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Happiness Sneaking in Through Back Windows
The year was 1975. I was twenty-one years old, and I’d just gotten my first teaching position as the Title 1 teacher for Wisconsin Dells. With only three days before the start of school, I was about to see my classroom for the first time. Since Title 1 teachers have smaller groups, I didn’t expect a huge teaching space. It turned out I would teach in a 12’ x 20’ room between the two sixth-grade classrooms. I entered one of the rooms, introduced myself to the male coworker who was hard at work at his desk, and creaked open the…
Only in a Small Town
I was returning from a Kiwanis meeting at Camp Wawbeek on February 8th. My husband and I had taken separate cars since he wanted to attend a boy scout meeting, and I wanted to return home and type up the meeting notes for the newsletter before I forgot them. The rural Wawbeek road was plowed, but narrow. Thinking the exit gate would be closed, I chose to return the way I had come. That was my first mistake. I was on a narrow stretch near a steep embankment when I met a car. My second mistake was to pull off…
New Dreams Every Day
Ready for a trivia game? Who said the following? “I don’t have no plans of slowing down because the number says I should. I don’t pay attention to that. I wake up with new dreams every day.” Here’s a hint. This woman recently sang for a Super Bowl commercial titled“ 5 to 9,” since it’s a spinoff of her sensational movie hit made 40 years ago. The commercial, which advertises building websites that support dreamer’s “side-hustles,” stays true to this entertainer’s philosophy of working hard to fulfill your passions. I enjoyed this singer’s TV specials. It’s always fun to check…
The Under-appreciated Rodent
I used to think these common rodents were just, well, bushy-tailed creatures who were good at caching away acorns. But the more I watch and read about them, the more my appreciation grows.  My interest in squirrels began years ago when my father-in-law told me an incredible story. His backyard was at the edge of the woods, and he and my mother-in-law enjoyed feeding the birds. The squirrels kept getting into the feeders so one day he shot one, thinking that if he left the body lie on the ground for a day or two, the squirrels would get the…
Worry Less: Live More
Last week’s newspaper had an article about the pandemic halting the winter research on Isle Royale. Seeing the name of the Lake Superior island I’d hiked years ago brought back a flood of memories. I’d gone with a group through Eagle River’s Trees for Tomorrow. We began our journey at Copper Harbor, Michigan, where we boarded the ferry, otherwise known as the barf barge. I’d heard stories about people getting motion sickness on the three-hour-ride across the rolling waters of the lake, and had worried about it. Although a few riders turned green and ran for the side of the…
Three Wintry Life Lessons
My father was a quiet man, and he wasn’t the type to give long explanations or lecture. Still, just spending time with him taught me important life lessons. One of his classrooms was the frozen fishing lake. Ice fishing is a lesson in patience. As a middle child who wanted to spend time with her father who loved to ice fish, I impatiently waited for the ice to thicken and for the weekend when Dad was off work. Once those two things happened, my older sister and younger brother, if interested in going, would help Dad and me get ready.…
Go Ahead. Uncork the Champagne
Although the comment was made more than twenty years ago, I still remember it. It was midweek, probably a Wednesday or Thursday, and I had just made a comment about longing for the weekend. A coworker, JoAnn Luke, who taught kindergarten, gently said, “Amy, don’t wish your life away.” The words have stuck with me all these years. I find I need them now more than ever. I catch myself wishing for weeks to go by hoping time will end the political unrest; that months will go by and vaccinations will end our need to social distance and allow us…
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…
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