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Showing posts from December, 2010

2010 Closing Comments

Well, it's the end of a decade today with a New Years Eve celebration pending everywhere but here. We're keeping it low key tonight. Donna and Sarah have to work the early shift at Matteos, and then Sarah's going to a party/sleepover at a friend's house. It will be just the three of us and I'm OK with that. New Years is one of those blah holidays that I never much got into. We used to spend it with the Barretts, but that tradition has gone by the by the past few years. Ben and I will probably rent a movie, have a sprite and a beer and maybe even cash it in before Midnight. Maybe we'll do the NY midnight instead. :-)

As always, this is a time for reflection on the good and bad of 2010. In some ways by targeting both, you can have a frame of reference for how you'd like 2011 to go. With a focus on the positive and the good, I'll run down my top ten happenings of 2010.

1. I got published! Not just once, which would have been sufficient, but 5 times using 9 d…

Vacation Holiday

Wondering what day it is today? I took these three days off in the middle of this week, thereby stringing together a 10 day work free stretch. It has been absolutely rejuvenating so far. I've been able to sleep in, do what I need to do around the house, spend some time with the kids, travel to see Rob and the family, write when I want, and just recharge my batteries. It's not that I was burned out at work, it was just that with all that is going on in the family and the holidays and everything else, it came at a very good time.

The whole week is giving me a little glimpse of what retirement will be like and, while there are moments of sheer boredom, I could get very used to it. In fact, as I'm typing this I'm watching the Minnesota Wild/San Jose Sharks hockey game. Now I only watch hockey when I'm bored to death. That's NOT to say I don't enjoy it, I very much do. I also plan on watching a lot of hockey in my retirement. Why? Because I suspect I'll have …

Whew!

Just returned from visiting my brother at the Mayo Clinic for a couple days. He looks great, albeit a bit tired from time to time. It was so great to see him and his family and to share some laughs with them. It was a much more upbeat visit than a week ago when I went alone. This trip everyone was focused on getting him back home. If all goes well with his radiation treatments, he should be home as early as Friday.

Details still need to be worked out as far as ramps, access, etc. He is moving around pretty good getting from bed to wheelchair, etc. He still gets fatigued when sitting up for long periods of time. This is what we often times forget. Because of his good outlook and upbeat attitude we often times forget that he's in almost constant pain. That tends to beat a person down, to where they need frequent naps and rest. Throw in radiation treatments, twice a day OT and PT, and wall to wall visitors, and it's no wonder he's always tired.

Much of the family was there yest…

T'was the Night Before the Night Before

I was one of the one million people in the Milwaukee metro area that was doing their shopping tonight. WOW, is all I can say. Sheer madness on the streets of WI. Despite scaling our Husband/Wife dollar amount to $50, I covered a lot of ground, and the whole thing took me four hours. I was frazzled by the time I got home and I have to believe that this is NOT what the season is supposed to be about.

The whole experience made me appreciate my wife's role in doing the shopping for the rest of the family. She does four times what I did and all the while keeps a sanity about her. Well, most of the time anyway.

This Christmas has taken on a new meaning for everyone in my immediate and extended family. With all that's going on with Rob, everything has been shaken into it's proper place. Worry about the economy, world affairs and politics has taken a back seat along with everything else to the importance and family. I've enjoyed being with my wife and kids more than I ever have.…

Publishing Advice

Met with an old friend this past weekend while I was in Mayo visiting Rob. The friend is in the publishing business, so was giving me some advice on what to try with my memoir. He recommended that I take a layered approach where I try one of three ways to pitch, sell and publish my book.

Plan A: Get an agent and let them take it from there.
Plan B: Agent the book yourself
Plan C: Self-Publish with Print on Demand

His idea was that if the first approach doesn't work, you go to plan B, then plan C. Obviously Plan A is the most desirable of the three, but by far the most difficult.

It was an interesting discussion for me because I have no idea on the whole process, so it was all news to me.

The rest of the weekend was spent with my brother Rob and his family who are dealing with his cancer. The topic is just too sensitive for me right now so I won't be going into any details. All I ask is for prayers from any or all readers. This is pain like I've never known.

Blogging off...

Things

There's this thing that's come into my life. It's a huge thing. A very complicated, haunting huge thing that I'm wrestling with. I don't like the thing or what it's doing, but I have no control over it. The thing has the ability to bring me to tears in an instant. It is also capable of triggering a memory that I haven't had for 30 years too.

Despite my hatred for the thing, I realize I must come to terms with it. I want to smash it to bits most of the time. Other times, I want to wish the thing away. It's a big, ugly, mean thing and it has no friends.

I pray to God that the thing will just go away; back to where it came from. Maybe he'll listen and work one of his miracles and kill the thing. Or maybe he'll use the thing to somehow strengthen my faith in him; I don't know how, but who am I to doubt God's plan and work? He does strange things with things sometimes.

And so if you have a thing like this in your life, know that I feel for you.…

A Most Melancholy Season

As we prepare to head to my sister Jane's holiday party this weekend, we got word last night that my brother Rob was rushed to Mayo for emergency surgery to remove a small, ping-pong ball sized growth from his spine. He was having trouble walking, so they went to the doc, and he recommended right away that they go to Mayo. At the clinic, they injected dye into his spinal column and found the growth. They determined that it was best to get it out right away.

He was in surgery for 6 hours from 6:30 - 12:30 or so. Word is that he looked good this morning and today, so that is encouraging. He will however, be in the hospital for a week recovering.

The whole thing just about knocked us over. We ALL thought Rob was in the clear, and on the way to a full recovery. This just stopped us in our tracks. I could barely think last night after I heard it. It's not fair and it just shouldn't happen to someone so young and vibrant. I was so emotional today and last night that I would tear-u…

Heavy Bear Fame

I got word on Friday that my poetry was published on the online magazine Heavy Bear. It is very exciting for me to have some of my work out there that the whole family can see. Most of my stuff so far has just been print publications, so it's been difficult to get them to be able to read it. They would have to go to the website and order the mags, or subscribe, and most people aren't willing to go to that kind of trouble.


The poems are some of my favorites. Someone asked me if they were based on real events, or strictly made up, and I said that most of my poems have some element of a life experience that resonates in them. I also said that when I'm writing them it's almost visceral the way it happens. I hate to sound cliche in that it just "flows out/through me," but that's really what it is. If you call that a gift or a talent, I do not know. I just know that it feels great to get it down, when it's coming out.


Well, we got the tree up today. Lights ar…

Cyber Thursday

After getting all razzed over the possibility of getting a laptop cheap on Cyber Monday, I failed to convince the folks at Dell to cut me a deal on the machine I wanted by upgrading the processor. After negotiating with the sales clerk for a half an hour on a chat, I finally succumbed and said that I'd wait until the outlet came along and had another 15-20% off sale. I was hoping that would spur them to make an offer, but alas, they didn't.
Well all good things come to those who wait. Today I get an e-mail from Dell advertising a 15% off deal at the Dell Outlet. I took it as divine inspiration and jumped right onto the site. I found the exact machine I wanted for $459.00. After the discount, it dropped down to $390.00. It is a SWEET machine for that price. I was told by a couple of people that these refurbished machines are as good as the new because they've been so severely tested. Here's what it has on it:
320 GB Hard Drive 4 GB RAM 2.3 GHz Intel Processor - Dual Core 6 C…