two new transplanted.links (on the left)

"Dear Frances" - this is the site of Tom's friend Miles, who I've met before. He's a woodworker. He offers handmade wood kitchen utensils. Tom gave me a few and I have to say, they are wonderful. This is further proven by the fact that his site says they are all sold out. I would keep going back if you like nice kitchenware.

"Food Network Addict" - this is the site of Abby's friend Jacob Strauss. He started this sometime back (I believe), so far in fact that the FN actually gives him info and access over other media outlets. It's pretty cool. Also, if you watch any of the shows or like the FN in general, I think you'll like this site.

Merry Christmas!!!

It's already post-present time at my sister's house as I write this. I hope everyone has a good holiday spent with family and friends. I caught a cold from work on the last day, but the BIG present seems to have gone over. That's it, it just went over. I'm sure I built it up bigger in my mind and on this blog than it needed. I'll post a pic of the finalized version after the New Year (once everyone has theirs).

Little Christmas Trivia - I heard Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer was originally written as a holiday jingle for the Chicago Montgomery Wards store, by none other than Gene Autry, in 1938. He also has writing credits on IMDB for one or two other popular Christmas songs ("Here comes Santa Claus")... pretty good for the man known as the "Singing Cowboy".

Happy Ho Ho, Everyone.


"In 5 days, every secret will be revealed!"...

This is the trailer copy for National Treasure II. George and I saw the first one on some free passes out in the suburbs around noon on a Saturday morning. We've made fun of the that trailer copy "In order to break the code, one man must break all the rules!" ever since. I still think the 2nd movie will be a good holiday flick, why not?

Family - I'm sure it's holiday crunch time for everyone. Talked to John last week to give him my gift ideas. And also texted with Vic. She finished her first semester at UofI - CONGRATS!!! She knows she already has a couple of "A"s, so that's good. Got through her finals, even one on the last Saturday (I know, Saturday!).

Plus, my custom gift work is all wrapped now and ready to go. I'm not sure all of the sizing will be correct, but I can send in a follow-up order if needed.

Friends - I got a welcome call from Miss Emily Holliday last night. This is a good friend and former SRAMmie. She now lives in Minneapolis with her boyfriend/babydaddy. She is literally 8.75 months pregnant and about to pop. She's frustrated that it hasn't happened yet. I'm sure it won't be long. It was good to catch up with her and I think I'll be visiting when I go up there for a work trip in Feb.

Haven't heard much from others, but Jenny's been coming to MKE for work the last couple weeks. Some client in town. We're thinking she'll be able to stay for dinner one of these nights.

Went to the opening of MKE's first Urban Outfitters this Friday. It's just like every other UO. So, we hit some more local shops and got more drinks after that. Better than sitting at home.

Bike - Sold one out. Kona is disassembled and ready to be boxed. Finding a proper box for them has been a problem. I've gone to two shops already and it will probably involve a third. Once I have the box, it shouldn't be a problem - out before midweek with the Christmas gifts too.

Ran in the snow on Sunday morning... not good footing at all.

A/R - Rearranged the apartment this weekend. This entailed moving the bookshelves (taking most everything off, dusting, then replacing). Switching the couches up, moving the carpet, lighting, etc. Before everything went back down, or in the new spot, I also vacuumed and wet-Swiffered the floors too. This took a good part of the Packers game, but no big deal. I like it better too, so far.

Wiperblade update - I had to zip-tie one of the $15 wiper blades onto the wiper arm. It wouldn't stay on otherwise; some great product for them money. I needed them too... we've now had 22.8" of snow so far this season.



Christmas Gift Delivery has arrived - The custom ________ are in from the custom ________ maker. They look great and everyone I've been telling the plan to here at work and around town has been behind it. I hope it turns out well on Christmas morning when everyone opens them, or the rest of the day will be spent in the dog house. [Not to be confused with Milwaukee's Dogg Haus]


Political Leanings.

I've never been too political, but some news stories this weekend have gotten alot of airtime. It's got me thinking about our current president and the potential for a future one. I'm of the opinion that anyone who voted for Bush the first time is of questionable intelligence. And it follows, that anyone who voted for Bush a 2nd time has proven that they do indeed lack intelligence. As for this coming race, I don't know who the perfect candidate is yet, but I would like someone that is intelligent & honest, no matter what race, sex, or religion they may be.

Now, onto the entry -

Family - Mom has had her BDay and I've heard it included a brunch at the Greenwood Snack Shop. This is a local "greasy spoon", but in the best sense of the word. In fact, I loved the few times we went there as kids, but haven't been back in ages. It's the kinda place where the kids got to sit at the counter and watch the food get cooked, while mom and dad hung back and sat in some quiet. I'll have to sneak over during the holidays, if I get the chance.

Friends - Not too much going on 'round these parts. Haven't caught up with anyone in a week or more, but hopefully it's the calm before the storm of the holidays. I should be able to see most folks before heading back up to the great white north. Oh, and I have really small, yet powerful, gifts for everyone. If I don't see you, you ain't getting it.

I did get out for a fun night last Wednesday. A friend of a friend that lives nearby invited me out to a cheap burger night. Chicago has the same thing at many local watering holes, and this one was also a a "college" bar. So, for $1.75, not including the cheese or bacon, you can grab a burger. The bar also has $1-$1.25 beer specials for most of the night. It was a fun time with 3 guys and 2 girls. I think I got home at midnight, on a Wednesday... this doesn't happen alot anymore.

