Designing the quilt tribute

To me it is very important that the color scheme reflect and celebrate diversity. My nephew is in an interracial relationship, and has an amazing daughter Grace, of whom we expect great things. I would like to have our family members’ names embroidered onto the quilt and have enough space for new names to be added. Quilting is celebrated in African-American and many other traditions. My mother learned it from her grandmother and we are hoping that Grace will learn it from our mother. I also want the quilt to travel and be passed down from generation to generation as an heirloom because at this point we don’t have anything that we can say has bound us together. Instead we are more of a family being pulled apart by bitterness and old bad memories.


This picture above is my nephew John and his daughter Grace.


Happy anniversary, Lizzy

We have spent one memorable year together.. It’s been a time of growth and change in the mental health system that we have explored together. We are a vital part of the Recovery Advisory Committee that has guided the implementation of Comprehensive Community Services. This Medicaid benefit could potentially speed the recovery of people in Milwaukee County. It may seem strange or unromantic talking about the work that brought us together but that work is an outgrowth of our values, the things that we are about.

We are people who came of age during our nation’s darkest hour, mired in a horrible war in Southeast Asia that killed hundreds of thousands and continues to kill Americans, Vietnamese and so many more. But we didn’t stop with the idea that our country was on the wrong track. We have set out to help people through compassion and service. That is what made us a couple.

This year has included sadness and challenge, the death of a cat and our growth as people. I am the man you were seeking. I am not one of those sappy granola eating guys who will moon over you all day long. I am a lucky oddball who has been fortunate to find someone who matches my various quirks and eccentricities. May the next 40 years be as much fun as the first as we continue the search for intelligent life in Wisconsin

This is one of those time when waiting and looking for a sweet little atheist really paid off. I am always saddened when I read these stories of atheists complaining that they somehow can’t find non-religious people to have as partners and friends. I think they simply need to keep looking. I’m glad that I did.

Old coffeehouse friends




I saw Craig Seimsen and his wife Patty Stevenson performing last night at the 19th street coffeehouse. It is hard to imagine how long I have known them. I met them when they were living in a community house. It was long ago and far away. In between, life happened. He had a long career with the Milwaukee Public Schools. They went on countless walks, made albums, love and almost met wild animals.. Now they are the proud parents of a teenage daughter.

I never met a more perfectly matched couple. Craig has grayed nicely while Patty is probably a witch because she doesn’t look any older than when I first met her. I bought Craig’s cd, It’s About Time, which has one of my favorite songs called  We’d Rather Make Toys.The cd had originally been released in 1990. Wow, 24 years ago.

It was not the first time I had been the only African-American at the coffeehouse but it was the first time I had bought cds and albums in the same day. Earlier I had been with Liz and bought some Art Blakey, Johnson Coltrane and Dave Brubeck albums. I had started out in the coffeehouse scene as a high school student listening to songs of peace.

I was hoping after the concert to see a classic edition of Saturday Night Live with Richard Pryor and Gil Scott Heron but it was not meant to be. As it happened, the episode had aired when I was still at the coffeehouse.

There were many others at the coffeehouse besides Craig and Patty. For instance Bill Murtaugh, a long time poet, was in the crowd. Other coffeehouse performers were there, too.

To say I have eclectic tastes would be an understatement. As Craig would say, it’s about time. Are you ready to roam?