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Home. Sweet Home.



Lately I’ve been thinking of moving to another home.

I never thought those words would come out of my mouth. I’ve lived in this house nearly 26 years, and there are no words to describe my love for the place. Even the faulty wiring, the wet basement, the “dated” look of the place — it doesn’t matter. I have never felt happier, safer, more content anywhere else I’ve ever lived. This house is my haven; my sanctuary, my center.

And yet.

My old knees (oddly much older than the rest of my body) rebel at the stairs. Doing laundry in the basement is becoming a carefully thought-out trip. Same thing for cleaning the litter box upstairs. (Is this trip necessary?)

At age 41, I gave no thought to my oncoming decrepitude (a word that comes to mind so often) or the aches and pains that would eventually come along to someone who didn’t think twice about a three-storied home, or the corner lot which takes lots of shoveling, or the yard which needs mowing and trimming and upkeep. It was easy twenty-six years ago. Now? Not very.

So there’s that.

As a home help worker, I get to see a lot of senior apartments and senior complexes, and some of them aren’t so bad. At times, the idea of a smaller place all on one floor is very appealing to me. I imagine myself living simply (where did I get all this stuff that I really never needed?) perhaps enjoying morning coffee on a nice balcony overlooking a lake or woods. Serenity, no shoveling, no branches to trim… very appealing.

Decisions, decisions. Many folks my age are talking about moving to smaller places. Everything on one floor. (What a brilliant idea! Maybe I should have bought that ranch style with the attached garage.) Some friends and I are comparing rental prices on places around town. Financially, it may be cheaper to stay here. Yet to be determined.


If home is truly where the heart is, couldn’t I love another place as much as this one? Perhaps.

But today, my one day this week with nothing to do, I was enjoying the sunshine with the cats on the sun porch as they napped and I worked my way through a good book, feeling guilty about the mowing that wasn’t getting done. The clouds darkened and the skies opened, and the rain poured down.

I set down my book and looked out at my yard. My sidewalk. My trees. My bench, my Little Free Library, my neighbors, my street. Could I ever leave this?

For not the first time in my life, I am stupefied with love.

A Couple of Things.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThough it seems like I’ve forsaken my blog, I actually haven’t. I think of it fondly every day. Life is just so busy, I tell myself, but the real truth is probably that I’m lots slower than I used to be. If you get the vacuum cleaner into the living room on Friday, and it’s still sitting there on Monday morning, that is a good indication that you’re moving a bit slower. (PS: I haven’t forsake vacuuming, either. Yet.)

So, a couple of things.

First of all, I bought this little bench at Serendipity last fall, and finally got around to painting it for the Little Free Library. I love how it turned out. The letters are those peel-off ones from the Dollar Store. I wonder how they will look after the first rain?


Additionally, due to all the auctions I’ve attended, I’m getting ready for a garage sale. It was going to be just a small sale, but the more stuff I collected, the larger it got. It’ll be a lot of fun (for shoppers, I mean… it’s a drag to set one up) and I’m eager to get my clean garage back again.

Here’s some of what you’ll find when you show up after I announce the date. Bring your wallet!








And one very last thing, which is a marvelous quote from a thug on Boardwalk Empire, one of the best things to ever happen to television:

“Remember: From the tiniest acorn grows the mighty elk.”

Talk to you later. I promise.

Happy Easter


Will write more soon, but am just getting over a miserable cold and a big case of the blahs.

Meanwhile, here is my newest great-niece Olivia, helping me wish everyone a happy and blessed Easter.

And what is Easter without a lovely new bonnet? Nothing, I tell you.


Of Shores and Shoes.


A friend and I took a drive up the shore last week and saw some beautiful sights. Probably made even more beautiful because of the thought that a few short years ago I’d have been sitting at a desk writing inane copy for trade publications on a Wednesday afternoon rather than being out in the sunshine, enjoying the outdoors. Life is good.

Here are some photos of things we saw. We pulled over to watch a bald eagle take flight. A glorious sight, but by the time I grabbed the camera and rolled down the window, he was high overhead and flying off. I heard on the news that eagles are more plentiful right now, and a good place to see them is on the North Shore. Go. See.

I would not have the courage to walk this far out on the ice, or this close to the open water. Maybe “courage” isn’t the right word.


This picture made me think of the book title, “The Red Tent.” Probably no connection at all, huh?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMore fishermen here.



And my favorite photo of the day is this shot of Lake Superior’s lovely blue ice. On windy days you can hear it sing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s worth the trip, especially if you stop at Rustic Inn for pie and coffee, or one of their great lunches. Or both!

* * *

At last weekend’s auction I bought 7 pairs of shoes for $1. Who could resist? (Answer: Every other person on the auction floor.) I don’t know what I’ll do with them, though may sell them at my next garage sale. They are size 9-1/2, rather outdated, but oh, how I love the old blue felt “grandma slippers.” And they’re hardly worn!

Auctions. You never know what you’re going to find. Or what’s going to find you!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThat’s it for today.


Who Says Cats Aren’t Smart?



I rest my case.

The Name’s the Thing.



What’s in a name?

Just ask Alex Malarkey, the little boy who came out of a coma and claimed he had been to heaven. Better yet, ask his “Christian” therapist dad, who helped him pen the book, probably for lots of cash. Alex later recanted his story, saying it was made up. Malarkey, indeed.

Names can be funny, can’t they? The other night, on a news report (and you know my high esteem for news reporting) there was a newscaster named Steve Liesman. I couldn’t help thinking “Steve lies, man.”

