There aren’t many like it, and this one is mine #Sidgl #Organizer @Sidgl


Last year one of my good friends began making bags. Messenger bags, laptop bags, tango bags. I bought one of his laptop bags in January and have been very pleased with it. It has been everything I would want. Durable, flexible, eye catching. In the spring, in a fit of whimsy, I suggested that he make a dice bag. He took that suggestion to heart. He has been very busy making bags (even missed out on our school reunion because he had to sew.)

He has added organizers to his repertoire. Which looked very cool as well. Then about a month ago he asked for my address. A few days later I received an organizer in the mail. I have been busy figuring out what to put where, and how to best utilize all the spaces. Without further ado, here is my review of this fantastic piece of work.

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First, let’s talk about that eye catching cover. At first glance those rivets seem a little odd. Right up until you actually grab it where the hand is. Then that design makes all the sense in the world. The rivets make the grip very natural and feels very secure. The read hand on the dark canvas cover also just pops from a color perspective. Very attractive. Functional and attractive, just what you would want.

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The size seems a little odd at first. Again, until you actually pick it up and use it. Having done my time with the corporate portfolios of the pre-electronic era this is far more manageable. The zipper is very high quality, I am not even reomotely concerned with it beginning to detach with repeated use. And the handy little tag at the top helps you remember which side is which.

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Just lok at all that stuff! That is a composition notebook. An iPad mini. 3 pens of varying sizes. My reading glasses and headphones. And my essential dice. There is more there in the pockets that you don’t see. And room for even more, if I wanted to carry more pens, or a charging cord or similar stuff there is plenty of room for it all.

And that interior is plush! It just feels really nice. I am not even remotely worried about the screen of my iPad getting scratched or smudged. Again, all of this is in the same eye catching, attractive colors as the outside. The catches on the potckets are real heavy duty and solid, no tacky velcro that willl wear out in a few months. Everything is real solid in there, no concerns about losing stuff or having it get loose and roll around inside the organizer.

At heart I am a minimalist. I like to be as self contained as possible. But I also realize that there are times when I might want more stuff that I can keep in my pockets, especially when I am going to a game. And as a gamer you always need a place for your dice. Thus the idea for a dice bag. Well my friend at Sidgl has taken that idea to the next level. This is a dice bag on steroids! I can’t hardly wait for the chance to game again so I can show it off to my friends and make them drool with envy!

 

It is not ideal but it can be pretty #Photo #Wildlife


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I am not the biggest fan of living in a urban-wild interface. Having experienced the horrors of wildfires in the city limits, akin to what is happening in Alberta now, I think that fewer people should live in such places. It isn’t very safe or ideal in the long run.

But it is a fact of life that here in Colorado we live in that interface. We can see wildlife every day. And it can be fun and pretty to experience these sights. Like this fawn from our Westside deer herd I walked past on my morning walk. They are not tame per se, they will run when we get too close. But occasionally they will stop close enough for me to get a good shot. This one was awfully cute, with its shaggy winter coat just starting to wear off.

These morning walks are reminding me how nice it can be to walk around our neighborhood. There are so many beautiful views to enjoy. As the sun is rising and hitting the mountains. Just another reason to get out and walk every day.

Reading, and trying my best to help


Thoughts on reading, weekend plans, and trying to help. Glad that it Friday, and the bitter cold is no longer quite as bitter (even if it still cold and snowy out there.) And 1 week until I get an extended vacation.

I am a reader, coming from a long line of readers. But when asked what good books I have read lately I am sometimes stumped. But a thought occurred to me the other day. I do read books, I have my various escapist fiction series and writers I favor. But the reality is that I literally read all day long. I read articles on the internet, updates, jokes, news articles etc. all day long. And the content can vary, from hard news or science, to sports, to just updates. So, if people ask me what I am reading these days, my answer really is: everything!

