Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Only Walk This Summer

Was it two years ago that I came up with this great idea of walking every street in my hometown? I was pretty faithful that first year, but petered out by the second. And here we are rolling into the Autumn of 2016 and I haven't shared any walks here this year. Or at least I don't remember doing so. 

Last spring and summer I was battling bursitis in my right hip and tendinitis in my left Achilles. The bursitis seems to be cured, but that Achilles is still killing me. Yes, I work at a doctor's office, but you know that health care workers make the worst patients. And speaking of the day job, I've been working a lot of long days and leaving work with no remaining energy. 

In any event, last Friday, with the car in the shop for two hours, I had some time to kill and the weather was perfect. I was reminded of how blessed I am to live in such a beautiful place.   

This little park-ette is just past the public library, along the Wisconsin River. It was a Girl Scout Gold Project from ten years ago.

The Wisconsin River - amazing any time of year.

The fire pit behind the library, in honor of the Lintereurs.

Parting words of wisdom.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The View from the Backyard

As promised last week, here's the view of my house from my backyard. Just as the front has, the back has had its share of changes as well. 
September 22, 1990, the day we moved in. 
Nine years later, September 22, 1990. That spring we had turned the garage into the living room. Note the patio doors which don't open unto a patio. Also, the lovely, though practical, clothes line. 
In the spring of 2003, we were ready to add the deck. The attractive plastic on the patio door was to keep the outdoor cats from climbing the screen.  
Making way for the deck.
The deck in progress. My brother-in-law put it up for us. Thanks, Claude. 
Starting to look more like a deck. 
And it's almost finished. 
Ok, December 20, 2011, the deck has been done for a long time and is fading nicely. This is my token winter scene. Oh, and we have a new clothes line, too. I do have pictures of that going up, but that is even more boring than the deck. 
July 7, 20012
August 26, 2012. Can you tell the difference between this picture and the previous one? We had a new roof put on. 
September 9, 2014, my most recent backyard picture. I know, you are surprised that I didn't actually take one every single year. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Getting Lost and Being Found

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see. (John Newton) 

Yesterday I experienced my first trip through a corn maze. Prior to entering, we received a generalized picture of the maze with the locations of the eight stops where we could punch our card. After wondering aimlessly for a while and having found none of the stations, we decided, in a near panic, that we just wanted to get out. We finally stumbled across one of the stations and I found it on the map. I was able to get my bearings and thought, ah, ha, maybe we can find the rest of the spots if I just keep us on course. We found the next station, but about that time the 17-year-old girl I was supposed to be guiding decided she had had enough. “Can we just try to find our way out?”

Have you ever been lost and just wanted to find your way out? Has life bombarded you with situations that you just wanted to get out of? Did you feel you had nowhere to turn for guidance?

We all know where to turn when we are lost in the maze called life. Jesus is called our Savior for a reason.

Lord, Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to save us when we are lost and to guide us Home. Amen. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

A 26th anniversary celebration

One year ago today, I had hoped to begin a week or two of celebrating a 25th anniversary with you. I guess it will be a 26th anniversary instead. 

26 years ago, I moved into this house. It has changed a bit over the years and if I can get a bunch of pictures scanned, I'll share those changes with you here, starting with the front of the exterior.
 Moving day. September 22, 1990
 Closing up the garage to turn it into the family room, spring 1999. I also had a new roof put on, I think around 1994, way before I went crazy taking pictures with the digital camera.
 Living room window moved to the old garage and new windows put in what will become our bedroom. The garage service door has been replaced and has become our main entry door.
Exterior walls done, just need a coat of paint
 The finished remodel, August 1999 (it didn't take that long to finish, just that long for me to get a picture, as digital photography was still not yet in my hands).
 Ah, I had to add a winter picture. December 20, 2011
August 26, 2012, following the completion of the second roof I've had put on this house.

Come next time to see the back of the house.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Silver and Gold, Copper and Iron

 There is a mine for silver
    and a place where gold is refined.
 Iron is taken from the earth,
    and copper is smelted from ore. Job 28:1-2 (New International Version)

In my daily Bible reading, I have been plowing through the book of Job. Not a very upbeat book, is it? But I finally finished reading it last night and the last few chapters are much more upbeat.  

As I read the above verses a few weeks ago, I was once again amazed at how everything about this world is in the Bible. The precious metals that Job referred to were most likely somewhere in the Middle East, or at least somewhere in the settled world of that time.

However, since I still have Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on my brain, I can only picture iron and copper ore lying under those grounds and nowhere else.

But when Job was lamenting about the life he had been handed, God knew that there was copper in the ground in that peninsula that jutted out into Lake Superior. He knew there was iron in the ground a hundred miles south of there. He knew it, because He put it there.