Bike - Finding some bike boxes and hoping I get the last of the parts. No riding is happening with all the snow now (least for me), but I have begun running again. It's a quick 25-30 minutes, but outside with temps of 10-25 degrees, it's pretty interesting. This will get me through the winter too, no problemo.

A/R - Floss. That's the word from the new dentist and, as we all know, has been the word in oral hygiene for as long as I can remember. I've recently been "caught" at the dentist and started doing it for real. Twice a day and it's paying off already. Once you get into a routine with it, it's not so bad anyways. I'd recommend the regular ole floss string.


Family - Talked to my Dad this past week and seems like they're doing good. I'm sure getting ready for the holidays and my Mom's bday on the 7th (also Pearl harbor Day). On a related note, I completed all of my family and friends Christmas shopping in one fell swoop this past Saturday. It's a single gift item, but one for each person. I designed it myself and phoned it all in. It'll take a couple of weeks for it to arrive, but it should be in plenty of time. Now, I only need to finalize a creative way to wrap them all (I prefer not using wrapping paper as guys never wrap it right, and it seems like a big waste).

Friends - Big news - I completed the LakeFront Brewery Tour. This is the $10 tour, $5 food coupon, fish fry, and polka band all in one. I went with a friend of a friend... someone I met through George's Meet-Up Indie Rock Group. We did it Friday night after work and some more dental grinding for me. We walked quickly from our neighborhood in the cold air of the evening. Once inside the warm, yeasty, confines, it was all beer. Dinner first, then tour tickets, then the tour. Not too much techincal info, but just enough. Plus, after every techincal stop, you get a beer refill stop. Not too shabby. After that, we went to another local bar called "Wolski's". It's a great local watering hole that I just had to check out. All in all, a good night - one that required something greasy and cheesy the next morning.

Work - Progression is not a light-speed occurence, but I do see it happening. That's enough for me at this time. Still, I like the group of people we have assembled and many of the "all-stars" are beginning to show themselves.

Bike - The snow has hit Milwaukee, and most of the Midwest and US. The bikes stayed in the weekend. Getting the Kona ready for its new home, just waiting on some last parts. Bikes come and go. I'd like to get out for some riding/running before the next holiday hits, but the tooth just got refixed, so I'll let all that heal up before pushing it outside in the cold.

A/R - I've been making a conscious effort as of late to not accept grocery bags at stores. I carry a TJ's re-usable bag for groceries, otherwise it's usually a purchase of one to a few items, and there's no need for a plastic bag for this - I mean, it just goes from the store, to my car, to home, then usually gets used within hours. A bag is silly. However, I've now run out of bags... which isn't such a big deal, but it hurts a person like me who sorts and bags all of his recycling. Luckily, I just got some paper bags from WholePaycheck b/c I forgot my TJ's bag. Nuts and Yea!


Not feelin' like writin'.

Good holiday, here's the highlights:
- Pre-Brined turkey from Trader Joe's, GOOD.
- Turned 33. You didn't wish me "Happy Birthday" yet? Shame on you.
- Went for a ride on the new bike this past Sunday. Smooth.
- Work is busy and will remain so.


Gobble, gobble...

... let's keep this short this time. Perhaps I can catch up with many of you in person this coming TurkeyWeek. Sweet as pie.

Family - Busy busy busy getting ready for the holiday at the Kator house. So, I'll be staying at the Boyle's house. They have the double tall aerobed that will become Uncle Marty's room for the duration. I do have to be ready to be woken up about 6AM every morning, usually with a "BOO!", but it's worth it; a tradeoff I'll gladly accept. Also, Jes doesn't know it yet, but I intend to bring some laundry and use their big machines while I'm in town. I mean, the plethora of quarters needed at my building are getting old.

Friends - So, the big birthday dinner is a no-go. It just wasn't going to happen this year with people's travel plans and the fact that I'm in Milwaukee. I think it'll end up that I have dinner with some peeps in Chicago while I'm down for the holiday. This will be fun too. I mean, it's not like I still need a kid's party and an adults party... I am going to be 33. It's ok, I'll buy myself some presents and beers and move on.

I hope I can see most everyone this coming week in the city, but I think I'll miss seeing Jenny most. She's going to be in K3 and we won't get to have breakfast at France's. This is one of the best breakfast spots in the city, and a place we like to go to... just on our own... to gossip about everyone else... no, not really :)

Bike - So, it's done. The new 29er. If I ever get a digital camera, I can post some pics of all my bikes. I went out yesterday for about 45 min on it. It rode very nicely - no hands and all. It's mostly Johnny Cash black except for a few of the company parts which come in pimpin' white. Also, my brother Matt's gonna get the green Kona back. I have to put parts back onto it, but it should happen pretty easily.

Work - Work? It's like a 2 day work week. I'm taking Wednesday off and coming to Chicago. Work will be interesting next week when we all get back... but then we have Christmas break to look forward to. Ho ho ho.

