Monday, November 29, 2010


Beaner, Tootsie and Big Dawg are hanging out on the couch prior to gobbling some Turkey. Of course Toots is not allowed on the couch, but over time, she has softened the ire from Sidetrack and she's now sort of accepted as another potato to the crop of couch potatoes that grow from time to time.

Beaner has been a terrific oldest sister for Big Dawg. She recently completed reading the 4th Harry Potter book to him and will soon undertake the 5th in the series of 7. He really enjoys her reading and she is getting very good at it. The ability to read from a text is a wonderful skill to have... to be sure.
Thanksgiving at our house was typically warm and intimate (see pic below). JoAnn joined us again this year and we thoroughly enjoyed the food and company. I braved the weather to get the outside decorations up on trees, bushes and in the yard. It's no Clark Griswald work of art, but sufficient enough for our quiet little street.
And so it goes, the holiday season is in full swing. The shop is open on Sundays 12 - 5:00 and we've extended our hours to 6:00 p.m. during the week. The holiday biscuits are out and the radio plays seasonal tunes for customers to enjoy. It's all fun but a lot of work. Everyone pitches in. We're still trying to figure out what we intend to do for taking days off to celebrate Christmas and New Years.

We'll return to Minneapolis for the New Year's jump in the hole. This year I'll be joined by a foreign exchange student living with my in-laws, and maybe Crazy Pete. Chalupa, because of her back surgery will be on the sidelines this year and will have to wait a year to become a Baracuda.... I become a Baracuda II. One jump closer towards the Shark Robe!

Hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful T-Giving and are sliding into a fantastic holiday season. Cheers!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cranky Contraption

So at dinner last night, I made a simple goulash comprised of egg noodles, carrots, celery, a little bit of onion, some bits of green pepper, pork and a few spices. Trust me, this was nothing fancy.
But you can tell by the look on Big Dawg's face, that he was in no mood for this food. Chalupa, on the other hand, seemed quite amused by her brother's sour expression, and was even more amused that I was taking this picture (which of course made BD even more ticked off). Well it turns out that maybe the cooking wasn't all that bad. Perhaps there was something else that rattled BD's cage.
And what do you suppose that might be? As you can see (above), Big Dawg was fitted with this contraption (headgear) to adjust his teeth and jaw for future braces and manipulation. If you look closely, there are rubber bands that attach to hardware on the upper part of his mouth. All I know is that if I had to wear this contraption at night, I'd be cranky too.

Meanwhile, Chalupa turned her attention to Tootsie (below) who seemed more deserving of her frivolity and sense of humor. But after closer inspection.... even Tootsie looks a bit annoyed.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Christmas Cactus is in Full Bloom

Does this mean the holidays are just around the corner. Wasn't the 4th of July just yesterday? . The reality of owning a retail business is starting to hit home. We are now open on Sundays for the holidays and we're going to discuss expanding our hours to 6:00 p.m. not just 5:30. This also means that we will be unwitting participants in the day after Thanksgiving retail insanity.

According to our records, the store moved 600 pounds of dog treats last year. To date, we have a little more than 200 lbs made. Fire up the ovens, full steam ahead.

In other news, there will be a shift in teaching next Spring. Sidetrack will move over to an Entrepreneurial Marketing Class (Wednesday nights), and I will start teaching Strategic e-Commerce for Entrepreneurs (Tuesday nights). I will miss working with the business students on their writing, communications and ethics, but I won't miss the few students who are only there because it's a required class. It will also be nice to have Thursday's free for many reasons.

We were joined this weekend by Marpy, our 4th daughter. Her folks are at Colgate, visiting her brother. Always fun to have her around. She fits in nicely with all her "sisters", and because she puts the teenaged girl headcount to an even number... she becomes the great equalizer and peace-makers.

All of this activity with the shop, with teaching, and with my day job, has limited my running. The break is nice, but I'd sure love to get out for a long one from time-to-time. Sidetrack is in no better spot. Her primary client (consulting) has two busy times of a year, we are in the middle of one of those two windows of chaos. So, between her work, the shop and teaching... she hasn't been able to swim much as of late. With all this inactivity, we might gain some weight!!!

Speaking of weight, Chalupa's school nurses have been in regular contact with us about her weight. They seem to imply that she is either malnurished, neglected, or has an eating disorder. I gently suggested that she is simply the product of her scrawny parents who they have never seen or met.

The week ahead will be out of control until about Thursday. And so it goes...

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Reindeer were the order of the day. Beaner, Brinz (brother out-law), Peanut and Chalupa was cranking out a batch for the upcoming holiday season.
We are sliding into a holiday mode. Discussions of Thanksgiving have begun, and a schedule of days off for kids is on the calendar. It was 70 degrees today, so it's very hard to get our heads around holidays when it feels like summer.

There are days when I think we bit off more than we can chew. Today, is one of them.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Hard to Believe

No snow yet, but it's a matter of time. Here are some snowmen biscuits we have dressed up and ready to go when the snow finally hits and the holiday season goes into full swing. I confess, these are pretty cool.
Tomorrow is Sidetrack's birthday, so we will gather round the table, sing happy birthday and enjoy a quiet meal with family. Seems like this (a quiet meal with family) is getting tougher and tougher to do.
Thankfully, the bulk of athletic activities become dormant for a few months. Soccer is over for Peanut, and Chalupa is on the DL. Big Dawg will play indoor soccer, but he only practices once a week. Piano and guitar lessons are about it. It's all good.

During the insanity of September and October, one of our nephews (Zach, 23) passed away unexpectedly. There was a small quiet local service and it was left that family would come out to visit when the dust settled. So this past weekend, Sidetrack when to visiting her sister and nephew in Poughkeepsie, NY. It was a nice visit, and life is beginning to move forward in a "new normal" kind of way.

Never an easy time, but always a time to reflect on the family, friends and things that are most important to us. And so we move on. Sidetrack has returned, the hostage situation has ended, and no travel plans are scheduled until December.... (aside from the occasional trip to Des Moines for work).

"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." [F. Scott. Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby]... looking ever forward to our futures with a spirit of optimism and grace... and a distinct sense of purpose AND humor.