Saturday is devoted to wrestling. Jimmy is wrestling in the District Classics, the Middle school wrestling tournament. He finished up the season last night, and ended up with the third seed in his weight class. It’s funny, I can watch wrestling, it is actually gotten more interesting to me. And when I watch his matches I try to come up with ideas and tips for him, which is hard, since I never wrestled. I had a couple of bright ideas that I tried to share with him, it did not go well. I could tell by the look in his eyes that he either had no clue what I was trying to say, or that I was totally off base. Oh well, I can still encourage him, and during the holidays I can hopefully get him to take some time to watch his videos with his cousin and uncles to get some ideas from them.

Sunday is the every 4 years event that I always look forward to: the NFL game where I cannot lose. The Broncos play the Rams. As a sports bigamist I happily cheer for both teams. And once every 4 years I get to watch them play each other in the regular season. This year I want the Broncos to win, just because they need wins to get home field advantage in the playoffs. Plus this year is pretty much another lost year for the Rams anyway. But if the Rams pull off the miracle win I at least won’t be disappointed.

What do I love to do? Tough question


A question posed last week by my therapist, and one I am still working on answering. There are levels and layers to the answer. I love to do a number of things, but many of those involve other people or are limited to certain contexts. And I think a large part of what he is getting at is to think of something I can carve out for me, essentially a hobby, that is not dependent on other people, that I can escape to if and when the need arises. Which creates a dilemma, because I am between hobbies at the moment.

When I was young my hobbies mostly revolved around role playing games and my various fantasy worlds. Which was fun then, but has lost it’s allure as role playing really is not as much fun unless other people are involved. My capacity to just sit and invent worlds, campaigns and characters for fun has not stuck with me over the years.

As I became more and more involved in table top gamin I learned to love painting. I spent a lot of fun time sitting and painting miniatures, and then building armies. I still enjoy some table top games, although it is mostly Blood Bowl as it requires the least amount of investment. But painting lost it’s hold on me, now it has almost become too hard what with failing vision (damn age) and tendinitis. Would that be different if I had a painting station in my home still that I could use? Maybe, but it wouldn’t change the physical challenges.

Playing Magic with Jimmy and his friends is fun, but that has really become a young man’s game, requiring more time and hustle to get the desired cards to build good decks than I am willing to invest. I still will enjoy the occasional game with them, but I doubt it will become the passion I once had.

Running is great, and solitary. But it is not something I can do every day, or just take off on a whim to do. It is more of a scheduled activity. And the same would apply to taking hikes or walks to some extent.

For a time photography seemed to be something that would get me going. And it still might, I am not sure I really gave it a completely fair shake. It is something that I could spend a fair amount of solitary time with. I think the biggest thing to make that the hobby I am looking for is gain some focus.

And that is pretty much it. I am leaving out 3 things on purpose. Music is an omnipresent part of my life, but it is not a hobby, I don’t listen to music just to listen, and I have not interest in attending concerts or shows. Books are always there, I cannot imagine life without them, as such I don’t consider them a hobby. And A/V entertainment (movies, television, sports) are not really a solitary thing for me, they are best enjoyed by sharing (at least for me.)

I guess all this meandering is more of an exercise. Searching for an answer to a question that I have not really come up with yet. For now my biggest diversion is the time spent playing blood bowl, and that is good for now. But there will be times between games and seasons when I need something else, specifically day to day, and I am still searching for that. 

An active weekend: #swimming #hiking


Swimming, comic books, sleepovers, shopping, hikes, running, this weekend had it all. We really took full advantage of the arrival of more traditional spring weather. And this is just the promise of more to come hopefully.

My day of fun with the kids

My go to weekend day with the kids has been do my own thing (run, go to library, pick up, watch sports) and let them do their thing (Kindles, computer, Wii, Lego, whatever.) With the arrival of better weather and impending summer break I resolve to do a few things differently.

