Sunday, August 31, 2008

Storm Warning

On the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina hitting the gulf coast and causing such massive damage in and around New Orleans, those terrible days are brought to mind by the news that hurricane Gustav is likely to hit the same area and may be as strong as category five on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale.

I have some very dear friends who were in New Orleans when Katrina hit, and I am native to South Florida, so I know the power of these storms. I hope that when the word comes that a mandatory evacuation has been called you will take heed! My thoughts and prayers are with all the residents of the area in the path of the storm and hope that you will take this opportunity to get yourself and your loved ones out of harms way.

Wherever you are today, I hope that you and your loved ones are safe and sound.

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

Happy birthday to my friend, Sam

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Stop And Smell The Roses

A few years back, I went to Kelowna, BC (Canada) for a couple weeks on business. This was back before they had those bad wildfires. I remember it as being a lovely city; there on the shores of Lake Okanagan. Every morning, on the way to the client's office, my travel partner and I would leave the car parked at the hotel and walk the five blocks to the client's office.

The city had this park on the shore of the lake and along the route. The park had a lovely rose garden ringing it and in full bloom while we were there. Each day on the way in, I did what I always do when I pass a rose garden, I stopped and sniffed. Then one morning, the friend who was with me on the trip tossed her head back and laughed the first time I did it that trip.

"I've never seen anyone actually do that." She said. "I thought that was a metaphor."

Never having realized the cliché of it all, "I just love the smell of roses." I explained.

I think of this event every once in a while, like this morning while walking the dog... This morning the rose bushes planted near the parking area are in the last throes of the summer blooms. They still smell good but the blush is definitely off the roses.

I think the metaphoric and the literal sense of the saying is apropos today as I am spending quality time with Saga, enjoying a leisurely morning with my dog, my coffee, and my paper. This afternoon, I believe Saga and I may go up into the hills. Whatever we do, it will be our choice.

Wherever you are today, I hope you're enjoying your day!

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

Friday, August 29, 2008

Standing On The Edge

It spreads before me, a sweeping chasm of non-meeting time, a blessed dearth of dealing with design.

It's not as if I don't love my job, I do! I love being creative and solving problems; or at least figuring-out how to solve them and letting the clever people actually implement my fixes. And I love working in a team. The team I have is great; we bounce ideas off each other and the result is an idea better than any of us would have come up with individually.

The thing is, though, that it is so much fun and excitement that I arrive at home drained and tired - Saga gets her walk, but that it about it for me for the evenings! I need the long weekend to recharge. So this weekend, I'm not planning anything. Saga and I will do whatever strikes our fancies, napping on the couch, scoping out the park, walking in the hills, licking various body parts... Saga may do some of those things too. The point is that the long weekend we're standing on the verge of will be one of total relaxation.

Wherever you are this weekend, I hope it is full of whatever you want to fill it with!

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

Happy birthday to my friend, Becky

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Being There Is Overrated

This may sound like sour grapes to you, but I've decided that being there is overrated. I decided weeks ago (right after the rock-concert address by Barack Obama was announced) that I wanted no part of actually being there. It is not as if I thought I couldn't get tickets to the event, I just didn't want to!

It would be sort of cool to be there and to be able to say that I was there, but would it be cool enough that I would be willing to put up with the hassle? My answer is definitely "NO!" Aside from the traffic nightmares caused by the closure of the major artery through town, there is the problem of not being able to park there if I decided to go anyway.

That leaves the Mass Transit system which, while RTD is good, I'm not sure that they're that good! And supposing that they can get the 75,000 estimated people who are expected tonight at Mile High (not to mention the curiosity seekers), once there, there is the hassle of getting through security. They are predicting four hour waiting times to get into the stadium. (Think of the worst day ever at the screening point at the airport - the day before Thanksgiving!)

Assuming I was not rendered insensate by the trip, and the security lines, they are asking people to be at the arena early! Very Early! VERY VERY EARLY! The gates (for a seven-o'clock speech) will open this afternoon at one. The news this morning says get there with lots of time to spare... you'll need it.

Okay, so now I'm at the stadium, I have hazarded the journey, the security screening, and the boredom of the wait for "the good part" to start... now what? Well, I could pass the time with a seven-dollar beer and an eight-dollar hot dog. Later I could spend an hour-or-so waiting to get through the queue for the toilet...

Nope I have no desire to be there. I think I will sit comfortably in my comfy chair at home, petting the dog, sipping on my reasonably-priced beverage, eating my reasonably-priced food, using the bathroom whenever I want without having to queue for it... The lap of splendor and luxury! And my view will probably be better than from any seat I would have been likely to get anyway!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you're enjoying your surroundings!

Don Bergquist - August 28, 200 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Happy birthday to my cousin, Tim

Happy birthday to my cousin, Todd

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

...And The Politics Continues...

It seems many people have been listening to the admonition to avoid downtown. Each morning this week, the traffic reporters on the local morning news have marveled on how light the traffic has been. With a large number of street closures in the Lower Downtown area (what we call LoDo) it was expected that the rush hours this week would be nightmarish.

But with the city council urging businesses to allow flex hours and telecommuting, and the fact that many people who work downtown taking vacation this week, the impact has been minimal. We'll see if that holds for tomorrow night's rush hour!

The decision made by the presumptive Democratic candidate to address a huge crowd in the football stadium, the secret service has decided to close the interstate that runs past Mile High. The closure will come just as the early afternoon rush hour would normally begin and continue until after the candidate has left the area. We'll see how that works out!

In other news, the people arrested for "allegedly" threatening Barack Obama the other day has received almost no air time here in Denver. In fact, the only time that I have even heard the story is on the national news services. Interesting...

