The Whistler's Dream

Everybody needs a dream...
Mine is to go to Oklahoma and play whistles for The Pioneer Woman. (Having been invited, not in a "creepy stalker" kind of way, for the record.) Heck, I'd play in a pup tent in the backyard for the joy of the cows and critters. What can I say? I'm a fan.
Everybody needs a dream...

Random Fluffy Foto!

Random Fluffy Foto!
Writing in bed, and Beka editing by ear. Really. The ear typed some letters. Really.

Monday, December 26, 2005

The big finish

Well, for those of you tired of reading about the 25 day Christmas stocking, this is the moment you've been waiting for... the last one. :-D

Day 22 - 2 kisses and 2 Kisses. You can figure that one out.

Day 23 - 3 coupons for 2 people, 3 projects. She can pick three projects for us to work on together.

Day 24 - 24 hours free.

Day 25 - she got her present, which is all about numbers. 2 Sudoku books, a wooden Sudoku board, and a Sudoku board game. :-D There were a couple other incidental presents along the way, including a very pretty sweater and matching turtlenecks that she wore to church on Christmas eve and Christmas day.

So, how did it go? I think she really enjoyed the 25 day thing. And, even if she doesn't "cash in" all of the coupons, etc., it was still a 25 day reminder about how much I love her. And, after all, that's the point really. The gifts we give are all about love. The greatest gift of all, when God sent His son to this world to redeem fallen creatures like you and me, was all about love.

"God shows His love to us in this: that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Merry Christmas, friends!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Day 21

On Day 21, Vicki got a certificate for a road trip - 2 people, 1 car. She mentioned that she needs to lay everything out so she can plan her year. I think Denise has had a bad influence on her...

Not really. I just wanted to find a way to work Denise into this. She'll never know...

Also, the always-helpful Topher showed me how to use Sage in Firefox to check blogs. Sweet!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Day 18-20

Things are moving along now...

For day 18, Vicki got One-Ate, a special lunch for one. BUT, since we had went to the Sundance Grill with Hannah the night before, we ate the leftovers from that. Yummy!

On the 19th, Vicki got 19 backrub coupons. 19 is her favorite number, since her birthday is September 19, and her golden year (19 on the 19th) is when we met, dated, got engaged, and married a month before she turned 20. :-D

For the 20th, she got a $20 gift card for Celebration Cinema. And, if I'm very fortunate, she might take me out to the movies...

Just a few days to go until Christmas - good stuff!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Day 16 & 17

On Day 16, Vicki got 16 mix 'n' match kisses - she can choose from carmel filled ones, peanut butter filled ones, or... um... the other type. We'll see which she chooses - I know Amanda will want to know.

For Day 17, she found 17 Get Out Of Trash Free cards. I know, I know - isn't the trash the husband's job?... Well, yes. But not here. Anyway, there we are.

And, I now have TWO pair of boots. I'm a regular shoe animal. :-D

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The windmills of my mind...

This is off of the VickiChristmas theme...

Why is it, when I have the most wonderful job in the world, that so often I find myself just staring at the computer. Not getting a blasted thing done. I don't understand how my whole psyche goes into neutral so easily, and I become a veg. Today has been a pretty good day - not moving the whole earth, but definitely more than a shovel or two.

I'm really wrestling with how a right-brained, visually oriented goober such as myself deals with the left-brained, confusing world of project management. How do I get my job functions into a form that I not only can use, but can continue to use.

My 3x5 cards have been the closest I've come to having a system, but sometimes they too get lost in the fog that is my head. I use my Palm for my calendar, addresses, and (of course) games and music. My phone is mostly contacts and numbers. But none of them really take hold in my mind to help me keep on top of what I'm supposed to be doing.

Do I sound like a whiney 20-something? Shouldn't I have this figured out at 46 years of age? DOH!

I have the greatest job in the world. And, it's not just work - it's my calling. Need to keep my eyes on that, and off of the details that I get buried in. At the end of the day, if just one kiddo has come closer to trusting Jesus or been encouraged to live for Him by His Kids Radio, that's a good day.

And, that's why I have the greatest job in the world. Note to self: Remember that!!!

Day 15

15 Snuggle coupons (for "serious snugglebunnies")...

Let's just leave it at that, shall we? :-D

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Day 14

For the 14th, Vicki got the 4th season of Smallville (1 box, 4th season).

Oh - and I got a six shot Nerf gun. The better to blast my boss with. actually has a section for "Cubicle Warfare." Gave me a lot of great ideas, but I think I'll just keep my trusty Nerf gun and keep it simple. And, the micro darts make a sound if you fire them across the room. Way too much fun, although Vicki just rolls her eyes at me.

It also has rubber darts, which are great for hitting the white board at one end of the room, or the metal cabinet on the other. Great stress buster. :-D

Vicki did get excited about one thing - we tested the gun to see what it feels like to get hit by one of these little puppies. I say WE - I mean, SHE fired, and I was the target. She laughed as she unloaded 6 Nerf darts into my back...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Day 13

Well, I've been looking forward to Day 13. I knew it would be one of my wife's favorites...

Coupons for 13 Cereal Suppers.

Vicki LOVES cereal. She'd eat it for most every meal, if she was allowed to. So, she's got 13 times when I won't say, "cereal again?..."

Of course, her comment was "only 13?" Next year, she wants this on the 24th...

Monday, December 12, 2005

Oi! I'm way behind!!

OK - here's the short short version...

Day 9: 9 Nien coupons - trumps all other plans, when she just feels like doing nothing...

Day 10: didn't really have anything in mind, but I found her a tool kit for the house. That'll work.
(and lest you roll your eyes at a husband buying tools for his wife, remember this is Vicki we're talking about. She does all the fixing of stuff around here. You really don't want to see what I do with tools...)

Day 11: 11 hug coupons.

Day 12: Volumes 1 and 2 of one of our favorite DVDs - Animusic. We LOVE Animusic, and she didn't even know that Animusic 2 was out yet. Sweet!

And, if you have NO idea what Animusic is, ask. It's AMAZING...

There. Caught up. I'll try to stay current... I may not succeed, but I'll try. After all, if at first you don't succeed, keep on suckin' 'til you do suck seed. :-D

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Hear the Lion ROAR!!!

This is a quick post - just got home from a pre-release screening of The Chronicles Of Narnia, and wanted to say two things...

1) GO! GO SEE IT!! It's just as amazing as we were all hoping it would be. Vicki and I were thrilled, and yes - I was weeping like a leaky faucet through a lot of it. GO! What are you sitting there reading this for? GO SEE IT!!! :-D


2) Huge thanks to our family at Cornerstone University who gave us this amazing Christmas gift, for you see, the pre-release screening was for staff, faculty, and families from CU. What an amazing treat - thanks to all who made it possible...

Now, get outta here... Go see it. Now. Drop whatever you have to and go see Narnia. Go. Now.


And, yes - Vicki and I will be going again sometime this weekend - probably one of the later showings on Sunday. Maybe we'll see you there. :-)

What? Are you still here? Go...

Day 7 & 8

Day 7 brought a certificate for a celebration of the 7th - August 7th that is. Our anniversary. :-D

Day 8 is for 8 Milk Duds - to be enjoyed at the pre-release screening of The Lion The Witch & The Wardrobe tonight. And, yes - she can have more than 8 Milk Duds... :-D

Day 9 will be something fun... details tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Day 6

Today, Vicki discovered that sometimes things come in forms that don't fit inside the little cubby hole, such as 6 coupons for hugs. (And, that also satisfies her curiosity about where all that cardstock went that I was printing on...)

She has been enjoying her daily gifts... Now, that seems like a "duh" statement. But you have to know Vicki - she lives in the world of data and computer and manipulation of information. The warm, fuzzy world of a 25 day Christmas stocking is not something that generally makes a major foothold in her psyche. It's not that she doesn't appreciate it - it's just that it tends to get put in it's place along with the other 5000 or so other things that she's running through her head at the same time. And, I understand and accept the fact that, most of the time, my wife's attention is divided into so many pieces that you can't even see the pie anymore - and yes, that does include attention for her hubby. ('s ok - I know where her heart lies. :-D ) So, for this (admittedly) small thing to make an impact on her day-to-day thought processes is something indeed. :-D

To quote the ever-profound Hannah, "good times indeed."

