A place for our thoughts

Author: Kevin (Page 1 of 3)

No longer Constantinople

One of the perks of my job is that is occasionally involves travel.  I guess I’m lucky because so many Americans don’t get to visit other countries, and I appreciate that.  And although I would not call myself an exotic tourist, I have been able to visit several countries and meet people from all over the world.  One of the things Jeff and I hope to be able to do in retirement (if that ever comes) is to continue travelling.  As you read this post (if you can make it through the whole thing, don’t forget to have a look at my photographs.

In early February, I had an opportunity to visit the Asian continent for the first time.  While I never really had thought of it as being Asia, technically it is.  My skills in geography aren’t stellar by any means, and so when the trip came up, I had to do some research.  I have to say I was a bit excited about this new destination.

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Here it is already the 13th day of the year 2010!  I suppose it’s a little late to make New Year’s resolutions, but as I looked at our blog and realized how long it’s been since I’ve written any post at all, well, I think I can sneak in a late-breaking one!

There are always so many things to do, and time seems to play Houdini regularly.  I always say that if I won the lottery and didn’t have to work another day, I’d be plenty busy with things I want to do.  So many interests and so many options.  Kick the voice-over business into gear.  Get some regular exercise.  Set up a house-cleaning routine and try to win the dust battle.  Get out my camera again.  Finish the trim on the hardwood floors.  Replace the doors.  Go flying.  Some people would be motivated by a long list of things to do.  I get overwhelmed!  I can’t help it.  I have just enough of an obsessive-compulsion to start 1,000,000 new things, but plenty of ADD to keep me from finishing any of it!

But there is one project I did both start and finish in the same weekend!  For quite some time now, I’ve been complaining about our laundry/utility tub.  It’s kind of gunky and the faucet was getting so corroded that for quite some time I’ve been unable to turn on the Hot water at all.  So just like with the year only one week prior, it was time for out with the old, in with the new!

I have to say it went relatively well.  I thank my parents, uncles, grandparents, etc. for raising me to be somewhat handy. (No…not handsy 😉 )  The vanity kit came complete with sink and plumbing parts from Lowes.  I only needed two compression shut-off valves and one drain pipe coupler and I was in business!  Sometime over a delightful beverage I can fill you in on the adventure of trying to get it home in my BMW, or the acrobatics involved in trying to cut a hot water pipe that was still somewhat pressurized (remember, I couldn’t open the faucet valve…), or of the battle between [sink] legs and [my] toes.  But for now I’ll just post the Before & After photos.

Forgot to take the photo before I started the project.  So here’s the old sink, legs and faucet inside:

And a closeup of the old faucet…yuck!

And finally, the new vanity and faucet:

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!

Summer Fun!

Okay, so I’m on a roll.  And this isn’t necessarily “in chronological order”, but I thought I’d just make a short post here to let you know where our summer has gone.  The end of August is less than a week away and students and parents all around us are all preparing to return to school.  The big Get Together (Minnesota State Fair) is about to begin.  It’s hard to believe it isn’t June anymore!

As I think back, most of the summer seemed to revolve around our big summer vacation.  I spent the majority of May and June researching and planning for our R Family Vacations Alaska Cruise in July.  We had an amazing time on board, and would love to tell you all about it if you’re interested.  Just ask!  By the time we got home, though, it was near the end of July already!

Other summer highlights included seeing several shows at the Guthrie Theater.  We’ve been season ticket holders for several years now, and have seen some amazing shows.  In May/June alone we saw 4 shows, including 3 by Tony Kushner for the Kushner Celebration.  The facility and shows have been great, and in fact, this past weekend we saw Ella, the first show of the new season.  It was a pretty amazing concert/play chronicling the life and music of Ella Fitzgerald.  It’s still playing, and I’d highly recommend it.

Jeff did some running too, including the TC1-mile and the Minneapolis Half Marathon.  He’s now getting ready for the Twin Cities 10-mile race in early October.

Other than that, we’ve just been keeping busy around the house.  We hope you’ve had a great summer too and look forward to seeing or hearing from you soon!

It’s been so long!

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately working on getting web sites and blogs updated for my business and I realized that I haven’t really been posting on the personal site.  Why is that?  Well, most probably because I’m a bit ADD and I tend to like to start 1,000 projects and am not really too good about sticking with or finishing any of them…

Case in point:  Our hardwood floors!  In October of 2005 (yes, nearly 4 years ago) we embarked on the task of some home improvements that involved removal of some horrific old carpet in the living and dining room areas of the house in favor of some solid oak hardwood flooring.  The following spring, we had another go of it and put the same hardwood in our bedroom and the upstairs hallway.  Finally, I don’t even remember when, we finished off the den.  But I use the term finished loosely!

Yes, the flooring is in, and for the most part seems to be doing fine (knock on wood).  And most of the baseboard trim has been put back up.  But… only some of the newly-required quarter-round has been mitered and nailed in place, and the transition from the kitchen/entry tile still hasn’t been done!

Excuses?  Well, several.  But mostly I was having difficulty envisioning how to properly get those last bits done.  And I know it’s trim, and sloppy trim is just as bad (or worse) than having no trim at all.  And there’s always a distraction!

