Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Snow Abates

Well, it doesn't appear that we're going to get the two feet that they were predicting. The snow had really tapered off by sunrise. That is not to say that it has stopped falling... it is still coming down, but now it is much lighter.

But with only six inches between noon yesterday and five this morning, after getting a foot of snow in the previous twelve-or-so hours, it was evident that it had slowed greatly over night.

Now, at noon, it is basically just spitting down slowly. The current measure is just shy of twenty-two inches.

Wherever you are today, I do hope you're keeping yourself safe and warm!

Don Bergquist - October 29, 2009 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Snow Storm - Day Two

Some time around eight this morning it will have been snowing for thirty-six hours uninterrupted. The snow started falling before I went to bed on Tuesday and as of five this morning when Saga and I went out to walk in her park, it was still falling at a pretty good clip.

The snow was knee deep where it hadn't been shoveled or plowed yet. Which means that Saga didn't so much walk as plow her way through the snow to go out for our walk this morning. There were about 18" inches of snow when I measured this morning, but as she is only about 18" at the withers, she was nothing more than a white-fur-covered barge floating on a sea of snow as she made her way to her favorite sniff-spots.

Needless to say it was a short walk this morning. She practically dragged me back to the house, satisfied that she had had enough time outside for the morning, she turned and bolted for the warmth and comfort of her favorite corner of the living room.

Yeah! She gets to snuggle up, cozy in her duvet in her little cave below the end-table by the front window; I have to head up to the office and start the computer and get testing software. I really am not sure where this expression "it's a dog's life" comes from. Saga's living the Life of Reilly.

Ah well, time to post this and get upstairs and start the computer. (Such a touch commute I have today! Poor me!) I should probably grab a cuppa before I head upstairs.

Wherever you are today, I hope that you're living the Life of Reilly.

Don Bergquist - October 29, 2009 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The First Foot

As of 13:00 this afternoon (approximately) I had had my first foot of snow. I pushed a 16" ruler I have into the snow stacked on top of Saga's kennel and marked the total at a foot.

It is still coming down out there! It is messy, but right now it is so lovely!

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

Don Bergquist - October 28, 2009 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

The Snow Starts

According to the weather reports this is going to be the first "major" snowstorm of the season.

They have been talking about it since last weekend. The snow is going to be a two-day event and the roads are going to be exceedingly dangerous. I can believe it! When Saga and I went out to her park this morning at five there was already a couple inches of snow on the ground.

The snow had actually already started to fall when Saga and I were taking our evening constitutional. It wasn't much. Rain-snow mix mostly, but there were big, ugly, sloppy, wet flakes mixed into the drizzle last night. It is surprising the roads aren't icier than they are!

It is too dark to tell what it is going to be like today, but if last night and this morning are any indication, it is going to be a brutal storm. Good thing I can telecommute! The weatherperson on the station I am listening to says that the morning rush is going to be okay, just slow. I think I will get out my computer, set-up and work from home where I am safe, warm, and dry.

Wherever you are today, I hope that you're safe, warm, and dry.

Don Bergquist - October 28, 2009 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Monday, October 26, 2009

Still Sniffling!

From what I understand, it may be another week before the sniffles abate, but that is the last remaining vestiges from last weekend's cold.

Saga and I passed a calm and relaxing weekend doing nothing much of any consequence. I caught-up on some correspondence, did a little work on my photo catalogue, and basically just took it easy.

With all the snow yesterday it was really not conducive to going out anyway.

This morning it is cold and clear. The roads are clean and dry (it was too warm yesterday for the snow to stack-up) and Saga and I have had a lovely walk in her park. The coyotes were crying earlier when we went out… Saga gets pretty tentative about going too deep into the park when the howls are too near to the border we live on.

So we walked the perimeter of the park for a while and now, I am sipping the last of my morning coffee; it will soon be time for me to head into the office. Another day – another 68¢ after taxes!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you're well and that your weather is lovely!

Don Bergquist – October 26, 2009 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Happy anniversary to Todd & Kristen

Happy birthday to my cousin Gwen

Friday, October 23, 2009

Much Better!

