Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Excellent Xmas

It was an extremely excellent Xmas, because Grandma Harriet and Auntonia visited their Missouri kinfolk in St Louis. A new gas stove was installed by W and his friend Duke, just in time for Xmas eve dinner. Dinner featured salmon mousse, filet Americain, and excellent chocolate pudding cake. The night before Christmas, feverish work on an extremely difficult and frustrating jigsaw puzzle of Zion National Park was completed. Accompanied by a Ben Stokes soundtrack, the puzzle team Marcel documented the proceedings in a highlights film. This accomplishment seemed to excite the puzzle instinct and work began on another ambitious Statue of Liberty puzzle that was also completed. Auntonia was impressed by the free art museum, and W had forgotten the nice collection upstairs, so he enjoyed the works with new freshness.

At some point it was decided to visit the Laumeier sculpture park. W being W, had to search for a geocache as well.

Auntonia enjoys her sole nephews

Grandma with her favorite sculpture

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Ice Storm Encases Blume's

A huge ice storm encased the Blume house in ice, but still left the family with power as the rest of St Louis began to freeze. W had gone to the RSNA show in Chicago and missed the beginning of the storm, though he still felt the effect because his return flight was canceled. Fortunately, he and a colleague were able to rent a 4x4 and drive back to St Louis. Eight hours later, they arrived to a St Louis encased in ice with downed trees littering the streets. Schools were closed as the first "snow day" in three years was issued.

A large falling branch narrowly missed the house, leaving lots of yard work.

However, no more raking is necessary...

Friday, November 24, 2006

Historic Visit By WMES

Perhaps embarrassed at being seen in Missouri, WMES (William, Margaret, Emily, and Stella) arrived in disguise to watch the annual Turkey Day Football Game, which Webster Groves won. A traditional Thanksgiving dinner followed with turkey and associated fixings. Earlier in the day, the visitors were kept busy by running in a three mile race through historic Kirkwood. W ran a personal best of 24:15, but Renny still finished two minutes ahead of him. Margaret and William and Nichole also managed to finish the race, running almost the entire distance, despite being unaccustomed to Missouri's harsh unforgiving weather.
Official race results

Renny Blume 22:47 104th place 21st in age group

Walter Blume 24:16 134th place 29th in age group

Nichole Blume 31:17 169th place 32nd in age group

Aunt Mag and Uncle Shag chose not to run down the "competitive" chute, so do not have official times.

Then, on Friday, the collective group visited the Arch for a traditional game of football, followed by lunch at the Crown Candy Kitchen and a visit to the awesome City Museum.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Blumes Strike Back

In a two day assault, WNMR struck back at the fall leaf invasion. The back part of the yard required 27 tarp loads to clear on Saturday, and the side yard with its mere thirteen trees was conquered on Sunday with less than 20 tarp loads. Celebration was had by watching the extremely violent James Bond film and throwing Aerobies extremely long distances. A second triumph occured when Marcel's room was finally completely sanded and he was able to move his bed back in, setting the stage for a visit from Emily, Stella, Margaret, and William.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

W and N Blow it Big Time

W and N went to the movies Saturday night, finally pausing to relax together after a hectic day doing chores. W carefully switched his cell phone to vibrate, just in case he got a rare phone call. The movie was a rather overly hyped comedy making fun of people from Kazakhstan. After about 15 minutes W felt a vibration, and reaching for the phone noted that the number was not one that he recognized, so he decided to ignore it. But about 2 minutes later, the phone vibrated again, and this time it was Renny calling. Feeling extremely important to be called up during a movie, W hurried out to the lobby to see what could be so important. Renny calmly informed W that they had forgotten that Saturday night was the "Fortnightly" dance. This would not be so bad in itself, but W and N were responsible for dance cards. Dance cards inform the middle schoolers of their social fates for the evening, and W and N generate these cards approximately once a fortnight for approximately 100 middle schoolers. Despite W's best efforts at computerizing the process, it is never smooth, as middle schoolers are extremely unpredictable and tend to pop up even when they are supposed to RSVP.
W and N rushed out of the movie and back home. In the meantime R had expertly put on a tie and coat in preparation for the evening's events. R still managed to get three dances, despite being an hour late, and the show had gone on without the dance cards.

