Archive for January, 2008

I yawn and stretch and lie in the dark with all kinds of thoughts flashing across the inside of my eyelids. Not often do I suffer from insomnia, but tonight has been one of the rare occasions. Just what am I thinking?

Tonight one Democrat and one Republican are probably getting the first real sleep they’ve each gotten in months. Edwards and Guiliani both dropped out of the race for the presidency. Meanwhile the remaining candidates are tucked away in bus bunks trying to get a few winks before the next stop on their tours of the Super Tuesday states. Poor bastards.

It’s January 31 and that means W-2s should be in hand. Tax season. I’ve never had qualms about paying taxes. It just seems like the thing to do. But in recent years as my tax rate has increased, I wince at the sheer amount of taxes being withheld from each paycheck. I pay in taxes today twice what I made in my first job out of college. That seems a bit excessive. I’m becoming more of a fan of tax relief and an overhaul of our tax system as I get older. Maturity perhaps?

A recent purchase, the John Mayer Trio’s “Try” CD, has me primed for live music. Here’s a favorite track from a great live CD:

Good Love Is on The Way


I’m a lazy lover
Wasting time
Then one day in summer
I changed my number
To cut my line

Good love is on the way
I’ve been lonely but I know I’ll be okay
Good love is on the way

Three years I’ve been broken hearted
But now her ghost is finally gone
Done with broken people
Ohhh this is me
I’m working on (that’s all I know)

Good love is on the way
I’ve been lonely but I know I’ll be okay
Good love is on the way

Good to go for wherever I’m needed
Bags are packed and I’m
Down by the door
You can take all the tricks up my sleeve
I don’t need them anymore

Good love is on the way
I’ve been lonely but I know I’ll be okay
Good love is on the way
I’ve been lonely, lonely, lonely yeah

Good love is on the way
Good love is on the way

Good night!



Read Full Post »


I completed my first indoor BRICK this evening, spinning for 40 minutes (15.5 miles) and then running two miles in 20 minutes. I’ve got a long way to go on accelerating my running pace, but hey, it’s all progress at this early base-building stage. Swimming will start in another 30 days. Until then it’s just me, the bike, running shoes and weights for strength training.

On Monday I also registered as a member of the Minnesota Triathlon Club for 2008. While I may only do one tri in the calendar year, I think the support, suggestions and group training events will benefit my efforts in many ways.

Five months until the Buffalo Tri. At this point, I’m feeling right on plan.


Read Full Post »

My blog posts on politics are few. Plenty of pundants exist in the world to cover this election year and its ensuing results. God bless the political bloggers one and all, because it’s a god-awful task to follow all this subterfuge, pining and posturing.

But today, I’ll note John Edwards and his decision to withdraw from his bid for POTUS.

It’s time for me to step aside so that history can blaze its path. We do not know who will take the final steps to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but what we do know is that our Democratic Party will make history. We will be strong, we will be unified, and with our convictions and a little backbone we will take back the White House in November and we’ll create hope and opportunity for this country.” -John Edwards.com

Edwards realized he had “no real path to the nomination and it was time to step aside,” a spokesman for the doomed campaign told the media earlier today. Let’s face it, nice guys finishing third in their home state primary don’t have much hope to win a nomination for anything except the “Nice Guy” Award. Couple that with a platform that’s about as milk toast as it gets and Mr. Edward’s decision was pretty easy to make at this juncture. While unfortunate for the lack of interest future televised debates will bring having one less candidate on the dais, his removal from the campaign does give clarity to the Democratic side of the race.

My Independent, Democrat and dysfunctional Republican friends, you now have a choice between two remaining front runners who will no doubt go well into Spring kicking each other in the chin: Billary and Barack.

Mrs. Clinton obviously has her own problems to contend with as her campaign falls into the late January deep freeze – namely her husband’s angry mouth. Someone please dial Monica for her thoughtful lips tips on how to shut that pie hole of Bill’s.

Barack, on the other hand, clearly has momentum going into February. Not that Senator Kennedy’s public backing is all that, but let’s face it, the cash drawer on the Obama campaign just got filled to the brim. In fact, I doubt the campaign volunteers can possibly count all the money, let alone spend it fast enough.

Seems that, like it or not, America is up for change when it comes to who gets the key to the White House next January.

And as Sheryl Crow so aptly taught us, “…A change will do you good.”


Read Full Post »


I spent about 90 minutes in my old home last night…the house my former wife and I picked out together when we relocated to the city. She inhabits it now and our two teenagers split their time between “the palace” and my more humble habitat located about four miles away.

Several years ago, while still married, we purchased a bunk bed for my son’s room. Seemed like a great boyhood thing to have. I always wanted one when I was a kid. Bunk beds just spell fun when you’re eight years old and have a sleepover. But when you’re 13, that style of bed loses its luster. So the kid’s mom sold the bed and needed a little help deconstructing the frame.

It’s a rite of passage, I suppose, when a child-like bed is disposed of – enabling that child to grow and mature with more appropriate surroundings. That’s how I felt as I loosened the screws of the bunk bed and hauled it to the garage where the new owners will pick it up in a day or two. For the past seven years, that bed enveloped my son each night. Formative years. He’s dreamed in that bed, good dreams and bad ones. He’s fallen ill and recovered in that bed. He’s grown more than a foot while spending nights sleeping there. He’s daydreamed and played on that bed, which has taken him to other planets and who knows where else through his imaginings.

So selling off the bed is more than just ridding the house of an article of unwanted furniture. It’s saying farewell to a fixture that, for the past 2,555 nights, kept my youngest child feeling safe and sound even through dark moments of loneliness when he woke up and realized his dad no longer slept under that particular roof with him.

These things slip through our fingers – a kid’s half life – gone in a second, I thought to myself. But what can a parent do?

He’s as anxious to grow up and live his life as I was….as I am. No fault in wanting that. And with a new bed will come new dreams and growth that will, in just a few years, make this boy a young man. A young man who’ll always be admired and loved.


Read Full Post »

Now I’m Found

It’s kinda’ creepy, actually. Thanks to The Google, there are all sorts of people in the world searching for specific answers and information about their most haunting questions. Well, okay, some are perhaps the random thoughts of idiots, but that’s fine, too.

Here are some search terms and phrases that brought people to Views from Minnesota and my perspective found on this blog:

  • Cities 97 Sampler Volume 19 (yep, that’s been THE most heavily viewed page on the blog, capturing something more than 1,400 page views since I posted it in November).
  • Modern day cave dwellers california (not sure what blog entry this is associated with. I wrote a piece on the California wildfires last October, so maybe that’s the one).
  • Shivering when thinking about women (another one that I can’t quite explain. Is that shiver caused by fear or delusion?)
  • Wear my sweater song (that would be a direct reference to “The Way That I Am,” Ingrid Michaelson’s popular tune that Old Navy ran during the back-to-school season)
  • Bridge collapsed in Mississippi River (if it bleeds it leads. My first blog post on the I-35W bridge collapse on Aug. 1 holds the record on the blog for most views in one day and was also featured on CNN.com)
  • Three things in the Bucket List (let’s see if I remember them: never pass up a bathroom, never waste a hard on and never underestimate a fart…something like that).
  • This Year’s Love by David Gray (no comment on that one…yet).

No matter how strangers find me, I’m always more than happy to serve as a source of profound and life-changing information (do I hear crickets chirping?). I just hope my own twisted reality suffices when Googling important things like, “all 13 verses for the song ‘Hallelujah.'”

That’s SOME important shit!


Read Full Post »


The exhiliration of making a simple dinner for a special someone can send you scattering into a million different directions. Where’s Chef Emeril Lagasse when you need him most?!!! As luck has it, my Mom did me a favor schooling me on the “how tos” in the kitchen. I’m not a master. Far from it. But I can throw things together and it all seems to land on the table the way it should…edible.

Mom took pride in her kitchen abilities – as many moms do. I rarely saw her use measuring cups. Teaspoons or tablespoons were either measured in the palm of her hand or with whatever utensil happened to be nearby. She had a serious touch for cooking. I benefited from watching her operate in the kitchen. Combine that education with the one I got working as a mechanic in my Dad’s small business and I grew up in the best of both worlds. Today, I can both wrench on a home improvement project and tackle a New Orleans-style gumbo complete with homemade roux with relative ease.

Ask any pro athlete, from Michael Jordan to Tom Brady, and it’s clear that having a certain “touch” makes all the difference in the outcome or result. Each time Jordan controlled the ball, fans knew something special was about to happen. We couldn’t take our eyes off him for a second. As Brady lines up under center to take the snap, his fans also watch – holding a brief collective breath – to see if he’ll once again connect effortlessly with one of his wide receivers. For in having the right touch, success follows.

We all strive to keep that fortuitous “touch” thing going – in our lives, at work, in relationships. Sometimes everything clicks. We’re just “on.” The words flow with ease, the to-do list at work actually gets done, the weekend errands seem effortless. It’s these little moments of near-perfection in our lives that make it so worthwhile to keep getting up and striving to repeat it yet another day.

Isn’t it amazing what a simple touch can do? Yep. It’s all in having that elusive, Jordan-esque touch.


Read Full Post »

Define It, Then Be It

Seems my “what I know about me” posts could continue ad nauseum.  This is less about what I know about me and more about my perspective on how we become who we are.

What defines us as individuals? Work? Life experiences? Friendships? Parents? Hard knocks? Luck? How do we roll up all the things that happen to us from the time we’re toddling to the time we’re mature adults (and by mature I mean 30-ish, done with tramping around a campus, through a first and maybe a second job – you know…experienced in life more than just a little). Because let’s face it, 20 is not mature. Hell, for many people, 30 is still childhood.

For years and years, I struggled with what I was all about. There I was, an average guy growing up in rural America. Average intelligence, average height and weight, average job, average middle-class home. Where was the nugget in all that I was in my 20s and 30s that made me who I am today?

After a couple decades of gaining life experience (and it hasn’t ended, but I’m now self-qualified and savvy enough to address this notion) in some Hemingway-ian fashion I found a way to live my life my way. Getting there was no easy chore. In fact it was unpleasant and resulted in aches and pains placed on others whom I had no intention of hurting but they were hurt in the wake of self discovery that I created. I’ve apologized profusely for that defining period in my life in which I became self centered, but had I not acted upon filling the empty inside – that thirst for knowing who I am – I’d still be wallowing in a world of average.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d never profess to be anything but average (maybe slightly above), any more than I was 10 years ago. But I’m rich now. Rich in knowing what defines me…and I can live with me.  I’m really NOT a bad guy. Confidence, understanding, and an ability to observe, listen, assess, and remain open to opinions. Ahhh…the ability to hear people express their opinions and not judge them based on that. (How novel considering that from the time we’re born we’re told what to be, how to behave, how to react, what not to do. No. No. No. NO. NOOO!!! We form our young adult ideals based on lectures, textbooks and pre-disposed notions of others – family members, friends, teachers, mentors – who used their own definitions of themselves to define us. How could they? How dare they!!!)

Woah, major digression there.

Defining and being oneself is all about facing those harbored fears and weaknesses, and ultimately saying, “fuck that. No longer will I allow myself to be tied to the limiting range of that 20 watt lightbulb that I’ve allowed myself to feel comfortable with all those years.”

Shatter the bulb, people. Replace it with a megawatt bulb that will cast light in all the far corners of your world. A light so blinding that it guides you right past your worst fear and weakness and into a world that is yours for the changing or taking, if you’re so inclined. That new light? It’s inside each of us from day one. But until we define ourselves and live our way, the light can’t function…it can’t fill our lives the way we desire to be filled.

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.”  ~e.e. cummings


Read Full Post »

Other Thinking Bloggers

ThinkingSrkenney, owner of, The World: Ever Changing, blog recently provided me with my first-ever blog award of any kind: The Thinking Bloggers award. I’m so honored.

The participation rules are simple:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to five blogs that make you think.

2. Link to the post where you were initially awarded the Thinking Blogger Award so people can easily find the exact origin of the award.

3. Optional: Proudly display the “Thinking Blogger Award” with a link to the post that you wrote (here is an alternative gold version if silver doesn’t fit your blog’s design).

And now, here are five blogs that make me think and, thus, get my Thinking Blogger Award nods:

Colleen Wainwright’s blog The Communicatrix

Eldon’s blog Fat Cyclist

Laurie Kendrick’s blog Laurie Kendrick…Oh What Fresh Hell Is This?

Dame Wiggins of Lee’s blog Matters of Little Consequence


Charlie Quimby’s blog Across The Great Divide

There are many more award winning blogs in my view and some have long-since received their Thinking Blogger awards. Thanks to all those who keep writing. I plan to keep reading!


Read Full Post »

Problem Solved

There’s still more I know about me.

My problems are small and very solvable. I could tell stories, and have, or write about my problems that I’ve overcome. But I won’t wear my problems on my sleeve because I know in the big picture, mine are small compared to what’s going on with the person in the cube next to me, across town or around the world.

In business, there are expectations that every problem has a solution and before we go to our supervisor or CEO for advice we damn well better come prepared with a potential solution (or two, or three) to kick around. The best solution to an existing problem often develops from your very own thinking. It may not be exactly how you planned it, but if you come to the table empty handed, you’re going to get eye rolls and smirks rather than the help and advice you really need. That’s just being proactive.

This same concept applies to real life. We can bemoan the fact that life is unfair, that we’re being beaten down by the haters, that we’re unfortunate, unlucky, unable to solve each little crisis. But face it, life presents crisis to everyone. Everyday. It’s how we handle the crisis that makes us better, gives us character and enables us to not just help ourselves but take it one step further and help others.

Is your cucumber bitter? Throw it away. Are there briars in your path? Turn aside. That is enough. Do not go on and ay, ‘Why were things of this sort ever brought into the world?'” — Marcus Aurelius

The most obvious solutions to our problems are often right in front of us. Don’t let fear or uncertainty keep you from making the tough decision. You can’t whine away a problem and if you become indecisive, you’re dead.


Read Full Post »

There’s something else I know about myself. As my environment changes, so do I.

Moving to the Minneapolis/St. Paul region from rural Iowa exposed me to a world of new opportunities. As a kid, my hometown of 12,000 people was the biggest town in a five county area. The career growth opportunities for someone like me were nonexistent. The educational opportunities for my kids also left a great deal to be desired. The city gave both my kids and me a plethora of open doors and windows from which to jump.

The atmosphere provided by the city opened my mind’s eye to things I never would have seen had I stayed in rural America. I’ve tried the city shoes on and, damn, I like how they fit. For an average, educated guy who, due to good luck and fortunate timing connected with great people, I’ve experienced some wonderful, meaningful changes in life…professionally and personally.

My environment will, no doubt, change again. If, by good fortune, I have the opportunity to spend my later years soaking up the sights and sounds of nature from a cabin far from the city, I’ll adapt. Likewise, I will be just as content living in the midst of the metro, the lights of a nearby theatre marquis serving as my nightlight.

If you do not change, you can become extinct. Get out of your comfort zone and adapt to change sooner. Take control, rather than let things happen to you.” – Dr. Spencer Johnston

It’s what we make of the landscapes we find ourselves in that bring us ever closer to who we really are.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »