Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve

Our New Year's party was a small one, but we had a very large guest of honor!
The ceiling in this place has probably never been so clean!!!  We will be getting up VERY early tomorrow for the parade and then the game.  It's time for a little shut eye.

On Wisconsin!!!  Tomorrow is the big day.

Hit The Beach

It was a little cool again today, but we have an ocean of possibilities available to us so we headed to Malibu.  Our goal was to find Charlie Harper's house, and Pavlov's Bar.  Alas, we were unsuccessful.  We did manage to get our feet wet, and tour some of the more "posh" neighborhoods of Malibu.

Those are my lily-white chicken legs extending into the Pacific...definitely need to see more sun!

I just tried to cut the end of my finger off slicing a lemon for our New Year's Eve reveling, so I will have to stop typing before my keyboard becomes engorged with blood!  More later.

On Wisconsin!!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010


This afternoon we made it to the beach, to get together with Badgers from all over the world.  I don't have an accurate count, but there had to be 30 to 40 thousand of us at the Santa Monica Pier.

The Bucky Badger pictured is even bigger than mine.  All in all it was an emotional afternoon being elbow to elbow with so many Badgers.

On Wisconsin!!!


We left Pasadena a little before noon, and hit the LA freeways.  All in all it was smooth sailing.  Hollywood was the destination, and it soon became clear that this is an area that had its day a good 50 years ago.

The star at the bottom is waiting for my name.  On Wisconsin!!!

Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Here are several 1000 words...

These are all from the Rose Parade float assembly area on Raymond Ave. in Pasadena.  Those Lutherans sure know how to push a petal!  The "Boat Float" is massive.  It's sponsored by Farmers Insurance. 

More to come.  On Wisconsin!!!

Up and Going

We are back at it again to see more parade floats being assembled then to the Santa Monica Pier for a Wisconsin Pep Rally into the evening.  We will be gone all day.  I'll tell you about the events, and the winds, tonight.

On Wisconsin!!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Rolling Along With the Tumblin' Tumble Weed

Did I mention that it wasn't raining today, at least not much.  It may have been much drier, but it was just as, if not even windier.  As we rolled down I-5 through the Central Valley of California the wind was sending all sorts of objects careening across the highway.  One of these projectiles made a direct hit on the grill of the car and we carried it along with us for a good 25 miles.

Once we pulled off the highway the mass of dead weed fell from the front of the car, which had also just occurred from the car directly in front of us, so there were two masses lying there in the intersection.  The rest of the ride was much less eventful.  We had mostly a tail wind and the weather was pretty quiet until we hit the Tehachapi Mountains (if I misspelled that I doubt if any of you will know) heading from the valley into the LA area.  That is where the rain started again.  It basically consisted of a few showers, but with the heavy traffic and the spray from the trucks it was a bit problematic.  The main problem was that the moisture obscured our views of the sign saying "Fort Tejon" and Tejon Pass.

Believe me...the words are there!  So what is so important about Fort Tejon and Tejon Pass?  Well, the word tejon is Spanish for Badger, so it should be obvious.  Unsuspecting TCU fans are passing through Badger Pass without having the slightest knowledge...being drawn into the Badger's trap.

After reaching our hotel in Santa Clarita, and dumping out all of our junk, we headed for Pasadena...a 35 minute jaunt down the Foothills Freeway.  When we got there it was chilly and wet, and mud ruled the day.  We managed to go through a couple of the buildings where the floats for the parade were in final assembly.  I'll have some pictures of then tomorrow, but for now it is time to display the venue for "The Grand-daddy of Them All."

More to come from our Rose Bowl adventure...tomorrow!  On Wisconsin!!!

The Sun'll Come Out...Today!!!

We awoke this morning in the capitol city of California, and it wasn't raining, and the sun even made a few!!!

