Tag Archives: Butler University

An odd couple and keeping up with the Times …

What goes together better than diamonds and container gardens? Truly an odd couple but such disparate topics and more are all in play for the weekly letters.

As it is, the kids read all the news that’s fit to print (with apologies to the New York Times). Speaking of the Times, it is all it’s cracked up to be. I can hardly get through the weekend editions. In fact, I’m not. Sections yet to be perused are stacked up like cordwood next to the couch. I wish the kids would subscribe to the paper versions of the St. Paul Pioneer Press and the Chicago Tribune. It would do them good. 

March 27, 2017

Ellen/Reid: Our collective karma didn’t seem to work too well for the Bulldogs last week. North Carolina rolled them and I thought Butler would be the one team that might be peaky enough to give them a go. But for a small school to reach that far says something about the basketball culture in Indianapolis. I watched the games yesterday on ESPN which had a link to the CBS broadcast. It’s really the one time of year I wish I had a TV. Otherwise, I’m good without it. In secret, I am a Carolina fan among all the teams down in these parts so here’s hoping the Tar Heels can go all the way.

The container garden is already going great guns. The romaine and arugula are already sprouted and growing nicely. The cilantro has yet to emerge. If the temps hold true (and warm) later this week the basil and maybe a small tomato plant will go in the ground. While golfing this weekend, there was a stand of bamboo adjacent to one of the tee boxes and I plucked a bunch of dried stalks and stuck them in next to my golf bag. Those will make good guides for the tomato.


A couple of years ago, the HOA ‘Garden Nazis’ called me out about the evil of veggie plants on the front porch. This year the container garden next to the back driveway got an upgrade.

It took me most of the day yesterday to wade through the New York Times. It really is one hell of a newspaper. The conservative side rags on it as a ‘liberal’ paper, but it’s not liberal, it’s just straight forward, honest reportage. I don’t see much of a reportage bias in it at all. The editorials thump Trump but that’s the role of the Times and other papers; play the devil’s advocate and be a counterweight to the BS that’s spewing out of this White House – or any White House for that matter. What people don’t associate with it is the arts coverage, the food, the culture and other national reporting. They had a great, great piece on Mt. Rushmore from a tangent I’d never seen before. Ellen, I should send you the book review section. It’s stellar.

It’s pretty early in the day right now, and the coffee is strong. I’ve been getting up a bit later, perhaps as my body clock adjusts to the retirement regimen. It doesn’t mean I’m sleeping solidly through the night but it is what it is.

There shall be no mention of the Continue reading


Leave a comment

Filed under Writing to adult children

A dad’s irritation and black coffee…


June 24, 2013

Ellen/Reid: I am still irritated at leaving Chicago early. That was just plain stupid, trying to get an earlier flight. Even if American Airlines, the dolts, had relented and let me on it still felt wrong on a bunch of levels. I could’ve taken you and Liz to brunch, Reid, and still had plenty of time to spare. It’s just so aggravating to

Reid on the stoop of his Chicago apartment early on a Saturday morning. He seems in a good place.

Reid polishing off a danish on the stoop of his Chicago apartment early on a Saturday morning. He seems in a good place.

act like that. That won’t happen again. I know I was plenty anxious about today but there’s still no excuse. Reid, I was so impressed with how you and Liz have done your place. It’s just awfully nice. And incredibly spacious.

I didn’t sleep very well last night, tossing and turning about today’s examination. You two will be the first to know (after Felicia) and by the time you get this the results should be in. So we’ll just keep our collective fingers crossed. We’ll know, too, about the Blackhawks. That was fun watching the game. I didn’t realize you guys were so into hockey. Who would have known?

The morning got off slowly at work. Not even the black coffee was able to shake things up this a.m. Maybe it’s just one of those days.

For the third time United has changed our flight plans to Seattle. This is getting old. In three weeks we’ll be there and you guys will have been to Cass Lake and back in that time. You should have a lot of fun up there. Emma is old enough to sort of get the drift of things up there. A new generation attaches itself to Northern Minnesota.

Felicia harvested our first tomatoes of the season from the front stoop and they have been pronounced edible. I got one bite and it was pretty good. Reid, you ought to stuff some herbs for cooking in those boxes at the top of the stairs. A little basil, some oregano, cilantro, chives, et al. That would be a nice little garden. Whatever you’d plunk into the dirt would need plenty of water since the boxes are facing south but that’s okay. Nothing wrong with some common herbs. I should ship you some cuttings from the oregano here since I brought it back from your grandmother’s garden. That would be a good way to keep that legacy going.

