Jeff & Kevin

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Category: Friends

Another beautiful weekend…

…and another bit of progress on the floor trim!  Yes, I managed to get some more done on those pesky steps, and although not perfect, I think it looks quite a bit better.  You can see for yourself below.  Also included is a photo of the trim I put in along the sliding glass door.

New floor trim along the sliding glass door

New floor trim along the sliding glass door

Close up of the quarter-round trim lining the step edges

Close up of the quarter-round trim lining the step edges

The steps all trimmed out

The steps all trimmed out

Today was equally as pleasant.  After a pancake breakfast  (yum) I had a nice time mowing the lawn (this weather rocks for that) before we joined our friends Mitzi and Marion for a nice dinner by Lake Calhoun at Tin Fish.  The special was halibut and my sandwich and waffle-cut fries were amazing!

Chasing the Badger?

Doesn’t it seem like you can go for weeks or even months with nothing specific to have to do, and then bam..you’ve got several places to be in at the same time.  So it was this weekend!  I didn’t really want to leave town anyway, because we were about to leave for a week and a half on a trip to San Francisco and I had preparations to make.  But it was the weekend of my nephew’s 13th birthday and also my 25-year class reunion…both in Wisconsin, but not in the same spot.  After talking to my Mom and uncle, who happened to run into a classmate of mine, I decided maybe I would try to go.  After all, this was the quarter-century reunion, and I hadn’t been to one since the 10-year.

I talked to Jeff about it.  It was nice of him to offer to go along, but I knew he’d be pretty miserable at the reunion, so we agreed I should just zip off on the trip alone.  I was able to take Friday afternoon off and drive from work around 1:00, putting me in Brookfield right around 6:30.  It turned out to be a pretty easy drive, thanks to my Sirius Satellite Radio and the Big 80’s channel :)  After all, it’s almost all interstate, and I was heading south on a Friday afternoon.

I arrived to find my nephews playing outside with friends that were over to celebrate Russell’s birthday.  They played for a while while I caught up with Ken and Ellen.  Later in the evening I made a trip to Best Buy in hopes of finding a present for Russell (procrastinate much???).  No luck there, but I did find a wireless router as a belated birthday present for Ken.  We got that set up so he now has wireless, and even managed to get the Nintendo Wii hooked up to the Internet.  Now maybe I can try playing online with them.  I brought my Wii-mote along, so Ken and I enjoyed playing games for a good chunk of the evening.  We had a fun time (and the vodka didn’t hurt either).

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Flashes in the Sky

This weekend our friend George once again hosted a gathering at his photography studio to coincide with the Target fireworks show that concludes the local Aquatennial festival.  We had a great time visiting with Mitzi, Barb, George, Bill and Julie, among others.  We had a little fun teasing Bill’s friend (just ask who’s cuter) and then of course, had a great view of the fireworks show.

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Thanks once again George & Barb for including us in your festivities.  Someday soon we’ll have a gathering at our place and hope you can make it!

It’s All About Me, Damn It!

Thanks Stevie for taking the time to come and visit this weekend for my birthday.  It was great to see you and to just hang out for a while.  I can’t believe you’re headed back to France soon.  I know you’re looking forward to being home.  Please keep in touch!

Betsy’s Wedding

No, I’m not referring to the 1990 movie featuring Molly Ringwald, but rather our very own cousin’s nuptials this past weekend!  Betsy and her husband Nathan already had had an intimate wedding earlier this year, but wanted to share the event with friends and family, so they had another one!  Jeff and I made the journey back home to attend the service as well as to visit with family and friends.

We each took Friday off to make a 4-day weekend, which we each really needed.  The weather on Friday was great and it allowed us to each get some things done around the house before heading out of town for the rest of the weekend.  Jeff got some running in, and I got some outside chores taken care of.  The pressure washer came in handy to rinse the dirt off of the front of the house, and I finally opened the Mr. Clean car-washing gadget I bought last year and never had used.  I used it to wash Jeff’s Jeep and I have to say I was really impressed with it!  The Jeep washed up quickly and dried with no water spots!

