Saturday, May 31, 2008


Well, I did it! I went out this weekend and bought a new bicycle. I've been wanting to do so for a number of weeks, but every time I head out to the shops, it is cold and rainy and the strange spring weather we had kept me from actually committing.

Yesterday afternoon, however, was so nice and I so wanted to get riding again that I threw all caution to the wind and just jumped in with both feet. I bought a Schwinn Sierra CS. It was a top-rated bicycle in Consumer Reports. I really like it but like it even more, now that I have spent most of the morning customizing it.

I've added a cargo rack, lights, a mounted lock, a cycle computer, and tire liners. It was a job, but I saved a lot of money; having the bike shop doing it would have cost me about sixty dollars. I am off to ride now… I will ride for an hour-or-so, but then I have to get back. A friend's kid has been graduated from high school and there is a party this afternoon. It is a lovely day and the trail is calling so I'll sign off now.

Wherever you are today, I hope that you'll have a great day!

Don Bergquist – May 31, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday Morning Musings

Saga has taken-up residence in the comfy chair in my office; she alternates between that and the sunny spots out on my deck. I think she likes it when Daddy works from home... she can see that I am here even if I don't spend a lot of time fawning over her.

I've been home for the past two days because my allergy attacks have left me with a horrible hacking cough. I went to the Doctor the other day to get a shot. It was a hormone of some kind which, in past years, seems to kick my allergies right out!

It has taken a couple days but I am feeling a bit better so I am headed back to the office today. I wonder what Saga will think when I head out to the office... which I should do. I hope she will have a good day without Daddy.

Wherever you are today, I hope you're having a great day!

Don Bergquist - May 30, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Party People

I stand corrected.

As a number of my siblings, parents, and others have reminded me, my siblings and I were together last year for my parent's 25th anniversary party. (It just seems like forever.) The above link has pictures from Dad and Flo's Spring party. Enjoy!

Wherever you are this evening, I hope you have your friends and family around you!

Don Bergquist - May 26, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Minnesota Moon

The corn moon rose one evening as we were headed home from whist. These pictures didn't turn out as well as I would have liked, but this one, I think, is pretty good...

Wherever you are this evening, I hope you've had a great day!

Don Bergquist - May 29, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Springtime in Minnesota

True to my word, here are the first of the pictures I took on my recent visit to Minnesota. It isn't nearly as many as I would usually have taken, but with my allergies acting up so bad, I really didn't feel like taking more...

Wherever you are tonight, have a good evening.

Don Bergquist - May 29, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Busy Day

It is foggy this morning, which is fitting, given the state of my head. I was able to get into my doctor to get an allergy shot, but it hasn't had the chance to kick in yet. So, in the interim, I'm suffering through the coughing, sneezing, and congestion. Idon't have time for this today!

I've got a lot of things to accomplish today by the close of business. I hope that after work I get a moment to update my galleries and my Shutterfly site with the latest photos.

But first, I have to get into the office and get some things done. I have so much to do. I worked from home yesterday and had a very productive day but still need to finish catching-up.

So, for today, that is it from me. Look for updates later!

Wherever you are today, I hope you'll have a great day!

Don Bergquist - May 29, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

So Much Time...


It is always thus! I get back from a trip and it will take me a week to get things back in order at home so that I can find my stuff. I want to get my photos uploaded from the trip to share them with you, my readers, and with my family...

The problem is that I have so much to do to get my home back in order that every time I start to head upstairs with my camera gear to load my pictures up and take a look at them, I see something else that I should really be doing instead. When I get around to it again, it is too late and I want to head off to bed.

So, I'll make a commitment. I will have the pictures uploaded by the end of the week! I promise! But right now, it is time to get to work... Look for the pictures soon!

Wherever you are today, I hope you have the time to do the things you want to do!

Don Bergquist - May 28, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Happy birthday to my friend, Kevin

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Back To Work

It's always a relief to go on vacation but it is also, in some strange way, comforting to get back to work afterward. That is how I am feeling this morning.

After returning to Denver on Sunday evening, and getting some housework done on Monday, it is back to the office for me today. I dread the prospect of filing through the backlog of email and trying to catch-up on the projects that have been sitting idle for the last week, but it will be good to get back into the routine.

Saga looked at me as if I were completely out to lunch this morning when I suggested that it was time to go out for a walk... she was not, in the least, interested in going out when it was raining. But out we went. We took a quick walk and then came back in. She earned her cookie this morning!

But now, I know, that by writing this, I am delaying the inevitable, so I guess I should get my butt in gear and get into the office.

Wherever you are today, I hope that you're having a great day!

Don Bergquist - May 27, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Monday, May 26, 2008

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety-Jig

It was a lovely day for driving! It was clear that there had been rain yesterday morning around Watertown and there was a bit of fog along I-29, but once I was headed west again out of Sioux Falls the roads could not have been better.

It is clear to see that there is concern over the price of gas! The roads were wide open. I was able to make it door-to-door in just over thirteen hours. Not a record for me, but respectable none-the-less.

The car is unpacked, today I have got to get the stuff I dragged in and dropped in the dining room all washed and put away so that I am back to normal before I get back to the office tomorrow. It looks like this afternoon will be an opportunity to do that, they are predicting a rainy afternoon. For right now, however, it is lovely our and I think that Saga and I are going out for a walk in her park.

Wherever you are, I hope that you’re having a lovely day!

