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Indulge Ourselves
We’re in the middle of a Wisconsin winter during a time of political unrest while trying to survive a pandemic. We deserve to indulge ourselves. Here are a few suggestions: Get those endorphins flowing! Head outdoors to breathe deeply of winter’s fresh air.  Photograph how the sunlight shines on icicles.Watch for a morning when the hoarfrost or rime ice has coated the trees, hop in the car, turn on the seat warmers and drive with no destination in mind.Don the snowshoes or cross-country skis. Hit Mirror Lake trails or blaze some of your own. Visit a city such as Eagle…
Spirit of the Eagle
January is National Bald Eagle Watch Month. An intricate part of Native American spiritualism, and included in symbols such as scouting and our nation’s presidential seal, the bald eagle inspires us to greater heights. If you’re like me, when you encounter or hear these powerful birds, you pause to appreciate the moment. Did you know that the classic eagle’s piercing scream that we hear in movies and on TV isn’t accurate? The eagle actually has a sort of high-pitched giggle or a weak scream. Hollywood dubs a red-tailed hawk’s screech over the bald eagle’s weaker scream to make the eagle…
Beyond Our Wildest Dreams
Beyond Our Wildest Dreams Are you afraid to set an ambitious New Year’s goal? If so, you might be interested in what Margo Sue Hoile learned in 2016 after she hiked Africa’s Mt. Kilimanjaro. “You’re capable of more than you think you are.  “The climb was physical, of course,” Margo began, as we hiked Chapel Gorge Trail, “but it was mostly mental.” Margo, who is health-conscious and in her 50s, had to keep pushing and telling herself she could reach her goals. She made the decision to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro shortly after successfully completing a marathon. She was inspired by…
Holiday Hiking Trails
Christmas is sure to be different this year, so why not embrace it? Why not start a new tradition such as going on a hike each day from Christmas to the new year? Josie the Cockapoo, my husband, and I discovered many new trails this year or found new aspects of old favorites. Listed below are our top seven. All are within 30 minutes of the Dells. Number 7 is the one we discovered just last week.  Caution: some of these trails require state park stickers and some are dangerous because of high cliffs and the nearness to the Wisconsin…
Gifts That Matter
What gifts do you remember receiving as a child? I can recall only a few. Instead, I remember family gatherings beginning with those at my grandmother’s house. Grandma served lutefisk (we kids got to have pigs-in-the-blanket instead of the pungent cod) and great desserts. My favorites were her famous pecan dreams and poppy seed cake. Afterward, the cousins hung out in the basement where we played the classic card game “Spoons,” which often resulted in scratched hands, squeals, and laughter. I treasure the memories of those carefree fun times with family. I don’t remember what gifts we gave our children…
Ten Ways to Have a Super Fun But Safe Holiday
My seven-year-old grandson’s virtual birthday party was a huge hit. My grandson acted as the Master of Ceremonies and had a printed schedule for the robot-themed contests. Partiers had the chance to work individually or in teams. We could enter as many contests as we liked. These included the best robot costume, the best robot creation made from recycled materials, a robot drawing contest, the chance to write a robot story or to make a robot-themed dessert. I wrote a story about a talented Octobot (a robot with eight arms) who helped entertain during a birthday party. My husband, anticipating…
The Art of Seeing
Last week I took my dog Josie for a hike along the Wisconsin River. It was a glorious day—45° and sunny. I started on an overlook where I watched the gentle current, a boat causing a churning wake, and appreciated the dark blue color of the water.  I descended, hiking along a well-worn path. It gave way to rough walking and gullies caused from recent heavy rains. I had to leap across a small ravine filled with muddy water, but I soon reached the smooth, tan beach. Josie ran into the water, but feeling the cold, she ran out just…
A Cheeky Thanksgiving
This Thanksgiving, I’m especially grateful for the prospect of a vaccine so that, once again, we can be together with family and friends. I’m grateful to those individuals, gifted people from various backgrounds, who have come together, communicated and cooperated, to make the vaccine a reality. It reminds me of connection I made with an extraordinary creature, one from a world vastly different from mine, yet our connection created a memorable laugh-out-loud mo-ment.  It was around Thanksgiving several years ago when I stood alone at the open-air beluga whale tank at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, watching these social creatures of the…
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