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Showing posts from 2009

White Rain Unleashed

At last, I've reached Christmas break. I thought I'd never make it. Long days leading up, coupled with the stresses of the holiday prep. I sit here with my Swiss Miss poor-man's hot chocolate and watch the snow pile up. Whoopee! I went to writing class tonight. There was 4 of us, including the instructor. It was 2 more than I expected there would be, actually. A nice, quaint group, which was a nice change. There is a new woman in class who is trepidatious , much like I was when I first started showing up. Not sure of her place yet. Brought some poems tonight. Good stuff. She started off by saying they were probably not very good, but you know what? They were. That is what I love about this group. It is SO supportive to the cause. The cause of writing, that is. People offer criticism with the best intentions at these sessions, and it is so helpful. Just to hear someone tell you what they liked about a piece, alongside of what they didn't like, or what confused them. I

Another Yule bLog on the Fire

I sit by the furnace vent, with the laptop's lithium battery warming my knees. We got a 7" snowfall today and I got to try out my new (used) snow blower . Now, I'm he world's biggest critic of all things powered by a gasoline engine. They're loud, overdone, and emit enough exhaust in a single session to wipe out a village of asthmatics. I always cursed them upsetting my shovelling peace, where all I heard was my labored breathing. Everything changed during the big sell-out. I'm so ashamed. I've become what I loathe. It's like aliens have taken over my body during the night. They started out by brainwashing me into thinking that these machines are man's friend. Soon enough I'll have a pot belly and keel over dead while blowing snow, because I'm out of shape from not shovelling snow. Oy ! Such a tangled web we weave. In the meantime though I am going to have to say that this machine will make my life much simpler. As I was out there last ni

Yule Be Glad You Did

It is upon us now isn't it? Winter has descended with an iron fist and let us know it hasn't forgotten us. We were spoiled by an extremely mild November, so I've kind of been in denial. No more denial for me. Tomorrow I'm going out to get some gas for the snow blower. The sell-out is complete. I've become a complete suburban chump with a snow blower. What's next, an Escalade ? Sarah got a new laptop on Thursday night. It's a sweet Toshiba running Windows 7. Lucky. I wish I had one. :-( Oh well, the Craigslist cast-off Dell I'm typing this on will have to do. Some should have it so rough. I went out with the kids today and got a Christmas tree. We were mock-singing "Go tell it on the mountain" with Frank Sinatra on the way there. It was corny, but family fun. The kind of stuff one of us may remember. Or not. The writing workshop continues to work for me. I enjoy the heck out of it and it stretches me every week. I've just signed up for

Saturday Service

Today we spent the day with four other families volunteering at Community Warehouse in downtown Milwaukee. http://thecommunitywarehouse.org/ They are focused on providing donated building materials to low income homeowners for low cost. It is a great cause and the space fills what was one of the old tanneries on the south side of Milwaukee. I am so proud of how hard my kids work that I can barely express it. They busted their tails and didn't complain at all. Donna and I agree that it is so important that the kids see us volunteering in a number of different ways. Neither of us was much raised in that environment, but we want to instill that love for service in our kids. There is so much need out there that if everyone would do a small amount, the world would be a much better place to live in. Needless to say we are all whipped. As I type, my lids are heavy. So, I think I'll try and write more tomorrow, when I'm fresh. Blogging off...

Neglect and Reason

It's been a while since my last post, for which I am truly sorry. Time passes quickly during these short November days, where it's dark by 4:45. It's tough to get much done after work at all because it's so stinkin ' dark. That and that phenomenon I've come to love and hate, Facebook . It should be called "Time Suck", because that's what it does. To what end, is the question Last night I was Kid- Chauffeur ("home, James") for both Ben and Sarah. I get home to find out Ben needed a ride home from a friend's house. Then, an hour later, I had to take Sarah and a friend to Skateland for roller skating. It was eye-opening how far I've come since my younger days, when I would run wild on Friday nights. Now I'm relegated to driving a gender neutering white mini-van around town, while the youth that I once was runs wild. Sigh. Getting older is a strange, strange deal. On the upside, I feel great this morning, so there's that at

