Chat with Claire

Tuesday, August 19, 2008 4 comments

Occasionally when I'm a on the computer in the family room and Claire is on the laptop we'll connect via gmail and have a small chat. Well, that happened last night with Margaret and Claire, only Margaret was on the laptop and Claire was... in China! Sounds like she really likes where they are staying, but she doesn't like the stinky, primitive toilets :)

Gus's Proud Achievement

Thursday, August 14, 2008 2 comments

Notice the difference? No, no I don't mean the dorky guy in the foreground of the second image. Look at the background. The parks service cleared out the brush in front of the new bench. Grumpy Gus's blog must really have some clout to inspire that kind of change in 24 hours, huh?

Grumpy Gus Tours Winona

Tuesday, August 12, 2008 2 comments


New benches have been springing up around Lake Winona. It seems anybody who cares to donate some money can have a bench honoring a Loved One. They're running out of good room for benches, though. Here's one they started putting in last fall and finally got around to finishing this week.

I bet I'll be able to count on one hand the number of times that bench gets used in a year. Oh, it's nice and all, but it looks directly at a bunch of weeds.

Here's another that they started and finished in the same week. They built a 5-foot mound for its base, at an angle that's too steep for the mower to ever keep the grass trimmed. They tried to trim the weeds in front of this one, but there's still a lot of foliage to look through.

Apparently it's not important to keep the benches consistent in appearance. Maybe the benefactor gets to choose what type of bench goes in. There are wooden benches, plastic ones, wrought iron, concrete, red, black, blue, stationary benches and swings.

Before the personalized benches became so popular it was service groups that donated the money. Here's one donated by the Exchange Club.

There's no mistaking who donated the benches near the newly remodeled Visitor's Center on Huff Street.

The folks of Winona apparently can't walk very far without a rest. Can you count all 5 benches in this picture?

You can tell the age of the bench by the nature of the graffiti.

It's not just benches that get donated; garbage cans are fair game, too.

I'm going to make a donation in Marco's name to put in some more Dogi Pots. Two of these stations went up this week. They are a great idea if you happen to be near one, but two is not enough for the 2-mile perimeter of West Lake.

The stations actually have pictoral instructions on them in case you don't know how to use a plastic bag for picking up dog litter.

Unfinished Business
About thirteen months ago I witnessed the delivery of a playground rock climbing wall to the city parks department. It has never been installed, though. It sits near the parking lot with piles of dirt and mulch that need to be distributed to various locations in the park. The weeds around it have shot up, and the fence has fallen down.

Whenever we walk Marco on the loop we nickname Short Lake Loop we are forced into Huff Street along a section that doesn't have a sidewalk. I make empty complaints every time, wondering aloud why they didn't put a sidewalk in when they renovated the street a few years ago. Instead they left a useless shoulder that's too small to keep pedestrians safe. Well, last fall I was thrilled to see them begin work on a new sidewalk there; I figured somebody must be listening in on my complaints. Unfortunately things never progressed and now it's just a weed strip.

I guess now it matches the weeds that grow along the curb.

Wilkie Remnants
The city finally decided to demolish the Wilkie, once-and-for-all. Well, not really once-and-for-all; the majority of the city council voted to keep the concrete foundation which is as pretty as a poo hole but not as useful.

Good Stuff
I'm not usually such a Grumpy Gus about my beloved town. To prove I can see the beauty too, here's a nice garden that I pass on the way to work every day.

And here's a cute group of youngsters learning what to do if you tip over the canoe you're paddling.

If you need any more proof of my affections, just read this post (and be sure to watch the cute video).

Notes To Self

, Wednesday, August 6, 2008 0 comments

  1. 7000 feet is enough to give a flatlander altitude sickness.

  2. Blue skies don't always last.

  3. Neither do stormy skies.

  4. Driving a minivan to a closed tunnel on a Jeep road and hiking to the trailhead isn't always faster than driving around the mountain to the trailhead itself.

  5. Long's Peak is a long way from the Glacier Gorge trailhead