It’s spring; farmers are in the field, spring sports are in full swing, and then there are graduation parties! I love going to graduation parties! I feel blessed and humbled to be invited to many of them. Every year, it makes me feel really special and grateful that the student thinks to invite the radio sports broadcaster. I know some students better than others, but I always feel honored to be invited.

When I receive their graduation invite in the mail it always makes my day. I sit down with a tablet and write out my schedule: Graduate, dates, times and addresses. Trying to plan how I will attend all the graduation parties is like planning a military assault. I really don’t know how teachers and coaches do it. They seem to always be running from place to place to make the graduation parties.

Some parties have been very memorable. A few years ago I went to a party that was amazing. Great decorations, best punch ever, and the graduate met me at the driveway and gave me a hug. I went to another one a number of years ago and the graduate took the time to introduce me to just about everyone in the house, the garage and even the barn! I just wanted to dive into the pulled pork sandwiches!

Another graduate once had a Chinese restaurant cater their graduation party! I love Chinese food, and it was awesome! For one of my son’s graduation party, we went to Subway and bought the super party subs! The word spread fast around town and people came to eat Subway sandwiches.

I know how mothers clean their house to prepare for graduation. I walked into a house once during the party and swiped my finger across the top of the door frame and proudly displayed my dusty finger to the mother. Needless to say I got slapped! It was a good laugh.

I remember another party I attended, when I walked into the garage and heard my own voice. A video of the state basketball game was playing and they edited my play by play with the video. That was very cool. When some of my cousins graduated, my uncle and his friends always roasted a full pig. I miss those days. One family has a tradition of serving root beer floats to everyone. They did that with every one of their children.

I am looking forward to saying “Congratulations!” and “Best of luck in the future” to many graduates in the next few weeks. It is a special time. I always have some athletes, parents and grandparents that I have close relationships with. I cherish those relationships. I follow the graduate as they go through college and see them become successful in the business world. Some get married and have children and are wonderful moms and dads. I always look back and remember them in high school and for some funny reason remember their graduation party!

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My wife and I had an interesting discussion the other night. The subject was about hoarding. I am a thrower and Roxie is a collector. Before I continue, my wife is a neat freak around the house. She hates messes and clutter. She keeps the cleanest home I know, but I will take some credit for a clean house also. I do dust and vacuum once in a while. Is it possible to have a clean house and yet be a hoarder?

This will not be a blog about my wife’s “collecting” things. I love her and we have a really nice living space that is always clean. But there are issues! Now I have my faults as well when it comes to not throwing things out. Mine is in my office at work. I will admit I do hoard at work, especially with newspaper clippings of high school sporting events that I have covered and broadcasted for the radio station. The filing cabinets in my office are stuffed with newspapers, magazines. I don’t want to throw them out.

Wikipedia says “Compulsive hoarding, also known as hoarding disorder, is a pattern of behavior that is characterized by excessive acquisition and an inability or unwillingness to discard large quantities of objects that cover the living areas of the home and cause significant distress or impairment.”

I have been in homes where you can’t walk because the living space is filled with boxes, trash, and who knows what else. It is awful. Our living space is clean and definitely free of clutter, so technically we are not hoarders. We still have stuff and lots of stuff.   

Let me give you a tour of our home. It is a three-level house with an attached garage and a double garage in the back. I think it was built in the 1940’s. We have lived in this house for forty years. We raised four kids in this house. Roxie and I have been empty nesters now for about ten years. It is just us two living in our home. So why is there so much stuff in our home? 

We still have our daughter’s prom dresses hanging in her closet. I have literally around fifty hats in the front closet. We gutted our basement, knocking out walls to make it one big room. We took out the cement floor and poured a new floor. That was two years ago. We never go down in the basement, but yet it is full of “stuff” like a couch, loveseat and empty boxes all over the place. My workroom in the basement is full of tools and nails, screws, duct tape, etc. I haven’t been in that room for months. Full of junk. How did that happen?

