Monday, August 30, 2010

The Story Of The Bird

This morning, I want to share an story written by my sister. The story came to me in an email; copied to a number of family members. It chronicles an amazing thing that happened recently while my family was gathered at my uncle's home in Minnesota.

As a rule, I rarely forward inspirational stories. But having personally witnessed the events outlined in this story and having been personally moved by them, I really wanted to forward this one.

If you are not a member of my family (or a close friend with whom I have shared some of my family's stories) then you may need a few points laid out for this story to make sense. The "Jeanne" mentioned in this story is my mom. She died in a traffic accident in May of 1980.

My family recently lost my Aunt Diane (who was married to my Uncle Dick) in a traffic accident. The pictures (and part of the story) are from a family gathering at Dick's house after the funeral service for my Aunt Diane.


The story of The Bird is one that is becoming a Bergquist Family Legacy. It started in 1980 after the funeral of Jeannie Bergquist.

Dick was plowing in his fields, it was a hot May day, but Dick was thinking of Jeannie, and his brother's tragic loss. As Dick was plowing, he kept seeing a shadow, he thought it was a bird flying just out of sight, but he kept seeing the shadow of this bird, just above him, yet in and out of the field he was plowing darting in and out but never seeing the bird itself, just the shadow. As Dick told the story, this shadow continued for quite a while, Dick even stopped the tractor, got off, to see if he could find the bird.

After over fifteen minutes Dick finally saw the bird, it was small, but it lifted itself off the ground and flew away. At that single moment, Dick felt Jeannie, her presence, and knew she was in Heaven, and that all would be all right. The story was told, all nodded in agreement, and then forgotten as the Family healed from the tragic loss. Even as Dick re-told the story thirty years later, it brought tears to all of our eyes.

Nearly thirty years later, after the funeral for Diane, the family gathered at the Farm to grieve over the tragic loss of Diane Bergquist. We were all inside the house when Levi Bergquist (Dirk's son) came into the house with a tiny bird that he had found out in the yard. When we all saw the bird in his hands, it appeared dead. We all thought it was gone, but over the next several hours, Levi provided the bird with a box, padding, and love. He gave the bird food and water, and tenderness. Towards nightfall, the bird had regained his strength, and then would not leave Levi. The story of Diane Bergquist and Jeannie Bergquist and now linked.

The attached photos are of the Bird, now completely domesticated, and watching over Dick and his grandchildren: Chantell, Callista, and Levi. The Bird was hopping and sitting on the Bergquist Family, bringing hope, healing, and love to a grieving family gathering. Frequently we represent the Holy Spirit as a bird in artwork. May you all find your own inspiration in these two remarkable stories.

It is my hope that another thirty years pass before our family gathers in this manner. As part of the extended Bergquist Family, please remember and share this story and the gift that it brings to all of us.

Love to all

Mary Bergquist

Wherever you are today, I hope that you will remember to share your family stories with those you love!

Don Bergquist - August 30, 2010 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Summer Bank Holiday (UK)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

All Caught-Up

Okay, finally I have gotten the stuff out of my blog file posted-up. I have also gotten the pictures I took while I was in the UK uploaded to Frost Lake Photography. I hope that you enjoy them.

Saga was overjoyed to see me last weekend. I was so jet-lagged that I basically vegetated all weekend. I did make it to the pool a couple times and get the mail, but other than that, last weekend was passed in a more-or-less vegetative state.

This weekend has flown by. I got some writing assignments at work and was able to get through a couple of them (with the assistance of my colleagues) and submit them for approval. The first one I submitted was accepted without comments by the developer. That, I am told, is a good sign!

This weekend I have been trying to get all the stuff I have let slide since I got back from Wembley done, but it is going to be a hot day out so I may just nap after getting done with some of the stuff I need to do.

Saga has been thrilled to have her daddy back. We went to the park and walked more this week that usual. She has just wanted to explore. But perhaps this is while we ware walking she has my undivided attention.

But this is not getting all my chores done, so I had best post this and get to the next task on my to-do list.

Wherever you are this weekend, I hope you are having a relaxing (or productive, or both) one!

Don Bergquist - August 28, 2010 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

"I Have A Dream"

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'"

- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

August 28, 1963

Race Your Mouse Around The Icons Day

Don't just sit there!