Monday, December 05, 2005


Small background refresher: Most folks know I have lymphedema - causes my legs below the knee to swell, since fluid pools there and doesn't move through the body like it should. Because of that, I can't wear boots - my left leg is deformed enough that anything taller than a shoe doesn't work. Doesn't help that my feet are 11.5, EEEE. Not a lot of choices in that range, other than diving flippers...

But, today at the most awesome shoe store on the planet, Mieras Shoes, I actually found a pair of boots. We can waterproof them, and I'll not have soaked feet all through the winter. YEEHAW!! Mieras is where I usually buy my shoes, since they don't break out in laughter when I mention that I'm a quadruple E.

May not sound like a biggie to you, but when all you can wear in winter is shoes, boots are something to get pumped about. Less snow down the shoes, less wetness in the stockings. (not just socks, but the compression stockings that I wear daily. When my feet get wet, it's wet times two...)

I'm excited. I'm thrilled. And, I'm thankful. :-D

Day 4 & 5

On day 4, Vicki discovered that sometimes there's more than just a slip of paper in the box - as she got 4 Hershey Kisses for day 4. (2 carmel filled, two peanut butter filled - yum!) We also had a lovely Sunday at Church, with the kid's Christmas program in the evening, and rounded out the day by going to the light show at 5/3rd park with our dear friends, the Georges.

As for day 5, today Vicki finds out that sometimes the days include a field trip... Again, not going to reveal too much, but suffice it to say it'll be a fun day. :-D

Tomorrow, for day 6, she'll discover another aspect of this whole thing that she hasn't seen yet. Do I sound like I'm having fun with this, or what?... :-D

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Day 3...

Today was a day with an actual "gift" (not that the previous two days were bad... Quite the contrary, actually... :-D ). But, it's not here. Actually, I didn't even order it.

We had been talking a while back and I mentioned that I needed to change my plan a bit - a church hadn't sent a check for a program I did there a couple weeks back, so I couldn't use that money to order the present. Turns out, Vicki had already ordered it. So, she bought her own present, while intending to give it to me.

The longer we're married, the more our minds run alike. A scary thought. But compelling nontheless.

So, what was today's gift? Season three of a television series that we both like. I won't disclose the name, lest I either offend or give away the fact that we're closet liberals in Covenant clothing... For those truly curious, the clue today for December Third, was "The Power of Three."

On to day 4, and Vicki's Advent adventure continues...

Friday, December 02, 2005

Day 2

In door #2, Vicki found 2 hugs. She's interpreting the rules a bit different than I expected, tho... Yesterday, it was 1 kiss. She redeemed that little gift a number of times yesterday. (I'd tell you how many, but Amanda would roll her eyes at me... again.) Today, it's groups of two hugs, again multiple times.

Somehow, I don't mind that she's changed the rules. :-D

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Day 1...

Vicki opened the first door of the Calendar today (if you don't know what I'm talking about, look down a couple of posts to the one about Advent...) and smiled a lot. :-D She liked the little piece of paper with the graphic of Christmas lights on it. Her present today? One kiss from the husband of her choice...

Hmmm... Sure hope she picks me.

YeeHaw! She did! :-D

(And yes, Amanda - my wife is T.W.B.K. !!)

Can't wait for day 2. I am certain that I'm more excited about this than she is. But, that's the case in most things with the two of us. I'm the one who gets all cranked up about stuff - she's the one who stays calm and collected in the face of all things. Nice balance, although it frustrates the heck out of me when she doesn't get all worked up about what could possibly be behind those little doors on the calendar. Ah, for such control...

And yes, I would have ripped the doors off their hinges by now. :-D

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Oh Christmas Tree...

Don't know if I mentioned it yet, but we're staying home for Christmas this year. It used to be our habit to go one year to my mom's, the next to Vicki's parents, and the third to stay at home. Then when Mom became ill, we were spending each Christmas with her and my family, in case this was "the last Christmas." Mom told me to make sure that the Christmas after she passed away, I would take Vicki home for the Holidays. And, in all that time, Mom & Dad never mentioned the fact that we hadn't been in Newberry for Christmas in 5+ years. So, after Mom passed away, we were in Newberry for Christmas.

By the way, since I know that Mom W. reads this... I can't express enough what it meant (and still means) to me that you and Dad were so supportive through those long years. Many "In-Laws" would have been clamoring for equal time, but you both remained supportive and patient. And, for that, as well as many other things, I thank you. My In-Laws ROCK!!! :-D

So, where does this bring us? And, does the subject line have anything to do with this post?...

Indeed. Thanks for asking. Well, we've actually started decorating this year. We bought a new tree, and are adding the other little touches that bring back memories of Christmases past. And, for the first time in a very long time, I'm actually looking forward to Christmas with anticipation - not just getting through the holiday. We're talking about what to do with some extra time off thanks to the University (or if we can do anything with it at all, since radio waits for no one...), and are excited to be able to relax and enjoy the holidays without having to pack up, put everything in the van, and drive through the frozen tundra... Not that there's anything wrong with that... It's just nice not to have to travel once in a while.

And, our nieces get Christmas 2 in February. :-D

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

It's gonna be a fun Advent!

I'm spilling the beans here... but I'm not worried. This is about what Vicki is getting for Christmas. But, since she doesn't usually think to read this unless I tell her I posted something, I should be safe for another week or so...

In my family, the Christmas Stocking reaches Olympic proportions. My mom had a ball filling our stockings with all sorts of stuff, wrapping each item and watching the joy on our faces as we made our way through it all. Everything from soap to toothpaste to treats to... well, suffice it to say that anything is fair game to be in the stocking. Have you ever gotten Odor Eaters in your stocking? I have... :-D

Oh - and a stocking isn't limited to one of those things you can hang from a mantle. We've gotten stockings in grocery bags, Tupperware, and other amazing containers. As long as you put a picture or cutout of a stocking on it someplace, it's fair game.

This is one of the traditions that I've tried to continue in our house. I try to do a stocking for Vicki that is like that... Sometimes, the stocking is the entire gift, and way fun to watch her open.

So, this year... I bought one of those wooden Advent calendars this year at Target. Basic black with numbered knobs on each door. Cute. Vicki knows it's in the house. She even knows that I've been preparing stuff to put in it. What she hasn't figured out yet (or at least I hope she hasn't figured out yet...) is that it's her stocking. And, it'll last for 25 days. :-D

What's in it? Nope... not gonna go there. There's always a chance that this would be the one time she actually reads the blog, and the game would be up. It's ok for her to know that it's her stocking - after all, she'll open the first door next week. But, details will have to wait for another time.

It's beginning to look a lot like... something... :-D

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Of light and shadows...

I'm coming to a rather difficult conclusion about something... I think I may be one of those people who have SAD - the seasonal disorder that comes with less light in the winter. Seems odd to me, since I've always loved winter, and always craved subdued lighting and never minded working at night.

But, lately, I can't seem to wake up in the morning, even after having slept 9+hours. And, at night, around 6 or 7, I start getting tired and not wanting to do anything but eat stuff that's WAY bad for me and veg. Or go to bed.

I discovered this morning that I wake up much faster if Vicki opens the blinds to let light into our room. So, I may need to consider one of those clocks that gradually makes the room brighter to help you wake up. I've discovered that maybe I'll need to do some light therapy to help. Strange - I've never had an issue with this before. But I don't want to spend this winter vegging out, eating garbage, and gaining back all the weight I've lost, so I'll do what is necessary to keep moving forward.

And, keeping my eyes on the Light of the World will help too. As it always does. So, as we move into the season of Light, may your eyes and hearts be filled with the Light of Christ. :-D

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Life with a camera phone...

... is interesting. :-D The one geek thing about my phone is how it lets me display a picture of someone who is calling me. So, Amanda calls - Amanda shows on the screen. Hannah calls - Hannah is on the screen. It's a useless feature, at least until I get to the age where the little picture on the phone reminds me who that person is.

And, that day draws closer every day. :-D

Mobile AIM is also interesting, as is Mobile Web. The web thing came in handy last night at Hannah's. Levi asked to learn how to play backgammon, so I volunteered to show him the basics, since that's pretty much the level I play at. Thing is, Vicki and I both drew a blank as to how to set the board to start. We play Acey Deucey a lot (a great backgammon variation), but it starts with all pieces off of the board.

