Blog update and a big Hello!


Disgruntled blog reader

Good morning! I’ve gained quite a few new followers in the last few months and while I don’t have as huge a following as some blogs, my readers are important to me. So this is a shout out to All of my readers. Welcome to all and I sincerely hope you find something here you like. As you may be aware, or not, I write poetry, opinion pieces, fiction, and non fiction about nearly anything. I welcome all comments and am not afraid to discuss any subject. So bring it on!.

I’m still on my diet, hoping to lose about 30 pounds. I started at 200 and I’ve lost 5 pounds in two weeks. It would be great to see the weight just melt away but that’s not how it works I guess. I haven’t started exercising so I can’t expect things to move quickly. Changing your diet can be one of the hardest things to do. I quit eating pasta, bread, ice cream, (except maybe a little) soda pop, processed foods like sandwich meats, pepperoni, cheese, (except maybe a little) fast food, and more. So my sugar, sodium, and fat intake has been reduced. I’m eating chicken breast and fish for the most part, and frozen and fresh vegetables. Healthy snacks like popcorn and fruit with a little trail mix thrown in. And I’m drinking tea with honey. I’ve cut my calorie intake by nearly half and I’m trying to eat high protein foods. That includes peanut butter which is loaded with sugar of course, but I discovered powdered peanut butter. Powdered peanut butter has most of the fat removed so the calories are much lower. I use it in a protein shake that I have for a meal replacement every day.

Tarot cards

I started blogging about my diet here on a separate page but it’s not too popular so I’ll probably just give you updates from time to time. In other news, instead of blogging about how fat I am, I may start a Tarot page here on the blog. I’ve been interested in Tarot for years and I have a few decks of the cards and a book or two on the subject. I don’t believe in magic or telling the future but Tarot reading is fascinating for a number of reasons. It goes back to at least the 1500’s and has been incorporated into many different cultures around the world. Kings and Queens, presidents and dictators and even a Pope or two may have had tarot readers and astrologers in their employ. So it’s a hobby I have, among others.

Ogham stone

Something else I’m looking into is Ogham writing. Ogham (pronounced O-em) is the earliest known Irish Celtic writing. Consisting of lines drawn or carved, and extending from or crossing a central vertical line, the writing was mostly used for personal names. Some examples of Ogham have been found on wood but because wood deteriorates over time, most of these have been lost. Most of the examples found today are on stone and are found all over Ireland, with some in Scotland and Wales. There are also examples that have been found that depict other than personal names such as news or information. It is thought that messages were written in Ogham on short pieces of wood and carried by hand between recipients. Ogham writing was used from about the 3rd to the 5th centuries. So I’m learning a little about that and may try doing some of my own.

So once again, hello to my new and old followers. I’m thrilled that you’ve joined me and I hope to keep you informed and entertained. Please feel free to leave comments, ideas, arguments or whatever you have. Thank you very much for reading because without you, there’s no point!

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A Leap Of Faith


Back in the early 80’s my then girlfriend and I were living and working in my hometown. My girlfriend went out of work for a back disability and shortly after, I was laid off due to lack of business. With promises of being called back to work when things picked up, I went on unemployment. I enjoyed not working quite a lot but nearing the end of my unemployment benefits, and with no sign of being called back to work, we knew we needed to do something for income. We finally gave up our apartment and moved in with her parents in a suburb of the Twin Cities. Desperate now to find some work, I started looking through the newspapers.

One day I found an ad for a job at a formal wear shop. Selling, renting tuxedos, measuring people, hemming pants, pressing clothes. I had never done anything even remotely like that in my life. I had never even wore a suit more than once or twice. I had spent most of my young working life as a factory worker and knew nothing about fashion, especially wedding fashion. But I needed a job and so I went out, bought a suit, and hopped a bus for downtown St. Paul. Long before the days of GPS and Google maps, I hunted around until I finally found the shop. It was attached to a Bridal wear shop of the same name. Working up my courage, I went inside.

