Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Cool Side of the Pillow

The other night as I was passing through the family room I heard Frank Gifford say " like the cool side of the pillow." I am not sure it was he (it was a football game) nor under what circumstances he said it, but it has been on my mind ever since. My first thought was that it was such a great example of the universality of the human condition that most authors strive for.

Since then I have been thinking of all other kinds of things that reflect the same recognizable tie to mankind everywhere. Little things that make our lives better--things that we take for granted. Like the ray of sunshine that I get dressed under (when it is sunny) every morning. Its warmth comes down so far--all the way from the heavens and is so welcome and so warm. (I's retired so I can get up after the sun comes up)

Some of the other things I thought of are sort of the same thing but not as good an example as Frank's remark. Maybe you can think of some other ones that are better.

Marveling at the beauty of a full moon as it shines on the lake or on the new fallen snow.

Loving the aroma of bread baking in the oven.

Holding our breath at the heavenly show put on by the Plieads August 12th. (I saw these as I went for a walk the night Julie was born and I thought it meant that she would become famous some day. She might--you never know!!!!)

Feeling content with the first gulp of coffee in the morning.

Enjoying the warmth that comes from a fire place after being outside on a cold day.

Loving a dog who loves you back without reservations.

Surprised and pleased by the first soft breeze of Spring.

Lulled by the sound of the waves hitting the shore of our favorite lake. This love of water is surely universal and evidenced by the high prices of lake property and the scarcity of same

Scenes from my favorite lake in Minnesota.

I'm sure you will think of many of your own universal truths. Share them with us!!!! Best of all this is all free to everyone and a host of happy thoughts.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


As I look out my upstairs window at the still cold twilight, I can see the many dog angels that Dodger has made in our back yard. You didn't know dogs made angels in the snow? Dodger does. He must have about 8 or 9 of them out there right now. He rolls on his back and swishs around and joyfully makes his version often.

Then I look around the neighborhood and see the Christmas lights displayed. People are getting better at it every year. Some are beginning to realize that less is more. Others not so much. But they are all colorful and beautiful to brighten up the night.(The angel on the tree above is one Julie made in Sunday School when she was very little and we have had it on the tree for every year since.)

Then I look up into the sky and see the stars come up. Some are one of the newer ones. The lately- get- to- heaven ones. And finally I feel a little glimmer of the Christmas Spirit awaken in me and I hear in the background of my mind the wonderful Mormon Tabernacle Choir that was on the TV the other night singing "For Unto Us A Child Is Born" and ending with "Angels we have heard on high with the Glor-ee-a chorus reiterated over and over at the end and I find myself singing along with them. The Christmas story is also read and my heart finally opens up wider to receive the blessings of Christmas.

I know one family where the mother is fighting an upcoming battle with double breast cancer; another where they recently lost their father; another where they are fighting for the the life of a man with a quadruple bypass who had a heart attack and some who have been without a job for over a year; and all the children in Africa dying every day from cholera. But in spite of all these and more bad things, I wish for you to take some time to let the Spirit of Christmas in your heart. Let it gladden your lives for just a moment. It surpasses all our troubles for they will pass, but Christmas and what it stands for will never go away.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Don't Forget Your Passions

As you look back on your life, what things do you remember? Other than the usual biggies like your wedding and perhaps your births of your children and stuff like that, what are some of the highlights of your life?

Years ago Bill and I drove to Chicago to see THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA and we enjoyed it so much and I have never forgotten it. In fact, I can't stand to listen to a rendition of some of its most famous songs because then it lodges in my head for two weeks constantly playing over and over. And then we saw CATS and LES MISERABLES and they stand out in my memory too.

Bill took his mother to see OKLAHOMA once before we met and she never forgot that and would mention it with such fondness and I am sure it was one of the highlights of her life. We took Jewel to THE NUTCRACKER SUITE in Minneapolis once and Jon and Julie to hear the Golden Strings at the Radisson when they were too small to get in the lounge. But the orchestra director saw how they loved it so much and there was hardly anyone there so they let them in the foyer and left the doors open. They play the CD to this day.

