Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Today was the first day I worked from my shop - warm fire burning, view of the yard/woods, birds, and just far enough away from the house that it feels like "going to work".  It's been great, although I do need to add a phone line soon.

I had a successful day of work, have things set for a solid day tomorrow and then will be headed home to WI for my favorite holiday of all - Thanksgiving.  While I sat here working on things, talking on the phone, typing away, etc, I got to thinking about just how thankful I should be.  Many folks know, I love to gamble (not problematic of course).  I often think/talk about luck or a lack thereof.  I'm now convinced there's no such thing.

Ten days ago I had an accident with a chainsaw.  Nearly cut my right leg off...but I was careful, paying good attention, and avoided a very serious injury.  Three days prior, one of my best friends' family visited us.  My two God sons were here, we played, laughed, ate, drank and enjoyed the time together.  The same day as my accident, I learned that another friend was struggling with personal issues and having a tough time.  In ten days I really began to see how fortunate many of us are to have friends, family, and loved ones that we can count on when we really need it.  Seeing the support system for someone going through something really tough makes one look at themselves more (I think & I hope at least).  I did...and with the upcoming holiday (did I mention it was my favorite?), I am evermore thankful for all those around me that have supported me, cared for me, and tolerated me :).

The picture above is of my in-laws.  We're all different, we've all been challenged in life in varying ways, and yet, we all can typically come together over a basic (but amazing) meal where we all contribute to the end result.  I thought the picture was appropriate because if we were in CA this year, we'd find a way to be around that grill, laughing, smacking each other, and being louder than necessary.  Sadly, we will not be with these folks for Turkey this year, but I am sure they'll enjoy it and our thoughts will be with them.

Instead, we are headed to see my family in WI.  The four of us haven't all been back to Sconny together in nearly 18 months.  The recent events that one would consider lucky/otherwise, made me all the more thankful to be able to fly home, visit with friends/family, and enjoy the holiday.  It's so cliche' right? Thanksgiving?  I'm embarrassed that I rarely think about how thankful I should be until this time of year.  My two amazing kids, my beautiful wife, my family on both sides of the country, my circle of friends (especially those I can call on when I nearly sever a limb, have a messed up tooth, or a sore knee)...I mean really? Maybe I am lucky?

I used to love Thanksgiving for the food my grandmother would make, the football games, and the playing catch outside at halftime.  While I still love all of those things, it's even better now that the food is made just like my grandmother would have (and somehow she's there with us), another great family I love eats there's on my grandmother's table, the playing of catch is with my son, and while the football is great, the time spent with family is savored more, almost as much as the pie!

Even now, as Andrew gets back from school and is sitting next to me complaining that I am not playing cards with him, I am thankful for where I am at this time in life, this new place we moved to, and all that goes with it.  No matter what's thrown at you, if you really look around, you have it good.  Someone loves you, someone will help you, someone will tell you when to STFU  (In my case the latter is just as crucial as the former at times).  Seriously, look around.  Think about all the folks that helped pave your way, those that are still there, and those that will be there as things progress in life.  Every time you are challenged, rewarded, or knocked down, someone was there to help.  Take challenges head on...keep getting up, accept the reality of your choices, and laugh as much as you can at all that is funny and yourself - I am getting good at this...not because I am funny, more so because I do/say dumb shit all too often. wrap the cliche' around me to keep warm (as the fire is starting to go out down here), I'm thankful for my wife, my children, my family, my friends, my work, my home, the challenges I have faced and concurred, those that will align themselves in time, turkey, dentists, PT's, doctors, teachers, mentors, sarcastic bosses, pie, stuffing, taters (laugh here, this is funny dammit)...PIE...and so much more!

Maybe I am lucky after all :) - I'll let you know if I beat Andrew in cards, or if NIU covers 2.5 tonight!!!

Be well everyone, laugh often, make great decisions, have an amazing holiday, hug those you care about and for God's sake (and mine), eat an extra piece of pie next week each and every time the opportunity present itself!

Wednesday, October 09, 2013


I am sure many football fans watched "League of Denial" last night on PBS.  I remember reading the original article that focused on Dr. Omalu and his work on Mike Webster's brain.  Back then, I didn't think much of it.  I read the article primarily because Webster was a famed Cheesehead (from Tomahawk, and we know some cool folks form there).  And, his head injuries very likely started during his days in Madison as a Badger.

