Could there be positives from all of this?

Prism Snapshot 1.9 flying over the Roman Theater in Gubbio, Italy

So my last post, probably read by one person (Thanks Cousin, I appreciate the support!) 🙂 Was a bit dark or possibly just plain boring, as it felt like I was just getting a ton of crap off of my worried chest. Well, I can tell you, I am forcing myself to try and look at the positives possibly coming from all of this.

We seem to be having clearer skies, streams, lakes and seas due to the lack of people. We seem to be seeing that possibly war/military aggression/skirmishes have subsided quite a bit (Until our friends in Iran decided to have some fun and poke the bear). We seem to have more people realizing just how good possibly they have it, and we have many people that are going above and beyond to try and help others who have been negatively affected by this pandemic.

We all are giving up things, as we get through this time, sports, movies, dining out, shopping, amid many other things right now.  I wonder if this will have a positive outcome, that people understand we do not need to be such a consumerist society, that was started up in the 80’s and only fueled over the years by more and more, “Stuff”.

I know my family has been luck not to have a negative affect from the pandemic, including my daughter – who was a bit worried. But she has been able to rest easy, and see now, that possibly she will get through this, by the help of others, and direction by her principal and school president.

Will this make us all possibly relax a bit more, be willing to be a bit more patient with each other? Be a bit more understanding of each other?  Be more tolerant, and appreciative of all humanity, since we all have spent at least 30 days surrounded by close family constantly.

Will this possibly cause us all to better appreciate that check out person at Target, that waiter or waitress at one of our favorite restaurants, what about the mail person, who was willing to come in to work daily – never really knowing if they could contract the virus, just by delivering your mail at first, same with the UPS driver, and the FedEx person. How about all of these factories we are hearing about willing to retool, and create PPE sanitizing apparatus, or ventilators, or even masks and gowns etc. for our medical personnel?

You probably are reading this, and are saying, what about the doctors and nurses? You know what, I wanted to put these super heroes all to themselves. Sure you can say, they were just doing their job, but that is NOT the case. These people yes, chose to help you get well, healed, or recover, but they NEVER planned to go into work day after day, after day, for 12 – 16 hours everyday, putting their own health at risk, just to try and help people that could and ultimately would infect many of them. Just think about that, the next time you decide there are no Friday bagels at your work, and get pissed off. A damn circle of boiled and baked bread really just doesn’t matter.

And what about all of the other super heroes? Public transit workers – Pilots, airline workers, taxi/uber/lyft drivers, still willing to get people from place to place because they NEEDED to get to these places (Like a hospital). How about food processing plant workers – possibly FORCED to still work, even when they KNEW conditions were not good. How about TV personnel, radio personnel, and others willing to keep working, so you could have some sort of a semblance of normal. And yes I again left out another group of super heroes.

Grocery Store workers! These are people again, that, when they took their job, NEVER thought, hey, I am going to have to stock absolutely EMPTY shelves, because people are going crazy and buy 50 lb. bags of potatoes, 15 packages of toilet paper, and oh yes, 30 lbs of meat. Never mind the folks that ate more at restaurants, than at home, who now also had to shop, and get food staples. All of this had put a strain on our system, and these folks have no choice but to help you, when you ask to find beef broth, and choose not to wear a mask, or observe a 6 foot barrier. These folks deserve our thanks, appreciation and respect when this is all over. These folks continued to help all of us, literally putting their own life at risk.

OK, well all I can say is, if you are someone other than my cousin, (Really I do appreciate you reading this!) and you are in any of these areas, or many dozens of the other professions willing to stay open while all of this was going on, Thank you from the bottom of my heart. While there has been many bad things to observe during this pandemic, there really has been much more positive items to focus on!

Until I begin to bore you again with kite pictures, thank you for reading.

Stay healthy!

Jeff

The New Normal

So here we are, the last day of March – which I felt came in like a, “Lamb” well, in my humble opinion, the month is roaring out like a great big freaking huge, “Lion” not so much the weather, but instead, Covid 19. Yes, the weather has been a bit weird, but the weather really is not of importance in these new days, of the new, “Normal” for life as we know it. The Governor of Wisconsin has issued a, “Safer at Home” decree through April 24. So pretty much, everyone is at home, waiting for this virus to slow down. In the news, Door county finally got it’s first case of the virus.  So now we sit, and hold our collective breath. The county has already said,  the health system up here cannot handle a full blown outbreak, so they right now, have politely asked summer residents to not come up. Most are obeying the request, however, there are some who are coming up here anyway. I hope they realize that IF they get the virus, their health up here could be jeopardized due to the fact there just is not enough room in the hospital to deal with an outbreak of a contagious disease.