Do people grow into their names? Did Daniel Dock of Duluth know he was going to grow up to be a doctor? Did Bill Angst know he’d become a tax man? Did Beth Postl know she’d some day be working for the Wisconsin postal department? It sort of all comes together, doesn’t it?


Other great names from television and radio: Forest Hyde is a tattoo artist. My friend Dan knows a family doctor named Murray Stasick. Jessica Shower is a Florida weathercaster, and D. Eadward Tree is an arborist. How do these things happen?


Dr Hannah Gay is an AIDS researcher, while Molly Tenant is a real estate agent. Go figure.

I’m sure there are hundreds more. I know there are, because I’ve been keeping a list for several years … a list I can not locate at this precise moment.

You know any people who have lived up (or down) to their names? Let us know!


Your Pajamas Will Kill You.


images-1Yeah, you heard me. It’s DEATH, and it’s in your pajamas, and it’s all your fault. Nice going, pal.

I heard this on the radio as I was falling asleep the other night. Apparently some “researchers” (quotes are mine) figured out that the average male only washes his pajamas once every 12 days, and the average female only every 17 days.

Right away, this doesn’t sound right to me, even in my sleep-addled state. Which man washes his clothes more often than a woman? More to the point, how many America males wash their clothes themselves? And who do you know who owns a washing machine that would wear ANYTHING for 12 or 17 days in a row without washing it? Seriously.

So anyway, the “researchers” go on to say that the longer you wear your pajamas without washing them, the more dead skin cells collect in those fleecy-soft deceptive killers, and those very cells, those ones that were once a part of YOUR body, can cause all sorts of misery for you, including (but not likely, I added) the MRSA virus.

MRSA, for those of us who don’t know much about it, like me, is short for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, which is hard for anyone to say, let alone doctors and “researchers,” so we call it MRSA (Mersa) which is easier to pronounce. MRSA is a drug-resistant strain of bacteria that can cause boils and joint pain and eventually will eat your skin, giving you even more to worry about.

And you’re wearing it.

* * *

Perhaps we aren’t scared enough. Perhaps the national and local news should not last a whole hour on TV, where they have to fill in all the empty spots with things like how your pajamas will kill you, or how your car costs $130 a day to drive and you are too dumb to know it, or how lettuce is what has been making you fat all these years. Maybe we’re not frightened enough of the wide world around us, so now we have to fear our very clothing.

Maybe they’re trying to get to the folks who ARE scared enough; who have chosen to never leave the house, feeling safe in the confines of their sofa. Since they won’t venture outdoors into the sunshine, let’s scare them with THEIR OWN PAJAMAS. That’ll show ’em.

Between wars, random shootings, bombings, rapings, knifings, terrorists, kidnapping and robo-calls, we don’t have enough to think about. We’re not worried enough. Some of us go around enjoying our lives. Some people smile and laugh. Don’t they know that danger lurks around every corner?

I’m tired of it. I’m tired of national news. God forbid there exists a 24-hour a day news station. What could they possibly talk about?

I know what they talk about locally, filling in those empty moments when the pretty talking people can’t think of any more lame jokes to throw at one another. They talk about things like this: Are you accidentally poisoning your family at each meal? Do you know what’s in your driveway that is killing your infants? Is your toothpaste making you sick?

They’ll tell you at eleven. No point telling you right now. You should stew about it for a few hours.

Meanwhile, let’s all head to the laundry room. Better safe than sorry!


Now I See It!


Rick sent this explanation of the mouse sarcophagus. I never could figure it out. I opened it up earlier today and suddenly the mouse was clear as day. Here ya go!


Bunny Bread



Am I the only one who sees it?



Three Quick Things.


I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I last wrote. Time flies! Now that the weather is so lovely, I am spending less time indoors, and trying to enjoy as much fresh weather as I can before winter shows its miserable face once again. Duluth is so beautiful in the summer. And there’s nothing to shovel, nothing to fall on or spin your tires over, and no coat or mittens are required. With luck, you will not need a tow truck for months to come. You can just walk out the door and nothing will freeze!


Thing #1: We have a new baby in the family. Harper Grace was born on May 8, and she is beautiful and perfect. Aside from her parents, she has an older sister Madison, who just turned 3 this week, and two feline companions, Kitty and Boo. A wonderful happy, healthy family. We love you, Harper.

Harper & Chuck 2014

Thing #2: Speaking of families, I am glad to know Bowe Bergdahl is coming back to his family. I know there is a lot of controversy surrounding this, and I’m not following any of it. Since I first heard about him, I believed he should be back in the U.S. Whatever happens after that, let’s deal with it here, and not there. I am happy for his family.


Thing #3: Friday before last, I was helping a friend move into her apartment, and somehow did something horrible to my right knee. Since I’ve had osteoarthritis in my left knee for many years, I’ve always call this other one “my good knee.” My good knee is now my second bad knee, and how I long for the good old days. (I have not been to a doctor yet.) There is no comfortable sleeping position. If I sit for a while, both knees seem to stiffen up and it takes me a while to start walking. It’s like being OLD! Jeez. Everything takes longer when your knees hurt.


There was no real reason to add this third thing except that I like to complain from time to time, and an odd number of things are more interesting than an even number, and also that I found this wonderful picture that I wanted to use. I could not afford to have my fingers actually tattooed (and really, who needs more pain?) so I just used a medium point Sharpee.

I’ll be back with more later. I’ll try to not stay away quite so long. Despite the knee thing, life is just so enjoyable.

How’s your summer going?