Thursday, September 30, 2010

My SMP Posse

Pictured from left to right...Back Row...David (Mississippi), Mark (Missoula), Bill (Indiana), The Big Galoot! Aaron (Georgia), Montel (Chicago area)...Front Row...Brian (Chicago area), Joshua (Wisconsin), Terry (Arkansas), Erik (Indiana), Rich (Sacramento area), Frank (Illinois)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Midweek Blues

A sunny day has afforded me the opportunity to post pictures of this beautiful spot. There is an abundance of green space, and a general architectural theme that runs through the entire campus. Obviously, the chapel is the tallest building in these pictures, with the bell tower adjacent to it. I will try to get pictures of the interior later today.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Few Of The Guys

I took my camera along to our afternoon class session today, and managed to get a few shots of some of the guys in my "Cohort" here at the seminary in Fort Wayne. A Cohort is a more stodgy way of saying "posse". Allow me to introduce them. First off is Aaron up at the the gray sweater (you'll notice sweaters and jackets as it was cold today until mid afternoon) He's from north Georgia. Then there is Eric with the beard and the coffee cup. He's from near Chicago and never goes anywhere without that coffee cup. David is in the striped shirt, he's originally from Wisconsin but has been living in Mississippi for a lonnnnnnnng time. Finally, the Three Amigos are (from left to right) Frank from Rockford, IL, Rich from near Sacramento, CA and Terry from northern Arkansas. That makes up half of our group...the rest had already evacuated by the time I got the camera out. I am not sure how much we are learning but we are certainly having a lot of fun with good natured humor being fired about at each other's expense. Tomorrow I will have the camera in hand for a group shot of the 12 somewhat ragged disciples, and some shots of the campus as the sun should be out.

Spiritual Food?

I have now been here at Concordia Theological Seminary for a little over one full day. We have started our course work in "Heaven on Earth" which deals with the history and liturgy of our worship. It is hard to tell just how much I have learned so far, but I can tell you that I am once again eating well this year. The cafeteria food is quite good!

Yesterday afternoon the rains came to Fort Wayne, and it was pretty wet all through the evening. It now looks as if it is going to be staying pretty cool all week long. There will be a lot of clouds and a bit of rain at times as a large area of low pressure sits over this part of the country. Meanwhile, for all of you in Spokane the weather will continue to be nice and warm all week long. I imagine that when I get home the weather will once again going right back in the dumper.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Well, I Made It!

As I write I am seated at a rather "spartan" desk in a very "spartan" dorm room on the campus of the Concordia Theological Seminary in beautiful Fort Wayne, IN. I am not complaining mind you...I am very happy to be here. You might even say that I am happier than I even thought I would be to be here. I just got a call from my bride Kay, who remained in Chicago with her sister Ann. Just after I hit the road for Indiana this afternoon, and when Kay and Ann returned from walking Ann's dog, her kitchen sink had backed up with all sorts of unknown sewage, and for the past 6 hours the stench has been prevalent in the air. The plumber has been there for the past 4 hours, and the dilemma seems to be far from over. My last 6 hours have been far less eventful. Traffic coming out of Chicago wasn't too bad, but things did come to an all out stop in northwest Indiana as what was reported to be a grinding wreck on the Indiana Tollway put a halt to all eastbound momentum, and so there I sat for quite some time. I ended up turning around and heading back in the opposite direction to take advantage of the last exit that I had passed in order to take an alternate route. After that things went smoothly, arriving here just after dark, which for those of you out there in the Pacific Time Zone was sometime last Saturday afternoon.

As I had anticipated, the weather here is a whole lot chillier than in Spokane. Saturday's official high in the Lilac City was 79 degrees, and today it was a little cooler at 74. In Chicago over the weekend it was windy (maybe that's why its called the Windy City...ya think???) and temperatures barely reached 60. All week long the weather back home is looking warm and sunny, highs will be near 80, while here it is going to be chilly for another day, and then start to warm up.

