Showing posts from 2023

Local Level Need

A week and a half into retirement and I'm here to report that life is good on the other side. I've kept fairly busy so far, in fact when my wife was questioned by friends on "how Jim's retirement is going," she said, "He hasn't sat down." I think I'm still in the manic, must-get-stuff-done mode that happens when people get a week off of work. Gotta cram it all in. Well, I am starting to adjust to the fact that it will all be there tomorrow and next week, and if I don't get to all of it today, it's really okay. It's been a strange adjustment for sure, but one that I am beginning to appreciate more and more.  Before I decided to retire, one of the things I wanted to commit to was a regular stint of volunteer work. When I mentioned it to a friend who works for Frieden's Food Pantry, he suggested I look into helping in one of their four locations. They vary in the number of families that they serve, but they turn over a huge amount o

New Chapters

 As many of you know I retired last week after almost 27 years at Waukesha County. It was a bit of a shock to some, in part because I am only 61. Nevertheless I'd given it much thought and talked it through with my family and determined it was time. I wanted to get out while I am healthy and perhaps more specifically just do something different. I am lucky enough to say I've loved my work over the past 37 years. GIS and mapping has been my passion since college and I was fortunate enough to get paid to do something I loved.  I'll be honest, while I looked forward to the date of retirement, I was not looking forward to the celebration. Like my daughter, who is more like me than not, I do not like being in the spotlight. While I've become more comfortable being in front of people in part because of my writing and its related promotion and readings, deep down I'm still an introvert with extrovert flares, as they say. But dreading it as I did, it turned out to be a spec

A Friend By Any Other Name

Most people I know have a "best friend" from high school. Sometimes these friends go by-the-by after you graduate, but if that's the case, maybe they weren't a best friend in the first place. Graduation tends to move kids to the four winds, so they sometimes lose touch without even trying. County Stadium for a Brewers Game My friend Pat and I hung out a lot in high school. We'd played on the same middle school football team and were fairly compatible personality types, so just sort of gravitated toward each other in high school and later in college at the U of Minnesota. We had a lot of fun in our college years, both of us lacking focus on our academics in the name of pursuing the finer things in life.  We even managed to wreck a couple of his Volkswagen Beetles on spontaneous trips to St. Cloud. One caught fire, the other we tore up the front axle after driving through a road closed sign and then up an unannounced curb at a high rate of speed. If these sound exc

Sharp Dressed Men

This year we have a series of weddings we are attending as a family. Weddings and funerals are one of the few times in our adult lives that we are expected to wear a suit. As a guy who is most comfortable in jeans and a Henley shirt, suits for me are an uncomfortable obligation. At the same time, I do like how I look in them when I finally get around to wearing one. Because the only suit I have is over 20 years old, it was time to upgrade. My son who will also be attending the wedding also needed a suit, so we decided to get it all done in a single visit to a local clothier this past weekend. Jos. A. Bank is a men's fine clothing shop in Brookfield and came with recommendations from a couple of people.  Now, realize I dislike any kind of shopping at all. Add to it that it would be in an upscale men's clothing shop and you'll understand that I wanted to get in and get out. We walked in and made our way to the suit section, sucessfully avoiding the two very busy salesmen wor

The Long and Short of It

People may or may not know that from a writing standpoint, my current work in progress is a short story collection. It is my first heavy foray into fiction, after publishing four memoirs and a handful of poetry books. I’d dabbled in it over the years, writing some short stories just to change things up, but it was never a full-on pursuit like this is. Fact is, I took all of those stories and am working them into this collection. I have to say that it is exactly what I needed at this point in my writing. I’ve kind of run out of ideas for memoir at the moment, so figured I’d take on something different. I will probably return to it at some point but am enjoying the ride in the land of fiction for the moment. I won’t lie though, at times it is way harder than memoir/nonfiction. Unlike memoir, none of it is done from memory, it is entirely new creation. It isn’t as easy as trying to remember a situation or a story and getting it down. I want to do justice to the genre and am learning a

Every Body's Business

  I’ll chalk this week up to being one of a couple medical check-offs. I had a physical yesterday and I am scheduled for a colonoscopy on Friday. (Don't be jealous!) I’ll spare you the details of both, because nothing says you’re old more than talking about your health, or lack of it. But my visit to my doctor provided a reminder of my current read. I am reading Bill Bryson’s book, The Body: a guide for occupants. The book is fascinating at so many levels and has given me a new appreciation for the complexity of the human body. Each chapter addresses a different part of the body and I can tell by how it’s written that Bryson did a ton of research in writing it. It’s a 500+ page book, a size that will usually dissuade me from even checking it out, but I have to say, I am hooked on it. I find myself telling my wife and kids some of the trivial facts that are in it. Things like: 1. The average person blinks 12,000 times a day. Enough time that your eyes are actually closed for

Sometimes Things Happen For A Reason

For a number of reasons I spent nearly six years pursuing my Bachelor's degree in Geography and Anthropology. As part of it I spent a year as President of the Anthropology Club, a nonprofit, student led group of peers that met for talks, speakers and social events. As part of that we organized a Spring Conference every year that was held at the Itasca State Park Environmental Station.  I'll spare the details of the conference, but my last year there I met a woman, Christine, and we sort of hit it off. I seemed to have an affinity for shorter women and she was no different at just about 5 feet. She was also spunky and feisty and rode a motorcycle. In this case, she had even ridden hers four hours up to the conference, which is an amazing feat on any motorcycle, especially the little Kawasaki 400 she had. Well, anyways, after the conference we dated a few times. I quickly found out she was a fairly strong feminist, which I totally respected. When I asked her if it was okay if I

So It Goes...Revisited

Well, it's been a long hiatus for the So it Goes blog. Other than the short post in 2021, I think it's been since pre-COVID that I actually posted regularly. I think I just needed to step away for a time and take a break from the commitment. It was beginning to get a little robotic and obligatory and so I just put it on the back burner for a while. Much has happened since then I think. I've published a couple of books since then, Cretin Boy and At the Lake. Both give me a great sense of accomplishment, despite the fact that they are not NYT best sellers. I can't imagine not writing, and having four memoirs and a handful of poetry books is about nine books more than I ever imagined, so that's something. I have missed some of the nice feedback that my blog used to give, I'll tell you that for sure. Looking back there were some that even said my blog was what led them to checking out my books, which is pretty cool. I think I will stick with keeping it to a weekly p