Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Aging and Change

Our society has a real aversion to aging. More and more products are geared to fight the effects of aging and to mask its telltale signs. Plastic surgeons and pharmacuetical companies are enriched by clients hungry for the latest procedure or elixir.

I've always kind of taken the road less traveled or not quite gone with the flow in life and so it is in my attitude toward aging. I like it a lot. I found this quote in the "O" magazine from a woman named Peggy Cooper Cafritz. She says," people will say, oh pull the plug, this aging is terrible. But one of the pleasures of aging is the ability to witness change. And change happens everywhere. It happens in the country, in community, in the family and it happens individually. So I'm not afraid of the future. I'm very excited."

The quote set me to thinking about how right she is. Wouldn't it be cool if, after we die, we find out that God is a real film freak and he has a DVD of each of our lives. Not only our actions, but somehow our thoughts and emotions are recorded and we can review them whenever we want. We would witness the amazing changes that have taken place while we grow and hopefully evolve.

Instead of rambling on and on like my manic little brain right now is doing, I think I'll continue this subject over the next several blog entries. I'll speak of the many changes already witnessed by this particular being now in physicality.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Padding the Path

I love the outdoors. Nature supplys such energy - radiating from the earth, the sun, the sky and all the living vegetation. With all our gardens and paths, the lake and the nearby field, there's always something to do outside and lately I've been raking pine needles. Don't let anybody tell you that evergreens are ever green. We have about forty huge red pines and white pines ringing one side of our yard and they annually shed half of their needles. That makes for quite a stash of pine straw. It's beautiful but the carpet of gold would smother the grass in the yard so each fall I rake them and transport them to other uses. This year, with the aid of our trusty oxcart, otherwise known as our ATV and wagon, I've taken them down the hill and strewn them on the swamp path to the lake. It's soft and pretty and I think the neighborhood deer will be bedding down when they discover it. We thought we were in for an extra long winter when the cold and blustery weather hit us in September and October but now we've had an unseasonally nice start to November so winter's going to be a breeze!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Friends are Like Flowers

Somewhere in the musical part of my brain, there runs a song from long ago, It sings, "Friends are like flowers, beautiful flowers. Friends are like flowers in the garden of life." It's so true. Flowers are not a necessity but they add such color and beauty wherever they grow. Friends are not a necessity but they too add a punch of love and laughter to life. Our friends, Paul and John are here for the week. It's fun to talk and laugh and share chores and meals. They're both just a little younger than Bing and me so we do a lot of talk of yesteryear and families and the wisdom of the ages. Thanks God, for such good friends.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Walking in the Snow and Fallen Leaves

A few inches of snow greeted us yesterday. It was unusually beautiful with the fluffy lumps of snow adding a punch of white to the already riotous color of God's Fall artistry. I remember wondering a while ago, when will summer come and when did it go and now I wonder, will we see much more autumn or will it suddenly be winter? There is a season for everything under heaven but these are going by just a little too fast. We're still putting away the summer goods and soon the snow plow will be needed. Oh well, whatever happens with the weather - it's so good to be alive and able to experience it.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Busy Days

Wintry air swept in fast and we've been hustling these days - it seems like Fall is the busiest time of the year. We had a ten day visit from Grandma Milli and it was fun and went by fast. I dug up the Impatiens, Begonias and Geraniums and brought them in for the winter - they'll go out again in the spring. We're picking the garden vegetables and the only ones left out there are the cabbages, beets, broccoli and carrots. Bing picked all the apples and it was a banner year. I'm canning tomatoes and will can some salsa because we have good tomatoes and peppers to spare. The camper is winterized and sitting near the A-frame instead of down the hill. We figure Bing can sit in it when he boils sap next spring and maybe we'll take it south somewhere during the winter - it'll be easier to dig it out of the snow and we won't have to bring it up our new hill road - that should be quite a slippery sliding hill and probably not navigable.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Joyful News