Don Bergquist – May 26, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Would You Let This Man Raise Your Children?

Well, you should!

This morning's missive is a love note to my dad. Today is his birthday and I am proud to call him my father! My siblings and I have all congregated on Dad and Flo's home in Kensington, Minnesota (why do all my friends from the UK snigger when I say the name of the town?) to celebrate his birthday.

Sure, there were times when he drove me absolutely nuts, but those days are long past. There always seemed to be some reason for me to be annoyed at him. He gave a picture of me (that I always hated because mom had dressed me like a total dork) to my uncle. That would have been bad enough, but my cousins still (to this day!) remind me of it as if any self-respecting seven-year-old would have chosen that hideous checkered coat and red bowtie as a fashion choice!

Then there was the time when he hit me in the head with the hammer. I was about five at the time. I still have the scar over my right eye; knitted into the eyebrow, it is barely visible… Okay, to be fair, it was almost entirely my fault. He was working on something, hammering nails into a piece of wood. I came up behind him, toddling on my little feet (barefoot, as we almost always were) and so he didn't know that I was leaning over his shoulder to see what he was working on.

On the next back swing – POW! I don't really remember the incident too well; I was really young, but that is what I remember about it.

But then there were all the wonderful times; the camping trips with the family and the boy scouts, the long drives across the country on vacations with the family, and the times he brought me with him to work.

Dad had the coolest office! It was in the middle of the railroad-switching yard! We had to drive past the strikers (The Florida East Coastline railway engineers were on strike for years, making it the most profitable railroad in the country for a while.) Not only could he see the trains from his office window all the time as they went through the yard, but he had this great office space heater, it was the headlight assembly from a locomotive.

Now if only I could get him to stop telling those really embarrassing stories about my childhood to my friends every chance he gets. How can I possibly remain a man of mystery if he keeps dusting off his hands and yanking all those skeletons out of the closet!?

Wherever you are today, call your dad, have a good chat about the old times!

Don Bergquist – May 26, 2008 – Kensington, Minnesota, USA

Spring Bank Holiday (UK)

Memorial Day (US)

Happy birthday to my cousin, Levi

Happy birthday to my cousin, Calista

Happy birthday to my father, Denis

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Headed West

Well, that just goes to show you what the sudden deprivation of the daily dose of three-or-more newscasts does to one. I totally missed the news that we'd had tornadoes in Colorado until yesterday when a bunch of people at the party asked me if I was anywhere near the damage…

"Damage?" I asked… "What Damage?"

That when I leaned that we'd had tornadoes in Colorado. From my research, they were nowhere near where I live… they were about a hundred miles to the northeast. So now, I see that I have a good day ahead for driving home. The interstate forecast is a bit iffy until I get to Sioux Falls, SD, and from there on out, it looks like smooth sailing.

The rain forecast for this morning is calling for a fifty-percent chance of thunderstorms along I-29. When I turn west along I-90, the chance drops off to 30, and the further west I go, adjusted for the time it will take me to drive the 900 miles home, the lower the chance. There is a 10% chance of showers tonight back at home…

Sounds like a wonderful day for driving and listening to books on my iPod! So, I guess I should wake-up the house and let people know I am leaving.

Wherever you are, I hope that you're having a wonderful day!

Don Bergquist – May 25, 2008 – Kensington, Minnesota, USA

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Party Preparations


What a morning! I awoke to the sounds of industry in the house. Dad was up and moving around early. Actually, I was up much earlier than anyone else, (these f---ing allergies!) but once I had taken an allergy pill, taken care of getting my head as cleared-out as possible, and settling Saga down again, I dropped right off to sleep.

The morning has been a flurry of activity. Cleaning the the house, vacuuming and getting things ready for the guests has taken most of the morning. It is now just after 09:30 and we've been at it for about three hours. I'm taking a break to write in my blog and rest my feet for a moment.

But there is no rest for the weary... we have tasks to do and the party guests will start soon. It is Springtime in Minnesota! I am sure that there will be lots of time to sit later, as I am playing cards!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you are having a pleasant Saturday!

Don Bergquist - May 24, 2008 - Kensington, Minnesota, USA

Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday on Holiday

It's been a big week of spending time with my folks, helping-out around the house, doing a little gardening, running some errands. I cannot believe that Friday has arrived already. It seems that I only just got here!

But tomorrow is the party and Sunday morning I'll be headed back west. All good things come to an end.

My brother and his wife came in yesterday morning and my sister arrived yesterday afternoon. We even got a game of cards or two in before all the travelers crashed for the night.

Today's plans include a visit to the town where the family started-out, and a visit to the locker plant in Miltona to get some sausages to take home. Other than that, it is a couple last-minute errands for Dad and Flo before the party tomorrow.

Wherever you are today, I hope that you are with family and friends.

Don Bergquist - May 23, 2008 - Kensington, Minnesota, USA

Thursday, May 22, 2008


What a whirlwind of activity the past few days has been! With the gardening, the helping-out around the house and of course the cards and the games that my parents and I have spent the past few pleasant evenings with, it is no wonder the weeks seems to be passing so damn quickly!

Today is an intermission of sort. There are no big projects to do today and the big push for the party will be tomorrow... so, what is there to do today?

I woke-up this morning to the realization that it was Thursday and that today was the day that my elder siblings come in. What a riot (hopefully not literally) it will be to have all my siblings together again! How long has it been? I'd have to say that the last time we were all in the same place has been years. Perhaps as long as my sister's last big birthday party (about nine years ago).

