Friday, February 29, 2008

February 29

Thirty days has September,
April, June, and November;
All the rest have thirty-one,
But for February which has 28

Except that one of every four
Gives the month one day more
Making it twenty-nine

The last day of the month is dawning cool and clear. There is no sign of rain or snow in the forecast and the temperatures today are supposed to reach up to the mid sixties. Tomorrow it is supposed to be even nicer and I cannot believe our good fortune as far as the weather is concerned.

The fact that it is still winter is amazing! What a great place to live!

Of course, the weather is supposed to turn by they end of the weekend. They are talking about colder temperatures and the possibility of SNOW before the end of the weekend. Oh well, we need the precipitation!

Wherever you are today, I hope your Leap Year Day is a lovely one!

Don Bergquist – February 29, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Happy Anniversary to my brother Charles and sister-in-law Allyn

Happy Birthday to my aunt, Judy

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Windy But Wonderful!

What a lovely morning it is shaping up to be! The temperatures are already in the low fifties and they are saying that the weather today is supposed to be mild, but a bit windy.

They've certainly got that one right! The winds are whipping around out there. Saga had fun while we were walking in the park this morning, the tumbleweeds blowing past made her think there were animals to herd so she kept dashing off after them.

If there weren't actually animals in the park that could seriously give her a run for her a run for her money and injure her if they caught her, I would have let her off the lead and seen whether she could actually catch a tumbleweed and what she would do with it if she did!

It was entertaining to watch, but I have to get into the office. It is going to be a long day of things to finish before the deadline. So I guess I had had best wrap this up and head into town.

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

Don Bergquist – February 28, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


It's always a pleasure meeting new people. Last night, I met a friend's girlfriend. It was far too short a time to spend. Mike, Mary Dawn and I sat at a little "brand x" Mexican restaurant and chatted. It was fun sharing stories, talking about the places we both had lived, and just generally chit-chatting.

It was a pleasant way to spend an early evening but over far too soon! My friends had a long drive home last night and so we parted around six thirty. They headed west and I headed south. On the way home, I stopped for a few groceries and ran into an old colleague of mine that I have not seen in years. I was looking for the lentils (I'm so jonesing for some dahl!) when I heard a voice call "Don?"

She was one of my colleagues that I had trained a few mergers ago… We stood amid the rice and dry beans chatting and catching up. She told me that she is getting married next month; I told her that I now have a dog and that I had spend some time abroad. Her fiancé came up with their basket while we where chatting. She introduced him and we exchanged a few pleasantries. Then we said "good evening" and went our separate ways.

Saga was glad to see her daddy home. She was even happier when, just after taking her for a walk down to the lake, her daddy started cooking something. Was it something for her?

She'll have to wait and see since it won't be ready until tonight.

Wherever you are, I wish you some pleasant meetings today!

Don Bergquist – February 27, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

That Was A Storm?

With all the talk that we had about how the snow Monday night was going to affect the rush hour, you'd have thought that I'd get more than the quarter-inch dusting that I had. Not that I am totally bummed about it or anything. A nice easy drive to work this morning will be a nice thing!

A nice easy drive home this afternoon will be even better. But that won't be possible unless I get my butt in gear and get moving. Saga is staring at me as if to say: "Are you going to fart around on that darned computer all morning or are we going to the park?" So I guess I had better take her out to her park and then get moving into town.

Wherever you are, I hope that your weather today is a pleasant surprise.

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

Monday, February 25, 2008


On Monday nights, I coach a Dale Carnegie class and this we are talking about personal beliefs. I thought what better fodder for the blog. So, for today’s entry: my personal conviction talk for the class: Put A Stop To Censorship!

Everything in the universe is made of varying amounts of four elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. The world is a huge china platter balanced on the back of a giant tortoise as it moves through the cosmos. The sun is swallowed every evening by the sky goddess who then excretes it again every morning. The moon is made of cheese.

As much as we may want to dismiss these ideas as silly, they were each once seriously held beliefs that shaped the lives of those who believed them. We’re now in the midst of a battle of ideologies. Both sides, to some extent, want to codify their personal beliefs. We cannot allow this to happen. Belief is belief, science is science. (And as the poet once said: “Never the ‘twain shall meet!”)

Had we allowed the enforcement of belief, we would never have had Einstein, Galileo, or Newton. We would also never have had St. Thomas Aquinas, Thomas More, or Dante. Open discussion must be fostered. Censorship must be avoided! Faith cannot be enforced, knowledge comes from an open exchange of values.

Listen! Participate in an open discussion. You’ll be surprised what you learn.

Wherever you are today, I hope that you'll take a moment to exchange ideas with someone!

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

Sunday, February 24, 2008

What A Lovely Day!

That three days of bed-rest really helped! Today Saga took me for a nice long walk in her park. The sun was shining, the temperatures were in the high fifties, or the low sixties and I really didn’t want to spend another day cooped-up.

We met a number of other dogs out walking their humans and Saga, after a brief sniff of greeting, kept me moving to ward her goal. I never did really discover what that goal was, as she sort-of meandered thither an yon, but it was a lovely day to be out in the sun.

