Monthly Archives: May 2006

Blooming glory…

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I spent some time outside this afternoon, summoning the Muse. She’s been AWOL for quite some time. I was pleasantly surprised to see that she couldn’t resist the call of Mother Nature’s beauty and decided to pay a visit. My love of macro photography often elicits the same comments from my viewers – there is a distinct lack of scale. In this case, think *nickel* for comparison. I’m hoping that the Muse will stick around and share her spirit with me as I hang out in the garden…

Can Minnesota Nice work on the racetrack?

We're having a work outing later this week at the NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway located at Mall of America. It will be very interesting to see what it's like to handle a car that has 750 horses under the engine. I am already visualizing easing up on the accelerator when approaching the corners, not over-steering and staying AWAY from the walls. Given the fact that my male coworkers tend to consider themselves superior to the women, I sincerely hope that the women kick the men's butts. There are two men that I particularly want to "best" in my times… Have I mentioned that I'm super competitive? And, as far as I can tell, the only member of my department that hasn't had a moving vehicle violation in 27 years of driving. I'll update the experience later in the week. Minnesota nice, my ass.

Note:  I really DID kick everybody's @$$!  Nobody was more surprised than me!  I think that the boys at work have a new appreciation for me…  I won every race, capturing the championship to boot.  My trophy?  Skip that… The company only rewards management.  But it was a fun time.  Although the ride home was a little exciting – I had to keep reminding myself that 200 mph is not acceptable through the parkway.  😉 

Slow Road Home

There are essentially two seasons in Minnesota. No, not summer and winter. Logical guesses, yes, but incorrect. Pothole and Road Construction season. This past pothole season was fairly mild, running from late November until end February. A typical Pothole season will result in an abundance of hubcaps littering the sides of roads after being dislodged by teeth-shattering, often small car swallowing holes in varying depths and widths. The Honda swallowers are best avoided even by larger SUVs. The change in seasons has been more subtle this year, probably because the potholes have been slow to heal… The asphalt that is packed into these holes to soften their blows lasted a few weeks but has once again become dislodged, revealing the potholes for any unsuspecting driver.

We’re now in the throes of Road Construction season.

Joy.

The geniuses at MnDot have strategically begun Road Construction season on every major artery in the Minneapolis/St Paul area. Every.major.road. There are no routes that haven’t been touched by these hard-hatted workers with large steel machines, marred with reflective orange construction barrels, absurdly narrow lanes that shift left only to shift back to right 25 feet further down the road, then back again.

My route to work is scheduled for a major overhaul starting this coming week. In this day of age, it’s difficult to imagine a major artery only 2 lanes wide each direction, but that’s what Highway 100 is for stretch that lasts several miles. Over the next 6 months, the intrepid MnDot workers (actually, their contract workers) will be adding another lane on each side. While this should help to ease the congestion ever so slightly come snowfall, the fact is that the time between now and then is going to be maddening. It’s deja vu, all over again. A stretch of the same highway further north was updated only a few short years ago.

Unfortunately, even when it’s done, the “new improved” road will be severely outdated – this construction project was initially planned 20+ years ago. The number of vehicles that travel this route is significantly higher than the original MnDot projections.

I’m already contemplating my alternate routes home. Unfortunately, there aren’t many choices available. And I suspect that my fellow travelers are thinking the same thing… so the trip will be longer and slower than normal. Time to make up several mix CDs that can keep me entertained in the car for long stretches of time.

Maybe I should take this as a sign from above to find a job closer to home or located along a bus route….

I like that idea best.