Something else I find interesting is the number of private parties that are being thrown for the conventioneers and specifically for the elected officials. The recent change in lobbying laws should have curtailed these activities. The problem is, of course, that there are so many loopholes in the law that it's more of a colander than a prohibition. There was an interview with a restaurateur this morning that was proudly displaying her way of getting around the law. She was not allowed to serve any "Meal" (which for some reason was described as items served on a plate and eaten with a fork) so she would be offering the guests at her catered event food that had already been cut into bite-sized pieces in a specially designed spoon. It looked something like one of those oriental soup spoons that are made of ceramics and stand with their handles elevated off the table.

She was also offering her guests nuggets of fish, steak, roasts, and vegetables on a round flat bread with a slightly raised rim (like a pizza without the topping) and a toothpick to eat it with. It could be argued that this is nothing more than a plate made of bread, but as it is edible, it is not technically, a plate.

Splitting hairs with the rules seems to be the main game of the week The protests go on and it seems that they are all being fairly well behaved. The parks are awash with people speaking out against this or for that. The population of Denver has swollen greatly and navigation has gotten to be a challenge. But all-in-all, we're dealing with the disruption of the convention. One does what one must and plods on!

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

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

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dorm Life

I had the strangest dream last night...

For reasons I was not really sure of at the time, I was trying to find something that I knew I had somewhere, but could not find it. It's not as if I had lots of places to look. There was the closet, the area above the closet where my trunk and my suitcases were stored. There was the area below my elevated bed where the desk and the beanbag chair were set, the bureau and the book case.

Where was it? I was unclear as to what I was actually looking for, but I had to find it. Perhaps it was in the car. I left the room turning to say "bye bye" to Saga and discovered that she wasn't anywhere to be seen either. Strange!

Outside, my car was nowhere in sight. The parking lot had hundreds of cars and none of them was the familiar blue Honda hybrid. In fact, none of them looked newer than about thirty years old period! There were no Hybrids period. There were also no Hummers,

I turned to go back into the house and discovered that the familiar green and brown wood structure I have lived in for eight years was now a low-slung red brick building. The pines and aspens had somehow been replaced overnight with Palms and Jacarandas! This wasn't my home, it was the dorm I had lived in in college. This was UCF.

"It's like that story Replay!" I thought to myself. Strangely, this was the thought that brought realization. I'd never heard of Ken Grimwood in college. I hadn't heard of his novel about a man who dies in 1988 only to wake-up the next morning in his college dorm room and discover it is 1963 again. It was only a couple months ago that I read a review of the book and decided that I wanted to read it. Perhaps that was why I was having this odd dream. (This is a dream?)

I realized that it must be... that is why I remember having all this stuff in my home that is nowhere to be seen. That must be why the parking lot if full of cars I don't recognize and my home looks like the dorms at the University of Central Florida. That must be why Lakewood suddenly looks (and feels - God! It's humid here!) like the eastern outskirts of Orlando!

Thinking this, I looked around. The grass I was standing on became a dark blue duvet, the hedges around Polk Hall became a bookcase. The sound of distant voices became real and the humidity resolved it into the hot breath of my lovely Saga staring intently at my face; her nose only an inch from my own.

I know why I dreamt of UCF, I've been researching colleges. I want to (finally) get my Masters degree. UCF is one of the schools I am looking at, they have a program that sounds like exactly what I am looking for. It has been on my mind of late and I have been chatting with some old friends from my college days.

So, the mystery is solved. I was revisiting in my mind the Confederate Jasmine, Palms, and Jacaranda's of my old alma mater. I remember "adults" when I was in college admonishing me that my college days would be the happiest of my life. Well, they were good, but there have been plenty of great times since! If I were there today to tell the me of that day one thing it wouldn't be that College was the happiest time of my life but that every day is to be enjoyed. Never miss the opportunity to learn something; never pass-up the chance to make a friend. College may be the last time many people do this, but not if they are smart - or lucky!

Wherever you are today, I hope you'll learn something and make a new friend today!

Don Bergquist - August 26. 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Monday, August 25, 2008

Stormy Weather

As is usually the case with news reports, the numbers varied widely. CNN talked about the storm for longer than it lasted. One network said that up to eighteen tornadoes had touched-down, another reported a dozen. All-told, both of the local morning newscasts that I saw give the number of storms that hit Colorado yesterday as eight.

They mostly hit rural areas about twenty miles south-southwest of Denver and a couple touched down near the farming communities east of town. There are a couple reports of minor injuries due to flying debris thrown by the winds associated with the storm front but that, apart from a tree-or-two being lost to the wind, was that.

The front did have a spectacular affect on the sunset, though. The golds and reds of the fading light to the west was accompanied by that eerie green-tinted sky that I have always referred to as storm-light. Ever since I was little, I can remember the storm-light that accompanied bad thunderstorms. I am certain that it has something to do with the water content or dust content in the air playing with the light refraction, but I have never had the opportunity to suss-out exactly what storm-light is.

But it has always strangely attracted me. I like it when the sky takes on that sickly yellow-green that is almost always associated with bad weather. Perhaps it is just that I like bad weather; perhaps it is just because I am a sick and demented person. who can tell. But the storm passed, no real damage to speak of, and the Convention has resumed the top slot in all the local newscasts. (Who says there isn't stormy weather ahead? Regardless of the condition of the skies, Denver is in for four days of stormy weather!)

Wherever you are today, I hope that you are enjoying the weather there!

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

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Living History

Against all better judgement to the contrary, I decided I had to at least be there once to say I had been there. The last convention hosted by Denver (a hundred years ago) was well before my time and, to the best of my knowledge, this is the first time that a city I was living in has hosted a convention while I was living there.