A bell dinged as I walked through the door. Looking around the shop, a young guy barely older than me eventually came from the back room. He introduced himself, we shook hands, and I said I was answering the ad for a job. He invited me into the office, from which he had come. The desk was piled with papers, haphazardly strewn across it, and front and center was a handheld video game, one of the original
Mattel football games. He invited me to sit down on a chair full of merchandise, quickly moved it all for me, and sat down himself. Picking up the video game, he studied it for a moment and then looking at me he said, “You ever play one of these?” gesturing with the game. I said I had not, and he said he couldn’t put the thing down, it was addictive. He tossed the game into a drawer of the desk and told me a little about the shop. His mother owned the bridal and formal wear businesses, and he was managing the formal wear side of things. They also owned a shop in Minneapolis where his mother worked so the St Paul business was essentially his.

As I started to tell him about myself he reached into a desk drawer and pulled out a rolled up joint and proceeded to light it up. Holding his breath and choking a little he handed it toward me. I said no thanks and he blew out a cloud of smoke which he then vigorously attacked with a can of air spray. “Probably not a good idea to let this smell get up front,” he said. He took a couple more tokes off the joint before setting it in the ash tray. He looked at me with half lidded eyes and said, “You know, I ain’t any good at this interview shit. If you want the job, you’ve got it.”

And that’s how I became a tuxedo rental specialist. I had a lot of fun doing that job. I even got to model in a wedding show, walking the runway modeling tuxedos, running back stage, changing as fast as possible and going out again. My boss was virtually high all the time so he was probably the easiest boss I ever worked for. Once we even outfitted a ventriloquist and his dummy for a special show in St. Paul. Working that job showed me what can happen when you open your mind to new experiences. Sometimes you need to take a leap of faith and just say, “I can do this!”

Speedo Man


Taking my dog for a walk after the Defeat of Jesse James Days is a real treat. With thousands of people milling around town eating god knows what and dropping a lot of it on the ground, Sophie was in smell heaven. Jerking me this way and that to smell and then eat everything she could find. Maybe I lost a couple pounds doing that. Never know. She was like a sugar addict in a candy store. It took us about a third longer to take our walk due to her having to sniff out every tidbit from the grass she could find, and believe me, she found them all. That’s good for her though because otherwise her life is somewhat boring so she really looks forward to her walks. Jumping around me while I’m getting ready, she’s so excited to go that she can’t stand still. It helps wake you up to have a 115 pound dog stomp on your feet first thing in the morning.

So we’re taking our walk, and Sophie is finding every scrap of food she can find and scarfing it down, as dogs do, and I’m trying to keep her away from it all. A few years ago she ate a whole sandwich in a zip-lock bag she found along the road. Whole thing, just swallowed it. It came out again, a couple days later, still in the baggie. She wasn’t happy crapping that thing out, I can tell you. Since she doesn’t understand the system and how it works it hasn’t stopped her from eating things she shouldn’t. That’s part of being a dog I guess, but I’m still going to stop her from eating stuff she shouldn’t. That’s part of being me.

We walk for about 45 minutes each morning and that’s 1.7 miles or so. This morning we were almost home when up ahead I see this shining light. No, it’s not a light, I think, but what is it? Aha, it’s a person showing a lot of skin. I realize quickly that it’s a man jogging in a speedo. And nothing else. Cruising along, as happy as if he were normal, in a speedo. “Well there you go,” I thought. “A man in a speedo.” Now I don’t have much trouble with people showing skin in public but you know, there’s just some things I don’t need to see. A man jogging in a speedo is one of them. Nope, didn’t need that this morning. And now of course, I can’t get it out of my head. That’s why I thought I’d share it with you. Now I don’t have hang ups. I don’t care if women wear bikinis or guys wear speedos. I really don’t. It’s just that most of us are not beautiful super models. I know this. I look at myself in the mirror. Never, not once, did I ever think I’d like to go jogging in a speedo so people could get a look at this. Nope. Not once. Maybe I do have hang ups. So that was my morning treat and I thought it too good not to share. I hope you enjoyed it. I’ll just go now and work on my hang ups.

Monday Thinkers

Just a few things for your Monday morning.

Every time I watch a weather forecast on television, here is what I think of: The “meteorologist” is in a locked, candle lit back room of the studio. She wears a long black robe emblazoned with golden stars and moons. Donning a matching, pointy black cap she sits at a small table covered with a deep blue silk cloth with gold fringe. Drinking the last of her tea, she studies the dregs. Flinging aside the tea cup she pulls out a deck of cards, shuffles and lays them out, consulting the Tarot. On the table, fresh chicken blood, pooled in an upturned human skull waits to be drizzled into a bowl. Now she tosses in some old bones, rolls it around the base of the bowl while murmuring incantations under her breath. And finally, the Crystal Ball. Clouds of mist roil around inside the ball as she waves her hands in the air. More incantations, louder now until her voice is crackly and pleading. Suddenly the ball clears, she studies what she sees, a high pitched cackle escapes the room as a knock comes on the door. Haphazardly discarding the robe and cap, she grabs the weather screen remote and before letting herself out of the room she consults the Magic 8 ball. And in, 3…2…1… “Good evening, here is your weather forecast for today….”

When I hear the word, “scholar,” I imagine men in long robes and mortar board hats with gold fringes swaying, as they walk hallowed halls of wisdom, with their degrees on sheepskin carried in their hands, they discuss lofty ideas about how to find a job.

“Scientist,” inevitably reminds me of Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein. A black and white image of a madman with wild hair pulling levers and throwing switches releasing lightening bolts of electricity from odd machines and shouting, “It’s Alive!!!”

“Psychologist” brings an image of Sigmund Freud talking about penis envy. With his angry look and inevitable cigar he tells you what’s wrong with you all the while being as crazy as a shithouse rat himself.

The word, “onomatopoeia” is not an onomatopoeia and reminds me of John Prine.

A “homonym” is not a homonym and reminds me of white corn.

An “octothorpe” is a hashtag is a pound symbol or maybe a village for spiders.

Any time I hear the word, “wizard” I am reminded of the man behind the curtain, to whom you are to pay no attention. Frantically pulling levers and turning dials, all for effect, smoke and mirrors, like politicians.

“Philosophers” talk about crap you don’t understand and couldn’t care less about, and also can’t find jobs.

The “Obelus” comes between us and makes us smaller.

“Monk” brings to mind Gregorian Chanters in long hooded robes or an obsessive–compulsive private detective.

An “Astrologer” finds meaning in the position of stars and planets, where there is none.

“Schrodingers Cat” was confused. And so was Schrodinger.

The word “Seldom” makes me think of a walled town filled with vendors hawking their wares.

“Calorie” is a mythical land close to Honahlee from the Puff the magic dragon song where people eat all day and never get fat.

A “Cacophony” is having a coughing fit over the phone.

“Cabotage” is to sabotage with cabbage.

One Great State

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Here’s a little something I wrote a while back.

Minnesota

I love this state. Conifer and Hardwood forests, rolling hills, farmland and prairie.
There is enough pink and black and white granite to make 10 billion headstones,
but we’re not the Granite state. That’s New Hampshire. We are the land of 10,000 lakes.
More like 12,000, and some don’t have names. For those that do, there are,
Angleworm Lake,
Bad Axe Lake,
Calamity Lake,
Dead Fish Lake,
East Four Legged Lake,
First Dog Lake,
Gibibwisher Lake,
Hanging Horn Lake,
Ice Cracking Lake,
Jock Mock Lake,
Kaapoo Lake,
Little Dead Horse Lake,
Magnetic Lake,
Nameless Lake,
Ox Hide Lake,
Pea Soup lake,
Quick Lake,
Rain Barrel Lake,
Skeleton Lake,
Thirty One Lake,
Unknown Lake,
Vegetable Lake,
Wawa Lake,
No lakes beginning with X,
Yodeler Lake,
and Zig Zag Lake.