There's been a lot of talk lately about the changing of the sport many of us grew up watching.  Additionally, and prior to many of these changes, a handful or more NFL player brains were being reviewed/studied.  At one time nearly two dozen of them were studied showing that all but one had severe damage and decisively showcased that their play in the NFL (and likely college, high school, etc.) played a major role.  Because lawyers run the show, the one thing that couldn't be proven was when the damaged occurred.  Fair or unfair, this is true.  But, what's astonishing is that the NFL AND NFLPA (ugghhh another union not doing it's job) turned the blind eye, refuted the evidence, and flat out lied about what was pretty apparent even to guys like me, that watch from home and have zero clue about the true science behind the research/results.

Some folks have commented that the NFLPA wasn't featured in the documentary.  You folks are 100% right.  The NFLPA was only mentioned a few times.  Why, you may ask?  Because the NFLPA stood in the dark.  It's no secret I am not a fan of unions these days (their purpose was clear decades ago, now their purpose is to rival and act just like big business - and boy are they good at it).  But really?  The one organization built solely to protect it's current, past, and future employees was silent?  the same group that speaks up so quickly when it means digging into an NFL owner's pocket, or when they negotiate to capture as much revenue share as possible from the guys that put up the cash so that there are 32 teams, media contracts, and people in the stands, was quiet?  Yep, it did nothing.  It kept quiet and never once stepped to the plate to argue that it's players were in serious danger.  $$$ sure is a scary thing isn't it?  Men were losing their homes, their families, and their lives.  One player's wife was not allowed to a player's meeting on the topic (her husband was severely disabled) - literally told she couldn't enter the room by Commission Goodell.  And, the NFL's researchers continued to deny what seemed obvious.  Why didn't the PA stand up?  Apparently due process continued to protect the "bad" union members more than it did those with the most need.  The PA goes to bat for guys with DUI's, substance issues, wife beaters, etc, but guys with disabilities, guys going batshit crazy, and guys who can't remember what they ate for breakfast get nada?  Don't get me started...union debacles is another LONG post for anther day.

Now, to be clear, I'm not 100% blaming the NFL here.  In the early stages of this process, I would have been a little skeptical too.  One brain, a guy who bashed his head as a center in college, and 17 years of the NFL (many of those years playing more than just the regular season on those mighty Steeler teams)...wasn't quite enough.  That part I understand.  Plus...let's be really honest folks -- boxers don't sue the commission because they have head issues post career, and as Jim Otto said in the documentary (I paraphrase)  - I'm not out there complaining...I went to war each week, and this (his body/face) is the result of wars won/lost.  Of all the things in that show I could relate to most, it was Otto's statements.  He knew what he signed up for...and I'd wager 99% of these guys did/do.  Otto also said that Webster would have agreed, and in some ways I believe him.  But, Otto could speak, clear his mind, and stick with his thoughts.  Webster couldn't finish a sentence later in life, he couldn't even focus for 3 straight minutes.  He was dead before his body gave in.

As football players, you're going to hit, get hit all the time.  You're fingers are going to break, your knees are going to swell, your hamstrings stretch, and your head will get bashed (often).  My Dad always using the phrase - "It's part of the fun!"

Where the line is drawn here is simple.  The NFL and it's PA knew, for a long time, that their product was dangerous.  We all get's football for Earl Cambell's sake, we (many of us) love it that way.  But, they also knew for all too long that the dangers far surpassed the fields where the game was played.   For that, I would agree that they are guilty.  They didn't make the conscious effort to protect the health of players by educating them, working to find better equipment, etc.  They tried to pretend the issue wasn't real.  They deflected & ignored science when science was as real as it gets.  All they had to do was acknowledge the problem, educate players, and make immediate changes/efforts to improve.  I'm by no means saying it's their job to prevent every post career problem or condition.  It's their job to ensure all players have the knowledge, are educated about the risks and are clear that based on that risk, the NFL/PA are only going to do X in cases where a problem becomes evident.  Whatever X may be.  Heck, I have typed/talked my way to a 12 year sales career.  Does that mean I get to sue someone when my fingers curl, or my jaw locks (I laughed when I typed this - thinking how many folks would appreciate a few jaw locking moments for me)? Hell no...I know what I do all day, I know potential risks associated with sitting more than not, typing all day, etc.  Like Otto, I'm no whiner.  Bottom line, the NFL and it's player's union knew all too much and simply decided not to protect it's #1 asset, at all.

