Somewhere over the rainbow, horizon, pavement, whatever …

You must learn day by day, year by year to broaden your horizon. The more things you love, the more you are interested in, the more you enjoy, the more you are indignant about, the more you have left when anything happens.
Ethel Barrymore


It’s not easy being green … or is it?


One of my all time favorite photos taken a few years ago at the Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin Pow Wow. Unlike Kermit they found it very easy being hues of green.


If I had a time machine or woulda, coulda, shoulda

Dr. Evermore's Forevertron

Ah, how interesting blogging becomes when patterns develop. The post I added yesterday, ‘Shut up, or communicate, please’ was so far off my radar and by far my most embarrassing and outlandish work ever. Had I waited a few hours I could woven it into today’s Daily Prompt, hit the publish button, and somewhat skillfully combined the two and been done with it. Too late.  I’ll  hope my readers release me from my rant and understand pure vexation. My second choice would be a quick trip south to Sauk City, Wisconsin to hurl myself at Dr. Evermore’s Forevertron and hope for a short back-flip into Friday. That would be fantastical blogging but would I be writing in past tense?

Shut up or communicate, please

My father taught me focused driving on the streets of Chicago with a single statement that still sticks fifty years later. “Always drive as if the OTHER GUY IS DRUNK!” That was decades before I’d heard the term defensive driving course. I’ve amended that statement since the ubiquitous use of cellphones and texting while driving.  “Always drive as if the other person is DRUNK, DEAF, AND BLIND! No talking was allowed while we were in traffic.  Totally pay attention, shut up and drive.

Fifty years later, robo-phone zombies attempt to cross streets, push shopping carts, park cars, eat in restaurants, travel, and download and play games designed for jogging or walking and cheat death by driving. I think cell phones actually make more sense as  wristwatches.  Two things could be done at once while talking.  Think of a hurried upper management office filler, stuffing their face with a hot Cinnabon and talking simultaneously with a full mouth. You could plan that week long visit with your mother-in-law while running short on time and drying your hair on the high setting.

Certain people tend to talk with their hands.  If the phone could also transmit video the person receiving the call could choose to cut it short, or remember to take daily Dramamine. I think it would be convenient for dog owners. The loved one on the other end could share in the joy of Spuds repeated barking while waiting for the shush of the successful Frisbee fling in a November gale.

Go ahead, scratch your face, itch your scalp, pick your nose, boil water, wave to the neighbors and keep on talking. Billions upon billions of words – invisible symbols of language hanging in cyberspace waiting for an electronic signal to coalesce into communication, or numbing mindless chatter.

No video yet but getting closer.

Why am I so off center from a nature blog and into a rant? We’re in the middle of having our house re-roofed. I mean a total rebuild of our four-seasons room and a portion of the house roof. The damaged structure has already been removed and is open to the sky. Going on four weeks, four voice-mails, and nine emails over schedule. Finally, one subcontractor showed up a week ago. I could tell something was wrong. The two guys that were working the roof were jumpy, they didn’t want the whip around. This week we got some rain and 4-1/2 hours work our of the two regular guys, plus a visit from the whip who talked to our insurance adjuster, and then disappeared again.

During the entire process I’ve been stressing communication, communication, communication. Just call me and let me know what is going on, are the contractors coming out, not coming out, what’s the hold up, where are we going?

These are not the only people I’ve scheduled with this week that were supposed to follow up and failed. All this advanced technology, instant communication, wasted time,  while society remains firmly attached to cell phones, but accomplishes nothing. Is the cell phone the new excuse for malingering, hiding, or wasting employers time and money?

What about a lack of social skills? People are actually walking around pretending to talk into silent phones simply because they don’t want to appear out of place or unwanted. Come on, how many people does it really take to manage our modern lives on a daily basis. How many humans are being micro-managed to death via constant contact through smart phones.

Personally, I preferred the old way.  I  called a company and a live person answered the call. Someone cared about the company image, product, or my concern. If this really is progress. I really want a watch phone able to record and transmit video.  I want someone to finally answer their smart phone with video capability when I call. I want them to see which part of my anatomy is giving a shit because they can’t shut up or communicate, PLEASE!

Strange way to boil water or Beauty and the Beast upset Paradise

It appeared as a white plume, a large feather-like trail writing a detour across the distant horizon. I was driving on Highway 23 thinking,  another idiot’s burning leaves on a windy day. Tree branches waved as I passed, hoping the distant smudge would soon disappear. On a good day with no Sheriff’s car parked over a hill, driving time from Montello to Princeton is around 15 minutes.