Tomorrow morning I am going to miss the opportunity to teach my tennis posse another lesson. On Friday they were sceptical of my research methodology that determined that black Nike ankle socks are detrimental to one performance on the tennis court. To show there unbelief the posse decided to show up adorned in black least in the form of socks. What resulted was predictable, as I rose to the occasion, clad in my white Adidas stockings, and administered a thorough drubbing. There was another valuable lesson learned though, in that John didn't actually wear black socks, but rather navy blue. It turns out that navy blue socks are even more detrimental to one's tennis prowess than black!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

We're On Our Way!

We are about to leave the house, headed for the airport, to wing our way to Chicago. Tomorrow afternoon I will be driving to Fort Wayne, IN for a week at the Concordia Theological Seminary at that location. Kay will be staying in Chicago with her sister all week, so please pray for the both of them.

The weather here in Spokane is looking up! Maybe now that its fall we will finally have a summer. Temperatures will be rising into the 70s starting today through what looks like at least the middle of next week to go along with dry sunny days. What is good news to us is that this looks also to be the case for Chicago and Fort Wayne...WHOOPEE!

I will keep you updated with reports from the road, the way, I must tell you about my posse's tennis exploits from Friday morning.

NBC ya later!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Am I Shirking My Duties?

You may have noticed that I have had very little to say about the weather in the past week or so. Perhaps I am mourning the end of summer, which occurred today, or maybe it is just that the weather has been so lousy this past week that I have chosen to ignore it. I think that the latter is probably the case. We have had chilly cloudy and rainy weather for pretty much the past 14 years...or more realistically the past 6 most of us here in the Spokane area are feeling that we got cheated out of summer. The good news is, now that fall is upon us, that the weather is about to improve. Tomorrow should be a generally sunny day, with temperatures approaching 70 degrees. By the weekend we should be back up into the middle...and maybe even...the upper 70s. On the way there we may see a few showers again on Thursday, but otherwise things should be drier. The warmer weather on the weekend goes to figure, as Kay and I are flying out to Chicago on Saturday, and will be away from the "Great Northwest" for a week. That just means that the last few days of September, and the first few of October will be beautiful out here, while snow will probably fall over the Chicago area and nothern Indiana, as that is where we are going to be...more on that soon.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Scientific Method

In the world of science, when one observes a phenomenon, one studies that phenomena to see if a recurring pattern and resulting explanation can be discovered. That observation leads to the formulation of a hypothesis, which is then tested by experimentation to determine if the hypothesis correctly explains the phenomenon, or if it fails to do so. At that point another hypothesis can be formulated and tested, or the researcher can just say "to heck with it" and go have lunch. Such was the methodology that I followed this morning as I prepared for and participated in my regular Monday morning tennis extravaganza with the posse.

Over the course of the last few months I have been aggravated by my poor play, and the fact that it would crop up on an occasional but regular basis. I took to observing the differences that occurred surrounding the times that I played like a banana slug...which has no arms or legs and oozes slime...and those few times that I have actually looked like I knew what I was doing. This morning the pattern became obvious, and the hypothesis was formulated. When I wear black ankle socks I go right in the toilet, and when I choose to wear white socks...things go much better. Since all of the clean socks in the drawer this morning were black...that was what I wore, to test the hypothesis experimentally. When I got to the club, and play began, the result was an ABJECT DISASTER! Those black socks caused me to lose every game that I served, all 6, and in the tie breaker for the final set, I lost all 3 serves. In the games that I mercifully was not serving, most of those were lost as well. The experiment was completed...the hypothesis was verified... and a new scientific truth has been brought to light! Wearing black ankle socks causes my tennis playing to stink...along with my feet.