Of course, we've had quorum since then, but this is going to be a momentous occasion. The earth may quake, the skies may tremble, the very planets may leave their orbits; the Bergquist children are getting together again. (Heaven help us all!)

Wherever you are today, I wish you a great day and a pleasant reunion with those that you love!

Don Bergquist - May 22, 2008 - Kensington, Minnesota, USA

Happy birthday to my pseudo-nephew, James

Happy birthday to my cousin, Kate

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Corn Moon

Being a Tuesday night in Kensington, there is nothing better to do than to go into the town hall and play cards. Whist is the game for a Tuesday night. In the late fall and the winter there are far more people than were there last night, but there were enough people to have three tables going so we had a good night of cards.

Afterward, while driving home, I noticed the full moon rising over the lake across the highway from my parents' place. I am not ecstatic about the way that the shot turned out, but I plan to go back tonight (when I don't have my parents waiting in the car, and spend more time trying to get a better image.

The name "The Corn Moon" (also called the planter's moon, the flower moon or the milk moon) comes from the fact that this is the time the farmers are out in the fields planting corn. (That would also be the reason the crowd at the community center was not as big as it could have been.) The golden sheen to the moon comes from the dust and pollen in the air from the plants budding and the equipment in the fields. Lovely colors in the sky and horrible things in my sinuses both come from this affect.

Getting to see such a lovely moon almost makes up for the fact that I came in dead last at the card game last night, but then most of these people have played longer and more often than I have. The point is that it was a lovely night and I had a good time with my folks.

Wherever you are today, I hope that you have a wonderful day in store for you!

Don Bergquist - May 21, 2008 - Kensington, Minnesota, USA

Editor's Note:

My father insists that I inform you, my dear readers, that He came in with the high score of the evening. At 57 points for the eight rounds, he scored more than twice my pathethic 21.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

May in Minnesota

Well, it's been a lovely day here in Kensington, Minnesota!

I fell asleep last night to the sounds of the loons on the lake and the owls in the woods. It's an eerie but a somehow comforting sound to go to sleep to. This morning, there was the call of some other bird, one I do not recognise. It was just before 06:00 so I lay there and dozed for a while, listening to the sounds of the morning.

When, a few minutes later, Saga decided to go crazy, practically bouncing off the walls, I decided it was a good time to get up and get active. The reason for her distress was that Dad had gotten up and was putting his dog out for the morning and Saga has to be active if anyone else in the house is! She bounded out across the yard in search of the perfect place to place her ownership marker.

Later in the day, I shot a few pictures of the garden. Here is one, I'll be loading the rest up to my galleries. How soon we get Jaded! My parents have a dial-up modem so it takes forever to get anything uploaded - or downloaded for that matter!

So, here I am, relaxing with the folks in the beautiful Minnesota springtime. Everything is full of vibrant colors, the fields; black with earth when I last saw them are starting to glimmer with green. It has been warm and wet for the past few days, I expected that they will be striated with the planted rows of corn or soybeans before I leave. What a lovely thought.

Wherever you are today, I hope that your day is a lovely one!

Don Bergquist - May 20, 2008 - Kensington, Minnesota, USA

Monday, May 19, 2008

Living In A Hypocrasy

No! It is not a misspelling! It is a new word. Think about it.

An "autocracy" is government via the edict on a sole, self-appointed leader. (A dictatorship... from the Greek for sole power or poser over one's self.)

A "democracy" is government via democratic method. (Direct vote... No, America is not a democracy, it is a representative republic.)

A "plutocracy" is government via edict of the weathy ("Plouto" comes from the Greek for wealth.)

A "theocracy" is government via divine sanction. ("Theo" meaning "God" + "Cracy" meaning government.)

So via the same entomological derivation, a "hypocracy" is government via hypocrisy.

I do not know if you saw the President the other day, I didn't, but I heard a news story yesterday while driving that really sheds light on how blatant his hypocracy (and hypocrisy) is. While in Israel for the celebration of the sixtieth anniversary of its founding; (I understand that the president, by the way was upset... "It's a birthday party, what? No cake? Must be a Jewish thing.") he finally launched an attack on the Democrats for their willingness to talk to the Palestinians.

In a none-too-veiled reference to the current front-running Democrat, he equated doing with being a sympathizer (or appeaser) of Adolph Hitler! (And my sister nearly decked me for making an old - and loving - joke in which I refer to her when we were children as being a Nazi.) But to accuse Obama as being a Nazi Sympathizer in Israel, on the anniversary of its founding after the second world war!? THAT is just beyond the pall.

Is this not the same man who was blasting everyone he could for even voicing opposition to his policy while abroad as it would make America look bad? Is it really okee-dokee for him to make attacks on the man who will very probably be the next president which are unwarranted (though entirely within his first amendment rights - yes... the bill of rights applies to the president as well!) and then try and prevent anyone that disagrees with his disastrous policies from speaking on the grounds that they should somehow just shut-the-#@&! up? That they are somehow un-American to speak their minds?

Look, Mr. President: You're either going to get into the fray or you're not. You swear that you aren't going to get into it and then you take the bully pulpit and make comments that you know (or should - presumably they taught you something by the time you got out of Yale!) would be taken as inflammatory.

I for one think that Janruary 21, 2009 to get here!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you will have a great day!