What to do? Grab phone, open Mobile Web, hit Google, and see a diagram of the setup for the board. Lovely. :-)

As Paul Simon says in "The Boy In The Bubble," These are the days of miracles and wonders.

There will be another posting soon about my weight issues. In the meantime, if you know me and the situation, please be praying. I'm up 20 pounds, and getting way too close to hitting 400 again. :-( Your prayers are appreciated, especially as it's Sharathon week, and it will be a busy week with not a lot of time for healthy eating or exercise. Hopefully, I can make that a priority...

Thanks, friends. Godspeed in the week to come.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

At last! A cooler phone than my boss'!!!!

A new cell phone. It was time. The old one was beat into the ground, so it was time to upgrade. And boy, did I!

If you're curious, either see me, or look up LG VX9800 and feast your eyes on my little doodad. Gotta go and read the manual some more. Eventually, it might even make sense. :-D

Addendum: Failed to mention the neatest thing since sliced bread... a Bluetooth headset. If your phone is Bluetooth enabled, RUN, don't walk to get one of these bad boys! Absolutely amazing - not to mention that the Geek factor is off the chart with this little dealybob. :-D

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

11 hours? That ain't right!

Yup. You read right. I actually slept for 11 hours last night. Wouldn't have even gotten up if life hadn't required it. Vicki reports that her "Rain Gauge O' Sleep" (as in, my humidifier tank) was bone dry this morning.

I'm just not sure that all this increased sleep is a good thing, since it never seems to be enough. I always seem to want more than I got, even after 11 hours. So, while I am thankful for the rest, I am still wondering if more sleep required is pointing at something else...

Busy week this week. A number of children's radio program producers are in town for a couple of days, and we're doing the host thing. Which is an honor and pleasure. :-D We had dinner with some of the folks last night, and there was much fellowship and laughter involved. I also finally met face-to-face with one of my role models in this whole kids radio gig, Mr. Nick from We Kids. His style and his open heart with the kiddos (which is a word I stole from him, btw...) have always been something that I pattern my air work after. What a joy to meet these people, and to have some time to share together in our common mission of reaching kids for Christ. Busy week, but fun!!! :-D

Oh - and a quick shout out and a big ol' HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Ironbutt. The beautiful thing about a blog is that I'm too far away for you to throw your little toy thingie at me. :-D But never far away enough for other kinds of torment... Hmmm.... Never mind. Forget I even mentioned anything. In fact, don't even tell Ironbutt that I said that, 'k? :-D

Friday, October 21, 2005

The power of a song

I mentioned a bit ago that I've actually had some creative things going on... and I owe it all to Reason.


Yup. Reason (from Propellerheads software) is a self-contained MIDI instrument. It has a number of synths in it, samplers, loop players, and other doo-dads that work together in blissful harmony. And I've discovered that Reason and I get along really well. I have other instrument and sequencing programs, but Reason and I seem to communicate well.

Which brings me to the song. My favorite hymn is Oh The Deep Deep Love Of Jesus. First heard it at a memorial service for a friend at college. David Chase died of a heart attack the night before our freshmen year at CU, in Quincer hall. At his memorial service, I heard the song for the first time, and never forgot it.

Unfortunately, it has two things that make it not on the most-heard-hymns list. First, it's in a minor key... Don't get me started on the issues people have with songs in minor keys. Second, when it does actually see the light of day, for some reason organists see it, see 6/8 or 6/4, and think, "swashbuckling drinking song." So it flies along and you lose all the thoughts in the great lyrics.

That song stayed with me throughout college, prompted me to arrange it for organ, as well as tuba quartet (actually quintet - I also used a flugelhorn), and finally has been arranged in Reason. I'm actually quite pleased with the result, although it's only 97% finished. Still some tweaking and polishing to do before it's ready for the CD.

A song can do that to us. It can stay with us over a long time (in my case, since January of 1978), and bring back memories, teach us things, or encourage us. Rest well in the presence of your Savior, Dave - see you someday. :-D

And, if you'd like to hear the end result, let us know.

Oh The Deep Deep Love Of Jesus
Written By: Samuel Trevor Francis
Music By: Thomas J. Williams

Oh the deep deep love of Jesus
vast unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean
in its fullness over me,
underneath me, all around me,
is the current of thy love -
leading onward, leading homeward,
to my glorious rest above

Oh the deep deep love of Jesus
spread his praise from shore to shore!
How he loveth, ever loveth,
changeth never, never more.
How he watches o'er his loved ones,
died to call them all his own;
how for them he intercedeth,
watches o'er them from the throne

Oh the deep deep love of Jesus
love of every love the best
still an ocean vast of blessing
still a haven sweet of rest
Oh the deep deep love of Jesus
'tis a heav'n of heav'ns to me;
and it lifts me up to glory
for it lifts me up to thee

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Too much sleep?

It's never good when I have too much sleep... I get way too perky. :-D

Sleep has been going well as of late... Being off one of my medications seems to be having a good effect. Actually the last few nights, I've been asleep before Vicki. That's Hannah's fault - the book she has her nose buried in is the one she passed along and is keeping Vicki up until 1:30am or so reading. :-D Speaking of sleeping, here's another picture from our UP trip - with Ezri dozing on Hannah's lap as Hannah is reading the aforementioned book. Ezri loves Hannah! :-D

The moral of the story, kids? If Hannah offers to lend you a book, run away. Unless you don't want to sleep, that is...

Friday, October 14, 2005

A wonderful time was had by all

Finally have some pictures from our UP trip at the beginning of October... Suffice it to say that an amazing time was had by all. At least I assume we all had an amazing time... Hannah was so buried in her book, that I'm not really sure if she realized she was in the UP...

Just kidding. Really.

If you'd like to see more of the trip, including some great scenery, just let us know.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Life rolls along...

Still alive and well in the world... well, alive at any rate. Good times in the UP - I'll post some details and pics soon. Spent this afternoon in Grand Haven, walking along the channel and taking pictures.

More info soon... gotta get ready for rehearsal right now. :-D

Monday, September 26, 2005

So, where is we at?

Every once in a while, I like to recap what's going on. Boring reading, I know, but since a number of family, friends, etc. read this gathered collection of randomness, they appreciate knowing how things are at Das Olsonhaus...

Sleeping... Using the Ambien for now, and hoping 1) I don't get addicted to it, and 2) that we can figure out what is causing the insomnia...

(Vicki's parents will appreciate that, since we'll be up there this weekend, and they'd rather not have me wandering around the house all night... :-D )

Eating - too much. I've gained back about 14 lbs. Vicki and I are tightening our control, so that we can both get back on track.

Working - Toonz is back in production at HKR, so that makes Cal a busy boy. Other things are in the works at the station, so it's an interesting time. Vicki continues to wrestle with the many-headed beast known as Datatel, and I've recently received my Lifetime Membership card for the Spouses of Datatel Support Group. :-D Just found out that Jeremy Grinnell was elected president of the Group - congrats! :-D

(Just kidding, Denise... please don't hurt me...)

Worshiping - it's nice to be back into the fall schedule at 1st Cov, and to see a pretty full Family Life Center yesterday morning. And it's always an honor and joy to be part of the worship band there.

Creating - been working on learning a music program called Reason. It's an amazing self-contained sequencer and software instrument, and I'm really enjoying using it. Working on a kicked-up version of Pachelbel's Canon in D that is coming along nicely...

(So, to those who might be looking for some funky music for the Strowbridge-Hoekstra wedding in the not-too-distant-future, you might be interested in this... or not. :-D )

Leaving - WHAT? Sorry... as in, leaving for the weekend. We're headed to Newberry this weekend, to spend some time with Mom & Dad W., my AWESOMELY CUTE nieces, and to take Hannah to one of my favorite places on the planet... the Lake Of The Clouds. Should be some nice fall color to be seen, up on God's front porch.

Riding - the trike project continues to limp along. Got a new seat on it, which makes it marginally rideable. Need to fix the seat bracket so it doesn't creep backwards as I'm riding. Need to replace the shifters, which are nigh unto useless. Need to find a bike shop to put them on, since I'm pretty sure if I take the Blue Trike o' Doom back to the fine folks at Freewheeler, they'll start throwing stuff at us and chase us off their property... :-) And, we're still researching a way to change the steering from the funky-fore-aft-useless system presently used.

But, I did ride it around campus a bit Friday. It has some serious potential... after we get the bugs worked out.

