When I first met my wife, I asked where she was from.   She gave me the name of a little Minnesota town.  I told her I didn’t know where that was.  So she named another nearby town. I didn’t know where that one was either.

Out of frustration, she asked if I knew where Iowa was.  I had heard of that.

“It’s near there,” she said.

Now we live there and whenever someone asks me where I am from, I just say, “Almost Iowa.”


Because I write in the first person style, occasionally my readers are fooled into believing that what I write is true.  None of it is.  We do not have turtles who run down deer, nor do we live next to the Minnesota State Mosquito Refuge, though you wouldn’t know it during the summer.

All of my stories are fiction. They have to be. The population of my little town is 4 (counting the chickens) and since everyone knows everybody else and everyone knows everything about everybody, I have to write in such a way that they can say, “Hey, that’s me!” and at the same time say, “No way, that’s me!”

I am not from a rural area, which is a source of constant amusement around here.

Another source of local wonder is that I spent almost 30 years working in law enforcement (though not as a cop), which still surprises most of the people I grew up with.  The first ten years was with the Minneapolis Police and the last couple of decades with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.  Readers of the Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers series by John Sanford (Camp) will be familiar with both agencies – though my experience working for them was never that thrilling.

I am retired now, so I have the time to write.  Something I always wanted to do.  They say you should write about what you know, which is why I write mostly about my wife, my little town and my odd friends.

Beyond that, it is all imagination.

107 thoughts on “About”

    1. Thanks for motivating me, Judy. I wrote you a Stan story.

      You see, I am a compulsive geek and for the last several months (blame COVID), I have absorbed myself in a 50 year old style of programming computers. No lie.

      It was a big black mental hole that I eased myself down into. Futile? Yes, but rewarding too.

  1. I love how you came about this title, “Almost Iowa.” It appears we’re “almost neighbors” because I live in “almost Chicago.” 😁

  2. I grew up in Minneapolis… which explains why I love Orlando. I will come back and read from time to time. Having served on the Mosquito Swat Team, I empathize with your struggles with the state bird. My mom lived south of the border (Baja Minnesota) for a time before she passed. I was glad I didn’t need a passport.

  3. Wonderful anecdotes. You have a gift. I particularly like the one about the tire gauge. I can sort of relate to your fictional account because my daughter’s hobby seems to be collecting flat tires. Unfortunately her story isn’t fiction but fortunately she doesn’t have an all wheel drive car.

  4. I am trying to figure out a way to let my husband also follow your blog, but it keeps asking for his word press password, which he doesn’t remember creating. (although he’s following my blog, so maybe he did?) Anyway, do you have a way to follow without being a part of word press? If not, no worries, we will just give him a new password. But I know he would enjoy your posts, so I want him to be able to get them, too!

    1. Ann, sorry that it took so long to get back to you. I have been doing a bit of volunteering. I have not tried to follow a WordPress blog without signing into an account. I would be curious if clicking the Follow button (if it is one visible without logging in) would allow one to follow by email only.

      Beyond that, a few of my followers use pinrss.com. I do not know a thing about the site, so I would hesitant to recommend it – but rss feeds are common.

      Sorry I could not be of more help.

    1. Keep in mind that the picture on my header is the view looking out over the pond at the Minnesota Mosquito Refuge. However, I have to say that due to weather condition, dry and cool, we have had very few mosquitoes this year.

  5. I love this and your approach! So true..I’ve found this whole thing has made dating a bit more complicated…my dates are always fearful that they will end up ‘a blog’. I guess the fact that I write mainly about the world of dating might be a reason for concern. 🙂 I love your writing and playful humor, glad I found you!

    1. Welcome! We do have fun on this blog as you can see by the comments. I must apologize, my blogging slows down over the summer. In Minnesota, we must make the best of summer – there is so little of it.

  6. Great intro. My wife and I live in the middle of nowhere on top of a mountain in Virginia. I love the isolation, except when I don’t, but it’s far removed from my hometown in Southeastern Ontario. And you have chickens! What’s not to like? I look forward to catching up with your work.