The hype and hoopla has been being pushed at us for months now, and I had to see for myself what the hullabaloo was all about. Was the convention and its activity going to be as good (or as bad) as the varied reports made it sound.

So this morning, after a leisurely lie-in, and then some quality time with Saga, I headed down to the train station and took the train into town. I had decided not to add to the traffic headaches caused by the curiosity seekers driving into town and the added problems caused by security closures of many of the roads downtown. Good Move!

The traffic situation was a mess! There were massive traffic tie-ups... blaring horns, and impatient drivers all along the main routes that border City Park. In the park itself, the atmosphere was more that of a church fete run amok than that of a major political happening.

I'm not sure what I really expected, mobs of protesters and counter-protesters... police with water cannons... balloons and streamers advertising this or that cause... but mostly, what I was met with in the park were booths selling candidate tee-shirts, buttons, and other miscellaneous crap I could do without. There were a few booths that were issues based that I saw, but mostly, it was vendors trying to hawk stuff for the party faithful to show their devotion to the concept of letting someone else to their thinking for them.

(As I may have mentioned once or twice before, I am a member of no party. I vote for people I feel will best serve the country regardless of what party they belong to. I really wish we had more than two parties, but if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.)

Actually the most interesting part of the day (apart from the storms that blew-in in the mid-afternoon stirring-up a few tornadoes to the south of town a bit) was the trip there and back. There were far more uniforms on the station platform and on the trains than I am used to seeing. And it was not only the brown-and-tan of the Regional Transportation District security people. There were cops and SWAT teams prowling the platforms and riding the trains. SWAT teams were riding the running boards of SUVs up and down the streets of Denver, and officers from Denver and the outlying suburbs were everywhere in presence.

At least I felt safe!

I was in town for a couple hours before I decided I'd had enough. by four, I decided to make my way to the train and head home. Saga was happy as a clam to see me get home. Why had Daddy decided to leave her alone so long? Good question, Saga!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you've gone out and gotten involved in your community today!

Don Bergquist - August 24, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Quiet Day At Home

It is a lovely morning. Saga and I got up after our normal Saturday lie-in and went for a nice long walk in the park. After which, I had breakfast and had my coffee while chatting with my family and friends on the phone.

The local news is full of convention coverage... they are scoping out the airport watching for conventioneers that started arriving over the past couple days. It really sounds like town is a place to avoid this coming week! Good thing we moved to the tech center south of town. I can avoid the headache altogether!

I think Saga and I will go up to the hills today for a hike... I've also got a couple projects that I want to get done around the house... Decisions, Decisions... What shall I do today!?

Wherever you are today, I hope you have a lovely, restful, and refreshing weekend!

Don Bergquist - August 23, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Friday, August 22, 2008

Rainy Days

When I first heard all the hullabaloo about the big storm, I wondered "What's the big deal? It's only a tropical storm... so Central Florida gets some rain! They need it!" Early in the week I received an email from a friend in Florida that they had decided to stay home and work from home as long as they could get away with it. The corporate offices for my company (located in Melbourne, Florida) closed down on Tuesday and have been on "Hurricane Crew" all week. Being a Florida native I thought "Wimps!"

That was before I discovered how oddly this storm was going to behave. Who could have expected that Fay would zig-zag and stagger along the coast like a college student on Spring Break? It's truly odd how this storm is behaving, but not unprecedented.

In 1986 I was working for a television station in Tampa when we had a similar experience. It was a holiday weekend and I was working long hours so I could take the weekend and not even think about work for three days. so, Friday night I had just gotten home around nine and was cooking dinner when there was a pounding at the front door. As I rounded the wall to the kitchen so I could see the front windows, I saw the flashing red and blue of the police cars in the street.

I opened the door and was greeted by a stern looking officer holding a pen and pad at the ready. "I need to get the name and address of your next of kin, please." He said to me with no trace of humor or irony.

"Uh, what?" I finally got out. This was a bit too surreal even for my tastes, and I am a Salvador Dali fan! "Next of Kin? Why?"

"Why?" The officer asked incredulously. "Why? You live on an island two feet above the high tide level. That's why!"

"'Scuse me?" This was not sinking in.

"If you're not going to evacuate, we need your next of kin so we can notify them when your home washes out to sea."

I still looked at the man dumbly.

"The storm! You're under mandatory evacuation orders!"

"Storm? What storm?"

"The Hurricane! What cave have you been living in?"

"Uh, I've been at work." I explained. "This is the first I've heard of a storm."

It was a little awkward when I had to  admit under his questioning that I worked at a television station. It was even more uncomfortable when he said he had never heard of my station. (True! It was really small at the time and had no news department.) But now that the news had been transmitted, I assured the officer that he had no need of the names of my family, I was not stupid enough to stay in the path of a storm.

I packed the car and headed inland. I had friends still in Orlando and made plans to head there. Unfortunately, my little VW was not terriblly good in bad weather. When the squall lines hit I was about a quarter-mile from the television station. I decided to ride-out the squall lines there. Unfortunately, the storm seemed to like the mouth of the bay. For the next three days, the storm wobbled around a point a few miles west of the Sunshine skyway. It stayed there until Sunday afternoon then buggered off and hit the opposite coast of the gulf where Texas and Mexico meet.

It took me three hours to make it the five miles back to my home on Davis Island. The storm had dumped enough rain that most of downtown was a lake. Many of the roads to that part of town were absolutely impassable. luckily, the bridge was still high and dry and aside from a little water damage to some things that had been left on the floor (In my rush, I put most of the stuff that could be damaged onto the counters and tables, but had missed a few.) all had was a bit of water to clean up that had blown under the door.

