Thursday, June 29, 2006

Dune Buggy vs. the Bugs

At the last minute today, on the way to Howard for some golf, the dune buggy called out to me and I threw in my clubs, topped off the gas, and headed down the road. No problem. This old dune buggy, a 1959 model VW, was happy to scoot down the road, past Junius, past the Vermillion River, past Winfred, into Howard, where the golf course was breezy and pleasant, and we had a great time, and on the way home, the DB pulverized a few wayward insects, something it doesn't often get to do. It now shows 30,502 miles, about 600 miles only in the last three years, but more coming.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Superman vs. Blacktop

While in Ft. Pierre over the weekend for the mother's birthday, my nephew and I climbed Blacktop, one of the shale hills ringing the town, named for the rocky black stones you see in the photo. A geological marker still stands there, barely. This hill, which stands just south of the house where my family lived, was the center of much of our outdoor activity--a place for sledding, go-karting, riding motorcycles, hunting snakes, telling ghost stories, etc., and it's still an attraction. The Bad River twists through the tree-lined cut in the distance, on its way to the Missouri River, where Lewis and Clark met the Teton Sioux.
My nephew enjoyed the steady breeze, which gave a dramatic lift to his Superman cape. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Harmonious Night

The wife and I headed for the Dakota Prairie Playhouse last night to support the USD theatre group that is presenting "Forever Plaid" here and in Vermillion and Sioux Falls. The play is minimal, but the music is a lot of fun, and the three-minute, eleven-second version of the Ed Sullivan Show is hilarious.
If you haven't seen it, and you like 60's music featuring male harmonizing, you're in for a treat. It's showing tonight and tomorrow at the DPP and June 30 and July 1 and 2 at the Orpheum Theater in Sioux Falls.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Reservations for Out on the Horizon

On October First, the year of our blog 2006, I've got a date with 7499 others, all of us planning to meet at the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis and hightail it over hill, over dale, to the capitol in St. Paul. We're calling it the Twin Cities Marathon and figure, what the heck, we'll run 26.2 miles. It will be my 12th time running it, I think, and the first after last year's meltdown when my poor left foot gave out after running my last long run, two weeks before the race. Bummer. This year is for redemption. Note, if you come and watch (joining about 200,000 others, by the way, you won't see me running with a lean bunch like these young gazelles. I'll be somewhere back in the pack, bemoaning my decision to keep living a leisurely life and prepare for the long jaunt in my usual lacksadasical fashion. I do have hotel reservations now, though! Now back to my training!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Walter Made the Cuteness Cut

Our dog Walter has made the cut for the photo banner for Boston Terrier Photo Blog, a blog devoted to photos of the most attractive Boston terriers in the world. Check it out, and you'll see Walter proudly guarding the flowers in our back yard. He's the guy just below the B in Blog. I wonder if I'd get millions of hits if I just posted pictures of Walter . . .

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Why the Air is Fresh

On the way back from the Twin Cities on Saturday, I stopped at an auction for a bunch of old cars and old car parts, just for the pictures, and it was easy to read in the items arrayed for sale what the old man was interested in--saving the old machines from destruction. But an old man can't keep the ravages of time from so many cars and parts at once, and in the end it may be as important that he's kept them so that others can come along and take up the cause. The old Studebakers and DeSotos are probably in jeopardy, but a complete old Chevy pickup, 30's model, will surely hit the road again. So it goes. Antiques are the old things that someone still wants; some people probably wandered among this guy's treasures and saw only junk. I saw the interior of this car and and knew then why the air in Gaylord was clean and clear. Check the Flickr site for more photos.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Magna Comes Home

Saturday I got home with the new Magna and recruited JB to come and help me unload it. Here's how it arrived. Yesterday after some problems getting it started I learned about the kickstand kill-switch and then was able to take it for a spin, which included a close encounter with a duck and an actual encounter with a small bird, which made me appreciate the windshield.
Otherwise, the day was a good one, with a backyard grilling, good ribs, company, and then a later ride with the wife.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 16, 2006

Becoming Magna-ficat

Surprises in store at every turn, suddenly yours truly finds himself here in the Twin Cities, the proud owner of a spanking Honda Magna, 1996 version, 750cc's of motorcycle. Who knew? This photo isn't mine (it's a 1999 model), but it's almost identical. Mine doesn't have the leather dangles on the levers.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Fading Peonies

You've got to enjoy peony season while it lasts. For a week or more, you've got the most beautiful, best smelling flowers that will make the whole house a kind of scented envelope, where you're the love letter and the recipient all at once. Add a good wind chime and it's a summer concert, and the ants that always come with the peonies just make it more of a picnic. So what if the peonies start to droop and lose their petals? Remember instead how they smelled when they were at their peak.
On another note, April is having a big day today--getting teeth pulled and having a performance review at work on the same day. Wish her luck!
 Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Working on Chautauqua Stuff

Chautauqua preparations proceed. I've posted a couple of times recently to my Chautauqua Madison blog, and we're getting ready to roll out a new website providing the Chautauqua schedule, too, which is already available at the Madison Chamber of Commerce site. Check them out and pass the word.

