Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turkey Day 2008

A quick Thanksgiving post -

We're at the in-laws, as usual, for Thanksgiving dinner. Per usual, the poor almost nation's symbol will be incinerated. It was over done when I came home to put my contribution, a green bean casserole, in the oven. My mother in laws oven was still punishing that poor bird, so, since I'm only a few blocks away, I'm cooking my cliched side dish at our house. I've modified the recipe to make the traditional Campbells Soup version much more palatable. OK, enough of that.

What's to be thankful for this holiday season, what with our economy in the hurt tank? Lots, I say. Personally, I thank our modern health care researchers for advances in diabetes care. New insulin delivery systems make it so much easier to control glucose. I haven't been able to get the Omni-pod pump yet, due to being laid off of my job ( in other words, I can't afford it ), but just close monitoring and needle injections have my A1C at my best ever. The oral drugs just were not effective enough any more.

Next thing I'm grateful for is tires. The modern bicycle tire is so much better than in the old days. Knock on wood, but how many flats do you get any more? They seem to be a matter of carelessness than fragile construction and materials, like back day.

Clothing is much better. Chamois don't get all funky, jerseys breathe better, and cold weather gear fits and performs much nicer.

Beer. Like the Australian drinking song goes "Just one beer and it's back on the job". Since I drink in moderation, I appreciate a quality beer so much more these days. The Belgians have now exported so many great brews that it's hard to name a favorite. The French have Kronenbourg, a superb lager, the Italians chip in a few, the Brits, a ton. It seems every region of most countries make an excellent contribution to the world of beer. Our local brewing scene does us all proud. I could go on all day, but I'll just end with I like beer.

Happy Thanksgiving one and all.

Monday, November 24, 2008


So much to do, so little time. Or so it seems. I've gotten a lot of projects done this last couple of weeks since being laid off. The soap dispenser, which was purchased a year and a half ago at IKEA, finally got installed in the kitchen sink. A 15 minute project, done at last. One of the best 10 dollar investments ever. The ceiling fan and light fixture in the bed room. The old light fixture didn't put out enough light, so a new one with 3 bulbs was in order. In removed the old one, reinforced the ceiling mount, and installed the fan/light combo. Wallah! Instant room transformation. Next, a baseboard electric heater in the spare bed room. You see, the furnace is such a long way from the the end bedrooms that the air has lost it's heat by the time it gets there. So, I removed the heat ducts, sealed the off, and installed electric heaters with separate thermostats. I had put one in daughter #2's bedroom last year and it worked well. I got around to the spare room last week. Now, I just have to patch the floor and carpet where the old duct come through and that project will be complete. Right now, I'm building a study/hobby desk in daughter #1's bedroom. She's into beading and could use a secure area to work, IE, no cats allowed.

One thing I haven't done so well on is fitness. For the last week or so, I've have the worst cold that I've had in years. Mostly a head cold, but I also ache in the knees and feet really bad. And, just when it seems to be going away, BAM!, it come back. It's really getting me down. 15 minutes on the trainer or tread mill, and I'm gasping like a gold fish on the floor. Today, it's not too bad, but I'm going to relax and not push it. Maybe it's nature's way of telling me to take it easy for a little while. I usually don't listen to such things, but this time, I just might. Now, back to work.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Flahutes Walk About

The pic on the far left tells us that winter is on the way. Snowmobile on the Munger Trail. They pack it down so us bikers can ride on it, so I can't complain too much. The other two shots are of a couple of bridges on Seven Bridges Road. Very European looking, I one might say. I took them on what the Aussies might consider a "walk about". More like a nice afternoon walk, I should say.
I started off on a quick survey of the neighborhood yesterday. You see, a lot of construction has been going on up above us, and I wanted to check it out. Since I was up towards Hawk's Ridge, I thought I would just follow the trail up the hill for a quick look-see. An hour or so later, I was on my way down Seven Bridges Road, thus the pictures.Since it was such a nice day, it was not surprising that I met several bike riders and runners on the way. The weather is not getting any better, so why waste it?

Today was crappy - a rain/snow mix, wind, gloomy skies. But, still lot's of people riding. On my way to meet some of my former co-workers for coffee, I pulled up along side a guy in rain gear at a stop light. I wound down my window and commented to him "Nice day to be a flahutes". He gave me a big grin and a thumbs up! The brotherhood of cycling never ceases to amaze.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Bored - Not!!

First, a shout out to Doug, the top local bike commuter/writer and inspiration to a lot of us who aspire to use the bicycle as a means to and end and not just a past-time. He took a nasty fall and an injury to his shoulder which will keep him off the bike for a while. Read his account here:

Several people have commented on my current layoff status. Such as "What are you going to do with all the free time?" or, "Aren't you bored?". Well, I'm not bored, and I don't seem to have any extra time. The time is reallocated. More time for domestic chores. Cooking and baking, laundry, home maintenance. Things I don't mind, or actually enjoy. No, I am NOT bored. There's nothing like the smell of freshly baked bread, or chicken and dumpling soup to make those coming in the front door salivate. At least I don't think there is.

A great benefit of being laid off is that my blood sugar control is better. I can ride the bike or work out when I want. No "squeezing in" a workout. Better timing and control of eating.My A1C is at an all time low. And, it looks like our insurance is going to accept the Omni-pod as an in network device so I won't have to pay a $1000.00 to get it. That will be a major bonus. I was getting kind of down on the thought of insulin shots for the foreseeable future.

Now, if I could just will the lottery....

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Things have got to change. Get out and vote. I don't want to hear anybody complain about government if you did not vote. I don't believe either party has a good grip on how to fix this mess, but I will participate in the process anyway. The polar right and left have messed things up for too long, time to unite the center and straighten things out.

Events yesterday really hit home on how bad things have gotten, how out of reality this nations priorities are. I got the proverbial pink slip when I got to work yesterday. Wow. The first time in over 33 years I have been out of a job not on my own volition. I kind of saw it coming, but didn't want to believe it would happen to me. And I'm not the only one. Business without a firm plan are dropping people left and right. No one is safe in the current economy. No one.

So just get out and vote.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Redlines, Ridleys & Rum River CX

Finally, back to cycling. I ran down to Milaca on Sunday to catch the 'cross race. I haven't been to the course before, but from what I saw, I would be a good one for me to start on. Not a lot of running, some long stretches to put the rouleur power to good use, and some MTB-esque wooded trails. A very nice venue central to the Mpls/St. Paul and Duluth area racers. If my knee holds up, I just may try it next year. To do that, I would have to get a CX bike. Seems to be plenty of Redlines, Ridleys, Surleys and Specialized running up front. Doug Swanson held off the A men for the win, Jenna Zander took the A women, with several area riders, such as Harry Anderson ( pictured above), riding strong. The weather was almost too warm for racing, but perfect for spectating and photos. But no cow bells ?