Friday, October 31, 2008

The Eve Of A Weekend

Well, It's almost the weekend again and I have the bulbs to plant so this weekend I am hoping to get my beds planted for the spring…

It's a busy morning here; I have a deadline to meet and a full agenda. Saga is sleeping curled up under the desk. I have a feeling she thinks I am eating and that I will let a little morsel slip to her.

Occasionally, I work from home when I need get a lot done and want to spend the time I would have been commuting working instead. It’s one of the benefits of being on a project that has a lot of document creation to it. As soon as I wrap this up I'll be turning to my work PC to get working on Help Documentation… Wahoo!

So, it's off to work. What a tough commute I have today… I have to turn in my office chair 90ยบ to the right and face my secondary workspace. Argh! How do they expect such trials and travails from me?

Wherever you are today, I hope that you will have a good Friday and a great weekend!

Don Bergquist - October 31, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Happy birthday to my friend, Renee


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Push Polling Gone Mad

It must be a wet dream for Karl Rove!

I just heard about this yesterday and I was incensed by it... now that I've had a while to do a little more research, I am completely dumbfounded about how a licensed television station can even pretend that they are acting in the interest of their community by doing such a thing.

You may have heard about the local news anchor in Orlando who quoted Karl Marx in a Monday interview with Joe Biden and asked how Obama's tax plan was anything but Marxism. "How is Senator Obama not being a Marxist if he intends to spread the wealth around?" she asked.

"Are you joking?" said Biden.

"No," she replied.

In another maneuver that was classic Rove strategy the interviewer went on to ask whether he was seriously implying in his recent speech in Delaware that if Obama was elected we would lose our place as a premier power in the world and be attacked again.

"I don't know who's writing your questions," Biden shot back.

In the interview (which is available online for those who care to see it) she returned to the innuendo that Obama was a Marxist twice, and showed a clear bias in the way the questions were phrased. Anyone who doubted that the interview was biased need only cast an eye at her agenda for the rest of the day to suss-out what her political agenda may have been.

Not only was the Biden interview (according to articles in The Orlando Sun-Sentinel and the Chicago Tribune) posted to the station's website BEFORE it aired - a somewhat unusual move, you want your headline stories to show on the air usually - but the anchor in question went on to grant an interview to Bill O'Reilly.

Granted, she has the right to ask any question she wants to ask. Her station can allow her to show her political leaning. Ignore the fact that she has "the Factor Stamp of approval" from Bill O'Reilly, ignore the fact that her husband makes his living as a Republican Political Strategist who is also a contributor to the McCain campaign, ignore the fact that in a recent interview with McCain she tossed softball questions - the hardest being one that has been in every McCain interview that I have seen; essentially "why can't your campaign get it together?" Another opportunity for McCain to point-out that Obama has not accepted public Financing.

What so irritates me about this is the widespread belief among the masses that what they see on the news must be true. C'mon... you've seen it! You've heard it. "Well! If it was on the news it must be true... there must be some truth to it... Where there's smoke..."

There is also empirical evidence that negative stories (even those which are demonstrably false) have traction. In the case study, the survey located news articles about people accused of crimes who were later exonerated. The coverage of the trial and its verdict were well publicized. In polls a year later, people who were aware of the stories were more than 2-to-1 more likely to think the accused was guilty than that he was innocent. When the actual perpetrator of the crime was caught and convicted in the interim, that number fell to just over fifty percent, but the fact is... the negative story stuck... not the positive.

What this interview was designed to do (in the tradition of a Karl Rove Push Poll) was to put the negative story out there... even though it was couched as a question, the idea is out there and the train of though has departed the station. I can only hope that the populace of the state of Florida is intelligent enough to see this for what is was - Partisan Bunk! Scare tactics.

Wherever you are today, I hope you look at the "news" with a critical eye!

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

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Indian Summer Continues

Oh! What a lovely day was yesterday!

It's just too bad I had so much to do at the office and had to spend the entire day hunkered down in my cubicle. I understand that the day was as lovely as the afternoon was. I left the office around 15:30 and was met by a lovely, warm afternoon.

All the way home I hoped that the last of my bulbs had arrived... that way I could do some garden work when I got home. But no such luck! So, instead of doing my gardening, I took Saga for a nice long walk, visited with a neighbor, and sat outside and read a while.

Of course, last night on the news they talked about how all this nice weather we're having is really a bad thing... Too dry, too warm, too bad! Ah, well! November starts this weekend and predictions are that it will be cold and wet. I guess we need it... it is autumn, after all!

Wherever you are today, I wish you a pleasant day!

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

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Parkinson's Law

I am not sure how she learned it but Saga has apparently learned Parkinson's Law. For those of you not familiar with it, Parkinson's Law states that:
"Any job will expand to fill the time allotted to it."
It does not seem to matter how early we leave for our morning walk, I always get back to the house in time to just miss the last check of traffic before it is time for me to leave... I actually noticed it the other day, but I felt I had to be getting paranoid. Yesterday we walked in just as the traffic guy was tossing to the weather girl.

