Archive for February, 2010

Monday Morning Dad

Back at the computer and drawing board on a “snowy” Monday morning in the Twin Cities.

My computer must know it’s Monday as well, since I was having some trouble getting onto the internet this morning.

It was a busy weekend for our family.

I completed a four hour CPR course on Saturday morning and I’m happy to report that I am now “certified” to perform CPR for one year! It was a very informative course and something I think everyone should consider taking, since you never know when you might find yourself in an emergency situation.

Following the CPR class, I needed to get my long run in to complete my first week of training for the Green Bay Marathon.

My training schedule called for 13 miles at a 8:30 per mile pace.

As I have previously posted, I am trying really hard to avoid the treadmill for my long runs. Eight miles is about my limit on a treadmill.

The temperature on Saturday was about 15 degrees, with little wind and it was also sunny, so it was a “go” to do the run outside.

I mapped out a course in our area. I also use a “GPS” watch that gives me my distance and speed, but occasionally, it loses it signal and it is good to have a back-up to know how far you’ve gone.

As I mentioned, the plan was to run 8:30 miles, but I quickly realized that wasn’t going to be possible. Despite having my trusty spikes on my running shoes, there were just too many sections of my route that were ice and snow covered.

So there’s the tradeoff…

Avoid running on the treadmill but having to deal with the snow and ice!

In the interest of NOT wanting to suffer an injury, I decided it was best to slow my pace down when the I can upon the ice and snow. When the conditions permitted, I picked up my pace. I finished my run in a time of 2:02, not the pace I was looking for, but I didn’t fall on my face either!

A side note…

When mapping out my course, I had forgotten how many hills were on the back half of the route. I was quickly reminded that it easier to run faster on a flater course, which I’ll be looking for next week!

Following the run, it was time to get warm and recoup for awhile!

My daughter is in the Children’s Choir at our church and they were scheduled to sing at the Saturday evening service.

Our whole family attended the service and enjoyed listening to the choir sing. Our daughter loves being in the choir. They practice on Wednesday nights and perform at one service a month.

Going to church on Saturday night meant we got to sleep in on Sunday morning. It was a nice relaxing morning, reading the paper and enjoying a pot of coffee.

Later in the morning, both boys headed off to a nearby lake to do some ice fishing. My oldest son is really into the sport and between him and his friends they caught enough fish to have a nice “fish fry” Sunday night.

This morning brought the start of the third quarter for our boys.

New schedules needed to be printed up and passed out before they left for school. I’m hoping I didn’t mix them up in the rush this morning!

Monday mornings always seem to be a little more hectic!

I’m sure I’d never hear the end of it if my high schooler suddenly found himself stuck with my middle schooler’s schedule!

We are getting some snow here this morning, but we made it thru January, always a milestone for us living in the north country!

With apologies to “Punxsutawney Phil” and his big day tomorrow, we here in Minnesota don’t need a groundhog to tell us we have a fair chunk of winter left!

On Wednesday, my wife gets to escape our winter wonderland for a couple of days.

She’s going to Phoenix on business.

Maybe, I’ll sneak along!

Groundhog Day

Yesterday we “celebrated” the grand ‘ol tradition of “Groundhog Day”.

On the second day of every February people and a large contingent of the media gather at Gobbler’s Knob in Pennsylvania to anxiously await the arrival of a somewhat confussed looking groundhog named, Phil.

“Punxsutawney Phil” to be exact!

People are anxious to see if the oversized rodent will see his shadow when he emerges from his, “plusher than the normal groundhog gets”, log home!

When he is pulled out, I mean, comes out, legend has it, if he spots his shadow there will be six more weeks of winter remaining.

No shadow, an early spring for everyone!

Not surprisingly, “Phil” has spotted his shadow 99 out of the past 114 trys. So it would seem the odds of Pennysylvania getting an early spring are pretty much zero. Especially, since this “media event” has made it virtually impossible for Phil NOT to see his shadow due to the overwhelming amounts of television lights surrounding him!

Phil did see shadow yesterday, so six more weeks of winter!

Six more weeks?

Speaking for the state that practically invented winter, I’d say we’ll happily take that!

But I’m just not buying it!

I don’t want to discount the forecasting abilities of a groundhog and yes, some would argue that he stands a better chance of being correct than most meteorologists, but I go by something that I can consider far more accurate than the meteorological community AND Phil combined!

I am happy to report my way of predicting the remaining length of winter in Minnesota is 100 percent accurate!

What’s my fool-proof system you ask?

It’s simply the size of the shadow of the pile of snow at the end of my driveway on “Driveway Day”, which just happens to fall on the same day as the aforementioned “holiday”!

