Sunday, October 30, 2011

Never Closed

The Dog N Suds closed way back the middle of September. The Windmill ice cream parlor north of town shut its doors for the season about the same time. Dairy Queen closed a few weeks ago and then got bulldozed off the map. Luckily they will be opening in the spring in a better and bigger building, but what until then? It makes for a long winter when you can’t go anywhere for a simple ice cream cone.

Other businesses in other towns around the country are putting up similar signs and locking up until spring. What are people supposed to do? No wonder we get cranky when the dark days of endless cold and snow drag on.

Lucky for us, God never closes for the season, or for any other reason. He is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Is it wrong to pray to Him for a chocolate milkshake?

"And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39 New Living Translation

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Never Look Back

“Don’t look back, you can never look back.” (From The Boys of Summer by Don Henley)

With the sixth, and perhaps last game of the World Series, being played, I am still stuck on America's national pastime. Granted, Don Henley didn’t write this song about baseball; it was a look at the youth we left behind, growing older and wondering “what if”. The title, though, reminds me of the book of the same name by Roger Kahn, which looked at the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team. But it all comes back to being a kid, goofing around, feeling freedom from your very belly. It is summertime and you don’t have to answer to anyone.

Unfortunately the seasons change, the boys of summer hang up their gloves and their bats, kids go back to school, black bear stock up for hibernation. And the rest of us try not to look back with melancholy. Can’t look back, never look back.

It does seem fitting with all that depth I’ve written so far that I should close with my other favorite baseball quote. “There’s no crying in baseball.” (Tom Hanks in “A League of Their Own”)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Memories of Hot Summer Nights

As I write this, it appears from my internet sources, that the Texas Rangers are leading the St Louis Cardinals three games to two in the World Series. There was a time when I kept up on such things. Especially in 1982 when the Milwaukee Brewers played in the World Series. I was in college at UW-La Crosse and the campus was in quite a frenzy.

Way before that though, there was a time when I was a kid and on hot summer nights we would listen to Brewers baseball on the radio.

On sticky August nights, with only one twelve inch round metal fan to cool the whole house, my parents wouldn’t turn on any lights, except for the single bulb above the kitchen sink. We didn’t own a blender, but Dad would dump milk, ice cream and Nestle’s Quik into one of mom’s white mixing bowls and whip it together with the hand-held electric mixer. With Bob Uecker and Merle Harmon announcing the play by play in the background, my dad would pour the milkshake into tall glasses that had a picture of a woman water-skiing on the side. The glasses had to be from the 1950’s because the woman wore one of those bathing suits with the pointy bra and long legs. Scary how vividly I can picture that in my head.

I think Mom still has those drinking glasses. I didn’t think to snap a photo of them, so here is my dad instead, circa 1977.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

"I Know You"

Yesterday I was in Green Bay for a seminar to earn CEUs in my field of medical assisting. We listened to four wonderful speakers on three interesting topics (the fourth topic – OSHA regulations – not so interesting, but the speaker was still good).

The last presenter of the day spoke on Alzheimer’s Disease. What a devastating illness that is! Not one of us has not had a family member affected by it. One of the slides this speaker shared showed a cross-section of a normal brain and compared it to that of an Alzheimer’s victim.

I borrowed this picture from the internet, but it is just as clear to see that the brain on the right has wasted away, practically collapsing on itself. It is easy to understand why these men and women get to the point where they can no longer feed themselves, talk, or walk.

In April of 1993, we admitted my dad to an Alzheimer’s unit of the nursing home. The last thing he said to me was, “You are someone I should know.” A few days later he was hospitalized with aspiration pneumonia and passed away by the end of the week.

Why would a loving God let a disease such as this take over the minds of our elderly, our loved ones who only want to live out their lives in peace and happiness? I don’t know. But I do know this. Someday I will be with my dad in heaven and he will say to me, “I know you!” And even better than that, my heavenly Father will say that to me too.

