Posts Tagged ‘Wisconsin’

A fight ensued at the last wedding I attended. Albeit, I did start it. But, I was kind-of proud as I very rarely have the privilege to start a fight in that crowd, or any crowd. That is usually reserved for …


But, let me digress.  Just try and stop me!


At the reception, I was seated at the table with family. We have all known each other for many, many years, as families tend to do. And, I was feeling rebellious. My brother-in-law can be, how shall I put this, “trying.”  He tries to cause trouble, he tries to irritate people, he tries to be a jerk and he TRIES to start fights and succeeds. I, however, rarely do try to start fights. I avoid fights. I hate fights. But, I will fight if need be.


His penchant for starting fights is a puzzle to me. Why would anyone get their jollies off  by making an elderly religious lady get into a fight with another elderly religious lady about, well—for starters, religion? Somehow, brother-in-law manages to do this and he greatly enjoys it.  


So, for a week before the wedding, I am gearing up for him. He has taken to calling husband, not by his name, that brother-in-law has known for twenty years, but by the term, “skuzzy.” Now, husband really could care less, but mom gets irate about it and I just figured that after fifty years of abuse by this man, it was time to stand up for my family.


There was also the little matter of the Bailey’s Irish Crème.  I love Irish Crème. So, as two nephews would get a cup of it, each putting some in their coffee and then handing the remainder to their dear aunt (me) to drink t, I was feeling good.  Three left-overs of Baileys and I was primed.


I proudly made the announcement. “Brother-in-law” (I shall not use his real name so as to avoid more of those pesky relative law-suits over my blog.), “Brother-in-law.” I said, “What is my husband’s name?”


He looks at me a bit dumbfounded; dumb might be more appropriate.  I continue.


“You have known my husband for twenty years, and you know his name.  So, you are to stop calling him ‘skuzzy.’  It is rude and disrespectful.”     


Whereupon, he whines. “Why is everyone picking on me, today?”


His # 2 son states. “Because you have been picking on people for years and they’ve had it.”


I announce, “And, besides, I’ve had three left-over cups of Bailey’s and thought about telling you this for the last week.”


At which point, half of those at table, breaks out laughing and the argument is over. 


I should have been drinking “Bailey’s” the next day, when brother-in-law said he could not stand people who wear the American flag on their butts and the conversation literally trampled the Constitution for, what seemed like, the next half hour before I could not take it any longer, and made my point about one of the greatest strengths of this nation being the right to free speech.  And, protesting is one of those rights.


By the Way: I never mentioned to them that I have never worn the flag on my butt. Why, in any world, would I want to draw attention to my butt? For many years and, since I quite weight lifting, I would not call it my greatest feature.


The funny thing is, brother-in-law ended that argument (that went on for quite some time) by announcing, “Hitler had the right idea.”  And, then walking out of the room.


The crowd forgot all about me and my little “free speech” issue. 


One for brother-in-law.

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This is just no two ways about it. Ten hours on the road, sucks!!! The purpose of our trip, I am traveling with mom, is to attend the wedding of my grand-niece in Wisconsin.

First is gas: The car kind fortunately. The gas crisis has brought people together. People used to pump and go on their way when gas prices were manageable. Now, they are so frustrated that you rarely get away from the pump without having a “gas price discussion” with the person at the next pump. It may turn the world into a friendlier place.

Second is food: Not all restaurants are equal. Perkins in Wyoming was fantastic. Perkins in Stevens Point, Wisconsin; not so good. They do serve a large portion of meat on sandwiches, but I would rather go for quality than quantity. A patty melt should be juicy with melted cheese and friend onions. Okay, even a small portion isn’t healthy, but if I’m going to get that cholesterol and the calories, at least I want to enjoy it.

Third is the motel: The motel is great; small, friendly and super clean. The staff is extremely helpful and pleasant.  Its name is: Americas Best Value Inn in Stevens Point and I highly recommend it, as I sit here on my free high speed.

The reason for our drive, this morning, since the wedding isn’t until 6:00 pm tonight, is that mom and I are on a quest to find a power cord for her ThinkPad. She thought she would save luggage by taking it out of its case; unfortunately, she did not take the power cord out. She thinks she can use another one though and I think when she sees the price of the power cord, she may change her mind.

Do remember, this is the woman who called me up one day and told me that she needed me to change her computer’s batteries next time I am over, as she could not get the cover off the battery compartment on the bottom. Anyone have size double A computer batteries????

Considering that the only time I got lost was IN Stevens Point, on this whole trip, which may be a record for me, I’m not sure I’m anxious to venture out to find a Best Buy. I will let you know how that goes

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I have discovered the most fun thing. Now granted, it is after 10:00pm, in Indiana, and according to Master Daughter, I am not to be held responsible for any Blog I post after 10:00pm.  Even without any dippers of Jose Cuervo, I can find humor. And, the Tag Cloud thingy I clicked to show on my Blog today is hysterical. 


