Showing posts from April, 2011

A Warehouse of Fun

I write this from the friendly confines of a gutted, now defunct Menards store that has been renovated into an indoor Mountain Bike course. It's called Rays MTB  and while it's a liablity nightmare, it is a very cool place. What they've done is purchased an old Menards and built a ton of bike ramps for all skill levels. As I write, kids are zooming around me, and above me, getting exercise in a relatively safe environment. The floors and ramps that they ride on are all wood, so even if they take a digger (and they just helped a kid off who had been hit in his gut with his handlebar) it is onto a forgiving surface for the most part. The place is actually only open for 8 months of the year Oct-May. This is the last day it is open until fall, and it is fairly busy today. Ben and his friend are trying to convince the other friend to go down a ramp that he is hesitant to try. I can feel for the kid a bit, as I know how it used to be when your friends wanted you to do something

Chicago in 12 hours

We did the Chicago power trip today as a family. We woke early at 5:00 AM and drove to Kenosha. Hopped on the Metra and an hour and a half later we were at Oglivie Transit station. From there we huffed it down to the West Egg Cafe for some breakfast. It was a phenomenal breakfast. I had the french toast which was made with raisin bread, and sausage on the side. I then ate the rest of Donna's scrambled eggs and some of Sarah's pancake. (Hey, walking built my appetite!) From there we hiked another mile and a half or so down Michigan Ave, and back up again to the Art Institute. This was the high point, by far. We saw Impressionists, Modernists, Realists, Cubists, and even a few Artists. To see some of these paintings almost brought me to tears. A few of the more memorable ones were the Rembrandt portrait of a Man with Gold Chain, which was positively moving in it's detail. Another was Van Gogh's self portrait and his La Berceuse paiting of a woman. Salvador Dali's wo

Desperate Rain

The rains of April have not disappointed this year. Coupled with the unseasonably cool spring we've had and everyone's just kind of in a weather holding pattern around these parts. Winter is surely behind us, but we're a ways from the warmth of summer too from the looks of things. It's enough to drive a person mad. At least we have the sunlight thing going for us. On an unrelated, but equally despondent note, the Buffalo Sabres have officially been eliminated from the playoffs. After being in a commanding 3-2 game advantage, they dropped the last two games, losing tonight 5-2 to the Philly Flyers. I don't pretend to be a huge Sabres fan. I am a huge Sabres-in-the-playoffs fan. It's kind of the same thing with the Minnesota Wild. If I watch a few games a season, that's a lot, though I follow their record in the standings. When the playoffs come around though, I'll try and watch both those teams, though the wild seem to miss the playoffs more than make

Groundhog Day Everyday

I mentioned to Donna how every day seems like a repeat of the day before lately. Like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. It's like I'm living a Hollywood script that I've memorized to the letter. Sure, there are slight variances in each day that keep things interesting, but for the most part, Tuesday was a lot like Thursday. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not depressed or anything like that. Donna and I talked it through and attributed the fact that there's a cloud of sadness hanging over all of us. A cloud that makes the mundane tasks of life even more mundane, and the joy filled ones a bit muted. It's great to have her to bring me back to reality once in a while. Here I am thinking I'm the only one mired in my own sorrow, and she reminds me that we're all going through it and it will get better someday. Writing group was great again this week; one of the high points of my week, every week. Kathie was in Chicago, so her husband taught the class. As usua

Celebration of Life

Yesterday (Sunday) was Rob's Celebration of Life Party. We arrived at Rob's house on Saturday, about 1:30 and saw that he was not having a good day. He had a fair amount of pain in his clavicle area and the lower part of his left lung. When he coughed, the pain seemed to be overwhelming. His oxycodone was not helping like it normally does. He didn't seem his usual upbeat self and we were all worried that he'd be in rough shape for the party. It was not a good start to the weekend for me. I was hoping to find him sitting in his recliner, ready to talk and have some laughs, when in reality, he was never feeling good enough to get out of bed. We let him rest and he seemed to sleep from about 8:00 right through the night. We were all praying for a better day on Sunday. Sunday was a clear, sunny day with a high in the low 50's. Not bad for April, considering we had driven through snow on the way up in central WI. Rob woke up and looked like a new man. He was upbeat,