This Saturday I started that off right. I got the kids to do some picking up (not clean, just restore some order to the chaos.) Then we got out of the house. First it was a trip to the comic book store to pick up free comics. The kids don’t really read comics, just haven’t gotten into them. But I make it a point to go every year, partially to support the friends who run the store but also to expose them to a different world.

Next we went and got lunch, followed by some time at the park while waiting for the open swim session to open at the swimming pool. We swam for about an hour. Well Jimmy & Danny swam, Emily is still testing her limits. will hang out on the edge and then occasionally paddle out a few feet and back. That was a good time. We then spent a short time on the play ground and then headed home. Jimmy headed over to a friends, and then Emily went shopping with Kim, while Danny & I waited for his guest and then I prepared dinner. We had a relaxed cookout for dinner.

It was a good day with the kids, with no real melt downs or fits. They handled the time away from the house and their precious electronics pretty well. And I think at least some of what we did will get repeated on a regular basis.

Hiking with Scouts

We ended up running the monthly Scout hike again this month. This time around we went to an area near where Kim grew up. It was not a real challenging hike, pretty level. But really eye opening, one of the things I love about this city is how you can find these little pockets: neighborhoods that are almost inaccessible, rarely visited parks, unused trails. And this hike was in one of these, it is was in Sonderman park and the trail for the most part follows a spring fed creek through a valley on the west side, and while the surrounding hills have houses overlooking parts of it, it is really undeveloped. And definitely lightly used, it would be a great running trail if it was a little more accessible (and I might incorporate it later this summer when I improve my form.

Among other things we discovered that a part of the creek has been adopted by some beavers, who have worked quite industriously at building a pond and some dams. Which was really cool to see since you don’t often get to see that sort of thing, and certainly not in the city limits.

Next Saturday will be devoted to yard work and cleaning to prepare the house for our annual Mothers Day cookout. So we may not get out for swimming (depends on how much we have to do and how helpful the kids are. And obviously we will bet at home for Mothers Day. But ensuing weekends should see more hikes and/or park visits on the weekends. Just something to do to break up the screen time and get away from the house.

An active prelude to the onset of ‘normal’ life


We had an active, and fun, weekend, as a prelude to the resumption of our ‘normal’ life. We packed in a hike, a soccer game, shopping and cleaning into a 2 day period. I have some distinct comments on hiking, soccer and the resumption of school.

Hiking and Dogs

This goes out to all dog lovers and hikers. Public trails are not dog parks, they are still subject to leash laws as far as I know. And just because you think your dog is friendly and well controlled does not mean they will remain that way if they encounter another dog, or a scared screaming little kid.

If you want to take your dog on a hike, put it on a leash. And be aware that not everyone likes or is comfortable with dogs. And if you know you are going on a popular mountain trail, just don’t bring them, as all they do is block trails and potentially disrupt what should be a fun time.

I like dogs in general, and I love my dog. But I am keenly aware of a few facts. 1, not everyone likes dogs, and some are in fact scared of them. 2, I do not have 100% control of my dog, especially around other dogs.  That is why I don’t take my dog out save to the dog park or occasional short walks in then neighborhood when I keep her on a leash.

Assuming you have 100% control of your dog is like assuming that while you feel just fine driving in bad weather that means everyone else has the same control.  Again, it is not just that you can control your dog, or that it may be friendly, it is what the other folks out there who have brought their dogs along that can create problems.

So, please, be considerate and thoughtful and at minimum keep your dog on a leash, and ideally only take your dog on a trail that is not crowded so other hikers do not have to constantly navigate their way around your dog.

Soccer

Took the whole family to a Rapids game. It was a slightly different experience. No rain, and the little ones lost their interest and patience fairly early on. And we didn’t have the same VIP seats etc.  But they still had fun.

And I think I might be getting a little spoiled by soccer. The speed, lack of stoppages, grace, lack of violence are real calling cards. It makes sitting down and watching football a little strange, hard to not feel like everything is in slow motion. And not feel a little sick when a really hard hit is made.

