Thursday, November 19, 2009

Grizzly Bears are Really Big!

Last Sunday a late weekend in November we slept late. When we woke up the sun was shinning in the bedroom windows, as I rolled over and looked out the window there was a HUGH GRIZZLY BEAR looking through the window!


OH WAIT! That window was at the Minnesota Zoo a little later in the day at the new Kamchatka Peninsula’s Grizzly Coast display.( I’m getting old and a little forgetful). You see after breakfast and a little milling around we went down to the zoo to see the bears.


There were three Grizzlies in a realistic recreation of the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia where the bears hang out. You could stand in a window and watch them swimming in a pool of Salmon. (I think the bear was looking for a salmon to play with.)



You can see them below the water as they hunt for the salmon swimming back an forth with just their ears out of the water. During the time we watched he didn’t catch one, but I suspect that I wouldn’t want to be that salmon he was looking for.


There are three bears in the enclosure. Here one of the bears is scratching his back on the dead tree.


After the bears we moved on to the Siberian Leopards. They were incredibly beautiful creatures, but not willing to pose for a picture, so we will just have to settle for a picture of his tail.


The zoo has a couple of Tigers as well. Here you can see Margaret in the cage posing with the tigers.


Just across the walkway was a more animated version of the Tigers.


Brave Margret with the wolves!


She wouldn’t pet this one though!


As we walked around the zoo we saw sharks, monkeys…



red pandas, and sea creatures……

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But here you see the most dangerous creature in the entire zoo having ice cream!


Monday, November 9, 2009

I’ve Been Pardoned!

image The governor came through! It was a close thing. It was down to the last minute and then the call came thought. “You’ve been pardoned!”

The celebration was immediate! We stopped on the way home from work at the Granite City brewery for dinner and some micro brew beer.

(Forgive the quality of the pictures they were taken with the camera on my phone. Convicts are not allowed to carry real cameras)

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OH Sorry: I forgot you missed the part where I became a convicted criminal didn’t you!

Flash back to Saturday Morning November 7th:

Nothing special was happening this weekend and Saturday was a beautiful day so after an early lunch at 11:00am we headed out to the lakes to hike around the trails in the last remnants of nice weather. After the hike and a trip to REI to get Margaret some “Life is Good” socks we returned to the apartment later in the afternoon to relax for the evening.

On the way up to the apartment we stopped at the mailbox to check the mail. A strange letter was in the mailbox. A plain white window envelope with a bright yellow sheet showing through the window, with a return address of “ District Court” Oh Shit! I thought I've be called to jury duty.

After getting into the apartment we opened the envelope and it wasn’t a jury summons at all it was a” Failure to Appear” notice from the Dakota County Court.


In short it says you have failed to appear in court on your appointed date and have failed to pay the fine you received for parking illegally on September 24th at 510AM in the morning at some obscure intersection in Apple Valley, MN Dakota County.

What!! I haven’t been in Apple valley in years and the only place I was at 5:10 AM on that Thursday morning was in bed! I didn’t get this ticket. There was a phone number to call in case of any questions. I called the number but of course it was Saturday and there was nothing but an answering machine. Please call between the hours of 8:00AM to 5:00pm Monday through Friday.

I started packing! I’ll leave the country they'll never catch me! I can cross over into Canada and make my way to Europe and live there. I was ready to retire anyway.

Well it is only a parking ticket, and the fine is only $35 maybe I should wait until Monday and call to see what is going on before I flee the country.

Monday morning at 8:30 I called the number on the yellow sheet. After a brief conversation with a rather rude public employee of the Dakota County District court I got the name of the issuing agency and called the Apple Valley Police Department. There I spoke to a helpful young lady and explained that I couldn’t have received this ticket because I have never been in the lovely city of Apple Valley. She gave me the details of the ticket and explained that it would have to be waived by the issuing officer. Unfortunately he was on vacation until the 18th of November. She said she would have another officer look into it and get back to me.

Great! this is starting to look like a convenient way to extort money from me. I may have to move to Europe after all because there is no way I’m going to pay this. These people are never going to call me back!

imageAt 4:00 as we were walking to the car when my cell phone rang. It was the young lady from the Apple Valley police department. She explained that there had been a clerical mistake and the wrong license number was keyed into a computer. She would send a letter to the District court to correct the erroneous citation.

The governor called I have been pardoned! I won’t have to move to Europe anymore. Oh and I get to celebrate at the Granite City Brewery on the way home.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Photographer

imageOver the years we have had a number of nice cameras. I have always had a higher end 35 mm with different lenses, sometime a bit complicated to run, and I have always considered my self a bit of a photographer. Margaret has always had a smaller more convenient point and shoot. When digital cameras came out we had some of the first ones available. As an R&D engineer in the technology field that’s really part of my job to be current on all that stuff, It pays the bills as they say.

We take pictures of images we like to see and sometime share them with others through our web site.

Margaret gets up early in the morning usually before I do. Its been that way for years. If we are at the lake in the summer she often will go outside and snap pictures of the sunrise coming up over the east end of the lake. In the evening often during happy hours we will sit in the sunshine, and Margaret will snap pictures of the sunsets.

We have a special folder on her computer just for those pictures “Sunrises and Sunsets".

On one particular Saturday morning late in the summer she captured this image while up early in the morning out wandering the lake shore. The fog was heavy and the sun was peaking through and shining on the neighbor kid’s bouncing float toy. (We have shown it on the blog before)


The photo was recently picked to be one of the images on the 2010 yearly calendar produced by the company we work for.

Congratulation to the photographer in our family Margaret!

I can at least consol myself with the fact that she used my camera to take the picture.

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