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Showing posts from September, 2016

Summer's Passing

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Tomorrow is the last day of September, so I can no longer deny that the Fall season is upon us. I look at fall every year with mixed emotions. There are things I love about it and things I hate. Here is a running list of both.


I absolutely love the color changes. A sure sign that I'm old and getting older, is my appreciation for the fire burst of color that makes up late September until late October. It almost makes the season worth it. But...I strongly hate that I can no longer comfortably wear a T-Shirt and shorts. If you know me, that is my summer attire from May until mid-September. Long pants and shirts are confining, so I put off the transition to pants for as long as possible. At this writing, I am in shorts and a long sleeve shirt. Making the move slowly. I really like the smell of fall. Outdoors whether it's dead or burning leaves, and indoors whether it's apple pie, soup, bread or pumpkin anything.I hate that I have to close my windows because it's too cool. I …

Jam Packed For Good

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Some days are packed from end to end.

Friday was one of those days for me.

It started with heading up to Madison for a college tour of UW Madison with Ben. He's looking at that as one of three possibilities, and since I was headed up there for a poetry reading later that evening, we built a tour into the itinerary.

After a forty minute parking adventure (next time we bike up there) we sat through the spiel and then took an hour and a half walking tour. Ben came away with a new appreciation for the university and could totally see himself as a student there, should he get accepted. My daughter on the other hand, made UW her third choice with Carelton and Minnesota being #'s 1 and 2. I always find it interesting how our kids see through such different lenses at times.


Anyways, after the tour, we went to lunch at Ian's and then on a tour of the Capitol building. We were fortunate to get into a tour group and saw all three chambers, Judicial, Senate and Assembly. The building …

Time Warp

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Very soon, my son Ben and I will be touring the University of Wisconsin - Madison. I am not sure when we moved out of the diaper stage into the college visitation stage, but I am pretty sure it happened overnight. And I'm even more sure that a year from now when he's away from home I will be just as befuddled by the quickly passing time as I am today

As part of the whole senior preparation, we had his senior pictures taken by our friend, Brandon, of Roost Photography.

Let's just say looking at these pictures of my grown son did not help matters. It was kind of like a kick in the gut. Here he is, all grown up.

The pictures, as you can see, are pretty amazing and totally capture his spirit. But his spirit is 18 - a real, live adult - and I can dislike that just a bit.

I miss his little buzz-cut face and sort of resent that he now shares shaving cream with me. Not because I don't like to share, but because I don't think he should be old enough to shave.

A few weeks a…

Coming Attractions

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Things are getting busy in the literary world again, so I thought I'd give a synopsis of what's coming up from an event standpoint.

Interview on The Write Stuff blog radioTune in this Tuesday evening September 20th  at 5:30 PM for my interview with radio host, friend and fellow eLectio author, Parker J Cole. Parker was kind enough to interview me about my book, Dirty Shirta while back and offered to have me back on the show to talk about my poetry books. She is an engaging host and I haven't really had a chance to talk about my poetry much in a radio setting, so am really looking forward to talking to her. I am always surprised when someone says that they heard about me from a radio interview, but it's happened quite a few times with Dirty Shirt. In book publishing you need to make yourself available whenever an opportunity arises for publicity. I see this as a good one of many avenues for exposure.Tupelo Press 30/30 Reunion Poetry Reading This Friday, September 23rd at…

Part Of The Whole

I've mentioned in the past that I meet with three or four other guys for coffee every Thursday morning at Cafe De Arts. We talk about everything under the sun - lately a lot about the good and bad in our political system - but we always kind of have a book study going. Sometimes it's half hearted, other times more serious.

At the moment, we are muddling through a book by Leslie Newbigin titled Christ Our Eternal Contemporary. It is one of those books where you read a paragraph, then re-read it because it is so heady, then take a break because your head hurts from thinking so hard about what you just read.

Anyways, this week we read a chapter that caused a bit of an existential crises for me. The gist of the message was that there are two camps of thought about our lives on earth. Basically the one says that we are here to advance the whole, but our lives are expendable in the process. The other is that what matters is the human person. As he writes, "The only thing that r…

A Guest In The New House

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This past Thursday we volunteered to serve the guys at the Guest House. If you know Donna and I, you know this is often the best evening of the month for us. It is such a blessing to be able to serve dinner to 86+ guys once or twice a month. (We do one night with our Facebook group and one under the auspices of our church, CollectiveMKE.)

I need to preface this with the fact that Donna does the lion's share of the work for this every month. I only help serve it, whereas she solicits donations, plans and cooks the food and gets it ready for transport. I am just happy to help in whatever capacity I can.

Anyways, my point is that they have done some serious renovations to the Guest House kitchen, office space and living quarters. As a point of reference their old kitchen was smaller than my kitchen, so when we heard their plans for upgrades, we were ecstatic.

On Thursday we were literally the first group to prepare a meal in the new kitchen. They did a spectacular job with the remode…

Fairly Distant Universities

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Labor day weekend was another one of those thousand mile weekends, or at least it felt that way. We needed to take our daughter back to the University of Minnesota and that always starts and ends with 300 miles each way. This is her third year and she knows the ropes, so the preparation going in was easy. Our plan was to fill the car-top carrier so we would have room for some items we left in River Falls at our nephew's place.

Well, as many of you have experienced, when you're pulling a trailer or have a load on your roof, you tend to forget it's there. 
Or, maybe that's just me. 
Anyhow, as I'm pulling into the parking garage at her dorm, my car-top carrier scraped the "not to exceed" height sign. I almost didn't notice, but my wife promptly let me know. "Stop, stop, stop!"
You see, she's done this before, the hard way. She once entered a garage without one of these and on the way out ended up scraping the luggage rack for the entire di…

The Last First Day

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Today marked the first day of classes in the Waukesha school district. In our case, as my wife pointed out, it was also the occasion for our last "first day of school" for our kids. Ben is a senior in high school this year and so there will be no more first day pictures or first day front door dropoffs.

I asked her if she cried when she dropped Ben off and she said no. She said she was really alright with it and she was ready to be done with getting kids off to school. I countered that I probably would have gotten a little misty eyed, but that's because I'm a big emotional sap when it comes to nostalgic things like this. We've always said that I'm the sentamentalist in the family, this was proof.

So the day was uneventful, according to Ben. "Kinda boring," I think were his exact words. A little change from grade school where the enthusiasm of learning and being with friends sort of oozed out of his pores.

It made me think back to his days in elementa…