Seven Days Later...

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Sunday, November 05, 2006

W Completes Task Worthy of Sisyphus

W managed to briefly feel good about all the leaves he had raked up, but the trees purposely held on to a few for the next round...

4:15 p.m.

9:55 a.m.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

R symbolically illustrates house deal status

House deal falls through

The possible house that WNMR might have possibly purchased is no longer a possibility. Long discussions on the cell phone while driving to Iowa drove home the point. Many factors came into play, highest on the list being the slowing housing market and the heat of negotiations.

Halloween pumpkin burning tradition continues

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Renny Blune Seen at Webster Jazz Fest

A Renny "Blune" was reported to have been seen at the Old Webster 2006 Jazz Fest by a rival newspaper. See picture and story in the Webster Kirkwood Times.

More CC Results

M, running in two more cross country races recorded times of 18:34 (Fox Invitational) and 18:54 (Ladue Invitational). He ran for junior varsity as the number one runner, and placed 16th overall in the Ladue Invitational, a huge race over a winding slightly hilly course. Webster Groves finished in fourth place out of about 12 teams. M has been hampered recently by a sore Achilles tendon, but still managed to receive a medal in his last two races.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Fenton Found!!

After a 4 day absence, Fenton has reappeared as mysteriously as he disappeared. Anxiety about his absence had been high, as a deceased malodorous possum had been recently found in the backyard. He is healthy and enjoyed being spoiled by his owners with canned cat food. However, as soon as he had finished the cat food, he was quite anxious to get on with his life in the great outdoors, grifting for food at other people's house.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Marcel runs PR of 18:32

M, running varsity this week, blazed to a new personal record of 18:32, scoring a medal for placing 40th overall and third best on his team. N was able to see the finish, but W was unable to reach the meet in time after driving for 50 minutes in terrible traffic.

Flash! - Fenton Reported Missing

The extremely cool cat Fenton has disappeared, not having been seen for 72 hours. Posters have been posted in the neighborhood. Fenton is the all time favorite cat of W, despite the fact that Fenton gave him a black eye.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Marcel Places First in Webster Invitational

M raced to a new personal best of 18:59 while winning first place in the Junior Varsity division of the Webster Invitational (15 high schools). Starting in the middle of the pack, M moved to the front by the first mile and never trailed thereafter. M managed to shake his nearest pursuer and finished with a comfortable lead of perhaps 75-100 feet. M commented that he was glad that he fell the previous week, since it gave him a chance to run in JV and actually have a chance to win a race. Webster Groves won first place team honors in the JV division, as several other Webster runners placed in the top 10.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Billy Diagnosed With Cancer

Ultrasound scanning revealed that Billy the cat has large growths both on her liver and pancreas. The prognosis for this is not good, but she at least still has an appetite and does not appear to be in pain yet.

Marcel Survives Cross Country Fall

Marcel was well on his way to a new PR time in the first cross country of the season when a single misstep shattered his dreams, turning his ankle and collapsing to the ground. With the help of a fellow runner, he was able to collect himself together and finish the race, albeit walking, resulting in a time of approximately 21:26. He had some soreness in his knee and ankle, but it seems to have healed, and he is looking forward to his next race. The accident may have been at least partially caused by old shoes, and he has since gone to the "Running Store" and obtained new shoes along with spikes to provide that extra little edge.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Major Growth Discovered on Billy

Billy, the 17 year old cat with at least 9 lives, was diagnosed with a major growth on her spleen early last week. It is uncertain what the prognosis is, but N is planning to get an ultrasound to see if the growth is contained.

