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The waning of writing

Posted by joeabbott on June 15, 2014

My writing here is definitely on the decline. I still am doing about the same number of things and finding new stuff to build, play, or work on, but I’m just not making the time for writing. I hope that changes, as I’ve enjoyed my time chronicling the various exploits of Joe & Suz, so don’t read too much into the waning posts just yet.

But, if I’ve been doing about the same number of things, what have I been doing? Let’s take a peek, shall we?

imageGetting to the top!

About eight years ago a fitness instructor friend of mine (Victoria) asked me to help her plan a hike: she wanted to invite the people she trained on an easy, family-friendly, outing. I suggested Rattlesnake Ledge. I’ve posted about this 2 mile, 1100’ gain hike before as it finds fans among all who stroll it’s path. Aside from narrow-ish trails, it’s got a lot to offer: plenty of parking, facilities at the trailhead, and great views for a modest exertion.

Yesterday Victoria did it again and, while I was busy with many other things (continue reading), I made time to reconnect with old friends and do the hike one more time.

I got to the trailhead early and after waiting for all to arrive and trailhead pictures to be taken, I started off up the hill at a brisk pace. I have only gotten out once prior this season, so the burn in my lungs and legs was expected and welcome.

At the top we gathered again, enjoyed a few more pictures, and then I started down before the troupe got going. I wouldn’t say I’m antisocial, but I had things to do and groups move at slower pace than I’d like.

I didn’t take many pics at top … just a couple, including the one added here of a new friend (Lisa) I’d made on the trek to the top. The day was grey, I’d snapped dozens of photos from this spot before, and my mind was on getting moving rather than taking pictures. I don’t normally post random shots of folks I barely know, but I’ll make an exception when I have no other options!

Curling, eh?

imageAt work we (very) occasionally enjoy what are called “morale events”; these are outings for the entire team (or a portion of it) to do some fun activity that focuses on team-building. In the past we’ve gone bowling, out to happy hour at a pub, and even driven go-karts. This past Thursday we went curling.

imageYup, curling is a fairly popular morale event, largely because it’s a group sport that allows socializing, the team gets to have fun at something competitive, and no one is ever so good that they dominate the others. While it’s an Olympic event and a game of finesse and skill, it’s just hard to learn those qualities in the hour or so that you’re there.

When we first got there, we headed to the upstairs where we enjoyed some lunch and drinks, a game or two of pool, and then we headed to the ice.

There was a quick talk about safety (you were on ice the whole time, after all) and then they game us a “training wheel” session on how to push off to launch the stone. This was aided by a couple of outrigger implements that kept us all upright.

After that we split into two teams and curled away for three rounds. I was on the “red” team and we quickly scored three points; thereafter, however, we didn’t get another point! The blue team came back to dominate the game, but there were no hard feelings. As I said, it’s a good event for everyone to have some fun and we all enjoyed the break from work.

imageWhat’s going on in the garage?

As usual, I have a project or two in the works in the garage.

First, I got frustrated when getting some hiking gear together this year and found my prior storage solution to  be wanting. In the crawlspace under the house, I setup a couple of old, low end tables and stored my boots, crampons, and various other gear on that. It wasn’t great but it sufficed and yet I wanted something different.

I’m still in the process of setting up the new system but the two parts I have in place so far are a pegboard for hanging gear on and a new boot storage shelf that I built:

image image

imageThe pictures aren’t great so I’ll post more when I’m done. I still need to build a set of shelves for the various items that need storing.

The boot shelf I built has room for 8 pairs of boots … I have 6 pair already, Suzy has one, and the last slot I use for my three pair of crampons. I’m a bit of a gear monkey but I think this should suit me going forward: if I bring in another pair of boots, and old pair will have to go!

I’m also making progress on the cat post that I’d started many months ago.

My concerns with this project all lay in the fact that it didn’t look solid enough when I had the parts built out. That and the fact that I didn’t follow the plan well enough and ended up needing to rebuild some of the shelves a couple of times. I don’t believe I’ll ever tell that story, as it’s one that suggests a lax diligence and failure to stick to the plan.

Right now the clamps are off and I’m at the step of cleaning up glue smears and doing a bit of final sanding. Once that’s complete, I should be able to give it a shot of oil and wax and then bring it in the house.

Oh, I would like to add some leveling casters, as the place we’ll put this in the house is partially on carpet, partially on hardwood. I would like to knock this out before our trip but not sure I’ll get that far. Too many demands on my time!

Trip, you say?

