Showing posts from April, 2016

The Blurred Anniversary

The older I get, the more I appreciate creative arts that move me in ways nothing else can. Be it words from a poem, a play that strikes a chord and brings me to tear, a movie that makes me laugh or even a well written book. I recently finished Richard Brautigan's book, A Confederate General From Big Sur, which had me laughing in bed while reading it. Part of the appeal of that book and other great works is that I try and get in the head of the artist/author/poet/director that penned the thoughts, wrote the piece or created the work. It is a pure and simple appreciation for an artistic outpouring or talent.  Along these lines, if anyone knows me, they know that I am a music nut. It has always been my "thing" and so when I heard that The Church, a favorite band of mine from way back was coming to Evanston, Illinois to play two sets, I was intrigued. I'd been meaning to see them since I last saw them in Madison in 1988.  And so when I heard they were playing my

Dinner And A Dance

Last night my youngest went to his first formal dance, prom for Waukesha South High School. If you've been through this scenario, like me, you probably wondered where the time went? Wasn't this little guy just wandering through the living room leaving a wake of destruction behind him? Wasn't he the kid who just yesterday was busy pulling up grass in the outfield and putting it on his head to be goofy during T-Ball? Wasn't he just "graduating" from kindergarten and begging for sleepovers every weekend? Yep, it seems just like yesterday. In any case when we asked him how he liked it, he said it was a blast. There's something about being around your friends with loud music, dancing and lots of laughs that is hard to beat. He went with a "friend" and so it was a little different than boyfriend/girlfriend. There are many variations on the whole prom experience than when I was a kid, including going "stag" with friends and or even att

That Time Of Year

Well, it's nearly upon us. Fishing season, that is. It opens the first weekend in May and I can't wait. Last night I went to an event with couple of friends. It's called Smallie Night Out and there are a couple of guest speakers followed by a door prize raffle. It got me jazzed for fishing, that much is sure. Dad Fishing has always been a part of my family. My dad loved it, my brothers and I love it and now my kids enjoy it too. It really is a sport that can bring a family together. While I can't remember the first fish I caught, I do remember fishing at Lake Phalen and catching bluegills like crazy. My brother Tom gave me a Pocket Tackle Box with a few important lures in it. It gave me a sense of ownership and investment in the sport. Me and Rob in Hibbing, MN One of the things we used to do as brothers was to trade fishing tackle. It was the usual sham of trying to pass off the lures you didn't want to your siblings. The rusty old lures that we'd

Doing It Right

Today my mom celebrates her 83rd trip around the sun. If you know our story at all, you know that she is a woman of great perseverance, deep faith and a get-it-done attitude. Having to raise seven of us, almost single-handedly for many years, you begin to understand how these attributes enabled her to keep pressing on through the hard times; because there were a lot of hard times. How people react and respond to adversity shapes who they are, and before you know it you're eighty-something and still leading by example. That's my mom. There are some solid memories of moments in time where Mom was there for me and my siblings. Moments that stood above others enough to make an impact. Once she bought me a cheap desk for my room. It was a poorly made thing, but I'm sure she got a deal on it because money was always tight. Well, two days into it a couple of the nails had popped out and one of the drawers wasn't working. When I complained to her about it saying I didn&

What's That Clunking Noise?

We are going through what one might call a bit of a rough patch around here lately. It's my thought that everyone has these stretches in life where you kind of tiptoe around hoping nothing else breaks or goes south around the house. These rough patches are spaced between long stretches of relative calm and synchronicity, but I've discovered that when you own an old house, the stretches are much shorter than say, the owner of a new house. (i.e. one built in the last 60 years or so.) Now let me preface this with the fact that I realize these are all first world problems. When you own multiple vehicles and try and keep a relatively modern household, things go wrong. Sometimes it's real expensive things. Other times it's just minor inconveniences. But compared to the Ebola virus, the child slave trade and the Syrian refugee crisis, my problems are ridiculous. Unfortunately, it also is my life and they must be dealt with. Here's a little of what's gone bad lately

Sprinting Towards Spring

We are well into April and Spring continues to be "just around the corner." Friday we had an all day snow, mostly just flurries, but maddeningly hard at times. When Donna and I went out for coffee yesterday morning, I actually warmed up the van as I scraped the windows. In April. Warmed up the car. Cabin fever is setting in with a vengeance as a result of all of this uncomfortably cool weather. I am still wearing fleece around the house and keep threatening to take my bike out of the basement storage for the year. It's not a full fledged depression yet, but there is a certain snarl to people in our circles around here. Yesterday was cool as well, with temps in the thirties and light winds. The sun was out however, and sometimes that makes all the difference. I know it did for me yesterday. Carroll Track and Field Facility Carroll University, which is right across the street from my house was hosting an NCAA track meet all day. When I returned from my usual S

An Update From The Kitchen

Well, it's been another one of those weeks. An eye opener for sure. One of those where the urgency of life gets ramped up a bit. If you know me and have followed this blog at all, you know I periodically get reflective and introspective. This is almost always spurred by the death of either a friend or a famous person, or, on a bad week a couple of famous people. This was one of those weeks. Today I got word that the brother of a friend from the old neighborhood passed away. Truthfully, I'd only met the gentleman once, and ironically enough it was at a funeral for another close friend's mother. He seemed like a nice guy and was right around my age. The other death this week was Merle Haggard. One of country musics biggest stars. I never knew much of his music, but when I was in Nashville, many of the groups I saw kept playing his music. He is one of the guys that were huge when I was growing up and somehow it just kind of hit me. Then, last night, Donna had gone up to

Under The Shiny Veneer

As I worked and relaxed around the house this weekend, I kept coming across our little piles of chaos. I hope you know what I'm talking about, and that our family is not alone in our little chaotic piles. You know the ones: It's the kitchen "junk drawer" that everyone has. If you don't have one, I'm not going to say you're abnormal, but I will say that I can't be your friend. (Just kidding. No, I'm not, really.) These drawers are typically a clinking, clanking collection of caligenous junk, to use the line from the Wizard of Oz. Small stuff with no other place to call home usually lands here. We had one growing up that held anything from a hammer to a popped button from a shirt that would never find its home again. Ours contains everything from Super Glue to an eyeglass screwdriver, to unframed class pictures from last year that never found that relative they were intended to get to. I would go as far as to say that these drawers are essent