Marcel Removes Rug

In a major remodeling effort, M has removed the rug from his room. He has not decided what to do with the now bare wood floor that is covered with paint stains and scratches, but a refinishing effort is possible.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Marcel and Renny make news

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Marcel and W Emerge Unscathed from 64 Mile Trek

M and W enjoyed a twelve day backpacking trip exploring the Valle Vidal wilderness in New Mexico as part of a 12 man Philmont Scout ranch crew. Philmont, sort of a "Scouting Disneyland", features backpacking programs coupled with other outdoor activities. Participants backpack to various camps, where staffed activities(mountain biking, chicken chasing, for example) can be enjoyed.
Part of the experience included doing a three hour conservation project involving carrying lots of large rocks and placing them in a gully to prevent erosion. The picture shows the crew shortly after completion of this Sisyphean task.

Since it was the monsoon season, practically every afternoon featured a thunderstorm. However, for the most part, the group found good shelter for every storm, and only really got soaked thoroughly once or twice. The crew learned to secure their rain fly carefully after the first time it blew over and soaked everybody's packs. Thanks to extremely thorough "bear bag" procedures, which included putting batteries and other "smellables" up on ropes, no bears were ever sighted, though fresh tracks were found on one on the hikes.
The crew also encountered a fresh mountain lion kill with fresh mountain lion tracks, but never saw the elusive creature. There was much evidence of mountain lion activity, as the crew found several complete deer skeletons. Scavengers seem to like all parts of a deer except for the hooves and forelimbs.

The hiking was not particularly strenuous, as some members of the crew were less physically capable than others, thus the only item W did not use in his backpack was the knee brace. Backpacking was aided by the easy availability of food and water. The group never carried more than two days worth of food. Water was normally available at "staff camps", and only had to be purified at a few sites. The only snafu occured when the group was shorted some food rations and didn't realize it until they ran out of food the next day. However, this worked out to the group's advantage as the next staff camp gave them some spaghetti to cook, allowing them to avoid a 4 mile round-trip hike to the nearest food station.

Occasionally the group had to get their food closer to the source.

M caught a chicken, while W produced some milk for his coffee.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Green Rock Trail proves challenging

W and M continued training for the big Philmont expedition today, logging 10 miles with full backpacks on the Green Rock Trail, a fairly hilly trail that fortunately was shady. M discovered that his feet had grown again, and his almost brand new boots may have to be replaced, unless W can wear them. W walked for the first time with a knee brace, as he experimented to see if it might reduce the likelihood of knee pain on downhill grades. Knee pain was reduced, but still significant.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Eagle Project - end of day 2

M completes Eagle Project

Eagle Project - end of day 1

After over a year of planning, Marcel completed his Eagle project over the course of a weekend. He supervised the building of two benches that were installed at Hixson Middle School by their Outdoor Learning Center. He was assisted by Jim Bulejski, Renny, and Matt Francis on the first day. On the second day, Doug Weidman, Wes Bussler, and Patrick Barbercheck, helped him dig post holes and pour concrete, along with invaluable advice and coaching from Linda Neumann and her husband.

Backpack Trip - Garden of the Gods

M and W partook in a recent 15 mile backpacking adventure in Southern Illinois with two other scouts and another adult. The first day was blessed with excellent weather, making it possible to hike without dying of heat exhaustion, and merely soaking one's clothes in perspiration. Told that they could "camp anywhere" along the River to River trail, the group quickly discovered that practically the entire route was blanketed with poison ivy. Horses seemed to enjoy the route, and much of it was extremely muddy, leaving the hikers the choice between tromping through the mud or carefully navigating poison ivy. The group walked to "High Knob" for lunch, a 900 foot elevation hill from which a nice panorama could be observed. From there, the group began searching for a campsite, with the plan being to be near the almost-famous "Garden of the Gods", not to be confused with the Colorado location of the same name. A serendipitous detour took the group to Buzzards Point, which had some large rocks and caves, but the group was still not far enough along to camp, so they proceeded onward.