And little towns scattered all across the state like,
Antlers Park,
Ball Club,
Carp,
Dent,
Embarrass,
Funkley,
Guckeen,
Heatwole,
Ideal Corners,
Judge,
Key West,
Lude,
Magnolia,
Nimrod,
Org,
Pigeon Center,
Quamba,
Rattlesnake Point,
Savage,
Toad Lake,
Utica,
Vern,
Welcome,
No towns beginning with X,
Yucatan,
and Zerkel.
The town of Rice is not in Rice county, it’s in Benton County.
The town of Faribault is not in Faribault County, It’s in Rice County.
The town of Blue Earth is not in Blue Earth County, It’s in Faribault County.
The town of Becker is not in Becker County, it’s in Sherburne County.
The town of Cook is not in Cook County, it’s in St. Louis County.
The town of St. Louis is not in St. Louis County, it’s in Missouri.
The town of Cottonwood is not in Cottonwood County, it’s in Lyon County.
The town of Grant is not in Grant County, it’s in Ramsey County.
The town of Marshall is not in Marshall County, it’s in Lyon County.
As far as I know, there are no Lions in Lyon County.
And, The Mississippi River does not begin in Mississippi,
it begins in… Minnesota! in Itasca State Park, which by the way, is not in Itasca County.
And last but not least, I hear there is great fishing on Alcohol Creek!

My Exciting Life!

I haven’t been quite as active here this week because I started a diet that has for the most part, consumed my time. I’m writing about it on “My Health Blog” which you can find on the black header bar just above. Dieting is exciting, and if you’re not keeping up, you’re missing out! (Stay tuned kids, for some really exciting news, coming soon!!!)

The End Of An Era


On September 7th, 1876 the James gang came to town. Eyewitnesses said they wore long white duster coats and posed as cattle buyers as an excuse for the Missourians with Southern accents to be in town. The bank robbery lasted but seven minutes, and in that time two towns- people and two of the gang were killed. Joseph Lee Heywood, the bank teller that day refused to open the vault, and payed for it with his life. Shortly a posse was mounted and the largest manhunt in the history of the United States at that time, either killed or captured all of the outlaws except Frank and Jesse James. Much has been speculated about the robbery and it’s aftermath but one thing is certain. The James gang, the most notorious outlaws of the time, was finished.

The town was Northfield Minnesota, my home town. A celebration has been held the weekend after Labor Day commemorating the event since 1948. It is a grand event that draws thousands to town, being the third largest celebration in Minnesota behind the Minneapolis Aquatennial and the St Paul Winter Carnival. There will be bank raid reenactments, a carnival, a two hour parade, fair food, art exhibits, craft shows, a car show, plays, beard contests, runs and races on foot and bike, a P.R.C.A. rodeo and dancing in the streets. It is a wild time to be a Northfield resident. Traffic is a mess, there are people everywhere and a zillion things to do and see. It’s also, in my opinion, a fun time to be a Northfielder. When I was a kid we looked forward to Jesse James Days all year long. It was the wildest thing happening in this otherwise sleepy mid-western town. The carnival, the lights, the food, the bank raid with shooting in the streets, all of it was exciting. At this time of year, our Summer was over and we were heading back to school, never a fun time. So the DJJD’s was a welcome distraction from our day to day lives.

I still feel that excitement when this weekend rolls around, though I don’t think I’ll be going on any carnival rides. Watching the carnival arrive, seeing tents go up in various places, and watching the rodeo prepare for another wild weekend is all fun. I love the crowds and the craft shows. The art exhibits and plays and music are all top quality. The fine folks who work so hard to make this celebration happen are all volunteers. And it is a massive undertaking. I found one mention of attendance on the internet of 100,000 for the weekend but that sounds a little light. It sure seems like more.

So this is it! This is the weekend. If you need me, I’ll be around, in town somewhere, eating cheese curds to raise hell with my diet. I’ll check out the car show, and the craft and art exhibits. I’m taking one of my granddaughters to the Rodeo. In 63 years I’ve never missed a Defeat of Jesse James Days, and this year will be no different. Come on over, it’ll be fun.

One Moment At A Time

Over the last two years I have neglected my health. The reasons don’t really matter, because there are as many reasons for not eating healthy as there are overweight people. But the truth is, I’m heavier than I should be, and certainly heavier than I want to be. I’ve decided it’s time to do something about it. What does that mean? It means changing the way I eat and what I eat. It also means getting more exercise. Sounds like a lot of fun, right? Right. Fun. That’s what I’m telling myself. It’ll be fun.