Well enough of today, lets look at tomorrow. Door county, Wisconsin as you know, is a very heavily traveled tourist area. Due to this, the businesses here are very dependent and focused on the time period of two months, July and August for the mainstay of their income. Because of that, many temporary workers (Read: College Students) come up, and work for the summer, waiting tables, serving drinks, ice cream, cleaning hotels etc. Within this workforce, there is a large population that come in to work on Visas from Europe, and other areas of the world. I am am silently (Or not so silently because I am publishing it) wondering if this can happen this summer. Can the world, not just the United States, or Wisconsin, get back to normal in this time frame? I think that this will be seen as to how the virus survives with social distancing in effect for our country, and others. China, it seemed to work, for the most part – but I think the next month of April will determine in China if it was able to hold long enough. In Spain and Italy, we are just not seeing the virus wane as much as I think officials were hoping.

Now lets look past tomorrow to the upcoming near future. I believe, hope, and pray, that this virus has and will change the way this country, and the world acts, behaves, and conducts itself, in business, politics, and just in general, humanity. I think that there will be many businesses that do not make it through this time. I also think there will be new businesses that emerge, and possibly new divisions of established companies that will emerge. This Pandemic has exposed just how internationally reliant we are on China, and other parts of the world for many of our goods that we consume. While I believe the world must be a large community as a whole, and I believe in international trade, this really exposed just how much America is reliant on many products from outside our shores. With distilleries now making hand sanitizer, and large companies figuring out that it also can be a by-product of ethanol, I think good ole, “Necessity is the Mother of invention” is happening. We also see Dyson inventing, and producing ventilators in 10 days. We see clothing manufactures making much needed masks, and bio-chemical companies designing tests for the virus, and mask cleaners very quickly.

We are coming together as a world community helping each other, and that is important now, more than ever. I hope when this virus is in our rear view mirror, companies stay with production in our country, businesses become more fiscally responsible, and people understand that constantly consuming is not really needed.

The, “Consumerist” society we have become started in the 80’s and has continued too long. Hopefully this will have people realize that what matters most is, family, and health.  If you are reading this, man you must have been bored, but thank you. I promise I will get back to writing about Kites, life in Wisconsin, and other things less heavy than the virus. But I needed to get most of this off my chest. And if you are still reading this (Yes, my punctuation, sentence structure, and general English sucks, I know) I appreciate the time you took. From my favorite Solo singer, Fish I am going to steal his parting quote – Take care, and stay alive.

Jeff – March 31 2020

Pandemic

Martin Lester’s Diver

So this Wednesday, I was supposed to leave for Italy, for a kite festival with my friends in Gubbio. Obviously this is not happening. Yes, I am bummed, but I get why this needs to happen. I also feel for the people of Italy, China, Spain, France, and yes, us in the United States. This situation is unprecedented in my almost 53 years of life, but it definitely is not the end of days. Which brings me to my rant, and since you chose to come to my little site, you are now stuck reading it.

The United States is a highly transitory society, one where we are able to traverse hundreds of miles in hours by air. The problem – I think we are incredibly lined up for this virus to reach every corner of our country, more so than China, and Europe. Because of this, I am not sure there is a way to hide from exposure, and we need to be responsible in the face of a major outbreak. Yes, this virus is serious, yes, it is dangerous, and yes, our citizens need to be vigilant, BUT PEOPLE QUIT BUYING UP EVERY TOILET PAPER ROLL YOU CAN GET YOUR HANDS ON!!! What is wrong with people, I tell my wife this is such a classic case of FOMO (Fear of Missing out) if I have ever seen it. When I walk into the grocery store and see people with their carts literally filled with these sanitary rolls, I just at first laughed at the stupidity, but now I am getting mad at the absolute hysteria. My concern? Those in our society that cannot afford to buy multiple mega rolls, and in fact, are struggling just to buy their food and sundries weekly. When you walk through the stores, and see panic buyers have bought up every food item on shelves, you just honestly wonder what will happen to this food? I guarantee these people will NEVER eat the 50 lb. bag of potatoes they just bought on Friday before it spoils.

My prediction:

  1. There will be the biggest waste / spoilage of food ever in this country coming in the next 4-6 weeks
  2. Stores that just experienced the biggest days of sales ever in the last week, will experience the biggest “return” rate of Toilet Paper, Disinfectant Spray, and Disinfectant Wipes in the next 4 weeks. My thought: don’t let them be returned. If people were stupid enough to buy it all up, and not allow others to have any, then they are stuck with it.
  3. While other countries will wait out the situation with relative optimism, the United States Citizens will decide that when our government finally decides to have us nationally, “Self Quarantine” there will be tons of people that will decide that the rules don’t apply to them, and will not follow directions.

