Monday, July 28, 2014


It has been a while since I have posted, and I say that with some regret.  I have had some things to say, but my mind has been busy and engaged in other things and this has suffered from lack of attention.  I will catch up, but as a short cut, I will post a link to an exceptional post.  I went to my 35th class reunion recently, and a class mate posted on his much more literate and spiritual blog about it.  Please see Steve Scott's post at  

You may have to copy and paste the address in your browser.  It's worth it

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

This is a test...

I am having some problems with file compression and loading times.  I know--like "whatever, who cares?" 

I don't really care all that much but I had to check something by posting.  If nothing else, it shows that my backyard "garden" continues to surprise me.  I am not sure this is an actual rose but I don't know any other name to call it.  (sorry).  It is red.  It doesn't have thorns.  It just popped up.  Doesn't really matter, I guess, as posting this serves other purposes.  It is still an attractive flower.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Alive, yep, I am alive

It has been a bit since I wrote...what can I say besides that I have been busy?  I made the last trip for my remaining things, and increasingly my house is becoming a home.  My book cases are ful, clothes (mostly) put away, and my fridge is stocked.  I still need a few things, but it will all come together soon enough.  There is not one unpacked box in my living room (note all that this qualifies--I can't move any place else in the house because of unpacked boxes) and there are mostly pretty good paths through the rest of the house.

It isn't easy.  What does one do with 9 tripods and the corresponding cameras?  I have a whole upstairs which can handle that.  400 photo books?  15 coats?  No problem.  And so it goes.

The attached photos are yet more flowers.  I am sure you are asking if I know any people, and I do, but not well enough to take photos of them.  Besides, these are ok.  I have a macro lens but I have not used it for quite some time.  In this case it really is the best tool for the job  It is amazingly sharp--make sure you click to make the photos larger.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Week five, or about a month....

It is the start of week five of my Michigan sojourn--time goes by quickly up here in the woods.  Several weeks in May and now two weeks in June have convinced me that this is the correct job for me, so that is the overall positive take on all of this.  This is a good school with all the normal challenges of a community college in these changing times.  There are and will be enough challenges and tasks to keep this interesting!  I work with good people and that helps.  I just wonder if they know how good of a school this is or how great it can be--sometimes imagination is hard to see and measure.

I am getting settled in my house in the woods.  It is different to live surrounded so closely and completely with trees.  Generally I like it and really, it has been a goal to be so surrounded.  After all  this is what I have imagined for my 20 acres "back home."  Here it is just so complete.  I have driven on roads that appear to be almost tunnels through the trees and the trees do seem overly close sometimes.  But then they are beautiful, too.  I sat on my front porch yesterday for several hours and saw, felt and heard this.  It was windy and the wind was from all directions (keeping the mosquitoes at bay).  You could see the trees moving in all directions--the smaller trees swaying, the larger trees creaking and the leaves moving to and fro every which way.  The sound would swell from all directions but with imperfect stereophonic surround sound.  Sometimes it is pretty cool to live in the woods.

There are quibbles that I have to work out.  I am frustrated with cell coverage.  My goal was to use a hotspot of one kind of another, and while it sort of works, I will not be downloading any movies.  I can barely post a photo.  It took 17 minutes to download a book from those Kindle people.  You know, the people who say you can enjoy the book on your device in just a few moments?  So my provider has a solution.  Get high speed internet and then plug that into a network extender.  Then your wifi hotspot and your phone will work better.  I did mention that if I had high speed internet that  I probably wouldn't need a hotspot, but the clerk did not get the irony.  In the mean time, I am tired of wrapping myself in tin foil and hanging out of the top window by one arm if I want to make a call after 5:00.  I tried saran wrap but that didn't work as well and the neighbors were a bit put off by the view...

I have found that I just have to drive a bit for what I might want.  Tired of Folger's coffee?  Drive 45 miles.  Food from a different continent?  25-50 miles.  A really good grocery store with great  bread and cheese?  60-plus miles.  But finding all of this would have been a whole lot more challenging if I was in Bangladesh, so I am not isolated at all.  Comparatively.

Pictures are from yard mostly.  Included are views from my deck and flowers.  The road was taken (I'll let you figure that out) this morning on my way to work.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Petoskey Rocks!

I am in Petoskey for a dean's meeting--it is supposed to be all the liberal arts deans in the state but only about 10 came.  I guess that is one more difference between Michigan and Minnesota--give Minnesota deans a chance to go to a vacation wonderland and there would be 200 of them who would have made the trip.  I heard lots of stories today and learned more about the community colleges in the state.  As usual, you hear schools that have bigger issues and stranger stories than you can ever imagine.  Trust me on this

We ate tonight at the historic Perry Hotel, a 115 year-old institution.  Heck, even Hemingway ate/slept/drank there, so it must be famous.   It is also famous because it is painted a very bright light yellow.   The lilacs are just starting to bloom around here since the the lake still has cubes of ice bobbing along.  The lilacs look pretty good, even if they are a bit late.

Interestingly enough, these photos remined me that my first photo that I ever took for the Leader-Telegram (in May of 1979) was of lilacs.  These are better photos than I took 35 years ago, which should tell you how bad those photos were.  That is positive--my photos have improved a little bit after all that practice.  Give me a few years to work on this, OK? 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


I suppose it is early for flowers..I anticipate that this roadside will be filled with this type of daisy, so I will be visit it again in a few weeks.  Again and as always, click to see a larger version.


