THE 4th ANNUAL LIST OF DAN – 2015

The first List of Dan was published in 2012 and numbered 19  items. The list has steadily grown, last year numbering 25. This year on Dan Meyer’s birthday, the 4th annual list has grown to 28 and I’m posting the complete list. Enjoy 🙂

  1.  Who do you call with computer issues regularly, sometimes daily?
  2.  Who do you call when you need someone to care for  pets and home when you’re traveling several times each year?
  3. You need to fix a broken window, who supplies the extra pair of hands?
  4. Who will haul salt for the water softener into the scary basement?
  5. Who will brave the scary basement to change the furnace filter?
  6. Who will help your daughter purchase a new computer long-distance?
  7. Who will help you find the best laptop deal?
  8. Who repairs your GPS and returns it to you wrapped as a birthday gift?
  9. Who saves the day when the GPS dies for good and you hope to retrieve those invaluable saved locations to import to a new device later?
  10. Who locates the new device and successfully handles the import?
  11. Who do you call when you tipped over the lawn tractor, yep, it’s literally laying on its side?
  12. You’ve run out of propane and it is wicked cold. Who drives out to let you sit in his car, seat heaters on high, till a propane delivery arrives and the house warms up?
  13. Who do you call when the sump pump freezes mid-winter?
  14. Who do you call when your snow blower dies?
  15. Who do you call when the rear window on your truck literally falls out of its frame in the winter?
  16. Who do you call when you absolutely backed through the center support post of your garage, destroying post, both doors and completely shattering the truck’s rear window?
  17. Who supplies a newly painted basketball backstop to match his rebuild of your garage support post and both doors?
  18. Who always witnesses your absentee ballot?
  19. Who adjusted and permanently stabilized a tool shed in the yard without being asked?
  20. Who comes to the rescue when a bat appears and a terrified piano student has bolted out the door?
  21. Who taught you the finer points of baiting a mousetrap to spare sensitive fingers?
  22. Who came to the rescue after last winter’ 2013’s fall on the ice resulted in a concussion and brain bleed, getting you to the hospital and handling admission?
  23. Who delivers and installs the water filter annually after your initial attempt resulted in flooding the kitchen?
  24. Who drove out here to accompany you on a frightening walk across the ice to the garage, then ran up to the road and retrieved the mail?
  25. This is really two, but we’ll combine due to similar context. Who figured out a quick fix for a malfunctioning door switch on the truck and then a quick fix for a phone system that seemed to have died?
  26. Who was able to get into the garage when both door openers were locked in the truck inside and the service door (no key) was locked as well?
  27. Who do you call when you are at the sink doing dishes and the water stops running?
  28. Who do you call when you have locked yourself out of the house and just the week prior had brought the outside spare into the house? As you can see, it’s been a busy year for Dan 🙂

All 28 questions have the same answer – my cousin, Dan Meyer.  I am so blessed to have Dan and his wife Susan, so gracious in sharing his time, fully supporting me here.  If you are so fortunate as to have a Dan and Susan in your life, let them know how much you appreciate them!!

Today, March 17, 2015, Happy Birthday Dan Meyer and thank you again and again!!

 

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The Ugly Coat Came Out Today!!

That’s right, this coat has a name and few people have ever seen it; I can think of five including myself, Erin Lee, Meghan Lee, the original owner and her daughter, who is no longer with us.  It is ugly, which is one of the reasons it ended up with me 🙂  An old friend who dislikes brutal cold even more than I do had purchased it years ago, then was forbidden by her daughter  to wear it in public.  When I moved out here to the Homestead, my friend gifted it to me figuring that living in Shawano Country, it probably didn’t matter how ugly the coat is, it may well come in handy.  My daughters rolled their eyes, and the coat became an annual joke.  I comment every year when the coat comes out; it’s my temperature gauge and for it to come out means it’s fairly cold.  I should keep track of the date each year.like an almanac of cold; haven’t done it so far, but today it’s going in the planner, to be transferred on New Year’s Day to the 2014 planner for future reference 🙂  

How ugly is it, you might ask?  I’ll try to explain in words and a visual just what it’s all about.