While you're waiting for a program to start or a web page to load today try racing your mouse around all the icons on your desktop!

Happy birthday to my cousin Todd

Happy birthday to my cousin Tim

Friday, August 20, 2010

Somewhere Over The Atlantic

Amazingly, the flight is not full. As we were waiting the gate agent to finish her count and exit the aircraft, the woman who had been assigned the middle seat in my row (the one right next to me) had turned to me and asked if I thought the flight was full.

"When I checked in, the seat you're sitting in was the only one on the seat map that was showing as empty." I replied. We exchanged names and chatted briefly and looked around the cabin. There were at least a dozen seats in the area we were seated in that were still vacant.

"I hope you won't be insulted," she said to me apologetically as the gate agent started the announcement that they were sealing the bulkhead. "But I am going to move up next to my colleague. We have some work to complete on the flight."

So, I had the row to myself until we had taken off and were in the air, then a guy from the row behind me came up to take the seat at the other end of the row. The dozen empty seats are now more-or-less spread evenly around the cabin, all in middle seats.

Although I will have been up for nearly twenty hours by the time I get home, it will only be about five local time and so I have decided to stay awake the entire trip. (…like I can ever sleep on a plane anyway!) So I have been watching movies and reading to pass the time. I finished my book three hours into the flight and (as it is the book I found on the plane on the way here) I have tucked it into the seat pocket ahead of me. If you find it, I hope that you enjoy it.

My battery is running low. I really need to finish this up and get it stowed. What movies are left? Perhaps they will help me pass the flight.

Wherever you are today, I hope your day is going well.

Don Bergquist - 20 August 2010 - United Airlines Flight UA939, Somewhere Over The North Atlantic


I still have no idea why they insist on you showing-up for your flight so early!

I'm sitting in the departures hall at Heathrow Terminal 1. Here in the UK they keep everyone for all the flights in one central departures area that has boards with what upcoming flights are and until about an hour before your flight they don’t publish gate information.

I suppose that this is better than going to a gate only to have it change on you (as has so often happened to me in US airports), but getting uncomfortable in one area is preferable to being uncomfortable in two. At least it is as far as I am concerned.

My car was late and the drive, though cordial, was far from chatty. The entire trip to the airport he passed perhaps ten words with me - he asked my name, asked what airline and what terminal. That was about it for the fifty-minute trip. There are times when this would be welcome, I suppose that the opposite (the driver who will not shut up and keeps up an monologue of inane babble) is just as bad.

Making it through the check-in and security process was relatively painless, and so, here I sit. There are just over two-hours 'til my flight. I suppose I will dig out my book and start reading. This evening I will see my little dog again.

Wherever you are today, I hope you're headed toward something you’re looking forward to!

Don Bergquist - 20 August 2010 - Heathrow Terminal 1, Surrey, UK

National Radio Day

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Farewell To Wembley

Has it been two weeks already?

It seems I have only just gotten here. I have learned a lot from my colleagues here and meeting them has been worth the trip, but I just cannot believe how quickly it has gone by.

This evening I went into town one final time to get a few gifts for some people back home, and then headed back early to get my bags packed. Tomorrow morning the car is coming for me at 09:30 so I have to pack this evening.

Today was a busy day and I think I am going to pop down to the pub for a curry and a pint and then come back and pack. There is a lot to do before my flight tomorrow.

Wherever you are today, I hope your day has been a productive one.

Don Bergquist - 19 August 2010 - Wembley, Middlesex, UK

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Late Night

I popped into town last evening to meet with some friends and, once again, it was a late night for me. Luckily, I remembered earlier this week, that my mobile can be used as an alarm clock. The hotel seems to have forgotten my wake-up call.

So this will have to be a short entry today. My cell was actually set for the time I should be getting ready to leave. Since it went off I have called the front desk to confirm that they did have a request for a wake-up call, that they were sorry I didn't get it, and that yes, it was as late as I thought it was.

Luckily, the early sunrises here mean that I was nearly awake when the alarm went off anyway.

Wherever you are today, I hope that your day has started well!

Don Bergquist - 18 August 2010 - Wembley, Middlesex, UK

Happy birthday to my friend Barbara

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Breakfast In A Pub

There are a couple ways to get to the office here in Wembley.