A/R - So, have you ever cleaned the little plasctic cap on your bathroom sink's faucet? Well, I've done it a few times when I move into a new place. It's the clear plastic cap that covers the ball-socket that controls the hot-cold flow of water. It gets gummed up with all kinds of dirt, dust, hair, etc. So, you just pry it up, spray it all down with glass cleaner or what have you, and put it back together. Good as new, and I think it even keeps me cleaner - it must, right?


Fish Fry and Riding Weekend...

Family - I'm not sure where to place this topic, but it really is family related... just not mine. I went with Nicole up to Osh Kosh to meet her mom and 2nd hubby. I should have asked more questions prior to Friday night, b/c it turns out I have now met everyone of her 7 sibs save for one brother. I have now even met her grandparents and some aunts and/or uncles. They had a group of about 20, some only attending b/c they heard "fresh blood" was gonna be there. I can't blame 'em either. It was a good WI fish fry, a relaxed time, and unfortunetly, a long night. They don't normally get under way with dinner 'til about 9-9:30PM. And Nicole and I had to drive up & back, which it made it pretty interesting, esp after a fried food dinner {burp}. I'm glad I went, she has a large, excitable group.

Friends - Seems to be pretty low key right now with everyone. Perhaps a brief "catch yer breath" after the last couple weeks. I did get a call from Bret and need to catch up with him. I also sent out a bday invite to everyone for the Turkeyday weekend. It'll be the first up here, and lots of people travel, but if I can get a few, that'll be enough for fun.

Bike - Big news in bike town - I went riding. Yeah, that's right, about 3 hours off-road on a Sunday morning. Now, most of Milwaukee was getting ready for the Packers game... but a co-worker had sent out an email this week for some trails that are almost next to my house. I wanted to get in some riding and meet others. It wasn't too cold out and the group was pretty fast and large (about 12 of us). The trails turned out to be in great shape. Alot of up and down, roots, rocks, and some stinky runoff water spots. But a good loop that I was happy to get a look at with people that have done it before. I'm certainly, horribly out of practice on the MTN bike, but it sort of comes back to you after a half hour or so (kinda like riding...).

To put it over the top, Rachael and John (she's a SRAMmie) came up from Chicago just to ride. It was nice to see them. I'm guessing she'll say something about me on her blog... linked on the leftside of mine ("rachael k"). And just to prove this whole story, that's a new pic of my dirty green Kona. I really did ride. (sorry, cellphone pic)

Work - It's pretty hectic, and will continue to be for some time. We're settling one company into Mil and moving one around in the city. It's keeping me on my toes with all my customers. I'm also trying to plan for the future. It's keeps each week, on the whole, interesting. It should be a busy winter season.

A/R - I just ate the last bit of yogurt out of one of the pint containers, so not the little dingle -single serving sizes, but the BIG one. Before I did, I trimmed off about half of it, as it's too big to really get into with the spoon and I wanted it to be easy to eat out of. Also, I rinse out, thoroughly and with hot water, everything plastic that's going to be recycled. There is one exception, peanut butter jars - it's too tough. I feel bad about it. But, I made up for it a little last night by removing two items Nicole put in the trash, rinsing them, and putting them in the recycling bag. Phew!


Back to normal?

I'm not sure any of us will be "back to normal" this week, but we'll try.

Friends - Well, the last few days have been as good as one could expect. I'm glad, as I know Harold is, to know how good of a group of friends we have. Almost all of us came in for the funeral, to support Harold and his family, and say goodbye to Derick. I couldn't believe the amount of people at the wake (easily over 100 each of the 2 nights). And a very full church for the funeral. The most emotional times for me, and most everyone, were the opportunities for the family and Derick's friends to speak about him, from their hearts, both at the wake and funeral services. As soon as the opportunity was announced at the wake, 5-6 of Derick's close friends made a literal b-line to the lecturn. I couldn't believe how fast they walked up to speak to a room full of people/strangers. That's how much they wanted others to know about how great Derick was in life. I also heard that not only were Derick's co-workers in attendance, but also many of his PT patients. That's pretty cool. And finally, Harold was impressive in such a terrible time. He gave a great thank you to everyone at the wake and you could tell he was almost literally holding up the funeral services on his own. He knows I'll be happy to give him anything he needs at any time. He said he'd pass on a road-trip to Memphis though.

Family - Since I was in Glenview, I had the chance to get lots of family time. [Was this part of someone's bigger plan?] Thursday night I stayed with the Boyles, so that was fun. Friday morning was an off day for Bridget, so we all hung out before the funeral mass. I got to watch both girls eat birthday cake for breakfast. It was pretty funny. I also got to go out to dinner with them on Friday night to Bravo (very good). They had a fun time, and so did I. Friday night, I stayed at my P's house, so it was a good chance to catch up with them. I left Saturday morning, after M&D had gone too. Just the girls were hanging out in front of the TV.

Work - After a busy and stressful 3.5 days last week it was nice that I was given plenty of time to attend the services down in Glenview. I really didn't have any trouble and everyone understood. It was nice not having to deal with extra issues at work on top of the news from Glenview. I hope the coming week isn't too crazy b/c of it. I'm sure I can handle it.