Of course, it cannot possibly last. They are already predicting snow for tonight and tomorrow… but that’s still hours away! For right now, it is just so lovely out! I think I am going to go out to the hammock chair with my duvet and a book and spend a restful afternoon snoozing in the fresh air!

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

Don Bergquist – February 24, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Another Day – Another Nap!

I am just not getting better fast enough for me! I am sure that what I had was a touch of flu. After two days of sleeping in and taking cold medication, it seems to be abating, but I am taking no chances. I think I am going to spend a good part of the day in bed.

Saga has been a dear! She allows me to sleep and only comes to wake me when she needs to go out or to check on me. Yesterday, I woke from a nap to find her curled-up under my arm napping. When I awoke and looked over at her, she lifted her nose, inspected me, gave me a little, half-asleep lick in the tip of my nose, and went back to her nap, assured that I was still there to feed her.

I sometimes wonder: If she could figure-out how to work the Tupperware and the front doorknob, would she still need me? But then there are moments like this and I know that she really cares.

Wherever you are today, I hope you are with the one(s) you love and that you are feeling well.

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

Friday, February 22, 2008

Feeling A Bit Better

I am feeling a bit better this morning. That is, I guess, the benefit of sleeping twenty hours. I went back to bed and would have slept all day except that Saga jumped on the bed around three and demanded that I take her outside to “her park.”

The body aches that accompanied my illness made the motions caused by her jumping on the bed miserable! That duty thus dispatched, I headed back to bed. This morning, I was awake well before the clock. I headed into the office around five and got my computer so I could file some reports. I was back home around 05:30 and spent an hour-or-so getting my weekly reports compiled… It is now about eight, time to head back to bed.

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

Don Bergquist – February 22, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Happy Anniversary to my uncle Harvey and aunt Elaine

Happy Birthday to my pseudo-niece, Charlotte

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Headed Back To Bed

It is late morning and I have been asleep for the entire day thus far. When I awoke at four, I didn’t feel well. Walking Saga a bit later, I felt dizzy and unsteady. I think I have picked-up a touch of flu.

The dog fed, my morning duties to her dispatched, I am headed back to bed. Sorry this is so short today, but I feel like death warmed-over.

Wherever you are today, I hope you are well. I headed back to bed.

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

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

RTD = Really Trying Dealings

When the Regional Transportation District spokesperson was here a couple weeks ago and I showed her that I had a twelve-year-old bus pass that was barely readable as it had seen its better days; I asked if RTD ever issued replacements due to the age of the badge, the fact that the company name on it was about three companies ago, the fact that I looked nothing like the picture on the badge, etc…

"Sure!" was the cheerful reply "Just head on down to the RTD offices down at the Market Street station, they'll be happy to replace the pass for you."

"That's it?" I asked "Just bring in my pass and they'll replace it? Cool!" Wow! That was easy!

Dopey me! What was I thinking!? With me it is never that easy!

So, a week ago, RTD (by which I mean one of their official spokespersons) told me "Just take my Eco Pass into the office at the Market Street Station for a replacement." So, when I made my way down to the office the next day at 15:00 (after work) I was told:

"I'm sorry… we only do Eco Passes between 10:00 and 13:00." She was polite, she matter-of-fact and she seemed apologetic, so I more-or-less assumed that the spokesperson the day before had just forgotten to mention that they only issued Eco Passes for a few hours a day.

When I showed-up Friday morning at 10:00 and was told that the Eco Passes were only issued from 10:00 – 13:00 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I took at is a lack of communication by the receptionist the day before. She had apparently assumed that I knew they were only issued two-days-a-week and was informing me that they were only issued three-hours-a-day those two days. (I could accept this as a logical assumption since the day before had been one of the issuing days.)

So, when I showed-up yesterday at the right time, on the right day and handed-over my old, damaged, eco pass and was asked by the RTD person "What is this?" I just looked at it, assumed that since the look of the pass had changed, she was not aware that this was a really old pass.

"I need to get that replaced." I said. "I've been carrying that Eco Pass for twelve years and it is falling apart. I was told to bring it in to get a new one made."

"Where's your paperwork?" she asked brusquely.

Paperwork!? This whole process that seemed so easy-peasy just six-days-ago was not taking in an air of obstruction that could only be the result of a concerted effort!

I explained the history to the lady. Explained that this was the third time I had been to this office, the fourth RTD Person I had chatted with, the start of the fourth hour I had dedicated to getting this badge replaced… was there anything else that she wanted to share or were they planning on doling out all the information one small bit at a time. I really had no more time to dedicate to this!

"Your RTD Program coordinator should have referred to her program manual before sending you down here." Ah! So now, she was telling me that this was somehow my company's fault.

"Perhaps, better training of your employees is the answer! I have no idea who that person you're referring to even is. I was told by an RTD Spokesperson that this would take me no time at all… 'Just bring your pass down to the office' she said! What a laugh! This is my third time here."

"Three times?" She asked "Why three times?"