The smoky sky had changed color and seemed to be bouncing off its source and rolling along the blue ridges like yellow tinged puff-balls by the time I slowed and drove into town. Traffic halted in front of me as a fire truck loaded with hose rolled out and parked across the street. A Jeep towing a 4 man ATV mule pulled out and sped south of town. Volunteer fire fighters started arriving, knitting their cars through stalled traffic like grannies on a mitten making challenge. Along with a couple of other drivers I gunned out ahead of the delay in timing. Not usually curious, just once I let this take me where it might and drove out the same highway.

I though I was getting closer when thicker smoke started flowing across the highway. Surely a sign the source was just around the next corner.  Not true. I started to doubt my original thought that I was looking for a leaf burn gone astray. Miles and time passed, smoke still flowed on currents. This was still growing and I hadn’t found it yet. I drove another twenty minutes before finding  the fire location.

Two more fire trucks passed me and turned down a road that appeared to head to a  park.  I decided it wouldn’t be smart to follow them. Further down, an old beaten road appeared and I took it. That lumpy road seemed to be the area of the fire. Several other cars were already there, sightseers like myself, curious, watchers that had been driving by and couldn’t help pulling in. Children were playing in the field a few hundred feet from the blaze as if it was a family picnic.

This strange, whirling, tornado-like, monster of white was churning through a marsh snacking on tidbits from pine trees and leaving stark black toothpicks standing behind it. Over the years, I’ve kept watch on other grass and forest fires from miles away.  Each spring we burn our backyard prairie. I’m familiar with the smell of  burning grasses, pines, oaks, and prairie flowers. Grass fires burn white, forest fires sooty grey with an odor of dirty, wet chimneys.

Standing today in front of the burning marsh looking at a strange tornado-like beast towering toward the opaque sky, I understood both fear and curiosity fire and storm have on us. The group I mingled with knew the brisk wind was blowing directly at us. Ash from the fire was falling down around us. Had it been a bit of pine needle, sedge, cattail, an abandoned birds nest? The field in front of us had already been entirely shown of its corn crop or we’d have been in immediate danger. It was difficult to leave, strikingly attractive and gut-wrenching repulsiveness fighting an ages old battle to change natural elements. I knew it was best to put a distance between us and a still very greedy blaze.

I’ve spent a lot of time near wetlands and marshes yet it seems strange to watch a blazing marsh. It sounds like an oxymoron.  We’ve actually had very long, dry spells this year and we’ve got a lot of tinder dry ground litter. I regret not knowing this area and I have no idea what existed before the flames tore through it. It certainly had to have been a heated battle between a wetland beauty and the flaming beast.  Beauty certainly  lost this round.

Anxiety, life’s surprises, and remembering to exhale

I suffer from Intention Deficit Disorder. The best of plans fall short, come off half-baked, or if successful, the credit always goes to someone else.  After the bottom fell out of the fortieth rebuild on my life a few years ago, I’ve been figuratively sitting in the last row of the theater watching life pass by. Sighing a lot, I’ve noticed a nasal whistle-like sound as I exhale. I was born into a stress filled life and have never been able to shake it.

I wake to a belly tightened by adrenaline and force myself to inhale. Anxiety causes difficulty breathing. Most times I’m not aware I’m holding my breath as if I were trying to slow the forward forces of life while I figure out my next do-over. My last ‘life’ ship took ten years to build and sank with several irreplaceable portions within four short months.

After a five-year dry land existence. I’m building a new ship. Most likely. this one will always be a leaky work in progress. Perhaps I’m just feeling time running short.  I’ve lost competitive and marketable skills.  Creatively and financially when something goes kaput it’s a long time before a replacement comes along. The strength to move obstacles just doesn’t exist.

As change creeps in, time heals, even if the scars remain. I’m gradually learning it’s necessary to inhale and exhale even during times of tension. A boat will break its bonds if kept tight at all times.  Line allowed to give against the pressure of the water will keep the boat in place.

I stood in the rain on a rural highway bridge over the Fox River in Marquette County, Wisconsin. My husband waited patiently in the car while the property owner looked on (I told him I envied his bit of heaven).  I took a few pics with my pocket camera. When I processed the wetlands photos this one left me breathless.  Please leave a few words and let me know, did you inhale or exhale?


Good morning, John Muir. The National Parks are closed.

However, your beloved Fountain Lake, in Marquette County, Wisconsin is still open to the public. Personally, I don’t like the retained name, Ennis Lake, after the last property owner. Reminds me of people in our government, some just have a desire to overshadow those that will really leave the larger footprints in history. I lift my travel mug of home-brewed Starbuck’s decaf Italian and thank you for many of my remarkable good mornings in and out of the wetlands of central Wisconsin.


I apologize for not pinging the other participants in the challenges – my computer is pretty much shot and I have very little search and mouse functions.