Just take random words and put them together. It’s like poetry.  So, I’m reading the tags and just having all kinds of ideas for new Blogs. It’s a font of inspiration.

So, here is a sample of my Tag Clouds:


Chicago Chihuahua: Now, are Chihuahua’s different in Chicago than they are in Denver?  I mean, Chihuahua’s in Wyoming have to be black and wear bandanas around their necks. You can’t even buy a pickup truck in Wyoming without proof of black dog ownership.  The Bandana may be a Colorado thing, now that I think of it. Wyomingites don’t want to admit they might have a dog for fun. (No offense, I love Wyoming)


FLDS food foolishness: Do I need to type anything here? Maybe something like, food can’t be red: it’s either the mark of the Devil or of blood, so that means you can’t eat apples (unless you get a heathen to peel them) or tomatoes. What about strawberries and watermelon. Is life worth living without strawberries and watermelon?


Hone Schooling humor: Gosh, what I could do with this.  Now, all you homeschoolers, I know people who do a fantastic job homeschooling; unfortunately, I know too many people who have no business homeschooling. So, look at yourself and only be offended if you are in the last group and don’t write me nasty letters if you know darn well you are doing an excellent job. But, most of the home schooling parents I met had NO sense of humor. I think I’ll stop there before I say something I’ll regret in the morning and then it will be raining, in Indiana, and I won’t be able to go on and delete it and pretend I didn’t say it and I’ll get hate mail Blogs. 


Indiana knitting: Perhaps we could repair our infrastructure that way. When it rains in Indiana you get a party line phone line.  It doesn’t take rain to lose power. That happens once a month whether you want it to or not. The water main is the best; it only breaks every other month.


Polygamy pottery: Is that a coffee pot with eight coffee cups? Could it be a set with one large bowl and eight cereal bowls? Or a tea pot and eight teacups?


Wisconsin writing: That would be the hilarious Blog my niece would have. I will try to get her to join the family Blog-a-thon when I’m up there for the next family wedding.

Okay, I’m going to bed now. Hope I don’t hate myself in the morning.


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Master’s daughter and I were at it again, the dippers of Margarita that is. She reminded me of the old “list serve” my brilliant nephew, in Wisconsin, had set up for the family before Blogs or subscriptions to groups were the rage. With one click, you could send your email out to everyone and, as long as everyone was being nice and friendly, it was a blast. Of course, that was also a time when only your family knew how weird your family was and not everyone in the universe, who can now read it when you spill your guts on your Blog.


My “Mother of eleven” daughter, was looking for a house about seven children ago, when she happened upon a piece of rural property with bonus lawn decorations. Homes in Wyoming come with lots of perks; sagebrush, rattlesnakes, sagebrush, windmills to bring up water, sagebrush, jackrabbits, and more sagebrush. This had an added bonus.


The bonus: Loose cattle rubbing against the house, looking in windows, eating the flowers, or just relaxing in a decorative manner and pooping on the lawn. The by-product of which is heaps of flies. It would be enough to know my mother’s reaction to poop in the yard, you should have heard her when said daughter had loose chickens, then you would understand that this was really enough to get a good conversation going.


However, as a poop de grâce, there was a dead cow in the front yard. Not surprisingly, not if you know my family at any rate, this became the topic of a contest on our family list serve.


 Answers to the problem ranged from:

1. Wait 20 years and sell the cow skull to mom. (Okay, so I was a re-enactor then. So, shoot me. My daughters often fought over who would HAVE to take Mom’s stuff if I died)

 2. Give it to the realtor as a thank you gift.

3. Start a new farming trend: dead cows, low feed bills, fewer ranch hands.

4. Advertise it as low maintenance pets.

5. Tie it to a stick and use it for a scare-cow.

6. Tie to the front of your truck and use it as a cattle guard.

7. Sell it to Hollywood as a prop.

8. Build a catapult and make it your neighbor’s problem.

9. Put its picture on cartons of spoiled milk.

10. Point all 4 feet upward and put a flower box on its belly.

11. Get a big box and ups it to the previous owners.

12. Get a large magnet and place it on the fridge.

13. Feet up, sheet of glass, cowfee table table.

14. Use it to start your very own road kill restaurant.

15. Use it as a pull toy for your growing family.

16. Save it for Halloween and put on someone’s roof

17. Get a large tank of piranha, as you have plenty of feed now.

18. Inflate it with helium and enter it in the unusual kites contest

19. Use it as a very smelly piñata.



 Daughter and I were wondering, however, just what would “Designed to Sell” do with a dead cow. How about it? Any ideas how they would give it curb appeal? You can’t say have it hauled away. It has to be decorative.





