Friday, November 30, 2012

Another end of November blog

The last day of November, today, ends this blog every day marathon. This is the third year that I've participated and it appears that by this time every November, I do about the same thing on the last day. This year, I have an old photo from 1986 that features the costumed Unky Herb and the Prairie Princess (aka Daughter of Norway).  The hats that they are wearing are still part of my November wardrobe choices.  I don't know what happened to the racket, but it's gone from the current scene.

Previous years of NaBloPoMo:

In 2011 I titled the blog, "Two Herbs."

In 2010 I titled the entry, "November 30."

Today was cloudy and reasonably warm. I played some tennis at Fort Snelling tennis center with the gang of geezers and then came home to blog.  I stopped at Trader Joe's on the way for a few choice groceries, because tennis took almost all I had to offer today. The geezers ran me around and tried their best to beat me. That's how it goes with those guys. I wouldn't have it any other way.  But by Saturday morning at 10:30, after four days of competition, I'm often knackered and ready for a couple of days off.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


My landline phone stopped accepting inbound calls yesterday. It was odd. The phone rang once and then went to a busy signal. I was pretty sure that it must be a problem down at Ma Bell - that's what we used to call AT&T.  So I called them.  And was on hold for 20 minutes. Once they got to me, I told them that I could call out, but out only. Ms. Bell told me that my local calls were handled by another provider, CenturyLink.  So I called them. They sent out a guy, but his arrival was scheduled between 10 and 2. So I waited. At about noon the guy called me on the landline, because he had fixed it. "Squirrels," he said. They had eaten away part of the telephone line and it had to be replaced.  Squirrels are vermin.

In the afternoon I took a walk down by the river to contemplate the world and to wonder about the big news from Mars. "Historical," the NASA scientists have been saying. But they haven't divulged any details. No leaks have appeared in the NASA structure. They have to be sure before they say anything. So I wondered and wandered.

As I walked along the Mississippi River I came across a plastic lawn chair sitting facing the water. There was no one around. I was the only human form around. Someone left their lawn chair by the river. Maybe they went for a swim. It's sort of like a couple of years ago when I discovered a sofa frozen into the ice in the middle of the river, except there is no ice on the river yet. Maybe someone is living in the park.

There is ice on the shallow lakes, however. I still like the look of a snowless layer of ice. This is Upper Lake and the dock that sticks out into the water.

As I walked along the combination walking-bike path by the river I encountered a series of structures. At first I thought they were perhaps natural, but soon they seemed too regular to be flood water-built.

These look like lean-tos. Does someone live here?

It doesn't seem like the end of November, except for the extremely short daylight hours. It's pretty warm and the weekend promises a return to the 50's. I bet there'll be some bikers out and about, perhaps adding some December miles to their logs.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

No damn cat, no damn cradle

A tennis day at last. I needed the exercise and the chance to interact with the other tennis playing codgers. We commiserate with each other. The remark that "getting old is not for sissies" gets nods of understanding and mentions of sore knees, ankles and shoulders. We smile or grimace and go hit some overhead smashes. The retired English professor, who has been sidelined with a rotator cuff problem for a couple of months is now back working on being competitive. He's the oldest guy, but doesn't spend any time talking about quitting. He says he has so many aching parts that the only cross training he can do is his daily regimen of 30 sit-ups. His stomach muscles are fine, it's just that his limbs and joints are a little achy. He played pretty well today.

After playing today, we chatted about the impending lottery drawing tonight. There is a chance that someone in the USA will win 550 million dollars. Anyone with a lottery ticket has a one in 175 million chance of being the one who is saddled with instant large wealth. We retired guys decided that it might be more trouble than it's worth to win. You'd have to hire a bunch of people to handle the money, and a bunch of people to protect you from the other people. And you might have to move somewhere else and maybe have to give up our twice a week tennis outing. So far as everyone said, not one of the four of us had a ticket, and I think we're all passing. Good luck to the rest of you.