We hear a lot about diets. Every once in awhile a new diet will emerge, lot’s of people try it and then it fades away. Some are successful, some are not. What makes a diet successful is a combination of two things. The diet actually has to be beneficial, and the dieter has to be determined to lose weight. The first part is easy. You find a diet that’s going to work. The second part is where it all falls down. The determination to lose weight is hard to maintain. Yes, we want to lose weight, but we get lazy or the desire to eat unhealthy becomes too great, or we make up excuses as to why we have to eat that big cheeseburger today. Any number of things get in the way of our success. The best way for you to lose weight may not be the best way for me. So I’ve devised a plan. Will it work? Who knows, but I’ll keep you informed as I go about it.

A few weeks ago I started “The Tea Blog” page here on The Window. I quickly discovered that no matter how much I like tea, there’s only so much you can write about it. So I’m going to change The Tea Blog into a Health blog. There I’ll chronicle my journey as I try to loose weight. I’m going to use a mindfulness approach to loosing weight. The long term goal is to lose weight, but I’m not going to worry about that. I’m going to look at this one moment at a time. The question is then, what is happening right now? How much protein am I taking in each time I eat? How many calories? How well am I doing right now? I hope you’ll find this interesting and helpful. Part of the problem of starting a diet is that we have these big dreams of eating and exercising well and losing a bunch of weight but the momentum of keeping that dream alive starts to slow down. Thinking about the whole thing gets to be too much. So, one moment at a time. I’m not dieting so much as I’m only going to have about 300 calories for this meal right now. That’s all I’m going to do. I’ll worry about the next meal when it’s time. We’ll see how that goes.

Flea Market


a journey to the past and fond memories,
steel and glass chiseled and engraved,
of hand wrought goods and services.

a simpler time some would say,
but not so for those who lived it,
for those who’s hands cracked and bled.

for those who’s backs ached to create fine
wool, china, and hand carved wooden
tool handles, it was not a fond memory.

we see the past through our own eyes
colored by our romanticism of what
we believe, while knowing nothing of it.

the beauty of depression glass and
hand painted china, of riveted steel
and fire wrought iron to dress our homes.

the voices and the tears and sweat of
those who came before us would tell us
of the trials and sorrows of their lives,

and say, a simpler time? what you don’t
know of us could fill a library, go
home, read, study and think on this.

Passing Words


The town in which I live, for the past nine years has had a Sidewalk Poetry contest. The winning poems are set into the cement of sidewalks around town, for the people to enjoy. Last night I attended a Sidewalk poetry event where this years winning poets read their poems to the public. It was held on Bridge Square downtown, and the evening was beautiful. Some friends played music for the event and this year for the first time, Spanish submissions were accepted. So there was a Spanish speaker who translated all of the poetry for the Hispanic people in the audience, and a Mexican singer sang a few songs in Spanish with the music group. Northfield has it’s own poet laureate and has always been involved in arts, culture, and music. In recent years it has experienced more cultural diversity with Hispanic and African people moving to town. While I walked home afterward I formed this poem in my head, quickly writing it down when I got inside so as not to forget.

Passing Words

Words spoken and sung,
in various languages.
Meanings and cultures mingled,
ideas floated on the wind.

Words, embossed in cement for
all to grasp and grapple with,
to chase and lose between
the hands of time and space.

Words to pass knowledge
and emotion, to bring the
young into the world to be
more than those who have been.

Poetry must always bind
those who hear to a higher
purpose than can be
imagined through simple words.

We Need To Care


Traditionally, writers and poets have been some of the most emotional people in society. In my past I’ve tried to be stoic, not getting too emotional about things, but the older I get, the more emotional I become. This can be a good thing because it develops compassion and empathy, a love for other people, even when you don’t know them. The truth is, I’ve always been an emotional person, I just tried to hide it. These days however, there’s no hiding it. The other day I watched a video of a donkey greeting the women who raised him, whom he hadn’t seen in a long time and I had tears running down my cheeks. Tears! Part of the issue with that particular video was the donkey. I have a great love for animals. Especially domesticated animals. I love all animals but I feel more affinity toward domesticated animals due to their underdog status. They’re not free. We keep them in fences and cages. We keep them tied up. We teach them to obey.