If it is nice and not raining too hard, I walk. If I have plans, as I do this evening, I will walk into the Wembley Central station and get the tube down to the office and that allows me to get the tube pass before the high rates go into effect. It also saves me a few minutes on the evening rush to get down to wherever I am headed.

On mornings I take the tube down to the office, I stop at a local pub for breakfast. They do a nice breakfast here of eggs, mushrooms, toast, bacon, and coffee. It is yummy and the pub is not a bad one. But it is still a pub and that means that if you are there in the morning for breakfast, you may see people having a pint or a tipple (or both) while you're having that last sip of coffee.

Now, I remember when I visited Belgium with some friends a few years back. There, the bars closed around two-or three but were open again at six when I went out for my morning walk. But to see someone having a couple drinks this early in London just seems wrong.

Not that I am a prude; far from it. I would just more expect to see someone with a cuppa this early in the morning - not in the cups. Oh well. To each his (or her) own!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you're enjoying the morning beverage of your choice!

Don Bergquist - 17 August 2010 - Wembley, Middlesex, UK

Davie Crockett's Birthday

Monday, August 16, 2010

What The…

Returning from a day of walking around the city, visiting old haunts, I was making my way back to the hotel late last evening. As I was walking along the high street, I came across a scene that made me so irritated that I didn’t know what to do but take action.

Some total tosser was standing outside one of the pubs along the high street. He was screaming at the top of his lungs at a group of people across the street at a bus stop. I was not sure what was going on so I took off my headphones and stopped the iPod. I approached with caution (as this idiot was on my side of the street) and listened to what was going on. I stopped just shy of the pub.

The people at the other side of the street were all wearing traditional Muslim garb, tunics and abas for the men, the women in either dresses with headscarves or the more traditional throb'ob. From the appearances, the crowd was waiting for a bus.

The guy was yelling at the crowd of people "Why don't you go back to your own country?" "This is our country!" "Jesus is the only lord!" "Learn to speak English!" and other such random epithets. As I approached, he turned to me. "These foreigners should go home! They're spoiling our country."

"It's your country, mate." I replied in my American accent. "And I am glad that you are not representative of its people!"

I crossed the street to get away from the guy. He kept yelling at the people and advancing on them into the road. I was past the main fringe when a cry came up and a bunch of people rushed by me. I turned and the man had crossed the street and was taunting them on this side. He grabbed one and tried to throw a punch but had it blocked. As he backed off, he almost crossed into a car that was passing. That was when I decided I could not remain silent. I stepped into the nearest chippy. I explained to the proprietor what was going on then took out my phone and dialed the police to report a dunk and disorderly in progress.

I understand people having opinions (even really stupid ones) but when the public safety is at stake, I have to take exception. I called the police because he was endangering himself, the crowd, and the traffic. The police came, calmed him down, and sent him on his way.

Wherever you are today, I hope you will express your opinion in a safe and orderly manner!

Don Bergquist - 16 August 2010 - Wembley, Middlesex, UK

Happy birthday to my friend Ginger

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Problem

The problem with internet-connected devices is that they actually need to be connected to the internet to do what they were designed for. This is not a problem in most places but in a hotel without internet connectivity in the rooms, this is a problem.

The brand spanking new VoIP phone that I made sure to install for the trip has been dormant for the week. The blog entries are piling-up in Word documents on my desktop. Perhaps I will go hunting for a pub with Wi-Fi access this weekend.

Wherever you are today, I hope you have everything you need to stay in touch!

Don Bergquist - 12 August 2010 - Wembley, Middlesex, UK

Another Oracle

This week I did find a pub in Central Wembley that served ale. There is a big chain pub, but I prefer the more friendly local pubs. The pub is on Wembley High Street not far from the tube station. I think it may become a favorite of mine. It has everything I would expect in a pub.

It is friendly; the people there talk to you. It is cozy; the surroundings are friendly too! In addition, it has ale. It also has character; well it had a character. I walked in and up to the bar to get a pint and there was an animated discussion going on among the patrons at the bar. It was fairly late, so there were not many other people in the bar.

After I had placed my order, one of the people at the bar, who could be referred to as young, beautiful, and a sparkling conversationalist only if one's personal ethos didn't consider such outrageous untruths as a bad thing that would be punishable in the afterlife. Her name was Bea. I know this because she introduced herself to me repeatedly.