If you see a cloud of smoke on the horizon this evening it is just me out in the backyard burning a bunch of socks!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Heading Into The Weekend

The weather this second half of the week has taken a turn toward the wet, and it appears as if it is going to be that way through the weekend. Right now the sun is shining, and the temperature is around 70 degrees, but there is more rain headed this way later tonight into tomorrow morning, and then again on Sunday. With that it is going to be cool, just in the low to mid 60s for highs, and down into the 40s at night. Tomorrow is a big day in the life of St. John's Lutheran Church, and an even bigger day in the life of two young people. At 5:00pm the first wedding in our new church will take place, and I will be officiating, along with my "coach" Rev. Young. He has to be involved to make it official in the eyes of the State of Washington, as I am not either licenced or ordained. I COULD go online and become licenced for a $10 fee, but that just doesn't seem like the right thing to do. The bottom line is that I will do nearly all of the service, including the all important wedding sermon, and Pastor Young will do the vows. We make a good team. What is really cool about this wedding, along with being the first one in our beautiful building, is that the groom is one of my students a couple of years ago in the aviation weather class that I teach at Spokane Falls Community College. I am looking forward to a wonderful experience for all late tomorrow afternoon. We had the rehearsal this afternoon, and I think that we might just be able to pull this off!

As I do every day now, I rose up early in the morning, almost in the predawn darkness, and headed off to teach this year's installment of University of North Dakota Aerospace majors. Friday is always lab day, so I don't do that much teaching. I just give them the assignment and the equipment to carry it out, and then supervise just enough so that the don't blow up the entire Science and Computer Science Building. So far we have made it through on week without any major cataclysms...that's a decent start. Following class it was off to the tennis court. My overall effort was good, and my play wasn't bad, I just wish that I could eliminate all of the "unforced errors". In tennis they use the term "unforced errors" to describe bonehead moves and just plain lousy shots. It also includes stupid mistakes. Take those three things away and there isn't much left to talk about, at least from my point of view. For example, the day began with Ron (who was filling in for Bill who is somewhere over on the west side of the state hindering another of his son's building projects) and I taking on John and Tuck. We quickly jumped out to a 4-1 lead before my "unforced errors" reared their ugly head once again. The end of the story is predicable...we lost in a tie breaker. That set took about and hour, which didn't leave much time or a second. We managed to get through that one, and John and I even came out victorious. His winners outnumbered my "unforced errors".

Note to John...have you been lifting weights? You're looking mighty buff these days!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


For the past 10 years I have been trying to keep a hibiscus plant alive and entice it to bloom. Hibiscus is more commonly found in Florida and tropical climates than here in the Inland Northwest, so it has been a real challenge. Up until now I have never been able to get more than three blooms to appear at a time, but yesterday and today there have been 9...count 'em...1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8, blooms. What makes it even cooler is that there are more on the way. Now I don't pretend to be much of a gardener, but I do believe that is something of an achievement. At least I think so.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Posse's Getting Restless!

Now that class has resumed, at least the one that I teach, I get the feeling that the guys I regularly play tennis with are feeling a little left out. For about the past year we have been playing 3 times each week, Monday,Wednesday and Friday mornings, but since my schedule is getting a little tighter I have been forced to give up the Wednesday session. Now before you start feeling sorry for the somewhat older fellas, a suitable replacement has been found so they will continue to march on without me on Wednesdays. I think that the problem is that some of the members of the posse fear that they won't be getting as much ink (electronic ink) in this space. It's pretty hard to compete with Brady...since he lives across the street, and the prospect of reduced exposure doesn't sit well, at least with one particular member of the group!

That said, and along with the fact that this is Monday and not Wednesday, I was out there on the court earlier today. The results were mixed, as the bad moments overshadowed the most of the good, but for the most part the play was competitive. I was a little disappointed though since I figured that having watched the Djokovic-Federer at the US Open over the weekend some of their prowess might have been transferred to such luck...but then again I did watch the Cougar football game on Saturday too, and that probably neutralized anything gained from watching tennis.

Back To School!

Today marks the first day of the fall quarter for the course that I teach through Spokane Falls Community College for the University of North Dakota. It is entitled Air Science 103, and is an introduction to meteorology for Aerospace majors. This year the class runs from 7:30am to 8:30, so I will be rising at O-Darkhundred each day for the next few months.