A/V - I was told I should enter one by Tom, after a restaurant incident, but it wasn't that big of a deal. I'm trying to think of one now and will post it if I do. Shouldn't be too hard... Oh, a little follow up, though not entirely new. The windsheild wiper blade still skipped/chattered. I finally just bought another, more expensive, pair. I SoftScrubbed the whole thing one more time and just had the whole car washed at a great place in Evanston. I hope, touch wood, that the next rain event proves to have cured my noisy wiper. Really, you don't know.

Bike - Well, since I last wrote, I have been told by a former coworker (who now co-owns a bike company) that he'll send me a new bike frame. This is great news, and one of the only ways I would be undertaking a new bike project. With that, I've asked some SRAMmies for parts, we'll see if any of this shows this coming week. The weather here is still nice-ish enough to ride around before the real winter begins. I'd like to get another bike done and ride it a bit. And I'm still running, but only twice a week or so. I need to get my teeth fixed (cavities? root canals?) and then feel good enough to run again.


Halloween weekend lives up to billing.

This entry will be a bit different than normal as I'll just go over the last few days...

Friday - Had a great time up in Appleton, WI. "Why?", you ask. Well, I went to a Halloween party with Nicole, thrown by her sister. Everyone was asked to dress up, so I tossed on the Tigger Suit and made it happen. The party was fun, almost too much, so we stayed the night in Appleton and left in the morning.

Saturday - was spent getting back to Milwaukee, nursing not so much a hangover as a night with very little sleep. We had to leave Appleton about 9AM in order to get back in time for Nicole to meet a client. I spent the afternoon resting up, and also, well, not much else. This was done in preparation for the evening... a nice dinner at the self-described "Japanese Fine Dining" establishment in Milwaukee, Izumi. It was good, though we both felt hungry a few hours later, as we watch MAGIC! I surpised Nicole with a live theater show at an old, haunted theater. The magician is well-known locally and has even played Vegas. It was a bit better than local community theater, but I was glad we got comp tickets. It was still fun to surpise Nicole... she had no idea. And, she even enlisted the help of her family during the week, they still counldn't crack it.

Sunday - This is where the more ghoulish nature of the holiday started coming out, and I say this with all seriousness. The morning went off as a normal Sunday morning, but I got a call from George shortly after the Bears' loss. I thought it was just some team lamenting, but got the v-mail a bit later. He said he had bad news and let me know that Harold's brother had been in a bad car accident and had passed away in the very early hours of Sunday. I was not expecting this, to say the least. The rest of the night was spent letting others know, trying to keep my wits about me at Nicole's for dinner, and trying to prepare for the coming week.

Monday - I'm writing this entry currently, with more info to come about funeral arrangments. You can see the Tribune story here - http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-ikefataloct29,0,884284.story?coll=chi_tab01_layout

I hope everyone tells people around them what they mean to them. You truly never know.


Fall is here!!...??

So, in the middle of last week, it was 74 degrees. On Sunday night, I ate dinner, comfortably, outside. While the warm weather feels nice, it doesn't make you feel good about our environment.

Family - big news here was the Annual Kator/Boyle Pumpkin Hunt. I was told about this some time back and havn't been on it in years, maybe 10 or more. Well, I thought I would get on board this train. it would be fun, right?

In a nutshell, yes. But, it has changed over the years. As I remember it, we would take a few family trips up to WI - one for fun in Burlington and a trip to A&W, maybe one to the Monastery, and one more for pumpkins. Well, they do all of them rolled into one day now. I think they get up before sunrise and get home with the rest of the FIB-WI lake house traffic late on Sunday night.

After feeling quite sick ("if yer walkin down the hall...") on Friday and Saturday AND botching a family event for Nicole on Saturday, we both decided to go down on Sunday for pumpkins (thiniking it was maybe a stop at A&W and pumpkins). She drove us down in about 10 minutes from Milwaukee. This is fast, but no problem. We hung out at A&W and waited for the Kator Karavan. Boyles arrived first and I quickly realized this was an all day event. Well, Nicole and I would have to cut it short b/c one of us had a test the next day (hint, not me).

The weather was also about 70 degrees and sunny. This made the pumpkin patch (normally a sedate affair) bustling with everyone and their uncle trying to buy pumpkins. Tom finally corralled a wheelbarrow/wheelbarrel (?) and we filled it with some orange gourds... plus a bale of hay for the Boyle's lawn. Once in line for payment, it didn't take too long and we were all off on our separate ways. All in all, not a bad way to spend an autumnal Sunday afternoon.

[Want to see pics? Go to Vic's blog linked through my page]

Friends - no ill affects from George's weekend visit except some tired eyes on Monday. I agree with George, it's nice to have one weekend day where you just relax at home. Without it, I tend to feel less than rested on Monday morning.

Work - I'd like to pretend this week's update was late b/c I was waiting for the all bike group meeting we just had today (Tu), but that's not true. While everything is moving really fast at work, I'm trying to pin down people (inside and out) to help me decide some big and small issues on a daily basis. It keeps it interesting, that's for sure...esp if they have a fear of needles.

Bike - The stable is not yet put away for the year due to the nice weather of late. So, before really deciding I was sick this past weekend, I went out for a quick city spin on the brown bike. I've got to say, the bike's great and it's been the best way to see more and more of my new city. I've found bike/ped bridges I never knew existed, cool bike paths, new neighborhoods, etc. Not to mention, I usually hit the lakefront for a bit too.