It was a week before things were back to normal after that storm. I can sympathize with the people of Florida right now... I've been there. (Both figuratively and literally.) Good luck and I hope the storm buggers off and leaves you alone soon!

Wherever you are, I wish you good weather!

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

Happy birthday to my cousin, Erik

Thursday, August 21, 2008


One of the nice things about being able to periodically work from home is that (usually) it makes the commute easier. Though, when Saga gets it into hear head to be obstructive, well... that's another story.

Another is how productive I can be. Without the interruptions of the day, people coming by to chat, the impromptu meetings, that kind of thing, I can really hunker down and get some serious planning and writing accomplished.

Also, I can work in my underwear if I want. (You don't believe me? Well, I'll just have to include a picture of me in my underwear for you as proof!)  At home, I can play my music as loud as I want, listen to the news, or whatever. And when it is time for lunch, I can traipse myself over to the pool to go for a swim if I want and be back before the salad I've just taken out of the 'fridge is warm.

Plus, I have the occasional visit from Saga to make sure that I am not hiding goodies from her:

"Daddy," you can read in her insistence to be petted, "you must be eating something in here that is really yummy... you haven't wanted to play with me all morning. It's been forever. You haven't stroked my fur in at least an hour... Daddy! Tell me I'm a good girl. Daddy, Is that a cookie for me that you have on your desk?" ...and so on.

But even that pleasant interruption can be shut out by simply closing the office door. No sweat!

But to be productive, one actually has to get to work, so I had better post this, take Saga for her morning walk, plan my playlist for the day and then get to work.

Wherever you are today, I wish you a productive day with only the interruptions that please you!

Don Bergquist - August 21, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

(Okay,  technically, it is a picture of Saga and Me in my underwear, but hey, I don't have many pictures of myself! And the ones I do have usually have either the dog or my friends in them. - djb)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Another Busy Day

My new assignment with my company is a really cool one!

I am serving as the Business Analyst on a new development project. It is pretty cool working with the team I work with and getting to be creative. The software is definitely in need of a good work-over, and the input I have had has been well received.

The problem with being on the team for a new development, is that there is no way to plan some things... Yesterday it was already 14:00 before I realized that I hadn't had a chance to break for lunch. Things popping up at the last minute, impromptu demos for various internal clients, and the like has kept me hopping from place to place.

What a cool way to be busy though! And to paraphrase Oscar Wilde: The only thing worse than being busy is not being busy! I never wake up these days and regret the thought of heading into the office. Speaking of which, I have a demo this morning early, so I had best get Saga walked and hop in the car!

Wherever you are today, I hope you're busy - in that good way!

Don Bergquist - August 20, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bored Meeting

...and now an unadulterated attack on those easiest of targets: The Home Owners' Association.

For those of you not "lucky" enough to live in a covenant controlled community and not having the "pleasure" of dealing with HOAs, let me start by explaining the problem. The HOA (theoretically) is a good idea. Their job is to democratically control community standards and keep the value of your property up by making sure the community is maintained and looking good.

In practice, however, my personal experience is that these groups tend to degenerate into a group of busybodies who have nothing better to do who are suffering from Napoleonic Complexes. In extreme situations, they become semi-autonomous oligarchies spreading vitriol through the community until no sane person would want to be on the board.

This is what has happened with my HOA. Last night was the monthly board meeting and I went to attend to discuss a few issues I had. Including the fact that they had (apparently) decided that we, the homeowners, no longer had any interest in being notified as to the financial status of the community association or what they were doing. I asked about whether we still published the community newsletter. (The answer given immediately was "yes, of course we do.")

"I seem to have not received one lately, could I have a copy of the latest one, please?" I requested, surprised at the response and its immediacy.

"Here you go!" Said the representative of the management company who handles our complex proffering the most recent newsletter.

"Uh," I continued... "Is this a typo?" The date on the newsletter was more than a year in the past.

"No." I was assured, that was the correct date and that was the "current" newsletter.

"So," I pressed. "What you're saying is that we still publish a community newsletter, but we haven't actually had any news for the past sixteen months." Nobody seemed to notice the irony of their response in light of the facts. I know of no periodical that claims to be current in any interval of more than a year. But then, I may just be an idiot.

The rest of the homeowners started discussing their issues. One gentleman in particularly was particularly upset about issues in his area of the complex. When he noted that the concerns he had could lead to serious injury and lawsuits, he was placated calmly. Funny, last time I pointed out that lawsuits were possible, the community management representative had told me (and rather pissily at that) "Go ahead and sue the board! They carry insurance against lawsuits!"

But for me, the real fun was when we got to the financial statements. I asked a question and received the curt response that I didn't know what I was talking about. (I seem to remember being the treasurer of the association for a few years, but again... I could be wrong.)

When he got to the "Cash Reserves" issue (which apparently had been asked about at a previous meeting) a little mathematical gymnastics was performed... we were given the figures for the last eight years. These figures represented the balance in the account. The figures were broken into two sets, the previous four years when the current board had been sitting and the previous four years when the last board had been sitting.

These two sets were averaged. This was an interesting (sort of - if you're interested in that sort of thing) but meaningless piece of data. The property manager tried thereby to show that this board had done as well as the last.

"But," I pointed-out, "Our cash reserves are now about twenty percent less than they were four years ago. The last four years, the balance has trended downward... the previous four it had trended upward."

I pointed out that if your bank balance had gone from $100 to $400 over a period and then had gone from $400 to $100 over an equal period at a different time, the average balance for the two times was still the same, but I'd rather be in the earlier period than the later.