The weather has finally turned around, and become pretty nice. Yesterday was sunny with afternoon temperatures in the mid to upper 70s, and all this week we should be generally sunny with daily highs in the upper 70s to low 80s, and overnight lows in the 50s. Maybe summer isn't over yet!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Another Evening With Brady

I spent most of the day in Deer park today, at an area pastor's meeting. I'm not really a pastor, but I play one on TV...well...actually I play one in real life, but I really don't know what I'm doing! That's why I have gone back to school. Upon arriving home my little buddy Brady was out and about, and came running into the garage to meet me. He wanted to build airplanes, which means that he wanted to play with our Lego blocks. We have a number of good old fashioned toys, which are unique to him, so therein lies the fascination with coming over to our house. Just about everything he builds has the capability of flight. Things that look more like steam locomotives, armadillos and fire hydrants are usually the result of our aircraft assembly line. It doesn't matter, as whatever the shape, and lack of aerodynamics, all inevitably take flight across our family room or off of our front porch. The highlight of these events are the crashes, and I am happy to report that no one has of yet been injured...NOT YET! Since Brady has now been in school for a week...Montessori...he has been wound as tight as a golf ball. Now I must admit that I haven't cut a golf ball in half since I was a kid, but I am assuming that at their core is still a tightly wound mass of rubber bands. Please let me know if technology has changed. We spent a good part of the evening watching Brady fly through the air...crashing into couches, the floor, and all too often, ME. Now that darkness is descending upon us at a much earlier time than a month or two ago things are settling down a little earlier than before, so we managed to have dinner by 8pm...imagine that! The weather continues to be lousy, but should be getting better into the weekend. We should see a little more sunshine, and by Saturday and Sunday the temperatures will reach 70 or a little above. Whoopee! last...but certainly not least...tonight, the NFL season officially has begun. The Vikings lost...there is much rejoicing in the village tonight!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow!

After nearly 10 years we said good-bye to a very good friend today. We sold our 2000 Mazda Protege'. It's not like we'll never see the guy again, since we sold it to our bartender and friend Chris, but it just isn't the same without that silver dude waiting patiently for us out in the garage. The time had come though, as is there really a need for two licensed drivers to have three cars? It made sense when Beth was still here, but actually we never had three cars until after she went off to college. The nice thing about it, other than the cash that we pocketed in the sale, is the fact that our car insurance is going down...WAY DOWN! That is not just because we have subtracted a vehicle, but we also subtracted a driver. As of today our "Sweet Babboo" Beth is no longer covered under our insurance policy. It seems as if it is not a big deal to add her back on for the few months that she is here, that according to our agent, and if she drives someone's car in Minnesota and Wisconsin...with their permission of course...she will be covered under the insurance of the owner of that car. I check the insurance regulations of both states and that is indeed the case. So, WHOOPEE! We not only sold a car, but we are saving a lot on out car insurance, and we didn't even switch to Geico.

Just Plain Lousy! (I was going to use the word "crappy" but that might be a little rough!)

Yesterday was gray, drippy and chilly, with a high temperature of only 63. If anything, today will be even grayer drippier and chillier, as we might not get above 60! C'mon! This is only the beginning of September! It's way too early for the weather to be depressing. I guess the Seasonal Affective Disorder will be kicking in early this year.

Looking forward there is not a lot to look forward to. We will be staying cool and mainly cloudy with a few drips and dribbles of rain into tomorrow, and then just cool and mainly cloudy into the weekend. Temperatures probably won't reach back into the 70s until early next week so sweatshirts and sweaters will be replacing tank tops and t-shirts.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Summer's Over?

It is hard for me to say that summer has come to an end because I am not really sure that it ever got started! This year it came much later than normal, not until early July, and with the way things have been these past couple of weeks, and what the projections are for the rest of this week, there isn't a lot of warmth left for us to enjoy. July and August turned out to be quite a bit cooler than average, and with the La Nina strengthening out in the Pacific I would expect below normal temperature to continue for the most part through the fall into the winter.