Working on a couple new bike projects - road bike is a must as everyone at work rides them at lunch. And, a 29er bike is in the works (listen up Tom). This is a MTB that has larger diameter wheels (roughly 29", but the same physical rim diameter as a road wheel). The MTB fathers say that they ride much smoother over rough terrain, handle more stable, and can fit some people alot better (e.g. tall people). We make enough parts with the brands here that I can get one going pretty easy. I'm not sure either bike is going to happen based on funds, but maybe. Also, all my bikes (even the ones I'm only thinking about) are now on a very handy Excel spreadsheet with each part, weight, cost, color, etc. it's pretty A/R... speaking of...

A/R - Kinda of a long one - So, this story begins with my "new" truck. When I got it, I put on new wiper blades and decided to try Rain-X. Thought it would be a good double-whammy on vision problems driving in WI and IL. Well, no sooner did rains hit then my driver's side wiper start to chatter like a mo-fo. I can't handle this kind of noise while driving. After a couple window washes, and wiper blade wipe downs - no getting rid of the noise or Rain-X film. This stuff sticks like Teflon. I emailed Rain-X to see what they recommmend. Turns out, SoftScrub is the tool of choice for this job. So, picture me, last night, buying lemon scented SoftScrub at SuperK, and then with the rain spitting down, prewashing, scrubbing, and rewashing my windshield at the gas station. I only wonder if the, no offense, Indian guy in the store saw me and wondered what the heck the dumb white guy was doing. However, as of the drive home last night, no more noise - hallelujah!


First visitor!!!

SO, the big news of the week is in the 'Friends' section, but don't just skip ahead.

Family - I'm sitting in "the boy's room", or what we know as such. It's the room I spent the most time in at my parent's house growing up. I'm at home to visit and have dinner with fam. This wasn't supposed to be much of anything, and I only talked to my folks on Saturday (it's Sunday as I write), but now it's a full-fledged family dinner, including the Boyles. Should be fun.

Friends -George is the first visitor to my new hometown! He wins. I don't know what the prize is, but he'd get it. He came up Friday afternoon (I left work a bit early) and brought his new squeeze, Marissa (sp?). They stayed downtown, but getting around the Mill is no trouble. We took it country on Friday with a trip to a haunted maze, then Saturday included brunch, a museum trip, custard stop, and finished it off with a comedy club (pretty funny too). We parted this morning after another brunch. I can only hope he had a good time and will tell others.

Actually, here's a quote direct from George (his full "Comment" is at the end of this post) :
"Final verdict: if you reading this, you should plan to visit Marty asap."

Work - 'Member that old song - "It's gettin', it's gettin', it's gettin' kind of hectic..." Well, work is like that all the time. I'm glad to be getting exposed to so many new issues and customers, but I know that we all have alot to keep us busy in the months ahead. I'm not afraid at all by the work, and look forward to the final outcome... somewhere down the road.

Bike/Run - The biggest bike news is that I've begun running for the winter. The weather is beginning to turn colder, which is good, but the biking gets less and less attractive. About 4-5 weeks ago, I began running/walking out my front door, on the lakefront paths that abound in Milwaukee. It's been going well and I've been able to avoid the usual week's worth of soreness I used to have with each run. I attribute this to more walking and less running at the beginning, which besides being easier makes the next run more likely.

A/R - I almost always fold-up waste paper/wrappers. But, an example - when I get a piece of gum, I take the paper, fold it in thirds, then again on itself, and so on. It turns into something that looks like a little, hand-rolled, cigarette. I do something of the sort for almost all waste paper and wrappers, including; those little paper utensil rings from table service in diner-like retaurants, gum, receipts, printed sheets from the office, plastic bags from the grocery, etc. I do sometimes just ball something up and toss it, but not often.


Global warming?!

... the first weeks of October and it's in the 80's - seems like global warming is real to me. The Toyota Prius gets about 45 miles per gallon. You can fill the 10 gallon tank about every 450 miles... it's pretty sweet, if you drive a ton. Onward...

Work - Lots going on, lots moving forward, I'm still learning alot and still settling in to the role and company. I think this winter will be a good spell of time to learn what I need to know, settle some lingering inside and outside issues and be rearing to go come spring.

Family - Ben has now moved in with the Gramps. I believe it's going well, mostly b/c I haven't heard any juicy stories to the contrary as of yet.

I'd like to visit Vic still, and will be trying for the end of the month, which happens to coincide with the UofI Homecoming weekend. Could be fun.

The Kators and Boyles are gearing up for fall with the annual pumpkin trip, happening on the 21st. I'd like to drive down and meet them as I haven't seen anyone in sometime, nor have I gone on this bucolic hunting trip in probably more than 10 years. They travel north only a bit and hit some place in the vicinity of southern WI. Shouldn't prove too difficult for me to attend.

Friends - For those not reading up on this blog, my new lady friend and I have been spending a good amount of time together. I just won the Bears/Packers bet that we had for last night's game. I didn't really celebrate as her and her brother seemed so dejected. I'll smooth it all over in the days to come. I hope to have a pic up here soon too, some of you have been asking.

George, I'm told by him, is also dating a psych student and I hope we all get to meet up at some point soon here... maybe even at one of his Meet-Up events (cleverly titled).

