Monthly Archives: September 2013



As I was driving home this morning and looking at all the beautiful fall colors, something made me think of the Cowardly Lion and his cry for “courage”.

What is the first vision that pops into your head when you hear the word, “courage”?  For me it is the sight of a rescue worker carrying a small child in their arms away from some kind of danger.

Don’t most of us associate “courage” with firefighters, police officers, and soldiers?  Anyone who risks harm to themselves for someone else is courageous in my book but what about all the rest of us?  Do we ever perform acts of courage and not even recognize them?

I have always hoped that if I were ever in a situation where an act of courage was demanded that I would rise to the occasion and do what I could to help but in reality my first response would be paralyzying fear and then to flee.  I have often prayed that I would be given supernatural courage when I truly needed it for to be a coward would be unbearable to me.

The Wizard tells the Cowardly Lion, “There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger.”  “True courage is in facing danger when you are afraid.”

Ever been afraid?  If you did not let that fear stop you from doing that which you feared, then you my friend were courageous.  Truly courageous.

I look back at all the times I was afraid, and on occasion even terrified, and still I went forth (sometimes kicking and screaming and not wanting to) and did I think of myself as courageous?  No, of course not.  I chastised myself for being afraid in the first place.  Why are so quick to see a negative in our being and so blinded to a positive?

Each and every day we are faced with challenges.  Some take more courage than others to face.  I think of the person who is given a diagnosis of a serious illness or a reoccurrence  of a seemingly cured one.  The child who goes to school every day knowing that they will be the brunt of bullying.  The teen who is being pressured to drink or do drugs.  The young man who has to decide to join a gang or not.  The unhappy husband who turned down an opportunity to have an office affair.  The young woman who chooses not to abort her unwanted baby.  I could go on and on for days pointing out how much courage it takes just to live our lives but I will let the words of President John F. Kennedy speak for me:

“Without belittling the courage with which men have died, we should not forget those acts of courage with which men…have lived.  The courage of life is often a less dramatic spectacle than the courage of a final moment; but it is no less a magnificent mixture of triumph and tragedy.  A man does what he must-in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures-and that is the basis of all human morality….In whatever arena of life one may meet the challenge of courage, whatever may be the sacrifices he faces if he follows his conscience-the loss of his friends, his fortune, his contentment, even the esteem of his fellow men-each man must decide for himself the course he will follow.  The stories of past courage can define that ingredient-they can teach, they can offer hope, they can provide inspiration.  But they cannot supply courage itself.  For this each man must look into his own soul.”

JOHN F. KENNEDY,  Profiles in Courage



The hubs need to make a trip to Askov and wanted me to accompany him.  My selfish side said, “Heck, No”.  It’s my day off and I want to just stay home and veg but my good wife side said, “Of course I’ll go with you” (I might get a nice lunch and brownie points to put in my marriage account!)

The ride down (over?  up?, I am directionally challenged..) was gorgeous.  Perfect road trip weather.  Took the scenic route…thru Wrenshall and up Hwy 23. Decided to eat before we did the chore we came to do.

Found a cafe in an older school and I am in love!  The cafe is located in the school’s old cafeteria and it is so quaint.  The cafe has windows up along the ceiling so it is nice and bright but not hot or blinding.  There is a pergola with four booths in it and four tables with big umbrellas over them.  A breakfast, lunch and dinner menu is available and they have some regular menu stuff and a few kinda unusual dishes for those of you who like to try newimage things.  All of it is true Midwest grub and lots of it!image

Hubs and I had the Philly Cheese Steak and it was delicious.  Came with chips and pickles for $6.95.  Well worth it.

Also in this school is a museum which we will saunter through as soon as we finish our meal.  There is also an antique store that you know I will have to look in.  And on Saturdays, there is a Flea Market in the gym.

I adore small towns like this.  I wish we could live in one.  I would love to buy a three-wheel bike and go see the sights.  I am so small town.  I would be in my “element” living somewhere like this.  My dream would be to have a little “What Not” shoppee filled with antiques and quirky, funky stuff and to have a section where folks could sit a’spell and have a good cup of coffee and just visit and hang out.

Perhaps today was the start of a new chapter in our lives.  Could be life-changing or just relationship enhancing.  Maybe my “good wife” deed was more than that.  It has sparked a new fire in me to really, really, really  decide what I (and Hubs) want to do with the Senior years of our life.  Stay tuned and who knows what this day may have started!

Lunch is over and now on to the museum….$5.00 per person to get in (also well worth it).

What a fascinating museum.  They have exhibits of dolls and toys, old farm tools, military, Boy Scouts,  logging, post office, pioneer home, churches, antique cars, clothing and much more.  Plus a car that has been made over all in wood!  My dad would have loved it.   Everything was laid out with plenty of room to see everything. I was impressed.

Not only does the building  house the museum and cafe but you will also find  a Creative Co-op & Antique Store and a Sweets/Gift Shop.  I scored some vintage clip earrings for just three bucks a pair (steal) and a tiny metal tray and a 50’s vinyl hatbox in near mint condition.imageimage

I could have spent hours in the antique store and much more money but the hubs isn’t the shopper that I am and was getting a tad bit antsy so we went a block over and stopped into LENA’S.  A quirky little place filled with all things Danish, Swedish, German, Finnish and Norwegian plus a smattering of other great stuff.  And she has a coffee bar where I indulged in one of the best Chocolate/Caramel Frappucino’s I have ever had.  Hubs bought himself a T-shirt that was made up for the annual Rutabaga Festival.  Do you know you can buy Rutabaga jelly and even have a Rutabaga malt?  Yup, it’s all there at LENA’s.

