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Showing posts from November, 2017

Dead Letter Office

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Dear Dad,

I was scrounging through some old papers and stuff the other day and came across this card I evidently gave to you when I was just barely 5 years old. It looks like a Father's Day card, but it may have been for your birthday or some other occasion. I'm not sure how it got saved. I got it from Mom a few years back and have kept it around, because it's the only trace of anything I might have given you. I guess it shows that it's possible to love someone who means a lot to you at such a young age. I seemed to have a thing for butterflies, but I hope you liked it at the time.

This summer marked 50 years since that fateful night you were killed. I suspect each of us kids remembered that fact at some point this year and it gave us pause to think what life would have been like if you had been around to be a part of it all. But, we all know you can't change fate nor live in the past, so we have all just kept plugging along, making our lives and missing you along …

Blathering All Gratefully

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It was a weekend of great dividends.

I know I beat the Thanksgiving drum on my last post and you are probably sick of hearing people's blathering words of gratitude, but based on the weekend I had, it is difficult to keep them to myself.

We went north to Minnesota to visit my family for the holiday and I came away filled with gratefulness for what we have built together. Much of this is the sap that I've become for connecting with people on a personal level lately. With all the crap going on in this country and the world lately, I find these moments with loved ones as little beacons of light in a sometimes dark world. They replenish me and, more importantly, restores my hope.

There were several connecting points with the family en-masse and in more intimate gatherings. The Thanksgiving feast is always good, a raucous affair with lots of food, laughter and memories. This one even featured a new baby - my niece's month-old son. But in some senses, the smaller gatherings was w…

A Moment Of Thanks

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Because it's that time of year that we celebrate all things we are thankful for, I would like to run down the list of a multitude of things large and small that I take pause at and consider myself lucky to have.

I am thankful for:


Not one but two good kids experiencing life in college - away from home. College years are some of the best memories of my life. I am living vicariously through them. Along those lines, I am also thankful for...
An empty nest. It was weird for the first few days, then we sort of adapted to the quiet, and now have come to embrace it.
CollectiveMKE - my church. We are a house-based church with a focus on acceptance and service. Cool people breaking the mold of conventional church.
New jeans. A simple pleasure, one we take for granted in this country.
My 95 year old house. It leaks a little and creaks a lot, but it is my haven. 
A decent job. Big changes ahead with my boss retiring in January, but still consider myself extremely fortunate to be where I am.
My fami…

Friendsgiving

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Today we will be celebrating a new tradition called Friendsgiving. Last year, because we did not travel, we celebrated it on the real Thanksgiving. But this year we will celebrate it on the Sunday before the actual holiday. It is a gathering of friends and family at our house that features all the usual Thanksgiving fare, turkey, potatoes, green beans, salad and desserts. Because it is on Sunday, we will have football on the TV and lots of great conversation. For all intents and purposes it is just taking time around our table to spend with friends and some family that we may not see at Thanksgiving.

I think the practice started because we are always travelling to either New York or Minnesota during the holidays. This year sees us travelling West for Thanksgiving and East for Christmas. As I see it, the holiday season is short, and the winter long, so we might as well take advantage of the festival spirit and gather when we can. This sort of kick starts all of it with a feast.

This ga…

A Dreamy State

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As I sat in a bookstore last night watching Michael Perry, who is arguably my favorite Wisconsin author, I thought to myself, he's where I want to be someday. It may never happen, but even if I continue with what I call my "Sub-Atomic Micro Fame" it is still more than I ever dreamed. I cannot say how excited I am about what the future holds in my writing circles. Much of it is unknown, but I am having a great time at the moment.
Having said that, a writing/book update is probably in order, so here goes.

The dates are set for both a Wisconsin launch and a Minnesota launch for The Portland House: A 70's Memoir. They are as follows:
Book Release!: January 23rd. The book will be available on Electio's website as well as Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iTunes. Note that if you purchase a paperback on the Electio website, you get the eBook version as well, FREE.
Wisconsin Launch: Saturday, February 17th 2018 from 2:30-4:30 at Cafe De Arts Roastery in Waukesha. 
Minnesota L…

A Band Aid Tourniquet

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Have I mentioned I hate old houses?

It's true.

When I don't love them, I hate them.

Unfortunately I represent 50% ownership in a 95 year old house. This is where the love/hate relationship comes from. I love the feel, comfort and solid construction of the house. But it is also the solid construction (accompanied by the age) that makes doing anything in the name of home improvement a challenge, shall we say.

Take our bathroom for example. (Take it please!) What it really needs is to be gutted and redone entirely. Plumbing, drywall, flooring, electrical, shower, tub. All of it. Since this is probably a $15,000-20,000 undertaking we continue to put Band Aids on the spurting artery.

Our latest attempt is to repaint, install a new light and reconfigure our medicine cabinet/mirror. It has been probably 18 years since I last undertook similar upgrades, so I know it wont be easy.

I took off the old light to remind myself what lay behind the scenes. As feared, it was non-code wires sti…

Inextricable Connection

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It has been an amazing weekend, to say the least.

Let me start by saying last night I finally finished Brene' Brown's Braving the Wilderness. In the book she talks about something called inextricable connection. It is this idea that as humans we all crave a connection to a higher purpose. I kept waiting for her to get to the solution, and by the end of the book she did. She said it is in our presence with others, both one on one, but more importantly as a collective in large events. Concerts, plays and even sporting events allows us all to experience joy and connection and as a result leave our lonely places and perhaps feel more alive.

I had it happen repeatedly this weekend.

It started with my presenting my experiences as a writer to the high school students at Waukesha South. The coolest part of the whole day was seeing the great diversity of South. There were African American, Asian, Hispanic and white kids everywhere I looked. It is the most racially diverse high school i…

The Greatest Generation

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As many of you know, I lost my dad early in life. He was killed when I was only 5, so I never really knew him, but as I said, most of you know that.

What many people don't know is that he was a twin. He and his brother Tom were fraternal twins. born in 1925. My uncle Tom was a little shorter and of slighter build, but they both shared the "Landwehr look," as I call it.


My dad and Tom were two of eight children born to Adolph and Magdalene Landwehr in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Their were 7 brothers and 1 sister, the eldest, Aunt Mariette. I remember many, many long car trips up to St. Cloud to visit family and in later years to attend funerals. A "long" car ride back then was a little over an hour. It seemed like seven. I can also remember getting car sick in the back seat and vomiting into a cereal box but, hey, sorry about bringing that up.

Well, uncle Tom passed away this week, the last of the 8 children. The end of a generation, so to speak.


Over the years my aun…