December 6, 2011
My speech for Alex at his Eagle Court of Honor - December 6, 2011
I'll try to keep this brief, and hopefully I won't cry too much. Alex, I am really proud of you. You've been at this a long time, and I know how hard you've worked to reach this point. Congratulations. Again, I'm really, really proud of you. As I thought about this evening and what I wanted to say I tried to think of some stories that would help frame your scouting career, really our scouting career, and two relatively obscure events kept popping back into my mind.
The first is from your first ever extended campout as a Bear Scout. You were going up to Camp Stearns for 3 nights, and for whatever reason, probably work, I couldn't be there for the first night. I told Scott that I'd be there the next day. So, I packed you up and sent you off to camp for a night without me. Like any father sending his son off alone for the first time I was worried about you. I was worried that you were homesick. I was worried that you weren't making friends. I don't think I slept that night. Anyway, the next day I drove up to camp, parked the car, and started to look for you. It didn't take me long before I spotted you and the rest of your Den walking along a trail. And lo and behold, you were happy! In fact, you were singing. You and Richard were singing some song, probably "Ain't that funky now," and you were laughing and having a great time.
I remember thinking to myself: he doesn't need me. He doesn't need me! I remember being both happy and sad about this. I was happy that you had obviously adjusted well without me, but I was sad that you really didn't need me there. I thought to myself, maybe I don't need to come on these camp-outs. Maybe I can just stay home. But then I looked again and saw how happy you were. I remember thinking right then and there, forget that! Even if you don't need me, I'm going to come on these camp-outs regardless and be with you having fun. I thought: I don't want to miss any of this.
The second story comes from a camp-out that we maybe didn't have the most fun on, the Whitewater Rafting camp-out of 2009. You remember that camp-out, right? It was the end of May, but it was really cold. We woke up the morning of our whitewater rafting excursion and it must have been in the mid-40s. We had to put on all the warmest clothing we had and then all our rain gear on top of that. And then we had to get into river rafts and potentially get really wet. It was crazy.
We ended up in separate rafts. The part of that adventure I remember most was when we were about to go down the most treacherous part of the river, what the guides called the "Electric Slide." The head guide had all of us line up and then he gave us instructions on how to raft through what was a waterfall-slash-slide that apparently a lot of people didn't make it through without falling in. The guide told us, "When you hit the slide don't lean forward too much, or you'll fall in. Also, don't lean back too much or you'll fall in. And when you hit the bottom, start paddling like crazy or you'll fall in." Then he added, "Got it? Let's go!"
Personally I didn't really get it. I remember thinking to myself, "You have got to be kidding me! I may as well just dive in now and get it over with." I looked over across the river at Alex to see if I could tell what he was thinking. Alex gave me a look that is difficult to describe, but one that I'll never forget. He shook his head quietly with a look of disgusted acceptance, anger, resignation, and determination all rolled into one, a look that non-verbally said, "Can you believe what this joker is telling us to do?" A look that ultimately said, "We're headed for a waterfall, surrounded by sharp rocks, on a raft in 40 degree weather with the outcome being we will most likely fall in. Bring it on."
I remember laughing. Man that look put a smile on my face. That look you gave me was exactly what I needed to get through the Electric Slide (and we didn't fall in). The reason I remember it now is because it also said, "Dad, what have we gotten ourselves into?" Really, what have we gotten ourselves into Alex? The whitewater rafting trip was just one of many things we got ourselves into during these last 8 years of scouting. And when you think about it all together it has been quite a remarkable ride.
On top of whitewater rafting we have done tons of kayaking, sailing, tubing, and probably close to 100 miles of canoeing.
We have gone swimming in some of the most beautiful lakes in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
We have probably hiked well over 150 miles (including snow-shoeing), and biked together for close to 300 miles over some breathtaking countryside.
We have climbed the towers of Stearns, Many Point, and Tesomas, and the rocks of Basecamp. Well, actually you climbed and I provided moral and sometimes belay support.
We've gone orienteering, geocaching, fishing, and caving.
We've played Many Point water-polo and battled together for the greased watermelon. We've gone bowling, rollerskating, and rollerblading.
We've shot arrows, shotgun, BB gun, Paintball, 22 rifles, sling-shots, and we've thrown our fair share of tomahawks.
We've visited the state capitol, numerous museums, state parks like Itasca, St. Croix, Fort Snelling, and J. Cook, and a myriad of other cultural institutions.
We've done a ton of service projects together like food drives, buckthorn pulls, raking lawns, planting trees, flowers, and bushes, Feed My Starving Children, and shoveling driveways and sidewalks. We painted buildings here at the JCC for Richard's Eagle project, and of course, we built and installed anti-erosion bars at Westwood for your own.