Goodell has had a tough job since Paul T stepped down (now it's really clear why, too).  Roger inherited this mess, made it worse by following protocol, and is not trying to fix it (for which I commend him).  But, I'm not a fan of the existing Commissioner, his antics and John Kerry flip flopping techniques.  He stutters, and he's only confident when he speaks on his terms (well said by a co-worker this morning).  But, he has made the effort that his predecessor wouldn't...creating a safer game and educating players on the dangers during and post career.  For many, this should be enough.  It's football...and while I don't like the idea of basketball with pads & cleats, I do understand.  If the NFL and the PA do their job to protect the health of players by simply educating them of the risks and ensuring every bit of research is at their fingertips, they've put the risk in the hands of the players.  If you don't want to limp, stutter, and remember everything you've done, get out there and give it your best and smack someone.  If you're worried about your post football health, be a lawyer...lord knows they made out like bandits in this enormous mess.

Lastly...would the XFL (or something similar) survive now?  Would a more "traditional" football league garner enough interest to stick?  Are there enough talented players that want to play the old game versus the new?  Personally, I loved the game in the late 80's.  Those Bear teams, Ronnie Lott, LT, Chuck Cecil, etc. Those guys played the game like it was played when Otto, Webster, & Tatum tore into folks.  You think Ronnie Lott wants $ for his chunk of finger left on the field at Candlestick?  You think Tatum is sorry for destroying someone aiming to catch a drag route pass over the middle, or LT felt bad about Theisman's leg snapping?'s what those guys, and the guys now sign up for...WAR.  Maybe one day there'll be two leagues.  One for the folks that want to see the barbaric side of the game, the true grit, and devastating collisions of two large men moving quick enough to warrant an airbag release, and one for the new NFL.  I'll watch and attend both, I promise.  I love football...and I love life.  Let the players choose what they want from their football careers but educate them about how it can/will impact their lives and make it clear from the start what compensation (if any) is there should a problem/condition arise.

Happy Hump Day all...
Laugh, live, work hard and make good decisions.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Say you can't...I DARE you!!!!

When time allows, watch this video.  Pay close attention.  When you gasp, choke up, or even cry, think hard about what you have accomplished so far in life and then, think harder about what more you are capable of.

When I watched this, I road the emotional roller-coaster a few times (and for those that don't know, I am not a coaster fan of any kind).  In the beginning I was proud of this man, his father, and their acceptance of reality.  As the video progressed, I became sad for all those in similar situations who lack hope & drive. Towards the end, I found myself angry.  Not angry at others, these challenging situations, but at myself.

In our house "can't" has always been a bad word.  My kids will both tell you that "can't" isn't a nice word and they know that if it's used, the response from Sandra or I isn't favorable.  My kids and nieces will also tell you that they are Mexi-CANS, not Mexi-CAN'Ts.  Sure we joke, but this video makes that phrase less funny, and all the more real.

Why anger?  Well, because if you think long and hard enough (as I just did), you know for a fact that you haven't tried hard enough, pushed yourself, given 110%, or left something inside when asked or tasked with giving your all.  We've all been guilty of this at some point, each and every person out there (maybe even Richie here).  The difference is, Richie has already overachieved by leaps and bounds, defied the odds, and made believers out of every doubter.  Many of us "normal" folks (to steal Richie's comment - "Whatever normal is") have not.  We settle...we give in, we give up, and we all too often simply don't try.

Next time you're challenged, next time you think you "can't"...hell, next time you do anything, do your damn best. And, remember, if you don't, there's always someone out there that will.  Richie proves that...and he proves it with little or no doubt at all.

Be well, laugh often, do your best & make good decisions!