After nearly two sets of tennis we quit. As it turns out it was a bit early, because one of the guys tweaked his shoulder and had to stop hitting tennis balls. So I went looking for a photo to use in this blog.

Fort Snelling State Park is less than a mile from the tennis center, so I drove there to get a photo before the sun descended below the horizon. I just made it in time to get a photo of the chapel in the waning light and a look at some of the memorials to early settlers and explorers that are found there.

The sunset comes earlier and earlier, and will for the next three weeks or so. This one caught me as I was tromping about near the Fort Snelling Chapel, so I took its photo across the highway with the athletic field lights at Fort Snelling sticking up in the distance.

There's not much of connection between tennis and the Fort Snelling chapel, except proximity. It's sort of like that children's game of cat's cradle. Try to find some relationship between the strings between your fingers and the name of the activity. And also the blog every day in November activity for that matter.  No damn cat, no damn cradle.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

More ice

It's Tuesday and the temperature outside is getting warmer, but not as warm as next Monday is predicted to be.  Paul Douglas, as I previously reported, is predicting 52º that day. Today there is still a layer of ice on the lakes, almost completely covering the denser water below. I had another long walk over by Como. There's always something to see. Today I tested the ice to see if it was solid enough to walk on. I made it about ten feet out from shore and remembered those "Thin Ice" signs posted along the shore. I took this photo back towards shore and then went back towards shore. The ice seemed darker today, maybe because it was cloudy, and, also, the open water areas had shrunk.

More dark ice, still snowless and still dangerous.

I walked on. There were a few high school ski team members running by, warming up for the season and on their way to the cross country skiing facilities on the golf course. In the winter, when golfing is impossible, the city opens the course for skiing, and I guess the high schools have competition here once the snow have adequately covered the grass and the geese droppings.

Happily I will have tennis to blog about tomorrow, but every bit as important is that I'll be getting some of my favorite exercise.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Ice Nine?

It was below zero on the Iron Range this morning, but in the saintly city the temperature rose to 22º F. The water in Swan Lake was in its liquid state, whereas the water in Lake Como was mainly changed over to the solid state. I think the reason for the apparent discrepancy in water state may be due to the depth of the lake. Or maybe the presence of ice nine. The fictional ice nine of "Cat's Cradle" fame melts at 114.4º F, and acts sort of like seed crystal and causes all water that it comes in contact with to solidify. It was nasty enough to cause the end of the world in that book.

It looks like this was more likely ice one (which is what normal ice is) because there were a couple of open, iceless areas on Lake Como.  There is a real type of water called ice IX, which doesn't have the properties of the fictional ice nine.

The ice on Como doesn't completely cover the surface yet. There are a couple of pools of what I expect to be very cold water. Incidentally, it is 1.6 miles around that fine city lake. That is about 2.57 kilometers - somewhat less than π kilometers. If it were exactly π kilometers and if Como were a round lake, it would be exactly 1 kilometer across the lake (C=πd, =› d=C/π; where d is diameter and C is circumference).  I walked around it today rather than trying the direct diameter route.

Just to show that the ice is stable, I stepped a couple of feet out onto the ice and took a photo of my shadow.  This the time of year when ice is not yet covered with snow and thus has a unique look, something like a partially transparent and irregular mirror.  I was not the only lake walker today, but they were sparse.

“In the beginning, God created the earth, and he looked upon it in his cosmic loneliness.

And God said, "Let Us make living creatures out of mud, so the mud can see what We have done." And God created every living creature that now moveth, and one was man. Mud as man alone could speak. God leaned close to mud as man sat, looked around, and spoke. "What is the purpose of all this?" he asked politely.

"Everything must have a purpose?" asked God.

"Certainly," said man.

"Then I leave it to you to think of one for all this," said God.

And He went away.”

― Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle  [probably from the book of Bokononism.]