The upstairs has three bedrooms with beds full of boxes and boxes. Most of the boxes contain t-shirts that I have collected over the years from covering high school sports. Like conference championship shirts, state t-shirts, section championship shirts. LQPV, Dawson-Boyd, Canby and Minneota school t-shirts. I have them in boxes and my closet is full of them. I don’t want to get rid of them.

The two garages we have are another story. My bike, which I haven’t ridden in maybe 5 years is still hanging upside down from the garage rafters. The garage also contains firewood which we hardly use, garden stuff, although we don’t have a garden and old siding. Someone once said if something hasn’t moved in over a year, give it away or throw it away!

After writing this blog, I have come to a major conclusion. I always thought and blamed my wife for being a hoarder. I now realize that I am more of a hoarder than she is! Looks like I need to do some spring cleaning.

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In my last blog I mentioned that I have been blogging for a whole year.  I have written over one hundred blogs in the past year. These blogs covered topics such as the length of my hair, jobs I could not do, a Vietnam vet, disliking popcorn and pet peeves of mine. While I was looking over what I had written, I noticed I liked some more than others. So here are some of my favorite blogs from this past year.

The blog that got the biggest response was about the length of my hair. My hair length turned into a family crisis. In early May of 2017, I started growing my hair out and by July my hair was longer than what it was in high school. People went nuts! Family and friends turned on me because they hated it. As I wrote in my blog, my own granddaughter Gretta thought I was starting to look like a girl. Maybe I was having a midlife crisis, I don’t know. I loved it. But I gave in and cut it to make everyone calm down!

Another favorite blog was written on August 22nd. I want a pet! I had a strong desire to get a small dog. In forty years of marriage and four kids, this household has never had a pet, like a dog or cat. We have had fish and gerbils, but they usually died the next day after bringing them home. I did my best to talk my wife into it, but to no avail. My wife has a very good point as to why we are not getting a dog, and I quote. “You don’t pay enough attention to me, when are you going to give a dog attention? You’re never home.”

Ok, that makes me sound like a bad husband, she’s just lashing out and trying to make a point! She gets attention from me! But I still don’t have a dog.

I have written some very tough and emotional blogs. I wrote about remembering Steve Bly and what his mother and family do every year to keep his memory alive. The run/walk at the end of June is a great way to remember an awesome kid that was taken way to early from us. On July 9th, I wrote about another young man from Minneota that passed away in an automobile accident. I was in Minneota with the Dawson Legion baseball team when the Minneota community unveiled a sign in centerfield to remember Donnie Schuelke. That was a tough time for me and everyone.

So many other blogs to talk about. I blogged about our daughter’s wedding in Hawaii and I continued a blog on Hawaiian food. I think my favorite blog was one of my first blogs I wrote. It was about my best sports moments in my broadcasting career. That was a fun blog to write. I recalled some of the most exciting moments in high school sports that I had broadcast over the years.

You can read all my blogs on our KLQP web site at www.klqpfm.com Just click on Podcast and search Raymo’s Ramblings.

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This week I have been blogging for a whole year! I am absolutely amazed, shocked and proud of myself.  I can’t believe that I did that. I was reluctant to start blogging because I am not a writer and my grammar is not the best. I was asked by a couple of friends to start blogging. I told them I would try it for a couple of months and go from there. Well here I am a year later. Blogging twice a week has been an amazing experience for me.

What happened in those two months of the trial period was eye opening to me. I fell in love with writing a blog! I looked forward to getting on my laptop to start a blog. During this trial period, I received an email from a book author. In her email, she said how much she enjoyed reading my blogs. She encouraged me, and she gave me some constructive criticism on how to improve my writing. I was so excited about that email, I printed it out and have it in my office at work. That was in April of 2017. Amazing what a few words of encouragement can do.