"You're an American!" she said as if the revelation was the most startling since the angel had appeared to Elizabeth. The publican admonished Bea to be a bit less boisterous and pointed out that I could be Canadian.
"Pah! He's an American." Bea repeated, "Or a Canadian…" she put in, hedging her bets.

"Yes, I am an American…." I responded and took a sip of my beer. "...or a Canadian."

For reasons that I cannot ascribe to anything but alcohol, Bea then stated that she had been to the states. There were, apparently, fifty-three of them.

Bea now went off on one of the patrons she had been arguing with, threatening to punch one of them for no readily apparent reason. "I'll punch you too!" she said returning her attention to me.

"Better not." I replied, finishing my ale and ordering a second. "I may find that I enjoy it and then where would we be!?"

It took her a moment to realize I was joking, and then she exploded in laughter. "You're alright!"

A moment later, she asked where I was from. "Denver." I replied.

"Nah. You can't be from there. You look more like you're from New York."

I had no answer for this. I was standing there in a pair of blue jeans and a Hawaiian shirt. Just what exactly made her think I was from New York?

"What are you doing here?" was her next query.

"I work for a company here."

"You don't sound English!" (I hadn’t realized that I had claimed to!) "You can't' work here."

"I live in the states. I am over on business. Nevertheless, for your information, I used to live here. I lived in Thames Ditton for a couple years." For reasons that were never clear to me, this seemed to be the funniest thing she had ever heard.

"Thames Ditton! Ha! Thames Ditton, he says! I like you! Come home and meet my mum!"

In the interest of discretion, I let this one pass. "You're definitely a Canadian. Where were you born?"


"Nah! Can't be. You're a Canadian!"
"I'm sorry; I hadn't realized I was talking to the Oracle at Wembley. What will you be revealing next, oh great Oracle? The secret of life? My Shoe size?"

At that, she failed to realize I was joking. "You're prolly a size ten." She guessed. The few people remaining broke up laughing. I left shortly after then. Otherwise, I'd have had to meet Bea's mum. Oh, well… I know if I ever need a British passport, I do have an in in Wembley!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you are having the time of your life!

Don Bergquist - 15 August 2010 - Wembley, Middlesex, UK

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Happy birthday to my cousin Nathan

Happy birthday to my brother Denis

Saturday, August 14, 2010

More Old Friends

Last night, after work, I took the train out to my old area of town and met with some other friends for dinner. Wow! The train fares have gone up since I lived here! Used to be that an all zones rail card was £6.70 yesterday I paid near £15!

But it was worth it to see my old neighborhood. Elaine met me at the Surbiton rail station and we went back to her place. Her family allowed me to share their Sabbath dinner and, again, it was lovely to visit with old friends.

We exchanged stories about the times we had, talked about what has been going on recently and generally picked-up as if I hadn't been gone for the past three years. Even Daisy, the five-year-old Yorkshire Terrier wanted to pick up where we left off. (Actually, as long as you throw the tennis ball for her to chase every ten seconds, she is happy as a clam!)

Once again, we talked the night away and way too soon, I had to make the train back north to Wembley. We parted with promises to meet up again soon. For trains through Waterloo to Wembley do not run all night and after nine, the number of trains that actually come all the way to Wembley drops off. Don't get me wrong, I think the underground is a great system and I love how convenient it is, I just wish, however, it ran later than it does!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you can reconnect with your old friends.

Don Bergquist - 14 August 2010 - Wembley, Middlesex, UK

Happy birthday to my friend Eric

Victory over Japan Day

Happy anniversary to Tim & Stephanie

Friday, August 13, 2010

Old Friends

Last night I had the pleasure of taking the tube into town to have dinner with some friends from my days at my last company. We went into Chinatown (near Leicester Square) and had a great time. The restaurant was a little place tucked into a corner near the gate to Chinatown not far off of the square itself.

It has been some time (three years) since we got together, but it was a lovely time. We discussed what we have been doing since out separate tenures at Harris ended. The dim sum and the conversation were both great. Claire and Julian can still whip out a pun with the best of them!