Enough. There's enough OlsonInfo to make anybody bored. Have a Monday - I know I will.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Sleepless in GR...

Still having major issues with insomnia... It's 7:40 on Friday morning, and I haven't been to sleep yet. Sheesh... Going to look into the side effects of some of my meds, to see if something has changed that's messing up my sleep. I do have a sleep aid, but really don't like the idea of having to take a sleeping pill every night...

So, off to rest at home I go. :-D

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Birthday Greetings

OK - in my own defense, I must say that yesterday was a busy day... so time to put something really important in this blog wasn't abundant. So, I apologize for what should have been said yesterday...


Yes, my beloved is a year older, and still as cute as the day we wed. She had a quiet day at home, working on the books and playing Sudoku on the Palm, which has become her new obsession. :-)

The real celebration will come the first weekend of October, when we head to the UP for a few days. Looking forward to spending time at her parent's house, as well as taking our friend Hannah along to see what God's Front Porch is all about.

Oh, and a quick HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our friend Suzie, who shares the same birthday as Vicki. We'll have to catch up and celebrate soon.

Here's one that's on time and even early - HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Tammie, who has her big day on the 22nd. Love you, dearheart!

Monday, September 19, 2005

The greatest show on Earth

Made our annual pilgrimage to the circus Sunday - and, as usual, it was a great time. Yes, I'm a circus nut. Love it. :-) We've been going to Ringling for years now - have the programs to prove it. Not to mention the collection of snow cone mugs. This year I got a horse - that makes it 11 mugs so far.

And, I have to admit, when the ringmaster says, "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey, The Greatest Show On Earth", I never fail to get a lump in my throat. It's a tradition for us, and so has the sort of significance that traditions tend to have for each of us.

So, I've gotten my circus fix for this fall - saw Cirque in Columbus a week ago, and Ringling a day ago. Every time, I think what it'd be like to run away with the circus. But, reality kicks in on the way home, and I remember that I'm where God intends me to be. And I'm content with that.

But, hey... I still look at my clown wig and shoes, and dream... :-D

Friday, September 16, 2005

He Will Not Let You Fall

It’s not been the greatest week for sleep… two nights this week, I woke up at 3am, and never got back to bed. In to work between 6am and 6:30, and the rest of the day is pretty much tofu. I can carry on for a certain amount of time before I simply can’t function any more, and then it’s time to just cave up at home and rest.

So, why the fractured sleep? Not sure… I do know that when I have internal struggles going on, my already-difficult sleep becomes that much harder. If things go too far from “normal,” my world gets turned around and things get even more fractured.

So, do I immediately turn to the Lord and His word, to regain perspective and to rest in Him?... Wish that was the case, but usually in my muddled mind, I don’t turn to the only One who can turn things around. So, dear friends, allow me a little meditation here on some words I should have been reading a couple days ago…

Psalm 121 – A song of ascents

I lift up my eyes to the hills — where does my help come from?

My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip — He who watches over you will not slumber;

indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD watches over you — the LORD is your shade at your right hand;

the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all harm— He will watch over your life;

the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

And, as I was putting these words into this post, Psalm 121 (He Will Not Let You Fall) “randomly” started playing on my iPod. Can God use an iPod to get His point across?... I think so.

Father God, help me to turn my eyes away from myself, away from this world, and away from all that would keep my attention away from You. You are my refuge, my hope, my help, my joy, my strength, my life. Help me to remember that.


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Lord Of The Past

"Well I picked up all these pieces,
and I built a strong deception,
and I locked myself inside of it
for my own protection.

And I sit alone inside myself,
and curse my company.
For this thing that has kept me alive for so long
is now killing me..."
- Bob Bennett, "Lord Of The Past"

I mentioned a post or two ago that there was a bit of a revelation that happened to me last week... it was in my counseling session that we ran into something that I had not even realized. And, the meaning of those words from Bob Bennett were finally clear to me...

I had forgotten what a lonely child I was. I never really fit in, never really had many friends (if any), had tough times in school (definitely was the square peg that had no chance of fitting in the round hole of education at that time...), and was a right-brained visually-oriented bewildered child who had teachers with no idea of what to do with me. So, I spent much of my childhood in solitude. Really good for my imagination, which is what makes me the storyteller I am today, but bad for social skills. Not to mention emotional issues. When my counselor asked if being teased and treated differently by the other kids was something that hurt, I answered that sure, it stung, but I had built such effective armor plating that anything they threw at me had no chance of doing damage.

Yup... armor plating. Didn't even realize that I would describe it that way. Always thought of myself as fairly open and accepting... without realizing what kind of defenses I had built over the years...

And, the kicker is, those defensive devices are still in place today. The things I turned to, like food, to compensate for being alone most of the time. The sense of anger that still runs underneath everything to this day from being lonely but never expressing it. Always ready to raise the drawbridge, man the ramparts, and launch the first salvo.

Yet here, in 2005, at 46 years of age, things are very different. I have dear friends, a church family that is amazing, and my beloved Vicki, who is wife and soulmate and best friend all wrapped into one. Through God's grace, I'm not the kid I was back then. I have found my calling at His Kids Radio and a place to serve at our church. God has shown His purpose in many things to build me into who I am today, and who I am becoming in His grace. But the old behaviours, the armor, the defenses - they still are running in auto mode. Always in the background. Ready to respond before I can even think about it.

And so, I'm learning to recognize them. And to remind myself that I simply don't need them anymore. By God's grace and loving kindness, the old is gone - the new has come. It isn't easy. There's a lot to work on. But it's a major step in the right direction...

"For this thing that has kept me alive for so long
is now killing me..."

But, by God's grace, I will live.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Not bad for a Monday...

OK - for the rest of the normal world, today is Tuesday. I realize that... But in the weird Olson world, today is Monday. See, we work Tuesday through Saturday, so really, Monday is our Saturday.

Got it? :-D

Amazing time in Columbus. Vicki finally took the time to understand more about the GPS, which means that I now have some small comprehension of the thing too. :-D Found our way into downtown Toledo (and the White Castle therein). Stayed in Toledo Saturday night, and went to Columbus Sunday.

Cirque was (as usual) wonderful! We didn't realize how good our seats were until we arrived... and were seated 6 rows from the stage. We've never sat that close at a Cirque show, and it was incredible to see it from that perspective.

Only disappointment of the trip? Somehow, we ended up at The Waffle House of The Living Dead in Findlay OH. Sometime, I'll go into a full discourse about it. Not now, tho.

So, off to face the work at hand. Should be a busy Monday. (or Tuesday... :-D )

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Outta here for the night

I do intend to catch folks up on how things are going... and will do so next week. But, tonight we drive to Columbus OH (love those gas prices... not.) and tomorrow we're seeing Cirque Du Soleil. We've seen Varekai before a couple years ago, and it's Vicki's favorite Cirque show, so off we go. :-D

Talk to you next week - with some interesting revelations...

Thursday, September 01, 2005


OK – so I’m trying something that normally would be talked about in one of Topher’s blogs… Blogger for Word. It’s a toolbar that lets you create blog posts right within Word, letting you use all the usual tools you’re used to (assuming you’re familiar with Word), and not doing annoying stuff like having a post get dumped because something fouled on the way to being published and you just spent 30 minutes writing your heart into a post and now it’s gone to oblivion…

Not that it’s ever happened to me… :-D

Don’t ask me how well it works – this is the maiden voyage. But I should think there’s some good potential here. I mean, Vicki’s spent all this time trying to beat some semblence of understanding about Word into my thick noggin – hopefully this will show that her efforts weren’t in vain. :-D

That’s all from the blog front for now. Now, let’s see if this puppy works, or if it goes to oblivion. Fare thee well, little post. Go get ‘em, tiger…

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Canine Games

I finally figured out something today when letting Ezri outside after getting home... Sometimes, when she goes out, she'll let off one bark toward the neighbor's yard. Just the one, then she's off to do... what dogs normally do in the back yard,... and then back inside.

The odd thing is, after she's back in, I'll often hear other dogs barking a bit. What's up with that?

I finally figured it out... It's the canine version of Marco Polo!

Ezri goes out... Bark! ("MARCO!")

Short bit later, another dog... Bark! ("POLO!")

At last, the truth is revealed. Or at least imagined. :-D

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

It's hard to go backwards...

Anybody who's done any sort of regular excercise already knows this... why they didn't warn me is another question...