After a hearty breakfast...I was told that it might have been a little TOO hearty...we packed up and hit the road again.  There were a few spots that we had to hit before leaving the Sacramento area, such as the Morant Sausage Company, and a quick drive past the old homestead.  We lived in Elk Grove, California from 1989 to 1993, which at the time was a sleepy little farm town just outside of the fringe of the Sacto metro area.  Now it is home to nearly 200,000 residents, and the sprawl just keeps going, and going, and going, and going.  The thing that I wanted most to see from our old home was the palm tree that I planted back near the pool.  It's there...BOY IS IT THERE!

Well, that is just the start of the day...I'll have much more in a little bit...On Wisconsin!!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Biggest Flood SInce the Days of Noah?

I really don't know why it always has to be this way!  It seems as if every time I have to drive cross-country we end up in a deluge that would drown a dolphin.  This morning we woke up, very early, in the Dalles, the entrance to the Columbia River Gorge.  It was raining.  As a matter of fact we got into rain Monday evening just past Ritzville, and it lasted all the way into The Dalles area.  We hit the road just after 7 this morning, with a light rain falling, and it got heavier, and heavier and heavier.  Other than a couple of 10 minute drier just south of Salem, OR and the other near Yreka, was non-stop.  All day long the windshield wipers were passing before my face, back and forth, over and over, back and forth.  The total was 29,761 times that those things passed before my face...I counted!  To make things even more interesting the rain turned into a heavy snow above 3,000 feet in the mountains of northern California.  There were some pretty slushy stretches, but that didn't seem to slow down anything with a California license tag..."Let them truckers roll...10-4 good buddy!"

We rolled into the Sacramento area just about 6pm, and just as the rain began to let up.  We are hunkered down at the Ramada Inn and Plaza (whatever that is?  I think that it's just a term to attach to the name so that they can hike up the rate about 25 bucks)  The room is decent, functional, and the toilet works, so we got just about everything we need.  For dinner we headed for what might be our favorite pizza place in the second favorite, the favorite is a little place that we will never be able to find again in Naples, Italy.  Here in Sacra-tomato the place to be for pizza pie is Zelda's Gourmet Pizza on 21st Street just east of downtown.  We had the a sausage pizza and a pesto, and there is plenty left over for lunch on the road tomorrow.  Speaking of the road tomorrow, it's going to rain again.  There may also be a little snow up on top of the "Grapevine", and elevated stretch of I-5 that separates the San Joaquin Valley from the LA area.  Along the way we will be crossing over Badger Pass...which is a good omen for the upcoming Rose Bowl game on Saturday afternoon.

Time to wrap this up.  I am sitting next to the window of the hotel room, and there is a full gale blowing out there.  Any minute now one of those trees out there is likely to make an appearance in the room by way of the window.

More to come tomorrow...from the road to the Rose Bowl...On Wisconsin!!!

Oh, by the way, if you are looking for pictures...there aren't any.  We couldn't see much of anything all day!

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Run For the Roses

We are off and running...heading for Southern California.  The original plan was to depart early tomorrow morning, but with snow coming in tonight it is high time to get out of Dodge!!!  We will be setting up camp in The Dalles, Oregon tonight, Sacramento tomorrow night, and then its full speed ahead into "LaLa Land".

I'll be reportin' and postin' pictures from the road...On Wisconsin!!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Note To Self

Its all about Jesus!
 Merry Christmas to all...and to all a good night.  On Wisconsin!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Couple Of Quick Notes

Christmas Eve is tomorrow...that means that life has been absolutely insane this week, what with planning 4 services (2 Christmas Eve, 1 Christmas Day and another Sunday), and 3 sermons (Sunday I am using a couple of videos for the message...but even that takes a good bit of time to come up with.  I also had a couple of basketball games to referee on Tuesday and Wednesday.  All of this doesn't leave a lot of time for blogging, or Christmas shopping.  We did manage to get out today for a trip to the mall, where we spent more time in the parking lot...gridlock...than actually in the stores.