PS - Thanks Rob for sending me this!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Sundays - Football and Family

If you've participated in athletics at some point in life, you've likely been in a huddle.  Sundays at our house are football days...but ironically, the best part of my Sunday is rarely a Packer victory, a well placed wager, or a fantasy football win.  Yesterday the best part of the day was working in the yard and playing catch with the kids.  We trimmed trees, bushes, and weeded for an hour or two.  I trimmed, cut, and shaped some of the trees/plants and the kids took the branches, weeds, etc and used the wagon to transfer them to a trailer. When we finished, we huddled up and created some football plays in the driveway.

The kids were already pretty well versed on these plays (even the hook & latter) based on our reading of "The Family Huddle" - a book by the Manning family about Eli, Peyton & Cooper growing up.  Apparently there is a TV show that will showcase the family videos of the book's premise - watch it, it's worth it.  The kids have loved this book because it (while focusing on football), talks to the importance of family, teamwork, and working together.  Sure, football cliche's are abundant and over used, but they sure do apply well to family, teamwork, etc.

I hope everyone had a great weekend and you're all off to a great start to the week.  If you need to regroup, huddle up for a second, communicate, and break with a positive focus on moving forward.

Work hard, laugh often, and make good decisions.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Back in the Saddle Again!!!!!'s been almost six years since my last post!  Obviously time flies like a Sopwith Camel, but today I was inspired but a blog post by Adrian Foster of the Houston Texans, who wrote about having a daughter, the challenges that poses, how he matured as a father, and how he expects her to be treated.  My boss sent me the link and as I started to read further and further down the page, I had many thoughts.  One, I'm glad I am not alone in this fatherly area.  Two, I also like shotguns as a means to ensure proper treatment of my child, and three, I need to use my blog again.  Reading others' thoughts often times helps me sort my own.  And amazingly, for someone not all that bright, I think a lot.  Writing things down helps me a great deal.  So, with that being said (written), here's an update on where the Skogen's are and what's going on ---

My last post was March 5th of 2008 and it's where I introduce Sofia to readers (all 5 of them).  Amazing right?  She's now 5, started kindergarten last Wednesday, and can cross the monkey bars without a hiccup (how could I possible be prouder)?  She's beautiful, smart, and tough as nails.  She's also VERY into fashion, nails, Barbie, and starting her own "beauty shop" some day.  With any luck, that will be a reality and she can help us retire earlier than we plan.

Andrew is 7, started second grade last Tuesday and is growing up quickly.  He's using big words, reading books, smashing baseballs, and scoring goals in soccer.  He loves his LEGOS, his penguin wenguin, and his family.  At back to school night he made me extra proud with a note on his bio page that read, "someday I want to be smart like my Dad."  Ideally he's a whole lot smarter than I am, but I like where his goals are.  He should be surpassing my intelligence level at some point in 5th or 6th grade!

We sold our home in CA, and moved to an amazing little harbor town just west of Seattle (across the sound).  We couldn't be happier in our new home/surroundings.  Here's a view of the new place from the bank of the sound waters out back --

Everything is green, trees flourish, the summer weather is unbeatable (that's right San Diego, UNBEATABLE), and everyone is really nice (midwestern-like that way).  I even have my own "man cave" where my beautiful green & yellow lawn mower is.  Clearly my Cheesehead roots are still intact!  The schools are great, the kids are happy, and we have so much to do & explore on the new property.  Our first week we pulled clams and oysters from the waters out back and ate them by the fire pit with friends.  Hard to beat that level of freshness.  Apparently we can go crabbing in the waters not far from our inlet and we've got invites for when the season opens again (Andrew is REALLY excited).  So much to learn yet!!

Our great friends the Miller's also moved to the area making the transition for all of us a bit easier to manage. We see them weekly, chase the kids, grab a growler of beer from the store down the road, and really are enjoying things together.  Their kids are in sports, dance, etc just like ours, so we get to experience a lot of new things together!  We also met some amazing new friends north of here in Silverdale, WA.  Rene and his family/friends have accepted us as their own and we've been able to hang out a lot.  Rene invited me to an amazing fishing trip on Vancouver Island back in July.  We caught fish (see below), we had tons of fun, and most importantly we laughed enough to last a lifetime.  Better yet, I think we all made some new friends.

