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Showing posts from April, 2018

Adventure With A Purpose

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A couple nights ago I attended another book launch. I've been doing my share of this these past few years, as it seems many of my writing friends have reached the point of completion for their novels, memoirs and poetry books. I can confess that writing a good book takes years, especially if you're trying to hold down a full time job to boot. The whole "write a novel in a month" thing, well, it doesn't quite happen that way, I'm afraid.

Anyways, Friday night was the launch of an adventure memoir titled, Paddle For A Purpose, by Barbara Geiger.  It was an especially cool event for a number of reasons. When Dirty Shirt was released, I did a reading from it at a local event here called Friday Night Free For All. After my reading, Barb approached me and mentioned how she'd enjoyed the book, but also mentioned that she was working on her own outdoor paddling memoir. She went on to say it was about a trip down the Mississippi River with her husband in a homemad…

Support Call

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So we had a bit of a techno-meltdown this past weekend. My wife's phone was acting strangely. One day it started rebooting at random moments. Then, it would go into a cycle of reboots that would sometimes number in the twenties before it could she could even get into it. When she finally was able to get into it, it would work fine for a number of hours before it would cycle with reboots again.

We couldn't figure out what was triggering it, but it seemed to be worse when it was trying to connect to a new wifi connection. But not always.

Being a tech-geek, I am all about the wipe and replace method. Once I got her go-ahead, I wiped it to factory condition using the settings. After setting up her multiple accounts, it worked for an hour before it rebooted on her. Then, the cycling began again.

Also being a cheapskate, I was determined to get it working again. Nothing a couple hundred google links couldn't fix, right?

One of the suggested fixes was to delete the cache partitio…

Earth Year

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Today is Earth Day, but you know what?

Every day is Earth Day.

I try and live my life like I actually believe that. As an avid outdoorsman, I feel connected to the earth most when I am in a natural setting. To me, there is nothing more rewarding than taking a hike, a paddle or a bike ride on my favorite path, lake or trail. When I am out in it I hate coming across other peoples' trash. I don't know how people can litter and live with themselves. I think a lot of it is in how we were raised, but that's just a guess.

One of our mantras when we're canoeing in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area is "Leave no Trace." We frequently brought out not only our own trash, but a bag full of other peoples' trash as well. In my mind, to litter such a sacred place as the BWCA is even more unforgivable than littering an urban area.

As humans we need to realize that we're renters here and we need to stop acting like we own the planet. It deserves our respect. It is our gift…

Swedish Resilience

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Well, my mom turned 85 a couple of days ago, and while I will probably get in trouble for stating her actual age, I wanted to mention it because I am blessed to still have her around. A lot of my friends have lost their moms/dads these past few years and I can't imagine how tough it must be. I am also lucky to still have both my in-law parents around. Heck, these days I'm grateful to have anyone older than me around. Life is weird that way.

And while my Mom is an octogenarian, she is still more active than a lot of people much younger than her. She works a part time job, she's part of a book club and a card group, exercises when she feels she needs to lose weight and drives her car. She's smart though and knows her limits. She doesn't like to drive at night, will turn down social events if there's too much walking, and she has learned to say no to anything she's not up for. I think those are rights you get once you hit 80.

Mom continues to cheer the whole fa…

Artists In Bloom

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It was an art-filled weekend around my community these past few days, and that's always a good thing.

I took Friday off to stay home and write, something I need to do once every couple of months just to maintain my sanity. I hang out at the library and a coffee shop and check out of reality and into my Work In Progress (WIP). It was a productive day and it brought me back down after a high energy week at work.

Then, that evening, I was part of the AllWriters Friday Night Free For All event at Cafe De Arts Roastery in Waukesha. This is a quarterly event sponsored by AllWriters' Workplace and Workshop. The event features 5 readers from inside and outside the studio to read from their WIP or, in some cases from a recent publication or book.

This one had a new twist to it in that it brought in a musician/songwriter named Carter Hunnicut. Carter's mother was a writer and was a mentor to Kathie Giorgio (AllWriters' director) when she was young.

Carter did a great job of expl…

For Whom The Bell Tolls

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Last Saturday night I attended Rob Bell's "Holy Shift" presentation at Turner Hall in downtown Milwaukee. I'd never been to Turner Hall, a magnificent structure currently decked out in twenty first century-haunted house/money pit decor. Bell was accompanied by Peter Rollins another contemporary and perhaps equally controversial spiritual author/scholar.

There are folks who have called Rob Bell some hateful things. His books have been pulled from conservative church bookstores. He was run out of his home church for some of his progressive ideas.

I've read his book, Love Wins and while I'm not crazy about his writing style, I loved his message; a message of Love first, judgement maybe never. Furthermore, listening to his podcasts drove me a little crazy too. Something about his speech pattern. So, needless to say I had low expectations. I went in with a bit of a cynical attitude.

Well, he came out and smashed any doubts I had about his style and message. He tol…

Water Woes

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As any homeowner knows, things never fail one at a time. They cascade like all tragedies, usually in threes. Each failure of course is slightly more expensive than the previous. I am convinced there is no home appliance repair that costs less than $200, with most being much more.

We experienced the start of the great cascade about a month ago. I was sitting in the living room and kept hearing like a high pitched moaning noise coming from the basement. When I went down there I followed the noise until I pinpointed it to the water softener. The box on top of it which controls the on/off cycling was howling like a ghost.

So I did what any homeowner would do. I unplugged it hoping it would reset and repair itself.

No dice.

I tried Plan B. Hit it.

Nada.

The unit is 20+ years old and is simply worn out. I know that. I also know that it is likely a $1000.00 outlay.  The significantly cheaper, short term fix is to unplug the howling unit. So I did.

There. Fixed.

Three days later I heard a kno…

It Takes A Village

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On Monday I was instituted as poet laureate* for the Village of Wales. It marked the last day of Paula Anderson's tenure after a year and nine months.

I showed up at the Village hall and awaited my turn on the agenda. I came after a couple of zoning changes and new business approvals. Being in government, it was a process I was quite familiar with as part of the Parks and Land Use staff at the county.

Before I was brought before the board for approval, they recognized Paula with an appreciative word and after her outgoing poem, they presented her with a cake. The cake was frosted with the words to one of her short poems. Paula was a publisher of a small poetry journal and was one of my first acceptances as someone new to the craft. I always hold folks like that near to my heart. Her and Sarah Sadie, another poet and ex-laureate for the City of Madison, are two of those people.

I was introduced next and invited to speak. I felt extremely welcome and warmed up to the board right awa…

Shrink Wrapped

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It is Easter weekend and we are blessed to have both of our kids home for the weekend. My daughter came down from Minnesota on Thursday because she was done with classes and "needed to get away." Ben was down in Florida until Friday when he was dropped off in Waukesha as his roommates continued on to Madison.

And we have been fortunate to be together as a family for much of the weekend. We had dinner together then watched Pirates of the Caribbean on Friday night - an unexpected surprise having them opt for a night home with family instead of local friends. Then, they got up on Saturday morning to go to coffee with us as an extension of Donna and my Saturday routine. 
Today they will attend church with us and then we will have an early Easter dinner with my brother in-law and his partner. 
The weekend reminds me that these moments are to be treasured. We are all healthy, happy and glad to be with one another. When we gather around a table there is intelligent discussion, gent…