"Because nobody here seems to be able to tell the whole story… what else do I need?"

"Nothing." She assured me.

"You're sure?" I asked. She answered that there was nothing else I needed and I started dialing my cell phone. I stood there, asked my RTD Program Coordinator to complete the paperwork and fax it to… "What is your fax number?"

"Why?" She asked.

I looked at her with growing suspicion that she had not told me everything. "I am going to have my company fax the paperwork over."

"It has to be an original!"


Wherever you are today, I hope that you're having a calm, stress-free day!

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

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Coyote Morning

Although there are signs all along the borders of Saga's park warning people of the presence of coyotes, and even though I have heard them howling at all hours of the day and night, I have never before seen a single one. That is until about twenty minutes ago. I am still shaking. It was a beautiful and frightening experience.

I should have seen it coming. Something was amiss. Saga had her hackles up the moment we left the warmth of the house this morning. She practically tore my shoulder out of its socket as she rocketed toward the park. The flexi-lead let out a distressed hiss as she ran out the entire 25' of line and then the inevitable jerk came as she hit the end of the line.

I reeled her in, trying to calm her. She was implacable. She kept trying to get to the park. Once the park was in site, she started barking at seemingly random points in the distance. Now, in my own defense, none of this behavior was (strictly speaking) really all that unusual. She often pulls on the lead, she often forgets that she can only run so far before she runs out of line, she often barks for inexplicable reasons.

We got onto the path to the lake and headed into the park. Uncharacteristically, she did her business without the preliminary sniffing of every blade of grass in a 50-square-yard circle. She then went back into full surveillance mode. We were walking along the northern border of the lake when I saw the cause of her distress.

The coyote was hunkered down by a bench, eating something. Somehow I had expected them to be bigger than they are. This guy was no bigger than Saga (perhaps it was a juvenile?) and looked to be as startled at our presence as I was of his. His gray coat seemed to glow in the light of the full moon as he sat staring at us.

I've seen her hackles up before, but this time, they were fully extended. She appeared to be twice her normal size. Curiously, the scene from The Gods Must Be Crazy came to mind where the little boy is trying to trick the jackals into thinking he is bigger than they are by holding a big sheet of tree bark up over he head. What else could I do? I was frozen. I was trying to remember what I was supposed to do when confronted by a wild dog.

Saga, on the other hand, took action. She started growling and barking. The ghostly coyote yipped (in surprise?) and picked-up the piece of trash he had been gnawing on. Saga advanced a step. I grabbed the lead, called "No!" and pulled her back to me. The thought that pushed the absurdity of the movie replay from my head was: "Don't coyotes hunt in packs?"

Sure, this guy could be a loner, or perhaps they scavenge singly, but what-ever! We must have been an amusing tableau! The wild dog cowering under a bench with a discarded sandwich (or whatever that was…) in his jaws, Saga snarling and barking, trying to escape her lead, me trying to figure-out whether it was safe to walk away (in all likelihood either dragging or carrying Saga with me).

Luckily, I was saved the decision. The coyote eventually got tired of our company (no – three's a crowd!) and skulked off into the low weeds toward the woods. Saga gave it one last attempt to break free and then satisfied her self by growling at the retreating animal. Eventually, she realized that the entertainment was over and turned to walk home. I swear there was a smug little swagger in her gait as we walked back home!

Wherever you are this morning, I hope you've had an exciting start to your day!

Don Bergquist – February 19, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Happy Anniversary to my brother Denis and sister-in-law Helen

Monday, February 18, 2008

Water Heater Blues

The curse of the Thames Ditton boiler has followed me to Lakewood.

While living in the corporate villa in Thames Ditton, we had constant problems with the boiler. It got to a point where I just automatically walked downstairs to check the boiler before even thinking of getting into the shower… I mean, what was the point? Two-days-out-of-three there would be no hot water because the pilot would go out nearly every night.

My water heater has been pretty dependable for as long as I have owned my home, but of late, I have had to relight the pilot more regularly than I would have liked to have done. So, I am now getting into the habit of going downstairs first thing to see if the pilot is on or off when I get up.

This morning it was lit, but the last two days it was out. Needless to say, I am looking at getting a new water heater. This time, however, I am thinking that I will get one of the tankless models. They're more energy efficient and smaller so there will be more room in my utility room.

I'll update you as the project progresses.

Wherever you are this morning, I hope that you're doing well!

Don Bergquist – February 18, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Happy Anniversary to my uncle Chris and aunt Cecelia

Happy Birthday to my cousin, Stephanie

President's Day

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Snowy Morning

Saga and I have been lying in today. It is yucky out. We got some snow over night so the park is not pleasant and the temperatures are just warm enough that the snow that has melted over the past few days is a slushy slop covering the paths.

I really need to think about getting myself a pair of Wellies.

The plan for today is to do a bit of work on my blog, a bit of work on my photo galleries, and a bit of work on my website… after that, I have lunch plans with an old friend of mine who is in town, and then Saga and I are going to chill and watch a few movies on TV, I think. It will be a relaxed day.

