Showing posts from July, 2010

Mid-Continental Reflections

I sit in a Microtel in Kearney, NE a humbled man. You see earlier today I visited my brother in the hospital in Rochester, MN. He is recovering from a major surgery (actually 3 surgeries) to remove a tumor from his back, ribs and spine. He was sleeping when we came in and took a minute to recognize us all. In fact he called me Paul at first. It was so incredibly moving to see him, talk to him and laugh with him. It's been killing me not being able to get to see him until now, and so Donna and I agreed we'd make a side trip on the way to CO to go see him. What was so moving was to see this sibling who's always been big and strong, so frail. It was humbling because I know as much as I saw him there, I knew it could just as easily be me. The 600 stitches in his back and side, could just as easily be my own. How would I react? How would I cope? How would it change my outlook? It sounds like it's certainly changed his and it put things in a whole new perspective for him, as

Book Worm

Work has slowed to a crawl on my memoir. It was supposed to pick up over the summer as I took a break from my writing class at I was going to use the time to edit and recapitulate, and while I've done a bit, I still haven't paid it the time I had intended. In my defense, I've been just a wee bit busy with my travels, but still... In my editorial process, I think I'm sharpening the piece up quite a bit. I'm adding content, shaving off the fat and the non-funny stuff (that I once thought was funny), and just improving it overall. It has been a learning experience for me. Because of what I learned in class, I've been looking at the work that's been done with a wholly different, more critical eye. I'm taking into account scene setting, description, dialogue and context a whole lot more than the first time through. It is all part of the creative process. Sometimes it feels like a drag, other times it feels like exactly what I need to shar

Airline Trauma

Travelling by air is not what it once was. As my wife put it, it's more like riding a flying bus, than the luxury it once was. Actually, given the choice, I'd take four hours on a bus before I'd take a plane. On a recent trio to San Diego, (Left) I had the pleasure of flying AirTran twice in a week. It all starts at the check-in gate, where you wait in line and kick your luggage until you get to the front where you show your ticket, license, birth certificate, library card, credit history, sexual preference, religious affiliation, political party, cute baby picture, passport, driving record and favorite color. Then they take your money and weigh your bag. You move along the moo-chain to the security TSA check where you say goodbye to your bag and hope that your underwear weren't on top. From there, you move to the security check where you again show all your credentials, plus any that you may have accumulated since you last showed them. After giving you a good lookin

Edge of Insanity

A quick post from a far away city. I write this on my last evening in San Diego at the ESRI Users Conference. I fly back to my real life tomorrow and I am actually ready for it. I'm not looking forward to the weather particularly, but I am ready to see my wife and kids again. I miss them dearly. I miss their wittiness, their touch and their laughter. It has been a good week here, especially when Donna was here to experience the city with me. I don't want to say it was a transforming week for us, but it was certainly rejuvenating for our marriage, being able to go out to eat every night and just hold hands and enjoy each other's uninterrupted company for extended periods of time. She stretched me to eat at places I'd never been and try things I never tried. She was a trooper for trying new things when I suggested them too. I think she loves San Diego and will no doubt be back. The conference was a good one too. Learned a ton about the new version of the software and am

Mile High Post

Just had to post once from 30000 feet, just to say I did. Sitting in these seats is the worst. laptop is scrunched...hard to type...can't breathe...somewhere over Kansas...on way to san diego. Over and out. Roger, roger. Blogging off.

Zeroing in on Perspective

It has been a trying two days for me as I have been thinking about my brother who is undergoing multiple surgeries for a chondrosarcoma tumor on a bone in his back. He endured 8+ hours of surgery yesterday, and is up against 12 more tomorrow. The details include removing a couple of vertebrae as well as two baseball size tumors. There's much more to the procedure, but suffice it to say, it will set him back a couple of months. The whole sibling empathy thing really kicked into gear yesterday when I was getting reports from my other brother and Rob's wife. I guess we've come to the age where this kind of crud happens, while it seems like only yesterday we were 23 and invincible. In any case it's been an eye opening experience for EVERYONE involved. The emotional toll it must be taking on his wife and kids must be immense. I keep telling everyone he's a tough dude and that he'll get through it, but that's only to soften the sadness I feel for what he must be

Fish Styx

Well, I'm back from Canada. Actually have been back since Saturday, July 3rd, but haven't really had time to breathe, let alone post. Thanks for bearing with me. Canada was nothing less that fantastic, again. I'm not suffering from post-trip letdown like in years past, in part because I'm doing so much more travelling this month. That helps take the edge off the fact that summer is screaming past. There is a photoshow of the entire trip that can be found at: It was a trip packed with fish and laughs. We had a great time, end to end. There were a few sketchy moments at the border when my friend stumbled over the declaration of the alcohol we were taking over the border. Despite rehearsing it 12 times before we got to the border, he still messed up. As it turns out, we were taking one case and one six pack OVER the limited amount into Canada. He started out saying that we had 3 cases plus one six pack, which the officer took to mea