Novembering

So another holiday season has begun. It seems as though I just got the lights down and the last of the needles vacuumed up. Where DOES the time go? It won't be long and I'll be firing up the new snow blower I bought from a friend. Yes, it's true, I sold out. I've gone over to the dark side. I think the last very snowy winters did it to me. I don't mind the 4-5 inch snowfalls, but those 8-10 or greater ones are horrible. Halloween was a great time spent with friends last night. Lots of food, desert, Abbie's birthday party. scary costumes and of course, candy! Not my favorite holiday, but over the years, we've learned to try and make the best of it. Ben was dressed as a soldier and Sarah had a T-Shirt with " IDK " on it for I Don't Know. It was original anyway. I also saw a couple of great 8 th grade football games this weekend. They played at Carroll college in what is known as the Waukesha Classic. It brought back great memories of my days

Scrabble Cat

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It seems I have a cat who likes to play scrabble. I came home from walking Toby and lo and behold the Z and S keys were removed from the laptop's keyboard. Knowing their catlike curiosity, after all they are cats, I traced it to Chester. Luckily the one key was on the keyboard and the other was under the laptop, but nonetheless, I'll be closing the top from here on out. I was trying to guess what word he was trying to spell with Z and S. Maybe Zeus, or Zits. (Do cats get zits?) It took some doing to get the little buggers back on, and the stupid z keeps poppin off, but I'll get it worked out. Ben's last flag football was today. It was a cold, grey morning game. The two teams had met earlier this year and Ben's team took a beatin '. This game was different. A defensive battle to the end. Ben started at QB and did a great job, moving the team for one of its 3 first downs. Then, after handing off on a double reverse, he was trying to throw a block, an

No Cash for this Clunker

Detroit dies a slow death while Escalade drivers search for an open gas station General Malaise for the working stiffs unionized to prevent profits from ruling over the “rights” of entrenched lifers Imports infest one model at a time seeping into the culture like an arsenic drip picking off jobs right down the line If we took all the Hummers, Yukons and Suburbans and melted them all down into a new mindset would it still be too late to salvage this Detroit junker?

A Chill In the Air

Well, the fall winter-is-coming angst is upon me. I was putting on the two basement storms today, running to the dump and getting the basement and garage in order. I'm like a squirrel storing nuts away for winter. There are supposed to be flurries in the air tonight and tomorrow, and it's only Oct., 10 th for cripes sake. What's a man to do? Writing workshop was good last week. It was a week where everyone brought something, so I didn't get a chance to read or get critiqued. It works that way sometimes and I'm OK with it. It actually buys me some time to get ahead on the next assignment. I was a bit discouraged about the comments on my character outline of the brothers on my last piece. I need to deal with it and revisit, revise, and rewrite the thing I think. Here I was thinking how great I was and the instructor just kind of brought me down a notch. Valid points nonetheless, but they still stung a bit. Writing is such a personal, heart-thing, that when criticiz

Ides of October

The leaves are starting to fall and change. My fleeces are coming out of storage. Packers take on the Vikings. Aiieee, I can't wait for spring! Did I mention it's dark at 7:00 PM. Soon enough, I'm going to start going to bed earlier than I would like, then the scaly skin will start. Throw in a bad cold for good measure and I will be in my full glory. Oh if it were up to me, I'd live in CA. Alas. Boys club this coming Tuesday is Map Reading and Understanding a Compass. Being the map guy, I am in charge of running it. I think I'm going to try and run the 3 leg compass game. What it involves is the kids walking 10 paces, turning the 360' dial a 120' then walking 10 paces, and so on for 3 turns. Ideally they should end up exactly where they left. We'll see how it goes. I may end up taking 100 steps and then taking 100 more in the same direction. I have looked into the self publishing thing and am pretty certain that is the route I'll take for my BWCA

Fallfest is the bestfest

Our annual trek to fall fest was yesterday. A great event by a gracious couple who are kind enough to invite a horde of people to their property in Dodge County. This is a gathering that takes place on the last Saturday of September every year. We have been going to it for at least 10 years and have enjoyed every one. It is an event that is hard to explain, but it's basically getting a bunch of friends together to celebrate fall- ness . Carla, the hostess, always roasts a turkey on the grill, Patty Barrett always brings her fat-a$# beans, as they are so warmly termed, and Donna is in charge of the apple pies. There are lots of other dishes featured, but those three are annual staples that we do not do without. The one exception to this was the year franz , Patty and Brad's dog, got into the beans on the drive to fallfest . Not wanting to feed the dog-tainted beans to the rest of us, she fessed up and we all went beanless . I'm sure the ozone is in better shape as a resu

Reading for a Cause

Here's the poem I read at the Open Mic poetry reading tonight for http://www.wastelandpoets.com/ It was a great night for a great cause. Diesel Kingdom Aisle sitters demand their space an orphan seat calls me standers are losers this is my house King of the Bus (Ruler of none) but King nonetheless Smokers, drinkers, loners, crazies all fall within these borders of glass and steel subject to its shuddering confines they eavesdrop on neighbors’ wayward drivel wishing they’d shut up People incapable of quiet fondle Alexander’s electronic Bell workers gaze looks of gloom out rain-spit windows a serf up front asks for change I’d like some change, alright the King of Change The bus stops here.

