Sunday, December 31, 2006

More Snow

Peanut hidden by snow being thrown by Dr. Andy's snow blower. Lots of digging out to do. Lot's of fun on New Year's eve.


Here's Chalupa looking at Dad's handy work. Yesterday it was rainy and 43 degrees. 24 hours later, we were supposed to only get an inch. 7 inches and a ditched car later... Thankfuly a passer by had a chain and tow bar. We escaped uninjured and Tootsie even ate a tire or two... including one on a Sheriff's car.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Drizzly Walk In The Woods

With Chalupa, Peanut and Beaner in the lead, Koko and I followed.

Later, I was followed by the Peanut, Mr. B Dawg, and Side Track. It was a cold, wet walk in the woods to be sure.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Let 'em Roll

It started down the center, but veered off to the right for a pick up of one pin. Another bowlingpalooza in Mankato. This time, Peanut demonstrates fine form while waiting for the outcome of this toss.

Mirror, Mirror in the Grocery Store...

"Grocery shopping is simply not the same. Look! They let all kinds of riff raff roam the aisles. Kids like this shouldn't be allowed into the wild. Ack! Hey budd! Yeah, you over there! Can I get a little kelp in the produce section?"
According to this crustation

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Say What?

I think Uncle Brinz is wearing lipstick!

Mother and daugher

Always thoughtful. Always beautiful. Sidetrack, and her mother on Christmas evening.


"Any which way goes by,

let the water pass me down.

Once in a lifetime,

let the water pass me down.

Same as it every was.

Same as it ever was."

-D. Byrne

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Before and After

(From left) Chalupa, Side Track, Mr. B. Dawg, Peanut and Beaner are busy decorating holiday cookies to be shared with the masses on Christmas day.

Here are is a sampling of their artistic abilities. Bon (virtual) appetite!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Good Morning Winter Break!

Ahhhh yes, this relaxing moment to our holiday break finds the tribe gathered 'round the counter for a plateful of cakes (the pan variety), cinnamon rolls (of the Pilsbury Dough Boy variety) and bacon (of the fatted swine variety). As you can see, Mr. B. Dawg adheres to a breakfast-casual dress code, and his sisters didn't seem to mind. Appauling as this might be to Ms. Martha Stewart, I would point out that Mr. B. Dawg's skivvies look a heck of a lot better than an institutional orange jump suit! And so begins our X-mas vacation.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Lost and Found

So the excitement tonight involves a stolen purse. Yes, that's right. Side Track's purse was heisted from her car when she went in to pick up Ike from daycare this evening. She went in under the cloak of upper midwest darkenss (5:30 p.m.) and came out less than five minutes later.

When she got home she got into the house and looked quizical as she stated that she thought she brought her purse to the car. But when she unloaded the car, it wasn't there.

Long story short: after returning to work to look for the purse; going out to dinner with one of our daughters on Buzz Daddy's cash (of course); a phone call to our home from the bank about a very large charge on our card...

As it goes all the cards were canceled, the cell phone was shut off and a police report was filed. And just as all of this was completed... we got a call that the purse was found (sans cell phone). All the cards and everything was in place. Now... the cell phone has GPS which has been turned over to the Police. Maybe they can find the perpetrators.

I can say this with some certainty: despite the safe community in which we feel we live, Side Track will NEVER leave her purse (more like a huge satchel with a NEON sign that says "TAKE ME!) on the front seat of her unlocked care again. Even a daycare facility in a very safe neighborhood is prone to a clever thief. All's well that could have ended worse.

And that was just tonight! Who knows what craziness lurks tomorrow?

Sunday, December 17, 2006


That would be Chalupa at the free-throw line. The team of Mankato 3rd and 4th graders lost all three games on Saturday. But they were playing agains the 5th grade teams in this tournament. Afterwards we commented that these young ladies got about 4 weeks of constructive practice crammed into one day.

As for the Chalupa... she learned something new in each game. By the last game, she had at least 7 rebounds, 2 steals, and 5 points.

During one of the breaks between games, Chalupa, Buzz Daddy and Beaner managed to squeeze in lunch at the Rainforest Cafe in the MOA (Mall of America). Our waiter, Tin, took the pic. Thanks Tin!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Nope, Definately Not Reindeer

So we walked out the door this evening to take Chalupa to Basketball practice when what to our wondering eyes should appear? Yep two deer feeding on acorns in our front lawn. They seem to be making a regular habit of this. They are lucky this year. Forecasters say this will be the brownest Christmas this part of Minnesota has seen for more than 50 years! Beats the heck out of snowblowing, that's for sure!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Four Years and Counting

Mr. B. Dawg shows off his smile. He's been practicing for four years and it's beginning to show.

Happy B. Day and warm wishes for a terrific year ahead!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Oh Christmas Tree...

Make no mistake, this is a big one. Unfortunately, the point-and shoot camera doesn't manage glare very well. The tree is about 14' tall and at least 5' wide at the base (see image of Side Track - left)

Here are five of the seven members of the tree trimming crew (below). From left... Beaner, Rita, Mr. Z, Maheen, and the Chalupa (not pictured are Peanut and Mr. B. Dawg). Fun was had by one and all.