With poison ivy omnipresent, the group navigated a hill and came to the Little Eagle Creek, where they encountered a couple on horseback. They were advised of a possible camping spot that was "only a 1/4 mile". Slogging on and struggling up a particularly tough hill, the group did eventually find the campsite, but by this time, they were very low on water. W and Doug Weidman then took all the water containers and went in search of water. They quickly reached a road and flagged down a car that took pity on them and gave them a 1 gallon water container. Another mile of walking and a water source was found and all the containers became quite heavy with water, Doug and W struggling to carry it all back to camp.

The next day brought an early morning thunderstorm, which the group hiked out in. Marcel discovered that he stayed drier by not wearing a poncho, since if you wore a poncho, you became completely soaked in sweat. Everybody made fun of W's garbage bag that he put over his backpack. The garbage bag was effective, though unwieldy. M and Wes Bussler ran with their backpacks in order to enhance their supreme conditioning, as the adults brought up the rear. W defeated the attempts of two ticks to suck his blood, but was foiled by a third that somehow got through his defenses.

Blumes Add Rare Siamese Bunnies

W finally broke down and allowed that maybe one bunny would be ok. Thus, in an attempt to push the limits, a rare two headed Siamese bunny was procured. Fortunately, the separation surgery went extremely well, and the Blumes now have two bunnies .One bunny is named Albert, the other is still anonyrabbit

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Redbud Tree Narrowly Misses House

While W was talking on the phone to Grandma Harriet, W heard something that sounded like a closet rumbling. N was reading an e-mail in the back room and thought at first that a gutter had fallen off the house (it had been raining most of the day). As N peered out the window, she gradually realized that the redbud tree in the backyard had fallen down, narrowly missing the room that she was in. N began to laugh as she noted that the tree had fallen down perfectly. It had not destroyed her freshly planted tomato plants, nor had it torn a hole in the house. It had not even crushed the fence. The 30 foot section of the tree had in fact missed the house by mere inches. The tree appeared to have rotted or been eaten a bit by termites. There was still some tree remaining, but it will have to be cut down.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Renny, Marcel Win 5K

When WNMR participated recently in the Delta Gamma Run for Sight, it was to be a dominant day for the Blume's. Marcel and Renny finished 1-2 in their age group (boys 0-19 years of age), netting impressive medallions. W, though slower, ran the fastest he had run since turning 40. The hot weather made N exclaim that she hated running, but she still ran the entire race.

NameOverall placeTimePace

Complete race results are available at fleetfeet

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Blume Boys Brave Record Cold

Incredibly, M and R weathered an overnight campout in unheated Adirondack style shelters last night. It was definitely a record breaking survival event for them, as the weather report shows. Temperatures locally at the campsite were even colder than the official weather, with the mercury reading 5 degrees.

Marcel cooked chocolate chip pancakes in the 5 degree morning chill, while R bravely prepared frozen eggs and bacon together with his aptly named "Fridge Patrol" compatriots.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Muslims Hack Stereotaxis web site

W was surprised to see that the Stereotaxis website got hacked by some angry Muslims. The attack resulted in the web site looking like

before it was taken down.

A search on Google using the terms "casahack" and "StacOM" showed that this hacker had successfully attacked many websites.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

R Gets Letter Published

Renny was shocked to discover that his letter to the editor had been published in the Webster-Kirkwood Times.

The text of his letter was about a dog park

Dog Park In Webster?

I think in the open space next to City Hall, there should be a fenced-in dog park open to the public, complete with a shallow fountain for drinking, two fire hydrants and grass and trees.

Our society needs a small area to let individuals and their dogs socialize on an early Sunday morning. If this doesn't work out, instead I would like to have the middle section of Larson Park made into a fenced-in dog area.

Renny Blume
Boy Scout with Troop 300
Webster Groves