Showing posts from January, 2016

A Week's Worth By Thursday

I am having one of those weird weeks where everything is beautiful to me.  And I am pretty sure this is not normal. Monday brought another week of writing class, which in all honesty makes every Monday more bearable. I am a total writing geek and I don't know how to explain this group to you any better than to say that they are an eclectic mix of crazy geniuses. One woman finished her novel this week and when we heard the ending, we shot her down. It wasn't in a critical way, but rather a, "Nope, you can't end it that way" way. This is what we do to people. We tell them how to be better. A better writer, a better editor, and eventually a better author.  In that same class, another guy said he was leaving the class to go onto the "book writing" class on Thursday night. While I'll miss his time travel science fiction, I applaud that he is taking his work to the next level.  He is one of those writers you just know will make it someday. His w

Playoff Postpartum

Well, with the Packers again soundly out of the Super Bowl hunt, I can sit back and watch the playoffs and the big game without caring who wins anything. (I have my favorites and I do care, but ultimately, I don't care.) The game last week (vs. Arizona) was a thriller and as bummed as I have been in years past, this was no big deal. They weren't worthy of a championship, that much is sure, but they played their hearts out, so no shame. With football winding down, I have found other things to keep myself busy. For instance, this past week I got to watch my son swim at his third swim meet. In addition to that I had the duties of keeping time on one of the lanes. They have "backup" timers in each lane in case the electronic scoreboard and touch pads malfunction. As benign as this sounds, it was fairly stressful at times in part because the races were so close together. In any case, I only messed up once thereby negating my qualification for the 2018 Olympics. Ben did

January's Momentary Thaw

Well, the cold snap finally broke yesterday. We had a few days of below zero crap, though it was nothing like two years ago when we were polar-vortexed for a couple of weeks. I was saying on Facebook yesterday where eighteen degrees never felt so good. While that may seem funny, I was being absolutely truthful. I walked home from work in those temps and it was like a dream. On Tuesday I walked to work when it was six below (of my own accord) and nearly lost a few fingertips on the way. When things are that cold, being outside is work. Getting ready for going out in it is work. Sleeping in a 96 year-old house in it is even a little work. (My furnace hates me.) I love being outside in most any weather, but when it gets to that point it takes the fun out it altogether. And so when it gets back up into the double digits, well, life in southeastern Wisconsin is pretty dang good. I won't be getting the grill out just yet, but any day I can walk to work without wearing my hood, is

The Face of Change

It was the week David Bowie died. On the day it happened, I put "Ch-ch-changes" on my Facebook wall. It had just come on the radio, and it summed up my thoughts at the moment. I was never a huge David Bowie fan, but many, many of his songs were part of my childhood in the 70's and 80's. And it struck me at the time that here was another change. Another rock star that I once thought was eternally young and invincible, was not gone. Another change in my life that I hadn't expected and, in this case, really didn't like. But I realize life is all about change. As we took my daughter Sarah back to college after her winter break, I was stricken by how different, how changed, the University of Minnesota campus is. There are new buildings, new road configurations, new ways of studying (e.g. digital books, etc.) and new course offerings - some even online. Three Generations At the same time, my daughter was walking, sometimes literally, in my footsteps as a

Reflections at Halfway

Tomorrow marks the midway point in my Tupelo Press 30/30 challenge. If you missed it, I am writing a poem a day for 30 days as a way to raise money for a non-profit literary press. The month is screaming past me but I must say, it has far exceeded my expectations. Going in, I didn't quite know what to expect. I knew there would be just a whole lot of writing and time channeling my words, but I've learned so much along the way too. I've learned: ...that choosing not to do something because it looks hard is a cop out that might deny you a once in a lifetime experience. My first thought when I heard about this challenge was that it sounded like a lot of work and why would I want that pressure? At the same time though, there was something niggling at me whispering "just do it". So I did. ...that even on days when you're tapped out, if you sit down and grind it out, you can get something that may look like crap, indeed may be crap, but is at a minimum, a firs

The Force Is With Us

I might have been the last person alive to see the new Star Wars movie last night. I went with my son, Ben, as my wife is out of town with some friends for the weekend. I've wanted to see this movie since it came out three weeks ago, but I am one of those who hates to fight crowds, so waited until the hype was over with. Let me start by saying the movie was utterly amazing. I had lots of apprehension going in about them "wrecking" the movie. At the same time, everyone I'd talked to said it was true to the story and I wouldn't be disappointed. Always curious what others think of a movie, I came out of the theater and, before I could ask, Ben said "Dad, that was AWESOME." And it was. There were star ship battle scenes where I was riveted to my seat, gripping the armrest. Plus, they pulled in many of the old characters and kept true to the story and history of the series. Great graphics, soundtrack and plot twists too. But the takeaway for me was bein

Send Hot Meals

Lots going on at the moment and lots pending too, so I'll try and hit the high points. My wife left for Las Vegas today, so I am Mr. Mom'ing it for the next four days. In a little known tidbit, that is precisely how this blog started so many years ago. When Donna went to Guatemala on a mission trip for church I started blogging about the trials and tribulations of single parenting. My domain was actually The domain was renamed to but the original posts are still there from those days. With the absence of my wife, comes the requisite eating of meals over the sink, often from the pot they were cooked in or wrapped in a napkin. (Actually, I made Spiede sandwiches tonight and they turned out quite tasty, thanks in large part to my wife who had everything ready.) Also the running of the dishwasher every third day, and making of the bed only the day she returns. (Maybe Saturday too, because that's cleaning day and, well, I ha

Closing Out - Ringing In

Some thoughts after another memorable Christmas and an eleven day break from work. Family is still first. We made the trip to St. Paul over Christmas and, as always, had a warm family get together on Christmas Eve. It seemed slightly less chaotic than in years past, with the focus not as much on gifts, but on getting together, eating, laughing and sharing. Christmas to me will always be about Christmas Eve, more than Day, and this traditional gathering is why. Church. Before we went to the family Christmas we went to Hennepin United Methodist Church for service. This has kind of become our "out of town" church for the holidays. It is a beautiful structure and the massive pipe organ is worth the price of admission. It was so nice to be with our kids, their cousins and my sister in-law. New traditions. On Christmas Day, we and our kids opened our gifts to each each other at the hotel we were staying in. The Homewood Suites is more like a small apartment, with a kitchen