We've been bitten by hundreds, maybe thousands, of mosquitoes, horse flies, deer flies, black flies, no-see-ums, and wood ticks. Thankfully no deer ticks.
How many nights of camping have we done together? 70? 80? More? I tried to add them all together but I gave up. How many campfires have we sat around, eating whatever delicious dessert Scott has cooked up for us? How many campfire songs have we sung, how many skits have we watched and done? How many nights of camping have we done now with Anders, with all three of us together?
How many times have we looked up, away from the city lights, to see those beautiful stars in the Minnesota nighttime sky?
How many memories have we built? Too many to count. And through it all, I've had a front row seat watching you grow up and become a leader, for this troop and in your everyday life. I'm proud of you reaching Eagle Alex. So proud. But I am most happy that we were able to go on this journey together.
I wouldn't have missed it for the world.
June 14, 2006
An Evening Walk at Minnehaha Falls
It's interesting to me how music can so strongly remind us of specific places. Or how strongly we associate music with a particular place.
This is a new video of my son and me taking a walk at Minnehaha Falls. The music in the background dictated the location, and the way the video was shot. At least to me. You might think of something else when you hear this song.
And just as an aside, it was pretty difficult to get the images to correspond to the beat, but I think I did an OK job. There is a part in the song where the tempo slightly changes which caused me no end of problems. I hope you enjoy it anyway!
Download WMV version for clearer and cleaner images.
June 9, 2006
Trying YouTube. YouTube definitely makes it easy to take a video and move it onto the web. Very slick.
June 8, 2006
Trying something new. The "continue reading" link below goes to a video, so if you aren't in the mood for one, don't click it!
This may give some explanation on what the Greet Machine actually is.
Try this version if things are exceptionally slow for you.
September 28, 2004
No sports today
Today is a non-sports related entry. I can't write about sports all the time because 1) I really don't have that much to say and 2) what I do have to say probably isn't that original anyway. So, if you are hear to read about the Twins, or the Vikings, or the stadium issue, sorry to disappoint.
Yesterday I posted a picture of my younger son playing video games. As you can probably see, he really gets into it. He jumps around and screams and generally works himself into a sweat playing any type of video game. It is very humorous to watch. Another thing that is very humorous is that if I'm playing with him or against him, he will also start to talk trash to me. Yes, my six year old son will talk trash, but not just any type of trash talk, six year old trash talk. Let me explain. Our favorite game to play Super Smash Brothers, a game in which you try to whomp the other player off the playing field, so he is constantly saying to me, "Hey Dad, I got a present for you! BOOOOM!" as he tries to smack me. And whenever he does he'll usually follow that with a "Uh huh, its my birthday! Its my birthday!" However, the coup de gras of all trash talk, the one I hear most often happens either when he really lays down the smack on my character or when he beats me. He will quote Finding Nemo when Marlin and Dory fend off the Glow fish. He will sing to me, "No eating here tonight, eating here tonight. You on a diet!" That is when I know things have really gone his way and I have been truly humbled. Trash talk from a six year old. You gotta love it.
Yesterday I had an adventure. But it really probably won't strike you as that exciting. Much like six year old trash talk, this is an adventure only a 31 year old father of 3 can have. So, I was riding the bus home when I remembered, "Uh oh, my bus pass is screwed up. The meter probably won't take it." Sure enough, when I went to pay, the meter read "MISREAD" and it spit my card back out. Usually this wouldn't be a problem since the bus drivers are pretty nice about that. But this is the second time this has happened and I knew that the bus driver on my transfer would be on to me, or think I am trying to rip him off. So, in other words, I had to walk home from the Louisiana Transit Center, at least a 3 mile walk.
I know, boo hoo. Exercise would probably do me good at this point, anyway, so I started walking. And walking. And walking. Quite frankly I was getting sick of it. Then I saw the Minneapolis Golf Club golf course. Now, one thing you probably don't know about me is that I practically live on the Minneapolis Golf Club golf course. This isn't because I am rich, or because I have a membership, though. I have heard that a membership costs upwards of $40,000 a year, so I was of the opinion that I would never set foot on the course, which is kind of sad since I live so close to it. Heh heh, you probably know where I am going with this.
I live on the west side of the course, and I was walking on the northeast side. I looked through the yards of the houses on the course and I noticed that unlike the poor saps like me, these folks do not have a fence between them and the course. I had a choice. Either I could choose to walk another mile, at least, around the course on the street to get to my house, or I could cut through the course and save myself a considerable amount of walking. I said to myself, "How can they keep me off the course? I practically live on the course! I am their neighbor! They should welcome me on the course!" And so on. The justifications of a desperate man.
