Squirrel and chickadee love, February snow, and healing silence


Let's strap on some snowshoes and go for a walk around our Little House in the Woods

Let’s strap on some snowshoes and go for a walk around our Little House in the Woods

We awoke to a February snow.  Maybe five new inches decorated our winter landscape. The temperature promises to inch up in upcoming days into the 30’s and 40’s (0 to 7 C), but for now winter still sings her black and white songs.

Black and white world out here

Black and white world out here

When I first returned from Florida I felt kind of black and white and blue for a few days. There’s so often a feeling of traveling transition, of settling back into the quiet after days of busyness.

Then news of the school shooting down there pierced this heart to the core, and I felt raw and sad and despairing.

I’m sure many of you felt the same.

I’m having trouble even typing a paragraph about it a week later.

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Posted in February 2018 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Palm trees, egrets, shrimp boats (and home again, home again, jiggety jig)


Palm Tree in Paradise

Palm tree in Paradise


Hello, dear reader.  I am back from a lovely week of vacationing at Fort Myers Beach, Florida, with my mom, brother and sister-in-law.

Am feeling rather mellow and tired, but wanted to upload these photos this afternoon.

South end of Fort Myers Beach from plane

South end of Fort Myers Beach from plane

It took two days to get from the Upper Peninsula to southern Florida, but that’s nothing new.  It so often seems we’re delayed by bad weather or mechanical issues.  One need not fret–you eventually reach your destination.  Eventually is the key word.

Luckily, I’m retired–so did not suffer from the usual pressure of needing to be there or here immediately.  Enjoyed a night in Detroit, courtesy of Delta.  Thanks, Delta, for putting us up.

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Posted in February 2018 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Imagine you’re 90 years old.

An elderly friend in the nursing home

My elderly friend, Opal, in the nursing home a few years ago

Imagine, my friends, that you’re 90 years old.

Look at your wrinkled hands, oh my, and wonder:  what happened to those smooth hands, those elastic fingers, the supple wrists?

Look at your face in the mirror and wonder:  what happened to that sly girl of eighteen flirting with that boy?  What happened to the youth who squandered herself on praise from nameless others?  To the fleeting image passing that store window, measuring herself up against him and her and him and her?

Look, my treasure, at the feet sitting in those slippers and wonder:  did you really run a mile?  Did you really climb a hill or mountain?  Did you really descend countless valleys?  Where have you gone, swift runner, beloved walker? Where have you disappeared, my beloved confident feet?

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Posted in January 2018 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Annoyed, amazed, humored, and sad. All in one day.

Our little (uncovered) grill in the Big Woods in the First 5" snow.

Our grill.  Which does not squeak.

    1.  Very annoying.  Yesterday we “fixed” the wood stove furnace belt, which “entertained” us with squeaky noises for the past month.  An hour later the new belt is entertaining us with different squeaky noises. Can it be fixed?
    2. At times squeaky noises do not bother me.  At other times they do.
    3. I have been pondering humor and the Universe.  What makes one person laugh, and another cringe. And another shake her head wondering, “Why the heck is that funny?”  My mom and I do not share the same sense of humor.  (OK, she also does not understand many of my spiritual inclinations, especially last November when I carried on for maybe twenty minutes about Deepak Chopra’s book “You are the Universe“.  I kept saying,  “Isn’t this the MOST FASCINATING stuff in the world, Mom?  Isn’t this fabulous?  Aren’t you EXCITED?”  I would read her sentence after amazing sentence. She shook her head and looked at me as if from a foreign planet.  “Kathy, this isn’t even interesting,” she said.  Dumbfounded, I stared at her.  How could this Universal understanding not be AMAZING?)  I am still shaking my head about this. (And smiling…)
    4. Speaking of amazing, another relative–yet unnamed–turned and said, “Do you realize that’s the third time you’ve said ‘amazing’ in the past ten minutes?”  I wanted to shout, “But LIFE is amazing, isn’t it?” but mumbled something inane instead, suddenly wanting to throw the word “amazing” out the window evermore, feeling suddenly stupid. (P.S.  I could have used the word “awesome” instead of “amazing”.  Just sayin’.  This memory is not always amazing.) The use of the words amazing or awesome have NOT been stifled in ensuing months.
    5. It’s overcast today.  It’s cold.  Fifteen degrees.  Downstate, at my childhood home, it’s snowing buckets.
    6. My mom and I talked for 20 minutes today.  I told her about my friend, Reggie, from Cape Town, South Africa.  About their water crisis.  About how there’s not enough water to wash dishes, take showers, wash cars, do laundry, on a daily or weekly basis. Reggie’s email pierced my heart today.  It’s funny how it takes a friend half way across the world to intimately wake us up to what’s happening to precious others on our blue and green spinning planet. I have read her email twice now.  Will read a third time, and maybe a fourth, before responding.  How can one respond to that? Especially when one soaks often daily in a hot bath?
    7. The greatest gift of my children’s partners has been that they’ve opened my heart past the boundaries of the United States.  When something happens in Egypt, I think of Diaa’s precious grandma.  When something happens in South Korea, I think of Seunghye’s parents and brother and sister-in-law and babies.  It’s harder to armor the heart when family live in so many places.
    8. Yet, I do armor this heart.  Don’t you?  Because there is so much pain in the world.  If a person felt every single blow, hit, murder, hurricane, tsunami, tornado, rape, devastation…how would we make it through the day?  Yet, if we don’t feel some of the pain, we’re like ostriches with our heads in the sand.  How to live with open heart and hope?  That’s the challenge.
    9. We filed our taxes yesterday.
    10. Yesterday was a long day in our Little House in the Big Woods.  Barry has been sick with a cold for almost two weeks.  I almost succumbed, but did not, and hopefully won’t. Mostly I like retirement.  But sometimes the days are…long. Like yesterday.
    11. Thankfully I am going to Florida to spend some time with my mom in about a week!
    12. Have been working at the school on and off, helping the new Business Manager.  This morning spent 2.5 hours filing federal reports, re-figuring mid-year employee wages, processing paperwork for a new employee.
    13. Thanks for stopping by and reading these random thoughts, happenings and feelings. From a deep January woods with a squeaking wood stove belt in the basement, your blogging friend, Kathy
I mean it, Dog.  Numbers run screaming off pages.