That was rough!

I am not fully recovered, but am feeling better to the point that I can get back to the office and do some work. I was actually out of bed yesterday and worked from home, but as my fever had not broken until Wednesday night, my information is that I may still be contagious. The doctor said to stay home for 24-hours after the fever broke to minimize the risk of shedding virus to the general populace.

So I waited. (Apparently, according to something I saw on the news last night...) The military academy in The Springs is suggesting upping this to 48 hours because some of their students are still showing signs of the virus after the 24-hour window. I don't have that kind of time to waste at home. Too much to do at the office.

Which is where I should be!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you are able to avoid the flu!

Don Bergquist – October 23, 2009 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Happy birthday to my friend David

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Yep! Flu!

I went to the doctor today and was told: "Yes... You have the seasonal flu."

It will be a couple days before I get back to work. Now I am getting back to bed.

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

Don Bergquist – October 21, 2009 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Monday, October 19, 2009


I slept the entire weekend.

Well, if not the entire weekend, enough of it that it made no difference and it may as well have been the entire weekend.

I did get up a few times a day so that Saga could take her walk. Most of these prompted by the little one jumping on the bed to wake me up. So the routine was sleep... jump (Wake up!)... walk with Saga... check Saga's food and water... return to bed... repeat.

I am taking a sick day.

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

Don Bergquist – October 19, 2009 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Back To Work

It’s just after four, I am up, I am sipping the first coffee of the morning, I am rested and ready to return to the office. I cannot wait to see what is up when I get there. Looking at my inbox, it is bad but not unmanageable.

What a good and restful vacation! But now that it is over, I had best get headed to the office. I had best get ready and get on the road. The morning is wearing on.

BTW: All my vacation pictures have been uploaded to my sharing site. Check them out if you get a chance.

Wherever you are today, I wish you a good one!

Don Bergquist – October 15, 2009 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Last Day

Well, it is my last day at home before returning to work.

What a foggy morning! Nice that I didn’t have to drive in! Tomorrow will be soon enough. I have a cauldron of soup bubbling happily to itself in the kitchen and there is a load of laundry spinning in the machines.

Once that is out, I think I will go down to the community center for a swim and perhaps a lounge in the hot tub. This afternoon, perhaps a nap! Work resumes tomorrow.

Wherever you are today, I wish you a casual and relaxing day!

Don Bergquist – October 14, 2009 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Gee! Why didn’t I think of this sooner!?

Yesterday, after emptying the car, and getting some things straightened up at home I organized and got ready to restock the larder. That was enough, no need to rush, I don’t need to be back at work until Thursday, but then I didn’t expect to be home until tomorrow.

I really like not having too much to do when I get back so that I have to rush to finish!

I think I will have another cup of coffee and go over the list of things I have to do today and tomorrow once more time.

Wherever you are today, I hope it is a low-stress day for you.

Don Bergquist – October 13, 2009 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Monday, October 12, 2009

Mad Dash

This is the reason I made the mad dash for home.

Well, this and as recently as this time yesterday morning they were still predicting that I would not make it home by this morning. The storm that hit the Denver area late last week was supposed to be moving through the Midwest yesterday. As late as 06:45 when I heard the last weather report in Kensington the prediction was that I would not make it to North Platte, Nebraska.

This wheel was one on which the fog the driver had gone through had frozen to the hub cap while it was in motion. That accounts for the outward frostcicles all over the outer edge of the wheel cover.

(I have to admit, both of these pictures were taken on Saturday in Minnesota, but they illustrate why I had to beat the weather.)

The driveway to dad’s that had been slick (but lovely) the day before was predicted to get a pounding by noon yesterday. Once I was on the road, I had the perfect weather for driving! It was cold, but except for freezing fog that coated my car’s wing mirrors, nose, and antenna, the road was good and the drive was uneventful.

