Outsourced Resolutions

It is almost time to set resolutions for the new year. Before doing so, however, one needs to review the current year's resolutions for posterity. I didn't set any resolutions for myself in 2012, but I did set some resolutions for my friend Sherri (she outsourced her resolutions to me last January).

I will check in tonight with Sherri to see how resolved any of these may have been. I hope she learned Swedish Chef!

Digital Scrapbook: Halloween

Halloween is a holiday that is enjoyed best when you are younger. I remember going to the store (Shopko usually) to pick out Halloween costumes a coupe times, but in general we created our own. We always carved at least one Jack-O-Lantern. Although Sandra and I would go trick-or-treating, most of the candy got thrown out because we wouldn't eat it. I think Fritz ate more of it than us. Below is a sample of the pics that are in the slideshow [click here].

Halloween 1976

Halloween 1983


We Start 'Em Young in Minnesota

I apparently started drinking coffee and shoveling snow at a young age. It must have took...I still do both.

Fritz and Andy drinking joe in 1976.

Andy cleans the driveway (Spring, 1976).

With the size of that shovel, this must have taken all day.

Digital Scrapbook: Squawker & Pecker

Some time ago my sister and I reared two ducklings to adulthood after their mother and siblings were annihilated from the planet by a mean retriever. I named my duck Squawker and Sandra named her duck Pecker. For awhile they lived in a box in the kitchen (St. Cloud) or living room (Hackensack)-and occasionally in our caps, but as they got bigger (later in the summer) they were relegated to a "pen" made of railroad ties that Fritz built next to the garage. By the end of that summer, they had flown out of the pen and lived in Pleasant Lake. Those ducks not only survived, but we are pretty convinced that they came back with their families (year after year) and basked on the dock (much to Fritz's chagrin).

Squawker and Pecker in the kitchen.

Andy (w/Squawker) and Sandra (w/Pecker) in
the living room in Hackensack.

In the pen.
See all the pics in the "Squawker and Pecker" Flickr set [click here].


Digital Scrapbook: Fritz Retires from Teaching

My dad taught math at Sartell High School for many years. Here is the article in the Sartell High School newspaper from when he retired.


Digital Scrapbook: Fritz is a Bug Farmer

My dad, Fritz, farmed bugs for several years. He would raise these bugs (in fact, I think he got some funding from the government to do this), then they would turn them loose to combat Purple Loosestrife. Here is the cover story from the Hackensack paper.


Digital Scrapbook: Jason Koets

Jason Koets was one of the first people I met when I started teaching at ROCORI. He was hired the same year I was to direct the ROCRI High School band. We had a lot of fun.

Digital Scrapbook: My Great Aunt–Daisey

My great aunt, Daisey, henceforth Aunt Daisey or as we called her "Aunt Da" (pronounced Day), was a high school english teacher at Bemidji High School (she taught there for 36 years). She was in large part a hero of mine growing up. She competed in the New York Times crossword puzzle challenges and could complete those buggers faster than anyone I knew. I remember distinctly sitting on her lap and getting my first clue correct. I was hooked from then on.

Aunt Daisey had  both bachelor's and master's degrees in English Education (University of North Dakota). She would recite Shakespeare to my sister and I, entire plays, from memory doing different voices for each of the characters. My favorite was the opening of Macbeth with the witches. She also loved poetry giving living room performances of Tennyson as the mood struck.

Aunt Da never married and never had kids. She was a diehard Republican, not missing a caucus in several decades and a chair of the Beltrami County Republican Party. She was a member of the American Assoication of University Women and was elected president of the Minnesota Educators Association. Everybody in Bemidji seemed to know her.

This column appeared in the Bemidji newspaper after Aunt Da's memorial service. 