Faded purple, puffy everything, hood, even an emblem of something on the sleeve

Faded purple, puffy everything, hood, even an emblem of something on the sleeve

 

 It is big, HUGE, puffy, doesn’t all fit in a single photo and full-length   That’s right, no short little thing that leaves your behind exposed.  This comes right down to the top of my boots, even has a hood and large sleeves that allow for several layers.  It’s so heavy that it has to go in a closet on a double hanger.  I tried hanging it with the  others on the back porch coat tree, but it tips the whole thing over. I”m one who collects jackets and coats, the fact that this one item outweighs all the others combined should give you some idea 🙂  

Thinking about that, I could wear it around the house for exercise, maybe it would act as a full body weight instead of the girlie wrist and ankle weights I use; perhaps it could be like a personal sweat coat.  Who knew that it could be multipurpose, all the while in the house where no one but Soleil can observe and he promised never to tell:)  As far as I know there are no photos of this coat being worn because even here in the country, I’d be hard pressed to wear this into town.  It has not yet been that cold, even in Wisconsin and I do have a fur that is much more attractive.  Either way, the outfit is completed with my ancient white Sorels – big, insulated, waterproof, you know the kind that last forever, you just update the liner occasionally and yes, they are very white.  I bought new gloves a few weeks ago, supposed to be guaranteed to keep hands warm and dry to  -30º, we’ll see :).  Now that The Ugly Coat has been taken out of storage, I’m ready for for whatever.  

And there’s one more thing – the ice cleats that go on your boots.  Used to have a pair, lost one and found out the hard way last winter that one is generally insufficient to keep a person upright.  In the interest of staying on my feet and avoiding another concussion, when the back steps were slippery yesterday morning, I went on the hunt for a PAIR of cleats, which I found and now own.  That said, now I may be ready for whatever.  

As good ol’ King Solomon said back in the day, every season has its time.  I’m not so sure I’ll ever agree that there’s a time for brutal cold, or even just regular cold, but I am as ready as I can be now that The Ugly Coat has shown up again.  Stay warm, be blessed!!

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Here We Go Again…

That may well be what some of you think about this post and frankly, my response is, it’s my blog, the subjects about which I write are important to me and I believe some of them are important in the larger scheme of life.  That said, there are three reasons leading up to my choice of topic today.  First of all, another woman in another nearby county is dead and her “boyfriend” is in jail awaiting charges.  Interestingly, a law enforcement officer commented on the “irony” of the situation because the murdered woman was recently publicly lauded for “her tireless advocacy on behalf of victims of domestic violence.”  Ironic?  Really?  That’s reason one.  The second reason is a conversation with a young woman I know, mother of two children under age three, whose significant other was arrested on a DV charge after punching holes in the walls and grabbing the woman by the throat.  Is this true?  I looked it up in the state court records just to be able to answer the doubters; yes the arrest occurred based on evidence.  Third, this issue has become personal.  In discussions this week I received comments like “Get over it,”  (from a woman, no less) and “Well, I didn’t see it,” from a male relative.  Really?  Not seeing an abuser in action means abuse didn’t take place and one should sit down and share a meal with said abuser, basically demeaning the experience of three victimized women, two of them children or at least under age during their experience?    

Do I need more reasons?  Are three enough?  I know this isn’t a pretty post; there’s no humor, nothing funny like chocolate bunnies without heads, but there’s very little humor in me as I write this.  I’m discouraged and disgusted and it’s once again time to stand up and speak out with all its ugliness.  Disregard, disrespect, dismissal, those darned D words that women experience all the time.  It’s even worse when life-altering occurrences have the D words applied.  

If you care enough to help, what can you do?  First of all, do NOT dismiss the experiences or minimize the effects even years later. It’s now known that women who’ve been mistreated – intimidated, called ugly names, had their possessions broken, walls and doors kicked in, pets abused – all these events leave their mark and many women experience symptoms of PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder, triggered by something as simple as a spring breeze causing a door to slam shut, or observing a young couple in a grocery store and he calls her a vile name.  These incidents can bring back the ugliness in a heartbeat and are not easily gotten over; flashbacks are not something over which a person has control.  