Our Lady of the Park

Across the street from our house an elderly woman spends much of the day in the park, sitting on a bench or at a picnic table, watching. She doesn't typically talk to people, as far as I can tell; she doesn't say hello when you greet her, but she simply sits quietly, gazing out at the park, where, usually, very little is happening.
Today I sat in the pickup listening to the end of a story on the radio, and I watched her sitting there, and she appeared to notice me and perhaps wondered what I was doing. She got up, walked away, and came back several times, only to settle in again at the same bench. She keeps her head up, she dresses neatly with her white hair tidy, and she carries a small purse.
When the kids start gathering at the pool, or when there's a group meeting at the shelter, or when the adolescents begin to gather at the skateboard park, she usually disappears, but when it's quiet, she's there.
What she did before she started watching the park I don't know, but if they gave awards for diligence at park observation, she would be voted by those who know--squirrels, robins, grackles, and other birds--as the best in the city.
I suspect she has learned the pleasure of observing--watching the way the limbs of the trees bend and sway in the wind, how the grackle will chase the robin through aerobatic maneuvers, how the traffic changes endlessly. Maybe she never had a chance to watch this way before.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Nada y pues nada y nada y pues nada

A quiet day, reading the paper, a trip to Howard for services (three is one, one is three), coffee, a birthday party, a nap, a meeting, a run, a fine supper, a good movie (Everything is Illuminated--thanks, TQ), and this quiet moment to note it here.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Oh Fickle, Fickle Golfball

Golf. You know golf, the game for people with not enough frustrations in their lives already. It seems a game for whom life is good, for whom the sandtraps and water hazards of life are not enough. Their lives don't contain sufficient challenge; they seek the trial of striking a tiny object a mighty distance with another small object. But they could take up hitting a pea with a pencil, or learn pingpong. Golf has prestige--and cool equipment. What golfer can't resist the notion that new clubs will help their game, or a better ball, a different glove. Plus, there's golf carts!
I played on Monday in Hot Springs, Thursday in Howard, and Friday in Madison. That should be enough frustration for anyone in a week. Then again, there was that long putt that curved and dropped, that nice chip shot that rolled up near the hole . . .

Thursday, June 08, 2006

List of Activities

What's a trip without some cool activities along the way? My trip to Ft. Pierre and the Black Hills included the following:
  • Going to the Ft. Pierre Museum
  • Swimming in Hot Springs' Coldbrook Resevoir
  • Golfing at Hot Springs renovated golf course
  • Garage sale hopping with my nephew in Whitewood
  • Dining with my mom at the Chateau
  • Dining with a group at Roma's in Spearfish
  • Riding with my brother on a pair of Ducati motorcycles
  • Running the Deadwood half-marathon
  • Having breakfast with the in-laws after the race
  • Visiting my sister's new house
  • Napping in her house Sunday afternoon
  • Listening to Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace on tape
  • Playing the X-Men game with my nephew and my sister
  • Watching my niece play softball
  • Coming home
Taken together, an excellent trip.

Voyage West

My trip out west for the half marathon included a stop in Ft. Pierre to visit my mom and look things over, so we drove around town and looked over the city. We also visited the newly updated Verendrye Monument there, where French explorers buried a lead plate in 1743. The photo here was taken from the site where the plate was found.
The Missouri river is visible, and the Bad River runs through town from the big Mo to the right side of the photo.
I'm still sore from my run on Sunday. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Downhill Most of the Way

Waking up at 3:00am this morning I realized my race packet for the DMT half marathon still sat at the registration site--boo hoo. I checked online and saw that no race day pickup was available, so I resolved to get up a little early, make a number 188 and pin it to my shirt, and run anyway. All was well; nobody kicked me off the course and they even handed me a medal at the end, 2:02 after starting. Not bad for a guy whose longest run was five miles. It was at about that point today that I started to feel good and reel off 8(+) minute miles, chugga chugga, steamrolling downhill. It was good to be done! In the parking lot afterwards there were some well wishers I didn't expect to see, the wife's parents, who the day before had hiked the Volksmarch at Crazy Horse Monument and stood on the arm of the warrior.
TQ and LS and her ontourage from Aberdeen were proud finishers, and his parents were there to cheer him on. Now for recovery.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Packing for Travel

Packing these days might include now some time spent loading up the media device, making sure you've got listening material for the road. That's what I find myself doing this morning as I get ready to drive out west to run the Deadwood Mickelson Trail half-marathon (despite being pretty unprepared to actually run the whole thing) and visit some family.
Specifically I wanted to upload my new Ditty Bops cd, Moon over the Freeway, which just came out. If you check out their website you'll find all sorts of pictures, video, and music, plus the itinerary for their bicycle tour of the US as they bike and tour. They are blogging their ride, which has begun in California. In all, it's a great cd (what Newsweek called "what Betty Boop might have had on her iPod") and a cool website.
I'm also uploading Bruce Springsteen's We Shall Overcome--The Seeger Sessions, which has a bunch of cool traditional tunes, and the Dixie Chicks' new cd, Taking the Long Way. Of course, I had to make sure that my Buckskin Bible Revue music was on the iRiver, too.
The Dixie Chicks album was a disappointment. I had high expectations, thinking of them as a group that brought a lot of traditional bluegrass sounds to songs playable on country music stations, but this one, probably slated for very little airplay after the flap over their remarks about the president, seems aimed directly at the country music fans they angered. Fiddle and banjo riffs are almost entirely absent, and every tune has the same tone and sound, as though they ran every one of them through the same stamper. They're good tunes, but taken all in a lump, they underwhelm.
Meanwhile, I'll be posting again later about the fun in the hills.