I simply must comment on my recent tennis experiences.  Our group...the posse...has a new member.  I would like to introduce you to Warren Whiner.
Now this fella does bear a striking resemblance to one of our regulars; John, but his personality is anything but happy, which John has been all of his life.  If anyone can locate John, and send him back our way, there are 3 guys who would be forever in your debt.

Once again...tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and I am really looking forward to it.  Time permitting I will report on all the details, and you can bank on the fact that I will be providing constant updates on our trip to the Rose Bowl next week.  On Wisconsin!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Recovery Mode!

Yesterday we held our annual Albrecht Christmas Open House.  We have been doing this for 20 years now, on the Sunday before Christmas, and it is always a good time.  It's a lot of work...but a good time.

Pictures please!

Obviously...Bucky Badger was the guest of honor...and my buddy Brady of course.  We spent a good part of the evening reading books.  Through the day the house was much fuller than pictured, it's just that during that time I was a little to busy being the bartender to grab the camera!  All in all the day turned out very well.  We had enough food to feed the masses, and more than enough for everyone to drink.  Every good party should have copious quantities of leftovers, and ours came through with flying colors in that respect.

Today it was time to get back to the routine.  It all started with a session with my posse on the tennis court.  Things started slow for me, which at my size should be pretty obvious, but got gradually better.  I am having a few issues with my friend John though, as he seems to be just a bit less than happy these days (which is a real problem for a guy sporting the last name "Happy").  I get the feeling that he thinks that the rest of us aren't quite dealing fairly with him.  It's probably just a bit of jealousy due to the fact that he does not possess an 8 foot inflatable Bucky Badger like I do.  I hope that he can get beyond that.  After tennis it was time to get to work.  Today I became the "Webmaster for St. John's Lutheran Church here in Spokane, Washington.  If you would like to see my work just log on to, it's really exciting.  The remainder of the day was spent preparing for the Christmas services ahead, and getting ready to become "The Sermonator"...with 3 sermons in the course of an 18 hour period.  Please pray for me, and even more so those who have to listen to me!

I came home this evening only to find the rest of the inhabitants of the house engaged in a cutthroat Canasta game.  It almost led to an all out brawl, but I managed to calm the situation.  Tempers often flair when Canasta is played around here, as nobody really likes to lose.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Do We Have Good Neighbors or What?

Early this morning, as Beth and I drove off for a day of work (her to be a scorekeeper for AAU basketball and me to head for the church and then officiate a game at Central Valley High School) we noticed a box on the porch with a big "W" (motion W...of you are a Wisconsin fan you know what that means) on it sitting on the porch.  Beth quickly came across a Facebook message from our neighbor Louis that immediately explained why it was there.  In the box was an 8 foot + inflatable Bucky Badger...the beloved mascot of my Alma mater, the University of Wisconsin.  He had come across the street at about 6 in the morning with the plan of having this guy all inflated to greet us as we rose from our morning slumber.  Due to a strong and persistent wind Louis was unable to get the job done.  It seemed that Bucky Badger was too much for him to handle.  I certainly believe that this a direct omen for a certain team from cannot begin to contain a Badger!

I must confess, for more than 10 years I have coveted an 8 foot inflatable Bucky Badger for my very own, and now I have one.  Thank you Louis!!!  You better believe that this guy is going to be making the road trip with us to Pasadena!

Now you might have noticed that our trophy, as pictured, is inside the house.  Wind was not our only weather problem today.  We got about an inch and a half of snow, in which I had to drive all the way across town for the game that I was assigned.  Now we have seen plenty of snow already this winter, but in the past couple of weeks it had just about all melted away.  It seems that the brains of most of the Spokane area drivers had also melted away since most of them insisted on driving 60 miles per hour down a sheet of ice that bears the name of Interstate 90.  The result was numerous multi-car wrecks, all attributed to driver stupidity!  I managed to make my way to the high school for my scheduled game right on time, only because  I departed more than a half hour earlier than I would normally have...due to the weather.

