Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Trip back to VBS ...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Wall Lake

My son and I had some friends invite us 'up north' this past weekend for some fun on the lake. It was truly a blast. Dads and sons only. My boy's buddy had his birthday on this past Wednesday and asked if he could invitie a few friends up to their family cabin(house) on Wall Lake. Five dads and seven sons later ...

... Happy Birthday, Will! ... you big hot dog! ;) ...

We jet-skied, tubed, went out on the pontoon, ran the four-wheelers, fished, grilled, had a nice bon-fire, and generally enjoyed ourselves. Thanks, John (and Will!) for a great time.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012

500 days of #Badgershirtstreak

No. I'm not kidding.

Today, I got up, washed my face, put my contacts in, and put on a Wisconsin shirt for the 500th day in a row. I haven't worn them every second of every day, but I have worn at least one every day for the last 500. I don't think it would be such a big deal, except that I'm 37 years old, have two kids ... and live in Minnesota. By now, most people that know me, know that I wear Wisconsin almost all the time - and many of them have now asked, "What's the deal with the Badger shirts?" It's becoming harder to explain - and easier sometimes, too. If I just happen to say, "I've worn a Badger shirt for the last 500 days," then they seem to think I'm nuts and leave the conversation alone. However, a follow-up question of, "Why?" gets into an entire different story.

Five-hundred days ago, I was the head baseball coach at a local high school. I wasn't in such a great mood. We won two games in my last two years. So winning wasn't putting a smile on my face. And, even though I did work with some great kids, a few of the bunch spoiled the lot. I decided to do something to make me feel better: I started wearing Wisconsin shirts. Smile. I'm a badger. Always have been. Always will be. I grew up around Madison. My grandma and grandpa worked on campus. I even ended up graduating from UW-Madison. And married someone who grabbed two degrees from the University of Wisconsin, as well.

Today is 500 days in a row. I try to wear one all day, but often end up wearing two or three on any given day. I have also worn Badger shorts, pants, sweatshirts, hats, jackets, and coats. And though the 'shirt' streak didn't make it into the church for a wedding, a tie did take it's place - after I wore a Wisconsin jersey for the first 8 hours of the day. The streak has journeyed from Minnesota to South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Ohio, North Carolina, Arizona, and - of course - Wisconsin. It has been to major league baseball games, NFL and college football games, NHL contests, state and local fairs, high school activities of all kinds, dance recitals, gymnastic shows, and a myriad of family events.

As I referred to above, I won't wear one into church or allow a shirt to substitute for an official uniform while I'm coaching. But, I will wear one of my 40+ Wisconsin/badger shirts for anywhere from 4-24 hours each day. I attempt to make it through at least eight hours each day - so, it is like a job, in that sense, anyway. I've gotten mentions and retweets on Twitter because of the streak - especially when I got close to a full year this past spring. And I even got a nice write-up in the April edition of "Badger Voice" ( My school (UW-Madison School of Education) recognized the streak and sent me a t-shirt and car sticker this past string. And my birthday present to myself the past two years has been a 'The Red Shirt' each year (first the 4th edition, and then the 5th edition).

I don't know how long this thing will last - or even why I keep going. All I know is that being a Badger is a big deal to me. And I honestly don't know what will happen once the streak is broken. Today is 500 days and I'm not sure whether I'll make it to 731 (two years - with a leap year in there), 1000 or more - or less. But I know why Abe Lincoln sits in front of Bascom Hall. I know all the words to 'On Wisconsin', as well as what 'Sifting and Winnowing' means. I know that Bucky's full name is Buckingham U. Badger and that the Slab of Bacon came before Paul Bunyan's Axe. I know that Camp Randall was a military training camp during the Civil War and that the arch depicts an enlisted man as well as an officer. I know that it's called a 'motion W' and that the 5th quarter will come after every home football game - and that it doesn't mean there's OT - but that it will be a celebration - win or lose. I sing 'When you say Wis-consin, you've said it all' when 'the Bud Song' plays. I will forever bleed red and white, jump around at the start of the 4th quarter, and sway back and forth and wave my arm to 'Varsity.' And I will always - ALWAYS - be a Badger.

On Wisconsin!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Feeling that autumn feeling ...

I love late summer.

And I hate late summer.

In my honest opinion, the weather is awesome. It doesn't get unbearably warm. School still hasn't started yet. Baseball (at least professional baseball) is in full penant-chase (and wild card race) mode. Football has started up (at the youth, high school, college, and professional levels) and games that mean something will be here soon. Does it get any better?

Well, there are some negatives, too (which is what I mean by 'hate' late summer). School is starting back up soon - and isn't the anticipation so much worse than the real thing? The days are getting shorter - and I DEFINITELY don't need LESS sun in my life. The mosquitos come around earlier in the evening, pushing me inside. Leaves are beginning to fall - and will need to be raked (or mowed up). And baseball ... is almost over. Bummer.

So, you see, my love/hate relationship with late summer (and autumn) is about as honest a relationship as you could find. I try to enjoy it every year. Seems it brings some mood swings with it, though, too. Thankfully, I have an understanding (and AWESOME!) wife (and family). I'll try to make sure those trips to the last few baseball games, as well as to Camp Randall and Lambeau Field, along with my kids' continued enjoyment of late summer/autumn activities, help bring a smile to my face and a joy to my heart that outweigh the darker days that bring darker moods.

Because, when I can be happier, I can pass 'happy' on! And truly, that's what I want to do!

So, let's bask in that remaining sun, get our fill of 'happy', and spread the joy!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Remodeling ... (week 6 - done)

We haven't completely cleaned up, unloaded and moved back into the first floor, but we're getting there. The fireplace is finally done and we're using the kitchen pretty much ... well ... like a kitchen. We'll be anxious to get furniture back in the front room and family room; but - for now - we love how things look!