Dog.  Amazing dog!



Posted in January 2018 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 36 Comments

The widest largest possible view

By the shores of Lake Superior


I don’t know about you, but it seems like our minds focus a lot on small views.  They focus on reading words.  They focus on performing the next task.  They focus on objects throughout the day.

The dog, the cat, the book, the skillet, the computer, the mail, the song, the furnace hum.

Sometimes we can maneuver through an entire day of our precious life focusing on  limited projects, ideas and scenes.  Many times we’re focused on the stream of thoughts running in our head.  So focused that it feels like we’re missing some larger insight.

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Posted in January 2018 | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Finding our true voices

Falling and getting up and falling and getting up

Falling and getting up and falling and getting up

The other morning Pam (Roughwighting) and I yakked on an early morning phone date.  We’ve connected with our voices on the telephone on and off for a couple of years now.  We talk about creativity, writing, mothers, dreaming, jobs, books and Hawaii.  Plus 2,021 other random things.

Pam’s taught creative writing for years.  Since I’ve never even taken an official creative writing course,  I’m fascinated about her insights.  She shares about how she guides her students to find their writing voice.  She says many folks think that writing involves thinking about what they’re writing.  Au contraire.  The opposite can be true.  One ceases to think actively and allows the gates of the mind to open and the words to flow out of the hidden recesses.  One discovers his or her voice through this process of opening and allowing the words to hatch, like fuzzy yellow baby chickens.  (Disclaimer:  Pam did not say this at all.  She never once mentioned fowl or hatching, but I am paraphrasing what her words sounded like to me.  Never fear, I’ll email her this paragraph for approval before publishing.)

I, of course, have been talking about the “typing fingers” for years.  How this process of writing involves the backward step of emptying the mind of thoughts and letting the typing fingers have their way.  Whereas in journalism and scientific writing one might attempt to frame sentences and participles in neat and rational order, creative writing takes off in a new and fresh direction.  It dashes outside the box and attempts to create something new, lively, fresh!

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Posted in January 2018 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

Hi ho silver & let them eat caviar (Cowboy Caviar, that is!)

Dear friends,  I can’t help myself.  Barry and I stumbled upon this post from 2010 yesterday morning at 6:30 and totally cracked up.  (Well, he may have left for work, rolling his eyes!)  I insisted upon reading it aloud to him, every Cowboy word.  Honestly, people are still reading this post eight years later, probably those who have innocently Googled “Cowboy Caviar”.  Heaven forbid–what must they THINK when they come upon this?  

If you haven’t read, please continue…you, too can wonder what was going on in this blogger’s mind when she was writing! (This blogger is wondering, too!)

P.S.  The Universe obviously laughed along with us.  A few hours later, an ad for “Cowgirl Boots” came on my Facebook pages.  Then this ad appeared in snail mail:

"Tails of the Old West"

“Tails of the Old West”

Please enjoy this “old” post–and yes, make some Cowboy Caviar, too!

Welcome to the Old West, you cowfolk.  I hope everyone is hungry.  Someone get the grill going.  How ’bout if you play your guitar?  Something like Home, Home on the Range?  Gracias, amigo.  Now, some of you want to come into the kitchen and make some Caviar?  A special recipe just for Cowboys.  That’s what Lori said.

Who’s Lori, you ask?  Lori works with me at the school and last week she brought us buckaroos a bowl of Cowboy Caviar.  We eyed the “caviar” curiously.  She supplied tortilla chips.  We dug in.  We ate, and continued to eat, and chimed in “Hey, Vaquero!  We want the recipe!”

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Posted in January 2018 | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments