Welcome to my Blog - What Is A Blog?

A blog is a personal diary. A daily pulpit. A collaborative space. ... Your blog is whatever you want it to be.

For many years I have kept a journal, which I don't write in as much as I once did. I have an inner yearning to communicate with the world through writing and pictures Part of my motivation is to leave something behind to a world that has given me so much - a mom, dad, brother, grandparents, a loving wife, high spirited and gifted sons, close friends and loyal customers. Most of us have had some help along the way to get where we are. In my 12 step program, step 12 is about giving back to others. I hope there are posts here that will warm your heart, make you smile and make you think. That is what my blog is all about. I hope you enjoy it. Ken

Friday, February 24, 2012

Thanks Facebook: Our Legends Can Live On: They’re Angels Now

They’re Angels Now

The Minnesota women, all about 18 years old, were roommates. After coming home to Minnesota, to visit friends and family for President's Day weekend, they died in a card crash, as they headed back to North Dakota State University during a winter storm.

My son Isaac, also 18, and a senior at Minnetonka High School, was friends with Danielle Rae Renniger.

I’d briefly met Danielle at a prom event but didn’t know her. But as a father of two boys, one who recently enlisted in the Marines, I sure feel sadness in my heart to these four girl’s parents, and their long chain of friends and family.

Elton John wrote a song called Candle in the Wind. The lyrics include the words, “Your candle burned out long before your legend ever did.” Thanks to Facebook, our legends can live on.

I looked at Danielle’s Facebook page and am impressed with the wisdom she acquired during her short time here on earth.

Danielle had 1,478 friends and had posted 1,799 pictures. Born on May 4, 1993, Danielle wrote on her Facebook Profile,

"Everything happens for a reason. Every action has a reaction. Always remember that what’s meant to be will always find a way to come about."

Danielle's three favorite quotes were: One: Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted. Two: God grant me the serenity, to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, & wisdom to know the difference. Three: Just wish that everyone were humble. If everyone in this world stopped belittling other people, this world would be a much happier place. Be kind to other people besides your friends. Care about other people’s situations besides yours; don't be selfish. Don't ignore people or give them attitudes; it's rude. Don't assume you know someone when you really don't; you are missing out on a lot of great people out there."

My son asked me last night if I thought he should attend the funeral. I encouraged him to go and said it’s good to pay your respects and you’ll feel better for going and supporting Danielle’s family. My wife Annie helped Isaac pick a nice shirt and vest to wear – Isaac looked nice as he headed out the door this morning.

Every time the door closes, and either of my children walk out the door, I really don’t know if I’ll ever see them again. I’ve had friends walk through the door, and into the hospital, who didn’t walk out. I’ll take off on my motorcycle and who knows who I might encounter as I’m riding down the road at 70 mph – a deer running across the road, a person busy texting a friend, a mechanical failure?

My point is, everything in life is temporary. We’re born alone and we die alone. During my short journey (and my timeline is getting shorter by the year), it’s important that I do my best to live each day to its fullest. I’m learning not to be a slave to work. I’m learning that less is more, and the importance of connecting with nature that helps me re-discover my spiritual balance, instead of material things.

May God watch over our children and bless the lives of Danielle, Megan, Jordan, and Lauren.

P.s. whenever I try to figure out how tragedies like this can happen, I think back to what my Rabbi told me. He says, as humans, our vision is limited, that only the Almighty sees the complete picture. I know it would be easy to abandon my faith when things like this happen. That is why I believe in a power that is greater than myself – a caring and loving God!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Setting Boundaries and It's Okay to Say No

Dear Friends,

My younger son, soon to be 18, asked for permission to go hunting with his friend this week at his parent's cabin "up north."

One minor problem: no parental supervision.

As kids usually do, mine sprung the opportunity, on my drive home from work. He expected an instant answer, which I wasn't prepared to give. I felt the pressure coming from him. It was just one more pressure point I didn't need or want.

I told him I'd think it over and think it over I did. I called him a couple hours later, telling him the answer was "No." My son got combative and verbally abusive. I listened and thought to myself, "what an ungracious little spoiled snot," but didn't spar with him. I took a deep breath and told him I wanted him home with my car by 9pm. When he told me he was going anyway, I told him I'd report him as a runaway. He said, "you can't do that, dad, I'm 18." I reminded him that he's not 18 until the end of the month. He spewed some more until he wore himself up and hung up the phone. He got home on time and went straight to bed.

Yesterday, I felt emotionally bruised from the shellacking from junior. But, as things usually work out, I made it to my 12 step meeting, my sponsor just "happened to call me," and things worked out, and I consoled someone who needed help.

My son and his friends went hunting locally with his friends this morning. They got up up at 3:30am. It's not that I worry about their not being safe with their guns, as they've all had gun safety classes, it's the extracurricular activities that bother me.

As my dad says, "You can't teach judgement and experience." As my sponsor says, "Kenny, you need to stand tall and set boundaries."