It wasn’t a personal best, but it was not far off. The mileage was longer than normal because I swung south trough Iowa instead of cutting straight across South Dakota (this because my route was supposed to be snowy and icy by noon along that route). So instead of 990 miles, the odometer showed 1058.3. Door-to-door time was 14.13 hours. (12.85 hours of moving time.) This gives me an effective average speed of 74.88 MPH overall average and 82.36 MPH moving average.

This morning I saw a weather report that the fog that I had passed through last night had frozen to the roadbed and the route I took was icy and snowy this morning. The weather forecast calls for snow this afternoon and so, it seems that it was a good move to leave when I did. I may not have been on the road until Wednesday otherwise.

Now I have the days I had planned as drive/recuperation time for cleaning and getting ready to go back to work.

How nice!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you’ll have a wonderful, relaxing day!

Don Bergquist – October 12, 2009, Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Columbus Day

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Grinding Day

Yeah, the roads were pretty bad. As a matter of fact, they’re predicted to get worse… But that is another story.

Today we had the big gathering of family and what fun it was! All of my siblings were there, we had aunts and uncles, cousins, parents, miscellaneous others… it was a packed house. And by that I do mean that the house was packed.

The weather outside was way too cold to peel and grind outside! So we turned the basement into a grinding station. We had a couple tables set-up as peeling stations and made it through the seven buckets of roots in only a few hours. Yes, I Said “few” – my aunt Judy and uncle Gene showed-up with a bucket of horseradish roots to add to those we’d already had.

We had to open the basement door and exhaust the acids from the roots we were cleaning and peeling or we would have all been bloodshot for weeks! So it was a bit brisk, but that is what the Schnapps is for!

Those of us not actively involved in peeling were actively involved in keeping the kids entertained… or doing other jobs required for getting dinner ready. There was a huge crowd to feed, you know!

My camera made the rounds and captured people cleaning, peeling, and playing. It even caught me when my Dad and I headed out to the garage for the grinding and preparing station.

Once most of the roots were ready, Dad came out and helped get the roots sliced into chunks that the processor could chop to the right consistency, and I stood over the processor most of the time grinding and pickling.

Afterward, it was a wonderful afternoon of cards, conversation, and catching-up with the family. In the end we had two huge roasting pans of horseradish to divvy-up between us. What a great day! What fun seeing the family again! What a pain that I have to leave.

If the weather report is right, I have to get moving or I will not be in Denver any time next week. There is a storm blowing out of Denver to the northeast that may be a pain to deal with. So I had best put an end to writing and get the car parked.

Wherever you are today, I hope that you’ve had a great day and that you have spent it with family.

Don Bergquist – October 11, 2009 – Kensington, Minnesota, USA

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Digging Day

It’s not all fun and games! It’s not as if all we do is sit around, play cards, have “animated discussions” (read that “arguments” if you so desire), and drink. Though enough of that goes on to make digging day worth it!

Digging day is usually the day before the grinding goes on. Though, since last year when I showed-up with my KitchenAid Food Processor it has been chopping rather than grinding… But I am getting ahead of myself.

The day before the big event we all drive out to a field in the county my uncle lives in where there is a big patch of Horseradish. It is on the farm of a friend of my uncle’s and it is where I have been to dig. If there have been other patches in other years, I’ve not been to them. So my siblings and I, my parents, my uncle and aunt, and a cousin all drove out to the field to dig on Friday afternoon.

The digging was a snap yesterday due to all the rain that Minnesota has been getting of late! The ground was nice and soft. In previous years it has been hard work. In previous years it has also been reasonably warm. This year, it was pretty cold, but once you got to turning over the soil, it was plenty warm.

My uncle had an inspired idea this year. After digging our six buckets of roots, we took them back to the farm and ran them under the power washer for a while to knock most the dirt and much of the root fibre structure off the main roots. That aught to make the cleaning tomorrow easier!

It was then off to Chet’s for chicken to celebrate the completion of the first part of the process. I dropped my brother and his wife off in town with Dad and Flo’s car. We had dropped it at the service center for repairs to the heater core on the way in. They were going to get it back to the house this morning, but then they decided to leave it at the shop and see if it can’t be fixed today. So there is no reason to have it at home. It’s not as if there is any dearth of cars around.