The most important thing I have come to realize in my blogging is this. One evening I was looking over all of my blogs that I have written and realized that I am writing about my life, my personal experiences, detailed things about me. My inner most thoughts, things I believe in, people I meet. I thought to myself, what a wonderful gift these blogs are for my grandchildren and great grandchildren. After I am long gone they can read about what grandpa did.  I would give anything to have something like this about my grandfathers, who I did not know very well. If they would have blogged, I would know what kind of persons they were, what was important to them, what they liked and didn’t like.

I can’t tell you what it has meant to me this past year to have someone come up to me and tell me how much they enjoy reading my blogs. I had one nice lady tell me she reads all my blogs. In one blog, I wrote about getting the finger twice in one day from other drivers. This wonderful lady laughed with me when she told me she has gotten the finger from other drivers many times. So funny.

So this is why I blog. I blog for my grand kids and their kids. I blog so elderly women can have a laugh or two. Blogging has been good therapy for me. Blogging has been so much fun. I thank a number of people for helping me this year. I thank Brittany Haugen of Tech Yes Integration and my editors. Yes, I told you my grammar and writing is not the best. I need editors. My wife Roxie and our office assistant at KLQP Hannah Muntean are my editors. They often shake their heads at me after reading my first draft.  I really appreciate both of them. I would also like to thank my son Brandon for putting my blogs into a book format. Last and not least I would like to thank all of you that read my blogs and follow me on WordPress and Facebook. Thank you. I am looking forward to another year of blogging.

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Yesterday was April 14th and usually this time of year people are outside enjoying the sunshine with fifty and sixty-degree weather. But not this year. Yesterday we had a full blown blizzard. Now, I know I am definitely in the minority on this subject, but I love a good blizzard no matter what time of year it is. I have mentioned this before, but winter is my favorite season. I could do winter year around.  I’m not too popular of a guy when I mention that.

There is something about a blizzard that just makes me happy. Mother nature is at its best when the wind is blowing thirty miles per hour and the snow is coming down sideways and you can’t see across the street. You hear the wind howling outside. You find yourself looking out the window often and looking at the street lights to see how hard it is snowing. I enjoy those moments.

I hear people all the time complaining about winter and snow and ice and how terrible it is. I have never looked at winter as being a negative. In fact, a few weeks ago I slipped on the ice and fell down. I crashed hard and really hurt my arm. My arm swelled up and I had a nasty bruise from my arm pit to my wrist. My wife said, “Your arm is broken and you need to go to the doctor.” It was just a bad bruise, but not once did I curse the winter or the ice that I slipped on. When you live in Minnesota you expect those kind of things to happen.

I remember some fun times during blizzards. Once my friend Rodney Hoyles and I jumped in my vehicle and drove around town during a real nasty blizzard that had dropped over a foot of snow in Madison. The drifts in the city streets were huge. Nobody was out driving around but Rod and me. We went crashing through drift after drift on the streets of Madison. We were just two guys enjoying a blizzard!

During another blizzard when I was sixteen years old, our family was visiting relatives in New Richland, Minnesota. I had just got my driver’s license, and my dad purchased my first car from my great aunt. I had to drive the car home to Madison. In those days you didn’t have cell phones or the knowledge of just how bad snowstorms were going to get. My brother and sister jumped in my newly purchased car with me and we left New Richland for Madison. I was really excited to make my very first car trip without my parents in the car with me. It wasn’t snowing when we left, but by the time we reached Hector it was a major blizzard. Luckily, we knew some people that lived in Hector, but didn’t know where they lived. We knocked on a few doors to find out where the Eichens lived and spent the night with them. The next day we made it home safe.

I think it was the winter of 1968 that we had a major, major blizzard that lasted days and drifts were the biggest ever. I remember my dad piling up the snow in our backyard with a tractor. We played on that huge pile of snow for a long time, my brothers and sisters dug tunnels in that snow pile.

I will always enjoy a blizzard even in April! Embrace it!

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