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Showing posts from November, 2016

Filled Up

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The long Thanksgiving weekend is coming to an end and my house is quiet and my heart is full. It was a weekend full of food, family, friends and fun. Each day brought a new set of friends and family into our lives interspersed with moments of just Donna, Ben, Sarah and myself, reunited.
Thanksgiving brought our friends of 25 years to our house as well as my brother in-law and his partner. It felt good to eat, laugh and watch football with them. They each brought something to the table, literally in this case. Our table was full of food to the point of needing to use the nearby buffet to hold the stuffing. 
Then, on Friday we celebrated Sarah's 21st birthday with a different set of friends of nearly 20 years. Like many friendships, ours has ebbed and flowed over the years but, most importantly, has sustained. Our kids grew up together and have stayed in touch and lately we have reconnected through our church, CollectiveMKE. 
We had dinner and, afterward the kids played board games w…

Qualified Thanks

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It is that time of year when people count their blessings and look back. I think they even call November "Gratitude Month." Of course I have much to be grateful for. At the same time, the reality of my reality is that not everything is always perfect. I'm pretty sure that's what's called life. We can put on airs or try and make it look like everything is "just right," but, is it ever, really? The best we can hope for is 90% I think.

But 90% in middle class America is still pretty dang good. We are a country blessed beyond belief, yet still we find things complain about. Well, I am always seeking to find the positive in life, so here's a few things that I am thankful for but that come with qualifiers.


I am thankful for the heat pumped out of my howling furnace. The unit we have is 21 years old and when it fires up, it shakes the whole house. (C'mon over sometime if you don't believe me.) It needs a new "inducer unit." We're sched…

Coffee And Connective Moments

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This past Wednesday evening, I was the featured poet at an Open Mic event at a coffee shop in downtown Wales, Wisconsin. The event was held at Mama D's Coffee, a quaint, atmospherically beautiful shop right downtown. (Wales is about 15 minutes west of Waukesha.)

Mama D's holds an open mic event once a month where a featured poet reads for the first half hour, then the mic is opened up and other poets and spoken word artists are invited to read. The way they happened upon me was through a writing colleague who had seen me read in Waukesha. She knew of the Wales location and thought I would be a good addition to the monthly featured poet series. It brings people into the shop and provides a venue for the writers, so is really a win-win. 
Anyway, the reading went pretty well. I covered about 18 poems in the half hour allotted. As I've mentioned before, I am getting increasingly comfortable in front of a group, so this was no different. I tried to break up each poem with a lit…

Coffee And Connective Moments

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This past Wednesday evening, I was the featured poet at an Open Mic event at a coffee shop in downtown Wales, Wisconsin. The event was held at Mama D's Coffee, a quaint, atmospherically beautiful shop right downtown. (Wales is about 15 minutes west of Waukesha.)

Mama D's holds an open mic event once a month where a featured poet reads for the first half hour, then the mic is opened up and other poets and spoken word artists are invited to read. The way they happened upon me was through a writing colleague who had seen me read in Waukesha. She knew of the Wales location and thought I would be a good addition to the monthly featured poet series. It brings people into the shop and provides a venue for the writers, so is really a win-win. 
Anyway, the reading went pretty well. I covered about 18 poems in the half hour allotted. As I've mentioned before, I am getting increasingly comfortable in front of a group, so this was no different. I tried to break up each poem with a lit…

Lessons From A Bad Lip Reader

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The time has finally come for me to take that leap into old age and get...wait for it...wait for it...a hearing aid! 
I've only been putting it off for about ten years now. In fact, I would argue that I don't really need one at all. 
My family would argue differently.
The other day, when I asked what we were having for dinner, what I heard was Fried web burgers. When I asked "What are Fried web burgers?" Donna and Ben just about busted a gut. She said, "I SAID, Prime rib burgers. 
Oh, that sounds better. Much better.
I actually had my ears tested about 10 years ago and they said I had some loss and that I would eventually need hearing aids. But telling that to a man is basically giving him license to ignore the problem for 10 years. So that's what I did. For me, it's as much a vanity thing as anything. Which is a stupid reason I know, especially given that my brother Rob wore one for most of his 47 years on earth. What's the big deal, anyway?
Well it…

Gratefully Apparent

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It seems that November is also Gratitude Month. I think they pretty much have a month for everything now. It seems that the NFL teams just finished wearing all the pink socks and towels for breast cancer awareness month (October), and now they're all wearing some sort of camouflage in support of our troops. These are all noble causes and I can't say that I disagree with recognizing any of them, it's just hard to keep tabs on what's what.

Anyway, as I mentioned, it's gratitude month. Each day of November we're supposed to find something that we are grateful for. I think this is some psychological trick to distract us all from the fact that winter is just around the corner, so we need to stockpile our good feelings, because darkness and cold is a comin'. Oh, yes it is.

The wellness center at my workplace even has a Facebook page that is dedicated to gratitude posts. It's been kind of fun, as each day they pick a subject with which to post a grateful pictu…

Restarting. Please wait...

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I am not sure how to process all of the hatred and vitriol I am seeing on both sides of the political system these past couple days. It is unlike I've ever seen in all my days. I certainly have feelings of my own that I will keep to myself, just like we used to do in the old days. I wish I could come up with an inspiring post, but instead I think I will let this post be what it is. Sunday is a new day.


Blogging off...

A Saturday Well Spent

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Yesterday I spent the day at the University of Waukesha for the Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books. This is a two day event that celebrates local authors and their work using a series of panels, discussions and educational seminars. I've been going to the fest for years and this one was my second where I was featured on a couple of panels.

The first panel I sat on included Susan Martell Huebner who's written a soon-to-be-released memoir and Kathie Giorgio who has just released a short story collection called Oddities and Endings. The panel was titled Writers Branching Out and discussed crossing genres. I had such a blast on this panel answering the ad hoc questions of the moderator. This moderator was actually Kathie Giorgio's high school English teacher. He did a wonderful job of including the audience and the panel. A great interaction.

Sometimes people on panels like to know the questions in advance, but I feel there's something to be said for getting thrown surp…

A Saturday Well Spent

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Yesterday I spent the day at the University of Waukesha for the Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books. This is a two day event that celebrates local authors and their work using a series of panels, discussions and educational seminars. I've been going to the fest for years and this one was my second where I was featured on a couple of panels.

The first panel I sat on included Susan Martell Huebner who's written a soon-to-be-released memoir and Kathie Giorgio who has just released a short story collection called Oddities and Endings. The panel was titled Writers Branching Out and discussed crossing genres. I had such a blast on this panel answering the ad hoc questions of the moderator.

Sometimes people on panels like to know the questions in advance, but I feel there's something to be said for getting thrown surprise questions one after another. I think it makes for a more engaging discussion. At the end, the audience was invited to ask questions and they obliged nicely. I…

Overcoming

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It seems I slept through one of the best World Series games ever last night. I have a solid excuse. I'm not much of a baseball fan at all. I literally did not watch one pitch of the playoffs or series until last night. I follow the standings, and was well aware of what was at stake for the beloved Cubs going into the season. In fact, I told a die hard Cubbies fan friend of mine that if they didn't win it all this year, they deserve to be labelled the loveable losers that they were for 108 years.

Well, they didn't. And to that I say, congratulations Chicago!

I've actually been to Wrigley for games on two or three occasions. It is a fantastic stadium, truly like stepping back in time 50 years. I would go as far as to call it a cathedral or shrine. It is old school and given the ear-splitting sound systems at most parks these days, it is a pleasant alternative. I will even confess, and please forgive me Brewer fans, that when I was at those games, I was actually rooting f…