Brevity for Brevity Sake

Another week is quickly slipping through my fingers. We had outstanding weather today, 65 degrees and sunny for most of the day. The shoe is about to drip however, with the coming cold front. I even heard the 'S' word for Saturday, although now that's been changed to just the 'R' word. Nonetheless, the nice weather makes life much more pleasant. I was so sick of winter. Not so much even the cold anymore, just the darkness. Once daylight savings kicked in I was like a new person. I was thinking as I was walking to work today how lately there are days I'd like to just stay home and cry. I've never felt that emotional urge before, so it's pretty weird. Then, after I think about it a bit more, I realize that doing that would really accomplish nothing. It sure sounds good some days though. (Though crying is actually more work than work is.) On a lighter note, and I'm in constant search of lighter notes these days, I found out my "official time&qu

Running for His Life

There was a great turnout for the ACS Run/Walk yesterday in Madison, WI. The team total was 26 people I believe, and we raised over $1085.00 toward cancer research. The entire event raised over $36,000, which is awesomr. It was an amazing and inspiring day, despite being cloudy and a bit chilly at race time. (It turned into a beautiful day later though.) Team Waukesha/Milwaukee got up to Mad-Town about 9:00. Team Twin Cities got there shortly thereafter and we got our shirts, race bibs from Stephanie and caught up with each other. Mom and Jane bought a commemorative flag that lined the course while Steph made sure that the whole gang had bracelets. After a few group shots of the whole team giving the "I Love You" sign to the camera, we gathered at the starting line, walkers at the back, 10K'ers (Nick and a couple buddies) at the front, and 5K'ers in the middle. I ran a good race, finished in about 28 minutes, though I don't have an exact time because the stupi

Go Time for Rob's Mob

Well it's here. Race day tomorrow. It's the reason for all the training, all the stretching, all the slogging, running, breathing, gasping, wheezing, coughing and spitting. I LOVE the energy of a large run like the one tomorrow. Hundreds, or maybe even thousands of people looking to team up and run/walk for a great cause. I love the challenge, the excitement and the anticipation of the starting gun. I hate the running part, but the rest is really cool. Seriously though, the running isn't that bad. I've re-discovered in these past two runs (Last year's run for cancer at the Milwaukee Zoo, and tomorrow's run) that I really don't like running. Now, approaching fifty, running doesn't like me either. My recovery time is a little longer than it was at 27, my knees hate me and my hips feel like they're 90. Sounds like a healthy sport doesn't it? I think I'll be taking up biking a bit more once this run is done. Even my Doctor says running isn

Life in Limbo

It's been a good week around these parts, but I'm ready for it to be the weekend. Had a GREAT night at Mosaic last Tuesday. I have got the best group of kids in my small group which makes my job much easier. We had a good discussion on what it takes to Live and Love like Jesus, our theme for the year. These young men really just want to hang with friends and be heard. If the talk is about spiritual issues, all the better. Many of them have legitimate, tough questions, and I don't always have the answers, frankly. Nevertheless, they're all trying to be the best kids they can and I have nothing but respect for every one of them. I am privileged to be leading them. Last night was AllWriters which was good too. The group is up to about 12 people now, including Kathie the instructor. I really enjoy being around other writers and stretching myself as one. I brought three poems, only one of which I felt very good about. I hadn't expected to read, as I read last week, an

Wall-to-Wall Weekend

It's been a full weekend already. Friday night was the Mosaic Masquerade at church and it was great. I helped set up from 3-6 PM, and then was in charge of a group of 30 kids who moved from one room to another for 3 different dance lessons. My group started out in the Swing Dance room. Because they encouraged leaders to learn the dances, I took part in the Swing dance. This was until they encouraged people to partner up when I backed out. Chaperones dancing with students is, well, creepy. Furthermore it was patently forbidden in the instructions we were given at the start of the evening. No problem here. I had fun just watching the kids have fun. It was interesting because in the first lesson, students were shy and hesitant to dance with the opposite gender. Then, by the third lesson, everybody was much more comfortable with each other and mingling quite well. The second lesson was freestyle. In it we learned dance moves like the "reject", the "wobble", the