Mike & JerryThe drive on Saturday was fairly easy once we got outside of the metro area.  We took a quick stop for lunch along the way and ended up in Appleton late in the afternoon.  We had arranged to visit with our friends Mike & Jerry, who had offered to let us stay with them.  It was a great treat to catch up with them after a few years, and they were wonderful hosts.  They grilled a dinner and we made a Brazillian drink called a Caipirinha made with a rum-like liquor called cachaça that was quite yummy! We brought the Nintendo Wii along on the trip, and so we enjoyed playing Wii Sports and Mario Kart.

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Fresh Snow, New Friends, and OutWest Adventures

Nearly a week has passed already but still fresh in my mind and soul are the fond memories and wonderful experiences of our visit to Telluride, Colorado.  Since mid November we have been planning our mountain get-away, with high hopes and expectations that it would provide a much needed respite.  We anxiously awaited this trip because for us it signified several firsts.  It would be our first visit to Telluride, Colorado…our first participation in a Gay Ski Week event…and our first group trip taken with a travel/tour company. And as it turned out, it did not disappoint!

We started early Monday morning, and after a close call at the MSP airport, we managed to make a smooth connection in DEN and arrive in Telluride by 10:30a.m.  We arrived to emerging sunshine that glistened and danced on top of several inches of fresh new snow.  Although our official tour didn’t start until that evening, a short stroll down the quaint Main Street of Telluride was all that it took to make us realize we simply couldn’t wait until the next day to get on the mountain!  We checked into the beautiful Hotel Telluride and opened our luggage like kids with their presents on Christmas morning!  The mountain was beautiful!  Fresh snow, bright sunshine made us forget all about the  possibility of altitude sickness.  We were in heaven as we warmed up for the coming week.

Equally exciting was the meet-and-greet reception scheduled for the evening.  Having never attended a Gay Ski Week event before, we had decided that maybe it would be best to go as part of a packaged trip, and found that OutWest Adventures seemed to have the perfect solution.  Rather than spending the entire week like two needles in a haystack, OutWest offered the chance to meet and bond with a group of about 16.  This was the night we would meet the other group members, and start forging what we hope will be lasting friendships.

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Happy Holidays!

It’s that time of year again!  The holiday season is upon us once more, each and every year it seems to come a little more quickly.  Normally I’d be pretty stressed right about now, but this year things are going a little bit better.  Perhaps it’s because we’ve made some changes in my family this year, or perhaps it’s the fact that I have actually been home this year, as opposed to commuting weekly to Utah.  But I’m certainly not complaining :)  Now if I could just win a stocking from Derek & Romaine I’d be all set!

The tree is up, the cookies baked, the shopping is nearly finished and the last of the cards are going in the mail in the morning.  I always like to save wrapping for just before we go to visit the family.  This year we’ll be fortunate enough to visit with both families during the holiday season!

To those of you who are visiting our site for the first time, welcome!   You can get some highlights of our past year by reading other articles.  We will try to write more often as the mood strikes in the coming year, so please bookmark us and come on back!

Meanwhile, we wish you peace, health, happiness and prosperity in the coming year, and we look forward to seeing and hearing from you soon!

My Summer Recap

Yes, it was a busy summer. A quick quick recap? Let’s see….

…Kevin’s parents and aunt Mary visited from WI for a weekend, painted the bathroom, got new kitchen counters installed, went to Chicago for the True Colors tour, went to Milwaukee for Ken’s 40th birthday, went to South Carolina to visit my family, saw Spamalot, helped a friend move, misc summer parties, visited friends in Seattle, finished the wood floors in the last room upstairs —

Oh and training for my 10 mile race, which by the way, I did very well in this past Sunday despite the unusually warm weather.

Jeff 10 Mile

 

  

Where has the summer gone?

I was chatting with my friend Chris and somehow the topic of this web site came up.  I knew I hadn’t posted to it in a while, but gosh…I didn’t realize it was Memorial Day Weekend!  Here it is well after Labor Day weekend already!  The summer has absolutely flown by!  Let’s see if I can recall where it went??

In June I had one more trip for a week to SLC for work.  I haven’t been there since, and it has been quite an adjustment to be home.  I miss the people there both in and out of work, and I miss the chance to work out at the local 24Hour Fitness (we don’t have them here…and if we did it would be insanely crowded).  But it is really nice to be home.   Oh, except for that trip to San Jose, California for 3 days.