    Last weekend I attended a memorial service for an old friend and mentor, Daisey Norgart. Daisey had been my supervising teacher when I student taught at Bemidji High School back in fall of 1974. She was a small lady with a raspy voice, sparkling eyes, an unmistakable laugh and a reputation of legendary proportion.
    Small in stature, but larger than life, Daisey loomed as the epitome of English teachers. She was demanding, hard working, and often set in her ways, but few if any of the students who had Daisey as a teacher left her classroom without learning something. She taught me many things that I know to be as true today as they were back in 1974. Here are a few of the lessons taught to a naive young student teacher:
    Set high expectations for students. Daisey let her students know what was expected. Her students knew there would be no free time and that a lack of preparation for class would not be tolerated, that no matter how good you thought you were, she could find ways to make you work harder and better.
    Once you've set high expectations, stick to them. Daisey demanded a lot of her students. Illegible papers with unclipped edges certainly didn't make even the first cut. Papers that lacked organization or original thoughts didn't go far either. Undone assignments were unheard of if a student hoped to pass Daisey's class. And classroom behavior had to be conducive to good learning for everyone in the room.
    Model what you want students to learn, and give them time to practice. In recent education classes I've taken, terms like "Lesson Design," "Motivation Theory," and "Practice Theory" fit Daisey's style to a "T." Daisey demonstrated grammatical rules to her students and they practiced them until what used to sound all right to them, but wasn't, finally was corrected in accordance to the Queen's English. If you didn't know when to use "who" and when to use "whom" before you came to class, you certainly would know it when you left.
    Let your love of the subject and your feelings of its importance come across. Daisey allowed me to teach her advanced composition classes, I believe, because she knew that my love of writing would transfer to the students, but she kept the English Literature class to herself. A teacher can teach best that which she finds engrossing, precious, necessary, and utterly important. Without a passion for teaching,it is impossible to expect a passion for learning.
    Although I adopted my own style of teaching and my own passions, I learned a great deal from Daisey, some of which didn't even click with me until I sat there on Saturday and listened to other cohorts speak of her style, her professionalism, her dedication to teaching.
    She taught English at Bemidji High School for 36 years and touched the lives of thousands of students, most of whom still have a clearer picture of this dynamic, demanding little lady than of most of their former teachers. Some might describe her as eccentric, but no one doubted her understanding of what she taught and her ability to make students learn. She didn't set out to win popularity contests, yet she was a frequently requested teacher for students who wanted to be well-prepared for college. 
    Farewell Daisey, and thank you. I picture you staking out your own chair in the hereafter and making those spirits about you mind their p's and q's.

Sue Bruns taught English at Bemidji High School from 1977-98. For the past three years she has served as the graduation standards technician for Bemidji High School. This column is provided by the Bemidji Education Association.


Digital Scrapbook: Electric Fetus

I worked at the Electric Fetus in St. Cloud during my undergraduate days. During my time there I worked with some awesome folks...Jeff, Jackie, Sam, Sarah. John was our manager. I remember he was a vegetarian and when he would cook whatever he ate in the basement the whole place smelled awful. I also recall that he had an entire collection of Rolling Stone magazines (all of them).

I had the greatest assistant manager, Deb, who made sure the place was running. Deb taught me about the wonders of Rod Stewart (she had a big crush) and knew everything there was to know about ordering hippie clothes and pipe parts.

At the St. Cloud Fetus, there were, at the time, two counters where employees would work...the music counter and the pipe counter. Mostly I worked the pipe counter. At that counter you would get the crazies and the townies. The worst was the folks who would build their own pipe. We had this tackle box of parts and these folks would be screwing together stems, bowls, chambers...nuts. Then you had to ring up all of the parts separately and these idiots would pull out their coins to pay....fuck!

You would also get the most irate people at the pipe counter. Apparently being ID'ed was a problem for some of them...especially when you ID'ed everyone that was at the counter with them. One particularly busy Saturday afternoon, when I told several young men that I couldn't sell them a pipe because they did not have ID, I was called several rude names. I tod them I still couldn't sell them the pipe at which point they told me that they were "going to their pickup truck to get a shotgun". With Deb standing behind me, I explained that "shotgun" is not a legal form of identification in Minnesota and I still wouldn't be selling to them. They didn't come back.

Also, there are particular words that can not be said at the pipe counter if you want to purchase a pipe. "Bong" is a big no-no. As at least five signs with big lettering pointed out, they are called "water pipes". Using language that implies that you might be purchasing a pipe for anything illegal is grounds for declining a sale. As we learned daily at the Fetus, illiteracy runs rampant in St. Cloud.

Electric Fetus (St. Cloud)
I clipped this out of the St. Cloud Times when I was still working there.