“Do not be afraid—I will save you. I have called you by name—you are mine. When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you; your troubles will not overwhelm you. When you pass through fire, you will not be burned; the hard trials that come will not hurt you. For I am the Lord your God.” Isaiah 43:1-3 Good News Translation

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Find your enthusiasm

“The surprises in life make it interesting. Could you imagine being able to see the future? And knowing what was going to happen when? You’d have no purpose for living. Ordinary, everyday happenings make life feel comfortable, but you live to be surprised. Never lose the capacity to be surprised. Never let life become ordinary. Learn to enjoy the littlest things. That’s why little kids and puppies are so neat. They think everything is new and exciting. Such enthusiasm.”

From the time I was a confused freshman in high school until I was a confused new wife and mother, my sister Pat wrote me wonderful letters full of insight and encouragement. Seeing as I have dubbed Thursday’s blog “Sayings, Songs and Signs”, I thought I would occasionally share some of her wisdom here.

On the long list of books I plan to write some day is her story. In addition to writing all those books, I also dream of seeing the book which Pat wrote become published. My idea is that once I am a famous author I will have an “in” to make that happen. I just need to keep the enthusiasm.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Where Did I Come From?

Hello, it’s me, Dino. It has been a long time since Mom has let me on the computer. She has not been on it much this week. She says she has another my-grain, so she doesn’t do much when she is home.

Let me tell you how I came to my forever home. It was in the spring four years ago. I was at the pound in Crandon and Dad came to see me early one morning. He brought Mom and my girl Val to meet me in the afternoon. I was so happy to meet them. I kept jumping on them but they didn’t seem to mind like most of the people at the pound. There was a boy who helped walk me and the other dogs that were at the pound. He told Mom and Dad that he called me Demon because I was so wild. I only acted wild because I was so happy whenever people were around.

Mom and Dad – well – I am not so good with words. But Mom and Dad knew what was inside of me, that I was more than just hyper-puppy. Mom brought me home two days later. I was very naughty the next morning. Mom was disappointed with me but she didn’t spank me or anything.

I don’t remember when or why they started calling me the Wonder Dog. I am really not that super. But I love my people and would do anything for them that I could. Lucky for me, it seems that they are especially happy with me when I am just sleeping on the couch.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


When I was putting things on one of my new bookshelves, I spied Betty sleeping innocently on the dog’s bed. She is the most laid back of our cats, so I couldn’t resist putting her on the shelf to see what she thought. In typical cat-titude she looked around and didn’t do much. “Hmm?” she said to herself. “This is ok, gives me a nice view of the room. I think I’ll stay.”

I confess that I am a cat lover. I admire their independence, but still each of our four cats has its own personality, its own way of thinking about us people and each other. I also am a dog lover, as you probably guessed just by the name of this blog.

What a great thing that we have our pets, whether cats, dogs, horses or rabbits. Or even birds. What a wonderful God we have to give us all the different animals just for our enjoyment.

Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. Genesis 2:19 New International Version

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Try or Try Not

“Live, Love, Learn, Think, Give, Laugh, Try” John W. Gardener

When I was in high school, someone bought me a blank bound journal. They are very common now, but 35 years ago it was novel (if not a novel. Yet). Called an “anything book”, I filled it with inspiring quotations, poems, and song lyrics I ran across. Those were the days when you had to look in a book, maybe even go to the library, to find cool quotations. Those were the days.

Now, we can type anything into Google and get dozens of sayings on any subject. So I had to do a search of the above quote which is the first entry in my Journal. But alas, no results. Hmm? So either I totally made it up or I have more information than the World Wide Web.

A few years after I wrote the above words in my little red book, I heard I a quote containing the word “try” which I like much better. Didn’t have to look this one up on the web.

“Do, or do not. There is no try.” Yoda

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Dino Chronicles

Have I ever shared how I came to name my blog “Dino Chronicles”? Just like I am obsessing about what to rename my blog, I had the same issue in February 2010 when I first started this endeavor. I remember distinctly sitting in the big chair in the living room, my laptop in my lap, my feet under Dino the Wonderdog on the ottoman.