"But we're spending money." Said the manager.

"That's precisely the point." someone else chimed in.

"And what about inflation?" Asked another homeowner. "Is it wise for our reserves to be shrinking while the dollar is getting weaker and the price of everything is going up?"

This argument too, was dismissed.

The board then closed the public portion of the meeting. I listened to them do business long enough to realize that there was no discussion of actual important topics forthcoming. I guess I will have to run for the board again and try to shake things up. It's hard being a Cassandra!

Wherever you are today, I hope you'll have an excellent day!

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

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Cry For Help

I couldn't help but laugh... she looked so pathetic!

This morning, far from running bounding from wherever she had gotten off to when I called Saga for our morning exploration of her park, my call to "go outside?" was met with first, a sort of shuffling sound from behind the big comfy chair by the window. This sound was followed by silence, and then by more shuffling then a sort of startled whine.

I peered over the arm of the chair and was met by the sight of a moving lump where Saga's blanket is. Somehow, she had gotten herself lost under the blankets. Trying to get out from under the blankets, she kept bumping into the side of the chair, the side of the couch, the end table, anything that could block her egress did.

The one way she hadn't tried was the one egress she actually had. It was odd that she burrow into her blankets, she normally laid atop them, making a nest out of the big, puffy mass. But this morning, apparently, she was cold (or wanted to sleep in and the light was bothering her) so she had burrowed into the mass of blankets.

Eventually, the scope of the problem became apparent. The "blanket" is an old duvet that she had taken a fancy to. She had somehow burrowed into the duvet cover and was trapped because she could not find the opening. She finally worked her head out only to have the button that closes the duvet cover catch in her collar. I couldn't help it. I laughed. She looked so pathetic!

At the sound of my laughter she looked up at me with an expression that could have withered a weaker man. This look was accompanied by a motion under the duvet cover that was obviously caused by an impatient little shaking of her hind-quarters as if to say "Don't just stand there laughing! Help Me!"

I reached over, undid the button from her collar and out she trod trying not to look pathetic. "I could have made it out without your help!" seemed to be the attitude she was taking. That crisis sorted, we went out for our walk.

Wherever you are today, I hope you'll lend a hand to a friend in need.

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

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Brief Respite

It has been a wet and miserable weekend. Well, it would have been miserable had I actually wanted to go out into it!

The rain started late Thursday night. By Friday morning, the rain was causing traffic problems and the entire area was under a flood watch.

A brief respite in the rain on Friday night gave me the opportunity to empty the rain gauge and record that we had gotten just over half an inch of rain that day. By Saturday morning, there was another half-inch of rain in the gauge and after emptying it, I wished I hadn't. I decided to leave it to see how high it would go. Saga and I took a brief walk (she hates the wet) and then snuggled in for a day of napping, watching movies on television, and doing a bit of light housework.

The rain stopped for an hour or so just after lunch time and Saga and I went out to see what the water levels in the lake in her park looked like. The creek was swollen and fast, the trees around the lake had been beaten by the lake had a layer of leaves and needles floating on it.

As the rain resumed, Saga and I returned to rainy day mode. With temperatures hovering in the low fifties and high forties, I decided to test the heat.  I usually wait for the first of September to do this, but with the temperatures cool and the weather not giving me a reason to go outside, I figured it was as good a time as any. The heat kicked in immediately and brought the house to a nice toasty temperature. that done, I returned the controls to "Cool" and marked that off my September to-do list.

Saga was obviously bummed about being indoors as much as she was; it was after all the weekend, her daddy was home and yet, he hadn't opened the door for her so she could go lay out on her deck in the sun. And what was with all this water falling from the sky? Why would her daddy want to do that? What gives!?

This morning the air is fresh, and the skies, while still overcast. are clearing. The weather man says that we can expect more rain this morning (to add to the nearly two inches in the gauge) and then, some time after lunch, the skies should clear and the rain should be ending until some time later in the week.

I took advantage of the respite in the rain this morning to walk around and look at the greenery. The lawn has turned so green and lush! The droplets on the aspen leaves made me want to run out with my camera to get some shots. Ah! Don't you just love the aftermath of a good rain?

Whever you are today, I hope that you're having a good day - and good weather, however you define that term!

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

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Rain Continues

What a thunderstorm last night!

The rain, which had been falling all day, stopped briefly over the early evening hours, and then started in earnest around two this morning. Saga started whining around that time, but what brought me to full wakefulness was the thunderclap. Perhaps it was the preceding lightening that caused Saga to whine, but the thunder was what really got my attention.

The next lightening flash must have been just as bright because the room lit up leaving the images of the items around me dancing on my retinas for a while. The sight of the room was not yet dark again when the thunder clapped again.

Seeing that the show was going to go on for a while, Saga and I got up to watch. I stood out under the eaves on the porch and watched the flashes light-up the neighborhood. The rains splashed down in big, fat, frigid drops. We made it back to bed around four.

When I got up the second time this morning, I went to the store to pick-up so treats for Saga and some breakfast for me. We snacked, her on her biscuits, me on some eggs and grits, and then after my third cup of coffee, I settled down with a book. I drifted off, book in my lap, to the sound of the water falling outside. It is a day worth napping through.

Wherever you are today, I hope that you have a good day for doing whatever strikes your fancy!

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

Friday, August 15, 2008

My Brother, The Rocket Scientist

I've always had my big brother to look up to. Ever since we were kids, Denis was the brains of our outfit. While I was a master at making trouble, Denis was the one who could always explain why whatever it was I wanted to do would just not work.