So I guess I should finish writing and get into town to get Denis and Helen. And the roads are going to be bad! I just know it. It snowed last night!

Wherever you are today, I wish you well and hope you’re warm and happy!

Don Bergquist – October 10, 2009 – Kensington, Minnesota, USA

Friday, October 09, 2009

Autumn Walk

What a lovely morning for a walk!

Dad and Flo and I had a great time walking down between the lakes and through the woods. Saga came along to explore; it was the first time this vacation that it was not raining.

Oh! What colors!

The woods on either side of the lake are the turning color, the skies were still overcast, but we expect that to continue all week. Oh, well!

Yesterday evening the last of my siblings arrived. My elder brother and his wife came in and the serious card playing began! A round-robin game of whist between my brothers, father, and I lasted late into the night; we played cards, caught-up on news, and swapped old stories.

Today we're headed up to my uncle's farm; the family homestead in Parkers Prairie. This afternoon we are going to be digging horseradish, tomorrow there is a big gathering to make horseradish and drink schnapps. It is always a great time!

Well, it's time for me to help dad get breakfast ready. There are a lot of people to feed. We're making a big mess of hunter's eggs, sausages, and toast.

Wherever you are today, I hope that your day is starting out well!

Don Bergquist - October 09, 2009 - Kensington, Minnesota, USA

Happy birthday to my cousin Andrea

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Point of Fact

My sister made a good point last night during a discussion. We were talking about some arcane point on how the ear works. In the middle of it, my sister grabbed her laptop and looked-up the point and the issue was settled.

What a boon for accuracy and what a damper for discussion! We will have to switch to philosophy or really arcane topics that are not easily verified by looking them up if we want to have long and involved discussions in the future. We never used to be able to do this. Mainly because the encyclopedia was not an easy source to query while we were having the discussion.

But even with the addition of the internet, our discussion last night was just like a night out of the past! We sat here talking way into the night. It was cool.

Today I am headed off with the siblings that are here and doing some things around the county that I wanted to do while I was here. Tomorrow, we're off to dig for horseradish roots. Yum!!!

Wherever you are today, I hope you're with the ones you love doing the things you enjoy!

Don Bergquist - October 08, 2009 - Kensington, Minnesota, USA

Happy anniversary to Dirk & Andrea

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Memory Lane

Being here in Minnesota is always a trip (and I am not just talking about the drive). It is interesting to see how things change and how they stay the same. The nearest city to where my parents live is Alexandria; a city known for the three-story-tall Viking that used to stand in the middle of the main road through town.

I say “used to” because a few years back someone decided that, perhaps, having a three-story-tall statue standing on a six-foot-tall concrete base in the middle of a busy state highways was not the best idea. Not that I had ever actually heard of any accidents from people hitting Big Ole, but then I don’t live here all the time, perhaps there had been. So, the city moved Big Ole off to a park a hundred yards distant at the side of the road.

But there are things that never seem to change, the diner on Broadway that has been there since my grandmother used to take me there for a patty melt and a pop for lunch when we were spending the day “in the city.” The Maid-Rite sandwich store that sells the most unusual sandwich (crumble-fried hamburger and grilled chopped onion mixed with mayo and melted American cheese - trust me, it is not as unappealing as it sounds!) is still there.

Then there are other buildings which have been put to other purposes. The old Red Owl supermarket is now an Ace Hardware, the old library, its gothic architecture making it stand-out on its street of sturdy Midwestern homes, is now a real estate office (the new library is a much larger and more modern) was built a few blocks away to house a much larger and growing collection.

But even the people and the things that they do remind me of the past. Last night, for instance, I was reminded of a trip I took to Buffalo, NY many years ago. Last night I went with my parents to play whist with their whist club. It was so much fun. I don’t get to play cards as much as I would like to. So, why would this remind me of a business trip to New York? Well, it’s like this…

On that trip, my colleague and I tool a side trip on a weekend we had free. We drove up along the lakeshore to a 19th century fort that had been part of the defenses of Canada that saw action during the war of 1812. While there, the guide was giving his schpiel about one of the particular rooms. He told the group about how the officers would spend the evenings here in this room drinking and playing cards.