We will see if these happen, and I hope I am completely wrong, however, I do not have much faith right now in what will occur.

I hope my next post shows I was completely wrong. Stay safe if you are reading this, stay healthy, but most of all, stay sane.

The More You Have…

So when I attended Avila College, now Avila University, in Kansas City Missouri, I had a a Philosophy teacher,  Dr. H Paul LeMaire, who in the class stressed, “The more you have, The more you have, to take care of” I have to admit, I really do not remember many things from college, but that quote from Dr. LeMaire has always stuck with me. Because of that some family, friends, and others call myself, and my like minded beautiful wife, “Minimalists”. Possibly in some ways I am, but if you were to see my kite collection, I would have to politely beg to differ – I have way too many – and yes, I have written about this as well before. But this also could be said about my soccer jersey collection, or my shoes. So with that said, it’s that time of year yet again, that I start thinking about Christmas, and my wife. my daughter, and others are asking me what I would like as gifts…. Then I start looking around, and immediately realize that I have WAY TOO MUCH and I begin to decide I need to get rid of stuff. As we get ready to move to a smaller house, effectively downsizing in Wisconsin, I am again looking hard at my stuff, and am trying to do as much shedding of stuff that I can…. I don’t have a ton of interests – Soccer, Kites, electronics…. but all of those things I have too much. Yes, I am boring, and yes, I really feel the multiple chrome books, tablets, pc’s jerseys etc. are just too much… most people make it just fine with one of each… so I need to find to not have 9 of each. Being asked what I wanted for Christmas this year, I have really absolutely been challenged to find ANYTHING that I want. Jennifer and I are lucky to be in a situation that we really want for nothing, and monetarily, if we do want something, we go buy it. We just plan do not need to wait. We are lucky most people are not this lucky. So this brings me back to those words Dr. LeMaire uttered way back, 31 years ago in 1986 – and they have always stayed with me. Most other things I attended in college possibly did some how, but these words really have always stayed with me. So the next time someone asks you what would you like, maybe think twice. Funny enough, this is though, where the digital age really has made having stuff easier – my books? Digital, on my Kindle app. My music? For the most part, in the cloud, and I only subscribe to google play -much cheaper than buying all the discs. The subscription model in this scenario, works for me.

Baby it’s cold outside

Ivy with her hoodie

Ivy, showing how she is not pleased with having to wear warm clothes again.

So as I warned, I will now start posting more frequently to this space, but with that brings less Kite posts and more rambling posts about everyday life. No Soccer, No Kites, just life. So if you keep up with Jen’s website (Kuhnsfolk.Net) you know that we are moving forward with our plans to relocate to Wisconsin, namely our home in Sturgeon Bay. With Katie in Chicago, and nothing really holding us here in Omaha, and my consulting position allowed to work remotely, we decided to pull the trigger. Let’s get up to Door county, the area we fell in love with 9 years ago, and made our main vacation spot. With that comes the cold of Wisconsin winters, and the snow associated with living on/near Lake Michigan and the Green Bay. I am OK with that. If you know me, you know that I grew up in North East Iowa, and actually really enjoy the snow, and four seasons. Well again, I aside, and say, yes you are probably saying, “Omaha has 4 seasons” and I would respond, – in name only – for the last 3 – 4 years we have only had two – Summer and Winter. So Sturgeon bay, has 4 seasons, a Winter that starts in November, and relents in March, A Spring that lasts till June, and a Summer that actually properly ends in Late August/Early September. That leaves about 8 weeks for the most wonderful season of all, FALL. Fall is my favorite season, dry crisp walks, the color of nature, the downright heavy reminder that yes, everything does come full circle. So you say, well since Sturgeon Bay is a good 4 hours north of Omaha, that it HAS to be colder… But it’s not. Go ahead, look it up – the average temperatures in December/January/February are all higher albeit, not by much that in Omaha, the reason? Because we are a peninsula, and are surrounded by open water. Omaha is surrounded by dirt, – dirt that freezes, and stays frozen, and holds negative  temperatures better than open water. – make sense? Now does it snow more in Sturgeon Bay? As I have to get used to saying, in the best Wisconsin voice I can, “YouBetCha!” But I am OK with that. with that comes snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and other fun items.

So with all of this said, what the hell does my title have to with my story above? Well it’s early November here in Omaha, and the pups and I woke up to 17 degrees this morning. Yes, Fahrenheit. Not Celsius. So poor Ivy as you can see, is back to wearing her sweatshirts/sweaters/coats to help her stay warm. Why? Because we only have two seasons here in Omaha, Summer that ended a week ago, and Winter that seemed to start the next day. leaving little to my favorite season, Fall.