That month we also took a quick mid-week trip to Chicago to see the True Colors Tour at the Auditorium Theatre.  We met up with my friend Stephen from Nice (who is now working in Chicago) for a nice dinner on the Miracle Mile and then headed to the show.  We were treated to performances by Cyndi Lauper, Erasure, Debbie Harry and several others.  It was a great show benefitting the Human Rights Campaign.

I also completed my horseback riding lessons that month.

New Counter, Sink and FaucetsJuly marked my first month without travel since maybe September of 2005.  It was simply wonderful to be home.  We didn’t really do a lot that month, but we did get new kitchen countertops, sink and faucets installed.  After an exhaustive search and many changes of mind, we settled on DuPont Zodiaq in the shade of Smokey Topaz.  We had a new under-mount stainless sink installed, and selected Price Pfister faucet.  A bonus feature (and not without installation agony) is the under-sink water filter with dedicated faucet.  It’s so nice to have freshly filtered water available any time.  A new quiet disposer polished it off.  Thankfully my parents and my Aunt Mary came for a weekend visit, as per usual, Dad’s help was much appreciated with the projects.  We ended the month with another concert treat, this time seeing Erasure for a rare appearance in Minneapolis!  It was a great show again.  Anyone who hasn’t heard my band lately needs to check them out on their web site.

August was relatively low-key as well.  I decided I’d been home enough that I could manage to drive to Milwaukee for my brother Ken’s birthday (ha ha…I’m not the only one in my 40’s now), and we had a nice visit with the whole family.  Near the end of the month I started to catch a cold, which I still have.

And that, technically, was the summer!  Over Labor Day weekend, we finally attacked the last of the nasty blue carpeting.  We had the stuff on the steps going downstairs replaced with a nice mocha-brown color low pile.  And in the upstairs guest room, we ripped out the last of it and applied hardwood flooring once again.  I guess by the 4th room, you get pretty good at it, because it went fairly smoothly.  And we had just enough flooring to finish the room.  And I mean just.  We cut the last board to put in the last row in the closet!

When it came time to put furniture back in, we’ve decided that the room isn’t going to be a guest bedroom any more.  It is so rarely needed for that purpose.  Instead we’re making it a little study.  We found two cute new chairs at Slumberland’s Grand Opening sale, and a lamp and some bookshelves at Target, and a rug at Pottery Barn.  It’s not quite done yet.  So photos are to come.

I guess that’s it for now.  I promise I’ll post updates and thoughts more often. 

Happy Holidays to All!

Greetings friends and relatives! It’s hard to believe yet another year has passed so quickly.  But here we are, facing the end of 2006 already!

I spent a majority of the year working in Salt Lake City again this year.  It was every other week for the first 3 months, but then turned into 4-5 days a week for the rest of the year, with an occasional break in the schedule.  Early in the season, I split my weeks over weekends and had Jeff join me in Utah to take advantage of the many nearby ski and snowboard resorts.  Late in my second season on the snowboard, I’m finally getting the hang of it and can almost keep up with Jeff!  We’re looking forward to doing the same this coming season, so if you’re interested in joining us in Utah this season, let us know.  They say it’s the “greatest snow on earth�.  I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s pretty close!  I do know that Jeff’s very anxious to use his new snowboard.

In my spare time, I continued my French language classes at the local chapter of the Alliance Française on Saturdays throughout the summer and fall.  In addition to one trip to Geneva (Switzerland) and two to Montreal (Quebec) for work-related meetings, we were planning a fall vacation to visit France.

In the first half of October, we took an 11-day trip to France.  We had been talking of it for years, and we finally made it happen.  We flew from Minneapolis to Nice, where we spent 4 days on the côte d’azur.  Our friends Stephen and Cayetano, who live in Nice, were wonderful hosts, showing us sights from Monaco to Cannes and locations in between.

We then took the high-speed train (TGV) from Nice to Paris.  I would recommend it to anyone.  The scenery was beautiful, the coach was roomy and comfortable, and the whole trip was only 5 hours.  No airport hassles either!  Once in Paris, we spent the next 6 days on foot and using the Metro system.  We covered a lot of area and saw a great many sights, including the scene depicted in the original oil painting we bought 2 years ago.

We had a wonderful time and I could go on about it for hours!  There are photos online here and some more details if you read down this blog an article or two.