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There is a certain quiet determination in Martinsville. This was my first trip to Martinsville since the flooding. Mom needed groceries, blood work and had a doctor’s appointment. The news was not what she wanted to hear, she wanted surgery to fix her valves, but she is a survivor and will fight on.


When I entered, on the north side of town, everything looked pretty much the same; other than the car dealership whose sign which read something like, “We have always been open. No flood cars on our lot.”


The fairground is the first inkling you have of the destruction. Driving around the back of the hospital, the first thing you notice is one vast pile of people’s lives. They have set aside an area in the fairgrounds to serve as a temporary truck dump. There are also areas for people to pick up items they might need; clothing, kitchen things, etc. 


It is when you pass Main street and the area past down town, to the east, that you see the affects of the flooding. Kroger’s parking lot is cordoned off, but to the side sits an air-conditioned pharmacy trailer to refill your prescriptions. Thank you Kroger. Store shelving and coolers are in another marked area.


That part of town is a hive of activity. A line of debris laden trucks exits one residential street. At the corner, laborers take their break on the yard next to a hose that is pumping water out of the basement and down to the gutter. Every third yard seems to have a table with items on it with signs that either read “YARD SALE” or “FREE”. Items such as spare breadmakers await a new home.


Tears come to my eyes, and yes, I cry easily. It’s a family trait on my dad’s side. But, the mound in the front yard of another home peaks tall than the house roof. I think of the lifetime of memories this pile represents: family photos and home movies, first shoes, wedding certificates, an uncle’s casket war flag, a favored doll, a first plate and cup, grandma’s wedding dress, dad’s christening dress, plus all the necessities of daily life. I feel for the family and want to give them a hug. I wish I could help.


Thankfully, our middle son shuts his door when he leaves the house. The water mark in his room is five inches above ground, with a small amount of water seeping into the youngest boy’s room. We are looking for a new bed for middle son (he probably needed it anyway; he’s too tall for his bed and has a bad back). I don’t know what else he has thrown out. Furniture is drying.


Their rooms are back to normal, as they ever get. Days were spent scraping glue off the floor, from the carpeting, scraping linoleum and glue from under that. We had salvaged, from a friend’s house flip, padding and carpeting and they are now in use on the concrete flooring. One boy complains he wants heavier curtains to block the light. The other is off, yet again, with his friends. We have barely been touched. Our life is back to normal.


For us, it was just a reminder that while it may be tough here many days, and that $5.00 bill I gave the attendant yesterday only gave me a bit over a gallon of gas, we are safe. We have each other and a roof over our heads. My thoughts are with you, residents of Northern Ireland (which also had flooding), China, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin (the links are from Wikipedia).

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Where would you go, if you won a trip to anywhere in the world.


My list is almost too long to mention. Alaska to see the Northern Lights, anywhere to watch the whales, Holland/Norway, the Basque Country, to see what really made my ancestors who they were, and Japan to find a long lost friend, Junko Kanazawa.  India to photograph the women in their vibrant sari’s and learn more about Buddhism.  Africa for the music, culture and animals and for fun: New Zealand.  Send me a ticket, and with two seconds to pack my sketch pad and camera, I’m there.


I grew up in Indiana, thirty miles outside of Chicago. My father’s reason for never going to Chicago was stated succinctly.  “I never lost anything in Chicago. So, I don’t have to go back to get it.” The Dunes National Park was a short drive east. Couldn’t go there, He heard from someone, who knew someone, who was mugged there once.  He also told me once that anything he wanted to see, he could see on his television.  Dad was not adventurous.


Dad worked at Combustion Engineering and the family went to town once every other week, on payday.  They got groceries in Griffith, Indiana, where I would go to the library and carry out a load of books that stretched my arms down like an orangutan. Clothing was delivered by the Sears man.  In the summer, we would eat beer batter Fish and Chips at a drive-in restaurant on payday. I think it was at Broad and Main, in Griffith.


I however, wanted to move, since I remember being able to think.  I would look out an office window of a skyscraper and envy every one of those cars zooming by on the expressway, then I would go back to my typing.  I’ve been to 49 of the 50 states, Canada and momentarily in Mexico.  So, the world is ahead of me yet..


Mom was there when we got home from school and cooked dinner, until the fateful day in history when TV Dinners blighted the earth.  She was having health problems, so it was quick fix, and, like Twinkies and White Castle, I thought they tasted better then, than they do now.


Dad’s big travel was his yearly two week vacation. The first I remember were the trips to cabins in Wisconsin. We spent two glorious weeks swimming, hiking and swatting mosquitoes. I loved it and the woods. Then, they bought a station wagon and camping equipment and my brother and I were in heaven.  I haven’t been camping in years and I really miss it.  I’m never so happy as when I am outdoors, anywhere.

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