  7. I can so relate to this. I live up in the Panhandle of Florida. When I tell people where I live, their very first question is “Near Mickey Mouse (Disney World)?” No. Like 8 hours away. I tell them ‘Almost in Alabama.’ Your ‘About’ made me smile.

    1. I know the area well. My brother was stationed in Panama City for years. His wife is from Mobile. I do not know why it is but when she says, “Mobile”, it always sounds like a question.

  8. Just read “Wrong Number” and I loved it! I thought it was an actual event that happened…only to find out here on your About page that it was fiction?! That’s awesome! Great writing.
    Oh, and your site title “Almost Iowa”? Genius.
    Happy I found your blog 🙂

    1. Hey Don, I am still lurking about but only occasionally. A little more than a year and a half ago, I set a goal of writing two humor essays a week. I met that goal and moved on to longer form writing. I plan to spend more time here once the weather turns – but we will see.

  9. Almost Iowa reminds me of a joke about a couple who lived on the border between MN and IA. The border got re-surveyed and moved to the north side of their house instead of the south side. They were happy. They were getting tired of the long MN winters.

    As with Melanie above, I am also not from IA, but IL. I now consider myself an Iowan.

  10. Thank you for the blog. Those of us who live near nature have many advantages over those living in cities exposed to artificial information and entertainment.

    Oliver K. Manuel
    Cape Girardeau
    MO Almost Illinois

  11. I am an Iowan. I knew it several years ago while in an antique shop in Kalona. In the basement hung a campaign poster for a candidate for governor, early in the 20th century. “My governor?” I wondered. My governor, Iowa’s governor, an Iowan’s governor. Yes. I did not grow up here, but I am an Iowan.

    My husband Jim and I blog occasionally at Our View From Iowa. We each also have “special interest” blogs that get a little more attention. You are welcome anytime to drop by our place.

      1. Same here. I started my blog last week to help motivate me to get my second book finished. Other writers are inspiring! Keep me laughing and I’ll have to give you a shout out in the book:)

        1. There are a lot of great writers on WordPress. I would caution you though, WordPress is a million miles wide and a quarter inch deep. It is hard to get traction, so do not let it get you down if it takes time to fit into a community of writers. In the end, it will be worth it.

  12. Thanks for the look at my blog. I lived in “Almost Iowa”–in fact, in Mabel, Minnesota. I have stories to tell about Mabel and Decorah. Then, In Sanborn, Minnesota: almost Iowa, too. RSVP.

    1. You are welcome. Sorry it took so long to respond. I was on vacation when you posted and haven’t been to my About page in a while. [Note to self, check these things.]

  13. I saw “Almost Iowa” at Silver in the Barn, and had to come have a look-see. I grew up in central Iowa, and had family (and plenty of vacations) in Minnesota. There’s the obligatory photo of me with Paul Bunyan and Babe, me stepping across the Mississippi headwaters, me sqealing at the leeches in Leech Lake. It’s one of my favorite states. A couple of years ago I made it to the Jolly Green Giant and the Spam Museum. What’s not to like?

    I laughed at the comments about the Swedes. My paternal grandparents came from south of Stockholm in the early 1900s, on the same ship but without knowing each other. They met in Minneapolis, married, and moved to Iowa. And that was that!

    I’m looking forward to having a browse through your blog. I do get homesick for the midwest from time to time (in Texas, now) and this will be a fine antidote.

    1. Welcome shoreacres.

      Glad to hear you visited the Spam Museum, that’s a hop, skip and jump down the road. We live in a little ghost town not far from Austin. Me, I am from Saint Paul – but my wife is from here. I love this area but I am still getting used to it.

      I like Texas too. We spent much of February in Port Aransas and plan to go back next year.

      1. Port A is great. I varnish boats for a living, and spent a lot of time down there, sailing and working. The fishing’s exceptional, too. It’s gotten a little upscale of late, but it’s still a fun, relaxed place — and a good place for snowbirds to roost in February!

  14. Hello! I found you over at Ned’s site this morning and just had to chuckle. I’m from Kansas which seems like it’s almost Iowa. I’m guessing your wife and I are probably related 🙂
    Very nice to meet you and I am already hooked on your writing style. I look forward to reading more.

