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.


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