After dinner we went off to a pub and the conversation continued. It got late and we said our goodbyes. It's always good reconnecting with old friends. The evening flew by and was over too quickly.

Wherever you are today, I hope you will take the time to connect with an old friend.

Don Bergquist - 13 August 2010 - Wembley, Middlesex, UK

Happy birthday to my cousin Greg

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Problem

The problem with internet-connected devices is that they actually need to be connected to the internet to do what they were designed for. This is not a problem in most places but in a hotel without internet connectivity in the rooms, this is a problem.

The brand spanking new VoIP phone that I made sure to install for the trip has been dormant for the week. The blog entries are piling-up in Word documents on my desktop. Perhaps I will go hunting for a pub with Wi-Fi access this weekend.

Wherever you are today, I hope you have everything you need to stay in touch!

Don Bergquist - 12 August 2010 - Wembley, Middlesex, UK

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Oracle Of Manchester

I'm sure they took no notice of me. It's not as if I was trying to eavesdrop on their conversation; it's just that as they were less than three feet from me and they weren't being exactly quiet.

That they had been to a football match at the Wembley stadium was obvious, the boy and his father were both wearing Manchester United jerseys. That they were from Manchester was derived from the jerseys and from the mention of going home to Manchester. That the kid was older than he looked was obvious from the amount of beer he drank at dinner. But the fact that I was in the presence of the oracle was something that came up later in their discourse.

They had just ordered coffee and dessert when the father turned to his son. "No need to hurry, son." said the man savoring the port that had been delivered. "We're not going anywhere tonight. You have to laugh at those people who are rushing to make it back to Manchester tonight. We're not in the traffic; we're sitting at table, enjoying this lovely meal, not a care in the world. This is what life is all about."

The son responded, with wisdom beyond his years "What, laughing at other people?"

Wherever you are today, I hope that you're enjoying the finer things in life!

Don Bergquist - 11 August 2010 - Wembley, Middlesex, UK

Construction Begins On Statue Of Liberty 1885

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The London I Remember

At the risk of being cliché, this is the London I remember.

I know that it couldn't really have rained the entire time that I lived here. I have plenty of pictures of London with clear weather. I have memories of great sunny (not to say sweltering) days. But for some reason, the fact that today was drizzly overcast, and gray all day seems to have really set off a flood of memories.

This truly is the London I remember. All the times that I remember riding my bicycle in the cold, drizzly, windy, damp, and dank weather bring back the happy days I lived here. Yes, I said happy. As sick as it may seem, I think very kindly of the time that I spent peddling my bicycle through the rain because I had to be somewhere.

I'd have cycled into Surbiton on a nice afternoon to take the train into town to meet with friends only to return to Waterloo in a drizzle, retrieve my bicycle from the Surbiton Rail Station bike park in a downpour, and return to The Villa as the rain broke and the sunset over the Thames.

The sunset over Middlesex is spectacular this evening after a day ranging from a light drizzle to a light rain. It has been cold and wet all day but the evening looks as if it holds promise for tomorrow. Besides, all this rain keeps England so green! There is, after all, a bright side to everything!

Wherever you are today, I hope you will be able to see the bright side to your day!

Don Bergquist - 10 August 2010 - Wembley, Middlesex, UK

Happy birthday to my friend Gary

Happy birthday to The Smithsonian Institute

Monday, August 09, 2010

A Lovely Morning

My walk into the office this morning was a lovely one. The skies were clear and sunny. The air was warm and a bit on the humid side, but still, all in all, it is a lovely morning.

On the way in, I noticed this sign in the window of a hair salon. I have no idea what the word "Re0uired" means. It is likely, however, that it is something eastern. The neighborhood seems to be unusually high in its population of eastern peoples. There are a profusion of Polish delis, Polish Markets, and Polish Restaurants. They are crowded in, jostling for space on the sidewalk along with the fish-and-chips shops, newsagents, and Indian restaurants.

The office, the tallest building that I can see this side of Central London, is pretty nice and has wonderful views of the area. Looking back toward my hotel, there is a spectacular view of Wembley arena. I met the people I will be training with today, met many of the staff members, and got myself set-up to work. Everyone has been nice and the first day of my trip was productive. Tomorrow, the training starts in earnest, so I should really do a bit of reading before bedtime.

Wherever you are today, I hope that your day has been a productive one!