Educate yourself so you don’t make hurtful comments or display a dismissive attitude.  And be willing to stand up and be counted; it’s not okay to condone abusive behavior through silence.  And pretending something ugly didn’t occur does not make it disappear.   It’s not a matter of lack of forgiveness or dwelling on past events.  Do you think people who’ve experienced this kind of ugliness really want to relive it?  Not on your life.  There are those of us who’ve chosen to turn ugliness into benefit for others.  Help me do that, please – support your local women’s shelters, donate your old cell phones and printer cartridges, volunteer at shelter events, advocate for victims whenever the opportunity presents itself, open your mouth, take a stand.  Thanks for listening with an open mind and heart…

 

 

 

 

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A Much-Anticipated Event

I have a group of friends that I believe may be fairly unique. We have a name and we gather annually, heading to the North Woods of Wisconsin from as far away as Florida. We’re old friends, some among us go back literally 57 years, the rest anywhere from roughly 30 to 50 years. We graduated from high school together 39 years ago last week. This is the year we are 57 and our annual gathering begins in just three days. Our host is Lana, the youngest of the group; for seven years we’ve invaded the North Woods to stay at Lana’s fabulous property north of Eagle River on a chain of 22 lakes. Our name, The Gazebo Girls, comes from the fact that we spend a fair amount of time in the awesome gazebo on the property and have a group photo taken there each year by a neighbor.  This is our fourth year with a theme.  Themes began with the year of Gazebo Gangstas, due to the fact that the Dillinger movie starring Johnny Depp had recently been filmed nearby.  We dressed in 1920‘s costumes and had dinner at a restaurant famous for being the site of an actual Dillinger shootout.  That was followed by the year of the Gazebo Pirates, in which we hired a pirate ship that cruises around the chain of lakes and is great for special occasions.  Picture eleven women dressed as pirates on a big ship flying the skull and crossbones, with blaring pirate music as we cruised the chain of lakes for three hours.  That was followed by Gazebo Cowgirls – more costumes and a trail ride. There will be the traditional Saturday on the pontoon boat with sun and food and lots of laughs.  Saturday night is our big dinner, prepared by our very own chef extraordinaire; she’s never let us down.  Coffee with Redi Whip, you know, that fabulous whipped creme in a can, is another tradition.  We’ll sing old favorites, loudly perhaps, laugh a lot, share a year’s worth of photos and bring each other up-to-date.  In just a few days, we’ll gather for a Gazebo Wedding, the theme for this year.  There’s a story behind the theme, which will remain untold at this time to protect the innocent 🙂

   This year maybe somewhat bittersweet as last year at the beginning of our weekend, two of our group members lost their moms. The rest of us left the North Woods at the end of our weekend and headed home to attend funerals.  We’ve shared family rites of passage, marriages and grandbabies – supported one another through death, divorce, cancer and remission thereof and the safe return of a son serving his country. We know each other well and while this is about shared history for sure, it’s also about making new memories together.   I’m excited to get there; we’ll have a blast – incorporating a local street dance into our wedding theme and generally celebrating life and friendship.  As the childhood song says, “Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.”  I’m getting ready to go; to get together and celebrate with friends as precious to me as gold!!  

Below you’ll see two photos, one with most of the group present, the other an example of Lana’s dedication to theme – a Cowgirl centerpiece on an outdoor table.  I believe Patty went home with those boots 🙂 I can’t wait to see how the Gazebo Wedding 2012 unfolds; stay tuned…

                   Ten in the Gazebo ’08                                                                                                           

                                                                                                   

                                                                    Lana’s creativity                    


                                                                                                    

                     

 

    


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How Long O Lord?

Say it with the prophet Habakkuk! Believing as I do that our Lord has a sense of humor among His many attributes, I believe He’ll get my use of the title phrase. Sitting here home-bound by 18.9 inches of snow on March 23rd, I think it’s a fair question, don’t you? Not to mention that after the last “big storm” of the season, on February 20th, the starter motor of my fabulous, work-horse of a snowblower – electric start, self-propelled – burned out, dead, done, no start. Being so late in the season, I passed on replacing the motor till off-season. Big mistake as here I am facing a fairly large amount of snow, along with counties throughout the state, armed with nothing more than a shovel.