Friday, December 08, 2006

From Zero to Thirty-Five

Yesterday there were zero degree's in Monkey Doo.

Today there were thirty-five degrees and wind was from the south.

Buzz Daddy took advantage of the warmer weather with a noon-time jog around Indian Lake (pictured here). This beautiful lake is a 2.5 mile jog on a paved trail from the YMCA. It's about 2.5 miles around the lake on trail and gravel road. Round trip from the Y, it's about 7 miles of scenic solitude.

And for those who will join us in "The Hole" on January 1, the ice is lookin' good!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Cold Thursday Night

While the Chalupa was at basketball practice, the rest of the tribe took in Beaner's holiday choral concert.

As an editorial aside, being in a Jr. High amidst these rascals, really made me (Buzz Daddy) remember how completely dorky us guys were at that age. I was quickly reminded by another parent that despite how dorky we were, we actually thought we were pretty damn cool. Perhaps our kids would argue that those things never changed!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Beaner and Peanut are playing a quick round of A.G. (American Girl) before they turn in for the night. Nothing like a little imagination to keep those creative juices flowing.

"Cold cold cold like an Ice Cream Cone" - M. Jagger

It has arrived. Arctic temps, a day of flurries, and WIND! Not good for running outside. Ugh!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Late T-Giving Entry

And this is the crew that showed up to feed at the Taylor trough on Thanksgiving day. And if they complain about the "slop", we quickly remind them that they brought it all themselves as the Taylor's supplied the Turkey and they supplied the rest. Combined we supplied the entertainment.

When in drought...

...make snow... just like "Mt." Kato.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

New "Opportunity" for Buzz Daddy

As the wheels of Corporate America churn on, sometimes one finds themself staring at the underside of the bus as it rolls overhead. In this case, Buzz Daddy's job was legitimately eliminated. His business development services were no longer needed.

Thankfully the coporate mission of "opportunity and security" was fulfilled by a variety of company leaders. After a few very harrowing weeks (which included the flooded basement) and the very real spector of a new year as an unemployed statistic, a terrific opportunity became available and BD is now on a new bus and in a new seat. He will help organize, coordinate and direct email marketing efforts for one of the businesses held by the parent company.

Onward, upward and don't look back. Thanks to those who offered moral support and helped us keep our sense of humor about these crazy life events. 2007 is shaping up to be more adventurous than ever. WAAAA HOOOOO!

Going Down For a Nap

After a hard afternoon of playing with a friend, Mr. B. Dawg gets a story read to him right before a little afternoon siesta.


Beaner and the Chalupa were two of several musicians to entertain and swarming throng of parents, siblings and doting grandparents at this year's holiday recital.

Big nose, tall hat and nothing really to photograph. This guy is lost, clueless and really quite obscene. He is the kind of voyer that should probably be locked up.

It's not like they say

Despite what the marketing materials tells us, U-Haul is wrong. Buzz Daddy and "brother" Joe will testify that moving is never made easy. Here you see the fridge, soon to be joined by the freezer, hoses, beer can collection), skis, cooking pan, grill, and a few other odds and ends. This is the first of what may be many trips to Northern Wisconsin in an effort to help the inlaws move to a more hospitable environment in the Twin Cities.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Faster Than FEMA

Less than three weeks ago our recently (Spring) finished basement was flooded by a burst pipe. So, as the story goes... within 24 hours the insurance guy was here and (don't faint) estimated the damage and cut a check! No kidding! Within three hours of that the contractors were here bidding on the work.

So Side Track gave me a hall pass to make book. I removed all the padding, carpet and appropriate dry wall and insulation. I replaced insulation and dry-wall and the contractors took over. They did the taping, mudding, priming, painting and carpeting. Low and behold we are back to normal in less than than three weeks and $4,000.

So, I wonder. If someone held the same sense of urgency and economy to New Orleans... one house at a time, where whould they be 15 months later? Fema, or good old fashioned hard work and HONESTY? Sure makes you think doesn't it?

Let It Roll

Looks like the Chalupa took the family to the "lanes". Unfortunatly, she ended up in the gutter. She was in good company as Big Dawg was right with her. Never done the family bowling thing before, but it looks to be something we will do again in the future.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Dinner is served

Here are nine of the 15 guests who broke bread and celebrated all that we were thankful for. Everyone survived except for Tom. He was pretty well picked over by the time this shin dig was done. Happy T-day one and all!

Team F*U*N Turkey Trots

From left T-Mouse (red), Jeromeo (blue), Petie black), Chalupa (green), Kari, Elika (red), Crazy (of course), Erica (greenish) and Sarah (purple).
Minneapolis may never be the same. But then again, a few tainted drops in that pond may not (noticably) taint the water. But a ripple in still water, is still a ripple in still water.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Ground Cover

Looks like a project for T-giving weekend. This and holiday lights.
November 22, the anniversary of the assasination of JFK. And in 2006, temps will reach the 60's in Monkey Doo. Who say's there's no such thing as global warming?

Monday, November 20, 2006

Caption The Photo

A week ago a caption was requested for this photo:

So far this is what we've got.