I kept whining to my husband and both kids, “What am I going to name my blog?” I had nothing, not a single title in my head.

“Mom, just call it the Dino Chronicles,” Val blurted it out.

“Why would I name it that?”

“Why not? Just call it something.”

I don’t get much sympathy around my house. I looked at the lazy dog, sleeping as usual. Why would I name anything after him? Isn’t it enough that, for some bizarre reason, we call him the Wonderdog? And claim he is known internationally (except that is a true statement and another story)? Ok and why not?

So, without any more thought, that’s what I wrote in the little box on the blogger site.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Yesterday, I picked up a load of horse manure for the garden. It was suggested to me that I write today’s blog about that. I wasn’t at all opposed to that idea – I will take everything I can get. But I already had an idea rolling around in my head. Then as I was taking a much needed shower (imagine that), it came to me that I could indeed incorporate waste products into today’s blog.

Friday, I wrote about our last family trip from a year ago. Which means over the past twenty months, I have pretty much covered everything - my life story from college to current, all of the trips I have been on and probably more useless information about myself than anyone needs to know. Or so you thought.

This weekend I had big plans to roll out a new and improved blog. I was going to have a fetching name with an inspirational Bible passage that tied into it. I was going to put up an awesome picture of myself. I was going to hunt down the perfect background for it all, something even more eye-catching than I have now. Yes, I have been obsessing about this big move for months. And here we are. No new exciting blog.

Hmm? I could sit here and kick myself for being so lazy, berate myself that how can I even think that I could ever be a writer if I am not creative enough to jazz up my blog. But instead, I am just going to put some manure on it and see what comes up. I promise that you won’t have to wait until spring.

The gardener answered, “Sir, give it one more chance. Leave it another year, and I’ll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer.” Luke 13:8New Living Translation (NLT)

At this time, I am going to make a few changes to my blog. In an attempt to work on my book more often, I am only posting three days a week. Also, I am not going to work so hard on posting pictures every time. I know that everyone likes these images, but it gets very time consuming. If I have the perfect picture already on hand, you will see it, otherwise, my words will have to suffice (though I might need a thousand of them.)

If you would like my posts automatically e-mailed to you, just type your e-mail address in the “follow by e-mail” box on the right side. It will arrive in your inbox hours after I post it. I know that a lot of you follow me from Facebook. That’s great, but I would love to have more followers signed up on my blog. You can do that from another box in the right side column.

Over the next few weeks, as I am inspired, I will start making more changes. Thank you for faithfully reading my ramblings, and please send any and all comments that you have. Remember I am not getting paid for this, so your feedback is all I’m living on here.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Going Home

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Last day in Michigan’s UP and last night Himey and I both slept like rocks. Finally. Even Dino the Wonderdog slept in this morning.

By nine, though, we were taking down the pop-up camper and had everything packed and ready to go by ten. Our only stop on the way home was a roadside park north of Bruce Crossing.

It was the perfect vacation for me. And Himey was hooked. Oh, and the cost? $266.75. Sure can’t beat that.

Six months later I made campground reservations at McLain State Park for this past July. As it turned out, Himey got a new job the first of June and wasn’t able to get time off work. I waited until the last minute to cancel the reservations; I just didn’t want to give up the dream of another idyllic vacation on Lake Superior. The day I made that call, I stumbled upon the annual Rhinelander School of the Arts, which is a week’s worth of workshops on writing, painting and other creative ventures. I had always thought about signing up for it and this year it just so happened I was on vacation that week with nowhere else to go. Hmm? A sign from God?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Never mind my ranting

Afternoon, Wednesday, July 28, 2010

For lunch today, we stopped again at the city park in Eagle Harbor, Michigan. Then we hunted up Pine Grove Cemetery. An interesting cemetery, but not even that old; we found three graves from 2010.There was even a fresh hole dug for someone’s cremains that hadn’t even been covered up yet. They just had the same kind of carpet sample that Himey uses to cover up the cremains hole after he digs it.