Still going...

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Well, I hit the 1000 mile mark today on my bike. (Picture at left shows 1005.1) That's double what I put on in a season, so is a decent accomplishment, at least for me. I expect to put on another 200 or so before it's over completely too. Some observations and statistics: I average 14 MPH, so I figure the total number of hours in the saddle is 71.4 I killed 1 chipmunk I had two bee incidents, one with a sting I saw 3 deer in two encounters I saw a mink and several cranes One fly in the mouth (Ptew) I did not get one flat tire I only got rained on 3 times, one of them hard Almost all miles were logged on the Glacial Drumlin Trail or on my work commute So, it is done. It got to be a bit of a grind by Late Aug.; more mechanical in some ways, than enjoyable. But it again proved that I can do anything I put my mind to which is due in part to my self discipline, and part due to my obsessiveness. Thanks Mom! My question now is what do I do for a follow-up next ye

Little Nothings

Random Observations: I got to witness firsthand the annual flying ant launch last night on my bike ride. They were everywhere. A weird experience, and fairly annoying, from a biking perspective anyways. Grasshopper season was last week. Bees for a couple of weeks before that. The sumac is taking on color. This is beautiful. Beautiful, bad news. The French Bulldogs, Boston Terriers and Pugs at the dog park make the funniest noises when they get excited. Its all that nasal stuff crammed into such small spaces, I guess. The weather has been scary nice for 5 days and the forecast calls for 4 more of the same. Scary. I've dealt with Chat Support for ATT and Dell in the past two days and suffice it to say that I'm tired of over-courteous non- English speaking tech supporters. Both calls I ended up just saying "I'll figure it out myself." Who has time for that? How come all I wanted was a laptop with internet and Word on it and now I'm tempted to wipe the functi

On the Road Again

I hit Mile 893 today on my quest for 1000 miles this summer on my bike. The end is in sight, and frankly, I'll be glad to get there. It's been a bit mechanical these past couple hundred miles. So much so, that I sometimes forget to enjoy the ride. I get in the "just grind it out" mode and forget all the beauty that is whizzing by. Once I've finished, I'll slow down to normal pace again and hopefully renew my "live in the moment" mode. School started today, much to the delight of my wife. SHe tried to accomplish everything that's been on hold for the last 60 days in a single 8 hour stint. I told her that I wasn't sure, but that she might have tomorrow and the rest of the week to get to some of it as well. She was not amused. Sarah said she likes all of her teachers except for one who, in her words, is boring. Ben's of the the opinion that this school thing is kind of messing up his whole summer thing. He said it makes the days seem "

Diesel Kingdom

Diesel Kingdom Aisle sitters demand their space An orphan seat calls me Standers are losers This is my house King of the bus Ruler of none But King nonetheless Smokers, drinkers, loners, crazies All fall within the borders Of glass and steel Subject to its shuddering confines They eavesdrop On neighbors wayward drivel Wishing they’d shut-up People incapable of quiet Fondle Alexander’s electronic Bell Workers gaze looks of dread Out rain spit windows A serf up front asks for change I’d like some change, alright The King of change The bus stops here

Briefs, not Boxers

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Got out from writing class a bit early and was feeling inspired. I'm still struggling with the difference between being a "writer" and just someone who likes to write. Is it that it must be a profession to qualify as a writer? Being published? I think those two would certainly qualify, but I don't think you can discount the lover of writ. I'm not sure why it's bugging me, but I'm sure I'll work through it. I need a laptop. Or even a second PC. Something with a keyboard that is off limits to anyone under 18 in this house. Is that so wrong? I am at mile 830 on my 1000 mi. bike quest. It's beginning to lose it's allure and has become a bit more like grunt work. I'll finish it, to be sure, but it will be more of a relief than I would have guessed. Part of it may be that I ride the same trail every day which is my fault, no doubt. It's just close, easy to get to and off limits to cars, so seems like the best way to get to 1000.