"OK son, once you put the firecracker in one of your sisters favorite toys, you light it, stand back and wait for it to blow up. It is mans work" -- Annonymous

"Jimmy, have you ever watched Greco Roman Wresting?" (a quote from Airplane) -- Farrell K., Maryland
"Son, life is like a box of chocolates..." -- Syd, Washington

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Up a tree without

... a ladder. Here is the Chalupa with our neighbor/friend, "The General". Temps in the 40's and no wind. It's great to be a kid on this very temperate, upper-midwest, November, weekend afternoon.

What is it about these neighbors? The General's brother is just as bad.

Gofers 34, Iowa 24

Despite Iowa's dismal offense (5 turn-overs - ugh!), defense and the final score, Buzz Daddy and the Beaner had a great time at the game. So did this "Chicken Man", Hawk fan.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Places NOT To Live

Reuters reports: The town council of Pahrump, (Utah) which lies in the Mojave Desert west of Las Vegas, voted 3-2 on Tuesday to make flying any foreign flag above the U.S. flag or alone an offense punishable by a $50 fine and 30 hours' community service.

I wonder how the Government in charge handled the policies of flag flying in Hamburg, Germany... say in 1938?

In this case I ask if the price of freedom is freedom itself? Bah! Don't get me started!!!!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Like Father, Like Son

This "classic" photo was taken during a Nordic Mess activity in the beautiful hamlet of Decorah, IA. Buzz Daddy and Mr. B. Dawg takin' a walk on the levey.

"Havin' fun lookin' at tubers (as in intertubers) floating down the river. Wish you were here. "

What would be YOUR post card header? Let me know and I'll post it.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Hearty Congratulations

It was September 2001, when JJ finally decided the knee had to go. Since then it has been a long, up-hill battle with doctors, specialists and surgeons etc... Now four years later and the day before his 45th Birthday, JJ has a fully functional knee with scars and all.

It's been a long row to hoe for our long-time friend and former patient of Dr. JC Taylor. But it had to be done because hemophilia-related cists and structural degeneration made the completey unfunctional. Make no mistake, this was no ordinary surgery. JJ is a hemophiliac and is HIV positive (from a bad blood transfusion years ago) which adds precarious elements to just about any medical treatment, let alone knee replacement.

Anyway, all's well that ends well. Accompanied by his wife, Marina, his father and his girlfriend, and his very close friend Robert, JJ's surgery lasted just over three hours. He has since recovered well enough to get back home in time for to watch the Bears whoop up on the Giants from the comfort of his own home.

When I spoke to him, he said he continues to be amazed at his own recovery and attributes it mostly to will-power, determination and mental toughness. I agreed. Too bad he’s a bleeder with bad knees and tobacco-stained lungs… He’d be a hell of an ultra athlete. Either way, he's still an inspiration to all who know him. Way to go JJ! Keep on keepin' on!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Don't Look Now

When the weather gets cold and snowy, the deer come out of the woods to forrage on anything they can find. They are pictured here during their retreat back to the woods, after dining for about 20 minutes on acorns in our front yard.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Demolition Man

Within 48 hours of the burst pipe, we got our insurance agent on-site. Amazingly, he did a complete estimate and cut a check on the spot. By the afternoon, I had a contractor bidding on the job.
The contractor informs me he can get in late next week (before Thanksgiving) if I can get all the soggy or potentially moldy dry-wall and insulation demolished and removed. So the deconstruction of 1/5 of our recently finished basement has begun.
As Rosanne Addan Addanna used to say..."Well, it's always somethin'". No truer words have been spoken.

More of the Snow Show

It was officially 8 -1/2" in our back yard. But the snow didn't prevent Old Glory from displaying her spectacular colors against the wintery backdrop.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Sweeping Changes Ahead?

As I got thinking, the Belly Bean has lived only 6 months with a Democratically controlled house; the rest of her years, and the entire lives of her siblings, have been under the control of a Republican house. As a favorite native son of Minnesota once penned... "the times they are a changin."

Bush should heed the wake-up call and at least try to extend some consideration for ideas, policies and discussions from "across the aisle". He has already acquiesced by accepting Rummy's resignation. But it remains to be seen if this was simply a ruse to pacify the growing anger he faces regarding policy in Iraq.

Conversely, if the Democrats want to hold on to this precarious balance of power, they will need to demonstrate some cooperation with their republican counterparts. For instance, be judicious about launching over-zealous congressional investigations and oversight committees. Instead the Democrat's (and Republicans) should focus on policies and best practices that will result in progress, lower deficits, improved international relations, improved education, reformed welfare programs, simplified taxes, more appropriate minimum wage, better environmental care, equal rights, smart immigration strategies.

Party politics and selfish practices will only result in continued voter disatisfactoin and a crappy democracy. Compromise and cooperation will win the day for everyone. Sweeping changes ahead? Probably not, but a balanced approach will make for smarter changes, that's for sure.

80/20 Rule?

Two days ago it was 80, sunny and summer-like. This morning we woke up to 20 degrees and 6 inches of misery.

Two hour delay for kid's school with cancelation most likely.

Buzz Daddy's gonna play hooky at least this morning.