Bill was always one to pass by special attractions as we traveled saying we would catch it later. Most times later never came. But once or twice we did catch something like the Field of Dreams in Iowa and also a genuine horse farm in Lexington, plus Churchill Downs. We also did go to the Washington D. C. area and there we did hit all the points of interest. I remember particularly seeing the capsule John Glenn rode into space and the Hope Diamond. At that time, you could still tour a goodly portion of the WHITE HOUSE . It is fun to see a TV reporter standing outside and think "I have been there" as I can at 10 Downing Street in London also.

You may all be wondering where this is going and my point is to stop and do the sometimes too expensive things. Though the cost at the time seems high, the value to the quality of your lives more than makes up for that. I feel my life has been so much richer because of these memories.
Perhaps the things that enrich your lives are entirely different. A camping trip, a ballgame, a ballet, a trip to someplace you always wanted to go, a concert --whatever.

But some time in your life while you still can, be extravagant, be impulsive, do something you really have a passion for and you will not have any regrets--nothing but joy that you did it. Don't wait for retirement or when you get too old to really enjoy the walking and sightseeing you want to do. Do it now while you are young. You will never rue the day.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

This Old Bat

Recently I had another birthday so I guess maybe I should change my post title to something like THIS Old CROAN or Old? Me. My youngest son, Jordan and his wife, Lori, hosted the event. Julie came all the way from Texas and Jim, son no. 2, was there as well. Of course we cannot forget to name the biggest attraction--Miranda who just turned 3. I call her Matilda. She likes it. She is a very active child. If only she didn't have such hard knees and elbows when she climbs on to you not caring where she plants them! But as you can imagine, I love to have her come to me so I endure the torture gladly.

While in Texas for Thanksgiving, Jacob, my recently married grandson, and I went swimming. It wasn't too cold but the Texans hadn't been in the water for weeks. The wimps!

And I end this family type epistle with a picture of me with my Texas grandchildren. We gained another girl when Jacob married Chelsea.

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and now on to Christmas. I always loved Christmas but I must confess I heaved a sigh of relief when Christmas dinner was over, thanking God that I wouldn't have to do it again until next year.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Well, not exactly. But we were becalmed, shut down, unable to move as we were on a boat ride about 13 miles from the lakehouse. In the wavy sea the boat was finally tossed to the sea wall and there we stayed. We had had an offer from four men in a boat to help us, but Bob did not want to impose on them to bring us all the way home as they were headed in the opposite direction so he told them that his neighbor was on the way to tow us home.

Great neighbors, they, for true to their word they came and towed us slowly home. I was happy that I had already driven the boat. I have a Bayliner of my own but for various reasons have not been able to use it for two years so that was a real treat for me. Here is a picture of our triumphant return!

It is lovely returning to summer from the North . The trees here are just beginning to turn and of course with the background of the Live Oaks it is even more impressive. Haven't tried swimming yet but we have only been here a day. Got my worms all ready to go and even bought Julie a scaler so she can clean any fish I catch. Yeah, you read that right. Isn't she the greatest tho? (Now that I have said that she will be compelled to do so, won't she?)

Actually we did some fishing this afternoon. Julie caught a lovely bass and then I caught a bluegill and an ugly catfish which she got off my hook. I also had a carp hit my line and he broke it. And she did clean the bass and the bluegill and we already ate them.

Here are some pictures of Julie's Bougainvillea on the pier. They really are spectacular and she has some on the porch as well.

By the way, Wanda, I noticed this at Julie's house in town the other day--another heart!

We couldn't get the Packer game on Texas television so watching the Packers/Vikings game on the computer. Ain't technology grand?

Having a wonderful time. Wish you were here!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


At a dinner with a program series that I belong to at our local museum the other night, the theme was The Great Depresssion of the the 1930's. After a dinner of delicious tho very unpretentious stew and jello, we assembled in the small auditorium for a program by the Heritage Singers with songs and little vignettes about the Great Depression.

They had dialogue and songs like, "Brother, can you spare a dime," the Veteran's March on Washington because they never got paid and run out of town by General MacArthur and his troops no less. The poor lives they lived at home and school, the Hooverville "towns," the election of FDR and pretty much covered the whole period showing that they endured. But the people who lived through it had some fun doing it singing songs and dancing and in the coming of radio shows like Amos and Andy and some movies if they could scrape up the nickel to go.

Many of you have stated in your comments that you like hearing about the "old days" from someone who was there and that is why I am telling you about a little of what I remember of the depression years.