Willy Nilly

It was kind of a random Saturday, a term that my kids use to excess. So random goes the post. Walking the dog tonight was serenely comforting. It was (is) a completely still evening, where the humidity is present like a stifled, restless 4 year old, but not so much in your face as a boorish sports fan with too many overpriced beers under his belt. Kind of just there, reminding you it's August, not July; too dark, too early; and not September crisp and lacking humidity altogether. Having lived five years longer than my dad, I realize the need to appreciate every day, and sometimes, when moved, every minute. It's hot, but you know what? Hot beats not here, so bring it on. "Subdivisions", by Rush, was on the Ipod . A song that speaks of the crud that goes along with cloistering ourselves in the suburbs. Walking through the city that is truly a city, though is looked upon by most as a suburb of Milwaukee. One native said once, " Waukesha was here first and Milwau

Travels and the Trivial

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Our recent trip to the Shoreview MN and on to the North Shore of Lake Superior was quite a whirlwind tour, some of which I'll touch on here. The week started with the long drive to MN. We stopped for lunch at the Norske Nook in Osseo , WI . http://www.norskenook.com/ Being a Friday , Donna and I opted for the fish fry and all four of us had pie for dessert. The blueberry crumble was fabulous! I headed out to my 30 th High School Reunion on Friday night. What a trip back in time for me. I hadn't darkened the doors of my old school since '79 when I walked out them. It was weird walking through the doors again. It was great to see my old friends Pat, Pete and John, who I hung with most of the night. We all agreed that if one or the other of us wouldn't have made it, the others wouldn't have. One of my ex-classmates had a few too many MGD's and managed to make a fool of himself. If there's one mistake you shouldn't make, that's right

Lutefisk and Swedish Meatballs

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Our vacation to the Northern reaches of Minnesota was awesome. Much to tell. Still recovering and unpacking mental baggage. Will post soon, I promise. So tired... Blogging off.

Four Walled Box

In lieu of a decent posting, I offer this not so decent attempt at poetry. It was inspired while I had the house to myself when Donna and the kids were in New York. Four Walled Box They’re gone now All three, gone Silence echoes Stillness permeates Solitude stains Loneliness sets in like cancer Small at first, a lump The memory of misplaced socks, appointments, laughter Then ravaging, it eats away. The touch The voices The emotions Electronic chemo fails So alone in this Four Walled Box One miracle cure They return

Getting Away From it All

I went shopping for our upcoming BWCA canoe/fishing trip today. It was a bit of an eye- opening experience, to say the least. What camping is really, is trying to recreate your home in the wilderness. Therefore, you have to buy many things in an effort to simulate your house and lifestyle. The unfortunate thing is that trying to recreate your life at 1/2 the weight and size, it seems, takes a lot of money. I wonder how the homeless can afford it? I looked at Therma -Rest self inflating sleeping pads thinking they'd run about 17 bucks. Yeah, right. Try four times that. Those things run about $80 for my size. Now, if I sleep crappy on a regular air mattress camping, is spending $80 to sleep crappy going to solve anything? No. I couldn't bring myself to do it. That's not to say I won't be renting one (I will), because hey, I'm not 27 anymore. Life jackets are another story. Ring three of them up at $90. Ca- Ching ! Gotta have them though. Throw in a sleeping bag

A One and a Two...

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Feeling a bit frazzled at the moment. Got a few writing things hanging, including this blog, so wanted to get one or more of them out of the way. Not the way I want to look at my writing...as something to get out of the way. It needs to be more sincere than that. Kids can sense when you're not sincere. So can readers I think. Can you? ;-) I'll try and be sincere. Seriously. San Diego was absolutely fantastic. What a great, beautiful city and climate. Tons of homeless folks from what I could tell, but I think that tends to happen in the warmer climes. Up north here people tend to say, nah, it's easier to find a job than to freeze my butt off sleeping outdoors. I don't mean to make light of it, but I think there's a certain element of truth to it. Got to hob-nob with the prez of ESRI, the software company who was hosting the conference. (Above) Most people don't know this guy from Adam, (Jack Dangermond) but he's big in the industry. Nice g

Same Bat Time

I'm back from San Diego. I will probably post again later this week. (Thurs.) Much to tell. Stay tuned, bat fans. Blogging off.

