Category Archives: Life

Trouble at Home

Mrs S is up in arms at the moment. For all my ranting and raving about the NFL these days, she’s about 10X as upset. She’s entirely focused on one thing; the abuse issues. We were watching some TV on Saturday and ad featuring and NFL player came on. I don’t remember what the ad was for, but it featured the guy working out, strength training etc in order to become big and strong so.. and this is where the voice next to me muttered “I can go home and beat up my girlfriend.”

If Mrs S is even a little bit close to the general opinion of women in this country, the NFL has a problem.

And timing being everything yesterday afternoon, having a shitload of freetime on Sundays now as I observe my NFL Boycott I sat down to watch a movie: “Kadosh”. Kadosh is an Israeli film about two sisters who are part of an ultra-orthodox Jewish sect living in Jerusalem. When we were there this summer we happened to take a bus that took us through Mea Sharim, where the folks who put the “Ultra” in Ultra live. And like any religious fanatics they basically have no tolerance for anyone outside of their circle who doesn’t share their exact beliefs. Think Mullah in Iran.

The story is about how these two women relate to their surroundings. The older sister has been married to son of the sects Rabbi for 10 years. In these Hassidic groups the Rabbi is all sense a dictator who’s word is law for the group. What he says goes. And in this case the couple are deeply in love but childless. And the dudes father is more or less ordering his son to divorce his wife. Reason? Because “a daughter of Israel has one role, to have children, to raise them, to cook for her husband and free up his time in order that he may follow G-d’s commandments and study Torah.” Not to mention the comment that “A childless woman is neither dead nor alive” and finally “a woman’s only joy comes from raising her children it’s all G-d has made for her.” You get the picture. For his part the husband, tries talking his father out of his decree, mentioning that Sarah was barren and Abraham didn’t abandon her, citing verse after verse about a man clinging to his wife, to no avail.

Never once a mention that the cause of infertility could be either or.

The gal, Rivkah, goes to the doctor, for what we think is the first time, and learns that according to all the tests, you guessed it, she’s fully capable of getting pregnant. The next step in process if for her husband to submit a sample because, as the doctor explains “it takes two”. And as she’s saying this the doctor looks at the woman and remarks that “which is never going to happen since your husband wouldn’t dream of participating, not to mention you could be in trouble just for being here..” Anyways about this point in the movie Mrs S had come downstairs as was watching, I was watching and doing some translating, which is hard when I’m not that good at it, the subtitles were unreadable and my audience was getting more and more angry as the scene unfolded. “WHAT’D SHE SAY WHAT’D SHE SAY..” Can you picture it yet?

Cheryl had commented when were in Jerusalem just how downtrodden and sad the women wearing headscarves and crappy wigs looked on the street, wearing head to toe coverings in 90 degree weather stringing 7 kids at time along with them. “You know these gals are in the same boat as the hajib wearing honeys”.

I new it was coming but at some point the “Men” word came out and it wasn’t in the most flattering way.

Well, to seal the deal the other sister is in love with a secular guy, but is being forced into marriage with a man she doesn’t love, the price of that relationship is having contact with all of her friends and family by staying in the sect. Her other is martial happiness but being outcast, shunned if you will, Amish style from the sect. She chooses marriage and we get to watch her wedding, she walks around her husband 7 times proclaiming her fidelity, obedience and her happiness and being at his feet, all the while she’s sobbing away while the men dance in their corner of the shul. We see her cutting her hair, Hassidic women are not allowed to show their hair after they’re married, except to their husbands. Something about being to sensual blah blah. So many women shave their heads and wear a wig. Typically a bad wig BTW. Or they wear a scarf or head cover that completely covers every strand on their heads. There’s the wedding night scene which is basically a sanctioned rape and a scene where she tries to talk to her husband about her sister and is totally ignored.

In the end Rivka leaves her husband as asked and takes a small room somewhere, the other sister steps out on her husband with her original love and winds up being beaten with a belt when she gets home and goes to live with her sister and this little uplifting tale comes to a close. Actually it’s a really really good movie, I think it won a Palm D’Or at Cannes. Sad to say it’s a pretty accurate view into the cloistered world of Hassidism.

But on a more practical matter it also caused a palpable sense of doom to enter into my quiet little household. Mrs S was fuming. About all she’d say was “men” and “you’re one”. Between the NFL and Hassidic Jewish lifestyles I thing she went on overload. Anti-man overload.

And then she set the bait- “you need to be a better example to your brethren dude”.