Meanwhile, Jeff has kept himself busy as usual.  He again this year participated in the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon as a runner in the 10-mile run, which he really enjoyed.  He also has become a member of the marathon’s staff working in the marketing and communications department and putting his technical writing skills to work.

This year also saw some more home improvement work.  Although the finishing touches aren’t complete on the hardwood flooring installation in the living and dining rooms, this spring we undertook the master bedroom, its closet and the hallway upstairs.  It made a huge impact on the look of the room, calling for new furnishings.  The trim work still calls my name when I’m home, but we still have the upstairs guest room to go.  This winter or spring we also hope to work on the upstairs bathroom.  We’ve selected tile already, and look forward to changing from shades of grey to more earthy tones.

Professionally, we’ve both found ourselves very busy.  I have been involved in a very large project that has been focused in Salt Lake City.  That project is scheduled to be completed by mid-year, at which time I’m really hoping the commuting will significantly ease up.  My company has asked me about interest in relocation to Utah, but I told them we aren’t interested.  We will see how things play out in 2007.  Jeff got a promotion to a lead business analyst role this year, and I have noticed he’s a lot busier!  He’s enjoying the challenge though!

We’d like to thank our family and friends for being part of our lives and we look wish you all the best for the coming year.  We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you if at all possible.

Kevin & Jeff

C’est la vie…

Le Tour EiffelMonday evening we returned from a wonderful vacation to France.  We both needed to get away for an extended period, and it turned out to be exactly what we needed.  My friends Stephen and Cayetano in Nice were wonderful hosts, showing us all around the côte d’azur (the Blue Coast), including Monte Carlo, Cannes, St. Paul sur Mer, and Antibes.  The weather was in the lower 80’s and sunny with light breezes off the sea.  It was amazing.

We then took the high-speed train (TGV) from Nice to Paris.  The 5 1/2 hour trip took us westward along the coast to Marseille, then north to Paris through central France.  The scenery was beautiful, and the ride was smooth, quite and comfortable!

Paris … wow!  We spent the next 6 days wandering the streets and Metropolitan from sight to sight, café to restaurant from dawn ’til dusk.  Okay, maybe not dawn…after all, we were on vacation!  I could go on for hours about the trip.  But will restrict myself to maybe a couple separate posts.  I will also put up some photos once I get a chance to go through them.

We returned home to find a couple of surprises, including some water damage from crossing a frosty evening with exposed irrigation system pipes (oops!).  But all in all it was a wonderful trip.  I’d highly recommend a visit to France to anyone!

À bientôt!

Tonight I had to say good-bye, or hopefully rather until we meet again to my very good friends Larry & Gwynn.  I’ve had the pleasure of knowing them for several years now and have come to appreciate them as two of the best people I’ve ever known.  The world could certainly benefit from having more folks like them!

But I’m confident that we will remain in touch.  Certainly it will not be as easy to see each other as it has been in the past, but technology really has shrunk the world.  Cell phone calling plans and the Internet, webcams and digital photos all make it much easier to stay in touch than it was 20 years ago!

In any case, I wish them all the best in the next chapter of their lives, and look forward to stories of their adventures to come.  And if they happen to be reading this, I have this to say:

      Thank you, and I love you!

All my best….

Kevin

Friends around the world…

Lots of posts for one night…but I’ve been remiss in posting my thoughts as they happen. Maybe for you, that’s a good thing because I would probably get way too deep into details that really don’t matter. But then again, that’s how my brain works. And if a blog is supposed to be a window into my brain…well that’s just a scary thought.

Today I used the Internet to get some help from my good friend Jed. We used MSN messenger including voice conversations so he could help me work on some web site enhancements for the flying club. Jed is 12 hours away..in Sri Lanka. It was almost like he was still in SLC! Of course, I also chat frequently with Chris and other friends in the good old US of A as well. But somehow that isn’t as exotic.

I also made a telephone call to my friend Stephen in Nice, France. I used my Broadvoice VOIP service and talked clear as day for 21 minutes for only $0.63. Amazing…63 cents for a 20 minute call to Europe! And again, great quality. The world is shrinking and as Martha would say, “It’s a good thing!”

Site Updates Made

Greetings all. I am playing with a new web design and am clearly not a designer! Please bear in mind that it’s a work-in-progress!

I’ve added some photos from Christmas under the web gallery section. I hope you enjoy them!

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