Don Bergquist - 09 August 2010 - Wembley, Middlesex, UK

Atomic Bombing of Nagasaki in 1945

Sunday, August 08, 2010


Well! That was relatively painless.

The flight actually arrived early and after making my way to passport control, where I was third in line, and collecting my luggage, it was only a short wait for my car to collect me. I did have to page them, it turns out they were not given the UAL flight number. It was a code-share flight and they had the flight number for one of the other airlines, but it was the United Airlines flight that was posted on the board.

No biggy! I paged the driver and we made it to my hotel in good time despite the fact that the hotel is right next to Wembley stadium and there is a big match on today. So, Wembley is not where I wanted to be.

I have always found that the best way to get onto UK time is to get out and get a little exercise. Walk around, take pictures, do almost anything to stay awake until a normal hour and then head to bed. So that is just what I did. I took the tube into central London, got some pictures of some of the buildings I missed shooting last time I was here. (I love the reflections you can get out of what one of my friends here calls the great glass gherkin. - Though, I think it looks more like an Easter egg than a pickle.)

Tonight I had a simple meal, a traditional Sunday roast, in the hotel restaurant; tomorrow I head into the office for the first time. Tonight, although I am trying to stay up until at least ten, I think I will turn in early. I am thoroughly knackered!

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

Don Bergquist - 08 August 2010 - Wembley, Middlesex, UK

Brahms, Books, Boredom, And Behavior

According to my watch, which is already set to British Summertime, it is just after seven in the morning. That means that it is about midnight back in Denver. It is Sunday morning and I can honestly say that the ploy of trying to get myself good and knackered before getting on the plane has not helped. I am wide-awake and completely unable to sleep. I've already watched a film (on my PC, the screen in front of my seat is not working), and have been treated to a nice dinner of curried chicken (surprisingly good for airline food in coach).

I'm reading a book I found in the seat back that I am not particularly interested in, hoping the boredom would help lull me to sleep. It's a Dan Brown novel that here-to-fore I have intentionally avoided, his style being pallid and predictable. I've got Brahms playing lightly on the iPod and the noise-canceling headsets have changed the roar of the plane's engines to a pleasant background hum that is mostly inaudible under the music.

The couple sharing my row are making out (do people realize that other people on the plane can see them, I wonder), and they are fooling nobody with the shared-blanket method of disguising what they are doing. The mile-high-club has a couple new members this morning. I could have missed that bit of information if only I could train myself to be able to sleep on planes.

At times like this, I envy people who can; I am reminded of my friend, Kevin, on our trip to South Africa. As soon as we boarded the plane, he was fast asleep in his seat despite the fact that he was seated bolt upright strapped into an uncomfortable airline seat.

Oh well, perhaps I will give the novel another shot. My computer' power is running down and will soon set off the low-battery alarm. We're probably half-way through the flight. Perhaps even an insipid novel will pass the time.

Wherever you are tonight, I hope you're resting comfortably!

Don Bergquist - August 08, 2010 - United Airlines Flight UA948, Somewhere Over The North Atlantic

Saturday, August 07, 2010

When Things Are Going Your Way, Don't Sing!

There is an old joke about a bird that has had a bit of bad luck and when his luck finally seems to be turning, he sings, only to be eaten by a cat. The punch line is something to the affect that getting comfortable in your situation should never be advertised. Advertising that your situation seems to be going the way you planned is the surest way to change your circumstances.

So, when I said this morning that the final arrangements for the trip were going well was dooming myself to have a problem of some sort or another. Perhaps that was the reason the car service decided not to call me and not to show-up. Knowing that my home is a bit difficult to find, I gave explicit instructions as to how to find me. This didn't suffice, apparently as the car never showed.

Why they never called is a bit more difficult to explain. I have voicemail on both my cell phone and my home phone. My home phone and my cell phone are linked to ring simultaneously. So if I am on neither of them, the one closest to me will grab my attention, if I am on one of them, the other will alert me that someone is calling. If I am on both of them, (somehow) they both have the ability to record a message.

So why, SuperShuttle should claim to have called me and gotten a busy signal is beyond me. For one thing, I don't even know how a busy signal could be returned, and secondly, I was not on the phone until they were half an hour late, when I called them.