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Swan Lake Thanksgiving

It's Sunday and time to finish off the Thanksgiving weekend. It was a cold day, but pretty enough to walk outside a bit. It snowed overnight and again this morning and the fresh snow made the landscape white and pure. PW and I walked down the hill to the shore of Swan Lake to scope out the view and, of course, to get a photo or two for the blog. The stairs under her feet were snowy, but not yet icy and even as the snow fell the day was pretty and pure.

Swan Lake is pretty deep and even with the temperature in the lower teens for a couple of days there is not any ice covering yet. Last winter in January I walked across this bay on a couple of feet of ice, thick enough for trucks to drive on. We are on our way back to that level, slowly, but surely. The only ice was on the shore, but soon there will be more, a lot more.

We built a fire in the fire pit and burned some carbon to fight the cool northern Minnesota chill. I guess it's winter, but it's not yet anywhere near the cold that is yet to descend. TT looks a little chilled, but it was nice to be in the pure air of the northern pine forest.  And the fire was nice and toasty.

We set about our meal preparations in the afternoon. It was a Thanksgiving menu, a trifle scaled down, but with way too much food for just the two of us. We had the mini-turkey, actually a big chicken, stuffing with wild rice and mushrooms, cranberry sauce - the old family recipe - potatoes and some really good gravy. The table is set, the chicken is roasted and the feasting is about to begin for Thanksgiving II.

I'm once again, for the second time in less than a week, way too full of good food. I'm again thankful. This is a great country.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Ice begins to form

It's Saturday and it's winter. I played my Saturday morning tennis at Wooddale. It was scheduled for nine a.m., but I showed up a bit early to stretch and get ready, because those guys seem to be getting serious about beating me. It was very close and pretty good tennis for old guys. The first set went to 6-4, and we were tied 6-6 in the second when we had to give up the court. Our 90 minutes were up.

Later I took a drive into the countryside. There are lakes around that actually are beginning to freeze over. This one happens to be in Moose Lake, but it's clearly water in the solid state.

Tomorrow is 2012's Thanksgiving II.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Snow on the ground

The snow looks like it may be here to stay for a while. I was out in it a bit today, and the wind and the temperature guaranteed that we're in for a wintry spell.

But it's that month when I need a blog post everyday and that means a photo. The white backdrop makes for an interesting juxtaposition of color and colorless. I admit to posing the flowers in the backyard and snapping away.

There was an intriguing snow pattern on the patio this morning as the thin layer of snow gave way to the bricks below.

After the photos I went to get my exercise for the day. Luckily, tennis can be played inside. My college teammate, Rich, is in town this week and filled in for the competition at Fred Wells Tennis Center. He was my doubles partner. He hadn't played in a few weeks, but was in the zone today and greatly helped our cause. He kept us in the two sets we completed and the partial set that we had to abandon. We were out of time. I again learned the lesson about being well nourished before going onto the court. I guess the great quantity of food I ingested yesterday was not enough. I needed lunch.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Big Bird day

Thanksgiving dinner at the Moohoos was tasty and we had fun. The turkey was plenty big enough, the stuffing delicious, the gravy lumpless, the cranberry bread just right, and I think everyone had plenty of food. We had three pies (pumpkin, apple, and pumpkin cheese cake) to go around to just five pie eaters, somewhat more than half a pie each. There are lots of appetizing leftovers. Even after the usual turkey sandwich later in the day. There was, and is, much to be thankful for.

We played a couple of word games, too. There was a new game called Bananas (I think) and several rounds of Boggle. The two pro football games demanded some attention, but I'm not even sure who was playing at the moment. I think there was a third game beginning this evening.

At about seven the snows began. It looked like it might be one of those freaky November storms that fills the streets with snow drifts, but it looks like it was just a warning shot. It tapered off after a while and left just wet pavement. The real winter has yet to arrive, but it doesn't appear to be many days off.