Which I took by saying “I’m a great example”. And boom it was game on. No one like to hear that that things are good when they’re in the middle of complaining about how they aren’t. My faults were; my NFL boycott hasn’t caught on meaning all my make friends are scum and I used too much garlic in the babagaounsh I made Sunday. Luckily her anger only lasted through a glass of Two Buck Chuck but still to be indicted with an entire gender, does that seem fair? “You want to see what an uncaring husband looks like? I’m going to watch another episode of the League on Netfllix and I’m not going to give a rats ass if you’re down here in front of the TV or not. HAH”. “You wouldn’t dare.” “Watch me!”

The problem with play fighting I used to tell the kids is someone always winds up crying. And this time it was me. Again.

But in hindsight if this is the worst of our issues, I’ll think we’ll be OK.


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The Latest Minnesota Sports Hero Fail

I had a conversation this weekend about Adrian Peterson with a good friend of mine. He made a very profound comment that Adrian Peterson has to have some sort of flaw in his character somewhere. He’s one of the NFL’s leading stars and yet he has no endorsement deals to speak off. Conjecture is he either has something in his past that we don’t know about but would be embarrassing for sponsors or he’s not very bright. Personally I’m leaning towards the latter.

I’ve heard from more than few friends who have made some comments about how Adrian Peterson was just doing what their parents were doing when they were kids. No big deal after all. One friend made the comment that his Dad would have been arrested a few times over after raising four boys.

I have to assume that my friends aren’t privy to the details of this case. Adrian Peterson beat his kid with a switch, and beat him like dog. He left open wounds on the kid’s thighs and buttocks. There were burses on the kids back, damage to his scrotum. There were also defensive wounds on the child’s hands. The damages to the child’s legs were consistent with the “switch” whipping around the child’s leg and causing damage on the other side of his leg. Evidence says this ripped professional athlete chose to whip on a 4 year old boy repeatedly. This isn’t child rearing, this either straight up abuse or a parent who is too lazy and to try to engage in real child rearing. Spanking is lazy parenting. Beating a 4 year old with stick, something else entirely. This is 2014. Any adult who needs a switch to “get through” to a 4 year old, is either stupid or an abusive psychopath. I’m thinking Peterson is the former, which gives him the benefit of the doubt.

Did I mention that the boy is 4 years old?


I would also point out that the child refers to Adrian as “daddy Peterson”. Leads me to believe that the boy doesn’t have much more than a biological connection to the kid. Daddy Peterson apparently has a more than few kids around the country, this event took place in Texas at Peterson’s home in Houston. The newspaper made it sound like the kid had been arguing with other kids at the house. How many kids does he have? Even Adrian Peterson may not know exactly.  Peterson’s kids were in the news in 2013 when one of them was killed in South Dakota by the abusive boyfriend of one of his kid’s mom’s. Peterson didn’t know about or meet the kid until he was in the hospital dying. When asked on ESPN how many kids he had, Peterson refused to answer. Not exactly a star father.

This whole situation really lends itself to the issue with the NFL that I’ve been railing against for the last year. I’m sorry to say, it’s the fans. The fans who are willing to look past any player indiscretion for their teams have helped enable the NFL to look past these issues. Remember despite the economic power of the league, it’s the fans who watch the games, pay for tickets, play fantasy football, and vote for referendums and politicians who use their tax dollars to pay for their palaces.

I draw the line on the AP case. This guy took a stick to a 4 hour year and wailed on him repeatedly, and then acted like this was supposed to be normal child rearing, just like little corrective swat on the butt.

Thankfully the Vikings did the right and disqualified him from Sunday’s game. Peterson could well wind up in jail, and given the NFL’s recent black eye with the Ray Rice case, I don’t see them doing much to protect Adrian.


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Evidence of my Imminent Decline

Nice long walk with Mrs S around Pike Island at Fort Snelling State Park. Pike Island is where the not so mighty Mississippi and Minnesota rivers come together. Nice spot for a walk. My day sort of went to hell, mostly thanks to my own incompetence. 

Since I’m traveling next week I wanted to put some food away in the fridge for the family to eat while I’m gone. If I don’t do that they get in the trash and start knowing on garbage. Bad scene. 

So like a good steward of the family meals I make a few things before I go, put them in the fridgey and hope for the best. 

The plan was to cook some dinners, should have taken about an hour or so, go up to the St. Paul’s north side for a book signing, then a walk with Mrs S. 

Problem, to cook to meals took 5 trips to the store. 

4 gawd damned trips to pick up stuff I forgot. 