The photo shows what stands between me and getting my truck out of the garage. To be honest, I have help with that – usually – but back to that sense of humor. As things happen, the farmers that plow are having challenges with equipment and it’ll be awhile before they get everything cleaned up. Meanwhile claustrophobic woman, as many readers may remember, is sitting telling here herself not to be silly. Of course I can breathe and it’s all in my head so get over it 🙂 At least those who know me well will hear that I don’t coddle myself any more than I do anyone else so there you have it, as my father is famous for saying.
Being the positive person I try to be, I’ll tell you that the sun is shining brightly, the sky is a gorgeous blue and the temperature is twenty degrees north of zero – all a plus. But I will still ask how long and I still believe that the Lord is smiling right now and is certainly big enough to handle all my wonderings and I’m in good company. Besides the prophet Habakkuk, the Psalmist, David, asked a similar question.

I leave you for today with the thought that no matter what – a zillion inches of snow, brain tumors, family sorrows – no matter what, feel free to ask the questions and search for comfort! Have a fabulous day!

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Happy Anniversary to Me !!!

Yes, indeed, I’m one fortunate woman, sharing my story and my joy with y’all today.  Four years ago right about now, a neurosurgeon and his team took a buzz saw to my skull and then a scalpel to my brain.  Later he visited me in the night and delivered the news that the tumor they removed was malignant and I had a fairly serious form of brain cancer.  Waiting daughters, family and friends had already been given information and the stats were not great; but the clinical world leaves out a huge piece and that piece is a fairly major game-changer. My Father had plans and as He says in His Book, (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)  “I know the plans I have for you … plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Those plans included handling this tumor and four years later, I surely do have hope and a future and I’m on a mission to share the blessings and the joy!  I am well, most content and because I can, I’m heading out into the sunshine on this beautiful Sunday in April, 2010.

Bénédictions 🙂

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What’s in a Number?

Stats, ugh, I’m so not a numbers person, witness my go-round with algebra in the last year.  Those who know me know this, and know also that I believe health issues are a private matter, to be shared if so desired, but definitely not anyone’s business if you choose to keep it to yourself.  As my brother, Steve, says regularly, there’s a reason for health privacy laws.

Close family and friends also know I’m the survivor of a health challenge over the last four years, sometimes kept private and sometimes shared.  So why now and why here?  In an early-morning phone conversation with a dear friend, I was encouraged to share some health news because, as she said, share the hope!  That is the intent here.

Yesterday, during a routine MRI/check-up, my favorite doc (I have a team) gave me a number for the very first time.  After confirming my continued healing and recovery, he shared a stat with me, a statistic, and I was surprised.  I knew, statistically speaking, the initial odds were not great, but had no idea that the point I’m at now is one that, statistically speaking, only 14 out of 100 people with this challenge would reach after four years! That’s what he said – only 14% are still breathing, let alone living well, happy and fulfilled and I’m here.

It was a moment of celebration, hugs all around – my doc, his nurses, the office staff, the friend who accompanies me to all medical appointments, everybody hugging and grinning and laughing out loud – it was a time, let me tell you!!

So here I am, a statistic – feels weird, actually, and I’m not sure I fully grasp the reality, the numbers thing, you know.    Will I dwell on it?  That’s not me, but share the joy?  You bet, for the reason of encouraging others.  I’m still standing through more than one life challenge and my belief system tells me there’s a reason – a greater purpose for this life of mine and I’m here to pursue the dream, the goal, the opportunity to bless others as I have been so richly blessed!

There is hope; there is always hope, just as there is always faith and trust.  This is a great place to be on this beautiful Tuesday morning – a regular day in a regular woman’s life – could be me, could be you or your neighbor or your friend, but a regular person just trying to live my best life on all levels.  And a big AMEN to that!

Ayez un jour béni!!

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Seasons …

Here’s a switch, music from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, this piece being Spring; not my usual rock’n’roll, but it fits the title and I am a pianist/musician so enjoy! We’re rapidly approaching a new season on the calendar; Spring is a week away and definitely in the air. But in the last week I’ve had a couple conversations in which I used the words, “it’s a season; not a permanent state, but a season through which we pass.”

Got me thinking about the seasons of our lives.  We may have fantastic seasons of growth and beauty, then we may have seasons of darkness and what feels like dead-of-winter, harsh and unrelenting cold.  We may have friendships born of the season and perhaps limited to the season.  We might experience a rainy season and move toward the end of it to see a glorious double rainbow. There are seasons of health and  seasons of illness, seasons of laughter and seasons of tears.

