Showing posts from November, 2011

Cyber Monday

Had a really good, relaxing trip back to Minnesota for Thanksgiving. Because we left on Wednesday, and I took today off of work, it's been a good recharge of the batteries for me. We had extraordinary weather while we were up there. Thursday and Friday were spectacular; in the high 50's and low 60's both days. I was actually shooting hoops in a t-shirt for an hour and a half on Friday. Unbelievable really. Usually it's snowing and 30 degrees. I managed to avoid black Friday madness for the 49th year in a row. We stayed with my sister in-law's family again. She's a great hostess, and our kids get along so well. We call it the Landwehr hotel, and we are grateful she opens her house to us the way she does. My brother wouldn't have wanted it any other way. Looking back on the weekend, I have nothing but good memories to store away from it. We had a family "Amazing Race" game before Thanksgiving which was a blast. We had to find clues around the S

A Moment of Pause

In the spirit of the upcoming Thanksgiving, I wanted to touch on some things I'm thankful for. 1. My Mother. She continues to amaze me with her strength and love in this, the toughest of years. 2. My Wife. She helps to run a tight (but fun) household. I am extremely blessed to have had her for 21 years (and counting). 3. My Sarah. Her academic talents, huge heart and strong faith are dizzying. I love her wit. 4. My Ben. His free spirit, compassion for others and his love of all things social, are my envy. 5. My brother Tom. I credit him with giving me my sense of humor and my love of all things outdoor. 6. My sister Pat. She's always got my back. She defends and supports me with a mother's furor. 7. My sister Jane. Her love of family and her kids is evident every time she opens her home to us. 8. My brother Rob. For teaching me how to live for and love today and quit worrying about tomorrow. 9. My sister in-law Jane. Her strength, perseverance and smile. W

Writing For My Life

An update on  my writing is in order, as it's been a while.  I continue to try and blog twice a week or so. This keeps my skills up and forces me to get something down at least twice a week. Without it, I would be left to my writing class only, and I think it's important to keep active in many areas to keep you sharp. Sometimes the blog feels forced and other times it rolls off readily. When it does that, it's almost visceral. I kind of get in a writing zone and things come easily. These are some of my best writings; funny and succinct. Usually they are driven by an event that happened that calls for a humorous post. I'm still in AllWriters' workshop on Wednesday nights. This has become one of my favorite nights of the week. I get the chance to rub elbows with other writers and just be "cerebral." As I told my wife many years ago when I was taking a continuing education class, it just makes me feel like I'm doing something with my life when I'm i

A Slightly Above Average Weekend

It was a fairly average weekend. At the same time, I'm learning to appreciate average in ways I've never known before. Friday night I had the house to myself for about 3 hours. Ben had a sleepover and Donna and Sarah had to work. It was a chance for me to write a bit, surf the web, listen to the stereo at my own level and just be alone. I'm one of those people who's very comfortable being alone and tends to want to do too much when it happens. This time I allowed myself to do just enough. It was great. While the alone time was good, it was nice to greet the girls when they got home too. We just had pizza and hung out. I learned there's peace in being alone, and peace in being together with family. Saturday morning was filled with the usual busyness. Cutting the grass, cleaning the house, walking the dog. In the afternoon we  all went down to the east side of Milwaukee for Ian' Pizza  for a kind of belated birthday lunch for Sarah. I had a slice of Mac n C

Bio Fueled Squash Mobile

I just finished making a car out of vegetables with Ben. It was a school project for the STEM academy that he attends. STEM for those who don't know is a charter school that focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. It is in its second year and all in all, seems to be better than it was its first year. Year one everyone was new to everything, so the communication was bad, the curriculum was confusing and the students were disoriented as to the new expectations. Year two has seen some improvements in the communication for sure. Ben's teacher from year 1 was an email fanatic. Some days we'd get 3 or 4 emails. I'm all for communication, but my time spent reading email is valuable too. Lets keep it to two, or better yet one. Ben seems to be doing better as well. We've been trying to work with him on remembering homework assignments BEFORE he leaves school. He's doing better than early in the year, so something must be clicking. In fact, he even came d

Out of the Blue

Got a random phone call yesterday at work from a friend I'd lost touch with for the past 20 years or so. I thought he was a user of our GIS system at work.  He caught me off-guard by saying his name and then saying could you take down this email address and send him mine. When I heard that I realized it wasn't a person from the public, but rather and old friend, I felt embarassed that I didn't catch it earlier. At the same time, what would have prepared me for someone I hadn't heard of for twenty years? In any case, it was great to hear from him. I'd been thinking about the guys I used to hang with back in the day ever since Rob got sick. I thought I should probably tell them of it, but then thought it might be too weird after such a long time of no contact to pull them into such a grievous situation. Rob actually hung around them a few times after I had moved out of state, so he has seen them more recently than I. So we caught up on a few things over the phone.