Yes, every February 2nd I check the size of the shadow of the pile of snow beside my driveway and based upon that reading, I can successfully predict the remaining length of winter in Minnesota!

And I’m sure you are wondering…

Yes, the snow pile cast a rather LARGE shadow yesterday and that means we are in store for EIGHT more weeks of winter here in the land of 10,000 frozen lakes!

Of course, to be fair, I should point out, that you are pretty much always safe with a prediction of eight more weeks of winter in Minnesota on February 2nd, but we’ll let my driveway pile once again take all of the credit!

Big pile, big shadow, 8 more weeks of winter!

Big pile, big shadow, 8 more weeks of winter!

Things I Learned This Week

*Toyota thinks it has a solution for 2008 Camry!

In an e-mail update I received this week from my dealer, it states that Toyota believes it can solve the problem by attaching a precision cut steel reinforcement bar to the gas pedal of my death trap, I mean car! I like the way they include the phrase, “precision cut” to their press release. Makes you think they have spent hours upon hours working tirelessly to make sure the “fix” is just right! In reality, the fix is just a “shim”! That’s right, a shim! Thought those things were used for doors, windows and the occasional unlevel table! What are the odds that after I get our car repaired, the “precision-cut steel reinforcement bar” will be attached to my gas pedal with duct tape?!

*Newly installed wind turbines in the Twin Cities area aren’t turning!

File this one under, “it sounded like a good idea”! Last fall, 11 “slightly” used turbines were purchased from a company in California. The turbines had been completely refurbished and shipped to the Minnesota for installation. The plan was for these turbines to be up and turning before Christmas. Unfortunately, there’s been a slight snag! One thing that was overlooked was that these turbines came from SUNNY & WARM California! Of course we all know that anyone OR anything that comes from a warm climate has a difficult time making the adjustment to our “northern exposure” and it would seem wind turbines are no exception! Strangely, it seems, the turbine’s hydraulic fluid turns to gel when exposed to our freezing temperatures! Who would have thought? None of the eleven turbines, including the one a couple of miles from our house are turning!

*My art supply store moved!

It’s been a couple of months since I had last visited the store. I stock up on materials I use and I can go quite awhile between trips. I was in need of some new pens that I use for the cartoons, so I headed off to Blick’s Art Supply in nearby Edina. While enroute and getting closer to their old location, I happen to notice their newly opened store, which as it turns out, is much larger, brighter and just nicer. Unfortunately, it seems the pens I use did not make the trip from the old store to the new one. Cartoonists get pretty used to certain pens and I personally don’t like to change. Looks like I’ll need to find a new store that carries my pens or I will be ordering them on-line.

*The Giant panda, “Tai Shan” left the National Zoo in Washington.

As part of an agreement with China, the giant panda was returned there yesterday. Our family was able to see Tai Shan a few years ago while on a trip to Washington DC. My daughter, who loves pandas was very sad to hear the news, but was happy to see that Tai Shan was getting a “first class” trip to China via Fed Ex!

*Today is “National Wear Red Day”.

Just a reminder about the dangers of heart disease from the American Heart Association.

Happy Weekend!

Monday Morning Dad

A very snowy Monday morning in the Twin Cities! We had about three inches overnight and more is on the way today and tonight! One of those days that makes you feel glad you’re a SAHD and you don’t have to mess with a nasty commute. My wife and son both left the house early this morning to ensure they arrive to work and school on time. I’ve cleared our driveway already , but it was just to help keep it from getting too deep, my oldest son is in charge of snow removal when he gets home later today!

Another busy weekend for our family. Our oldest son had a basketball game on Friday night, as well as yesterday afternoon. He also managed to get up early on Saturday and head to a nearby lake for some ice fishing with some friends. Our other son participated in a Boy Scout service project on Saturday morning and was home by noon. On Saturday evening, my wife and I went to the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres and saw “Footloose, The Musical”. I had given her the tickets as a birthday gift and we enjoyed the show and the night out!

Sunday night we watched the Super Bowl and I was happy to see the Saints win one for the city of New Orleans. It was an entertaining game to watch, not sure if “The Who” was the best choice for the halftime show. They were certainly showing their age, especially in high-def TV! I also didn’t think their performance lived up the hype.

Overall, I thought the Super Bowl ads were rather boring, but there were a few that I thought were quite good.

Here are “Top Three”…

1. The Betty White/ Abe Vigoda spot for Snickers. It was already good with just Betty, but to put good ‘ol Abe in at the end made it even better!

2. David Letterman, Jay Leno & Oprah. It was totally unexpected and very funny. Hats off to Leno for agreeing to do it.

3. The “E-Trade” talking babies. Always well done and to introduce the “other woman” baby, who was accused of a being a “milkaholic” hit it out of the park in my book!