The word is out and we are rejoicing. Son, Dan's wife. Cori, is pregnant with their first child. The baby is due in May and we're so happy for them and for us and for Cori's family - another grandchild with which to fall in love! The picture attached is an image from Google but it looks just like our three sons at birth.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Momentously Excellent Outstanding Day

Our kitchen saw red today. I pressure canned thirty six pints of tomatoes from the garden - our best tomato crop in years and there's more to come because we haven't frozen hard yet. But the outrageously happy exciting news came from out west where son number two and his lovely wife reside. Can't quite reveal it yet but Dad and I are smiling hard.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

"Special Day" Today

About a dozen years ago, when our first grandchild, Michaela, moved to Rhinelander, we established "Special Day". One day a week. we'd drive to town and pick her up and spend the day doing fun things and bonding in a special seniors to toddler way. As four more grandchildren joined the brood, each was added to the fun and we've had the rare privilege to know and love the little ones and are now so proud to see them all blossom into very special people. Today we had the three younger ones and it was great. We planned halloween costumes, planted some perennials, picked some flowers that managed to avoid last week's frost, picked apples, watched some DVDs and played charades. The pictures show Grandpa and the kids picking Honey Crisp apples and the flower arrangements we made with the frost escaping flowers. Summer has transitioned to Fall and the joyful beat of the Earth's rhythm goes on. The dance goes on.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Freshening the Blog

Well, the old way of posting doesn't seem to motivate me to write so I thought I'd try more of a diary type - short and sweet and topical of the days here at Lakeside Gardens. Today it was a dark and blustery day but with the bluster came some much needed rain. The TV weatherman said that we just lived through the third dryest September ever up here and we're about a dozen inches of rain behind for the year. So it was joyful rain. I made my morning rounds of the grounds with a jaunty green umbrella and I could hear the vegetation slurping in the water and gasping long sighs as their thirst was finally quenched.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Underground Magic

My three sons write blogs. Their blogs are so much deeper than this epistle. They speak of gravity and timelessness and transmogrification and galaxies beyond ours and atoms, molecules and the wherefore, the why and the impossible when of existence. And today we will discuss the potato! I love the potato. It is a humble unlikely purveyor of life. It spends its days underground. It exists to bring life and carries within it a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals that provide our bodies with health and vitality. We had some leftover potatoes in our root cellar this late spring. They were shriveled and full of eyes that were sprouting. I planted them and soon forgot about them because they weren't in the garden but on the hillside and in the compost pile. Then one day I remembered to look for them and I was happy to see that they had grown to be nice plants but that the deer must have thought so too and they munched off their greenery. Then today as I went to aerate and water the compost heap, I decided to see if the potatoes had survived. Wow, it was fun digging them up and finding firm healthy food under the dirt! I see why potatoes helped the nation of Ireland survive the great famine. From a shriveled inch long piece of potato, comes a hundred times more food. In spite of weeds and neglect and lipsmacking deer, the stalwart veggie produced. I thank God for potatoes and all our forebears that have devised such delicious ways to partake of them. There are hashed browns and baked and parsley buttered and french fried, scalloped, au gratin and potato salad. Salut! P.S. that's a leprechaun I just happened to capture in the picture.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Reunion Time