Sandy has been settling in and making our new house a home.  She's made a few small changes, added some cool decor, painted, and did an incredible job of completely revamping a piece of oak furniture I purchased with the house.  The before and after pics are amazing.  Along with her extraordinary photography skills, I am 100% certain she could use the winter months to explore creating some really cool furniture pieces.  All of this while keeping the kids clean, smart, and helping at school.  Foxy and efficient...what more could a guy ask for?

With school in session, work busy, coaching soccer, and aiming to find time to explore our new hood, I am still hoping I can post regularly.  And, I'll do my best to share anything and everything that might be interesting to any new/potential readers down the path.

While I often times say too's scary to think that I never get close to saying everything that I think.  If I am able to write things down that I have pondered, I won't forget them and folks will have a chance to tell me when to STFU :).  Until next post....

Be well, work hard, laugh often, and make good decisions.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Baby Skogen #2 (Sofia Arrives)

Again, guilty of not positing in the blog announcement of Sofia's birth is well belated. Regardless she came, and she came early. I had asked Drew to come early in 2005 but evidently his listening skills were similar then to how they are now at 2 years of age....

Sofia on the other hand listened well and provided us with an extra tax deduction for 2007! Smart girl! Although early by 4 weeks, she was healthy and happy. She is growing like a weed and soon will be challenging her little brother in the MINE, MINE, it's MINE games....

We are now a full 6 months into our new house and as I type the landscaping crews are finishing up the back yard. With visitors galore over the next few months we are well equipped to party and enjoy the CA weather!

Hope all of you are well and give us a call when you are ready to come visit. We will be traveling some over the next few months (WI, Reno/Tahoe, and Chicago) but we'd be happy to have you!!!!

The Skogen's

Landmark Communications: Sale

Haven't posted anything since Q4...and guilty of simply spending time with the kids (new addition info soon) and ramping up a pipeline for Digital Element. (Have I mentioned this group of folks in Atlanta are awesome?).

Anyways, the big news from our parent company, whom after 100+ years as a private and family owned Media Giant is selling, is that the Weather Channel (and are looking to fetch $5 Billion dollars. Amazing huh...!! Most experts don't believe the current list of suitors, (NBC Universal, Time Warner, CBS, and Comcast) will actually pay the proposed market price, but nonetheless, the vast reach of and the growth of brand savvy Weather Channel folks could be optimized a great deal with the right marketing engine/expertise.

Outside of the big sale news (our unit being looked at by Microsoft and others) things are going well. The pipeline is growing and serious potential buyers identified. More to come...

What do some of you think about the valuation for The Weather Channel? If really gravitates to over 10% of the overall Internet traffic and can be monetized in some way outside of ads, the going rate may not be out of the question....

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Parenting...(who's life is it?)

A brief but amazing conversation came up last night...and it begs for more. My wife and I were sharing thoughts about how amazing it is that our lives change so much every day now that we are parents.

Our son Andrew will be two in January, and his sister Sofia will be born two weeks after. Maybe it's the euphoric bliss you experience the first year of parenting that blinds you some, but it's hard to look back and think about anything for yourself....? Maybe it's just us, but I have to believe there are other parents out there that find this the norm.

I just shared in a story with a colleague/mentor of mine too, where he traveled 4 hours to spend time with a close friend (whom lost a child, 17 years old, 7 weeks ago, sad) who is mourning, then go to a wedding, and head home. His trip was interrupted by a call that his youngest son (also 17) was ill back home. Now the plan is to skip the wedding and take care of family at home.

It's confirmed in my book....if you truly value being a parent, your children's lives will become yours. The first new bike, the first big fall, the first poop (we had a first pee yesterday, hilarious)...and then all the other firsts that come later; school, girls/boys, dances, football games, etc. Even now with a pre-2 year old I just want 5 minutes inside his's fascinating really. I think about, what he thinks about all too often.

My selfishness these days relates to my lack of patience for Drew to grow-up....and although that means skipping through, or fast-forwarding time some, it doesn't ever mean I want to experience something without him (and soon Sofia). It makes me proud to say/type that too....and reconfirms my thought. You will know that you have the makings to be a good parent, when you KNOW that their lives, their experiences, are more valuable at this time than yours are.

All for now-

Papa Skogie