Showing posts from March, 2016

Turn The Page

Today I did another Dirty Shirt presentation. I'm referring to it as the "last one" of the Dirty Shirt road tour, but that is probably a bad label. I call it that because it is the last one that I have on the docket for the immediate future. It's not to say I will not do another one, because I am almost certain I will - probably sooner than later. It's just that there is nothing scheduled yet and I am not actively seeking more. The thing is, I will take whatever comes my way and give it proper consideration. The book doesn't go away just because no one has called lately about a presentation. If someone called tomorrow and offered an audience, I'd probably jump at the chance. The whole Dirty Shirt travelling road show has been a surreal experience. I've slogged a million miles over these 21 months and wouldn't trade one minute of any of it. I've met some fantastic people - people in love with everything the BWCA stands for - and for that I a

Art Appreciation 101

I went to the Art Institute of Chicago on Friday with Donna, Ben and a couple friends of ours. The museum was featuring a special exhibit titled "Van Gogh's Bedrooms." Because it is a limited run, we wanted to get down to see it. Being the start of Spring Break, the stars all aligned, we got tickets and made it happen. I am so glad we did. We took the early train down from Kenosha and got to the museum about an hour before it opened. We lucked out that way because the line started forming within 15 minutes of us getting there. We got in early and went straight to the exhibit. There was no waiting, and the crowd wasn't too bad at first, but by the time we left they were in a 90 minute wait to get in. The exhibit was fascinating. Vincent Van Gogh has such an interesting story and the museum did a great job of documenting some of it. One of the things I learned was that he had three versions of his famous work "The Bedroom." The first was a work done whil

Weighty Matters

Feeling the weight of the world lately and I hope it's a feeling that doesn't stick around very long. Of course there was the terrorism in Brussels yesterday, as if that isn't enough to make a person want to crawl in a hole. Who wants to live in a world where you have to worry about people blowing themselves (and others) up? Every time you think things are clicking along and are peaceful, some extremist group messes it all up. Then I had a couple of friends who lost a sister/sister in-law. She was only 53 and died of cancer. I'd met this woman a couple of times about 30 years ago, so didn't really know her. But still, this kind of death always hits close to home, for obvious reasons. And when it's a relative of a friend, it's too close. Add to that a friend of my step-sisters passed away after a battle with bone cancer. He too was in his fifties and while I never knew him, the fact that I have a sister who's grieving his passing, grieves me. I saw

Making The Grade

As we approach spring break in our house, we are getting a fair amount of complaints from our kids about how hard their classes are. Our youngest is a Junior in High School, and has complained that his AP (Advanced Placement) Physics and his Honors Algebra classes are hard. After having a pretty strong first semester he's struggling with keeping his GPA up near where it was. From every indication, I don't think any of it is because of lack of effort. He's got three AP classes and an honors class. It's a heavy load for any student. Heavier than I would like by an AP class or two, in my opinion. At the same time, we are getting the same complaints from our eldest who is in her second year of college at the University of Minnesota . After a strong year and a half, with Dean's list appearances for every semester, she is saying that things are getting much harder. She is a bit of a perfectionist and puts a fair amount of pressure on herself. And so when things don'

Working Toward An Understanding

Last Sunday, our church, Collective MKE , hosted a group (or troupe) called A Jew, an Arab and a White Guy at St. Matthias Church in Downtown Waukesha. We rent the church for our own gatherings once a month or so, so this fit the bill rather well. My only wish is that we could have packed the place, because the message was so enlightening and helpful. The idea behind these meetings/gatherings is to foster dialogue, discussion and cross cultural awareness between ALL people. Not between black and white or Muslims and Christians, but all people. All humans. Because that's all we are when you strip away all the labels we tend to stick on each other. These guys started out with a quick introduction of their background stories. The Jewish guy was from New York City originally and grew up in a traditional Jewish home. The Arab guy was from Jordan originally and grew up in a traditional Muslim environment. The white guy was a Christian from Illinois who grew up in a fundamentalist

I Can See For Miles And Miles

Well, I just got back yesterday from what I'm calling the triangle tour of Wisconsin (and Minnesota) and wanted to give a synopsis of some of my thoughts, encounters and experiences. As I was driving northward toward Minocqua, I had the radio on (LOUDLY) and, like most road trips, I had lots of think-time. Oddly enough, the thought that kept coming back to me was how lucky I was. How lucky I was to have the job I have, which allows me to be part of a statewide association and enables me to travel to plan the goals for that group. My boss (and many of my colleagues) have served on this WI Land Information Association Board of Directors in the past, so he knows the value of being engaged in the decision making and planning of the group.  How lucky I am to have my wife who has stood next to me for 25 years, encouraging me to push myself, insuring that things happen in my absence and cheering me on. How fortunate I am that our kids turned out to be great young adults with compas

Windshield Time - Lots Of It

I am writing this on the evening (Wed) before I embark on a 906 mile, fourteen hour driving journey, and that's assuming no wrong turns or traffic. If you know me at all you know I love road trips. This one is a bit more than I typically like, but it is broken up quite nicely and all of my destinations are places I really want to be, so it should be great fun. Leg one of the quest takes me up past Minocqua to Arbor Vitae, Wisconsin. I am attending a Wisconsin Land Information Association board of directors retreat. This is a mandatory meeting that involves strategizing, team building and committee assignments, among a dozen other action items. I was elected to the board this past February and am privileged to be able to serve a two year term. One of the focuses of this meeting will be planning the statewide conference that is happening in June. We have a good team of Land Information folks that I look forward to getting to know a little better this week. This area of the sta

Washing Lemons

For Sale: Bosch Dishwasher.   November, 2013 model Low miles High customer dissatisfaction rating Runs okay from time to time Starts and finishes in 2 minutes from time to time Infuriates wife and spouse from time to time Super quiet - usually brought on by the 2 minute cycle mentioned above New owner must prove access to mental therapist and clean and sober for 3 years prior Willing to sell for a case of microbrewed beer  Also willing to trade for a 10 year old "Best Buy cheapie" that works I don't usually bash products online, but this particular dishwasher, a Bosch Ascenta Evolution model , deserves special treatment. It appears we got a lemon, as the unit has given us problems for the two years we've owned it and is showing no signs of letting up. Here's what happens. Unit is turned on Pump drains existing water for  25 seconds Water starts to fill unit for 15 seconds Clean light comes on! And believe me, they're not clean at

Virtually Friends

This has been an interesting past few weeks. I have met so many different people - most of them in my virtual world via online channels - which isn't a bad thing necessarily. These social network friends know that I'm there, and vice verse, but there is no pressure to make small talk. Just good people who are good to know. Here's a rundown on some of them. John Stanizzi - is an adjunct professor at Manchester Community College in Connecticut. He and I connected through the 30/30 poetry challenge. We supported one another when the words weren't coming easily. After the challenge was over, I felt compelled to send him my collection of poems from the month. He was grateful and then proceeded to send me his poetry collection titled " Hallelujah Time! " It's a nice collection built around Rastafarian philosophies, Bob Marley songs and their Biblical ties. A guy I wouldn't have met had I not gone outside my comfort zone and tried the challenge.