Monday, December 31, 2012

This and That

It's the last day of 2012!  Wow, that was a super fast year.  When I read magazines and papers, I often cut out paragraphs and thoughts that strike me as wise or interesting or amusing.  I just went through the pile of scraps near my chair and thought this would be an appropriate day to share them. So many many people do highlights of the past twelve months, so here's my collection of wisdom:

"If you fail to pay your exorcist, you get repossessed."...............From Rabbi Rami Shapiro:  "When you admit to life's complexity and to your unknowing, you discover you need do nothing with your life except live it - humbly, simply, kindly, and justly - trusting in life to offer you one opportunity after another to make the world a little better for your having been born into it.  Nothing confusing about that.".............."Time flies like an arrow.  Fruit flies like a banana."......................From Roma Downey: "Before I left home for drama school in England, my father took me outside one night and told me that wherever I was, the moon would shine on both of us.  Months later, walking in London I'd look at the moon and feel his love.  Now I've shared the ritual with my own kids.  When I travel, the moon reminds us that we're never as far apart as it may seem."..........................."John Deere's manure spreader is the only equipment the company will not stand behind.".......................Don't know who spewed this wisdom: "The very nature of being alive is participation, expanse, change and progress............embrace your fears as opportunities for learning."................"Biologists have recently produced immortal frogs by removing their vocal cords.  They can't possibly croak.".....................From Ron Tranmer: "A Prayer for Our Sons - Dear Lord. Your gifts are many.  I'm grateful for every one.  One of your greatest gifts you've given is the gift of three wonderful sons.  Thank you for their lives dear Lord.  Watch over them every day.  May they be safe and free from harm, and led along life's way.  Bless them through life's trials Lord,  may they always do what's right, an example be for all to see, as they're guided by Your light."......................"Atheism is a non-prophet organization.".............From some health magazine:  "Heal your body - using your mind.  Research shows that by tapping into the power of your mind by using an ESP-like technique called guided imagery, you can create changes in your body!  To put it to work for you: Sit or lie quietly with your eyes closed, focusing on  the symptom that is bothering you and forming an image of it in your mind.  For example, maybe a fire in your abdomen.  Use all your senses to experience the image - then visualize a solution, like water dousing the fire.  Your symptoms may ease or fade away."................"The man who survived mustard gas ans pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran."........................From the June 2012 O magazine: In the book, "Your Brain on Nature", Eva Selhub,MD and naturopath, Alan Logan, explore the incredible physiological effects of being outdoors - including increased immune activity and less perceived effort during exercise....Just looking at a natural scene activates parts of the brain associated with balance and happiness.....They sound like science fiction but negative ions -  particles found near waterfalls, breaking waves and river rapids - can act as natural antidepressants....The Japanese knew that shinrin-yoku, or forest breathing, does wonderful things for the body.  But now researchers have quantifiable evidence."".............So, my friends, in 2013, let's all live our lives with love, laughter and in communion with nature.  Happy New Year!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Deer Harvest 2012

Two deer gave their lives for us this past week and we will honor their lives by using as much as possible of them to nourish us and give their hides to Lions International.  I married into a hunting family.  When I was growing up in Chicago and Milwaukee, I didn't know what venison was and I never ate any wild game.  Bing's mother and father's families were hunters and fishermen and rabbits, pheasant and venison were common foodstuffs with them.  Bing introduced hunting to our three sons and schooled them in the ways of the hunt.  Each of them participated from about the age of twelve or thirteen.  Back then, with the busyness of raising the three sons and working part time, I really didn't pay too much attention to the maturation process that obviously occurred with the awesome responsibilities involving life and death, the handling of weapons and the learning the rules and regulations and customs of the hunting shack men.  Now that life is so much less hectic and there is time to observe, it is incredible to watch as our grandson, Jamie, has joined the hunting traditions.  Jamie is 14 now and he and his dad, Bernie, and Bing, went out opening day, together but each in their own territory and on their own, silently scouting and hoping for a sighting.  Jamie was the one to whom a deer destined upon him.  All these years of living up here in deer territory, around hunting season, any socialization brings myriad stories about the monster deer slain or the mighty ones that got away, but to hear Jamie's personal story of his exploit, was so much more interesting and charming.  He proudly told of the magnificent eight point buck in his sights and how, even though trembling, he managed to pull himself together, aim and shoot and down the animal humanely and without wasting too much meat.  He called his dad on the cell phone and Bernie showed how to gut the animal.  Jamie then dragged the beast to the road by himself to wait to go register it.  That afternoon, Bing and Bernie and Jamie skinned, quartered and boned it and my part of the work is to trim it and package it.  Back to DePere went Jamie and Bernie but back up here for the second weekend of the hunt this past weekend.  This time Jamie's 17 year old sister, kayla, came along so we could celebrate Thanksgiving and her birthday.  The hunting trio went out again Saturday. No luck.  Then Sunday morn they tried again and Bing got a nice big doe.  They skinned, quartered and boned again and our venison supply is plentiful.  So many lessons learned - cooperation, confidence in oneself, biology, butchering, nature's bounty.  Thanks deer.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Grandkids are Greatkids!