The fact that they have charged me in advance for a ride that they never gave me, nor attempted to give me as far as I can tell, is something I will have to deal with when I return from my trip. Right now, I think I will have to just not worry about it.

There was a bit of a hassle when I got to the gate, the gate agent tried to tell me that I had somehow not gotten a seat assignment, even though there was a seat assigned on my ticket. I told him that I had checked-in with an agent at the check-in desk and that the boarding pass I had was printed, stamped, and issued by a United staff member, I was planning on boarding the plane with it. He decided to drop the issue.

I'd say that the trip is going well, overall, but I don't want to jinx it! I am sitting in the departures lounge of my flight to London, allowing my laptop to get one last charge. I'll upload this when I get to my hotel.

Wherever you are today, I hope your annoyances are minor ones!

Don Bergquist - August 07, 2010 - Denver International Airport, Denver, Colorado, USA

Plans Falling Into Place

At the risk of jinxing it, things seem to be falling into place well. I have completed my packing, the bag is stacked just inside my door and I have called to confirm my car service and my flight. Saga is aware that something is going on and is not letting me out of her sight. Every time I alight somewhere she comes up and sits next to me.

I had a nice breakfast and have the house ready for me to be out of town for a couple weeks. I've given my key to the neighbor who is going to be looking after Saga so there is nothing more for me to do but to wait. (This is the part of travel that I hate!)

I think that I shall pack the computer into my bag and head out to the pool for a nice leisurely morning swim and then get into the serious business of waiting for my car service. The trip is eight hours from now and I am already tired. If I can get myself tired enough, perhaps I will have the ability to fall asleep on the plane. (Nah! Never happen!)

Wherever you are today, I hope that your day is going well and that all your plans are falling into place.

Don Bergquist - August 07, 2010 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Happy birthday to my friend Cody

Happy birthday to my friend Bill

National Lighthouse Day

Friday, August 06, 2010

Travel Geometry

In The Only Travel Guide You'll Ever Need By Dave Barry the author (Dave Barry) has an interesting observation about luggage, travel magazines, and the frequent traveler. In the section he talks about the kind of person who reads those in-flight magazines you see on airplanes and how their credulity is displayed in all its glory as the reader is convinced that luggage is somehow dimensionally transcendental to use Dr. Who's term for it.

He talks about how the traveler comes across the ad for the new miracle luggage which has the ability to pack for a three-week excursion with enough room to store your entire wardrobe in the space that would not accommodate the average piccolo case.

His point which he is making is that luggage is, on the whole, just a box or a bag with a handle. (…unless, that is, a certain airline has already gotten their hands on it in which case, the presence of a handle is no longer certain, but I digress…)

I thought of this passage as I so often do when I am packing, because I am prone no matter how many times I promise myself that I will pack light, to setting out about twice what I can actually fit into whatever bag I am planning on taking with me. This trip will be no exception, I am sure!

My first week at the new job has been a really good week! My colleagues are helpful and are trying to get me a basic knowledge of the system. On Wednesday, I went into overdrive when my boss asked how quickly I could present myself in the Wembley office for training. I knew that the trip would be forthcoming sooner rather than later, but I was not aware it would be this quickly. Each evening after work I have been doing a little bit toward getting ready to pack and as of last evening I had almost all the laundry done and most of the stuff on my packing list is laid out on the sofa table and the coffee table ready to pack.

This evening after work I have to get the bag out of the store room, make one last review of my list for completeness, my items for accuracy against the list, and then pack my bags. I can see already that I am going to have a problem. I think I have over-planned the number of shirts and slacks that will fit in the bag (and I have to remember that there are weight limits so no matter how much I can fit in the bag, it still has to be less than 24 kilos), I am going to have to review my list and rethink my packing strategy.

But that will have to wait until I get back from the office today. It's time to walk the dog and head into the office.

Wherever you are today, I hope that your plans are all falling into place!

Don Bergquist - August 06, 2010 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima in 1945

Happy birthday to my brother-in-law Corey

Monday, August 02, 2010

Pikes Peak Part III

This weekend we discussed the trip to the summit and the concerns I had about driving to the summit and possibly experiencing the affects of altitude sickness that I have experienced before on the train. I can now answer what was causing the light-headedness and exhaustion. It was the altitude!