I really could enjoy relating to some of these things as I remembered living through some of them. I remember my dad hated FDR with a passion as all good Republicans did and how he laughed at Amos and Andy. I remember how he would polish our shoes every Saturday night and glue on those rubber soles and heels to keep us going another week.

This is a picture of either my kindergarten class or my first grade. From the left side front row, I am the girl (circle on left) with the flimsy skirt and an old sweater at the end of the front row. It might interest some of you to know that actress Barbara Hale was also in that class down the row from me with the envied Shirley Temple curls (on the right in other object). She later was Della Street on all the Perry Mason shows.

I remember in second grade, when we all went to the lavatory at one time--girls and boys separately, of course. There were no doors on the individual booths. Why, I don't know but I had come to school that day wearing an old pair of panties with the elastic all stretched out and I had apparently taken a safety pin and pinned it together to stay on. Well, it broke. I didn't know what to do. I had a man teacher and so I just stayed in the bathroom after everyone else left. A couple of kids were sent in to tell me to come back to the room but I was too embarrassed to tell them my problem. Finally, a woman teacher came in, saw the problem, got me another safety pin and I could go back to class.

I remember my dad going down to the relief center to get a basket of food for people in the congregation who were too proud to go get it themselves and he delivered it to them and kept many a member from starving.

Later on when times got a little better, I am including a picture of my best friend and I with our new Shirley Temple hats which we got for Easter. Everyone had one and we prized them highly. I'm the one on the left. I was probably about 9.

Many of you may have members of your family out of work or be out of work yourself, but you can be glad things are not as bad as they were then. Unemployment insurance helps and so do so many agencies that give food and clothing and yet the number of people who are homeless is large and many children go to bed hungry. So maybe we don't have it so bad.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Click on link to see the Ink Spots sing "Do I Worry?"

I have always read and heard that the things you worry about almost never happen. So I figured early on in life that yep that seems the way to go and so I took up worrying. I am about the best worrier you will ever find in this life. Like having my tooth pulled recently, for instance. I worried and worried and it was postponed so many times and then the day finally came . I went in and bravely stood at the counter and said “I am here to have my wisdom tooth pulled.”

It was a piece of cake. He put in the IV and I was talking to him and then while I am looking at him he says,” You’re done. The tooth is out.” At least that is the way it seemed to me. I could not believe that any time had elapsed, that I was not conscious, and did not see or feel anything. But I’ll take it. Believe me. What a load off my shoulders! I really am a wimp. So many of us worry about things beginning when we are very young and all through life.

I remember when son No. 2 was a little boy and was so obsessed with the idea that there were elephants under his bed. We had been planning a trip to visit my brother in Kansas City . They have a great zoo and we thought it might be a good idea to show Jimmy what an elephant looked like and that it could not possibly get under his bed. I shall never forget the look on Jimmy’s face when he saw these huge monsters of the wild. A rare moment.

When we are young we worry about such little things as a zit on the end of our nose before the big dance. Or that Shirley has bigger boobs than I have and the boys will like her and not me. We worry about tests we have to take and we used to worry about those new-fangled home permanents that they would turn our hair green or make it all fall out or something. (Bet most of you don't even know about those!)

Do you think these jeans fit my butt tight enough? Do you think I will get a bid to the Prom? Will my dinner turn out right and will my guests like it?

I don’t know if anyone ever beats the habit. There is always this little nag that if I don’t worry, it will happen. I think we all worry ---some more than others. Is it worth it? Causes a lot of wear and tear on the psyche. But if it prevents catastrophes from happening I’m all for it.

{Be sure to listen to the Inkspots ----from the 40's I think. My brother loved them.
Click back to the post after you are done listening.)

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Only five days left before the thing I have been dreading for so long will transpire. I have to have a big ole wisdom tooth pulled! About 57 years ago, Bill had a mavelous dentist that he had gone to almost his whole life. He even had his office on one side of his house in Bill's neighborhood. He filled this tooth for me then and it has lasted this long.