How can you describe a love so deep and so pure and so joyous that just thinking about the objects of that love makes you smile with warm delight?  Words cannot adequately convey the love of this grandma toward each and every one of our six grandchildren.  They blow me away with their distinct little personalities, their talents and their ability to love unconditionally.  Our 6 range from almost seventeen to two years old and we have our seventh on the way.  Today we enjoyed a visit from the 14 year old, Jamie, and he has now successfully passed me in height.  He and his dad, Bernie, did some partridge hunting and he practiced throwing the discus for next Spring's track season.  His happy smile is evident in the half face included in the attached pictures.  Later today, when Bing and Bernie were fishing and Jamie was on the way to a Halloween corn maze with old friends, I went to get the mail.  Wow, what a thrill.  There was a letter to Grandpa and Grandma from the two little granddaughters that moved with their mom and dad and little brother from here in Rhinelander to Medford, Or.  They each wrote such loving words about missing us and our special days, about how they love their new neighborhood and how they're already looking forward to our visit next year.  Oh my, my weepy little eyes gushed forth with happy tears!  They're in the accompanying picture with their dad and brother.  The girl on the right in the picture of the three girls, is Kayla, seventeen in another month.  She led the way for the younger ones and has been a fine role model.  And then, the other picture is of the little two year old and his dad, Dan.  We know Ben vicariously through the little vignettes and pictures sent by e-mail and i phones.  We've also had two precious in person visits and will get out to Washington state next year  to get to know him better and to welcome and meet his little brother,  name so far, unknown.  The other picture is our grandcat, Bungee..................Thanks so much, God, for setting up such a complicated, complex, confusing but oh so wondrous system by which we are born into, live with, and get to love our family members.  May your light continue to shine on all of us.

Monday, September 17, 2012


Here's another lovely word, juxtaposition.  It means placing things side by side, especially for comparison or contrast.  As I meandered I noticed that Mother Nature has placed Summer and Fall in juxtaposition.  I snapped some pictures to demonstrate.  It's a beautiful time of year but the cool nights have arrived and riotous colors of Autumn are springing forth.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Crescendo is a good word.  It means a gradual increase in volume or intensity.  In music, a crescendo moves from a gentle sound that builds and builds until crushing sound envelopes you.  In our little part of the world, a crescendo of sadness is building and building and will soon culminate as our third son, Tony, his wife, Carmen,  and their three wonderful children, 13, 9 and 7, move away to follow a dream out in the state of Oregon.  We wish them well and hope and pray that it will be a great move and they will build a beautiful life out there.  We know we've been unusually blessed to have had their lives so entwined with ours these past few years.  But still the sadness looms.  The children have been our playmates and gateway back to the innocence of childhood.  We've watched them blossom and learn and establish personalities, likes and dislikes, and show glimpses of special talents. We know them all well now and can be confident that our connection is forever but we also know that our relationship will be changing.  Hopefully, we'll be able to travel the 2000 miles annually, especially since our second son, Dan, his wife, Cori and son, Ben, are out there too, in Vancouver, Wa.  We'll try to utilize all the hi tech communication devices that we can master but in our heart of hearts know that it won't be the same.  But that is life, ever changing and not always exactly as you'd like.  So, we're savoring  every one of these last days we have, swimming and laughing and singing.

