Showing posts from June, 2010

Plumbers Helper

We have been battling a slow draining bathroom sink for about 6 months now. I took it upon myself to fix the issue about 4 months ago by putting in a new "U" joint and all the related pipes below the sink. That promptly fixed the issue for the U joint and all the related pipes below the sink. In other words, it moved the problem to the pipe inside the wall. I was pretty proud of my handy work, but when I turned the water on, the sink showed no noticeable improvement. Argh ! Since the problem lay in an "unreachable pipe", I left it and hoped it wouldn't get any worse. It did. About two weeks ago it started to drain really slow. Disgustingly slow, esp. at tooth brushing time, if you know what I mean. Break out the plunger! I plunged until my tennis elbow throbbed. Left handed, right handed, both handed, I plunged. And plunged. I succeeded in making a slow draining drain, even slower. So I had to bring out the big gun. I went to the hardware store and got a can o

Mission Accomplished!

Well, the 5K run for cancer was yesterday and we all made it through. I finished in 23:25, and Donna in about 38 min. It was an awesome event; a great day with the whole family and our friends Jill and Steve. It was not too bad of a run, though did get a bit warm near the end, especially in the sunny areas. There were 600+ runners and 2000+ walkers, so it was well attended. It actually is nice to have behind me, as it was a goal for the summer to run in and finish without walking a 5K. A simple goal to be sure, but one I'll take nonetheless. The run for me was especially meaningful in light of the news I received a couple of weeks ago that my brother has been diagnosed with a form of bone cancer called Chondrosarcoma. I really don't know much more about his condition than that. He's scheduled to visit the Mayo Clinic Tuesday and Wednesday to find out his diagnosis/treatment path. It's a bit like someone punched me in the gut. Just a rotten, sick feeling. I want to remai

White Castle and the Art of Writing

I spent part of tonight at the SE Wisconsin Festival of books ( ) in an attempt to stay in touch with that closeted part of my life (my writing). There was a keynote tonight by A. Manette Ansay that was really good. I haven't read any of her work, but will give it a try after hearing her tonight. She gave some great stories on her struggles with writing and making sense of the voices in her head. Which if you get right down to it is every writer's cross to bear. To get the voice in their head down in written form, partly in the hopes that it will shut up. Sometimes it does for a short time, but it always seems to come back to haunt. Some people make a living out of giving voice to the voices, others it drives mad, and still others (me) do a little of both. Actually, it's more the ongoing tinnitus in my head that's making me mad, but the writer mumbling up there ain't helping either. She talked a little bit about the evolution of her w

A Celebration of Us

Well, tomorrow is out 20 th Anniversary as husband and wife. What can I say, except that time flies when you're having fun. And that is the beauty of our life together. It is so much fun living and laughing with Donna. There have been some trials along the way, though none critical, thank God, but even if there were, I'm convinced we'd have pulled through them. So what to remember about the last twenty years? Living on the East Side of Milwaukee until a series of muggings happened in our neighborhood and literally outside our window. Did I mention we had a prowler walk in while we were home in our apartment too? Well, you all probably know that story already. There was the time the Blue Angels flew over our apartment there and I hit the deck, as I thought we were being bombed. Donna thought it was hysterical. Donna's short lived first job at a bakery that lasted a week. Then she found SEWCIL which eventually turned to Independence First. The many friends we met there

Nuts, Twigs and Other People I Saw Today

Went to the Jen Ehr Organic farm in Sun Prairie to pick strawberries with the family today. As part of our CSA , we were entitled to pick 10 lbs of strawberries free. We ended up picking 24 lbs of strawberries, but with Donna's plans to make jam, pies and a few other things, they won't last long. She's already finished making 10 jars of jam, so she's well on her way. So we're going into this farm and passing all kinds of "Subaru drivin ', NPR supporters" as Michael Perry calls them and I start to wonder if maybe I fall under that category a little bit. While I don't drive a Subaru, I do listen to NPR on occasion, and if I'm not one of them, what am I doing on an organic farm, as a member of the CSA brotherhood? For the unenlightened among you, (like I was 6 mo. ago) a CSA is a deal where for a few hundred bucks, you get a box of veggies every week from the organic grower. The box changes as certain veggies c


As I was running on this hot, humid evening I was feeling pretty good about myself. I'm nursing day two of a cold, (or some sort of wicked allergies) but still managed to bike to work and then run two miles when I got home. The 5K race is just a week away, and I hadn't run since Tuesday, so was feeling the need to get one in. So I'm chugging along at about the one mile mark, feeling a bit gassed because of the congestion in my head, but overall, pretty proud of myself. Then I passed a truck parked in the Carroll College parking lot that had about 5 people gathered round it and they all had "Volunteer" T-Shirts on. "Hmmm..." I thought, what's that all about? On the next block, I passed a pack of three runners headed toward the truck. They looked exhausted and were obviously running more than a 3K. Here I find out that they're running a 200 mile Madison to Chicago race. It was a wee bit on the humbling side. Here I was all proud a

And the Envelope Please...

Just returned from the Central Middle School Academic Awards Ceremony. Sarah, like last year. got awards for Social Studies, World Languages, and Academic Achievement. I'm so proud of her I could just burst, yet she is the humblest person alive. To her it's just a matter of anything less just wouldn't be right. It makes me think back to my grade school/middle school years, and we didn't really have these kind of recognitions. Or maybe we did, and I just wasn't invited. (That's more likely the case.) I liked grade school, but was as shy as all get-out. I was a runner-up vote as most shy kid in my 8 th grade class. Just an introvert. I think I've grown out of it a bit, but if you know me, I'm still a pretty private person. A stuffer and a bit of a loner. (That's loner with an 'n', not an 's'.) For instance, I was never one much for sleeping over at friends' houses. Ben would do it every weekend, if given the chance. He's so soc

Book Store Tour Pending...

I got some great news again today. The Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters has accepted a poem of mine for publishing in their winter edition. It was quite a surprise, as I submitted it back in March. It seems most of these publications run about 4-8 weeks to even look at your work. It is my third acceptance in about four months, so I'm on what you might call a bit of a roll. I find this fascinating because poetry isn't what I consider my first strength. (That would be creative non-fiction/memoir.) Maybe I need to listen to the experts and stop selling myself short on the whole poetry thing. I'm blessed to be able to do any of it and have it looked at by the folks who are kind enough to do so. So it was a good day. A very good day. I also played around with PCLinux (Gnome) on this laptop today. All of this playing around with open source is intriguing. I think there is an install in my future as I get com

Speaking in Ubuntu

Well, the fun just never stops in this technology stuff, eh? I am messing around with Linux with the thought that I might use it for a used laptop I'm getting soon. In this case, the user doesn't have the Windows recovery disks and rather than go through all the trials of re-loading bloatware, I am actually considering using an Open Source Operating System like Ubuntu ( Ubuntu is a "flavor" of Linux, which is an open source programming language. Like "Madge" in the Palmolive commercials ("You're soaking in it!"), I'm actually "writing in it." I'm writing this blog on a "Live CD" copy of linux on my Windows XP desktop. It's really crazy, but only if you're a geek like me. So why open source you ask? Well, for starters, the price is right. Open Source code is free and supported by it's user base. If you're good and you've built an app for Linux, you can submit it to the co