So, needless to say, I sprinted up through one of the yards on the course, and I quickly found myself stepping on my first fairway of the Minneapolis Golf Club. It was beautiful. Then the panic struck. I am an idiot! I am trespassing! And not only that, I am trespassing on some really, really rich guys' property! So, I start to run. And much like my cat when she gets outside I start to run without really knowing where I am going. I mean, I had never been on the course before. I would run across a fairway and then duck into some bushes to catch my breath and make sure no one saw me. And then I would race across another fairway like I was an East Berliner trying to escape into the west. Around fountains and tress, past water hazards and sand traps, it was exhilirating and very tiring.
I thought to myself, "How is this better than just walking around the course?" as I grew more and more tired from the constant running, but I was determined to make it across without anyone seeing me. Finally I reached my goal. The Golf Club swimming pool. It is on the street I live so I knew where I was, and I knew where I had to go. However, to get there I had to cross the driving range. If ever there spot someone would see me, it was on the driving range. I take a peek to make sure no one is there, and I sprint across. Out of the corner of my eye I catch a big flash, a reflection of light, and in a panic I whirl around a look at what I was sure was my eventual captor. I thought, "You won't take me without a fight!!!" as I prepared to launch myself into the freedom of the street, but lo and behold it was just a huge mirror reflecting the sun light. Strange, I thought. I guess these rich golfers want to make sure they look really good on the course.
With my final bit of strength, I climbed the hill to the street. I had made it. Looking back on it now I probably could have just leisurely strolled across the course. Would they have really cared? In fact, they probably did see me from the club house over-looking the course. I can just imagine a grounds keeper looking down at me and saying, "Hey Joe! Come over here and get a load of this guy. He thinks he is a fugitive or MacGyver or something." Ah, but it was the thrill of the run. The thought that maybe I was doing something wrong and that if I was caught I would be in big trouble. I have never felt so alive!!!
And I saved myself a ton of walking. Thus ends my story. Back to our regularly scheduled programming.
September 24, 2004
Hello everyone! Welcome to a rare Friday night post. My family and I went to the YMCA tonight and had a great time swimming. It is so much fun growing up again with my kids. They are so full of energy ... and questions. On the car ride home, which takes about 10 minutes, my oldest son asked a number of questions that demonstrate, at least to me, all the different directions a young mind can take.
How does an eclipse happen?
Who invented the car?
Do you have to be right handed to drive a stick shift?
What is a square root?
I answered three of them, but I didn't know who invented the car. I'll have to get back to him on that one.
Category "Sports business"
September 14, 2004
Why do I even try to think of a title...
Kids ... I swear I am keeping track of all the extra money my kids are costing me. When they hit 18 I am going to present them all with bills for damages to my house and car through the years that will shock them. It is already shocking me, and my oldest is only 9. Take last week for example. My daughter, who just turned four, decided to "color" my mini-van. Only she decided to use a rock as her crayon. When I saw the damage, which wraps around the entire vehicle, I was too stunned to speak. Sputtering, I turned to my daughter to ask her what on earth prompted her to wreak this kind of devastation on something I am years away from paying off. She just looked at me and said, "Dad, you're crazy." I don't know what to say to this. No matter how much I want to, I cannot reason with a four year old. It is impossible. You say, "Honey, you can't scrape a rock against a car. It ruins the car." And she says, "OK Daddy, do you want to play with my dolls?" How frustrating. Maybe I am crazy. Regardless of my mental state right now, though, she is going to get a bill for this when she least expects it. Oh yes, there will be restitution!
Interesting article about the Vikings defensive line today in the Star Trib. As I sat in my seat at the Dome this weekend I was thinking the same thing. Vinny had all the time in the world to throw. I don't care how good your corners are, if the QB never feels any pressure he will eventually find an open man. According to the article, Dallas was only hurried on 12 of 50 throws. 12 of 50!!! That is unacceptable, especially considering how strong the Packers O-line is. And it appears that Hovan received most of the criticism. Are we a couple of weeks away from a benching? I wonder. I also wonder about this quote:
"They were going up against [Pro Bowl left guard] Larry Allen. I didn't expect them to go out and beat Larry Allen on every snap. He's a future Hall of Fame-type guy. But I didn't expect us to hand him a yellow coat, either. That's what we did out there. We handed him a yellow coat."
Maybe I'm just dense, but what in the heck does it mean to hand someone a yellow coat? I have no idea what this means. Oh wait, I just figured it out. They hand you a yellow coat when you enter the Hall of Fame. Sheesh, I guess I'm a little slow on the draw today.
Bob Sansavere wrote an interesting column today for a change that suggests the relationship between Reggie Fowler and Denny Hecker isn't as set in stone as we have been led to believe. Apparently the deal, as far as Hecker is concerned, hinges on whether or not they can get a stadium deal shortly after purchasing the team.