Time to head home so we took the other scenic route and went thru Willow River, Sturgeon Lake, Moose Lake (while we were driving in Moose Lake we saw the most awesome, one-of-a-kind pontoon boat for sale.  We had to turn around and check it out as it has a tiny little “cabin” on it made out of wood.  Inside the cabin is a single bed and a table and two benches.  Just like in a camper.  I made hubs call and I told him i really, really, really wanted it but would leave the decision up to him.  Do you know how hard that is for me?????   When I want something, I WANT it right now.  So I am waiting to see how this all plays out.)

So  take a drive to Askov and stop in at the Little Mermaid Cafe and see if you fall in love with this place as much as I have.  I know I will be back and will bring my “girlie friends”  and I hope you will, too.  And if you get “Bev” as your waitress, tell her you read about the cafe on my blog!

LITTLE MERMAID CAFE in the Pine County Historical Museum Bldg


Open 7 days a week



image Sunday is Grandparent’s Day and until my husband and I became grandparents I just thought of it as another “Hallmark Holiday”.   A day created by the card company to make more money by making us feel guilty that we don’t spend enough time with our grandparents so we assuage it by buying cards and presents or making a perfunctory phone call.  Until I became a grandparent I never understood the love that a grandparent has for their children’s children.

Let’s look at the definition of what a grandparent is:  A parent of one’s mother or father; a grandmother or grandfather.

Technically that’s right but it is so much more than that so I am going to redefine it so all of you who are reading this will understand how shallow that definition is.

We will start with what a “Grandparent” is.  A grandparent is a person who has spent many years learning how to be selfless and self-sacrificing.  A person who has spent countless hours feeding, washing, changing, teaching, holding, comforting, encouraging, disciplining, worrying  and caring for their own children with the hope that someday they will be rewarded by having grandchildren to love.  Grandchildren are the perks of surviving parenthood.  The dessert  in the banquet of life.

What does a “Grandparent” do?

Wait, wait, wait…this is not turning out how I want.  Stay with me while I let my heart do the “talking” instead of my head.

I want to tell you about my grandparents and how it was when I was growing up and about my mom and dad and how they were as grandparents and how my husband and I wish our lives as grandparents could be.  Then you will be able to see how much more than just a “parent of a mother or father” grandparenting is.

Growing up I had two sets of grandparents.  My mom’s mother was a “perfect” grandparent.  Grandma Lou was loving and kind and always made you feel as though she had just had the greatest gift given to her when you came to her door.  Her face just beamed with joy at the sight of any of her grandchildren.  She loved us all equally and it didn’t matter if you were popular or pretty or what kind of grades you made.  She loved you just because you were her grandchild.  I loved staying at her house overnight.  I felt so secure.  So loved.  And when you left, she would stand in the big picture window and watch you get into the car and wave until you were out of sight. She wanted to enjoy every moment with you up till she could see you no more.  All of her grandchildren miss her now that she is gone and not one of them has a bad memory of her.  I aspire to be like that to my grandkids.

My other grandparents were nice enough and I have some fond memories of them but not like Grandma Lou.

My own parents were great at grand-parenting my daughter.  They loved her and she could do no wrong in their eyes.  My mom baby-sat her for the first three years of her life while I was a working mom and never once complained.  I knew that when I dropped my daughter off for the day, she was going to have fun and be loved and well taken care of.  My dad died when my daughter was just 8 but my mom has continued to be a wonderful example of a grandparent and now has the added title of Great-Grandmother to my daughter’s children.

So here I am, the grandmother of two (soon to be three) darling children and I now understand the love that my grandparents had for me and the love that my parents and my husband’s parents (who were also very, very good grandparents) had for my daughter.  My only regret is that now that I see how important it is to grandparents to be an active part in their grandkids lives,  it is too late.  My dad, and my mom-in-law are gone and my daughter is all grown up.  I never understood the connections between them.  I did not understand the need of the grandparents to have the grandkids around.  I wish I could go back and redo it.   I denied them their greatest joy by not making sure we saw them at least weekly.   It did not seem that important to me.

They say, “Hindsight is 20/20” and that is so true.  I can not go back but you can learn from my mistake.  If you are a young parent, remember this post.  Your children are the world to your parents.  Make time for them.  Let your children make precious memories with them.  Make spending time with them important.   And if you are still blessed to have your own grandparents around, go see them.  Be involved in their lives, too.  Because believe me, you will one day “Reap what you have sown” and how you treat your grandparents and your parents WILL come back to you.  If you want to be part of your future grandkids lives, then make grandparents important to your children.  If you don’t, then your kids won’t think it’s important for you to see yours!



image Well it finally happened!   For years people have been asking me, “Aren’t you afraid something will happen because you dye your hair so often”?   And I always say, in a somewhat smug tone, “Nah, I have great hair genes and no allergies”.

This is what I saw in the mirror today!!!!  46 years of putting caustic dyes on my head has left me looking like this!

Young people, let this be a lesson to you.  What you do in your life will someday catch up to you and you may end up like this.

Oh my dentist is gonna have a field day….