I had always hated dentists from the time when I was a teenager and went to a dentist that should not even have had a license. In those days, most dentist's offices were on the second floor above a store in the downtown area. I shall never forget whenever I had an appointment, I would have to stop at the gas station john and then at the grocery store john and then at the library john before I reached that long stairway that went up to hell. He would call you in and sit you in the chair and start drilling. Yeah, you read right. I think he was the firstproponent of the phrase,"drill Baby drill" and a relative of Sarah Palin. No novocaine, nothing. and he would drill first one and then another and if you made a noise in pain he merely turned the radio up louder. You were done in 15 minutes. I guess he was the only dentist my parents could afford.

After Bill and I were married and I met his dentist. I was always so nervous and one day this man stopped and stood in front of me and said, "I will try my best not to hurt you. I worry about hurting my patient so instead of worrying coming here, just remember I am afraid of hurting you." And he was so gentle and kept asking if I was doing all right and alleviated my fears.

Getting back to this wisdom tooth, this wonderful dentist was drilling a cavity in this wisdom tooth and it was deep and he wondered if the filling he put in would last even a day or a week or just how long. Well, as I mentioned, that was a long time ago and it has been fine ever since. But I was eating something one day last Spring and the tooth broke in half. My present dentist said it would not be feasible to put a crown on it and that it should be pulled.

This is my third attempt to get it done. I think the first time was postponed because I could not sit when I broke my tailbone. The second was postponed for it was scheduled the day Bill died. And so the time has come to face it finally and I am not looking forward to it at all. Although it has not pained me, it has worn down even more and I know I have to do it.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Apparently a lot of people read the Obituary Column in the paper. I am getting mail that I never thought I would ever receive. Course my children say that I live in a constant state of denial--the" of course, this stuff will never happen to me", sort of thing.

People are sending me material on hearing aids of all kinds. "Do your children think you have the TV on too loud?" and "do you miss part of the conversations going on around you when you are out?"Come in for a free examination or be a part of a study we are doing on just a select number of people" Well, I like to hear a concert or watch a movie with beautiful classical music loud enough to feel like I am in the audience.

Like tonight when I watched a movie called THE TURNING POINT, a lovely ballet movie made in l977, and starring Baryshnikov and Shirley MacLaine and Anne Bancroft. It was just like being there in person and from my easy chair at that. And my children do think I have the TV on much too loud. I don't understand why. Just fine for me. Thank goodness I was home alone.

Wouldn't you love a chair lift up those stairs like Laura "because Laura loves this house? And, no, because climbing the stairs is the best exercise I get every day.

Wigs I don't need and I do think it is a little too late to buy into an annuity that will pay out great sums in 20 years. And heaven knows I don't need any sexual disfunction helpers. Viagara can keep their coupons for the right sex at least!!!!

But the ones that really interest me are the ads for the mechanized scooters. I saw some people with those at the rest home Bill was in. I wonder how fast they can go and do you suppose they give speeding tickets to drivers of those? I can't risk getting anymore tickets.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Next to the bestest thing in my life, which was going away to college, was going to Church Camp, Once a year this great event occurred in my life when I was but a wee teenager. It lasted for a whole week and was the most fun. I even had my first boyfriend there. He was a missionary doctor's son and had lived in China most of his life. Kind of cute. huh?

We stayed in a sort of dormitory, usually with your own group from your own church and sometimes others, as there were four two decker double beds in each room. At eight every morning we got up and gathered at the back balcony to brush our teeth and spit over the railing. (Not a pretty picture, huh?) After washing and dressing, we met by the flagpole for morning devotions (which were very short) and then to the dining hall for breakfast.

Then we had some time to go back and make up our beds and then we went to our first Bible lesson of the day. That usually lasted until 11 and we were free until the evening service. We could go swimming, boating-one boat for all-(this is important as you will see later) or try out our dating skills with the opposite sex, Lunch at 12. Afternoons were spent with baseball games, swimming and boating, and just hanging out. Then we had dinner and the evening service.

The Ironwood group was always noted for being trouble makers and we usually got into trouble in the dorm for short sheeting other groups , putting dead animals in their beds, talking and not going to sleep when we were supposed to. One night the pastor who was the head executive of the camp that year came to our room and reamed us out royally And the room got very quiet. Then, as an afterthought, he left with a mighty “AND MAY THE LORD BLESS YOU!” This engendered a torrent of giggles throughout the whole dorm which irritated the poor man even more. He added a few choice words and then left helpless to stop the pandemonium.

