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

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!