From here on it appears as if any more snow overnight will be minimal, and tomorrow should be a rather quiet day.  A little more snow...maybe an inch or two...will be coming in tomorrow night.  From there it looks as if the weather will be rather uneventful for a couple of days, with some sloppy stuff coming a little later in the week.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holiday Air Travel

Tonight is the night that Beth comes home from college for the Christmas break.  Her flight was supposed to arrive a half hour ago, but it won't be getting in for another couple of hours.  That isn't all that big of a deal, but she is pretty pooped out after an Old Testament final exam earlier today followed by way too much time in airports...Minneapolis and Denver.  Both flights were delayed, and I am not so sure why, as the weather across the country has been pretty benign today.

Speaking of is getting chillier.  We'll be down near 20 degrees in the morning, and only up to about freezing on Friday afternoon.  There is snow coming by Saturday afternoon, and we will probably see a couple of inches by Sunday morning.  A little more snow will be coming Sunday into early next week, so we should be dreaming of a white Christmas.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Snow's Gone...For Now

While much of the rest of the nation has been shivering and shoveling we have seen nearly all of the snow that was dumped on us in November melt away in a mild and rainy stretch of weather.  On Sunday I was out putting Christmas lights on the house in 50 degree temperatures (yes!!!) and on Monday night into Tuesday morning we were in the midst of a tropical rain.  Actually, it was subtropical moisture that had made its way into the Inland Northwest compliments of the "Pineapple Express", a conveyor belt of warm moist air that originates south of the Hawaiian Islands.  The result of all of this is that the snow that has been covering the ground has made a rather quick exit, and I have to admit that after November I thought it would be at least late February before we would see the ground emerge again.  All that is left are the big snow berms that were plowed up last month and deposited in our front yard.  But alas, all good things must come to an end, and colder weather is slowly settling in.  Things are looking pretty quiet through Friday, but then the snow will be coming back.  It appears as if we will be seeing the ground get covered up again on Saturday, and add to it on Sunday.  Right now it only looks like a few inches, but stay tuned for further refinement on that forecast.  For the week leading up to Christmas it will probably remain rather chilly with a little snow from time to time, so winter will likely be rearing its ugly head again.

Yesterday I had the good fortune of experiencing a journey to the middle of nowhere.  The early part of the week turned out to be quite busy, as I had two out of town trips to officiate basketball games.  Monday I drove, along with a partner, to Chewelah, about an hour north of Spokane on US Highway 395.  Yesterday I was sent to a place called Wellpinit.  If you haven't heard of Wellpinit you can be numbered with the vast majority of folks.  To get there you head west from Spokane, either by way of US 2 through Reardan, or taking the scenic route along the Spokane River.  After leaving civilization behind and winding around through the hills and forests for about an hour or so you will come upon a tiny outpost in southern Stevens County...and that's are in Wellpinit!  Fortunately the thick fog that we experienced on Monday heading to and from Chewelah was not a problem on Tuesday or we might have missed it.

Tomorrow night our "Sweet Babboo", Beth, will be coming home from college for a one month holiday break.  She is looking forward to it, and so are we, but the novelty will probably wear off in a few days, so we will see where that all goes.  Christmas is just a little over a week away, and one of these days I might start thinking about shopping.  That is so against my nature and better judgment though!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Great Blizzard of December 2010

While the homies back in Wisconsin and Minnesota were trying to deal with about a foot and a half of new snow, winds of 30 to 40 miles per hour, and temperatures plummeting toward zero over the last night and today I was out putting the Christmas lights on the front of the house today in temperatures that were hovering around 50 degrees!  I must say that the Albrecht mansion of 54th Lane in Spokane is looking mighty festive.  Santa is hanging out in the backyard, and as always he is pretty well lit up...Christmas cheer you know.  I am certainly not fool enough to think that this weather is going to be like this for long, but for the next couple of days I will be enjoying the meltdown before the colder weather returns.