Everyone else that I've had contact with recently seems full-on busy with fall stuff and weekends - Christine, Eric, etc. I'm sure people are ready, like me, for some cooler temps, cider, a sweater or jacket, and a little less daylight (=more sleep).

Bike - I've really been liking the city bike. I've had quite a few chances to check out parts of the city that I wouldn't normally see by car, or even by mtn or road bike. It just seems to slow everything down just enough to look. It's also really fun to ride and most like riding bikes as a kid, with Tom, 'round and 'round our driveways for hours.

AR - My Outlook Inbox ends the day around 5 emails or less. I don't like having more than that in it... and people around me think I'm lazy when they see my "small" inbox size. I still send about 40-60 emails everyday, plus the ones that come in.


2 for 1.

So, it's been two weeks since my last post. I'll chalk it up to being busy before the big trip to Las Vegas... let's get into it.

Work - This subject is first this time as it was the bulk of my concentration over the last few weeks. We had a solid push to get everything ready, as a company, before we left last week for Vegas. It was a big show (not as big as EuroBike), but went well for us. It was a good way to highlight, for many of us, small & big flaws with our company. It will help us find out where we need to concentrate our efforts moving forward. In a nice way, it was great for me to put names to faces and understand further who my customers are - lots of foreign people, some interesting "gifts" upon meeting, and lots of work to do once back in the office (both personally and as a company).

Family - well, Ben's at Grandpa's. That's big news, esp considering my own history in the house. I believe Ben and Gramps will get along pretty well and it'll be beneficial for both. At the very least, Ben can keep an eye on Gramps and save money for his intended move to Omaha.

I haven't heard too much from anyone else, but have talked to Vic a bit (still trying to get down to visit her) and also my dad before I left for Vegas. I believe almost all of them know I've been seeing a girl up here in Milwaukee for a little over a month now.

Friends - Talked to Jenny while in Vegas. I was literally sitting in our booth before it was finished the night prior to opening. We got a chance to catch up and see how everyone was doing. She finally had a break at work and took some time off... that's a good thing. Now that Bret's a trader, I believe Jenny is now the king/queen with work hours, which is a title I'm sure she would be glad to trade in. George also had some interesting interactions with females lately, but I'm going to have to get the full story from him soon.

The most interesting note is that I looked up my old Wrigleyville roomie, Emeli, while in Vegas. She has lived there for some time and is now married (to the guy she moved out with). We had a really nice, non-Vegasy, dinner one of the nights in Sin City. I was happy to see her and it was fun to fill her in on my goings on since we parted ways in May of '05. Not too long of a night, but long enough to fill each other in. She now has a puppy in her life too, Bubba.

Pic - This new pic (should be up soon, issue with webpage) is the logo of a great breakfast place in the Mill. I've had a chance to try out many new places, but this one is right by my house, and despite a patchoolie-ish name, is a great place for food, of all kind. Just this morning, I got to try the very good soy-pesto scramble and some wonderful almond challah french toast. Plus, the prices will knock the socks off of anyone used to eating out in Chicago.

Bike - The new city bike was finished just before Vegas, got a quick flat tire, and now seems to be back in shape. There will be a few small changes over the next few weeks, but it's basically good to go. I'm very happy with how it turned out and it should be fun to bum around the city and try not to get hurt riding over city obstacles. The best part is that I have some more experience with products from work and all seems to be working as planned.

AR - Coming back from a trip, almost no matter the hour, I unpack and put away all the luggage. I can't fall asleep with it looming for the next day, or messing up the normal "put-away" standard in the apartment. This Vegas trip was no different, I finished up about 2AM.


The countdown begins...

It's only one week until I head out to Las Vegas. We'll start there...

Work - SO, the big bike show starts with two days of outdoor demo on M and Tu, then indoors for three days, thru Friday. I have meetings during all of the indoor show. If I'm lucky, I'll get to look around some of it on the last day, before flying home in the early evening. I'm just glad I get to go home on Friday. I've made a few connections with the old work crew, will probably see some of them out there. There is an outside chance the trip will be great for work, and fun personally - but I ain't holding my breath.

Family - haven't touched base with most in too long. Ben was out in Omaha. Vic's in the 'Paign (which has a new meaning for her). And other than that, I've been stuck on Wisco time. I'm still trying to get down to C-U for a visit and football game. It WILL happen.

Friends - Talked to George recently. He's going to be voted the President of his condo board. Sounds cool. And everyone seems busy most weekends with stuff going on for fall. Bret just sent out an invite for a cornfield maze evening - but I'll be in Vegas. It sounded totally fun.I'm hoping I can get a few up in the fall for a brewery tour or other such Wisco event.

Bike - It's arrived. The brown blob pictured on this page. It's a street/dirtjump/city bike that is being built up now. I'll use it for around town errands, fun on the city, and general mayhem. It's gonna be cheap to outfit, so no big deal. Just waiting on some parts from our warehouse and a distributor. Could be done before Vegas, if I'm lucky. After Vegas if I'm not.

AR - Almost daily, I'll pick lint off all my rugs. This includes the two in the living room/entry way as well as the bathroom, bedroom and truck. If I can see the offending lint, it's mine.


The city becomes personal...