This past weekend we attended the first gathering of the Mark and Agnes Scobey children and grandchildren. Mark and Agnes brought forth my two brothers, Mark, now 70, and Paul, now 69, and me, 67. Each of us have been married since the sixties and together we have ten children. Mark and Alice and all of their children live in Nebraska. Paul and Marianne and one of their two girls live near Milwaukee and the other daughter and family lives in Ohio. Bing and I are up here in the Northwoods where one son and his family live. Our oldest son and his two children live near Green Bay. And the middle son and his wife live in Portland, Or. When our neice put out the feeler e-mail early this Spring to see if anyone was interested in gathering at their house , every single one of the family units responded in the positive. Wow, I was really excited because that meant that the folks were willing to set aside the time and the money to travel from far and wide to meet and mingle and reacquaint. My giddy excitement stemmed from the deep deep family love that is forged by growing up with siblings. For better or for worse, you have started your life stories together. You've shared joys and sorrows, grandparents, aunts and uncles, the family home, values and personality traits. We three siblings last lived together in 1961, and have kept in touch through the last half century by snail mail, attending various weddings and funerals, sharing some holidays and vacations and more recently by the magic of computer communication and Facebook. We've raised our families as best we could, brought forth some kind, friendly, funny people and tried to live and love and learn. The reunion was great and it meant so much that the younger generation cared enough to be there. We shared old memories and made new ones. Thank you, God for family.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Cherries, Pea Pods. Blueberries and Death

Our garden is outstanding this year. It's 2 or 3 weeks behind but it's picture perfect. We think it's because we actually weeded it well, right from the start. It's one of the worst growing seasons in decades, weatherwise - cold, cold nights - cool, cool days and not much rain. But Bing has a pump in the lake, a hose up the hill and sprinklers placed just right - so the water has been ample. This week we're picking pea pods, baby beets, Romaine lettuce, kohlrabi, cherries and blueberries. We have another half of summer to go, so we think the other crops will come in.

I worked at church today on a funeral luncheon. The parish women have a system to help the family of a deceased member feed the mourners after the service and cemetery. The family can pick from a variety of entrees, salads, fruits, potato dishes, and cakes. We prepare the food, set up the tables, serve and then clean up. The family just pays for the food. Today we served, shredded turkey and gravy on rolls, scalloped potatoes, veggie trays and dips, cole slaw, fruit trays and marble cake. It's fun to work with the women and we eat together after the others are served. The families really appreciate it and it helps all of us feel closer.

I didn't know the deceased lady but I felt a closeness to her because she was 67, like me, she had 3 children, like me, and she and her husband owned a nusery and landscape business, so she must have loved plants and gardens and nature's bounty. It was an unexpected death. She just had a successful hip surgery and was in the recovery room talking to her husband and kids and said she wanted to nap. Later they couldn't wake her. She died. They did an autopsy but don't yet know the cause of death. It set me to thinking, which almost anything does, because I have an inquiring mind. 67 is just too young to go. I have just begun to understand so many things and each day I find so many more things I want to know and do, My faith tells me that JoAnn's, the deceased lady,) number was up and her spirit lives on but I do so hope my body and spirit live on and on here on Earth until I'm so tired that I need a rest. May she rest in peace.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Fourth of July to You!

It's a nice holiday - smack dab in the midst of summer days. For workers throughout the United States, it brings with it an extra day to revel in the joys of summer. As with all holidays, food plays a big part - corn on the cob, strawberries, grilled meat and potato salad. Our town has a parade and fireworks as do most towns across the states. Parades are mainly fun for the participants and their families and we usually have skipped it unless children or grandchildren have wanted to go. One year, when Michaela was about five, she performed a karate display with her instructor throughout the parade route. Another year, Jamie and Kayla rode the truck with the water ski show performers, and so we went to those parades. This year the three local grandchildren revealed that their reason for wanting to go to the parade was to get the candy that the clowns throw. So, the clever parents bought some candy and a pinata and they'll have a party at home instead. Last night our Lake Association set off their annual fireworks display and it was great. It eliminated the need to go to town, mingle in a crowd, find a parking spot and a blanket spot. Instead we life jacketed the three little ones, sprayed with mosquito repellant and drove the pontoon boat out to a strategic location, anchored the boat and watched a spectacular sunset give way to a spectacular display of colors and sparkles and sizzles and booms. I've always thought that I didn't like the whole fireworks rituals but I really did enjoy the show and now I think it was just the hassle of the crowd, parking, etc.. It gets dark here about 9:30 pm now and we were back home a little after ten so it was about a half hour show. Another truly nice aspect of the gathering was that unlike the noisy frenetic movements of the boats and jet skis during the day, the hundred or hundred and fifty boats attending glided slowly and silently into place. After the show they, just as quietly glided away with happy holiday people soaking up the special memories they had just banked in their brains.