This morning, I'll be damned if it didn't happen again. That may not seem too odd, but for the fact that we left for our walk way earlier than usual because I was awake and active way earlier than usual. She squandered all the extra time in the park sniffing grass three times instead of just twice, staring off into the darkened space, and generally taking her own sweet time of it.

How long has she been doing this to me? I can't believe it! It is a one-dog conspiracy! The bitch is trying to prevent me from knowing which route to take to the office. Perhaps it's just her way of trying to keep her daddy home with her.

Yes, I think I will go with that explanation. It's better than thinking she is just trying to make me sit in traffic.

Wherever you are today, I hope that you're having a great day!
Don Bergquist - October 28, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Monday, October 27, 2008

Blah, Blah, Blah

Perhaps I have missed something. This morning on the news I saw one of the candidates deriding the other by mimicking words from a speech he (the opponent) had given saying he wanted to "research" (yes complete with the air bunny ear quotes) "safe" (again with the bunny ears) and "environmentally friendly" energy sources "blah, blah, blah." Yes, he actually said "blah, blah, blah!" This quote was, of course, accompanied by the obligatory eye roll and sarcastic sneer...

I'm sorry... when did research and knowledge become bad things? When did making sure that something was safe become a legitimate target of derision? When did making sure things were not going to poison us or kill off the human race become an unsound strategy?

It would have been less ironic, I suppose if the candidate had not immediately gone on to chastise his opponent saying "he'll say anything to get elected."  Eight days, folks! Eight days and counting... In only eight days we can stop arguing about who we should vote for start arguing about the results of the election.

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

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

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Lovely Weekend!

Saga and I took a long walk in the park, spent some quality time on the deck (she barking at squirrels, me reading my book), and passing a generally pleasant fall day together... what a lovely day.

I did a little housework, did a bit of laundry, and did some work on my computer... there is so much to do so little time each weekend. I have no idea what we will do today, but again, it is supposed to be a lovely day, a bit windy, a bit cooler... but still lovely!

I wish I'd received my last shipment of bulbs so I could do my planting today, but failing that I'll have to find something else to pass a pleasant afternoon.

Wherever you are today, I hope you're having a lovely weekend.

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

Happy birthday to my cousin, Gwen

Happy anniversary to my cousins, Todd and Kristen

Saturday, October 25, 2008

It's The Last Week

Do you think that the RoboCalls will end with the election?

I can see the scenario under which the winner spends the next month sending us RoboCalls pointing out that the January 20th inauguration is tradition only and we need change NOW. I can also see how the loser may spend the next month making robotic calls to verbally wag the cyberfinger at us for having voted for someone who will ruin the country.

Please note, I have not made clear who would do what. The continued calls could be of the nature that "...the new president has ties to terrorism..." or that "...the new president is old and unstable..." it really could go either way.

There is also a scenario under which the country is deadlocked and the 2000 electile dysfunction is repeated on a national scale. Wouldn't it be too cool if we didn't know who the new president was until January 20th? (Note to the fates - that was what was called sarcasm!)

Whatever the outcome on Tuesday, I suppose I can turn back on the ringer on my phone after that. I had six messages this morning when I got up... (I failed to check it when I got in last night.)  One was a wrong number the other five were from the McCain campaign informing me that Obama was 1) probably a terrorist, 2) deceitful, 3) probably a terrorist, 4) probably a terrorist, 5) pro-criminal and against sending criminals to jail.

I'm so thankful to the McCain campaign for taking the time to tell me this... I may have missed the 32 minutes-per-hour of campaign ads they are running on television and radio. I may have been rendered totally insensate by the number or people who have come by my door in the past week to ask if I had considered voting for McCain.

It's too bad that I have already voted. I have been told that the campaigns are getting posted ballot updates so that they can remove people from their calling lists. So, since I cast my ballot over a week ago, I cannot fathom my prominent position on the calling lists of the campaigns. Hey, Mr. McCain: YOU CAN STOP CALLING ME! SAVE YOUR MONEY. MY BALLOT HAS BEEN CAST!

I do get occasional calls from the Obama campaign as well, but they are not of the calls I have gotten, they are about 8-to-1 from the republicans. Oh well, perhaps this is the last week of it.

Wherever you are today, I hope that you will have a great day free of annoying RoboCalls. And if you are an eligible voter in the United States, I hope you have registered and will satisfy your responsibility to vote your conscience in the current election.

Don Bergquist - October 25, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Happy birthday to my cousin, Jacob

Friday, October 24, 2008

Enough Already!

Damn! I wish I hadn't submitted my ballot yet! I'd love to be able to not vote for anyone who RoboCalls me! And If I didn't vote for you already, I'd deface my ballot to not vote for you more emphatically!