I reached the top and parked and in the chill air of the fog-shrouded summit, I could barely stand-up when I got out of the car. I stretched, allowed myself a moment to let the mountain stop spinning around me, and then went off to the rest room to wash my face.

I drank half a liter of water that I had brought-up with me, discovered that my stomach really could not handle it. I decided the best thing to do was to take a bit of a nap. I reclined the seat fully and napped for a half-hour.

I felt much better when I awoke. I drank some more water, and then, more sure on my feet, I got out of the car to take a bit of a walk around. When I asked Saga if she wanted to get out and walk, she demurred. I cannot say that I really blame her. The temperature was about forty degrees according to the thermometer fixed to the side of the gift shop and the mist that was falling would have been snow had the temp been slightly lower.

After a look around and a quick stretch, I headed into the gift shop and got myself a cup of coffee and a doughnut and headed back to the car. On the way, I encountered a couple I had met on the way up. They were talking to someone and they introduced me to him as I approached.

After comparing the pictures we had taken on the way up, they headed off to take pictures of the arriving cog rail train. The thunder clap from the direction of Cheyenne Mountain told me that hanging about on the summit much longer may be a bad idea.

"Do you have an extra seat in your car on the way down?" my new acquaintance asked. "Sure. Let me clear a seat for you. "

The descent was relatively good. My car is a bit too light to really get much affect from lugging the engine so I had to use my breaks a bit more than I really wanted to. And the rain that started as we descended fell in a variety of speeds from a light mist to sheets!

My new acquaintance was a mountain runner. Apparently he regularly runs from his place in Manitou Springs to the summit and then hitches a ride down. The conversation was a welcome diversion and the drive down was pleasant despite the rain.

The ranger stopped us at the check station to measure the temperature of my breaks (250°, a safe temperature) and waved us on. The rest of the trip down was an uneventful ride in the rain.

It was pouring as I left off my passenger in the springs and said good bye and Saga and I turned north to head home. All-in-all, a lovely way to pass a day.

Today, I start my new position, as a matter of fact, this will post the blog shortly after I arrive at the office. So, It was a lovely way to end my sabbatical. It is now time to return to the work-a-day world. I expect this next stage of my career will be rife with new adventures and more stories of the road!

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

Don Bergquist – August 02, 2010 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Pikes Peak Part II

As I said, this was a trip that I have long wanted to make. But two things have always stopped me. Well, three – I am usually too busy to take the time to do it; I have always been concerned about my car having the wherewithal to actually make the trip; and I have often wondered about the affects that I feel when I take the train to the summit.

With it being my last week before I start my new position, I no longer had the first of the issues as a valid concern so I decided to deal with the other two concerns as they came up.

The car has just recently been serviced and has climbed lesser peaks for me so I decided that I could always turn back and admit that the mountain had defeated me if I had to; which leaves only the affects of altitude if that is what they were.

Ute Pass Panorama
Those fears were leaving me as I drove up the Pikes Peak Road with its panoramic views of the Ute Pass. I felt no inkling of the feared affect on the way up… yet.

So what is this mysterious affect? Altitude sickness? Boredom? The symptoms are this incredible light-headed fatigue that I have experienced on the train trip down from the summit each time I have take the train up. I have actually napped each time I have gone up on the way back down. This is not practicable while driving.

Fog-Shrouded Summit
Three miles from the summit it appeared that I would not discover the answer to this question. There is a check station at this location where the stop you from proceeding if the last three miles, the steepest and most treacherous portion of the road, appears to have dangerous conditions. They had stopped a line of cars and were shunting them off to a parking area ahead of me.

I reached the ranger at the station as her radio cracked. She motioned for me to stop and held a brief discussion with the person at the other end of her radio. "We were holding people because of the fog at the summit." She explained. "But the construction crew says that the conditions have approved so please go ahead and drive safely."

I took another look out my window at the summit – or where the summit should have been, thanked her, and proceeded up the road. The fog was pretty bad, but not so bad that I could not see the road. With one more stop at a road construction site, I reached the top around 11:30. The ascent had taken just over three hours.

More on my trip to Pikes Peak tomorrow… Wherever you are today, I hope that your day is a lovely one.

Don Bergquist – August 01, 2010 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Happy birthday to The Internet!