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And, we’re at it again!

The choir of St. Anthony on the Lake Parish, Pewaukee WI USA is off on another adventure. You may recall our previous singing tour of Italy in 2012. After much preparation, our director Laurie Polkus and accompanist Ann Basten-Ruane have decided that they’re willing to be seen in public with us again, this time a little farther east!

We’ll be visiting Prague, Vienna and Salzburg for our concerts, interspersed with tours. We are so lucky to once again have Elisabeth as our guide! When we’re done working, we have a final day of playing in the “Lake Country” in the middle of the Bavarian Alps, high above Garmisch-Partenkirchen where we’ll tour Neuschwanstein and celebrate a successful concert tour with a gala dinner at the Riessersee Hotel Resort before heading to Munich.

The tour itself ends in Munich and a few couples have decided to stay on extra days to explore the area – after all, it will be Oktoberfest!

As I mentioned to my traveling companions, I am quite capable of pretending that I like to sing in order to hang with this fun bunch, drink a little wine and make some (hopefully) fantastic photos!

Do As I Say…

There are a few pieces of wise advice I remember hearing more than a few times from my Dad. Two in particular come to mind this morning:

  • Always use the right tool for the job, and,
  • Do as I say, not as I do

Well, OK, I don’t know if I ever heard you say “Son, use a real edger!” and I can’t say for certain that I ever saw you try to use a string trimmer to edge your driveway or sidewalk. But I know you had a real edger (it was green and black) when we lived on Denton Ave. and I’ve struggled enough trying to use a string trimmer to edge so I gave up a few years ago.

For fathers’ day, my extremely perceptive family picked up on my hints and I got a Black & Decker “edge hog”. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

The right tools for the job!

A half hour in the hot sun and my driveway and patio are edged like a pro would edge them, with the help of the edge hog, my electric tornado and a nice heavy duty extension cord. Thanks for the advice Dad! Your driveway and walk next week?

FTC 16 CFR, part 255 Disclaimer: The Black & Decker “edge  hog” link above is an affiliate link to Amazon.com. If you click the link and buy the product from Amazon, I may earn a few cents. I only link to things I use and truly believe are great products, in hope that someone who reads my blog will also find them useful. This is not a significant source of income for me and the few cents I may earn does not in any way influence what I link to.

But It’s A Dry Heat

As mentioned a few entries ago, I’m traveling for work again, this time I’m in Phoenix, AZ. They say the heat is tolerable because it’s a dry heat. Frankly, coming from Wisconsin, temperatures in the 70s to low 80s are tolerable in March, even if it wasn’t dry. This trip I’m lucky to be able to spend a little time with our dear friends Pat and Robin who moved here in retirement when they’re not traveling. They picked me up early Monday morning for a quick hike in the South Mountain Park then got me back to the hotel in time to clean up and get to my first conference session.

The weather was perfect, the companions great and I took a few photos, which you can see here on my Picasa site or here on Google+ I bought a new tool for this hike. If you’ve ever done any hiking with a camera (other than a point and shoot) hanging around your neck, you know it gets heavy and uncomfortable. I found a pair of backpack camera straps on Amazon.com (not an affiliate link, I get nothing if you click through other than the satisfaction of knowing I helped you find a great product) and they work very well! The camera’s weight was borne by the backpack straps on my shoulders and offset by the weight of my hydration backpack. I hardly knew the camera was there.

Pat and Robin are both looking and doing great. I’m happy to say that I was able to keep up with them no problem and never got winded even though my maximum heart rate on the hike hit 174 (average 142, and over 600 calories burned according to my heart rate monitor). About halfway along our hike, Pat asked me if I still enjoyed geocaching. Hey, wake up! I’ve got the geocaching.com app loaded on my phone, let’s see if there are any here. Well, I’ll be darned, GC10KPG Kiwanna City View was about 54 meters away. We all smiled and said “that’s no coincidence, that’s a sign and we’re going geocaching”! It wasn’t a difficult find but I was careful to check all the rock crevices for scorpions and snakes before scrambling to the find. Below is the time/distance/elevation graph of our hike.

This afternoon I gave a presentation on using personal mobile devices in the workplace which went over very well. Tomorrow after the conference, I’m having dinner with Pat and Robin before flying home Thursday.

Until next time, peace be with you!

Its a Matter of Perspective

Last night, Wisconsin got wallopped with a few inches of heavy wet snow. About 30,000 customers of the local utility were out of power. My sister noted that this was the first time in 14 years of living in their current home that the power has gone out, and made the best of it with romantic candles and a toasty warm fire place.

After Matt helped me clear the driveway, I headed out into the yard and beyond with my camera. I had a few objectives, one being to try out a new lens I bought recently. Its a Canon MP-E 65mm macro lens. It is used to take close up (1:1 to 5:1) images. I confirmed that it is impossible to shoot this lens freehand and very difficult to shoot it on a monopod. Next time, I’ll take a tripod.

Ice and snow clinging to trees made a great subject for the new lens. I also wanted to get a bit of exercise, so I walked a stretch of the Ice Age National trail that runs through Hartland. Its a favorite place of mine…one that I should visit more often. Apparently I was the second person who thought it would be a great place to walk today.

Like these photos? You can see more from my morning in my Picasa album or on Google+

Have a perspective you’d like to share? Please leave a comment below, or on my photo album. Thanks, and have a great day!

 

New and Improved

Some of you may be wondering what happened to the karoleks.com web site. I recently converted the old, hand-coded html site into a WordPress blog format. The posts you see with a date prior to today’s were copied here from my old Blogger site. I’ll leave that up for a while and add a pointer here in case anyone is following it.

Hopefully the easier-to-update site will get more frequent updates. Let me know what you think.