Thursday, July 24, 2008


Who ever thought being a grandmother would be so fun! My only grandchild (so far....Jen is expecting her first child in December!)is a darling 4 year old with glasses, a lisp, and a great sense of humor. He is bright, thoughtful, and sooooo respectful! It is refreshing to be around a child who didn't have a whine the whole two days he was with me!
I picked him up and took him to my sister's home in northern Wisconsin. She and her husband have transformed a former gravel pit into a gorgeous garden spot with an ever-changing home. John is an incredible carpenter, and is always remodeling the home. The newest change is a remodeled bathroom with an awesome stone shower. My sister has become quite the gardener and grows all her own vegetables, plus a plethora of flowers in rock gardens all over the yard. She also has chickens, so CJ had a ball feeding them and gathering the eggs.
He was so eager to see the huge muskie statue at the Hayward Fishing Hall of Fame. It was closed when we got there, so we got a bucket of KFC and heading to the lake for a picnic and some sunny fishing from the lake shore. He had a ball swimming...and an incoming boater even took him for a short boat ride!
The next morning he was finally able to see that BIG fish and was so excited. It is such a treat to view things through the fresh eyes of a child. We also went to the Wilderness Walk, where he was able to pet deer, baby animals, and even a camel. It is a wonderful learning place for children, and such a relaxing place to walk through the woods while seeing spotted fawns following their mothers and read the informative signs about the trees, glacier formations and ecology.
I returned a dusty, sleepy boy back to his parents 30 hours later. They are fantastic parents and have done such a great job of raising a well-mannered child. I couldn't believe hearing him apologizing to my sister when he dripped some of his yogurt on the tablecloth, and asked for a cloth to clean it up! After 30 years of working with kids, I didn't think I would enjoy being around on so much....but he is special....MY GRANDSON!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


One thing you know for sure in July in Minnesota.....those warm, humid days often end with a storm. Yesterday had a beautiful sunset....but then the storm warnings started flashing across the bottom of the TV screen....and when the beeping announced a tornado 1 mile east of Blackduck, and I was sitting one mile west of Blackduck....well, it made for an interesting evening! Luckily, all we got was a spectacular lightning show but avoided the hail and wind that hit around us. The weather will continue to be erratic the rest of the, humid days followed by storms at night. Hope it settled down before the horse camping this weekend!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


When one is single, a realtor, or a nurse, many July 4ths are spent working or alone. We convince ourselves that it is just another day, and watch faraway fireworks from the back deck or a hospital window.

A friend just told me that I am now living the good life. I hold my breath when I hear this, as there is no guarantee that life will treat you gently as the years pass. At this point in my life, I am enjoying retirement with relatively financial security (as long as I remember I am a retired schoolmarm on a fixed income!), fairly good health (ignoring the issues with my eyes, joints and heart valve!), a family that is also fairly healthy and happy, and wonderful friends in Arizona and Minnesota. I find myself treasuring each day that I am able to enjoy the beauty of nature, and activities that I enjoy.

And so another Independence Day has come and gone, and it was a perfect day. It began with a clear sunny day with a soft breeze. The resort has an annual flag changing ceremony, and as that bright new flag fluttered at the top of the flagpole, I caught a lump in my throat as I noted the salute given my one of the residents, a veteran who fought battles in WWI, and is now fighting the battle with Alzheimer's.

After reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to that new flag, we were invited for rolls and coffee on the deck of one of the park model homes, and Wylee made his rounds for treats.

One of the joys of living in a small town across from the golf course, is that it is so easy to hop in the cart and drive to the first hole....which we did with three guys and me. I am a hacker golfer, so was very flattered that they insisted that I join them, and were patient with my hooks, slices and duffs. They were also very generous with praises when I would occasionally connect for a good drive or putt....and even offered some helpful pointers.

Not done, yet! The customers from the resort all met again at the Hillcrest supper club for their special BBQ of turkey, pork and beef. And as we sat out on the deck enjoying the view of the lake and cocktails, a small canon that had been beautifully made by a local retired welder was fired.

And there is more! We took our full tummys back to the resort to relax in front of a bonfire and to watch a spectacular sunset over the lake. And as dusk crept in, the fireworks began. I brought a family pack to set off, and there were other displays shooting up from across the lake, at the park, and at the neighboring resort. Finally, we used the glowing coals of the fire to make smores, and then said our good nights.

Before ending the day, the nightly game of Gin 13 was played, and I ALMOST won. And midnight arrived as we shuffled the cards, and my 61st, and perhaps favorite, Independence Day passed to memory.

Not every day or holiday will be as we would like it to be, and loneliness and disappointments cannot be avoided. But we need to enjoy and appreciate the moments.....and this memorable day was one of those very special moments.

Happy Birthday, America!