Dogless in Waukesha

Toby was taken over to our friends' today, so it's just me and the two cats. Or in other words, just me. They're such pitifully bad friends those felines. Dogs on the other hand worship their owners. This will be the last post for a week or so as I'm headed to San Diego for the ESRI Users Conference. San Diego, home of the most consistent weather in the continental US. What a great place to live. A good, though busy day today. Not much time for doing what I want (like writing). In the middle of the day I had to trek to Ewald Kia and get a new key for the van. Well, the one they gave me got stuck in the ignition and they had to have a service guy come and extricate it. This was after the sales guy and another guy tried the same thing I did. Turn harder. Pull harder. Yep did them both. It was a frustrating end to a frustrating ordeal, but we did get a new one, with promises to get a new FOB next week. In any case, I miss my family. It's going to be a long week

Awoken with a Loud Clanging Sound

You'll never believe this. (I know I don't). A poem woke me up this morning. No, not one that was written, but one that was forming in my cranium. I gotta stop going to this writing class. It's starting to affect my sleeping pattern. Too much neuron stimulation and I'm a mess. I'd rather be dumb and rested. (Not really.) It startled me with it's beginning; "Lonliness rains on his heart like a velvet mist" and then left me to stir from 4:54 AM until 6:15 when the alarm throttled me. Of course I had to pursue it, so got a pad of paper and skipped my yoga workout and fleshed the thing out. I guess I never fancied myself a poet, but this is a good one. Like all my writing (See yesterday's post) I don't know what to do with a rogue poem that seems like an orphan with one shoe and a bad limp. I can't really publish ONE poem. Should I type it out and carry it in my wallet? Put it on my tombstone? Fish wrap? Bird cage lining? A Nobel Peace Pri

Mr. Me for a Week

The house is as quiet as, well, as an empty house. Donna and the kids flew out to NY today for a week with family, cousins, the pool and the dog. I am attempting to get some extra posts in during this stay of execution. Watch, I'll fall into a pit of writers block when the chance to write is golden. WWWWD ? (What Would Walt Whitman Do?) The dog, is begging for the rest of my sandwich that he is unaware, is inside my stomach. This is why dogs don't lead the country. That and they lick themselves in places no politician should. I'm still waiting for that scandalous headline. Writing class tonight was so awesome. http://www.allwriters.org/ For someone who weekly wonders why I write and where it's taking me, it is always so clear to me after class that this is exactly what I was starved for. I'm no author, but it sure is cool to be producing again and getting critiqued while I do it. Listening to poetry, some brilliant, some mediocre makes the class so interesting,

Scam-a-Rama Auto Sales

Everyone loves the car shopping experience, right? I know I do. The waiting. The BS. The bait-and-switches. The waiting. The small talk with 3 different people, none of whom you wanted to meet in the first place and post-purchase, hope to never see again. My wife and I had that wonderful experience last night. Oh, it was so special. The circumstances surrounding our hasty purchase need outlining first. When we went to the same dealer last week, they had one vehicle that we liked, except for the color (white). Well, the sales manager said "Never fear, I'll find you a vehicle in the color of your choice in the next week." Let's note this as lie #1. After not hearing from them for a week, Donna calls them yesterday and the same sales manager had a completely different tune; like he'd never heard of us before. "Vans are hard to find right now," he says. Last week he sounded like they were falling out of the sky. Funny, those sales guys, evidently they ha

Two Point Five Hours in "The Chair".

So I got my crown yesterday. My crown + a filling replacement with composite. A double header so to speak. Two and a half hours of unbridled pain and suffering. All I can do is thank my maker for Novocaine. It is the wonder drug of all time. Now if they could invent a drug or earphones that would neutralize the sound of a high-speed, water cooled drill penetrating my cranium, I'd be all set. It really isn't the pain thing, thought there is something to that. It's really about the noise, the smell, the agape- ness of my mouth, all of it. It's a bit like being awake for major surgery, really. Let's see, what is the strongest bone in your body? Hmm , your teeth. Let's grind away at those and see if we can make them better. I'm having a hard time with that. So here's how it works. It's the strangest process I've ever heard of. They started by numbing both sides of my mouth, because my crown was to be upper left and my filling was lower right. Righ

Farrah, Michael and Ed

What a week! So many icons of my youth dropping in a week makes me a bit introspective. It all fits into that death and dying thing that seems to be creeping up everytime I begin to forget about it. Life is but a whisper, and everyone thinks it's just a big long winded story. Not always, my friend. Sometimes its like a sneeze. Sometimes it's like a quick leap over a crack in the sidewalk. Sometimes it's like a raging river and sometimes it's like a muffled scream. So again, to my point of a few posts ago. Embrace every day. No, embrace every minute of every day. See joy and beauty in the small things. I saw a college girl walking toward her dorm tonight. Flip flops, hippie purse, skirt and bandana. It occurred to me how simplistic and happy those days were for me. Not the skirt/purse part, but the college student part. I was (am) idealistic, convinced that I was never going to buy into the system of a house in the burbs and 2 cars. Alas, "sigh"... My point

Camping to Clear the Mind

I'm on a 3 day sabattical at the Boys Club Crystal River campout. There are sure to be some tales when I return, so check back because right now I'm... Blogging off.

