Friday, January 30, 2009

28 January 2009 A Record January?

It seems hard to believe that the weather people are claiming we are near to the record for the snowiest January ever. It hasn't been a pleasant month, but it doesn't seem like nearly the worst ever.

This morning no one seemed to have plowed. The village next to us hadn't bothered so I went down the road into the valley in a controlled skid. Once I got to the bottom, I knew there was no way I was going to make it up the other side. Fortunately there is a county park at the in the valley. Even better, the park service had decided to plow their parking lot. I took a break from my drive to the office and walked the trail. It was a great way to start the day.

Monday, January 26, 2009

25 January 2009 Walking in the Arboretum

Saturday, January 24, 2009

24 January 2009 Sittin' with Sandman

I was supposed to be in Pennsylvania today for a geocaching event. The event is based on the TV show the Amazing Race. I've spent most of my free time for the last six weeks getting ready for the event. Instead I spent last night and today (and tomorrow) babysitting my sick cat Sandy. He's getting old, but was doing really well so I agreed it was okay for his teeth to be cleaned. He was okay for a few days and then things got really bad. He stopped eating and eventually drinking and then everything else. After a couple trips to the vet and an overnight stay, they pronounced him ready to return home.

Since at least one of us needed to be in Pennsylvania for the event we were co-costing, I decided to be the one to stay home with him. It's been really quiet day-and-a-half. He's eating again so that's super, but he still doesn't want to drink any water. At least he's purring a lot. I hope our efforts can give him some more quality days. I missed seeing my friends today, but I'm not sure I missed the really cold weather.
22 January 2009 Days Passing

I've spent time in the last month working with a team on a Kaizen event at my home site. Part of the event was clearing an old document area. I've been hands on because there are a lot of financial, legal, intellectual property, and hr records being reviewed. Early on, one of the participants commented that this is what it all comes down to, we generate paper to get an order, generate paper to make the order, and generate more paper until we get cash from the order. Then some number of years later, we throw it all out.

Over the last month, I've been more than a bit down. This week a colleague stopped by to review the documents he had in the area. He retired just recently. We had worked together over the years to build one of the products from nothing to an established, successful product line. He as the product manager and me as the engineering manager. When he was done reviewing the docs, the seven boxes were reduced to two. In a matter of minutes, the last twenty years were shrunk into two boxes. All other traces of getting up in the morning to come to the office or traveling for weeks at a time were gone.

We recently got a new office toy, a copy machine that scans and sends you an e-mail of the scan. I can load 50 or so pages and have an e-mail of the scan waiting before I return to my office. It is an amazing tribute to technology. Over the last few months I have been taking an extra hour or two after the day ends to review all the paper in my office. The keeper stuff gets scanned and shredded. Everything else just gets shredded. It's been really effective. Over a third of all the files in my office are now in cyber space. The newest stuff never becomes paper. It just gets organized as electrons. Maybe my melancholy is the knowledge that some day soon no one will even need to tip my files into a recycle bin. A simple select and delete will send them and my work away.

While cleaning the area, we also cleaned out a number of old marketing items. The posted image is a scan of a photo taken of the two of us years ago. It was for some marketing brochure. These things always look staged. At least as long as this blog remains in cyber space, this image will mark the work we did together.
20 January 2009 Yes We Can

18 January 2009 Winter Walk

We wanted to ski today, but finished some must do items too late for skiing at Holden. Instead, we stopped at the park on our way to do errands. It was a great day to be out.

Monday, January 19, 2009

16 January 2009 Torturing Data

A colleague once told me, "If you torture data long enough it will confess to anything." During the cold spell, the local paper presented this as data.

I thought, hmmm... could this be real? Does it show a warming trend? It is thirty years of data. Well, I'm a statistical geek, it's cold out, and the days are short, so why not plot a few more years. Here's what they look like.

It looked so cool until it got a few more years. The last thirty years really said it's warmer. Not so when an additional 35 years are tossed in. The stretch from 1952-1956 with only one day of zero was really interesting. Why did I stop at 1944? I got bored.

I did find the distribution by month interesting, and scary. I was hoping we were near the end of the cold stuff.

Friday, January 16, 2009

14 January 2009 Too Cold For Skiing

13 January 2009 Feed Your Birds

Sunday, January 11, 2009

11 January 2009 Holden Cross Country

Hey wait, that's us on that sign! For a number of years, we have been shown in signs, maps, and brochures advertising cross-country skiing at Holden Arboretum. This year we are part of a series of lamppost hangings in the drive. It's kind of funny. We almost look like we know what we're doing. :-)

Each year, I want to still be able to do what I did last year. As the years pass, I get a little concerned that some day I may not be doing things I enjoy. Unfortunately, I can remember the last day I walked off the field at the end of a baseball game. I can also remember the last day I played basketball. Neither are happy thoughts. I wish I could still do both.

In 2008, our best hiking day was almost 16 miles. Not quite up to the standard of 2007 when I made over 20 miles during a day in New Zealand, but it was still favorable to other years. Last year, I was disappointed that we never got our standard long bike ride completed. We also did very little cross-country skiing with my travel and erratic snow. Today, we got to ski what for us is the grand ski. It was a piece of cake. A happy, glorious trip through the beauty of Holden. We did it! I wasn't tired. I didn't fall. I even got to take these pictures. Mostly, I can still do it and have fun!

It really didn't seem as grey as these pictures seem to make it. The trees were grand. It's going to stay cold. Maybe there will be time for an after work ski on Tuesday. If we can get more skiing in, the grand bike ride to Tidioute will be a lot easier.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

10 January 2009 Cross Country

Friday, January 09, 2009

4 January 2009 New Cache Hides

Sunday, January 04, 2009

3 January 2009 Indian Pipe Trail

Saturday, January 03, 2009

2 January 2009 Event Planning at Chapman State Park

We met our friends Liz and Wes and spent a good part of the day planning the caches and details for our upcoming caching event. This will be our second shot at an Amazing Race type geo-meet. With the cold weather and short days, this one will be much different than the first, but will have some interesting twists. If the winter weather works out, we should have some interactive activities to go with the geocaching.

When the skies turned blue, it was bright and wonderful. Liz spotted an eagle twice during our walk around the lake.
1 January 2009 Caching in Meadville

I finally put our bird feeders out over the holidays. I saw this woodpecker just before we left our house.