In about two days, we’ll be on our way to making this circuit:


Suzy and I have a bunch of nieces on my side of the family and three are getting married this year … one was in January (it was lovely), one in June, and another in August. To break up the routine of “fly out, get a hotel for a couple days, fly back”, we’re making a road trip of the June wedding. While we very much look forward to celebrating the nuptials of Chelsea and Ray, we’re putting a bit of time into the driving portion of the trip.

This trip will take 10-11 days … we have someone staying at the house to care for our cats and chickens while we’re out, but I’m sure we’ll miss them.

We’ll first miss them while we head up to Glacier National Park and spend a couple days there; then we have a long haul through northern Montana and a few places we plan on stopping on that route. In Havre, MT we’ll check out the “Buffalo Jump” … a place where Native tribes drove buffalo over a cliff as a way of getting killing them for food; then we’ll stop in Bowdoin to see that National Wildlife Refuge. Unfortunately, neither stop will be long: we have a lot of distance to cover!

North Dakota will get the short end of our attention as we buzz across on our way to the hotel we will be staying at for the wedding. A couple days there for that event and socializing with family, then up to Virginia, MN for a night while we say our final farewells to Uncle Joe and my mother’s home town. For UJ we’re having an interment service and my mother sold her childhood home there, so it doesn’t seem like visits back to MN will include trips to the Iron Range. I suspect there’ll be some sadness on these days.

But, we’ll be rushing to the southeastern corner of South Dakota as the first stop on our way back, and then the south western corner that next day! We’ll make time for Mt. Rushmore and the Badlands, but not much else. Other trips on the way home will include drive bys of Grand Teton NP, Yellowstone, and a final stay in Missoula, MT before a last push to get back home.

This will be a long road haul but we have some good books on CD, plenty of snacks, and we’re open to what the world will show us! It’ll be a good trip, I’m sure.

imageIt ended at 80 days

The last note I’ll make here is about my gaming time.

When I last made mention of my streak of days getting achievements while gaming, I was at 68 days … I lasted about 2 weeks more before ending the run at 80 days.

While it was a lot of fun to see the streak continue, day-after-day, it was a bit of a grind and a lot of the games I was playing weren’t fun; I was just playing them to get the achievement, not to enjoy my time with them. Not what gaming should be about. But, I’m also ready for a big dry spell as I head off on the road (note above) and am away from my Xbox for nearly two week! Not sure what sort of withdrawals I’ll have, but it’ll probably be good for me.

Right now I’m playing a game called Nier. It performed poorly in the market and is considered a “bad” game by many, but I’m not seeing that. The achievements are “grindy” … meaning you have to put in lots of time doing repetitive tasks to get them, but it follows the standard RPG trope, the story is novel, and they have a unique approach. And I have yet to hit a single bug.

However, part of that uniqueness is having four different endings and asking the player to play through it four times. Yeah … a bit insane, right? I’m on play-through two … then only two more.  <g>


That’s it! As you see, I’m still busy busy busy but just not making time for writing. Apologies on that front but thanks for continuing to look in. I’ll post some snaps from the road and keep you apprised of the goings-on in the northwestern US states!


2 Responses to “The waning of writing”

  1. momma said

    ‘Loved catching up on your doings, Joe. UJ would have been quite intrigued by your curling expedition, since he very much enjoyed watching curling on his Canadian stations. And Boots… you seem to have a pair for every eventuality! It was good to hear you put a pair of them to use on your recent climb. You mentioned the burning legs and lungs feeling good, which puzzles me….. I’m going on the walking tour of Madeira, Portugal, and the one thing I fear is…. burning legs and lungs. And then the new cat post. It looks like the kitties are going to scale new heights with this one, or is that an illusion? And finally, The Trip. It’s Tuesday and I guess you’re on your way! I love road trips and I know you and Suzy will have a very enjoyable time getting out here to Minnesota, although a lot of the scenery will – well…. . I liked seeing the map. And yes, it is truly unbelievable to me that I’m cutting my ties to the Iron Range. Well, I’ll still have to hand over the keys and sign the final papers on July 1 (I’ll go up the day before, so I get to sleep in my childhood bed one last time.) I’ve been getting chummy with the lady next door (Debbie) so I can feel ok about phoning her now and then to see what’s going on there! They are planning on selling their house (corner house) soon, as he’s getting a job in Hibbing. So the fact that the eyesore next door is getting resided, etc. must have been wonderful news to them! It will be strange to you and Suzy to walk through the house, so empty, especially upstairs. The kitchen I’ll pretty much leave as is. Oops, I’m forgetting this is a “Reply”. Sorry….. Momma

  2. joeabbott said

    Always good to get your responses, Momma! You should realize by now my writing is mainly a little letter to you. 🙂

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