God Bless and Have a wonderful day.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

We're Even!

The night before last was my performance of the "Exploding Pressure Cooker"

Last night was Annie's performance of "The exploding bowl in the dishwasher."

Good thing I was home! She went off to see a movie while I chilled on the couch.

The dishwasher was running and all of a sudden I heard a big "Kaboom."

Yea, it got my attention. I tuned in and heard something like the sound of rocks turning inside a cement truck mixer. Uh oh, what could that be?

I stopped the dishwasher and opened it up and saw a H U G E pile of broken glass at the bottom. I carefully started removing the shards of broken glass - the water was still hot.

Geez! Why would she put that in the dishwasher?

It was an honest accident and I was going to be a lot more forgiving to her than she was to me over my pressure cooker escapade. Anyway, after an hour, I got as much of the glass out as I could. You really should use gloves (I got a small cut on a finger; nothing serious). But my dad was a glass man and he taught me how to handle glass - he did say I should always wear gloves but I'm not the best listener.

Now there's a sign on the dishwasher that reads DO NOT USE!
The Minnegasco Service Plus guy needs to come and take the pump apart and get the residual glass out of there before we really screw it up.

Dumb post? Probably.

Moral to the story is: Accidents Happen. Give yourself and others a break (no pun intended).

Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Exploding Pressure Cooker and Annie's Reaction

I did a good job!

Yesterday we had a new oven delivered and installed. It replaces the one that needed a chair to keep the oven door shut. It had an electric cooktop and only 2 of the 4 burners worked.
Annie and I decided to get a gas top because, well . . . gas cooks better and it's easier to monitor and change the temperature. Enough of that. Now to the meat and potatoes, I mean soup portion of the story.

My mom makes great pressure cooker food - soups, to be specific. She has a really cool brand called Mirro-matic. I had to have one and awhile back I found a used one on Ebay. It worked pretty good most of the time, except it took awhile for the gasket to seal when it was heating up and it wobbled and water would drip out of the lid. Other than that, it cooked great. I made Chili, Potatoe, Vegetable, Split Pea and all kinds of great soup - well appreciated by my boys on the cold MN winter days.

Getting the thing to get hot and cook took f o r e v e r on the electric cook top.

I came home hungry yesterday after a days work and working out. Isaac, my younger son and his friend were home and I thought I'd make soup in the pressure cooker.

"How does split pea soup sound boys?" I asked. They said it sounded good.

I added the 5 cups of water and put in the mix. I turned on the biggest burner and a giant flame lit.

"Wow," I thought, "we'll have dinner in 10 minutes."

The water boiled quickly. I added the ingredients and fastened the lid. The water started dripping out of the lid and I picked up a dish towel to dry things off when all of a sudden Isaac said:

"Dad's the towels on fire!"
Luckily, the sink is close to the stove and I quickly put it out.

The water stopped dripping and the seal got tight. The pressure weight on the top of the steam vent started rattling and I set the timer for 10 minutes.
Oh, wow, this is gonna be good, I thought.

Mitch and I were talking and I looked at the timer.
"Only two minutes to go!" I said to Mitch.
Mitch started talking about his latest school project, something about making a speech about a new marketing gizmo when we heard a large KABOOM. It happened sooo fast!

The next thing I knew, the pressure cooker had erupted like a volcano and was propelled from the top of the stove to the floor - about 3 feet away. The pressure weight was gone and split pea mist was spraying e v e r y w h e r e.

Oh shit. I was hungry angry lonely and tired. I didn't plan on this happening. The soup was on every thing except in the pot.

I spent the next hour with a bucket of hot water, soap and vinegar scrubbing the thick split pea residue off the floor, walls, cabinets and pots and pans. The crud went everywhere.

At that point, Isaac and Mitch left me to clean things up. What a bummer. But it got worse.

Annie came home, all excited to see the new stove. She was eager to try it out. When I told her what happened, at first she laughed. But then she started to cry when she saw the mess I'd made. We ate a quick meal and together worked until midnight scrubbing the crud off the walls and in the crevices.

Okay so what did I do? I threw that *&#@~ pressure cooker in the trash can. No more old stuff, I promised Annie as she kept telling me,
"Your just like your grandfather."

But don't you worry. I'm in the process of doing research on finding a new pressure cooker that's going to be safe. So far I've discovered the Kuhn Rikon, called the "Mercedes of Pressure Cookers," by the New York Times.

More to come!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Do You Think a Dog Can Grieve?

What do you think? I know what I thought and felt that day.

Sammi lost her big brother, Ozzie and although she didn't seem to notice he was gone, at first, it wasn't long before reality set in.

Sure, Sammi was a spoiled brat. She'd think nothing of growling, barking, and even attacking Ozzie if he got close to her bowl of food at feeding time. And she thought nothing of pushing him down the stairs just for fun!

But Ozzie was her big brother. Siblings do stuff like that. Usually, beneath all the fun and games lies love and affection.