It was a nice traditional Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Easy as pie

It was again a beautiful day, one very unusual for November and it set all time records for warmth on this day in several Minnesota communities. It was 61º here in the Saintly City. I was scheduled for tennis at Fort Snelling with the cadre of codgers. We thought briefly about conducting business outdoors, but the knowledge that many courts have taken down their nets already held us back. So we played inside.

But after the fun, I went looking for a photo of the day. The sky was pretty so I stopped along Mississippi Boulevard and snapped off a shot or two.

Because tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and because I said that I'd make an apple pie for the feast at the Smith residence, in the Prairie Princess' absence, I went home to get it done.

And I made a pie from granny smith apples and just the right amount of cinnamon (at least that's what I think).  The expression, "easy as pie" seems to indicate that one cannot screw up a pie. I won't know until tomorrow, but it's looking promising.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Back to Pike Island

It was only fifty-four degrees today, but there was no wind and the sun was shining in a cloudless sky. I spent the morning threatening to go to Pike Island and in the afternoon I actually did it. It was again a very beautiful day in a month that often produces day after day of clouds.  At the top of the hill by Fort Snelling - the old fort itself - I stopped for a photo of one of the corner towers. The slits in the wall allow cover for anyone shooting from this location and was probably pretty daunting to any attackers. It's been 150 years since the U.S. Dakota War of 1862, maybe the last time the stone walls were relevant for warriors, but the fort has been restored to reflect those days and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to storm the walls.

I walked down the big hill to the stream that separates the mainland from Pike Island and walked to the edge of the big river. There is a pole in the ground which is marked with the heights of the great floods in the last 150 or so years. The current level of the drought stricken river is very much below the level of the land where the pole is standing. It's been a dry, dry year.

It's not often that the Mississippi River is so still as to appear mirror-like. Today it was.  Shortly after I took the photo a block long barge went by and roiled the surface, making the mirror back into a rippled river surface.

I spent about an hour on Pike Island, doing a circle on the nearest third of the island hoping that I might spot a deer or two, but I was disappointed in that quest. There has been an archery deer season across the river in Crosby Park and the deer may be spooked. Or maybe I just didn't happen to encounter any of them. I did see some trees downed by beavers and a lot of noisy squirrels. In any case, it was a peaceful place for a nature walk and I was glad to be in one of my favorite natural (or near natural) places in the cities.

The late afternoon sun and the calm winds helped produce this view of the bridge to Pike Island, taken from Pike Island itself just before I left the island to climb the hill back to the fort.

In the winter of 1862-63, after the Dakota War, about 1,600 non-combat Dakotas were held over the winter in an internment camp on Pike Island, and suffered severe hardship. As many as 300 died. Those who survived were forcibly moved to reservations in what is now Nebraska.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Fifty-nine degrees

After lunch and before the sun went down on one of the nicest November days that I can remember, Unky Herb and I took a drive over to the big water water falls in Minneapolis. Minnehaha Creek is suffering an epic drought and the amount of water cascading over the falls is pretty pathetic. It's not much of a tourist attraction at the moment, but while I was there several groups were taking photos posing with the anemic waterfall as backdrop. They may have been native Twin Cities residents.

This is looking down at the creek just below the falls. There is a decided lack of water down there, especially when compared with the usual spring flush.

We walked down the creek for a ways to the second bridge below the falls, then up the hill to the picnic area by the Veteran's Home. There were people playing frisbee golf on the course there, several of whom seemed to have pretty good skill at the sport. Minnehaha Park is a really nice city park.