No list this week. Part of the problem. 

Called an audible on one of the meals, that was the problem. Can’t be changing ideas when I’m in the store, I will forget stuff. In this case I forgot lots of stuff, or rather assumed that I had it home. 

The thing that sucks ass about grocery shopping- getting interviewed about every item I bought duplicates off. Triplicate, I’m ok with getting feedback, duplicates… 

Made me so paranoid I stopped buy stuff if I had any thought that I might have one at home. Which is how I came home today sans onions, garlic powder and enchilada sauce. Sad thing is, the way I assemble the dish I punted on, there’s some gap between adding each of these ingredients which means, I could still be pretty comfortable thinking I had some enchilada sauce as I was back at the store picking up onions. 

Which means by the time I got to the last ingredient cheese, which I also thought I had a ton of but in fact had none… I was feeling some frustration in my heart.

And for the record why doesn’t that daughter of mine drive yet, she’s 17 years old. By the time her broski’s were 17 they were running tons of little errands for me to the local coop and grocery store. Shit I cudda used some kid servants today. 

Next week I’m back in Redlands California enjoying 80’s and 90’s. While Mrs S here in Minnesota gets to enjoy fall. 


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Rochester MN

Greetings from Southern Minnesota.

Rare Saturday post here, typically I don’t much work on Saturday, but who said this was work?

Well, I have to be honest, I may have said it a few times to justify not writing much here….

In my constant search for “places I could” live Rochester it at the very very top of my list. By my way of thinking it’s the perfect small town for me.

  1. It’s relatively small, 100K now.
  2. It’s loaded with smart people, between the massive Mayo clinic that has taken over the entire downtown and the IBM facility here… there’s a lot of people who are whole lot smarter than I am.

    Sankary Axiom #1 “Surround yourself with people smarter than you are, makes you smarter.”

  3. Nice downtown
  4. Lots of coffee shops.
  5. HyVee markets.

We’re here to attend a wedding. Wedding was list night, rare Friday afternoon wedding of some dear friends of our daughters. It was a lovely lovely affair. Made me think.. wow we’re on the cusp of going to a lot of these things, we have a bunch of friends with kids who are getting to this age. More ties. That kinda sucks. My next has recovered from 26 years of tie wearing at Target. Glad that I’m not doing that anymore. Last wedding I went to I wore shorts. I asked about wearing shorts this time. Set the weekend of on a bit of sour note. Mrs S can be so inflexible.

The reception was out a country club in town. Really swell affair… started thing more about kids and weddings and had the epiphany that I have kids who might be getting married in the next few years.

Caused me to break out in a cold sweat. Holy shit I can’t even imagine how much organization and planning Mrs S will have to go through to get something like this pulled off. You should see how much planning goes into one of her little burger parties. Planning one of these events could take years. YEARS of estrogen driven planning and organizational craziness.

Sankary kids, the elopement bribe went up $25K. We’ll talk.

Have to leave with this joke, I don’t typically share jokes, but I have to as this one was so funny.

“What did one saggy boob say to the other saggy boob?”

“We better straighten up or they’re going to thing we’re nuts”.

Ba-dum dum..


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Weekend Plans

Wedding this weekend.
Mrs S and I are heading down to Rochester Friday afternoon for a rare Friday PM wedding. 4:30 pm, even rareer. She has the details about the reception and so forth, I do not. 
In her defense I probably did at one time, but you know, I didn’t retail it. All I know is we’re bringing a bottle of whisky to the reception to enjoy with our friends. Bushmill’s 16 years old. Not exactly cheap stuff if you know what I mean. 
I wil not be drinking at this affair [much] because frankly, I want to take advantage of a very special evening with my lovely bride. This is of course a euphemism for a rare “weekend in a hotel”. That shit, doesn’t happen very often. At least not in a hotel where we’re not been joined by two or three kids in the same room. 
No condensation dripping down the windows this trip, just Mrs S and I. 
Breaking down barriers, that’s we married guys do. Barriers, resistance, arguments against.. you get the ideal. Hotel’s are good for that. Last time Mrs S and I had a weekend alone like that, just the two of us, 1997ish. 

On second thought what are we going to talk about? Now I’m worried. 

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Where I Admit that I’m Bored

All the children who are old enough to be out of the house are out of the house now, back where they belong.

The remaining child who likes to sequester herself in room is back where she belongs.

The old fat guy who goes to work every morning is back where he belongs.