The boat was always in demand and so one day I pretended I had a headache and asked my mother (yes, she was there that year with my dad) who stayed in the executive house if I could stay in her room during the morning session and have Donna, my friend stay with me so I wouldn’t be all alone. I forgot to mention that the oars were always kept in the executive house in the front office. Do you see where this is going? We hid the oars under my mom and dad’s bed and when it was time for lunch we went to the dining hall as usual and took our time eating. We had two guys lined up to go with us. Many hurried through the meal to get to the oars first for the boat and we ate very leisurely listening to them looking all over hell and gone for them knowing they were safe and sound right under my mother’s bed.

Well, we crept down to the lake after the to-do had subsided and got into the boat and took off. We were enjoying our boat ride very much when it seemed that all of a sudden a big wind came up and a big storm was brewing. The boat was small and not suited to be on a big lake in bad weather. Both of the two guys rowed and decided to head for the island as we were closer to it than back to camp. After a lot of strenuous rowing with we girls praying and scared to death, we made it to the island. We were stranded there all day. There was a transient camp on the lake and some men came and wanted to help us but we were afraid of them and stayed away from them.

Finally, a large sheriff’s boat came with my father in it and we were rescued and brought back to camp. The whole camp was on the dock waiting for us and my mom cried she had been so worried. , Strangely enough, we were not punished in any way. They figured the scare we had of almost drowning and being stranded on the island all day was enough punishment, I guess.

The night we had baked beans for supper, teens made the usual jokes about the flatulescence which occurs and this old grizzled white haired guest preacher took offense at it. At the service that night he held his big old Bible over his heart as he always did and castigated all of us for acting that way at dinner. He said he could not preach to people who had sinned so terribly and that we had to come up to the front and apologize to all the directors of the camp one by one. My mom had to go up there for goodness sake and when I came to my dad (who was one of the directors) he could not look at me nor I at him because we both knew we would burst out laughing.
Church camp was a lot of fun. Those were the days, my friends.

Friday, September 10, 2010


Trust me.

Yeah, right. Whenever anyone says that to me I run the other way. And I bet most of you do too. It is a fact of life that trust is something precious to all of us and affects us in almost all aspects of our lives.

The idea of trust was brought home to me vividly by the many wild birds in our backyard. Jim was out of town for a week and filled up the feeder as much as he could before he left, but it didn't last and it was empty after the fourth day. I could not reach it to fill it up. The beautiful cardinal mom and pop and the red-polled sparrows and the chickadees and all the beautiful birds that came every day disappeared. After three days Jim returned and filled the feeder up to the top and do you know---none have as of yet returned and it has been almost a week.Their trust that the food that sustained them would be there every day was gone.

Trust is a big topic because it is so universal. Whom do you trust? I trusted my husband implicitly and was not betrayed. Marriage is one of the most important areas of our life where we hope to put our trust.

We trust our dentists to numb up the spot to fix our cavities and the doctor to give the right diagnosis to make us well. We trust the food we eat to be healthful (not always so) and that the morning will follow the night. We trust the mechanic to fix our car, tho whenever they rotate the tires I worry about whether they have tightened the lugs enough so the wheel will not come off in the middle of my streaking down the highway. (that's right, I no longer streak until my tickets are over).lol But the point is we do trust them to fix our car so it is safe to drive.

We have to trust some things whether we want to or not. You can't go through life expecting to get screwed all the time. (Just some of the time:}) And it is important to be trustworthy. To teach one's children that you can trust them and the dog so he won't poop in the house.

And most of all, it is important to have a higher being that you can trust who will never fail you.
Trust or faith will carry you through anything. And that is the hardest trust of all for some of us to maintain--the biggest sin--to not have enough trust.

Monday, August 30, 2010


I was just working my crossword puzzle and one of the clues was” a game kids used to play.” It turned out to be Kick the Can and it got me to thinking about all the wonderful fun we had when we were kids and why don’t the kids play like that anymore?

Remember the simple Hide and Seek and the variations and more complicated Follow the Arrow, Run Sheep Run. But Kick the Can seems to be the one everyone played. Every night after supper we would play until our parents whistled us home when it grew dark.