I will miss Omaha I am sure at times, I have spent 35 of my 52 years in this town, which makes it easy to call home. However, without family here, I am good moving on. Well, that’s my first rambling post that no one will read but makes me feel better that is not kite orientated. Like it? Let me know that you read it, and I may even post another. 🙂 Jeff

 

What to do when you forget your pilot kite

Bubbles the Purple Fish, on his own to fly without a pilot on October 13 2019 at One Sky One World, LaVista NE.

So getting ready on Sunday morning, I was packing kites, the day did not look the best for Charlie the Dog, since the winds would shift during the day, and the soccer fields at the LaVista Sports complex have permanent aluminum benches, and bleachers. I really wanted to get him out, but with that forecast, I also like to keep my kites in one piece. So I decided, to take my other collection of aquatic creatures – Bubbles the Purple fish, The peace fish, and the rainbow squid. as I gathered a few more items, and take the to the garage to pack up, I managed to forget a very important piece to any day you decide to fly show kites; a pilot. Whats a pilot you ask? It’s a medium to large kite with enough pull to allow you to anchor other kites off the single line. This kite basically acts like an anchor to keep the show kites from wandering out of the area on their lines. If you are all by yourself, this is not as important, as when you are flying with others – a wandering kite causes damage, and most of your other kite pilots around will not be very impressed or appreciative of you taking their displays out of the sky. Needless to say, LaVista is one of these fly’s.  Well, after getting everything packed up, you guessed it, I forgot a pilot. When I unpacked, I discovered that I did not have a said pilot kite. I asked to borrow one from a friend, and he gave me one of his secondary kites to see if I could make due – unfortunately, it did not work. So, what did I do? I rolled out a shorter line, and allowed Bubbles to wander all around since I was lucky to have a full soccer field to myself. Well, that didn’t leave me much ability to put anything else up, since I would need to babysit the kite all day. However, what did come back out of it, was yet another life lesson; Adapt.

As I was sitting there, watching the kite, travel around, up and down, back and forth, virtually swimming, I found many people were impressed with the, “Swimming” Bubbles was doing. Out of nowhere, Bubbles became the hit of the fly. I sat back and again, at 52 thought to myself, yet another life lesson: How to adapt, and make the best of a situation. maybe it’s because I am getting older, maybe it’s because I was just plain tired, but I sat back and realized, I just let the day happen, and even though my plan did not go as I wanted it to, it was still a good fly, and none of the spectators knew that I didn’t get things to happen as planned. And quite honestly, they didn’t care. So I pretty much at one point laughed to myself and thought, no matter how old you get, you can always learn something from life daily. Am I still a control freak? Yep. Am I more aware of my need to be in control? Yep. Am I trying to better focus on letting go? Sure, but I can do a better job. Sunday was a perfect example to me of where I just need to some times, let things take their course, and not always be in control.

The day ended up with pizza with the club, and enjoying some chatter before heading off back home, and ultimately to Philadelphia again. One of these days, I will learn the best way to finally let go and allow everything to just happen, I hope though, maybe each day I am getting closer to that goal.

DoorKites.com Will be coming soon

So as the  fall  continues  get  started, I look forward additional flying. However, this fall will also be spent doing much more. We are in the middle of a major home renovation in Sturgeon Bay, at what will become our permanent home soon. To say it is a bit unnerving, or troubling, is not an accurate description. I would call it a commitment to the next chapter in Jennifer and my lives. We will be closer to Katie in Chicago, we will be able to basically enjoy, “Stay-cations” much more, and we will be able to enjoy the natural beauty that Door County, Wisconsin provides. We will miss our kite friends of Omaha, but we will become official members of the Wisconsin Kiters club. We are looking forward to getting to fly all over the state, which will include beaches, as well as fields, festivals as well as normal fly’s. Probably what I look forward to the most, is the ability to attend some of these events, and still get to sleep in my bed at the end of the day. While it is enjoyable to travel and stay other places, it’s even more enjoyable at the end of the day to climb into my own bed. Yes, I am getting old. I know that, and quite frankly, I embrace it. But as I watch friends struggle with big kites as they get older, I look to begin to shed the show kites, and move only to stunts, and smaller single line pieces. My friends at Prism kites, have always taken care of me, and I really enjoy their products. As I have said before, I am not getting out of flying the big stuff yet. I will be going back over to Italy this spring, and look forward to flying with my friends in Gubbio. As well, you will notice me begin to post here more, but you will see it turn into more of a general blog. Yes, I will continue to go on and on about kite flying, but expect me to start posting more about life in general. I want to turn this into more of a general blog, as well as a place to share photo’s of our adventures, so expect to start seeing more pictures of other things, not just kites. Enjoy the fall, if you get a chance to catch a festival, whether in Omaha, or Wisconsin, or other places in the world. Go, enjoy the sky, and have fun. – Jeff