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

Don Bergquist – February 17, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Happy Birthday to …

Well, here it is again…

No, I don't have any big plans for the day… I'll be spending this morning working on my house, getting ready to have some people over this evening. It is time again for my monthly gaming night. Just a few of us are going to get together to play some games; have a couple beers; nothing too wild or energetic.

How things change as we get older… time was that my friends and I would go on a real bender to celebrate my birthday (or anyone else' in the group). But as we all get older (at least in my case, I cannot say "more mature…" I have to settle for "Older.") we've become a bit more staid.

In the words of that great Jimmy Buffett song: "I'm growing older but not up!"

Wherever you are today, I hope you have something to celebrate!

Don Bergquist – February 16, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Growing Older But Not Up
Jimmy Buffett

(For people who don’t feel as old as they are and probably never will…)

I rounded first never thought of the worst
As I studied the shortstop’s position
Crack went my leg like the shell of an egg
Someone call a decent physician
I’m no Pete Rose, I cant pretend
Though my mind is quite flexible, these brittle bones don’t bend

I’m growing older but not up
My metabolic rate is pleasantly stuck
Let those winds of time blow over my head
I’d rather die while I’m living than live while I’m dead

Sometimes I see me as old manatee
Heading south as the waters grow colder
Tries to steer clear of the hum-drum so near
It cuts prop scars deep in his shoulder
But that’s how it goes, right to the end
Though his body’s quite flexible, that barnacle brain don’t bend

I’m growing older but not up
My metabolic rate is pleasantly stuck
Let those winds of time blow over my head
I’d rather die while I’m living than live while I’m dead

(instrumental bridge)

Now don’t get me wrong
This is not a sad song
Just events that I have happened to witness
And time takes its toll as we head for the goal
And no one dies from physical fitness
So what the hell, well take it right to the end
As the days grow more complicated the nightlife still wins

I’m growing older but not up
My metabolic rate is pleasantly stuck
Let those winds of change blow over my head
I’d rather die while I’m living than live while I’m dead

Let those winds of time blow over my head
I’d rather die while I’m living than live while I’m dead

Friday, February 15, 2008

Obligatory Traffic Rant

It's bad enough that Texans and Californians move to Colorado and fail to learn how to drive here. (That white stuff is called snow… you can't drive through it if it were sand or cottonwood fluff! It is cold, slick, and often hides "ICE" beneath it.) But when foreigners move here and don't understand that the rules of the road, they should return to their own country.

I know, you're sitting there thinking: "Don! You were a foreign driver in a foreign country! Give them a break… and anyway, how do you know the guy was a foreigner."

Fair points both! On point one, I learned (to the best of my ability) to drive like the British when I was over there. I stayed on the left side of the road (most of the time at least) and even learned how to decipher the cryptic signs that come before every roundabout.

As to how I knew the guy was a foreigner, again, fair point. He could have been born and raised here in Colorado. (…or anywhere else, for that matter…) The truck he was driving was licensed to Chihuahua. (The State in Mexico, not that fast-food spokesdog.)

So, now that we have that established, what is it that has got me so hot under the collar today? Well, this morning, on my way into the office, this idiot goes racing toward the intersection at Morrison Road and Alameda (presumably to get through while the light was still green) and then slammed on his brakes at the last second because the light had turned red.

Now I hear you saying "But, Don, you wouldn't want him to run the red light, would you?" No! Absolutely not… I would, however, want him to run the green arrow that was above our lane. It is a good thing that I saw him stop because I knew that the light stayed green in our lane for the next minute while Alameda had its turning lights on. (I do go through this intersection almost every day.) So, when it became clear that he was stopped, I tooted my horn. He stayed there…

I had to go around him to make the light. For all I know, he is still parked there. Had that been that, I would probably have had nothing to write about this morning, but getting onto the Colfax viaduct some idiot (this one sporting a license plate from Oaxaca) had turned around the corner into the merging lane to a point where he was completely obscured from traffic on the ramp by the retaining wall and come to a dead stop. It's a good thing the ramp wasn't icy!

Wherever you are today, I hope your morning is less exciting than mine has been thus far!

Don Bergquist – February 15, 2008 – Denver, Colorado, USA

Happy Birthday to my nephew, Andrew

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Snowy Morning

One good thing about the estimates of the amount of snow we're going to have varying so widely is it makes it so much easier for the weatherman to get it right! The predictions varied from 01" – 03" early yesterday morning to 04" – 08" in last night's news.

When Saga woke me up to tell me that the coyotes were singing (this morning around two) I looked out to placate her and noticed that the grass was still visible below. (So much for the snowstorm, I thought, and returned to bed.)

Just minutes ago, as we went out for our walk in the park, my feet got soaked! The snow was deep enough to come up above my ankles in the park. The snow on the table out on the patio is about 4" deep. Saga wanted to explore more than I would have thought as she hates the cold and the wet, but there it was! She went bounding through the weeds along the path darting all over; going to the fullest extent that the flexi-lead would let her run.

