Showing posts from November, 2013

Have It My Way

My 15 year old son has hit the teenage years where it seems that all he does is eat, sleep and go to school. Our food bill with two teenagers in the house has risen significantly now that we have two teenagers around. They've graduated from being fairly picky eaters to eating just about anything that they can find in the cupboards. You know they're growing up when they'll  not only try new things, but will actually cook something on the stove or the oven. Sarah has been known to cook a pizza after she gets home from work at 10:00 PM. I remember those days and did the same thing as a teenager. The other night Ben left one in the oven for about 50 minutes and something like this was the result. >>> One of Ben's new favorite foods is hamburgers, another phase that I remember going through as a teenager. We grilled out one time and as we were eating, Ben said "Ya know, this burger is really good. I really like hamburgers." I knew we had hit a turning po

Taking Stock

With the approaching Thanksgiving holiday I want to take a minute to spell out what I'm thankful for. So much of life is rushing to and from the next thing that, to me, to take a minute to reflect is almost therapeutic. Everyone has reason for thanks and tomorrow is meant to remind us of how lucky we are to have what we have. I am thankful for: My Wife Donna.  She has stuck by me through some tough times and I feel like our marriage is richer because of all of it. We still laugh together daily and she "gets me" and I "get her". She has taught me that love and marriage are forever. I cannot imagine someone more compatible with me. 23 years and counting. Thankful. My Daughter Sarah.  I hate gushing about kids, but Sarah makes it hard not to. She has a strong will, an incredible work ethic and a huge heart. She is an amazing student, way better than I ever was, through no doing of her parents. Why is that? I don't know, but I am thankful. My Son Ben. 

Awash In Joy

I'll start by using my old tag line "I'm not handy". This is my opinion, but I really think I don't give myself enough credit. History has shown that in most projects I take on, I do okay. Today was "install the dishwasher" day. We bought a Bosch Ascenta about a week ago and rather than spend the $150 to have it installed, we thought we'd save a little money and do it ourselves. I had no less than four people tell me that it was "easy" and 3 of those promised me they would be on retainer if needed. Based on those assessments I thought I'd give it a go. I started by watching a YouTube video where a Canadian guy installed one. It looked fairly straightforward, and the video was only 21 minutes long, so I figured how hard can it be? Bear in mind that the Canadian guy didn't live in a house that was 91 years old. His was new or new-ish. So I get started by plugging in my work light that is halogen and, I kid you not, two minute

Spare A Little Change

My wife and I have a friend, who we actually met through another friend. This gentleman works for The Guest House , a homeless shelter/re-housing program in the city center of Milwaukee. The agency is, like many non-profit, humanitarian social services, wildly underfunded considering their case load (or, perhaps more correctly, their potential case load). As a result, they rely heavily on internal fund raising and a large community of volunteers to help fill the gaps. There are 86 beds at the shelter, and the men are typically hooked up with counselling staff to help them with job searches, educational opportunities, substance abuse and  mental health issues. Our friend took us on a tour one day and I have to say, it is one of the more humbling places I've ever toured or had the privilege to serve. A while back, my wife Donna felt compelled to set a goal of trying to pull together enough volunteer donations to be able to serve a meal at the shelter. She set up a sign up list usi

The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

Well, the waiting game continues. I'm speaking of my attempt to get my manuscript published. I finished it in mid-September and began my publishing pursuits in earnest shortly thereafter. There are many ways to go about getting your book published, and so I consulted a friend of mine who is in the publishing business and asked him what my options were. He said there were essentially three routes you could take, or at least three that he recommends to people that he works with. I describe them below in the suggested order of pursuit. The first is the most desirable, the last being the least. The first route was what he referred to as the agented route. That route involves soliciting the services of an agent, preferably a New York agent. The agent then works for you and pushes your book to various publishing houses in an attempt to get them to publish it. While you still have to write your query letter, synopsis and marketing plan, they do the "hard work" of convincing pu

Coliseums and Gladiators

I just returned from a two day conference in Green Bay. It was the ESRI WI Users Group ( EWUG ) annual meeting and for the second time in 3 years it was held at Lambeau Field. The stadium has meeting rooms and banquet facilities in its atrium and it really worked out nicely for this conference. I've been to a few games at the stadium, so it was not a totally new experience for me. Every time I visit it though, I am more blown away by the behemoth that it has become. Lambeau leaves all other football stadiums in the dust with regards to fan experience. You just cant touch it. It's second to none. At the same time, during the renovations, they took a football field with history and made it into a destination. All of this was done in the interest of revenue generation, but most of it is done in good taste and with class. It reminds me of Miller Park in some respects, as it's as much an indoor mall as it is a sports venue. Not a bad thing, just not your daddy's ballpar

A Reading from the Book of Sarah

Tomorrow my eldest, fairest, and only daughter turns 18. As my boss put it so disturbingly, she could technically get married now and not have to ask permission. Yikes! Thanks for that shot to the cranium. I'm well aware there are a host of other things she'll be eligible for too, including tattoos, credit lines, and probably some once-illicit-now-legal activities in Colorado and Washington. She's a smart kid though and we raised her right, so I trust she'll make only good decisions, like waiting until you're 51 to get a tattoo, if ever. Sarah began to make her entrance into the world in the middle of the night in November of 1995. Donna woke me up at 3:00 AM saying something like "I think this is it!" I jumped out of bed and we both clicked into hyper drive. We let her brother know (he was living with us at the time), called the doctor and hit the road for West Allis Memorial Hospital. After almost 8 hours of labor, she was born at 10:53 AM that day.

All Things Churchy

Our family went to a new church on Sunday. We were feeling compelled to try something new, so thought we would try Transformation City Church in Milwaukee. We've heard good things about their mission of outreach and service, so we thought we'd give it a look. The church itself is built in what used to be an archery range. They've remodeled it, so it is modern and spacious. Like many churches in this day and age, the worship was contemporary, complete with amps, drums and electric guitars. The message was good as well, now we just need to determine if we want to commit to the commute to get there every Sunday which takes 25 minutes. We've been at our current church Elmbrook for twenty years or so. I won't go into why we're looking to change, because this post isn't about that. Instead I'd like to run down some of the churches I've been to over the years. Each of them has their strengths and weaknesses, and all of them played a role in shaping my be

The Hero Treatment

I have a date that comes up annually on my Microsoft Outlook calendar every November 1st. It is set to remind me of my nephew's sobriety anniversary. I think this is his 4th or 5th year of being clean and sober and I have the calendar set because, in my mind, this is a significant date that needs to be recognized. It needs to be recognized annually . This guy knows how ugly he was as a drinker. He could be mean, nasty and a completely different person when he was on a bender. He was great to talk to and really funny to be around when he was sober, but if he had a few, look out. I wanted no part of being around him. Now that he's recovered, it's like he's a different person. I say its important to recognize these people for their achievement on an annual basis. However, in their own lives, every day is a day that needs to be recognized, at least for them, unto themselves. One of the foundations of AA and other programs is "one day at a time". While no one wa