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These Muffins are for the Crows
The apple muffins I made tasted “off.” I’d spent long minutes hunting up muffin tins and paper baking cups. (I seldom bake.) I have had plenty of baking failures because I’ve only guessed at amounts, so this time I measured the flour, sunflower seeds, baking soda, orange rind, oil, and molasses. Finally, I laboriously diced apples and added them along with raisins. When my husband and I sat down at our kitchen table with the warm muffins, I felt confident until I took that first bite. “I measured this time,” I said defensively.  I didn’t mention that I hadn’t added…
Thanksgiving Weirdness
I’ll get to see all six of my grandchildren this Thanksgiving. I think back to my feelings about my grandparents when I was their age and shudder. Grandparents moaned and groaned when they pushed themselves out of their chairs and talked about dull things like politics or relatives I didn’t know. In my estimation, they were boooor-ing. This year, I hope to avoid the label “boring.” I imagine one possibility. With the smells of roasted turkey, sage stuffing, and wild rice permeating the air, my granddaughters, in their early twenties, will offer to help me set the table. Back when…
The Orange Barrels of our Life
A few weeks ago, I was zipping along on the interstate in the early morning darkness, smiling to myself because I had everything in control. Lake Geneva’s book festival would allow me to sell my books and meet fellow authors and readers. Life was good. Traffic on the two-lane stretch was tight. l was in the left lane when a UPS truck driver in the right lane ahead of me turned on his flashers. My grip tightened on the steering wheel, and my foot hovered above the brake, knowing something was coming out of the dark. All senses on high…
A Lesson from Micky, the Old Hen
Holidays such as Thanksgiving often make us recall our childhoods. It was this time of year when, as a naïve young girl, I was forced to learn the harsh realities of life. But those experiences also awarded me with a lesson, one I hope to always remember. Since we lived next to a pond and raised ducks and geese, we would often have roast duck or goose instead of a turkey for Thanksgiving. My father was in charge of the butchering. I would hear the grinder and know Dad was sharpening the ax. Squawks and flapping wings would conjure up…
Facts Forgotten; Feelings Remain
A few weeks ago, I travelled to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island where my group’s tour guide and other educators shared many facts. After hearing a presentation by a poised young Mi’kmaq woman, I learned that archaeologists have uncovered artifacts that prove the indigenous people were present in the maritimes 13,600 years ago. I probably won’t be able to recall that fact weeks from now, but I will remember the young woman’s enthusiasm as she talked about an upcoming class where she’d learn the traditional craft of basket making using black ash. I’ll also remember her inner…
Living More than One Life
One reason I love to travel is to hear various people’s life stories, often very different from mine. It’s almost like being allowed to live multiple lives.  My daughters and I traveled to Ireland over fourteen years ago, but I still remember our visit with the couple who owned the bed and breakfast where we stayed for several nights. Patrick and Eileen, who lived on a large farm, had grown children. As Eileen prepared our meal, Patrick showed us his barn, equipment, and beloved cows. He told us that none of his children had an interest in taking over the…
My Mum, by Josie the Cockapoo
Hi, it’s Josie the Cockapoo, hoping you see this column and send my mum a cheery emoji or note. She’s cleaning out the dog cupboard, finding my old toys and puppy stuff, and getting all emotional. She was making good progress with a keep, donate, and throw pile until she pulled out my pink fluffy puppy blanket. I was just over six weeks old when she and Dad brought me home. She’d laid that pink blanket, something she’d picked up at St. Vincent’s de Paul to get ready for my arrival, on her lap. I’d snuggled in, knowing right away…
Visionaries of the Earth
I recently concluded a week-long class at The Clearing, a folk art school in Door County’s Ellison Bay. The Clearing, named for the opportunity for students to “clear their mind,” is a place where people can learn a craft or enhance their skills at such things as writing, painting, music, yoga, metal sculpture, woodworking, and mindfulness. It’s also a chance to de-stress. A person breathes differently amongst the 128 acres of stately pines, hawthorns, maples, and oaks. Worries fade away while wandering in the meadows or listening to the waves of Green Bay as they roll onto the shore. The…
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