You may have noticed a change

Prism E3 Stunt Kite and HQ FloForm 7.0 Foil

Or, you may not have. If you actually come to my web site, you probably reach it by omahakites.com well, then it seems to redirect, to doorkites.com. Yes, it is correct, while not happening immediately, Jen and I will be relocating up to Door County, Wisconsin, and I wanted to get the URL sooner than later. now don’t get me wrong, I really DOUBT there is a big push for the URL since there is no longer a kite shop up here any longer. I just wish I would have been able to change jobs 5 years ago, and then, I just may have owned a kite shop in Door County. Anyway, my thought was, since this is where we will ultimately end up, it probably made sense to change URL’s and merge omahakites.com with omahakites.org – for our kite club. I think at times, people default the .com instead of noticing it is .org so with that in mind, I will be eventually moving the URL over to point to the Omaha Kite club so that they have both URL’s and I just have my small URL no one pays attention to anyway 🙂 As winter finally relents, I really hope to get to flying more soon, as the weather has really held things back this year.

I am really looking forward to relocating to Door county, while kite flying probably is still not the best due to all the trees, getting lost in the woods with our pups is probably one of my favorite things to do, and as well, the Wisconsin Kiters stay very busy up in the state, so I believe I will have many opportunities to fly going forward. While this is a very small post, and for the most part, not Kite related, at least I posted in less than 6 months!

 

Finally Winter gives

Martin Lester’s Diver

Well, it has been a very long, cold winter. I hope this does not make way for a long hot summer. Floods in Omaha, snow still sticking around in Wisconsin, and I am getting itchy to actually be out flying. Big kites? I am not sure? Stunt kites? definitely. It brings me to a thought, as I grow older, is bigger no longer better? Sure, Charlie and my other big kites are fun, but there is just something about getting out a sport kite, and just losing an hour to flying. While its not the draw or attraction of show kites, I am beginning to withdraw in myself and take solace in possibly just flying solo. I look forward to our eventual migration to Sturgeon Bay and Door county, Wisconsin, (Watch soon, I am going to probably buy doorkites.com) I also am looking forward to flying with the Wisconsin kiters – a group that loves to have fun, in all 4 seasons. This is definitely no slight to Midwest winds, I will miss my friends in that group as well.  But as we get ready over the next few years to make the migration north, I will look forward to a change of scenery, but one thing that I will need to find…. a new flat field to fly in. Up in Sturgeon bay, there is not much flat open land. I will find something, somewhere close, I am sure of that. I look forward next year to flying in Italy, and possibly other countries in the near future. One thing that is definite about life is the age old adage, when one door closes, another opens. That’s all for now if you actually read my ramblings, you know its been quite a while since I have posted, so this may never see the light of day, or the eyeballs of others. I have said this over the years, but I plan to post more this year.

 

A Pop Up Kite Fly For Fun

So a couple of weeks ago, Omaha experienced an early autumn snowfall on a Sunday – Eh, Fall in the midwest, right? Well , yes, BUT it caused our local kite club to cancel their annual Fall One Sky, One World kite fly. Due to this, we decided at the last minute, that the following Sunday, we would go out and just have a fun time flying impromptu at our default field, over at Immanuel field, off of 72nd and Sorenson parkway. It is immediately in front of a hospital (Immanuel Hospital) and the day was 65 degrees, sunny and nice winds. Needless to say, we got after it, and put on a very nice show. The hospital was incredibly happy as well as the care center next to it. Since it had been quite a while since we had flown there, it seemed we almost caused some accidents on the road, as people slowed,  or even stopped and stared… Needless to say, it was a great time, Jen and I took the pups – it was their first kite fly- and they had fun. The amount of “Than You’s” we received, and sincere appreciation from folks was unbelievable. THIS is the reason I like to fly, and I hope that over the next year, I get out to do it more often. No rules, no time constraints, no “Required” flying, etc. It was fun to take a bunch of kites, and just plain fly. Interesting enough Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, our soon to be new home, really does not have good places to fly, however, there are beaches within 20 minutes of home, and I plan to take advantage of these areas, to use sand anchors, and have fun! Life is too short not to enjoy a fly or two, whether planned or, Pop Up!