What's up with all the damn politicians calling me? I've voted already!

This rant has been brought to you by the ten RoboCalls I received last night. I finally turned off my phones (yes, I was getting them both on my land line and my mobile) around seven thirty last night. Enough already! Stop with the calls!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you are not plagued with calls from political candidates!
Don Bergquist - October 24, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Happy birthday to my aunt, Rita

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Voting Block?

Apparently (according to the news story I saw the other night) I am now a member of Colorado's largest voting block! But that gives me pause for thought. Can unaffiliated voters really be considered a "block?"

I mean, the whole point is that we are not affiliated with any party… thus, were we to affiliate with each other, we would become a de facto party. So, I am not sure why the news chose to classify us as a block.

It is going to be an interesting election in Colorado, though, I'll give you that. There are about six thousand more unaffiliated voters (no party affiliation) in Colorado than there are members of the Republican Party. There are about 12,000 more Republicans than there are Democrats. When I was looking at the numbers, I had to push the percentage to a decimal place to see a difference between the party affiliations.

I did find it interesting to see that the smallest voting block is the one person in Douglas County that is registered as a member of the Reform Party. The only person in the state registered to that party.

Other interesting statistics:

For the 2008 primaries, 80.4% of the registered voters actually voted. (That's pretty good considering that the numbers I have seen show that the national average was 71%.)

Mail-In Ballots were requested by 59.8% of the registered voters in Colorado. 13.2% of those have already been cast.

In the two days that have been tabulated since Early Voting began in Colorado 41,975 people (1.6%) of the eligible voters have cast their ballots.
All figures have been provided by the Colorado Secretary of State website.

Wherever you are today, I hope that you will take an interest in your local civic affairs. And for all you US Citizens who are reading this, please do not forget to vote by the time the polls close on Tuesday, November fourth!

Don Bergquist – October 23, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Sound Of Thunder

You wouldn't, necessarily, consider this time of year as one for thunderstorms, but last night there was a pretty good one. I was working upstairs in my office and heard the first clap around five. At first I thought that Saga had knocked something over in the next room. But then I saw that she had sneaked in and was asleep in the comfy chair in the corner... Hmmm!

When the flash lit the window and the next clap came right after it, the connection was made. I new what the sound had been. Now, you may think this is strange but I love inclement weather! That is, I love inclement weather that I do not need to be out in. I remember some real Lulus when I was living in Florida, a couple really nice ones while driving across the Texas Panhandle, and what I think was my favorite of all times, a spectacular lightning show I watched from the window of my compartment on the California Zephyr as it rolled through the twilight on the high desert near the Colorado/Utah border. What a lovely storm that was, the dying sunset in the background, the forked flashes in the foreground... but I digress.

Saga stirred with the next flash, looked out the window and yawned at me. I took a break, curled-up in the big chair with Saga and watched the show for a while. There wasn't much rain to it, but the light show was pretty good!

The front is by now. The weather forecaster on the television is talking about how we narrowly escaped a repeat of the blizzard of 1998. I'm okay with that... as long as we can have an occasional thunderstorm. The sound, the light! I wouldn't trade it for a thing.

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

Don Bergquist - October 22, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Happy birthday to my aunt, Frances

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Price Of Beer

Well, ale, actually...

Okay, this is a totally odd thing to be thinking of at six o'clock on a Tuesday morning, but while I was drinking my coffee out of the British pint mug that I brought back with me it occurred to me: Now that I have found a supplier of British Ales over here, it is off that it works out to be cheaper here than it was back there!

Let's think… in the pub you'd pay nearly £3 for a pint… that's about six dollars. But let's to apples to apples. You can buy a four-pack of Tanglefoor at Sainsbury's for about £7 (as I recall) and that means that you're paying 9p or about 18¢ per ounce of beer. (Remember: A British Pint is 20 fluid ounces as opposed to the imperial pints we use here in the states that are only 16 fluid ounces.)

Now for the party this past weekend, I spent about $9 for a six pack. We have to do a number of gyrations, but once you take into account that you're looking at six 12 ounce bottles rather than four 20 ounce bottles, the price per ounce still works out at a savings.

Doing the math, I about paid 13¢ per fluid ounce of beer here (about 6p) as opposed to the 18¢ I paid there! Granted, this is London Pride, ESB, and Old Speckled Hen and not Tanglefoot, but these are not bad ales… And second choice is better than nothing!

I wonder why it's cheaper here than there. Odd, interesting, but not getting me to work... I had better dash.

Wherever you are today, I hope you discover something that interests you today.

Don Bergquist – October 21, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Monday, October 20, 2008

Indian Summer

Most of the online sources I have checked agree that an "Indian Summer" is a "spell of warm weather after the first frost," and that the phrase originated some time in the late eighteenth century. Apparently, the phrase is derived from the fact that the first recorded instances of "Indian Summer" in the US occurred in the areas that the indigenous peoples (American Indians) inhabited.