We'll let them go and wish them well, let the cescendo of sadness envelope us and then exit the other side, delighting in the every day pleasures of our life, looking forward to the visits of our 1st son and his children who only live 130 miles away, and start to plan next year's trip out west................The pictures I've included are showing how our apple trees are faring this year.  Bing had to put seven foot fences around some of them because last year we saw deer standing on their hind legs to reach the low hanging apples.  We've heard that apples are scarce this year and two different ladies from town are asking to buy our apples.  And then a picture of a cucumber inserted itself.  Enjoy!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Summer Scenes

Summer whips by and sometimes I wonder where it goes.  It's a marvelous season for so many reasons.  I walked my path this morning and captured these summer moments:  Bing in the garden, not a Master Gardener by education, but definitely a MASTER gardener.  Then I said good morning to Mother Mary, silently keeping company with our family members who have left us.  I strolled past the wagon of wood that Bing brought home from the neighbor's woods.  He cuts up their fallen trees and splits and dries it for the winter fires.  Then came a close up look at the almost ripe raspberries.  Yum yum!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Another Perk of Aging

Aging is pretty well disdained in our culture.  Grey hair and wrinkles are hidden from sight as long as possible.  Money buys new body parts, new teeth, new knees and new hips.  But aging is fun too as far as I'm concerned.  One thing that I didn't expect was the feeling of understanding so much more.  One area where this wisdom shines through is the deeper, wider appreciation of children.  I see and appreciate children so much more than I did when I was younger.  Oh, I loved our children dearly and would have died for any of them if necessary but I never had the perspective that comes from moving through the stages of life.  Part of it, I'm sure, is the fact that in retirement there is so much more time to sit back and observe and think instead of rushing about trying to keep the family fed and clothed and all the juggled balls in the air.  I now have seen our children and the children of family and friends grow from darling infants into capable adults.  I've seen those babies bring forth babies of their own.  I've seen how each little child is so much an individual - each a very unique soul and full of so much potential.  I understand the cycle of life so much more after moving through most of the stages.  Now when I'm privileged to go help out at our son and daughter-in-law's day care, I marvel at the thought that each of the little beings in attendance will someday be the parents and then the grandparents and, God willing, the great grandparents.  Each of these little personalities will grow and learn and hopefully make the world a better place for having been here.  Their journey is just beginning and each journey will be unique.  If only our world would unite in the task of insuring that every child would have a kind and joy filled journey................The pictures are of the beautiful clematis on our wall and some beautiful children.  Look at their faces and try to imagine what they will be as adults.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Tears are Meant to Wash the Pain Away

It's been quite a while since I last placed my thoughts here in cyberspace.  No, I didn't die.  I've just been living a life filled with activity and I lack the self discipline to sit myself down and gather my thoughts and share them with my fellow journeyers.  It's quite awesome to know that anyone out there in the world can read this and some do.  Some from other countries and states and even our own state, have commented on various entries and I love it when they do..  It reinforces my strong belief that we people of the earth are fellow travelers and much more alike than different.  I mentioned dying earlier because death has been a steady visitor over the past year.  First we lost Ann, the 93 year old mother-in-law of my brother.  Ann was love-personified.  She laughed and smiled through pain filled days and helped wherever she could.  Janice was next. She was only 62 and had lived since age 18 with only one lung.  She was the wife of one of Bing's best friends and we raised our kids together.  Alice was next, my oldest brother's wife, she was 69.  Her five children and a deep deep respect for life were her legacies.  Then, on March 29th,  Milli died.  Milli was Bing's mom and she made it to age 99.  She was a strong feisty woman and a lover of God right through to her peaceful death.  Reminders of each of these people pop in and out of mind in the days after their demise and there is a blank space where there used to be vibrancy.  I often think, why couldn't I have been wiser sooner?  Why didn't I take the time to be more loving or to acknowledge the importance of all those who have gone before me?  Why do I make so many good intentions and not follow through?  But, luckily I remember the biblical saying that says there is a season for everything under heaven.  I believe there will be a season for doing everything right!  Won't that be nice!..............  The pictures are from a Spring visit from a mama bear and her two cubs.  They spend their afternoons in the corn field near our mail box.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

