Showing posts from May, 2016

Summer's Launch

Memorial Day is always a reminder that Summer is officially underway. The three day weekend usually means picnics and vacation trips and hikes and yard work. We hit three of the four this weekend and it's not even Monday yet. We've had glorious weather that has allowed us to get some much needed projects done as well as relax a little in between. And while I cannot say enough about how grateful I am for the sacrifice of lives that got us to and keep us in a free country, it is also the time of year that: The grass grows at a rate that exceeds my ability to keep it neatly manicured. As a result it goes from golf green short to abandoned house long between cuts. I once heard that keeping your grass long keeps the weeds down. That is a dang lie. I can change clothes three times on a Saturday and never think twice about it. It's always shorts and a t-shirt, but when you perspire like I do, well. this is a good practice, trust me. The constant up-down-up of the windows k

Pomp and Circumstance

It is that time of year when graduations are happening at high schools and universities nationwide. Our son graduates next year at this time and Sarah graduated 2 years ago this June. Graduation is such an exciting time whatever the level. When you're leaving high school, it usually is a sort of good riddance kind of thing. (At least it was for most of the folks I know.) The teen years in school are hard and while I have some great memories from high school, there were only a handful of people I cared about after I left. As a result, class reunions are not terribly my thing. I'd rather get together with four high school friends than go back and relive half the graduating class. Ugh. Me and my cousin Joanie The beauty of high school graduation is that you are leaving the environment of "have to" and entering the college environment of "want to." The difference is huge. My freshman year of college, I can remember thinking "You mean, I only have to

Ruinous Power

Over the past few months I've been exposed to a number of new power tools. For example, last fall I had the chance to work a welder for the first time ever. (How many men can even say that?)  Because my friend Claude has one and is fairly proficient at using it, he let a bunch of his friends come over one night and try it out. Then, a few weeks later, the same guy gathered a few of us to help him cut down some trees. This exposed me to my first use of a chainsaw. (Many more men can probably say they've done that.) Both of those experiences were frighteningly rewarding. Stump Grinder Then, yesterday I rented a stump grinder from Home Dept. A few weeks ago, I removed our front bushes using a reciprocating saw, (an electric power tool providing it's own satisfactory feeling of power) which left four large stumps behind. After looking at my options, I heard that Home Depot rented these machines. It was a big, cumbersome machine somewhere in the 8 HP range. Like all of t

Monday Nighters

Every Monday night I have my writing workshop at AllWriters Workplace and Workshop . Now, most people would wonder why anyone would take a class on a Monday night. Monday's are typically the hardest day of the week to get through and to tack on a two hour class at the end of it would seem like a form of torture. (And because it's a writing class, it would probably be a special kind of torture for some people.) But it's actually the best part of my Mondays. I'm in with a great group of people, and we've built quite a rapport between us. We've even developed a nickname of the Mighty Monday Nighters. Part of what makes our group so cool is the unique style, subject and genres of everyone in the group. Listening to their stories from week to week is great fun. In some ways we get to know their story characters as much as we get to know the writer writing them. The group is made up of: ( using Aliases ) Alice -  is currently writing a story about a woman who

Never Going Back To My Old School

This past weekend I had to make the trip up to Minnesota to pick up my daughter from the University of Minnesota. I went up alone because Donna had to work. I sort of like these trips alone to get her for a couple of reasons. First, I get five hours of time alone to think, listen to music and ponder life. The other benefit is that it provides me with quality one-on-one time with Sarah both during the packing and on the drive back home. I miss having her around, so this is a great way to get us back on the same page after months apart. But there were a couple of other benefits this time. The first one was taking a side trip into downtown to drop off a copy of Dirty Shirt: A Boundary Waters Memoir  at   Subtext Books . They not only purchased a copy, but the owner mentioned that if it sold, she would order more copies through Ingram, a large distributor. Furthermore, it turns out she lived in Milwaukee for a time, so we had a bit in common outside of books. She told me she might be int

An All Ages Show

It appears that spring is finally here. The temp seems to ebb and flow, but the warmer days seem to outnumber the cooler ones. For some reason, the Fall colors always seem to remind me of my age. I can't get enough of the trees turning yellows, browns, reds and all colors in between. But now it seems to be affecting me in the spring as well. I can't help but notice the flowers every year, but these past few years I have been stopped in my tracks a few times by the flowering trees (crab and some others.) Not only are these things stunningly beautiful, but their aroma carries me away. So, I am officially old. I'm the scary old guy taking pictures of crab trees. But enough of that. It's been a really interesting week from a writing standpoint. On Monday I signed the contract for the Reciting from Memory collection. The eBook is coming out at the end of May and features 40 poems. I can't wait to see how it comes out, especially the cover. I am busy puttin

The Mother Of '72

She met us at the Red Owl grocery store that night in 1972 like every Tuesday night after work for her weekly food shopping venture. She never showed it, but she must have had just a little dread seeing two or three of us boys waiting there for her to ride on the front of her cart, annoyingly so, or to beg her to get the expensive sugared cereals because they had the best prizes inside. She smiles and says, "Hello Jimmers, Pauly Wally, and Reuben," her nicknames for each of us boys. Paul rides on the front of the cart facing Mom while Rob and I tag along and give advice when Mom asks what kind of cookies to get. "Get the Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Pinwheels, please?" we plead. "No, those are always gone on the first day, then you have nothing. Pick out two other kinds," she says. Mom is on a tight budget and more often she shops for bulk rather than taste. With six kids, many of them teenagers, trips to the store mean a cart piled high and, on som

A Chap And A Wrap

Lots going on in the world of writing these days. I try and post all of my publications on my Author Website publications page, but I realize most people don't visit the site unless it is a link somewhere.  I'll focus on the biggest news and pay lip service to the rest of the items. In case you haven't heard, I have a chapbook that was just accepted for publication as an ebook by Underground Voices .  Now, even most of the people in my writing class didn't know what a chapbook was, so let me explain. It is a collection of poems, usually forty or less, that are sometimes focused around a theme (though that is not required). Mine are not theme specific, and as it stands now, there are forty in this publication. This is a group of poems I am extremely proud of. I put them out for publication because the timing was right. I had accumulated a bunch of them and rather than trying to submit them individually to various magazines, I thought a grouping would be nice.

Points For Effort

This past Wednesday, I attended the Waukesha South High School Scholar/Athlete awards banquet. It is a function to honor all the student athletes that were able to maintain a 3.5 GPA or better for the first semester of the 2016 school year. While I don't want to turn this into a gushing post about my kid, I do want to talk a little about what I saw and experienced at the event. For starters it was noteworthy that there were over 200+ students school-wide that were recognized. An interesting statistic noted by the soon-to-be-retired Athletic Director, Dan Domach, was that that number represented 61% of the student athlete population. So, sixty one percent of the athletes at South were able to keep up their studies and achieve a 3.5 GPA. This was a number that he was pretty proud of, rightfully so. In order by grade, the scholar/athletes were awarded certificates, medals, T-Shirts and plaques from Freshman to Senior. Multi-sport scholars were also recognized as were some specia