Showing posts from December, 2018

A Guest Appearance

Well, it's almost new years eve, and all of my teams have ungracefully bowed out of the NFL playoffs. I've watched less football this fall/winter than I have in recent memory mostly because the Packers and Vikings were playing such mediocre ball this year. I am of an age that barely has time for good football, let alone mediocre. Thankfully I was part of something bigger today. Today I was part of a Guest House meal assembly with eleven other people. This is an event organized by my wife, funded by donors and assembled by volunteers. She sets up about four of these assemblies every year and because I'm a bit of hack in the kitchen, I never really took part in one. As I've mentioned before, the Guest House is a transitional housing agency for 86 men. They provide job training, help with residency, AODA counseling and health care for homeless men. Donna assured me she could use my help, so I went along. I was put on sandwich duty with my brother in-law. It was so co

2018 Put To Words

Today was the start of the second half of my Christmas/New Year break. I took advantage of it doing what I love to do most during down time, namely writing. I managed 1500 words over a few hours at it, not too bad for a day's work. I know to some 1500 words seems measly, but I'll take a 5 page day anytime. This time of year I always like to look back on my writing accomplishments. I never really know what to expect from year to year, as I still look at this as a part-time gig, fitting it in around the edges where I can. That said, any and each published piece is a small victory in my eyes, and in that respect 2018 was a pretty good year, maybe the best yet. Journals, magazines, books and newspapers with my work. From a book standpoint, any year where I have two books released is a good one. In January The Portland House was released by Electio Publishing . I tell people it is the second memoir I never dreamed I'd write, let alone get published. Then, in October,

Christmas Together - Wherever

Christmas celebrations have been an evolving thing in our family these past several years. As kids get older and houses are bought and sold, we move things and people and dates around to accomodate everyone as best we can. Our BIG family Christmas has moved from; Aunt Helen's house in White Bear Portland Avenue Mom's new house on Larpenteur Avenue Tom and Patty's house in Shoreview Rob and Jane's house in Shorveiew Sister Jane's house on Sterling A Maplewood community center Sister Jane's new house So the location changes, but the occasions are steeped in family togetherness. Over the years we've had boyfriends/girlfriends who became spouses, and some who did not. We've had friends who had no family in the area that we've invited in over the years. But the strength of our holidays has always been that everyone knows Christmas Eve is reserved for getting together with mom and the aunts and uncles. This year brings three new babies

Friends Of Old

Having had three days in Minnesota during my concert visitation/book signing, I made it a point to reconnect with old friends. The day after the Bob Seger concert, my friend Pat and I went out to eat at Perkins. Back in the day, we spent many late nights at Perkins, usually after a night out. It was our go-to location to catch up on life and share a meal. Our discussions over food were always deep, but were also sprinkled with lots of laughter. Neither of us knew what our future life would look like, so all we could do was talk about what was going on at that point in time, give advice and show support. But most of all what we did was listen. Neither of us needed to dominate the conversation, so we went back and forth as friends do. At this particular outing, we pretty much picked up where we left off, even to the point of Pat ordering his trademark Omelette and me ordering a strawberry croissant french toast platter. It seems the more we'd changed, the more we were the same.

Still The Same

These past couple days have been one of connecting with an old friend, Pat. I've talked about him in the past. He and I were best buddies in high school and much of our college years. He was in my wedding in New York, and I was in his in Tulsa. Over the years, as we were growing our families and living our lives we dropped out of touch. There was an occasional letter, and then an email, but for the most part we drifted. This last reconnect was driven by a text exchange we had last summer. He was texting about how a Bob Seger song, Like A Rock, had a big impact on him one night on his deck. We'd seen Seger together in 1980 and, like our friendship, we just sort of lost touch with his music over the years. Well, just for grins Pat looked up to see if Seger was still even alive. When he did he saw that he wasn't only still alive, but he was in the middle of his "Final Tour." Pat was always "spontaneous" so he pulled the trigger and got tickets for us,

Shockingly Normal

So I will turn 57 on Tuesday. This is both a non-event and a shock to me. I say a shock because it is hard for me to believe that I am on the far side of fifty. I tell my wife that most days I feel like I'm twenty eight. On those days I do too much around the yard, house and on my bike, I am quickly brought back to reality that I am every bit of my 50 plus years. Those days are usually followed by mornings when I wake and every joint needs a little encouragement to get moving. But I can't complain. My weight is the same as it was 20 years ago. Ever since I turned 40, it has been much more difficult to keep at a constant weight, but I've managed fairly well. It's an ongoing goal of mine not to increase my waist size on my jeans, (like Jerry Seinfeld) because, well, it's a slippery slope. Before you know it, it's sweatpants all the time, including at the grocery store. And I am fairly healthy too. Sure I have some chronic things, like numbness in both my f

A Confluence Of Adventure Stories

A week from tonight I will be in Saint Paul, Minnesota. I am headed back for a couple of reasons, one of which is to co-present with another author at Subtext Books. Barb Geiger and I will be presenting our books, Dirty Shirt: A Boundary Waters Memoir and Paddle For A Purpose . This promises to be a fun event as we discuss our adventures on, off and IN the water. Most of you know that Dirty Shirt chronicles trips I took up to the area in remote Minnesota with friends, brothers and, later, our children. Barb's book has a similar adventure theme to it. It is the story of how her husband's idea of paddling the length of the Mississippi River went from an half-joking crackpot idea to the actual pursuit of carrying it out. But their journey takes on a noble purpose when they decide to volunteer for service projects at various stops along the way. While the boat carries just what they need to live on, at many of the stops, they put their hands and feet to work for non-profit

The Littlest Brother

So it is my brother Paul's birthday today. He's three years younger than me so let's just say he's in his early fifties and I'll leave the math up to you. In our family of seven kids, Paul is the youngest. He always touts, correctly so, that he was at the absolute tail end of the baby boomer generation. Of course, the youngest kid always get called the spoiled one, the one who had the road paved for him by their elder siblings. With seven kids, there was plenty of road paving in our family. There wasn't much Mom hadn't seen by the time Paul was in high school, so the leash was probably as long there as any of us. Like any of my siblings, I owe much of who I am to Paul. He taught me a lot over the years. Because of our age difference, we didn't hang around much in high school, but I felt we got closer in our college years as we both muddled our way through the University of Minnesota. If I had to narrow down the thing that I learned from Paul that