Don Bergquist - May 19, 2008 - Kensington, Minnesota, USA

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Open Road

What a lovely drive I had getting to my parents' place in Minnesota!

The roads were open and clear. To paraphrase the ancient Irish wish: the sun was at my back and the road rose to meet my wheels.

And while I didn't make it in anything approaching my personal best, I really had a great time listening to a book on my iPod and just spending the day driving. the only issue of the entire day, in fact, was the wind.

From the time I hit the South Dakota State line to the time I entered the sheltering forest around Dad & Flo's place, the winds were whipping across the plane. It is lovely, the wind whipping the long prairie grasses in to a frenzy; giving them the appearance of a green, restless ocean. On one weather forecast that I heard a report of winds in excess of 80 MPH on the prairies.

Which was easy to believe just looking at the fuel usage gauge in the car. My Honda Hybrid has a nifty little gauge that tells me what the current fuel usage is at any given point and what the estimated usage is for the mileage shown on the trip meter.

So if, say, I am spending a lot of time hot-dogging in downtown, hot footing it at all the green lights, screeching to a halt at all the reds and ripping up the roads in-between at twice the posted speed limits... (Not that I have ever personally done anything like this. Eh-hem.) it may register that I am achieving about 35 MPG during that time. While if I am driving sensibly, as I usually do, It may say that I am achieving about 45 MPG. On the highway, I usually get somewhere between 45 and 50 MPG which makes it possible for me to make the 1,000 trip (well, 995 but who's counting) in just over two tanks of gas.

But yesterday, I really saw the effect wind has on the car. While it is a cross-wind buffeting me, then the challenge is just staying centered in the lane. Luckily, for a large part of the trip it was a tail wind.

But from Sioux Falls to the Minnesota border, it was all headwind and the usage gauge shows it! The damn thing never reached 30! I achieved 29.8 MPG for the last 200 miles of my trip. But then I was in the arms of my family, so what's the problem with burning a little fossil fuel for that?

Wherever you are, I hope that you're having a great day and the wind is always at your back!

Don Bergquist - May 18, 2008 - Kensington, Minnesota, USA

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Driving East

By the time this posts I should be headed east on I-90 somewhere in South Dakota. The car is packed, Saga is sitting in the living room waiting to get into the car. The iPod is programmed with a bunch of books and music to play on the trip and everything is in readiness.

The Weather Channel is reporting that I have a clear, bright and wonderful day for the drive. Dad and Flo are probably still asleep as I write this, but then it is nearly 02:00. My goal is to be out of Colorado by three so I guess I had better get rolling!

I hope to post from the road so keep watching for pictures and updates from Minnesota!

Wherever you are today, I wish you good weather and clear roads!

Don Bergquist - May 17, 2008 - Somewhere on the great open road...
United States of America

Friday, May 16, 2008

Evil Invention

The DVR is an evil invention! I'll admit that I absolutely love my Digital Video Recorder! I use it all the time, in fact, I seldom ever watch anything in "real time" any more. I can (and have) set-up my "MUST SEE" shows as items in the queue to be recorded and watched at my convenience. If there is something that strikes my fancy when I see a promo, I go to the guide and make sure it is set to record.

On those rare occasions that I do watch something off-air, I can hit rewind or pause when I have to leave the room. It is this last feature, the ability to "time-shift" live shows that is the root of the evil inherent in DVRs. While the ability to rewind if I miss something or have stayed away during a commercial break too long is a good thing, it can also have unintended consequences.

Yesterday, I was watching the morning news when Saga decided that it was time to come and play with me. "Daddy must be bored," I could almost hear her think. "he is just laying in bed and doing nothing." So, she jumped up on the bed and started playing the I can lick your face before you can grab me game.

When it was over, they were finishing a story that was really interesting... I grabbed the remote and re-wound to the start of the story. (It was a five-minute piece about the release of the UFO files from HM Government in the UK. The piece was pretty interesting. (Like Project Blue Book but with an accent.)

After the piece was over, I got out of bed and started my morning.

The problem was that I never hit the [LIVE] button to catch-up to "real time." So when the news said that it was 05:30 it was actually 05:35 and I was late leaving for work. Now, five minutes may seem like a little thing, but for every five minutes I delay, my commute gets longer because that is about the time of the morning that the traffic starts to build. If I leave at 05:30, my trip to the office takes about 20 minutes. At 05:40, it takes half an hour, etc....

So that story about UFOs made me out of sync with the world and it seemed that all day yesterday I was playing catch-up. But it was a good story!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you're having a great day!

Don Bergquist - May 16, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Little Things

It is amazing the little things that I find myself missing now that I am living back at home in the US. Sure, I miss my friends; I miss going down to the pub and having a Tanglefoot with them, I miss our having a curry periodically… but those are big things to me.

The little things I miss? Tuna with sweet corn. Every place I ever had a tuna salad over there it had sweet corn in it. It was yummy and seems pretty simple, but no matter how I try, mine just doesn't seem the same. I miss "good" cheese at the supermarket.

A friend of mine from the UK came over to the US with his wife a few years back. (This was before I had spent appreciable time there.) While they were visiting, I threw a party for them. Brian accompanied me on my shopping trip and helped-out getting the food for the party ready. I remember thinking that he was being a bit pretentious complaining about the cheese selection at the local King Soopers. The thing is, I now know exactly what he meant. There is not even a good deli around me that I know of that has anything like the selection available at the local Sainsbury's in Kingston or Surbiton.

