today were completely different!

With stops only in North Platte, Nebraska to top off the tank before heading cross-country from I-80 to I-90 and a quick breakfast burrito from Sonic, I kept racing through the early morning.

My early morning was spent driving through the darkness in Colorado with the sunrise (see the picture above) occurring just before I crossed into Nebraska. I am not going to say where the above picture was taken... (It may have been taken in a place that it was perfectly legal to be going this fast - you don't know) ... I include it at this point to show off the 44 mpg that I was getting at this point and because my entire trip was basically run at about this speed!

The morning continued to be clear and smooth sailing as I headed north toward Murdo, South Dakota. I love the gently rolling topography of Western Nebraska/South Dakota. I guess it is time for me to expand my collection of Road-side geography tomes. I want to learn more about the reason these states look the way they do.

The only inclement weather I actually had to drive through was fog it was a bit foggy but once I turned north, it cleared-up PDQ.

As the afternoon wore on, I noticed that I was being followed. Looking more closely at it, I realized that this guy had been following me all day long. I saw him this morning in my rear-view mirror, then later, as I drove north, he pulled along my left side and paced me for almost the entire trip into Murdo. I saw him occasionally tailing me through South Dakota, and then he pulled alongside me to my right as I drove north out of Sioux Falls.

Just before turning west for the final leg of my journey into Minnesota, the skies to the west clouded over with an approaching front. There was no rain from the system, but there certainly was a nice skyscape for the later part of the afternoon.

As I said, the day was pretty uneventful. Other than the bio-breaks periodically (a few for me, a few of Saga) and the obligatory stop for gasoline at North Platte, Nebraska and then again in Chamberlain, South Dakota, we cruised for the entire day at about eighty miles-per-hour and accomplished the trip in just under thirteen hours of driving.

I hope your day was passed as pleasantly!

Don Bergquist - 12-October-2005 - Kensington, Minnesota