The thing is this cemetery was in almost as bad a shape as Schoolcraft. I could not believe it. Ok, it is one thing to forget the people who died a century ago, but do you really want grandma, who died last week, thrown in a hole where no caretaker has ever mowed. It was insane. It was unworldly. I cannot even describe the condition of this place. Sure, the old graves were falling apart, the headstones in disrepair and such. But right next to them were graves from a few years ago, with fresh flowers or other sentimental stuff (the empty beer bottle or stuffed animal) and no upkeep going on anywhere. I asked Himey how he even thought the vault people or the pallbearers could get into these places for a burial today. Sorry to rant, but holy cow, I do not get it. What are the people living in Eagle Harbor thinking??

I took lots of cool pictures though, again. This time for evidence.

After I had calmed down enough, we next drove to Delaware Mine. The lady who runs it was really nice. She said that Dino was more than welcome to come on the mine tour with us, but at $10 a pop, we thought we would skip it. We did do the above ground tour which was only $3 each.

Walking about the grounds, we came to a fenced enclosure and Dino got the snot scared out of him when a momma goat rammed the fence trying to head-butt him. She was just protecting her babies, who I think really wanted to play with Dino. Dino was really good about it, didn’t whine or bark at her and just acted like, “what’s going on here?”

Monday, October 3, 2011

Back to Camping in the UP

Wednesday, July 28

I sprung out of bed around five Wednesday, because when I looked out the camper window the sun was just coming up. I raced off to the beach, watched the sunrise along Lake Superior and took way too many pictures. That is the wonderful thing about digital cameras – I can delete half these pictures without wasting a thing.

By 8:30 we were ready to roll and drove back to the Waterworks Park near Calumet, just so the Dino-master could play. Today the waves were much higher, white caps actually. Oh, my gosh, the dog was so funny. He’d wade out to his belly and then try to hold his ground as a wave approached. Just as it was about to hit him, he would turn and run back to shore, but never made it. The water was always faster.

When we left there we went down the road to Schoolcraft Cemetery just east of Calumet. Wow, what a sad place. Most of the burials were from the late 1800s, but the whole place was in total disrepair, trees and brush have taken over. Some of the headstones were fantastic, huge monoliths, but most were tipped over and sometimes broken in half. I just feel so bad when cemeteries look like that. I mean, even if the family is all gone or moved away, there still needs to be respect for their remains. All those people who died in the UP in the 1880s and 1890s made huge contributions to their communities, just by living and working there and keeping the mining industry going as long as they could. It seems such a shame.

Next we tried to find Gratiot Falls. Out of Ahmeek, there is a road called Five Mile Point Road, which is a scenic byway to Lake Superior. Along this road are the Farmer’s Block Roads (north, south and west). Very near these roads, on one of the maps I have, is a dot for Upper Gratiot Falls and one for Lower Gratiot Falls. As we drove along, we found a sign for Gratiot Falls Trailhead, so we thought, hot dog, that must take us there.

Well, we walked and walked and walked. I need to start carrying a pedometer; we had to have hiked a couple miles. Luckily this wasn’t just a trail, but was a logging road in better shape than a lot of the Michigan roads I’ve been on. But you can only wander the forest for so long before you say, maybe this isn’t going anywhere. I will have to try to find this on Google Earth and see if we were anywhere close to anything.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Beauty of the Seasons

We got up early yesterday morning and headed to Minnesota for the weekend. In just a little while, my husband and I will be at the Renaissance Festival for a rollicking fun day. On the drive over yesterday, we horsed around a bit and took a few pictures (ok, around 40 pictures). I thought that Wisconsin had some beautiful autumn scenes, but I think our neighbors to the west could give us some competition.
I think that our God, the loving Father that he is, gives us the beautiful autumn leaves to help us cope with the reality of the cold dreary winter coming. Of course, He gives us beauty in every season, doesn't He?
Heavenly Father, thank you for the seasons. Thank you for giving us this amazing world that we live in. Remind us that the beauty we have with us now is only a shadow of the beauty we will find one day in our home in heaven. Amen