Back to the Beach

Emma at the Beach
Originally uploaded by mathman72
A couple of weekends ago, Mel, Emma, and I went to the swimming area at Lake Elmo Park Reserve in Washington County to go for a swim. When we got there we had a tough time getting Emma into the water at first. This afternoon, after Emma's nap, we returned to go swimming again. This time getting Emma into the water initially was not too difficult. However, once she was in, she kept wanting to go back to the sand. Once she was standing at the edge of the water though, she kept walking back in. We only stayed about an hour this afternoon because we got there fairly late in the afternoon, around 4:00, and it was very windy, making it feel quite cold if we were not in the water. Nevertheless, we had fun, and Emma seemed to really enjoy it as well.


Another Baby on the Way

If you are someone who visits my blog regularly, and doesn't just read it through some sort of blog reader, you may have noticed the baby ticker that appeared in the left margin of this blog on Sunday. It is true! My wife and I are expecting our second child! We currently have the due date calculated as being February 2, but everyone seems to give a different date. The nurse said February 3 or 4, the doctor said the first week of February, and the online due date calculator said February 2. The delivery will be scheduled anyway, so it really does not matter what any of these due dates are specifically, and as we found out with Emma, sometimes babies decide to arrive a couple of weeks early. I don't have much else to share at the moment, but I will try to keep all my readers apprised with the baby's progress.


Another Anniversary

A week ago yesterday was a sad anniversary for me, but another, much more pleasant anniversary was yesterday. Yesterday marks the fourth anniversary of my first day of work at my current employer. This is the longest I have had any job since graduating from college. I have to say that I am very happy I found this job. Oh I enjoyed teaching some of the time, but I also had some problems with it. While it is a lot of work much of the time, it is also a rewarding job that I feel I am good at. In the past year, working from home full time, my work environment has changed considerably and my interaction with my coworkers has also changed significantly, but I continue to find it to be a rewarding job. I hope to continue working in the assessment industry for many years to come.



One of the people I follow on Twitter, roneyII, decided some time ago to tweet exclusively using the Klingon language on the third Wednesday of each month. This is something that I have decided to do as well. However, as this seemed to annoy a couple of my Twitter followers last month, I am going to provide translations to my tweets here on my blog. Hopefully this will make everyone happy. The writing in pIqaD (Klingon writing) comes from qurgh's Klingon Language database.


Die Cat Die

Die Cat Die
Originally uploaded by mathman72
The cat shown in this blog entry is one of the two or three cats from the neighborhood which wanders into our yard on occasion. While I would not welcome stray cats into our yard normally, I would be less upset by them if we didn't have a cat of our own. Our cat, or maybe I should say Mel's cat, does not care for other cats invading what he believes to be his territory, despite the fact that he never goes outside. At least this cat was in the back yard, so Ike, our cat, could not see it.

This cat is rather large which makes me think that it is quite well fed and may in fact be someone's pet. If this is someone's pet, that person would be well advised to keep tighter control on in, because if I am ever able to capture the cat, I will be calling animal control to take it away. Of course, catching the cat might prove to be very difficult, so if anyone has any tips, they would be well appreciated.


Kentucky Grilled Chicken

After spending a few hours swimming, we didn't really want to cook anything for dinner. We didn't really have much planned for dinner; we had originally planned on having soup, but that didn't sound too appealing. So we decided to pick up some chicken from KFC. I wanted to try their new grilled chicken, but despite Oprah's ravings about it, I wasn't sure how good the grilled chicken would be, so of the chicken I bought, I had them fill the order so half of it was grilled and the other half was extra crispy. I started with eating the grilled chicken breast. I thought it was pretty good. For a second piece of chicken, I had the extra crispy chicken thigh. It just did not taste that good to me. I don't know what the deal was, but Mel didn't think her crispy chicken was all that great either. I also didn't fine the maccaroni and cheese to be super either. I do not think we will be getting KFC as a family any time soon, and if I go to KFC to get lunch some time, it will probably be the grilled chicken.

An Afternoon Swim

This afternoon, after Emma woke up from her nap, we all headed to Lake Elmo Park Reserve to go swimming at the swimming pond there. The entire way to the part, Emma kept saying that she wanted to go play in the water. She continued to let us know this as we walked from where we parked to the pond. Once we got to the beach and stepped into the water though, Emma's desire to play in the water changed. She wanted to get out of the water! We got her to play in the sand by the water with the shovel and colander that we brought with us. Mel was in the water a short distance out. Eventually Emma headed out toward Mel. Once Emma got into the pond, she had a blast. When the lifeguards told everyone to get out of the water for a break, Emma kept wanting to go back in. We will probably be making more trips back to Lake Elmo Park Reserve this summer to take advantage of the swimming area.


Trip to Como Zoo

Originally uploaded by mathman72
A few weekends ago, Mel and Emma went to the Minnesota Zoo while I had to stay home to work. So today I thought it would be fun to go to the zoo again, but I suggested the Como Zoo as it would have involved less walking, and it provided some variety. Besides, I thought Emma might enjoy some of the rides at Como Town.

We spent a couple of hours wandering around the zoo. Emma was especially excited to see the giraffes. We had stopped to look at an ostrich, but Emma just wanted to get to the giraffes. It was tough getting her away from there so we could see the rest of the zoo.

We ate lunch at the zoo around 12:30. After that, Emma seemed to be very tired, so we quickly finished up checking out the animals at the zoo and then headed home. We didn't get a chance to check out Como Town. Perhaps we will do that some other day.


Four Years

I can not believe that it was four years today that my dad passed away, just five days after his sixtieth birthday. It doesn't seem like it was so long ago as I can still vividly remember that Sunday afternoon when I found out. I still think about him frequently, and will do so even more when I am on my tenth RAGBRAI next month. RAGBRAI was something that I with my dad from my first RAGBRAI in 2000 through 2004. I have ridden each year since then as well which means that after this year's ride, I will have been on as many RAGBRAIs without my dad as I was with him. I do really regret that he wasn't able to meet Emma, nor will Emma get to meet him.


Preparing for RAGBRAI

With RAGBRAI just 37 days away, I have stepped up my training somewhat. Most of my training has been by taking short rides during my lunch break from work. That is one benefit of working from home. The problem with these rides though is that they are not very long, averaging between four and six miles per ride. So far I have ridden 83.94 miles this year. That is more than three times the distance I rode prior to last year's RAGBRAI, but it is not nearly enough. Fortunately I still have some time to get some riding in. I think what is really going to be trouble for me on RAGBRAI this summer is the hills. I haven't done much riding up hills, but I did ride up a short hill today, and it was tough. I think I better concentrate my riding on hills as much as I can. Going down the hill was fun though. I exceeded the speed limit by 5 miles per hour, riding down the hill at nearly 35 miles per hour.

I have made another preparation for RAGBRAI though. That was buying some replacement pole for my tent. Two summers ago, one of the brim rod for the tent broke which created problems in keeping the rain fly away from the rear window of the tent. Prior to last year's ride, I ordered a replacement one. Unfortunately I thought the model of tent we have is the Tetragon 8. We actually have the Tetragon 9, so the pole was a little too short. Then last summer, one of the main support poles of the tent broke toward the end of the ride, so I had to get a replacement one of those as well. I was expecting that pole to be quite pricy, but it wasn't nearly as expensive as I feared it would be. Now I really should set up the tent to make sure the poles I got are the right ones, and I should do it in plenty of time to remedy the situation if they are the wrong poles.

Black Eyed Peas

The Black Eyed Peas has a new CD that was released this week, The E.N.D.I have enjoyed some of their music in the past, although I have found some of it to be utter crap as well. I had already heard the song "Boom Boom Pow" from the album, and it is a pretty good song. It has a good beat and one could dance to it. Then this morning, I saw their performance of "I Gotta Feeling" from the Late Show with David Letterman earlier this week, and it's a pretty good song too. I don't know if I would go out and buy the whole CD right now, but if the other songs on the CD are as good as these two, it might be worth considering.


I have been an avid user of coupons when grocery shopping for as long as I can remember. The amount of money I save using coupons usually more than offsets the cost of buying the newspaper in which I have found the coupons. Well last week I found another source of coupons, CouponSuzy.com. On the website I was able to find coupons for several items I regularly purchase but for which I seldom see coupons in the newspaper. I will have to start looking for additional online sources for coupons to try to save even more money on the grocery bill.

Blogging Frequency

If you read my blog regularly, you have probably noticed that the frequency of my blog postings has dropped off considerably recently. For the first few months of the year, I blogged quite often, posting an average of almost once per day. Then last month I only wrote on average of every other day. And this month, my blogging has been almost nonexistent. I just haven't had all that much to write about lately. That will probably change here as I have a few things to write about now. I just want you all to be sure that I am still here, and still blogging.


Sesame Street's Grover Explains Marriage

With the help of a friend, Grover, my favorite Muppet, explains what marriage is.

Weight Loss

For a while now I have off and on recorded my progress at getting my weight down to a healthier level. I have not blogged about this recently though. The main reason is that I have not been doing too well at watching my weight for the past couple of months. I went to the doctor for a physical exam last month and he told me that I could stand to lose ten pounds, but otherwise I seem perfectly healthy. Since that time, I have probably gained a couple of pounds from unhealthy eating. So today I am once again committing myself to watching what I eat and to exercising more so I can lose those last ten to fifteen pounds.

I think that what is making watching what I eat to be difficult is that for much of the day, when I am at work, I am sitting about five feet from the refrigerator and from the cupboard where much of the available food in the house is kept. Maybe I should just close the door and pretend that the kitchen is not so close to me. Another problem with watching my weight as someone who works from home is that I do not tend to walk as much as I would when I worked in the office. To counter this problem, I either need to start walking more or make sure to exercise more regularly. Maybe I should start walking Emma to daycare in the morning. It is only a mile from home, so it would not take too long, but it would be some good exercise. If the weather is good tomorrow, and if Emma is ready to go when we need to go, we will definitely do that.