Three Steps to Insanity.

I was tasked with building a set of stairs to our back yard this past weekend. We have a 24" drop from a rock wall on the upper to the lower backyard area. It seemed like such a simple project. Silly me. First of all let me start by saying there's a reason I'm not a carpenter or tradesman by choice. I don't much care for it. The other reason I'm not is because I am just not that good at it. I do OK for most projects, but am my own worst critic and so am never completely happy with anything I've done. (Kind of like my writing.) That said, I took the project on as a challenge to reassert my architectural aptitude. After much research online and through men friends of mine, I had a good idea of what needed to be done. It was really 3 simple steps. Secure a 2X6X40" board to the wall Screw the stringers to the board in #1 Screw the steps to the string No where was mentioned "Screw up", but that came without provocation anyways. Shopping Trip #1 Th

Whiling Away the Night

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<<<<------------My New Bike. Got a few minutes free so thought I'd sneak an extry post in with more random thoughts. I saw a GM truck the other day that had those obnoxious stickers on the back window that are the sign of a true "wingnut" (That's the nice term). This one said "Eats Fords, Shi** Dodges". I thought it was quite a statement given that GM is bankrupt. At this point I think GM is eating anything it can get it's grimy little hands on. Come to think of it so is Dodge/Chrysler. Unfortunately you and I are paying for more of their bad decisions than they are at the moment. I wonder why they didn't see the writing on the wall when gas was first nearing $2.00/Gallon and start making Priuses instead of more Tahoes. Alas hindsight is 20/20. I had read the other day in my High School Annual Update Newsletter that a guy from my class had passed away suddenly. A real nice guy at that. It brought to the forefront once again that w

Braces, Bicycles, Broken Brackets, and Biographies

Ah, Wednesday. Blog Day. There is a song by Morrissey (Formerly of the Smiths) that is titled "Every Day is like Sunday". I wish every Day was a blog day. My beautiful daughter took that leap into adolescence known as brace face on Tuesday of this week. This is a right of passage that I never new, nor did Donna. So we were not "braced" for the resultant fallout from Sar . Poor girl got it tough it seems. From her description, her orthodontist was trained by the same sadist my dentist was. (e.g. Steve Martin in "Little Shop"). It wasn't enough that she had to have them all put on, but within one hour of when she had them installed, if that is the term, one of her brackets busted off. Or perhaps came unglued is a better term. I'm sorry, unglued was the description of Donna when she heard the part had broken. Needless to say, Sar had to go back in for an adjustment of sorts today. While they were repairing the broken brackets, they n

Is it Summer Yet?

A strange day at the Landwehr Compound. Random news factoids and points of minimal interest to cover, so if you're in the mood for cohesive thought, I'll have to say you're out of luck. Ben's last game was this morning at 10:00. I'd love to say he went out with a splash, but it sounded a bit more like a convertible Fiat tumbling down a canyon wall, leaking fluids and landing top down. Graceful it was not. It's always fun to watch, but when you lose 5-1, it takes the " funness " down a level. On the upside, Ben played at an intense level after his initial slow start. It seemed like the first 7 minutes of the game he was still with Sponge Bob and Patrick on the couch, where he was 30 minutes prior to game time. (The story of getting him dressed and ready for each practice and game is one I'll save for later. Suffice it to say that it's like trying to motivate and dress Jello.) Once they got a couple goals scored against them, and he moved from

Instruments of Peace

I went to Sarah's final band concert on Wed. It was held at Carroll University in Shattuck Auditorium. I'm figuring for Middle Schoolers , it's the equivalent of Carnegie Hall. A beautiful, acoustically-sound facility it is. The seventh graders were up first and were slated to perform 5 songs. They did a great job for the most part. There were some parts that sounded like the tubist got kicked in the privates in the middle of it. Other parts sounded like one of the clarinetists was playing under water, or perhaps inside an overturned port-a-potty. But like I said, overall they were pretty tight as a group. Sarah's flute of course was spot-on for the duration. Being a "beginning band instrumentalist", she was encouraged not to do one of the songs and because of this slight, the song was horrible. That will tea ch 'em. The eighth graders did well too. They've got a drummer though who kept dropping one of his sticks, much to the instructors' chagr