Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Plus 50

Easter Weekend had us in the Twin Cities for Uncle Brinz's 50th Birthday. Here's the Birthday boy trudging across the street. The weekend began with a bowling palooza which is always fun when no one really cares about their scores. Big Dawg learned to bowl without bumpers and scored his first line (84).

The following evening we had dinner at Sidetrack's sister's (Grethen) house. All the cousins were there except Sean who remained in NC with his family. Below we see (from left) Big Dawg, Matt, Chalupa, Brinz and Peanut. This was moments before the couch erupted into a small revolution. No surprise with the barrel of monkeys sitting on it.
Sidetrack's mom is doing as well as can be expected, despite the onset of Alzheimer's Decease. It was good to see Bro-Joe, Delma, Patrice, Harlin, Ursula, Elika, Gretchen and Jay. We also met the Beck's foreign exchange student Rizza, who cooked a magnificent Indonesian meal.

We returned in time to open the shop on Sunday... only a few biscuit buyers stopped in, but it was nice to see their owners. Now that the Easter weekend has passed, we've all returned to work, and school and/or both. And so it goes. . .

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Koko Taylor, June 1995 - April 2011

Koko joined Raisa earlier today to terrorize the great dog house in the Sky. She was almost 16 years old and lived a full, and mostly happy life... except for that porcupine incident.

She was an anniversary gift for Sidetrack back in 1995. Beaner was one year old and we were expecting Peanut six months later. Chalupa, Peanut, Big Dog, Truman and Tootsie have never known life without Koko being a part of it.

Koko was a very sweet girl who endeared herself to many people including J.A. Mandy, and a host of neighbors (Mentings, Reeves, Chadimas, and Larsons). Her travels took her to Texas, Wisconsin, Minnesota and back to Iowa, where she calls home. Along the way she spent a few nights in the woods, loved to swim and had the occasional run-in with local "authorities".

But at the end of the day, she was always home with us. We will remember her fondly, and miss her dearly. RIP Koko. And so it goes....

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Chill Out - "Flip" Out

This doesn't look like soccer does it? Beth (blue) Chalupa, and Andrea stand around waiting for results to see if they continue on in the tournament. As it happened, the day turn colder with results. The ladies were tied with another team after all games were played. So the officials flipped a coin to see which team would move on. It was a long, silent car ride home after that. . You could say we got chilled out then flipped out. And so it goes....

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Chill Out?

Yesserie... that's snow. April 16, and it's snowing. Ugh. Hard to believe we were enjoying 80 degree temps a few days ago. Spring in Iowa.

Chalupa and Ike are participating in a spring soccer tournament today up in Cedar Rapids. The fields are very exposed. Heck, even in July and 80 degree temperatures, the wind still blows and it's cold. I can't imagine what today and tomorrow will be like. Laura will let me know, so I can prepare for tomorrow.

Peanut and Chalupa were supposed to referee games this morning in Iowa City, but those matches were all canceled. That's the difference between recreational leagues and competitive soccer.

So, I'll sit in my warm office and work on Exec MBA items as well as get some papers graded for class. Sidetrack is taking the crew to Woofables to get ready for a photo shoot, then up to CR for Soccer. Beaner gets to sleep in. (How does THAT work??!!)

I'd tell you about the sweet way Beaner was asked to the Prom earlier this week, but she turned him down in anticipation of receiving a request from another suitor. But, for the sake of maintaining a positive relationship with Bearner, I won't get into any more details about her current Prom considerations.

And so it goes...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Game, Set....

Beaner (right) looks on as the opposing team hits one out of play. Despite the fortune of this point, Beaner and her temporary partner lost the match. It was only Beaner's second HS career loss. Her normal partner got "called up" to play varsity for a match, so that sort of took both girls off their game. Peanut showed up to see her big sister play. And yes, it was a cold as it looks.

Chalupa had better luck two days later in her seasonal debut back on the soccer pitch. The Fusion won 2 - 1 and Chalupa had some quality touches. Buzz covered the shop while Sidetrack made the trek to Muscatine to see the match. Big Dawg also showed up to cheer Chalupa on.

The shop continues to show incremental growth. This week we heard from potential vendors in Rhode Island and Milwaukee. We sent off sample kits and will see if this turns into more business. If history (brief as it may be) is any indication, we'll have to ramp up our baking.

In other news, between all the running around we're starting to prepare the garden for summer planting, and Buzz got the garage sort of cleaned out. Swapped the snowblower for the lawn mower, and finally boxed up all the holiday lights. Every year I tell myself to simplify our seasonal light show, and every year... we add more lights! Enough is enough!

On the hound front, Max got into green food coloring (don't ask) and so has blotches of green on his body. We also have spots on our living room rug. Thankfully, it's a inexpensive rug, but it does demonstrate our efforts to go green (I guess).

The week ahead is more of the same: Teaching, recruiting, Des Moines, Baking, Soccer, Tennis, Baseball, Baking, Woofables, Youth Groups and more... I'm sure. And so it goes....

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Servin' 'em up

West High JV Tennis Team practices in the City Park. Hard to believe all of this was underwater two (almost three) years ago. Beaner is in the far, upper left, court so you really can't see her. Anyway, she's climbed the ladder a bit this year and will be looked to for a certain amount of Leadership on the team and the courts. She'll rise to the challenge, I'm sure.

A few weeks ago, my boss formally announced his retirement. Since then I've fielded many questions about my professional fate and aspirations. It would be nice if I could provide a clear-cut answer, but truth be told, it's not that easy.

Simply put, the University of Iowa is a State organization, and therefore I technically work for the tax payers. With that said, typically when there is a job opening like the Director of Executive MBA Programs, the University forms a search committee, and then opens the job up to the entire State. They must consider ALL remotely qualified furlowed State Employees, then will consider other candidates (at large or otherwise).

I imagine there will be interest from a few folks at Iowa State, Northern Iowa, Coe College, Mt. Mercy University, and Kirkwood Community College to name a few; not to mention some of my colleagues here on campus. At the end of the day, this could become a six-eight month process. I suspect there are other streamlined ways this job could be filled, but am not optimistic about those options, because I'm unsure whether I've earned the endorsement of appropriate leadership. So I'll stay focused on those things I can control and wait to see how things unfold.

It'd be a good job, but the hours are long (regular six day weeks - no less than 50 -55 hours), and the pay is substantially less than the private sector. Conversely, working on campus is a luxury to be sure, and our benefits are great. The Dean of the College is also retiring, so there is a leadership void at the top, which also has it's implications... So we'll see. It'll be an interesting to see how things unfold....

On all other fronts, it's the same old Kiddie Chaos. We're thankful that when Beaner is not playing tennis, she can help taxi her siblings to and fro. No speeding tickets yet! And so it goes...