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Showing posts from August, 2011

Summer's Looner Eclipse

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This time of year always reminds me of the summer's-end vacations. Those vacations squeezed between summer vacation and school, or between summer and fall.

Long ago it was when the brothers and I would typically take our Boundary Waters Canoe Area trip every year. We would usually drive up Labor Day and spend most of the week in the BW. We loved that time of year because it wasn't too hot, and the bugs were almost a non-factor. The nights got a little cool, but nothing unbearable and the days were usually in the low 70's and not too humid. The fishing was slightly better than in the heat of summer, but really you needed to wait a week or two later to get the good action, at least I'm told that.

The other vacation that we took this time of year was usually a trip to the cabin in Mercer, WI which I never knew until just now, is the Loon Capital of the world, whatever that means. I mean who's to say it's the Loon Capital other than the Mercer Chamber of Commerce?…

Where Are They Now?

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I was thinking about old Viking football players today, for no good reason. As I ran through the names, I began to wonder where they are now. Where do football players end up after their gridiron careers are over? I'll cover a short history of a few of my boyhood heroes.

Carl Eller was one of the original purple people eaters and one of my biggest heroes. He had his share of battles with substance abuse after his career and is now trying to sue the league for it's unfair medical and compensation  of retired players. He still makes an appearance at old-timer homecoming games.

Alan Page, another PPE original has had a very successful career as a Judge on the Minnesota Supreme Court. My mom once saw him on an elevator and thought to herself, I know a boy who used to idolize you. (That would be me.) He doesn't like talking about his playing days much. He'd rather talk about what he's doing right now. A great man.

Jim Marshall was another PPE who, sadly, announced he is …

The Party of the Third Part...

It has been a weekend of parties for me.

Last night we started with a going-away party for our friends from church. They are moving to the Albany, NY area as the result of a job move. This family has grown closer to us over the years and so the fact that they're not going to be part of our lives anymore kind of hurts. Their son went on the Dominican Republic trip with Sarah. Donna has become fairly close to Jana, so they'll miss each other greatly.

They both have been faithful servants in the church, in the student ministry, women's ministries and others. They were the family that loaned us their truck when Donna was home alone and the serpentine belt fell off the van. It was never a question for them and they were quick to offer. That's what church people do, and that's what family does.

The second party was a couple of hours later in Bayview. It was hosted by our oldest Wisconsin friends, Jill and Steve. We've been friends with them since about 1990 when Donn…

The Small World of Minnesota

I am writing this on my new laptop which I picked up from a UPS Customer Center. I mention it only because of the strange, albeit cool encounter I had with the staff.

I walk in wearing my Twins shirt that Rob had given me a few months ago. Now I get more people connecting as Twins fans than I ever thought I would. I don't watch many games, but I follow them in the newspaper pretty close.

So this UPS driver says "Hey, a fellow Twins fan!" and comes up and shakes my hand. We talk a little baseball and I find out he was born and raised in MN. When he asked where I was visiting last weekend I said Shoreview.

"That's where I grew up!" he said.

Well it turns out that I ended up talking to him and the woman behind the counter for about 10 minutes. I told them about Rob's situation and many of the events around it. The guy and the woman were seriously distraught and compassionate about the story. He said it sounded like I had a really cool, close family.(See ye…

Family Strength

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It was a good weekend to be a Landwehr.

We went to St. Paul this weekend to help Rob and his family with some painting/staining projects and got more than we gave, as usual. By this I mean that we were so uplifted by the love and support and joy of our family that what we came to do, paint a fence, actually became a side project to the bigger one of connecting with family.

It started with stopping by Mom's place where we had an hour and a half chat with her and my sister Pat. It was great to see Pat again and catch up with all that they were doing.

We moved on to Rob and Jane's next where the cousins immediately reconnected and went off to their lair in the basement. They are such good friends and enjoy each other's company so much. It helps us adults have time to catch up on all that's new with us.

Donna and I treated Nick and Janet to dinner at Senor Wong's in downtown St. Paul. It is an eclectic blend of Mexican/Asian food (hence the name) owned by a friend of …

Back in the Saddle

I started back at my writing class last night. It was good to be back around heady writing types again. We're a motley bunch, but we all understand each other. We encourage each other, point out our redundancies, point out our redundancies, give each other hints and point out our redundancies. It is a great climate to work in. No one is overly critical in part because Kathie won't have it. She said we need to be critical, without tearing down. No one benefits when a person gets insulted to the point where they question their ability.

We've got a little of everything in the class. Memoir, poetry, and lots of fiction. It is fascinating to follow the stories from week to week and see how they develop. It's a bit like I'm reading 10 books every week. (Or a chapter for 10 different books each week.) We listen as characters get killed, experience death and divorce, morph into zombies, grow old or die young.

While we work hard, we have a lot of fun in class too. The conve…

Saturday Searching

Today was a good day.

Today was also an emotionally hard day.

It was filled with good stuff. Coffee with a new friend. The farmer's market for a loaf of good bread. Football equipment hand-out for my 13 year old son. A little house cleaning. A bit of editing. A long bike ride. Saturday service at church. Brennans for some goodies with Donna and Ben. A beautiful evening walk with my iPod and my dog. A dinner with the good bread from the market.

And yet there was this cloak of sorrow that prohibited it from being all it could be. It could have been a completely satisfying and perfect day.

Only it wasn't.

It was almost perfect.

People have told me there would be days like this. Days where you try to run from the pain and sadness, but you can't seem to outrun it. You try and keep real busy thinking life is all normal.

And it's not.

A thought comes along and there I go, wailing like an Iraqi.

A song plays on the iPod and there I go again.

Today the sight of a tree made me c…

A Thousand Miles to a Thousand Islands

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Installment two of my vacation blog.

After our two days in the beautiful Adirondacks, we headed due west toward Thousand Islands Park. Donna had arranged for a two day stay at a friends' vacation home in the park with 5 of her college friends and a few kids. All together there were 13 of us in a beautiful 4 bedroom home.

The TIP (Thousand Island Park) settlement was developed at the turn of the century and I must say that when we got there I felt that we had gone in a time machine back to the turn of the century. The houses are (for the most part) meticulously maintained. The roads are for the most part gravel, which is fine, because most people get around by biking, walking or golf cart. It was surreal. Everyone was courteous and seemed carefree. I was telling Donna that I kept expecting to run into Katherine Hepburn or Humphrey Bogart or something.

Even the stores were surreal. The supermarket just had a sign that read "Grocery". Another read "Ice Cream Parlor,&q…

From the Mountains, to the Valley

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Just back from our week in Upstate NY. It was a great week, all things considered. Tons of driving, but we broke it up pretty well so there was never too much, with the exception of the 14 hours there and 13 hours back (traffic and construction).

We stayed the first 3 nights at my sister in-laws house in Auburn, NY. They have a great old house that has a pool that kept the kids busy, and all of us cool. Wonderful hosts.

The second leg of our journey was to the Adirondack Mountains outside of Lake Placid. It rained most of the trip, but stopped in time for us to see the downtown area and get some crummy lunch at Pan Dolce. John got a "medium well" burger that was still moo-ing, the kids said their chocolate milk was not good, and the service was sssslllllloooowwww. A much better meal was had a couple of days later by John's family at Big Mountain Creperie and Deli, where they served both breakfast and lunch crepe-based sandwiches.

After a quick run-through of some of the…