It's a new road to travel for all of us now that Ozzie's gone. Do we get a puppy to keep Sammi happy? Shoot, if we got another dog now, I'll be in my sixties, maybe early seventies, by the end of its life - is that what I want?

For now, we'll just let things ride. Sammi's getting lots of extra love and affection. As we walk further down the road, I'm sure we'll get clear on what to do.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Kids & Traffic Lights by Ken Tuvman

They look darling, right? Well, you're right. They are darling. . . most of the time.
Being a teenager is sort of like a yellow traffic light - sometimes it's hard to know when to go and when to stop.
As parents to my two boys, I know I'm doing my job when they tell me how much they dislike the consequences I'll impose when I find their going the wrong way. Does it hurt when my kid says, "I can't stand you, Dad or I'll never be like you or mom!" Does it hurt when my kid says "just wait, when I'm 18 I'm moving out and joining the Army and You Can't Stop Me!"
Sure it hurts, but only for a little while. . . I get over it.
I promise you that G-d forbid, should something terrible occur because I'm asleep at the wheel on my watch as a parent, I'm going to really be hurting!!!
This past New Year's one of mine was grounded. He knows the rules, but thought he'd bend them anyway. Dad's busy, he'll never know.
So we got to spend New Year's Eve together - I was upstairs and he was downstairs, but we were both under the same roof and most importantly, he was safe on a potentially dangerous evening for most teenagers. (temptation, temptation, temptation).
Sure, we're busy: Annie and I have made it our business to be present as much of the time as possible; we decided to NOT raise our kids behind Blackberrys!
But as I said when I first started out, being a teenager is like a yellow traffic signal. Most of the time they have no problem going -- stopping, that's the problem. In real driving situations how many accidents occur when a driver decides he can make the yellow light that's just about to switch to red? And on the other side, is another driver ready to punch-it just as soon as "his" light turns green?
To my children, I'm Crosstown Traffic - when I see the signals have turned from Green to Red, my job is to slow them down.
Wow wee - helping navigate our children through adolescence can be very challenging. But seeing the alternative is also disturbing. I know too many young kids who never made safe passage through their teenage years. One, I know, got frustrated; she felt like she wasn't fitting in at school. So, her solution to her pain was to take her own life. Now that's a tragedy! I don't know of the words that can describe the shock and pain her parents are going through. That kind if pain just doesn't go away.
So, a couple quips of wisdom, to end my share today: 1) Structure is a parent's best friend. 2) Boredom is your child's worst enemy. 3) If you don't stand up for what you believe in, you'll fall down for anything!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Remembering our friend, Ozzie.

He lived with us and knew us all quite well - all four members of our family: Annie, Adam, Isaac and me. Although he liked us boys, he had a special relationship with Annie. She understood him and he understood her. Maybe it was because of their big hearts but I really never knew for sure.

He went by Ozzie and came to the United States from Scotland in the early 90's. He settled in Omaha, Nebraska where Annie was introduced to him by his brother named Cody. Ozzie was homeless and needed a place to stay. From the moment she laid her eyes on him, Annie felt a mothering instinct to take him in and give him a hand. She fell in love with his beautifully appointed face and small button shaped nose. She put us on notice to make room for a new family member. Ozzie travelled back to Minnesota with us, where Annie sent him to school to get a good education and learn his manners. One of Ozzie's teachers told Annie that he was very intelligent but if she wasn't consistent in disciplining him, his propensity to be hard-headed would soon prevail.

He had long brown hair and chocolate brownie eyes. Sometimes people made fun of him because he had short legs and arms. But Ozzie didn't care. If someone wanted to tease him they'd quickly find out that even though he was small, he wasn't afraid of anything or anybody. Annie came up with a nickname for Ozzie; she called him "Scrappers."

Throughout the years, if someone was in the wrong, he'd go out of his way to make things right. Ozzie always spoke his mind; he never held back. Whenever Annie needed to run an errand, he always was happy to come along and keep her company. If someone approached Annie, and Ozzie had a bad feeling about that person, he'd go to any length to protect her, even if it meant laying down his life.

Over the fifteen years that Ozzie stayed with us, he became great friends with the boys. He was almost always in a good mood and loved hanging out with them. Adam and Ozzie would take walks down to the Marina in the summer; Isaac and Ozzie liked to play ball.

When we brought home our new Springer Spaniel puppy, almost three years ago, Ozzie was the first member of our family to embrace her. He showed her where to stay and introduced her to the kids on our block.

On Tuesday of this week, we had to say goodbye. Ozzie told us it was time for him to move on; he said he had to travel someplace far away; he wouldn't say where. He thanked all of us profusely for all the love and care we provided him and said he could never repay us. We begged him not to go but his mind and heart were set. It was time for him to go. He told us not to be sad, that he would keep in touch and stay in our hearts.

We're grateful for the time we had with Ozzie. He was a blessing to the Tuvman household and will be missed!