I hadn't been on my bike for 4 or 5 weeks... Family camp, the Shack, and the whole waiting-for-the-trike-to-get-here-so-we-can-ride-together debacle gave me plenty of reasons not to get out and ride...

But I had no idea how much it would cost me when I started riding again. Like worse than going back to nothing. Not fun at all.

Like I said, lots of you already knew this. I wish I had. :-)

And, adding to the problem, it was a no-bike-from-Saturday-to-Tuesday kind of weekend. So, hopefully I'll get a ride in tonight, and start up that very steep climb once again. Back toward when doing 7 or 8 miles in a day was feeling pretty good.

On a happy note, tho... Had my physical last week, and talked about riding with Dr. Jill. She said that while riding isn't the greatest for my knees, the recumbent helps a lot, and she doesn't want to limit my exercise, so I'm riding with her blessings! :-)

To the park. Tonight. Even if it's late. And tomorrow morning. :-)

I don't wanna have to get started all over again.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Then and now

A couple of pics from our trips to The Shack - one in February, and one in August. You see if you can figure out which is which. Needless to say, it's an amazing place any time of year!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

All quiet on the Blog front

Seems like everyone whose blog I read regularly hasn't had much to say lately... including mine. :-)

So, what's the deal with the trike?... Well, not good. The trike is of lesser quality than I was expecting.

And, the steering is weird... instead of the handlebars pivoting left to right (like bike handlebars, but under the seat), they move front to back. Now, think about that. You can't hold on to the bars for balance, because if you pull back, you'll do such a hard right turn that you'll kill yourself. And, if you push forward, you'll launch a Louie that'll have you suckin' sod in one hot second.

Now, I could almost handle the steering if the seat gave the kind of support that a recumbent requires. (for details, check some of my other posts where I yaddle on and on about the virtues of the recumbent bike...) But, they sent... (wait for it... wait for it...)

A PLASTIC BOAT SEAT. Yes... a boat seat. All the support of a featherbed. Well, we tried to make the best of it - we got a better boat seat. And, I now know why you never put a boat seat on a recumbent bike - it simply doesn't give the support necessary to pedal the bike. So, I've got a steering system that I can't hang on to for support, in front of a seat that has no support. Not a great way to start on the mighty trike...

But, I plodded on, trying to make it work. Took it to our church's parking lot - confined space, lots of room to try and see if I can get used to the beast. Made a little progress, but it's still weird with the push/pull steering. But, just when I was getting used to it...

THE STEERING ARM BROKE OFF. After 20 minutes, it broke...

I'm not a happy camper at this point. And, since it is a custom bike, they don't do refunds.

Wrapping this vent-fest up, big thanks and a shout out to Ryan "Ironbutt" E., who used his considerable welding (and stomping-on-the-wheel-to-straighten-it) skills to get the beast back on the road... pavement... driveway. Brought it up to C.U. today and tried it again... The seat still rots, the steering is still weird, but at least the welds held!!! WooHoo! Go Ironbutt!!! :-D

(Apologies to those who might be offended by the term Ironbutt. But it's his title. Really. He's got a certificate and everything. Just ask him...)

The folks who made the trike (who shall remain nameless - even to the point of removing their name decals from the bike itself) are, to be fair, trying to help. They are sending a better seat, with a better bracket to hold it on. So, we'll get some help there.

And, we are contemplating ways to change the steering. The simplest would be to switch from underseat to above seat steering - just put on a handlebar and stem. The cooler way would be to figure out how to change the underseat steering to pivot instead of fore and aft. Don't know which way it'll go. And, we need to change the front wheel (which Ryan thinks is off a kiddie bike). And, the shifters are total garbage - they'll have to change as well.

Are we discouraged? At first. But, we figure if we keep the total spent below $3300, we're still good. (that's what we would have spent on the next trike up the price scale that would work for me) So, the saga continues...

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

A wonderful time was had by all...

Well, we're done with the away from home thing for a while, and the dogs are happy about that! (thanks Hannah for taking such good care of The Girls whilst we were away!)

Had an amazing time at The Shack of just relaxing and being together. In the aftermath of the Datatel conversion at Cornerstone, Vicki and I had been in survival mode - just do what's necessary to get through another day, and move along. We had lost a bit of what it means to live together, when so much of our attention was focused elsewhere. So, in retrospect, these two times away were really important. Family Camp helped us learn how to relax once again - just to take time. Our time away this weekend helped us learn to be together once again - to turn our focus back to each other.

As for my trike, well, that's a longer and nastier story. Maybe later this week... Don't want to blow all that relaxation the first day back. :-)

Sunday, August 07, 2005

It was Twenty (three) Years Ago Today...

23 years ago, on August 7th, this lovely lady met me at the front of the church, looking like the most beautiful bride in the world.

And, 23 years later, she still is.

Happy anniversary, Sue - I love you. :-)

So, we're off to one of our favorite places on earth for a little "us time." See y'all Wednesday afternoon. :-)

Friday, August 05, 2005


Quick trike update... Yes, it's here in Grand Rapids. No, it's not assembled yet. Yes, it was damaged in shipment, and Yes, the bike shop is having a ridiculous time trying to assemble it. No, they didn't ship assembly instructions with it, and Yes that was pretty boneheaded of them to send the bike without assembly instructions. No, I haven't heard back from them when I wrote to ask for some instructions or at least something to help the guys at Freewheeler put the thing together. Yes, I am a touch frustrated about the whole thing, but Yes I realize that this sort of thing happens when you buy things and have them shipped. No, I'm not discouraged, but Yes I'm a little impatient. And, Yes, if I could have found another trike locally that would accomodate me, I would have rather bought local. But No, the only one I know of is a Greenspeed, which is around $4000. So, we wait... Patiently... :-)

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Is vacation worth it?

Sometimes, I do wonder if all the preparation before a vacation, and the usual poopy that tends to happen after a vacation outweigh the benefit of taking time off...

Don't get me wrong - camp was amazing. I realized it was a good thing when I got all the way to Wednesday or so before even having work come to mind. Hours of sitting in the shade reading, swimming, relaxing - it does allow the ol' brainpan some needed downtime. We liked it so much that we've already paid our deposit for next year.

BUT, the return to the real world is usually (although not always) accompianied by at least one or two *challenging* situations, not to mention the pile of stuff that waited until one gets back. Such was the case in my little world. So, now I'm slogging through doo-doo, while still trying to figure out what planet I'm on. Does this immediately cancel out any restful benefit that came from time away?

So, is it worth it to take time off?

Um... YES. :-D It was a great week of relaxing with friends, a time of re-connecting with my beloved, and a time to get away and listen for God's voice. Not to mention making it through a couple of 600+ page books in the course of a week. :-) Nice...

Now, back to the aforementioned poopy and doo-doo. Time to grab the shovel and dive in...

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Lo, it cometh...

Lo, that which hath been promised and foretold is nigh unto hand. Rejoice greatly O People, for behold - it cometh. Yea, even soon it shall be with thee... :-D

Saturday, July 23, 2005

This space left intentionally blank

Cal & Vicki are off to camp this week.
We'll return you to your regular programming next week

Friday, July 22, 2005

Outta here!!!

We're packing like crazy around Das Olsonhaus these days - we're headed off to Portage Lake Covenant Bible Camp in Onekama (near Manistee) for Family Camp this week. :-) This is the week that many of the folks that attend our contemporary service go, so we decided to join the mass migration and get away for a week. Should be a great time!

No other packing on the horizion, tho... no action on selling my mom's house, or the family farm. So, our dream of a new house is on hold for now. And, the Lord has let me know the reason why it's not time yet, and I'm trying to learn the lesson quickly so that we can move on. One hint: Dave Ramsey is now my best friend... :-)

No word on the trike, which was supposed to ship last week, but didn't, then earlier this week, but didn't, and maybe today, but might not. :-( If it doesn't show up soon, we'll organize a massive email campaign: "Free Cal's Trike!" (or not...)

So, the infrequent nature of these posts will be even more scarce in the next week. Hopefully we'll have lots of pictures and memories to share when we return. In the meantime, have a pleasant week, and huge thanks to Hannah for taking care of The Girls whilst we're off in the north. YeeHaw - we're goin' to camp!!! :-D

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Living in a Fish Bowl

Something that I didn't expect when I started this blog thang was the change in conversations that happens... After a great time at church Sunday, we spent a wonderful afternoon with some friends having lunch (sampling some bbq sauce recipes, and once again confirming my status as a GirlieMan by finding all of them a tad hot for me...) and catching up with each other.