In 1863, on this date, November 19, Abraham Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg Address to dedicate the Soldier's National Cemetery in Pennsylvania. The speech was only two minutes long. When I was in junior high school, or maybe elementary school, one of our assignments was to memorize that speech as it was known to have been spoken. You know, the one that starts, "Four score and seven years ago ..." and is reputed to be one of the best speeches ever uttered. I still remember a lot of that speech from memory, more than 50 years later.  Now reading a Wikipedia article about the speech, I find that there is some disagreement about the actual text of the speech as he gave it. There were no tape recorders in those days so whatever the orator published in the paper on subsequent days about his words was accepted as the actual text. The newspapers of the day differ in several respects from the five known "manuscripts" of the speech.  So I maybe memorized the wrong version of the speech. I feel slightly hoodwinked.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Keep off the grass

Unky Herb (UH) came home with a couple of photos from one of his co-workers. The co-worker is the daughter of the people who did day care for UH and the Prairie Princess (PP) when they were young. The photos were part of Christmas cards that we sent out in 1993, and now 19 years later they came back. This one was a favorite of mine for that year and I don't think that I've posted it before. It was taken at a party or maybe a restaurant in that year. I post it to remind me of the circularity of experience. What goes out sometimes returns.

While walking in the surrounding neighborhood, I encountered this lawn sign: "Pelouses Interdites."  I've been to France a couple of times, but I don't remember this particular sign anywhere, but I could be wrong. The sign is clearly in French and is posted in a part of St Paul that is not very well known for its French speakers, so I'm not sure why it was posted except perhaps as whimsy. My translation and that of google translate is "Lawns forbidden."  Maybe it means "keep off the grass."  In any case most people who are apt to read it will be as clueless as I was. Google says that if they meant "keep off the grass," they should have said "défense de marcher sur le gazon." I hope there is a better explanation of the French language idiosyncrasies than this.

I wish to express my appreciation for Gino's blog and its explanation of the location of Horton Avenue between Lexington and Hamline Avenues. I spent several harrowing moments searching for Java Train Cafe on Horton Avenue and Pascal last evening and can attest to the fact that Horton doesn't make it past the west gates of Como Park. PW and I were not lost, just a little confused about the city planners naming of streets. I'd say to stay off Como Avenue if you can, but definitely avoid it during the State Fair in late August.

We had some exercise today in unseasonably warm weather. I know we'll pay for the stretch of fine weather with a cold snap later, but it's a small enough price to pay. We hiked up to Grand to see if Pier One had baskets of a specific size and quality for the right price.   Kind of fussy, isn't she?   We found nada.  But it was a nice day, a nice walk, and if that wasn't nice, what is?

We had dinner at Mai Village.  It's still in business and the food is still good.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Hockey night

PW made it in plenty of time for the 4:07 start of the Minnesota Gophers game against Minnesota State of Mankato at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis. We met Mr and Mrs Smith there and sat near the penalty box, a site that had quite a bit of traffic during the game. The game was close after the first period, 1-1, but the Gophers had too much speed and talent for Minnesota State and the next two periods were not so close. It was fun to see such athleticism and love of the sport in both teams. Those girls can skate and stick handle.

The final score 9-1 was decidedly one-sided. The Gophers won their 22nd straight game to set a new collegiate record for consecutive victories.  They have been ranked number one in the nation all year.

After the game we had dinner at Java Train, a local cafe near the State Fair Grounds. The food was plenty good and we were able to talk over the game and other shared interests.

It was a good day and a warm one for November 17th. It was still 52 degrees at 8 p.m as we drove home.  I played tennis this morning and now I just need to lean back, relax and contemplate life.

Friday, November 16, 2012


The House of Hope Church on Summit Avenue is undergoing massive maintenance. I walked by there and marveled at the amount of scaffolding necessary to do the work, not to mention the massive crane stationed there to aid in the work. House of Hope is the Presbyterian Church where the funeral of Hubert Humphrey was held in January of 1978. That event brought a whole lot of famous and powerful politicians to Minnesota, and I remember going over there on a really cold day to try to get some photos of the attendees. Without success. It was too cold for anyone but the masses to be outside, I guess.

The church hasn't changed much since that day, except they took down the security fences and sent the Secret Service home.

I walked by there with no one much noticing.