When we moved to Denver I taught some of the neighborhood kids to play a few of the games and they loved it. I also remember once when I was on an elevator in the Mayo Clinic, I believe, and three giggling girls got on and faced the wall in the back. I looked at them for a minute and then without thinking said “I will draw the frying pan and who will put the wiener in?” All on the elevator joined in the laughter and remembered the old game. Cancer and procedures were forgotten for a moment.

Our children used to run loose more than they can nowadays I guess and that is one reason, but if a parent were nearby {probably need a grandparent to remember the rules) it seems to me that more kids could get the fun and exercise before they went to bed.. We are in a campaign to make our kids less obese and this is a fun way to get exercise. Seems they all go to structured soccer or baseball programs for their exercise nowadays. Ends up today’s children do not know how to play spontaneously. I understand playing these games is on a comeback. And they have been expanded to phrases George Herbert Bush made famous like kick ass. Which has nothing at all to do with my post here . :)

Where are the sandlot baseball games of yesteryear? And the pick-up basketball games? Do any of your children engage in these fun things? And how about hopscotch and marbles and jacks? Why is everything tied to building up your abs? Makes it more like work than fun.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


These are some pictures we took the day after Bill died. It was a good call as everyone needed some fun.

Boy, did that Johnson guy ever get screwed at that golf tournament on Sunday! We who live in Wisconsin know that there are sandy spots all over especially near Lake Michigan. The judges live here too, I presume, but what a travesty of justice that decision was. For those of you who are not golfers or did not watch the game, they ruled that he grounded his club when he shot that hole where he was surrounded by fans so that he could barely shoot out of there in the first place, much less see that he was near the edge of a sand trap. He will win out in the end though for the public is now empathetic to his plight and he will probably be more remembered for it that if he had won.

To all of you who expressed your sympathy and condolences I wish to thank you so much. I cannot tell you how your comments meant more to me than a lot of the cards I got. I feel closer to you folks and know that you taking the time to send me a message was far more meaningful than some of those cards.

That said, on the lighter side, it was fun to have all of the sons and daughters at home. We did have one problem however. There were six men, all over 6 feet (except one who shall remain nameless in honor of his feelings) They have trouble hitting the hole as it were and some I swear tried to write their name every morning. One had to examine the seat closely before you even began to sit down every time! And of course they all denied it was they.

Dodger got petted all day long and expected it to continue after they left. I told him that it was over, baby, and that I had other things to attend to. We did have a lot of fun as we always do when we get together. If you think my daughter has a good sense of humor, you should hear the brothers and her go at it. It is a shame that we all live so far from one another.

Jim will be leaving me soon, I think. He has some job prospects back in Denver and has had nothing here. I shall hate to have him go. But LIR (Learning in Retirement) classes start up soon and so that will be good .

Enjoy the rest of the summer. Hopefully it will be cooler than it has been. Isn’t that strange to say?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I have lost my dancing partner for life last Friday. I shall miss him, I know, but I shall go on grateful for all the 60 years (minus two months) we shared both good and bad with all the ups and downs one experiences in that time. Some of you have already shared that experience and some of you will some day. Cherish each day and celebrate your lives together often. It goes by so fast. It has been a long long goodbye.

I have been so busy taking care of the many business details and the decisions one has to make, that I don’t really know how I feel about it all yet. But we have had a lot of fun too. All of the children are home and my house has become a homeless like shelter with people sleeping on the floor, on the davenports and on the Lazy Boys until my son-in-law decided enough was enough and engaged two hotel rooms nearby.

Old friends came from Minneapolis and as always when we get together with them, the house was filled with laughter. We met them years ago at Green Lake where we used to go every summer and have become very close. The wife and my daughter are close friends as are her husband and my sons and they are nice enough to love Bill and me too.

I don’t want this to be a sad post. He was 88 and his quality of life was nil so it was a blessing. We are filled with happy memories and funny tales of things he said and did and we have had a lot of fun telling these over and over to each other.

I am including a picture of his honor guard at his resting place. It was such a lovely ceremony. Taps will hit you in the gut every time.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Guest Post: What I've Learned

While Bernie is away with her husband and family, I, Fragrant Liar, have been asked to guest post. And I thought, hey, Bernie may have a few years on me, but I've learned some things about life, too! Like . . .

I'm thinking . . . I'm thinking . . .

