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Showing posts from August, 2017

Senior Thoughts

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Along the lines of the last post where I had things I wanted to tell my Freshman son before he moved into UW Madison, I have a similar, though different list for my daughter. She will be entering her Senior year at the University of Minnesota and, unlike Ben, will be living in an apartment, not a dorm. So here goes another,

10 Things I'd Like My Senior Year Daughter To Keep In Mind:
Enjoy this year: Yes, there may be graduate school in your future, or maybe not. Whatever the case, it will be different. The experience you have as an undergrad will never happen again, so relish the moments, and make more of them, as you go. Try something different: This applies to extracurricular activities or things outside your comfort zone. Because you will not have access to many of the student benefits after this year, take advantage of them and push yourself a bit. Join a bowling club or a fishing club. Do something that you wouldn't do if you had to pay (or pay full price) for it. Keep doin…

Thoughts Heading Into Move In Day

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On Tuesday of this week, we will be moving our son into his dorm room at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He chose Madison after deliberating over UW-Milwaukee, the University of Minnesota and UW-Madison. He said he liked the feel of Madison best and of course we encouraged him to follow his heart. Our kids see things differently and their college choices reflect that.

So, as he goes off, We'll push him out of the nest and hope that the flying lessons we've given him these past 19 years have had some effect. And while I won't tell him to his face, I'd like to tell him some things that he may want to consider these next few months and years.

10 Things I'd Like My College-Bound Son To Keep In Mind:
Enjoy these four years: There will be times of extreme stress and pressure, with exams, work, studies and deadlines, be sure of that. But when I look back, my college years were some of the best of my life. It is a cool time where you're juggling the balance of adul…

It Came As A Shock

Passing the age of 50 mark has its pros and cons, I've found. On the pro side, well, there are some who turn to you for advice or wisdom. If you're lucky younger folks treat you a little better than if you were 30, but not always. And sometimes on those days you look your age, you can even slide in a senior discount despite being 10 years away from retirement age.

That's pretty much where the pros stop.

When it comes to the cons, I have my body to blame. As I said on Facebook this week, after 50, it's pretty much always something. In the past three or four years I've had more nagging, irritating little gitchas with my health than I can count. And perhaps the only thing worse than me enduring them is you having to suffer through hearing about them. So, I will spare you that.

Suffice it to say that the ailments are from head to toe. None are debilitating, but most are reminders that I won't make the cut as a walk-on free agent for the Packers - perhaps ever. At l…

Blues For All

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My son and I went to an event called Bluesfest on Friday night. This is a relatively new event -the 11th year this year - held at Nagawaukee Park in Delafield. My friend Eugene Garrison and his band The Blues Harp Jimmie Band even played a set. I missed his time slot, but I've seen them before and they kick it!

My love for the blues goes way, way back to when I was a teenager. I don't know how I fell into them, but I probably owe a little credit to my brother Tom. He always loved Muddy Waters, BB King and a lot of the old greats. From there I took it upon myself and started my own journey of blues discovery.

And I found a few white guys who did it really well, like Eric Clapton, John Hammond, George Thorogood and Stevie Ray Vaughn. Something about the soul they put into the blues moved me to fall in love with the genre.

Then, these guys led me to discover the guys that influenced them. Guys that defined the genre like  Howlin' Wolf, Lightnin' Hopkins, Luther Allison an…

Electronic Hoarding

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There is a running joke around my house about the fact that I can't resist turning down an aging electronic device, particularly laptops.

I think I know where it stems from. As little as eight years ago I didn't have a laptop. I wasn't even really writing at that point because the last thing I wanted to do after looking at a screen all day would be to log on to a desktop computer and stare at a screen at night.

Until I bought a secondhand laptop.

The ability to sit in a comfortable chair and type (or surf the web, as the case often is) was made easy with a second-hand laptop that I purchased from Craigs List for $100.00, or so. It opened new doors.

But, it's been an endless upgrade cycle ever since. Mostly because I am drawn to newer, faster and, well, I'm frugally cheap.

The way it works is that I will buy the kids' two-year old laptops or tablets for $100 when they decide they need newer, shinier machines. Because it never fails that their "old technolog…

75,438 Untitled Words

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Well, it's done.

Book number two, or four, depending on how you look at it, is finished. I look at it as two, but that's just me.

I'd tell you the title if I knew it myself yet, but I don't yet. I'm still waiting for it to come to me. And, like every word in the book, it will eventually. I feel like I'm zeroing in on it, with the help of friends and family.

A few statistics about the work:

It stands right now at 75,438 words. This might trend downward a bit depending on what a publisher might do to it. My goal once I saw where it was at was to keep it above 75K words. Why? Should that ever be a criteria for how to write? No. But once I hit it I was determined to keep it around that number. Okay, I'm weird.

It also stands at 240 pages - including introduction, acknowledgements, dedication, and page breaks. I'm guessing this may go up as it gets formatted by a publisher. Again, I wanted to keep it above 240 pages for some unknown bad reason. Dirty Shirt fo…

Inspiration

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My wife posted and interesting question on Facebook the other day. It was simple:
Who inspires you, and why?
Now, I have to admit that Facebook prompts don't usually trigger me to act. There was something a little more provoking about this one though, so I felt compelled to answer. I answered that my mom inspires me. She was faced with a lot of loss and adversity early on in her life and still managed to raise seven of us kids. She is still active in the community as a worker/volunteer and has a great friend group - all of which I think plays an important part in having a healthy senior life.
But there are lots of others that inspire me too. I'll just touch on a few.
Men and women in their forties, fifties and sixties who are actively writing. The same goes for those doing art, or trying to master an instrument. I favor this group for obvious reasons, but I just think it's so cool that people at these stages of life still see themselves as worthy contributors to the art wor…