A Crazy Summer ’14

I openly admit that my blogging generally dies down come summertime. The reason is obvious. I live in Wisconsin and there are precious few months where we can go outside and enjoy being outside. So come summer every year, I go for walks and trips to the cottage and fairs and other outdoorsy like activities. There has been more to this summer though and I wanted to give a general update as to all the things that happened to me this year over the summer now that we are getting towards the end. <sad face>

I did make a trip up to my mom’s cottage with my daughter this year. It was actually the first time in two years that I have gone up there as last year I went up to a friend’s parent’s cottage instead. I think the break was well placed however as my mom’s cottage felt fresh this year when it was starting to feel old. And really, though we did go up to the cottage 2 years ago, that trip was marked with a drought which caused the lake to stink so much that we left the following morning. So in reality we had not been there for 3 years. The trip went overall pretty well. We did a lot and we did nothing all at the same time. The highlight and lowlight was an innertubing trip down a nearby river which was fun except for when I flipped over and had a panic attack.1 I actually plan on heading out to the cottage again in a couple of weeks but I will likely cover that later.

My health has been fairly ok. I’ve had a couple of back flair ups but nothing too major. And my elbow continues its downward spiral. I had thought it was acting up more often, but at a recent doctors visit I found out that last year I stated the same frequency as this year. However, I do feel while the frequency may be the same, the level of pain is going up. I also think there is more constant pain than before as well. It’s definitely to the point where I always feel my elbow which I don’t think was particularly an issue last year this time. It was stiff always, but never painful always. I will say when I flipped into the river, one of the things that was going through my mind was that I can’t swim anymore due to my elbow which is definitely not a thought I would have had a year ago. Otherwise, I don’t think my Hemophilia has been a huge issue, no major surgeries. This is good.

Work has been going extremely well. I am pretty happy with my job right now. I finished up much of my work with ICD-10 due to a delay in the project by a year due to a federal bill that got put through. So after a couple of months of nearly no work, I was eventually moved to an area that I wanted to move to since I started working the call center. It is only temporary through the end of the year. But I am the main BA on the project (and really only BA on the project) which puts me in a position to really make a name for myself. I am also learning a lot about how I need to work. It has been a very good move for me and I have enjoyed the work so far and think I will continue to enjoy it going forward.

I don’t remember if I have mentioned my gardening in previous blog entries, but I generally garden every year. The last couple i have been doing gardening in boxes on my patio. This year has been very frustrating for me. I decided to try to start the year with spinach peas and carrots in my main box in hopes that they would be done by the time the real season started so that I could grow herbs in it as normal. However, the winter meant a later start to the growing season than I intended and the carrots and peas took well into mid-June to get anywhere.I also didn’t get much out of them either. The spinach turned out pretty good however and I got some really good crop out of it. I would like to do it again just for the spinach but it will take more thought on how to do it correctly. This box had a secondary affect on the rest of my garden as I was using the cage that I generally use for my tomato plant for the peas and I didn’t get it moved to the tomato until far too late and the tomato ended up less healthy than it should have been. It still is producing tasty tomatoes, just not as well as I had intended. I also planted lettuce with the tomato, but none of the lettuce has gotten past seedling. It has been at seedling for a couple of months now and I don’t know why it won’t grow further. Lastly I purchased a bigger container so that I could grow potatoes, they grew extremely well actually… until something dug them up and killed the plants. I don’t know how the potatoes turned out, I have been letting them grow as much as they could but at this point the plants look pretty much done and I should dig up what I got. Hopefully they are actually ok but this seems way early for potatoes. Still, it gives me hope that I can do this again in the future. The one plant that has worked extremely well has been a strawberry plant that I decided to do. I was not expecting a crop from it this year and I haven’t gotten much more than a few tiny berries, but this is normal for strawberries. The plant however looks extremely healthy. The real test will be how it goes through the winter… One thing that has surprised me by the strawberries was that I expected runners that I could use in other holes of my strawberry pot and so far that hasn’t happened.

My video gaming has dropped off almost completely until the last couple of weeks. And this leads me into the reason why this has been a crazy summer. I have gotten into a game called Ingress. Ingress is an Alternate Reality Game where you go to real locations in the world which have portals that you can see in your cell phone. You can then take them over, link them together to create fields and then the fields give you points based on the population density of the area and the size of the field. I have gotten really involved in the game, but of late I have been trying to take a step back from it. It is overall a really fun game but can be frustrating when others don’t play and the secondary problem I have is there is really no point in site. There are cycles that you can win, but there doesn’t seem to be any noticeable reward for winning, or even a history of who won. Just a memory and hopefully that works. The lack of point makes it hard to keep going with it full on and I don’t think I’m the only one who struggles with it as people fade in and out quite a bit.  The game is also kind of expensive. I mean it is free, but you have to pay for gas and there is a fair amount of driving to go from place to place. It is ironic considering the game was meant to encourage people to walk but the way they approve portals makes it difficult to get portals in walkable only places. I do recommend the game even if it is for a bit just to experience it as it is fun. There are bigger events that go on periodically throughout the world. And I am looking forward to taking part in my first in a couple of weeks up in Minneapolis. This is why I will be going back to my mom’s cottage for a second time this summer as it is fairly close to Minneapolis and will make for a more affordable trip.