The interesting thing is, when I'd start to relate something that is going on, I'd get a nod and smile like "Yeah, I know that...I read your blog." This is not a bad thing (and since I know those in question read this thing, read that again - this is not a bad thing...) since it frees up space to concentrate on others and hear what they're up to, but it's still something to get used to. It's kind of like being on the radio, where people will hear my voice and have a sense that I'm 'around' but I'm not.

Like I said, this isn't a bad thing - just one of those interesting things that one stumbles across from time to time. Speaking of stumbling, time to go to work. :-)

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Live to Ride... Ride to Live

No, I haven't decided to make the leap from ReBike to Harley... (Ryan is now disappointed...) But that phrase can be turned in a couple of directions.

The Lord and I were up pretty late last night / this morning discussing a few things. :-) There was a time around the last month or so of my mom's life when God made Himself real to me in a way I'd never known. I had a sense of His presence that is a bit startling to this Baptist Boy's roots. :-) And, for the first time in my life, I found that prayer had become a dialogue instead of a monologue. Often, when I'm praying, it's like I'm reading copy on the air. I'll almost 'see' the words and out they go. That's a monologue. Not saying that's bad, but at this time I could pray and not see the words first. The words came straight from my heart to the Throne, and didn't need to be processed much in my head.

But we all know that when we have an experience like that, we can't stay on the mountain top forever. (wonder why that is - wouldn't you think that being in God's presence in that way would be something we'd want to hold on to, like air to breathe, regardless of where our journey goes?) So, life intrudes. And, just like those forgetful Israelites whom I like to feel slightly superior to (Look what God did for them, and then they turn around and bam - forget it all. I'm glad I'm not like that... *yeah, right*), I shuffle off, forgetting lessons learned and settling for the mundane instead of the magnificent. The Glorious Intruder had woken me from my slumber, and though I had risen and walked closely with Him for a time, I soon fell back to sleep, more mindful of my tiny little world in this prison covered with skin than all the universe that He reveals.

And, prayer became reading copy from the script again.

And that's where God had a word with me last night... Not in finally feeling His presence, but in revealing something about my behavior that I didn't understand - the nature of what addiction does to me... I use food (among other things) to dull my senses. When I hurt, when I'm frustrated, it's what I turn to. OK - I already knew that part. But I didn't realize why...

Because it's easier to use food (or reading or sitting like a useless lump in front of the computer) as a band-aid (with apologies to the fine folks who own that trademark...) then to actually work at this thing called life. And faith. And a relationship with my Father. I was just making some progress on this last night, and slowly the words were disappearing from the page and I was starting to communicate with Him... and I decided to grab a Diet Coke at McD's... And some chicken... and a Double Filet O' Greasy Fish.

And the minute I started stuffing my face, everything else went numb. It all shut down. What tiny steps I had made toward opening the dialogue with my Father went down the biffy faster than a goldfish burial at sea.

And I realized why my Dad would crawl inside of a bottle and not come out. And why I am the same way, just using different toxins to achieve the same result. Take the easier road - dull the senses so that you don't have to actually work through things. Put a bandage over the huge gaping wound, and make the boo-boo all better. (Live to EAT, EAT to Live) And here I am, in tears, realizing that I've been pushing away the very One I've been seeking, laying down more land mines between He and me.

No wonder fasting is a spiritual discipline. And, no wonder that I've felt that Heaven is locked in silence, my prayers going no farther than the copy shelf at work. (You radio folks are probably enjoying this post, since some of this lingo doesn't mean poopy to others. Oh well - it's my revenge on the IS staff for all those lunches listening to them speak in Technoglyphics and not having a clue what they say. The down side is, they probably get this stuff also, so no revenge is achieved. *sigh*)

I think I need to have a chat with Pastor Craig. (who rocks, btw...) He's preaching through 1 Corinthians, although I think the sub-titles of most of the messages lately have been "Cal, here's another smack-down from the Man Upstairs." In particular, he spoke this week about needing a new heart - not the thumpity-thump kind, but the heart that is the center of our being. (feel free to check out the sermon - and click on the link for the videos of the weekly sermons. The one I'm talking about is 7-10-05 "Getting A New Heart") A heart that lives for God's glory. A heart that lives to share Him with others. A heart that responds when He calls. Not a heart that's been troweled over with a thick layer of numbing goo...

So, having only slept 3 hours, I'm going to the park to ride. (Live to Ride... Ride to Live a recumbent :-) And to think. And to seek His face. And maybe, just maybe, I'll find the place where prayer isn't scripted. And, where my creative spirit once again flows to show His glory in whatever I do. I'm hoping to come out of my slumber, and back to the place where I hear Him... And this time, I hope to make it an extended stay.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

My local forecast

Doctors will tell you that there's no scientific basis for the claim that people with arthritis or other joint disorders can feel changes in the weather.

People with those conditions will tell you that the doctors are full of... lack of information. :-)

I always know when there's a big change afoot in the weather - if all of a sudden, I'm finding it difficult to even walk through the house, and I haven't been doing something dumb like standing for a couple of hours or riding my bike at mach five for 30 miles or so (pause for lovely visualization of what that would be like... *sigh*), then I can pretty much expect to see something on the horizon when I check out the forecast.

"When the Weatherball is Blue, Colder Temperatures Are Due... When Cal's Legs are Aching, Crappy Weather is in the Making..."

So, if you notice me with my cane, you might want to get an umbrella. If you see me in my chair, might be time to board up the windows. If I'm crawling, run for cover. :-D

By the way - thunderstorms possible tomorrow. I knew that yesterday. :-)

Friday, July 08, 2005

Quick update

Just have a sec to catch up - I'll hit the details later...

I've mentioned in previous posts that I'm trying to find out where my creativity went - it seems that area of me has gone to sleep... Well, during counseling last night, I think I finally found out where it shut down. And who knows, maybe knowing that will give me some help in waking it back up again. Or, at least I'll understand where it went, and I can keep an eye out for it when time and life allow it to bloom again...

Riding is so good for my spirit! I did around 4 miles this morning, and will hopefully hit another 3 tonight.

AND, if they are working on schedule, my trike MAY get shipped out today! :-)

Good stuff. Real good stuff! :-D

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Three at last! Three at last!

Great - now he's misquoting Martin Luther King... :-)

Quick note - normally, my ride in the part is an up down thing... Go one way, head back. North, South. (or, "strike that. reverse it. thank you.")

Today, however, I made one more. Now, an up-down is around 3 miles, give or take a goose or two. This time, I made just shy of three trips, which is around 4.5 or so, with some large geese included.

Felt good. I'll be limping the rest of the day, but I'll be smiling as well! :-)

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Fun and Frolic on the Fourth

... Actually, it was on the Third. :-D

It was a nice weekend overall... a lot of stress Sunday morning (leading worship, playing keyboard and singing, doing communion music on whistles in the contemporary service; playing organ, doing special music and such on whistles, communion music on keyboard in the traditional service...) but a great time in the Lord's house.

Then, our second year attending the huge Ludge-Pointe 4th of July Bash, the high point of our summer social calendar. :-) They put on a great, fun time for all sorts of families, including some of the finest illegal fireworks this side of the Kent County Jail. It's always a blast, and it's fun to be included in the group. (my favorite comment overheard right after the display was "Now, let's pass the hat for bail money..." Mark Schut - philosopher and comedian)

Relaxed on the 4th, after weedwhacking the lawn into submission. Had an amazing ride in the park tonight, as is any opportunity to "get on my bike and ride..." (some people will recognize that song quote... others will be better off not knowing from whence it came...)

Some concerns have entered into my world, but I'll ramble through those in days ahead. I would ask for extra prayer right now concerning my voice. Had a visit with the ENT doc today, and more testing is being scheduled. Details will follow... sometime. Right now, we've got to go buy dog food. :-)

Thursday, June 30, 2005

A bit of an update...

It's been too long since I wrote anything - sorry! Although I know that the world doesn't revolve around reading this thing, still - I try to make sure I blog more than Hannah, and as of late she's ahead of me. *how embarrassing...* Anyway, not much to say...