He then went onto say that they thought that it was cards they were playing but hadn’t been able to verify it. Their journals talked about a regular whist game. It was all I could do to restrain myself from laughing. After the tour I approached the guide on the sly and told him that, indeed, whist was a card game and that it was very popular where my people were from and would he care to, I could explain to him how it was played so that he could be more aware of what the journals meant.

Today my folks and I are working around the house. My siblings arrive today and tomorrow. Friday we’ll be digging horseradish! Yum! (By the way, the dearth of pictures today is due to the fact that it is still exceedingly wet and raining.)

Wherever you are today, I hope all your memories are pleasant ones.

Don Bergquist - October 07, 2009 - Kensington, Minnesota, USA

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


It seems that this vacation is bound to be water-based.

With the fog of the day I drove here, and the rain that has been varying from a mist to a constant pounding rain that came down at sunset yesterday, to the steady drizzle of the past ten hours, we have had water since yesterday morning.

The weathercast says that the rain will continue changing to snow by Friday. It's good for the state; Minnesota is way behind where they should be for annual precipitation. It is bad for the farmers, I suppose. There are crops standing in the fields that will be there until the fields dry out enough to harvest.

Besides, this is Minnesota. The thing to do in Minnesota this time of year is to drink coffee, play cards, and generally just stay indoors. I'm comfy, I'm warm, I'm with family... what more could I want?

Wherever you are today, I hope that you're safe, warm, and with those you love.

Don Bergquist - October 06, 2009 - Kensington, Minnesota, USA

Happy birthday to my friend Elaine.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Butt-Ugly-Early O’clock, Part III

Well, that was fun!

The morning drive started early, as I had said, but the part I wasn’t to know was how much fun the ride would be.

Shortly after hopping onto the interstate, I started seeing something that I could not identify on the road surface. I sussed it just in time. It was pieces of the animal that a rather large vehicle had strewn across the road after they had collided. I realized it in time to start looking for the bulk of the carcass and miss it.

When a semi hits a dear, besides strewing pieces of it for miles, it leaves surprisingly large pieces that would do no good whatsoever to my little Honda. Later in the morning I was to see a truck that had had a similar encounter drive past me, blood still fresh on its grille.

Just before sunrise the fog set in. It was a thick, heavy, fog that was nearly impossible to see through. Thank heaven for the GPS! I slowed to about thirty and put on my flashers about the time that I heard my GPS announce that I was approaching a rest area. Saga and I spent a bit of time hanging-out, listening to the iPod, taking a few pictures, and waiting for the fog to lift.

This particular rest area has a spectacular view of an ancient glacial valley… that is when you can see it at all it would normally appear in the background. (I know, a picture of me and Saga in front of fog. Reminds me of when my friends moved here from London and they traveled across the states. They have pictures of themselves pointing out where the scenic wonders of the states would be – if you could see them through the fog.)

Shortly after the sunrise, the fog burned off. The skies were clear, the temperatures were cold, the roads were clear and the rest of the morning was a lovely drive. My parents and I passed a lovely evening playing scrabble (I won! For the first time in many, many years I beat my folks at scrabble!)

Today, I have a little work to do and then my folks and I have some chores to do before the family starts to arrive for the weekend festivities.

Wherever you are today, I hope you are close to the ones you love.

Don Bergquist – October 05, 2009 – Kensington, Minnesota, USA

Happy anniversary to Michelle & Michael

Happy anniversary to Shawn & Nancy

Happy birthday to my brother Charles

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Butt-Ugly-Early O’clock, Part II

Another thing about Butt-Ugly-Early O’clock, besides not knowing what time it is, is never being quite sure what is going to occur to you are that time of the morning, whatever time that may turn-out to be.