I also found articles pointing out that while "Indian Summer" is chiefly an American term, the British also refer to this affect as "St. Luke's Summer," "All-Hallows Summer," or "Little Summer." (Though I do not remember hearing it called this while I was living abroad… but then, I don't remember us having an Indian Summer any of the Autumns I was there.)

But whatever you call it, if you were in Denver this weekend you'd have to call it "Beautiful!" The temperatures were up around seventy five degrees (23.9c), the sun was shining, the skies (while a little hazy) were blue and calm. It was a lovely weekend for running errands, exploring the park with Saga, and riding my bike.

While I spend a good portion of Saturday getting ready for my Game Night, I did get a chance to get out and enjoy the day yesterday; taking a book down to a nice shady spot where the only sound was the babbling of Bear Creek and the occasional chatter of a jogger or horseback rider. What a relaxing way to recharge one's batteries!

But now it is Monday morning. The high temperature today is slated to struggle to get out of the fifties; they skies are apparently overcast (there were no stars visible as Saga and I walked this morning), and the wind has picked-up a bit. It will be a good day to get to work and get a lot done. But that calls for me to get on the road, so…

Wherever you are today, I hope that your day is as lovely as can be.

Don Bergquist – October 20, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Game Night

My October Game Night was last night and what a blast!

I had the largest group that I have ever had for a game night; sixteen people if you count the two children who were too young to enjoy the games. I really enjoy getting together with friends each month at these game nights!

Saga does too! There are so many people around and so many opportunities to snatch a snack off a carelessly unattended plate; so many people who might accidentally allow a Saga Snack to hit the carpet! I swear, my friends must believe that I never feed the poor thing based on the way she behaves once the party snacks go out!

The early arrivers and I played Trivial Pursuit while waiting for the people who were delayed... it was not pretty. My partner and I were used to mop the floor! It was embarrassing! Once the whole group was together and we all had our wine, beer, beverages, and/or snacks, we started a few rounds of Werewolves of Miller's Hollow... What a great find. I really do enjoy this game.

I am going to have to create cheat sheets, though. I forgot a couple of the rules (I haven't been playing it all that long) and am sure that I confused a few of the newer players because of inconsistent application of the rules. Ah Well! That's easily rectified!

The last of the guests left around ten and left me very little to do. Against my insistence that I didn't need help the last few guests went around collecting trash and detritus; stacking the plates and glassware in the sink. Basically, I had a little straightening and loading of the dishwasher to do when they left. This morning, I realized I hadn't started the dishwasher, so it is still running. I got the vacuuming done after Saga and I went for our morning walk. I am sitting here enjoying the memory of a good evening with good friends; sipping my coffee and petting the dog. What a lovely morning! And now, am looking at the prospect of a lovely day with no plans. What a great thing to be looking forward to!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you are looking forward to a wonderful conclusion to a great weekend!

Don Bergquist - October 19, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Renovations Complete

It's odd... Making no change to the floor space that was in use, the room still seems larger than it did!

Last weekend, that weekend when I "made no plans," was a very productive one! The first thing to do was to get rid of the old pass-through. (Why were the designers in the seventies so keen on pass throughs that they put them where they made no logical sense?)

The original design of my home had a pass through (a window over the sink in the wall between the kitchen and the living room) where the only possible placement for the television would be. Why? I honestly have no clue what purpose this could have server. In fact, I had been using it as storage space in the kitchen. The owners before me gave me the idea.

When I saw the home when I was buying, I noticed that they'd had a couple simple plywood shelves in the niche above the sink and they were displaying a couple pictures. When I moved in, the niche was a pass-though and it occurred to me, I hadn't recognized it as one because they had a large entertainment center blocking it up.

That was cool, because I had a large entertainment center that would be covering it as well. But now that the age has changed, we're getting into the age of digital television and big flat panel, wall-mounted televisions, it was time to get rid of the big entertainment center and that meant, fixing the pass-through in a more permanent way than just covering it with a board.

After getting rid of the pass through and painting the wall a nice tan to compliment the walls and the curtains, I had to get rid of the old entertainment center. The monstrosity was six feet wide, six feet high and two feet deep. Four of my friends came over to help me get it out to the garage where a local charity shop could retrieve it for removal.

The last step was to find a replacement piece to hold my components while not being obtrusive. That wasn't too hard. I found a couple that I really rather liked. The one I settled on was actually about half the size of the old one but (and I realized this later) had an identical footprint. Really!  After it was in place I realized that the new unit was six feet wide and two feet deep. The fact that it is only 35 inches high makes a big difference in the room, though. It feels so much more open.