Mrs S is back in yoga, back getting mani-pedis. She has not started the school nursing gig yet, so she’s not quite back where she belongs, but for the sake of argument we’ll call her good.

Back to morning darkness in my world, I’m not so fond of the “dark” season to be honest. Which, when you get up at 5:00 is longer than the “light” season. Once consolation is that I’m not on the bus anymore, so I don’t have pitch black mornings climbing up the hill to the bus stop where I get to wait in the dark at 0 degrees. On the other hand not walking up to the bus stop in the morning means I’ve adopted a particularly sedentary lifestyle that doesn’t lend itself to good health and well-being.

I’m told by Mrs S that I do have a gym membership at my disposal. I’ve been there twice in the year or so I’ve owned it, I went weeks one and two. I didn’t like it. I don’t like going to gym, I don’t like exercising and I don’t like the sweaty crowds there. I don’t like discussions of health and wellness.

Anyway, we’re getting back to the normal routine around here.

Basically we’re getting back into the mundane, which after a summer of foreign travel, front row seats to world headlines and an aborted landing at MSP… feels a tish anti-climactic.

Last night I got home from work, note on the table from Mrs S: SAS Yoda Cl55 Home @7. Which the daughter translated for me: 5:45 yoga class, be home around 7:00.

House was clean, there were no dishes laying around and the place looked like it had been recently vacuumed. The TV was off, first time in 3 months I’ve come home to that little pleasure. Things I had left in places when I left in the morning were still in those places. Don’t mind that so much.

I unceremoniously cooked up the eggplant stirfry thing I had been planning, had a quiet meal with the daughter and did the crossword while she did the dishes. And then….

Well, I publically announced that I was “bored”.

Yeah, bored. As in not much to do. There’s a couple things on my todo list around the house. I’m about to enter the dues season at the Lodge, my annual reconciling of everyone’s dues payments from the previous year, then the writing of the letters, envelope stuffing, hand stamping and mailing, it’s about 200 or so letters, 400 hundred by the time I get them all back and resend out the dues cards… A more proactive guy would have started that process by starting to work on the spreadsheet to figure who owes what so I can invoice accurately. I’m not quite in the mood for that stuff yet. I usually wait until after Labor Day.

Lawn didn’t need mowing, fish tank needed cleaning and I managed to do that.

Basically we’re dropping back into the “normal mode” around the casa; work, eat and hope for good health.

Next week I have a short trip to Boston on Monday. In and out basically. I don’t know exactly why, but Boston seems to be sort of difficult to get to from the Twin Cities. My flights are routed through Atlanta and Chicago. Seems counter-intuitive.

Thursday the State Fair kicks off here. We didn’t go last year, first time we didn’t go since we moved here in 1995. Going to the State Fair, or not going as the case may be, is a bit like a drug habit, you have to break it once to see that life can go on if you don’t make out to the Great Minnesota Get Together. I was hoping for a repeat this year, but the Daughter seems hell bent on going so I’m sure we’ll make it out there.

After the State Fair, another trip to California, then we’re into the Jewish Holidays.

I think the Buddhists have it right when it comes to prayer wheels and the idea life is a series of turning wheels. Same seasons, different years,


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Weekend Update

As my week in California went on I found myself getting more and more obsessed about spending time at the lake. Called the daughter from Salt Lake City where I had a little layover to set expectations that as soon as I rolled off the plane, I’d head home to pick her up and we’d be off to cabin. Called Mrs S, who was in Alabama this week getting the kid moved into his apartment, to let her know that she’d need to make arrangements to find a ride home from the airport on Saturday afternoon. Not coming back to pick her up.

I don’t get a lot of one on one time with the daughter. She’s likes to hang out in room, which from my own informal surveys I’ve learned is not all that uncommon among the teen age ranks. She like a trip to the mall for her recreational needs, something I would rather not do. Not do with extreme prejudice mind you. She’s not a big fan of going to the lake, especially when it’s just with me. But she didn’t protest too much and I didn’t make too much of a fuss about it so someway somehow she decided to come with no protest. Maybe it was the pleading in my voice that did it I don’t know. But it worked out.

Actually it was better than that. I rolled off the plane about 6:30.

Not before a little drama, we were literally about a second from touching down, for those of you local folkses the place was coming in over Nokomis, we had crossed Cedar and were on final final when the pilot hit the gas, pulled up and did a climbing bank turn over the airport. Full on “Ghost Rider the Pattern is Full” sort of deal. Apparently there was traffic on the runway. My thought at the time was the Chinese curse “May you live in interesting times”. Quite frankly this summer has been a little more interesting than I’d like on many many fronts. Boring would be good for a while.

