Showing posts from July, 2011

Life's Highs and Lows

It's day 3 of what is shaping up to be a great vacation in upstate New York. While the weather is hot and muggy, John and Jill's pool has been a lifesaver. It's actually made for a very relaxing vacation thus far. The kids are getting along so well that we hardly notice they're around most of the time. They occasionally show up for food or a quick minute of adult conversational stimulation before they run back to their cousins and resume playing with their cousins. Trips to see the Neufang side of the family is much like our trips to Minnesota where they have cousins on my side of the family. They get along great with all of their cousins and it makes our trips here and there so nice because the adults can sit and talk without having to worry about entertaining the kids like we once did. A good example of this was yesterday when we were sitting by the pool and Sarah and Halle came up and said they wanted to sing a song they'd written for us. The song was built a

The Swelt of July

It seems there's a phenomenon known as a heat dome that is sitting over much of this great nation. It's resting on the country's mid section like a sumo wrestler in no hurry to go. It could be worse, it could be February. People need to stop complaining about it and deal. Heard that my brother got in the pool this past weekend. He had help from the family and got to sit on a raft for about an hour and enjoy his pool. Thank God for small miracles. When I saw the pictures, I was almost overwhelmed. I admire his (and his family's) willingness to try and get the most out of this time. He went fishing the day before and caught a couple bass. Another small blessing. Much of the family was there to witness the pool time as they celebrated the engagement of my nephew Nick.There are times I wish I was closer to home, and this was one of them. I guess we'll see him in a few weeks, but still... Had to listen to the Women's World Cup Finals on ESPN radio on my laptop

From California to Paris in Three Days

I've been back from California for two days and am still suffering from a bit of jet lag. It doesn't help that it's a feels-like temperature of 105 or so. This kind of weather makes me wilt. I lose all ambition and everything becomes a chore. Luckily today was Sunday, so I didn't feel too bad taking it kind of easy. San Diego was wonderful as usual. Lots of sun, 70's, and ocean breezes. It is the closest place to heaven that I can picture. I haven't been to Hawaii, but am guessing it would be even better. Conferencing is exhausting. You're either on your feet, walking, sitting in uncomfortable chairs, eating rich unhealthy food, or networking day and night. I love/hate it for a number of reasons. I ALWAYS learn a ton at these things, way more than even a 3 day ESRI training class. At the same time, I am usually shot by Wednesday morning and want nothing more than to sleep for 14 hours. I wouldn't trade San Diego for anything though. I went to Bas

Conference Blast-Off

Day 3 of my stay in San Diego for the 2011 ESRI Users Conference . All day yesterday was the Plenary session and at night was the map gallery social. It was a full day of rah-rah, all of it good albeit 6-9 months away from being released (ArcGIS v. 10.1). There were several impressive demos given of product enhancements that are groundbreaking. A few things about these kinds of conferences are: 1. Many of the changes are head knockers in that what they sometimes show is stuff that should have been in the product two releases ago. You get so frustrated waiting for it, then it comes out and you naturally applaud, because you're so befuddled with how it was never there in the first place. That's the nature of software I'm afraid. but it's funny to see how grateful people are to have something so boldly apparent for so long. 2. So often the promise of new releases is refreshing, until you get the product unwrapped, installed and it's buggy. 80% of the stuff work

Eight is Enough

We're dog-sitting for some friends of ours over the weekend. They usually take our dog when we go on vacation , so we wanted to reciprocate. I want you meet Bentley. He's quite possibly the happiest, most energetic dog alive. I've never seen him slow down. It's not a bad thing, just very different from Toby, our Cairn Terrier. Toby tires after a walk and needs to lay down for a couple hours. He can wrestle with Bentley for 5 minutes, and hold his own, but then he'll lose patience with it and need a 30 minute rest. Bentley is the Energizer Bunny Dog. His heart beats at 200 bpm and his motor just revs at red line. He's like a dog on meth. Dogs are a lot like humans that way. Some of us are wired to work hard, play hard and think about the consequences later. And then some of us are more like the get to work when we get around to it, work at our own pace and take the afternoon off type. Sad, but true. We can learn a lot from our dogs if we just watch them in

Through This Door Walked

I have spent my last couple of weekends refinishing our back door, which was in dire need of a face lift. It was nicked and scratched in many places and in some areas the shellac or finish was completely gone. Its condition never much bothered my wife, as she just saw it as an entry way to our home, where friends and family are always welcome. I have been meaning to get to refinishing it for about the last 5 years, but never quite found the time and energy. To me it is the first thing people see when they come in our house. While the paint and exterior of the house is in pretty good shape, our door was beat. It needed some TLC. Understand that most people (at least our friends and family) enter our house not through our front door, but through our back. I've never quite understood why this is, but think it might be the result of where our driveway sits. It's just easier to park and walk to the back door. For this reason, I thought the door needed to be shaped up. It's a r

The Joy of Urban Fishing

One year ago, I was catching abundant large fish in Canada with a couple of friends. The fish were plentiful and we spent 8 hours at a crack catching them. I loved every minute of it, even in the bad weather. The thrill of thinking that your next fish could be a monster fish or a record breaker, well, you just can't put a price on that. Paired with the good company of a couple of friends, and it's just a great, great memory for me. Now, because I don't own a boat, fishing locally is a bit less rewarding. I hardly ever get out around town here, so those trips to Canada were where I'd try and get it all out of my system in a single trip. I've found you can't do that with fishing because the minute you stop, you start wondering where and when you'll fish next. Well, I had a jones to wet my line the other night and had seen a potential spot on the way to dropping Ben off at camp. The spot is on the Fox River down in Big Bend, so I drove there and parked in