Well that’s my summer in a nutshell. I do want to get back into blogging both here and at bucketgeek.com but it probably won’t get back to a great frequency at least for a month.

Cabin Fever 2013

Our Cabin Fever Retreat hit a little late this year. Usually we like to get out of time sometime in January or February, this year we put it off until the last weekend of March. To be honest, we probably needed it much earlier though. This year we decided to take a trip to Schaumburg, IL and window shop at the mall and Ikea. This may seem like odd to some, but we love Ikea and really this trip is always about just get away for cheap and window shopping kinda does that. Continue reading “Cabin Fever 2013”

Mission: Ohio Complete

Well I am back from Ohio. I unfortunately was only there for a week. Initial plans a couple of months ago was that we were to go a couple of times at two weeks each. That time got shortened to a month total with each of us going two weeks but I could only make it one. Regardless, I think the trip went pretty darn well on my side. Continue reading “Mission: Ohio Complete”

Writing From Ohio

As expected, the state of Ohio changed their minds and decided that they needed the help from us again. So over the past 3 weeks others in my department have been flying down and this week it is my turn. I flew into Columbus yesterday and am leaving on Friday. Because of the holiday weekend, this gave me the opportunity to check out the city of Columbus with the extra time.

Not only did it give me time to explore Columbus, it also gave me time with my brother. My brother lives in Toledo which is about 2 and a half hours away. So with us being so much closer than usual, he drove his family down and spent the night last night here in town.

My first day, I flew in and was in my hotel and resting by 3pm local time. It was a pretty eventless trip and I was perfectly happy with it. I got together with my brother in short time and we headed over to a local ice cream chain named Graeter’s. The one we went to, my brother had previously gone to and had an tour of the place because they actually manufactured the ice cream there and gave out tours. Now however, they did not and it was just any other ice cream shop so it was a little bit of a let down. On top of this, we obviously ate ice cream and so were no longer hungry for dinner. We went back to their hotel and hung out for a little while but then headed back out and tried another local chain called Skyline. This is essentially a chili dog place which was good but not necessarily great for my stomach considering I hadn’t eaten all day.

Today, on the second day, we got up early and went to the Columbus Zoo. My brother and I had been there before but it was more than a decade ago and we didn’t really remember why or when we went and thought it would be a nice family place to go. I do think that the Columbus Zoo is among the nation’s best. Of particular note was the Kangaroo walkabout which lets you go in with the kangaroos as they hop in and out of the path. Their coral reef aquarium was also top notch. There were a few other things that we missed. This year’s big addition to the zoo was apparently the new polar bear exhibit which was way overcrowded and it seemed like it was badly planned as it put all the people in a very narrow area to view both the polar bears and the grizzly bears. But it may have been bad luck.

After the zoo, I went grocery shopping to get myself some basic foods so that I could eat in a pinch and save some money on drinks and breakfast. After an hour or two of rest in the afternoon, I went out again alone this time into Columbus. This time I went geocaching and I decided to turn my attention to Columbus’ Metro Parks. I heard about these parks yesterday from brother who raved about them and thought it was worth looking at and getting a geocache to boot. And they were quite impressive. The one I went to was essentially a huge chunk of forest with a bunch of paths running through it. The best I can compare it to was the forest section of the Arboretum in Madison except it seemed that the forest was more dense, more mature and likely bigger than Madison’s, and I’ve always marveled by the size of The Arboretum so that is saying a lot. There are about 5 or 6 other similar parks in the city of Columbus though I likely won’t go see the others.

This evening, I also went out to Donatos which is a local pizza chain.  They specialize in thin crust pizza that uses Provolone cheese instead of Mozzarella. I think this is an interesting idea and I thought the pizza was pretty good, but not great. I think you really could do provolone on a pizza though, I just think a better company needs to do it. It was worth doing as it provided me with a lunch and a half for the rest of the week.

Needless to say, I am actually falling in love with Columbus. It is a beautiful city with awesome parks and a bunch of stuff to do. There are big trees and chunks of forests everywhere, not just the metro parks. And the whole city is very clean. I really see Columbus as a city very similar to Madison, just on a bigger scale and I like that. I am halfway considering just moving down here if I could. Another plus to Columbus is that it wouldn’t have quite as harsh of winters, and honestly I’m sick of Wisconsin winters…

Devil’s Lake Staycation

I’m not entirely sure if it is really considered a staycation, because we actually didn’t stay anywhere overnight or anything. But my roommate, her sister, my daughter, and I all went to Devil’s Lake this weekend for a little get out of town vacation for the day. We really needed to get out of town, and with the budget the way it is, we had a hard time justifying much of anything so we thought going to a state park might be a good way to get out and have a good time.

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Summer Vacation ’09 episode 1

You may have noticed the relative quiet over the past few weeks from me and for that I apologize. I like keeping my blog updated, I feel that it keeps me in the habit of writing on a regular basis which I think is helpful. The reason for my absence however has largely been due to the fact that I had my daughter, and I hate to say it but when you aren’t used to having kids, they just wear you right out. It has been a trying couple of weeks with her, with its fair share of ups and downs. But over this time, I feel that we were able to get out and do a couple of interesting summer vacationy type things so I figured I would write about them a little.

Continue reading “Summer Vacation ’09 episode 1”