But I think mostly I miss gardening! I miss getting the mower out every weekend and doing the mindless chore of mowing the back garden, pruning the blackberry brambles, making the garden presentable.

At the house the company rented, we didn’t have a service to do this so the chore fell to us to maintain the garden (it was in the lease) and being the sole really long-term (read that "practically permanent") resident of The Villa, I usually got stuck doing the garden. I grumbled for show, but in truth, I really enjoyed it. And I think that I did a passable job! (No, I am being humble. I think I made the garden lood Damn Good!)

I think that this was brought-on by the fact that the gardeners at my condo complex are late in doing the lawn there. It used to be mowed every Tuesday. As of last night it was looking pretty ragged. Ah well, I can plant trees and flowers in my area. That will have to do.

Wherever you are, I hope that you are doing something that you enjoy!

Don Bergquist – May 15, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Life On Mars

If any of you like cop shows, there is a good one that ABC has just signed a deal for that originated a couple years ago on the BBC. If the American version is half as good as the BBC1 show was, I highly recommend you try it out. I know that I will be adding it to the queue on my DVR! Life On Mars was a cop show with a major difference.

In a nutshell, the original BBC Series was set in Manchester. DCI (Deputy Chief Inspector) Sam Tyler is a cop. The year is 2006. He is investigating a serial killer that has been menacing Manchester for years. When his girlfriend (also a police officer) goes off on a hot tip and disappears, he goes out to look for her. Within the first twenty minutes of the first show, they throw a lot of basics of 21st Century Police Procedure at you.

By what would be the first commercial break, Sam gets a disturbing phone call about Maya. He pulls off to the side of the road to make a couple other phone calls and is hit by a passing car. The world goes black. When he wakes up, he is in Manchester but the motorway he had been on the side of is no longer there. His spiffy sports car has become a muscle car, and there is a billboard behind him advertising the gleaming new motorway that is about to be built in this area. It is 1973. The rest of the show contrasts what the seventies were like against the present day knowledge that Sam holds in his head.

As the promos ask: Is he crazy? Is he lying in a coma somewhere and delusional? Is it really 1973 and he has imagined everything he knows about the present day? Or has he actually traveled back through time? Everyone in the seventies recognises him as DI (Deputy Inspector) Sam Tyler, a recent transfer from another precinct.

The original series, I am informed, was supposed to be a single-series show (what we would call a mini-series over here) but the show proved so popular, they re-edited the last episode so as to leave unresolved questions and scheduled a second series year.

One benefit about the series being set in the US this time is I may not need to watch it with subtitles. A friend of mine in the UK (a cop who was absolutely crazy about the show) let me borrow the show on DVD and I had to watch it with subtitles. Ironically, the only character whose dialogue I could make-out unaided was the Jamaican publican at the pub that the police spent way too much time in. (By present day standards.) Funny word about that character. He usually spoke in very heavy rasta-speak... but occasionally he would laps into the same British variant accent that all the other characters were using. My dyslexia misread the caption that accompanied the text. It read [Speaking in Mancunian accent] but I read it as "Manchurian" I asked Kevin why they thought that Chinese people sounded anything like that!

I hope the show is as good as the original... I am looking forward to it!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you have something you're looking forward to!

Don Bergquist - May 14, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Happy birthday to my niece, Heather

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Busy Morning

It is amazing how fast the time goes! Saga wanted to go out but the moment I opened the door to go out, she saw that it was raining and snowing and ran right back in. I had to coax her out the door and walk as quickly as possible to the park to get her to finally go out.

Once there, of course, it was irrelevant that it was snowing... she wanted to sniff every blade of grass and study every pile of poop that some other dog had deposited... we were out in the rain and snow far longer than I thought we would be.

By the time we got back, it was far too late for me to consider getting a chance to write... So today's post is really this evening's post.

The time at work flew by, it may be because I have a butt-load of work on my desk and I am trying to get through it before vacation starts this weekend. C'mon Friday!

Wherever you are today, I hope you're having a lovely day!

Don Bergquist - May 13, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Monday, May 12, 2008

Quiet Day At Home

Saga told me that she wanted to spend the day at home. We walked in the park early (around sunrise) and the she wanted to snooze in the sun. Yesterday as was nice as could be. It was the kind of day that made me want to take a piece of ground cover across the street to the park and let Saga sleep in the sun while I listened to the morning news; sitting in my chaise lounge looking over the lake at the bright morning sky.

Unfortunately, Saga had no interest in staying put and kept trying to wander off to explore. So, when the park started getting busy early on we headed home and I made us breakfast.

The rest of the day was more of the same; reading in the hammock chair, watering the garden, wandering aimlessly around the complex looking at other people's plantings. It is sad to think how much of these lovely plants will be gone by mid-week. That snowstorm they keep talking about on the news now sounds like it will be pretty serious. The temperatures will not get above freezing tomorrow, the snow accumulations are predicted to be 3" and above… so much for not planting until Mothers' Day!

But right now, the morning is so beautiful. There is no reason for me to think about tomorrow just yet.

Wherever you are today, I hope that you have had a lovely weekend!

Don Bergquist – May 12, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Happy birthday to my friend, Stephen

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Windy But Wonderful

Well, if today is to be nicer than yesterday, then this is going to be a great day!