We're nearing the big hurdle with Vicki and that many-headed beast known as Datatel, the four-lettered... She got a little window into my world last night, being up most of the night working on some final pieces or something. Sorry - I know that my wife works her well-sculpted tushy off on this stuff, but actually discribing what the heck she's doing is like trying to speak Chinese. I do it badly, with no actual meaning whatsoever...

I've picked up a little part-time work (thanks, Dodd!) for CBH Ministries as a recording engineer for Down Gilead Lane. And, along the way, I've learned some bits about another audio editing system, and observed just how much I don't know about using my voice expressively. The cast members are amazing, and a joy to work with. Aside from the extra income, it's a fun experience. Even got to go in and read some lines in my Gus voice (ask for a demo sometime - he doesn't translate well to the written word...) which I sincerely hope will hit the cutting room floor. Gus is alright - he's kind of an old man character, but a bit over the top for real life. But to do him in a room with other real, honest-to-goodness actors was something else altogether. Whew... True radio people may know how to read and talk on the air, but I'll be the first to admit that we don't know doo-dah about radio drama. It's a whole other skill set, and amazing to observe.

No news on when the new trike gets here... sigh. Hopefully before family camp at the end of July.

Weight-wise, I've gained quite a bit back. I know it's a number of factors right now, and that it will change soon. We'll get back to progress, but some stuff has to clear out first. That will happen...

Off to life - have a fun holiday weekend!!!

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Sunday Morning

I've discovered one of my favorite things about Sunday Morning - the view of the city... Odd?... Well, hear me out.

Sunday morning, we get up pretty early (6:30 today, since I had a little trouble sleeping), to be to church by 8am to practice with the worship band, and our service starts at 9am. So we rise, do the typical morning thing, head off, and take College to the expressway downtown. This takes us down the hill to the river and the 196/131 Junction. (When you hear Kevin or JohnnyB talking about downtown at The Junction, that's the place...) And there is my favorite view of the city, at my favorite time to view it. It's quiet, not much traffic, and when the sun is out, it's shining from behind us down over the buildings, the churches, the houses, and washing everything in a beautiful golden light.

And I associate that view with what follows - going to church, lifting up praises, fellowshiping with brothers and sisters, being taught from the Word. And I anticipate that day where, to quote a great song, "We shall stand in the Golden City, in the new Jerusalem..."

Have a blessed sabbath!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

My ULTRA CUTE Nieces!!!

Keeping up with Hannah and her nephew pics... here's Cal & his lovely nieces. From L to R: Kara, Adrianna & Kassandra. All three are sweeties, and make their uncle smile when they give him a hug! They all know me as Weird Uncle Cal, and we laugh about that one a lot. :-)

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

"How's it going?"

"How's it going?"

Isn't it amazing how often we ask that question, with no intention of actually waiting around for an answer? I've actually had folks that were going one direction on skates, while I was going the other direction on my bike, say "how's it going?" So, I say, "Wellnotbadallthingsconsideredalthoughmykneesarestillgivingmefits..." Too late. They're gone. :-)

I've tried to banish that phrase from my file of Pithy Things To Say When One Is Trying To Exchange Pleasantries But Not Commit To An Extended Dialogue... So, if we should meet, and I should ask the dreaded (but important!) question, know this dear reader - I'd really like to know, I am interested, and will take the time to actually listen to the answer. :-)

My friend Jenelle is a master at this... if she should happen by my office, and ask "how's it going?", I know that not only does she actually want an answer, but she doesn't mind if the answer is more than one short paragraph, even single spaced... :-)

As for me, it's all good. Have my second counseling appointment tomorrow, and am actually looking forward to it. :-) We've changed my depression medication as well (dang - got to remember to stop at the pharmacy and get it...) so we'll see how that goes. And, I'm meeting with my boss this afternoon to try and get a better picture of my job responsibilities, so that I can get a handle on what things I'm actually supposed to do around here, instead of guessing (as I have as of late). My weight has increased slightly, but as these other things start to get addressed, more energy will be available for that challenge, so we'll get back to the downward trend. And, riding my bike is heaven, although I had a flat tire last night and couldn't ride. :-( Vicki was willing to take it down to the shop this morning, since I was out the door early, and hopefully it'll be ready for tonight. All in all, not bad.

So, dear friends, how's it going?... :-)

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Knees? What knees? (weekly weigh-in)

Too much uncontrolled eating this week - gained 6 pounds. Am I discouraged? No...

I've mentioned before that I'm finally realizing that more has to be put into place in my life in order to keep on the path and get to my goal. Dr. Osborne asked today if I'd consider bariatric surgery - but I'm just not ready for that. I still believe that if I get my head together and get my life in order, that I can do this thing without the surgery. The surgery is the right choice for some folks, but I don't think I'm one of them. It's a matter of, am I willing to put things into place to be able to avoid the surgery? Can I get that goal so firm and real in my mind that it will override a whole lifetime of destructive behavior? Don't know yet, but I'm working on it. :-)

Riding the bike is helping - almost too much. :-) My knees are letting me know in no uncertain terms that they'd prefer it if I would lighten up on them a tad. I mean, going the length and back of Riverside Park twice in the last 24 hours (make it thrice, if I can get a ride in tonight) is a little much for them to handle. I've told them to stuff a sock in it, drink some Biofreeze, and get on with it. We'll see who wins that arguement. All I can say is that riding is theraputic on a number of levels, and I'm not gonna stop if I don't have to.

Amanda says that next, I'll be wearing leather. Hmmm... big ol' jacket with 'BigCal' across the back. Nice... :-D Might be a little much for the recumbent, but who knows?...

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

A glimpse of the new trike

This is similar to what my new trike will look like. The wheels will be slightly larger, with fenders, and with a basket on the back. And it'll be blue, like this one. Sweet!

This is a ReBike

Mine is red, but otherwise this is what a ReBike looks like. Not a bad bike, and way fun to ride! Let me know if you'd like to experience what recumbent riding feels like, and we'll work something out. :-)

"That was totally WICKED!!!!"

Gold star time again - can you identify the quote in the subject line? Answers at next posting...

The ReBike rides again! We got it back from the shop today, where they had done a great tune-up to the ol' beauty. This is my original recumbent, and will become Vicki's bike when my new trike is finished. So, to take it for a test drive, I rode it back from lunch.

Now, I've not been on a bike in at least three years. And, since then, my knees have gone from bad to tofu. So, I had no idea if I'd even be able to ride. And, wasn't sure if I could handle the disappointment if I couldn't. Cycling has always been one of my favorite things - there is no feeling like zipping along on a bike. Granted, I can't go all that fast, but even at my pace, it's like nothing else I ever do. Using my chair gives me a little taste of that freedom, but it's just not the same as being on a bike.

Wow. No issues with my knees, since the recumbent design makes all the strain of cycling a moot point. Just fast, and fun. My ReBike isn't a particularly speedy bike - it's pretty heavy, and has the turning radius of an aircraft carrier, but it still cruises right along on the sidewalks on campus.

Can't wait to see what it does on the bike path at the park. So, to summarize:

"That was totally WICKED!!!" :-)

Watch your back, as you walk on the CU campus - a fast-moving high-mass object might be coming up on your '6'... :-)

Yee Haw. Now, let's have the rain let up, so I can hit the park tonight! :-D The ReBike Rides Again!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

A little creativity now and then...

"A little nonsense now and then, is relished by the wisest men..." - Willy Wonka

I've been trying to figure out how to kick start creativity. It's kind of like trying to get the lawnmower running after it's been sitting in the garage all fall/winter/spring. Only, you can take the lawnmower to someone who knows more about it than you do. If God had made us with circuits that could be taken out and upgraded, that would be a lot easier...

I haven't had the time in months to be in a creative mode. Toonz takes up most of my time and energy during its season, so getting back to a more relaxed, creative life is a bit of a puzzle. But, a little creativity every day (even if the result is crap), might spark something. :-) Something in the studio, playing a whistle, playing around on the keyboard - anything but the normal stuff for work is fair game. So, we'll see if that helps re-awaken what has been sitting dormant in the garage, waiting for summer.

Oooh! That was poetic! There might be hope after all!!! :-D

Thursday, June 09, 2005

In Memorial...

