Sunday, December 31, 2017

New Years Day 2018

To all my readers (both of them), I wish you the best in 2018.

The photo below was taken a few years ago, in the spring.   I want to think of it as a new beginning.  

The future is waiting to be discovered.  The future will consist of dangers, adventures, happiness and sadness.   But such is life.  There are no guarantees.   So, take the cards you are dealt, and play the best hand you can.

Put on your big boy pants....and go tackle the future.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

A Lovely Waitress

It's nice to find a waitress who is willing to let a customer take her photo!  The place was packed and she was busy.  But, she was gracious enough to let me take a test shot to get the exposure about right.

Then, she was off and running to tend to customers.

My sincere thanks!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Eve: 2017

May all my readers have a safe, quiet, warm, and joyous Holiday Season.

There is enough turmoil in the world.  Let it go for a couple of days.  And, be thankful for what you have.  It is far more than most of the world.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

The 10K Brew Pub in Anoka, MN

I had a reason to swing my Anoka one night and noticed they have a brew pub.  The place was packed.  The beer was good.

And the music was fantastic.  I do some solo guitar work.  But, I don't have effects pedals and loop machines, etc.  I just play.  

This gentlemen was doing a great job minding all the technology AND the music.

I didn't get his name.  But, if I am looking at the website correct, he is Jake Ilika from Winona.

Nicely done, sir!

And, if you want to try a few unique beers, check out the 10K Brew Pub in tropical Anoka, Minnesota!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Burning in the Fall

I love burning brush and leaves in the fall.   Mind you, I don't like raking them and cutting the brush down.  But, it is the price you pay to burn.

We have prairie plants in a portion of our backyard.  It helps keep the river bank from eroding.  And, the prairie plants need to be burned every now and then.  They come back strong.

As winter descends upon us, I will look upon these and smell the smoke that tells of another summer gone by.

And I will know that as we begin the winter sleep, warmth and new life is just around the corner.   Today we will hit the winter equinox.

Things are already looking up!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Lake Superior

A friend of mine, years ago when he was about to graduate from HS, decided he was going to sell his soul to the freighters on Lake Superior for a while.

It was a brutally cold and often lonely year.  He was smart enough to call it quits when he realized how dangerous it was.  

The Edmund Fitzgerald went down that year. 

I am glad he decided to go to pharmacy school and has a nice, warm and much safer job.

While it is beautiful out there.   It can turn in a hurry.

I think I will settle down for a nice burger, beer, and a warm fireplace.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Colonoscopy and a Sense of Humor

If you have to go in for a colonoscopy, it's nice to know your doctor has a sense of humor.

I apologize for the photo.   It was taken with an iPhone and I was in a hurry.  And, I was laughing.   One should not laugh too hard in such a location.....after such prep.

Trust me.

Friday, December 15, 2017

A Wonderful Photographer

Meet Nate!

I was introduced to Nate through a commercial photographer friend.   My friend happened to be in town for Thanksgiving seeing family.   I was graciously invited to visit Nate's studio and watch the pro's in action.

We even had a few models!

I don't get to work with studio lighting much.  So, I felt like a babe lost in the woods.  But, Nate was most kind and gracious.

Thanks Nate!  I would love to cross paths again!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A Free Spirit and Blogger!

Meet Claudia

I was introduced to Claudia from one of the managers at the health club that I frequent.  Claudia was gracious enough to reach out to me and we arranged a brief coffee meeting. 

She is indeed, quite fascinating.   She runs three different blogs.  One is a travel blog.  She has traveled extensively around the world.   She also runs a blog about swimming in a lake near here with loons.   She was able to get very close and capture amazing photos of the loons, with babies, in tow.

It was lovely meeting you Claudia.   Thank you so much!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Deer Hunting in Minnesota

It was my second day deer hunting.  My hunting partner, Kenneth, below was gracious enough to take me.   He got his deer a few days ago on our first trip into the woods. 

That morning, it was a chilly 17F.  I went for a walk down a trail and he set up a blind and waited.  He was promptly rewarded!

The second trip into the woods was much warmer.  It was foggy with a slight rain.

It was, in fact, a fantastic day to be in the woods.  It was quiet.  We never saw a deer.   But, I learned there is more to hunting than shooting something.   Kenneth may disagree.  But it's my blog. 

Thanks Kenneth!   Next year?

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Urban Boatbuilders: Attendees

Meet one of the attendees and his lovely spouse!

As I was getting ready to leave, I stopped at the bonfire outside and met this couple.  He was there as a guest.  His company supplies the glue for the fabric boats!  

We had a wonderful time chatting before it was time for me to call it a night.

My sincere thanks for chatting!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Urban Boatbuilders: An overview of what they do

Meet Martha!