We were out there for about half an hour and the snow is still coming down. Poor dear, she was so cold when we got back in that I rapped her up in a blanket to get her to warm up faster. Then I headed-upstairs to take a nice long, hot shower. Ah! Inside, warm, and dry on a snowy day!

Bliss! The snow is still falling out there and it is lovely to watch it collect in the boughs of the spruce outside my office window. But I suppose I should turn to my work computer now and get with it!

Wherever you are, I hope you're having a beautiful morning!

Don Bergquist – February 14, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Happy Birthday to my friend, Kelly

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Calm Before The Storm

After the winds of the past few days, and the snow of the days before, we've got a lovely day on tap for today. I've heard varying reports of the high hitting anywhere from the low fifties to the low sixties today.

The winds have calmed down a lot. Even last night while walking with Saga along the edge of the park it was a battle, was Saga pulling me harder than the winds were pushing me around? Tough to say.

This morning, the winds are calm, the skies are clear, the sunrise is going to be right on time, and the day should be just lovely. At least, that is, until I get to the office.

I am getting to the end of a big project that I have been working on for the last few weeks and want to double check my list and assure that I have, really, completed the testing. I think I have, but it is always better to double check than to miss something.

When I am sure that I have done, I need to consolidate my last six weeks into a concise testing report that tells everyone else on the project the results of the testing. Luckily, as I write a status report daily, it is simply a case of merging the 30 reports into one overall report and then update it with the current statuses of anything that has changed.

Still, today (and possibly tomorrow) will be rushed and harried at work. Plus, they are predicting the next front to move through some time today. It is supposed to dump 2"-4" of snow on the downtown area. Living in a valley against the front of the mountains, usually, you can double that figure for my area of town. (unless the storm comes up from the south… which this one isn't)

So, we're in the calm before the storm (weather-wise) and in the thick of it at the office. The only thing to do is to remain calm, and bring my laptop home tonight… Just in case!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you're call, cool, and have everything under control.

Don Bergquist – February 13, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

From A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum

I'm calm,
I'm calm,
I'm perfectly calm,
I'm utterly under control.
I haven't a worry:
Where others would hurry I stroll.
I'm calm,
I'm cool,
A gibbering fool
Is something I never become.
When thunder is rumbling
And others are crumbling,
I hum.

I must think calm comforting things,
Butterfly wings,
Emerald rings,
Or a murmuring brook,
Murmuring, murmuring, murmuring...look,
I'm calm,
I'm calm,
I haven't a qualm,
I'm utterly under control.
Let nothing confuse me
Or faze me-- [yawn] --
Excuse me.
I'm calm.
Oh so calm.
Oh so--

I'm calm,
I'm calm,
I'm perfectly calm,
Indifferent to tensions and shocks.
Unruffled and ready,
My nerves are as steady
As rocks.
I'm calm, controlled,
So cool that I'm cold,
Aloofer than any giraffe.
When something's the matter,
Where others would shatter
I laugh. [Laughs hysterically]
I must breathe deep, ever so deep,
Think about sheep
Going to sleep,
Stop and count up to ten, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9...when
You need aplomb
And want to be calm
'Cause life is a horrible dream,
Just count up to ten
Very slowly, and then--


Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I am thoroughly knackered today. For reasons I cannot explain, Saga insisted on telling me (all night long) that the coyotes that live in "her park" across the road were active last night. Just about every hour she would come into my room and sit there crying. The first couple times, I thought that maybe she needed to go out.

The third time, I didn't bother to get into my robe, I just walked over to the window listened. Yep! I had sussed-out the connection. Both the earlier trips outside the coyotes had been howling outside.

Perhaps there was some reason for canus latrans to be acting up last night but that is no reason for canus canaanus to deprive homo sapiens sapiens of his sleep, now is it? Had I been just a little more with-it last night, I would have come-up with the solution of just closing the bedroom door.

But she is right, the sound of the coyotes howling is eerie… she had a right to be disturbed by it I guess… or perhaps it was that something primal was stirring in her. Perhaps, like Buck in The Call of the Wild she is being drawn by something primal in her.

Granted, she is a Canaan Dog and not a St. Bernard, and she is unlikely to ever be conscripted as an Alaskan sled dog, though she can pull me off my feet if she really tries…

Wherever you are today, I hope that you've had a good night's sleep.

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

Lincoln's Birthday

Monday, February 11, 2008

That’s Just Rude!

Hey! Go ahead and assume that the fat gringo who is standing at the counter speaks no Spanish. It’s better, though, for you to assume (since there is not a word of English in the menu) that he does. Either way, it is probably not a good idea to stand there chatting with a coworker about him in unflattering terms. In the words of the immortal Thomas “Fats” Waller: “One never know, do one!”

Yeah, this happened to me this weekend. I was driving through a Mexican area of the town, a bunch of tacarías, chacinerías, and panaderías. I was driving along and saw a restaurant that I have been past for a while be never stopped into. I can see now why.