The Most Beautiful Poem in the World

A Toast to Toast
by Gideon O. Burton 

Of all the snacks that beckon in the night
When tummies growl and gnawing hunger calls,
But one can satisfy my famished plight
And summons me to stumble through the halls.
Oh piece of bread, so humble in your slice
What magic turns your skin from white to brown?
What arrogant aromas do entice
When toaster pops and butter coats you down!
With cinnamon and sugar or with jam
I dress you in the ornaments of sweet
More sated, I, than proverb's happy clam
When crispy, hot and warm my lips you meet.
     Of every night-time treat you are the most
     I honor you, great food, whose name is toast.


and a music video...


Digital Scrapbook: Joan Garfield–Distinguished Teaching Award

Joan Garfield was my Ph.D.advisor and is now a colleague and friend. In 2006, she was honored by the University of Minnesota by being awarded the Graduate-Professional Distinguished Teaching Award. The 2005-06 Distinguished Teaching Awards Ceremony took place Monday April 24, 2006 at the McNamara Alumni Center. Below are pictures that were taken at the award ceremony, as well as the program excerpt honoring Joan.

The program excerpt with Joan.

Joan offers words of wisdom at the awards ceremony.

Joan and I after the awards ceremony.
Joan and Michael (her husband). Although he was at the awards ceremony, this photo was taken in Paris (in June 2006)  at the Tour D'Argent restaurant. They were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary.


Digital Scrapbook: Master's Touch

Here it is. The Digital Scrapbook post that everyone has been waiting for...Master's Touch. For those not in the know, I sang in a Christian singing group called "The Master's Touch". (As someone once pointed out, why don't they run all names for Christian things past an adolescent male. This one would have never passed the giggle test!) The killer is that our "sister" (brother?) group was "The Carpenter's Tool". (Never would have passed the giggle test.)

The first year I sang with them, we wore these horrible neon bow-ties. The gals wore these black lycra-esque dresses....it's a wonder we got any singing done...must have been the guilt-trip that would have been placed on us if we would have slept with each other. I have crazy stories from those days. Also some friends for life that I miss like crazy!

Maybe part of a "Youth for Christ" newspaper? The picture was definitely the first year.

This was an article in the Apollo High School newspaper about Master's Touch.

Damn! Check out the mullet on me...


Digital Scrapbook: Classmates, Students & Friends

The following pictures are of classmates, students, colleagues and friends. The dates correspond to the year the picture was taken. The names and dates are the best I can do. Memory is a slippery companion, especially as far back as some of these are from...

Top Row: Chris Weldon ('92), Tim Roman ('92), Josh Davis ('92)
Middle Row: Dave Shelles ('91), Becca Louiselle ('92)
Bottom Row: Sarah Ross ('92), Kris (Gorman) Fremo ('92), Eric Bjorklund ('92)

Top Row: Darren Catallo ('92), Andy Reichert ('90), Jackie Friedrich ('92)
Middle Row: Kira Kelsey ('89), Stuart Ellis ('92)
Bottom Row: Jessica Dahl ('95), Max ('92), Jeff Wahlberg ('92)

Top Row: Kayla Wenker ('01), Matt Bonham ('02), Paul Weisz ('00)
Middle Row: Eric Patton ('02), Katie Schmucker ('01), David Raw ('01)
Bottom Row: Pypper Garmon ('02), Jennifer Nohner ('00), Mary Beth Johannes ('00)

Top Row: Kiri Kennedy ('02), Elizabeth Krekelberg ('02), Elizabeth Krekelberg ('02)
Middle Row: Joel Bertram ('00), Chris Braegelman ('00), Scott Ehresmann ('00)
Middle Row: Pypper Garmon ('02), Mandy Fladmark ('01)
Bottom Row: Michelle Thielen ('01), Craig Lieser (counselor; '99)

Top Row: Christy Debros ('94), Christy Debros ('94), Angela Stoeckman ('93)
Middle Row: Jeff Ross ('92), Megan Dopkins ('93)
Bottom Row: Rachel Harchke ('92), Angela/Andy (Prom, '93), Kris (Gorman) Fremo ('91)

Top Row: Danel Dockendorf ('01),  Danel Dockendorf ('01),
Bottom Row: Samantha Stang ('03), Julia Terhaar ('01)
My favorite back-of-the-picture writing came from Mary Beth Johannes (ROCORI class of 2000) who took my HTML course.

Your class was hard...take it easy!
Mary Beth Johannes '00

They do learn!