Happy Fourth of July to You!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Another Aha! Moment

I've enjoyed reading for about 60 of my 67 years. Thousands of my articles of choice have been connected to the whys of human behavior and studies on the workings of the brain. I'm pretty introspective and have wondered about my various personality quirks such as why I've always thought of myself as shy, my "loner" instinct and my delight with God, angels and all things spiritual. Now I've just finished reading an article in the January 2009 O magazine, that packed a powerful punch and shed a bright, bright light on the reason behind so much of human behavior. I feel so enlightened by this bright light and I want to share it........Here's the gist of the theory presented by Robert Kegan, PhD, and Lisa Lahey, EdD, experts in adult learning at the Harvard Graduate School of Education: " What lies underneath the surface is anxiety...the most important - and least understood- private emotion in public life. Most of us think of anxiety as panic attacks or stage fright, acute episodes brought on by a big presentation to the boss or some other high stakes presentation. Or a condition specific to people who were traumatized as children or survived some horrifying event. But Kegan and Lahey see anxiety as our brain's background noise, revving up when we're confronted with something new, unfamiliar or threatening, and operating at such low volume that we don't even hear it...We all have anxiety just by virtue of being human. We don't think of ourselves as continually fearful...because we have figured out how to manage the undercurrent of anxiety.".....These thoughts made me think of all the different ways people handle this murmuring state - pills, alcohol, meditation, yoga, sports, movies and all the other diversions created by our technologically advanced civilization. My method of coping with the anxiety has been to call on and establish a relationship with God, Blessed Mary, my guardian angel and various other saints . I always thought I was abnormal because of my "shyness" but now it feels good to know I'm just a normal human being and I'm glad I've chosen God and His cohorts to calm my murmur rather than some of the other methods. How do you calm your murmur of anxiety?

Monday, June 8, 2009

This and That

Our spring is moving along fast here at Lakeside Gardens. The garden is planted but we've had several nights that the temperature has gone down to 34 and 33, so close to freezing! But, thank God, not to that killing frost. It warms up to the 5o's and 60's during the day so the veggie and flower sprouts are poking through the black earth.

Bing and I really hustled this spring. Our deadline to get things done was May 30th, when the four fishermen from Milwaukee would be arriving for a week's stay. We planted and cleaned and helped Tony and Carmen with some dump hauling as they made their move from one house to another. The boats were put back in the water after their winter siesta. We also helped stimulate the economy by replacing our non working whirlpool tub with a new one and by getting some new living room furniture. Now, we're living with just one vehicle since the car has been at the shop for a week and they can't figure out what's wrong with it. Maybe we'll have to look for another good used one. Life is never static - we and the universe are always in motion.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Happy Memorial Day Weekend

Our computer crashed and it took about a month to get it working again. If you would have asked me before the crash, how much would you miss your computer if you didn't have it? I would have said a little. But we missed it a lot! I didn't realize that we had become pretty dependent on this handy dandy high tech thing a ma jig. So we're back on board but a little more appreciative of the amazing reach of such a device.

While we were crashed, Spring did its magic on our Northwoods. The landscape is now sporting fifty different shades of green and the blossoms and early flowers are shouting for joy. The Loons are yodeling and the Peepers are peeping. The pictures don't capture the scents and sounds of springtime but they give a glimpse of the miracle of seasonal transformation.