For instance, say you went to the office the previous day, suppose that you took your cell phone with you, suppose also that when you did you left it in the pocket of the jacket you wore. How long, do you suppose, that it would be until you realized that the cell phone was still in the pocket of that jacket, currently hanging in the closet back at home? For me, that moment of revelation came about two hours down the road.

The moment came on the road as I was approaching Ft. Morgan, Colorado. Not really wanting to drive half-way across the country without the ability to call home and give them updates, or call for help should anything get stranded, I hit the GPS looking for a cell phone store. Luckily, it was about time for me to renew my contract which means that my carrier was about to give me a free phone anyway.

An hour later, I was on my way and it was a lovely day for driving! All the way across Colorado and Nebraska, the weather could not have been nicer! I had clean, dry roads. The winds were light and breezy, and the cloud cover was broken and scattered. The traffic was fairly light and most of the way I had the road to myself.

How wonderful are all the modern conveniences!? I could call my parents any time I wanted (except for a few fairly major dead spots off the interstate), the GPS told me where to turn and what to look for. The iPod kept me entertained. The day (and the miles) flew by.

When the road starts getting dark, and the time to stop draws near, you know that it is time to end your day. (I have driven this trip in one sitting plenty of times, but today, there was no reason to push it!) So shortly after sunset, it was time to stop. Day one of my trip ended at Murdo, South Dakota.

This morning, I have less than half the trip ahead of me and a very early start of it. So I guess Saga and I will hop into the car and get rolling as early as possible. It is just now three-thirty and the road beckons.

Wherever you are, I wish you clear skies and open roads!

Don Bergquist – October 04, 2009 – Murdo, South Dakota, USA

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Butt-Ugly-Early O’clock

The thing about butt-ugly-early o’clock is that it doesn’t correspond to any specific point along the timeline. When discussing butt-ugly-early o’clock in the context of getting in the car and heading toward Minnesota, it may be as early as two-or-three in the morning. It can be as late as well, seven thirty this morning.

It has been flexible because I was having a crappy morning where nothing goes right. It has been flexible because I could not get back to sleep and so took off much earlier than I had hoped.

This morning it was flexible because of two things: the weather and the dog. I awoke at about a quarter to four. I was relaxed, rested, and ready for a nice day of driving and listening to books on my iPod as I drove to Dad’s place.

While laying there in the warmth of the duvet I turned on the weather channel to see what the roads ahead looked like I discovered that the temperature outside was below freezing. Hmm… tough call, slide out from under the warm fluffy coverlet and go out into the cold now or later. “Just five minutes…” I thought to myself.

The second event to delay me was when Saga came up to the bedroom jumped into bed next to me and snuggled close for warmth. She was almost immediately snoring happily. What could I do? I turned off the TV, tucked in and went back to sleep.

It’s now about seven thirty, I am up, ready to go. So, I suppose it is time to walk the dog, get her in the car, and get on the road. So I wish you clean and dry roads a head of you wherever you’re going.

Wherever you are today, I wish you well!

Don Bergquist – October 03, 2009 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Practice for Minnesota

Okay, perhaps the strategy of delaying my shopping was not the best idea I have had.

I do have plenty of fruit in the fridge; I am concerned that I may not get through it all. I may be taking it to Minnesota to eat in the car as a snack while I drive. And I have plenty of my homemade muesli. I did have to pop into the supermarket for some yogurt, but other than that, I am subsisting off what is here at the house.

Which explains the title of today’s post. Making do, is making me explore the cabinets more thoroughly for something to make a meal out of. Apparently Campbell’s has found a way into my cabinet.

I do not remember buying it, but I have cream of mushroom, cream of celery and cream of potato in my cabinet. I used to tell the story (way back in the day when I did stand-up comedy to pay my bar bill) about how the best thing to have ever happened to Minnesota cuisine was when Campbell's started coming out in flavors other than mushroom. Yum! Yum! Sounds like a hot dish for supper tonight.

Wherever you are today, I hope that your culinary experience is an adventure!

Don Bergquist – October 01, 2009 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Happy birthday to my cousin Sheila