Sure, yesterday was really windy and wet in the morning, but the end result was a wonderful day. Besides playing outside with the dog for a while (she didn’t want to spend much time out early in the day since the wet early-on), I went to the library for a while, and ran some errands.

I spent an hour and a half on the phone with the parental units and called a couple friends while enjoying the calmer parts of the day out on my patio. And, of course, it is a weekend, so I did some housework… Ah! What a lovely day yesterday was and the weatherman says that This is going to be the good day of the weekend!

Wherever you are today, I hope your day is lovely (and productive!).

Don Bergquist – May 11, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Mother's Day

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Where Did The Spring Go?

They are talking about a hard freeze for this evening. I hope that there are people (like me) who have still not put actual plants into the ground. (Sure, I planted Trees, but I'm talking delicate annuals.)

The common wisdom here in Colorado is to never put out the annuals until after Mother's Day. Since that is tomorrow, I know that there are a number of people who have done so… a lot of the gardens in the neighborhood look real nice. Will they all be wilted tomorrow?

The day is dark, gray and windy today but the forecast for Mother's Day (after the hard freeze tonight) is for lovely weather. Well, I've got errands to run so I should get hopping.

I hope that wherever you are today, the weather is lovely!

Don Bergquist – May 10, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Friday, May 09, 2008

Memory Lane

I work with a great crew at the office. There are always interesting things happening and fun discussions being had. Yesterday was no exception. It all started when one of the people (a very senior person at the company) came onto the floor with a logic diagram template. He had apparently been unpacking a box that had been sitting in his office a while and came across it.

This started a wave of nostalgia amongst those of us who were old enough to recognise it and we all dredged through our desks for other "archaic" tools of the trade: programming templates, forms rulers, computer cards, and the like.

It led me to remember a moment from my past when I was teaching a class in the computer software I used to support. My class had made some derogatory comments about the software being unable to do drag-and-drop schedule editing or something like that. I explained that the system was a bit old, but at least it wasn't programmed on cards any more.

To the class I related a story of when I had worked at the computer center in college. Part of my job was to make sure that people didn't leave their programs in the input/output trays. To teach the offenders a lesson, I used to carry around a small deck of cards with random go-to commands on them and if I found a program sitting unattended in the input tray I'd insert a few random commands into the program. They'd then have to spend a while debugging their programs and removing the offending cards. On each of the random cards was neatly printed: "PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PROGRAM UNATTENDED IN THE INPUT/OUTPUT TRAY."

When half the class asked what the hell I was talking about... ("What's a computer card?") I knew that I was getting old! Yesterday's conversations brought the memories to the fore.

Wherever you are today, I hope that you are enjoying (or making) pleasant memories!

Don Bergquist - May 09, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Old Dear: Another Road Rant

It's not as though I actually have a problem with older drivers! I have no serious problem with people who drive with one-or-the-other of their blinkers on all the way from their drive way to their destination. It is not as though I can't pass someone who decides that they want to drive down the interstate at 45.

What I do have an issue with is those drivers who are obviously operating under the influence of stupidity. Like the Old Dear that nearly ran me off the road yesterday TWICE! It probably wasn't entirely her fault. What really irritated me was the she did it to me twice in the space of 100 yards!

As I was leaving work I encountered the old dear, who was driving a vehicle way too big for her, at the first traffic light. (Though, at this point, I hadn't yet actually noticed the old dear. It was just another humongous red SUV in the inside lane.) As we went through the intersection, she (without signaling) changed lanes into the lane I was in. It wasn't immediately she just sort-of drifted into my lane until she was in it, shoving me over into the verge. I almost hit the curb trying to get over so she could get over into my lane.

I let it go, looking over, at the driver I saw her for the first time, a sweet old thing. But that vehicle was far too big for her! She looked like Dr. Ruth trying to drive a Hummer! I just shook my head and returned my attention to driving. Then, not fifty yards on, she did it again. I caught it in my peripheral vision, that big expanse of burgundy metal drifting into my lane!

There was nothing I could do. There was no breakdown lane for me to get into, only a curb and then a tree-studded slope down to a lake. I laid on my horn. If she was going to hit me, I wanted her to know she was going to hit me! The result? She turned on her right turn indicator!

I hit the horn again and this time I gunned it to try and get out of her way (her headlamps would have hit my driver's door had she completed her lane shift). She seemed to see me for the first time. She overreacted and jerked the wheel left and slammed on her brakes. She came to a dead stop in-between my lane and hers, straddling the line, effectively blocking both.

She looked at me sheepishly and gave me a wan smile, a little wave, and then pulled in behind me. I continued through my turn and went to merge onto the interstate. The last I saw of her was in my rear-view mirror. She was still sitting at the last corner stopped and looking to see if she could merge (even though it was a protected turn with a continuing lane) I half wonder if she will still be sitting there this morning when I get to the office.

Speaking of which, I had best get to the office. Wherever you are today, I hope your day is excellent!

Don Bergquist – May 08, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Back Of The Front

The morning started with a bang. (Well, technically, with a boom!)

A front passed over Lakewood yesterday afternoon/last night heralded by cloud cover and winds. Some time over night, the cloud cover built and the rain started; a nice, soft rain that wets everything slowly and soaks in!

Just the kind of rain that I needed to water in the grass seed, plants, and trees that I planted over the past weekend. Knowing the rain was coming, I didn't put out the sprinkler last night when I got home from the office.