Martha was a wonderful help to me when I was wandering around.  She introduced me to people and talked about their mission.

So, as an overview:  Urban Boatbuilders has two programs that work toward their mission of teaching technical and interpersonal skills through boatbuilding. 
The Apprenticeship Program hires 16-19 yr old youth who have barriers to employment.  They work at UBB for about 4 months, are paid minimum wage, and have an opportunity to continue working beyond those 4 months, with increased responsibility.  They have 3 cohorts in this program:  spring, summer and fall with about 20 individuals in each cohort.

The Partnership Program involves bringing an instructor, tools, and materials to a school or community center in the Twin Cities.  There, the youth build the boat on-site. They service about 500 kids a year through this program!

Well done to you Martha, to the entire staff, and to the youth you learn woodworking skills, job skills, and interpersonal skills! 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Urban Boatbuilders: Boats Under Construction

As an older canoe guide, I have a deep respect and fondness for canoes.  I used the old Grumman canoes.  They were fantastic.  These, made out of wood strips and often fabric lined, were not only works of art, but incredibly light weight.

I love the symmetry of them.  And, I would love to try one out on the water.

A finished kayak.  Note to canoeing fanatics, they make paddles, too!

I found the workmanship amazing.  The canoes and kayaks were beautiful.  

Well done to the Urban Boatbuilders Team!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving Day: 2017

It's funny.  People drive all over to hunt turkey's.  I have them wandering through my yard.

For my American friends, have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.  You may want to avoid politics.  
To my non-American friends, I want to thank you for being friends.  You have made my life richer in so many ways.

While it may not seem like it, we have much to be thankful for.  Balance and perspective in life are important.   A quick look around at many places in the world should help put things into perspective.

Be safe.   Be warm.   Be thankful.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Urban Boat Builders: Omni Beer was there, too!

Meet Emily!

And meet her co-worker who wanted to remain anonymous!

They were representing Omni Beer.  This has Irish roots.  She is a local rep and loves her beer, dogs, and snow boarding!  
As for her anonymous co-worker:  I have nothing!

My sincere thanks to you both!  The beer was good!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Urban Boat Builders: Utepils Beer was There!

Meet Karen!

Karen was there representing Utepils Beer.  Maybe I am just a rookie, but I had not heard of Utepils before.  It was good!  She likes her beer and travels all over the world.  We bonded over cameras and taking photos!

Lovely meeting you, Karen!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Urban Boatbuilders: Music from the Wilkinson James

Meet Chris:  The base player

Meet Liz, the vocalist.    Liz comes from a long line of singers.  Her mother is 80 and is still singing!  Good for her!

She comes from N Carolina.   But, she has lived in tropical Minnesota long enough to survive!

Check out their website here!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Urban Boat Builders: Craft Beer Volunteers!

Meet Jill!

She told me she is a hard working feminist who happens to love good beer and good people!   Nothing wrong with that!

Very nice meeting you, Jill.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Urban Boatbuilders Annual Fund Raiser: Craft Beers Volunteers!

Meet Karen!

Karen has volunteered with John to work toward restoration of wood and canvas canoes.  She was volunteering with Surly Brewing.    She always loved working with wood but was busy with her career.  So, she retired about a few years ago and has been able to pursue work working.    She is also an avid golfer and tennis player!

And, I will add, she was most delightful and charming.

It was lovely meeting you, Karen.   Thank you!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Urban Boatbuilders: Fund Raising!

Meet John!

John was supporting one of the beer vendors at the Urban Boatbuilders  fund raising.  He was with Lake Monster Brewing.  He's been helping re-build and restore wood and canvas canoes for 5-6 yrs.

Thanks John!  It was a sincere pleasure meeting you!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Minnesota State Fair: A Personality

Meet Barry ZeVan, the Weather Man

I recognized Barry right away.  He was a local weather man for Channel 11 here in Minneapolis in the 1980's.  Before that, he did the weather for Channel 7 in Washington DC.  He is an actor and writer and is best known for The Best of Hollywood (1998), Television: The First Fifty Years (1999) and Hiding Victoria (2006).

It was a delight chatting with you, Barry.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Minnesota State Fair

I love going through the grandstand shops!  You meet the funniest people!

They were selling sweets!   And they were having a great time interacting with the crowds!

Thanks ladies!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Minnesota State Fair

 Meet Bessy.

Yes indeed. we are the fair.  I really believe urban dwellers don't understand or appreciate the ag life.  4Hr's get attached to their animals.  And, often at the end of the fair, they are auctioned off.

It's hard work.   Often unappreciated.   But, those who farm love the land...take pride in their work.  

Well done to all the farmers and those who support farmers.  Without you, we would be hungry.   Without you, a lot of the world would be hungry.   

