Thursday, July 1, 2010


I've decided to take some time off for a while, perhaps even a few years.  I will be back. 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Boy, what a week!

It's taken me a week to recover from all the activity.

Two weeks ago, tomorrow, we held a bachelor party for my oldest son. I was a little surprised that I was even invited, since these things are usually meant for the groom and his brothers and buddies. Nevertheless, the old man was asked to come, and I had a ball with those young bucks. Golf, watching soccer on TV, good food, plenty of refreshments, and "twenty-something" entertainment made for a great weekend.

Then, on Monday, I returned to work for a few days of making a living. It took some time to try to catch up on sleep, and then Thursday came, and I left work early for the rehearsal and groom's dinner. Again we had good food, and a very pleasant evening, even though the weather went south on us with wind and rain.

Friday morning dawned with humidity, overcast skies and a mild breeze. A golf game in the morning was a blast, and that led us to early afternoon preparation for the big event. The wedding was at 5:00, and we were blessed with sunshine and cobalt blue sky. We couldn't have asked for more as the ceremony progressed into pictures, dinner, and dancing.

After a very late night, Saturday brought more good weather, and a gathering of parents and siblings for gift opening. Then, a filling lunch at our local Mexican restaurant capped off the weekend. We wished the bride and groom our best as they departed for a week-long camping trip in the Rockies.

John and Jen - Big congratulations, and love and hugs to you both!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

It doesn't get any better than this

It's early morning. After a good night's sleep, I'm sitting out on a deck at the resort, sipping coffee and reading an art magazine. The birds are chirping, the sun is peeking through thin clouds. A gentle breeze cools the air as I savor the warm, sunny morning, and gaze out at the golf course and Lake Vermilion. A long day of fishing is planned, and 18 holes of golf are an option. I have to say, there is a tendency to make the well known claim: It doesn't get any better than this.

I'm reminded that I have been extremely fortunate over the years. I have had many experiences that offer me that same feeling. My annual fishing trip with good friends is only one of those times. Any time I can relax and spend time with my wife always ranks at the top. Or any time spent with our "kids," family vacations, ball games, reading the Sunday newspaper with coffee in hand, putting paintbrush to canvas, good movies, and thunderstorms or gentle spring rains. The list goes on and on.

I guess it really just comes back to having a positive attitude about life. We can choose to have those great experiences at almost any time. Just put together a recipe of loved ones, doing something enjoyable, a clear head and anticipation of the future, and you can honestly say,
It just doesn't get any better than this.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Sea of Acronyms

As the GM, I was leading a CSR meeting at work a couple of weeks ago, and mentioned to the group that I was going to be gone the following morning because I was going to see ICP. One of the CSR's started to chuckle when I said this, and I asked her what was so funny. She first asked me what ICP was, and I told her it stood for Industrial Custom Products, one of our suppliers. She then told me she couldn't help laughing when ICP was mentioned, because her only previous exposure to that acronym was a raw, hardcore hip hop band called ICP - Insane Clown Posse!

Acronyms can sometimes get out of hand in business, especially when one needs to communicate a large amount of information in a short amount of time or space. Because of our QA program, I may need to contact 3M to request a RoHS COC for the SCal we are using on an OEM graphic. The CEO will need to find out if we have WEE certified pallets for a POP UPS shipment to LA and NYC. We control our VOC's because we switched to UV ink systems to avoid use of products containing MEK and other hazardous substances that increased the size of our MSDS record keeping. CAD, FTE, IMR, NDA, OEM, P&L, PO, RFP, TM...

We are bombarded every single day while listening to radio, watching television news or reading the newspaper, with the latest issues regarding ADP, BP, AIG, GM, OMB and MP3, not to forget the GOP and DFL. Most of us don't even think twice about these familiar abbreviations and acronyms, since they may also assist in our understanding or streamline our conversations.

That is, until someone thinks you are going to visit the Insane Clown Posse.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Amelia Jane

At 8:01 in the morning on Monday, May 3rd, we were thrilled to welcome our first grandchild, little Amelia Jane, into the world. I was there to hear her first cries.

Laura and Chris' new daughter weighed in at 7 lbs, 10 oz, was 21-1/8" long, and has more dark hair on her head than her grandpa has had since the 1980's. She's cuter than a bug's ear!

I start reminiscing about the day Laura was born, and now find myself longing for those early days of parenthood. Then I remember the dirty diapers, green pea baby food and the 2:00 am feedings. On second thought, I think I'll be satisfied as a new grandpa. Friends tell me it's the best thing in the world, and I am already inclined to agree.

I also begin to wonder what she will look like as she moves from the infant stage to early childhood. Will she develop red hair like her mom and grandma? Will she have a perpetual smile like they do? Or a sense of humor and dimples like her dad? Will she be blessed with musical talent? And will she start copying from the Sunday funny paper like I used to do? Perhaps all of the above.

It will be exciting to follow her as she develops into a little lady. In no time at all, I will need to offer to my son-in-law a copy of the "Application to Date My Daughter."

Time will not stand still, so for now, we'll enjoy every second we have with her.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Man of God

A good friend died last week. It was expected, and yet also a shock. He had been fighting brain cancer for nearly two years, and even though his friends and family were praying for a miraculous recovery, deep down we knew it was a battle that probably could not be won.

Rick was one of those people who would have been the perfect candidate for a miracle. If the Lord had chosen to save him, I have no doubt that he would have spent the rest of his life sharing his story, and giving all glory to God. That is the way he lived his life, with faith, strength and kindness, touching countless others as he supported his loving family, conducted business, and served God.

Instead, he has left us, and joined the ranks of the angels on high. I believe heaven is even a better place now with him there. His landscaping talents are probably already being put to good use, his guitar playing sounds better than ever, and now he will always fill his limit of walleyes.

So I say goodbye to my friend, who will be sorely missed.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Warning: I brake for garage sales!

It's that time of year again! I am driving down the street, minding my own business, when all of a sudden I am forced to slow down and swerve to avoid collision with an unexpected congestion of vehicles and mankind that can only be caused by one thing... a garage sale!

Cars and trucks line both sides of the street as I delicately weave between moms and pros, skateboarders, men and women on their way to or from work, the retired folk and curious neighbors. Their faces are truly gleeful as they approach that first sale of the spring. Indeed, those of us living in the north cannot have sales year-round as they do in warmer climates. We have been cooped up in our homes all winter, and seeing garage sale ads and signs is a sure indication that cold weather is over. We can once again get nosy and see what people are getting rid of, and perhaps even find a treasure or two if we're lucky!

I am no stranger to this annual event. Some of you know that I have held many a sale in my garage over the years, and I have seen those gleeful people approach my home with the same anticipation that I often feel. It's a lot of work to prepare and conduct a sale but it's fun too, and mine have usually been quite successful.

I have also been on the buying side at dozens of sales. I found a nice old print, Pilgrims Going to Church, by George Henry Boughton, and a few Currier & Ives prints as well. I have discovered antiques, art books, pottery, old toys, and a multitude of other items to add to our collections. Some things find their way into our daily lives or are put on display to share, some are held for reference in the future. But, whether I like to admit it or not, a lot of it will end up in another sale in our garage in the next year or so. But that's OK! I have been part of the process, and it is the process that is so much fun. The process is what creates that glee. It's the hunt for treasure that I thrive on, and I wouldn't change a thing.

See you in the garage!