Three Cities

Madrid, Paris and London in two weeks. Wow. Awesome trip. I tried to look at it a little differently here and there along the way. Here’s some of what I saw –

“Tubers”

Madrid, Paris and London in two weeks.

Wow.

I met my daughter, Saela, in Madrid on June 25, which happened to be the 25th anniversary of my wedding to my lovely bride, Cassi. It was tough to be apart on that day, but the next couple of weeks made up for it.

Saela and I flew to Paris and met Cassi, Martin V and Mira on June 27. We were there for five days, checking out the “usual” awesome stuff, like the Eiffel Tower, Sacré-Cœur and Champs-Élysées, except for one day to and from Valenciennes in northern France for a World Cup football match at the Stade du Hainaut between The Netherlands and Italy. (The Dutch won and went on to meet the USA in the final.)

The EuroStar took us through The Chunnel to London on July 2. In addition to all the “usual” sights, like Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral and The Tower of London, we also traveled to Leavesden in Hertfordshire one evening to take in the Warner Bros. Studios Harry Potter Experience. They shot all of the movies there, and the Harry Potter Experience is now a permanent part of the campus.

Awesome trip.

I tried to look at it a little differently here and there along the way. Here’s some of what I saw:

Ridin’ the Vortex ‘Til the Wheels Fall Off

Does it qualify as “living” when all you do is run to your car, into the front doors of your destination, back to your car and, finally, into your house, no pauses or sidetracks?

Cold enough for ya?

Yeah, it’s been cold up this way the last coupla days.

So cold that 0° sounds – and feels – downright balmy.

I mean, it’s so cold you can throw a cup of water into the air and it’ll turn into a cloud of crystals immediately. As one media type pointed out a couple of days ago, nearly every TV news outlet in the state will demonstrate that little maneuver while we’re in the midst of this freakin’ cold vortex thingy. Too ugly out to go out and find real news.

Let’s just say it’s “triple-dog dare ya” cold. Think Flick in “A Christmas Story.” Come to think of it, we might have just stumbled upon a new phrase for expressing how cold the weather is – “We’re Flicked!”

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Everyday Miracles

I can work standing up for two hours a day. Big whup, right? I know. But a year out from my vertebrae fusion surgery, it’s huge. Bigger still when you consider that, for about four years prior to the surgery, I had significant pain, the kind that hinders day-to-day quality of life.

I can work standing up for two hours a day.

Big whup, right? I know. But for me, a year out from my vertebrae fusion surgery, it’s huge. Bigger still when you consider that, for about four years prior to the surgery, I had significant pain, the kind that hinders day-to-day quality of life.

I put off the surgery for a long time for various reasons, not the least of which were horror stories I heard from people about other people they knew who’d had fusion surgery and it didn’t help, maybe even made them worse. So they said.

But my pain got worse and worse. By the time I went in for the procedure, I was out of options. I could barely walk 30 feet without stopping for a break because of the pain shooting down my left leg. Sitting for any longer than 15-20 minutes could be unbearable. Finally, I met with my neurosurgeon, Dr. Alexander Drofa, and his confidence made me feel confident. (That’s us together at Sanford in downtown Fargo.)

Dr. Drofa isn’t just a miracle worker. He, himself, is a miracle. The staff members at Sanford who took care of me following my surgeries (I wound up having two) during my eight-day stay, from the nurses to the aides to the techs who took my blood pressure to the food workers who brought me my meals to the environmental services workers who cleaned my room – are each and every one miracles. My family members – Cassi, Saela, Martin, Mira and Carol – who have taken care of me and have been patient and kind with me through it all, are miracles.

If you define a miracle as something that changes a life for the better, and I do, then miracles they most certainly are.

How do I know?

Because it’s been only a year since my surgery, and while I can’t run or lift more than 50 pounds at a time, I can walk as far I want to without debilitating pain. Because I can work at my standing desk for two hours or more each day. And because my back, body and life feel better every day.

Everyday miracles.

New Life for “The Dakota Kid”

This was pretty cool –

Yesterday, I read this story by Marcus Hayes, a reporter/columnist at The Inquirer, Daily News and philly.com in Philadelphia: “Carson Wentz oushines Dak Prescott as Eagles Destry Cowboys.”

The story contained this…

Screen Shot 2017-11-22 at 9.20.41 AM

This was pretty cool –

Yesterday, I read this story by Marcus Hayes, a reporter/columnist at The Inquirer, Daily News and philly.com in Philadelphia: Carson Wentz outshines Dak Prescott as Eagles destroy Cowboys.

The story contained this –

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Pour, Water, Tamp, Mix, Tamp…

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

170427_Dennis-Fence

His name is Dennis.

Five years of living 60 or 70 yards away, just over the backyard fence, I really should’ve known that already.

I stood on his front step, shaking his hand and explaining that the posts that should’ve been holding up a couple of sections of our shared fence had rotted out. He’d noticed it, too. 

Yeah, we should replace them.

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Me, Mark & the White Robin

Albino Robin-2

A few days ago while on my midday walk with the dogs, when I was on the 1700 block of 15th Street South, I saw what looked like an albino robin.

Can’t be, I thought to myself. I took a double take and watched the bird and several robins fly down from the branch he was on toward the driveway of a nearby house. Must be a white dove, I said out loud. Even if that were the case, it would have been pretty unusual in this area. I’ve never seen an all-white dove in the Dakotas or Minnesota; they’re all grey.

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How I Became a Pirate

Once there was a little girl who, although I didn’t know it yet, was to be the first of three for my wife, Cassi, and me. The little lass loved books. More than that she loved having them read to her at bedtime….

Avast ye, mateys! (Pay attention!).

150919_How-I-Became-Pirate

Know ye that September 19 be International Talk Like a Pirate Day, ye landlubbers? Never ye mind – I’ll let ye keep drawin’ breath t’day. Fer now, pull up a stool an’ listen smartly while I spin the yarn of how I came te be a pirate. Arrrr!

(I’ll stop trying to write like a pirate now – it’s exhausting, not to mention confusing, and from what I hear most pirates couldn’t write, anyway.)

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Humor & Harmonization in o-HI-o

I spent a month in Columbus, Ohio, last week.

614-ColumbusYuck, yuck, yuck, yuck, yuck.

No, really. YUCK. Not the city – the bad joke.

I’m no comedian (obviously), so I generally leave the jokes to those who are. And last week, while in Columbus for a tradeshow for a couple of days, I ran into someone who seems to be a good one in the back of (614) Magazine, a free community publication.

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Not-Quite-Dead Rock Stars

Rock isn’t dead. It’s old and wrinkled, sure, but it’s alive and well and still playing at Moondance Jam. Really. Saw it with my own two eyes.

Rock isn’t dead.

I saw it myself late last Thursday on a delayed flight from Chicago to Fargo. And to quote a 35-year-old hit, “It was like lightning / Everybody was frightening / And the music was soothing / And they all started grooving…”

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