Learned of the passing of a man whose name won't mean very much to most of you. But, his name looms large in the world of whistles. Glenn Schultz passed away yesterday. He was a master whistlesmith, a poet, a fine player, and a generous man with his knowledge. He leaves a legacy of others whom he taught his craft to, and his instruments, which continue to sound his "voice" in the musical world. His Thin Weasel whistles are some of the finest wooden whistles in the world, and he brought that craftsmanship to a more affordable level with his PVC Water Weasels. Such an artist was he, that the "cheaper" whistles still bear the quality and rich sound of his wooden ones.

I'm privileged to play four of Glenn's PVC whistles, including one of the few Ab whistles he made. (I suspect it was the first one as well, since he told me he had to do the calculations before he made it. :-) He was a great whistlesmith, and a great guy. His emails always made me smile.

Thanks for the music, Glenn - I'll remember you when I play.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Things are moving along

Well, we are almost done with the fast. Actually, I'm pretty well done with it. The results were nowhere near what I was hoping for, but I've learned a lot over the journey. I know now that the next part of the path can't come from the fast. It has to come from something else. A change of my mind. A change of my life. The other pieces have to fall into place for me to reach my goal.

So, to that end, I'll be starting counseling in a week or so. Time to get some stuff sorted out in the ol' upper room. I'm not really looking forward to it, but I'm convinced that it's necessary.

And, exercise is becoming more and more of a priority. We're trying to get in a walk every day, and when my new bike gets here, that will increase my activity.

Did he say NEW BIKE???

Yup. Found a trike on eBay. Asked the builder some questions about it, and got some great answers. So, I'm sending him my measurements, and he's going to build the trike to my size and weight. For $800. In the meantime, my ReBike is heading down to the cycle shop up the street to get some TLC. When the trike arrives, Vicki will be riding the ReBike.

So, it's all good. I may not have reached my goal, or even come close, but I have made some choices that will help me stay on the path. And, even if it takes a couple of years, I will stay on the path, moving ever-so-slowly forward, until I reach the goal.

Which is pretty much what every follower of Christ is to do, right? :-)

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Not five in a row, but what a weekend!

Well, we didn't make it to the park either Friday or Saturday, although if the weather allows, we'll get in a walk Monday morning...

But we did have a great time at Festival! I haven't been to Festival in years - not since I did some storytelling there years ago. But, since I couldn't even think about walking that far, we stopped going. That changed Sunday afternoon. :-)

We made it all the way up to food booth #1 (which I'd never done - always just hung around Calder Plaza), checked out some music at the City Stage, roamed the art tents on the Plaza, bought a set of beautiful drawings of the boardwalk and pier at Grand Haven, and sampled the holy grail of Festival food - Saigon Sate. Lovely pork (or some sort of meat - don't ask any questions, just enjoy...) marinated, grilled, and served up on a skewer. Yummmmmmm!!!

We spent a couple of hours in the sunshine and heat, and just as I was locking up the car and walking up the front steps, the heavens opened and delivered up the thunderstorm we'd been warned about all afternoon. Felt sad for the folks still down at Festival who were probably running for cover, but also thanked the Lord for His graciousness - He gave us a lovely afternoon, and made sure that we were home and dry before the rain, rather than trying to slog through it in the wheelchair.

Lovely day, yummy food, and the company of my beloved Vicki. The kind of thing that brings refreshment to the spirit. :-) Really, isn't that what our day of rest is for? :-) (runs quickly, before a debate about observing the Sabbath breaks out...)

Thursday, June 02, 2005

And then there were four... (weekly weigh-in)

Lost a bit over a pound this week, which is good. We're starting to turn it around, and get over the plateau. Waiting for a call back from the counselor to get started with that.

So, I hear you ask, did you make it to the park?


We did indeed go for a walk last night, with Hannah. Well, I watched them walk... fast... far ahead of me. :-) As for me, I did it on foot instead of the chair, and it went pretty well, although near the end of the return trip, I wasn't sure I'd make it back to the car. Vicki, being the amazing beloved one that she is ran to the car, got out my chair, and rolled it back to me. Then, Hannah & Vicki decided to kick it into warp drive, and ran whilst pushing the chair. WoooHooo!!! "I'm the king of the world!!!!!!"

Wonderful, even when my legs were giving out on me. Now, will they make it to day five? Tune in tomorrow, same Bat-Time, same Bat-Channel!! :-)

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Three days in a row!

OK - an hour on Monday, just about an hour on Tuesday, and 40 minutes on Wednesday. Can the Olsons actually make it to walk (and wheel) at the park every day this week? Stay tuned to find out!

Yup - we've actually made it every day so far. We are just loving our time getting out and moving. We're even making plans to get up way early tomorrow morning, just to make sure we get a walk in to start the day.

We'll see what the scale says tomorrow - I've been moving, but also eating a bit more than I should. So, we'll see.

I'm really really anxious to get a trike. Or at least to get my bike fixed and see if it will work for now. It would be amazing to cruise through the park, and be able to actually use my arms the next day. TVM, I don't know how you do it each day. One thing is for sure - I don't ever want to arm wrestle you!

Blessings, friends! Get out and enjoy the great weather, for certainly it won't last. This is Michigan, after all... :-)

Monday, May 30, 2005

Riverside Park ROCKS!!!

OK - I know a lot of you out there are going to say, "Duh..." to this, but honestly - I had no idea that the bike path at Riverside Park was that cool!

I awoke at 7:30 this morning, tried to doze off and had no success, got up at 7:45, and Vicki wandered out at 8am, saying "Haven't you been to bed yet?" (She was so zonked, she didn't hear me come in at 1:30am :-) Since we were both up, I suggested we go for a walk, and she picked the park.

(to those who don't normally read this prattle, when I refer to going for a "walk," I'm usually refering to wheeling in my chair. Vicki walks, and sometimes pushes, and I wheel...)

9am, hit the bike path near Ann Street, and off we went. Beautiful morning, lots of folks running, walking, and on bikes, and the pleasant experience of having complete strangers say "good morning" to you. :-) I had no idea it was that pretty back there, nor how much fun it would be.

So, my wife and I are going to try and make this a daily thing, weather permitting. It means getting up a lot earlier, but it's worth it.

We're going to get my old recumbent bike (my ReBike) out of storage and to the bike shop to get it running again. Don't know if I can even ride anymore, with my knees being this bad, but we'll see. A trike would be better, because I wouldn't have to worry about balance along with everything else.

And, if I can get a trike, Vicki can use the ReBike. :-)

So, if you'd like to donate to the "Buy The Round Boy A Trike" fund, just let me know. "A little from a lot will put us over the top!" (I miss Mel Johnson...)

(the preceeding was purely for fun. Knowing the folks that read this thing, y'all don't have surplus funds any more than we do. But, if an eccentric philanthropist just happens to stumble across this blog, well, feel free to drop me a note. :-)

Maybe WCSG can do a Trike Friendraiser... Nah. :-)

Have a happy holiday!

Friday, May 27, 2005

OK - I'll admit it... (weekly weigh-in)

Had another gain this week - 4 lbs. There are just some issues going on that are deeper than just cheating on the program or whatever. So, counseling is on the horizion. And, going back on the anti-depressant meds. A little discouraging...

BUT at least I'm open to it, finally. I've been resisting the counseling for a while now, but it's become clear that in order for my new behavior to really take hold, there's some junk that needs to be swept out first.

It's tough for a Christian to admit to mental issues - after all, aren't we supposed to be able to handle anything? Aren't we supposed to rely on Christ for our sufficiency? Does this just prove that I simply don't walk closely enough with Him? Believe me, I've kicked these questions and more around in my noggin for a couple of weeks now, especially when it became evident that the depression symptoms were surfacing again.

So, where does all this pondering leave me? Ready to admit that I don't understand all the complexity that makes up our brains, especially when it comes to something like a chemical imbalance. And, ready to accept that while I can work on modifying my behavior and thought pattern, sometimes it takes an outside source to identify clearly what is going on inside. And, feeling a deep desire not to wallow in depression again - losing hours just sitting, eating, and not doing much else.

And, it leaves me hopeful that these steps can clear some of the fog, the flatness that comes when depression sets in, so that I can work my way back toward the joy of my salvation. Easing the greyness of my thoughts these days so that the Son can once again reign in my life. Getting back some balance so I can continue the journey forward. Maybe even actually having something cheery to blog about, instead of the ponderous writings of late. Blame it on Topher - he's the one who talked me into doing this thing in the first place :-)

Hey - I made a funny. Things are looking up already :-D Have a good holiday, friends - I think mine's gonna be better than I expected!