A place for our thoughts

Category: Family

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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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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Start of the Summer?

The weather has been less than summer-like, but a fun wedding and an upcoming race are getting me in the mood. Last weekend we went to Betsy and Nathan’s wedding in WI and had a great time visiting with everyone

This coming weekend I’m running the downtown 1/2 marathon. It’s been tough getting ready during allergy season, but I think it’ll go well, but the ‘post run’ brunch will be the best part.

Here’s a few shots from the wedding–

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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. 

Live Long and Prosper

The words of a science fiction character…well wishes from a race of logical beings that have trained themselves to control and even eliminate their emotions (if that’s really even possible).  But wise and kind they are.

Today we burried my Grandmother.  For me and the rest of my family, it was far from emotionless.  Having nearly reached the age of 94 years, and bringing up and positively influencing four children, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, it would seem she did heed that advice, and heeded it well.

She had a good, long life, and in the end, really didn’t seem to suffer.  We were all fortunate enough to have the time to visit with her…to laugh and cry together…and to face head on the certainty of what was to come.  We know she was ready and that she is now in peace.  We are comforted by these things, as well as the many wonderful memories and traditions she has given to us.  She will always be with us, and I’m very grateful to have been fortunate enough to have had her in my life.

Yet mixed with the gentle smiles that emerge on our faces when we find ourselves thinking of her, come the tears at the recognition that we will miss her dearly.  Our lives have now changed forever, as we will no longer enjoy the company of someone that has been a part of our entire lives to this point.  We instead must be content with our memory of her.  Fortunately, there are many wonderful memories upon which we can draw.

She created a wonderful legacy, and even in her death provided an opportunity for the family to strengthen the bonds we have with each other.  For a woman who never boarded an airplane, she certainly understood the philosophy of a fictional culture from beyond the stars.

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!

Spring in Utah?

Imagine my surprise when I got off the plane last night to rain and snow on the ground after a 75-degree weekend at home!  Imagine having to brush 4 inches of snow off of the car this morning when I left for work!  Now imagine that just last week I was inline skating at the park in shorts and a tee shirt!

Salt Lake City in SpringtimeStrange weather here yesterday and today.  Snow in the mountains, scattered flurries on the bench and scattered showers in the valley.  An odd mix of black and white clouds, partially obscuring both mountainside and sky, casting holstein-like patterns of shaddow and light into the valley.  Green grass poking through fresh white patches of snow.  Snow clinging to tree blossoms.  If only a photo would do it justice.  (If only I had taken the time to take a photo.)

It was a busy weekend.  I really missed seeing the family on Easter Sunday, but somehow my schedule seems to be in control of my life rather than the other way around!  I arrived home Friday evening and did manage to enjoy the hot tub for a little while.  French class and a going-away party for our friends Kevin and Will kept me away from the house most of the day on Saturday.  Sunday simply disappeared…  Next thing I know I’m back here.  But with working back home yesterday and travel last night, then working and having a flying club board meeting (via telephone) today…It’s already 9:30pm and I’m only now having a little free time.  So I thought I’d take a moment to make this post.

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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