Anyway, I rolled off, picked up the car and was in the drive way by 7:00. She was ready to go. Not only that but she had cleaned the entire house, top to bottom as well. It was completely spotless. We’re going to have leave her home alone more often I think. Had it been the boys….

I’ll stay positive.

We left the house about 7:30, I had a couple things to do online for work, needed to sit for just a second anyway. After a stop at the grocery store for provisions we made it to the cabin around 10:00pm.

10:00 is a late arrival for us. This time of year it’s completely dark, darkness amplified by the country, no street lights and no neighbors apparently. There was no moon yet, I think the half-moon rose about 11:00 or so, and not a cloud in the sky. As we pulled in and I got out of the car the sky was absolutely spectacular. The Milky Way was brilliant, arching over the trees, almost bright enough to cast a shadow. It was sky we don’t see much in the city, and one that never takes my breath away. No wonder the ancients were so enamoured with the stars and the planets. I don’t know, a really brilliant starry night like that really makes me think about the vastness of creation. Every other waking minute my scale of existence is up to the next tree or next bend in the road. Even in plane it’s a few thousands miles maybe? To the horizon or so.. but when I’m looking up at a 180 degree canopy of heavenly bodies millions whose light is just reaching my eyes after travelling for hundreds and millions of years across the vast emptiness of space… Puts things in perspective.

And also made the entire days travel worthwhile.

Even the daughter was impressed, with a bit of more modern interpretation. She has a astronomy app on her iPad that is really cool. You hold the thing up to the sky and through it’s witchcraft or whatever it mirrors what you’re looking at, only with planets and constellations identified. Wish I’d of had that when I was growing up and my interest in astronomy was just getting started. Might have stuck with it longer than the month or so back in the 70’s that Comet Kohoutek was visible from my back yard. My Dad bought be a 60 power telescope for the affair. 60 or 120X can’t remember. Most I ever saw was the Rings of Saturn, Jupiter’s bands and the ice cap on Mars. And a fuzzy spot where the Orion Nebula was supposed to be. As I write this I’m finding myself interested in getting back into the hobby.

Which would not go over well at home I’m over capacity in hobbies and interests if you ask Mrs S and I’m not going too.

Saturday we had a really great day together, except for her 6 hour nap. Shakshouka for breakfast. Very good stuff. My good friend Ken from Little Blake Lake dropped over after attending our lake owners meetings. I had intended to go, sort of, but I didn’t remember until breakfast was already in progress, so next time. Maybe. Good news from Ken, the whole dam thing is well on it’s way to being resolved and it turns out it’s only going to cost me about $500.00. BTW the official answer to how many houses there are on the lake is 198. I don’t know that I’ve ever counted that high without help so I’m glad someone told me.

One thing I did not do- fish. The summer of boat problems continues. I got word from the repair shop that they hadn’t gotten around to fixing the fishing boat yet. A condition that leaves me a little less than satisfied to be honest. We won’t be up here next weekend and the following weekend is Labor Day.. so maybe I should just winterize it now and call it a season. Which is quite lame on many fronts.

The weather was a little dodgy over the weekend, we had some rain which meant we got to participate in another of my favorite cabin pass times- MOVIES.

We had a rare double home run in the movie department. Two flicks I rated at 5 stars. The Butler with Forest Whitaker and Owl and the Sparrow with no one you’ve ever heard of. The Butler was a historical fiction piece loosely based on the life of White House Eugene Allen. In the movie version Whitakers character serves 8 presidents. The movie contrasts the life of an African American serving the President to real events of the Civil Rights movement. The Butler is witness to the decision making process but can offer no input or guidance as due to his role behind the scenes. In the meantime his own son becomes deeply involved as a freedom rider, black panther and so forth.. anyway, I thought it was a great movie.

Owl and Sparrow… that’s a Vietnamese movie with English subtitles. Not sure how I came across it on Netflix.. have to say it’s my sleeper of the year, and this year I’ve seen a bunch of sleepers. The daughter was pretty reluctant to see it, had to be begged a bit actually. But afterwards, “That’s my new all-time favorite movie. It was really good. One of those happy endings sorts of movies that us all a little misty eyed.

And that was it for the lake. Nice quiet weekend up here. Really, there was hardly a soul around the lake all weekend, I think I saw about two boats all weekend long. The Daughter and I and had a chance to just hang out and be together. Which, as the ad says, is priceless.

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