I spent a couple of hours today at the Tennis Center at Fort Snelling. There was some sort of workshop going on for tennis teachers, so we were shuttled to the back courts where we (the gang of geezers) managed to finish three full sets of pretty good for old guys tennis. Now I'm knackered. But the tennis was hondaramic.

That's all I have for today.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Big Iron

Sometimes this blogging everyday in November process seems almost endless. Maybe this photo graphically captures that feeling. It's the track that carries the Empire Builder to Chicago and points in between.

It was a beautiful day in Minnesota. Almost too beautiful.  It was bright, sunny and made it to 54º here in the saintly city. I had a couple of longish walks, mostly on non-essential errands, but they were a pretty nice way to spend some daylight hours. In the late morning, I hiked to Penzey's Spice store on Grand near Dale to buy some spices. They have a fine array of cinnamon from Indonesia, Viet Nam, China, and probably a couple of other countries. I bought 2.2 ounces of Korintje cinnamon from Indonesia, along with .3 ounces of dill weed from California, and .7 ounces of French Sweet Basil.  Korintje is the smooth cinnamon typically used in baking.  I use quite a lot of it.

After lunch I hiked the long way to Trader Joe's, carrying my camera and looking for bloggable content.  As usual there is something along the way that piques my curiosity and I often can use it in this blog.  Joe's was crowded today, but I was there on a non-critical mission, so I enjoyed the trip and the casual banter with the check-out person as I left the store.  She was from Chippewa Falls and,  noticing the logo on my cap, asked me about my relationship to Cray, Inc.  I confessed that I had spent many long, dark hours in Chippewa Falls trying to get my buggy software to run on test hardware in the labs.  She opined that Chippewa Falls is better known for Leinenkugel's Beer than for Cray computers.  I agreed and told her of the Cray practice in the old days of including a case of Leinie's with every supercomputer delivery.

Here's a photo that may or may not supply confidence in human ingenuity. Or perhaps wonder whether this is the best solution for a fairly evident problem by the electricity royalty.  This fix for rotted pole wood is found near the tracks on Ben Hill near here.  Pretty honderamic, no?

The Cray XK7 became the world's fastest computer lately with delivery of the Titan system to Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Cray has been at the top before.  This system executes 17.59 petaflops of performance - that's 17.59 quadrillions of instruction per second.  It replaces an IBM machine called Sequoia at Lawrence Livermore Labs.  There is actually a list that enumerates the 500 fasted computer systems, sometimes known as Big Iron, in the world.

 It's almost time for Thursday night tennis, and I'm getting ready for some hard-core competition.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


I have a rabbit that is living in my yard. Maybe more than one. The one pictured has a clump of sedge grass that he hides beneath, and when I walk close to him, he bolts. He used to startle me, but now I know his hiding place and I expect the dash to safety. The number of rabbits in the city has increased markedly in the last couple of years, maybe because of the mild winters and the availability of vittles. There are more gardens now in the city. Now that the rabbits have moved in and in abundance, I expect the coyotes won't be far behind. I've already noticed the increase in the raven (or crow) population. Rabbits, like squirrels, have become vermin, but are fresh meat for predators.

There is a wolf season in Minnesota. Shouldn't there also be a rabbit season? And an open season on robocallers.  Or maybe a bounty.  On robocallers.

Today is Claude Monet's birthday.  He was born in 1840.  The term impressionism was derived from his painting, "Impression, Sunrise."

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tuesday the thirteenth

Down by the big river at the end of Summit Avenue there is a memorial that was erected in 1922 by the D.A.R. It commands a sweeping view of the Mississippi. It commemorates the local soldiers who were killed in what it calls the World War. It's been there only 90 years, but the World War they talked about in 1922 is now known as World War I because it was done again in the 1940's. Thankfully we haven't had another with such all encompassing involvement, but we still dabble pretty often in making and fighting wars.