So, when the new television got mounted on the wall on Monday, the renovation was complete. I am really happy with it. My brother-in-law was right. (Listen up, Corey! I'm talking to you!) When I was discussing this project with him he suggested not trying to get the same (or approximately the same) size set as I had originally had. That was what prompted the whole renovation in the first place. He suggested getting the largest set that was within my budget. I am happy with the decision. I think the room looks so much more open than it did and watching movies is a whole new experience!

It's a good thing I planned to do nothing last weekend! What shall I plan for this weekend? Probably the same - Nothing! Saga and I may go for a couple walks, but other than that? We'll see what happens...

Wherever you are today, I hope you've completed something that you're happy with!

Don Bergquist - October 18, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Happy birthday to my friend, Antoinette

Friday, October 17, 2008


Last year (...or was it the year before? The time I spent abroad is starting to jumble together as far as chronology goes...) My friends Terry and Angie and I went to Belgium. It was great fun, we drove to the Channel Tunnel embarkation point, boarded the train, and then drove on to Oostende.

I have been thinking about the trip of late because of one of the conversations we had on the journey. One of the many topics that helped while-away the miles was a discussion of Homeopathy. Exactly what started the conversation is lost in the scar tissue of my memory. (I think that we either passed someone with a bumper sticker advertising for it, or one of them knew someone who was seeing a Homeopath.) The point of it, though, was our agreement that the underlying theory was, at best, shaky.

It should be mentioned here that Terry is a scientist with the water company that provides the water for the area of London I used to live in and knows quite a bit about the levels of impurities in the water. (It really is pretty interesting discussing this sort of thing with him.) It was his professional opinion that diluting a drug to the point that it was just barely detectable was not a way to efficaciously treat someone.

What brings this to mind is all the stories in the news recently of the fact that scientists over here are starting to notice prescription drugs (at very low levels, granted) in the public water supply. The main culprits appear to be people who take more than they need and thus excrete the excess and people who improperly dispose of unused drugs.

Now, I don't know about anyone else, but I remember all the public service announcements when I was younger informing consumers about the dangers of taking old medications. We were encouraged to get rid of them. Pouring the expired medications out was advocated. Now, we're learning this was a bad idea.

But the levels that are in the water are less than those used in homeopathic treatment... does this lend credence to homeopathy? Hmmm... if this is the case, then my suggestion is to dump medications to combat all the horrible diseases and that should, through long term homeopathic treatment, keep everyone healthy. Right? Well, maybe not. I guess I will have to relearn what is good and what is bad.

Wherever you are today, I hope you're well!

Don Bergquist - October 17, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Thursday, October 16, 2008

It's Nearly Here!

One of these weekends now, I have a big project coming up. My fall planting bulbs have started arriving! There are two small patches of land out in front of my home that I am planting with Lilies, Narcissus, and other bulbs to bloom from early spring to late summer (if the bulb catalog is to be taken at its word).

I cannot wait... this is going to be fun!

Last night when I got home there was  a box sitting on my porch. It was a shipment from my bulb supplier. It will be cool when they are all in... then in the spring: PICTURES! Okay, I'm a bit of a geek for plants. But what can I say?

Wherever you are today, I hope that you're looking forward to something fun for the weekend!

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

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Feeling Better

I'm not quite "my old self" unless by that you mean that I am old.

Geez! If you have have never had food poisoning - which I assume is what I had because I am feeling much better - I don't recommend it! It is no fun whatsoever.

I do not know what caused it... I hadn't been to any new restaurants, or had anything exotic or even questionable for the past few days but I felt like death on toast yesterday when I got up. Partly due to the digestive distress (sorry - no more details will be forthcoming) that kept me up all night on Monday, partly for the fact that I got no sleep because of the aforementioned.

Suffice it to say that other than getting out of bed and composing an email to the office - actually it was only about ten words long, so there wasn't that much composing to do - I spent the bulk of the day in bed, asleep, wishing I were not.

Saga dragged me out of bed to go outside a couple times. Poor thing, Daddy didn't feel well enough to even let her explore... he just kept telling her to get it over with so he could get back to bed. Actually, were it not for her, I would have not left the house at all yesterday.

But, as I said, I am feeling much better today. I was feeling well enough to eat a little broth and some toast last night and I made a bowl of grits for myself this morning and all seems well so I guess I should get this posted, and get to the office.

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

Don Bergquist - October 15, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

No Post - Out Sick

For those of you who wondered, I am not posting an entry for today because I am really feeling like hell!

I hope that, wherever you are today, you are feeling better than I am.

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

Monday, October 13, 2008

Foggy Morning

The front has passed - as has the weekend.

This morning it was well below freezing when Saga and I went out for a walk in her park. The fog was thick as soup and the rain was over. Heavy wisps were rising from the river and lake in the park.