A couple of the pictures show our memorial stone garden on our hillside. It reminds us of the love our deceased family members bestowed on us. We offer prayers of thanksgiving for all of the sacrifices they made for us and the values they instilled in us. We can learn much from those who have gone before us.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter 2009

It's a happy, hopeful time of year. It's fun to have holidays, holy days and celebrations sprinkled throughout the year. These are days to gather and play out the various traditions. Egg dying and dummy bunny making was fun yesterday when Courtney, Alexa and Eli spent the day with us. It was extra fun because Grandma Milli, who is 96, is visiting. The kids love showing her all their skills and keeping her informed of their activities. We even had a nice walk down Apple Lane with them on their scooters and a tricycle. It's so neat to think of the possible two centuries that could be scanned by Eli, 3, and Milli, 96 - what changes and amazing transitions from horses and buggies to who knows what?! Happy Easter everybody and may the risen Lord within us fill us with joy and gratitude and enlightening thought!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

March Flew By

Wow! It's the end of March already. It just flew by and it's a good thing all our months aren't twenty eight days. There wouldn't be enough days to do the proper March things. And what are they, you say? Well, we've basked in the sun, shoveled snow, tapped Maple trees, boiled the sap and made a few gallons of Maple syrup, planted some seeds and marvelled at their sprouting, sanded some chairs for repainting, walked on the lake as it's still solid ice, saluted St. Patty and tried some Lenten self sacrifice. March weather is baffling and unpredictable and the wind never seems to stop. I think it's God's way of blowing the winter debris aside. But if you look with the eye of a nature child, you can see tiny buds forming on the willows and feel a happy little hope in the heart for the inevitable and welcome transformation from the winter palette to the screamingly audacious greens of springtime .

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ponder, Ponder - why not Make Some Changes

This whole big economics mess in which the world finds itself brings on the pondering. I'm trying to think ouside the box and that's a little hard for me because that box for me has never been too defined or distinct. ...........But here's my latest thought. 1. People need jobs to earn money to live comfortably. 2.Many people have jobs who already live comfortably and could probably work only half of the hours they do and could give half of their job to someone else who could also get by on half a job. That would mean that all of these people would work twenty hours per week instead of the usual forty. That would free these folks to become more involved with their families, the arts, athletic pursuits, gardening, canning, hunting, fishing and so many other healthy and meaningful uses of time. They would have the time to use their particular God given talents to find ways to survive comfortably on a smaller but sufficient income and time to train themselves to be less of a materialist and more of a contributing citizen of the earth. These lifestyle changes would in turn lead to much less demand for medical services because the stress would be so reduced. ......... I will not turn this into a frightfully long dissertation but let yourself ponder it awhile and see if it has merit............The picture is from Google images . It's an unemployment line somewhere.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Building Projects

Last Saturday we had a "special day". That's become the name of days we spend with our grandchildren. Sometimes we have one or two or three or four or five kids. Last Saturday we had all five. Part of the day was spent using the living room as a tool shop. Bing's brother, Paul , works part time at Lowes in his winter home of Fort Myers, Fla. Lowes has workshops for kids sometimes and Paul nicely collected a lot of the extra kits and sent them up to us for the kids. We brought the big box out last week and let the kids pick whatever they wanted to make. Eli, 3 picked a sailboat and Uncle Bernie helped him make it. Jamie, 10, and Alexa, 6, picked race cars, Michaela, 13, picked a squirrel feeder and Courtney chose a bird house. It was fun to see them work hard to put them together and hammer the nails. etc. Bing and I helped a little and Jamie helped Alexa a lot. They were pleased with their results and the three girls painted theirs. It is so neat to see these five cousins growing and learning and establishing family memories.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Two Deaths This Week

Two friends died this week and death always sets me to pondering. I wonder when it is that you know more dead people than you do living. I wonder if the dead can read your mind after death and see what you thought of them. I wonder if they have some sort of soul device that lets them tune back into the earthly world and see how things are going. I really believe that our souls live on after death. But the greatest of all mystery writers, God, keeps the suspense of what comes next, pretty close to the vest...........One of the recently departed was our dentist and a neighbor on our lake. He was 67 and still in practice, eagerly awaiting the graduation of his daughter from Marquette Dental School. She was going to join his practice and now will take it over - a sad surprise indeed. He died at his home after cross country skiing. He was always kind to us and did great dental work - may he rest in peace. ...........The other friend was a widower and 72. He worked at Bing's office for over 25 years. I remember clearly, not too long ago, thinking, wow, 72, that's a good long life and he got to be an old man. But now, 67 myself, that seems so young,

that there is so much more to learn and so much more to do, why so young? Death is definitely a memo to the living: Take each day as the gift it is and seize it!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Our January Grandchild