It's a nice place to visit on a chilly November Day, not long after Veteran's Day - the holiday that has replaced Armistice Day in America since after World War II

And I finish with a somewhat cuter cat than my last one. This one is a snow leopard and seems to enjoy the cool weather we are having here lately. It's a resident of Como Zoo in St Paul.

In Spanish-speaking countries, instead of Friday, Tuesday the 13th (martes trece) is considered a day of bad luck.  Who knew?

Today is Jimmy Kimmel's birthday. I hope he's having a lucky day.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Snow on the ground

It snowed today. A lot of the Minnesota drivers apparently forgot how to drive on snowy and sometimes slippery roads and so there was a big traffic snarl for most of the morning in the Twin Cities. I drove into town from the north, where, incidentally, they had less trouble with the snow, at about 11 a.m. to find Interstate 94 going west backed up to Spaghetti Junction. I flew by on 35E because that was flowing smoothly.

It's going to warm up a bit later in the week, but we seem to be on a wintry trend. We may be domed. After talking with the Prairie Princess via phone, I went out for a walk to see how slippery the sidewalks were. They were a bit slick, but passable and I covered a few blocks looking for a photo representative of the day. Because there are a lot of jack-o-lanterns still on porch steps that the squirrels have yet to consume, I thought this shot on a neighbor's porch would do fine. Snow and an orange vegetable.

Before I forget, November is Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month.

Today, November 12, is National Pizza Day with Everything (Except Anchovies) Day.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Coleraine, et. al.

We went looking for the architectural marvels in this small Iron Range community. It was pretty cold, so the search was short and uncovered the expected results: the library and the school. The rest of the town is pretty normal, although the main street was festooned with flags for Veteran's Day.

The Andrew Carnegie library is much the same as it was 50 plus years ago. It was closed today, but I've been in it in the last few months and it has the same layout with book shelves packed with books upstairs and party rooms in the basement. There used to be junior high school dances in those rooms when I was a lad, and I suspect they are still having them today.

I took another photo looking away from the Carnegie Library in the general direction of Van Dyke grade school. Pengilly woman for scale.

The high school has not changed much in fifty years either. We found it open and wandered through the halls looking for things that had remained the same. The floor tiles are the same, and the general layout of classrooms remains the same. The school has recently added an addition - a new basketball arena. There was a country music concert in session this afternoon, so we were not alone in the building. The Schofield field house had large photos commemorating people who were there when I attended the school in 1961: R.J Schofield, Karen Tomberlin, Ben Dixon, and Lou Barle.

Part of the ride today was through Keewatin, another of the Iron Range towns that has seen somewhat better days. The village of Keewatin supplies a few social hot spots. This looks like one of the more lively of the options: the Retired Men's Club.

Winter comes earlier up here in the north, and it feels like it has arrived.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

I'm not Lion

There are days when all you can do is post a cute cat picture and call it a day.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Keep on keeping on

It was a pretty warm day and the sun was out for much of the day. I didn't manage to get any photos with blue sky or even much of a view of the sun, but I was happy that we didn't have a New York Superstorm or a Nor'easter storm either. We will have blizzards, but it won't be this week, and we'll cope, too, like those poor souls on the east coast are doing.

I played tennis today. Not much news there. We played at Fort Snelling and it was fun. No one fell down or got injured. It was the gang of geezers, all pretty calm, friendly folk who are easy to get along with. As I get older, I appreciate them more and more. They just keep on keeping on.

After tennis I drove over the junction of Summit and the Mississippi River Blvd. It seemed like I might be able to get a sunset photo over the big river, but I was stymied by the cloud cover. The photo I got was up river towards the Lake Street Bridge. It's definitely deep into autumn by the big river.

Earlier in the day I deposited my 20th and last black plastic bag of homegrown tree leaves at St Paul's lawn refuse site. It's still a plenty busy place because we generate a lot of leaves in this city. I took a photo of a big pile of leaves at the leaf recycle center, a place I don't expect to revisit again this season.