There was once, when we were quite young - I think I was probably about six or seven at the time, that I came up with a great plan! I'd noticed that the moon passed over the climbing tree in our back yard each night. So I reasoned that if we only watered it enough, it would grow huge; much like the bean stalk - without the possibility of producing all those yucky beans!

If we could only water it enough, I reasoned, it would grow really huge and one night, the moon would get caught in its branches. That way, we could climb to the moon. It would be great I reasoned. We could charge kids a quarter to climb our tree to get to the moon. Wouldn't that be cool!?

Of course, then my brother, the future rocket scientist, explained that the tree in our back yard could never grow tall enough to catch the moon in its branches. For one thing, the moon had to be at least a mile high, he explained to me. Furthermore, there wasn't enough water in Dade County to get our tree to grow that tall!

But he was always doing things like that... tossing a wet blanket on my dreams of making exquisite trouble! So I decided just this time to show him. One night, after everyone was in bed, I snuck out of our room, made my way to the back yard and left the garden hose at the base of the tree. I turned on the hose and went back to bed.

I was crestfallen to see that the tree, the next morning, was exactly the same size. Apparently, Denis had been right. Mom and Dad were puzzled and more than a little furious to see that the back yard (which was east of the house) looked like the Everglades (which should have been a good few miles to the west. I, of course, blamed it on my little brother. But that is another story.

Wherever you are, I hope you'll have a great day and think of your siblings fondly. I know I am!

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

Happy birthday to my cousin, Nathan

Happy birthday to my brother, Denis

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Front Line

There has been a lot in the news, here in central Colorado, about the upcoming Democratic National Convention, set to start in less than two weeks.

The stories cover everything from the minutia (such as who is charging what to whom to rent their homes for DNC Lodging)to the silly (such as who is concerned about when and where they can get tickets) to the serious. It is this last that I want to talk about.

It's not as if the renting of property to celebrities for obnoxious amounts of money isn't important. And it could be argued that getting tickets to the last night's speech at Mile-High could be considered as important to some, but these things are not, in my opinion a big deal.

The "important" topic is whether the DNC will be a fair and honest platform for people to state their views. Denver is paying good lip service for allowing the inclusion of dissenting viewpoints, they are not (as Atlanta did a few years back for the Olympics) shipping the homeless out of town with one-way bus tickets, they are also not, however, giving dissenters the right to protest anywhere where they have a chance of being seen.

At least it is not like the Boston DNC where they will be walled-in and kept out of sight. They will be about six-hundred yards from the convention venue and enclosed inside a demarcated sight but they will be in sight of anyone who happens to look to the southwest, and squinting, into binoculars...

There has to be a balance between the DNC's right to have a safe and uninterrupted convention and the rights of the protesters to make their feelings known. They have a first amendment right to give voice to their opinions, and the Denver police say that this will be satisfied from the distance and behind the fences, but, where does the conflict between their right to be heard and the right of the DNC to stage their convention their way?

If the news media are correct, this is going to be fought in court for some time to come. It should be fun watching, though!

Wherever you are today, I hope you'll exercise your right to free speech, while you still have one!

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

Happy anniversary to my cousins, Tim and Stephanie

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Morning News

One of my guilty pleasures is the morning news. I love getting up early and seeing what has been going on for the past eight hours while was asleep. It comes on earlier than the papers arrive and sometimes it contains a surprise or two.

This morning on the various radio and television news that I consume daily I learned that Alaska, the highest consumer of federal government hand-outs per capita, is having a shake-up in their politics. Apparently tired of being a laughing stock because of the corruption in their state and federal politicians, they are going through an unusual anti-incumbent phase.

But who do they choose to put up as an alternative to their senator who is under indictment for corruption? A recent immigrant from (of all places) Florida. Florida, that bastion of fairness and forthright politics!

I have a right to knock Florida for its corruption, I was born there, lived there for nearly a quarter of a century, and still have relatives there... I understand that it has not changed significantly since I left. The idea that anyone would find a Florida politician less scandalous than the home grown variety says a lot about where that person lives!

I wish them the best, though. It must be hard for them to make it with nothing but the scenery, the oil money, the tourism money, the $12,000 government handout, and the long summer days. Perhaps a slightly less corrupt political climate will make it easier to make it through those long winter nights!

Wherever you are today, I hope your days are lovely and your politicians are honest!

Don Bergquist - August 13m 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Happy birthday to my cousin, Greg

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Playing Politics

Is it really necessary to report all the minutia of the private lives of the presidential candidates? Does anyone really care?

The news this morning carried the story of a memo that was written by a Clinton staffer who suggested that Hillary play-up her opponent's (Obama's) "foreignness" in that he was born in Hawaii and spent time as a child in Indonesia. Thankfully, Clinton refused to rise (or sink) to the bait. She, at least in that respect, played politics on the up-and-up.

The McCain campaign, however, seem to have decided that not-quite-American-ness is a good place to attach Obama. Which is odd, if you consider that McCain has more reason to not do this than anyone who has run against him this year.

It could be argued, from a strictly a Natural-Born citizen himself and therefore he is technically ineligible to be president. I am not personally of this belief, because I am certain that legal arguments could be made on both sides of the issue, but while we are talking about the not quite American look and feel of a candidate...

The US Constitution states plainly in Section 1, Article II:

"No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States."

While the Constitution does not define the term, "natural born citizen," it does distinguish between a "natural born citizen" and a "naturalized" citizen. Furthermore, until the passage of the fourteenth amendment, there was question as to whether persons born of foreign soil, regardless of their birth circumstances, were citizens. This amendment made clear the two types of citizens, those born here and thereby citizens by birthright, and those made citizens (naturalized) by statue of law.