I'm a little late with this because it isn't January anymore, but I'd like to introduce our January grandchild. The pictures are of Alexa. She turned six on January 7th. You've probably heard people sometimes try to identify what kind of an animal they would be if they were an animal. Well, I think Alexa would be a soft cuddly little lamb. She is sweet and kind and giggly. But just as little lambs kick up their heels and sprong from place to place, Alexa loves to run and jump and swing and play. Her imagination and creativity easily fill her hours and she has taken to kindergarten just like Mary's Little Lamb of old. Six years ago there was a brilliant sunset on the day of her birth and it heralded the illumination that she has brought into this world of ours.

Thank you God, for Alexa!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Let Us Rejoice and Be Glad

This is the day that the Lord has made. Wow! I've been watching the inaugural activities today and this evening and it's so great to see such happy hopeful people and a leader that appears to really want to better our country and the world. Throughout the day, with more than a million people gathered together in one place, there was no violence, no nasty protesting - just excited people interested in witnessing history. I did a lot of crying whenever the folks talked about how proud they were to see our country come so far as to elect an African American as our president.

They spoke of coming there to honor their folks who had passed and suffered so much with the segregation and discrimination of the past. I remember when I was a little girl in Chicago that so many people spoke with such hatred and disgust about the N------s. It made me very sad and puzzled. I now understand that those people were speaking out of fear and ignorance. Now with such an excellent First Family to follow, many more people will catch on to the fact that America can really be a beautiful patchwork quilt of people and cultures and we can be stronger as each piece is added to the whole. God bless President Obama and America.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sweet Sweet Winter

I skiied over sparkling fields of sugar today.

The sweetest of snows carried my cross country boards.

The warm warm sun deposited Vitamin D upon my aged face

And love of life splashed my ageless soul.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Happy 2009

Hello. It's been a while. It's that time of year for new beginnings and resolves to change. I've decided to add something to these blogs that I've been a little afraid to do. I'm going to tell about one of the nicest parts of Bing and my lives........... Our son, Tony, gave us a three volume book by Neale Donald Walsh called "Conversations with God." I loved reading it. It is full of glorious and novel thoughts about God and religion. When I try to tell people about the books, the only thing I can remember from them is that God wants us to always act out of love and not out of fear. So, in trying to follow that precept, I thought about why I haven't included blogs about all the excellent time we spend with our five grandchildren. I've been afraid to do that because I thought maybe by identifying them with pictures or descriptions of them, I might set off some cyber creep lurking in the shadows ready to pounce on them and hurt them. But, that now seems a bit far fetched and I will act out of love and share one of the greatest blessings bestowed upon us, ie, the gift of getting to know and be known by the offspring of our children.............We love all five of these unique personalitys but the true very best part of being a grandparent is to see your own children loving to the highest degree and wanting to do the very best job they can do to guide these little gifts entrusted to them. You see your sons with the fiercest of love, trying to attain that balance of joy and discipline that is so necessary to bring forth healthy well formed characters. ...................You know that even though you as parent didn't do everything right, you must have been able to pass on the ability to love and that is monumental. ....................I love being a Grandma but my nature is not to spoil kids. It always annoys me when I hear grandparents say, oh, we love to spoil the grandkids and then send them home, ha, ha, ha. I think of grandparenting as helping the parents raise the children and providing a little respite for the parents when needed. In retirement comes the gift of time and it is so wonderful to fill some of that time with the joyful, imaginative, happy little creatures that are eager for fun in all forms.