This past weekend, however, the weather outside was gorgeous and was perfect for having windows open and tackling the project again.  I decided I could remove a pesky stair riser, get a new toy (er, ah, tool) to flush-cut the pesky subfloor, and replace it with a better fitting one and that would resolve my trim dilemma there.  Then, that same flush-cutting tool could be used to even up the ends of the boards by the sliding glass door so I could at last actually place the transition piece that has been sitting on the floor for years.

I went to the friendly neighborhood Home Depot where the friendly staff pointed me in the direction of a new oscillating tool from Dremel…the Multi-Max!  I was able to use the tool for a few flush-cutting jobs enabling me to solve both problems.

Did I finish?  Well, no, I ran out of both time and steam.  But I did make some good progress and I think I may actually finish this coming weekend.  You’ll have to stay tuned to find out!  🙂

…a car seat doesn’t fit so well on the back of a Harley…

So this morning I’m listening to a pre-recorded bit of the Derek & Romaine (Sirius 109 / XM 98) show from last night when I hear probably the funniest statement I’ve heard all day.

I’m listening to a lengthy discussion about why a lesbian may or may not want to date another lesbian that has kids.  Romaine, Derek and several of the bitches (um, er, listeners) express their various points of view and the general consensus was that, while not always a problem, having kids around can make dating or having alone time a bit challenging.  While people in their teens and twenties probably can’t be bothered with their other half having to divide her attention between the relationship and the kids, it is something more of an adult should be willing to do.  But even while willing, there can still be challenges…after all…

…a car seat doesn’t fit so well on the back of a Harley!

Sirius-ly Addicted to Derek & Romaine

For over three years now I’ve been listening to a show called Derek & Romaine on Sirius Satellite Radio‘s OutQ channel.  The four-hour show airing from 5-9pm in the Central time zone (6-10pm on the East Coast, 3-7pm on the West) features content ranging from political opinion, to pop culture, to advice on sex and sex toys.  I have found myself addicted to hearing what  hosts Derek and Romaine, producer Sam, associate producer Greg and their guests have to say.  Their regular segments such as What’s Your Gay Problem?, Desperately F#@!@ng Angry! and The Dildo Whisperer are some of my favorites, almost always both entertaining and informational!  And thanks to my Stiletto portable radio, I can satisfy my addiction by listening live on my evening bus commute, then record the rest of the show so I can listen to it the next day.

I’ve mentioned the show before in this blog, and talk incessantly about it to everyone I know, but until last week, only Sirius subscribers could hear the show by tuning into Channel 109.   Now, however, a whole new group of people can enjoy the zany antics of Derek & Romaine, because OutQ is now also available on XM Radio Channel 98!

Now there’s no excuse!  Tune into Derek & Romaine on Sirius 109 and/or XM 98 today!  You may be shocked by what you hear at first, but soon you too will find yourself addicted!

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.


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!

Longest Day Once Again

As has become custom with my flying club (Club Cherokee), the Thurdsay nearest the longest day of the year was once again time for the annual Thursday Flyers trip to East Gull Lake airport.  Since I’m bumping up on accruing the maximum vacation I can bank and I haven’t been flying as much as I’d like, I decided to leave work a little early and participate in this year’s trip.  I have gone a couple of times in the past and really enjoyed it.

I took the whole afternoon off.  I wasn’t current to carry passengers and needed to get a couple of take-offs and landings in if I hoped to actually pilot on the trip.  So I got to the airport around 3:00 where I found a couple members already there.  Although it was a bit warm on the ground, I decided I should go ahead and take the plane out for a couple of times around the pattern.

They had already started some construction at the airport, and the winds were moving around enough that I got a little excitement during my practice.  I even got some additional excitement when suddenly the pattern got a little busy, tower changed the landing runways, and another aircraft entering the airport didn’t quite follow their directions.  But it’s always nice to know that I can handle improvising with the tower controllers when something like that happens.

dscn0711.jpgFinally it was time to head back in.  By the time I got back to the hangar, all the other aircraft were out and much of the gang had arrived.  It turned out that the aircraft I was using wasn’t going on the trip…so I turned around and moved it to the back of the line.  After finding another plane and a partner, it was decided that I’d fly out, and he’d fly back.

We couldn’t have asked for a nicer night for flying.  The wind already seemed to be waning and the air was much smoother than it can be during the summer days.  The trip up went fairly quickly.  Although we were the first to taxi out, we were in the Warrior, so we weren’t the first to arrive! (However we weren’t the last!)  And although the approach can be tricky and it had been quite a while since I’d done a soft field landing, things went really smoothly. (And thank goodness, because everyone already there was watching!).

dscn0715.jpgWe shuttled over to Cragun’s for a nice dinner and chance to all visit with one another.  We had a new member along and it was great to meet him as well as catch up on some pilot stories from many of the other members.  Then it was time to head back to the strip and get ready to make the trip home.  This time it was my buddy’s turn to fly, so I got to look around.  We were off the ground well before sunset, but it seemed just after a front was passing through.  Off to one side we saw a great rainbow, and to the other, well…it’s views like this that make it all seem worthwhile:


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!

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. 

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