Little fledged cardinals continue to troop to the feeder. I worry they won’t know how to feed themselves in the wild if we pull the plug on the sunflower seed. But we enjoy them flocking to the second floor and it makes them a little safer from the marauding feral cats that I see slunking around here on a daily basis. I never should have sold your grandfather’s .22. My BB gun is just enough to catch their attention although I’ve never sent any ammo their way.

My church newsletter was done just in time before boarding the flight to Chicago. But it’s a beast that needs to be fed all the time. I’ll have to crank out another one before heading to Seattle. It just never goes away but such are the wages of sin. I’m trying to get a little more inventive and creative on the graphic design but you guys will have to be the judge. It’s still outside my comfort zone.

Alright, enough already. Take the sunscreen and Coolibar clothing with you to Cass Lake. Reid, I hope you catch fish, and Ellen, I hope you catch Emma. She’ll be trying to scoot away all the time.

Love, dad

Leave a comment

Filed under Writing to adult children

The prodigal son returns…

Reid has returned, no worse for the wear, from his sojourn to India.  We talked at length last night on a dad-initiated call.  The kids sounds great.  He spent the last half of his trip by his lonesome.  That takes some nerve to pack up and head to the other side of the world when you don’t know but a single soul.  But Reid has a daring side that I admire and encourage (within limits, of course).

If nothing else, his trip affirms he can make his own decisions, spend his own money and be his own man.

Nevertheless, last week’s letter went solo to Ellen.  It was like the old days when she was at Butler U. before her ‘bro arrived.  But Reid’s name is plastered on the salutation line of this week’s letter – which is already in the mail.


Here’s what I wrote to Ellen last week:

February 27, 2012

Ellen: Betsy and I just got done pinging back and forth about your expected due date.  I told her late April or early May.  That sounds about right, doesn’t it?  She’s always so good to ask how you guys are doing.  She asked about the pecking order of visitation once the little girl arrives.  Your photo is good.  You’ve taken very good card of yourself physically and dietary-wise and you’ve hardly gained any weight.  That is a good thing.  Your mom didn’t gain all that much weight with you or Reid, either.

Speaking of Reid, as you say, typical Reid.  He takes the one trip that you want to hear about and we don’t get squat from him.  I hope things are okay.  How did Tim manage to get that one video of Reid and Liz in the cab?  I wish I had her phone because I’d check in to see how the trip went and how Reid is doing.  From all indications, Bangalore is the tech center of India.  Incredibly, my post from last week, which mentioned Bangalore once, gets picked up by a blogger in India who tells me Bangalore is considered a garden spot.  So that was pretty cool.  That made me feel a little better about things.  Hopefully Reid’s having a great time and getting his fill of exploration.  Once a Razzmatazz, always a Razzmatazz.  Hard to sit back and wait to hear about his worldly exploits.  In a major coincidence, Bob Furstenau traveled to Ghana the same day Reid left for India.  Bob was seeing one of the twins, Tori, I think, and he took Adrian with him.  He texted a little bit the first day about how different things were but no word since.

Tim texted me from the Charlotte airport just a few moments ago.  He must be on U.S. Air as this would be their hub.  He says they caught a few red fish but the conditions were awful.  For a fly fisherman that must’ve meant heavy wind because he’s not about to toss any other line in the water.  Once the baby situation settles in, you three ought to come down here and we’ll trek over toward the ocean, down by Charleston or Hilton Head so your little one can anoint her toes in the Atlantic and Tim and I can try our hand at the coastal fish there.  That would be a lot of fun.  I think your bro’ is planning on Thanksgiving down here but we have yet to make any solid plans.  Who knows, he might want to head to M-SP to spend some time with Liz.  We’ll just have to wait and see how all that unfolds.  Depending on your schedule and energy level, I could always trundle up there, too.  I don’t need to bunk with you guys and create unnecessary turmoil.  There have to be motels nearby.  No biggie.  I can go either way.

Another reorganization at work.  But my name still shows on the chart, so that is a good thing.  One of my best friends, Tom, is pulling up stakes and moving his family to Washington, D.C. where he will take a position with a big association.  It’s not a bad move for him other than the price of real estate and uprooting his seventh grader to a new school system.  But that’s the way of the banking world.  There’s just so much uncertainty.  We are still going to contract size-wise down here so he was being pretty prudent in his planning.  Hard to lose friends, though, when you don’t have very many to start with.  We had golfed a far amount and now that’s done.