How Do I Know Thee, Let Me Count The Ways

In the title of this posting, I took a little liberty with Emily Dickinson's famous poetry, "how do I love thee...." I've been struck recently about deep deep things like life and death and legacy, about an individual's story and how each of us leaves a mark on this world. My brother, Mark's wife, Alice, died this month. She was only 3 months younger than me and she and Mark were married in 1966. Over those years, we may have only seen Alice about ten times. Mark was in the Air Force and they moved around a lot the first five years of their marriage and then they settled in Bellevue, Ne., about 600 miles from here. I do regret that throughout those years I never really got to know Alice. Neither of us were conscientious about writing and her five children and our three children and then her eight grandchildren and our six grandchildren kept the days and months passing by without connection. So, it was beautiful to see on Facebook, testimonials and reflections from her children of just what a loving and compassionate being that Alice was. At her funeral Mass, her nephew spoke a bit of her story and shone more light on her goodness and uniqueness. All five of her children are warm and welcoming, kind and loving and in getting to know them and their families, we get to learn more about Alice. May she rest in peace. P.S. When we came home from the funeral trip to Bellevue, the pictured black bunny seemed to have taken up residence in our yard. Since Alice had dark black hair, we named the bunny, Alice.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Closely Gaurded Secrets of the Elderly

One of the craziest things about getting older is that only your exterior ages. Inside you still have the heart of a child. Games and stories and friendly people still delight you. Nature and all its glory still stirs your soul as your five senses grasp its multifaceted displays. The soft stillness of a sunrise, the flaming dramatic sunset, the warm summer rain, the crisp clean grip of a cold winter day, the smell of woodsmoke on an Autumn stroll - you loved these things as a child and you love them still. I remember clearly how I regarded my in-laws when Bing and I were in our twenties. I thought they were old. They were in their mid fifties. When we made it to 50, we were astonished to see that the fifties are still young and you feel no older than before. Now it seems that a period of twenty years is about the gap that makes you think a certain age is elderly. In the 40's, anyone 60 or older, in your fifties, anyone in the seventies. Now at age 70, I still look at those in their nineties as quite old. But gradually I'm learning that age doesn't mean much.. Those in their 70's, 80's and 90's still love the little things of life - games and stories and friendly people. My little secret is sledding. We live in a place where no neighbors can see me whiz down the hill to the lake. I love it. It tickles my inner soul to feel the rush of wind as I pick up speed on my own personal luge chute. I love the workout of climbing back up the hill and starting all over again. I love the cold cold air on my warm warm cheeks. I feel young and specially blessed.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

No Turning Back, No Turning Back

As I alter my clothes from size 3XL to 12/14, the line from the song,"No Turning Back," drones over and over in my head. I've done it! I've lost the 95 pounds that I set out to lose. I'm taking away lots of material in my pants, sweatshirts and even my winter coat - yay, no turning back! I started the quest on May 16th, 2011. I didn't want to write about my mission and my goal in this blog because so many times throughout the last four decades, I have tried and I have failed. I was afraid that this try would end like all the others - hopeful at first but with no sustainable weight loss and even lots of times, weight gains. But, thanks be to God and the Dukan Diet by Dr. Pierre Dukan, I was able to read his book and totally commit to following his plan. It isn't over because the plan includes a way to work your way back to eating without regaining the weight and then a permanent stabilization plan. But, since February 3rd, I've maintained the loss and will be vigilant. Part of my plan is to help anyone else who would like to conquer obesity, mine was considered morbid obesity, and if you think I can help, please just ask. The diet rquires strict adherence to the plan but it actually works as it promises. In the picture, I've set up a sewing center in the living room near the woodburner so it's a cozy warm winter alteration place.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Pictures from the Last Post

A New Nine Year Old

Our fourth grandchild, Alexa, turns nine today. She's a wonderful child, sweet and loving and strong and pretty. On the birthdays of the grandchildren the last several years, we have taken them shopping and let them pick out their own gifts. It seems to give them a good idea of the value and limits of dollars and the ability to compare and decide what they want the most. But this year Alexa asked if, instead of shopping, we could use the money to go to the Children's Museum with her brother and sister. So, go we did. Yesterday, the five of us drove up to Eagle River, about thirty miles away, and spent almost four hours in a children's paradise. The population of Eagle River is only about 1300, but the museum has been a fixture for many years and is a non-profit venture paid for by donations and admittance. Since our grandkids are home schooled, their folks considered it a field trip and there were only about six to ten other kids there, so they had free rein to all the exhibits and hands on fun. They really could have stayed the whole day but Bing and I caught up on some reading and then pried them loose by offering a lunch at Subway where they each put away a foot long Veggie Delight. Bing took a lot of pictures to comemorate the happy birthday trip and I've included some. They loved the dress up, the ambulance, the wheel chairs and the very well equipped store, complete with scanner at the checkout.