It was a nice enough, absolutely no ambiance, but the food was good. The service was…

Well, let’s put it this way, I may no longer be fluent in Spanish, but I am still fluent enough to know that I am being talked about. Especially when the people saying words like “Gordo” and “Gringo” are accompanied by furtive glances in my direction.

What could I do? What would you do? I ordered in Spanish asking for my order “para llevar” (to go) and then watched as I got the slightly shocked/slightly guilty reaction from the cashier. I, of course, watched as my meal was prepared. There is just no excuse for being rude, people!

Wherever you are today, I hope you are neither the perpetrator nor the target of rudeness today.

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

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Beautiful Weekend!

What a lovely weekend! Why am I sitting at my computer writing? Today’s high temperature is again likely to be in the fifties and the skies are clear and lovely.

I really should be outside, but I think I am going to be inside. I think I am going to go shop for a new bicycle… If the weather on the weekends keeps being this nice, I’ll want to hop on a bike and go for a ride. Unfortunately, I do not have a bike here to ride. I had one that I gave to my old roommate because I was getting raging back aches riding it, but I now think that was largely because it was not fitted properly.

Having spent much of the last two years with a bike being my only mode of transport, I have learned a bit about properly fitting a bicycle. I think I am going to go shopping today.

Wherever you are today, I hope you’re using your day to its fullest potential!

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

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Happy Chinese New Year!

Thursday was the Chinese (Lunar) New Year. To celebrate, I had lunch with some friends at our favorite Chinese Restaurant. The service (as always) was a bit slow, but at least there was a reason this time, the place was packed!

As always, Warren made a wonderful selection of things. (Today we had Dim Sum and Fried Rice.) We had a great time catching-up and celebrating the festivities.

Around two, the dragon dancers began to perform around two. Every shop, restaurant, and business in the Far East Center was festooned with garlands of Lettuce and Dollar Bills, an enticement for the dragons to enter and bestow their luck for the coming year.

Following the display outside in the parking lot, the dragon dancers wended their way around the plaza, being greeted by streamers of firecrackers, cheering onlookers, and of course, the lettuce and dollar bill garlands.

Once inside, the dragons danced around the patrons who fed them with more dollars to get their blessings of luck bestowed upon them as well.

With the exception of the past couple years (while I was living aboard) I have made it to the festivities each year with my friends, the Chins. I have great memories of their grandkids being in awe (and fear) of the dragons for the past dozen years. This year, Mark and Kelly’s kids got to feed the dragons and for once, the awe outweighed the fear!

It was a lovely afternoon full of food, friends, and festivities. We parted about four and went our own ways and onto our own plans for the day.

Wherever you are today, I hope you have had a lovely day with friends (and dragons)!

Don Bergquist – February 09, 2008 – Denver, Colorado, USA

Friday, February 08, 2008

Colorado Compact

Dear Sir or Madam,

I can certainly understand if you believe that the rules do not apply to you, but come on! But the in front of your car quite clearly reads “COMPACT CARS ONLY.” Do you, the owner of this SUV or that F150, really believe that their behemoths fall into that category?

The pick-up is touching the wire with its grill and still is hanging over into the aisle by a couple feet, the Pathfinder is over the lines on both sides. I know that the owner of the lot is really the only person who is being ripped-off here, by parking over the lines of the stalls (into which my Hybrid only just fits) and effectively taking-up two-or-three spaces the owner of the lot is losing revenue, but the owner of the SUV has blocked in the guy parked next to him.

His door is near the car to the point that the driver’s side door cannot open more than three inches. I had to climb over the gear shift to get into my car! What was he thinking!? Were I a vindictive sort, I would have keyed his obviously brand new toy!

But I am not. I guess that these people must truly believe that these gargantuan gas-guzzlers are compact cars. Why else would they have parked here?


Wherever you are today, I hope you’ll show a bit of consideration for the people around you.

Don Bergquist – February 08, 2008 – Denver, Colorado, USA

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Best Wishes To Everyone In The Midsouth

I hope that all of you in the Midsouth (and your family who live there) are safe and well. My best wishes for safety and a speedy recovery are with you. The tornadoes of Tuesday night really ravaged your part of the country and I know that it is devastating.

Having lived in the Midsouth for a while, I know that you who live there are the sort of people who pull together when adversity strikes and pitch-in to do what is needed. I know that you will pull through this. My prayers are with you.

Wherever you are today, I hope that you will take a moment to think about the victims of Tuesday's storms.

Don Bergquist – February 07, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Happy Chinese New Year!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Roads Are Clear Again

Well, they're wet. All the snowmelt and slush means that the gutters are running full and that the slush will be flying as I drive to work this morning. (Oh! Goody!) But at least they are not prediction commute times two-to-three times the norm!

Not that when I drive in at 05:00 there is that much competition on the roads, but there is enough that if they were predicting a bad commute I would be working from home. But, the commute is supposed to be good, the roads are supposed to be clear. Once I get off Yale Avenue, the commute should be fine, so I guess it is time for me to head off and get into the office.

Wherever you are today, I hope that you have clear roads and smooth sailing!