    1. Hey, glad to meet you, Michelle. I would have responded earlier but I was on the road. If you are related to my wife that is a good thing. Everyone else around here is, so I have to say that. 🙂

  15. Came across your website in my journey to learn more about blogging. Love your still….and your post about your wife and the litter box….she and I are sisters under the skin, and married to the same kind of loving guy! Looking forward to your posts. ~Dosa

  16. Funny, I’m from the same size town as your wife, but IN Iowa. But when I say I’m from Iowa, “they” usually say, “Oh, the potato state?”. Yeah, because Iowa and Idaho are the same. Anyway, saw your post on Milk and Whiskey, saw IOWA, and had to check it out. Because us Midwestern people need to stick together.

    1. Hey, glad you stopped by. You are right, us Midwesterner people do need to stick together.

      BTW, my last marathon was the 100th running of the Boston Marathon in 1996. These days, I just jog around the block. My block is six miles around.

    1. I tried leaving, no where else worked. I guess I enjoy the things about the Midwest that everyone else hates. Because it is a lovely place to grow up, it is a lovely place to raise kids.

      Winters though……I’d rather be somewhere else.

  17. Love the cabin (and the blog)! It looks like a great place to write with a good cup of coffee! FYI, I linked to you in my most recent post. I hope that’s OK with you. You came recommended by a fellow blogger who I interviewed 🙂

  18. How would you like to have a third Liebster Award? Just read that you were nominated in January and May! Can you have too many of those? I don’t think so! Or I’m hoping you don’t think so! I love the humor in your writing…and I’ve nominated your blog for the Liebster Blog Award! You can find out what it is (again) and what the rules are (again) here:

    1. Gosh, I am flattered.

      It’s a bad time for me though. Our farm is off the grid and I have to drive to town to gain access to the internet. It’s been several days since I have been able to do that. You should see our township roads. Me too. Our roads are invisible because of the wind and snow.

  19. I like your about page! And your photo is awesome of a quiet place to write (even in the snow). Twenty Ten theme is what I use too. Nice clean lines! Looking forward to ready more posts.

    1. Marshal, that’s prairie. My wife says, it’s the kind of place where you can look into your neighbor’s window from six miles away. “There is just no privacy,” she complains, “I need the trees or at least tall corn.” 🙂

      I am thinking of taking some writing classes in Iowa City next summer.

      1. Hey, I’m a native of the southwestern Minnesota prairie, now living in southeastern Minnesota. If you didn’t grow up on the prairie, you can find the spaciousness unsettling. But I love it–the big sky that stretches into forever, the fields, the small towns. I grew up near Marshall, which is almost South Dakota and not all that far from Iowa.

        Great name for your blog, especially with the explanation given for it.

  20. I love your “almost Iowa” story. I was born and raised in Michigan and wrote about how – when asked “where?” – we could simply hold up our left hand and point to a spot with our right hand.

  21. I just had to say how much I loved your Ikea piece, and the product names had me laughing out loud. “Finnish Ghost Towns” and “Swedish names even Swedes can’t pronounce” were two of my favorites, and coincidentally on my list of categories in a nightmare I have about being on Jeopardy! I also liked your message, which is absolutely true. Not the cheap furniture part, but never stop dreaming together part. Looking forward to your future posts. Cheers!

    1. Hey, thanks Ned. One of the dark secrets about Sweden (there are a lot of them) is that the Swedes themselves cannot pronounce Swedish names. It is why they came to Minnesota. Minnesotans cannot pronounce anything.

    1. You must be West of me!!! The gorgeous “Driftless Region”/Coulee Region/God’s Country is where I/we call home……30 miles due South of Winona and the same due West of LaCrosse. Living on a ridge gives a body all the challenges of driving switch-back roads w/o the elevation of “serious” hills/mountains!!! LOL!

      1. My brother lives in Pepin (behind the cheddar curtain), it’s the same topography – stunningly beautiful. We live in the only “valley” in the area. It’s not much but it is enough to block micro-wave signals so we do not have access to broadband internet.

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