I had been looking forward to the first snow of the season, that all the local stations had been predicting for the weekend, but the rain never froze... it stayed a steady drizzle more-or-less all weekend. And even though the drizzle was never heavy, it was steady. I dropped an inch of water out of the rain gauge this morning.

It was good to plan nothing this weekend. I got some projects done at home, went out and bought some furniture, and had a fun time vacuuming and shampooing the carpets. What a productive thing making no plans can be!

Today, I am working from home, I have a contractor coming by to do some work. So I guess I should post this up and get to my writing. It is good not to be on the roads, both the morning newscasts I have watched say that the bridges are icy.

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

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

Columbus Day

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Plans Progressing Well

The great thing about a rainy Saturday is that it encourages you to stay indoors and to work on things that need to get done. I am glad that I decided to do absolutely nothing yesterday.

I plan to chill again today and see where it takes me.

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

Don Bergquist - October 12, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Front/Cold Front

Either two distinct fronts are passing over Lakewood, changing the weather slowly and in stages as they go, or the front is moving slowly. Very slowly! The cloud cover started building on Thursday evening. The deep azure fall skies turning first blotchy with white clouds, then splotchy with holes in solid cloud banks until Friday morning the skies were a deep, disquieted gray.

The temperatures continued to hover up in the middle sixties in the daytime, but there was no sun to be had... This morning, I had to pop out to the car for my iPod (listening to podcasts while cleaning the house, don't ya know!) and the weather was still fairly warm, but foggy.

Well, Saga and I have just finished our daily early morning inspection of her park. It's fraking cold out there! Saga looked at me with disgust as she waited for me to open the front gate so we could get out and cross the road into the greenbelt.

The fog had turned into what my British fiends used to refer to as "mizzle" - that sort of heavy fog that turns to a mist... the droplets clinging to the slightest updraft in an effort to stay suspended; to heavy to be a fog, more of a mist really but too atomized to be called a drizzle. Mizzle!

Poor little thing! Saga kept pressing on, spending her good, sweet time sniffing all the interesting blades of grass, but visibly torn, wanting to head back into the warm of her duvet by the window. She would periodically shake her self off as the mizzle worked its magic, soaking into her undercoat. Eventually, she reached that point at which her desire to be warm and dry outweighed her desire to explore the park. She nearly ripped my arm out with her sudden bolt for the house.

Today is a good day to be inside. It is a good day for housework and projects - so I plan to accomplish absolutely nothing today! Knowing that any plan I make (plans for my weekends, vacations, pretty much any private plans I make) tend to go wrong. Sometimes in interesting ways, some times in horrible ways, other times they just fizzle and go nowhere. So, today I plan to do absolutely nothing! Good plan, eh?

But has just turned six and if I am going to get all the nothing done that I want to, I need to get to the Home Depot.  So, I had better wrap this up for now.

Wherever you are, I hope that you have a good day and a lovely weekend!

Don Bergquist - October 11, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Friday, October 10, 2008

Terror Train Of Thought

Have you ever had one of those terrifying trains of thought? You know, the ones that start with a seemingly innocuous thought that then career hither thither and yon until they end-up in a strange, completely unforeseen destination... I had one of those "Oh-No!" moments last week whilst I was in Minnesota on vacation.

Actually, it started on my way to Minnesota. I cannot remember why, exactly I started down this road, but I was driving along thinking of the thirteen years I had been making this trip from Denver, the six years I had been making it from Memphis before that and the years I made it from Florida before that... Wow! That's a LOT of driving!

I've been traveling to see Dad in Minnesota since 1983! That's a lot of time since Dad and Flo left Florida for Minnesota! That, of course, led to my mental calculation on age. That means when I started this, Dad was my age! (Younger, really!)

I was sharing this little tidbit while scraping horseradish with my cousins and got incredulous responses. Sure, they can be incredulous... I'm older than all my cousins. So I shared another one.

"Remember," I started "when my family used to come up to Minnesota and we'd play hide-and-seek while the grandparents held court and our parents all sat around drinking in Grandma and Grandpa's driveway? Well... by my calculation, we're all older than our parents were back then... some of us are as old as our grandparents were back then!" The crowd went hush.

"Think of it! We are those old guys drinking in the driveway!" I think they all got the idea... here we were sitting in Dad's driveway... The next generation was off playing with the dogs (or doing whatever the equivalent of playing hide-and-seek is these days). We were the old folks now! The Schnapps was passed around the table one more time.

One difference, our parents had style!

Wherever you are today, I hope all your thoughts are happy ones!

 Don Bergquist - October 10, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Getting Back Into The Swing Of Things

I cannot believe how long it is taking me to get back with it!

I mean, it is not as if I was gone a month or something like that... so why is it I slept through the alarm? If Saga hadn't come and jumped on me (my 35-pound, furry alarm clock) because she saw a dog on the television, I would probably be asleep now too!