I don’t think I will go totally overboard and stop watching football. But I really am glad that Jimmy seems to prefer soccer to football. And I think that attending Rapids games, and maybe even trying to watch more televised games will become a bigger part of our lives.

School Returns

New Kindergartner

Our new Kindergartner! A little rough for Emily as almost all her good friends have moved on to 1st Grade. But I have no doubts that she will make new friends and have fun.

Third Grader

Danny is in Third Grade! Top of the Lower El heap! And we think we have the stomach issue finally licked, just in time for the school year.

Middle Schooler

A Middle Schooler! Finally! It’s been a long haul, but Jimmy finally gets a crack at a whole new world. New School, new challenges, and new people. After 7 years at the same school, with (mostly) the same folks he is ready for the change and challenge. Of course it could just be that he is hoping to get the massive load of extra supplies out of his hands and off his back.

And with that, life returns to ‘normal’: School Monday thru Friday, regular eating schedules, Kim’s work schedule has settled down. I know that this is just the calm before the storm of after school activities, home work, sick days. But I can at least hope that we are somehow settling back to a more regular routine.

How running has changed my appreciation of the outdoors, plus waiting game with kids Doctors


I have noticed recently a phenomenon within myself and my habits, a greater interest in and appreciation of the outdoors. It has been a terrible week for poor Jimmy, suffering some horrendous stomach ailment. Really ready for this coming weekend.

Me and the Outdoors

Some background: my father is an avid hiker and camper. And growing up we did a lot of outdoor camping trips and hiking. And that continued on some level until my high school years. But some time in those years my love and appreciation of the outdoors receded. It’s not that I hated the mountains or something, but I stopped hiking and camping, and really lost any interest in those pursuits. A condition that stuck with me up until recent years.

But a couple of things happened that turned that around, and now I look forward to any chance I can get to get out and enjoy the outdoors. First, my physical condition improved. It’s really hard to get very excited about a long hike or camping when doing those things hurt, wear you out etc. But, once my fitness improved, and especially since I started running I am far more interested in getting out there and enjoying the fresh air and scenery.

Second, the drought and subsequent fire, and impending flooding. Nothing like having all that gorgeous scenery you grew up getting threatened or destroyed to make you appreciate it all the more. Which is one of the reasons I love to run in areas where I can marvel at what happened, could have happened and could happen. Yesterday I made a point of running along a trail that runs along one of the creeks that could flood with a bad rain, just to witness what an overnight rain could do.

And I am really excited to get the kids out for some real camping this summer. Maybe not the hard core backpack camping I grew up with, we can work our way up to that. For this summer, getting out and sleeping in tents a couple of times will suffice.

Jimmy, tummy troubles and Doctors

Jimmy started complaining about his stomach almost 2 weeks ago. But he made it through the week of school. Then last weekend it really hit him. He started throwing up on Sunday, unable to hold anything down. He stayed home from school Monday, and we gave him some Zofran for nausea and figured it would pass. But it only got worse, so Kim took him to the doctor, where they basically prescribed the same thing.

It stayed that way for 2 days, but Wednesday, with no progress, and with him still throwing up, even with the Zofran in him Kim took him to the doctor again. This time they prescribed a X-ray, and suggested a referral to a specialist. But nothing that made any difference. So when he was still home yesterday, and I found out that the earliest appointment with the specialist was almost 2 weeks out I took off early to get him his X-rays.

We are now waiting, he is miserable, and getting weak. He can drink water and diluted Gatorade. But, even with the Zofran, if he eats so much as a slice of wheat toast he will throw it up an hour or 2 later. He isn’t getting any better! And has now missed an entire week of school, with only 1 week left in the year. This is a really frustrating situation for all of us. We can only hope that the doctor will call us today and give us something different to do or at least bring him in for a different procedure. Either way we are at the mercy of the medical profession.