Thanksgiving Reflections 2008

As I noted two years ago in Top 10 Reasons I’m Thankful, and to Whom, my performance in composing annual Christmas letters was spotty in the B.B. (Before Blog) era. Doing a family newsletter was such a production that procrastination (and eventually abject failure) was the most frequent outcome.

But that all changed in 2006, and I followed it up last year with another compilation (though that one was in December, on my daughter Rachel’s first wedding anniversary).

My new tradition is not only to beat what was formerly the Christmas snail mail crush, but to have my year-in-review distributed before the Black Friday sales have even begun.

Continue reading “Thanksgiving Reflections 2008”

Her Last High School Volleyball Game?

My daughter Rebekah and her team are in the second round of the Section 1AAA volleyball tournament tonight vs. Rochester Mayo. The high school, not the Clinic.

The Austin girls are 15-9 on the year and seeded 6th. They are underdogs tonight and in any remaining matches this year, but they had a close loss (3-2) to Mayo last time.

We hope they play again on Wednesday, but we’re proud of Bekah and her teammates. And we have the whole gang of her siblings (at least the ones still at home) here with Lisa and me to cheer them on.

Update: The girls played hard tonight. They lost the first game and then came back to tie the match at 1-1 before losing the next two. There were tears all around as the seniors’ high school volleyball careers came to an end, but we also got some good news that Bekah and her teammate Jolene were nominated to play in a state all-star game in November.

And at least we still have basketball season coming!

Last Regular Season Volleyball Match

I’m at my daughter’s last regular season volleyball game. I’m blogging and taking photos with my iPhone, shooting video with my Flip and will be Tweeting with iPhone via Twitterific.

Here’s a photo of Bekah during warm-ups.

This is why I’m heading to North Carolina tomorrow instead of going today. Don’t want to miss Bekah’s last game.

Doggy Dip and the Start of Volleyball

This post falls in the personal category, but just illustrates some of the fun you can have with social media.

On Thursday night my daughter Rebekah’s volleyball team (she’s a senior co-captain) started their season with a non-conference loss. Two years ago they were something like 5-20, and last year they improved to 15-14, the first winning record in a long time. This year, with lots of returning seniors, expectations are high.

Naturally, I’ve started a Facebook “booster” group to upload video and photos (and to link to local newspapers’ on-line stories), just as I did for last year’s state tournament team in basketball. Here’s a video from Thursday’s match which I uploaded to YouTube; it shows some of the team’s strengths:


Unfortunately there weren’t quite enough points like that on Thursday, but tomorrow they get a chance to even their record.

Meanwhile, last night was the third annual Doggy Dip at our Austin, Minn. municipal swimming pool. The day before they drain the pool and close for the season, the city opens the pool to the dogs for $2 each. It’s quite an event. Our dog, Gideon, who is a direct descendent of Shadow from the Homeward Bound movies, was much less dignified than his great-grandpa.

Gideon spent the first few minutes running around and barking. The guy next to me said, “Oh yeah, now I remember him.” He (Gideon, not the guy) also was pretty timid about jumping into the water until I shoved him (again, Gideon, not the guy) into the pool. Here’s the action:


As you’ll see in the video response I uploaded, after a while Gideon got very comfortable jumping into the pool. I was bummed that the batteries on my Flip ran out long before Gideon lost the energy to chase his toy and bring it back barking for another run.

The Austin Daily Herald also ran a story about Doggy Dip.

All part of the interesting life in Norman Rockwell’s America.


Let’s play the “Who’s farthest away from Austin?” game.

Here’s where you’ll find Austin on the map:

Austin, Minnesota, USA
Austin, Minnesota, USA

I’m inviting the first commenter to indicate the city from where you are reading this (e.g. Chicago, Ill.)

As others read it, if you are farther away than the previous commenter (or think you might be about the same distance), leave a comment with the name of your city.

The goal is to show just how far away people are seeing this video.

Yeah, we know that theoretically the reach is world-wide. But just for fun, let’s prove it.