The season for me now?  On this rainy, foggy Saturday morning, I’m  in transition, still in the season of  “higher education”, successfully finishing,  just yesterday, another trimester of school, and  did indeed dance around my kitchen last night. I completed two excellent classes, learned so much and had the opportunity to engage my dad in good discussion in the course of completing Theology  for Today and Survey of the New Testament, both with an A, I might add.  Now, as my favorite Auntie Arlene said when I started those two classes, “That’s right up your alley,” and how right she was.  All those words, English and Greek, all the “ologies” and “isms” and writing about them – I was in my element and had a ball.  How very different from algebra, but a just reward as far as I’m concerned.  Having traversed the season of Algebra – very ugly, I emerged to religion/history and getting to write about it!

The season continues, with nuances of change.  Two new classes begin after a week off, no idea what to expect and the season of higher education while living daily life continues.  A challenge?  You bet, sometimes I’m so very tired, but it’s the chosen path for now and as I counseled the other day, it’s a season through which we pass, not where we dwell.  We’ll wrap today with a favorite Scripture, “To everything there is a season,” and get this, a proverb, “This too, shall pass.”  I just may have found my next blog subject:)

Bénédictions!!

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Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes Part I

Some of you know I’m a musician.  That affects how I remember things and how I learn.  No to mention that I’m a child of the 60s and 70s so it should be no surprise to find music throughout these pages.  Today we borrow from Bowie – David the musician, as opposed to Jim, of knife fame.
I’ve been thinking about change a lot these days.  Its been a  subject of discussion in my humanities class, which I’m loving, by the way 🙂 I had to respond to a statement by my professor as to how people view and  respond to change.

Coupled with the letters I sent my girls for St. Nick’s and the memories that brought up, change has indeed, been on my mind.  As I wrote for my class: change is life and life is change.  Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Pain-free, stress-free, just like change itself.

Not so?  I look at how my life has changed and how I’ve dealt with it; how my girls have changed – independent young women now, living far away from me and each other, yet remaining close thanks to technology.  Ch-ch-ch-changes.

And while I speak easily about my girls being so far away, much of the time  I do not like it one bit!!!  St. Nick comes tomorrow and I didn’t unpack the Christmas stockings, two years running now.  Those stockings I made – love and anticipation sewn into every stitch.  I didn’t grow up with St. Nick, but my girls discovered him the year ErinLee came home from preschool in tears because St. Nick didn’t like her.  He only skips the children who’ve been bad, she said.   So St. Nick became part of our lives.

Talked to ErinLee moments ago – we laughed about how  very often I got it wrong.  St. Nick came a day early or a day late; for whatever reason I struggled with that one.  When they were of an age to understand, we shared many laughs over St. Nick.  But it was always special because that’s when the stockings came out.  We’ll talk about those another time.

In the meantime, in this  pre-Christmas season, give some thought to the many changes and the many benefits you’ve reaped because of them.  Change isn’t always comfortable, but it often precedes dramatic growth. Ch-ch-ch-changes.                                                    Later…

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Catch-Up?

Playing catch-up? Very often these days, I seem to be in catch-up mode; tonight is no exception.  With algebra going fairly well, but still time-consuming, and daily life with all that entails, things are good though the pace is frenetic. What keeps me grounded?  My faith, for sure, and the things I’m looking forward to – elder daughter will be with me in a month; I cannot wait to hug that child, though at almost 25, young woman is more appropriate.  Her sister, almost 24, is in the midst of a fairly large life event -buying a  first home; lots of excited phone calls back and forth.

With  these young women on opposite coasts and us all trying to stay involved in one another’s  lives, the time between hugs seems far too long.  My solace is that I must have done something right along the way to have two beautiful, intelligent, articulate, independent, successful young women who still count their mom as confidante and advisor.  I am so blessed and in no time at all I’ll be hugging my ErinLee and enjoying her laughter, and two months after that I’ll be hugging my Meghan Lee and hopefully visiting in her new home.  Great thoughts to keep me moving forward.

A fabulous Amma massage today certainly helped me relax and my return to a regular yoga class to readjust my form and move back toward the top of my game – all great things on the road to taking the best care of me so I can take the best care of all with which I’ve been entrusted. Be well and live on the upside of life, no matter how things appear.   Off to algebra for me.  À bientôt…

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