Monday, September 11, 2017

Thursday, September 7, 2017


It is not officially Autumn yet.  There are still a few weeks left of the summer season, at least that is what the calendar says.  But here in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, it seems that Autumn is showing up early.  Gone are the temperatures that hovered in the mid 70s with sunshine lasting till almost 10pm.  These have been replaced by temps in the 50s and 60s and in some cases, 40s.  Shorter days with darkness until after 7am and beginning at 8pm bring a somber feeling this month. The colors of summer are starting to fade away and in their place are bursts of the Fall colors of gold, red and orange.  Clothes have changed from shorts and sleeveless tops to long pants and sweatshirts.  It is becoming "sweater weather" as my mom used to say.  Deer walk across the field frequently enjoying the delicious apples on the trees and small creatures are starting their annual hording of food for the coming winter months.  Geese are calling their goodbyes as they fly overhead toward their southern winter home and plans are being made to put away deck furniture, cover the bushes and plants, store the lawnmower away for the season and prepare the snowblower for the coming weather.  Meals are beginning to change as well from corn on the cob, steak on the grill and tart lemonade to hearty soups, stews and chili, homemade bread, hot chocolate and black coffee.  Heavy quilts and cozy flannel sheets have been put on all the beds and soon every window in the house will be closed tight against the freezing cold temperatures of the outdoors.

Yes, Autumn will officially be in about two weeks but here in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, we do not go by the calendar.  We know the change of seasons by using our 5 senses which are after all more accurate than a calendar.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

This is the American Spirit!

For many months, this country has been divided by race, politics, religion, gender and so much more.  It has seen violence, hatred and bigotry.  America has been a country moved far away from the ideals we hold dear. 

In the midst of all this, the true picture of America has emerged.  Not a country of hate, racism, bigotry, violence but a country that stands together in the wake of disaster.  We saw it after 9/11.  We saw it after Hurricane Katrina.  We now see it in the midst of Hurricane Harvey.  People coming together to help those in need.  Strangers helping strangers.  Helping not for any gain but for the simple reason that we are Americans and when faced with horrible disasters, we come together as one nation to help our fellow citizens. 

Do I wish we could be like this always without a disaster bringing us together?  Absolutely!  Will it ever happen?  I have faith it will.  But for now, I am grateful that I live in a country where there is an abundance of good samaritans.

Friday, August 25, 2017

I Don't Understand You But I Love You Anyway

I have two boys and I don't understand either one of them.  My sons are the total opposite of each other. 

My oldest is a musician.  Since the age of 12, he has always loved music.  He began playing a clarinet in middle school then changed to the bassoon.  He has played the saxophone, oboe and accordion.  He has composed music.  He has played in a jazz band and a polka band.  He plays in the Reno Philharmonic and teaches music at the University of Nevada Reno.  I did say he loves music and he does to the max.  I have sat in audiences and watched him play, watching that moment on his face when the music completely takes him over and he is in his happy place.  I have listened to him talk about composers and their music, the different gestures that a conductor uses during a performance and how he composed a piece of music he had been working on for a long time.  Do I understand what he is telling me?  9 times out of 10, no, I do not.  Does he believe I understand what he is telling me?  No, he does not.  How do I know this?  He has told me.  But he has also said that he appreciates that I listen and try to understand.

My youngest is into cars.  He loves cars especially jeeps.  He loves to take an old broken down jeep, take it apart and put it back together into something spectacular.  He has had a torn apart jeep in my garage for years and an old car in the side yard.  He has a jeep and a truck on the property where he lives.  He talks to me about what he is doing and planning to do with them.  He discusses car parts, engines, roll bars, tires, modifications and colors.  He shows me pictures of cars as examples of what he wants to do.  I smile as his face gets that excited look when he has gotten a part of one of his jeeps done or when he has seen another vehicle he wants to work on.  Do I understand what he is telling me?  9 times out of 10, no, I do not.  Does he believe I understand what he is telling me?  No, he does not.  How do I know this?  He has told me.  But he has also said that he appreciates that I listen and try to understand.