But I’m not writing about animals today, I’m writing about people. I love the underdog. The ones who are kept back, beaten down, taken advantage of, left behind. Those underdogs. And I root for them. Usually the underdogs have the non traditional ideas. The ideas of compassion and empathy. The ideas that cause other people to squirm and feel uncomfortable. The emotional ideas. Like loving your neighbor, and sharing what you have to help others. Others that you don’t even know. The ones who cry at other people’s pain.

When I was a kid, and forced to participate in phys ed class, whenever we did team sports I always rooted for the other team. I didn’t want to celebrate a victory because it felt like rubbing it in the faces of those who lost. Which is strange because when the other team won and celebrated their win, I didn’t feel like they were rubbing it in my face that I lost. I just didn’t want to win over someone else. I cared about the underdog. Even if it was me, I guess. So yeah, I guess I’ve been an emotional wreck my whole life. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I can’t imagine what it’s like not to feel. Not to care. And I don’t want to know. I’m perfectly happy getting teared up over an animal video. Or over people in cages.

In the political climate we find ourselves in today, we need more underdogs. We need more writers and poets. We need more compassion and empathy. We need more people to get fired up and use their energy for change. The emotionless are trying to take over. Trying to cover the land in a blanket of fear and we can’t let them do that. We need to remember the basic principals of goodness and decency. We need to care, even to the point of tears running down our cheeks. And beyond.

Observing And Wondering

This morning has been a great morning for observing and wondering. I stood for a while at my bedroom window and watched four Nuthatch’s playing in my backyard tree. They flitted around the branches, chasing each other and squawking at one another. I also watched a little Downy Woodpecker totally ignoring them while banging away on the tree. Then I watched my neighbors dog. No bigger than a football, it bounced around their backyard barking at grass or leaves or whatever it found that it didn’t understand. The high pitched yapping was annoying, and I’m across the street. The owners of the dog on the other hand, were just inside the house and yet did nothing to stop the dog from going on and on. I wondered how they could ignore that.

Down the street on the next intersection there is a guy who has four cars and a motorcycle in his driveway and five more cars surrounding his house on the street. He also has a sailboat and a couple trailers filled with junk. The yard is also filled with junk. I watched him come out of his house and put more junk in one of the trailers. I wondered what that was all about and I wondered why the city lets him do it.

I heard sirens going off several times already today and wondered what kind of trouble they were for. A fire perhaps, or speeders, or accidents. I heard chainsaws and lawnmowers. I checked my mail and wondered why I get twice as much junk mail as useful mail. I wondered if I shouldn’t put my recycling container next to my mailbox so the mail person can just deposit the junk mail in there instead of the mailbox. Then I wondered if the guy who collects junk down on the corner might like my junk mail.

After all that excitement I took a look at Facebook. I found that our president stated that he was giving illegal orders to U.S. companies to stop doing business with China. And he also said he was ordering delivery companies such as UPS and Fed Ex to stop delivering Fentanyl from China. This made me wonder if he’s that ignorant of our constitution or if he thinks he can get away with it or he just says stuff to rile people up. And it also made me wonder just what Nancy Pelosi is waiting for. It made me wonder how much illegal stuff the president will do before someone with authority says, enough is enough.

Later I found my dog twisted into a pretzel shape in the corner. I wondered if I tried to do that myself if I’d have to be extracted by the jaws of life. Now I’m starting to wonder what I should have for lunch. Being retired, I have a lot of time to observe and wonder. Sometimes the wondering drives me crazy because I just don’t get why things are the way they are. What causes people to be greedy or uncaring? What causes apathy? What causes my neighbor to allow his dog to yap on and on and on? What causes another man to want to collect and surround himself with junk? And I wondered why I care so much while some others care so little. I don’t know the answers, but some times I wonder.