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Showing posts from June, 2017

Chasing Aging Rockers

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If you recall, last year we saw the loss of a number of iconic rock stars. Prince, Bowie, Glenn Frey, George Michael and two thirds of Emerson Lake and Palmer with Greg Lake and Keith Emerson turning over to the "show that never ends."

For some reason, these deaths always come as a shock. I don't know why they do, because the majority of them are pretty old and, well, everyone's gotta go sometime.

But part of the shock is that in many cases they are someone I saw 30 years ago, and that's how I'll always remember them. Prince is a great example. He was a phenomenal showman and one of the best guitarists I've ever seen, but now he's gone.

So as an answer to this apparent epidemic, my wife and I are committed to attempting to see more aging rockers before they kick the proverbial bucket. Sure there's plenty of new talent out there and we see/listen to many of them as well. But when it comes to the classics, we figure, see them now, or never.

As a res…

Rainbow After The Rain

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I last posted about a place that I and many others just refer to as "Up North." It holds a special place in my heart and the hearts of my family, both immediate and extended.
As I mentioned, I had a chance to fish with my daughter, Sarah, when I was up there. She was looking forward to getting out on the water in my buddy Steve's boat to hopefully catch some bass and spend time with us. 
We met at the launch of Eagle Lake in Conover, hugged and got ready to launch the boat. Once we got it in the water, Steve struggled a bit trying to start the motor. On the fifth pull, the engine started and Steve stood there with the ripcord dangling in his hand.  Like any good motor, the ripcord is supposed to retract and, more importantly, it's supposed to stay attached to the motor. 
Steve looked at me like a deer in the headlights. Sarah and I looked at him and laughed that tragic sort of laugh when something so bad happens that you can only laugh. I think I may have said, "…

Way Past Wausau

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I am writing this on Wednesday evening and by the time this is posted on Thursday, I will be 300 miles north. It is another fishing trip for me in my favorite part of the state, namely, "Up North."

As part of this trip we will be visiting my daughter who is up there working on an internship for the Clean Boats/Clean Water program. It is focused on invasive species awareness and education. She will be spending the wholes Summer there. While I originally feared she'd be homesick and bored, all reports are quite the opposite.

She says she's never coming home.

I can't say I don't envy her. She basically has a dream job that is 4 days on, 3 off, spent at various boat landings. On her off days she fishes, reads and hangs out at her cabin.

Yesterday she texted me a couple of fish pictures, and while they were small, she was fishing and I was not. In fact, her friend/roommate from the cabin actually went back home to get a canoe so the two of them could get out on th…

Making It Up As I Go

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Today is Father's Day.

There are lots of theoreticals that I could formulate about things that my father would have done for me had he not been taken at a young age. The places he would have taken me, the values he would have instilled and maybe even the things he would have failed at. But these would be just that, wild ass guesses as to what might have been.

Instead, I'd rather focus on the job I undertook when my wife and I decided to raise children - only two - just like we'd told to our pastor when he was giving us our "pre-vows" marriage class.


It has been twenty one years of the craziest movie anyone could have ever written. Our lives  switched from scene to scene as they progressed from dependent infants to terrible two-year-olds, to grade schoolers and finally to adults who we can talk and laugh with on an adult level.

There are far too good times and memories to list, but here are a few things I will always remember as a dad:

Loading Sarah's baby seat…

We Closed It At Wolski's

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Tomorrow marks 27 years married for Donna and I. It's one of those "tween" years, maybe a date that means less than the others that end in 5 or 0.

But still.

Twenty seven years is a long time. With the divorce rate still around 50%+, I'm tend to take each anniversary I hit as a victory, not that divorce was ever in my thoughts - it wasn't - but I'd like to hope that after 25 years it gets easier to stay on the good side of that statistic.

So what's different at year 27 than at 1?

We live in a different city, work different jobs, live in a house not an apartment and somewhere along the way we raised two kids.

In fact, it would be easier to quantify what is the same; namely, us.

Because while the circumstances in our lives seems to change with every passing day, we evidently love each other enough to be there and serve as a foundation for the other to lean on when the rest of the pot is boiling over.

None of  this is meant to brag or boast, I'm just look…

Commencing Countdown

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Well, the graduation has come and gone. The last cooler is dried out, the chairs are all put away - but still need to be returned to their owners, and the leftovers are socked away in one of our two refrigerators. It was a great, great day.

If you've been following me, the focus of many of these last few blogs has been the preparation going into the big event - Ben's high school graduation. To say that Donna and I have been maxed out these past four weeks in preparation is an understatement. There was an ongoing "list" of things that needed tending both indoors and out. We clicked them off one at a time and I'll be danged if we didn't hit them all.

When GO time arrived, everything came together. Thankfully a friend loaned us a pop up tent and we were able to use it to keep the sun off of us. The weather cooperated and, as I said, it was a great day.

I counted on today being a day of rest/recuperation, but it too has been busy. An oil change and car wash for S…

High School Exodus

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As you probably well know, my son graduates from high school this weekend. He is certainly ready to move on with his life, has been for about 6 months now. He keeps asking why he can't just go to college and skip these last few weeks of senior year.

So, today marked the last morning we had to wake him up for school. And I say we, because it is a corporate affair. Donna starts the process about 7:10, and hammers him every five minutes or so. I interject and shake the bed when I pass his room during my morning routine. For all the sadness that goes with having your kids grow up and eventually move away, this wake-up routine is not part of the experience I'll miss, nor will my wife.

Not that he won't be around, but there are some moments from his school years that I will always treasure - moments between father and son, as well as family moments. Here's a few:


During our years in Elmbrook's Boy's Club, we took a trip up to Waupaca every summer for a trip down the M…

View From The Lido Deck

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The Madness Of House Projects Continues...
About 15 years ago or so, some friends and I tore down a shed that was attached to our one car garage. The shed was beat and the floor was caving out from under it, so we took chainsaws to it, busted her down and put it in a dumpster all in an afternoon.

Because my wife and I are YFP, yard fail people, the resulting square footage sat unused like that for the next 15 years. Oh, I did build  a terraced garden out of some of it about 8 years ago, but the bulk of the area became our RGWB, rock garden weed bed. Every summer we'd let the weeds grow until I couldn't stand it any more and then I'd spend an hour doing a job I hated more than anything. Weeding.

Over those same 15 years we talked about a few possibilities for the area. We basically came up with about three options.

1. Break out the surrounding concrete frame and just seed the area.
2. Build an expensive deck on the area. Having helped a friend build a deck, this was my last…

Cats In The Cradle

As the days wane on having kids around the house, I seem to get more and more wistful about them flying the nest. I'm a sentimental sap, so not only do I dwell on what used to be, but I also worry about whether we've properly equipped and prepared them for life beyond our doors.

I worry that we've over protected them at the same time I worry that we haven't protected them enough.

There is nothing any parent wants more than a child who is successful, socially adept and, most of all, happy. And when I think of my own life, I think I've hit all of those. Well, I'm still working on the socially adept part, but hey. At the same time, I cannot live their lives for them. There is a time and a place to set them free and see what happens. That is when you hope that the values you instilled kick in and while you encourage them to be their own person, you hope that they make good choices and decisions along the way.

I continue to be surprised by their successes and accomp…