... I thought it was a good title. Provocative. Compelling. But, there's not much to back it up.

Family - Not too much news this week as I didn't go down this past weekend. I stayed here in the Mill and found some new hotpsots. I do know that Vic is still down at school, counting any amount of days possible... til the next trip home, til winter break... I hope she counts only one set of days - til she graduates from the U of I.

Friends - Tom's back in DC, but his bike got jacked by UPS. They tore it a new seatpost hole and hopefully he takes it out on some poor sap on the phone. George had some good indie rock this past weekend, but the Bears and Cubs both stunk it up... so no Chicagoan, including George, can be too happy. And have no fear everyone, I can't stand any of the WI teams up here... all of which won this past weekend.

Work - It's still going really well. The company is having it's own issues that come with putting 4 brands in one building, but I've seen it before. I have faith in the people I work with and am pretty sure, that like before at SRAM, it'll come together really well down the road. I continue to do my own part with lots of help from others around me. Just got a new laptop (nothing to fancy), a new desk chair (don't snicker), and a fixed desktop, so I can have both pieces of it at the same level. This is a great help for keeping the keyboard on the level. Vegas in 2 weeks, and counting. Oh, I just heard, the hotel we're staying in is also hosting the National Gay Rodeo convention. Bring your chaps, Cowboy. (no, this is not a joke)

Bikes - Really working on putting together a city/street/park/dirtjump bike for around town. The BMX bike won't travel too well (can't really sit down and pedal on it)... the mtn bike is too nice for an errand bike. So, with some help from the previous company and the current company, I can get into one pretty inexpensively. We'll see how it develops, right here. Oh the big race in northern WI is this coming weekend. I'm not entered in it, but it's their 25th edition, which in the MTB world is pretty long.

AR - I didn't seem to keep my silverware sorter in all the moving, so I just lined up all my silverware in the drawer. By utensil, upsidedown, it looks nice.



If you read this, send me an email @ mkator@illinoisalumni.org. If I don't get more than, say, 6 people to reply... this is the last post on this blog.


Back from the Land Of Sausage.

Family - Well, Vic is still at school... in fact she went back to school today (Labor Day) after a good home-cookout in Glenview. We suspect she'd rather not, but we all think her being at school is the best thing. I'm hoping to visit her before my next work trip at the end of the month.

Friends - Tom heads back to DC tomorrow. He's made a nice vacation out of a couple weekends and I'm sure got to see all the people that never visit him in DC. I'm not someone that sees him all the time there, but I have gone. I have to say, it's one of America's coolest cities, esp for the patriotic vibe that radiates out of it 24/7. They have tons to see, do, and eat... and all the museums are free.

Haven't been in touch with anyone else really, the work travel keeps that to a minimum. Speaking of...

Work - I just got back yesterday from the work trip to Germany. We were in Friedrichshafen, in the area they call the Bodensee. It's got a great rustic, yet not rural, quality to it. They have a big lake (Constance) and so many apple orchards. Plus, one of the biggest convention centers I've seen... then filled with bikes, parts, and bike lovers. It was pretty great. And, I feel that I performed my function there as well as I could have for being 4 weeks into a new gig.

Saw alot of SRAM folks there too... they had a HUGE booth staffed with over 75 people. This is the big time in the bike biz. Still, not always peachy.

Bikes - nothing new to note personally, but I have some new bike ideas after seeing so much cool stuff at the bike show. I've also recently got some new parts for a mtn bike, from the fine friends at SRAM. If I play the cards right, I could have a street/park mtn bike pretty easily.

Also, the weather had been nice the whole time I was gone in Germany, hopefully I can get in some rides to the office this week.

AR - I often, not always, wipe down the faucet and sink area in a public restroom after using it. Typically, it's so drenched with water and soap that to make it look like I wasn't the slob who left it, I just go over all of it with some hand towels.


Come fly with me...

Family - The shoe is yet to drop on Victoria. She's really wanting to come back home, but I'm not sure that she will. Alot of the family feels she should stay and finish, but she's as stubborn as the rest of us.

The new "pic" is of the little neices - Bridget and Abby. Can you tell which one is the nuttier? I saw them both this past weekend. They spent some time in my truck and seemed to have a blast.

Friends - Tom is in the city and 'burbs until after Labor Day. One for the family time, and also to run the Accenture Chicago Triathlon. In fact, it was today (Su). I know his plan was to get up before the sun in order to get down in time to stage all his gear. I've heard he might have got a late start... hope it went well.

Jenny was called into duty late Saturday night in order to watch her sister's dog. "Why?", you ask. Well, word on the street is that her sister dropped her water on the hospital floor and the baby is imminent. Congrats to all, I'm sure I'll find out what happened by next week's update.

Travel/Work - Off to Germany tomorrow (M). I'll be meeting at least 6 of my customers and getting a good bit of practice for the show in Vegas, one month later. I get back next Sunday.

Bike - My two rides are in running order, but the bigger news is that until this afternoon, I hadn't ridden on about 6 days. The rainy weather here has kept me off the bike and out of the wet for some time. I'm glad to get back on... and see the sun.