The lovely weather continues here in Colorado, but I hear on the morning newscast that this will be ending this weekend! Bummer! A guy could get used to weather like this all the time!

Wherever you are today, I hope you are less rushed than I am this morning!

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

Yom Kippur

Happy birthday to my cousin, Andrea

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

What A Bonehead!

Yesterday, in between the laundry, the cleaning, and the grocery shopping, I got all my files into Blogger with the exception of the pictures that still need to be uploaded. (I'll be posting this and the rest of my posts once I can get all my pictures uploaded.)

It was more-or-less at this point that I noticed I had made a thoroughly boneheaded move! I had offloaded some of the pictures I took on vacation to work on them on Dad's computer... I hadn't taken them back onto the card when I was done! Drat!

I suppose that when I get a chance I will have to send Dad a card, have him load the pix onto the card and send it back to me... I will not, I think, hold up posting for the receipt of those pix. As soon as I have the rest uploaded I will get caught-up on my posting.

Wherever you are today, I wish you a day free of the bonehead moves I seem to make with frightening regularity!

Don Bergquist - October 08, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Happy anniversary to my cousins, Dirk and Andrea

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig

I dearly love my family and love the time I can spend with them, but it is so nice waking up in your own bed! Isn't it?

The drive was lovely! Saga was a complete angel. We started rolling right around two, the rain changed to a steady drizzle as soon as we left Douglas County and had all but quit by the time we reached Sioux Falls. The rest of the way through South Dakota it was overcast and cool, but as we crossed into Nebraska, the skies cleared, the temperatures rose and so did our spirits.

We made it back to the area around Denver after 12.5 hours of driving and spent the next ninety minutes trying to navigate the rush-hour traffic. This morning, having emptied the car, and unpacked, I think it is time for me to do some laundry, cleaning and chilling... I had already planned today as a vacation day (just in case - this time of year you can never tell what the roads will be like) so I am going to chill at home today.

Wherever you are today, I wish you a pleasant day!

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

Monday, October 06, 2008

When Will I Learn?

I should probably refrain from making plans... I should definitely refrain from making plans that I have made public! That is the surest way to make sure that they don't happen!

So, the plan had been to have brunch with everyone, head back, toss the last few things in the car and head west. Yeah... How'd that work out? About as could be expected. But it was a lovely morning.

We all commented on how we had gotten the best possible weather for the family gathering and then got the crap weather to follow-on. But it was cool! We had a nice swim and then went to Chip's favorite restaurant in Alex for brunch. Unfortunately, the line was such that we couldn't actually get a table so it was off to "Plan B". There is a wonderful steak house called "Whiskey Creek" that serves some really nice steaks... We got a table without any delay.

Afterward, I was feeling the need for a quick nap, Mary was feeling the need for a quick shop. So the guys all headed back here and the girls went off to the antiques shop. My quick nap lasted far longer than I had planned so I stayed the night.

It is now just after one and it is time for me to get going. I have to get back to Denver. It is still raining pretty good here, but the weather map looks like I should be out of it soon... I'm off to pack the car. More soon...

Wherever you are today, I hope the road rises to meet your feet and the wind is always at your back! Good travels!

Don Bergquist - October 06, 2008 - Kensington, Minnesota, USA

Happy birthday to my friend, Elaine

Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Grind

The weather this morning is a bit oppressive. Overcast, and raining. I awoke a bit ago to the sound of thunder. I don't have long to write because I have lots to do before leaving for home...

What a wonderful day yesterday was! We could not have asked for any better weather for the horseradish grind. We had a big group. Some playing cards, some setting-out the lunch, some cleaning the roots, the rest of us peeling them and getting them ready for the grind.

We had to dig a few more roots, but then we all set to the tables and started in on the cleaning and scraping. As always, we spent the morning passing the buckets around, sharing stories, catching-up on the news, that sort of thing. Periodically, the bottle of Peppermint Schnapps would make it around the table. It is a great way to pass a beautiful weekend day; chatting, laughing, drinking with family and friends!

Charles (my baby brother) made it up late and joined us at the end of the process. Just in time for lunch. My Uncle Dick brought his outdoor fryer and made a mess of kettle chips (sliced by my food processor) and alligator (supplied by Mary). We had a huge feed... even my little cousins liked the gator!

Afterward there were the obligatory card games, the stories of the old times, the photo sessions and the inevitable Minnesota Long Good Bye. After the last of the guests had departed, I packed what I could into the trunk and headed into town with Charles and Eric (my nephew). Eric wanted to go swimming and his daddy was not feeling up to it so it was Unka Don to the rescue!

This morning is going to be another busy one. It is Chip's birthday so we're all going into town. We're going to go swimming and then have brunch with Chip before each of us heading our separate ways. Charles, Eric, and Mary off to the cities, Saga and me off to the mountains.

Wherever you are today, I hope you are with the ones you love!