Now I have my doubts that any of you have ever heard of the Madden-Julian Oscillation, but you are about too.  This is a winter phenomena that occurs from the Indian Ocean into the tropical western Pacific that has a huge influence on our weather here in the United States, especially the Pacific Northwest.  I will spare you the details but it generally takes place over a two to three week span, and so our weather tends to swing from cold to warm in the same pattern.  From the middle of November to just past the first of December things around here were very snowy and cold.  Them, we swung the other way and about a week and a half ago things started to warm up.  By the end of this week we will be heading back toward the cold side of the cycle, so you can look forward to more winter like weather through the end of the month.  I just thought you might want to know for planning purposes through the Christmas and New Years holiday.

Just a quick note on our church services this we had the Christmas program for the kids of the Pre-school and Kindergarten, along with a little help from the Sunday School.  210 people showed up today, and the church only seats about 220, so it was a packed house.  The parking lot was full almost an hour before things got started!  Following the worship service we had our 2nd Sunday Brunch...french toast casserole and sausage links...Yum!  It all turned out to be quite an experience.  With Christmas Eve less than 2 weeks away I can even begin to guess how many folks might come through the doors!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Is Winter Over?

After a November snow job the rain is now falling in the Spokane area, and it looks like through the weekend the precipitation de jour will be liquid rather than the solid form.  The local TV weather fools are up in arms about the prospect of freezing rain tonight, and I guess that might be the case in a few isolated cold pockets, but it really isn't going to be much of a big deal.  I would venture the guess that it is going to be more problematic avoiding the deer early tomorrow morning than slip sliding away on the ice.  I drove out to Lakeside High School for a couple of basketball games...I was the one fouling the kids out...earlier this evening and counted five dead ones on the side of the road.

I am looking forward to a bit of tennis in the morning, as I have not been out on that kind of court since last Monday.  On Friday of last week I was tied up with a funeral...not my own...and on Monday it turned out that someone neglected to reserve an indoor court for our group, and the conditions outside were a bit inhospitable.  Today I finished my commitment to teaching the aviation weather class, which will allow me more time with the posse getting my butt kicked.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Been in Therapy

I can explain my recent absence...I have been trying to rehabilitate myself.  For the past week and a half I have been desparately attempting to come to grips with my total hatred of all things winter.  I must confess...I am not making much progress.  After spending 30 years shivering and shoveling in Wisconsin I got far too used to warmer climates, living in California, Georgia and then Florida.  On top of all of that...I sank to a new low just a couple of days ago.  I found out that my little buddy Brady is going to be leaving me.  Yes, the family is moving away.

There is an old saying that I have heard many times before.  "When God closes a door he opens a window."  That is where I am putting my faith and hope.  Reality is that Brady and family, all dear friends, are only moving about 3.1237698085437894543256 miles away.  I know that because I measured it.  They are going to a larger house so that Brady has more room to ramble.  My hope is rooted in the fact that Brady is the only 4 year old that I know who owns a car!
When the weather warms he will simply drive over to the old neighborhood to spend some quality time on the porch.  I am quite sure that dad will invest in new tires for the Escalade and perhaps a new clutch.  Brady can be a little rough on the tranny!
And now...something completely different!  That is an old line from Monty Python's Flying Circus...very likely my favorite TV show from back in college...well, maybe it was the Muppet Show, which made for some wonderful drinking games.  Speaking of college, my Alma mater, the University of Wisconsin is headed for the Rose Bowl.  I am sure you have heard about's in all the papers.  Since the UW...the real one, not the fraud that is across the state in going to Pasadena so are we.  Kay, Beth and I will be headed for LA-LA land just after Christmas.  The Badgers went 3 times between 1993 and 2000, but we were never able to be there.  This time there will be no stopping us.  We are going to be traveling south to the land of palm trees and multiple Escalades (maybe Brady will be there) to take in all of the pageantry of the Tournament of Roses.  I promise to provide you with regular updates...much more regular than this past week and keep you informed on all things Badger.


I'm still sleeping...hibernating may be a better term!