In the shorter term, this week's forecast calls for more of the same...the same stuff we had on Sunday and Monday. There are a few showers in the area this morning, and a few spots will be getting a bit wet today, with mostly cloudy skies for all of us and afternoon temperatures just in the mid to upper 60s. Mid to upper 70s are still the normal. Tomorrow looks like the best bet to get wet this week as the rain will be more widespread. Clouds and light rain will hold the temperatures down too, probably only reaching the low 60s, and then drier, but still cool weather is set through the end of the week. If we get much above 70 on Thursday or Friday it will be a surprise, but the sun will return again, and that will at least make it look a little warmer, and probably feel warmer if you are standing where the sun shines on you. Looking toward the weekend cool and dry is the indication, then it might just warm up a bit early next week, getting up into the 70s. Let's all hope and pray for that!

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Better Night's Sleep

After a long holiday weekend away Brady returned to the "hood" late this afternoon. He came charging in the backdoor to announce his presence at about 5pm, and we proceeded to have a fun time playing with the Lego blocks until about 8. He wasn't too excited about getting his picture taken, but when I said it was so that his grandpa Larry could see it he put on the smile. While we were building trucks, airplanes and spaceships we also managed to watch the Virginia Tech-Boise State football game. Brady spent the evening cheering for the "Doncos", and they pulled out a big win in the end.
Earlier in the day, before Brady made his return. I was up on the 16 foot extension ladder sawing off a limb from the birch tree in the back of the house. It seems one of our recent windstorms, of which there have been way too many this year, forced the limb under the gable on the east side of the house where it got stuck. From that point forward every little breeze caused it to scape along the eaves, creating quite a racket in our bedroom last night. I am happy to report that the limb is no more, I made it down safely from the ladder, and I am about to hit the sack...good night!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Play Day?

While it was time for our monthly Men's Breakfast at St. John's today the least some of them...took the opportunity to hit the links. Now you must realize that right next door to the church is a little par 3 golf course, the Eagle Ridge Short Course, and that was the venue of the day. A close look at the score card shows that the longest hole is all of 111 yards, that's if you us the mats with those nice little rubber tees built in. What is most conspicuous is that somewhere along the line they seemed to have missed a hole. Whether that is a hole that wasn't played or just wasn't scored is still being debated. In any event, they all had a good time, and then went out to lunch to discuss the competition. It looks as if the scores were quite competitive, and I have been assured that no money changed hands.

Friday, September 3, 2010


As today marked the beginning of the Labor Day holiday weekend Kay and I sat on the porch and watched the entire neighborhood depart. Its going to be lonely around here for a couple of days! What we noticed was the fact that it takes our neighbors many hours to prepare to leave the area for a day or two. For us it is about a 5 minute ordeal to throw a spare pair of drawers into an overnight bag...pitch it in the car...and then hit the road. Late this afternoon we witnessed my little buddy Brady and family load their "Family Truckster" in order to spend some "quality time" at the lake. (I put quality time in parentheses due to the fact that the weather is about to go into the dumper). After each member of the family climbed in and out of the vehicle several hundred times, they finally left the driveway. At that instant I said to Kay; "they'll be right back", to which her response was; "I don't think so". Within about 30 seconds my prediction was validated. One should never doubt my prognostication!
Speaking of we drove home from a rather abysmal effort on the tennis court late this morning I was struck by the appearance of the clouds that were floating through. I said to Kay that the little puffs of cloud that appeared to have no flat base were an indication of unstable air, and that is usually a precursor to thunderstorms within 24 hours. None of the local weather forecasters had included thunder and lightning in their forecasts. This evening brought more clouds that gave the indication that things were getting a bit unstable, and sure enough, about 9 this evening the lightning and thunder moved over the city. I wish that there would have been more, and that the sky would have opened up and dumped a bunch of rain on us, but this is Spokane and we have to take what little we get.

