Showing posts from August, 2013

Cabin Fever

If you know me from Facebook, you're aware that I've spent the last week or so changing my cover photo and my profile pictures. While it probably seems like a frivolous use of time, I actually did it in lieu of any kind of post on many days. The pictures were all taken over the past 8 years at the resort we go to every year. Each time I posted a picture it brought back fond memories of good times at Pine Forest Lodge in Mercer, WI. Some were kid pictures, some teen, and some adults. All of them however, have smiles in them. When we ask our kids about what their "favorite vacation ever" was, they have different responses, South Dakota, Colorado, etc. But when we ask them what are some of their favorite memories of a vacation, they always go back to "the cabin with our cousins." It seems there's a timelessness to all summer vacations "at the lake," and I'm sure this is true for many, many families all over the country. It's a Midwe

Thirty Six Lives

We have two cats, Chester and Isabelle. They are both tabbies and we love them as much as anyone can love a cat. They are our second set of matching cats as a family. When we first got the house, we got Bogie, a black and white rescue cat from the Humane Society. Bogie was a little lover and a really great cat. He was alone though, so when my wife brought home a matching, smaller, black and white girl cat we suddenly had a matched set and were a two cat family.   Bogie - L Jezebel - R Cats bring a sense of life to an otherwise calm ordinary home. They come around when they want, and when they don't they retreat to hidden places. They're kind of introverted animals that way. It is a quality that makes them easier to love. Come to me when you need some attention, leave me alone when you don't. Jezebel, or Jez as we called her got very sick and we had to put her down due to renal failure. It was one of the hardest things we had to go through as a family. Death of any

A View From The Cheap Seats

I went to a Brewers baseball game the other night with my family. We got discounted tickets for Sarah's good grades at school. They were the nosebleed seats in section 424 of Miller park. None of us went to a game last year and this was the first of this season. None of us are big baseball fans. We're a football family for the most part. I used to enjoy going to games at County Stadium when it didn't cost the GNP of Guam to go see a game. I can't complain this time because, on top of discounted tickets we got a $10.00 voucher (per person) as a "fan appreciation," measure by the owner Mark Attanasio. (Every fan for every game in August gets a $10 voucher.) It was a public relations face-saving measure for the Braun steroid mess. I give Attanasio credit, he loves the fans and always seems to know when to come up big. He's one of the best things that ever happened to this organization. Anyhow we went and despite being high up, the seats really weren&#

Bricks And Bubblers

We had friends visit us from New Jersey this past week. They drove all the way from NJ, about 14 hours altogether, and stayed at our house for 5 nights. The couple are college friends of my wife's and they hadn't seen our house in 18 years. Their visit spurred the realization that Milwaukee and Waukesha have a lot to offer as Midwestern cities. It's true that neither is Chicago, nor intends to be. Chicago is it's own slice of great, but these two cities to its north have their own good qualities too. Tuesday was dedicated to showing them a bit of Milwaukee's vibe and culture. We started by taking a tour of the Guest House, the downtown homeless shelter that I've written about in the past. Our friends, Jon and Janine had baked a ton of cookies that they wanted to donate to the lunch program at the house. Our friend Eric works at the house and was generous enough to take us on a tour. We got a behind the scenes look and story of what it takes to feed, house a

Getting Away

I spent Friday and Saturday with my son Ben and one of his friends as part of Ben's 15th birthday. He said he wanted to go camping with some of his buddies, but as it turned out, only one could make the trip. I assured him that it was going to be fun whether it was one friend or three. Middle schoolers seem to do best one-on-one anyway, so it worked out well that it was just one. It was my intent to be on the road by 10:00 AM. Anyone who puts a timetable to a launch time for any vacation gets what they deserve. Unrealistic planning and packing schedules, unforeseen trips to various stores and whatnot, and of course the obligatory trip back home to get what you forgot to pack. I was running behind schedule and told Ben to tell his friend it would be more like 10:15-10:30. When I picked his friend up at 10:35, I realized I forgot the camp chairs and also the card games I was going to bring. Bear in mind that construction in our neighborhood requires a 10 minute re-route around

The Prodigal Wallet

One of the more distressing things as an adult is a lost wallet. I lost mine yesterday, or at least thought I did, and it made for a a very long, miserable day. I first noticed it was missing when I went to leave for work. Now people who know me know I'm a "pat-down" guy. I have a ritual where I tend to pat three zones of my person before I go somewhere. This is done to check for three items: Keys, phone, wallet. I'm a bit neurotic about all three and so if one goes missing, look out. That usually calls for a double-pat, where I'll re-pat the areas I just patted out of anxiety just to make sure that whatever item I don't have is really gone. As I get on my bike yesterday, I realize I don't have the discomforting pain in my butt that a wallet brings to a guy on a bike. I turn around, head into the house and begin my search. I checked all the usual spots. Dresser, back counter, stairway post, coffee table, kitchen ledge, nothing. Along about this time I

What's Next Is Right Now

Being Sunday, the pace of life slowed to a crawl today. Sometimes I have a hard time forcing myself to be okay with that slow pace. Like many people Sunday tends to become the day that you race around trying to get done what you couldn't get done on Saturday. As a person of faith, I am also convicted by the fact that it is a commandment to keep it holy. It's my guess that this would include not working yourself to death. Sabbath comes from Shabbat which is Hebrew and means to cease. I need to be reminded that ceasing is okay. Anyhow, as I was slowed down today, I had a lot of time to reflect. Often times, I try and see what the future holds for me and my family. This introspection, or future gazing if you will, only leads to frustration. No one knows what their health, job or family situation is going to be like tomorrow, let alone beyond that into the future, so why bother. Frustration from that today caused me to shift gears and think about the purpose of life TODAY. F