From what I have read, the case law is unclear. Some persons who have no apparent claim to citizenship otherwise, have been found to be citizens for the sole reason of having been born on the grounds of a foreign embassy of the US, yet the Dred Scott decision ruled that simply being born in the US was not enough to be considered a citizen.

Dred Scott was born into slavery in Virginia in 1799 when his master died, Scott filed with the 1846. A number of conflicting verdicts later, the case appeared before the supreme court. In their 7-2 decision, offered in 1857, the majority dismissed the minority opinion that being born in the US made Scott a citizen. The majority ruled that he was property and that he be returned to his owner and back into slavery.

Now, times have certainly changed, but apparently not enough. Look, I could care less where McCain was born, or where Obama spent his childhood, or what color Obama is, or how old McCain is... none of that is important. What is important is where the candidates stand on the important issues, they really should spend more time on that and less on the piddling crap.

I tell you, it is a strange day when Paris Hilton is the voice of reason. Her recent video regarding the McCain ad comparing her to Obama was surprisingly insightful!

Wherever you are today, I hope you have an enlightening day.

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

Monday, August 11, 2008


In the germanic languages of which I am familiar, the name of the day means "Day of the Moon." For example, in German it is "Montag" and English "Monday." The romance languages also give homage to the  moon on the day after Sunday (Day of the Sun). In French it is "Lundi," Italian has "Lunedi," and in Spanish calles it "Lunes."All of which are based on the Latin "Lunae" meaning "moon" which is the same word that serves as the root for "Lunar" and, not coincidentally "Lunacy."

Not coincidentally? Well... People used to believe that the moon directly controlled people's mental health. It was said to be the moon that drove lunatics crazy. It is also not a coincidence because people act crazy on this day.

You've just enjoyed a lovely weekend, being productive (or not) around the house; going out and enjoying yourself... and then what do you do on Monday? Give it all up and head in to slave for the man! That's crazy! Unless you like your job...

Which it occurs to me that I do! What am I doing sitting here? I could be at work! Yeah!

Whatever you are today, I hope your Monday has something crazy in store for you!

Don Bergquist - August 11, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Beautiful Weekend

It is a lovely weekend so far. The mornings are cool and clear, the afternoons stormy and wet. Just the kind of day that encourages getting stuff done outside and in!

Saga and I are slouching our way through the weekend. Doing a bit of gardening, looking at the flowers, walking in the parks, and catching-up on correspondence. What a relaxing way to pass a weekend!

Wherever you are today, I hope your weekend is going well!

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

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Wonderful Weekend Weather

After weeks of oppressively hot days, the temperatures are now a lot more bearable. This weekend, the weather is not supposed to top 90 degrees. The days are supposed to start clear and then get cloudy with the possibility of rainstorms at night.

Last night was a great start to the weekends as described. After a lovely day, the cloud cover started gathering as Saga and I were reasserting her claim to the park. Sunset was spectacular, the undersides of the cloud banks painted in vibrant colors.

At some point before I went to bed the skies opened-up and it poured! I was catching-up on the programs I have recorded to watch, so I didn't notice, but when Saga and I went out, there was a quarter of an inch of water in the rain gauge. If that happens today and tomorrow, I would not mind at all!

Wherever you are today, I wish you a wonderful weekend!

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

Friday, August 08, 2008

That's A Lot Of Eights!

It's all over the news...

There are people trying to get married at eight tonight. China (where the number eight is lucky) is wild for today... Oh, and I think they have some sporting event going on or something like that.

But it appears to me that rather than thinking that 20:00 (eight PM) is extrordinarily lucky (if I held any stock in numerology, that is, which I don't) the more lucky time today would be 08:08:08 AM. At that time, your clock on your computer would read (assuming you are configured to show seconds and a two-digit year) 08:08:08 08/08/08.

Ah well, it's all arbitrary and superstitious mumbo-jumbo anyway! I hold no sway in superstition. Fate does not care what time it is. When your number is up, your number is up. But for those of you whose number is eight, uh... take care today!

Wherever you are, I hope that all the eights bring you a lovely day!

Don Bergquist - August 08, 2008 - 08:08:08 AM - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Thursday, August 07, 2008


Last night I learned that it is a good thing that I do not have to depend on the emergency sirens to warn me of inclement weather. The tornadoes last night in the northeast part of my county were announcned on weather radio (and then on cable) well before the sirens began to wail.

Of course, I had to make sure that I was hearing the sirens. I was standing outside last night, shortly after having seen the weather warning, and the weather outside was nice; there was no rain, no hail, no wind. I was standing outside chatting with a neighbor and heard the horns start up. But just barely.

"What would that be?" I asked. "It can't be the tornado siren, the sitings were miles away and headed away from us."

"What tornado?" My neighbor asked.

It was forgivable. She was having new wood floors installed and so she had no opportunity to hear the news. I explained about a line of thunder storms from Northwest of Denver, through the Capitol Hills area, and then on down to the south east. The weather service was reporting that there had been a few reports of people seeing funnel clouds.

"I'm glad I don't rely on that..." I said "I have a weather radio. It was faster, and I could actually hear it inside."

"That's odd," she replied "those sirens are just over there in the park."

She pointed at a spot not a tenth of a mile away by the county maintenance shed.

Shortly after we parted, the rains came. The sky opened and it poured! Good! We need the rain!

Wherever you are today, I hope that your day is a good one.

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

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

London On My Mind

Sitting at my desk yesterday, I received an email from a colleague.

"What do you think I should do to get between the two offices (London and Winnersh) when I am there next month?" she asked.

I wrote back with train schedules, a link to the train company (South West Trains) and the best way to walk between the hotel that she will be staying at in Surbiton and the office in Thames Ditton.

