25 June 2010

You Know, Samwich

There are some beautiful toadstools and other mushrooms sprouting up around the house. Lola and I like to take a little walk every evening and check on their progress. Yesterday we looked at one growing smack in the middle of the path.

"It looks like a samwich," Lola said to me.

"A sandwich?" I asked, emphasizing the sand part.

"No, a SAMwich!, she said. I wasn't sure what she meant. The mushroom in question did not resemble a sandwich at all. At least, not in my eyes. When I looked at her non-plussed, she put on her thinking face. You could tell she was pondering ways to explain to me what she meant.

"You know, a samwich, that goes under the bologna."

Aha! She did mean a sandwich. We were just disagreeing about the correct pronunciation.

"Oh, a samwich," I said. Lola nodded happily, pleased I finally got it.

I still don't see it though...

24 June 2010

Force Of Nature

It was sunny when I left Wabeno yesterday afternoon, but it started drizzling a few miles from home. Not too long after that, the gentle rain turned to hard rain. And then the wind picked up. At about 5:30 PM the power went out. I was standing by the kitchen windows, looking at the developing storm over the lake. It was really blowing out there. The trees bent in ninety degree angles and I thought to myself: "This is the type of weather where they tell you to step away from the windows..."

The next thing I heard was my father-in-law telling us to move into the basement. Now. We picked up a bunch of flashlights and a battery powered radio and went downstairs, briefly stopping to coax a freaked out cat back into the house. When we got there, hail started coming down. At first just little pellets, but they quickly turned into golf balls. It lasted for maybe ten minutes and then just like that, the hail stopped and the wind died. It was still raining, but the storm had passed.

My first tornado warning ended as abruptly as it began and the storm did not do too much damage. Some broken branches, a few hours without power, and an evacuated casino, but that was it.

It is awe inspiring though, how quickly weather can turn from something we love to complain about to something that is to be taken very seriously. The human race likes to consider itself Masters of the Universe with sometimes horrifying results, such as the present oil disaster (spill doesn't quite cover it in my book) in the Gulf. It is a good thing Mother Nature sets us straight every now and again. We need it.

13 June 2010

The World According To Lola

"Once upon a time there was Hanneke and Ryan. And Grandma Judy. And......, Grandpa Jim. They were all living together with my grandparents. And they ate dinner.

And they lived happily ever after."

09 June 2010

Beads Revisited

My bags are almost packed and I am getting ready to go. On Thursday morning I am driving down to Milwaukee to join my former boss at the Bead & Button Show. For three wonderful days I get to play with beads again. I cannot wait, to tell you the truth. The beading business is the part of my old life I truly miss. I am working on my shopping list to get my basic supplies organized. And I promised to bring back something shiny for one of my staff and silver crimp ends for my niece.

Unfortunately my little beading retreat is threatening to turn into a stressful event. Aside from Bead & Button, I have agreed to a family reunion, the Locust Street Beer Run, and driving to Wausau and back late Friday night to pick my husband up at the airport. He is returning from a week long training in Denver. It's my own fault. I always do this. Not wanting to disappoint anyone, I try to find a way to make everyone happy. And I usually do. Everyone but me.

A woman in her forties should know better, don't you think?

08 June 2010

Just Checking...

Lola fell off her tricycle yesterday evening and scraped her elbow, barely missing the puddle. It was just a little scratch, no major injury. She didn't even cry. There was no blood, and thus no bam bam (band aid) was needed. All it took was a kiss from her mother.

While we were in the bathroom, she decided she needed more sympathy and announced to me she was going to show Grandma Judy her elbow. As she walked out, she turned around, pointed to her elbow and asked: "Mom, is this my elbow?"

06 June 2010

New Life

A face only a mother can love
This nest is right outside our front door, safely tucked away in the branches of a pine tree. I never would have known it was there, had I not seen the mother flying around with something large and heavy in her beak. She dropped it on the driveway, picked it up and dropped it again on the grass. Upon closer inspection, I realized it was a dead baby bird.

I noticed momma bird was staying very close to one particular tree. When I followed her to that tree I saw there was a nest in it, and as I inched closer to it, another baby bird peaked over the brim and opened its little beak. I backed away not wanting to frighten momma bird and picked up Lola, pointing out the nest to her.

When I returned fifteen minutes later to take a picture of the mother in her nest, she kindly showed me her other new child and the one on the way. The eggs must have hatched today. Happy Birthday, baby birds!

Nighttime Visitor

Ursus Americanus
Every since I saw the butt of a black bear, several weeks ago, I have been on the lookout for more. On my way home from work I pay special attention to clearings and side roads, occasionally taking the back roads, hoping to spot a bear. No such luck. Deer, eagles, foxes, porcupines, turkeys, and turtles aplenty, but no bear.

My husband and daughter have seen a bear. Last week, on their way back from a short visit to the boat landing to go swimming, they ran into one. He was standing halfway up a driveway when they passed him on their bicycle. As soon as the bear spotted Ryan and Lola, he took off running into the woods. They were understandably very excited about the sighting. I was too, and a little jealous.

The next night Judy and I were watching television when I heard something brush against the window (my parents-in-law have floor to ceiling windows overlooking the back deck and the lake). I don't think Judy heard the bump. I hoped it was a bear, but immediately dismissed the thought as wishful thinking. Deciding it was probably my imagination, I continued to watch the finale of Dancing with the Stars.

Minutes later we heard a crash outside. We jumped up from our seats, turned on the deck lights, and there it was, the American black bear. Right there on the deck, four feet away from us, lapping up the sugar water that was spilling out of the hummingbird feeder he had pulled from the wall. Judy opened the door and in her sternest teacher voice told the bear to leave, which he did, slowly. He walked down the steps and sat down next to a tree, watching us for about ten minutes before he wandered off into the darkness.

He came back the next night, judging by the mess on the deck, but we had taken in all the bird feeders, including the hummingbird feeders, and there was nothing for him to eat. No-one saw or heard him this time. Except maybe Sandman who was still out and about when I went to bed. He was so spooked the following morning, he would not set a paw outside for hours.

05 June 2010

Luscious Lupines

Lupines are one of my favorite flowers, along with peonies and daffodils. I love their vibrant colors and tall flowers. I used to grow them in a pot, on my balcony in Amsterdam. When the bottom flowers would start to form seeds, I would snip them off to prolong the blooming period and enjoy their beauty just a little bit longer.

Where I come from, lupines are only available as annuals or semi-annuals. But not here, in the Northwoods. They come back year after year, growing bigger and stronger every spring. And they are everywhere. In the woods, by the side of the road, in the fields. An abundance of color so visually appealing, I drive an extra mile or two, three, just to snap a picture.