"The biggest hurdle is not the purchase price,'' he said, "it's setting up without a stadium. That's what we're really looking at — where would we be without a stadium.''
Hecker also added:
"This goes back to, 'Be careful what you wish for.' If you get it, you may not get rid of it. If you do get (the Vikings) and don't get a stadium right away, it's more painful than it is with a stadium. You don't want to risk enormous capital for fun.''
I also heard on the radio this morning some comments from Tim Pawlenty who was audibly happy about a local owner possibly buying the Vikings. Could part of Hecker's involvement be some assurances from the governor that he would look more favorably on a new Vikings stadium with a local owner? I would say that the answer is a definitive yes. No way Hecker, or Fowler for that matter, would do this deal without talking with the governor. Pawlenty also said he expects an offer to made within the next few weeks. While the article above hinted that things are still up in the air, I would be shocked if Red didn't have an offer on the table by the second week of October.
August 16, 2004
Happy Birthday, Mom!
Happy birthday, Mom! Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of my mom at the ready to display on her big day, but she probably wouldn't like her picture displayed anyway. Words cannot describe how much I love my mom, or how much I appreciate everything she does for me and my family. I mean, just last week she took my two boys out shopping for new school clothes and they came home with a ton of new outfits and new shoes. That was awesome and the boys were very excited with all the stuff she bought for them. My mom only lives about a block away from me and most people would consider that to be a problem. Not me. I love having her so close. I hope you are doing something special today, Mom, because you deserve it! I love you!
June 10, 2004
Do you have a crazy spouse like me?
A little side note about my life ... My crazy wife told me to take my two older boys to a movie last night to reward them for a job well done this year at school. So, I did and had a wonderful time. But when I got back home I found out that my wife was halfway to Mitchell, SD to be with her sister who just went into labor yesterday afternoon. In other words, my wife bamboozled me, and then took off without, it seems, a care in the world. She also seems to have forgotten that I have a job, and, yes, important tasks to accomplish at that job. So, now I am at home today watching my wonderful kids, and I'm trying to come up with a plan to take care of everything I have to take care of at work. I may have to go into work on Saturday.
So, as punishment I have posted the craziest picture of my wife I could find. She won't like it, but at least I feel better.
May 27, 2004
|Introducing a new family|
Plus they gave me this cool watch with a waving Mao. Rock on!
March 24, 2004
Kids and poop
I hope you don't mind if I take a break from stadiums every once and a while and write about other things. For example, my kids and family in general provide me with ample blog material on a regular basis. This blog can provide me with a sort of therapy for what my family puts me through, as a matter of fact. So, kids and poop. For those of you that are parents, are you as sick of poop as I am? I am so sick of poop I can't even think straight. You think it ends when they get out of diapers, but you would be wrong. Let me put this all into context.
Last night I was looking forward to watching the T-Wolves and Gophers hockey. I was in the middle of brainwashing my oldest son, Alex, ("You don't want to watch Nickelodeon ... you want to watch basketball with me ... you like basketball") when my youngest son, Anders, runs by with a pained expression on his face. Now this isn't an odd occurence in itself. Again, for those of you that have kids you know that kids run everywhere. From the moment their feet hit the ground upon waking up and getting out of bed they are sprinting wherever they go. I am always amazed by this. Anyway, Anders runs by and I kind of shrug and carry on with Alex. Mistake number one. I should have helped him immediately. About 10 mintues later Anders comes back with a sheepish look on his face. Uh oh, I thought, what has happened? Well, Anders literally had a poop explosion fly out of his butt with which he has made a trail of poop all through the house. Ahh! What the? ... how could? ... why did? ... I'm speechless. Not only that, he has also taken his pants off and kind of shook them to spread little poop chunks everywhere in his room. I swear I will be finding them years from now. I would be lying if I said I didn't get angry with Anders, and that is mistake number two. No matter what you think your kids should do or what you think are able to do, accidents happen. So, after calming myself down I apologized to Anders, gave him a bath, and put him to bed. Of course, when I get back to the TV my oldest son is watching Nickelodeon. Being a parent is truly the hardest job I have ever had!
I have an idea for a Hallmark card for people who are about to become parents. On the front it will have a smiling baby and it will say, "Get Ready!" And then on the inside it will say "For Poop." Thankfully I can laugh about it even now, but I really can't wait for all this poop business to end. And now, in closing, a little advice for all of you soon-to-be parents: get a wet/dry vacuum of some sort like a Bissel or a steam cleaner because you are going to need it. My Bissel is one of the best purchases I ever made. I just spent a half an hour cleaning poop off my carpet, and I know it won't be the last time.