He knew the Indians would find it and mine it. He knew that white settlers would find it as well and rush to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to try to get rich off of it. But He only put so much of it there and He made sure that it wasn’t easy to get to. He had everything planned from the beginning of time.

With all that Knowledge, you would think that God would get bored. What would it be like to Know everything? The thing is God can handle it and we can’t.  There’s a lot we can’t handle, which is why we need to put our trust in God.

Heavenly Father, thank You for all that You have given us, the beautiful and necessary as well as the hardships which are part of life. Thank You for knowing that everything will turn out as it was meant to. Amen.  

Thursday, September 15, 2016

A New State Park

I know that earlier this week I finished telling you about our camping trip to  Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula (and I can spell Keweenaw with no problem, but can never spell Peninsula correctly the first time!). I couldn’t resist adding this teaser, though.

A few weeks after we returned from that trip, I talked the hubby into taking a drive up to another Michigan state park. I had gotten him so hooked at camping at McLain State Park that I was afraid he would never go anywhere else. I had to prove to him that there are other campgrounds he could try out.

First though we had to stop at the first roadside park.
 Not too much farther down the road, we came to Bewabic State Park, between Crystal Falls and Iron River. My sister Pat and I had camped here a couple times back in the early eighties. It was just as I remembered.
 I didn’t take any pictures of the campsites, but when Hubby saw that they have pull-through sites – no backing up the camper, Honey – he was sold.

 And when we leave the campground, we can explore the Iron County Courthouse in Crystal Falls.
 Or the Paint River.
Cannot wait for next summer!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Copper Harbor and Brockway Mountain and Mandan, oh my

Thursday, August 4th, was our last full day of camping in the UP and once again, I had a full day planned. 
 Believe it or not, a friend of mine was already planning on camping at Fort Wilkins State Park that week, so I told her we would drive up to see her. That took up most of the morning but we had a good visit and it was great seeing her and the rest of her family. It has been a long time.

We drove back into Copper Harbor and poked around in a few gift shops. Didn’t find anything that we couldn’t live without, not even ice cream, for a change.
 We took the scenic road up and over Brockway Mountain on the way back to our campground. The views all speak for themselves.
 We got back as far as Eagle Harbor and ate lunch at the little town park, where we always stop.

I don’t think I mentioned previously, but we had already stopped at the Jampot twice. When we were there earlier that morning, they didn’t have their hermit cookies baked yet (my very favorite), so Hubby insisted we stop one last time to buy some.
 Last but most importantly, we finished out the day by finally finding the ghost town of Mandan. Truly easy to find and just off of Highway 41, just like my directions said. Sometimes I have to just shake my head and move on.

The next morning, very sadly, we packed up the camper and headed home. We’ll be back to the UP soon. 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

A Whimper

Fifteen years ago today, the United States was attacked, the Twin Towers in New York City fell, the Pentagon was seriously damaged and thousands of Americans died. A part of each of us died as well. Until that Tuesday morning, we had listened to the news of bombings and terrorist attacks and wars around the world, but sat in our living room recliners believing that we were safe.

At first we all agreed that 9/11 was a wake-up call. Before that day, we thought the United States was an island, removed from the violence that took place in other parts of the world. After that day, we thought if we only secured our borders, secured our airports and other ports that we would remain a free country.

Instead what has really been happening in this country?

The big news the last few weeks has been a football player who refused to stand for the national anthem. Because we still live in a free country and no one should be forced to stand when they don’t want to, I guess that’s his right and I get that. What I don’t get is how he has a right to protest anything when he made more money during that one game than his black brothers and sisters make in a year? More money than the average American of any race makes in a year and more money than most people living in a third world country make in a lifetime.

But it’s not about the money. Or I sure hope not. Then what about people being oppressed in this country and our government keeping them under its thumb? But unless you have lived in a third world country, you don’t really have a clue what it means to be oppressed or what it means when leaders do not give a damn about their people.

Or maybe it’s not even about our current government, which I will admit is full of a cancer which no amount of chemo or radiation is going to slow down. Maybe you still have a gripe with our forefathers. How dare they talk about freedoms and rights and build a country based on that when they owned slaves? Because, yea, you’re going to change history.

I do not have an answer for you, for anyone. I wish I could say that this is still the greatest country in the world, but I have to fight the tears when I say that I don’t believe that is true.

T.S. Elliot wrote the poem, “Hollow Men” in 1925 and its last lines remain the most quoted ones in poetry. “This is the way the world ends, not with a bang, but a whimper”. Wow. How did he know ninety-one years ago where we would be today?

Will another 9/11 destroy this country? Will enough attacks from outside terrorists bring us to our knees? Will we go down fighting, screaming, clinging to what we know to be right?