Don Bergquist – February 06, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Ash Wednesday

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

It's A Marshmallow World

That was the first song that went through my head this morning as Saga and I went across the street to see her park this morning. We got about four or five inches of snow last night. The snow started falling around lunch yesterday. By the time I left the office at three, the roads were already icy, snow clogged and a mess!

This morning they are predicting commute times will be two-to-three times the norm. I think I am staying put. I’ll log-in to the servers from here. What a wonder the internet is! I can remember a time when working from home would not have been possible in my position.

This morning, however, I have already checked my email, and chatted online with my London office to discuss the agenda for today’s testing. A friend of mine in the Thames Ditton office was jealous when I said it was snowing here.

“Oh! I love the snow.” She said.

“So do I,” I admitted “just not when I have to drive through it! I love sitting inside and watching it fall, the duvet and a nice cup of coffee to keep me warm, and someone to nuzzle up against me. Oh well, Saga is here and wants to be petted… I guess that will have to do for now.

Wherever you are, I hope you’re warm and cozy!

Don Bergquist – February 05, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

It’s A Marshmallow World
Music By: Peter De Rose
Lyrics By: Carl Sigman

Ahhhh, it's a marshmallow world in the winter,
When the snow comes to cover the ground.
It's the time for play, it's a whipped cream day,
I wait for it the whole year round!

Those are marshmallow clouds being friendly,
In the arms of the evergreen trees;
And the sun is red like a pumpkin head,
It's shining so your nose won't freeze!

The world is your snowball, see how it grows,
That's how it goes, whenever it snows.
The world is your snowball just for a song,
Get out and roll it along!

It's a yum-yummy world made for sweethearts,
Take a walk with your favorite girl.
It's a sugar date, so what if spring is late,
In winter it's a marshmallow world!

It's a marshmallow day in the winter,
When the snow comes to cover the ground.
It's the time for play, it's a whipped cream day,
And we wait for it the whole year round!

Just you remember that,

Those are marshmallow clouds being friendly,
In the arms of the evergreen trees;
And the sun is red like a pumpkin head,
It's shining so your nose won't freeze!

You must remember that,

The world is your snowball, see how it grows,
That's how it goes whenever it snows.
The world is your snowball just for a song,
Get out and roll it along!

It's a yum-yummy world made for sweethearts,
Take a walk with your favorite girl.
It's a sugary date, so what if spring is late,
In winter it's a marshmallow world...
In winter it's a marshmallow world...
In winter it's a marshmallow world...

Shrove Tuesday

Happy Pancake Tuesday!

...Alternatively, for those of you who know Shrove Tuesday as Pancake Tuesday rather than Mardi Gras...

Happy Mardi Gras!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Off To See The World

Greetings one final Time from Colorado, Fourth Graders!

Cousin Don finally told me his big surprise on Sunday morning! I’m off to see some friends of his in The United Kingdom! He got me a passport (that is a document that allows you to cross the boarder from one country to another) and has asked a fiend of his from his office to take me on a business trip to Thames Ditton.

So, Sunday morning, I boarded a United Airlines flight, and after flying a few hours, we got to Dulles Airport in Washington, DC – the US Capital. We then boarded a nine hour flight for London and I will be arriving at Heathrow airport some time early Monday morning.

Look for more stories from London soon!

Brownie – off to see the world!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Golden and Beyond!

Greetings from Lakewood, Colorado, fourth graders! Wow! Yesterday afternoon was really fun! This is your intrepid traveling reporter, Brownie, reporting to you again from

After our walking tour of Denver and our trip out to Wheatridge, Cousin Don and I had lunch (Yum! Lunch!) at a drive-in restaurant. It was warm enough that we ate with the windows open. Cousin Don says that is one of the things he loves about Colorado. It snows and the snow piles-up like it would back there in Minnesota, but then it gets nice out, the weather warms up, and unless you are up in the mountains. The snow melts away and you can ride your bike or go play in the parks.

Our first stop after we left the drive-in was the town of Golden, Colorado. Golden is the county seat of Jefferson County (where Cousin Don and Saga live) and is a lovely little town. It sits on the slopes of the front range. Oh, don’t worry about this… I’m okay, the dragon and I were only playing!

The brass dragon sits in a park on Cold Creek in the center of the town. Golden is what you would expect to see in a western frontier town. Bits of the town have been restored to what it would have looked like when the state was settled.

After our walk in the park, we went into the mountains. As we crossed the “hogback” a ridge “Pennsylvania” sandstone that juts out of the ground at a nearly vertical angle, we pulled over at a place called Dinosaur Ridge. The Pennsylvania Sandstone layer was laid down millions of years ago when what is now Denver would have been under a shallow sea.

The ripples that the water made lapping against that ancient shore are still visible on the tilted rock here. But what gives this particular part of the hogback the name Dinosaur Ridge are the multitude of dinosaur tracks that can be clearly seen crossing that ancient beach.