Well, take my word for it. I have learned a bunch of stuff. And I fully expect to continue being educated the hard way on plenty more things by the time I get to toast the full century mark. Here are seven things I have learned so far (and no, that is not the sum total):

  1. Men may come and go, as will some dear friends, but children are forever. Better to treat them well so they'll want to come visit you in the old folks home.
  2. While your beloved pets won't come visit you in the old folks home, they will frequently give you more love and attention than your own kids, and maybe that's a good enough reason to leave everything in your will to the four-paws. Take that!
  3. Your children are indeed watching and learning from you, so don't be surprised when they pick up your worst behavior and model it right back atchya.
  4. Sometimes I spend too much time dreaming of what could be, rather than enjoying what already is in the present. Hey, with the daily 9-to-5 grind, can you blame me?
  5. Fear is a bigger obstacle to accomplishing your goals than you realize. So is apathy, but I really don't care about that.
  6. Writing fiction is an excellent use of my time, as it feeds my soul the way nothing else in life really can. Except maybe a man, but he has to be a really special—no, wait. Scratch that last sentence.
  7. Good friends come from all walks of life and all ages, and I am a very fortunate woman to enjoy beautiful friendships with so many fine people. I have no regrets about the not-so-fine friends I've dumped along the way.

I raise my wine glass in tribute to Bernie and her husband Bill, and the rest of their family as they endure a very difficult time. My thoughts are with you. ~ Kimber

Friday, July 30, 2010


The other day I got a flyer in the mail about bundling my phone together with my TV and my cell and my computer. All I can say is that AT&T must be the most inefficient corporation on the block because it took me one and one-half hours on the phone. Mostly on hold. Jeez, I could kill the guy that invented that! Anyhow I ended up with Choice Extra for my TV with 210 channels and I find that the same thing happens now as it did whenever we stayed in a motel with that many channels. I just keep flipping the dang channels and never get to watch anything! But tonight I did watch something that was worth it---Paul McCartney at the White House and I heard “Hey Jude” and “Yesterday” and it was lovely. A local station, of course.

Four goldfinches did a lovely aerial ballet for me around the feeder this afternoon. I have never seen them sort of pedal in midair and then swoop around like that before in and out amongst each other.

Jim’s gladiolas are coming into bloom. He has planted over 100 of them and so I have a constant bouquet in my house. They are just starting so I hope they keep staggering their bloom so I can have them for a long time and not too many at once. They make good gifts.

My granddaddy of a willow is monstrous with all the rain and hot weather it has filled out and its canopy covers almost the whole back yard. It meets the sugar maple and my counterpart, the sugar maple and so the back yard is completely like walking in a vault of tree branches. I love it.

Dodger is the funniest dog. He plays by himself with his balls (his rubber balls) and makes them go into tight spots in the patio door, for instance, and then digs them out only to do it again and again. Then he tosses them in the air and chases them. Self entertainment.

One of the benefits of growing older is that I put myself in the other person’s shoes more often than I did. If a motorcyclist revs his motor up beside me at a stop sign I don’t mind. I would do it too if I had one. And if someone cuts in front of me or seems angry about something, I think that maybe he has a good reason like maybe he just lost his job, or his girlfriend or maybe he doesn’t feel well or someone he loves is ill or worse.

I feel more of a kinship with my fellowmen. When I was young I thought only I could feel such pain when things happened, or only I felt some things like no one else. We are all in the same boat and when they ask " for whom the bell tolls-it tolls for thee", I get it now.

So these are just some of my random thoughts today. I will end by saying, “Never, never ask a man for directions! They are never specific enough. A woman will give you great directions every time.”

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Some of you have been asking how my new dog, the Artful Dodger, is working out so I thought I thought I would tell you just how wonderful he is.

These have not been easy weeks for us lately. My husband Bill who has had Altzeimer’s for about 9 years has been sick lately and we have had to bring him to the ER three times with no success until this last time. Believe me, one has to have the right doctor to get anywhere.