Trivia: Roseanne Barr garnered 8,105 votes for President in Florida this year, finishing 6th in that race. Florida is still counting their votes, so she may have more. I wonder if Florida will ever get its electoral process ironed out to a point where they can report complete results in, say, three days.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

November eight activities

The sun came out and blue sky showed itself today. In fact, it warmed up into the fifties. 55º for a while this afternoon.

I spent the morning finishing the raking of my remaining leaves. The oak in front and the neighbor's maple in back are sufficiently bare that I was comfortable mowing the leaves that had fallen, and raking up the dregs. I filled the twentieth black plastic bag of the year with today's donation.  Mowing was pretty slick, and made the raking less of an issue, but it was still taxing (and Congress is not yet back in session).

After lunch I decided to take a walk down by the big river, take in the breezes, and get a little exercise. The wooded area around Crosby Farm looks closed. There is a sign there announcing an archery deer season this month (and last), so I went up the river a ways to Hidden Falls. There were people out, walking around, some taking pictures. It was a nice day, maybe one of the last before winter bears in.

I walked around a bit, went down by the river and looked for an apt photo for today's blog, something to represent November 8, 2012.

This is down by Hidden Falls looking across the Mississippi towards old Fort Snelling. The river is suffering from low water levels, but it's not shallow enough to wade across, or even throw a silver dollar to the other side.

And this is Old Man River looking upstream.  The sky was blue.

Trivia of the day: Current popular vote totals show that Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, and former Republican governor of New Mexico, finished third in the presidential sweepstakes with 1,139,562 vote, about .95% of the vote (less than 1%). He was well ahead of the fourth place holder, the Green Party candidate and leading women's vote-getter, Jill Stein, at 396,684. This Gary Johnson never lived in Coleraine - that's another Gary Johnson.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Blogging about blogging

It's the day after the 2012 national election and I'm a little tired out.  I stayed up until 1 a.m. to see the last two speeches - the concession and the acceptance of the concession.  I guess I'm a little gassed, and I didn't get any good photos today.  I did, however, hit some tennis balls at Fred Wells Tennis Center, and got in some pretty good cardio-vascular exercise.  Thanks to Tennis Dennis and crew.  Since I vowed to blog every day this month, I needed a plan.  Or perhaps a ploy.  I could experiment with the features of blogger perhaps.  Maybe change the font or the size of the font.   Or strike through.  I have photo archives to use.

Polar bear. At the zoo. Sunday.

I looked back at the blog history.  This is what was going on in 2008 on this date - November 7.   It snowed that day. There is no snow here yet this year, but that is not necessarily a sign of global warming. It's just what happens sometimes.   I did, however, play tennis that day, too, as I did again today, and at the same venue.

I looked at my stat counter.  I've had over 50,000 "hits" since I began this blog on May 3, 2007, five and a half years ago.  I guess I can get through one more blog, especially if I have a photo of a polar bear to upload.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day 2012

The first Tuesday in November arrives and with it another cloudy, overcast, glum sort of day. The sun came out for a while during lunch and I took that as a sign to go vote at my neighborhood polling place. There was a short walk and when I arrived there was no line. I talked to a woman on the way in who had already voted absentee ballot and was just going to the polling place to get her "I Voted" sticker - white text on red background. I think she was able to talk the responsible poll workers into giving her one.

The voting place for my precinct is at Linwood playground. I cast my ballot, fed it into the vote counting machine, got my "I Voted" sticker, and walked home feeling like I had fulfilled my civic responsibilities. Like Jack Davies, a law school teacher, once said, "the world is run by those who show up."

Now I'll wait around to see which of the pundits and prognosticators has the right stuff. It's often pretty good television watching democracy creak through its mechanisms.

And finally, a picture of a cute cat, taken Sunday at the Como Zoo cat house.

It's raining in St Paul.