About a half a mile and millions of years further back in time is a layer of rocks called the Fountain Formation. This layer notable for its deep red color, tilts up all along the Rockies. At Morrison, Colorado, one of the three major places that this prominent feature has been made famous is here at Red Rocks Park. (The other two are north of here at Boulder – the Flatirons, and south here at Colorado Springs – The Garden of the Gods.)

In the early part of the last century, the City of Denver took advantage of the natural formation of the weathered rocks to form the shell of the Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Lots of famous musicians have played here and on summer evenings, the city has a free film series where people bring their blankets and picnic dinners to watch free movies.

As the afternoon wore-old, we took a look to the west and saw that the snow had started to fall east of us back over the piedmont. It was time to head home…

I hope that this report finds all of my friends back in Minnesota well!

Brownie – Still in Colorado

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Hello Fourth Graders!

Greetings, fourth graders!

Your intrepid reporter brownie here, reporting to you again from Colorado! Emily’s Cousin Don said that I could write his blog entry today and let you know what great things were have been doing during my visit to Colorado. What fun I am having!

Today, Cousin Don took me on a tour of Denver, Colorado. Denver is not only the county seat of Denver County; it is also the state capital of Colorado. Colorado was the 38th state to join the United States; its state constitution was adopted and the state joined the union on August 01, 1876. As this was the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Colorado is also known as the Centennial State.

The name Colorado comes from the Spanish word “Colorado” which means red. It gets its name from all the iron and feldspar in the rocks. These minerals make the rocks red. Here at the state capital in Denver, the actual height of one of the steps of this building is 5,280 feet above sea level; for that reason Denver is known as the Mile-High City.

Other interesting facts about the state of Colorado:

Colorado has the highest average elevation of any state.

At its lowest point, 3,315 feet: where the Arikaree River flows into the northwest corner of Kansas, Colorado is still more than a thousand feet higher than Minnesota’s highest point: 2,301 feet at the summit of Eagle Mountain.

Denver is also the home of the Denver Mint. (Take a US coin out of your pocket… if you see a “D” stamped on the obverse, or front-side, of the coin – usually right near the date of issue) then your coin was minted at the Denver Mint.

We took a walk around Denver and then headed to a park in Wheatridge, Colorado. Wheatridge is a suburb of Denver, about fifteen miles to the west. Here, Don showed me the “Front Range” of the Rocky Mountains.

Those slopes you see me are the beginning of the Rocky Mountains. If we were to fly west from here, we’d be in the Rocky Mountains all the way to the Great Salt Lake Desert in Utah some five hundred miles as the crow flies. As a matter of fact, the high deserts of Utah are still above 3,000 in elevation… the next time you’d see any low lands would be after you cross the Sierra Nevada Range of Western California!

Well, I suppose I will get this posted to you, fourth graders! Cousin Don is taking me to see something really old tomorrow and then he said he has a surprise for me! I can’t wait!

Until then, study hard!

Brownie – In Colorado

Happy Groundhog Day!

Friday, February 01, 2008


Whew! I have arrived in colorful Colorado. Emily’s cousin, Don and his Canaan Dog, Saga are my hosts for the next few days and then Cousin Don says he has a surprise for me. What a reception I had! There were treats and water available and, tired from all that travel, Saga even offered to let me share her space for a quick nap.

After my nap, I felt a lot better. Cousin Don and Saga took me exploring. They live in a valley in the Denver Piedmont at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. (Cousin Don explained that a piedmont is a flat place at the base of a mountain range. The word comes from Italian where it literally means “foot of the mountain.”)

The first place we explored was over across the street from their home. We went into a little park to have a nice walk. You can see the mountains from Saga’s park! She gets to walk in the park every day with Cousin Don and together they explore! At the lowest point in the valley is a small river called “Bear Creek” that flows down from the mountains and out into the piedmont where it joins with the Platte River.

The Colorado Flag is a big “C” on a background of white and blue stripes with a gold dot in the center of the “C.” According to Cousin Don, the stripes stand for the blue skies of Colorado (at the top), the blue of the lakes and rivers in Colorado (at the bottom) and the white of the snow-capped peaks of the Rockies (in the center). The big letter “C,” of course, stands for “Colorado.” And the big gold dot represents the sun. Colorado gets an average of three-hundred days of sunshine a year!

Well, Cousin Don has allowed me to write in his web log for the next few days while I am visiting so I’ll be telling you all the fun things that we are doing!

Bye for now!

Brownie – with Emily’s Cousin Don in Colorado

Expecting Company

This morning I am expecting a guest. Brownie, a small dog that my cousin, Emily’s fourth grade class is sending around the country to study geography and to learn about life in various places, is coming to visit. Brownie will be with me for a couple days and together, we’ll be visiting some of the sites that make Central Colorado the great place it is!

I think that I’m going to pawn off (uh, I mean ask Brownie to write, as a contributing author) my blog entries for the next few days.

So, I guess that means that I am going to be taking a bit of a break from the blog. I hope that you enjoy Brownie’s entries for the next few days.

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

Don Bergquist – February 01, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

By the way, Fourth Graders:

If you have questions about Colorado, you can post a comment to the blog by using the link below and I am sure that Brownie can answer them!