Don Bergquist - October 05, 2008 - Kensington, Minnesota, USA

Happy birthday to my brother, Charles

Happy anniversary to my cousins, Shawn and Nancy

Happy anniversary to my cousins, Michael and Michelle

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Diggin' It

Digging! It all starts with the digging!

Friday started with a nice, pleasant morning at ad and Flo's house, a few hands of cards, the chance to do a bit of writing, a little cleaning and then it was off to the family homestead in Parkers Prairie to meet up with my aunt and uncle to go dig horseradish roots.

After a pleasant visit while waiting for my cousin to join us, we headed off to the edge of one of the corn fields nearby. There were patches of horseradish growing along the margin of the field and after an hour-or-so of digging, we had a couple pails of roots to be cleaned and converted into prepared horseradish.

After that it was back to the farm to clean-up and get ready for dinner. We had dinner at the Parkers Prairie Volunteer Fire Department dinner. They had a Spaghetti Dinner as a fund raiser. It was really good sauce! After dinner, Mary and I stopped off at my uncle's car wash where I got the car cleaned... it really needed it! And then we stopped off at the cemetery to visit mom's grave on the way home.

Today, there is a bit of prep work to do and I have to run into town to get a few things before people start getting here to prepare the horseradish. Luckily, we had all those lovely Belgian waffles for breakfast! Yum!

But I am being told that I have a deadline. I will not get the chance to load this up to the Internet before i head out... I guess I will have to post it tonight.

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

Don Bergquist - October 04, 2008 - Kensington, Minnesota, USA

Editor's Note:

I do not have the pictures with me for this posting... I'll update this posting when my dad forwards the pictures I left behind.


Friday, October 03, 2008

A Fine Fall Morning

Yesterday was a beautiful day and this morning has dawned bright and clear as well. After a leisurely breakfast and a few games of cribbiage, my sister, my folks, and I all headed out early for a drive in the country and a walk through the Runestone Park. My dad was on the park board for years and they have just recently expanded the parklands.

Dad wanted to show us the new areas of the park. It was a lovely morning and the walk through the woods was quite enjoyable.

Later-on we drove up to Ottertail County. Here we visited Inspiration Peak; a glacial deposit hill about 400 feet above the surrounding terrain. At about 1,700 feet, it is the second highest point in Minnesota. It is a nice walk and a great view.

Today, we're off to the family homestead to dig horseradish.

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

Don Bergquist - October 03, 2008 - Kensington, Minnesota, USA

Thursday, October 02, 2008


Ah! I'm in the arms of family again!

What a pleasant way to spend the evening. Last night, after driving into town and getting my sister from the shuttle (it is about three-hours to the airport in Minneapolis), we sat around the dining room table chatting long into the night; catching-up on old-time stories and relating the newest news and highlights of recent times.

This morning, over creating a breakfast communally - everyone played a part in the chopping, slicing, sauteing, toasting, and serving-up ingredients. The Hunter's Eggs were delicious and the conversation was a continuation of the stories of old time and recent times from last night.

Today we're going up to the Runestone Park to take a walk and then who knows! We have no firm plans until tomorrow when we go to dig horseradish. Tomorrow night is the Parkers Prairie Fireman's dinner. All fun family activities! It's great being together again.

Wherever you are today, I hope you are with the ones you love!

Don Bergquist - October 02, 2008 - Kensington, Minnesota, USA

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Constant In A Changing World

It seems that here in Central Minnesota, things stay the same no matter what is changing around them.

There is still farming going on wherever you look, the tools may change, but the talk in the local diners remains the same; crop yield, seed selection, planting methods, the like. The names may change over the years but there is still the annual fireman's dinner, the pancake breakfasts, the fall festivals, all the trappings; the sights and sounds of small town life.

The pace is relaxed, the atmosphere is friendly. For someone not accustomed to this (or at least familiar with it) it can be a bit off-putting. Everybody wants to chat... "Where are you from? - Are you the third of the fourth child? - How long has it been since you've been here?" It is a bit like a job interview or a first date.

And that's just in a casual encounter setting. Get into a social setting - like the Tuesday Night Whist Club - and the questioning can become downright personal! But the thing is that there is absolutely no offense intended. This is small town social! They want to know what you are and who you are. It really is nice!

So, last night, I went to the Whist club with my parents and true to form, had fun playing cards, and chatting with the locals. Unlike every other time, however, I didn't come in dead last! Nope! Due to one lucky hand in the seventh round (and a good partner for a couple of the rounds) I scored a whopping (and this is said with sarcasm) thirty-one points! The high score for the night was in the high sixties. The low score: twenty seven! I came in second to the bottom. Damn... I should have come in last - as usual - I was robbed!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you're in nice, friendly surroundings!

Don Bergquist - October 01, 2008 - Kensington, Minnesota, USA

Happy birthday to my cousin, Sheila