In addition, I told her that it would cost £9.10 for a same day return ticket if she wants to leave after 09:00 or £9.60 if she wants to leave for Winnersh earlier than that. The trains leave Surbiton about every 1/2 hour, you change twice and the journey takes just over an hour.

Could it be that I spent way too much time in England? Nah! I just made the most of my time while I was there. I can still see in my head all the routes I used to take. All the bike rides I made so frequently over there. And still miss my friends and our time together.

But I am back in Lakewood, and there are no pubs, no tube, and I understand the contempt that our office visitors held for our mass transit. It's good, but it just isn't as good as the system I got used to while living in Surrey. But at least our trains run all night here.

Wherever you are today, I hope that you are well.

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

Happy birthday to my brother-in-law, Corey

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


...and then the rain came.

Last night on the way home, I spotted a big fire on the southwestern slopes of Green Mountain. The whole valley was filled with smoke. The news had it covered. It was not a big fire (only about three hundred acres) but it was smoky.

By the ten o'clock news, the fire was out and we had only the smoke to deal with. But then the rain came.

It was sprinkling earlier in the evening. Some time over the evening, about a quarter inch of rain fell into my rain gauge. The smoke smell was gone. They are predicting thunder storms this afternoon and more tomorrow. Yeah! My garden needs it!

Wherever you are today, I hope your day is a good one.

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

Monday, August 04, 2008


What a lovely weekend! Saga and I took a few walks in her park, I did a few loads of laundry and did some housework, organizing the place now that I am back from vacation (putting away my luggage, cleaning out and washing the car, etc.).

I am truly home and back in the swing. Good thing too! I have so much to do at the office that I need to get done and so will have so little time for doing anything at home this week. I am going to start car pooling with a friend who lives in the valley with me (just across the creek, in fact) so I've got extra time in the mornings now.

Saga seems confused. I am home much later and didn’t chide her as she decided to sniff everything to her heart's delight as were walking this morning. But what the heck? I am not working as much with the London office so there is no real reason I need to be in at 06:00 any more. Besides, the company on the drive may be nice.

Wherever you are this morning, I hope that your week goes well!

Don Bergquist – August 04, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Sunday, August 03, 2008


For those of you who have noticed that I was a bit behind on my blog posting, I have news that I hope you will find positive. I have finished uploading my photos to my photo sharing site and to my gallery and am caught-up on my posting. They have been waiting on the links to the albums in Shutterfly.

Below (and on each of the posts posted today) are the links to the pictures taken on vacation. I thank you for you for your patience in awaiting the postings.

Wherever you are today, I hope you’re having a lovely weekend!

Don Bergquist – August 03, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Driving East:

Saga Sleeping In Charleston:

Saga Goes To Town:

At The Beach:


Col. Karrer:

At The Beach:

Beach House Feasts:

Saga Sunning Herself:

Sissa and Braydon:

Fritz at the Beach:

The Drive Home (Part 1):

The Drive Home (Part 2):

Happy birthday to my cousin, Kristen

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Beach House Recipes

Food is a big part of the tradition of the beach house experience. This year, we all decided to share the recipes we made at the beach. And that is going to be impressive there was a lot of great food.

I decided to add my beach house recipes to the blog for your enjoyment. while I didn’t have that much time to cook, what with my cousin coming over and Fritz being the Grillmaster deluxe, but I am not complaining. I was relegated to the Sausemaster. The first sauce was based on a sauce the Ma Karrer had at a restaurant the day I arrived in

I tired it and decided I could do it better. I hope you enjoy these recipes!

Wherever you are today, I hope you’re not cooking up any trouble!

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

Stained Glass Onion


5 Large Red Bell Peppers

2 Large Vidalia Onions

1/2 tsp Salt (optional)

1 Cup Balsamic Vinegar

1/4 Cup Orange Marmalade

1 Cup Water


• Clean, core, and roughly chop the peppers.

• Peel and roughly chop the onions.

• Add to a large pot with the water (and the salt if desired).

• Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer.

• Simmer covered loosely (just to prevent splatters) for a couple hours until the water is evaporated and the vegetables have reduced to a mush.

• Add the vinegar and continue to cook until the consistency of catsup.

• The sauce will be great on roast pork (if you can get my cousin, Sheila, to bring you some) or chicken.

Mustard Sauce


1/2 Stick Butter

3 Tbsp Flour

3 Tbsp Brown Mustard

2 Cups Milk (Hot)


• Start by making a roux. (melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour. Keep stirring until the flour begins to turn a nice blond color.)

• Stir in the mustard while the milk is heating in the microwave.

• Add the milk and whisk until smooth.

Makes about 2.5 Cups.

This makes a very good sauce for Brussels Sprouts or most other green vegetables.

Mornay Sauce


1/2 Stick Butter

3 Tbsp Flour

2 Cups Milk

1 lb shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp Nutmeg


• Start by making a roux. (melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour. Keep stirring until the flour begins to turn a nice blond color.)

• Add the milk and whisk until smooth.

• Add the cheese and continue to stir until the cheese is melted in.

Makes about 1 quart.

This makes a very good sauce for Broccoli, Cauliflower, or other cooked vegetables.

Friday, August 01, 2008


The weekend is here. The progress on getting the pictures uploaded continues. The day is lovely… it is time to chill! When the work day ends, Saga and I are going to rest. (Perhaps not as chill as Braydon and Saga seen here at the beach, but we’ll give it a try!)

A walk in her park, perhaps a ride in the car to the mountains… who knows the weekend is nearly upon us and we have two days to chill!

Wherever you are today, I hope your Friday is going well!

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