For all I know, these could be flowers from a poisonous invasive species weed, but they looked good next to one of the walkways near the building where I work.  It is a pretty campus, and I will have to show this more.  I kind of thing that it looks and feels like a ritzy summer camp.  It has buildings with paths from one to another in the woods.  Until I figure out how to photograph it, this is all I on it to make it larger.  I didn't have the right lens, but this is the camera that I had with me.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Still driving...

I know that this setting has potential and that there is a picture there.  I am pretty sure that this isn't the best picture of this little road, but it is one that I think I will keep watching.  I know I am a geek, but this is a scene that draws me to it.  A dirt road that meanders into the woods, shaded by big trees and cooled by gentle breezes..  It is special for some reason, almost like a secret to be shared with only people who also would appreciate such a road.

We  have had a string of very nice days.  Actually, if this road is any indication, we probably could use some rain.  It is still lush and green, verdant, if you will.  I am still amazed and how many shades of green there are.  While I am more of a Celadon kind of a guy, I can appreciate the wide palate.  I am thinking about whether or not these color swatch/paint chips of the shades of green are different than those that Minnesota produces and I can't recall.  Honestly I spent very little time in the woods in Minnesota and the trees that I took pictures of usually had flaming red and orange leaves.  Here you simply cannot ignore the woods so perhaps I being forced to be more aware.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Undefeated and champion for a tiny tiny part of a day

Yep, I am undefeated.  No ties, either.  In fact, if I could find the application for the pro golf circuit, I might be tempted.  Ladder golf, that is.  After being drafted right out of school to fill out the, well, fill out the ladder, I took to the game like fish to water or whatever other meta"fore" for golf that you could possibly think appropriate.

This is a big deal here at Kirtland.  As part of the College's wellness program, it is carefully administered by the league commissioner who moonlights as the HR director.  Matches are scheduled, ladders assembled and the golf thingies (two golf balls with holes in them and carefully knotted piece of rope holding them together--I think they are called bolos--how Argentinian! ) are brought out to a flat sunny part of the campus.  Three games to 21 are played with cutthroat intensity.  In my first outing, the commissioner and I won all three.  Walking away and stomping on our competition.  Of course it is all friendly and non-comptetitive…  An action photo of the intense game is above.

The drives out to work have been wonderful, with clear skies and soft morning light.  Here is one that I shot this morning about 6:30.

I had to have a PR photo taken and I talked one of my colleagues into taking mine.  I don't know which one I like better, but both seem to be enough of a likeness to be OK for now.

Thursday, June 5, 2014


So I took these tonight at considerable risk--I am still faint from the blood loss from the mosquitos.  Really, they are fierce.  It isn't like I have seen mosquitos before--I am from WI and lived in MN so they are not unknown to me  But these are tough, mean, and bird-sized and they travel in packs and  wait for the slow of feet to even hesitate.

Oh well--the sunset on Lake Higgins was worth a little blood loss.  The lake is about 5 minutes from my house and on my way home.  Best, it is in a state park, with miles of trails.  And mountains.  Yes, that is right, mountains. Maybe not, but the lake and nature is enough for now.

Monday, June 2, 2014


OK, I am sorry.  Scads of Michiganders (and some Michaganders, too) wrote and scolded me for mis-spelling what a Michiganderine or what ever is called.  Geez, I am sorry.  Oops and all that.  Also, though I meant it in fun I corrected the grammar in the post's title.  I know that to say "I are an Michagander" is not correct, even though I did just go to Purdue and not some lousy green or blue school.  I was trying to be funny.  Ha ha.  No, I did not mean it as a slur to those who have a Michigandian heritage.  Really.  Geez.  Do they google these things?

Sunday, June 1, 2014

I am a Michigander..

I think it is more than official now--I am living in Michigan.  I am (sort of) moved here, with most of my stuff here and this is now my home.  The trip was fine--my trusty steed pulled the trailer flawlessly though expensively--I had been getting about 29.5 MPG, but on this trip I got 22 at best.  The weather was perfect, and only a few pieces of glass were broken in transit.  I really can't ask for a much better trip.

But I am tired, that is for sure.  Short nights, allergies, and more work than normal had taken some of my spunk!  I unpacked the kitchen and got my bedroom more or less ready to sleep in, but that is it.  I took some photos of the place to share.  In these you will see the kitchen from the living room and the living room with the fireplace.  Outside is more interesting.  There is a screened in gazebo so that is cool.  There is a great walkway around the house and some flowers that are showing.  But there is also the Marlboro man within the sight line of the nice little arch. And don't forget the butterflies and the ducks and other things attached to the house and garage

Still, I landed well and have few quibbles.  I am lucky.  And I am not saying that at all because my house is less than 1.5 miles from an ice cream stand.  That had nothing to do with my general well being.

Speaking of ice cream...I am in a Tim Horton's in West Branch, about 40 miles away from my house.  I am in town for several reasons but in part to find a decent cell phone/wifi signal.  It is all about dropped calls at my house in the woods, and I will have to figure that out.  In the short term, I have found  out that there are no coffee shops or anything with free wifi nearby.  West Branch has a Tim Horton's that coincidentally, is also a Cold Stone Creamery.  Oh, what a hardship!!!  Let's see, the bathrooms were clean, but can I sleep on a bench?  Yes, I think that this will work out just fine.