I’m getting kind of burned out on my church newsletter.  It’s been more than three years of 12 pages month in and month out, and it’s just taken a mental toll.  Hard to keep the creative juices flowing issue after issue.  More and more photos are taking the place of copy.  That’s not all bad from the reader’s perspective if you believe ‘a picture is worth 1,000 words’.  I don’t get much editorial help about news although I’ve not really recruited people to step in.  Some have volunteered but their idea of a contribution is to submit a poem or some other creative reflection.  I need people who can write on events and such and stick to deadlines.  But enough moaning.  Another issue is due March 11.

1 Comment

Filed under Writing to adult children

Roll with the punches…

Ellen keeps sending photos of Henry, and I'll keep posting them. Reid is a really good photographer, and he needs to get off his keester and send some pics, too.

Every once in a while I wonder how things might be different were I a parent of kids just now in the collegiate swing of things.  When Ellen and Reid at least feigned burning the midnight oil back in the day at Butler U. in Indianapolis, social networks were still a gleam in the eye of  techies somewhere.  The controversial subject of “The Social Network” had yet to make his first penny, let alone his first billion.

Based on what I know now, I would roll with the punches.  As a seasoned texter, no doubt the three of us would text a lot.  We are all seasoned e-mailers but not with each other.  No way we would add to what already clogs our in-boxes.  Facebook is a non-factor for us, or at least not for me.  We call with some regularity (mostly on weekends) but we’re not the chattiest bunch ever made, except for Reid.  So we’re left with texting and letters to fill the informational-emotional gap.

To sound like a broken record, I’ve made my case in prior posts that letters fill an information gap for Ellen and Reid, can be read on their schedules, and are leisurely for me as the best 10 to 15 minutes of my week.  That would likely not change.  No time machine, however, will transport me to a bygone era to correct the many wrongs I’ve made in print over the years.  My hunch is that if it all went through the wash again, I’d fall into the same pattern; a gradual progression from occupying time to the sorts of things you see today.

So, yeah, I’d roll up my writing sleeves again.  And yeah, there are more options open today, but I’ll stick to my knitting.  And that would be words on paper.


We follow a different path today.  My friend Steve in Des Moines had his third ace this past week.  He’s the best golfer I’ve ever golfed with, bar-none.  It’s irritating to someone who’s never sniffed a hole-in-one, and I can’t resist rubbing it in.

October 4, 2010

Steve: I trust Oleson held you to a higher standard when it comes to post-Ace libations.  Hopefully you sprang for some aged Scotch or some such thing.  Hopefully Kenyon and Cox and Sam and others were able to partake in your generosity.  Your ongoing purchase of the club’s hole-in-one insurance is an annuity for some insurance salesperson.  I need to log onto the Register to see how many page views your Ace announcement made.  Hope their servers were able to keep up with the crush.  How is it you can routinely pile up aces and near aces and birdies and eagles when the rest of us can’t even sniff the cup when we’re already on the green?  Life just isn’t fair.

Just saw that our Steve A______-less Ryder Cup team got edged.  If you’d been there the score would’ve been something like 18 – 10 and you would’ve stifled those yappy Brits.  It’s probably the one thing Corey Pavin will take most of the gas on.

Have not played golf in a while, with one exception the weekend of September 18.  Other than that, the clubs have collected North Carolina airborne dust these last few months.  The bank has a three day holiday next Monday (thanks, Chris Columbus) and a couple of bank guys are trying to lure me to the course.

The job thing is wearing me out.  The theory was that I would use the time at the bank to look for other situations, and then along comes the extension to my FTE.  It was very much right out of the blue.  I’m glad of it because there are a few more weeks tacked on to my stay here and the new assignment, albeit temporary, has been at least interesting.  Not on the same plane as success as Allen Diversified Services but any port in a storm.  It’s a good thing since not much was happening under any of the stones I’ve overturned.

Today is the first time I’ve worn a non-suit coat/sports coat jacket since…since I can’t remember when.  We go from 100F to 60F in a matter of days.  Good for my tomato.

Now, what date are you and Jane tying the knot next year?  I need to get it on my jam-packed social calendar.  I know Oleson has already put it down in ink.  For his sake and your sake you’d best not schedule an evening wedding or the time slot opposite “Jeopardy” because you will force him to make a decision.  Too bad he was never a contestant.  That would give us an opportunity to critique him for a change in lieu of him lambasting some poor accountant because G.T.O. is the only one who knows some spurious answer to some obscure question.

I’m sorry the job situation derailed the pending trip to the Midwest and Des Moines.  If the current situation falls through – which it always can – I will likely try to make it up sometime in early December.  That is, if my blood isn’t overly thin from spending too much time in North Carolina.  By this writing, you should already have your fifth Ace.  Or would it be sixth Who’s counting at this juncture other that the rest of us who’ve never had one?

Leave a comment

Filed under College, Parenting, Writing to college students