Friday Blues

Blue skies, that is. It is looking like a fine day today as we enter into the Labor Day weekend. From there, it all goes in the dumper! After reaching the middle to upper 80s this afternoon under a mostly sunny sky you will no doubt...if you're anywhere near here...notice the wind picking up tomorrow. That is because a sharp cold front will be passing through. A southeast breeze ahead of it in the morning with turn to the southwest and increase after it passes. Gusts over 30 miles per hour in the afternoon may also stir up a little bit of dust from the farm fields to our southwest and knock the visibility down to just a few miles in some spots. Temperatures will be cooling too. Tomorrow's top temperatures will be about 10 degrees lower than today, and then it should be another 10 degrees or so cooler for Labor Day (Monday) and Tuesday. That will put the highs just in the 60s, and there will also be some showers scattered around both of those days. I guess this all isn't the best news for those wanting to enjoy the "Unofficial Last Weekend of Summer" on a camping trip or at the lake place.

As for me...I'm not going anywhere, so bring it on. College football kicks off this weekend, and I will be firmly planted on the couch! Don't bother me between 8pm and midnight tomorrow night as I will be watching my beloved Badgers (the old Alma Mater) take on the Rebels of UNLV. I am hoping for a rout! a way that will make me happy. Later in the weekend I will be paying close attention to Boise State's trip to the Nation's Capitol to take on Virginia Tech. That should be a fun one! I say...Go Broncos!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

And Now...The Weather

I mentioned previously my bout with hypothermia, brought on by our premature exit from summer here in the "Great Northwest". Today was a little better, with a high temperature of 72 degrees and occasional sunshine. We will be headed in the right direction for Thursday and Friday as tomorrow the temperatures should surpass 80 degrees in the afternoon, and on Friday we will be near 90 again. Since it is now September the heat will be short-lived. The winds will pick up again from the southwest by the end of the day Friday, and that is going to bring some cooler air in from the Pacific. On Saturday we probably will only reach the low 70s again, and then just the 60s Sunday. Chances for rain showers will be increasing through the weekend too, so we will probably be right back to where we've been these past few days.

Where've You Been?

My rather conspicuous absence from this blog can be ascribed to the terrible case of hypothermia that I have been suffering from ever since our return from Wisconsin...That's my story and I'm sticking to it!
I have been getting requests to post pictures of my office, and I don't know why, so after several days of cleaning (maybe that's why the posts on this blog have been so few and far between) here it is. Its a cozy little place, with a cozy little desk. Nearly everyone who comes in says the same thing..."YOU NEED A BIGGER DESK"...and they say it just about that loud too. My response is that if I had a bigger desk I would have a bigger mess, so the size suits me just fine. Speaking of fine, some of the finer things that you may have noticed are the two comfy looking leather chairs, with the table between. These were a gift from two very close friends, Joe and Jeri, and the color matches the matte on the beautiful piece of artwork above. Its a print of a southeastern United States farm scene, with an old John Deere tractor, complete with iron wheels, in the foreground. That beautiful piece of artwork pales in comparison to the beautiful piece that adorns the table. That is an original woodcarving entitled "In the Cross of Christ I Glory" and was lovingly done by the hands of my friend Dick Aufdemberge (pronounced just like its spelled). Dick and his lovely wife Norie were here last summer and fall with the Laborers for Christ helping to build our church, and we dropped in on them as we journeyed back from Wisconsin and Minnesota last week. A big thank you goes out to both of them for their hospitality, and to Dick for his amazing artwork. Fortunately there is a cleaning service that comes through every Friday night or the above pictures would have simply been mounds of old crumpled paper and discarded packets of Taco Bell fire sauce...empty of course.
Finally, I have been urged to give an update on my tennis escapades with my posse. I was back out on the court Monday morning, and after the long layoff had to be retaught the fundamentals of the game. I have a hard time remembering if I am supposed to hit the ball into the blue areas, inside the white lines, or to the green area outside those lines. And when the ball hits those white lines I am never sure what it means, as it seems that can be either in or out depending upon which side of the net my friend John happens to be playing on. Actually, I am getting a little concerned for his health and sanity (well...maybe not the sanity...he does allow me to play in the group...figure that one out). Anyway, since my return he has become much more of a kind and gentle soul, as opposed to his previously being "meaner than cougar *%$# and twice as nasty." I'll have to let you know how all of that turns out.