Showing posts from April, 2015

A View From The Wing Seat

I let my son drive to the Guest House of Milwaukee last night in our Hyundai Santa Fe. We wanted to give him some downtown freeway driving practice. He's been harping that he wants to go to Milwaukee, (specifically to Ian's Pizza) for a few months now, so we thought this would give him a taste of the construction, congestion and traffic that lies between Waukesha and Milwaukee. Now, I want to state one thing up front, right out of the gate. He did a good job, an admirable job, for a first timer. Having said that though, I have to confess to my entire family that I now understand why they say I am a scary driver. It's because it's a WHOLE different world from the passenger seat, let me tell ya. Oh my goodness. When I'm driving and (seemingly) in control, things do not seem nearly as dangerous, fast moving, perilous, close or frightening as when I'm in the passenger seat. I see things and situations from the passenger seat that are absolutely NOT THERE when I&

Black Hole Years

The time is approaching when we will pick Sarah up from her first year of college. She is done near the middle of May and even though its only the end of April, she sounds like she's ready to come home. We miss her greatly. She's having a blast making her own life and I realize this is part of the whole growing up process, but that doesn't mean it's any easier for those of us who raised her for 18 years. In our church every week, we got thrust back into the realm of small children. Because a few of our members are younger than us, we get a good number of kids ranging in age from 3 months to about 9 years old. What this has done is make me realize how much I miss those little bodies, those tiny minds and the innocence that comes along with it. It seems like last week we were "in the trenches" like these parents are. The trenches for us meant diapers, and formula, and late night feedings, and naps, and snotty noses, and nuks (binkys), and lifting and setti

Grandma House

If you've read my poetry collection, Written Life , you'd know that I grew up in an old house. You'd also know that I live in an old house now, as well. By my estimation, at the rate I'm going, I'll probably die in an old house. To be honest, it may be an old house that kills me. If you've ever lived in one or, even worse, owned one, you know that they are a lot of work. Something is always backed up, leaking, creaking, leaning, crumbling, sparking, shorting, dimming, sinking, heaving, corroding, or just in need of a good coat of paint. Our house was built in 1922. The house I grew up in was built in 1907. While both of them were built as solid as a rock, not like the cheap construction of today, that is not always a good thing. Solid as a rock in our case means plaster walls. While these are nice from a noise muffling standpoint, getting at things like plumbing is kind of a problem. Outlets are strategically placed, but we always seem to be one short of per

Earth Day - Everyday

This coming Wednesday is Earth Day. Call me odd, but it's one of my favorite celebrations of the year. I am a huge outdoors enthusiast, so anything that recognizes the relationship of humans to their environment I support. Earth Day was started by Wisconsin's own Gaylord Nelson in 1970. The Earth Day Network website says that "Earth Day 1970 capitalized on the emerging consciousness, channeling the energy of the anti-war protest movement and putting environmental concerns front and center." I think it's pretty cool that some guy from the Midwest took it upon himself to start such a movement.  Of course there's a conservative, evangelical element out there that says we shouldn't worship the Earth, and I'm not saying that I do. I do however APPRECIATE the earth and RESPECT the fact that it would do very fine on its own without us here. We've made our mark on Earth so far, and lets just say much of it is less than flattering.  When I live

In the Quiet

A couple of people have approached me since my Written Life launch and mentioned how they enjoyed the reading. They also mention how comfortable I appeared and how entertaining it was. While I find this flattering it's also kind of mind blowing. I say this because my introvert self thinks that speaking in front of groups is so very not-my-thing. As my step-dad used to say, "I'm a quiet man." Never mind that he was everything but a quiet man - maybe the worlds best extrovert - but that was his tag line. But I am a quiet man. Just ask anyone. At least that's what I think of myself. I'm the guy who will switch aisles in a store if I see someone I know, just so I can avoid them. I don't think it's them that I'm avoiding, it's the small talk. It kills me. It's easier just to switch aisles and not have to engage at all. Is that antisocial? Probably. Is it weird? I think it is. I think of it as a shortcoming in my character - a defect. 

It was the Best of Times

As you probably know, yesterday was my Written Life poetry release at Cafe De Arts . It was a day I've waited for for the past 4 months, since my book was accepted for publishing. Here are a few of the highlights: My 82 year old mother made the trip alone on the MegaBus from St. Paul to go to the launch. When I look at that kind of resolve and commitment, it only makes me hope that I can do the same thing for my kids at that age. It was great to see her, to catch up, to reminisce and just spend some time with her. I got a wonderful introduction from my writing instructor Kathie Giorgio. She detailed the history of my wading into the world of poetry and then presented me with the mandatory accessory of all poets, a black beret. People say I looked pretty good in it, but I doubt it will see the light of day on anything short of Halloween.  I gave a background on my love of poetry including two of my favorites, Richard Brautigan and Shel Silverstein. These guys make everyone els

Don't Look In The Junk Drawer

My mom is coming down from St. Paul for the book release tomorrow. I can't wait to see her and spend a little quality down-time catching up on things. She'll be staying with us, which works out really good having Sarah away at school in Minnesota. She'll have her own room and space which is something I always appreciate when we go up to Minnesota. But there's a down side to having anyone stay in your house, and it has nothing to do with them. It's the preparation that goes into getting ready for them. Now if you're like me when I stay in someone else's house, I am usually so grateful that they're hosting, I don't worry about what state their accommodations are in. I'd like to think that's what they think when they're staying with me, but I can't. Because I'm concerned they're looking into all of my drawers, closets and unvacuumed areas. They're checking my medicine cabinet for expired meds, looking in horror at my &

Easter Morning, circa 1970

It is Easter morning. Early, early on Easter morning. Mom is sleeping in, but that doesn't prevent the flurry of activity by us kids. My sister Jane is the first to awaken and proceeds to wake the rest of us, me, Rob and Paul. Pat and Tom are clued into the no Easter Bunny thing so are sleeping in on this cool April morning. I wake up, rub my eyes and crawl out of bed in my pajamas bearing number 40 which also happens to be the number Charlie West, the punt returner and defensive back for the 1970 Minnesota Vikings. West is a relative no-name among the ranks of the multiple stars on the Vikings, a lunch-pail kind of average athlete. But when you love football like I do, and are given a pair of pajamas with a random number on them, you find out who it was, and you follow them. Charlie West was my Deion Sanders. I quickly shake the sleep out of my head and go downstairs to begin the hunt for my Easter basket. The magic of the Easter bunny is under a bit of scrutiny in my own mind


Well, I cannot believe it is already April. Time continues to scream by and today was the first day I actually worked up a sweat while raking the yard since last fall. One of those days it felt good to be alive. With the release of Written Life behind me, I have begun to focus on promotion and appearances. Things are crazy busy from that standpoint and I'm not sure I'll ever get back to actually just writing again. Again, the need to promote books is a good problem to have, so I'm not complaining. One thing at a time seems to be the norm lately. I wanted to run down a bit of what is coming/happening in the next month or so just so nobody misses anything. Bear with me for this post and I promise I'll get back to blogging about other things starting Sunday. Written Life Torrid Literature Journal XIV Written Life Release Party:  This will be held Saturday, April 11th, from 2:30 - 4:00 at Cafe De Arts in downtown Waukesha. Cafe De Arts is a coffee roastery t