And that is not lost on me.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Minnesota State Fair: Operation Sight and Soul

Meet the members of Operation Sight and Soul.  This organization consists of veterans from WWII, Korea and Viet Nam.  Many are dealing with health or mental issues.  

The organization gets them out of the homes or care facilities, gets them together with their peers, and they sing. 

It was a delight listening to them.   They clearly enjoyed the time together.   And, the guitarist was wonderful, as well.

My sincere thanks to all of the men and women who served.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Minnesota State Fair: In the Grandstand

I always like going through the Grandstand at the fair.  There you will see all kinds of people engaged in the free market, selling slicers, dicers, license plate art, furniture, massage chairs and god know what else.

I loved seeing the booth that was selling artwork, jewelry and t shirts out of guitars and items to do with guitars.  There was a lot of jewelry made out of guitar strings.  

I didn't get this gentleman's name.  But, he had the right personality for selling guitar stuff!

And, I did chuckle at this t shirt.  For those who don't get it:  the Gsus is a G chord with an added 4th.  In this case, a C.

Very creative!

Thanks for visiting and letting me get a few photos!

Monday, October 9, 2017

The Minnesota State Fair: Scarecrows in the 4H Building

4H is a program designed to help youth learn and appreciate their rural heritage.  Besides caring for farm animals, there are a number of creative and craft things that 4H'rs do.

There was a very creative section on homemade scarecrows.   I rather liked these.

I have no idea if it actually works.  But, I did chuckle at it, and many of the others.

Well done!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

The Minnesota State Fair: Urban Boat Builders!

Urban Boat Builders is a non-profit organization that teachers inner city kids how to build boats, canoes, and kayaks, out of wood.

They did some beautiful work. They were giving away a beautiful canvas kayak.  I entered.  But, I wasn't successful. 

However, I am planning on attending their fund raiser later this week to do photos.

Nicely done, all.  

Friday, October 6, 2017

The Minnesota State Fair: The Versa Slicer!

I love watching people hawk their wares.   It is a time honored tradition.  And, watching it in person isn't any different than watching it on TV.  Except, I can get a beer when I want a lot easier at home.

People who do this are well practiced.   They have the routine down.  They know every step, every word, to help draw in potential customers and get them to part with some cash.

I have to admit, the Versa Slicer was pretty cool.  It was possible to slice and dice anything!  

Check one out!  

Thank you, Sir!  I didn't get your name.  You were making the sales pitch.  So, I didn't want to disturb you.   But, it was fun watching you work!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Minnesota State Fair: The Shooting Gallery

I remember being a kid and looking at the fair's shooting gallery.   Almost every kid I knew liked to shoot at something.  We all asked our parents for BB guns.   And, it was a big deal when we got one.   Maybe this is one of the reasons I like the Christmas Story so much.  Ralphy is me...and almost every little boy.

But, shooting galleries have changed.  We used to shoot BB's with compressed air.  Now, we can do it with laser beams!  Hit the bulls eye and you get some motion out of the target.

I loved the old west saloon theme.   So did some of those trying their luck.

And, we need someone to keep order.  Meet Keith!

Thanks Keith.   You did a great job keeping the line moving and helping those who didn't have an experience with BB guns in their youth. 

It was a pleasure meeting you.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Minnesota State Fair: Deer Stands!

I like going to the fair.  It's true, not a lot changes from year to year.  But, it is a nice place to walk around and people watch.  And, you get to see what people are selling.

Meet Lisa!

She and her husband sell deer stands. They've been at the fair for 6 years now.   They are Packer fans, of course.  But, we won't hold that against them!

For those of you who think this is a stand for a person to walk up and order a deer or two, to go, you would be wrong.

This is an example of a deer stand.   Raised platform.  Nice, strong, stair/ladder with guard rails and a side railing, a bit camo and plenty of glass to look out and see the deer approaching.

So, yes, if you were wondering, this is for hunters to stay inside, out of the wind, rain, or snow during deer hunting.  The windows open.  The hunter stays nice and dry, and can shoot from inside.

I wish I would have had one of these when I was a kid to use as a fort.  They were AWESOME!

Thanks Lisa.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Minnesota State Fair: Ice Cream!

Meet Jerry!

Jerry has been selling ice cream at various state and county fairs for a while.  And, he loves meeting the people and getting a smile out of the kids...and some adults!  He is from Phoenix but gets to travel all over the US.

Nice meeting you, Jerry!  Good ice cream, too!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Assiniboine Park: Sculpture and Music

I loved the concert in the park, surrounded by flowers, sculpture, and plenty of sunshine.

It was a lovely sound of light jazz, with just a single guitar player (very good, I might add) and a vocalist.

The sounds carried beautifully throughout the park.