He was admitted to the hospital and yesterday as I was sitting in my chair listening on the phone for the results of his tests (he was being discharged at the time and transported to the rest home), I heard that he has entered the end stage and has multiple things going on that are not good. I, who never cry, began crying as I listened and Dodger pricked up his ears and came over to my chair and raised himself into a position where he was virtually hugging me with his paws around my neck and pressing his head against mine and licking my face. Now, there’s a dog who is a pal in need. He didn’t need thumbs. I am so thankful for him. I have seen dogs do this in movies as in Lassie but I have never had this experience before

I knew this would be coming, but not so suddenly nor so soon. Because Bill has been so good for so many years, I guess I was lulled into forgetting about this fact. And so it goes.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Summertime in Door County Wisconsin!

Last fall, we shared some pictures of beautiful Door County. Here are some pics of a day last week when we went up again in the good ole summer time.

Except it still is rather early for Lake Michigan to warm up. This day the weather was in the 80's but at Whitefish Bay Beach the winds were stirring up the lake to three foot or more waves and the water temperature was 62 degrees. But never let it be said that I am a wimp and I have learned how to deal with this. You go in several times, a little bit at a time. You get your feet up to your knees wet and paining like crazy and then you run out and wait a bit.
You keep doing this for 5 or 6 times and then dunk. Water soon becomes quite tolerable. And with the lovely sand bottom and with the waves trying to knock you over, a lot of fun. Jim comes running in freezing one more time.

After our invigorating swim, we looked for a place to eat. My son, Jim, had never had a genuine Door County Fish Boil so we found a place in Bailey's Harbor just about ready to serve up the last batch. It is a spectacular show and the dinner is delicious. They cook it over an open fire in a big kettle and at the last minute they throw keosene on the fire to make it boil over. That is supposed to get all the fat out of the dinner. Then they serve it with cups of drawn butter poured all over it!!!!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Blog With Substance

I've received an award and I'm most happy about it. I've been recognized as a Blog with Substance by Scrubby Brush. I thank Cheryl, my Australian friend.

I am to pick 10 people who I think have blogs of substance. Wow, was that hard to narrow down. I know there are many more I could have mentioned, but these are the ones I came up with.

First, Catbird Scout, for I regard her as one of the finest writers out there. I know she already has one but I just had to put her down from me too.

Moments of Mine who always posts a beautiful quiet time showing us with her camera and her comments stories about her walks and her grandchildren .

At the Farm if you enjoy hearing about beautiful horses and farm life in general. She brings you there.

Weaver of Grass always has a great topic for discussion and thoughtful comments. I have always loved the way she calls her husband “the farmer”

Midlife Jobhunter shares her family, travel, views of life using a very fine sense of humor. Very Erma Bombeck like. Can be both hilarious at times and sardonic at others. Great writer. She will go somewhere in the writing field someday.

Sixtyfivewhatnow writes about many different topics but is always an interesting read. She tells about her views using the lake as a metaphor and about her trips.

Beyond the Diapers and Spills writes on a variety of subjects that inspire great discussions. Her latest on marriage is great.

A Walk in My Shoes gives a lot of information on how to get published as she is a published author. I have always loved her opening picture of all the beautiful shoes and it is such an apt title.

Wander to the Wayside has shared her life experiences as an adopted child with all of us in a marvelous detailed way. She made us feel.

Can't forget On My Own for she is a loyal friend to many. She offers valuable friendship and in her posts she tells of her happiness in everyday living. She is an inspiration to us all to live in the moment the best that we can.

I hope you will visit some of my choices and Cheryl at Scrubby Brush. You won't be disappointed.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


For 51 years with few exceptions I have been blessed to spend the Fourth of July at a resort in Minnesota called Park Lane. It is located west of Minneapolis about 80 some miles and the lake is named Green Lake. It is the purest cleanest lake in the world we have been told. There was one in Switzerland that was supposed to be first but they had an avalanche and thus ours became the best.

This is back in time quite a bit. One of the grandchildren was very small. Jim and Bob and Ian.

Whether this is true or not, it is a fantastic lake where the water feels like silk on your skin. You have such a feeling of exhilaration after a swim like nowhere else.

Neighbors had a '50, a small motorcycle which Jacob helped me learn how to ride one day. It is one of my favorite pictures. You can see the lovely resort too.

Needless to say, how I wish I were there today driving my Bayliner around that lake which is 12 miles around, swimming in that lovely velvet water, and being with all my family all day long for two weeks. Here I am driving the boat.


Just a few memories to share with you all.

This is Ian swimming at the end of the pier.

That's all, folks. Glad you could come along.


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