No, I don't understand my sons.  One likes classical and polka music...the other likes rap and new age.  One likes fishing while the other thinks its boring.  One is a reader of books while the other prefers car magazines.  One is content to be a homebody, the other never seems to stand still.  One loves football while the other can take it or leave it.

Now don't get me wrong, there are things they do agree on.  They both love dogs (not cats like their mom).  Their politics are more liberal and both do not like the current administration ( I am with them on that).  They don't believe in organized religion but will go to church with mom if  I ask them to. They both know the importance of family and demonstrate that in many ways every day.

Yes, my sons are very different from one another but I also know that these 2 brothers are there for each other, no matter what.  I may not understand alot of what they tell me but I do know that for sure and I do know that they love me and their dad almost as much as we love them.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

In Response...

In response to the events of the past few days having to do with the rally in Charlotesville, NC...a few quotes to think on.

“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”
― Audre Lorde, Our Dead Behind Us: Poems

“Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn't matter which color does the hating. It's just plain wrong.”
― Muhammad Ali

“No human race is superior; no religious faith is inferior. All collective judgments are wrong. Only racists make them”
― Elie Wiesel

“We can move in that direction as a country, in greater polarization - black people amongst blacks, and white amongst whites, filled with hatred toward one another. Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand and to comprehend, and replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand, compassion and love.... What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

“Pit race against race, religion against religion, prejudice against prejudice. Divide and conquer! We must not let that happen here.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt

"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite."
 --Nelson Mandela

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A Joyous Gift

My oldest son came home for a visit last night.  He lives in Nevada and because of cost, it is difficult for the family to get together on a regular basis.  He tries to come out to see us once a year and it is always a special occasion when he does.  My youngest son lives here so he comes by the house 3 or 4 times a week.  Last night he came just as his brother came in.  It was wonderful to have all of us together (even though we missed our daughter in law--school started in Nevada this week). 

So there we are at midnight, sitting around the dining room table, laughing about the fact that their dad refuses to wear glasses and therefore can't read the aspirin bottle, their mom goes to webmd on the computer rather than her regular doctor, the oldest son doesn't like beards but grows a goatee and the youngest has a goatee but wants a beard that will make him look like one of the Duck Dynasty brothers.  We talked about so many things both serious and nonsensical.  I miss that table time so much.  But then I realized that even with all the ups and downs we have gone thru, the family is still together, still depending on each other, still loving each other and that to me is the most wonderful joyous gift I could ever have.

Friday, July 28, 2017

A look Back 25 years

25 years ago today, my dad passed away.  It doesn't seem like its been that long.  There are so many memories I have of my dad but I thought today I would share just a few.

1. Golf. My dad loved to play golf.  Every chance he had, he would play and when he didn't play, he watched golf on tv. His favorite thing to say was that since he was too old to win the "green jacket", he was counting on his grandson to win it.  Dad also said that he had a deal with God that when it was his time to go, he would do it on the golf course.

2. Louis L'Amour.  My dad loved to read westerns and his favorites were written by Louis L'Amour.  He was very excited one year to travel to Minnesota and visit L'Amour's home town and purchase an autographed copy of one of his books.

3. Crossword puzzles.  He loved doing these and he got me hooked on them too.  I would find one from the newspaper that he had been working on and then try to finish it.  I never did but it was a neat game we played.

4. Fix-it Man?  He thought he was but I am sad to say he was not.  Dad gave it a good try but it just didn't seem to work out the way it was supposed to.  The big joke was that dad always kept a large roll of neon green duct tape in the car.  Whatever needed fixing, dad would duct tape it.  He would be delighted to see all the different kinds of duct tape they sell today.

5. Singing.  Dad loved to sing.  He couldn't sing but he loved to do it anyway.  When we would be in the car, dad would be singing as he drove.  We would put our hands over our ears and ask him to stop.  Dad would laugh and say we had no appreciation of talent.

6. The Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  My dad loved the UP.  The green forests, trees, hills, winter snow...all of it.  It reminded him so much of his home state of Vermont. 

25 years ago today, my dad passed away.  And you know that deal he said he had with God about death and the golf course?  Well, he was right!  My dad had a heart attack and passed away after playing the ninth hole.  Dad and God had a deal all along!