This morning with the rain falling and the winds calmed to a good stiff breeze, the thunder and lightening started. It was a nice, cool evening so I was sleeping with the windows open; at about 03:00, I heard the first rumblings. (For all I know I'd slept through earlier rumbles, but this was the first I'd heard.)

The thunder echoed off the front range a few miles to the west and filled the valley I live in with a sound more like a jet flying over or a truck on a distant highway than like a thunderclap. I lay there wondering what I had heard for a while. Saga stirred in the next room; I could hear her name tag jingle against her rabies vaccination tag. Just as I was about to close my eyes and try to sleep again the room was ablaze with light. The after image of the room danced in negative before my eyes after the room darkened again. And then, even though I was half-expecting it, a large clap of thunder made me jump. That was close!

Saga came into the room at a trot, jumped on the bed and worked her way under the covers. She gave me one sheepish look and then curled-up and started snoring. Half out of bed after my start anyway, I hopped over to the window, closed it and pulled the curtains closed.

I was able to get a quick nap in before it was time to get up for work. Walking Saga later, I saw that the storm, while full of sound and fury, and barely left a trace in the rain gauge. Everything was nicely wet, the leaves were dripping contentedly as we passed. The ground had that pleasant squishy feel that indicates that the grass is getting a good sip of water.

Both the weather casters I saw this morning on the two local stations I switch between in the mornings, are saying that we are going to have this rain most of the day! That's great! We need the moisture!

But now, it's time to head out to the office. Saga is curled-up in the easy chair here in my home office, and the house is secured against the possibility of heavier rain today.

Wherever you are, I hope that your day is a lovely one!

Don Bergquist - May 07, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Mid-Life Crisis

There's an old joke that it is better to be a man than a women. You see, when women go through "the change" they got hot flashes and mood swings when men go through the change, they get sports cars and young girlfriends. I though of this old joke yesterday on my way home from the office because driving down Hampton avenue on my way home I was passed by a bright red Mustang convertible. It was being driven by a guy with a silver-gray Mohawk.

Now, seeing a Mohawk on a guy around here is not all that unusual, and the color threw me for a second... I barely noticed the driver (I still miss my convertible and tend to notice them when they pass me.) so when he passed and I did notice the hair and the gray is actually what I noticed. It is the same gray that my dad has on his head; a vibrant silvery-gray. (To be honest, it is the same gray that my hair is turning.)

But a gray Mohawk? Why would any kid make such a fashion statement? What would that statement be? "I already wear my pants sagging so now I want to complete the look of being old so I have dyed my hair gray?" (Dad, your were a fashion plate way before your time!)

But at the next light, when I caught-up with the bright, shiny, red convertible, I looked over, admiring the car. Then I took another look at the driver. He obviously earned the gray hair. (Even if only by living the seventy-years he looked like he had under his belt.)

So what else was I to conclude... This is a man going through Male Menopause. I'd bet that when he has a seat cover in the passenger seat, she is half his age! When I am his age, I hope I can do as well.

Wherever you are today, I hope that your life is flashy!

Don Bergquist - May 06, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Happy birthday to my sister-in-law, Allyn

Monday, May 05, 2008

Damn! I Was Right!

Well, I am sorry to say that I was right!

All the labor of the past weekend is really wreaking havoc on my back this morning! Look, I sit at a desk, at a computer, all day five days a week and do not really have to do a lot of heavy lifting. It is not as if I am exactly out of shape, okay, I carry some extra poundage, and I am not as active as I might be, but my doctor has told me that apart from that, I am healthier than most the patients he sees.

But, it is definitely true that using muscles you don't usually use is asking for trouble and today, trouble has come to call!

I guess that is why Naproxim Sodium was invented. I love this stuff! I was given it after a car crash many years ago and it really kills pain with no real side-affects! I am so glad that it is available over the counter! (I sound like a commercial for Aleave.)

I'm off to take some pill and then to the office.

Wherever you are today, I hope that you are feeling well!

Don Bergquist - May 05, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Cinco de Mayo

May Day Bank Holiday (UK)

Happy birthday to my friend, Mary Dawn

Happy birthday to my cousin, Dee Ann

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Weekend Gardening

Oh! I just know that I am going to be paying for this tomorrow! I am probably going to be so sore when I wake up.

It is such a lovely weekend that the planting of the aspens I did yesterday was just not enough... This morning, bright and early, I headed back down to the garden center and did some more shopping. I had a few other things I have wanted to do for a while now, so I figured: Heck! Why not today?

About a hundred dollars later, I had some seed, some plants, some soil, and a couple new gardening tools and was back at home with my morning's labor planned-out ahead of me. the first thing I did was to lay-out some drip irrigation hose around the perimeter of the fence that lines my little private area of the complex. While I was at it (and having to use the whole 100' of hose), I also laid it around the base of the aspen trees that are planted between my patio and the trash bin enclosure.

This involved removing a couple of the fence pickets so that I could bury the hose under the fence to get it out to the trees then back in again. It also involved going around the base of the trees on my hands and knees to bury the hose under the gravel mulch (the dirt in the entire area is covered with a few inches of golfball sized rocks).

That job completed, I then cleared more of this gravel (Can golfball sized rocks really still be called gravel?) from the outside of the fence that surrounds the trash bins. This is an area between the walkway to the entry to my home and the fence. The area is about twelve feet long and two feet wide. The reclaimed rocks went to build-up the covering over the irrigation hose and the space around the rose bush at the other side of the enclosure. I removed the top couple inches of soil/rock combination as well and laid in a new covering of top soil that I could then plant in.

Next, I leveled out the soil and sowed it with wildflower seeds so that it would look really nice in a couple weeks when the flowers start to come in. I planted a combination of violas, cosmos, and miniature snapdragons in the area and also sowed the seed in the established planting area that I made years ago at the end of my patio.

Perhaps this fall I will plant bulbs in that area as well, but I really can't think that far ahead right now. For today, my gardening is done and I hope my neighbors will get as much joy out of the color to come as I am sure that I will. I think that now it is time for a walk with Saga and then, perhaps, a nap!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you're having a great weekend!

Don Bergquist - May 04, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Aspen Lodge

I really love Quaking Aspens! From the silvery bark to the pale green/gray of the leaves in the spring to the striking gold of the fall foliage. I absolutely think that they are one of the prettiest (non-flowering) trees around!

A few years back, I planted three of them in front of my condo; sort-of as a little screening between my home and the neighbor's, they give me hours of joy as I sit on my deck reading, listening to the wind rustle the leaves. I also love watching them as the slightest breeze makes the leaves shake and shuffle. It is the flat stem that connects the leaves to the branches that allow the slightest breeze to make the whole tree come alive. It is this physiology of the tree that gives the tree its name.

This spring, I decided to extend the privacy screening a bit and add a few trees to the planting I had done. They are fast growing, so the new trees will soon be high enough to help extend the privacy screening between the buildings, and there will be all that much more color for me to revel in immediately.

While I was living abroad, one of the things I loved about the villages I lived in and frequented, was the naming of all the homes. Every home, it seems, has a name. And these names are descriptive of the home. In Thames Ditton, there is a home called "The Dormers" whose main outstanding aspect is the inclusion these unusual curved dormers that grace the roof line. Then there is "Two Trees" which retains its name, though the two huge oaks that used to grace the front garden are now just stumps. "River Cottage" is on a side-street overlooking the Thames, and "Ivy Lodge" is, of course, covered in a thick matting of ivy from the ground to the roof line.

My guess, though I have no independent proof of this. - I'd love to get either confirmation or correction of this assertion. - Is that the names predate the general literacy of the population. It makes as much sense as any other explanation I can come-up with. I am imagining that it started out as someone giving directions:
Go down to the house with the dormers, you'll know the one... then turn right and continue down the road until you get to the house with the two trees out front.The the smith lives in the little cottage at the end of the road covered with ivy."

The directions (I imagine)would have eventually been shortened by dropping some of the "extra" words: "Go down to The Dormers, turn right and continue to the Two Trees. The smith lives in the Ivy Cottage at the end of the road."
In this spirit, I have decided that my home will now (even if not officially) will have a name. Henceforth, I plan to refer to my home as the Aspen Lodge. I think it gives it an old-world charm.

Wherever you are, I hope you're doing something today to make your world a more beautiful place!

Don Bergquist - May 03, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Friday, May 02, 2008

A Fine Day For A Fun Fair

I shouldn't really be in the mood for it, but for some reason, I've had the annual fun fair that happens on the Hampton Court Green about this time every year in mind. It snowed a good part of yesterday and I understand that the weather in Surrey has not really been all that great either, but for some reason, the call of the midway has been tugging at me for the past couple days.

I've got this strong desire to ingest strange, unidentifiable (and almost exclusively deep-fried) food stuffs, climb aboard machines that spin, twirl, or otherwise seem to have been intentionally designed to save you from food poisoning )by relieving you of all the midway foods you've eaten), and generally act as if I were ten-years-old again!

My friend, Angie, has this love of carousels and I have ridden as many of them in the past couple years as I had in my life previously, hopping on them at every opportunity with Angie and Terry. They really do bring-out the child in one!

Of course, that experience made me miss a question in a general knowledge quiz I was competing in with some colleagues here at the office. I got the question "wrong" (by which I mean I didn't give the answer that the questioner expected) and had to petition to have the question disqualified. I succeeded on the grounds that the question was ambiguous and I was not the only one who got it wrong.

The question was: "What direction, when viewed from the top looking down, do merry-go-rounds spin?"

Okay, it's a 50/50 chance. I answered clockwise. (The answer desired was counterclockwise.) I produced pictures of the ones I had been riding on in the UK and there was not one that spun in the counterclockwise (anti-clockwise) direction. Doing further research, I did discover that over half the carousels in the US do, in fact, spin the other direction, but in Europe, they are much more likely to spin clockwise. Why? Who knows!

I didn't win the competition, but the point (as is with the point of the Fun Fairs) was to have fun, and that I did!

Wherever you are today, I hope you're having fun!

Don Bergquist – May 02, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Weather Report

The past few days have been absolutely, the deep blue of the skies, the clement temperatures, the fine spring blossoms. But that is here in Lakewood. I have been on the phone to my colleagues in Thames Ditton over the past few days. While discussing our projects, we have shared updates on what is going on and apparently, they have been having lots of rain and storms.

Unfortunately, the nice weather is coming to an end. It is supposed to rain and snow today. The skies were gray as I walked Saga in her park. The weather was cold enough that I needed a jacket. Such a difference from the 80s we had yesterday!

Ah, well! This too shall pass! Besides, we need the moisture!

Wherever you are today, I hope you have the weather you need!

Don Bergquist - May 01, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

May Day