Or will we kill ourselves from the inside out? Will we drive enough police officers out of that line of work so that we have no protection in our neighborhoods? Will we persecute Christians and Jews and other religious groups but not Muslims, because not all Muslims are bad and never ask what is so bad about the other religions? Will protests of our own flag drive us apart? Will we forget what is really important?

This is what I see outside my window as I write this. I hope that I will always have that view.

Just my thoughts for this day, September 11, 2016. I’d love to hear what you think. 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Never Lost if You Have a Gazetteer

I meant to post yesterday, but my laptop was having a fit and I wasn’t able to do anything on it. Today is a new day, though, and so far, after rebooting it for the umpteenth time in the middle of last night, the laptop is finally working okay.

Back to our camping trip adventures in the UP.

A few years ago, I read on-line about the ghost town of Mandan, somewhere past Delaware mine. I wanted to explore it, but the last two times we were in the UP, I didn’t take along any directions and my mind just isn’t what it used to be. Just like the search for the elusive Gratiot RiverWaterfall, I apparently needed written directions in hand. Unlike this year’s discovery of those waterfalls, however, these directions weren’t enough.

Four miles past the mine at Delaware, on Highway 41, a sign declared “Mandan”. We drove onto the gravel road and turned to the right, as my directions said. The instructions went on to say that you should now be on Main Street where a few houses still stood and after a few hundred feet you would circle back out to Highway 41.

This did not happen.  We did see a sign for “Mandan Loop Road”, so decided that we at least were on the right track. We drove for maybe a mile, and even though we toyed with the idea of turning around, we decided to just keep going. 

The road eventually circled back around until we were heading east again, and I thought certainly we would come upon the ghost town and its few remaining houses now. We met a few ATVs and other vehicles, so felt that the road had to at least end up somewhere. Every time we saw one of these signs, we thought, that even though the road had deteriorated to an ATV trail, our Chevy Blazer will surely get through. The path was dry, rutted and just wide enough in some places for us to pass. 

Even what appeared to be an ancient snowmobile in a tree didn’t deter us. After all we still had a half a tank of gas and plenty of food and water, along with Dino the Wonder Dog who surely had our backs.

After another hour of driving, we stopped for a potty break in the woods. As we got back in the vehicle, a car, a mini-van and an SUV crawled passed. Even though we had no cell reception, we still had to be near civilization, right?

I finally pulled out the Michigan Gazetteer and traced our path. Yea, we were way off base and just south of Copper Harbor, as the crow flies. 

We came to an intersection, believe it or not. If I was correct, according to the Gazetteer, the road straight ahead would go for another few miles before circling back to come into Copper Harbor from the east. The road to the left would take us there quickly, but my gut feeling was that it was not nearly in as good condition as the road straight ahead. 

As the Hubby and I were mulling it over, the three vehicles from earlier, the silver crossover SUV, red mini-van and blue Mitsubishi with tires about the size of our camper’s, pulled up behind us. The occupants all got out, admitting they were as lost as we were. Their cell phones were telling them where we were, which I felt was erroneous, as I was certain they didn’t have any better reception than we did. 

As we were discussing it, an ATV came along. Ah, ha, surely they will know. They had an ATV trail map, but couldn’t tell us any better where we were.

I was like, seriously, with all us people standing around in the middle of the woods I am the one with any Boy Scout experience?

The guy wearing a Chicago Bears jersey with Cutler emblazoned on the back and driving the crossover SUV with Illinois plates wanted to take over, so he announced we should all take the road to the left. I listened for banjos, but didn’t hear any. 

I really didn’t want to follow them, but since they had kids in one of their cars and I bet I was the only one of us with any medical experience and that we had more food in our Blazer than they had between them, I thought we should give in and follow them out.  I swear, it was only for those two little kids, who by the way, fell in love with Dino. 

The trail was pretty rough and narrow in places, but wasn't horrible. We would have got out in a short period of time, but the guy in the lead – the one wearing the Chicago Bear’s jersey, which Himey felt explained a lot – kept stopping for no one knows what reason. To talk, is all we could figure. And then the little boy in the mini-van did get out to pee once, and they all got out to eat some berries.

We got back to civilization though and once we got back on pavement, I put it all together in my head and we were indeed exactly where I thought we were the whole time. But instead of saying "na-ner-na-ner" to Cutler, we just waved goodbye and took off down the road. It all would have been fun and games if this adventure hadn’t taken the whole entire afternoon. 

Hubby was willing to cut our losses, buy gas and just get back to camp. But I ended up cranky about the whole ordeal. In perspective, I guess it is what it is. I need to remember my Kenyan and forget looking at the clock and worrying about time. We were on vacation. And there was still tomorrow.
Once again, Dino earned his keep today and gets a well deserved rest.