AR - I will almost always "fix" the tines of a fork, rather than eat with one that has bent or mis-spaced tines. And I only say almost b/c I don't know when I didn't fix one. At a restaurant the other night, I fixed them before eating as they were both kinds of out of whack. I've no idea what's happening in their dishwasher, but I don't like the look of out of whack tines. I don't even think it has much to do with feeling them in my mouth.


About 500 miles later...

Family - It is done. Victoria has been dropped off at school for the 2nd time in 3 years. After not liking EIU, she has transferred out of Oakton and into UofI as junior. She will be getting her teaching degree there; I have no doubt... mostly b/c we're not going pick her up again. She had the big crew to help this time - M&D, Jes, Me, Ben, and Rachel. Everything went smooth and we were in and out in 4 hours, including dropping her stuff at the dorm (Barton), hitting Hickory River for some BBQ, a random-awesome stop at Blain's Farm & Fleet, and custard at The Cup on the way out.

Friends - Hit George's Indie Rock "Meet-Up" event on Friday night. It was great to be back in the city and see G-Money, but he was a bit under the weather. And to top it all off, the bands were, uhh, not good. We're interested in rock 'n roll when we go to the shows, but the bands were light rock at best. Ah well, it wadn't that much to get in anyways. Live and learn.

Saw Jenny for brunch at France's Deli. Great food and good company too. It was rainy as well, but pancakes always seem to help.

Tom's in town this weekend for the Accenture Chicago Triathlon. I'll be meeting up with him on Saturday, maybe watching the race on Sunday before going back to The Mill.

Work - Still going smooth. Off to Germany for a tradeshow this next Monday. Back right before Labor Day... which isn't too shabby.

Bikes - Lots going on here last week. Got a new BMX bike, yes, like kids ride. This one is sized for my height and should be pretty sweet on the track. Yes, there's a BMX track here in Milwaukee and I've wanted to race since I was little, so I'll get out there after Germany. And, got some new wheels for the Kona. It's a nicer set of lightweight wheels from work. Should prove beneficial on my work commutes, which I did two of last week. This week looks wet, but maybe I can get one or two in again.

AR - I can't think of one this week, but my AR won't let me leave this section blank, so there.


2nd Week Running...

... ok, so this is how I'm gonna play it for now - I'll update the blog once a week, and include some combo of topics each week. They will include new news on: Family, Bike, Work, Travel, Friends, Pic, and Anal Retentive. The last one should give a sneak peek into how I operate in a world of messier people.

So here's this week:
Family - Well, Vic's off to school this coming weekend, with help from yours truly. She had a going away brunch on Sunday, but I thought I'd miss it and save my energy for next weekend. My dad and I are on tap to schlep all her belongings (not too much) into her dorm room at U of I.

Friends - Talked to Eric in Indy on email and Abby on the phone. Small world - turns out Abby and Eric's sis, Lisa, will both be starting new teaching gigs at the same middle school in Champaign. They helped each other clear out their class rooms this last week. Good news for George, he's got a contract pending on the house in Lake Forest (a monster of a nice house, every aspect very well done) - CONGRATS, G! And not to be outdone, Maggie (for those that know her) will be staying in NYC for at least one more year - proof positive that NYC is the coolest place to be (or at least visit).

Work - continues to go well. I'm getting more emails from customer accounts each day, more involved in the day-to-day items that come up, and more comfortable working again. (this area will generally be sparse as this blog shouldn't drag to much corporate into it). Oh, at the end of the month, I head out to Germany for a tradeshow. It'll be a good dry run for the tradeshow in Vegas at the end of September.

Bike - Got some greeat new parts from the place I now work at - installed a new fork onto the Kona, an R7 Manitou. Also ordered a Kuwahara BMX bike (a name from most guys my age's childhood). There's a BMX track right on the south end of town and I'm interested in actually trying it out... now that I'm all grown up?

Travel - nothing on the horizon for fun... well, I'll be driving down to Chicago the next two weekends. The first to help Vic, the 2nd to get the hairs cut before going to Germany. I'm hoping to get in some fun with the ole gang too.

Pic - the new pic is of the great old school movie house, the Oriental, right down the street from my apartment (literally about 4 blocks). It's the kind your parents probably used to visit. I went and saw "Sunshine" this weekend, a new movie with Killian Murphy. Trust me, the best part was the old movie house... don't go see this movie.

AR - Does anyone else like the smell of Comet? Yes, the bathroom tub and tile cleaning powder. Well, I took out my handy razor blade and scraped off any and all suspect paint drippings and caulk marks in the bathtub (doesn't everyone do this - I did the bathroom floor the week prior)). Then, gave the whole shootin match a thorough scrubbin with Comet. It smelled great afterwards. And if someone's place smells like cleaning products, do we assume they are clean and know how to clean? I think we do. The smell of Pinesol means your place is clean, right? Well, this could be the next wave of air freshener and candle scents. If it smells like cleaning products, the place must be clean.


all(most) settled in.

It's true, it's true. In the last 7 days, alot has happened - I moved to Milwaukee, WI (from Chicago). I bought my very first car, actually a Ford Ranger truck, I started a new position at the Hayes Bicycle Group (part of HB performance systems), and now to top it all off.... maybe add the cherry on top, I've started a blog.

My intent is to keep updating this weekly and provide enough proof of Milwaukee being worth a trip for friends and family. I've already posted some places I've been and will continue to add to the list.


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